JW Marriott, New Orleans LA

This trip, we stayed at the JW Marriott in New Orleans – it’s the hotel that was formerly the Le Meridien. We had a really nice stay.

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

Our room:
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

The beds are soooo comfortable, and they had robes hanging in the closet (I love that!). The bathroom was pretty small, but that was okay.
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

The lobby is pretty:
J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

J.W. Marriott, New Orleans LA

One thing I also liked was that it’s one of the hotels where you dial one number and that person will take care of everything (valet, late-night room service snack, etc.). BTW, the valet was pretty quick, too.

While Av was working, Leslie and I walked all over the Quarter. Overall, the hotel was really nice and we wouldn’t mind staying here again.

Jerry Brown Arts Festival

We had a nice time at the Jerry Brown Arts Festival this weekend. It was small – probably only 20 or so artists – but we met some really nice people, and brought home three things…

This is a pretty different-looking vase (the inside vase part isn’t full-length – it goes down about halfway) made by Ron Morris, who teaches at Bevill State. Ron and his wife are both **really** nice and fun to chat with.
Ron Morris Pottery

Ron calls it his ‘pie plate’ vase, because of the nice detail along the edge – that made me like it even more:
Ron Morris Pottery

This little birdhouse was made by Mark Williams from Bogart, Georgia. I’m going to hang it up outside this week:
Mark Williams Pottery Birdhouse

Mark also made this:
Mark Williams Pottery

I know, she’s a little….different! I say she looks like she has stage fright, but Av’s not so sure (heh!).

Mark also does a lot of face jugs (there’s a little about the history behind face jugs here).

Love Is In The Air…

Valentine’s Day was sooooo nice! For one thing, Av had this beautiful orchid delivered (orchids are my favorite flower/plant of all time) – and this one has lots of buds, so it will be flowering for at least the next couple of months at least! So pretty!

Valentine's Orchid

My big present was a lithgraph by Nall (my favorite artist). Av (the best husband anybody could ever have!!!) left it unframed so I could pick out how to have it done.¬†I could theoretically do it myself in a style complemetary to his, which might be really interesting and fun…..and if it all fell apart or I didn’t like the way it turned out I could just take it to a frame shop and have it done in a more traditional way. Hmmm……

Av got a cd and his other thing hasn’t arrived yet…so I’m not going to say yet what it is! ūüôā

We also traded kiddie Valentines (mine were Hello Kitty and Av’s were Star Wars), which we added super-corny sayings to, and last night we opened each other’s card box to read them out loud – they were **hilarious**!!!!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

Putting Fringe on a Knit Scarf

Today, I finished my latest scarf, and when I got done, I thought adding some fringe would make it look softer and even nicer. This scarf was made by knitting together these three yarns:

Ironstone Yarns ‘Hot Stuff’ #1747, Trendsetter Yarns ‘Dune’ #84, and Euro Yarns ‘Glitz’ #769.

I made the scarf on size 17 needles, and all rows were six knits. I’ve been thinking while knitting this one that it looked a little more bulky than I thought I would have turned out; I guess because of the weight of the three yarns together plus the large needles, it looked more ‘chunky’ than I had expected. When I did the bind-off of the last row, I just looked at it for a while, trying to think of what I could do to make it appear more…graceful, I guess. I decided to make lots of long fringe on both ends, and it made all the difference!

Below – my supplies were: my scarf, scissors, the yarn to make the fringe out of (I used the Euro Yarns ‘Glitz’), a crochet hook, and I used one of my knitting needles as a measurement guide for the length to cut the fringe.

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Here’s the end of my scarf. I took the crochet hook down through one of the knots and out the end:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Then I looped a length of my fringe onto the hook (I just took my knitting needle, cut a length of yarn 2x that length, and folded that in half…the fringe can be as short or as long as you like – for this one I was thinking long would be best…you can always cut down the fringe if you think it’s too long):

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I pulled the hook up and back through, carrying the fringe yarn:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Now I just pulled more of the fringe through further to make a large loop. The large loop is what you pull the ‘legs’ of the fringe through. This allows the knot to be made:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I pulled the ‘legs’ of the fringe through the large loop:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Then just pulled the legs and pushed the loop down, making a nice knot:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

Now just add as many more pieces of fringe as you like. Although this scarf was knitted six knits per row, I added more than six sections of fringe – I stopped at fourteen on each end of the scarf. That made it look really nice and full:

Putting Fringe on a Scarf

I like it so much better now!

Knitting Up A Storm But No Purls – Until Now

Well, one of my friends, who is a *very* accomplished knitter (she even makes things that are auctioned off at charity events!) taught me how to knit in just a few minutes, but somehow I haven’t figured out how to purl. I have another friend, who is also a very good knitter AND crocheter (is that a word? I guess!) – who I’ve been meaning to ask, but yesterday, I found a site that has illustrations of how to purl.

Anyway, I wish I had figured out how to do it about a month ago when I started a baby blanket (my first non-scarf project) for my new neice, who will be here later this month. The last time I was in Mobile, I visited the YarnHaus, and -this is how beginner I am – I asked the very nice lady that was working there this:

A blanket is really just a big scarf, right?

And the answer was…yes! I just needed to buy some circular needles so that all my extra knitting (the width of the blanket) would have somewhere to go. She gave me a free pattern that showed how to do it with both knits and purls, but I explained to her that I really only knew how to knit, and she said that, by all means, just to knit the whole thing and it would turn out beautifully anyway. Well, if I do say so myself, it is looking really pretty. It’s just 56 knits per row using five balls of Plymouth Yarn Heaven, which is sooooo soft, perfect for a baby!

Baby Blanket I'm Knitting for My New Neice

I’m really happy with it, and I’m almost done with the third ball of yarn, so I just have two more to go and the blanket will be finished.

Once I finish, I’m going to practice my purling technique on one more scarf, then I’m thinking about branching out to other things….I’d love to learn the techniques I’d need so that I could make what’s on the front of the latest Knitty – how cute is that?!?! Hmmm….I don’t think I’ll ever get into making socks, but maybe some neat sweaters, or pillows, or hats, or….

Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans

Well, Celebration in the Oaks was different this year – no waiting in the car forever to drive through with the sunroof open, looking above at all the pretty lights. This year, because of….everything….it was just for people to walk through, which was perfectly fine with me. Here are a few pics (and a little tiny movie file) of it:

Here’s a huge tree made with poinsettias:
Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

There were still lots of lights and pretty things to look at:
Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

The different schools decorated trees:
Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

I liked the display with the different neighborhoods – they had model trains and streetcars on tracks going around, too:
Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

There was this fabulous, fabulous, display of ‘A Cajun Night Before Christmas’. The book is sold here at Amazon.

…and of course, Mr. Bingle!
Mr. Bingle at Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans City Park

New Yarn – So Pretty Laines Du Nord

Late last week, I went with one of my friends to Knit Nouveau in Old Town Helena, Alabama. My friend bought yarn to make a blanket (it’s going to be *so* pretty), and I bought – as usual(!) – yarn to make more scarves.

Here’s what I got:
Berroco Suede color #3729 (it’s ribbon in black but not super-black) – I’ll be knitting this with one of the yarns I already have.

Berroco Lazer FX #6002 (it’s yarn with sequins that is *so pretty* when it’s knitted with other shiny yarns – I did one of my pink scarves with it, and it’s just really nice) – I don’t have plans for what I’ll be knitting it with, but I definitely wanted to get more of it.

Two Balls of Linie 129 Logo (it’s the brown nubby yarn below)

…and three different yarns of complementary hues that will go together into a scarf:
Laines Du Nord – Cocotte (it’s the chunky wool with a little tiny ribbon twisted through it)
Laines Du Nord – Kiddy Print (it’s the kid mohair yarn)
Laines Du Nord – Opaline (it’s the chunky boucle)

Yarn, Knitting

Pretty!

My latest finished project – it’s Crystal Palace Yarns in Splash #7189 Tidepool. I knitted this on #17 needles, and really like it. Soft!
Yarn, Knitting

Myrtice West

Painting by Myrtice West

Earlier in October when we went to Kentuck, I posted (here) a couple of pictures of Myrtice West at the festival…so just last week, I got a very nice card from her, thanking us for buying one of her paintings. In the card, she said that she had lost a book that she was in due to a house fire, and she asked me if I knew where she could find one. Well, guess what!? I had it right in my living room, so I called her up and said I was going to mail it over to her. She was *so* nice on the phone, and she wanted to pay me for the book (Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists) but I told her that it was my gift, and that I wouldn’t let her.

Anyway, I mailed it off on Monday, and on Thursday, she sent me a huge package with a book that’s about her (and she signed it with a really nice message):

…it’s called “Wonders to Behold, The Visionary Art of Myrtice West” *and* two big paintings – bigger ones than even the one that I bought from her! She also enclosed in the box a wonderful letter telling me how much the book I sent her meant, and talked about how her husband passed away on June 9th when he was 85, and that they had been married 64 years last December 24th. (wow!!) She asked me to pray for her and her family, and she says that she prays that G-d blesses each house her art is at.

More pics of her artwork can be found here and here. What a wonderful lady.

Kentuck Festival – Next Weekend!

Next weekend is one of my *favorite* weekends of the year! It’s Kentuck!

I’m *really* looking forward to seeing:

Music:
Willie King – blues, blues, blues. Oh yes. The Alabama Blues Project is trying to get a lot more attention put toward Alabama-born or -based blues musians (W.C. Handy – father of the blues, ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, Clarence Carter, etc), including a program they’re doing to get the blues into schools.
Red Stick Ramblers
Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas

Quilts:
Chris Clark
Hallie O’Kelley
Yvonne Wells

Other:
Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr with York Show Prints

Art:
Alpha Andrews
Butch Anthony
Lonnie Holley
Jimmy Lee Sudduth

…and LOTS and LOTS of others. If you can get to Northport, AL (Tuscaloosa) next weekend, do! See you there!

Fort Cobun at Grand Gulf, MS and Osage Oranges

Av and I have been to Grand Gulf, MS (Google Maps doesn’t recognize Grand Gulf. Grand Gulf is between Vicksburg and Port Gibson – there is a sign on the highway that will show you where to turn.) before, and decided to visit again last week since we were going close to it, from Vicksburg to Baton Rouge. I really wanted to see if the osage orange trees were okay, since the hurricane had brought down so many trees.

Abandoned Church, Fort Cobun - Grand Gulf, MS

Isn’t this abandoned church so pretty?

Osage Orange at Fort Cobun, Grand Gulf MS
Here’s one of the osage oranges. Some people call them hedgeapples, and others call them ‘brain fruit’ because of their texture (closer shot below):

Close-up, Osage Orange, Fort Cobun, Grand Gulf MS
…and they’re such an odd color! Up until earlier this year, when we first visited Grand Gulf, I had never seen one! I only figured out what they were called when I did a Google search.

There was a historic sign with the history of Grand Gulf:

The town of Grand Gulf began in the 18th century as a small British settlement. By 1828 it had grown to a village of three stores, one tavern, and several houses. There was a stage line to Port Gibson and steamboats stopped at its wharves. Incorporated in 1833, Grand Gulf received its name from a large whirlpool formed as the Mississippi River struck a great rock formation. By the late 1830s Grand Gulf had become an important port and trading center with seventy-six city blocks and about 1000 people. Grand Gulf’s decline began in 1843 with a yellow fever epidemic. In 1853 a tornado devastated a large portion of the town. Yellow fever and cholera epidemics resulted in further population losses. To make matters worse, the Mississippi River changed its course and began eating into the land on which the town was built. Between 1855 and 1860, fifty-five city blocks were destroyed by the river. By 1860 only one hundred fifty-eight lived there. During the Civil War, Federal troops and gunboats destroyed the remainder of the town. The town was never rebuilt after the war and today even the river has deserted what was once a bustling river port. All that remains are a few antebellum buildings scattered along what was once the outskirts of the town.

Besides the military park, all that’s left around here is some hunting lodges and an Entergy nuclear plant. Pics from our last visit can be found here.