Saturday, February 25, 2017

Art in Bloom Event

I have decided to experience my own community as a tourist... this mindset is also getting me ready for my own upcoming travels. I think it is easy to forget the benefits, beauty and interesting history that is bypassed while we are distractedly engaged in our daily lives, particularly local museums.

I have tried to visit the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) a couple times a year, usually avoiding the advertised events like Art in Bloom, just to see the art. I noticed that the galleries had fairly static collections and given my year+ of ankle recovery, I had not made any effort to re-visit. But who can resist the draw of art and flowers? Certainly not me, a gardening addict who is also running out of wall space for my meager artistic possessions!

I am glad to have gone to this wonderful event! The St.Louis Art Museum has re-set their collection throughout the facility, displaying paintings that have been in storage and repainted walls in bold colors, giving a cheerful facelift to the galleries. The floral displays throughout were outstanding, including the seasonal decorations in the main sculpture gallery featuring blooming boughs of  Kazan cherry blossoms, that looked like pink pom poms and were wired with minute LED lights.

Floral arrangements were distributed throughout the museum collections and paired with a selected artwork. My three favorite offerings were:

#28 Grey Space (distractor), Julie Mehretu paired with flowers by David J. Bovier of Ken Miesner's Flower Shoppe. This gallery is in the new modern art wing, north entrance.------------------>

I loved the floral pairing of #14 Bathers with a Turtle, by Henri Matisse with flowers arranged by Rebecca Bodicky, ASCFG of Alice Blue Collective. Matisse is an artist whose joyous abandon with color truly appeals to me. The rich blue and turquoise of the sky & water are simply eye candy and the use of delphiniums is this floral sculpture convey the same contrast.

Finally, I found the drama of this darker floral arrangement paired with #27 Mary, Lady Guilford by Hans Holbein the Younger a three dimensional embodiment of the artwork. The flowers were designed by Alice Koritta of Carte Blanche Designers of District V Garden Clubs of Illinois. Notice how the fungal aspect at the left of the arrangement echoes the Corinthian pillar in the painting, as well as the basket feature representing the headpiece of Lady Guilford's wimple. The bold black accents also interplay nicely with the Lady Guilford's gown.  ------------------------------------------------->

A lovely day overall. After several hours exploring the museum we drove to our favorite Greek taverna, The Olymipa and stuffed ourselves with moussaka, gyros, shish kebabs, and dolmades. Spring is a month away but today was a lovely preview. (Do click on the photos to see larger visuals).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Early Hike

Yesterday, my son & I decided to see if any local morel mushrooms had started to pop up. We have had  unseasonably warm weather 70F/21C with some rain this week and wondered if nature's schedule would be altered for the local mushroom crop. Since my roses, and lilacs are budding about three weeks ahead of schedule and our daffodils are in full bloom, we logically wondered if fungi had started an early bloom as well.

We hiked a woodland riverfront trail where morels have been spotted before, but we didn't see any. We did see a lovely oyster mushroom blooming (photo op only) and got to experience a pretty sunset. This warm weather is disorienting for us people too; we finished our hike almost in the dark because the sun is still setting early, 5:46pm (1746) and astronomical twilight is a half hour earlier. Luckily, we had a flashlight in our pack and got to the car without mishap.

Climate change is impacting both plants and animals, including us... it is truly disorienting, accelerating our perceptions and causing us to underestimate our place in the seasonal environment.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wedding Bells

My oldest daughter and her fiancé decided Christmas eve that they would marry early 2017. They have been engaged for about a year and a half already, but her husband-to-be, who graduated with a BA in Marketing in 2015 has gotten insurance benefits (yay!) with his permanent, part-time stock clerk position at a local warehouse store. This financial benefit encouraged them to legalize their status. I am an excited mother-of-bride, and we are busy crafting a beautiful, budget civil ceremony .

March is when the nuptials will take place at our local courthouse. We have discovered it is possible to plan a reasonable, yet unique wedding with only a few months lead time. My daughters and I hit the January sales at our local Macy's & Dillards department stores. The bride purchased a lovely indigo lace dress for a little over $100, and my maid-of-honor daughter and I found lovely dresses for less than $50 each. I also discovered, at a local antique mall, a charming vintage blue silk velvet pillbox hat with a blue rhinestone pin for the bride's headpiece; it was only $10, and looks perfect! The fresh flower bouquets and boutonnieres will cost about $100 and a mini custom cake from our local market will cost $35. So, the main symbolic wedding pieces are in place through a combination of lucky providence and some smart shopping. 

The one item I had the primary responsibility of crafting was the wedding garter... ah, yes a little knitting had to be included in the ceremony for my knitterly daughter/bride. I found a lovely knit garter in Piecework Magazine Nov/Dec 2014 pg. 58, . I knit the wider Garter B, and I have to say, this is not the pattern you want to knit with either noisy distractions or a glass of wine on board, it's a little tricky. I used Silky Alpaca Lace, colour #2498 on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles. This little project accompanied me to Tampa, FL a couple weeks ago to visit my aunts. I was trying to infuse only positive karma, but honestly there was a little cussin' before this garter was finished. Today, I swished the finished garter in a "happy-joy rinse" prior to blocking. It looks good, with only 1 tiny mistake.... of course, that I noticed after pinning. Happily, I am sure this little jog will be hidden once the silk ribbons are woven through for tying it to the leg. 

So, exciting times and life changes! I am looking forward to this Spring season. It has warmed up here unusually early, temps today were 73F/22.7C! My daffodils are 6 inches tall and the dogs have been loving their daily walks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Odd how little stresses combine to leave one in a frazzled and exhausted state... I had to get outta town and have some riveting caring chats, lots 'o' wine and some TLC with my wonderful aunts in Florida. I took a phone, computer & radio blackout for the last week and it has made all the difference. I am sure there has been an "atrocity a day" while I was out of town, but I was glad not to know about them. Contemplating my individual future in a climate of angst is not conducive to developing any degree of peace of mind or a rational personal plan. And self-centered or not, I was really ready to have some significant me time to figure out whether I'm retired, or simply between jobs and how my life moves forward from here?

We ate like pigs, stayed up late watching wonderful movies and had some truly compassionate discussions from a female perspective. Listening to my older relatives and their older (than I) friends share their perspectives and experiences really allowed me to learn about maturity and womanhood. While I am the knowledgeable "sage" to my kids, I also need to search out mentors to feed me. Many of these women (one with a broken arm and another age 84) participated in the march on Washington, DC and had visionary wisdom from their experiences. I have come away renewed from their willingness to share and a bit steadier & sturdier, as I craft my future. Thank you everyone!