Friday, January 30, 2009

Grace, Yarn by Louisa Harding

Grace, Yarn by Louisa Harding, originally uploaded by confections.

New year, new projects. On January 16th, my sister and I were thrilled to attend a reception and talk by Louisa Harding at one of our local yarn shops, The Grove. Louisa was in San Diego to participate in the TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) show.

Louisa Harding is a stellar knitwear designer. She regaled us with tales of her entry into her career and brought along a trunk show of delicious fashions.

My sister and I each bought a pattern book (which she graciously signed) and some of her scrumptious yarns to launch us into the new year of knitting.

Wildspur by Louisa Harding

New Yarns by Louisa Harding

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Take Time for a Moment of Zen

Buddha, originally uploaded by confections.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Trip to the Opera

My husband and I went to the San Diego Opera on Saturday night to see Puccini's "Tosca". This was my first excursion to a live opera and I was thrilled by the performance. French soprano Sylvie Valayre sang the role of Floria Tosca. My favorite aria from this opera is "Vissi d'Arte" and I have included a clip of the inimitable Maria Callas singing it at the Paris Opera in 1958:

So you can get an idea of the dynamism of Sylvie Valayre, here is an aria she sings in "La Traviata", "Sempre Libera":

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Lake Temagami, Ontario, Canada, circa 1956

Another in the Canadian vacation series. I am seated on the bench with my mother and my Indian doll; my towheaded brother is looking away from the camera, and my oldest brother (on the left) is sporting a very spiffy fair-isle sweater. I only have vague memories of these Canadian vacations, but it is lovely to have the photos.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Brother & I at Lake Temagami, Canada

Another scanned photo from the family archives: this one is circa the summer of 1956 and was taken near Lake Temagami, Ontario, Canada. My brother is in the background on the porch of the cabin and I am proudly showing off my new doll.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Brother & I Having a Wild Romp

The other night I scanned some old black-and-white photos from the 1950's. This one is is of my brother and me; we are only fourteen months apart and my mother says the two of us were like twins.

My grandmother and mother are in the background as my brother and I romp around at a family gathering circa 1953. I'm not sure of the occasion, but I like the fact that my grandmother, brother and I are all sporting striped clothing. I seem to be jumping rope or just dancing like a maniac; I still do the latter....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Johnny-Jump-Ups & Narcissus (three)

This lovely live arrangement of white johnny-jump-ups and not-yet-blooming narcissus (paperwhites) was a birthday gift from my sister last month.

We had tea at our favorite tea shop, Tea-upon-Chatsworth, on December 13th, Saint Lucia Day. In Scandinavia, Santa Lucia Day is celebrated with girls wearing Lucia crowns with candles.

In San Diego in Balboa Park on the first weekend in December, the House of Sweden has a Lucia procession as part of Christmas on the Prado (or December Nights, as it is now called).

The Lucia postcard is early 1980's vintage. She graced our table and reminded us of the many traditions that are re-enacted at this dark time of year.
Johnny-Jump-Ups and Saint Lucia Postcard
Holiday Birthday Tea Pastries

Monday, January 5, 2009

Twelfth Night Merry-Making

Twelfth Night Merry-Making, originally uploaded by confections.

Tonight is Twelfth Night, the eve of Epiphany. A handmade Befana is perched on my front door wreath; she will greet the dawn of Epiphany, Three Kings day.

Our celebrations have mellowed over the years, but we used to have wild Twelfth Night parties at our house, complete with a cake containing a bean or charm. Whoever found the bean became the Lord or Lady of Misrule for the evening, and would lead us in whatever pranks they chose.

Rousing music and dance--and plenty of good food and drink--were hallmarks of this celebration. I hope you have a great Twelfth Night and Epiphany.

"If music be the food of love, play on!"

Shakespeare, from "Twelfth Night"

The above illustration is used with a Creative Commons attribution.

Handmade Bird Ornament
New Year's Eve Candles