Thursday, May 26, 2011

Big Day on Campus

Yesterday was a big day, and I am feeling the effects today. I rode down to the University of Chicago campus with my friend, and spend the day wandering around and exploring the campus.

It was very rainy to begin the day, and I felt very adventurous setting off with my umbrella and fording the waterways at every curb. My base was the law library on 60th street. First I walked about 3 blocks to the Oriental Institute. I visited Assyria...


Babylon and Egypt. Here are a couple of shots of beautiful things. Most of the time I was alone in the gallery with an attendant looking on. I really enjoyed the carved cylinder seals that were used to ratify agreements, and the changes in the writing styles over time, and the lesson/practice writing clays were very interesting.


What got me excited, though, was this:


A Needle! (and thread!) This case had several examples of textiles (mostly fragments) but also a large gorgeous piece of linen produced by the crown workshops. The piece was (they said) 5 meters long! I would have loved to run my hands over that!


Of course, with things from so long ago, you get the beads, but not the string, the game board, but not the game pieces or the instructions, the vessels and grinding stones to prepare food, but not the recipes. There was a child's linen tunic, but no everyday clothing.

I was interested to see the beads that had been collected. They would look at home in any contemporary bead shop, wouldn't they!


After the Oriental Institute, I walked across the street to the Seminary Coop Bookstore. That is an amazing place! The website claims to have over 10,000 titles, and I believe it. It is in the basement of the seminary building, and it is a labyrinth. They have lines painted on the floor, so you can find your way back to the front desk, and all the overhead pipes (plumbing, heating, ?) are wrapped so that if/when you hit your head, you won't hurt yourself. The desk areas were all in rooms about 5 to 6 feet tall. I don't think I could work there! One area had some steps down, and had a little more height.

Wandering around in there I saw tons of books I have heard about but never seen, and thousands I had never even imagined. I was tempted to buy this one, and that one, but the way my reading has been going lately, I feared I would never get through any of them.

After leaving the Seminary Coop bookstore, I walked across the quad to the Barnes and Noble bookstore (and the Starbucks!). Talk about ivyed halls! It was simply gorgeous, and even better, the rain had stopped.


I anjoyed looking at the flower-beds too: all purple flowers! This area and other parts of the campus are designated a botanical garden. It would be fun to explore that aspect someday too.


I sat in the coffee shop for an hour, nursing my latte and browsing the Nook bookstore; I picked up a couple more anthologies and read a David Baldacci short story while I sat there. My friend picked me up at lunch time, and we went to Calypso, one of her favorite restaurants, that is, unfortunately, being forced out of business because the building is being torn down. I can assure you, it will be a great loss! I just ate my left-overs from yesterday: angel hair pasta with mushrooms and chicken, and it was as delicious today as it was yesterday.

After that, I got dropped off at the Smart Art Gallery. It was interesting, but I was a little disappointed. There were some lovely things, but there was no organization to the art. A little here from one era, and a little there from another, with no thread connecting them. I do not know enough about art to be able to see the connections without a little more help than was offered.

From there I walked about 4 blocks back to the law library, past the Nuclear Energy sculpture, on the site of the "Manhattan Project" first atomic reaction.


This library is built on the location of the stadium where they built the first reactor. I love the justaposition of the modern building with the stone (ivory?) tower.


On my walk I had some beautiful weather! The sun was out and warm, and I was able to shed my rain-coat and sweater. I walked past the Searle Chemical Laboratory, and was siezed by a desire to go in and play in one of the labs. I don't really want to take another chemistry class (see the reading dilemma above) but it sure would be fun to do some experiments in the lab.

With the sun out I was able to get a nice picture of the law library. This is a zero depth fountain... it is really just a big puddle, set to show of the sculpture.


They allow wading!


I sat in a very comfortable, well-lit lounge and read and stitched until it was time to go home. My friend and I are talking about doing it again. I didn't get to the Rockefeller Chapel, and the Museum of Science and Industry is within reach as well.

Thank you for letting me ride along! I had a wonderful day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Monday

I made a temari! It felt like forever since I had made one, in fact, it was a couple of weeks. This was practice for the najiri or interlocked tecnique that we visited on the class last week. The temari I was copying from a Japanese book had 24 squares, this one turns out to have 12 squares and 12 diamonds. I really like the colors, and I got a lot of practice, so this one is a success.


I really like the lines that form the squares on this one, made with 2 colors. I think the combination really gives it some depth.

I promised I would show the finished tulip meadow when I picked up Holland Springtime Mandala again, so here it is. I think it turned out wonderful! I think this is the motif that made me pick this project to stitch now.

As you can see, I could not keep my hands off it, and picked it up again last night. This is how far I got on the "west" onion. This one has a lighthouse, with less confetti stitching than the last section, so it may go faster.


DH and I decided to do some reorganizing in the house. We are going to move his music room to the basement, so there will be room for a group to get together to practice, but that will involve some building. It will also involve quite a bit of upheaval to get things reorganized. I am also planning on changing my stitching room as well. I have located a couple of areas of the house that would work better with shelves up, so I can move patterns and supplies to those locations.

This morning I went out in the yard and worked a while before the promised hot afternoon, and got a blister! I like gardens better on linen and silk!