Friday, January 19, 2007

More Edinburgh, but not more cows. Here are three photos of our visit to Edinburgh Castle that go along with the Holiday Photos #20 post over on Beach Treasure. I try to divide the photos up into touristy ones and artsy ones, sometimes that works out in a pretty even split, sometimes it all seems to fall one way or another.

Choosing what photos to upload, and which photos to upload to which blog, it continues to amaze me that I somehow managed NOT to take any photos of so many scenes or objects I wish I could share with all of you. Mainly what I missed capturing were the small repetitive things that we found different and unusual (to us, as tourists) but grew used to and forgot we wouldn't see anymore when we got back home - signs, post boxes, little "ordinary" things. The other thing I wish I'd taken more photos of were larger street scenes. I was so busy pointing the camera up or down or at something, I often forgot to take photos of the "ordinary" settings I found the photo worthy images set in. It was an ongoing balance between capturing an experience in photos and simply enjoying the experience in the moment itself.

This is William standing inside one of the first gates of the castle. Notice the nasty spikes above his head.

This shows the view from up at the top. You can see a bit of that large park down below, and out at the edge of the horizon, water, although it just looks like sky in the photo. Maybe if you click on it to enlarge it. I'm not sure exactly what water it is, but it's a large body of water. If not the English channel, then probably it flows to it.

One of the buildings you could tour in the castle had recreations of what it must have looked like when it was used as a prison, mainly for sailors. This was supposed to be a shadow of prisoners that spread against a high wall across from a window into the cells. They had movement and sound to go with it. I suspect the real environment would have been far gloomier and it would have undoubtedly smelled horrible. Still, it was more interesting then being shown bare rooms with signs that said "here's what used to be here". There wasn't enough light to take photos of most of the recreations.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

More cows. More art cows in Edinburgh. If you don't remember, or didn't read the other post about the art cows, here's a link to more info about them.

These cows look rather small, don't they. But no, that's a big ol' building - the national art museum actually. How did they get all those cows up there!? Remember, you can click on any of the photos to see larger images with more detail.

We thought these cows weren't part of the art cow exhibit. We thought they were a "real" sculpture - by that I mean a statue that was there all the time. But nope, these were just a more sophisticated take on the art cows.

This one is covered in pets - made by a pet shelter organization of some kind.

This one was atop the Mercat Cross. Again, we thought this might be a regular feature, being as it was a different shape than most of the other cows. But it was an art cow. A whole different take on Braveheart, eh?

I liked the "orangeness" of this cow. I like orange, it's an often misaligned color, in my opinion.

This was such a cool cow. When we came across him, he had graffiti all over him. It was so sad. I managed to wipe the paint off the head to take this photo. I didn't notice until later that I had caught an orange cone in the background. And that tiny man on the right edge. Although, perhaps those unexpected and odd distractions make the image more interesting. I'm not sure. I find I often have a love/hate feeling towards this sort of detail that "sticks out" or seems "out of place". For instance, an image of a country lane - does a modern car driving down the road make the image seem more active or does it spoil the picturesque setting? Does a sign on a street or a person in the doorway or a scrap of garbage laying in a pristine setting help or hurt an image? Back to the cow, I would have liked to take a photo of the entire cow, but there was too much graffiti to wipe it all down. Now that I think about it, maybe that would have been a picture worth taking in and of itself. Hmmmm.

Oh well, too late now. I guess that just goes to show that, when it doubt, snap the picture. Particularly now that digital photography means one doesn't have to count how many frames are left on the film or pay to develop it to see if you want it - just delete it.

Are there any more cow photos left? A few, I think. I know there are still a lot of Edinburgh photos left to share. Stay tuned for the next batch. And you can go on over to Beach Treasure to find some more, non-cow tourist photos too.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It all started, really, with pair of pink suede snow boots. I saw them on sale at Payless Shoes a few years back and thought they looked both cute and warm. They weren't serious snowboots. They were more snowslippers. All suede and fuzz. Even with soles, they aren't any good in slush or serious snow. But they're warm and flexible and work well for just popping out to Walmart, if I avoid the dirty puddles.

I'd wanted something like this. Maybe not pink. But the pink was cute. And on sale, so even if it wouldn't work with all my outfits, so what. I bought them.

It turns out, surprisingly, that pink plays well with lots of colors and even though most of my outfits are green or black or red or something else that isn't pink, I've gotten a lot of wear out of my pink snowboots.

So when I saw the fuzzy pink jacket at Macy's (which, normally, I wouldn't be shopping at a Macy's, but I was just along for an outing with some other shoppers), I knew I wanted it. Even if it didn't match anything in my wardrobe. I stood there in the store, fondling the soft minkee-like fabric, unhappily looking at the expensive price tag, trying to justify a new jacket - when it popped into my head that I already owned pink boots. That was the excuse I needed, and the jacket went home (well, back to Joe and Lisa's home) with me in a big holiday shopping bag. And, pleasant bonus, it ended up being on sale.

Unfortunately it was a Macy's in San Diego and it was waaaay too warm in San Diego to wear it at all until I flew home. I had to carry it onto the plane in San Diego, but when I stepped out of the airport in Reno into a freezing wind, I quickly slipped into it and - it's nice and snug.

It's so warm. It's so soft. And everywhere I go now I hear "Where did you get your jacket!" and "Do you mind if I touch your jacket?" And again, I'm happily surprised at how it goes with just about everything in my wardrobe. Unfortunately I can't find my snowboots. I probably put them away somewhere for the summer. Hopefully I can find them before the winter is over.

But that's not stopping me from wearing my new, soft, fuzzy, pink jacket. Except for one thing. It might match most of my clothing, but it doesn't match ANY of my scarves. And when it's eight degrees fahrenheit outside, one really needs to layer on a scarf. No problem though, it's a good excuse to knit a new one.

Here it is. See, it needs a scarf.

I found some pretty multi-colored 100% wool on my last shopping trip to Reno. It has a dark pink, a dark purple, a soft teal blue and a warm green. All colors that I don't have in any of my other scarves (that all tend towards warm colors I realized), so it was a good choice - the dark pink would match the light pink in the jacket and the other colors mean it might work well worn by itself with some of my other long sleeved winter shirts and sweaters.

Next step, come home and spend hours looking for a new pattern, something easy enough to do while watching tv but not the same ol' same ol' boring knit purl knit purl. I finally settled on the basketweave pattern I found on Crazy Aunt Purl. (I tried to link directly to the post but I couldn't get it to find the specific page - oh well, you can go to the blog and click on her knitting posts link.)

Here it is laying on top of sleeping William. Why? Because it's less boring and less embarrassing than laying on top of my kid stained and cat hair covered couch. You might notice that the colors of the yarn do NOT match William's wardrobe.

I've spent two evenings working on it now. I thought the pattern looked too thin, so I made it wider. Now that I've got a swatch of it done, I'm thinking - crap - now it's too wide. I don't want to keep knitting knowing that it's not working for me. But I don't want to tear it all out either. Sigh. Like it or not though, that's what I'm gonna have to do do. Maybe start over with just four "alternating sections - knit five/purl five/knit five/purl five. Maybe do something different. Make it ribbed instead. Tonight I'll wind it back up in a ball and decide what to do instead.

And it all started with a pair of pink suede snow boots...

Monday, January 01, 2007

I promised photos of the things I made recently as gifts, after they were gifted. Well, I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, but here are two things I managed to finish. The first isn't anything spectacular, just a polar fleece blanket. Buy the polar fleece, tie the edges. Nothing could be easier. (except maybe buy the polar fleece, don't bother to make the tied edges, which is what I usually do for my own blankets). I made it for my daughter-in-law Lisa because she was complaining about how it didn't feel wintery down in sunny, warm San Diego. I couldn't resist getting this Charlie Brown and Snoopy winter comic fabric.

Here it is opened up so you can see the comic strips aspect of it. It was really cute because Lisa opened it and looked a little disappointed. I asked "Don't you like it?" or something like that. She said yes but "did she have to share it with the baby?" She thought it was yet another baby blanket. I told her no, it wasn't for Joli, it was for her, whereupon she got a big grin on her face.

Here's the other finished gift, this one indeed was for baby Joli. (if you've stumbled in here and don't know who Joli is, she's my new granddaughter - you can read all about her arrival here.) It's a little painted sign, done up in red, black, and white - the colors of her nursery. It didn't come out quite like I imagined it, but it still came out cute, doncha think? It looks washed out in the photo, in real life it's very saturated, bright colors.

I had a hard time finding a spot with a solid background to take a photo of it. I finally settled on this spot.

Fred says "Hey, I was trying to get some SLEEP HERE!"