Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Gotta make the morning last!

Someone tell me how I'm going to unwrap this bundle and get it off to school today.  

Hmm, it's dark in here, apologies for the blurriness. Even though tomorrow is a pupil-free day, I feel like my kid isn't getting enough down time. When we got home from school yesterday, we spent a little time in the front yard so she could work on her cartwheels. And the homework has stopped pouring in now, so her time is actually 'free'.  Summer is on it's way, only four weeks left of school. Hooray!
Poppet is doing a sailing camp for one week, a photography course for another and we have lots of lovely family coming to see us. It will most likely be hot and humid and we don't have much air conditioning so you can expect the usual grumbling from me on that front. But Ontario comes alive over the holidays, so many zoos and parks and places to explore which are only open during the warmer months. We will be busy!
Meanwhile, I'm going to find it in my heart to drag this kid into some clothes, run a brush through her hair and ship her off to school. I have some work to do!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting Sorted

It's funny. Every time I emerge from feeling poorly I feel a pressing need to clean. Everything!
So, I've scrubbed the house, sorted the winter clothes and put them away, made dinner and been to the supermarket.
Today, I've extended that clean-up feeling to my craft stash. Unbeknownst to me, a little bit of fabric has become a stash. I'm sure Husband has noticed. I had to stock up recently on felt (no Superhero colours left!)

and Xmas stuff (I'm cutting some Santas out tomorrow) and my poor little Expedit bookcase is a tad overwhelmed. But until I finish washing all the new fabric, I've decided to do my best to ignore the mess and get on with other pressing activities.
The number one on my list has been (for some time) to transfer my patterns onto templastic. The paper is getting pretty tatty and tracing around it drives me nuts. But it takes a few hours from my schedule, and I haven't found any plastic until now, so it's been on the backburner.
Found the plastic last week, so I made myself sit down and just get on with it.
I still have a few more patterns to go, but at least I have some plastic shapes to work with tomorrow. Very satisfying. Whilst working I've been listening to Craftypod, one of my favourite crafty business podcasts.
And I've been gazing at my pin-up board. The best thing on it is this note Poppet made for me over the weekend. She said I looked like I needed a little something...

It reads  "You have a bookay of flowers (turn to the next page) Sprinkled with a bit of love".

Bless her cotton-polyster-blend socks!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Give My Regards To...

The end of our New York adventure. Sniff sniff.
Actually, cough cough, so I'll keep it short. We spent our last day in NYC walking between the Upper West Side (where we were staying) and Broadway.
We started off with a big breakfast at Sarabeth's, then headed to the park to try out a couple of the playgrounds on offer. It took us most of the day to move from one to another, and we ended up north of the lake (a tad green, weren't particularly interested in boating on it) in a lovely wilderness which was cool and relaxing. It was around 23 degrees most days, but certainly felt warmer than that. A bit of shade is a rare find.
Our babysitter arrived around 6 and Husband and I walked back to Broadway to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield star in 'Death of a Salesman'. I sat my leaving examinations and performed a one-man show based around this play when I finished school for the drama unit, so it has a special place in my heart. Phillip is probably my favourite actor and I'm a huge fan of Mike Nichols' work (director of The Graduate, Closer, Silkwood).  Andrew Garfield was a pleasant surprise, he had incredible emotional range. You'll be seeing him as Spiderman soon, which just shows his versatility. 
Anyhoo, I wept like a baby most of the way through the show. It was something else. Certainly amongst the best theatre productions I have ever seen. There weren't many dry eyes in the room.
Here are the photos from our final day in that wonderful town, though we chose not to ride in a hole in the ground. I'm off to find the cough medicine...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Soothing

I'm feeling a little sickly, cough cough. So I'm sitting on the sofa, crocheting and watching Around The World In 80 Gardens.
It's a BBC series which features gardens that are very beautiful and often bizarre. 
I find gardens very healing and relaxing and am missing having one. A couple of pots on the deck just aren't cutting it at the moment so I've turned to this show for some sustenance.
Some of my favourite gardens featured are as follows; 

image found here

image found here

And the Ryoanji rock garden in Kyoto...

image found here

image found here
And the Ethnobotanic Garden at Oaxaca...

image via here
image via here

The host is Monty Don and he is an impassioned and interesting man. If you're interested in hearing more about him you can listen to the Dessert Island Discs interview, in which he discusses bouts of depression and finding his true vocation later in life after financial collapse. He also has a book which I'm going to track down. I think he, and these gardens are very inspiring. I've only shown you three of them, worth checking out the other 77...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

FAO Schwartz Vs ToysRUs

I guess it depends what you're expecting and what you're going into these stores for. If it's for the experience, they're probably fairly equal. FAO has the Big Piano and an enormous candy store.

If you have a spare quarter of a million, it's yours to take home!

Gorgeous child didn't even ask for candy, we found a great ice cream place near the hotel and she was happy with that daily treat. Bless. She did like to look at the Lego too. Boo to Batman but a big yay for the Statue of Liberty (considering we didn't bother with the real thing).

The Muppet What-Not Workshop is far and above the best thing to do at FAO at the moment. Poppet certainly made her own, it cost just over a hundred bucks and we now have a Muppet to call our own. The kooky salesman/puppeteer told us that FAO is the only place in the world where you can do this (though you can apparently order online and ship within the US).

I would have gone for a crazy monster-style Muppet, but Poppet's heart still apparently lies firmly in the princess corner. We were given a package full of vinyl stickers so she could work her magic. Left it with the puppeteer for half an hour to stitch together and that was that. Fun!

Princess Muppet has taken up residence with us now and comes out for a chat from time to time. We are going to have to watch some more Muppets soon to show her some of her heritage.

Muppets and pianos aside, FAO is just a toy store. I was a little disappointed, I guess I expected them to stock either products you can't buy elsewhere (apart from Muppets) or have a larger range of existing stuff. But we didn't plonk any money down after we left the workshop.
No problem, Poppet still loved it all.
We went to ToysRUs the following day (on our way to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, which was ten types of awesome!) and we started off with a ride on the gigantic ferris wheel. Pretty cool.

The enormous animated T-Rex on the top floor was pretty full on so we high tailed it over to the Barbie section (which was huge) and finally found some toys to buy.

There is plenty of Lego to be found here too (yep, another Statue of Liberty). You can hang around outside and have your photo take with Sponge Bob or Elmo if that's your kind of thing, thankfully Poppet isn't into that! It was crazy crazy busy in the theatre district and we didn't fancy any dawdling on street corners with poor 'actors' sweltering inside fluffy costumes. 

It really is a jolly holiday with Mary, no wonder that it's Mary that we love! I don't want to say too much about the show if you haven't seen it, it's great to have some surprises. If if comes to town, go see it, don't be thinking it's over-priced and not worth it. What a spectacle! Even Husband enjoyed it, and he is NOT a fan of musical theatre by any stretch of the imagination.
As for the toystore verdict? Well, considering ToysRUs owns FAO Schwartz it probably doesn't matter much to them. At the end of the day, they're both good toy stores which carry products you can buy most places. But the ferris wheel and the Muppet thing made them both pretty special. Definitely take your kids if you get to NYC. Ours loved both, but the American Girl Place is still her firm favourite. 
So, we dragged our tired little tootsies back to the hotel (found a cab halfway there) and decided to stop off for a burger around the corner. We'd been eying off this burger joint since we arrived, but on this day we lucked out and found a table before the rush.

Of course, it wouldn't be America without a disclaimer or two. The other two had fabulous burgers and I opted for a spicy taco salad. Just the ticket!

And of course, it wouldn't be New York without a little local 'colour' now would it. He was just doing his happy dance...


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