Monday, November 30, 2015

Brooklyn Library

Hi Dear Folk,

The main branch of the Brooklyn Library system is at the Grand Army Plaza close to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, they are all right there. 

It is a wonderful building to see in the Art Deco style.  The original building was started in 1912 in the Beaux Arts Design see the history here, but due to WW1 and the depression the building work ground to a halt; then in 1930 new architects were called in to downsize the original design, taking off a fourth floor and scaling down on ornamentation.  Most of the original building work was demolished and started over again in 1938 and finished in late 1940 see here

With all that said I still think that the design is wonderful.

The escalators remind me of my childhood, visiting Oxford Street for the January sales which we did every year, making a special trip up to London on the train, these were the style of escalators in the department stores back then, Selfridge's etc.

We really just popped our heads in the door and wished we had had time to see more.

Looking from the Brooklyn Library steps to the Grand Army Plaza which we called the Brooklyn Arc de Triomphe


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Suffolk Puffs or Yo Yos

Making Winter November

Hi Dear Folk,

Sharing Winter crafting joys and joining with Silverpebble, who Blogs from East Anglia.  I have enjoyed making Suffolk Puffs or Yo Yos.  It seems appropriate as my sister also lives in East Anglia, in Suffolk.

In the States they are called Yo Yos, but in the UK Suffolk Puffs.  I'm sure they go back centuries, I can just see those Suffolk women of old saving their scraps of fabric, and I wonder if those first fabrics used would have been woven wool fabrics; sitting by the fires of their beamed thatched cottages, and making quilts out of them.

East Anglia was known for sheep and the trades associated with sheep, so it seems to me that it would have been so easy to use up wool to stuff these little puffs with to add weight and warmth to their quilts.  Therefore giving them the name of Suffolk Puff.

Lavenham see here, in Suffolk is one of the best examples of a medieval wool town in England.  In Tudor times, Lavanham was said to be the fourteenth wealthiest town in England, despite its small size.  Its fine timber-framed buildings and beautiful church were built on the success of the wool trade.  Long Melford see here, has a huge church in proportion to the size of the town.

By the fifteenth century, not only was England producing enough cloth for her own use, materials were now being sold abroad.  Working in their tiny cottages the weavers and their families transformed the raw wool into fine cloth, which would eventually end up for sale at the markets of Bristol, Gloucester, Kendal and Norwich.

In the 1570's to 1590's a law was passed that all Englishmen except nobles had to wear a woolen cap to church on Sundays, part of a government plan to support the wool industry.

Most of the first Pilgrims who came to New England were from the East Anglia area and north, hence such names as Boston, Haverhill, Wethersfield, Essex, to name but a few, so their needlework crafts and designs would have come with them I'm sure in the form of Suffolk Puffs.

When I ran across these templates to help you make Suffolk Puffs, I bought one, a small one, not realizing how small a Suffolk Puff it would make.  I wondered whether it would really be worth using  a template, as how hard is it to cut a circle of fabric run a stitch around, while turning the edge in and pull the thread up to make a puff?

But I am now addicted to the templates, how easy it makes it.  The ones I bought are made in Japan, the brand is Clover and I bought them at Joanne's you can also get them at Michael's in the USA and I'm sure other sewing shops too.

Here is a diagram of how they work.

Needless to say after becoming addicted I went back and bought other sizes to have a complete set.

I have still to try this one a flower shape, but you will be seeing more of my Suffolk Puffs.

Hope you enjoyed my post on Making Winter.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Day

Hi Dear Folk,

Today has been a peaceful relaxing day,  the sun has shone and the berries are on fire.  Birds are dancing from tree to bush and twittering around feasting themselves.

Getting up late, reading The Years by Virginia Woolf, drinking tea and taking time to talk with friends across the pond and locally, just having the time to catch up.  A luxury when you work full time.

Lounging around in my new dressing gown, one of those lovely soft furry ones in shades of grey and white with a little black,  I have wanted one to cozy in for several winters now.  Enjoying The Day, I take my title from VW.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Green House Area

Hi Dear Folk,

As you can see it was a very overcast day and a cold front had rolled in we made our way over to the green house area where there was also a café.

We opted for a cup of coffee and muffins, unfortunately it was an outside café, but we were warmed up by our coffee.  You can see the café area at the very end of the pond below.

Look at these very dino period looking plants.

I like the above photo very Monet.

This made me think of my mum, the giant Maidenhair fern above, because she had a glorious one in our sitting room by the French windows, the much smaller leaf fern; when I was a child and she decided to give it a treat and repot it and it did not take kindly to this and died, she was most upset.

My camera lens kept misting up in the humidity of the green houses.

Something about lily pads to me is very Wind In The Willows, aren't they just so amazing it looks like you could step across the water on them.

The above mango plant I had seen in the Everglades, Florida, I think the Indians called it The Walking Plant.

One of my favourite sections the Bonsai trees, I have grown several over the years, but even after keeping them for several years, eventually something happens and I forget to water them and it dies.  You have to be so vigilantly consistent with looking after them.

My American Robin photo I thought would make nice winter cards, I may do that.

Did you enjoy your walk around The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, we certainly did and would love another visit.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Shakespeare Garden

Hi Dear Folk,

The Shakespeare Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Over 80 different plants grow in this garden that are named in Shakespeare's poems and plays.

Here is Jean enjoying the garden as I did too.  We could have been walking around the kitchen garden of an Elizabethan Manor House.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Japaness Hill and Pond Garden

Hi Dear Folk,

The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden is one the oldest founded in 1910 and most visited, outside of Japan. 

Just need to go back when the cherry blossoms are out in spring.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens The Rose Garden

Hi Dear Folk,

Just a walk from our digs, two blocks up the hill, cut through Prospect Park and up the road passed what we called the Arc de Triumph to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and how lovely they are. 

It was a cold windy day, the temperature dropping steeply and I was so glad I had packed my jacket because I did have occasion to use it this day.  We decided on our plan of action, because we could not possibly see all the gardens, but I think we did well.

This seating area is like sitting in an amphitheater, when you whisper you can be heard clearly on the other side, quite fun.

Roses by George Eliot
You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

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