The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day at the Races

Call to Post 6
My father recently retired from the daily working world and since has had several retirement parties. Yesterday was party number 2 at Monmouth Park. What a time!

Mommy Betting Daddy Betting

The photo on the left is my mother getting some handicapping help. She did okay. She's really not all that into the whole betting thing. My dad, a more seasoned gambler, isn't all that into horse racing. Go figure! All parties report having had a good time.

My Friend the Handler

I made friends with a handler who gave me some tips on some of the races with mixed results. He was showing me cool features of the horses. Its seems like a rough life doesn't smell so great either.

Monmouth Club Level

Monmouth Park is a racetrack built in the 1940's and is very reminiscent of the olden days. The photo above is of the terrace and club levels. While I do love old world charm, that area is a little too sterile for my tastes. I quickly moved down to the grounds level. Park benches and over-priced beers are much more my speed. My day summed up in one photo.

Day at the Races
  1. Amy Bulter Rowan knitting bag
  2. Crab Cake Festival Freebies: cups and t-shirts
  3. US Open Socks - Fluted Bannister (ravel it)
  4. Blackberry Curve (new toy!)
  5. Betting tickets & scouting book
Finish Line
The finish line.

Friday, September 19, 2008

US Open 2008 - Better Late

I love tennis. I happen to suck royally as a player, but I am a damn good spectator. In fact, I come from a long line of dedicated fans (don't call the house when a final is on). I have been attending the US Open since I was a wee tike.



Fluted Bannister Sock in YarnLove.





Exiting Open

IMG_1195.JPG IMG_1229.JPG

IMG_1135.JPG IMG_1211.JPG

Got Coffee??

I feel like I have been dragging lately. Too much to do in too little time. Quilting, knitting, canning, gardening...a whore's work is never done (wink!). I am often over-extended so I don't know if this is just a bad run, or if I am showing signs of wear and tear. I have been trying to make it through the day without coffee....

Note my desk today.... Needless to say the "no coffee thing" didn't work!

Ah! The joys of $2 diner coffee.


Last night (and for several weeks now) I missed MY SnB to go to my friend Edna's house to work on a quilt. Edna and I met last year through work and soon discovered that we both attended Starseed Yoga Studio. Earlier this year, founder Jyoti Chrystal announced that she was being treated for cancer. Edna and I decided to make a quilt to be auctioned or raffled off to help defray some of her medical bills.

We chose colors from the quilt from the colors of the chakras. They are almost all batiks ordered online at equilter. (They have an excellent selection and a very user-friendly design board feature.)

Edna stretching out on the design board (aka the floor).

It is very much a work in progress. We are hoping to have it done by Oct 1 in time for a fundraiser. Wish us luck.

Be well. ~ksp

Friday, September 12, 2008

Philadelphia-Part Two: A Rich History

Life has been really kicking my butt lately with no signs of letting up any time soon. I now present to you the (long overdue) part 2 of my Philly visit.

I lived in Philly for several years, though I never got to explore it that much. I was a college student (broke and distracted). 'Nuff said. So its been nice in years since to visit and "discover" gems. I stayed at a hotel in Center City (downtown). Philadelphia's City Hall is an amazing structure. It's an interesting dichotomy: an elaborate structure in the center of a city incorporated by Quakers.

City Hall

City Hall has portals from every direction. The facade of each portal has a theme. I was drawn to and spent a lot of time examining the West portal. This was the entrance that prisoners heading for trial would use. The reliefs and statues on this facing depict images of prayer, meditation, admonition and forgiveness. They also contain images of Native Americans to depict the American frontier.


I lived and spent most of my waking time in North Philly so I took a gander at the North facing portal. This facade is dedicated to Europe and local government. I love the the thought and the skill that went into this structure. I could have spent all day here.


About twenty or so years ago the City created the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network to beautify communities and combat graffiti and vandalism. This is one of the murals in my old neighborhood - Spring Garden/Art Museum.

My all time favorite, though there are others.

On the crafting front, I have been pretty quiet. I have several projects on the needles, but so far only one with a self-imposed deadline. For my first ever Rhinebeck festival, I am making a Central Park Hoodie. I know, I know, I am a little late to the party, but I have never made myself anything except a hat and a pair of fingerless mitts so I am very excited. I took it to Philly with me.

Central Park [Hoodie] meets Fairmount Park!

Central in Fairmount

Lastly, I took a self-guided walking tour. The city has all of these signs denoting historic events. Very cool.


Lombard Street Riot

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Philadelphia-Part One: A Fat Ass' Tour

They say that Seattle is the mecca for good coffee and New Orleans is the home of the best jazz. Outside of being the birthplace of the US democratic system, what is Philadelphia the home of? Great food!

Hail Alma Mater!

For those who do not know, I went to Temple University for my undergraduate studies. It was there that I learned that Philadelphians know how to eat. And eat good.
I attribute this to two things: its blue collar roots and the Pennsylvania Dutch (how they don't have a higher incidence of obesity I do not understand). And, if Philly is the home of good eats, then this is ground zero.

Reading Terminal
Reading Terminal is one of my favorite places to to. The offerings are abfab.

Saturday morning we made several stops for breakfast. First up...

Beiler's Sign

<span class=

Next, we stopped here to get more nutritious offerings. That is, of course if you consider a turkey bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or blueberry pancakes nutritious. Take a gander...

<span class=

<span class=
At least it's wheat bread!

No visit to Philly is complete without stopping by Chocolate by Mueller's. They are a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch chocolatier. The English language fails in its ability to describe the tastiness of their chocolate. They also have other candies including marzipan and a chocolate covered onion.

<span class=

<span class=

<span class=

Lest you think the consumption only applied to food, while walking Fabric Row (increased the fabric stash), I also stopped by Sophie's Yarns and snagged these...

Two skeins of Asland Trends Ivernal (ravelry). It's 50% Rabbit Angora, 25% Merino Wool & 25% Polyamide and it feels yummy. I have absolutely no idea what to do with it, maybe a small shawl/scarf. Until inspiration hits, it goes into the stash. ~ksp

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Trouble the Water

I went into The City with a good friend to see Trouble the Water at IFC. It's a newly-released documentary on a ninth ward New Orleans family affected by Katrina.


A nice turnout.

This showing was sponsored by PolicyLink. Both the directors and the editor of the film were present for a Q&A session after the screening. It was all very insightful. Right now the film is in limited release. The producers were told by theather groups that, "no one wants to see a movie about tough economic times during tough economic times." I suspect this is not true of those already inclined to watch documentaries.

Because conversations about social justice and equity can work up quite an appetite, Carla and I fortified ourselves here.

John's of Bleeker Street

Several lives ago, we worked together at a think tank in the West Village and so we took the opportunity to visit an old haunt. This joint is typical of NYC's West Village, as it is SMALL, SMALL, SMALL; but that's the only small thing about it. It's big on taste and portions. Just look at this...

Pepper and onion calzone! We couldn't finish it. We tried!

So if you are inclined to see a film that raises questions of access and opportunity, human rights and political responsiveness, I encourage you to see this film (or request your local indie theatre show it)...and take a friend. ~ksp

Monday, September 1, 2008

In These Tough Economic Times

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I last posted. It's totally my fault. Sometimes I take the whole "hyperactive thing" too far and completely over-extended myself. Let's see...I have a list...I owe you gals/guys a few posts on the following topics: a trip to Philadelphia (still uploading photos), a canning bonanza, some knitting/quilting, the 2008 US Open tennis Championships, a recently-released moving documentary and some garden shots.

But today, as we focus as a nation on the upcoming November elections, and as we stand in the time between the DNC and RNC conventions, I bring you my effort towards restoring fiscal responsibility to this nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Created in West Virginia in the 1930's and planted in NJ in May 2008.
Weighing in at 13.2oz in a beautiful rosy pink, I present to you...

The Puryear Garden 2008 - Mortgage Lifter!

Mortgage Lifter

[Wait for applause to end.]

Gardeners, I imagine, are a lot like parents of multiple children. You love all of your plants/children the same (at least that's what you say), but deep in your heart of hearts, you know you have a favorite. (This is complete speculation on my part as I do not have any kids.) The mortgage lifter is my favorite.

I first came to know of this heirloom variety tomato at the 2008 Philadelphia Flower show. It caught my attention first because I was looking for non-red heirloom fruits; second, this plant, like my mother, hails from Wet, Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. According to its lineage, it was created in the 1930's in Logan, West Virginia by a radiator repairman trying to ease the impact of the Great Depression on his family.

This has been a rough summer in the garden. NJ had a cool spring, so I got off to a late start transplanting my seedlings. When summer did finally arrive, it was a wet and humid one (not the best conditions for growing tomatoes). in mid-summer my non-gardening life necessitated some neglect-method gardening and one morning I discovered the damn plant toppled over.

Despite these many setbacks, my (intentionally) low-yield, organically grown tomatoes are coming along nicely. As each of us pays more and more for fuel and food, I am so happy to organically grow local food that is tasty to boot. More garden photos to follow in the coming weeks.

Happy Labor Day to everyone in the US. ~ksp