Thursday, July 24, 2008

All kinds of faces in all kinds of places

I love cities! Energy and excitement bounce off the buildings and through the streets -- it's invigorating. I feel more curious, more creative, and more alive in a city. (And more exhausted at the end of a day!) Since we live in a rather isolated community, we usually get our city 'fix' on vacations. My camera was laden with an embarrassingly large number of photos from my recent trip, but instead of the usual vacation pics I thought I'd share my city experience from a different angle. This trip I found myself entranced by the idea that people see faces in everything, which makes sense because facial recognition must be basic to survival. But what a kick!I saw this little fellow on a sticker pasted on a wall -- no idea what it's for. If you just saw a question mark and an exclamation point, you wouldn't think 'face.' But placed where a head should be, those are clearly eyes and an expressive set of eyebrows.
I love these guys -- such personality! A Nike mouth and a pair of glasses on a soccer ball. Wow. Who thinks of doing this?
These tiles, which I saw at the British Museum on the first day of our trip, started my find-a-face frenzy. I saw them from across the room and for a second I was stunned. They were in the section on Islamic art, which never portrays people. Then I realized that these were not faces. Taking the tiles together, you see the design, but if you focus on an individual tile, you see two crossed eyes sitting on a round nose, big lips below, and a fringe of hair above. It started me wondering what is essential to make us see a face. It's interesting to think about. My guild's challenge for this year is a self portrait, and I may play around with the face idea in a quilt.

And as long as we're anthropomorphizing, take a look at this well-dressed Parisian tree and pipe:

Those are knitted sleeves -- don't know how they get them on! A couple years ago I saw a website or blog that showed some trees wearing knitted garments, but I didn't save the url. Just did a google search and found this lovely tree ensemble.

Of course I know it's ridiculous to dress a tree or put eyeglasses on soccer balls, but it's so much fun. So many cities and towns are just plain ugly, at least in the U.S. Just a little splash of paint on a wall, a quilt hung here or there, a tree that's dressed up with nothing else to do but make people smile -- how much that could change how we feel! I'm in favor of random acts of beauty, or of humor.

Quilting without my foot
Finally, on the foot surgery front, I'm getting better. It has been quite pain free, but the boot I have to wear for 2 weeks is so thick in the heel that I'm very hobbled when I take the few steps I can manage.
I have a little scooter to get around on. Paula the Quilter suggested it and it's great! I bend my knee and rest the lower leg (the one in the boot) on a padded surface and push myself around with my good leg. You should see me go! (Of course, one time I toppled off...)
I brought a couple quilting projects upstairs to the dining room to work on while I recover. I haven't done the borders for Otto's quilt as I had planned because it's too awkward to measure and cut something that big right now (getting onto the floor, except by falling, is not so doable at the moment). But I joined a guild swap to use up some holiday fabrics that were at the bottom of a box of fabric I purchased at an auction, and I have done all of those -- 11 blocks a month for 6 months! But I'm done! It was a little boring, but easy under the circumstances, even with my left foot running the pedal. When I can walk again, I can do more interesting stuff. My daughter Val, who is taking good care of me, is going to help me downstairs today and I will choose some more interesting projects to bring upstairs!

It's great to have Val home and looking after me. In case you are worried that I'm not doing well, check out the dinner she made me last night -- a spinach, pine nut, and apricot frittata with oven roasted potato wedges and a salad of mixed greens with roasted beets and peppers!
So good! In case you wonder about the dried apricots in the frittata, so did we -- but they were fabulous!

Added later: The Calico Cat asked about the frittata recipe. It's from Cook 1.0 by Heidi Swanson. She's also the author of Super Natural Cooking. Her stuff is great -- usually quick and easy, with an emphasis on whole foods and deliciously healthful recipes. She's a professional photographer, so the photos are fabulous. I subscribe to her newsletter, which is emailed every time she posts (a few times a week). So many good recipes, so many interesting links! Her blog is 101 Cookbooks. Check it out!

I also want to give my thanks to Toni, the Quilting Pirate, and Gene, an Alabama Artist, for giving me blogging awards. I really enjoy their blogs and it feels wonderful to know that they enjoy mine! I feel a little awkward naming others (I know some people like these and some people don't), but would like to say that I very, very much enjoy being part of the quilt blogging community. You guys are great! And if you would like to post an award, feel free because I would love to give one to each of you. But if you hesitate, or if you wonder about the history of some of these awards, take a look at Michele's With Heart and Hands post about one of them.


The Calico Cat said...

Do you think you could get us the recipe for that fritatta?

Clare said...

One thing I love about France is the way they decorate everything, given half the chance. Amazing roundabouts, wall murals, tree decorations (and drain pipes). We were in Perigueux this morning and came across some stunning floral displays (camera was at home!).

Glad teh foot is getting better and that DD is looking after you.

Quilt Pixie said...

I'm fascinated by the "graffitti knitting" -- I see samples of it around one neighborhood here in my city and its such a fun art form... Overnight a bike rack went from being a plain metal black to a a multicoloured snake :-) A friend who knows artists who do this sort of thing was telling me they often go round in the very early spring to "clean up" and remove old art, unraveling the threads for the birds to use in nest building...

Karol-Ann said...

Glad you are being looked after. If you get bored or run out of things to do you could always knit yourself a wrapper for your cast LOL

Pattie said...

"...getting onto the floor, except by falling, is not so doable at the moment..."

Hi Cheri -

I thought that was a cute way to word that! You made me giggle! Please don’t get on the floor for a while yet, falling or otherwise. :-)

I was fascinated by the "faces" you found, especially in those Islamic art tiles. It was almost impossible NOT to see the faces, once you pointed them out. I like your way of viewing the world!

I'm glad to read that you're healing, but that new cast looks incredibly awkward. Hang in there - this too shall pass!

Grannyspot said...

I'm glad to see you're back at your blog! I missed it!
Yes, faces are great! And so is the "indiginous art" one finds in a city. In LA it's murals (I know, I know, they started as a graffiti-deterent!). It's fun to drive into the city and see them alongside the freeway - bright and colorful depictions of city life in the barrio...

Exuberant Color said...

I have seen those little scooters in use at my mother's foot dr. office. they look pretty handy.
thanks for the link on the award thing. I feel the same as you, a little awkward naming others. I'm blogging for fun, not to make work out of it copying logos and making extra links. So many people are struggling with the "how to" of the blog already without adding some pressure to it.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

fun tourist pics. Wow, yummy dinner. I put dried apricots in all sorts of things, they're always tasty.

Jacquie said...

what an interesting way to look at the the soccer balls with glasses! knitting on trees...maybe they were chilly?

jillytacy said...

I love the face pictures! I look for faces in things all the time. The idea of a face in a quilt is very intriguing! I can't wait to see what you make. I'd love to try it too.
I'm glad Val is taking good care of you. Dinner looks yummy!

Yarni Gras! said...

your pictures are great and the quilt is lovely. I have a weird habit of finding faces too. Even when I work out, I can find faces in the textured ceiling. So odd...but once you start looking you get hooked!

STPH said...

If you like the knitting art: an artgroup called Knitta does this kind of stuff, i think it's awesome!! So if you are interested:

For lots and lots of guerrilla knitting!