Saturday, February 28, 2015

Playing in the pit

The orchestra pit.  The surroundings are not glamorous.  Behind me are pieces of sets leaned up against each other; some look like they may have been sections of a raised stage.  Large wooden set pieces and flats fill other sections of this wing of the stage.  And that's where we're nestled: stage right.  Hanging high on the walls are remnants of other shows: I suppose the scene shop workers hope to recycle these at some point.  Or perhaps they are simply reminders of beloved set pieces of favorite shows.

On the floor, a maze of electrical cords for all the microphones, music stand lights, amps, camera, and monitors clutter the passageways out of the tight rows of chairs and stands.  Small scattered rugs have been scattered around in an attempt to protect the electrical connections. 

During rehearsals and productions I've been watching the show on a 13" monitor about 15 feet away.  The image is by no means HD, and I'm wearing my "piano" glasses, so the distant image looks even fuzzier, but still allows me to follow the action on stage. 

But none of those things are the important pieces of being here in the "pit." In fact, the surroundings fade away when my attention is focused on the opening "Overture." The director Adam and the talented musicians make it all happen. Rogers & Hammersteins' music has some great moments,  and  I love hearing Laura's rich clarinet phrases,  Amy's articulated flute runs,  Kelly's trumpeted fanfares, Marissa's harp, and Amanda's haunting bassoon passages.  And there are other moments of fabulous full orchestra crescendos that sound wonderful.  It's filling the air with music, bringing the story of "The King and I" to life, that is addictive.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stuck in the middle...

Stuck in the middle of cold and snowy days
     icy roads, grey skies on the winter buffet.

Stuck in the middle of a musical show
   but the final performance is the Sunday matinee.

Stuck in the middle of a felted wall hanging
   wool on the table is a colorful display.

Stuck in the middle of a knitted lacy scarf
   it's been neglected but is never far away.

Stuck in the middle...well that's how it feels
   but I am making progress -- my story today.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Adding some needle-felting...

Once the wet-felted piece was dry, and I had some time to look at it and think through the next steps, I picked up the felting needle.  And the picture is coming to life.  I have one more thing (really 2 images) to add...

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's snowing ... again ...

May as well get into the groove of some good "indoor" projects, because it's snowing again!  Those few days of "spring is on it's way weather" were nasty little teasers, because yesterday we got a good reminder that we're still in winter for another month or so.

So, I've got a good start on an Open and Closed sign (needle-felted) for a gal in Laramie who own Cowgirl Yarn.  I have a pretty neat plan for hanging these, but I'll have to see how it works out.  First, I have to finished the "closed" sign.  I have two I'm pondering which one to start. 

Then, this morning I decided to get started on wet-felting another experimental piece.  I laid out the wool on top of a piece of 11"X14" store-bought felt, soaked it down with hot water with just a bit of soap, massaged it gently, then sandwiched it between layers of plastic and rolled it around a washcloth.  Finally, I stuffed the roll into an old nylon sock and put it in the dryer with some towels to finish off the felting process.   One thing about wet-felting is that the fibers and spread and move around more than you wish they would.  I'm sure I could remedy this by needle-felting the fibers in place a bit more, or using solid felted pieces on top.  But... I'm experimenting.

After it dries, I will go back over it with needle-felted details...and then you might be able to guess what it's going to be.  Or do you already think you have it figured out?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More painting and partying...

I attended a second Paint N Party event this week.  The subject of the painting intrigued me, and I had to sign up.  I had to know how this painting was sketched and how the paints were mixed for this street scene. 

Of course, the music was filling the room, and the budding artists were all anxious to start and have fun with this project.  I discovered a few friends were attending, friends I had not seen in a quite a while, so the reunion was fun too.

We started out with a few lines to begin the design.

Then, we added blocks of color with quite a bit of black mixed in.

And more blocks of color were added, until almost all the dark buildings in this painting were painted.  Then it was time to let the paint dry for a few minutes...and the loud music, snacks, and dancing/singing to the music went into full swing.

OK, I think the party girl leading this portion of the evening took up a little too much time. It was then a race to the end to paint in all the details.  And, sadly (from my perspective) we did not have time to actually finish the painting as we should have.  The awning over the window was left off...and I'm not happy about that.  I don't know if I could go in and paint that in on my canvas, but I'm really tempted.  I have a picture of the original, and I just might give it a try. 

Nevertheless, I like the painting, and it was a fun evening. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spring temps in February...

When I see TV reports of the snow that's falling in Boston, I feel so sorry for those folks in Massachusetts.  They are getting buried in it...more than 68" have already fallen, and now they don't know where to put the additional snow.  The mountains of plowed snow have grown beyond belief. 

Here in the West, the mountains are still getting snow, but down in the valleys, the snow from the last storm is nearly gone; only a few drifts on the north side of buildings are still melting.  And the muddy sections of dirt road are drying up.

Yesterday, as I drove past a car wash, I noticed quite a few vehicles waiting in line.  I chuckled.  "You might be a redneck if..." type joke came to mind.  You might be a Wyomingite if the color of your car is unrecognizable in February. 

We're getting temps around 50 degrees... in February.  Most unusual.  The weather is so unpredictable week to week. We need moisture...but we sure don't want it all at once in a debilitating snowstorm.  We'll take the spring-like temps for now!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two rows at a time...

That's right, I keep telling myself to do at least two rows a day on the shawl.  Oh man, that's slow progress.  But if I start an easier, less tedious project, well...that one will get finished, and the time I could have spent on the shawl is gone.  So, I'm holding off on having another knitting project on the needles ... for now. 

I seem to be on an easier section of the pattern at the moment, and it doesn't seem too bad. The purple highlighter tape keeps track of where I am in the pattern.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, it's really keeping me on my toes to read the wrong side row as the opposite of what's indicated for the right side row.  Would it be easier to rewrite it... I don't think so.  Too much work.  I just have to concentrate on every stitch!!  Good mental exercise, I suppose! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bunny watch

Not much is happening outside today that is photo-worthy.  Well, except for the occasional activity of my bunny.  The sun has been out this morning; bunny found a sunny spot, ears back, eyes closed, and puffed up into a ball.  When I drove out to get the mail, he was alerted and moved a little closer to the entrance of his hovel.  When I returned, I decided to have a little chat with him, tell him I enjoyed having him here, and asked for a couple photos.

It's a quiet day here at the house.  I have plenty of little tasks and projects to keep me busy.  Which one to tackle next???  "Bunny, do you have any input?"

"Is the photo shoot over already?"  Blink, blink.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday's Thoughts...

Double-checked the calendar.  First week of February.  Looks like winter; feels like winter.  But the red and pink hearts for Valentine's Day are quite cheery, despite the frosty, foggy weather.

Drove the Dodge Ram to town.  More fog.

Met a friend for morning coffee and catching up.  Even saw retired friends doing the same.  Nice to say "hi."

Met with the orchestra director; now I know what parts I'll be playing on the keyboard with the orchestra for "The King and I."  It's all doable.  Yea.  Rehearsal is Saturday afternoon.  I should have time to go all the way through the score at least once before Saturday.

Isn't it about knit time???

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Being patient...being experimental...

I'm plugging along on this shawl.  Admittedly, I can't knit this project and watch engaging TV at the same time.  So, I'm finding I only get 4 rows or so completed in a day, and on size 4 needles, that doesn't look like much. 

The thing I like the least about the pattern is that to read the chart for the wrong side row, I have to do the opposite of what's on the chart.  (For instance, knit all the stitches marked purl, and purl all the stitches marked knit.)  It's easy to make a mistake if I'm not focused. 

So, I have to have other projects at hand that can be worked on while I'm watching TV; that translates into these "other projects" getting finished, while the shawl waits for me...

Just for jokes, I tried wet felting a "painting" based on the painting class project.  Although I was careful, the hot soap and water spread out some of the branches much more than I wanted.  Lesson learned.  I needle-felted in the details after the background was dry.  It's OK, but I'm not thrilled with it.

 It's a sunny with a snow storm coming in  Oh well, it's early February...and we're still in winter mode.