Thursday, January 31, 2013

Neil Diamond 'n' Andrea Bocelli

Nick 'n' NIK caught Andrea, yesterday... aaah...
Now, THAT would be the show of shows... kind of like the Billy Joel-Elton John playoffs of years gone by, but minus the pianos. 
Yes! I can feel it.

With major work being done and the house topsy-turvy, I retreated to the living room for some peace and solitude, yesterday morning. I turned on the The View at the exact moment Whoopi introduced Andrea Bocelli. As David Foster struck up the first piano chords, there it was... Sara Settembre, better known to us as 
September Morn

It's not often that I love a Neil cover, but I never - as in not ever - dislike anything by Andrea. Music to my ears. Have a glorious look 'n' listen here.

Yeah, yeah, I know! It's one coincidence after another...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Downhill Racers ♡

Hot Off The Hook - Batik Basket

It's funny how that pattern from my virtual inspiration, Zu, and the resulting hat set me off on this manic desire to make baskets. Hey, if you can crochet a hat, you understand. Go for it... no pattern necessary... just let the hook do its thing...

Bringing me to the ginormous (or so I thought) piece of batik I bought a couple summers ago. It was intended for the sewing of twin pareos - one for me and one for my girl, Aubs. Well, that never happened and there it sat.
TV time alone is far too wasteful during long winter nights, so these hands must be kept busy and productive. I can still hear my biggest fan, Gran, telling me, "Honey, you have hands of gold." Talk about a self-esteem builder, eh? And coming from Gran, whose handmade designs on her factory Singer were exquisite and Manhattan-elite worthy. Thank you, Gran, for all the encouragement you gave me, no matter how simplistic or awful my projects were. I love her so much - the most dynamite woman I've ever known and from a decade that tried so desperately to diminish our importance. I seriously digress...
The fabric fast became strips and with a fat hook and ever-threatening Carpal Tunnel, I worked up this heavy, washable item. But let me say, what seemed to be so much material was eaten in no time at all. That huge floor basket I have in mind will take yards and yards. For the record, strips should be sewn; but in this dense work, staples disappear. Shhh; don't tell anyone.
Easter is coming... the Rabbit needs to stay occupied.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FYI - Snap This!

There's a great website called Fat Brain Toys, where one can research many award-winning items for kids of all ages. Their prices are sometimes competitive, but further browsing is suggested for scoring the best purchasing option. With five GrandLoves, I've spent a good bit of time there. 

Gavin fell in love with the Snap Circuits set we gifted him for Christmas; it's a brainy non-toy toy for kids from 8 to 108. A month later, he was still telling us, "I like the building set you gave me." Music to our ears, of course, and a huge help in deciding on a birthday gift. But before we had a chance to give him the second set, he FaceTimed us on his special day to play real music he'd "invented" for himself... 'twas the Happy Birthday song. 
Joe and I could not believe it! So.....
Snap, Snap... We Recommend

When finally he opened, it didn't take long for him to get serious, study the accompanying suggestions and snap away, as I snapped a few pictures. Just look at that concentration.
It's great to be 8!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Episode of "Dateline" = A Basket

Easter is on its way!
For this project, I used Patons Melody Extra Bulky Yarn and
a jumbo hook... dreamy to work with!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Look Who's Eight! ♡

Happy Birthday to our Gavin, a master of all challenges and tasks... 

 Always thinking, watching, learning and ready to try the latest challenge, be it a game of SCRABBLE or a winning run down an icy giant slalom course...

Goin' for the gold and very generous with hugs...

We love you so much, Special Boy,
always and forever.

Keep on smiling.

On The Hook - A Heavy Basket

Red Heart Boutique Sashay/Lion Brand Silky Twist/Large Hook for 10-inch basket
So, 'twas back to the hook, after completion of the crocheted cap, knitted slippers and infinity scarf, all somewhere below on CMI. It's fun to be able to switch it up. I seem to be on a roll, this winter. Of course, last year's blanket is still on the needles, but "instant gratification" is the name of the current game.

 This was an exciting project, using some of those random yarns recently purchased... inspired by the online version that cost $150. 
Can't wait to start another version...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tracking Mary Lee

An ND pal introduced me to the PILOT newspaper blogs, where I often find posts and photos of interest. Perhaps it's our attachment to the nearby OBX that guarantees my return to the Norfolk website. This morning, we were introduced to a locale favorite, Mary Lee, a tagged and named Great White Shark. A screen capture from a most intriguing shark-tracking site depicts her roaming ways:
Screen Capture
Here's a related article, if you'd like to know more about the girl's special way of "hugging the coastline". Is it any wonder that being by the water is enough for me?

This one's for you, Nicole... 148 days till summer...

Real Time - Six A.M. - It's Only A Number

Who IS this masked man, working Ski Patrol at Holiday Mountain, last night???

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cooper's Hawk Identified

Titmouse, Safe For Now In Japanese Maple
Y'all might recall our woes of last summer, when Robins and Cardinals struggled to assure the safe arrival of offspring. Well, it seems our resident raptors have decided to winter over.

Fuzzy Photo - Resident Raptor
I assume that it was this guy who landed on the patio last week, right outside of our kitchen window. NIK was not handy. Today, I noticed him grounded once again in the far reaches of our yard. He was well camouflaged in leaves and brush. At first, I thought him injured. After an hour of periodically checking on him, I realized he was preening; there was lots of tugging and pulling with his beak... thus the poufy chest feathers. He must have been too lazy or tired to dine on choice birds, all fortifying themselves at the nearby feeders. Baby, it's cold outside and flying/staying warm both use up tons of calories.
...Without The Wind Chill Factor...
Camera in hand, I decided to attempt a shot at closer range. So, after bundling up and donning boots, off I descended, down the snowy slope of our yard... quietly, or so I thought. It appeared that he'd hopped into denser shrubs, till I heard a swoosh. By the time flight translated to sound, he was several hundred feet away, landing in a distant tree. Not hard to imagine how he snags a bird...

Elusive, that guy. But at least we now know by my fuzzy photo that he's a Cooper's Hawk... and a resident Titmouse is safe, for this freezing day.

If Only Floors Could Talk...

We Are Beyond Thrilled!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yesterday - Hudson Hues

What a gorgeous day to be out gallivanting, with a stop at Torches for lunch.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scrumptious Yarn

Just a sampling from my recent Joann's sale order...
I've no idea what they'll end up as, but they are...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New CMI Feature for Distant Pals

Please look to the right sidebar and scroll down to find the translator widget, if you'd like to read CMI in another language. This feature is added for special pals who speak and write English as their second language. I'm so envious of their fantastic abilities and love that they frequent my blog. Thanks!

FYI - eMail Woes

Well, mail's up and running, but not without a battle to rectify issues. Thing is, I was a tad over-efficient in filtering spam mail. After a day or two of my inbox showing "empty", I thought to check trash. Yep, there y'all were... family and friends, discarded. How awful! Sooooo...

Into gMail wandered I, to remove all filters. It seems that many legit types became casualties in my spam war. Perhaps I've lost the battle, but the war's not over. So sorry.

Please resend anything seemingly ignored.

Snow-Day Confetti

There's nothing like a snow day for capturing the essence of childhood. Enter my pal, (link) Auntie Peaches, who possesses such an enormous sense of fun. What a delightful inspiration, living in a world that explodes with color. We are of like mind in the secure knowledge that there are always crafty components lying around to be worked into stormy-day brighteners. When the boys were little, I kept a huge kitchen drawer for the sole purpose of collecting artsy junk. It still reigns supreme, now occupied to supply GrandLoves. 
I digress...

 Just the other day, Auntie's confetti mirror caught my eye; I immediately thought, " Aubs and beads!" and silently requested a snow day from the powers that be. 
Voilà... they heard me!

We made a respectable mess with paint, glue and beads, yesterday, loving the results. We used simple frame-style card stock. Elmer's was tinted with Aubrey's choice of blue acrylic paint.
We were done in time for some serious sledding, with Gramps at the helm (finally finished with caring for valuable customers). Even Mambo had a blast. For me, a fabulous photo shoot ensued... ask how many pictures I shot. There is nothing like a snowy backdrop to enhance huge smiles framed in colorful skiwear. Well, except maybe for the deep blue ocean...perhaps a prophetic color choice... is it nearly beach time? :-) 
Now to choose the perfect photos for the pretty frames... stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Long Descent From Grace... Why Now?

It seems like just yesterday when Christian and his buddy, Danny, were devastated by Magic Johnson's very public fall from grace. The difference is, Magic owned up to his errors and his illness and has tried to do good, since then. He's human. But this...
POST Photo
Tragic on too many levels. Way, way too little... way, way too late for Lance Armstrong, who redefines arrogance.

TIME News Feed - Today - New Heroes

Coming January 28th:
"Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vice President Joe Biden and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are all dubbed “The Gunfighters” on the latest cover of TIME. The full cover story will be posted here Wednesday afternoon. TIME’s Michael Scherer previews his story about the growing call for gun regulation:
'It’s been Washington’s worst kept secret: Just what new gun regulations will Barack Obama and Joe Biden recommend in the wake of the Sandy Hill Elementary mass shooting? From the beginning, the White House telegraphed its plans in public statements and private conversations with stakeholders. Obama even listed the biggest measures recently, claiming there was a “growing consensus” around a new assault weapons ban, expanding background checks and banning the sale of high-magazine clips. In the weeks that followed, Biden dropped even more hints, talking about freeing up federal agencies to conduct more gun research, while aides made clear that a new federal gun trafficking statute was in the cards.
The Biden process, with dozens of meeting over several weeks, has been enormously productive, just not in the way that it has been described in most news reports. That’s because it has been largely focused on building a broad coalition of advocates from diverse segments of American society to press for the measures once they are announced. Biden met with cops, gun control groups, victims groups, clergy, mayors, educators, and other law enforcement and medical professionals. Anything that passes Congress in the coming months or years restricting gun access will depend heavily on the public pressure that these groups can bring to bear."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tassimo Timmy's

At long last, Gevalia's Signature Crema has been bumped from top spot by none other than Tim Hortons, a delicious cup of what is sometimes referred to as "Canadian Dunkin' Donuts". YAY! It's about time we have an alternative best.

Cousin Dale knows his java! Now for a cup on the beach... Right, Mambo?

Guns - It's A Start

It's a start, Governor Cuomo... hoping to see (link) proposed legislation in action. 
I NY for leading the way in this post-Newtown attempt to control guns.

"We have an obligation to try..." 
President Obama

Monday, January 14, 2013

Exciting News - Robin Roberts

GMA Photo

We can't wait to welcome (link) Ms. Roberts back to the place she owns on GMA! How exciting to hear that she is finally on the road to successfully recovering from a bone marrow treatment for secondary cancer. What a beautiful soul... and who better to hear the news from, this morning?!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On The Needles-Highway or Stairway?

Granted, my mind wanders in mysterious ways...

While working on this long, long, long scarf to go with the (link) cool hat I recently posted about, I started thinking of Billy Joel, "Stairway To Heaven" and subsequently, Billy/Chainsaw and "Highway To Hell". Man, that was an awesome segment, graciously allowed by BJ, during his last tour. On each of the three nights we were present, Billy played back-up guitar for his long-time technician, Ricky LaPointe. Billy, if you're reading, this Long Island girl needs a concert or two or three... puh-lease!

Oh, the scarf... I nearly forgot. It's knitted in the "seafoam" pattern, easily Googled. The pattern disappears into the heavier bouclé yarn (LionBrand "Silky Twist") I chose to use, but is nonetheless a gorgeous, openwork design that is a tad difficult to capture in photos. Worked in a finer, bump-less :-) yarn, the pattern is much more pronounced and easily captured for display. It is also more summery, as such. For the record, JoAnn's is having a fantabulous online yarn sale, RIGHT NOW! I've ordered a rainbow...
color me inspired!!!

So, which is it? Highway or Stairway? Decide for yourselves... 
and rock on!

Thank You!

Jeesh, I was amazed to see the scope of visitors hanging out on CMI... thanks so much! Here's hoping you'll keep visiting... and please don't forget to check out my newly started sister site, (link) PhotoStop, where I hope to include additional photos-for-fun. In addition to the link provided herein, it is accessible from the sidebar on CMI.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today... Gav's Unusual iPhone Self-Portrait

After devouring a huge early dinner (?), Gavin got busy. Can you guess the locale? Can you find Joe (twice), me, Aubs?? Do you see a car parked outdoors that might be Grandpa's new buggy? Mirror images sure do play tricks... and our Junior Photographer sure did produce some awesome composition! The result looks like a montage, doesn't it? For the record, he seemed to know exactly what he was doing! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Slouch This!

This one made with LionBrand Silky Twist

Project #2 of 2013 proved to be a rapid-fire fix for a cold January evening. After a few attempts to get just the look I wanted, it was a breeze to crochet... and it was my first stab at a visor. Ah, sweet victory! 

Check out (link) Zu's ArtFire website for some fab patterns, well worth a meager investment. 

For the record, I'm already thinking, "Summer and funky," for some variety. Is winter almost over??? 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why The Intrigue?

Today, in the distance over the Rio...
There's a reason for our late interest in the soaring raptors that keep us returning to the Rio and Rondout. Here it is, the "Why!" we are so very fortunate to enjoy these gifts of Nature. With permission, I've copied and pasted Wayne Hall's fabulous article from today's 

Wayne's World: Years of hard effort revived fading eagle species
By Wayne Hall
Published: 2:00 AM - 01/06/13
The bald eagle is an oh-my-gosh, hallelujah, ain't-nature-great predator with a mighty 7- to 8-foot wingspan. But we almost lost them a scant 40 years ago this year.
Just one pair of bald eagles was left in all of New York state in 1973. They lived up an 85-foot-tall red oak tree on a steep hill in back of Hemlock Lake near Rochester trying to have babies like crazy. The then commonly used pesticide DDT (now banned in the U.S.) polluted their eggs. The persistent pesticide made eagle eggs so thin shelled, said a federal scientist, “that they'd crack by the touch of the fingers.” Eagle numbers crashed. 

Imagine losing these huge birds. When they glide past the sun their wings often shine with a golden glow. “Virtually all the eagles were gone in the northeast,” says the now-retired biologist Peter Nye, the man who led the charge to bring back these great predators. It's worth remembering the massive eagle restoration effort Nye led as head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's endangered species unit.
His eagle recovery team is the reason we're going to see lots of winter eagles throng the Delaware and Hudson rivers this month, and why these eagles will nest in good numbers across New York this early spring.

Using the power of the 1973 federal Endangered Species Act, Nye's team of tree-climbing, all-weather trackers and patient observers saved our eagles. Their daring plan began in 1976 and took 13 years to finish. They gambled that very young eagles from other states – healthy, pesticide free birds – could be hand raised in New York rearing platforms by human hands hidden from view. In fact, these eaglets did believe they were being raised by eagle parents. Not only was that a roaring success, but something magnificent happened, a sort of wildlife omen, Nye says. 

Remarkably, when the first two of those hand-raised eagles, a brother and sister, were released they did what most eagles do. They flew their own ways. But almost incredibly, says Nye, they met up four years later and nested together near Watertown, raising the first wild young in many years. He was shocked. “These were the first two we released (after hand-rearing them) and the idea that they survived and then found each other four years later and then bred is pretty remarkable.” That's so unlikely, he adds, because eagles “just don't stay together when they're young and they go whenever they want to go.”

“This was almost a message from God, this is good stuff, and this is going to work, keep it up boys.” Not only that, but the baby eagles hand raised in New York came from relatively DDT-free places like Alaska, Wisconsin and even Nova Scotia. So new eagle DNA was pumped into our birds. And they got going. As of 2010, New York eagles produced 244 fledgling eagles. They'll all live to be 30 or so years old if they're lucky. We saw a turnaround quicker than we anticipated,” says DEC recovery team member Mike Allen. “The eagles show the resilience of the natural world.”

So our eagles came roaring back, wild-eyed, hook-billed and ready to soar into the heavens and zoom across tree tops flying upside down and tumbling through the skies, talons often locked with those of another eagle.

The Early Bird - Real Time

Clearly, the early bird riser catches the worm photo. Such is the case, this morning...and Baby, it's cold outside. But that didn't deter me from stepping onto the portico for this moonshot...
I glanced to East to see the tiniest band of sun-rising light, not bright enough to capture. Thing is, it's gonna be a cloudy day, soooo... that touch of orange and this touch of moonshine comprise the "IT" for the day.

Feeling rewarded, albeit sleep deprived. Have a good one, Friends!

Across The Tapp

You'd think Ev lived in Siberia, for all the time gone by since we last saw her. A trip to her 'hood proved warm and fun. Always a dynamite lady, she remains so... rockin' her red and pointing out fun or necessary pitstops in her fabulous neighborhood.

She loved my pink scarf, so I gifted it to her.
"This will look great with my gray coat." 
 I'll knit another, with thoughts of a great day...

Some experience a tough life with an extra dose of heartache, yet are still able to keep a sharp mind and amazing attitude... even at 85 years young

Evelina Bella! Always amongst my Top Ten Favorite Women.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our Shining Star Is Nine! ♡

Just like the Sun, known to be the largest star in the solar system, Hunter shines with enthusiasm for everything. His special way of expressing love is always a highlight of each visit or long-distance conversation. He plans on being a Yankee: 
"....and then my Mommy and Daddy won't have to work, anymore, G'ma..." 
We love you, Special Boy... with all of our hearts. We're singing your tune, today.
Happy Birthday!