A Good Yarn

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Project Spectrum Swap

Last week I got a very cool box of goodies from Abigail in the Project Spectrum swap. Purple is my favorite color, so I've been looking forward to this month since the project began! Abigail did an awesome job of finding things that I like:

She found all sorts of neat paper products to satisfy my office supply fixation - from the left, there's a purple notebook with cute tops on it, above that are some purple post it notes with pretty flowers on them, next to that is some wide purple ribbon, then a cute little purple stapler, then a purple personal fan, which I can definitely use this week and on the bottom row on the far right are some purple pens that write in purple - yeah!! In between the notebook and pens in the bottom row are a pretty purple photo album with a daisy on it and a hank of purple seed beads - those will definitely be put to good use. Above the pens on the upper right is a nice bottle of freesia body splash. Everything is resting on a purple and white drawstring bag in a very soft cotton - I'd love to have a shirt made out of that cotton. And at the very top left hand side are two skeins of Lorna's Laces in a gorgeous purple color. Here's a closeup of the yarn:

Thanks, Abigail!! I love everything and it's been a pleasure getting to know you through your blog. For my August swap pal, Deb, if you're interested in it, here's my PS Swap questionnaire.

I know it's not March anymore, but I'm not the type to just abandon projects, so I'm still plugging away at the Nora wrap sweater.

Sorry for the shadows. My picnic table is under a tree and I didn't want to put my sweater directly on the long grass in the lawn. As you can see, I had sewn in one sleeve and finished the side seaming on that side. Since then, I've actually sewn in the other sleeve and finished the rest of the seaming, but I was too lazy to take another picture. I tried it on and it fits really well - I'm quite pleased. I started the endless i-cord for the belts. I'm hoping to have this MARCH project finished by the end of JULY.

I had a great weekend that flew by. On Thursday, I met a friend for dinner at The Craftsman. This is a very lovely restaurant on Lake Street in the Longfellow neighborhood. The decor is in the Arts and Crafts style and it's simple but beautiful. There is lots of wood and clean lines and it's very elegant. The food is also very elegant and unique. There's also a kids' menu, which is unusual for a restaurant this nice. The menu changes on a monthly basis, but we had the cheese plate to start with, which was a selection of wonderful cheeses. They also bring you a basket of bread and really tasty butter. I had a tomato water and basil martini, which was good and really strong. For dinner, I had a blue cheese hamburger which was good, but not great - it was a little more well done than I usually like. My friend had a pizza with green olives, chicken and onion. It was good, but a touch salty, perhaps because of the olives. For dessert we had creme brulee, which was on the house because we were both celebrating our birthdays - isn't that nice? The entire meal was very reasonably priced and the service was wonderful. I'd love to go back for brunch some Sunday and I'd definitely recommend this restaurant to others.

On Friday, I met up with Chris and we checked out this documentary:

You can read Chris' thoughts on the film on her blog. I mostly agree with what she had to say. I think I liked it a little more than Chris did, probably because my expectations weren't as high. I am not very familiar with Leonard Cohen's music. I know it's been used in many films, so I've heard it, but the only song I was really familiar with is "Hallelujah". The Jeff Buckley version has been used a million times in film and tv and every single time I hear it, it hits me right in the heart - definitely one of the all time greatest songs. I've heard the Rufus Wainwright version before also, and he performs it in this movie.

The core of the film is a tribute concert in Australia with a diverse group of performers, from Nick Cave to Rufus and Martha Wainwright to Beth Orton to Antony. The rest of the film is divided between Mr. Cohen talking about his writing and his life and work and other artists talking about how his music influenced him. Bono and the Edge are featured prominently in those segments. Toward the end, Mr. Cohen performs a song with U2 in what looks like a small club.

The U2/Leonard Cohen performance was stunning. That alone was worth the price of admission. I'd agree with Chris that the tribute concert footage was the weakest part of the film, although I suppose it was the thing that got the film started. By the end of the film I was half in love with Leonard Cohen - he was such a handsome man, so dapper and soulful. His music is incredible and the writing, wow. Count me as a fan, now. In fact, I hungered for more performances from Mr. Cohen instead of the tribute. I would have loved to see old footage of him performing or even just more of his own recordings on the soundtrack. I really wanted to know more about his life. He seems to have lived this incredibly interesting life. But, the film mostly sticks with just his writing. I also was very off-put by the lighting in this film. The concert footage was really, really brightly lit and most of the performers looked very unattractive in that lighting. Even in many of the interviews, the lighting was too bright. All of Bono's interviews showed him standing in front of a door, which made it look like they had caught him on the way to the bathroom or something. I wasn't that keen on the editing either. There were a lot of strange cuts and fades to black. The director definitely tried to make it a little different than your standard "talking head" documentary, but I'm not sure it really worked. However, I would recommend this film if you are a fan of good music or good writing.