Monday, May 30, 2011

For the birds...

They've been so patient.... It was a very productive weekend. I finished the 2 portions of wall--painted and stenciled. Today wasn't entirely hitch free. The birds got excited just a tad too early and a few of them flew up to where the paint wasn't quite ready for their presence--almost, but not quite. I noticed one bird had a few small touches of blue where she wouldn't normally. It wasn't much. Believe me, when you have birds something will eventually go wrong. No matter what. No matter what precautions have been taken. No matter how diligent. Something, sooner or later, will not go according to plan. So for a few days she'll go around all tarted up. She certainly doesn't seem to mind. Sweet things they are.

The wisteria is pictured below. I finished it yesterday. Stencils are a great way to decorate. Inexpensive and fast. I probably spent less than an hour on the wisteria and the results are charming and colorful and warm. Good bang for the buck.

I also stenciled some clover at the end of the counter on that newly painted wall. 15 minutes worth of work gets big results, IMO. And to top it all off, stenciling is fun!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For the birds....

I'm giving their room a new coat of paint on two walls and they are being extremely patient with me. I found paint from Benjamin Moore called "Natura" that is non-toxic and odorless so I can paint even when they're in the room.... I left the door open so the less adventurous amongst them could fly into the dining room while I primed and painted but many of them--surprisingly--stayed around to see the old surface away behind the primer and then to be the first ones to see the new colors. I'll post a pic when I'm finished.

Yes, you may be thinking: What if they flew into the wet paint? They didn't. But I didn't leave the room until it was dry to the touch, and Natura dries very quickly. (I should write a post about the time one of my birds flew into a strip fly catcher and got all gunked up with it! She recovered fine. I'll leave the details for some other time.) Also, I'm painting the room bit by bit for a few reasons. Firstly so that I don't have to protect them from a vast area of wet paint and secondly so I don't spend more than an hour at a time in the room. I like to give them time to rest from my intrusion and catch up with food and water.

I still have the stencils I used years ago throughout my apartment (long since covered up with fresh coats of paint) and decided to stencil a wisteria vine on one wall of the bird room. It's looking real nice if I do say so. Stenciling is fun.


I've just started extensions (reaching up or down from 1st position). Well... It's going to take a bit of practice! I absolutely love that feeling when something that seems impossible starts to unfold and a glimmer of possibility appears. The glimmer is there... now how to make it shine? Practice, practice, practice! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A few recommendations... continued...

The Yarn Tree in Williamsburg. 347 Bedford Avenue between North 3rd and North 4th Streets.

The Yarn Tree carries only natural fibers--yarns and spinning fiber. The best spinning fiber selection in the city. Everything from yak to silk to bamboo to wool of every sort. Dyes, equipment, spindles, wheels, looms. She also has several hand woven articles (scarfs, rugs) brought back from India and Mexico for sale.

The proprietor, Linda LaBelle is very knowledgeable and helpful. A former costume designer, she now spends a certain amount of time in foreign lands teaching underprivileged people how to weave and dye. I highly recommend a trip to The Yarn Tree.

Check out "Stories of Hope" on The Yarn Tree's web site.


Working on a forte sound. Whew! Going to take some work... especially on an up bow... especially near the tip. Albeit very enjoyable work. There's a lot more to bowing than meets the eye. For sure. I absolutely love the Dotzauer exercises that I've been doing. Though string crossings are a big part of them, they have me focusing on my left hand more than on bowing.

Looks like I'll be done with Suzuki Book 1 in a few weeks. I started the next-to-last piece this week--a Bach Minuet in C. That's followed by another Bach Minuet. Went to Sam Ash's over on 48th St. this week to pick up Book 2. I could get lost in Sam Ash's stores... I think they have 3 stores all next to or across the street from each other. Get lost amongst the keyboards and music and cellos. I suppose if I were really lost no one would see me walking away with a keyboard under one arm and a cello under the other... heehee.

Now that the weather is nice I'm contemplating taking the cello out to the back yard for practice. How lovely would that be!? Can't do that with my piano. I wonder if my neighbors will be able to hear me from there? I don't sound all that great when practicing (well let's face it I don't sound all that great period at the moment!), but as we all know good practicing isn't meant to sound great. (If practicing sounds great there's a good chance it could be playing or performing instead of practicing.)

I am realizing how important core support is to cello playing. It's a real workout.

For the birds...

I notice that my mind is more at ease having a "flock" of Lovebirds than when I had just four of them. There is something complete about the current situation. To be sure I've had to make some changes but they too have been for the better. The birds now have their very own room. When I had four they shared with me and I with them but now, though we are in the same apartment, they have a room of their own. I don't have to try to keep my things clean because my things aren't in their room! This makes it easier. It now amounts to an hour each morning picking up the prior day's chewed up newspaper, washing down the counter top and doing a maintenance floor washing. I don't try to get the floor spic-n-span every day. I take care of the bad spots where the newspaper was removed by the birds. It's enough to give their room a cleanish look and then on the weekend I do the whole shebang which goes pretty well because of the daily maintenance. Once a month (if I'm diligent) I have to wipe the window casing and special valances within which are their perches.

Did I mention that their room used to be my kitchen? Heehee. That's why there's a counter top in there. My fridge and stove are now in the room which used to be my dining room but is now an eat-in kitchen! Ha!

I dream of having an outdoor space for them in the summer. That would be so lovely.