Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cappuccino, Latte?

For Silver Sunday hosted by Gypsy Fish Journal, I'm posting photos of some of my favorite "silver" items...

Above: Photo of my Cappuccino-making set, on a silver tray, of course. In the foreground is a chrome swan from the hood of an old Ford automobile---which my father gave to me. We shared an interest in old cars, especially when I was a little girl.

Above: Photo shows the stove top espresso maker with gold accents that I purchased at the La Rinascente department store when I was an architecture student in Rome.

Above: Photo of the stove top milk steamer, like the milk steamers the Italians use at home for making their Lattes and Cappuccinos. I located this one in a small independent coffee roaster's shop, when I lived in Seattle. If you thought you needed to purchase a big expensive machine for making your espresso beverages with steamed milk---this may be news for you---you don't! Many people are not aware that with the items above you can hand craft your own delicious Cappuccinos and Lattes relatively inexpensively at home.
Above: And on the subjects of silver and old cars . . . this is a photo of my silver vintage Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser, which I adore. I only wish my father were still alive to see it! OK, so I'm a little bit of a "Tom-boy".

Go take a peek at all the fun entries for 5th Silver Sunday at Gypsy Fish Journal , and enjoy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Color Therapy

While searching through photos of my former Seattle Phinney Ridge neighborhood cottage for a picture of an old DIY I did, I was struck by the colors I chose for the interiors of that house. I moved from there 3-1/2 years ago. I believe I must have been attempting to defeat the effect that the oppressive greyness for nine months out the of year can have on sagging a person's spirits. The funny thing, too, at the time, I wasn't aware of an underlying inspiration for much of what I selected color-wise for the kitchen. It dawned on me one day, AFTER I had already painted, installed a chandelier, and had slip covers made for my dining chairs. Somewhere buried deeply in my foggy grey matter was the imagery from a specific painting by the French Fauvist master, Matisse---shown below. Look at the photos and see if you can see how the Matisse carried my sub-conscious along to create my colorful happy space!

 Above: Photo of the outside of the cottage on a rare snowy day. (Most of the time it RAINS.) The shrub in the foreground is one of three rosemary bushes in a row along the driveway. They got to be as big as my car!

Above: Photo of the rosemary blooming in spring! Spring does come to Seattle---after a very LONG wait. But, we don't get rosemary growing outside in SLC!

Headboard & Chair - Thursday Thrift Hound

What: Iron and brass (non-antique) Queen-size headboard; IKEA Boliden chair
Where: Salt Lake City craigslist
Price: FREE

Above: Photo of the head board.When I arrived to pick up the headboard, the gentleman gave me the IKEA chair, too.
Above: Photos of the IKEA Boliden chair. When I got the chair home, I washed the cushion cover and made this outside cover with one of my favorite fabrics, a brushed cotton with hand script print.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Greyhound Silver Jewelry Collection for the Silver Sunday Blog Party! :o)

This is my greyhound silver jewelry collection. In the past, every time I traveled to a forgeign country, I would purchase a silver bracelet to take back home. Since I adopted my first greyhound, I started collecting silver greyhound jewelry. Whenever I wear it out, I can be reminded of my sweet hounds at home.
Join the Silver Sunday Blog Party or just browse through all the fun pictures of lovely silver items here at Gypsy Fish Journal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bronze Lamp - Thursday Thrift Hound

The Find: A heavy bronze finished vintage lamp with good detailing which had good wiring. And separate lampshade.

Where: Salt Lake City Sugar House neighborhood Deseret Industries.

Price: Lamp $5, Shade $2.

Above: Overall photo of the lamp, which had a nice harp intact and finial coordinated with the lamp.

Above: The top portion of the lamp resembles a column capital.

Above: Smooth tapering body.
Above: Detailing on the base.

Above: Some discoloration in the bronze finish on one of the back side corners of the base. Maybe the reason the lamp was donated. Another reason many people give up on lamps is if the shades become beat up, worn out, outdated. Replacement shades can be quite costly at $40-100.

Above: I also rummaged through the shades in the DI, hoping to find one that worked well with the lamp. The shade pictured here is a good shape, size, fabric and color. There was only one issue with the shade. The shade was designed for a lamp without a harp. This type of shade sits on top of the lamp bulb socket. In the store, I held the shade socket ring up to the top of the lamp's socket to determine whether the shade would hit the right height on the lamp. You really don't want your socket and or bulb to show once you have a shade on your lamp! You also don't want the shade to come down so low on the lamp as to hide half the view of the lamp. All seemed good from this examination. So I purchased the lamp and the shade.
Above: Removed lamp harp with finial. When I got home, I removed the harp from the lamp. I always save my "discarded" harps and finials for future use on other lamps.

Above: The lampshade ring is placed over the lamp socket.

Above: New three-way light bulb screwed in place. The little up-turned "arms" are what held the harp. It is possible to remove this element by partial disassembly of the lamp. To me this is not important, as the little arms are obscured from view when the shade is on the lamp. I will typically leave them on the lamp because it's easier and it makes the lamp more flexible for future new shade fittings.

Above: The "new" old lamp and shade. A treasure to me, the total of which cost about the price of a weekday lunch. (Ahhh, yes, the ladder motif in the background is provided by my friendly builder, who did in fact come by last evening and re-stack the fallen exterior siding. Hoping for his return soon to install the siding!)


Friday, January 15, 2010

Fine art in thrift stores...

OK, my experience in buying does not come close to the luck of the guy who was standing in front of me in the cashier line at the Salt Lake City Deseret Industries with three watercolor paintings by the late Milford Zornes---for $15 each. A watercolor painting by Milford Zornes in the art market ranges $3,500-10,000. I'm amazed that whoever drops off this type of donation to the Goodwill or other thrift stores has no idea of the intrinsic artistic, historic or monetary value. But it's good for the shopper in-the-know who happens upon them at the right moment, like the guy in line at the Deseret Industries Thrift Store. And there's the fascinating story, made into film, "Who The #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?" about the alleged find of a Jackson Pollock painting at a thrift store for $5.00! So on to my humble finds. For several years I had wanted a bird bath sculpture by steel sculptor Dean Petaja. I never felt I could afford to drop several hundred dollars on a piece of sculpture nor birdbath, for that matter. However, just a couple of years ago, I wandered into in a local home furnishings and accessories consignment shop and spotted one ... with a price tag of $50. It had been spray painted turquoise. Over time that finish is wearing away to reveal the intended rust of the original steel.  It could be stripped for the less patient collector. I nabbed that little item, photographed it extensively, including the signature and took the photos to the local art gallery who used to represent this artist when he lived in SLC. The gallery confirmed the piece was done by this artist.  She gave me an estimated value in today's market---which is five times the price I was concerned about paying a decade ago for one of his pieces.  She remarked, "Congratulations, you are very lucky getting it at that price!"

Above: Photo of my sculptural birdbath (Photo by Sparky).

A few months later, at the same consignment shop, I saw a very appealing small-scale stainless steel mobile. Several times over the next few weeks I checked to see whether the sculpture had sold---at $24.00, it seemed like a steal, but I teased myself with the risk that someone else would buy it instead of me. Then on one visit, I saw the piece had been marked down to $19.99. I decided I really did like it and then was afraid someone else would buy it! So I bought it. When I got the piece home, closer examination revealed a signature etched into the base of the piece. (No, it wasn't Alexander Calder! Although, it had a similar aesthetic.) I googled the name and the artist's website came up, as well as galleries representing his work in California. I photographed the piece and emailed the artist, attaching the photos, requesting his verification that the piece was one he had created. I received a prompt reply from him asking where I found the piece. He confirmed it was his piece, saying he "hadn't made one of those in years!" I didn't ask him the value, and didn't tell him how much I paid. I'm happy with the piece as a sculptural work of art, and consider that the materials alone would have cost more than $19.99! It's a sweet little sculpture that brings me pleasure whenever I look at it and on summer days when the window is open, it moves and spins happily!
Above: Photo of my mobile (Photo by Sparky).
Above: Photo of the mobile sculptor, Aaron P. Van de Kerckhove's studio, from his website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Design*Sponge: biz ladies

This is an informative and fun series of guest posts on Design*Sponge blog on topics related to women in (their own) business. Some of the topics:

Surviving + Thriving in the Recession
Understanding Your Customer
Making a Strategic Business Plan
Advertising 101 for Small Business Owners
Software for Business Owners
Calculating Your Rate
Time & Calendar Management
Tax Info for Small Businesses
Preparing Presentations & Proposals
Nuts & Bolts of Getting Your Biz Online
The Fortune in the Follow up
Trendsetters, Influencers, and Connectors...

This is a partial list---there are many more topics and very possibly something that will be of interest and help to you!

Check it out on Design*Sponge section: biz ladies.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The days are getting longer...

Photo below (Photo and story, Marking Time at Sun Tunnels, by Hikmet Sidney Loe in the current issue of 15 bytes ): "Sun Tunnels, the earthwork created by artist Nancy Holt between 1973 and 1976. Sun Tunnels sits on forty acres of land purchased in 1974 by Holt the year after her husband, the artist Robert Smithson (The Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake, 1970), died in a plane accident." "Each year since 1976, on the summer and winter solstices, the sun has risen and set in the center of these tunnels. The polarity of these two dates each year – the smallest of winter and the largest of summer – points us to the opposing forces that are signified through Sun Tunnels."
Photos below: At the site of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (Photos by Suzanne Harmon and Sparky): That's Suzanne, aka Spunky-Sue, waving in the bottom photo.Sun Tunnels and Spiral Jetty are two environmental art treasures located in Utah made by world renowned artists. Suzanne and I took the trip out to see Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty in the heat of July 2009. The road is a bumpy one and at the very least you will want to take a vehicle with high clearance. (Maybe a little later model than the old Toyota Land Cruiser I drove, which gave full bounce to every bump!) Also, the map below is a pretty good one to keep you on the right road. We took a wrong turn in July without benefit of map---it would have been good to have missed a few of the bumps!
Hey, Suzanne would you consider coming back to Utah to visit the Sun Tunnels? I hear the roads are pretty smooth. :o)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson...

...said it well: "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."

Monday, January 4, 2010

A sunnier Italy...

Above: The main piazza in Montepulciano, Italy 1988 --- if you happened to see the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, this is the square in which the flag throwing sequence was filmed. I took the photo from the clock tower in the town hall---many old stone stairs to climb to reach this perch.

I now realize that the other two times I was in Italy, were my pre-digital camera era. I have prints from my Sicily trip (2002) and slides from the period I lived in Rome (1988). lol --- I have a lot of scanning to do in order to share pictures from those two trips here. The picture above is the first 35mm slide I scanned with my new scanner---not too bad. Just about 150 more or so to go!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Little Bits of Northern Italy in no particular order at all

Above and Below: View from my hotel window and balcony.

Above: George Clooney's Villa Oleandra on Lake Como

When I lived in Seattle, I enjoyed getting away to sunny places to survive the long, grey, drizzley, soppy, dreary, soaking winters. Sicily and San Miguel de Allende were two successful sunny escapes. During fall 2005, I took a trip to the Lake District of Northern Italy. It rained every day and some days absolutely poured. Just a little lesson I learned: you can't always escape what you want. The pictures are of lovely places, but they always remind me of more grey and rain. The food was less than mediocre, too. I really didn't mind too much when it was time to come back home. (When in Sicily, I really didn't want to return home!) The first Salt Lake City winter I cussed when I scraped snow off my car during winters. One morning, I found myself humming while scraping and realized that I knew I'd live to see the sun shine again. I wasn't so sure of that while living in Seattle. ;o)



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