Monday, October 16, 2017

"The Address" (book)

The address in the book title refers to the famous Dakota apartment building in upper west side New York, home in the twentieth century to Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney  and a host of other celebrities, most famously Yoko Ono and John Lennon who was murdered in front of its gates in 1980. 

The Dakota was commissioned by Edward Clark, founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.  He hired architect Henry Hardenbergh to build the first multi family elegant residence for the wealthy.  It was located far north of the center of New York City at the time. It opened its doors in 1884.  At that time the location was thought by many to be too far out of the town center to be a success.

In the novel, Theodore Camden is the fictional architect hired by Hardenbergh to design the building.  The story is told by both Sara Smythe who was hired from England to be a senior servant at the Dakota and Bailey Camden, a NY designer in the mid 1980's who's relationship to the Camden family is somewhat of a mystery.

Davis provides insightful commentary about both era's but some of the plot line of the novel seemed pretty predictable. For me the descriptions of life in 19th century New York were enough to keep me engaged in reading the novel.

Most of the story actually focuses on New York in the 1880's so if you like history I think you would enjoy it.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday and Fires

I'm sure many of you have heard about the horrible fires in Northern California.  

Thanks to all our first responders.  
Not to make light of it but ...
They are calling this California Fairy Dust

Napa and Sonoma Counties are places we visited so often over the years.  Lake County is where we lost our vacation home and all contents to a wild fire just two years ago.  Friends in all three counties have been evacuated or are awaiting evacuation notices.

On a personal level, it is hard to talk to friends or watch the news because it brings our evacuation experience and loss all back to me.  I felt compelled to write about it here though, I couldn't just ignore it.

There are so many disasters going on in the world today but I'm asking you to hold a tiny place in your heart for these people in our State.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 10/10/17

This morning I'm bringing my drink to the party via some cards I bought.  I make cards, you can see an example on yesterday's post.  I just don't make them as fast as I use them.

This boxed set of blank cards with three coffee themed photo's seemed like something I would like to have on hand.

Had to do an assortment of errands yesterday.  Needed printer ink, etc.  Things that require a stop at a specific store for one item.  I arrived home a little frazzled.

Dinner was one of my favorites though.  Potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream.  There is some steamed broccoli on the plate as well.  Trying to convince myself that this is a "healthy" vegetarian meal.

I'm off to join the tea party at Altered Book Lover.  Hope to see you there.

PS - There are lots of fires in NoCA. but they are about 50 miles from us.  So many places we have visited over the years.   Elizabeth, thank you for thinking of me.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Morning - 10/9/17

Time to get up and get going.  No matter how long I've been retired, Monday still signals the start of the week, the day to get organized.

Here's a card I made  recently.  I needed something "happy".  I think I achieved that.

water color and pen on
watercolor card stock.

Today is Columbus Day here in the U.S.  One of those confusing holidays where I'm hard pressed to figure out which services and shops are on holiday and which are not.  I do know there is no mail so the card waits to go until tomorrow.

What are your plans for this wonderful Monday?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Neighborhood walk - 10/6/17

October is usually a beautiful month for walking here.  Sunny mornings prevail.  

Crate and Barrel

Some of the shops along my route are filled with fall displays.  I like this one and it looks like it would be so easy to create at home.

Fall in the Bay Area doesn't bring us much in the way of colorful leaves - but cactus anyone?

I don't know what the plant is.  It is planted along the wall of an industrial building and I've walked past it many times but this time it had what I suppose are blossoms.  I thought they were interesting.

I hope you are having wonderful weather wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sugar Skulls - napkin giveaway

Sugar skulls traditionally used in the celebration of Dia da los Muertos seem to be everywhere these days.  However, I still find them quite colorful.

I bought a package of napkins to use in decoupage.

I really expected to get more color from looking at the napkin in the package but when I unfolded it this is what I had.

I'm decorating a jug (old wine bottle) to decorate the porch.  I used the napkin and painted some flowers with acrylics.  I'm not done, I will add some more color on the sides and back.

Meanwhile, I have a stack of napkins left.  I would be happy to mail 2 napkins to the first three people who ask for them in the comments.  I will also mail to those outside the U.S. as they will fit an envelop and be quite light.  So.. speak up (in comments) and I'll send them on their way.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Second on the Second/Tea Stands for Tuesday - October 2017

It is another October and I'm sharing a post for the second time around - and a nod to the Tuesday Tea Party.  Both events brought to you by Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover.

I think it may be time for me to take the train to Oregon again.  


Tea stands for Tuesday - 10/28/14

Good Morning T Tuesday people.  This is another post from my recent trip to Oregon.  I stayed with my cousin.  These photo's were taken at her house.  She spoiled me.

She brought me coffee in bed.  I never have coffee in bed at home.

Quite a bet it is too.  Yes, I had to use the little stool to climb up into it.  I didn't realize until I uploaded the photo that I had my towel laid out getting ready to take a shower.  Oops!

We went shopping.  I bought a new pair of shoes.  Clarks.  Very comfortable

There is a small love seat  in the bedroom.  The fancy doll that lives there seemed a great place to display my sock.  The one I started on the train.  I finished one sock and started the second one.

I'm home, back to making my own coffee in the morning.  I'm off to check Elizabeth's blog and see what the rest of the T Tuesday group are up to.  Won't you join me?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hot here by the Bay

Hot weather calls for a salad.  I think I will draw one for myself.  I'll start with a radish.

Watercolor crayon on water color paper

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 9/26/17

Every Tuesday it is time for tea at Elizabeth's blog.  I'm a little late to the party this morning.  I'll be around to catch up with everyone though.

I made a pot of tea for us.  It is a wonderful red color, the picture doesn't do it justice.  I found some loose tea called "Jamaican Tea" at a local store.  I know it as Hibiscus Tea.  Have you tried it?

While at the store I bought some mushrooms.  Dinner last night was mushroom burgers.  Mushrooms fried with onions, cheddar cheese and some romaine lettuce.

Put a few Bread and Butter pickles on the plate and I'm happy.  I'm not a vegetarian but I find myself eating less and less meat and more and more vegetables.  

My tastes have changed over the years, have yours?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Neighborhood walk - 9/25/17

Even though I haven't blogged about it for quite some time, I continue to go for my morning walks.  My routes haven't changed much but there is a whole lot of street and water pipe repair going on and it seems like construction everywhere.  The views haven't been very attractive.

The 4th Street area remains quite nice.

Planters all along the sidewalks.

It is obvious that a landscaper is on duty keeping everything clean and fresh.

Did you spot the bench?  Sometimes I take a little break there.  I like to sit and people watch for a few minutes.

The weather here in the morning is perfect for walking.  Have you been out and about lately?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 9/19/17

Good morning.  I've invited a fairy to our tea gathering this morning.  I'm getting ready to fill my cup with tea.

I recently found this fairy in a thrift shop.  I have a friend who is an avid collector of fairies and this will be a gift to her..  You can't really see it in this photo but the statuary has a typical fairy style cap (a cap of leaves) and fairy wings - not angel wings.  I've been educated about these things by my friend.  

Won't you bring your favorite drink and join us at Elizabeths blog for our Tuesday get together?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Socks in September

I've been knitting.  Not knitting as much as last couple of years when I was making lots of Christmas presents.  Still, I usually have a pair of socks on the needles.  Something easy to carry, easy to pick up when the mood strikes.

DH is a great fan of hand knit socks.  This is his latest pair.  It is rewarding to knit something that gets lots of use. 

Now that this pair is done, I have the fun of choosing yarn for the next pair.  Fortunately he isn't conservative so I can go with any color or design I want.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 9/12/17

Time to grab my coffee and visit with my Tuesday Tea friends at Altered Book Lover.  Everyone is welcome as long as they bring their drink of choice.

There is just a suggestion of fall in the air.  These blossoms are from Sun Chokes or often called Jerusalem Artichokes.  They grow quite easily here.  My cup, a gift from a friend, is ready to be filled.

Here is what I've been busy with lately.  (PS yesterday's post shows another recent piece)

mixed media
8x8 box canvas

I used a number of papers in the background and acrylic paint.  The square format of the canvas was unusual for me, I usually paint or sketch on rectangles.

While you sip your morning drink it is time for you to tell me a secret. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wet canvas

This a recent work.  I finished it a couple of weeks ago.  

acrylic on canvas board
8" x 10"

I have a few other ideas for paintings along this style.  Maybe like a small series.  Or maybe not.  It did feel good to finally get out the supplies and create something.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 9/5/17

Good morning friends.  I have internet connection this Tuesday so I'm happy to join our hostess Elizabeth and all the tea gang for a visit.  You can find us HERE.

I've been exploring an idea.  I'm decorating bottles that I would otherwise discard.  My bottle of water is hiding there in the background, I would rather not get paint on that.

First I spray painted a bottle with gloss white.  The florals are from napkins. I decoupaged them onto the bottle using Golden's mat medium and then added some acrylic paint dots to give some connection to the florals and a sense of movement to the design.

You can see the details here.  Did you notice the lid is still on the bottle and there is a cup hook on the lid?  Yep.  I had something else in mind when I spray painted the bottles.  I will have to unscrew the cap and then touch up the white paint in that area.

I had fun playing with this idea.  Have you tried anything new lately?  A new paint?  A new crochet or knit stitch?  A new recipe?  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Zero Waste Week - Sept 4 -

Happy Labor Day to my U.S. friends.  Hope you are enjoying your long weekend.  Meanwhile here is something to think about.

I don't think I have heard of Zero Waste Week before.  Now that it has come to my attention I'm seeing it everywhere.  Here is one of many links.

At this point I don't think it is possible for me to have absolutely ZERO waste.  We compost and we separate our garbage for recycling - but we do have garbage.  It is a big subject.  Tons of donated clothing goes into the landfill every year so donating isn't exactly the answer.

My contribution is repairing instead of tossing.   I'm learning to darn hand knit socks.  Here's my first try.

darning the heel

And a second try.

another heel darned

You can see the purple yarn where I darned the heel is a bit lighter.  Funny, both pair had red and purple.  Coincidence?  Maybe that color combo is DH's favorite, they are his socks.

Knitting socks takes awhile, nice yarn is not inexpensive.  I was really driven by curiosity though.  I simply wanted to know how to darn them.  DH has worn them since darned and says he can't feel the patch.  I was concerned about that.

That's my Zero Waste for today.  I will have to see if I come up with something else this week.  Something we don't do to eliminate waste already.

What about you?  Any good ideas?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Thoughts on Friday

In quiet moments, usually early morning, I enjoy reading a bit of poetry.  Alison Luterman is a local writer.  I've shared this poem elsewhere but since it is a favorite of mine thought I would share it here.

part of my Scrap Dolly series created
several years ago


I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,
beaming peace like the North Star.
I wanted to ask "What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years, or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth burn and turn on its axis—"
but we don't request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, "I love your hair."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chalk Paint Experiment

Chalk paint has been popular for some time now.  I've used it on a couple of wooden chairs with good results.  Recently someone asked me if I thought it would work on metal.  Research on the net says it does.

I wanted to try it myself before answering.  I looked around for something metal to experiment with.  I save metal cans to hold brushes and mix paint.  There it was, metal for my paint project.

Getting set.  Somewhere I read that chalk paint works best on metal if you thin it a bit with water.  That is what I did and I'm ready to go.

One coat and waiting overnight to dry.

Second coat - but not waxed.  

What did I learn?   Chalk paint sticks to metal.  It has the advantage of no sanding or priming.  It covered well (with 2 coats).  It didn't rub off.  I didn't really like the dull finish that much.  I may wax it later.  I'll use the can for holding pens and pencils on the art table and see how it holds up.

If you have used chalk paint on anything I'd be interested to know how you like it.  Share any tips you might have.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday - 8/22/17

Every Tuesday Elizabeth hosts "Tea Stands for Tuesday".  You can post about most anything as long as it is somehow related to a drink. Be sure to check it out.

This week I'm going to show you some thrift store decorating.  The River House is a second home that is used by our whole family.  It replaced a home we lost in a fire nearly 2 years ago.  Since I was decorating "from scratch" so to speak I decided to do it in a colorful style with hand made contents or things from thrift stores when possible.

Thrift store shopping can be weeks of nothing and then suddenly several finds at once.  Yesterday I showed you a coat hook, today there are some kitchen things.

thrift store - 99 cents

I found this sign.  I was originally going to use it as a base to paint my own sign.  When I got it home I played around with it and decided to use it as is in the kitchen.

It fit perfectly under a kitchen cabinet.  The bowl are thrift store finds as well - 49 and 69 cents.  I'm drinking water from a glass that came from the Dollar Store.  These things are quite inexpensive but somehow make me very happy.

Do you shop thrift stores?  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

How many of you are planning to watch the eclipse today?  In our area we are expected to have only 70% coverage of the sun.  Since it will happen here around 9 a.m. we may well have our usual morning marine layer as well.  I'm not sure I will see much.

large cast iron painted coat hook
approx. 8x12"

Coincidentally I recently found this heavy metal "sun" coat hook at a thrift shop a few days ago.  There is a hook there at the bottom but it is hard to see in my photo.  DH is going to hang this in our patio, that is how we plan to mark the day.  It will be a good place to hang a gardening or rain jacket in the future.

Enjoy your day and be careful if you are watching the sun and the moon do their dance.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Thoughts on Friday - 8/18.17

I was recently looking through some of my old sketch books and came across this which I'm not sure I've posted before.  I've been in a semi-arid creative desert for some time.  

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. This is what she has to say about doing our creative work.

"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

No doubt I need to get out the tools and give creativity some time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tea Stands for Tuesday cups and pots

As part of our house update, we had a cement walkway put in the back yard.  For years there was a brick walkway in that area but with weather and earthquakes and aging the bricks were not at all level.  Beautiful but not really safe and we are trying to correct some safety issues here.  We switched the walk to concrete.  

There is room at one end of the walk to place a few pots full of plants.  Hopefully that will soften the look of the concrete.  Here is a pot I purchased.  I was taken with the bird (which barely shows in the photo) and the color.  I'm drinking tea this morning and contemplating what kind of plant to put in it.  Something low maintenance for sure.

A local shop was having a sale.  This is some of their selection.  I think all the pots were $10 which seemed very reasonable to me.

As I drink my tea I will join Elizabeth and friends for Tea Tuesday.

I'm hoping Elizabeth can link me to the party.

Monday, August 14, 2017

What are you reading?

Having a stack of books around makes me happy.  A book that is waiting to be read is like an unwrapped present.  

Van Gough still life
French Novels with Rose

This painting is not as well known as many of the artists works but it makes me smile.  I want to pull up a chair and pick up a book.

My friend Laurie just sent me two books.  "The Weight of Ink" and "The Girl Who Knew Too Much".  Laurie writes a blog devoted to book reviews, you can find it here.  I'm delighted to have two new books-worlds to discover.

Tell me what you are reading or what you last read that you would recommend.  I'd be lost without a book.  How about you?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Thoughts on Friday - 8/11/17

Occasionally I have random ideas for a blog post.  Things that don't quite go with the rest of my blog.  I've decided to bunch the posts together and call them Thoughts on Friday.  Maybe it will leave you with something to think about over the weekend.

Usually I feel like I am wearing the cover before I get the whole thing put together.  One of my daughters has a method she uses that goes... something about rolling the cover up and put it on like a pair of nylons.  I wonder if she makes house calls.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Volunteer Cosmos

Planting a garden this year was not possible due to the construction work we were having done on the house.  It was pretty hard for DH to let that activity go but at least some of the yard has more or less permanent landscaping so it doesn't look too bad.

And then there are volunteers.  Cosmos shows up every year much to our delight.

Only one packet of seeds was ever planted and that was years ago.  In the beginning there was more variety in the colors that bloomed, now the majority of blossoms are this lovely fuchsia.  

Do you have volunteers in your garden?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The House by the Bay

The house by the Bay was getting a bit of an update this summer while we spent time at the river.

It's an old house (built in 1938) it is a small house (only 2 br. and one bath).  However it is on a larger than average city lot for our area and we really like the location and the neighborhood.  In years past we gutted and remodeled the kitchen and added a sun room.  

This time it was the bathroom.  We stole a little room from the second bedroom to enlarge the bath and went from there.

It is hard to photograph the space but here is part of the quite large shower.  We had grab bars installed in a couple of places while we were at it.  Neither of  us needs them at the moment but one never knows.

The sink now has a mirror over it.  I don't know why but that tiny arched faucet amuses me.

Remodeling an old house is always a gamble as you never know quite what you will uncover along the way.  Our city is known locally for its many and very strict building codes.  This time we had to replace some under house plumbing that we hadn't planned on but in the long run that is ok.

I know a couple of my blogging friends are building homes, anyone else remodeling what they have?