October 31, 2012

Poppy Day

Now that we’re over the Halloween Hump, it’s time to roll on to our next occasion.image About this time last year, I was whinging that my poppy for veterans day was being held together with tape and looking rather ragged. imageSeveral blogging buddies sent me poppies, and now I am going to share some with you.image

Please leave me a comment telling me why it’s important for you to have a poppy to wear. I will pick the three best comments on Friday, 2, November, and post the poppies so you get them in time for 11-11-12 (USA only).

It doesn’t matter what country your soldier, sailor, marine or airman is from, they deserve the honour of our memory.

October 30, 2012

Cylburn: An Urban Oasis + An Art Show and Sale

First, let’s get the pronunciation straight: Cylburn is said like sill-burn. It might be of Welsh origin, as the Welsh for Wales is Cymru (kum-ri).

As children, Cylburn was the largest and closest urban garden and nature center to where we lived, and we frequently attended events there, and spent time exploring its nature trails and naturalist museum as scouts. One of my most enduring memories was a beehive fitted into a window, so you could see the bees coming and going, and making their honey. We also attended their annual Market Day where cuttings from exotic plants from the gardens were sold to blossoming horticulturalists. It wasn’t until a wedding at Cylburn earlier this summer that I had a chance to visit again, after an absence of 20+ years, and it brought back loads of memories! Now, it’s popping up on my radar screen all of the time – and considering it’s less than two miles, and even less as the crow flies, from my house, it’s going to have a permanent place on the radar screen.

Beginning this coming weekend, there will be an art show and sale titled “A Celebration of Art at Cylburn”. cylburn inviteAlmost any time you visit Cylburn’s 207-acre grounds, you will spot some type of artist doing their thing, either painting, sketching or taking photographs.  More than 100 works will be for sale, and all of the proceeds will benefit the Cylburn Arboretum Association, the supporting foundation of Cylburn.view from the redwoodThe artworks are all very reasonably priced, most less than $1000 for an original piece of art. On Saturday morning, there is an opening breakfast for patron previews, which includes a traditional Maryland Breakfast, and a Gallery Reception on Saturday evening – that’s Saturday, November 3, 2012! On Sunday, November 4, Leopoldine Prosperetti, author and art history professor at Towson University will present a free lecture entitled “Trees in Art: The Artistic Imagination and Arboreal Subjects in Western Painting” at 2:00 p.m.For more information about Cylburn, the art show or the lecture, please click here.

P.S. If you can’t make it to either of the Saturday events, The Old Line Society’s having an Art Bash on Nov. 7th, to help raise funds for an artist-in-residence program at Cylburn. Here.

October 29, 2012

Brief Update: Sandy

After “sheltering in place” all day, getting work done, reading a lot and generally watching lots and lots of TV, things are starting to go downhill, weatherwise. jones falls

One of my neighbours took this photo of the Jones Falls, which is not too far from my house. It was taken about 1:00 p.m., so as the brunt of the storm arrives, I can’t help but wonder how much higher the Falls is going to get.

If I have power, I will check in later!

Weekend Update: Sandy Edition

Basically, all everyone and anyone I know did over the weekend is get ready for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy!imageAs I write this at nearly midnight, the storm has not yet arrived in all its fury. It’s raining lightly and is so still outside, but I know it’s coming, having just watched the news for hours!

On Saturday, it was eerily quiet, and the sky will filled with high pale clouds, sundogsas well as some fast-moving puffier clouds, being spun off the storm.

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This week, I was visited in the back garden by a number of blue jays! Although they are terribly squawky birds, and not at all friendly, they are great to look at.

They were chasing the squirrels and the other birds in order to gather the most acorns.

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I had a chance to look at a historic house the other day. It was sad because it had been used as a home for wayward girls for the past 50 years, and so had gone through a lot of rack and ruin by people who had no appreciation for it. However, enough of the original details remained that it was still interesting.

There were fireplaces in each of the rooms, including the TEN bedrooms.

Some were rather simple,

while others retained their classical motifs.

Several of the original pier mirrors remained, but they weren’t in perfect condition.
These two are at opposite ends of two adjoining parlours.
One of the fascinating things about the house was the system of skylights on the second and third floors. This hallway is lit by a skylight above bringing in a lot of natural light, and in the floors, at regular intervals, there are huge pieces of heavy glass that allow the light to pass through to the hallway below.

There were still many of the original “below the stairs” features, including this old pantry,

this old-fashioned porch,

with its haint-blue ceiling,

and almost all of the original shutters in each of the dozens of windows.The house is for sale for $495,000, but it needs some work to make it gorgeous again!

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My friend Ella just left for South Georgia Island, ANTARTICA! For 14 months! imageElla’s going to be the boating officer for the British Antarctic Survey. She’s started a blog so that friends in warmer climes (and that would be pretty much everyone!) can follow along on her adventures. Check out Ella’s blog at Ella Down South and give the gal some words of encouragement. It will take a few days for her to get there, so maybe look later this week!

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My pumpkins have been stowed away safely, lest they blow away during the storm.

If you’re in the path of the storm, I hope that you make it through undamaged in every way.

October 27, 2012

Oh, Sandy!

It’s almost hard to take a hurricane named Sandy seriously, but take it seriously we must. imageHere in the mid-Atlantic we get all types of weather and other natural phenomenon, like blizzards, earthquakes, extreme heat and derechos. This incoming storm is being compared to “The Perfect Storm” in 1981, about which a book was written and a movie was made.

Hurricane Sandy is coming up from the Caribbean and moving north along the coast. Because of the counter-clockwise motion of hurricanes, they usually spin out to sea, but there’s a high pressure system off the coast pushing it back. Added to that is a cold front heading down from Canada, which will drop the temperatures. Purple is storm warnings, and bright green is heavy coastal flooding.


Our forecast is thus: image

I have a spring that runs under my house and when we get heavy rains, the groundwater increases the flow of the stream. I have a sump pump, and my biggest worry is that the power will go out and my basement will flood. I’ve taken everything up, so that nothing’s on the floor. I tried to get a battery back-up, but that was impossible.

I’ve shopped for food and water for Connor and me, (plus booze, loo roll, candles and snacks).image I’ve plugged in all of the computers, cell phones, MP3 players, etc.

Now all that’s left is to wait and watch, and of course, hope for the best.

October 26, 2012

High Point: The Details

As I mentioned, some of the details on the Hooker Furniture pieces were really incredible and thoughtful. Their designers have really taken a lot of time to make sure each detail is meaningful to the piece and their work really shows.

Let’s take a look.

This is from the Sanctuary collection, and from this angle, you can see that the piece has a lot of detail, but it’s not until you see it close up that you realize that there’s egg and dart trim that’s been gilded, antiqued mirror and beautiful pulls on the piece.

The bevel on this mirror makes it special. It’s one thing to bevel a square or round mirror, but it takes a craftsman to bevel a mirror with this many curves and angles.

This little trefoil table looks like it has a great faux finish, but when you get close, it’s actually crushed capiz shells in resin which gives it both depth and shimmer.

What isn’t immediately apparent on this red croc and nailhead console,

is that the piece is covered with embossed croc-patterned leather.

My favourite detail on this side table is the shape of the legs.And also that the table is covered in capiz shells!

One of Hooker’s designers was in New York and spotted this tie, and decided to make a dresser with the same pattern!This harkens back to the menswear that’s being used in furniture design this season.

Many of the dressers and chests have drawers lined with fun papers proving that it’s the attention to details that makes the piece even more special.

Hooker’s Alicante collection has incredible details that evoke old European houses and castles. This tiny church in rural Herefordshire, England has hinges that are very similar – as did the dungeons-turned-bathrooms in St. Donat’s castle where I worked. kilpeck[9]

Also from the Alicante collection, this table shows the detailed inlay of the two woods as well as the oversized nail-heads.

I love the elegance of this chest – the shape, the wood and the pulls are all stunning.

This chest with the different woods and the star-shaped pulls really caught my eye.

I thought this was one of the most elegant and well-done table tops I saw a this year’s Market. And the book-matched wood and the inlaid compass rose really make this piece a stand-out. It’s attention to detail like this that will make this an heirloom piece.

Again, well done to Hooker Furniture for a really outstanding collection for this year’s market. And thank you so much for being my sponsor. I am honoured to be associated with your company!