July 31, 2009
July 30, 2009
As I’ve said before, Baltimore gets a bad rap, mostly as a result of The Wire, a HBO show filmed here, which explored the drug culture of the city. But I’ve also said that The Wire only represents a small portion of the city.
I’ve worked hard to show you a lot of the good things about Baltimore including the beautiful architecture, the vibrant cultural life, the great restaurants (oh, that’s my food blog), the 300 years of history surrounding us, the great people and much more.
Like any city of its size and age, Baltimore has some problems, but there are so many good things about the city that I try to celebrate in my posts.Baltimore is one of those places that just sucks you back. I am still friends with people whom I’ve known since I was a child, and there’s a short-hand here natives know by heart. There’s a family history here that assures me that I belong here. I will probably move back to England one day (the other half of my family is there and I am first generation on that side), but for now, Baltimore’s home.Happy Birthday, Baltimore, and many many more!
July 29, 2009
July 28, 2009
July 27, 2009
One of the places I like most of anywhere I’ve been is the tiny Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire, England. I was looking for a picture and came across some of my old photographs of this church.The earliest reference to this church is from 650 AD, but the current church was built around 1140 AD. It is still used as a village church and is correctly called the Parish Church of St Mary and St David in Kilpeck. It sits on the Welsh borders, close to the Severn and Wye Rivers. The church is tiny, not holding more than a few dozen people, but it is still used on a rotating basis with several of the other local churches.
The most extraordinary thing about this church are the 89 carved corbels below the roofline. Although some are missing, the ones that remain are just incredible. They are carved from red sandstone, which is not a hard-wearing material, but over nearly 1000 years, they’ve acquired a shell that protects them from the elements. He looks like something Picasso might have sketched, doesn’t he? This is a ram’s head.The carvings are very detailed, especially considering how old they are and the tools which were used to carve them. Just the logistics of figuring this design makes my head spin!Of all of the carvings, this one is the one that stole my heart! It’s almost contemporary in its style, something out of a comic book! Here’s another view:That I am getting such joy out of something that was carved so long ago, by some unknown craftsman, fills me with wonder. Time marches on.
July 26, 2009
Two of the other bloggers, Architect Design and Things That Inspire have written recently about steel windows, so this morning at breakfast I noticed the building across the street had steel windows.This is actually an old building on the 200+ year old campus of the University of Maryland’s professional schools. The have retained the original façade on the first two levels and then added a parking garage above it, which you can see in the upper right of the image above. This is sort of the opposite of what usually happens: the street level changes, but the upper floors stay the same.
I love the Palladian-style arches with the pebbled glass, the basket-weave brickwork and the details on this building.
July 25, 2009
I am so excited to see the upcoming movie, Julie & Julia. I think that Meryl Streep will do a brilliant job as Julia Child and it will be fun to see how the movie imagines France in the late 1940’s. I read the book, Julie & Julia, which was based on the blog, the Julie/Julia Project. You probably know the story by now: Julie Powell takes on the task of making each of the recipes in Julia Childs’ book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one year… in her small NYC apartment.The Julie/Julia Project book is interwoven with My Life in France, Julia Childs’ autobiography, written with her husband’s great-nephew, Alex Prud’homme.
Julie & Julia is the first movie based on a blog. Click here for a preview of the film.
July 23, 2009
I was looking for a book on my shelves the other day, and came across a book I had picked up at Book Thing, called Kennedy Weddings. It’s by Jay Mulvaney, with a foreword by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book is mainly photographs and catalogues three generations of the weddings in this famous family, including Jack’s wedding to Jackie. I’ve written a couple of stories about Jackie Kennedy’s wardrobe, here and here.
I had recently found a biography of Kick Kennedy and learned a lot about her marriage to Billy Hartington, the heir to the Devonshire family estate, Chatsworth. They spent their honeymoon at one of the “cottages” on the property. They were not married long, as he was killed in WWII and she died in a plane crash a few years later.The wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and John Fitzgerald Kennedy took place at the bride’s step-family’s farm in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the quotes in the book comes from Caroline Kennedy who said her mother felt like she looked like a lampshade in her wedding dress. The dress was, and may still be, on display at the Kennedy Library in Boston.It’s hard to think of how the world would be different if JFK had lived. She looks a little scared here, doesn’t she… Does she know what she’s in for?
Caroline Kennedy married Edwin Schlossberg in 1986 in Massachusetts. Her white silk organza dress was dotted with shamrocks as a tribute to her father. It was designed by Carolina Herrara.Last, but not least, the wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. to Carolyn Bessette in 1996 on Cumberland Island Georgia. Who can forget how beautiful the bride looked as she was leaving the church. It’s been ten years since this couple died in a plane crash… Such a beautiful but tragic family.
July 22, 2009
I’ve been carrying around one of the beautiful spoons I received last week and have been showing it to friends and family. It’s just such a special gift and I am so proud to own them! It is like a talisman of good things, which I’ve needed this week.
This evening, when I returned from a little dinner, I pulled the spoon out of my handbag and put it together with a knife and fork from my collection. As you can see, none of the pieces are identical. The hasp, or where the “working part” meets the handle is joined in a different way in each piece. As I look at the 40 or so pieces I have, they all have some variation. My chef friend said that the bowl of the spoon was the perfect size to make a quenelle. I think she’s right!
July 21, 2009
I love learning new things, whether it is figuring out how to create something special or reading an interesting book. A number of years ago, I read an article on different types of people, and came to a clear realization about myself. Some people are product people and others are process people. Product people love having the finished item to show off. This could be a piece of needlework or an incredible dish that they have cooked. They love getting to the end point and having something to show for their work.
Other people are process people. They love figuring out how to do something. They revel in the creative steps involved in making things, but could care less about the finished product. They just know that they learned how to do something new and now they can move on to learning something else.
I am a process person. I adore figuring out how to do myriad things like knitting, sailing and cooking. But once I finish with what I've done, I don't care about it anymore. It's the challenge of acquiring a new skill that's the draw to me. Right now, I am making jewelry with the amazing pieces of glass that I've gotten from Housewerks, and which illustrate this post. I am working with a diamond-tipped drill bit to smooth and shape these gorgeous pieces and then am making necklaces from them. Do you know which you are? Are you a process person or a product person?
July 20, 2009
As I was browsing the Guardian, I found a small Georgian House for sale in Bath, England, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. From there, I stumbled upon the Georgian Group Awards, which I’d never heard about.
The Georgian Group was founded in 1937 as a sub-group of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, which was founded by William Morris. The group exists to preserve and protect the Georgian buildings in England, Wales and Scotland which were disappearing at an alarming rate. After many years of struggling, by law, any Georgian building (1700s or later) that is being significantly altered or demolished must be reviewed by the Georgian Group. This also includes residences, commercial buildings, monuments and parks.
The Awards, recognize exemplary conservation and restoration projects and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. The award categories are Restoration of a Georgian Country House, Restoration of a Georgian building in an urban setting, Reuse of a Georgian building, Restoration of a Georgian Church, Restoration of a Georgian garden or landscape, New building in the Classical tradition and New building in a Georgian context. I used to have meetings at the Georgian Group’s HQ at Six Fitzroy Square (above and below), so it was fun to come across these pictures.
Let’s look at some of the past winners, shall we? Belmont House on the Shetland Island of Unst, before (above) and after (below)
Blackburn House in Lothian, Scotland, before
and after. Moggerhanger House in Bedfordshire, before and after.
Christ Church in Spitalfields, before
and after.Danson House, Bexley, Kent, before and after.Last but not least, a house I knew well… Clifton Hill House in Bristol. For more information on the Georgian Group’s 2009 Awards, to be held later this year at Christie’s in London, click here. Nicky Haslam will be one of the judges.