Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A stroll down America's oldest residential street...

America's Oldest residential street which has been continually occupied since 1720.  Built in 1720-1830 in Philadelphia in the heart of Old City. It's located between Front and 2nd Street just north of Arch Street and Race Street. Since the 1720's it's been home to over 3,000 residents. Notice the perfectly formed cobweb on the upper right corner of the sign. Hate spiders but admire their industrious web design work!

"I love the dignity in the name Philadelphia, but at heart, we're Philly."
~Lisa Scottoline~

Welcome back to our row home, I hope you wore comfy walking shoes. Can I interest you in a cappuccino or a cup of English breakfast tea as I show you a few new Fall additions before we go on our walking tour. 

This photo is of 4 pumpkin stems saved from last Fall's pumpkins and 2 silk velvet quarter yard remnants. One dark grey the other golden iridescent orange. From it I made more velvet pumpkins for Fall 2014. Interesting stems excite me and I pick out my pumpkins for their stems!

Golden orange iridescent silk velvet duo I made last week. Look at the shadow of the larger stem ... Do you see a Praying mantis bug? Another love of mine is shadow play.

Newly displayed are the park bench photographs. Printed on canvas and displayed on our seasonal changing Living room floating art wall. I found the color photos on google free images and asked John to convert them into Black and White. John printed them onto canvas and then mounted both to foam core. I'm in my extreme admiration of Black and White photography. The one on the left is during Autumn and the right photo is early snow in late Autumn.

I've always loved parks, as a child I grew up within a mile from Washington's Crossing Park in Titusville, NJ. Now I live mere blocks away from a park, that is part of the Fairmount Park system. Whether located in a bucolic area or urban setting I find parks to be peaceful and majestic. Picnic anyone?

Another draw for me is living in historic area's. One day I'll take you on a tour of the museum in Titusville where I grew up and show you a famous oil painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve Titusville annually re-in-acts the crossing, no kidding... no matter the temps of the river, no matter the amount of snow on the ground. Drums, bugles, historic garb, it's the real deal! I'm a totally modern woman, who has a fascination with our historic past. Absolutely the reason why in my design style choice in our row-home I surround John and myself with the past, the present and a wink and nod to the future.

We recently went to NYC to visit our friend Kim and his boy friend Paul. We met Kim 19 years ago through our Citroën car events. Yup, another vintage French car enthusiast. Long story short Kim is an artisan who can tell the most amazing stories, joyfully retelling his life adventures. Someone we admire, love and adore. 

Two dark grey pumpkins I made from the velvet remnants that are placed in a basket and displayed on the Über cool old vintage bench/stool. Time-worn patina and sweet as can be. After drinking Prosecco and having appetizers before our dinner reservations we walked over to Kim's gallery/store Jack and Marcel near the 59th Street (Queensboro) bridge he co-owns with his business partner. Source for Jack and Marcel at the bottom of post.

Kim used to teach Industrial Design at Pratt university so his eye and appreciation to design is very keen. Jack and Marcel is a visually exciting place. ... An exciting treasure trove. Well, after lingering (OK loitering) around the art, furniture and accessories I fell in love with this. Be it humble and utilitarian it simply whispered my name, adding tactile rustic interest and mingling with other wooden pieces in our Living room.

Photo of the very worn cobblestones of Elfreth's Alley... Truly a step back in colonial times.

I moved to Philadelphia shortly after meeting John at Doc Watson's a pub/restaurant. Our story is about falling in love during the bi-centennial celebration/festivities through Spring into Summer in Philly. In love with both the city and John we soon moved into an apartment together. Certainly Philadelphia in 1976 was an exciting place to be. During early June of 1976 John took me on my first stroll of Elfreth's Alley. Hand in hand exploring 300 years of history in it's 32 residential buildings. It was on Fete Day. Fete Day has been celebrated for more then 70 years and when residents of Elfreth's alley open their homes to the public. A day of festivities and historic re-enactments. For the past 10 years Elfreth's alley also opens their doors at Christmas time for an event named "Deck the Alley".

Elfreth's Alley was named in honor of Jeremiah Elfreth an 18th century Blacksmith and property owner who lived on the alley along with other artisans, furniture makers, ship builders and craftsmen.

John and I photographed Elfreth's alley on Friday September 12th for this post. It was 93 degrees with oppressive humidity!!! The sun was intense and I feared the photos would be washed out. In the photos you will notice that being the end of summer flowers are pretty much spent, yet there is beauty in their growing cycle.

Row-homes and Cobblestone in the city of Brotherly love. 

See to the right of this lovely blue shuttered rowhome? There is an alley in an alley, named Bladen's Court.

Walking through this alley will take you into Bladen's Court.

Bladen's court, on this glorious sun filled day, shadows of history were at play.

Strolling one can almost hear the echoes of the past if you listen.

Bladen's Court is brick paved.

Number 115 Bladen's Court, notice the time worn wearing down of the marble step.

Another photo of 115

On Elfreth's alley a British flag is displayed.

Orange shutters and cellar, I'm drawn to this home, it's the color choice.

Number 124 and 126, store and a museum to tour, explore and buy a souvenir.

Store and museum placement on Elfreth's Alley.

Like everywhere else in America - homes for sale. Some are small Trinity homes, in Philly referred to Father, Son and Holy Ghosts. Other homes are large and have renovated interiors to reflect our present time.

Looking down Elfreth's alley charming historic street.

The 13 stars of our Colonial flag proudly displayed. On the day we photographed Elfreth's alley we also photographed The Betsy Ross house tour. I will post that tour in November and weave it into my Thanksgiving post. I know you just said "WHAT ?" but you wait and see, it will be a post about being thankful for simple blessings.

A close up of house # 132

So I end our little stroll and announce my next post will be on October 7th. It will be my Halloween post featuring our Edgar Allan Poe decorations in our row-home, a tour of Poe's historic house in Philly, a spooky poem and a really fun giveaway of Edgar Allan Poe writings. So please join me on Oct. 7th, it will be entertaining I promise. BTW the giveaway will be worldwide.

My poem I leave you with today is a simple little one. whose words popped into my head after midnight and demanded to be written before I could fall sleep. Words will often flood my brain and unless I write down the poem it's like a song stuck in my head! Seriously. So here goes a poetry share of what I refer to as an after midnight brain fart. 

Oh to be a Superhero...

During the nightly local news coverage of murder, mayhem and madness,
after watching for 30 minutes it leaves me feeling frustration and sadness.

In my sleep I dream every night of soaring the sky like a Superhero,
Freeing us all from villains and thugs to bring crime rate down to zero.

The city of brotherly love, a beacon of historical freedom and peace,
as I work in harmony and cooperation with it's citizens and the police.

© Vera

Bench source:

Located in the Interior Design Building at 308 E 61st Street, 4th Floor in New York City.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As Summer reluctantly eases into Fall ...

I look forward to embracing the new season. Fall, ushers in a season of change, celebration and natures painted leaves. A time to gather and share in friendship. Autumn's when we open our hearts and homes to entertaining and easing into a casual mood reflected in warmth and relaxation. Perhaps it's the shorter hours of daylight that encourage us to fluff our nest and enjoy a mellow state of mind.

We are slowly changing our decor from Summer into Fall. Slowly it seems because Summer was reluctant to give up temperature in the 90's and high humidity. Our Central air conditioning is running while I daydream of cuddling under a cozy throw with a good book or movie. 

Fall brings more rustic textures and more color to our Row-home. I've heard so many people say "It's been a strange Summer weather wise". I completely agree ... Totally!

New introductions are occurring in our living room's color palate, we have been living with neutrals in a sepia color tone, but with the Fall season come's change. I've developed a total appreciation for Black and White photography and it's being displayed more and more throughout our row-home. I find the greyscale alluring and it's making it's debut. We have recently purchased Simon (our 22 pound panther cat) a new sofa. I say this not in jest but in reality. Once delivered it became his. As in - slide across it, happy paws, Stretch out and nap his! It is from Room and Board and named Stella. We went with the stocked soft velvet ultra fabric in the grey Otter fabric ... But seriously if I had known it would be cat nip for Simon I might of rethought the fabric choice! Of course we love it ... Almost as much as Simon >^_^<

Slight fall touches ... In a Philadelphian style gorgeous Indian Summer.

Extremely sofa velvet, no wonder Simon adores the sofa! 

Since my last post I had another Birthday and all I can say is WHOA that's too many candles! Perhaps I should adopt my Dad's outlook on Birthdays. When it works flip the numbers. Well I'm guessing this year I should, because I sure would be once again young.

My sweet and very creative blogging friend Kris from Junk Chic Cottage sent me a Birthday gift. I swear I almost passed out with delight when I opened her gift. I love velvet pumpkins ... Simply love them. Well Kris sent me a large, like very large and beautiful rust colored (my favorite color) velvet pumpkin. See the one on the left? How gorgeous is this??? All of mine are much smaller. Thank you so much my sweet creative friend.

A fall vignette of velvet pumpkins in grey and rust displayed on two antique Senufo African stools along side a glass vase of birch branches and faux pepper berries, Rustic and posh races my heart! With Fall comes more color.

Back on April 23rd I received an email from my friend Doré Callaway from Burlap Luxe who has an incredibly soulful etsy store and beautifully serene blog. I have Doré as a VIp in my email preferences and while writing poetry an email from Doré came in which I instantly read. It included a link to a new piece of art she had just created, A angel altar as she explained was inspired by my dream I had on Christmas and that day purchased a star in my sons name Chris (who  passed away suddenly on November 2nd). I had posted about it on January 5th, 2014. 

Doré explained she normally doesn't explain what inspires her art but this time she did to me. Doré wrote that there's no obligation to purchase it, just take a look.

Well within seconds of viewing it was in my etsy cart from Burlap Luxe and sent out to me that day. We display it on the mantel in our sitting/reading room under my favorite photos of Chris. It's a magical work of art in Burlap Luxe's beloved hauntingly aged style... But for me it speaks to my heart and the never ending love of my son with it's the artistic soulfulness of star and angel. I recently purchased one of Doré's 19 inch rosary's and draped it on the altar. The rosaries are new additions to her etsy store. 

Close up of the interior of the Angel and star altar.

Going through the grieving process you must jump over many hurdles, a difficult one is birthdays. My son's birthday was August 23rd. We spent the weekend with close friends Gary and Chris at their home in Westport Connecticut. It was where we needed to be, because John and I were headed out the door to spend the weekend with them on November 2nd when I received the call from the ME's office informing me my son had passed suddenly.  This was the first time since Chris's death we would weekend with Gary and Chris ... A hurdle to overcome and trying not become a complete puddle on Chris's birthday but turn it into a celebration. It was healing and comforting to be with Gary and Chris as we continue mending ours hearts.

I believe friends become our Earth Angels, each one guided by a star up above.
Who gift us with their friendship and generosity of caring for us through love.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of stars makes me dream.
~Vincent Van Gogh~

I've loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
~Galileo Galilei~

Ye stars! Which are the poetry of Heaven.
~Lord Byron~

In memory of Chris, I wrote a poem for him as a Birthday gift, I want to share it with you as I know Chris would like that.  When I was considering blogging over a year ago I talked to him about my desire to write things of substance on my blog. He asked if I would share my poetry, to which I replied, don't think so ... want to have it published one day. Chris said but Mom I think you should share it on your blog, in addition to your stories and design style you have much to offer, I think it will be good for you. That's why with every post there is one of my poems. Be it observational or a fable if it is enjoyed consider it a gift from my son.

I will return in two weeks with a walking tour of the oldest residential street in America which happens to be in Philadelphia. 

Feeling inspired on a celestial evening as I sat down to write...
When the sky forms a canopy of twinkling glitter at night ...
And the stars in their luminescence are an absolute delight
I feel energized and protected in their purity of glorious light.
There is one bright star in the Heavens for me that's a beautiful sight,
Part of the Big Dipper, I purchased for my son because it just felt right.
Forever my son you will shine radiantly bright in your heavenly flight.

© Vera

Photo sources:
Photo of Birthday candle hat source is unknown
Both of the star photos are from google images

All other photos were taken by me - Vera