Friday, March 18, 2016

Living life expressed ...

We enjoy and live with art casually displayed throughout our row-home. Art John and I have collected over our many years together. I think of myself as an artisan with a curators aesthetic in a lifelong journey of observation. In past posts I've shared many pieces and in this post I will focus in on our newest art purchase displayed in our Living room. This is part 1 of our Living room's reveal of décor updates and will continue in my following post with many detailed photos taken throughout the room. 

Titled "Le Salon" and handmade with Cartapesta (Papier Mâché) over a wooden antique drawer. Each element is handmade by Méa StauB of Méa's Vintage in Hamburg Germany. 

Méa is designing/building and creating a unique mice journeymen dwellings series. Her first piece was the "Le Library" and when she posted it I wrote asking to purchase it but it had already been sold. In an email I wrote her that I'd like to purchase her second piece "Le Salon". But it was well before Christmas and work on "Le Salon" hadn't even began. Design would not start until the second week in January. Méa agreed that I would have 1st dibs on the piece as she shared all her plans for the piece. Many of Méa's handmade furniture, mirror with foxed glass, daybed, fabrics, pillows are from her kingdoms "Salon" made in miniature scale for this piece. She's currently working on her 3rd journeymen's piece titled "Le Chateau".

We decided to display "Le Salon" on a Black Walnut raw edge wood shelf. Custom made for us by the Pank Family on etsy from salvaged vintage wood. Purchased from their store Reclaimtofame1 on etsy. It is our second shelf they have custom made us. We have hung it with contemporary brushed nickel brackets to blend with the other metals in our home. The other shelf by the Pank family is hung over our riddling rack in the dining room's wine corner displaying a vintage French oil painting and straw covered vintage Demi-John.

Through personal emails over the years we both have been blogging Méa has become a friend. During our exchanges about "Le Salon" Méa would describe her vision and I would write her back "love it - have fun Méa and go wild"! Our conversations were immensely entertaining and makes this art emotionally meaningful to me. 

As a poet my writing is often sparked by my imaginations flight into fantasy through play. My poetry below is a poetic fable.  My perceived story about the married intellectuals living out their retirement in the casbah. I will admit I have a very active imagination and have been truly enjoying playing with "Le Salon".

Retired and living in an old funky part of Marrakesh you'll find husband Honoré Beaulieu and Amélie Berlioz his wife.
Honoré a highbrow scholar was a French Literature professor at the Université Sorbonne in Paris for over 30 years of his life.

Amélie a poet had owned a Parisian bookstore which housed a rare collection of 18th century poetry but felt her prose had become ineffectual.
Moved to Morocco with a love of moorish architecture, pigment painted plaster and hidden treasures that offered Honoré adventure as an intellectual.

But lately days are spent in a pompous aristocratic fantasy world drinking Absinthe chasing La Tee Verte - the Green Fairy.
Smoking a hookah, daydreaming, reading while indulging in drink months have turned into years in their ramshackle of a sanctuary.

Now who's to judge that our bohemian couple hasn't the perfect respite for retirement to indulge in wherever their daydreams may roam.
Warmed by a wood burning fireplace, surrounded by books they idle away years reading under a chandelier dripping in crystals brought from home.

Retirement years can be a simplistic indulgence through self expression in ones chosen dwelling that offers mystery and intrigue.
Especially our exotic couple whose career driven past added up to a retirement need spent in comfort and relaxation to combat mental fatigue.
© Vera

Meet Amélie Berlioz. Méa named the mice Honoré and Berlioz. I took artistic liberty and added my addition to their names. Funny how these two characters instantly encouraged engagement in play to cheer my day. Moroccan slippers are on and suddenly they are off... I love this piece because it is interactive art. 

But along with my enjoyment in my French Opera/Ballet theatre and the mice I've been creating out of clay for all my productions, our French car parking garage and also my Vampire castle and now "Le Salon" may just be part of my continuing childhood. As a child I had a play kitchen, easy bake oven but not a doll house. I think I'm making up for that void during my childhood part 2!

Notice Amélie looking over at Honoré? Well that's because...

Amélie's a tad bit annoyed since Honoré is drunk on Absinthe and has over indulged smoking the Hookah. Oh please Honoré pull down your Caftan, we don't need to see you man-spreading! Honoré loves wearing his Fez hat with a silk tassel that dangles ... But if Honoré doesn't pull down that Caftan it may not be the only thing we see dangling, just saying!

The Hookah and Absinthe bottle are handmade out of glass. I adore the Green Fairy label. No detail has been overlooked creating "Le Salon". The patina, the iron daybed, the books, well everything's just so surreal. 

Dripping in crystals a beautiful Parisian 5 light chandelier. I love walking by and catching it's reflection in the mirror inside made with antique foxed glass. This art is indeed magical.

A handmade curtain with crocheted fringe helps ward off breezes from the open moorish window while lounging on the iron daybed reading idling the day away. What I didn't capture was the little hand sewn patches on the floor cushion and drape adding in the ramshackle feel, love those.

I hope you've enjoyed the little make believe journey to Marrakesh through our latest art acquisition. Measuring 15.5" high, 10" wide and 5.5" deep it seems/feels larger than its size in creative presence. 

Now you knew I would have to include a Black and White photo. I've decided I will post my en noir photos that capture a mood or an emotion on Instagram. Hopefully by sometime in mid April. I appreciate all your encouragement to join Instagram through your emails last post. 

Our recent updates all started with my heart's insistent desire to have a vintage French petite chandelier hanging over our factory table. Wanting to add mood and a dramatic flair to it I searched everywhere I could think of for antique Purple drop crystals to add to the vintage clear crystals. I found amazing ones on eBay and purchased them on a buy-it-now auction. They are stunning.

During a late night phone chat with Doré from Burlap Luxe I shared my plans for our living room's update. Doré's remark was "you're adding a French Boho vibe". Tis true ... To be continued next post. But if you would like to see a 2014 post of our Living room please click here. It goes into detail about our art collections in the room.

The photo below is one of Méa's taken of her first piece in the journeymen dwellings series titled "Le Library". Since I mentioned in this post how much I enjoyed it I thought I'd include it. I also have included a link to visit Méa's blog. There is a language translation button on her blog. See you soon as I will reveal how a Rust color washed Persian rug and Purple drops playfully come together in part 2.
PS I love reading all your comments and thoughts and enjoy answering any of your questions. Thanking you in advance for leaving me a comment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Countdown to Spring ...

Winter's duration is 89 days, 1 hour and 45 minutes and in anxious anticipation Spring will arrive on March 20th.  On Groundhogs day Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early Spring. Yet with Global warming Cherry Blossoms opened in Philadelphia during December with temps that reached 77 degrees on Christmas Day. Will the ephemeral beauty of Pink Cherry Blossoms bloom in 2016? Bursting into delicate light Pink with it's nearly 1,700 Cherry trees lining the Tidal Basin in DC. It's been my obsession ever since I was 5 years old day dreaming about and admiring the beauty of Washington DC while colored in a canopy of Pink. So as I write this Spring anticipation post my eyes, fingers and toes are crossed for a profusion of floral to behold driving our vintage French DS Pallas Citroën down for a weekend to kick off what has become my official celebration of Spring.

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming."
~Pablo Neruda~

Projects are still going on in our row-home and excitement is felt as these efforts do zap our energy but visually invigorate and please. In this post I will share snapshots throughout our home of Springtime touches and leave you with my poem Spring is a Daisy.

Eggs from all kinds of birds are displayed in our house during "countdown to Spring".

A wired crate with Quail eggs and mini Cartapesta crowns sit on top along side an antique little jar from Israel. Texture reigns supreme in our row-home, it's a welcome sense and adds quality of feel and also an appreciated visual touch. 

Sources will be noted at end of this post.

A bouquet of pretty Pinks from the supermarket grace the eye in beauty with its floral mixture and soft texture. Two Cala lilies were included in the bouquet. Cala Lilies signify magnificence and beauty and delight me. 

Displayed in a favorite vase, a trio of bottles contained in a wire basket I purchased a few years ago at the Philadelphia Flower show. 

A wire egg basket displays blown out Chicken eggs. Eggs signify life, fertility and rebirth. For Christians the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All of the eggs are natural variations of chicken egg colors, none are dyed. I especially adore the blue eggs Araucanas and Ameraucanas Hens lay. 

Eggs are part of my families legacy and why they factor into our Spring/Easter décor. My Dad's parents owned a Chicken Farm outside of Frenchtown in Kingswood, New Jersey. Sunday's we would all gather at Grandmoms and Grandad's to help out on the farm. Each of us having our chores (mine was collecting the eggs). Trust me sometimes it was a fight between the chicken and I since hens often do not want to give up their eggs. The mother hen thing as they would peck at my hands. Afterwards we would all gather at the farm table for dinner prepared by Grandma, my Mom and Aunts. Cousins and family joined together on each Sunday after mass to help, never a excuse given to not show up for it was a different time and our strong family ties held our family commitment together. 

Lasting memories for me especially since my Grand father passed when I was 5 years old. Leaving me with imprinted memories of my very early childhood of discovery and fun on their farm. In my mind's eye I can still see fruit stains on my fingers from picking and eating Black Cherries from their tree and the Raspberries that grew along the side of the farmhouse on the fence. 

John printed this photo onto canvas and gallery wrapped it around foam core. I had saved the photo from google images and I thought it would make interesting kitchen art displayed for Spring. 

I have a love of Black and White photography and enjoy the mix of actual color photos and en noir in my posts. Because of my affection of en noir photography I am considering capturing snapshots of things that evoke emotional feelings to me en noir and posting the photo to an Instagram account. Just a concept and I'd appreciate your thoughts on this idea.

A newly replenished supply of Lavender is displayed in a French floral bucket. French Grosso Lavender in our dIning room. Love its dusty Purple beauty and calming scent. Lavender a constant since we have lived in this old row-home.

A needle felted Bunny on a bamboo swing hangs from our armoires knob.

Just adds cuteness and a smile to our face as we pass by.

Antique wooden eggs purchased from a flea market long ago are displayed on a raw edge salvaged Black Walnut shelf over our riddling rack in our wine corner of the Dining room.

The eggs were tied in a old flimsy plastic bag and when I picked up the bag and asked for a price the vendor said 50 cents! I do not judge anything by cost but instead the emotional pull the item evokes. Affordability becomes possible when you live with a combined mix of salvaged, found art pieces, refurbished vintage and antique, altered and repurposed. Enjoying the occasional indulgence in high end furniture or art pieces that you just can't live without and have called your name. Living surrounded with the past, the present and a nod to future design feels perfectly harmonic to us.

In our Living room we are making a few changes and adding artful expression. A tour of our Living room will be (hopefully) my next post. No big remodeling changes but lots of design enhancements.

John and I get a kick out of micro cars and both love the Isseta. As I compose this post John is putting up metal shelves in the garage and here is a little peek at something John created. John printed onto canvas an actual sized photo of an Isseta and applied it to the garage's back wall with heavy duty wallpaper paste. The walls are painted a contrasting Grey to add dimension to fool the eye. 

We both enjoy being creative, making and collecting art which we choose to display in a playful casual way throughout our home. We truly appreciate being able to surround ourselves with artful expression to enjoy and help ease lives everyday stresses.

Below is a little Spring poem I wrote, Spring is a Daisy. See you soon.

After months of frozen lakes and counting snowflakes Ahhh, on March 20th we welcome Spring.
Robin Red Breast has been spotted and early morning song birds have returned to rejoice and sing.

For me this time of year reminds me of a sweet Daisy with Easter's promise in purity, joy and innocence all in wait.
From Spring into Summer, day's are strung together in nature's bounty of beauty in warm sunny weathers' fate.

The arrival of Spring brings happiness and Daylight savings time and creates the feeling love is in the air.
He loves me, he loves me not - plucking the petals off an oxeye daisy asking in rhyme the question, if you dare.

Carefree sunlight days of innocence in hopeful anticipation during Spring that love will bloom in your heart.
Days turn into Summer where hope springs external, an idiom of optimism and a promising fresh start.

© Vera

Quail eggs in crate -
Blown out Chicken eggs - TolerablyRockyFarm - etsy
Cartapesta mini crowns - Burlap Luxe - etsy
Metal heart and cross on French floral bucket - VILLABARNES - etsy
Couture Velvet Purple pillow - TasseliTexiles - etsy
Swinging bunny - healoom - etsy

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