Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Persian Tiffany Plates

Tiffany & Co. dinner plates, found at Saratoga Springs, NY, some years ago. We have four of them. I adore their Tiffany Blue and the flowers painted on gold disks. Their wear doesn't bother me in the slightest. They appear at holidays, and the other night when I decided to dress up mac & cheese (an excellent recipe can be found here - the secret ingredient being toasted mustard seed) with an arugula salad and French pinot noir. Of course, I've had my eye out for more of these plates, but to no avail.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spoleto in Winter

I recently came across these photos of Spoleto, Italy, which were posted on the Commune Di Spoleto Facebook page about a month ago, and wanted to share them with you. Try as I might, I could not find a photo credit, and would be pleased to know who took these gorgeous photos. The first one is of the Spoleto Duomo (Cathedral) which is located in the main piazza, while the remaining ones were taken from Spoleto's ancient Roman aqueduct. 

I'll be returning to Spoleto this summer with Umbrian Serenades. In fact, I'm planning my trip right now, the idea being to visit Florence before the program starts. It's going to be a glorious summer.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

going green

We read the New York Times to each other over breakfast, Mr. Husband pouring over the hardcopy which is delivered, while I look at the online version on my laptop. Its Thursday, so the Home section is front and center, that is, after we talk about cyber-hacking and how companies should- but won't - admit to it. 

"Look at this!" He thrusts the paper at me. A discussion of style follows regarding two studios, one on top of the other on 57th street: how women often go light while men go masculine and dark. Guess which one we prefer? The gentleman's room seems much bigger - the eye moves around more. It also looks like he doesn't have a TV. Blessed one. (We haven't had cable for about two years now. Deprived? Hardly. We stream the news on a small flatscreen that is housed in a bookcase.) Yeah. There are a lot of chairs, but I'd be happy living there with the wood, gilded ceiling and all those paintings crawling up the wall. (Find the article on these two apartments here. The photography is by Bruce Buck for the New York Times.)  

The gentleman's room makes me think about painting our living room green now that we have overhead lighting. A dark room going darker? Many decorators suggest this approach. I tried it once, painting the overmantel area and the walls above the book shelves Providence Olive. But it seemed much too dark. Now that we have better lighting, the idea is rearing its head again. Interestingly, our apartment was once painted a darkish green in the 1940's, which I discovered one day while cleaning the front door. A green straight out of Rope

Opinions welcome! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'll fly away

Antique red wooden beads with a silver eagle. This was the last piece I saw my father wearing which he crafted. It was on my mind this morning, perhaps, because my mother recently emailed me a photo of the two of them the day they brought home their dog Sparky a few years ago. My dad wasn't wearing this piece in the photo, but his shirt in the photograph was red. Red leading to more red, you might say. I love this piece's simplicity and vibrancy. Even resting on the green flannel blanket, it looks like it's about to fly away. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo: Night & Day

Out the 1930's Chinoiserie front door and into the night and Central Park, walking past Strawberry Fields to the Bethesda Fountain, snow swirling in the unearthly quiet. The next morning, heading out to find the sidewalks and path clear. Everyone is out: sliding down small inclines, throwing snowballs and smiling from ear to ear. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wild Tulips

"Nothing new here! Move on, move on to the next image of an interior, since you've seen this one before." That's the smirky voice that I heard in my head, as I took these pictures this morning, and thought about posting them. And why post them? From my perspective: it is the light. The light is getting warmer and brighter - a blessed thing. Living in a 'dark' apartment, you notice these things. Yes, Mr. Husband and I have a large window, but it faces North, with a view of a courtyard, Brownstones on either side, and a 12 story building directly opposite. So- not much natural light. To see the sky, you have to go to the window and look up. 

Having lived in the apartment for almost 20 years, I've become keenly aware of the cycle of light throughout the year, as it crawls across the ceiling and is reflected off the windows from that 12 story building. The ceiling always has a blue cast to it, making its pure white paint seem even colder: which is why I am intent on painting the ceiling panels the same color as the walls, which are cameo white (the coffered beams are painted a half-tone of cameo white). It needs a bit of color- or so my eye tells me. But I've gotten off track. I started this post because of the light on the wild almost-done tulips. That light's gone now as I write, only lasting about 30 minutes. However, it will be back later when the sun hits another window. 

The second photograph was taken with me sitting on the floor, at the bottom of the entry stairs, thus capturing the whole width of the living room. You can see that I haven't yet taken down the angel Gabriel which was put up for the Holidays, nor have I take the 1950's sample suitcase  - filled with ornaments - to basement storage.  

Funny what a photograph can tell you. This one suggests that the room could benefit from a large carpet, perhaps a grass one with a simple border that encompasses the sofa and chairs.  That and a much larger mirror. I'm working on the later: a large frame sits in the basement waiting to be gessoed and gilded, though I am wondering about a black finish with gilding. There is that black piano to consider, which you get a glimpse of in the lower left hand corner.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Columbus Circle at Dusk

Walking home from Whole Foods at Columbus Circle, having picked up dinner that went into the oven for an hour when I got home. Snapping this photo along the way. Cooking dinner. Chicken in a pot with cognac, potatoes, carrots, onions, thyme and rosemary. Sipping a glass of French white while waiting. Heavenly fragrance filling the apartment. The simplest of things give the greatest pleasure.  

Globe and Trump Hotel at dusk, Columbus Circle, New York City, Camerbag App, Magazine setting. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Piano Man: James Carney

Our 1970's Yamaha piano was rebuilt this past month with new action, hammers, bass strings, and regulation taking about a month to complete. Doing the work? The excellent jazz artist, composer and teacher James Carney, who really knows his way around the keyboard. 

The new 'pressed' hammers are manufactured in upstate New York, being made from a rediscovered pre-WW1 German process. They give the piano a mellow, full tone, one that rings for a much longer time.  

These photos show James in action, adjusting each key. How long did this take? Two 10 hour days. James worked with a surgeon's light on his forehead, which enabled him to operate on our piano with deft precision. It really is that kind of work. Exacting and time consuming. 

We are quite pleased with the result, the instrument now having greater dynamic and tonal range. If your piano needs attention, we can highly recommend James.  

iPhone photo, CameraBag App, Magazine setting. 

Friday, February 1, 2013


Two adjoining building facades in Chelsea, New York City, CameraBag App, Magazine Setting.