Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let's Visit an Artsy Cincinnati Neighborhood

Last Monday, Joe and I took Sadie and some friends to one of their favorite little urban neighborhoods for lunch. The last day of summer vacation called for a bit of fun and Sadie chose to spend it with us!Northside is a centrally located neighborhood in Cincinnati which has enjoyed a resurgence in the last 20 years. Like lot's of older city neighborhoods it had suffered a decline but is now a charming area with a definite artsy flair. It is still a bit shabby with a feel that is a cross between aging hippie and urban hip. Lovely old buildings have been turned into restaurants, salons and shops.
It is within a short distance of several colleges, U.C., Xavier, Cincinnati State and Cincinnati Art Academy and therefore draws from a diverse population which gives Northside it's bohemian vibe.
I love older urban neighborhoods and the architecture that can be found there. The attention to ornament and detail on aging buildings is amazing. It is so important to try to maintain as many of these pieces of history as we can.
We had a lovely lunch at my son Joe's favorite restaurant, Melt. Yummy sandwiches and soups and a large vegan selection as well. I love the funky decor. Mid century thrifted dinnettes and mismatched 60's dinnerware as well as a fabulous retro painted wall in the back dining room.
Of course the cupcakes and brownies are to die for. Sadie ordered this spice cupcake with cream cheese icing. Heavenly.
Did I tell you both of my children are very musical? Sadie plays guitar, drums and violin but her latest desire is an upright bass so we were quite interested when we saw this sign above a street side doorway.
I love these arched windows.
Old buildings reinvigorated with new business. I wonder what the original builders and business owners would think?
I am sure they would be happy to see their creations still standing and thriving.
We had to make a stop at Shake It Records. CDs and art books as well as tons of vinyl LPs. My kids love the old records because of the great artwork on the covers. I practically had to drag my husband out of the door, he was taking quite a trip down memory lane.
The topper was Casablanca Vintage, an old corner building literally loaded with vintage clothing. You can barely walk sideways through this place. They are a source for filmakers looking for period clothing as well as a provider of vintage clothes and formal wear for high school and college kids.
I would just love to own a few of these great hat boxes. Check out the embossed metal ceiling!

We ran out of time for more exploring so we'll leave it for another day. I hope you enjoyed this little taste of an old Cincinnati neighborhood.

Are there favorite little pockets in your city that you enjoy visiting?

Have an Old Fashioned Labor Day, P.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

A Lovely Garden Visit

This lovely girl has visited every day this summer.Shy at first, she has become quite friendly as the season moves along. She often has family along but they are not as comfortable as she is with human neighbors.
Hello dear, (deer) so nice to see your gentle face again. I am feeling blessed by your peaceful presence.
I really didn't need those tomatoes this year. Why do you think I planted vegetables except for your enjoyment?
Really though, how can I mind not having fresh veggies when this beauty comes to visit?

Have a welcoming Friday, P.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


What do you collect?

I have a few collections that I have become obsessive about at one time or another. Collections that I know my friends think "What's up with that?", and decide maybe they should be a little pickier about whom they associate with.
I just can't help myself sometimes. For whatever reason I fall hopelessly in love with some useless piece of the past. Then I track it down and stalk it until it is mine. (You are probably thinking you should be choosier about whose blogs you read from now on.)

I don't know what draws me to certain objects except maybe that they remind me of happy times, childhood, people I've loved who are no longer present.
So, I had a love affair with plastic Woolworth's birdcages. The ones that people kept their 50 cent parakeets in. (I don't really know that they were 50 cents, that just sounds like what a parakeet would cost at Woolworths in the days of plastic cages.)

I think I began this collection because my Grandma Florence always had a parakeet. The one I remember had pretty blue and white feathers and his name was Billy Bird. There could have been more than one Billy, I'm not sure, this was a looong time ago. Billy had a whole circus full of acrobatic toys and he was quite proficient at ball rolling and climbing on his plastic playground on top of Grandma's dresser. He even had a record that was supposed to teach him to talk by repeating the same phrase over and over. I do know that he could whistle and say "Pretty Bird".

I don't remember if Billy actually ever lived in one of these plastic cages but I'm sure I must have seen them in the stores when we went shopping for birdy toys. So these cages are a kind of tribute to my Grandma and her Billy.
The problem with collecting plastic birdcages is where to display them. (Not exactly dining room or even family room material plus they're rather bulky) So, my laundry room is the perfect place for me to revel in their lemonade and limeade colored glory.

I keep a few laundry related vintage toys and parakeet figures there too. As well as a paint-by-number poodle portrait for reasons I won't go into here. I don't remember my Grandma having a ringer washer (I'm not THAT old) but I couldn't resist this pink replica. I did grow up in the 60's, when lots of people had pink appliances. We had an aqua stove and fridge but I sure envied those chosen few who still had rosy colored kitchens.

So what strikes a cord in your heart that may make others think you are just a little bit odd?

I'll tell you about another one some day soon.

Have a quirky Wednesday, P.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Blink of an Eye

The time from preschool to Senior year has passed in a moment. I blinked and it was over. What a bittersweet day this is. My little girl's last year of high school starts today. Her kiss on my cheek and her foot out the door towards her future. Backpack, car keys "love ya, gotta go, I'm gonna be late..."My little girl, best friend, bunny rabbit. I can't wait to see you blossom into what you will become. So much fun ahead. College plans, art shows, varsity scenic design, maybe another Scholastic Art Gold Key or Cappie nomination? Senior prank and all the fun you girls will have this last year of high school. Please let it go slowly and savor each minute.
It is going to be very quiet here today. Summer is over. Have a lovely day and I'll see you later.
She'll be right back Karma.
I promise.

How about a cookie?

Have a quiet Tuesday, P.
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Last Day of Summer Vacation

My girl starts the first day of her senior year tomorrow. Gonna spend some time doing fun stuff with her today.

Have an easy going Monday, P.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Weekend Fun

I'm off for a little girlfriend time. We have season tickets to the Bengals. I know, you are all jealous, 20 years without a winning season. Who wouldn't be? Sweet Hubby doesn't care for the preseason games. (They don't count) So we are making a girl's day of it. Three friends and I have booked a hotel downtown and are going to dinner and the game tonight. Maybe we'll see a winner.I can see that Yin doesn't believe it. Okay, enough with the sarcasm kitty.
Miracles do happen...

Have a winning Saturday, P.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Bit of Functional Art

I am posting pics of a pair of shoes my daughter Sadie painted. She customizes Chucky T's according to the wearer's hobbies, loves etc.These are a personal pair of her own.
She used her favorite colors and references to art and painting.
Just a little bit of fun and self expression for the feet.
If I can just get her to work on a pair for me...
Art and fashion all rolled into one. Go Sadie!

Have a footloose Friday, P.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Art and Nature

The natural world has such a profound effect on us both physically and emotionally. The overwhelming beauty of the smallest flower or the largest landscape has the ability to impact us in life altering ways. Colors, scents, sounds, the touch of a breeze or the coolness of a stream can calm and refresh better than any painting, sculpture or other piece of art created by man. Art is, after all, our way of recreating the sense of beauty found in the world that surrounds us.
For my 50th birthday my husband flew me to Sedona, Arizona to meet him after a sales meeting in Scottsdale. We spent a few days at a resort and then a few more in a cozy little guest house in the mountains. (I told you he spoils me) I had heard all the new agey, hocus pocus about vortexes and spiritual energy, yada yada blah, but I'm really not the type.
Well... I have to say, Sedona takes your breath away. There is so much grandeur here that you can barely stand to be indoors in this place because you are afraid to miss a moment of changing light or altered color.
I can see why people believe this place is sacred. I do feel that being there changed my outlook on life to a degree. I returned home feeling that instead of beginning the path to old age I was on the path to the second half of my LIFE...
So, we are inspired by nature to create art. Most art is created from natural elements as well, such as stone, marble, pigments from minerals, which are used to try to capture what we see with our eyes.
But, what about art created from nature itself? We hiked to Oak Creek, another place said to contain spiritual energy. All along the creekside people had built little totems of stone.
The farther along we walked the more there were.
As if everyone who walked here was inspired to build a little piece of art as a tribute to the beauty of this place.
Art is impermanent. Obviously some works of art have lasted centuries, but some will only last until the wind blows them away or they are washed away by the tide.

My son, Joe, has recently discovered an artist who uses the impermanence of nature to create his art. His name is Andy Goldsworthy and he creates using only what he finds, literally, at the spot he is working, twigs, pine cones, even icicles. He also creates amazing sculptures of stacked stone. My son purchased a DVD documentary of his work entitled Rivers and Tides. I am adding a link to a bit of his work on You Tube. This is truly amazing work that should be shared.

What inspires you to create?

Have an artful Thursday, P.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Color Inspiration and a Cat Behaving Badly

Is orange my new red?
I am crazy for this color combination lately. Black and white with one accent color has always been a favorite but lately shades of orange have been creeping into my home. I was always a red girl but like I've been saying, change is a good thing. Of course the approach of fall could be influencing my choices too. However I did pick out an orange Ikea leather couch for our "retro That 70's Show" basement earlier in the summer. So maybe I'm just liking orange because it's orange.
I was going to show you a nice pic of my Ikea sofa but apparently my cat is starving since I have picked up blogging. I suppose I will show you what happens when a cat wants a cookie instead.

Even I would show a bit more restraint when I see the last cookie sitting unobserved on a plate.

Not much more restraint mind you. It is the last cookie after all.

Black and white with orange and a touch of amber glass. It could be a new favorite. Black and white, meet your new neighbor.
How about some aqua blue thrown in as an accent?

Have a colorful Wednesday, P.
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