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Why door knockers?

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Why not?

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My mother always takes pictures of small details when she visits foreign places.  She’ll go to Japan and not take a single picture of a temple, but a hundred pictures of leaves and sea glass.  I picked up some of this habit from her, but I still have my father’s deep appreciation for grand buildings as well.   These images are all from around Italy on our last trip.

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Today seemed like a good day to share these knockers.

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Hoping some doors open for everyone this week!  (^_^)

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And this Chianti farmhouse door is just cool without adornment…

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I don’t know how this happened.  A year ago, this wall above my bed was a blank wall… and then…

I read a blog where a designer said she only kept empty frames in her bedrooms so that she wouldn’t have nightmares.  I can’t remember the reasoning behind it, but it seemed to make sense at the time, so I started collecting old frames from antique and thrift stores.

Then posters started creeping into my frames…  I was recently given the print of the girl with the umbrella for Christmas by a good friend.  It is by artist Kristin Kemper, who I think is genius.

I also have that sick affinity for paper that most artists do.  Those big drawers at art stores that you can pull out and leaf through expensive swaths of paper, like fabric in their patterns, always call to me, even though I have no plan for their use.  I finally just stuck some up on the wall because I couldn’t bear to stash them away somewhere.  Now it’s growing!  My new favorite place to buy paper is here:  Kozo: Fine Art Materials  in Denver.  But Meininger is always great, too.

Covering a whole wall like this would be fun!  Image

P.S.  The decaying wood on the wall is the guts of an old piano that had been left outside.  I love how it looks like a fish skeleton… since you know how much I like the beautiful macabre of the skeleton.

I am happy to report that my hanging devices for my teacups have withstood the test. They’ve been up for months, now, and even lived stress-free through a roofing job, which sent other pictures on my walls off their nails. Not these guys! They’re tough! I do love epoxy…

On a sad note… I’m being forced to admit that my sad little box camera has fallen out of my pocket one too many times. I think it’s getting fuzzy around the edges. I may have to buy a grown-up camera with real lenses and stuff soon. Sticker shock! Ah! Any favorites out there? Looking at the Cannon Rebel at the moment…

Do you know why I love photographing coffee? It’s because I can remember all the events and sights leading up to that cup, and the ones that followed. I recall the conversations I had over it, and the feelings I felt… taking pictures of coffee is the best way I know how to photograph Europe, because the rest of it has been photographed much better than I can ever attempt, so why bother? This is the important stuff…


My first coffee in Paris, France, just north of Notre Dame. I didn’t understand the system yet, so I ordered Cafe Au Lait, because it was the only thing I recognized! We had just seen our favorite of all places- San Chapelle, the chapel of glass and light!


Coffee at the Louvre! We had admired Napolean’s coronation only moments before, and afterwards we got very lost in the Egyptian section, where we discovered that the Louvre does not connect in some places and makes for a lot of walking.


My favorite coffee moment in Paris. This was on the Rue du Bac between the Musee D’Orsay and the Taxidermie Deyrolle. This was my first macaroon! I never understood the allure until I popped this pink pastry in my mouth, and now I’m an addict!


Clearly, I had discovered espresso… I believe “Cafe Richard” was a chain of coffee supply because every time we got a cup with the name printed on it, the cafe was nothing like the one before. Perhaps it is the Starbucks of Paris. This was on a busy street corner after having walked down the hill from the Pantheon (quite the Mausoleum!).


Oh, moules! I may never eat a mussel again after the rapidity with which my father downed them in Paris. This small restaurant was near where we stayed in an apartment north of Montmatre.


Ah, yes, this one! What a day! It was a dreary, cloudy sky that hung over us as we walked the quiet streets of Pere Lachaise Cemeterie. After hours of wandering and petting gravestones of famous loved ones, we settled in the cafe across the street with large Mucha paintings on the walls. Perhaps a tourist trap, but a safe place with hot coffee nonetheless.


We’ve left Paris, now! Here is the sole cup of coffee I enjoyed in Dusseldorf, Germany. A lovely bakery chain where I had my first German pretzel. Yum! Here the cups are twice as large, by the way. Whoa! It was challenging to find a coffee shop with a place to sit. It seems most folks like standing. Same with their bars! How intriguing!


Oooooo, Spanish coffee! This was at a hotel in Zaragosa, Spain, where we had just come from a flight, and then a bus ride to our final destination. A large and fit-for-a-king-dinner awaited us, and coffee was naturally served after.


Okay, this is actually liquid chocolate, not coffee, that I enjoyed with my hosts when we walked the streets to admire Zaragosa at night. This was the only non-alcoholic beverage we imbibed that evening.


Black coffee served at the hotel in the morning. Quite the cup!


Breakfast at Cafe Rodi, a small cafe near the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. A delicious, hand-prepared meal with foods I’d never dreamed of before. And oh the Ham! Jamon with every meal! Woo!


Served after a luxurious meal of lamb chops seared over open fire at the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. There were anchovies filleted with olive oil, mushrooms stuffed with foie gras, pimentoes also stuffed with foie gras… foie gras on everything why not! Did I mention the 16 wines served? I couldn’t keep up…


Back in Zaragosa, we had a filling lunch of Lobster rice soup in a very yellow restaurant. I remember being exhausted and full beyond belief. I never thought I’d eat again!


This coffee was across the table from me because my cup refused to photograph well. The table is at an elegant restaurant somewhere in Barcelona, where several bottles of wine were ordered, and I enjoyed a sinful dish of suckling lamb liver. My gracious host made the evening classy and memorable. Uh-mazing.


On a voyage towards Gaudi’s Guell Park, Barcelona. It is an up-hill climb to get there, but the view extends all the way to the sea, and there are plenty of places to stop along the way for coffee.


My last coffee in Europe 2012. This was in a restaurant down near the Barcelona Airport, where we dined on traditional grilled leeks and the most amazing garlic aioli that made my mouth raw the whole next week. This coffee’s acidity burned right through me, but I couldn’t help having it. Coffee had become a sort of signal that all was right in the world, and gave me a moment of peace to wrap myself up in.

Naturally I came home to our streets of Starbucks and experienced a kind of reverse culture shock. How different a world we live in! How I miss the cafe of Europe!

I was sitting on a concrete step waiting for a museum to open. I looked down to find a beautiful moth at my feet.

His wing was badly torn, and he seemed content to sit there, so I merely stared at him.

Soon, a gaggle of school children came along and stared at him, too. Their wonder was contagious.

Eventually, the moth had enough of people and flew away like a drunken bumble bee.
Mother Nature… you are so cool.

A gusty wind and a fierce hailstorm came through our backyard a few nights ago.  The wreckage gave me six meters of a disressed fence spread out over the yard.   Nature’s destruction inspired me!  Remember the fox skull? He finally got some skin.

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Saw this little guy as I got on the Denver Light Rail today.

Don’t you just love little touches that make your day better?

Those of you who read my blog have figured out that I’m a sucker for cool graffiti. Not the average tags and names- but cute stuff that makes me smile more than a blank wall would. While I was in Paris, Germany, and Spain, I took some photos of my favs. I now realize, that I have no pictures of German graffiti! Wonderous strange!

french metro graffiti-popes
Saw these dudes scribbled on a Paris Metro billboard. I think they’re popes… or clergy? Not sure, but I love how much time this had to take the guy who was obviously drawing with a sharpie on public property in the middle of a metro tube… and no one else cared.

Meow meow graffiti
On a random street in St. Germain. This was some sort of obstruction to keep a car from coming up onto the corner, I think. Well decorated for sure.

Paris metro tile
I know that the art on descending metro stairs isn’t technically graffiti, but it is so varied from stop to stop that I enjoyed every one individually anyway. This was my favorite. I think it’s the Rue de Bac station.

heads on the street graffiti
Who doesn’t love heads on a sidewalk? I don’t know how these were painted/drizzled onto the pavement, but it seemed the same texture as the paint used in marking out the lines on a street. From Paris outside the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.


Also not graffiti, per se, but a very neat way to decorate a wall on a low budget. I think this was on a side street in Zaragosa, Spain.


Also from Zaragosa. It seems that this was a billboard that an artist “stole” and painted over. Very clever.

spain graffiti
I really hope this is a Transformer… In Zaragosa, Spain.

squirrel graffiti
This is my favorite by far. So favorite that I’m giving you two images of this bad-boy.
Understand that this image was taken in an extremely small alley around midnight while I was under the influence of tapas and wine. I was standing on someone’s doorstep to get this shot!


As you can see… pure awesome. Another example of an artist “borrowing” the billboard, but this genius takes the cake! I love the x-ray break used. Very cool. This artist also did a really tall rabbit in the same style that I saw while on a bus- I think someone faster than me took a picture, but I haven’t tracked that person down yet.


Ha ha! Barceloneta, you are hilarious! This photo was snapped at the port of Barcelona, near that crazy tall statue of Columbus pointing to America. I love blobby dudes.

mario graffiti
Pixel-mario graffiti! Aw-yeah! This was sprayed on a temporary construction fence outside the metro one takes to get to Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain. Te amo, Mario!

Well- that’s all the ones I have now. I know there are more on my mother’s camera, and like I said, some other travelers took some for me, so I’ll put them up as I find them. Enjoy the under-funded-city-improvement-happy art!

I’ve never been a fan of “cork crafts.” You know, the kinds of things you can make with your collection of corks- kind of an ego trip concerning the amount of wines you’ve consumed, and absolutely a hoarding problem.

But what’s a girl to do when she opens, on average, ten bottles of wine a week? Corks are cool- but there are only so many you can have in glass jars or piled up in corners. Finally, I decided to break down and make my father a cork board! However, since I didn’t like the “normal” styles of cork board, where one cuts the cork in half lengthwise, I decided I wanted to see the wine-end, which to me, is far more interesting.

Materials:

Corks (the number is dependent on your frame size. I included champagne corks)
A Shadow Box that’s depth is less than a cork.
Tacky Glue (I used Aileens)



Step One:

Remove the glass from your shadow box- you won’t be needing it.
With the back still in the frame, set on a hard surface like a table, or the floor, collect your corks and start lining them up inside your frame, careful to arrange them so that the reds are evenly distributed among the whites, and the large champagne corks are scattered. Make sure your corks are so snug inside that if you picked up the frame, they’d magically stay in there.



Step Two:

Place the piece of glass on top of the corks once you have them where you want them.

Holding the glass against the corks with one hand, flip your whole frame over onto the glass, with the back of the frame now facing upwards. The glass should ensure that none of your corks fall out!

Step Three:
Open the back of the frame- it should be all the “backs” of the corks you just organized. Now the glue begins. With your tacky glue, place a liberal amount of glue on each cork. I also ran lines of glue along the back of the frame in random squiggles, too. I used tacky glue because of its slow drying time and at its price I don’t mind using half a bottle of glue!

Step Four:
Replace the back of the frame, and re-turn all the mechanisms that hold the frame in place. This next step may not be essential- but I decided to glue the back of the frame in to place. I actually glue all along the seam and flattened it with my finger.

Step Five:
Pressing the glass against the corks from the bottom to assure corks down fall out, flip the cork board back over so that the cork is now facing up again. Remove the glass.
Run your hand over each cork and press them firmly down, making sure the back of the cork makes contact with the back of the frame, so it can be well stuck with the glue you just applied.

Step Six:
Wait. I waited two days before moving my cork board- but it might only take one depending on your climate. Affix any wall hangers you may need; note that since the cork board is frequently touched, two wall hangers on opposite sides of the frame is ideal to keep it from shaking on the wall.

Now wrap it up for your loved one with a lovely wine note like: “I’ve met a lot of Moms, but your my favorite vintage.” or “Dads are like good wine- they get better with age.” How about, “Cabernet pairs well with steak, and Sauv Blanc pairs well with chicken. But my absolute favorite pairing is you and me.” or if you want to get really technical: “My favorite appellation is Home, and you’re my favorite label.”

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A Native American supply store in town carries skulls, and while they’d been out of stock, they called yesterday to say they got new skulls in. I fetched this awesome fox, a mink, and a muskrat. Can’t wait to dress them!
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Sadly, it’ll have to wait. I’m off to Europe on business and won’t be back for two weeks. I’m excited to see a much talked about taxidermy shoppe in Paris. I promise to take lots of pictures! Cheers!