Friday, November 19, 2010

Super Bowl Day

Well, when I learned that today is National Toilet Day, I thought it was a joke. What else is there that I didn't know about - National Dishwasher Day, etc.?  But come to find out thanks to Google, National Toilet Day is a very serious day with the intention to bring attention to the importance of sanitation.  The scoop on poop is that nearly half the world's population do not have access to toilets and make do with a plastic bag or a field of bushes, etc.  This is dangerous to your health and does nothing for your dignity!

Today there will be world-wide events, exhibits, panel discussions, and seminars.  One very simple demonstration being performed worldwide is called The Big Squat.  All you need to do is get a group of people together in a public place and squat for 1 minute.  That should get some attention to this campaign!

The Big Squat

Heathrow Airport Toilet with auto-flush

Ever since I started to travel out of the United States, I was always happy to return to the high standard of plumbing that we enjoy here.  How lucky we are and how much we take for granted!  Primitive bathroom situations in foreign countries always made for riotous adventures and bizarre stories.  Thank goodness that it wasn't a situation I had to tolerate for long. The other extreme always got my attention, too...such as the Heathrow bathrooms here featuring Duravit. 

Heathrow Airport sinks with auto-water sinks and air-dry that works fast and quickly

The high standard of design and quality of materials made for a memorable experience.  I was impressed that the Brits regarded the airport facilities as top priority in terms of comfort, function, and beauty.  It was on the same level of luxury and technology that I experienced at truck stops in Italy 10 years ago.

Heathrow Airport

 Quite a far cry from the castle toilets of Merry Old England.  Ha, ha!

I guess you could say that this castle toilet it has a certain primitive charm...

And yes, you guessed it...into the moat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mighty Fine Artist

One of my favorite things to do as an interior designer is to apply my art skills to the project at hand.  In this case, my client had fallen in love with a wood box adorned with metal decorations.  Unfortunately, the turquoise just didn't quite fit into my color scheme for the room. But note how the design motifs are part of the carpet design.

This is when an MFA in painting comes in handy...or as my graduate school colleagues called the degree standing for Mighty Fine Artist.

I like to live dangerously:  no smock, no drop cloths - just a few newspapers.  I used oil paints that clean up with water, given to me as a gift from another client.  They worked just like what I was used to.

I wanted to "correct" the colors in the room, so that I could refer accurately to color matches; in this case the whites, golds, reds, and blues.

Here's the finished result:  I got a little carried away and put my touch on just about everything except for the green leaves.  It was a wonderfully therapeutic way to spend an hour out of my work day.  There's never a dull moment in this business!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red and Green

These Burning Bushes caught my eye in their resplendent red fall wardrobe...sort of a precursor to Christmas with the red and green juxtaposed.  Funny how the landscape clipper created spheres in front of cubes.

A little further down the street, were these conical conifers and Burning Bushes put together like a puzzle.

But then, a little further, and oh, my!  THIS is a Burning Bush in all its natural free-to-grow-however state.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Panning For Gold

Well, you never know what treasures that you'll find while dog-walking or dumpster-diving!  Today is a perfect example, tho' I have to credit a tip-off that made it that much easier.  I was heading home with Alice and Chewy, and observed 2 students looking at something next to a dumpster.  They then headed on down to the Metro-Link, and I went over to see what was there.  Lo and behold, there was an awesome pot, in perfect condition.  Sorry students!  I had to assume they had to pass on it for one reason or another.

The pot has a fantastic glaze. It's about 14" high x 12" diameter, unsigned. If you just keep your eyes open, you'll find art all around you, waiting to find a home!  Thank you to whoever put it out for adoption!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

With an enjoyable period of Indian Summer temperatures last October, I felt in a frenzy to complete outdoor home and yard tasks.  I imagined they were utterly necessary to complete before the onslaught of winter.  Need I note that a lot of these chores had lain neglected for years.  Perhaps this was the year that I made time to tackle them. 

 My first "to do" involved tearing ivy off of the garage.  In the process of this, I kicked a hornet's nest, and immediately felt a sharp pain on my arm.  This sting unleashed enough venom to wipe me out physically for two full days.  It then took at least 3 weeks for the angry red splotch and local pain to disappear. I remember when I was in my early twenties, I kicked a nest another time and got stung on a finger which swelled up like a golf ball.  It also put me in the horizontal position and wiped me out for at least a day.

Easy to see how how well camouflaged their nest is and how easy it is to disturb the entrance! Now with the St. Louis Film Festival underway, I noticed a film entitled 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest'...Sounds interesting, given my personal experience.  I am sorry to say that the hornet's nest is no more, but at least I don't have to worry about getting stung again and the ivy is off the garage!

Notes from New Orleans

To spend All Hallow's Eve in New Orleans seemed the perfect time to mix business with pleasure.  With Halloween falling on Sunday, a three-day weekend of costuming and partying was ensured.  People come in from hundreds of miles around to partake in the costume parade, having worked weeks and months on their outfits.  Frenchman Street is the place to see and be seen.  I was there on the Friday before Halloween and caught an unexpected parade where John Goodman was on a float throwing out beads to the masses.

A carefully coiffed Queen Elizabeth

Antiques de Provence

Business is always a pleasure for me.  I scoured the antique shops in the French Quarter and on Magazine Street for treasures.

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Then I scoured the art galleries on Julia Street and Magazine Street to balance out the antiquing.

S n J Bar

My daughter introduced me to this seedy bar where there were 3 dogs running around inside and furniture totally trashed out.  If you were in the nude, you could have free drinks, but there weren't any takers when we visited.  I like this kind of craziness that can happen only in New Orleans.  This place could have been a stage set, except that it was real!  I know it looks scary and dangerous, but it really wasn't.  Just around the corner was Tulane University and the mansions of St. Charles Street.

This house was right next door to the S n J; it was a preserved relic of the dismal days of Katrina.

Meanwhile, I wanted to keep up my piano practicing. Every day after I dropped my daughter off at Tulane, I was happy to use the practice rooms in the music school.  Each room had a Steinway and an artist bench, which suited me just fine!  The Beethoven No. 17, The Tempest,  is coming along, thank you very much!

Blind Boy and the Milk Sheiks
The street entertainment is of the highest caliber in New Orleans. These musicians included strumming a washboard and bowing a saw in their act.

On my last day in New Orleans, I spent the day at Audubon Park.  I did some drawings of the magnificent live oak trees.  This one was named the Tree of Life, and had the same ethereal qualities of the sacred tree in Avatar.  I spent quite a while sitting and listening to the birds in the aviary.  It was an incredibly soothing and therapeutic experience, and if I lived in NO, I'd be there once a week!