Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's the News?

I hope everybody's summer is going swimmingly. (okay, okay, I know, I know, atrocious pun)

We've been out-of-town-in-town-out-of-town and being very busy by doing very little. It's been fun - but it's so hot and muggy everywhere! It's miserable in CT - it's miserable in PA - it's miserable in NYC. How did the world survive before central air conditioning?!

Welcome to all the new followers! I've been very out-of-touch with my blog this month - but I will be getting back in the groove in a few weeks. Thanks for sticking with me.

I've been making and receiving lots of art swap pieces. I'll post pictures when I get my new camera battery. I thought these things were supposed to last forever! But I've received some art work that is gonna knock your socks off!

Okay. I'm off to pick up our sushi take-out dinner. There is no way we're going to heat up the kitchen in this sauna.

Enjoy the summer - and I hope you're making beautiful things!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Porcelain, Books, Hotels, and Science Fiction!

We just returned from a terrific mini-holiday in New York, visiting with friends here for the summer from Florida. Yesterday we saw the lovely new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Royal Porcelain from the Twinight Collection. It's a small exhibit, but just breathtaking. The porcelain factories of Berlin, Sévres, and Vienna achieved an extraordinary level of both artistic and technical skill in the first half of the nineteenth century, and the quality of painted decoration practiced at these three factories at that time has never been surpassed. This exhibition brings together approximately seventy-five superb examples from these three European porcelain factories and illustrates the exchange of ideas and styles between the factories that resulted in some of the most remarkable porcelain ever produced.

This gorgeous 1818 cup and saucer from the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory in Vienna is decorated with finely detailed paintings of birds - in a gilded birdcage! Just enchanting, it was one of my favorites in the collection.
I also found two books in the Met gift shop that I'm sure a few of you would enjoy. "Versailles" by Jean-Marie Perouse De Montclos, which is just stuffed with photos of the spectacular palace, and lot of information. Frankly, I was recently gifted with a copy of the wonderful book, "Versailles: A Biography of a Palace" by Tony Spawforth and I prefer that text. But the myriad photos in this one are brilliant. Hours of perusing details of the most beautiful building I've ever been in. (Well, the Paris Opera House is pretty fab, too - but, after all, Versailles is Versailles!)
... and, for anybody interested in mid 19th century fashion, "Dangerous Liasons." During the reigns of Louis XV and XVI, fashion and furniture in France were not designed simply to be beautiful—they were also intended to arouse, attract, and seduce. This alluring book considers the interplay of French clothing and interior design in the eighteenth century and features full-color photographs from the Met exhibition. Knock out book!

When we got home, le roi de la maison, Dusty, had a little surprise for us. In my entire life, I have had one (count it - ONE) set of Pratisi sheets. And, to be honest, I'll probably never have another. Now, even though I love these sheets, I do not love ironing them. Face it - I don't want to iron any king-size's like ironing a lawn cover. So, when they come out of the dryer, I promptly lay them out so that they will cool without wrinkles. Which is exactly what I did before we left. It seems that the entire time we were gone, le roi de la maison had rooted, and shuffled, and nested in them and spent his hours laying in luxury. It's a good thing I love him. I want this exterior sign! Don't ask me what I would do with it - I have no idea. But I think anybody and everybody deserves an eight foot tall martini glass, decorated with dozens of light bulbs! How could you pass by a cocktail lounge with this sign and not stop in for a nip?

Speaking of fabulous objects from the past....aren't these art deco wall sconces awesome?! Now, I do know what I would do with these. I'd have them put beside the windows in the living room - and then totally redesign the whole place in art deco to go with them!
And, I'm pretty sure this seven foot tall Eiffel Tower sculpture would have to find its way into the design. I think this is the best of all the Eiffel Tower tributes/merchandising I've seen ... so intricate and finely wrought. I want!And while on the subject of beautiful things and traveling - we were talking about traveling and seeing beautiful things, right? - I found this at Perfect Bound and thought it was both a practical and attractive solution to luggage storage. Now - for those of you who have spacious suburban or country homes, this will perhaps seem silly. But, for those of us who live in the city and don't have words like 'basement,' 'attic,' 'spare room,' etc. in our vocabularies, finding clever and pleasing storage solutions are always appreciated. Now, you suburban/country folks can make fun of us for settling for such small spaces to live in - but, don't forget - we city folk are also always able to get those gorgeous white tulips within a two block walk of anywhere!
One last lovely image before I close. A piece of my work was recently acquired to be used in the decoration of the new ballroom at The Banker's Suite in Astoria Oregon. Here is a photo of the bed - I could definitely relax here for a night or two! Isn't it peaceful and lovely? I particularly enchanted with that embellished dress form!
For more photos of this gorgeous spot, click here ... and be sure to click on "gallery."

Well, I really have to get Dusty walked and dinner over with so I can totally veg out for the third night of "Torchwood: Children of Earth." Are you watching this fun mini-series on BBCAmerica? It's so terrific! The NYTimes called it "perfect popcorn tv watching" and I completely agree. It's silly as all get out - and still suspenseful.

Oh. Remember those pieces I was going to finish last weekend. Well. It's Wednesday - and I haven't touched them. Summer fun keeps getting in the way of studio fun!

Okay, I'm off. I hope everybody is having a wonderful week - and that you've spent some time making something beautiful!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Busy Busy Pink Saturday

I have so much to do today - we had a terrible thunderstorm last night, and I have to clean up all the branches that came down - and try to pamper the plants that were beaten down to a fare-thee-well.

So in honor of gardening day and Pink Saturday, I offer ....

I wish that lawn mower were really mine! Of course, then I'd need a lawn instead of decks. Hmmmm.

In honesty, my friend Barbara sent this image to me, and I just can't resist passing it on. That's a person with a serious pink addiction!

To see more Pink Saturday treats, be sure to visit Beverly's Pink Saturday and see who is participating this week!.

Hope you get a chance to make something beautiful today!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Help Me! I'm Blogging and I Can't Shut Up!

Thanks to Jennifer at Peak of Chic, I've discovered the fantastic and magical watercolours of Harrison Howard. I have just become completely enchanted with his work - so fanciful and detailed and simply beautiful. To see more of his work - be sure to check out the "Shell and Flower People" in his gallery! - click here and prepare to be delighted!

Well, as all good things supposedly come in threes, here is my third film noir recommendation for the week: Stranger on the Third Floor. This is a rather weird little movie ... but, still a good tale and well-shot. I don't know why it's almost unknown. There are some breaks from classic film noir - instead of a dazzling bombshell of ill-repute, the leading lady is squeaky clean and honest. And the leading man isn't a fallen good guy seduced by money and a dame; he's a straight as an arrow hero, falsely accused of murder. The background of the movie is almost as good as the film itself! Peter Lorre was a very well-known character actor, but was never a "leading man" and never received top billing - until Stranger on the Third Floor. He was on load to RKO, and had two days left on his contract. They put him in this noir, in a relatively small role with lesser-knowns in the leads. He shot all his scenes in two days - and received top billing! Also, the leading lady, Margaret Tallichet, was Mrs. William Wyler and was one of the top five actresses in line for Scarlett O'Hara. She made only two films the year after Stranger on the Third Floor - and retired from films forever. Another piece of casting that adds to the strangeness of this film is the casting of Elisha Cook, Jr. As opposed to his usual second-banana henchman and hard-boiled criminal, here he plays an innocent boy sent to the gas chamber for a crime he didn't commit. His scenes protesting his innocence are quite good and he's remarkably believable! Director Boris Ingster has created a taut, concise (it's only a shade over one hour long), and exciting little thriller. He only made a couple more movies before moving on to produce television programs. One other little tidbit: this movie has one of the most bizarre dream sequences I've seen. I know I haven't told you much about the story - but it's so short that I feel giving a synopsis would let too much out of the bag. Just try to rent a copy of Stranger on the Third Floor and enjoy!
And, using my big ol' sleeves to fly my way to the 21st century ....
Two newer movies that had me engrossed from beginning to end.

First, Gran Torino, with director-star Clint Eastwood. Almost a perfect movie about the death of the ubiquitous America Dream. Eastwood's Polish blue-collar worker raises irrascible curmudgeon to an art form. He is possibly one of the most disagreeable characters you're going to run into - ever. Again, the story is very simple so I don't want to spoil the film by exposing too much here. Eastwood entertains and teaches us through a simple - and sometimes violent - story of melting distrust, surprising affection, spirituality, honour and bravery, and respect. This is a film that I believe a family should watch together (warning: some very strong language). There is much to be learned from this film. And, of course, it's also a plain old fashioned good movie!
My second contemporary film is I Loved You So Long, starring Kristen Scott Thomas, in perhaps her best performance ever. This movie is tough going - it's very emotional and touches - no, dwells - on some very unpleasant aspects of life. It has much to say about family, children, society, and the way they find importance in our lives. Ms. Scott Thomas plays Juliette, a woman just released from prison after 15 years. Again, I don't want to reveal what she was there for, as it's an important disclosure moment in the movie - but it's tough to hear. Her journey to find her place in a family that had disowned her, and a place of acceptance in society, is at times humorous - at others heartbreaking. The entire cast is first-rate - though it's clear this film is a showcase for Ms. Scott Thomas, and her Oscar nomination could hardly have come as a surprise. I'm glad I watched this with someone, as I wanted to talk about it when it was over. It brings up as many questions as it answers. It gets a big five stars out of five from me!
I love Victorian fashion. I had no idea that flotation devices were sometimes used as hair ornaments.
Isn't this a wonderful image?! While searching for images to use on a Mad Hatter's hat for an art swap, I came across this very realistic rabbit hole shot. It's a still from a very early (1903) turn of the century silent version of Alice in Wonderland. I think it's the first time I've ever seen the rabbit hole look so natural (if enormous), and vaguely creepy - as it should, in my opinion!
I also found this delightful clip from yet another early 20th century (1915) version of Alice. The sets were quite ominous -and the early special effect I found believable. Enjoy!

Okay, I'm off to work on some art pieces - I have three things that really must be finished up soon! I've been spending too much time this summer lazing around and watching movies! ... and enjoying way too many naps!
Have a lovely day - and try to find time to make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why Was Email Invented?

Movies, Chorus Girls, Porcelain, Poetry, and a Little Swine Flu

We watched two terrific film noirs last night ... both of them have been favorites of mine for a long time.

We kicked off our mini-film fest with 1953's Pickup On South Street, starring Richard Widmark and Jean Peters, with one terrific supporting performance by Thelma Ritter (Oscar nominated) and tautly directed by Samuel Fuller. Grifters, fallen women, spy rings, waterfront saloons and rainy streets: all the ingredients for a perfect film noir. The opening sequence, in which Widmark unwittingly lifts a piece of microfilm from floozie-turned-Communist-courier Peters as he picks her pocketbook on the subway, is a marvel of directing and editing. Not only does a long sequence of pick pocketing hold our attention - it's suspenseful and intriguing...and one bang up way to set up a film noir! It is also a classic example of film exhibiting an overcrowded space filled with people who are alone. Fascinating! If you can get a copy, and you enjoy film noir, this is one for you. I guarantee it will have you glued to your seat for the entire film!

I love this shot from Pick Up on South Street - Widmark has just discovered Peters ransacking his waterfront shack...and gives her a solid right to the jaw. Ms. Peters can take a sock to the jaw as well as the next man! And, of course, her eyelashes stay firmly in place.

The second half of our double feature was the 1954 film that started Kim Novak's career, Pushover, starring Fred MacMurray. Although filmed ten years after his turn with Barara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity, Fred again plays a not-so-bright lug who is duped into theft, murder and betrayal by a sultry and conniving blonde blombshell.

By the time Pushover was made, film noir was on the downside of its heyday. And though this has all the classic ingredients of a good film noir, it also recognizes the importance of the suspense film as being superbly crafted at the time by Alfred Hitchcock. In fact, like Hitchcock's Rear Window, this film has a lot to do with voyeurism - though it can't be said to rip off Hitchcock's film, as they were being made at the same time.

Almost the entire film takes place in the u-shaped apartment building in which Novak lives ... and the claustophobia of the setting enhances the film's suspense. Of course, we still have rainy streets, cocktail lounges, and nighttime settings - however, in this one Jean-Louis has done the costumes for Ms. Novak, so she looks far more elegant than the usual film noir babe.

It's no wonder Kim Novak became a star in this film. In an early scene, when MacMurray asks what she would like to do for the next couple hours, Novak breathes more meaning in the words "surprise me" than most actresses could do with a paragraph of suggetions! It's interesting that Novak was being groomed as the "next" Marilyn Monroe by Columbia. The two have nothing - beyond being well-shaped blondes - in common. While Marilyn was a bubbling, effervescent joy on screen, Novak is almost melancholy in her determined aloofness. While Marilyn was soft-edged, Novak is a glittering sharp-edged loner.

Again, I recommend this film wholeheartedly. It works as a film noir - it works as a suspense thriller - and it works as a curiosity, seeing Kim Novak in her film debut, and watching MacMurray give another honest portrayal as a sleazy double-dealing slug before his years as the wholesome and clean good guy for Disney.

I had to laugh when I came across these two photos. Once in a while somebody will ask me what is about France - and all things French and fabulous - that attracts me so much. These two pictures tell the story. Now really. Take a guess which one is a photo of chorus girls from America and which one is a photo of chorus girls from Paris!

Isn't this wallpaper amazing! Vintage 19th century texured wall covering that one hundred years later is still rich and vibrant. It must have looked as rich as raw silk when hung on a wall.
I ran across this photo of Rosenthal china on a blog (I have lost the address, so if it's your photo, let me know and I'll definitely credit you!!!). I remember my grandmother had this exact china when I was a child. The saucers were different (they matched the cups), but the cups are exactly the same. The gold decoration was somewhat raised, and I can recall my mother telling me to stop "picking at it" because I was always trying to lift up the gold with my fingernail.
This is only because it's after 10am and I haven't had breakfast yet. This just looks too yummy and it's exactly what I want. Unfortunately, I think I'll have to settle for a bagel. We seem to be out of all frosted delights in the kitchen this morning. sigh. Life is cruel.
...looking in mirror this morning, something seemed a bit off - and I'm somewhat concerned I have a touch of swine flu...
Before completely abandoning blogland for real life this morning, I'm leaving you with this poem that I think is very provocative. Hope you enjoy it, too.


No one has entered
the stone of this place
in a century, the dust has powdered
even the cat's lashes. Still I sit, robes folded, crown
pinned upon the river of my braids, their diamond
points have not forgotten how to find the door.
It is kept open. Someone might yet care to find his fate.
Once there were feasts here, tables set in silk, glazed peacock
and pomegranates so ripe a look from me would tear their skins.

I love the quiet.
The void of voices begging me
for youth and vengeance, for the fastest way
to travel over water or how to spy by moonlight.
I love how my hands do little but settle on my velvet lap.

Afternoons I rise to circle the gardens, the devil's trumpet large
enough now to shade all that lies beneath it: moss, pond, the small
star blossoms that burst in clumps along the earth, so bright,
so content to bleed their red selves into shadow.

Copyright © 2009 Emma Trelles All rights reserved

Now, go make something beautiful today!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥

Friday, July 10, 2009

This and That and a Little of the Other ... and Pink Saturday!

Wow - it's been a whole week since I've posted ... that's some kind of record for me. I guess summer activities and events have just taken over. That's kinda funny, since I never feel as if I'm doing anything!

Everything is getting back together in my kitchen of horrors. The painters just left. I wish this is what they were painting...

Alas, nothing so exuberant or detailed. Two colours. That's it. Though they are pale yellow and sherbet orange ... so there's a little exuberance!

Speaking of exuberant and extravagant, isn't this 18th century Ventian armchair a real beaut! I want it! ... actually, I want FOUR of them! To see more of this kind of fine period furniture, check out the sales here and click on "warehouse sale." Lots of treasures to make you feel like a royal!

While on the subject of treasures and royals, how about this wall of crowns and tiaras! I'm impressed that they've found such a sleek and modern way to display these beauties.

I really like the shape of this one ... it almost looks like a crown version of a Victorian ladies hat!

But this is my favorite...each one of the jeweled flowers is separate and 'hinged' so they will move as they are exposed to breezes - or people's hands. Now, that's interactive!

Bleak House has always been one of my favorite Dickens novels (right after Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities), so I was a little leery of the 6-hour BBC mini-series. It's always hard for me to see characters already very familiar to me ... and I certainly know how they're supposed to look! However, this was a real delight. The art direction was spot on target - everything looked exactly right ... from the grand homes of Lord and Lady Dedlock to the miserable squalor of Joe and Krook. Tulkinghorne and Miss Flite are perfectly cast - as are Skimpole and "Shake me up" Smallweed. Indeed, it's kind of wrong to single out anybody, as the entire cast is delightful. A special surprise was Lady Dedlock as portrayed by Gillian Anderson - a lovely rendition of this tragic character. If you are a Bleak House fan - or if you've never read it and are discovering it for the first time - this is a must-see for fans of Dickens - or costume drama - or sociological commentary - or puzzling mysteries! Well worth the six hours!

Even though I'm obscenely tardy, I wanted to show off my pink finds for Beverly's Pink Saturday! Anybody need to do some bathroom decoration?!

Be sure to check out Beverly's Pink Saturday to see many more people who are posting their pinkalicious photos of the week!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend - I'm off to watch the finale of Harper's Island. I'm ready for this show to be wrapped up. It was fun for awhile - but it's getting tiresome!

Remember - be sure to make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥