Saturday, June 27, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

When I read comments on my posts, I continue to be amazed by how many arrive from people living very far away. It is such a pleasure to know that even while sitting here in my tiny aparment, I am able to trade thoughts, pictures, information and laughter with folks all across the world.

Recently, I have traded comments with Tulsa who lives in Japan and writes several delightful blogs.

She has tagged me to participate in a game of Five Favorites. I will comply, though my answers may be a bit vague.

My five favorite songs could be Waterloo Sunset, No Expectations, Instant Karma, Once in Royal David's City and As Time Goes By.

My five favorite movies could be The Maltese Falcon, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, anything by Almodovar, Chinatown and Annie Hall.

My five favorite books is a category that proves impossible to list. I might be permitted to list categories? My art history books with favorites on Georgio Morandi, Pierre Matisse, James MacneilWhistler. My art technique books. My needlecraft books. Short story collections by DH Lawrence. Novels ... oh, just too many to list.

My five favorite crushes is another tricky area. Are these crushes to be only fixated on people, or could they be ... wonderful shoes, beautiful gardens, art supply stores, yarn shops or libraries? If people, this is also tricky ... must these people be alive? Then perhaps I'd say Roger Federer, Ray Davies. Since I am not so young, crushes from past times are so much easier.

My five favorite random things. Ah, the window of opportunity opens.

Being able to get outdoors, whether it is by taking a short walk to Central Park, or being able to visit a friend who lives by a lake. Glorious photo above.

Finding free time to draw or paint or visit friends.

Re-connecting with old friends or finding a new friend.

Hearing good news.


Can you all just about see the deer peeking through the edge of the forest that surrounds my friend's home? It makes me laugh to remember how he watched us watching him.

Back to the game.

I would like to invite the following wonderful blogging friends to join the game.

Cait O'Connor to be found at

Un Peu Loufoque to be found at

Visiting any of these folks will guarantee any reader a treat. They are five of my favorite writers, and they can lead you to even more favorites.

Have fun with the game of tag.

Monday, June 22, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

My most recent post was one of many posts that chose a theme of china plates, at the suggestion of Elizabeth, who writes About New York. It was fascinating to see how many other people share an interest in china old and new. The large turn out of crisscrossing comments encouraged the lovely Valerie, who writes as Acornmoon and who "follows" my site, to suggest another theme, Mugs on Monday.

Feeling that I can easily be a mug on any day of any week, I'll share some photos of some of my favorite mugs with you this Monday.

The little bone china mug above was given to me many years ago by a friend who'd come across it in a bargain shop. I love using it to store some of my baking tools. You can just see the tip of a wooden double-tined fork that was carved for me by my late father. I use this to poke a decorative touch on top of biscuits, making their round shapes appear like buttons.

The mug was made in Staffordshire England by Crown Trent. The village scene surrounds the entire circumference of the mug. This and the following photos will prove to you all once again just how much clutter surrounds me.

This tiny mug was a Christmas gift years ago from my mom, and there's a very faint gold inscription over the rose that reads "Love the giver." Well, she's my mom, and of course I love her! There is a circular red stamp on the bottom of this mug that says Made in Germany.

Ah, now here is a breakfast time still life. Coffee in the press, orange juice in the glass, several brown betty teapots ready to step in as needed, and the plain white mug from which I usually do drink my coffee or tea. I bought it at the NY Conran Shop and it was made in Bangladesh. I have a good friend from Bangladesh and I think of her when I use this mug. If I had a dishwasher or microwave, this mug could enter and exit them safely.

Now here is another use for a mug. I like the shape and the pinky lavender of this one, that I bought for a dollar on sale at Anthropology. As you might guess, it is a Chinese-made knockoff of a vintage design. It makes a great receptacle for all the brushes I need to get my make-up applied.

And here is my final Monday mug offering. This was one of a set offered as a promotion by Maxwell House coffee back in ... maybe the 1970's. The printing on the mug is blurry; it is not just my faulty photography. I liked the idea of mixing my instant coffee brands. Maxwell, meet Nescafe. This picture also allows a peek into my minuscule kitchen, and the crowd of postcards that are magneted on to my fridge. Can you see the old card with Diana's image?
Perhaps that might be another them for a post. Do any of you have an odd collection decorating your refrigerator's door? Who has got the smallest kitchen.
I am looking forward to seeing who else has written about mugs today. Think it's time to make another cup of tea. Cheers!

Friday, June 12, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

A friend and fellow blogger had tipped me earlier this week that today might be a day to write about plate. I had almost forgotten all about this theme until now on Friday evening.

My apartment is far too small to hold as many plates as it does. I love old china, and also admire newer plates with patterns that are vintage inspired.

The above plate is from a set of celadon tinted ironstone I bought in the mid 1970's, thinking that I might as well get something to dress up my tabletop. Floral patterns please me, perhaps just like floral scents also suit my taste. I have never chipped a plate or cup from this pattern.

The above blurry close up of a central motif is part of a set of bone china I bought decades later. It is fun to bring this out every now and then when I have friends for tea. I no longer have room to really serve a dinner party, even it I do have plenty of plates!

This even more out of focus floral design is in the center of plates that I was given. They once belonged to a relative from another era. I am afraid to use these plates, because I would not want to damage them. I don't feel quite so protective of china that I have bought for myself.

Lighting not at all good in the above photo, but I am sure that any of you will recognize the pattern. I was astonished recently to learn that the pattern is no longer made in the traditional way. I regularly use plates, cups and saucers in this pattern. Some are chipped and some are mended. I don't mind a bit.
At some point years ago, I went through a white china phase, and this plate is one of the last remaining pieces of porcelain. The cups from this pattern have beautiful graceful shape, and I have drawn and painted them several times.

Ah, here is another old favorite. These plates, cups and saucers had a rough time of it on my table and there are not many left. I also love the pheasant motif and have painted it many times.
Once I thought that I would eventually have a house, with a proper kitchen and dining room and that china would have a purpose. I no longer have those sorts of plans. Even so, I don't regret having spent time selecting these plates, not to mention all the other antique cups and saucers that find various places of honor in my close quarters.
After all, none of this is being made any more. I never thought my daily china would become so rare during my own lifetime.
Sweet dreams to all.