Friday, February 26, 2010

I was lulled into a sense of wellness

Leading up to Valentines I was not feeling the best at all. Valentines came and went with a bit of a sigh on this blog it seems. Monday came along and I got to work catching up with various things that needed to be done. Thursday was all right I guess, it's just that I wasn't feeling great but I wasn't sick. Last Friday came along and I managed to get a blog post up and that was about that. For the next 5 or six days I felt terrible.

All is better now. I am working on some new pieces for spring. I'm looking forward to the autumn season and Hallowe'en, I have some fun things planned.

In case you were wondering these images are from two children's readers from the 1920's.

I have received a comment from a fan (I hope) but it is in Asian text so I cannot read it. If that person can resend the comment translated for me I would love to post it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cheese Boutique in Toronto

I have been wanting post about The Cheese Boutique ever since we returned home from Toronto in mid December. If you live in Toronto and haven't been to this store or when you visit Toronto you absolutely MUST go. Our son-in-law to be at the time and now our daughters wonderful husband mentioned that when you go either mortgage the house or go with a budget. He is so right. I could have spent several hundred dollars. This is a delicatessen on a grand scale. I was overwhelmed and delighted. For someone who has bought tinned tomatoes in Switzerland because I liked the labels and brought the empty tins home in my luggage, the empty tins are in my studio, I was in heaven. I always find packaging and product design very inspiring. You may also know from previous posts that cakes and pastries and candy are another area I go to for design and colour inspiration.

Their business card is a wedge of cheese. Click on the image to read the telephone number and address, write it down and be sure to go there.

They were kind enough to let me photograph the store interior so let's get on with the tour. Be sure to go into the cheese vault. Cheese is the main focus but like any good delicatessen there are the jams, pickles, and European candy for sale. Do click on the images for a better look at the store.

Mike our middle kid bought this cheese sampler. What a treat, I recommend buying one of the samplers. The flavours were constantly a surprise and a great introduction to what is available. The two cheeses that I distinctly remember was a curry flavoured cheese and a blue cheese that melted like snow in your mouth. 

This is a sample of the pickles, pestos, and sauces available. Deli meats are also available.

Do you crave pasta for dinner? There is a room with a wall of pasta and a wall of olive oils to choose from, as well as ingredients for your sauce.

The Cheese Boutique has around 50 olive oils from various regions.

This is a sample of the pastries available. Some of the pastries are big enough to share...or not.

I love marzipan and the selection of marzipan fruit is beautifully coloured. Along with the traditional apples and pears there are prickly pears and watermelon slices. On the left is a plate of glazed fruit and below is a selection of large and small pies.

A showcase filled with handmade chocolates is there to tempt you along with other tasty products from Europe.

Downstairs by the cash desk is a display of European chocolate bars and candy. This selection of chocolate bars are by a company called Stainer. The labels are beautifully designed. Unfortunately I was on a tight budget and did not buy any of the chocolate bars but the next time I am in Toronto I will be going back to The Cheese Boutique and purchase a few bars.

This last picture is a small selection of the jams, jellies, and spreads that are available.

The Cheese Boutique is so big that I don't think that I have done it justice in presenting it to you. Go there, see for yourself and experience it first hand, you won't be disappointed.

They do have a blog. It is called "A Blog of Cheese", on it there are recipes and event announcements. Sign up and become a follower. We may not be able to go to the events but the recipes are worth receiving.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

A somewhat late Happy Valentine's Day everyone. These four hearts are from a set of 24 Valentine's Decorations published by the Carrington Company of Chicago in the 1920's.

This has been an interesting last week. I now have a new, to me, computer that is so much faster than my old one it is amazing. I had Windows on my old computer but I have Abuntu on my new computer and this is the beginning of the learning curve. On top of a learning curve I have been sick for the last few days. My Valentine's Day postings have shrunk to this late post. Oh well, I hope you had a fun day eating chocolate, smelling the flowers, and kissing your sweetie-pie.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 14 - Stage Magicians, Assorted Posters

I am in the midst of getting my taxes organized, so I am a little tardy in getting any new work done as well as putting new posts together. Here is the last batch of magic posters from the Library of Congress.

Psychonotism is the ability to transfer thoughts back and forth without speaking. Star Trek aliens could do this as well!

I find this poster quite interesting, usually you think of a travelling circus in a tent not a magic show. This is the era of barn storming, taking the show to the people.

This elegant stock poster is for a mind reading act. There seem to be many more women mind readers than men and few women magicians. I'm not sure what the reason for this would be.

Harry Houdini tried his hand at making films. They weren't to successful because people didn't believe that what was on the screen was real but his escapes were incorporated  into the storyline.

Leon Herrmann, considered the best magician of his time, definitely cultivated the look of the mysterious magician.

It would be interesting to know what the illusion was about. Below the Art Nouveau illustration of the woman and the moon the poster states "Herrmann's Beautiful Illusion - Maid of the Moon".

Levitation has progressed over the years from an illusion presented indoors on the theatre stage to Chris Angel outdoors floating from one building to the other.

Orientalism or the depiction of the "Far East" by Western writers, designers and artists was very popular in the Victorian era. This last group of posters shows the influence of the Orient, that mysterious and exotic land, had on the shows of that time. This "Frederick Bancroft- Prince of Magicians" poster depicting "The Slave of the Orient" is a wonderful example.

On this poster "Billie Lister's Big Show" had the "Hungarian Necromancers - Bellag and Aouda" appearing in oriental costume. They look so out of place in oriental clothing. I would loved to have seen them in traditional Hungarian costume with them being true to their background but this is show business.

This poster doesn't show oriental influence other than in the title "Bimbo of Bombay, a Musical, Magical Comedy".

Harry Houdini was a master at escaping from anything; handcuffs, being suspended upside down from a burning rope in a straight jacket, or a prison cell. He is legendary. This poster depicts him being buried alive, unfortunately he died before this illusion could be presented.

I have no idea what this illusion is but the magician Kar-Mi (Joseph Hallworth) is depicted as a real human being of great power and his audience is a caricature of silly Indian fools.

This last poster shows Leon Herrmann in Japanese costume. The stage setting and props must have been spectacular.

I must get back to my taxes but while I am doing that do check out the EHAG Emporium, there are still some wonderful pieces to add to your collection.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brain Mechanics

Hello there. I thought that I would show you as best as I can how my brain works and the process I went through in designing "The Double Sided Portrait Rattle" that I have in the EHAG Emporium blog sale.

I signed up to be a part of the EHAG Emporium about the 19th of January with no idea of what I was going to make.

I had a large rattle body for the "Jack O Lantern Party Rattle" that was not usable because of a small spot of paint on it so I decided to make a large version of the "Portrait Rattles".

The following had very strong input into the finished rattle.

Like everyone else I have some favourite blogs that I follow. Chocolate Creative, blogged by two British women that love design, had a post on the 12th of January called "Quirky locations", that showed images from a film location website showing some old and decaying interiors of a British music hall.

I went to the website "Fresh Locations", had a look around and found it very intriguing.

I have 19 assorted drafts for the "A Little Tour of My Brain" series for my blog that I work on at various times. The one on stage magicians had very few images in it. I have been looking at second hand book stores but found nothing of any interest. When we were in Toronto we visited Anthropologie and they had a book from the Taschen publishing house on the history of stage magicians from 1400 - 1950, 600 or so pages, all colour, 18" by 12" app. and costing $234.00. I want it. If you would like to purchase it for me leave a message and I'll get back to you.

I was surfing the web and came across the US Library of Congress and their amazing collection of magic posters. There are so many images to look at. They became several blog entries that I put up prior to the EHAG Emporium opening. There will be about 2 more entries on stage magicians in the near future.

This is what my desktop looked like when I was making the original portrait rattles and I am sad to say that it hasn't changed to much, other than being a little messier. I very seldom draw, I much prefer to work out all of the problems as the piece is being built. I know what I want but I am also totally open to be directed by the art work itself. Drawing for me is boring. If I do draw it is a rough thumbnail sketch and that is about all. I look at my work as assemblage because it is influenced by what is at hand on my desk or what I have in my bins of goodies.

I am constantly looking at anything to do with design. I have always believed that it is important to refer to the best design that is out there. The better the quality of design that you look at then the better the quality of work that comes out of your imagination. Haute couture, interior design, graphics of any sort - I love labels, graffiti, and Japanese street fashion are all fascinating to me and influence what comes out of my head.

Check out previous entries that are under "A Little Tour of my Brain" to see what else influences my work.