Saturday, March 31, 2007

i need to start dressing better for work...

So, have you ever wondered how people dress when they work outside of the public eye? Well, it's usually something like this...

Yup... I'm in my jammies, checking my email, with my morning cup of tea. Oh, and there is a wiener dog sleeping in my fleece. Kinda looks like an cute and furry alien trying to break out of my torso... hehehe.

Friday, March 30, 2007

MS walk...

MS Walk...

Recently a childhood friend was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. So my Laney... who is doing absolutely amazing, by the way... has assembled a crack team for the MS Lifelines Walk in Plymouth, MA. I will be on that team... and yes, I'm looking for sponsors!

Here is a little blurb provided by the National MS Society...

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of MS. They provide help for today and hope for tomorrow to people affected by multiple sclerosis through education, support, advocacy, and research. I believe in the work they do, and I invite you to see for yourself all the good they've done for the MS community. More than 400,000 Americans live with MS, and your support can and will make changes in their lives.

Now, if you can spare a few moment and a few bucks... make a donation. OR, if you are in the area, join the team!


Monday, March 26, 2007

secret designs...

Okay... so these are some sketches for a designer I'm working with. I can't give you guys too many details quite yet... but soon enough!!!

This is a design for a head piece. The headband and flowers are woven wire.
The matching earrings... again made out of woven wire.

The collar... the part around the neck is woven. The draped lower half is bead chain.

The weave I'm going to use is like a chain link fence.

Again... I cannot tell you any details yet. But soon enough!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

cut glass...

Ugh... Back to work!

Well, this is a photo of some antique cut glass I will be using in an upcoming project. I can't tell you all what this project is yet... still a little hush hush... but soon enough I will reveal all the details!

Basically, this is not the kind of project I have taken on in the past... but I am thinking it could be a great deal of fun! This is the type of project where I can be extremely creative!!! Yay!!! And could lead to some bigger and better clients and jobs... who knows!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

settling in...

I'm back. Trying to get over the jet lag.... catching up on laundry... playing with the dogs... unpacking... catching up on the gossip... etc.

But I have noticed one thing... I own way too much stuff. Over the past 2 months, I have been living with 7 shirts... 4 pairs of pants... a pile of socks and knickers... and a few sweaters (along with a few nice items of clothing.) When I got home, I looked around in my closet and dresser... AND IT'S PACKED! I have no clue where all of it came from!!! Do I actually wear half of this stuff??? When was the last time I wore more of it?

So... over the next couple days, I will be attempting to minimize my wardrobe. And maybe... just maybe... I'll start going through all of those boxes I have kicking around from past apartments. If I haven't seen it in years... and haven't thought about it in years... maybe it's time to have a yard sale.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

oh no... my last blog entry from paris...

Yup... you guessed it... today is my last day in Paris. I fly out tomorrow around 1 PM back to the States.

So, I've been trying to make the most of my last few days here. Yesterday, my friend Seb and I went to the Catacombs. OOOOO... scary! Well, not really... it's just kinda creepy but really really insane to think about how many people are down there. Millions!

The story behind the catacombs seems to be that in 1786 they began moving bones from different grave yards in Paris, because of sicknesses and deaths caused by unhygenic conditions of the grave yards, and filled the depleted quarries under the city. It took 15 months to clear the first grave yard... because they had to work at night and transport the rotting corpses and bones in huge carts.

Then just before the Revolution, Comte d'Artois (later Charles X) threw huge parties in the catacombs for the fancy schmancy types... mmmm... interesting!

But during the tour, you only get to see a small part... there is actually 186 miles of tunnels! But what you do see is rather impressive. This is a wall of larger bones, one on top of the other, with the skulls forming a pretty little heart...

And this is just for you to see how massive it is... I know it's hard to see... but the pile of bones just keeps going and going and going...


Okay... well, I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks to all of you that peeked at my blog most days to see where I was. It's been delightful! But I must return home, and start making some money!!!

In a week or two, you will start seeing the normal blog stuff again... work... and photos of my dogs! (I miss my dogs!)

So with this... I will leave you with the words of 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra...

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way!

See you all on the other side of the pond!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

petit bateau...

Petit bateau is not just a very popular children's clothing line in France, but it also means 'little boat.' (I have a point to this French lesson, trust me.)

So, with spring time here... I decided to spend my last few days in Paris (yup... we're almost at the end!) walking and enjoying the sunshine and sites. A wonderful place to walk and be sluggish (which this city promotes, by the way, because of all of the chairs in public places. Not just benches... but chairs too!) is in the Tuileries, in front of the Louvre.

With it being a Sunday AND beautiful weather... it was packed... adults and children alike. And a favorite pastime for the little ones is the... you guessed it... little boats! There are a couple of large fountains in the Tuileries... so you set your little boat a sail!

Now... I got more and more intrigued by watching the parents and children play with the boats. (Honestly... forget the kids... I want a boat!) I wasn't sure if all of these children and their parents made the boats (where am I, in 1952... yeah right) so I wanted to see how were built and function.

Basically, the structure apprears to be that of a normal sailboat...

And simply enough, you get a light stick (they had bamboo sticks with an end cap of black fabric tape on it) and put it on a block on the stern (rear) of the boat (which is a great idea, because it helps kids, or people like me that know nothing about boats or boating terms, to know which end is the rear!)

And then you give it a good push and you're off... and hopefully the wind will do the rest!

After watching for a while... and getting lots of odd looks from parents because I was taking bunches of photos... I decided I should speak to somebody and find out any information I could. And as I went to turn around... there he was... the boat rental man. For 2 Euro, you could have one of these beauties for a 1/2 hour. Not too bad, seeing any child looses interest in just about anything in about 3 minutes.

So, I spoke with him (he looked like a rough old sailor) and he said he had made them when he was a child. I asked politely if I could take a few close up photos... and she asked if I was a spy... I laughed and said no.

But maybe I really am a spy, seeing I'm posting the photos? Hmmmmmm.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

behind Versailles...

Well, I've now been to Versailles 4 times... plus today... so 5. But today I didn't got inside the Chateau... oh no, I did not! Every time I go there, I walk around the inside, then peek in the garden because I'm so exhausted from the inside. So, today was a garden day. AND not just a garden day... I walked out back to the Grand Trianon.

Louis XIV built this small (ha) palace of pink marble and stone in 1687. It was to escape the rigors of the life of the court. But really, I think it was just to enjoy the company of his mistress, Madame de Maintenon.

Also, across the gardens was the Petit Trianon... it was built in 1762 as a retreat for Louis XV. But it became a favorite hide-away for Marie-Antoinette.

Then this is just a bunch of beautiful stuff I came across during the day. There are lots more photos... but too many to blog about today!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

ideas of beauty...

So, as I walked around Milan, I saw some beautiful people. Long dark hair, olive skin, dark eyes... even though many of them were hidden under GIGANTIC Gucci sunglasses... and lots of healthy body shapes. And when I say healthy body shapes, I mean things like the women (not the teenagers) have curves... unlike most the the French women I come across. It's the life of growing up with pasta.

Even Sophia Lauren, when speaking about her own figure, was quoted saying 'Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.'

But as I walked through the Galleria, I saw this...

I was horrified. Because there I am, in the land of the beautiful people... and there is this freekish 6 foot tall, body like a 10 year old boy, bottle blond! She sat at her vanity (called that for a reason, huh?) putting on her makeup, then would stand and just look out over the crowd... with a glazed look on her face... giving the 'Queen of England' wave, while not making any eye contact. Basically, she was the perfect doll... empty headed and looking like plastic.

I'm sorry if this all sounds harsh, but I was not the only one thinking this. Even though my Italian is quite rusty, if I listen carefully, I can pick up about 80% of what was said. And I heard from most, especially the men, that she was fun to look at... but at the end of the day, she wouldn't be the one that they would want to take home.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

this one is for sal...

Okay... so I decided to do this post specifically for Sal... because it just happens to go hand in hand with his blog entry for today.

The villa I stayed at in Milan was, well, very Italian. Not just for the style of the architecture, but for the the way they used the space and the creativity involved in it.

First... they have a solar shower. No, it's not a real solar panel on top, it is an old window with a hard black plastic tube wound in it. The water comes from the well, fills the black plastic tubing under the window glass and heats up... with reserve water sitting in a black holding container, which heats it up, but not to the degree as the water in the tubing. And when somebody uses the shower, they get the hot water from the tubing and the cold from the well... and it mixes perfectly.

Next... this is not just your typical gutter/storm drain found on any ol' house. The difference is that these were (1) made by hand by the father (2) it's more esthetically pleasing than your normal extruded aluminum gutters found in the US and (3) the drainage system. In the US, the only purpose for gutters is to take the water away from the house... here, it is a little different. This particular drain carries the water to the grape vines near the driveway. Another one carries the water to the olive trees in the side yard. And each drain serves as an irrigation system throughout the yard.

And finally, the vegetable garden. Yes, many of us have veggie gardens, but few function like this. Every year one side of the garden houses the tomatoes, zucchini, squashes and things of that nature, and the other side houses the lettuces, cabbage, and things like that. Then they switch every year, so not to over work the soil. Next, you can see the pipe armature over the top, this is to protect the plants from harsh weather (as you can see, it is open today because it was BEAUTIFUL outside!) The fabric on the top is not your normal plastic that you find over a greenhouse (as you can see to the right of the photo) but a special fabric that allows sun rays to come in, keeps the cold out, and lets the water flow through when it is raining. Also, those armature pipes are also part of an irrigation system (that the father built) that carries the water from the well into the sprinkler system. And to finish it off... there is the small greenhouse to the side, where he starts all of his delicious veggies... and uses no chemicals on any of the plants!

In front of the garden is where the fruit trees are (apple, peach, pears, chestnuts, etc) and the grape vines. Unfortunately, about 4 years ago a virus came through and killed all of his grapes. The father tried everything (non chemical) to save them, but had to burn all of them to the ground. So he is starting over again (because they have a wine cellar, where they make the homemade wine) with seedlings from the US. They are stronger than grape vines from Europe (having to deal with harsher climate changes) then in a year or so, he will graft in grapes from Italy and France.

But there is one last thing I need to touch upon, and it is the fact that every European I have spoken to has said the same thing... why doesn't your country do anything about what is happening to the environment? It usually comes up when talking about how strange the weather has been (we were discussing how big his lettuce and cabbage was already... we ate salad every day from the garden, and it's only the beginning of March!) And it is always the same answer... I don't know.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

so Italian!

This past weekend, I popped over to Milano, Italia to visit an old friend and her family. It's amazing how easy it is to travel between countries in Europe... it was only a 1 hour 5 minute flight to Linate... that's like flying from Boston to New York.

So, when you walk off the plane, you literally walk off the plane, onto the tarmac... and hop a bus to the terminal. Then a quick bus into the city center (just 1 Euro) and this is what I found... THE DUOMO!

The Duomo is considered one of the most outstanding example of Gothic-Lombard architecture, the Duomo dates back to 1300. This imposing religious building, second only to St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, houses almost 3500 statues that are spread over an area of almost 12,000 square meters. The tallest spire, which has the famous “Madonnina” on top of it, is 108 meters high. The statue of the Virgin Mary, the “Madonnina”, is covered in 3900 pieces of gold leaf.

Then there is the Castillo Sforzesco. The castle was the center, and the city was built spiraling around it. There are still some remnants from the city wall and the gates.

But to top off my day, as I sat in the sun (yes, there was so much sun there... almost 70 degrees) on the steps of the Duomo, waiting to meet up with my friend, and this is what I saw...

The most Italian scene. A girl in a nice outfit, on a bike, cell phone in one hand, cigarette in the other. How Italian! And to top it off, some greezy Italian man sneaking a photo of her. Ahhhh... so Italian!

Monday, March 05, 2007

fashion week...

So, while I was sick this week, I missed something I was looking forward to... Fashion Week in Paris! I would get calls from my friend Henry for different shows, but I knew he wouldn't want to bring along a pasty white coughing and sniffly girl! But on Thursday night, feeling slightly better, I ventured out for a show! I got to wear my new tux and everything!

It was a group show. I have no clue who the designers were (the big names were earlier.) But it was fun just attending a show anyway!!! Now, keep in mind, the pictures are fairly blurry because I can't use a flash taking them (don't want to mess with the professional photographers... or look like a dork) and the girls actually move quite quickly!

The first group of models were exactly what I expected... dressed in black... with big hair and strange black eye makeup (on one eye.)

The second group was a little odd... a bit more 60's mod, which I believe is coming back (as I saw at a fantasy jewelry expo that I attended in Paris last month.)

But the final group... well... I'm not too sure what to say. The designer is actually from Boston... and when I feel I should cheer for the home town hero... well... all of the models were wearing ski parkas with either chainmail hoods of helmets carrying CARDBOARD SWORDS SPRAYPAINTED SILVER! And the only thing that looked like the designer actually made it (because, from my insider information, he buys off the rack clothes and re-works it) was the horrible elf like curled shoes that all the girls were wearing! But I'll let you make the decision for yourself!

Unfortunately, I couldn't hang out with the bunch at the piano bar after the show... because I had an early flight to Milano, Italia the next morning... ahhh... the life of a jet setter!

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