Friday, October 31, 2008

Some Bronze

I'm loving this piece. I had spare parts and started to throw some things together and viola!! I am working on a couple of bracelets.

I made some small bronze balls (hee hee...balls) and threw them on the pendants as accents. When I was wire wrapping them I decide to leave the coiled up wire on the ball instead of cutting it off.

Sue had asked where I got the chain. It is brass chain from Vintaj. It will lighten up as you wear it...which is fine because the color still goes with the bronze. I do wish it would maintain the dark color though.

That's all for tonight. For once this week I have to try to get to bed before 2AM.

Au Revoir, Bye-Bye

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A few more Paris pics

Busy at work and busy with jewelry in the evening. I don't know why but I have been dragging my feet getting things ready for the show.....and I know I'm going to freak out as I get closer to the show date. Tonight I did pricing on the bronze pieces. My table this year is going to be a mix of silver, bronze, and lampwork pieces. I love making pieces with lampwork beads, but I have always felt odd about the fact that I don't make the beads. And it drives me nuts everytime someone asks me that. With the bronze....I made it and that is more satisfying. Of course I showed a piece to one of my customers at work yesterday and what does she say.....did you make the chain......GEEZ. I can't win.

I don't have any pics of the bronze so here are a few more Paris pics. I have been very slowing going through them and editing when necessary.

Lou and I love museums and we can stand and stare in amazement looking at particular pieces. Botticelli's frescos make me stop in my tracks. They have 2 in the Louvre and they are on the way to the Mona many people just walk on by and don't stop to really look at them. I want to shake people and say....."look at these... they are amazing"..... Of course my pictures don't do them justice. Up close the colors are wonderful and the faces of the women are soft and beautiful. I brought home a plaque with a replica of part of the bottom fresco with the 2 graces on the far left.

But.....we both have the sense of humor of a 12 year old and we have a tendency to look at pieces and give them our own names. The minute we saw this piece we started laughing. This one became..."Simon Says...Look at your Pee Pee's". It can be a experience to go through a museum with us. I think we should offer tours :)) What d'ya think...want to go on a museum tour with us?

And I am always trying to make Lou do stupid things next to statues. It usually works.....Honey...stick you head in the mouth of the lion.....

I was really excited to see the Winged Assyrian Bulls. The display wasn't open last year. These are huge and so magnificent. They date back to 700 BC. They were considered benevolent spirits and the guardians of the foundation of the world. I think we could use their help today. Check out the legs.....5. This is to show them walking when viewed from the side.

Guess Who...standing on a bridge over the Seine. That's the Eiffel tower in the background

Au Revoir, Bye-Bye.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Something is Wrong.....

I have been reading Tara Bradford at Paris Parfait ever since I started my love affair with Paris more than a year ago. It's like she can read my mind and heart. This is an excerpt from her most recent post. She says it so much better than I could.

"This is a subject about which I am passionate; it would be wrong to remain silent. Because this election is critical, CRITICAL, to what happens next for our country: the paths we walk, the alliances we forge, the different roads on which our ideologies converge. Never in my lifetime has it been more important to speak out for change.

I've worked hard all my life. For nearly 15 years, I was a single mom, sometimes struggling to make ends meet. I had little hope of owning a home or having enough money left after paying my bills to seriously save for the future. Thankfully, my daughter received the very best education. But private high schools and university would have been out of reach, if not for scholarships and later, my husband's employer paying a third of her tuition. My daughter would have had to take out student loans and spend the first third of her career weighed down by heavy debt, struggling to repay the funds.

The land of the free and home of the brave is hemorrhaging compassion, if many of us not only can't afford college tuition, but are just two paychecks away from being out on the street. God forbid if a catastrophic illness interrupts our salary-earning ability.

Something is wrong with our country when paying the mortgage or the rent might mean juggling Peter to pay Paul; going without a doctor's checkup or replacing balding tires because the budget's depleted.

So many people are trying to survive on minimum wage, while too many others are losing their jobs, as factories and plants are mothballed or closed. We are all dancing too close to the precipice these days. Losing everything we've worked for our whole lives is a real threat.

And that's not right. My grandparents grew up during the Depression and had to overcome many obstacles to eventually be successful. They never forgot what it was to worry about money. Even when they had plenty, the hard lessons learned from the Depression colored how they handled money the rest of their lives.

Our system of checks and balances is broken. Our infrastructure is crumbling, with bridges, roads, tunnels and airport runways falling into dangerous disrepair. Something is wrong with our country when the rich are favored and the rest of us struggle endlessly. Something is wrong when those who can't afford health insurance are turned away from emergency rooms and sent to another hospital, perhaps worsening or even dying for lack of urgent treatment, within that span of a few miles and a few minutes.

Something is wrong with our country when a great city like New Orleans is swamped with a hurricane, while George Bush and John McCain laugh it up over birthday cake. Something is wrong with America when it takes FEMA several days to provide the most basic services, then is unable to coordinate federal and state efforts to get the city up and running again. Something is wrong when New Orleans citizens are forced to find shelter in other states, because government efforts to assist them failed.

Something is wrong when our children lack basic educational skills to compete with the rest of the world. Speaking only English is not something to brag about; even the poorest kids in refugee camps often speak two or three languages. Superior science and math skills are helping the Chinese and the Indians surpass us in the global marketplace. Too many children are being left behind in the United States of America, our country rich in natural resources, but impoverished in management.

Something is wrong when our production jobs are shipped overseas, resulting not only in higher unemployment levels at home, but inferior quality products shipped back and sold in the US.

Something is criminal about our soldiers being sent to war under false pretenses. And sent and sent and sent, long after the president's lies were exposed. Meanwhile, the real war on terror blazes out of control in Afghanistan. Something is deeply wrong when we're not allowed to witness and photograph our soldiers' coffins returning, their bodies buried and publicly mourn their loss.

Something is cataclysmic as our civil liberties are eroded, undermining our Constitution. It is outrageous that our personal phone calls and private emails are monitored by the National Security Agency, with the collusion of corporate behemoths including AT&T and Verizon.
Something is desperately wrong when our personal cameras, MP3 players, laptops, cellphones and other electronic equipment can be seized at our nation's borders, without due cause - violating the Fourth Amendment.

Something is wrong when right-wing religious zealots try to blur the Constitutional distinction between Church and State and dictate our immigration and marriage policies.
Something is wrong when a self-righteous television channel and talk-radio shows spew divisive talking points masquerading as "news." These pundits recklessly incite and inflame hate, all in the quest for Nielsen ratings.

Something is wrong when the average American knows the latest twists and turns of celebrity entertainment, but doesn't care enough to get involved in government, even as stock markets tumble and everything around us seems on shaky ground.

Something is wrong when billions of dollars are spent on political campaign advertisements, while 24 million Americans still go to bed hungry and millions more sleep on the streets or in their cars.

Something is wrong when a Republican presidential candidate in questionable health chooses an unqualified, uninformed person as his running mate. Such reckless behaviour puts the whole country at risk.

Something is wrong when presidential candidates deliberately mislead the public with outright lies and/or misleading information. Something is wrong when the public has to search for the truth, because politicians and sometimes even the mainstream media fail to deliver the facts.

Something is wrong when our country runs a rogue prison at Guantanamo Bay. Suspects have been locked up for years without trial, in which none of the usual laws, international treaties and human rights seem to apply.

So many things are wrong with our great democracy. We have to solve these problems. We can't afford four more years of failed policies and finger-on-the-trigger foreign intervention.
After Sept. 11, 2001, America enjoyed the great goodwill of the entire world. After eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration, our friends' attitudes have shifted, first from solidarity and sympathy, then to dismay and anger at the stupidity of putting Bush-Cheney in office for a second term. Most recently our foreign friends and allies have viewed us with a mixture of disgust and pity. Our leadership and international authority have been severely diminished.

We have lost our powerful influence on the world stage.

We have lost our way."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Assembly Time

I'm busy putting things together for the November shows. I have three shows and then I am done for the season. Here are a few bronze pieces that I worked on today. I've been making chain and hanging earrings.

Cigar boxes come in handy to hang the earrings from. We stopped at the local shop today so Lou could pick up a few cigars for his golf game tomorrow. The shop always has empty boxes for sale. When Lou goes in alone he gets charged for the boxes....but when I go in to pick one out I get them for free :))

More Stories from Paris

There is a Swarovski store on rue Bonaparte in Paris. They always have these amazing show pieces in the main window. Below is what they had in the window last year. You have to get past the window glare in the pictures...

We stayed about 2 blocks from the store this year and I was anxious to see what they would have out this year. They had 2 different displays in the time that we were there.

We went to the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen while we where there. This is a large flea/antique market on the outskirts of the city. Wikipedia mentions that this might have been the first flea market ever. It has been there since the 17th century. There was one store that had old tools....hammers, files, anvils and just about everthing else you could imagine. Below is a pic of the store front. They had a couple of really sweet anvils that I wish I could have brought back with me.

Previously I had mentioned that you go through what I think is a dicey area to get to the various markets. We had been there before so I knew this. It was very crowded and on the way back the subway was jammed....really jammed. We made out way down to the turnstiles and there stood 4 hulking subway police. I saw them turning some people away and this freaked me out. They let us go through and we got in a car with a bunch of teenage boys. Great. They tried to hog all the seats and being the "Oh no you didn't" type of woman that I am....I just made them move over and sat down. But....I was still a little freaked so I looked at Lou and mouthed..."Look Mean". He started laughing. He takes pride in the fact that he looks mean naturally (even though he is a teddy bear). I kept looking at him and growling under my breath. "Le Grrrr", Pepe Le Pew style. He sized them up and winked at a few of them.....they were probably more worried than I was.....they had gotten on the subway with a perv and a crazy growling lady. Here is my naturally scary teddy bear on the streets of Saint-Ouen.......

Au Revoir, Bye-Bye......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A word on French waiters

I love them.... OK that was three words. I don't know where the sterotype...that French waiters are rude.... came from. We had some great ones. They are very busy and seem to run non-stop, but I think Lou got it right when he said that rude waiters start with rude customers.

After we went to Saint Chapelle, we stopped at a cafe across the street and I ordered my typical Coca Light. When the waiter brought it he teased me about it...calling it American Beaujolais and he teased Lou that his beer was spicy lemonade. He was very nice. Another waiter at the same place stepped in when he saw a father trying to take a picture of his family. He took the camera and made the father sit down so he could be in the picture too.

At another place, the waiter couldn't figure out if he should talk to us in French or English so he used both on just about everything he said. When we left he said..."OK...Au Revoir, Bye-Bye". That stuck with us and we kept repeating it during the whole trip.

At another cafe we stopped in for drinks and when we were done the waiter kept forgetting to bring out the credit card machine to run Lou's card. He would bring food out for someone, look at us and slap himself in the head. After about the third time he remembered. But the whole time we were laughing about it. Then Lou asked him for some matches and the whole scene repeated itself. But we finally got out of there with lots of smiles. We stopped back a few days later for lunch and even though he wasn't our waiter he came out to say hello and shook our hands. I picked up the tab that day and the waiter we did have was giving Lou the thumbs up and patting him on the back that I was paying. I guess French women don't pay....ever.

Then at another restaurant we had a Chinese waiter who spoke French. He took very good care of us. When he ran Lou's credit card something went wrong and he starting talking to Lou in French and saying "Abandon". Lou looked at me and asked me for help. I started laughing because I only know the very basics. The waiter finally said "No Good". I smiled at the waiter and said "Comprends pa..No Good" which hopefully meant..."I understand No Good". He understood because he starting laughing and then we started laughing. I had Lou give him the card again so he could re-run it.

We thought they were great.....OK...Au Revoir, Bye-Bye

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I got a peaceful easy feeling.....

Damn...driving to work today I was so relaxed and peaceful. I was looking at the clouds in the sky and remembering strolling around Paris. I hope this feeling stays with me for a while. It is so much nicer then how I normally feel going to work.

Editing these pictures is going to take forever. Below are some from the batch I looked at tonight.

Close ups of a fountain below.

These are made of chocolate in the window at Patrick Roger . The one in the middle is 150 Euros and was about the size of a volleyball....a little bit smaller.

An old well on the grounds of the Cluny Museum. I think the mouth of the woman goes through to the well. Some kids were playing with it and sticking their hands in her mouth as far as it would go. Their teacher stopped them before I could get a picture.

Inside the museum Lou found a new friend.

The tapestries were beautiful.

City streets....some big, some small but almost all with their own charm.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Going through pictures

Well...between Lou and I we have over 600 pictures. So I am going through them a little at a time...editing and arranging them to make a slide show. The big thing this year at Christmas will be slide shows. My sister spent 2 months in Montana this summer and my brother is leaving soon for 2 weeks in China. Between the three of us we will probably have hours worth of picutres to look at. So as I'm editing I'll include some select pictures here....

Below is the view as you step out of the front door of our apartment. We stayed in the Saint Germain des Pres area which is filled with boutiques and restaurants....great for strolling and window shopping and just sitting at a cafe to people watch.

Two blocks up on Saint Germain Boulevard was the Abbey of Saint Germain des Pres. It was founded in the 6th century. The high vaulted ceilings always amaze me. There was a mass going on when we walked in. We stay for a bit and then ventured on.

Some window shopping below. The first was a funky little store that had some great items. We both liked the knife holder in the middle of the picture. It's not only functional but can be used to take out your agressions.

Jewelry of course...a really great beaded piece in the center.

And pastries....look at the cakes on the bottom shelf...OMG. There were expensive so we just looked but didn't buy entire cakes like this.

And grafitti.....really cute cat grafitti on the second floor of a building. I have other pics of grafitti but this one I loved and I saw it quite a bit since it was on the route that we walked up to the Seine.

The first of many walks across the Seine on the various bridges. These pictures look a little gloomy. It was cloudy and raining the day we got to Paris but we had good weather overall. It only really poured one evening and of course we were out in it without an umbrella...but when you're walking the streets of Paris....who cares!!

We did end up taking 2 boats trips...a day trip and a night trip. There were both well worth it...especially the night trip to see the lights of the city in the evening.

Below is the tip of the island Ile de la Cite which is one of two islands in the middle of the Seine. This island is the center of Paris and is the location of Notre Dame cathedral. The bridge is called Pont Neuf which means new bridge. It is actually the oldest bridge in Paris, completed in 160o's.

A couple of nice little restaurants. You didn't have to pay a fortune to eat in Paris. Many of these small bistros had pre fixe menus that gave you a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert for a reasonable price.

I am usually a Diet Dr. Pepper person but that is no where to be found in Paris so I had to live on Diet Coke....or Coca Light as they call it. You can zero in on the Americans by looking for those peole that drink Diet Coke. I like how they served it.....with a lemon and a spoon. Before I left I had to go buy one of the spoons to bring home with me. But for the price of a Coke you are better off buying a glass of will probably pay the same price.

And these are just select pictures from the first day :)))

I iz back!!!

more animals

Will blog tonight with pics

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last day in Paris

We are winding down our trip. The last couple of days we have just been strolling the streets soaking it all in. Yesterday we stopped in at Notre Dame and just sat there for about 30 minutes. It is truely one of the greatest things that man has ever built. It was started in 1163 and finished in 1345

I have pictures of the stained glass that I will post when I get home...but they don't do justice to the intensity of the colors.

Walking around last night we went by the Repetto store. Repetto is a French ballet shoe company. They do sell other shoes but the back wall was lined with pretty pink ballet shoes. Now I myself never dreamed of being a ballet dancer.... but I have friends that fact there are pictures to prove it....all dressed up in their little ballet outfits. This picture is for them.

A couple of jewelry store windows. There are quite a few of these around as well. Just about every style that you could imagine. Haven't seen any bronze though!!

I probably won't post again until Sunday. Talk to you all then.

Au Revoir Bye-Bye

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Time Warp

After dinner last night we took a walk over to Shakespeare and Co Bookstore as we both have read all the books we brought with us. If you like bookstores you can get lost here. It's not very big but there are books and used. It was opened in 1951 and it still going strong. Right around the corner is Aux Trois Mailletz...this amazing little bar. It was like being transported back to 1950's Paris. There was a piano player so we went in to listen and have a few beers. You could tell there was a cast of charcters in the bar just by looking around. On the other side of the room was a 50 something woman desparately trying to look 20 something in her spaghetti strapped red dress, black hat, black hose and bright red shoes.... but the kicker was when she stood up and proceeded to twirl around the room dancing with a scarf. But everyone if the room watched, smiled, and applauded. Next a French-Asian woman got up and started to sing opera. I told Lou it was his turn to sign next but he wouldn't go for it....but another gentleman did. An older French gentleman proceeded to sign old songs and the twirly girl got up and danced. I don't knoz of anywhere else you could experience something like this. And everyone there was respectful of the people performing whether they had talent or not...but most did. And through it all there was this one guy reading a book. Looking around the room I thought you could probably write a book about all the people in this bar. The aging dancer, the Asian chanteuse, the French man, and the guy reading his book. We started to make up stories about everyone and their lives during World War II and in walked 4 German men which just took us over the edge because they became the SS soldiers. What a night!!

Then today we warped forward to the Pompidou Center...Modern Art Museum. We saw some great pieces...Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Dali, Magritte.

In a separate building they have an exact replica of Brancusi's studio. This is a picture of his tool bench...unfortunately it was behind glass so I couldn't get in and play with the tools.

Some of this sculptures. His most recognizable sculpture is The Kiss

Some views of the neighborhood from the top of the Pompidou Center.