Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Woman in Gold is Pure Gold

The Woman In Gold

Yesterday I saw the movie, The Woman in Gold.

It is based on a true story about Maria Altmann, who sues the Austrian government in the 90s to get back the Klimt portrait of her aunt which belonged to her family and was stolen by the Nazis.

Helen Mirren, as Maria, and Ryan Reynolds, as Randy Schoenberg, a young inexperienced lawyer, deliver dazzling performances. There are many flashbacks woven into the storyline. The brilliant last scene made me choke up.

Maria reminds me of a couple of my husband's relatives, both Holocaust survivors.

I highly recommend The Woman in Gold and predict it will win some Academy Awards next year. It is pure gold.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Decoupaged Contact Lens Box

Decoupaged Contact Lens Box
(Here's Looking at You, Kid!)

Last week I showed you a decoupaged cigar box which I gave to M for his birthday.

Today my decoupage project is a box which I gave to M to keep his new contact lenses in. Eventually he decided not to use the hard contact lenses, and went back to glasses. He now uses this box as a sewing kit, for needles, thread, and buttons.

For the top of the plain box, I used a very thick piece of leftover wallpaper. Normally this isn't a good idea for decoupage because it is too hard to sink it into the surface. And it didn't sink. But I still think it looks pretty.

Wallpaper goes on the exterior top of box.

I painted the top exterior brown and the bottom exterior white.

I painted  the rim white. I lined the bottom with brown velvet, with a trim of gold thread.

Full view of interior.
 What's that on the top?

A cut-out of an owl 
 from a greeting card
 is pasted on a white-painted background.
The top is also trimmed with gold thread. 

"Here's looking at you, kid!"
(at least while he wore contacts)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Decoupaged Cigar Box

Decoupaged Cigar Box

The process

In the 70s and 80s I used to do decoupage for fun.

At that time, it was a time-consuming craft, requiring patience. The process of traditional decoupage was something like this:

  • 1. Cut a design (original art or someone else's).
  • 2. Paste it onto a new surface (which you might first paint or otherwise refinish).
  • 3. Protect it with several coats of varnish or other protector.
  • 4. Sand down the decoration after each 5 coats.
  • 5. After about 15 coats of varnish, apply one last coat of protector.

The idea was to make the decoration appear to be flush with the surface.

Now I think most decoupeurs use one coat of Mod Podge and skip the sanding steps.

The Modigliani  Box

Here is what I did to convert my grandfather's cigar box into a keepsake box which I gave to M for his birthday.

  • First, I removed a couple of things from the interior which I'm guessing may have kept the cigars humid. The cedar wood was beautiful so I didn't want to paint it.

  • Then I pasted a removable plate of Modigliani's "The Cello Player" (from a paperback about Modigliani) onto the top of the cigar box. 

  •  The design goes over the box opening. I used a knife to slit the design at the place where the box opened. I wanted a smooth, unobtrusive opening.

  • When you open the box, there's a surprise on the interior of the lid! I pasted a page of sheet music from a Mozart Sonatina. (M's favourite composer is Mozart.) I gave it to him for his birthday in 1977. I call it the Mozart Box; he calls it the Modigliani Box. When I moved into the house with him when we became engaged, he returned the box to me because he says it's a family heirloom. So we now share it!
  • The interior is lined with blue velvet.

Friday, March 20, 2015

They Say It's Your Birthday...




At the equivalent of 98 human years, Echo is starting to slow down. He walks a little more stiffly, taking time to pause and sniff at any interesting bush or lamp post.

He doesn't much like his new medication, and lets me know that I'm not fooling him when I try to hide the crushed pill in his canned-food meatballs. He dissects the meatball as if he were excavating an archaeological site. Then he either eats it reluctantly or walks away in disgust.

When he does take the pain pill, he can walk more smoothly and handle the steps to the terrace.

When he refuses it, I have to lift him over the steps. It's excellent exercise for me. Who needs barbells when you've got a 25-pound weight to lift?

Sometimes he looks at the steps, tentatively places one paw on the top one, and thinks about whether he wants to come in.

Other times--when he's taken the pill--he bounds down the steps as if it's no big deal.

But age is just a number when you're feeling good. And there are still many good days.

I cherish every day I get to spend with you, Echo, my furry, faithful friend! I love you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sailboats and Sea Breezes

Sailboats and sea breezes--
Not fire drills and snow freezes

On the two freezing mornings before our vacation we put on boots and scarves and carried our 25-pound dog down six flights of stairs, due to false fire alarms set off in a neighbouring building that shares a fire alarm with us. Echo has arthritis and can't do stairs. We do, too; but our arthritis isn't as bad as his. Still, our knees were not happy.

Oh, joy.

You can understand why we were especially happy about escaping all that going to San Diego in mid-February.

Seaport Village - Coronado Bridge

Two crows outside Upstart Crow!

 Marina at Seaport Village


My writing patio

Pacific Ocean at Point Cabrillo

  Aeronautic and Space Museum, Balboa Park

 Robinson R44 - Aeronautic and Space Museum, Balboa Park

Coronado Bridge, from Seaport Village

 the most spectacular sunset ever

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five More Minutes

1:30 am.


Me:               Trips over something in the dark.
                     Turns on bedside light.

Husband:      Wakes up.
                      Can I have five more minutes?

Me:               No. You can have five more hours.
                     Hastily turns off light.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pre-Spring Begins

Today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice.

It is the shortest day of the year.

Sometimes, I feel that I just want to sleep until Spring comes.

But then I remember that tomorrow the days will begin to lengthen. Only by 2 minutes a day, but by early January it will be noticeable.

So I prefer to think of this new season as Pre-Spring.

In only three months, Spring will be here...

Have a very happy Holiday Season!