Parisian Asphalt, Electrical Tape and Dandelions

Juliana Santacruz Herrera found a fabulous way to deal with potholes in Paris. Not only would our winter battered streets in our town benefit tremendously from some colorful “repairs” of it’s many holes, but so would my kitchen floor.
See, even Parisian potholes are stylish. I’ve seen projects with crochet or knitting covering lampposts, but never filling the holes in pavement that we take for granted.  Even the most mundane features of our environment can be the trigger for inspiration.
Scottish artist Jim Lambie has an another interesting idea for floor coverings using electrical tape to create geometric patterns.
A little too psychedelic for my old Victorian, but nevertheless an innovative use for electrical tape. If I had a garage, I’d think about it.
My floor can neither be taped nor painted (see image below). We’ve dug up an interesting mess of plaster, wood and more linoleum. But still, I do enjoy seeing the “bones” of my house. It’s less scary to be confronted and dealing with mess, than not knowing and adding to the problem.
The only thing on my mind for the last few days is that (damn) floor. But yesterday I needed a break. I’ve been having this vision of fabric and yarn flowers growing out of the gaps. And believe me, there are many.  Here’s a sneak peak….

They definitely add some humor to the mess.  Leaves and more flowers are in progress. I’ve wanted to make flower brooches for quite some time and this is a good way to start.

Clearly, dandelions can grow anywhere, even on my floor.

The County Fair: Why Do I Go Every Year?

County Fair
Every year at the end of August, we wait for the county fair to arrive marking the end of summer. Every year we go and enjoy the rides, the bustling atmosphere, bright lights and happy kids’ faces. Think E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Our daughter’s ritual each year is to bang the hammer as hard as she can to ring the bell. Of course it always rings. She was suspicious this year. Last year she won the “Fun Fair Bear” and this year a blue inflatable dolphin.

Overlooking the fields from the Ferris wheel, we hear the cheering of crowds, the crashes from the demolition derby and the roaring monster trucks. We also learn who grew the biggest zucchini in the county and pat some cute lonely baby cows.  A black haired lady will take a willing hand and read the future in some pink fabric clad trailer.

County Fair

When the sun goes down and the cars are finally smashed, the lights and the faces don’t seem to glow so brightly any more. They are testimony of too many beers and too many years of traveling from town to town. Of missed or no opportunities.

The fair reminds me of the last remaining small traveling circuses in Europe. They’re wonderful, magic and melancholic all at the same time.

What is this romance of the traveling folks? Of gypsies and circus people?  At the end of summer I feel a longing for travel and more adventure, just as the routine of school and boxed lunches arrive.

Soon I will be confined to the house for many long winter months. Well, I could go out, but it’s too cold. However, first comes fall, my favorite season. Because then I can wear boots. And hats!

Whale Watching and Corsets

Whale Watching on Cape Cod
I am still on vacation. Lovely vacation in fact. Yesterday it was “off to see the whales”. Only once in my life did I see whales. Two of them to be precise way off in the distance. We needed binoculars to see them. Today we saw 60 humpback whales, rolling, breaching, jumping, mouths gaping, feeding all around us. It was a spectacular sight….unsettling at times, as they were really, I mean REALLY close to the boat we were in. And these animals are 50 feet long each. That’s 16 meters, my European friends. There is something special about these enormously intelligent mammals besides their immense size which has inspired myths and stories.

Between the wind, the sun and the rocking boat (and stomach), my mind began to wander…..If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the baleen which is what these whales use to filter their food from water. And then I realized, this was the very same material used for stiffening corsets from the 16th through the 19th century. Baleen is like human fingernails and the material could easily be shaped when steamed, and holds its form when dry.

Whale Bone Corset
© Les Arts décoratifs / Musée de la mode et du textile, Paris / Photo Laurent Sully Jaulmes
It’s a good thing that fashion no longer requires horribly restrictive corsets stiffened with whale bones or elephant or moose bones (did you know they used those, too?). It’s good for us, and good for whales!

And what does all that have to do with dancer Isadora Duncan? You’ll find out tomorrow.

Movement and Comfort

Impromptu Circus Party
I’m most comfortable in clothes that are beautiful and allow free movement. Clothes that let me balance on a 2×4 in the morning and are “cool” enough to show up at a friend’s house for tea that afternoon. We couldn’t have found a better person to represent this principle than Casey Benson, a yoga instructor seen in these pictures who specializes in classes for children.

These thoughts were in mind when Maya and I each created our impromptu circus. Check in with her today to learn about hula hoops and training wild animals to jump through a ring of fire!

Impromptu Circus Party

When it comes to clothes, there are only a few items in which I’m really comfortable…

There’s a “Summer Challenge” out in the blogosphere that dares the reader to wear only 10 items of clothing for the 91 days of summer. Is that a challenge, I wonder? Mmmmh. Isn’t that what most people would do if they didn’t have to dress up for work? If you have a husband you already know that. Don’t all wardrobes house “the comfortable”, “the beautiful” and “the forgotten”?

All my fancy clothes which are beautiful, but restrictive, enjoy a good retirement in my closet. Every once in a while a vintage dress made of mystery fiber ends up in my wardrobe, because I get inspired by the look, the colors or the inspiration it creates. I imagine wearing it to a party, looking glamorous and having a sophisticated evening with pleasant conversation and soft music. In reality, here in the countryside with cows as the main spectators, the only time I ever wear these dresses are the 5 minutes right before I go to bed when I try them on to see, if they “still fit”. Then I get “the look” from my daughter, and I meekly return them to their retirement home secure in the knowledge that tomorrow,  I’ll still wear one of my favorite things; likely something comfortable, probably made from recycled t-shirts.

Rag Balls and Juggling

Juggling has been with us for at least 4000 years. I found a picture of an ancient wall painting (not at a garage sale, but online) dated 1994-1781 B.C which appears to depict jugglers. It was found in the 15th tomb of the Karyssa I area, Egypt: Learning how to juggle is not that difficult. […] Read more »

Sweet Summer Treats

Our circus party definitely needed some treats to get things started. Sweet treats to be precise. Maya and I created two, one frozen and one crispy treat with flowers. Every child I know loves edible flowers. Personally,  my experience was restricted to broccoli and cauliflower. And, of course, in Germany we ate dandelions. As kids […] Read more »

Impromptu Circus – Part I

This week my good friend Maya of and I are having a party! To be precise an Impromptu Circus Party which we’ll be presenting both here and on Maya’s blog. We’re really excited. We’ll celebrate in an old Junkyard where the relics of rusty cars lie half-buried in knee high grass, their wheels submerged […] Read more »

A Summer Post: Strandkorb/Beach Basket

(Image: Kampinga sent me a link with incredible beach fashion from the June 1867 issue of “The Lady’s Friend” and now I am totally obsessed with everything related to beach life of the past. While I discovered some wonderful images from the turn of the last century I’ve also found some of European Beaches […] Read more »