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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Milton Sidewalk Art Show & Sale

Along the Broadkill River - early in the day before the crowds arrived

John C. Murray, one of our artist/friends who is a printmaker. He was working on a copper plate while sitting at his booth. He uses only waterbased inks and non-toxic elements, techniques and chemistries in the production of his beautiful etchings and gives workshops and classes at Rehoboth Art League.

We set up our booth with Bob's photographs on one side and my watercolors on the other. I included my botanicals as well as the Italian Journal Paintings both originals and prints, framed and unframed.

Those pink cheeks were from the hot sun all day! Next time I think I better wear a big sun hat!

Yesterday was the first of the two shows we're participating in here in southern Delaware this summer. This one included about 30+ artists and was located in the quaint little Victorian town of Milton, Delaware. Milton is located on the Broadkill River, a short drive south of Milford, where we live. It has a charming historic downtown, settled originally in 1672, and like Milford and many of the small towns along the east coast, it has a proud history of shipbuilding. Reading their website, I just learned that they also were button makers. Apparently, large mother-of-pearl shells were once shipped to Milton from the South Pacific to be cut and polished and turned into fancy garment decorations that were shipped throughout the northeast. Interesting! There are several lovely Bed & Breakfasts, including the Governor's Bed & Breakfast, built in 1790, former home of David Hazzard, governor of Delaware from 1830-1833, with its charming front porch and Victorian furnishings. Bob and I stayed there on one of our earlier visits to the area and found it quite comfortable, affordable and lovely.

But I digress! I was sick with a virus for the past two weeks which made it quite a challenge to prepare for this show and Bob did the lion's share of the work. I did manage to help with some of the framing -- fortunately we had done most of the matting before we left for our trip to Milwaukee and Richmond so that left all the framing and preparing the Certificates of Authenticity that I include with all of my giclée prints, and just making sure we had everything we needed.

This was only the second time we have set up outdoors for an art show and we are learning as we go. The day was extremely hot and humid, in the 90s by the afternoon, and as you can see from the photos there was not a lot of shade outside the tent (and we tried to stay out of the shoppers way, sitting on our fold up chairs by the side of the river or standing outside. There was a nice breeze off the river but still, it was just pretty hot. And the weather up until now has been absolutely beautiful, comfortable enough to have the windows open and not need the a/c at all. (and it's predicted to be more like that this coming week!) Sitting on our enclosed porch in the evenings has been so lovely. So to have this extremely hot day for the show (with the threat of rain in the afternoon to boot) was not exactly the ideal but not much we could do but put on sun screen and drink plenty of water. The photos up and down the brick paths were taken early in the day when there weren't too many people but by midday it was pretty full of shoppers and lookers (mostly lookers!).

We did sell a few pieces but it wasn't a raging success. A lot of people looked, we met and talked with many others who were interested in our work and were very complimentary. We handed out a bunch of business cards and hopefully planted some seeds that may pay off in the future. Who knows!

By the end of the day we were completely wiped out! After taking cool showers we ordered Chinese Delivery and flopped in front of the TV, leaving everything in the car until today when we'll need to straighten out the tent and put things back in order. By the end of the day yesterday big storm clouds started to build and the wind picked up making it a challenge to fold up the tent nice and neatly so we stuffed it into the car in a hurry to avoid getting caught in the rain!

Next week is the big show at St. Peter's in Lewes where well over 100 fine artists and fine craftspeople from all over the mid-Atlantic region will be showing their work. We've heard good things about this show and they advertise it pretty heavily. It is a juried show, which means we had to submit work and be accepted to be able to participate so there is an expectation of high quality work. It is during the 4th of July weekend when many people come to the beaches so it is usually well attended. Whether anyone will be interested in our particular work is anybody's guess but we are going to give it a shot and see what happens. And with the current economy it's probably not the best time to be trying to sell artwork - not exactly a necessity for most folks I'm afraid.

Up & Coming and Ongoing

We're putting some work in the Mispillion and Rehoboth Art League Member Shows this summer also. Both have permanent galleries where the work will be on display and for sale throughout the rest of the summer. I'm going to enter work in the Delaware Watercolor Society Fall Juried Fine Art Exhibition and hope I get accepted. This show (I am a member) is held in Wilmington, with a reception on the 5th of September and the work will be on display until 1 October. This is a market we have not yet been exposed to so it could be interesting. The Mispillion Art League will be holding their Fall Exhibition in October, so there is something going on just about every month. My Journal Paintings and Prints are still on display at Angelucci Fine Woodworking & Stained Glass Studio & Artists Gallery where they continue to sell my work.

Summer is filled with art fairs and we will be checking out a few for possible participation next year. One is the Brandywine Arts Festival in Wilmington on the first weekend in September. It's a two day event and we plan to go up there to check it out this year and talk to some of the participants. Maybe next year we'll be ready to commit to a two day event!

One of the things we are also looking forward to is a visit from my sister and nieces mid-July. I haven't seen them since October and they have never been to Delaware so we are all excited to see each other again. My brother and his wife and my cousin will come down to visit while they are here too so it should be a lively, fun, family time.

Hope you're having a good summer! Thanks to everyone who came out to the Milton show in spite of the heat. We appreciate all of you.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soccer Dad

Kyla played soccer this year and had so much fun. Her Daddy (our son Chris) is a huge soccer fan and made sure she had all the proper gear. Here they are practicing in the park. At her first game she made 3 goals! Of course not all of them went into her team's goal but it didn't matter, she had fun.

Friday, June 13, 2008

At the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Together with Jessica, we took Kyla to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. The glass house is the Conservatory that houses exotic and unusual plants from around the world. Plus, I can never resist a botanical garden and one with a place for kids to play seemed like the best of both worlds to me! She loved the Water Play area the best!

Our two girls, pretty as a picture!

She really loved the Water Play area in the Children's Garden with fountains and jets that came on and off randomly! This area also has a hands-on activity center and "Leafy Overlook" a beautiful tree house and "international village" little houses from different parts of the world. We hope to take her back again later in the summer.

The "Leafy Overlook" Tree house.

A very lovely botanical garden!

At the Children's Farm with Kyla & Jessica

Kyla likes to feed the goats at the Children's Farm at Maymont

Jessica & Kyla in matching green pajamas after a busy day at the Farm

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And just a few more shots from Toledo

The view from our room at the unglamorous Seagate Hotel

A building in the warehouse district - we liked the colors

More views of Ohio

The 25th President of the United States, William McKinley was an Ohio native, as were Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Taft and Warren Harding. Who knew? Bob and I like to play games on our long drives these days and one of them is trying to name the presidents. We can go backwards pretty good all the way from George Bush to Woodrow Wilson and forwards from Washington to Monroe, after that we kind of know all their names (well most of them anyway) but putting them in the right order is a challenge!

A statue of William McKinley stands in front of the state capital building in Toledo (which is why I mentioned him and the presidents in the first place!

The offices of the Toledo Blade newspaper, the oldest continuing business in Toledo, it was first published on December 19, 1835! When I googled it I found this blurb
"...the 170th anniversary of The Toledo Blade. Back on December 19, 1835, the first issue of The Blade was published in Toledo, Ohio. The Blade's history page explains that it is the oldest continuing business in Toledo, Ohio, USA. In fact, it is older than the city itself. The city was not incorporated until 1837. During the Civil War, David Ross Locke brought The Blade to national prominence writing satires under the pen name Petroleum V. Nasby on topics including slavery and temperance. The influence of Locke was significant, with President Lincoln himself reading the Nasby satires. And in 2004, The Blade won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for the series "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," reporting on atrocities in the Vietnam War.

The building was kind of cool too.

Headquarters of Toledo Edison

More views of the Flower Market - Saturday, Sunday and Monday May 24 - 26th were "Flower Day Weekend" in Toledo. As far as I could tell, this is a once a year event, with not only plants and flowers, direct from the growers, there were also some of the most wonderful fresh vegetables, baked goods, eggs, poultry and beef, plus artisans works, yard art and crafts. We sampled popcorn and had we not had breakfast at a nearby local diner (the ham and egg on an english muffin was just perfectly cooked!) we would have gone for some of the baked goodies for sure. The locals in the diner encouraged us to go check it out and we were glad we did.

Just one of the many beautiful churches in Toledo. Holy Toledo is right. I tried to find out where that phrase came from and found this on a site called The Phrase Finder

"holy Toledo! - This exclamation of surprise refers to Toledo, Spain, which became one of the great centers of Christian culture after its liberation from the Moors in 1085. Its thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral, one of the largest in Europe, is the seat of the Cardinal Archbishop of Spain." "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

But I also found this info on the "do Toledo" website:

While there are several stories that try to explain the origin of the expression, “Holy Toledo,” no one has proven what it really is. Some say gangsters coined the phrase in the 1920s and 1930s because Toledo was a safe-haven for gangs. The phrase can also be traced back to Vaudeville performers who used the expression to explain poor attendance at shows in Toledo. However, it is likely that Toledo’s many churches of all faiths, particularly those along Collingwood Boulevard, may have inspired the nickname.

Here's just one of the many, many churches in Toledo.

Views of Toledo, Ohio

We spent the night in a downtown hotel in Toledo, Ohio, on our way to Milwaukee at the end of May. The city was fairly deserted as it was the start of Memorial Day weekend. Here are just a few of the sights we saw during our afternoon explore around town.

Restored row of buildings, downtown Toledo, Ohio

The Erie Street Flower Market was in full bloom. Couldn't resist stopping to look.

The "Fifth Third Ballpark" - home of the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team

The Mud Hens logo (no we did not go to a game - but we saw fireworks from the park reflected in the glass building next to our hotel and heard the loud explosions from our room

A couple of guys were fishing in the river

Kyla's 4th Birthday April 27, 2008

"I love it! It's just what I wanted!"

Kyla and her Gram

The Princess Kyla

Our granddaughter's beautiful face!

Kyla with the Ariel cake her Gramma made

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Downtown Milford's Historic Homes Tour May 10, 2008

The day was very overcast and threatened to rain but we went on the home tour anyway and enjoyed going through some of the older, historic homes in our town. One is a Museum, two are churches, a few are now bed & breakfasts, some have families still living in and enjoying these lovely old homes. As the weather was not cooperating, we didn't get photos of all the homes, including the Victorian Parson Thorne Mansion, now a museum, built in 1725 in the Georgian style and still undergoing a major restoration and Christ Episcopal Church, that dates back to the 1700s with some lovely stained glass windows and interesting collection of kneelers hand-stitched in needlepoint by church members, each one a unique work of art. Here is just a sampling of what we saw that day.

The Causey Mansion
On the National Register of Historic Places and now a Bed & Breakfast, this is the oldest home in South Milford. Built in 1763 it was the home of two Delaware governors. Originally built in the Georgian style, it was enlarged and changed to Greek Revival in 1849.

Sunnybrae Mansion
Built in 1937, this three-story mansion sits on 91 acres. It boasts Flemishbond brick, a slate roof, foot thick outer walls, an impressive 1000 foot long driveway lined with oaks and maples. The owners live on the property which can be rented out for weddings and formal occasions.

The Values-Grier Home, a lovely example of late Victorian architecture was built in 1872 and is a private home with stunning leaded glass windows, molded plaster walls, parqueted floors, balconies and towers. The porch looks out over Silver Lake, in one Milford's lovelier streets.

The front porch of the Vaules-Grier home

Walnut Knoll, another of the private homes on the tour is a large brick house built in 1906 with Neo-Classic features, with two full kitchens, parlor, formal dining room, mudroom, six bedrooms and 4-1/2 baths. Also on the property is a brick carriage house an a brick laundry/summer kitchen. One staircase leads up from the foyer and another goes down to the kitchen!

What have we been up to lately? 6.07.08

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted here to our blog! We took a breather after the reception at Angelucci’s on the 28th to rest up and then headed to Milwaukee to help our daughter pack for a move at the end of the month. That was quite a busy weekend for us – the Bug & Bud festival on the 26th, our granddaughter Kyla’s 4th birthday on the 27th (in Richmond) and the reception here in Milford on the 28th. We needed a day to rest! We took two days getting to Milwaukee, with a stop in Columbus, Ohio on the way. No real sightseeing, just getting there. We were busy from sunup to sundown, purging and packing with Jessica in Milwaukee but did manage a little walk along the lake and an afternoon at the theatre. She is the stage manager at Next Act Theatre in downtown Milwaukee and the show running was called "The Mystery of Irma Vep," a very zany show by Charles Ludlam where the two actors – John McGivern and Christopher Tarjan, played all eight characters in a non-stop, quick-change marathon that is absolutely hilarious. It closed on the 25th of May, the end of Next Act’s 2008 season.

Kyla’s 4th birthday was fun. In between getting ready for the Angelucci Reception and the Bug & Bud Festival, I made a birthday cake for her. I found a fancy castle mold and with some of the little characters from the movie The Little Mermaid – her favorite – a little blue food coloring for the “sea”, a generous sprinkling of colored sugars and voila – an Ariel cake! The party was held at one of the play places in Richmond and a fun time was had by all.

The weather was very spring-like here in April – with our share of rainy days (April showers and May flowers and all that). In fact we had such a severe storm that some of the towns closest to the beach had flooding and evacuations. Even Milford experienced flooded streets in the lower parts of the downtown area, next to the river. The wind blew and heavy rain fell for over 24 hours without a break. It was really something. We were happy to be high and dry in our second floor condo.

On the 10th of May with the weather still overcast and threatening rain, we went on a self-guided tour of some of the historic homes in Milford with our friends Walt & Sharon. We were quite impressed with some of the wonderful old mansions, a few of which are now bed & breakfasts, some dating back as far as the 1700s.

We participated in another Art Fair in downtown Rehoboth at the Senior Center (no, not all the artists were senior citizens but the “students” who take classes there also proudly displayed their work). There was a Sidewalk Sale going on in Rehoboth Beach at the same time and we had hoped there would be a good turn out of shoppers. We did manage to sell some things but it was mostly a long day and we probably won’t go back to this same venue next year. We’re learning.

After the Art Fair we packed up again and made our second trip to Milwaukee, for Jessica’s move. She has a great group of friends and a good number turned out to help, making it a much easier process. We spent two days getting her settled in the new place, unpacking as much as we could and even putting some of her art up on the walls. We went to another performance of Irma Vep and enjoyed it even more the second time, got to stick around and watch them do a photo shoot (Bob got to participate on that one with some fun shots of the actors) and to John McGivern's one man show “Another Midsummer Night McGivern” at the Milwaukee Rep.

John was born and raised in Milwaukee and his tales of growng up there are warm and funny and even though Bob and I grew up in New York City (me in Brooklyn, him in Queens) we found lots of things to relate to. If you are in that area and haven’t yet seen it, we highly recommend it. His show runs through June 22, 2008.

On our way back from Milwaukee we all headed Richmond for a visit with Chris, Lisa and Kyla. We spent a couple of days there taking Kyla to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Maymont’s Farm/petting zoo. The Garden has a children’s area with water play and that was a big hit. I even got to celebrate my birthday while we were there, complete with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robins (my favorite – mint chocolate chip with chocolate cake – yummm!). I have been teasing Bob, that he is now 10 years older than me since he has reached his 60s and I’m still in my 50’s (I won’t reach the big 6-0 till next year and I’m taking my time getting there.) He's not really buying it.

Jessica came back here with us for a few days rest and some beach time before heading home to Wisconsin and up to Door County where she’ll stage manage the summer Shakespeare season.

The next few weeks should be pretty busy ones for us getting ready for a couple of Art Fairs, one in Milton - the Milton Sidewalk Sale and one in Lewes, Delaware at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church that will include 140 artists in downtown historic Lewes. It has a good reputation so we are keeping our fingers crossed. We’ll be working hard matting and framing our work to show and with luck, sell at these two events.

My sister and nieces are coming to visit at the end of July and in September I hope to go to Colorado to walk with them in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes. I’ll be giving you more info about that as it gets closer.

So that’s it! That’s what we’ve been up to. Today we are headed downtown for Milford’s annual Strawberry Social – they’ll be serving up free ice cream sundaes with fresh strawberries while supplies last. The summer Farmer’s Market is in full swing now and there’s an antiques show on the lawn at the Parson Thorne Mansion.

I hope to post some photos this coming week, after Jessica leaves. It is definitely summer now, the weather is warm, the tourists have returned to the beaches and my windows and all the little shops at the beach are open, welcoming visitors and summer breezes.

Thanks for stopping by,