Flying First Class, Pinching Menus, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

Unpacking yet more of Bob’s boxes in the last few weeks, I’ve uncovered a trove of airline menus from past flights in 1st Class. Seeing these, I could say his muse was food. When these menus were new, we were airline employees, with pass riding and upgrades as part of our benefits. Before flights were packed as full as they are these days, we often got upgraded.

TWA First Class menus

When menus were shiny — I don’t remember the difference in Ambassador and Royal Ambassador. Apparently it had to do with silver and gold. Or maybe it was the upstairs/downstairs of the 747’s.

Before I had Bob to travel with, I seldom stopped to eat in nice restaurants, but instead found a cafeteria or a grocery store, or got a sandwich on the go. Seeing these menus reminded me of our first trips together and how amazed I was at the time he was willing to invest in deciding where to eat. Our first international trip together was to Greece, and I remember walking up and down and around all the streets near our Athens hotel that first evening, waiting (and starving) while he read the menus in the windows and deliberated, sometimes going back to look again and compare.

But back to menus in the air:

TWA 1st Class Menu - libations

The libations were shiny too.

And over the years the menus evolved:

Group of TWA 1st Class menus, probably through the 1980s.

A selection — I’m guessing through the 1980s.

Bob often traveled on business, so he collected menus from several other airlines too:

KLM First Class Menu

KLM Menus were a class act, and by the looks of it I’m guessing there were libations involved here as well.

Years later, in New York City for his cancer treatments, Bob lamented that there we were, in Manhattan, surrounded by wonderful restaurants, but chemo made him too nauseous to feel like eating. That soon changed though. After his surgery and through seven years of subsequent visits for check-ups and treatments, he got to enjoy those restaurants many times. I remember now that when I first started sorting through things after his death, I found stacks of menus then too — from his New York favorites.

But one more thing. I’m not so innocent myself. I found a menu that I saved. My friend Donna and I went to the Cafe Royale in London just to get this one. It had something to do with our favorite sci-fi novel of the moment, a Michael Moorcock time travel fantasy, where the raucous aliens partied in the bar of the Cafe Royale — picture the bar scene from Star Wars set in Victorian London.

Cafe Royal Bar

Cafe Royal Bar – you can tell from the prices that this was some time back.

 What to do with the menus? Maybe I’ll check out eBay. I did notice not long ago that someone Cafe Royal Menu Coverwas selling a TWA seat-occupied card. And yes, I have one of those too.

Have you ever collected menus?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

A Rainbow of Quilts, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G. Biv

I can’t resist sharing a few more quilts from the Georgia Celebrates Quilts show. These fit nicely into this week’s Roy G.Biv photo challenge —

The Way Out - Margaret Williams

The Way Out – Margaret Williams

The quilter based this work on a photograph she took when emerging from the Tottenham Court Road tube station in London, 2010, and made it for her guild’s “Inspired by Travel” challenge.

This next one’s called “Let Your Light Shine”

Let Your Light Shine DSC00333And a detail shows just how much light there is. I’d never seen sequins or “sets” in quilts before this, and there were several examples in the show.

Quilt detail - Let Your Light Shine - Mary Mattimoe, quilted by Regina Carter

Quilt detail – Let Your Light Shine – Mary Mattimoe, quilted by Regina Carter. I love the sun-motifs with shining rays.

Quilt detail - Let Your Light Shine - Mary Mattimoe, quilted by Regina Carter

A closer look, quilt detail  (sunshine after the rain — I’m beginning to see the light)

One more, and this one’s more obviously rainbow-themed — an applique of colored strips in rainbow order applied to seven colors of gray fabric, adapted from a pattern published by Kansas City Star Quilts.

Rainbow Explosion - Jan Cunningham, quilted by Bella Bamert

Rainbow Explosion – Jan Cunningham, quilted by Bella Bamert.

As for my downsizing projects, work goes on.  This week’s progress: selling a box full of books, a 29 volume set of vintage 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica I found in the basement. It’s always dangerous to sort though books, and the detailed articles, wonderful illustrations, and fold-out maps in this set were tempting me big time. I knew I couldn’t keep them though, so I listed them on eBay. I was feeling quite triumphant when they sold (who knew that anyone besides me would be attracted to vintage encyclopedias?) that is, until time came to pack and mail what turned out to be just over 87 pounds of books — but now it’s done and I’m glad they’re off to a new home.

Oh, and who is Roy G. Biv? He’s the acronym for the seven colors of the rainbow: Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue/Indigo/Violet. I’ll bet the encyclopedia knows about him.

 How long has it been since you’ve seen an encyclopedia?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G Biv

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Celebrating Quilts (Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season)

At first I thought it oddly off-season to hold a quilt show in the heat of summer. Then I remembered the show I went to two years ago, and realized these are art quilts and may or may not be the kind that are meant to keep us warm in winter. Here’s a detail from one of my favorites at Georgia Celebrates Quilts, on view last weekend —

Storm of Rebrith - Ruth Ann Yax

“Storm of Rebrith” – Ruth Ann Yax: Hand dyed silk, cotton, paint sticks on cotton. Beaded. Machine stitched dandelions and seeds.

I picked quilts with ecological themes for this post — a concept that’s never off-season. Here’s the complete picture of this one.

Storm of Rebirth - Ruth Ann Yax - Georgia Celebrates Quilts

A theme of ruination and rebirth.

The next one appeals to me for the same reason that the quilts of previous generations do — making use of scraps of fabric that are otherwise unusable. Perhaps you can’t tell from a distance…

Compost Piles - Selvage Quilt - Lee Yarrell  … but you can when you get closer. This quilt uses selvages — the edges of fabric that are usually discarded.

Compost Piles - Selvage Quilt - Lee Yarrell - Georgia Celebrates Quilts

“Compost Piles /Selvage Quilt” – Lee Yarrell, quilted by Country Corner Quilts, Harison AR, Georgia Celebrates Quilts

 Here’s another favorite, though my photo doesn’t do it justice —

The Note Said: Handmade by Gladys - Betty Gay White and Gladys

“The Note Said: Handmade by Gladys” – Betty Gay White and Gladys

After discovering the hand-pieced quilt top in a consignment booth, this quilter found a note pinned to the back saying “Handmade by Gladys”. She decided to honor Gladys by hand-quilting it herself.

I love the themes of rescue, reuse, and rebirth, particularly when it comes to quilts. I still have family comforters and quilts of my own whose fates are undecided. Meanwhile, I’m still unpacking boxes, and more than a little sorry I have to wait two years for the next quilt show.

Do you have a favorite family quilt?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Off Season

East Cobb Quilters

The Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2015, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

Saturday afternoon, the “Design is Human” Modern Atlanta Architecture tour:  we walked out the door of yet another sleek and modern architectural wonder and saw something vivid shining out from behind the trees across the street, something we hadn’t noticed on the way in. Time to get close for a look–

Modern Atlanta Homes 2015: vivid color on a house across the street

I wish this house had been on the tour.

I didn’t notice there were strings of lights on this house until I saw my photo. Now I may have to drive by at night.

This is the third year we’ve been on the MA tour. I love it and look forward to it, still, in large doses modern design can be a little cold and neutral. Not this time — this tour had some vivid highlights punctuating those pristine gray and white interiors. I’ll share a few here, and if you’re reading in email, please click through to the website for a better view.

Now that I’m home, my own place seems shabby but comfortable. On the bright side, I’m not afraid to walk around the house carrying my cup of coffee, like I would be in any of these.

Murphy’s Law reads “If something can go wrong it will,” so the Law of Viewing Houses must be something like “If something can be staged, it will.” Does all that perfection give me a deep need to perk up my space? — I have to admit, I did clean house today. Looking around, I see that all my effort to clear out  is helping in the long term, but in the short term, every time I drag out a box of stuff to sort through I make a big mess. I won’t be staging any time soon…

How about you?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

And more on the Modern Atlanta Architecture Tour

Furniture provided for some of the homes on tour came from Cantoni, City Issue, Roche Bobois, and the Besharat Gallery.

Houseplants, I Have Too Many (Part 2) and the Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

A couple of weeks ago Sam helped me load a pick-up full of houseplants. Here are Christmas cactus, Hoya, Dieffenbachia and more, all on the way to their new home.  These Christmas cactuses bloom like champs but got too big for their window and also too big for me to re-pot them.

A pick-up full is too many houseplants

How many houseplants is too many?

Here they are after unloading at their new residence — they’re just a few blocks away with a neighbor who has a greenhouse and a plant business. There’ll be lots of new baby cactuses in the neighborhood by this time next year.

A new home for my house plants II love having house plants but I do feel suddenly freer now that I’ve downsized. I’m planning to find homes for even more by the end of the summer, but I’ll still keep one Hoya and a few small Christmas cactuses.

One more example of a container full of plant material — I took this photo at the High Museum in February, on the way through the museum after the preview of “The Coca-Cola Bottle, an American Icon at 100.”

Art in Bloom at the High MuseumThis was my favorite from a three-day exhibition called Art in Bloom. A little closer look —

Art in Bloom at the High Museum - detailThough they may look a little garish after the purity of the calla lilies, I’ll risk posting an older photo of some of my Christmas cactuses.

Christmas cactus in bloom

This photo was taken a few years ago, when they still fit in the window. I’m keeping the (slightly) smaller one on the tall plant stand.

The window seems a little empty now, but I keep reminding myself that empty is good when I’m downsizing, and extra anything, even plants, can be perceived as clutter.

How many houseplants is too many?

For more on the weekly photo challenge: On the Way

My Vintage Dollhouse, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

Here it is, my childhood dollhouse — proud and colorful from the front, a little shaky from the back. But isn’t that true of many houses?

Vintage Tin Lithograph Doll House Note that the landscaping is painted onto the front of the house… I wonder if I could try this at home? It certainly would be easier to take care of than my 3D landscaping is.

This find isn’t from my basement — it survived in a closet at my brother’s house.

What’s broken?

Tin Litho Dollhouse Garage door

Alas, I don’t think the garage door opener would work anymore (if it had one, that is).

The door can be repositioned manually, but then, the dolls didn’t drive, so there isn’t a car. The interior decor is painted on too, so the homeowners won’t be redecorating any time soon.

Vintage Tin Litho Dollhouse interior

There was still some of its furniture left, and one remaining doll. I’m hoping it all finds a home with a collector who can restore it. And yes, I’m still in love with that idea of painting the landscaping on the side of the house. Maybe then I could donate my yard tools and just paint some on the garage walls like this:

Vintage Tin Litho Doll House with garage and painted tools

See them to the left of the garage door? I might still need a 3D vacuum though.

Here’s to all our vintage toys, whether they’re soft like the Velveteen Rabbit — most of whose hair had been loved off — or sturdy, but in need of a structural repair and maybe even a modern “staging”, like my dollhouse.

Do you still have any of your childhood toys?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

A Midtown Garden Tour, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

Imagine you could live in the middle of a busy city, yet still be enveloped by nature in a secret garden. Some lucky people do just that.

Midtown Atlanta garden tour Viewing greenery in the heart of Atlanta doesn’t get any better than on this open garden tour. Midtown Open Garden Stroll 2015When I’m visiting Sam, we often walk through this midtown neighborhood, admiring homes and beautiful front yard gardens. Yesterday we were able to go behind the scenes and see more. There were vintage treasures…

Midtown Atlanta garden tour - vintage flamingoand vintage music…

Midtown Atlanta garden tour - music And fountains, and picture-book doorways that led to secluded gardens.

If you’re viewing in email, please click through to the website to see the photos more clearly. These gardens are worthy of a closer look.

Now I’m back at home in the ‘burbs, and feeling inspired. My own back yard could certainly use some attention, even though it will never be as intriguing as these.

I don’t want to slow down the job of downsizing though… do you think pulling weeds counts as clutter control?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

For more on the Midtown Open Garden Stroll