Brussels, Art Nouveau, Musical Instruments Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

I’ve been downsizing travel books this week.  They’re some of the hardest to let go, maybe because I equate releasing a travel book with releasing the possibility of going back to a place I loved touring.  This week I listed Rick Steves’ Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Amazon and it sold by the next morning. I love it that someone is going.

In honor of releasing books, I’ll post some photos from our 2015 trip to Belgium. That’s October 2015, in the days of innocence BB, Before Bombing.

On the first morning there, we walked up to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Brussels Belgium

Brussels, looking up the hill toward MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum…

Brussels Belgium, up the hill toward MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

It’s the one with a tower and a turret, on the left.

Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments MuseumNow that we’re here, we can go atop —

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Here’s a view out from behind those Art Nouveau curves…

This Art Nouveau building was originally the “Old England” shops. It was designed by Paul Saintenoy, built in 1899.

View from atop: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

The view from atop MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

There’s a restaurant up top. Sam had the crème brûlée, and I became a person who takes pictures of our food.Crème brûlée at MIM, Brussels Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

More on MIM: gorgeous elevator and stairwell

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Sam checks out the bagpipes… I’m still gaga over the architectural details.

Brussels Belgium, night view

What goes up must go back down the hill. This is a popular view… I love taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially when I can see their phone screens glowing…

Here’s the picture we all took from atop the steps —

Brussels Belgium tourist view

… and now it’s noon on a Wednesday, time for the next photo challenge. Why am I always late with the Weekly Photo Challenge?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

More on MIM, and panoramic photos of the interior

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Hardwood Floor Repairs, Life Imitating Art, and Catching up on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

A mistake was made on my dining room floor installation. Then came the next day — a sunny morning, open window blinds, hardwood floors, and work starting again… does this remind you of anything?

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling Caillebotte’s The Floor Scrapers?

I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking them to pose. They were already unhappy with the need to re-do. Still, there was something about the light, the floor color, the figures semi-silhouetted… I hovered and tried to catch them kneeling, but one kneeling pose was all I got.

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling the Floor Scrapers…

I’d never seen The Floor Scrapers until I went to an exhibition that recreated some of the Impressionists’ Salon de Refuses exhibitions. Gustave Caillebotte exhibited The Floor Scrapers with them in 1876.

Gustave Caillebotte: The Floor Scrapers

The real thing – Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers (image from Web Gallery of Art)

Is it a good match? Well, maybe not, but it reminded me of how, if we watch closely, life is constantly imitating art.

Have you had an art/life moment lately?

More on the past Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

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Water Pipe Problems, Remodeling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

I wish the water knew its place. That would be in lakes, streams, oceans, aquifers, reservoirs, water towers … and in the pipes on the way to our houses.  Hot and cold running water in the home is a wonderful 1st World benefit. I appreciate it every day — especially the hot — but when the water comes out somewhere besides the faucet, it’s no fun.

My latest problem started small, just a damp spot in the driveway… but a few days later it looked like this:Water pipe leak in the driveway Meanwhile, inside, attempts at putting my living room back together took a turn — this little desk decided to come apart on the way down the stairs. Sam’s back went out with it.

Collapsed desk

Meanwhile, here’s a view of the offending pipe – first in the ground…

Driveway dig - looking for the water pipe

Where’s the water pipe line? All the other utilities marked their lines, but with the water, apparently no one knows for sure.

And here’s the damaged piece. It’s hard to believe that little pinhole put out so much water…

Copper water pipe with pinhole What? You can’t see the pinhole? Here’s a closer look —

Water pipe with pinhole leak

Now Sam’s back is healing, and the water pipe and the desk are both repaired. My house-related wish for this coming week is progress. No more collapsing, no more one step forward, two steps back.

Beware the Ides of March today – and no matter how thankful we are to have them — beware the water pipes.

I know there are more important things than houses to wish for — and I have those wishes too.  What do you wish for today?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

Remodeling, Donations, Chaos, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The painters are here – this one’s just a shadow shrouded behind a drape of plastic to keep out the dust. Things can get a little spooky looking when the light is just right…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenHere we are in daylight…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenAs you can see (off to the left) everything is piled up everywhere.

Here’s the kitchen last week when it was enshrouded too.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, and a new fridge delivered too.

Kitchen under wraps - shrouded in plastic The old fridge, now donated, is currently for sale at the Fur Kids Thrift Store. It was working just fine, but updated for cosmetic purposes (hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a little updating for cosmetic purposes myself). Here it is taking its leave.

Old fridge loaded to Fur Kids truck

Out of the shadowy house and into the light — the old fridge gets loaded to the Fur Kids truck.  It’s too bad we can see one foot of the guy doing the loading — otherwise, it almost looks like it’s rolling itself out, leaning forward into a new life.

I’m delighted to have found the Fur Kids thrift store nearby. That makes two stores in this area that benefit animal rescue, Fur Kids and Rescued Too. They’re my new favorite places to take donations.

Fur Kids truck

I love the waving-kitty logo…

What’s your favorite place for donations?

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American Painting at the High Museum in Atlanta, just a little late for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

There’s a new exhibition opening at the High in Atlanta: Cross Country, the Power of Place in American Art 1915- 1950. Some of these mid-century works are so evocative of solitude that I had to do an extra post to share them. This one could have come straight out of my hometown…

George Ault - Bright Light at Russell's Corners, 1946

George Ault – Bright Light at Russell’s Corners, 1946

Artist John Rogers Cox is from Indiana, but this wheat field would seem familiar to most of us who grew up anywhere in the midwest– it’s the alien-looking cloud I’m worried about.

John Rogers Cox - Wheat Field - 1943

John Rogers Cox – Wheat Field – 1943

“A wheat field has a whispering sound and an awe-inspiring quality like deft music, like an ocean. It gives you a lonely feeling.”  John Rogers Cox in Life Magazine, 1948.

Are you feeling the solitude?

More on Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950 (Feb 12 – May 7, 2017

More on (last week’s) Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

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Packing Up, Living Without Books, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

I didn’t realize how lonely I’d be without books. Here’s my living room, with the once-messy shelves of books all packed away to keep or stacked to donate (except the Amazon-sale ones stashed away upstairs). I had to pack up for remodeling, so to keep from packing twice, the keepers will stay boxed up until time comes to move.

Living Room with empty book shelves and no paintings

Living room all packed up, with no books & no paintings

My “library” room — Sam calls it the MCM room since it’s more Mid-Century than the rest of the house — is bookless now too. Here it is in a state of packing up…

Packing up the books

What to keep and what to go?…

And here are some of the keeper boxes … what will I do while they are inaccessible?

Books to keep, all packed up

Some books to keep, ready to be packed away until I can move.

I’m accustomed to walking in any time and pulling out something to reference. It’s time to say ‘bye books, see you later. Just for now, I’ll have to cope with the solitude of booklessness (and be even more thankful for the Public Library).

Have you ever been bookless?

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Art Exhibitions, Found Objects, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

This is the kind of thing that makes it so hard for me to let things go.  If you have a lot of stuff, a project like these robots could be great fun. Instead of clearing up, I want to get sticky-fingered with every domino and tool and gear and key and blob and button I find.  These perky robot pals are from the gift shop at the American Folk Art Museum.

Robots, Museum of Folk Art, New York, NY

Robots,  don’t they look like they’re about to speak? — or pinch? American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY

Still in New York, at MOMA this time… at the 2016 Marcel Broodthayers Retrospective; this work is from a mixed-media room sized installation with the theme of “the relationship of war to comfort.”

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Now if you’re downsizing, like me, something like this mobile might be a good way to repurpose your clothes hangars. Ready to clean out the closet? — make sculpture! And fabulous shadows play.

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Got clogs? Here’s a musical instrument from Brussels…

Clog Fiddle - Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

Clog Fiddle – Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

And last, one from my own closet (recently donated to be repurposed by a quilting friend). Repurposing a quilt should get double points, since quilts are repurposed anyway. This was a flea-market find from years ago… (hard to let it go).

Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt – repurposing fabric scraps, corduroy and velveteen.

Do you have potential art materials in your closet?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose