Wednesday, November 30, 2011

flea market finds: a blue, blue, blue Bitossi christmas

i am rubbing my hands as i write (if that's even possible!) ha! but i am soooo soooo high about my finds this week (the title is already a dead give-away!) that not even the impending "that-time-of-the-month" can dampen it :D i am, of course, referring to paying the bills :)

so first up are these turquoise teacups bought for .75p each. i just love their color! can you imagine yourself sipping hot chocolate on a rainy day with these cute-ness? and imagine my surprise when i looked inside them...
polka dots! *happy dance* they are sooo much fun! i am even totally forgetting the plain white ones i bought previously (ive been known to go back and forth from classic to kitschy, subdued to loud, designer to shabby chic from time to time, so do forgive me) these are made by Waechsterbach Spain (originally, West Germany), known for its vibrant colors, brilliant glaze work and contemporary designs since 1832.
moving on, i also snagged this lovely boho peacock purse yesterday as i was nonchalantly passing by my favorite shop :) the beading is pristine and there are no snags at all :)
another thing i spotted is this craft puncher with a cat design. another one i'll add to my crafts tools collection :) perfect for halloween or for little old cat ladies :D
and now for the serious part :) i found this magnificent 7x3 and a half-inch blue elephant under a pile of old and mingy plastic kitchen utensils. at first i was attracted to the color because they are so vivid (my photo does not do justice at the sharpness of it) so i decided to keep it. and then i spotted another one of the same color lying sideways and wasn't sure what it was. i was hoping it was another animal. but to my surprise...
its a beautiful 7 and a half-inch vase also with the same striking color! now, i have enough vases at home (flea market finds of course) that can last me a lifetime but this one sang to me, ladies and gents! it was calling my name. like the Sirens in Jason's voyage with the Argonauts, alas! i did'nt have my Orpheus with me to drown out the voices *sigh*
from reading too many flea market blogs, i've now acquired the habit of looking at the bottom to see who made these yumminess. when i saw the Bitossi name and the family's coat of arms, thats when i knew these two will be mine forever :D to be passed on to my family and to our family's future generations (such a drama queen and its not like i discovered a treasure chest of ancient Spanish gold and silver coins.... YET! watch this space my little monsters)
i did some research when i got home and found out that these two were made by an Italian family-owned ceramics company, Bitossi, based in Montelupo Fiorentino, a municipality in Florence, Italy since 1921. they belong to their Rimini Blu line "characterized by intricate hand-embossed patterns and layered blue and turquoise glazes, reminiscent of the sea. The pieces were designed by Aldo Londi for Bitossi, and many are still in production today. The pattern can be seen in vases, lamps, ash trays, bowls, platters, and animal figurines."

Designed in the 1950s, every piece of Bitossi's collection has been made by hand by master ceramists. also, decorations have been painted by hand, piece by piece, with precious glazes and firings. small imperfections that sometimes can be noticed witness the originality and the craft manufacturing process of the product.

bought these two for next to nothing and my hopes of finding Mid-Century Modern designs here in Gib are renewed :) now i know there are people out there who are about to dump the rest of their Bitossis to my beloved shops (subliminal message? yes!) so i can finally not worry about retirement :)

*linking to Flea Market Finds @Her Library Adventures!

Friday, November 25, 2011

flea market finds: flights of fancy

am back to my regular programming folks! and as usual, to de-stress myself from 5 days of non-stop zombie walking in London, i immersed myself in, what else, holiday bargain-hunting!

to start off, found this lovely wooden seagull mobile with a Tarifa mark (Tarifa is a small seaside town in Spain about an hour and a half away from Gib and well-known for its white sandy beaches and excellent windsurfing conditions) that will surely make a certain little boy i love happy as can be :) bought for only a pound.
below is a decorative egg-shaped pure jade embellished with a hand-painted toucan (or some kind of bird). i did some research on how to determine if its authentic jade or not and i'm pretty sure this is the real mccoy. found this among a pile of baubles inside a distinctive colorful small pouch embossed in gold with a name of a jewelry and ivory company in HongKong.
also in the same pouch is a jade pendant with a gold clasp in a bolo knife design :) for £1.50 i think i got a keeper :)
yesterday i and the mister went to the Convent Christmas Fair. its an annual charity-sponsored event where independent designers can sell their creations for a nominal fee. i didn't find anything i particularly like and i had to circum-navigate the Convent twice before i saw these beauties :)
i saw two ladies selling crocheted stuff and among those buried deep under scarves and mittens were these two lovely lacquered burgundy apple and golden pear. they were a bit more than what i would like to pay for them but what the heck. i love them :) bought for £2.50 each.
two things i can say though: (1) there are some pretty creative people here in Gib and (2) our christmas is certainly shaping up nicely!

and what have you found recently?

*linking to Flea Market Finds @Her Library Adventures!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Great London Walk-About: Reminders of Home

ahhh nothing ever feels like home. i was talking to my sister the other day and she said something that to me is an absolute truth. you can take the girl out of her home where she feels "safe, secure and accepted" but you can never take that kind of home out of the girl. she said that she can see this truth in my words when i write. she said she can feel this truth in between my words when we chat. that really made me feel happy and of course made me miss home more.

so, every chance i get, wherever i go, i always try to visit something that reminds me so much of where i am from. after a friend suggested i visit something Filipino in the middle of London, i ventured into the great unknown to find this store and luckily, they weren't that far from the tube station. needless to say, i bought a LOT of stuff!
not only did i shop, but it didn't take a lot for me to convince the mister that we try out this retaurant!
i tried out the buffet after i saw my beloved humba in the selection :) included were fried fish, pinakbet, the ever-present pancit, sinigang and others
the mister ordered calamares and camaron rebosado along with his egg-fried rice. he is not too keen on Filipino food but there are a few things that he likes such as Lucky Me Pancit Canton, Skyflakes crackers, turon, leche flan, my dad's beef steak, succulent mangoes, and others that are yet to be discovered and devoured!
imagine to my surprise when i saw an exhibit about the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Natural History Museum in London! it was a bit of a depressing memory really, but still, it was something from my past :) i was in my sophomore year in uni and was living in an all-girl dormitory and had a friend who was studying geology at that time and during the eruption she actually went there along with some experts from the US Geological Society and brought us all a piece of "lahar" as a souvenir...
i remember the roads and the "ikot" jeepneys (jeepneys that ply only inside the huge UP campus in Diliman) were all covered in white ash. the days were dim-lit and we joked that it must be a miracle and that finally it was snowing in the Philippines
i remember bringing an umbrella to my classes during the day because there was a steady drizzle of white ash (Mt Pinatubo was about 55 miles or 90 kms northwest of Manila) and everything was covered in white ash. we were advised to board up our windows because the ash was harmful if breathed in (could cause illness in our respiratory systems). sometimes classes were suspended and that was when our dormitory usually came to life...
aahhh, these little snippets of home put joy into my heart that lasts a long, long time :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Great London Walk-About: The Science Museum

the Science Museum is just a 5-minute walk from our hotel, just right next to the Natural History Museum and the V&A. it is an off-shoot from the V&A and devoted solely to Space, Medicine, Mathematics, Atmosphere, etc.
below is the mister with the United States Scout, an American rocket
this is a simulated "man-on-the-moon"
they also have exhibits on proofs regarding climate change. this is very informative btw
an exhibit on everyday things and their history and why we can't live without them
i especially like the Who Am I? exhibit where i learn more about why i am unique and common at the same time :) these panels are so enriching :)
i miss my family
ain't that right?
alas! my surname "ROMANO" does not exist in Great Britain (of course, because it is a Filipino surname which oddly enough, is also Italian)
the Cockroach Tour :)
the future of gaming :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Great London Walk-About: The National Gallery

on our last day, surprisingly enough, it was a beautiful day. coolish but when you're under the sun, its warm and there is actually sunshine. we decided to pay a visit to the Queen. So, off we went to Buckingham Palace with the Victoria Monument in the foreground
there were a lot of people there since it was Remembrance Sunday and she was expected to lay a wreath in The Cenotaph to pay tribute to the fallen heroes
Green Park beside the Palace was magical with a carpet of fall colors
we decided to follow the crowd and see where they lead us. well, unexpectedly, we found the National Gallery where they had a special exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's newly-discovered painting, the Salvador Mundi
the Gallery faces Trafalgar Square where Nelson's Column dominates it with his "towering" presence
a guy cleaning up the drains of the big fountain where people throw coins (but there weren't a lot of coins when we looked)
a plinth showing a galleon inside a bottle (this is part of an on-going exhibit and changes constantly depending on what the Gallery is exhibiting)
the mister loves the old masters, this is just one of the hundreds of paintings inside the Gallery
"The Waterlily Pond" by Monet
at last its time for lunch!
with this, we bid adieu to London, which strangely enough, i feel at home in.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Great London Walk-About: The Tate Modern

modern art is sometimes a bit misunderstood especially since the masters did such a good job in their own genre and era. but personally, i still think art, like people, is evolving and modern art is a reflection of the times. so while walking along the River Thames, we went in to Tate Modern to see what modern art is all about. by this time we were exhausted and just can't wait to go back to our hotel.

the mister doesn't like modern art but he tried to soak them in as he doesn't have a choice. i like modern art and have since learned to appreciate it. here he is about to enter the first gallery looking a little too nonplussed.
i remember Paul Klee because i once had a German penfriend who sent me a calendar of his paintings. they were very colorful and amusing.
i was first introduced to surrealism in college when Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books were required reading, so i like a little bit of a challenge in my art so to speak. this one is Lightning with Stag Caught in Its Glare by Joseph Beuys, 2009
Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, Pablo Picasso, 1932
he's trying to read and understand the inscriptions; Mediterranee by Ellsworth Kelly, 1952
The Fig Leaf, La Feuille de Vigne, 1922
Untitled, by Jannis Kounellis, 1979

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Great London Walk-About: The Victoria and Albert Museum

One of the must-see museums in London is the Victoria and Albert Museum, "the world's greatest museum of art and design" housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects from ancient times to the present day in virtually all medium in all parts of the world. in short, its 8 acres of all my favorite things! from diamond rings to wrought iron railing design to Alexander McQueen's armadillo heels made famous by Lady Gaga to Islamic tapestries to Japanese samurai suits.. the list is endless!
despite day two of my blistered toes, i simply just have to ignore them! in each room that i went through was a treasure trove of an extensive hold of more inspiration in sculpture, plastercasts, jewelry, metalwork, mosaics, photographs, furniture, etc.
in the main entrance is a 30-foot glass sculpture by glass artist Dale Chihuly (at first, i thought this was made entirely of sculptured balloons!)
another sculpture amidst preserved columns in every period in history
a plastercast of the Trajan's column taken from the original 1st century AD monument
one of the thousands of mouldings and casts inside the museum
a Japanese suit of armour
a Medieval wooden staircase taken from an actual Medieval house!
ahhhhh learn something new everyday :)
a stolen bokeh shot taken inside the Jewelry Exhibit
true! i love this write-up :) exactly what i have in mind
The Power of Making is an on-going exhibition that celebrates the best of human imagination and creativity in craft; Manel Torres, while studying in the Royal College of Art, developed the Fabrican, a spray-on dress
here's the mister beside the King Silver Gorilla by David Mach, made entirely of wire coat hangers. a day is just isn't enough!