Monday, December 13, 2010

And so the flocking begins...

But it's not just about spray paint anymore. Sparkles and sequins abide.

Happy Holidays!














Saturday, December 11, 2010

Let the fish do the work...

















Selfridges during holiday time is quite an amazing experience to stumble upon. The employees model everything from the latest in dresses...to the latest in skivvies.

And then there are the demonstrations...the fake snow that doubles given a drink of water; the remote controlled helicopter; and the new wave of pedicure via hungry fish.

....What???

Garra Rufa, a form of carp, hail from Turkey. Although they have traditionally been used as fish therapy for patients with psoriasis, now anyone can have a pedicure...for a price (approximately $80 per half hour session). The customer simply slips his/her feet into the tank of fish, sits back and awaits exfoliation. There are approximately 100-150 fish per tank, according to the Aqua Sheko representative. The fish put their sucking action to practice on the customer's feet by gravitating toward problem skin areas and gently removing dead skin. The sensation supposedly feels like minor pin-pricks, or 'pins and needles'. From various responses, it sounds like some people swear by it, and others found it a novel but not life-changing experience. The trend has spread across Asia and is making its way across the UK. Apparently in the US, the practice has been shut down by various state health departments. Perhaps I'll have to try this ichthyotherapy someday...

Friday, December 10, 2010

After...


The barricades are still up. However, no ghetto birds in earshot today.




Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Anch’io non ho più fame.















Healthful, fresh ingredients and excellent service at this local Italian eatery. Spinach gnocchi scamorza hit the spot for a weary traveller seeking a comforting meal.

And let us not forget, they've a tiramisù that just won't quit...


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snaps from a cab

The cabby-ette took us for a bit of a whirl.














No snow. But plenty of cold to bundle up in.














Sun was loath to perform, but muddled through somehow.












Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's grey...

London weather is living up to its reputation. Think grey, misty, rainy, blowy... and there you have it.


On the coldest day of the year so far, I had the fortune of communing with the wind with nary a scarf nor coat, due to an impromptu fire drill. Mishaps averted, we returned to the office. However, I do believe I lost my nose somewhere along the way...

A few snaps on the walk home...












Saturday, October 16, 2010

To market, to market ...

A little Farmer's market tucked away in Pimlico, London caught my eye... and I had to explore. A universal about Farmer's markets, I'm finding ... they're nearly always well-attended, and jowl-by-jowl jam-packed with stalls upon stalls of delights for all.

First order of business... greens! Wild Country Organics Co., a regular at this market, also sells to select grocery and specialty stores. I was invited into the stall to experience the "full-grazing" policy, heavily-enforced by the lovely and ever-enthusiastic, Nathan, the salesman.

I felt like the luckiest rabbit ever! He passed me rocket (quite a pungent variety); after that, mustard greens (just about soared through the roof); and then, to take the edge off, he shoved a fistful of "red fingers," (tasted like potatoes...yes, really!! see photo) in my hands. The zucchini blossoms, kale, bok choi, fresh water- and land- cress, and all manner of herbs were most impressive. I walked away from his booth cross-eyed, in a legume daze.



















Before I knew it, I was faced with... cheese... my next best friend!!! The cheese man explained that all of the cheeses on display were local, artisanal varieties. The "Lancashire Bomb" caught my eye, in its black-encased sphere-iness. Apparently, once you bust through the casing, the cheese is particularly good for melting on potatoes or pairing with eggs. So much choice and what terrific names, especially the goat's cheese variety... "Little Wallop"...


















There was the baker, the fishmongers, and plethora of local fare stalls specializing in Mediterranean, French, and Indian food. There was even a hog roasted on a spit, for those who might fancy some..

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keeping Lambeth tidy...

On my way to work this morning, a pair of city workers cut the grass along the banks of the Thames. The smell was amazing!!! If only there were a way to capture it...

I wish I'd been quicker with the camera because the gardeners were quite mindful not to blow grass clippings in pedestrian's way, but alas...

The fragrant clippings were destined for packing into into this little lorry....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pick a spade... any spade...


Tucked away in a little corner of Lambeth, on the banks of the Thames, is a lovely little church-come-garden museum.

The Garden Museum, boasts an interesting history--formerly the St. Mary-at-Lambeth church fell into disrepair and faced demolition in the 1970s. Enter a host of individuals who realized that among the tombs in the churchyard lay the tomb of leading 17th century plant hunters, gardeners, and collectors--the John Tradescants.

The fledgling garden museum was born, and more recently, has been renovated to reflect a contemporary design. The church facade remains intact, with elaborate stained glass windows and stone archways. Upstairs, the permanent collection is housed, an eclectic gathering of more than 9,000 artifacts which reflects British gardens and gardening.

My favorite artifacts? the cucumber straightener (for those obsessed with perfection in form) and the grape bottle (keep your grapes fresh for months!)...


















As you enter the museum, you can enjoy the wild garden, a mindfully-created space to support bio-diversity and the needs of a wide range of our urban wildlife inhabitants.

Downstairs, there's a gallery space for traveling exhibits, a well-stocked gift shop, and a cafe, which leads outside to the museum's piece de resistance--an intricate 17th century style knot garden.

Among notable tombs and burials in the garden--six Archbishops of Canterbury, a host of 16th century aristocrats, and Captain William Bligh (of the HRS Bounty)

After wandering around the lush garden, my appetite was whet, and soon remedied by a delicious bowl of broccoli soup and home-made bread from the cafe.


Then came the dangerous and delightful part... the bulb sale!!!















Too bad I couldn't bring any home.

I'm hopeful to visit the museum before my departure for one of their regularly-scheduled featured events and lectures. This splendid little find was a pleasant way to enjoy the afternoon after a long journey from the other side of the pond.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Make it pop!

Details, details. The intervention continues...


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Monday, August 23, 2010

And many brushstrokes to go before we complete ...

Now that we have painted the predominant images on the facade, the artists are working on those details ... where we can find God, or if you prefer, the devil ...

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Word is getting out ...

Our project was mentioned in the local Highland Park blog yesterday! Needless to say, we're thrilled about the local response and level of engagement. And, the unfurling of the project is offering us terrific feedback.

Throughout the day, all types of people walked by, cycled through, slowly drove by and stopped to ask questions. The Metro, which literally runs right through the middle of the street, even came to a complete stop, and the conductors took a few snaps, and learned more about the project!

Our dear friend, Maestro Litz -- painter, woodworker and illustrator extraordinaire -- motored over with victuals for sustenance; and ended up with a paintbrush in hand, adding some flourishes to the flora...















Artist Daniel and Litz discuss a few aesthetics...


















More time lapse...
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Now, a few days respite to catch our breaths and clear our lungs of any residual fumes so we can think clearly...

Friday, August 13, 2010

CaCaCakakakaw...Cakaw.

It was one of those nights that turned into early morning caw-caws of our local avian pals. Speaking of which ... we began projecting and sketching the artists' images onto the canvas of the Zuniga house.


The Nicaraguan Motmot (Guardabarranco) is well on its way to gracing the western facade of the edifice. The plumeria motif and volcano imagery, all family-inspired design concepts, are also in the sketching phases...


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(Note: the resolution on these videos when they uploaded is quite poor. Suffice it to say, we painstakingly have become one with the big barrelled Sharpie that outlined each feather plume and flower petal)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Better late than never...

I'm totally late to the seed planting party known as spring.

However, with projects and travels and life's interferences aside, I've finally managed to do a bit of seedling-ing on my own patio. Potting soil, with amendments, including volcanic ash and chicken poop...















Beau staked his claim once the okra went in...















Let's see what comes up ... we've planted 'Gigante' parsley (high hopes, people!), marigolds, watermelon, and nasturtium.



















Everything under the new umbrella...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Garden swapping--the new green trend

Here's an article I wrote about one of our local community gardens re-invigorating the notion of a swap, garden-style.

Please click on the link and feel free to share the article broad and wide.












Photo courtesy of Milli Macen-Moore/Nicole Gatto

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A little guerilla here, and there...

Did a little double-take when I came up to this stop sign by my house...


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Painting the house blue

Priming, people, no need to freak out just yet....


video

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sad little thoroughfare, needs weeding

I'm consulting on an art intervention. What's that, you may ask? The house is the canvas; where art is the catalyst, the agent. Three artists, two from LA and one from Tijuana, Mexico are collaborating to beautify and connect a Highland Park neighborhood through art. The local commuter train runs right through the street, offering the perfect hostage audience to a neighborhood that could use a little artistic flourish. The first house for this ongoing project is in the works. We anticipate more to follow.

We've been preparing the house for the actual intervention. The landscaping is not the number one focus at this point; however, here was a patch that I cleared out.

Before.....


















After....
Once the project comes to a concluding phase, we will most likely plant some shrubs and flowers. What we were able to salvage, for example--grandmother's rose bush and the Easter lilies--we did. The home owners have all been quite gracious and excited about having their home be the first on the block to represent an artistic intervention.

Watch this space for further updates....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drill, baby drill

My very first drill-- a somewhat momentous occasion.

Buying one has always been on my list of to-dos, and now is no longer. After taking a look at the patio garden, I spied that hypertufa planter I made years ago. I had such high hopes for it. Perhaps it would best be used if the plants inside weren't perpetually waterlogged?

Exhibit A: learning about all of the special bits and finding the right one...














Exhibit B: ta-da! Succulents comfortable in their hypertufa trappings...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inferno

Now that the sun has unleashed all that it possibly can upon us, (or so we think), we've stopped whining about those overcast, dappled sunlight days, the scattered morning mist and showers. It's here, that third season that could last through-- who knows... September/October?

In my pond, the wasps are bathing. I'm ready to dive in myself...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wittle birdie...


Nice work if you can get it -- catching a snap of this little avian pal on a Spanish broom in our communal park...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Unmistakeable...

...is that heady jasmine musk. I like how this one found a way to bind itself to the street post.





Thursday, May 27, 2010

I spy with my little eye...

...something that begins with a "J."

Remembering things past -- we used to while away time in the car playing this game.

Ours often morphed into the tree version of I Spy, where we guessed the correct names of trees lining the boulevard as we puttered by in our 1979 Ford Fairmont.

Jacaranda! In full bloom today...


Monday, May 24, 2010

Hey, sweet pea...


...what are you doing in a prickly, briery place like this?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Magnolia...

are in full regalia.

Beau and I stumbled upon these magnolia grandiflora during our walk this morning.














When I was a kid, we had a huge magnolia tree on our front boulevard. Once the blooms came, we knew it was time to get ready for summer...















Even this bee is preparing...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Uh, no.

This always makes me sad. Today on a walk, we came across this unfortunately tagged, rehabilitated, rebranded and carved eucalyptus.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For the mothers...


and for those who inspire, bring forth attention.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Survival of the fittest.

An insistent Spanish Broom (spartium junceum) emerges from a concrete gutter.

Darwin would be proud.