Hopefully boundless joy, loving family and friends, few cares and an abundance of God’s blessings, then, my friends, it helps to have a nut or two to tide you through the winter days, an adventure that lets you venture somewhere you’ve never gone before, and, at the end of the day, when you are tired from your honest toil, a thought to keep you warm in bed, may there be peace on earth.
P.S. Sue Grafton, We will miss you even while Kinsey Millhone is always there to entertain us with her saucy attitude and wit.
Traditions Home has an extensive collection of artwork. Each one tells a story.
Speculum mentis est facies et taciti oculi cordis fatentur arcana. St. Jerome letter to Furia 394
In a letter dated 394 AD to Furia, a recent Roman widow, St. Jerome advises her to not remarry and instead devote her life to her children and aging father. He goes on to say, “The face is the mirror of the mind and a woman’s eyes without a word betray the secrets of her heart,” which has come down to us as general advice to both sexes. Perhaps that is why eyelids are painted, closed, or hidden by bangs.
“Not on one strand are all life’s jewels strung,” says William Morris.
Men and women have adorned themselves with jewelry throughout history, but why?
It serves no immediate purpose. No one is made stronger or more healthy by the use of jewelry. It does not serve to protect us from the weather. Its value lies not in practical things, but in the esoteric.
Stones that glitter are attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a beautiful necklace, bracelet, or set of earrings will attract our attention to the wearer. One sees something extraordinary. One becomes beautiful by association.
Jewelry also becomes a status symbol. Precious stones are rare. They are reserved for the rich and powerful who can afford the price of purchase.
Lastly, let us not forget that jewels are powerful symbols. Gems are both brilliant and long lasting. Diamonds are forever, and hopefully so is the love a diamond is given in token of. Consider the Crown Jewels which are synonymous with the power and dignity of the British Royal Family.
A gem is fine, but nothing compares to the value of the love and friendship that is behind the stone. William Morris is right, look not to the wealth of the jewel. Look instead to the love of two people for each other.
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. -Roald Dahl
Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the sweetest of holidays. Wherever you are and however you celebrate the season, remember that no act of kindness, however small, is wasted or lost, and know this that kindness is the greatest magic of all, for it blesses two.
I am on this kick right now of looking for unusual things in out of the way places. You don’t have to look hard. You just have to see with your eyes and your soul. Saper vedere, Leonardo da Vinci called it. Knowing how to see, but that doesn’t seem quite right. How do we know that which we have never seen?
Sure there are many wonderful works of art adorning the great museums of the world, many grand structures that are admired, but sometimes it is the little thing in a humble place that catches the eyes and captures the spirit. A flower in a field of green, a feather floating on the water, the smile on the face of a child when you’re feeling sad. All of these things are as beautiful as the Mona Lisa hanging on a wall in the Louvre.
Let us go to Dallas.
Bishop Arts is an entertainment district in Oak Cliff, across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas. It is centered on the intersection of Bishop and Davis Streets. Thank goodness the mass retailers and chains have not yet arrived. For now it is a thriving cauldron of entrepreneurship, restaurants, bars, pie shops, boutiques, antique stores, and even a foot massage.
Changes are on the horizon. To the south a large development is going in. This may change the flavor of Bishop Arts, but one hopes not. Parking will become an issue and the homeowners who share the area with the retailers will rue the day Bishop Arts became a happening place.
Across the street on the corner from the new development is an old house. It is the eye in the hurricane, a place of serenity. For the time being, it is an impressionist’s work of art, a humble place, and thing of beauty. Why someone even thought of adding a picnic table and a tire swing for passersby to enjoy.
Where do ideas come from? Who is inspired to take an old house and make it a work of art? A combination of Camille Pissaro and Henri Matisse.
Camille Pissaro (1830-1903) was one of the Impressionists, one of the oldest who came to his style late in life at the age of 54. His comment to a friend was,”my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all …” Born in St. Thomas in the Caribbean, he lived for a time in England before returning to France, the home of his father. There he painted both rural and city scenes, concentrating on the lives of ordinary people.
Blessed are they who see beauty in little things in humble places when others see nothing. Camille Pissaro
A house, destined to be torn down for redevelopment becomes a work of art. A door, an imaginary entrance to something new and different. “X’s” and “O’s” become shapes and colors filling the canvas and inspiring the viewer.
His advice to a young painter:
Don’t work bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere… The eye should not be fixed on a particular point but should take in everything, while simultaneously observing the reflections that the colors produce on their surroundings. Keep everything going on an equal basis; use small brushstrokes and try to put down your perceptions immediately. Do not proceed according to rules and principles, but paint what you observe and feel.
His paintings today sell for millions.
Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in the north of France in a weaver’s cottage with a leaky roof. Like Pissarro his aim was always to discover “the essential character of things”. When the younger Matisse was introduced to Pissarro and Matisse showed him his work, he was given the advice:
“Very good my friend you are gifted. Work and don’t listen to anything anyone tells you.”
When it comes to interior design at Traditions Home, the possibilities are as endless as the drops of rain that fall upon the ocean, as the golden rays of sun that warm our hearts in Summer.
Pardon the hyperbole.
We are freed from the old-fashioned Victorian constraint and presented with an endless possibility of form and design – Mission, Modern, Mid-Century Modern, Traditional, Contemporary, Cape Cod, Prairie Home, Southern Traditional, Vintage, Rustic, Colonial, Shaker, and on and on and on. Why, I haven’t even begun to list the historical periods from Federalist to Chippendale and Sheraton stretching back to Jacobean.
In Richard II, William Shakespeare has the Duke of York report, “… fashions of proud Italy, whose manners still our tardy apish nation limps after in base imitation.”In the play a Tudor topples an tyrant, King Richard.
Slavish devotion is in the past. For, “the world is mine oyster which with sword I will open,” Pistol retorts to Falstaff in the Merry Wives of Windsor, “A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy.”
How do we choose?
And if you would like to discuss Shakespeare, his plays, or the many interior design styles, come by for a free consultation at Traditions Home in Wichita and Overland Park.
There is hope in honest error; none in the icy perfectionism of the pure stylist. Charles Rene Mackintosh
He died in London in 1928 after a short illness. Perhaps homesick at his death, he might have recalled the words of Robert Burns: “Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise.” Youtube video.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868 in Glasgow, Scotland. His work there, alongside that of his equally talented wife Margaret Macdonald, influenced the fin de siècle Art Nouveau movement.
Stickley Furniture has redesigned Mackintosh’s Ingram Street Tea Room chair, and created its distinctive Highlands trestle table in the Mackintosh style. Solid oak or cherry, a natural wood for the bonnie banks of Loch Lomand. Then again, MacGregors and MacDonalds living lakeside in Kansas will enjoy it as well.
What memories of home does this recall to mind?
Good times and bad, lovers separated, lives forever parted. If I close my eyes and remember, I can still hear your words as we parted.
Oh! Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
‘Twas then that we parted, In yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond,
Where, in purple hue, The highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.
The wee birdies sing, And the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens, Nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their greeting.