Tulips and other flowers blooming in a field, Alkmaar, Noord-Holland. Click photo to view detail. And have you ever listened to the late Eva Cassidy's beautiful version of "Fields of Gold?"
A rusted-out rowboat hasn't lost its charm, Edam, the Netherlands.
At last it's May and while we had to turn the heating on again last night (and still are wearing sweaters and coats), signs of spring are emerging from hiding. Green buds are appearing on trees and flowers are running riot in the garden. The Mallard ducks that flew to our back door for food - ten nights in a row! - are parading their seven two-day-old ducklings through "our" canal (more about them later).
Later this month, I'll begin work on an intriguing photography project that celebrates Dutch innovation. But first, David and I are off to England to visit family, then to France to toast our anniversary.
Meanwhile, my friend Christine has written a wonderfully poignant essay "Magical thinking" about transitions. And feast your eyes on this simple and creative beauty in Italy. Hope you find your own moments of magic and wonder this weekend!
P.S. Stay tuned for more about those ducks, plus a story about an intrepid nine-year-old girl.
On Tuesday, we avoided the one-million-strong fete in Amsterdam celebrating the new Dutch monarchs King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. Instead, David and I visited the fishing harbour of Marken and the charming town perhaps best known for its cheese, Edam. We arrived early, so I could take photographs before before too many people blocked the views.
As always, click photos to view detail.
Much of the village of Marken was draped in banners and bunting.
But the harbour remained untouched...
Children dressed up for the festivities.
A big screen television link was set up for Marken residents to watch Willem-Alexander's investiture.
Several Marken residents wore traditional clothing.
A shop window displayed art honouring the Dutch king.
A little girl in traditional costume rode her bicycle to the town centre.
A flag flew at nearly every house.
Trees are topped with crowns in honour of the new king and queen.
This man wore patriotic orange garden gloves, to match his banner and the flag.
Even the dog wore a bright orange bow tie.
The ubiquitous tulips.
Children in Edam wearing costumes for the grand occasion.
This image reminds me of a queen marching forward with purpose and her lady-in-waiting, following behind her.
Special Queen's/King's Day treats.
In Edam, the local fire department set up a giant spraying hose in the town square, which delighted the children (along with a bouncy castle). In this photograph, the festivities are viewed from the end of a canal, where a lone orange balloon is floating.
Flags line the streets in Edam.
The shadow of an 18th-century bridge in Edam.
It's a momentous day in the Netherlands and we are all out celebrating.
Some Dutch people are dressed properly for the occasion...
...while the rest of us make do with touches of orange and try to attend as many festivities as possible in one day! Back soon with more photos. (Meanwhile, see more of my photos of the day's events in The Guardian).
Images above taken at Edam and Marken, the Netherlands.
Seagulls on a foggy day at Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands. Click images to view detail.
Sand dunes, furrowed by the wind.
Here's hoping you and yours enjoy a relaxing weekend!
One of the 19 windmills at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Molens van Kinderdijk, Zuid-Holland. Click photo to view details.
One minute it's grey and cloudy; the next semi-warm and sunny - followed by wind and rain! It's April 16th and the central heating is still on...
Of course there are a few hints of spring in our garden ...
...and orchids have arrived to brighten the gloom.
Meanwhile, I'm still battling copyright violations, the latest on Tumblr. I've issued a DMCA takedown notice for my copyrighted photo, which has been posted and reblogged more than 10,000 times - without permission and without credit! I really don't understand this attitude of entitlement that so many people seem to adopt while using the internet. How many times do internet users have to be told that photographs, artwork and articles are not gratis to use however they like??!!
Today a package arrived from Paris, containing the latest addition to my black-and-white photography collection. It's a 1958 photograph by Christian Lemaire; an identical silver nitrate print recently sold at auction for €1,200. Yes, there's a price to be paid for copyrighted photos!
Pinterest encourages its users to take photos from anywhere and everywhere, with its latest initiative: "Did you know you can pin from anywhere on the web, even if you don’t see a Pin It button on the site?" its latest blog post asks. It's no wonder Pinterest users seem confused about copyright, with such mixed messages.
But internet etiquette and copyright law are easy to follow. It's good manners 101: ask permission before using someone else's work. Don't be lazy and grab something you like, without consulting the source and content creator. Otherwise, you may find yourself with multiple copyright infringement strikes against you - or even worse - a lawsuit! Haven't we all learned by now that nothing in life is free??!!
Thinking of all those affected by the dreadful bomb attacks Monday at the Boston Marathon. Such violence and extremism has no place in society, yet keeps rearing its ugly head in unlikely places. As always, it's the innocents who suffer. So many tragic, heart-breaking stories...
As for those politicians and hucksters trying to push their own agenda via vulnerable victims and their pain - shame on you! And this moron and his insane ramblings ought to be taken off the air, Rupert Murdoch!
Technorati Tags: Boston, Boston Marathon, Christian Lemaire photograph, copyright infringement, copyright law, copyright violation, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, internet etiquette, Molens van Kinderdijk, onTumblr, Paris, photography, Pinterest, the Netherlands, UNESCO
One would expect a big multi-national company like Nikken Europe to respect copyright. But when confronted over unauthorised use of my photo in a March 2012 product launch and advertising/publicity campaign, their "head of legal" in Milton Keynes, England was defiant. She claimed that the photo Nikken EU appropriated via Pinterest was ripe for the taking.
Basically, her argument blamed the so-called "original pinner," insisting that if other people grabbed the photo, Nikken EU could too. She claimed to be "unaware of any copyright restrictions related to the use of this photo..." Further, she advised that Nikken EU "strongly deny any copyright infringement and recommend that you contact the person who first posted the photo and availed it to all Pinterest users."
As their legal representative seemed remarkably uninformed about copyright law - and Pinterest's Terms of Service - I wrote a second letter. An excerpt:
"...it appears that your argument is if one person appropriates a photo, everyone else can too! You are mistaken in your assertions. My photo is copyrighted and when I discovered it was “pinned” on Pinterest, I immediately issued a take-down notice. Pinterest removed the photo and sent copyright infringement notices to those people who had “pinned” the photo without permission, including Nikken EU.
The company's response? Nothing. Nada. Zip. A third letter also was ignored.
In a nutshell, Nikken EU denied my request for a token payment of £350 for commercial use of my photo. Even more annoying, Nikken EU refused to apologise for using my copyrighted photo for advertising and publicity. I wonder how Nikken EU - a company engaged in providing "wellness products" in several countries - would react if someone violated their intellectual property or copyright?
By the way, the photo causing the kerfuffle was never intended for publication, other than on my blog. It was a personal photo I took while visiting Utrecht, the Netherlands. It seems such considerations matter little to Nikken EU - just as long as the photo's free!
P.S. Yes, this post is missing that photo - I don't want to give Nikken Europe any more free publicity!
It's not you; it's Pinterest. I've written a few posts about Pinterest, photography and copyright infringement. I've written about why I don't want even one of my photos on Pinterest. Yet few people seem to be paying attention. Within the past 18 hours, I've had to issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act (copyright infringement) notices for each and every photo which appear in the 19 screen shots (below) and more. This tedious process required hours of my time and effort.
While linking to each instance of my copyrighted photos - used without permission - I discovered that in numerous cases, credit for my work was claimed by naturaldetails.tumblr.com and midnightcurls.tumblr.com. Other Tumblr accounts also claimed credit for my work. In other instances, no source was provided. In still another example, a photograph of lit candles in Nepal erroneously was referred to as India and repinned over 150 times! (I had to provide each of those 150+ links that I could find to Pinterest, to have them removed). (And on Tumblr itself, this image has been reblogged over 10,000 times, with no credit to me).
One of my copyrighted photos pinned without permission was taken from a book already published. Two other copyrighted photos which are appearing in books later this year also were "pinned. And photos taken from a book that I publicized on my blog were listed under my name.
I am not interested in negatively impacting Pinterest's business. I am trying to prevent my original work from losing its value by being pinned (and uncredited) numerous times on multiple Pinterest boards, amidst groupings of dubious quality and origin. Pinterest is a big company with massive funding and I am one small business owner, simply trying to protect my livelihood. I receive no benefit whatsoever from my photography appearing on Pinterest. Quite the contrary: it costs me time and money trying to combat hundreds of copyright violations!
I've deleted my Flickr, Tumblr and 500 px accounts to stop my photos from being pinned on Pinterest. After seven years of blogging, must I stop that too?
I urge all you Pinterest fans to act responsibly and seek permission from the photo source before you pin. Would you want someone else appropriating your work without permission??!!
Click to view screenshots in detail.
Technorati Tags: 500px, Best business practices, copyright infringement, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Flickr, Midnightcurls.tumblr.com, Nepal, Paris, Paris Parfait, photo theft, photography, Pinterest, Tara Bradford Photography, tarabradford.com, Tumblr
Green for all seasons.
Scroll down the page for a post about climate change.
Thinking of everyone living in the Northeastern United States, where heavy snow and blizzard conditions are presenting numerous challenges! Bundle up! Hope you're warm and safe.
Interesting reading - snowbound or not!:
Guidelines for internships and volunteer work (written by my uncle!)
Five Broken Cameras
I hope you have the opportunity to see the Oscar-nominated documentary Five Broken Cameras. I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating. Five Broken Cameras truly is an extraordinary account of peaceful resistance against Israeli settlements encroaching on Palestinian land. This is a story close to my heart as a journalist, having lived and worked in the region for years.
The film was made by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi. It won the World Cinema Directing Award: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Five Broken Cameras is an unembellished chronicle of family life and how children are affected by conflict.
I collect black-and-white vintage photographs and am lucky to have an Henri Cartier-Bresson original, as well as original photographs by Christian Lemaire, Dorothea Lange, Samuel Gottscho and an Edward Curtis portrait (plus some more modern signed photographs by Peter Turnley). This site presents some fascinating images from the Indian Sub-Continent. And have you seen Photographium? I could spent hours looking at these historical photographs.
Technorati Tags: Aaron Schwartz, Best Documentary nominee, Christian Lemaire, Design Sponge, Dorothea Lange, Edward Curtis, Emad Burnat, Five Broken Cameras, Guy Davidi, Henri Cartier-Bresson, New York magazine, New York Times, Oscars, Peter Turnley, Photographium, snow in the Northeastern U.S., social media etiquette, Sundance Film Festival, the New Yorker, the US Post Office, unpaid internships and volunteer work, vintage photographs
Thankfully, the ice and snow melted this week, replaced by grey skies and rain. But February brings us one month closer to spring - at which time more house renovations will commence.
The steam engine zinc weathervane once graced the roof of a Paris chateau. The vintage metal train on the windowsill also is French. This is the view from the second-floor "Light Room," so named because of the Cecilie Manz-designed Caravaggio lights that dominate the small space. At some point we'll probably knock down the wall between the "Light Room" and my office, creating one large room.
When the Caravaggio lights arrived from Denmark, it was obvious I had underestimated their size. So I bought a Dutch vintage industrial table and the room now serves as a small media library/workspace. The 1930s French mercantile cabinet holds DVDs.
My collection of art and pottery from Santa Fe also is in this room. Sadly, part of it "went missing" in the move from Paris. The chairs and stool are vintage Tolix. Six of the chairs (only two are pictured) are from the Pauchard family's private collection and marked VA for "Villa Autun," their home in Burgundy, France.
The "Louis Louis" desk chair in my office was a gift from my talented friend Di Overton (check out her stylish creations at Ghost Furniture). The black-and-white Paris images are by photographer Peter Turnley.
This is a portion of my office (the linoleum floor both here and in the "Light Room" has to go! We're still considering alternatives). The 30-drawer chest painted in Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe, was handmade by Luke Ellis of Kent & London in Whitstable, England. The chest holds my cameras and photography gear. The vintage French chest next to it stores office supplies.
The zinc ART letters atop the tall chest were found at a Paris brocante. The "City Sunday" magazine racks are from Finnish Design Shop in Helsinki. And a Napoleon III chair holds books and a favourite photograph taken at Reales Alcázares de Sevilla.
Now to replace those floors! Any ideas for something hard-wearing and low-maintenance? Do tell!
Technorati Tags: Antiques and collectibles, Bourgogne, Caravaggio lights, Cecilie Manz, Di Overton, Farrow & Ball Down Pipe, France, Ghost Furniture, Interiors, Kent & London, Luke Ellis, Paris, Peter Turnley, photography, Reales Alcazares de Sevilla, Santa Fe, Tolix, Villa Autun
Aventurine stones, an antique French iron door knocker and glass negatives circa 1906 on my office windowsill. Aventurines are said to be lucky talismans for travelers and who am I to argue?!
Terms of service: that annoying, but oh so important fine print that we agree to with all social media usage. Yet how many of us don't bother even reading the TOS? One of my partners-in-vigilance when it comes to copyright and other intellectual property rights is Alexandra of Alexandra Wrote. She contacted me last year when I wrote about copyright issues on Pinterest (whose staff addressed my concerns).* So I was delighted to see Alexandra's take on Vine, the new six-second blink-and-you'll-miss-it video service.
Alexandra points out that by agreeing to Vine's TOS, you're basically relinquishing all rights to your own videos. Read her excellent post here. And check out Alexandra's informative If Emily Posted series on intellectual property.
A king for the Netherlands
Here in the Netherlands, the media's buzzing with news that Queen Beatrix is abdicating the throne in favour of her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. The prince officially will become king on Queen's Day, April 30th. Years ago when living in New York, I met the prince - who was then just 14 - at a summer house party in Connecticut. He was accompanying family friends, who owned property on New York's Madison Avenue. At the time, I never dreamed I'd be living in the Netherlands when Willem becomes king!
*That being said, I just found multiple instances of my photographs being pinned on Pinterest without permission. I have again contacted Pinterest asking for that my images - often uncredited - be removed.
Snow continues to cover the garden, rowboat and "our" canal.
Here in the Netherlands, we've had more than two weeks of blanc neige, with no sign of melting or higher temps. More snow is predicted this week! Luckily I have good snowboots, as I've been trudging along bike paths (most sidewalks remain covered with snow) to the hospital and back. For the past week my husband has been ill; Tuesday afternoon he had surgery. Thankfully, he appears to be on the mend.
Walking home tonight, I saw a guy riding a bicycle on the frozen canal!
An escaped parakeet or parrot from South America on the cherry tree in our garden. Many, many such parrots can be seen in and around Amsterdam. When we lived in Paris, we often saw parrots in the Bois du Boulogne. They have learned to adapt to colder climes.
Taking advantage of the bird feeder.
Snowfall began late last night and hasn't stopped.
Two parakeets in a weeping willow tree.
The path in our garden leading to the deck and the canal.
The frozen canal and rowboat, covered with snow.
Bike paths have been cleared with snow plows and most trains are running. How's the weather in your corner of the world?
Part of our salon/dining area - blending modern design classics with antique and vintage treasures - at our canal house in the Netherlands. Click images to enlarge. Stay tuned for more glimpses of our home, coming soon.
Details, details! Early 19th-century child's mannequin pinned with antique French and Italian prayer ornaments and milagros; Napoleon III glass-fronted cabinet de curiosités; Carl Hansen CH25 chair; Isamu Noguchi coffee table; Beni Ourain vintage Berber rug adorned with "magical" talismans; vintage Moroccan sequinned wedding blanket; custom-made sofa and hand-embroidered cushions from Jordan. Spanish wrought iron candlelabra, made into a lamp; 1940s French office cabinet; custom-made bookcase; dining table and chairs from Bali, via London and Tolix chairs (set of 6) marked VA (Villa Autun, the private residence of the French family who created Tolix chairs).
Crystal and beaded pendant lights from Italy; antique French and Dutch baskets; French pottery/water jugs from a vineyard in Bourgogne; framed Lehnert & Landrock photograph of a bookseller in Cairo and antique Spanish lithographs and azuelos from Sevilla. Mirrors from Spain and Jordan; sculpture from Sevilla: an ode to Velasquez's portraits; British cannonballs; iron rattes from a Bourgogne wine cellar; hand-turned wood pieces from Devon, England and San Francisco and French and American wooden pins.
Mirror image - French mercury glass giltwood mirror circa 1830.
Technorati Tags: Antique azuelos, Antiques and collectibles, Art, canal house, Carl Hansen CH25, Devon, England, France, home decor, interiors, Isamu Noguchi coffee table, Jordan, Napoleon III, photography, Sevilla, Spain, the Netherlands, Velasquez
Handpainted wooden clogs planted with herbs and flowers, Marken, the Netherlands.
“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
Hello! Am busy juggling curiosities and deadlines, but will be back soon with a proper post. Hope your new year is off to a promising start!
Purple orchids on our dining table. Click photo to enlarge.
The tourists are gone and the area is serene and tranquil. Click photos to view detail.
Wintery landscape. We saw a postman on his bicycle, delivering mail to each occupied windmill.
A duck swimming in the canal.
Behind the scenes.
A bridge to a private residence.
Bare winter branches.
Reeds blowing in the wind.
A smooth glass-like surface in the canals.
Clouds reflected in the canal.
Candlelight and Christmas crackers at home...
Glittery trees and a reindeer in Marken. Click photos to view detail.
A winter wonderful under a blanket of stars in Marken.
Lights over the canals in Delft.
A string of lights reflected in another canal in Delft.
Twinkling lights in the trees and stars overhead.
A giant Christmas fir in the market square in Delft (with the gorgeous town hall as the backdrop).
A Christmas tree suspended from the ceiling at Magna Plaza, Dam Square, Amsterdam.
An upside-down Yuletide tree in Marken.
A flower-bedecked tree at a restaurant in Marken.
19th-century lights festooned with decorations and greenery.
A tree viewed through stained glass windows at the Grote Kerk in Marken.
A chandelier dripping "icicles," Amsterdam.
Christmas tree lights in a window of a house of traditional Dutch architecture, Delft.
A boulangerie filled with special Christmas breads and pastries, as well as nougat-filled snowmen and chocolate sheep.
Glitter and glimmer, Delft.
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at a shop in Delft.
Red stars topped with candles.
A design tribute to Johannes Vermeer and his painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
Megawatt smiles in Delft (my daughter Jordana with her friend Andrea).
A private residence in Marken, bursting with Christmas finery.
Evening light and little trees near the seafront, Marken.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We have many blessings for which to be thankful this Christmas, our first in our new home in the Netherlands. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays, wherever you may be celebrating. Let's hope that the path forward - into the bright, shiny new year - brings us "more light; less noise," as Abraham Lincoln said.
My beautiful daughter Jordana (left), with Andrea, her friend from college days, visiting us in the Netherlands. Today is Jordana's birthday and we've been celebrating. You'd never know it from the photo, but Andrea just arrived this morning, after a long flight from Los Angeles.
Never mind the foggy weather - at least it's not snowing!
Back to the birthday celebration! More images soon.
Handcarved wooden Dutch girl, with lantern aloft amidst a sea of candles. Click photo to enlarge.
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path, without brightening our own."
In numerous recent events in the US, innocent children and adults have been victims of gun crime. Isn't it time that we shine a light on politicians, forcing them to strengthen gun control laws to protect us? It's past time the US Congress stands up to the fear-mongering NRA (National Rifle Association) and addresses what matters: public safety.
One has to wonder about where lawmakers' loyalties lie, when the day before the tragic school shootings in Connecticut, the Michigan legislature passed a bill allowing guns in classrooms. How many more mass murders will devastate families, before politicians find the courage to act??!!
Quote by Ben Sweetland. Photo in our canal house in the Netherlands.
Early morning light on Thursday, photographed from the top floor of our house.
A layer of ice on the canal.
The view from the dining room window, Friday morning.
In the back garden: no footprints yet, just paw prints from the neighbour's cat.
Little Buddha, next to an outdoor light and turquoise stones.
Our snow-covered rowboat and deck. The Norwegian boat is made for manuevering fjords, although I doubt I could manage a rowboat through icy waters!
The horizon: still snowing on Friday, but ice in the canal has started to melt.
A Dutch train, with cars nearly empty of passengers.
Snow-laden mulberry branches.
A wreath of pinecones and berries next to our front door.
The weather forecast is for snow all weekend. Back soon with more wintery images. At the moment, I'm busy decorating our house for a dinner party Saturday. Bon weekend les tous!
P.S. Here's a short video that will warm your heart.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." - Anatole France
"All things must change to something new, to something strange." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"In this world of change, nothing which comes, stays and nothing which goes is lost." - Anne Sophie Swetchine
"The butterfly is a flying flower; the flower a tethered butterfly." - Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun
Lemon thyme loaf from Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries II
Emeli Sande: Read all about it
An animated short film for Christian Dior, featuring Marion Cotillard
Dutch (At least it's a start)
Technorati Tags: Anatole France, Anne-Sophie Swetchine, Anthology magazine, Emeli Sande, environment, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Linotype: The Film, nature, Nigel Slater, Photography, Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun, The Guardian, The Kitchen Diaries II, the Netherlands
Happy Halloween from Holland, where pigs don't fly, but they do come in marzipan! Yes, apparently it's a Dutch tradition related to Sinterklass and signifying good luck. Local bakeries produce rather unusual pigs made of marzipan, complete with slices, resembling pork. Guess I must have looked skeptical when viewing the pig's head display. The baker laughingly assured me, "But it's very delicious marzipan!" Uh, no thanks (although I do like marzipan - and bacon!).
Wherever you are, hope you make the most of Halloween.
My thoughts are with all those adversely affected by Superstorm Sandy, who must now begin rebuilding/adapting to a different reality. Wishing you bon courage, as the French say.
Check back tomorrow for a special treat on the blog!
The last hortensias (hydrangeas) from our garden (in vintage French pharmacy bottles and a Dame Jean jug).
Fruits and herbs.
Chilies and dried spices in antique apothecary jars.
An antique post box.
Baker's vintage dough cutters from Paris.
Nambe candlesticks from Santa Fe (a gift from my daughter); a Dutch Arts & Crafts pewter candleholder and modern Moroccan-inspired votives on a Mexican silver tray from Sevilla, Spain.
Hope you enjoy these last days of summer!
P.S. It still amazes me that people who profess to be leaders can be so disingenuous. Our forefathers surely would be shocked by the distinct lack of truthfulness in current American election campaigns. We deserve better than men with no reality-based ideas or solutions of their own making vague, empty promises and platitudes.
Dance card, 1910, Paris (available here).
I don't know about you, but my dance card has been pretty full lately. As one might expect, there has been some clumsy stepping on toes; some missteps; at times, even the wrong tempo! But my favourite season is just around the corner and September is bound to add many uplifting melodies to the mix.
Hope you are dancing merrily through these last few weeks of summer!
As a child, I dreamed of a home with big bay windows with cushions, where I could read and gaze out the window. The reality of our canal house in the Netherlands is a bit different, but I can still recline on cushions, read and dream (and look out the glass door to the garden).
This little alcove/reading nook in our home features treasures collected while living and traveling abroad. The wool rug is handmade by women from the Bani Hamida Women's Weaving Project in Jordan. It took six months for several women working with the Jordan River Foundation to hand-embroider scenes from The Arabian Nights for the tapestry. Different sections were then hand-appliqued onto a raw silk background.
The charcoal linen daybed is from a Dutch department store. The pillows are a mix of modern and vintage. The vintage Moroccan wedding blanket is one of several I've collected through my friend Maryam's Red Thread Souk. The Moorish table at left is circa 1903 and the Syrian mother-of-pearl inlaid table is from 1905. Both were purchased from Liberty of London's 2011 Arts & Crafts Exhibition. The vintage 'winged" chair is from Barcelona. The antique wooden mosque model (next to the chair) is French.
At left are early 20th-century framed Lehnert & Landrock images taken in Tunisia and Egypt. The modern black and silver bowl is from Morocco, via Paris and is filled with antique silver bracelets and necklaces from the Middle East. The antique hand-embroidered Palestinian headress is on a vintage French hatstand. The alabaster bowl is from Cairo.
An English silver Arts & Crafts bowl holds five handmade wooden hearts and an antique Arabic seal.
The hand-carved and stone-studded seal from Jordan can be worn as a cocktail ring.
Years ago, I found this circa 1903 Liberty of London hand-painted vase on eBay! Its value has increased dramatically.
A jumble of Jordanian, Palestinian, Bedouin, Moroccan and Yemeni jewelry in a hand-painted and signed ceramic bowl.
A 200-year-old Bedouin silver and Italian coral necklace draped over a French wrought iron sculptor's model.
This traditional cross-stitched Palestinian woman's wedding hat is from the 19th-century. It is rimmed with heavy silver coins, most dating back to the Ottoman Empire. The hat's design includes lucky talismans, numbers and flowers. Such hats are increasingly rare; most are in museums. I was fortunate to purchase this one from an antiques dealer in Amman.
Click photos to view detail. Our house is very much a work-in-progress. More pictures soon.
Technorati Tags: Antiques and collectibles, Arts & Crafts, Barcelona, Bedouin, Cairo, canal house, Egypt, English silver, furniture, interiors, Italian coral, Jordanian, Lehnert & Landrock, Liberty London, ma famille, Morocco, Palestinian, Paris, photography, Red Thread Souk, Spain, Square Modern, Syrian, the Middle East, the Moors, the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire, travel, Tunisia, Yemen
Spider's web across the garden path in late-afternoon sunlight. Click images to view detail.
Photos © Tara Bradford
This week has been a bit like Christmas at our house. On Tuesday, our Isamu Noguchi coffee table arrived via Germany (despite the irreverant coffee table reference, have you seen this hilarious Tumblr site?). And today, our custom-made sofa was delivered - finally, we can put aside the stylish, yet uncomfortable Napoleon III cream linen-covered chairs! Soon they'll be off to an Amsterdam antiques shop, awaiting their next owner.
On a more sombre note, have you ever wondered where old computers and electronics go to die? Nyaba Leon Ouedrango's powerful photograph depicts the harsh consequences for Ghana.
If you're planning a visit to Amsterdam, you might find this tattoo museum intriguing.
As a night owl, I can identify with the lovely sentiment here.
My friend (and talented artist and writer) Christine Mason Miller suggested this gorgeous book and I'm so glad I bought it. The Divine Home is of a similar nature. I collect handmade Spanish crosses, Italian and French antique prayer ornaments and Madonna crowns. I find these heartfelt symbols of reverence and devotion not only beautiful, but somehow reassuring.
The secrets of the rich and unaccountable
Alas, I see nothing reassuring about Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy. If he has nothing to hide, why is he so secretive? Mitt and his advisors really should study geography and history, as they can't seem to grasp how the world map has changed.
Ann Romney is with her expensive horse at the Olympics in London, denying all photo and interview requests for "you people." But Romney claims to know little about their prize horse. Meanwhile, so much for Anglo-Saxon heritage and diplomacy: Romney made multiple gaffes, offending his hosts in Great Britain.
For someone running for the highest office in the land, Mitt Romney doesn't seem to know much about anything, i.e. how much money he has in offshore or Swiss bank accounts; how much income tax he has paid; how long he was CEO for Bain Capital. He appears to have a bare-bones minimum grasp of foreign policy. One has to wonder what Mr. Etch-A-Sketch believes about anything at all, with his adamant refusals to 1) reveal financial and tax records 2) declare any policies his administration would follow or 3) propose actual solutions to any problems currently facing the US.
Technorati Tags: Amsterdam, Anglo-Saxons, Ann Romney's horse, Antiques & collectibles, Bain Capital, Bob Burnett, Books, Casa No Name, Deborah Turbeville, design, disposal of electronics and computers, England, environment, Etch-A-Sketch, geography, Ghana, history, human rights, Isamu Noguchi coffee table, London 2012, Mitt Romney, Napoleon III furniture, Nyaba Leon Ouedrango, Olympics, photography, politics, Russia, Tattoo Museum, The Divine Home, the Guardian, Think Progress, transparency, travel, Tumblr, US presidential election
Click photos to view detail.
Hortensia beginning to bloom.
A different type of hortensia (hydrangeas).
This part resembles a cottage garden. It is a challenge keeping it from taking over...Over a period of many years, the previous owners filled practically every inch of space with plants. David and I are making a few changes.
Another type of hortensia.
Velvety red roses planted in the shadow of a palm.
Blooms next to the canal.
Lilies growing in the canal, alongside our deck.
Water lilies galore, their blooms closed in the twilight.
The neighbour's cat snoozing on a wall. All photos © Tara Bradford
My poor neglected bicycle, leaning against a garden wall.
I'm surprised ivy isn't covering my bicycle! It's been months since I could ride, thanks to these crazy dizzy spells. Living in the Netherlands, surely it's the law or something that you must ride a bicycle.
Tea and sympathy at my friend's petit chateau near Versailles.
Bonjour les tous! In Paris, I had the great pleasure of spending time with my dear friend Gabrielle in her gorgeous, newly-renovated home. Gabrielle met me at Gare du Nord. But our rendezvous turned out to be a comedy of errors, thanks to the Thalys train's hour-late arrival; my phone's lost network coverage and mad traffic jams in the city. Of course the main purpose of the trip was visiting an ENT to determine the cause of recurring dizzy spells. Initial tests suggest it's an inner-ear problem; further tests are scheduled next week.
Also in Paris, I had lunch in my old neighbourhood, then stood in line for ages during les soldes. En route to Amsterdam, Thalys abruptly decided to end its service at Schiphol. Passengers were sent first to one platform, then another to catch an inner-city train to Amsterdam. I felt sorry for all the confused and angry travelers scrambling with their luggage, with little advice and no assistance from Thalys staff. Upon boarding the inner-city train, most passengers were left standing, trying to balance their luggage all the way to Amsterdam.
Again, we were well past our scheduled arrival at Amsterdam Centraal. Habitual delays seems to be a problem with Thalys. Their Ill-timing is due in part to slow-moving trains through Belgium, with international and local trains sharing a single track. Belgium really needs to get its act (and its government) together. These days, traveling through the country either by rail or by car (every journey interrupted with multiple roadworks and diversions) is rarely pleasant.
Falling into the canal
At home Saturday, I went in the back garden to inspect the hortensia (hydrangea) growth. Suddenly I felt dizzy, lost my balance and fell backwards into the canal! Needless to say, a very long hot shower followed.
Wishing a very Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!
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Still blooming, more than two weeks after putting this lily stem in a Nambe vase.
Still gifts to the world:
And P.S. Still rock stars!
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On your bike, sister! (If only I weren't so dizzy). Photo taken earlier this month in Edam, the Netherlands.
This morning I had a long-awaited appointment with a neurologist about dizzy spells that have persisted for nearly two months. But I was turned away from the clinic, despite having proof of insurance, a Dutch identity/residency card and Dutch bank cards.
Why? In a year-and-a-half in the Netherlands, I've seen other specialists and had tests at a major hospital without any problems. But this neurology department was located at a small regional clinic, linked to a hospital in another city. Supposedly, as I wasn't registered at that hospital (having been referred directly to the neurologist by a doctor, rather than hospital staff), the clinic couldn't accept payment. And because they were unaccustomed to dealing with insurance other than Dutch, they failed to cope.
My third conversation on the subject was with an administrative assistant:
AA: "I showed the doctor your insurance information and he won't be able to see you today."
Me: "Why not? I have an appointment and we've driven all this way."
AA: "Well, you can make an appointment for next week."
Me: "I've already waited two weeks for this appointment."
AA: "You can come back next week."
Me: "Why? I'm here now and have an appointment confirmation letter from your office!"
AA: "Well, I asked the doctor, who said it's too big of a risk."
Me, incredulous: "That's ridiculous! So the neurologist is saying a minor administrative issue is more important than my health?"
AA, nodding: "I know, but I can make an appointment for you next week."
Me: "No, thank you. I'll see another doctor, who's actually concerned about health."
And I walked away - and phoned a doctor in Paris and booked an appointment.
We love living in the Netherlands. Mais oui, we miss the food and the world's best medical care in France.
And Dr. A.J. Prazsky, neurologist, I hope never to meet you, since you're apparently more concerned about bureaucracy than a patient's health!
Oak door of a private residence, Delft, Zuid-Holland. I love how the bronze letter slot has similar lines to the wrought iron trim.
I've spent my entire life paying attention to detail. This focus has served me in good stead, both as a writer and a photographer.
While living in London and particularly during ten years in Paris, I collected many, many beautiful antiques and vintage items for our home. I never imagined that moving to a canal house in the Netherlands would mean my tastes would change dramatically. While retaining an appreciation for all I've collected, I have a strong desire for a different aesthetic.
It began with admiring lights (old and new) by Danish designers Louis Poulsen, Louise Campbell and Cecilie Manz. The interest grew into obsession, fueled by watching Danish political thriller Borgen (I & II) and crime dramas The Killing and The Bridge. I began reading Scandanavian design books, magazines and blogs.
The Danish and Swedish designs perfectly suit the clean, modern lines of our house. They also reflect the more relaxed way we're living in the Netherlands. Slowly, many of the French antiques are being replaced with design classics, which blend well with my favourite pieces collected during years of travel and living abroad.
Relaunch of a Swedish design icon
Thanks to reading Scandanavian design blogs, I was excited to learn about the revival of the iconic Swedish Triplex lights. It's a true labour of love for these talented creators. I have reserved a lamp from their first production, due later this summer. It will be a welcome addition to my office! To request your own Triplex lamp, contact Ulrikka Kullenberg.
New design magazine
My friend and interior designer extraordinaire Francoise Murat and her colleagues Kate Thompson and Sam McArthur have started a new digital magazine, STUFF UNCOVERED. They bill it as "a celebration of the unusual, the eclectic and the downright daft." I especially like Francoise's account of the Mid-Century Design Show in Dulwich, London and Kate's round-up of Britain's summer festivities. Read the premiere issue of STUFF UNCOVERED here.
Paris Parfait on etsy
P.S. What am I doing with all the French antiques and vintage collectibles I don't plan to keep? Smaller items are for sale on etsy, while larger treasures and furniture will be sold to an Amsterdam antiques dealer. If you don't see something you fancy, stay tuned...many more items are yet to be listed!
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A small dog running down sand-covered steps at Egmond aan Zee as I was walking up... Click photo to view detail.
Ah, running - Can't do that or ride my bicycle, as I'm still experiencing room-spinning dizzy spells that began April 27th. Later this week I'm seeing a neurologist, who hopefully can determine the cause.
Speaking of running, have you read Haruki Murakami's What I Talk about When I Talk about Running? I've previously blogged about it and it remains one of my favourite books. Murakami compares being a long-distance runner to writing a novel.
These days walking is more my style. I'm currently reading John Baxter's The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris. As an Australian and long-time Paris resident, Baxter gets it right: interspersing vignettes of daily life in Paris with the city's rich history. His storytelling abilities imbue a route I may have taken 500 times with a fresh energy.
Baxter's book makes me want to get on the next train and retrace some familiar paths and revisit certain eateries, seeking details and perspective I may have overlooked. If you love Paris and its unique diversity, I think you'll be charmed by Baxter's amusing and informative stories.
Footprints along the beach, Egmond aan Zee.
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Trompe l'oeil: Layer upon layer to comtemplate appear in this photograph of a jeweler's vitrine in Delft. The window's glass reflects the buildings and various activities in the historic market square, while the sunburst mirror shows yet another view of Delft. Click photograph to view detail.
Notice the Harlequin masked figure, the lovely jewelry, the ubiquitous bicycle and the 17th-century architecture. Do you see the people enjoying the sunshine at an outdoor cafe; the tourist in the red jacket, the floating stars, the double-exposure windows and the bright forsythia? What stories come to life for you in this scene?