"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh


Remember When a Television Was Furniture?

South Side, 27th Street, on my way to Tess’s.  Taken with the iPhone camera.  That’s me in the reflection.  This is one HUGE television, waiting for pickup.  Now everything these days is flat screen or wall mount, giant and loud but thin.  People have entertainment centers and places to house a tv but they are not connected as a single unit.  Different finishes.  This one could qualify as “Colonial” or “Traditional”???

Not sure when this style
stopped being popular
and I’m sure there are plenty of these
fully functional in homes today.
Just reflecting on what I find on the sidewalk.
Wondering what shows were watched.

The Ceramic Squirrel Family Made Freshly Pressed Page today

Exciting to be selected as one of the top ten blogs today on Freshly Pressed (by WordPress)  Click to see what all the fuss is about

The Ceramic Squirrel Family- Everyone says PITCH!!

Acme Thunderer and Pink Pearl Eraser Still Life

A teacher's pocket contents. Used to blow the whistle when I had playground duty and worked the After School Program. Now it is just on my key ring.

Emptied my pocket and saw these two items under the light on the desk in the front hall.  Bonnie, the gym teacher (now retired) told me about the Acme Thunderer. Click here to learn how to choose a whistle.  Some of the listings are safety, marine, refereeing, sports, orchestral-you can buy a tugboat whistle or one to lead the band.   There is a collector’s model with the words TITANIC engraved on the side.    And most everyone remembers Pink Pearl Erasers.

Fact 1-

Eberhard Faber began to manufacture the Pink Pearl in a factory he started in 1861.

Fact 2-

“In 1996, Eberhard Faber sold more than 4.7 million Pink Pearl Erasers. Laid end to end, that’s enough erasers to reach from Washington, D.C., to Philadelpha.”  By the way, the small print says the eraser was manufactured in Malaysia. There are buildings in Brooklyn where the factory used to be.

Underneath the whistle and eraser is a note I found outside of the school listing the Fruits of the Spirit (last one is self-control) with a  penciled math problem on the back.

Alvin and the Chipmunks Cake- Michael is FIVE

Laura just texted a photo of the cake. Then we were on the phone. James was taking pictures with his new camera so I asked him to send an image via email.  I bagged the scheduled post. So today features the combined creative efforts of guest blogger/photographer James Weaver – & the birthday cake Aunt Lala created for Michael Joseph who is five today. Happy Birthday Michael!

First time La has attempted the buttercream transfer process She says it is harder than it looks!

Frosting recipe-  3 sticks of butter, 8 cups of Confectioner’s sugar, some Wilton foodcolor, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 Tablespoons of milk.

For information on Alvin and the Chipmunks click here

Buttercream Transfer Process

Happy 5th Birthday Michael!!

Washington Parting Shot

Mary suggested this one. The cherry with a tiny leaf still attached on it. Farewell Washington.  We live so far apart and it isn’t an easy trip to make often.  We miss David but feel fortunate to had such a loving and happy relaxed time together.  When you tell someone you are just back from Washington they ask if you made it to the exhibit at the Corcoran and then you have to explain it is Washington STATE.  Washington head silhouettes on all the road signs.  I will have to research the history of how the state got named.

Washington cherry on Mac.

Now it is computer and phone communication from WA to PA and NYC.

Constellation Captured in Okanogan

constellation captured

Big Dipper Over David's House in Okanogan WA

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Shutter Speed: 79.0s
  • Image Date: 8/9/10 2:00:00
  • no tripod, no cable release, propped on a chair with my finger holding the shutter in bulb setting, releasing as motionlessly as possible

Art Car #2 by Greg Phelps

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Another Art Car spotted in Columbus OH at the Touch-a-Truck Day. Artist wearing blue shirt  in vertical photo. This is his ONLY car. He glues the items on with silicone glue.   He donated his Art Car #1 to Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft.   Check out more photos at his site.  Saw my first Art Car on July 4th.  Let me know when you spot one where you live.

What I Couldn’t Throw Out

Purchased in 1977 in New York City at Creative Playthings. Rubbery farm animals.  Nice to clutch and carry around when you’re almost two. I bought them for baby Mark who’s 34 now.  Maybe the paint is unsafe for the grandchildren, plus they have a hole in their stomach so whatever dirt and mold in the basement the past 20 years is living inside them.  I put them in the contractor bag to drag to the curb and I swear the cow’s eyes looked at me. I took them out. Photographed them.

Toy farm animals from my children's youth

Their faces have the loveliest expressions.

Bowl of Cherries on the Front Porch

Summer heat as intense as the winter’s snow. Rain this afternoon. Sitting on the front porch and listening and watching it rain without getting wet.  Used a new white pasta bowl V gave me for my bday.  The ripe sweet fruit.  The hammock where the naps are especially restful. Love summer! See a small oil by Picasso with a bowl of cherries click here.

The ripe cherries are really juicy and sweet this year.

What the ____?

Steve sees an artcar up close and in person for the first time

Upon exiting the High Road Gallery in Worthington OH, this artcar was parked under a tree. I totally missed it if it was there as we entered. We were going to see James' Missed the Bus photograph (which was awarded Honorable Mention)

The Mailbox- Decorated by Anna

Sun dropping in the sky, we’d just come from another cookout. Anna asked if I’s take her picture with the mailbox. This was taken just before the sparklers in the backyard, posted yesterday.  Tonight is the  last night in Columbus with the family.  It’s been a happy vacation.

Anna and the 4th of July mailbox she decorated with Grandma Marlene.

Their Eyes Looked at Me as I Walked By- I Had to Photograph Them

There they were, lying on the counter in the front hall of the school.  Cleaned out of someone’s classroom, but it so difficult to pitch something with a face, looking at you.  Each of these has stories to tell I know.  Reminded me of Erika and Anna’s beloved BabyDoll (to see 30 year old Babydollclick for 10/21/09 post)

Four old school dolls, discarded from someone's classroom. Staring at me.

If only they could talk.

“Ice Sculptures Make Great Gifts”

Who knew?  I admit I’ve never considered purchasing an ice sculpture as a gift. But seeing this truck made me think of ice sculptures I have seen up close.  Plus, it’s hot and humid again so the idea of ice appeals to me.

Do-it-yourselfers?   You’ll need to read “Ice Sculpting the Modern Way, Joseph Amendola’s Ice Carving Made Easy and Mac Winker’s Ice Sculpture: The Art of Ice Carving in 12 Systematic Steps.” (from Wikipedia)

Last summer I watched an ice carver/sculptor whir a chainsaw, spew ice and find a dolphin inside the giant block.  Ellen’s daughter had  an R2D2 at her wedding, and Donna’s son’s wedding had a giant heart with their engagement photo inside the ice.

You sit at a red light and there it is- the thought of the day. The company lists themselves as the coolest guys around- more info click Mastroice on Herron Avenue

Brake lights and a message on a truck- long red light on Bigelow Boulevard

Looking for Signs

A few years ago I wrote a poem with this title.  And after the rainstorm I was stopped on Carson Street, traveling west. Before Station Square. The intersection under the trains. Looked up and saw this unusual sign. Seemed different from regular graffiti. Wondered about the person who got up there and wrote it and for whom did they write this short message?  It’s how I feel sometimes, driving around. Trying to remember everything I am supposed to do.  Feeling distracted.  The retaining wall is dark with rainwater.

Absent Minded

Not limited to professors. Thank goodness for red lights to capture the message.

Sunlight on Sunflowers

Sunflower centerpiece at Leah's house, late afternoon sun on

From outside on the patio I saw the setting sun hit the sunflowers’ petals.  I asked the hostess if she minded my photographing her bouquet.  It was a few golden moments of sunlight on the sunflowers. To see Van Gogh’s Sunflower Series Paintings click here.

My Bookshelf

What books would you put on your favorites bookshelf?

What books would you select for your bookshelf to be painted by artist Jane Mount? Her Ideal Bookshelf paintings (click link to see) featured in the New Yorker last August 11 inspired me to put twenty volumes together on one shelf and photograph them.   Anne of Green Gables was a Christmas 1925 gift to my mother from her mother and the Gene Stratton-Porter book was my mother’s.  C.S. Lewis’ Silver Chair is a stand-in for The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most of these books belonged to my sister  Mary and got passed down to me. Longfellow was a gift to my brother David and me from Cousin Paul in 1961. In sixth grade I had to memorize, “Under a spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands….. The Beatrix Potter in French was from my sister (who signed it Marie) and presented it to me on my half birthday one January fourth.  The Tiny Golden Book in The Naughty Little Guest by Dorothy Kunhardt. The Sunny Sulky Book opened two different directions with the good children and bad children stories.  I loved Fairy Eat-It-All who came in the night with a spoon for a little boy whose eyes were bigger than his  stomach, and he had to eat his way through a mound of food he had taken and not eaten.  So here are my books from growing up, all on one shelf.
My Bookshelf

You tell me my old books smell
like a Goodwill bin.
Old dust and stick your nose in,

The weight of them
on the house’s foundation.
My hardwood floors sag.
You say I’m impaired
in technology.
Society will evolve without me?
All I need in my life
is an e-reader not musty books.

I like the feel of them in my hand.
Turn them over, slip off a dustjacket.
See the author peer back at me.
The opening of the first page.
Or a slender bookmark to hold my place.
I’m sad they’re closing the store.

My list of reasons to read
from a page (or your preferred screen)–

There’s escape,
maps, cooking, and signs,
travel or how to put something together
take meds,
but for me
reason number one. Two and three.
There’s my mother’s voice
my dad’s, in certain volumes
reading to me-
the escape I mentioned before.
And enjoyment. Sheer enjoyment.
I’m sure you can think of more.

My Favorite Bookshelf Image

What books would you put on your favorites bookshelf?

Bicentennial Baby Celebrates Birthday

He’s how I became a mother. 1976, Fort Knox Kentucky.   And his brother Matthew had the idea to post something meaningful on birthdays. I found the dented engraved silver rattle in a tin.  I used to make things. Giant needlepoint baby blocks with buttons inside, I stitched  Mark a States Quilt with all fifty states to scale, (Alaska and Texas a different scale)  using a National Geographic map for the templates. Mark knew all the state capitals at age 3 and used to go around saying Sac-ra-men -to!   I stitched a little doll that was asleep on one side of his face, awake on the other and made a pillow with pockets to put him in.  You can see Mark wtih his grandfather in Philly, he’s wearing the  blue and white checked overalls I made.  It was a different time.  Now he is married to a wonderful wife. They have four children.  He’s how I became a grandmother. I am so proud of him and all his accomplishments!  Happy Birthday Mark Joseph McGrath. love, Ma

I am proud of my son on his birthday. Everyday.

Stuff I have saved (and could find) makes a personalized birthday collage.

“Walking to the Sky”-Borofsky Sculpture at CMU

Weighs 7 tons!  Press release says it’s controversial.  It is almost four years to the day the release was issued. Stopped at the red light on Forbes, the corner of Morewood.  Saw the tapes around a figure looking up and realized it was part of the sculpture.  Jonathan Borofsky graduated from CMU in ’64.  Looking at it cheers me.  Not everyone feels that way. Or at least they didn’t when it was first installed. And thinking about it and other art installations that stir controversy, I went to look it up.  Great topic and list – “controversial public art installations” (click here)for other art that created a response.

Public art catches the eye! Entertains. Annoys. Delights.

Primanti’s # 2 Bestseller

Primanti Brothers (click name for history/info) Classic Sandwich A Primanti's Sandwich, close-up.  Pittsburgh icon.

Fries and coleslaw layered right in the sandwich, two slabs of Italian bread!

Model Railroad Mother Hangs Out Wash

Somedays it’s fun to play.  The era is supposed to be c.1936.  My mother pinned clothes on a merry-go-round contraption with a center metal pole, stuck in a concrete surrounded hole. The needs-to-be-oiled sounds of a pulley as the clothesline is reeled out with colors, shapes and flags. Whipping around in the breeze, drying in the sun.  The smell of a pillowcase on a clean bedsheet that earlier flapped on the line. I bought these at the Hobby Shop.  Read about HO scale .

Just reading about HO scale on WikiPedia. Miniatures appeal to me.

Bellevue’s Famous Sign

Remembering Christina Radis Murdock

Pointe Shoes Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Using an India Ink Artist Pen, I wrote ballet terms in French on the right shoe, and on the left shoe, all the ballets the Pittburgh Ballet Theatre has performed the past 40 years.  This pair of pointe shoes is on display at the Benedum this weekend and ballet goers can bid on them in a silent auction. The call was for artists to make an artwork using a pair of used pointe shoes, which you could pick up in the strip where they practice.  Just before I turned them in I took a quick photo of them in the car. They are in an acrylic box for display.  Update Saturday afternoon:  Just got a call that the shoes were selected to be in the top five! Chosen by Eric C Shiner, The Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Warhol Museum! Invited to a Swan Lake Soiree Cast Party tomorrow afternoon.  I am excited!

Artwork for the Silent Auction Fundraiser at Swan Lake

Ballet terms in French on right shoe, Repertoire on the left shoe

Scratch-Off Across the Street from School

The curb used to be yellow, the losing ticket catches your eye. You lean over the curb,focus, see equal thirds in the composition. Shoot. Texture, line, shape, color, space, form. Art elements are everywhere in the world.

Losing lottery ticket discarded curbside. Peeling yellow paint on concrete.

It looks like someone placed it there for me to find, the curb paint scratched off, too.

Vintage Milkbox on Dorothy’s Front Stoop

Used as a mailbox now, these silver milk boxes were on everyone’s porch steps. Growing up our dairy was Alderney Farms in New Jersey.  Thick glass, with paperboard circle caps. You could get a dozen eggs, some cottage cheese. Leave the empties for the milkman to exchange for fresh cold bottles of milk. We still had delivery in the mid sixties.  The delivery truck door had a sound when it’d slide. You can buy an old milkbox on ebay.

vintage milkbox  from Harmony Dairy Co., used as a mailbox now.

Lavender from Dorothy's garden rests on her vintage milkbox. I think I need to get her a new flag!


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