Wisdom and Love at Ritter’s Diner

Meet Sophia and Aphrodite.

Last week I made arrangements to photograph Aphrodite for the People at Work Series.  Steve and I’ve known Aphrodite for more than 23 years now. Sophia asked me if I knew what Sophia meant and I had to admit I didn’t.

But I do now!  Wisdom.  And Aphrodite means Love.

I ordered two eggs over medium, dry wheat toast with butter on the side and potatoes with the well done crispy bits. Coffee and a glass of water.

I asked Sophia if I might photograph her, too, and she graciously agreed.  I forgot to ask Sophia how long she’s worked at Ritter’s Diner but I know Aphrodite has worked there for 39 years!

Chances are if you’re from Pittsburgh, you’ve had the good fortune to meet both of these wonderful women.

WisdomandLove

 Sophia and Aphrodite

AphroditeAphrodite

SophiaSophia at the cash register

RittersDiner

Ritter’s Diner on Baum Bloulevard-

A Pittsburgh Landmark just a block away from Shadyside Hospital

Celebrating Life as a Clay Artist

“I’m Celebrating Life as a Clay Artist.”   Bernie Pintar

Meet Bernie Pintar.

Today  I went to see him in the Sculpture Studio in the basement of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. 

He graciously agreed to be in my People at Work Series.

Originally from East Pittsburgh, he’s a 1972 graduate of the Ivy School of Professional Art which was a six story building in downtown Pittsburgh Market Square ( no longer there)-  I looked it up and saw that Artist Activist Keith Haring went there, too.

And here is the amazing part of Bernie’s story- He started in clay in 2009.  WOW!

img_1183

img_1227

IMG_0988.JPG

img_3905A tribute to Cecil the Lion

River Styx Cruise and Detail

img_3909img_3910img_3914img_3932

So here is how Bernie packages his stunning ceramic artwork-

he has “nests” for them and see where it says HEAD?  He learned how to package his artwork like the Television Repairman who used to come fix his mother’s Zenith- Frank G. smelled like mothballs he remembers

He’d come with a box and say “I have the tube for your set.” and it was in a box with handles, just the way Bernie now makes his carriers.  That’s where he learned that method. Frank G the TV repairman.

img_1031

 Dragon Peacock Teapot

An entry for the International Invitational Teapot show at Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery in Shadyside  April 9- May 29th 2017

 

The Piece below is titled Da Burgh

an entry for upcoming Pittsburgh Society of Artists- da Burgh Show to be held at the FrameHouse and Jask Gallery in Lawrenceville Friday June 9- Friday June 30, 2017

img_3937

That tiny piece that looks like wire or spaghetti?  It is CLAYimg_3938img_3939img_3940

Everything on the sculpture moves

img_0924

img_1028

Da Burgh

from a different angle

img_1071img_0909

 

img_1086

 

Below- a bisque ware piece. What it looks like before the glaze-

img_3948img_3952img_3960

Here’s another quote from Bernie

“I don’t go to bed to sleep anymore…..I go to dream.” He shared with me that Transcendental Meditation saved his life.

 

The Art of Gift Wrap

Thursday, I was going to meet a new baby and wanted to take a gift.

Called around and found wooden milestone blocks/cubes and in the colors of the nursery!

A helpful man answered the phone and said there was one set at their store- Contemporary Concepts.

When I got there I took a look around. Found a couple of Christmas gifts to purchase, too. A very eclectic mix of gifts from elegant tableware to crazy socks .

Contemporary Concepts does mail order, too.

The colorfully printed Pittsburgh dish towels caught my eye for those who have moved away.  Lots of interesting toys and potential baby shower gifts, too. They feature cool Pittsburgh neighborhood t-shirts Neighbor Teaze designed by Julia DiNardo- an elementary school classmate of my son Matthew.

(I won’t go into how the store moved 6 months ago to the Trader Joe’s building, pretty close to my house-that’s another story. Of course, I drove to the old location in Squirrel Hill first. The new location has free parking)

But I finally arrived and was thrilled to find  the right present waiting. And in the colors of his nursery, too.  Yes, I said it twice cause it was a Serendipitous find!

 “Would you like it gift wrapped? “

Now the thought of complimentary gift wrap evokes nostalgia for customer service of yesteryear- and what a lovely touch.

Meet Abby.  She did the beautiful gift wrapping.

I asked her if she’d mind being included in my People at Work series And she agreed.

img_1694

 

 

Meet Bob Bastone

I’ve been taking my cars to Bastone Auto for 25 years. You want to go to an auto place you trust! Being located in a former church seems a nice touch.

Pennsylvania car inspection was due and the temporary registration I’d gotten online was about to expire Dec 2nd.

My goal’s to get a photo of the Bastone  brothers in front of their place.  I thought it would be a great addition to People at Work- Primarily Pittsburgh (show at Panza Gallery. July 2018)

As I was asking Bob about getting Jim and Frank to agree I said “here I’ll take a quick sample on the phone to remind you to ask them”

 

img_1679

Bob is also an expert Amateur/Ham Radio operator  (licensed call sign is WC3O) and here’s an article

Skyview Radio Society News

If you need a speaker for your organization’s event, he’ll expound on all aspects of automotive service, repair and maintenance in his “I Hate Cars” tour.  His flyer says “hear the straight scoop from an ASE certified Master Mechanic with a lifetime of experience in the automotive repair and maintenance field”

Bob has a great sense of humor, too.

Thanks for letting me take your photo, Bob.

Please ask your brothers to make a time and I’ll be over with my real camera.

Oh and my car is happy, too.

 

Artist at Work

Meet Janice Schuler.  Artist.  Today there was an Artist’s Studio Tour in Lawrenceville. Her painting studio is in the basement of this repurposed church and was number one on the tour.  I’d met Janice last night at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and she invited me to visit her studio during the Studio Tour.  There was wine and beer, bottles of water and cheese and crackers and a tray of sweets, too.  Other artists studios were open as well but I sat in a comfortable chair in Janice’s studio and watched people come and go as we talked.

 

 

img_0365

Artist Janice Schuler at work in her artist studio.

Janice Schuler- Pittsburgh Artist Registry

 

img_0384

There are several artist’s studios in this church- architects, fiber artist. photographers and painters.

 

img_1263

 

 

Yarnbyrds: A Gourmet Yarn Truck

My son-in-law James saw a story about a yarn store on wheels.  Here’s the  clip on Columbus television.  YARNBYRDS,LLC THE YARN TRUCK

James knows I like to knit and enjoy good yarn so this morning he sent me a link from the local paper aticle about Yarnbyrds Columbus Dispatch.

A converted RV is a yarn store?  I’m in!

The Food Truck craze has inspired a gourmet Yarn Truck. What a wonderful idea.

Found the phone number and called Robin and this evening I was able to go and visit “Birdie” ( the mobile yarn store’s nickname) and make some wonderful gourmet yarn purchases, too.

Here’s Yarnbirds website for details on the delicious yarn and a calendar of where Birdie will be parked, so you can check it out, too!  A terrific selection to choose from- I know I’ll be back.

img_2409

What a cool idea.  Here is the owner/ proprietor Robin Richey.

 

Exterior of Birdie

 

img_2390

 

Robin’s husband Tom did all the LED lighting in the truck and so all the yarn shows in true color which is really important in a yarn store!  He’s an electrical engineer.

Robin creates the project bags. There’s jewelry and Drunk Yarn kits for dying.

img_2398

img_2387

Yarnbyrds on Facebook

 

 

The Quest for Sock Yarn in Alaska

Alaskan sock yarn was the quest.  And this was the place to find it.

I ‘d researched on the computer from Pittsburgh, prior to our trip.

Knitty Stash is the home of Alaskan Yarn Company , right in Homer, Alaska where we were headed.

Gorgeous hand painted sock yarn with special Alaskan colorway names that invite you to knit your Alaskan experience, right into a pair of socks ( or shawl, cowl, etc)  “Our Alaskan color way:  Kachemak Bay, Lupine, Arctic Autumn, Northern Lights and Fireweed and Denail Autumn and High Bush Cranberry”  You can click here to see what they look like knitted up

Yarn store number three on the great Northwest adventure.

You meet the nicest people.  My friend Lisa and I went back on Tuesday night and watched the three women use spinning wheels, turning fiber into yarn.

Meet shop owner Jules and her sweet dog Ruby.

img_2476

Jules made the knitting artwork out of duct tape  with the help of a friend!  Weatherproof..

img_2458You can see some of the colorways on the wall in this shot.  I focused on Jules so the background a bit soft focus.

My quest was satisfied and I mailed some skeins the next day. It was here, waiting for me when I got home.  I’ve wound one colorway already.  Will keep you posted.

Here are the colors close up, borrowed from Knitty Stash site so you can see how lush they are.

I did not take the yarn photo below, but I wish I had bought all the colors and taken it!  Thanks Jules.screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-11-48-28-pmp.s. If you missed my  4/27/16 post on The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting you can read it here

Book Quest

Quest.  Remember looking for a certain book? I’m talking pre-google, search engines?

Out dad would scour used book stores and stalls for books he wanted for himself or one of us kids.  He was always searching for another copy of In Clean Hay to read at Christmas.  Nowadays you  type a title or author in a  narrow white box, press search and voila….options, usually in a few seconds.

An actual physical search can be incredibly satisfying cause chances are you will see another title or volume as you sift through shelves in a cool used book store.

That’s  what happened when I found a Peter Spier book from my kids childhood on a upstairs shelf.

Old Inlet Bookshop in Homer, Alaska is such a place. We went there after our Thai lunch in the mermaid themed cafe attached to the bookshop

Meet Andy Wills. Third generation bookseller. IMG_2448.JPG

I don’t know how many books he has in his bookshop but if you are looking for something, he knows where it is.   You don’t have to go to Homer, Alaska though  You can email him   books(at)ak(dot)net      Hope that method of writing email address avoids spammers

IMG_2445.JPGHere is he taping up the cover of the Peter Spier book.

Wooley Mama’s on Apple Street- Omak, Washington

Wooley Mama’s

Meet Laura Hayner.   And Shadow.  What a sweet doggie. She follows Laura everywhere.img_2902

She is spinning fleece of some local sheep.

Here’s a skein of some of her handspun yarn from a spinning workshop. It was a grab bag of different fibers and has a really cool and varied look to it.

image

Spoiler Alert for Christmas Gifts-  Made in the U.S.A.- World’s Warmest Socks for Winter.  I’m sure she’d be happy to send you some.  They are thick and cushy. Perfect in a big boot or to wear around a drafty house.

image

img_2904Thanks Laura for welcoming us to your lovely shop.  Love the name of your store.

Thanks for showing us your logo.  My sister likes the buttons she bought, too.

I enjoyed seeing your spinning and will enjoy knitting all the yarn I bought and shipped to myself.  It’s great you get your fiber from local ranches and farms- 4R Ranch in Tonasket and Good Farms in Okanogan for two.

Wildflour Bakery Anchorage, Alaska- Guest Blog

My wish is you get to Anchorage Alaska and taste Wildflour Bakery pies. Although I am back in the lower 48 today I have some more Alaska posts.

When visiting friends in Homer Alaska, we met some very nice people in their interesting home that our host had helped build.

The first thing they did was offer us pie and coffee.  Who could resist?

Three types of apple pie.  As we sampled a sliver of each type, we talked about the excellent flavor and crust (one gluten- free) and then I learned about the pie creator, Wildflour Bakery Owner Olivia Allen of Anchorage.  Although I took a few photos of the pie (see below) I wanted to know more.

Meet bakery owner Olivia Allen- photograph by Julia Bevins, I  asked Julia if she would like to be guest blogger! What a great photo.

Then I called Olivia. She returned my call just as we were entering our departing flight but emailed me more photos and information about Wildflour Bakery.  Here is her blog link Look into the World  See Olivia’s watercolor illustrations and follow her on Instagram Wildflour Bakery Handcrafted pies and galettes made with foraged wild berries, organic ingredients and lots of love 🌸

Olivia writes-

Wildflour Bakery uses locally sourced and foraged wild berries, herbs, flowers and backyard honey to craft beautiful and sweet treats with creative flair.

Each pie or galette is handcrafted with the intention of highlighting the Alaskan spirit of our wild spaces, near and far.

imageBeautifully photographed by Julia Bevins.

Gallery of photos below , sent to me by Olivia

Here are my pie photos so you see why I needed Olivia to send me some more.

And here is her artwork. I love the part about “serve generous slices.”  Yes!!

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-2-06-53-am

We fairly well decimated the pies! You can see why I needed more photos to create this blog post as you look at my three photos I took at the kitchen table.

A few years ago I featured friend and pie judge Rob Bard.on National Pie Day.   I know he would have enjoyed the pies.