Fireworks!

The fireworks got rained out last night but we still had a good time at The Sparkle Lounge where I watched lightning bugs dance on the lawn and eased the pain of a gimpy knee with a potent Sangria

Here is a film of the fireworks from a few years back.  Enjoy  and have a happy Fourth of July.

 

Happy New Year

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Boris Looks For His Easter Basket

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Here’s hoping you find whatever it is you’re looking for this Spring!

Holiday Time in Fairmount Park

It’s holiday time and if you are trolling the Internet, it is probably to do last minute shopping or find recipes.  If you want to take a break, I invite you to have a look at some pictures I took on a tour of three of the Fairmont Park Mansions.

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Lemon Hill Mansion

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Woodford Mansion

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A couple of years ago,  Liberty Place hosted a delightful holiday exhibit of the Fairmount Park Mansions interpreted in gingerbread.  If you would like to read about the exhibit, click here.  And if you want to compare the gingerbread mansions with the real mansions, click on the links below.

Strawberry Mansion in Gingerbread

Lemon Hill in Gingerbread

Woodford Mansion in Gingerbread

Learn more about the Fairmont Park Mansions here.

Thank you to  the East Passyunk Community Recreation Center  and Councilperson Mark Squilla for organizing and sponsoring the tour.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Philadelphia

What else could provide a better example of the bounty and abundance that we should all be so thankful for this Thanksgiving and every other day of the year?  Reading Terminal Market.    Here are some pictures of the hustle and bustle on the day before the turkey lands.

Franklin Flea Holiday Market and More

If you come to Philadelphia to do Holiday Shopping this year, be sure to check out the Franklin Flea. They’ve set up on the first floor of the old Strawbridge and Clothier store at 8th and Market and the vendors offer a great selection of eclectic funk.

Six Saturdays, 10am – 5pm
Nov. 15, 22, 29
Dec. 6, 13, 20

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Shopping under the chandeliers

 

wpid-img_20141122_141753blog_wm.jpgThe Picasso repro is in needle point.  How ’70s can you get?

 wpid-img_20141122_173908blog_wm.jpgLots of re purposed items including clothes

 

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Vintage belts and look at those Coach bags

 

wpid-img_20141122_142211blog_wm.jpgThere’s some older stuff too

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If you can’t come in person, most of the  ever changing selection of  vendors sell on line

 

Reclaimed Crafts
 

Found RW

 

Earth and Iron

 

This Pretty Life

 

Hoof and Antler


For more information on the Franklin Flea Holiday Market press here.

But wait!  There’s more.  If you’re in town during the week, check out Christmas Village (also open on weekends) which pops up in Love Park  every year after Thanksgiving and stays open until the last Sunday in December.    You can go ice skating at Dilworth Park after you’ve finished shopping.


 

New Years in Philadelphia Means Mummers

Here is a video I took at last years’ winning champion in the Fancy Brigades, the South Philly Vikings performing Ka “Light” Oscope: Harness the Power of the Spectrum

Want to learn more about the Mummers and see some cool archival footage?  Press here and here.

Felt Birdy Holiday Ornaments

I decided to make felted flying Birdie holiday ornaments this year for Toni, Terri and Sarah. Why birds?  I like birds.

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Three Birds-a-flying

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Roving, Fiber and Feathers

Auditioning Feathers

Ms. Bluebird  nearly complete

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I like to needle felt with a leather glove on my left hand.  I  stab myself less often.

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Carding the roving to blend colors for Ms. Pink

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 Ms. Pink  takes a break after completion

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Yet more carding and color mixing for Ms. Green

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Ms. Green  with her pins still in; I glued and felted in the feathers and embellishments.

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As I was  making the Birdies,  I realized that the glamorous Ms. Pink bore a slight resemblance to Toni.  Bluebirds have a special meaning for Sarah who also loves glitter.  (Ms. Bluebird took a dip in the glitter when I wasn’t looking and Ms. Pink made a hat for her.)  Ms. Green wanted a skull charm necklace so she would look good with Terri. I did not have one, but she let Ms. Bluebird and Ms. Pink do her hair like Terri’s, complete with red bangs.  Ms Green thought she looked Sqwaksome!

I left the Birdies resting on their communal perch.  They are now in their new homes.

Darleen Bellan’s Unique Ornaments and Mementos

I met Darleen Bellan this summer at Clay ConneCTion, the semi-annual retreat of the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild and  fell in love with her quirky and inspired polymer clay figurines and ornaments. When she agreed to do an interview with fellow sculptor Sherman Oberson for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s YouTube Channel, I grabbed my equipment, met them in a quiet hallway and we did the interview on the spot.

Darleen’s an animal lover and her ornaments are lots of fun (Chicken ala King anyone?) But Darleen doesn’t restrict herself to ornaments and figurines; she crafts made-to-order pieces memorializing  departed pets and gives each one a unique twist  that gives it  personal meaning.  So what’s the unique twist?   Go to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s Blog and watch  the video to  find out.

Most of Darleen’s  work is  one of a kind and she welcomes commissions.  If you are interested in buying or commissioning her work, go to her web site or her etsy shop.    Here are some pictures.

Sherman also has some great ornaments for sale in his etsy shop.  His style is different from Darleen’s but

his work is charming and will make you laugh.

Here’s one I bought

and here are some more!

Support Our Artists!

Happy New Year from Philadelphia

 

For more than one hundred years, the City of Philadelphia has sponsored the Mummers Parade on New Years day.  I thought it would be fun to do some research into the history of this Philadelphia tradition and share the results with you.  The Mumming tradition started  in Europe.  It came to these shores  with  the wave of immigrants that started arriving in Philadelphia in the 1600’s- first the Swedes, then English and then the Irish.  According to Murray Dubin in his book South Philadelphia, Mummers, Memories and the Melrose Diner, the Philadelphia Mummers have been strutting since 1790!  These parades were probably informal at first but became more organized with the passage of time.  As other ethnic groups like the Italians poured into South Philadelphia, they embraced the Mummers tradition.  The Mummers gradually started to form clubs which became an important part of the social fabric of the South Philadelphia working class.

The back of the above photograph says “Chas. Forbes Commercial Photographer  1006 W. Girard Ave.” When was it taken?  There’s no date, but I see a pipe that appears to be for an oil tank for a furnace on the front of the brick row house.  I don’t think oil heat came into wide use until after World War One, so this picture could be from the 1920’s.  For some beautiful photographs of Mummers in modern costumes,  check out the Philadelpha Mummer Flickr site. For an outstanding album of old pictures you’re not likely to see elsewhere on line, go to the Rare Mummers Archives.

Until the late 19th Century, Christmas and New Years celebrations were more like  Halloween or Mardi Gras festivals with people in masks and costumes going from house to house, offering to entertain the occupants with plays, skits or other antics.   People fired guns in the air (illegal in Philadelphia today) and public intoxication was the norm.  No wonder the Puritans banned Christmas!The   Philadelphia New Years Mummers parade has its roots in those raucous winter holiday celebrations of  the past. The first “official” parade was in 1901  when the City decided to sponsor it. There were so many Mummer’s clubs by that time that the City had to  do something to  protect the public safety and cut down on the revelry and  vandalism that accompanied the parades.  The Mummers have marched up Broad Street on New Years day every year since then, with a few exceptions.

There is a lot more to the history of the Mummers in Philadelphia than I could write here.  Click on the links for more information.  Remember, when you watch a Mummers parade,  you are part of an historical tradition you won’t see many other places in the U.S.  You are really looking into a portal to history.

Here are some parades from over the years.

I estimate from the dress that the undated newsreel below is from the 1930’s or 1940’s.  The parade passes a business called “University Motors.” Anyone know when they were in business on Broad Street?  I think it might have been a Studebaker Dealership.

 

 

 

 

When you are in Philadelphia, be sure to stop by the Mummers Museum.