Dutch Dates – October Calendar

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Regardless of the weather, October is a hot month for Antiques Diva Readers to be in Amsterdam! Four upcoming events caught my eye and I couldn’t help but to share these dates with you.

Corry Kooy & Loes Botman Art Exhibition
Diva Readers will recognize the name Corry Kooy from previous postings about this up-and-coming dynamite Dutch artist whose open style I adore. She has a special exhibit Sept 27 – Nov 2, 2008 in Nieuwkoop at the Hoeve Rijlaarsdam Galerie & Beeldenpark. Corry will be sharing the show with pastel artist Loes Botman whose work I haven’t yet seen in person. A quick browse through his website tells me he is someone I’ll be interested to discover!

Woon Beurs Amsterdam
The Woon Beurs Amsterdam – Home Fair will be Sept 30 – Oct 5, 2008 at the Amsterdam Rai offering inspiration and decorating advice alongside halls devoted to the latest and greatest in Dutch design.

Kunst & Antiekbeurs Verzamelen In Stijl
The Kunst & Antiekbeurs Verzamelen in Stijl is back in town for 2 days only – Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12, 2008. Entry is 5E per person and this dazzling art and antiques fair specializing in Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Jugendstil will take place in one of A’dams most centrally located hotels – Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square. Stay for lunch in their gorgeous Brasserie Reflet, with its Belle Epoque interior dating back to 1883.

Michael Parkes at Steltman Galleries
Years ago Antiques Diva Roving Reporter Lady Lotus turned me onto artist Michael Parkes at the Steltman Galleries in Amsterdam. Parkes is the world’s leading magical realist painter, sculptor, and stone lithographer and has been a staple at the Steltman Gallery since his first one man show in 1977.

A Reader’s Photo

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>From time to time, Antiques Diva™ readers email me with questions, tips or compliments. Having correspondence with my blog readers makes cyberspace seem a little smaller, a little more intimate and a whole lot more friendly. Just yesterday I received an email with this attached photo from Philip, the Cyprus-based author of “Taxi Diaris” – whose site name means “one who loves traveling” and not “Taxi Diary” as I first assumed!

He wrote, “A picture I had last Sunday in the seaside reminded me of you Diva!”

Thanks Philip!

The Antiques Diva™

Mantiques: An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy – Part 1

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>First up in The Mantiques Series is “An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy”. The Pelikan Pen Guy is a real man’s man. He happens to be one of my husband’s best friends (both a mentor and a menace) and we couldn’t imagine our life in Europe without he and his wife, The Swiss Miss. He is a fascinating fellow, to be sure. Born & raised in Germany, he came of age in America where he resided for 20 some years before returning to Europe to reclaim his youth and wallow in opportunities to speak his native tongue. He’s a world traveller extraordinaire and also a collector – thus, his home is a virtual treasure trove of Louvre-esque antiques picked up from a lifetime devoted to tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>The Grand Tour. A few weeks ago, he & I had an opportunity to sit down in Paris in the posh Petit Zinc restaurant where he regaled me with details of his fountain pen collection. But don’t take my word for it… lets go straight to the street in an exclusive Antiques Diva Interview!

Exclusive Interview
An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy: Part 1
Antiques Diva:

While your name might be explanation enough, why don’t you begin by telling The Antiques Diva’s readers what you collect?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

I collect a multitude of things. Primarily, I started off with just fountain pens. Specific lines of pens – makes – and I evolved into ink wells, dip pens and then became interested in tors.about.com/library/weekly/aa100197.htm” target=”_blank”>the history of writing instruments. I also have a collection of novelty pens with corporate logos, stuff like that.

Antiques Diva:

How long have you been collecting and what was it that got you started in the first place?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

It goes back to 1963. All German grade school students learn to write with a fountain pen. So I got my first Pelikano – a big brand of Pelikan pens made for school children – and the teacher then taught us how to write correctly with a fountain pen. (Side note – the Pen Guy’s daughter, The Little Swiss Miss also does this in the Swiss school system).

Antiques Diva:

So you learned to use a fountain pen as a child and then developed an interest in them?

Pelikan Pen Guy:
top:10px;margin-bottom:10px;margin-left:10px;font-family: Arial,Helvetica,Georgia;font-size:22px;line-height:18px;color:grey;text-align: right;”>Pens are useable jewelry

There is a certain amount of skill that goes into writing with one – how you hold it, etc. I have an American friend who wanted to buy a fountain pen. He went into a German department store, went up to the counter and the lady handed him a fountain pen. As he began to write, she slapped him! He wasn’t holding the pen correctly and could potentially damage the nib. She was assuming that in the USA, like in Germany, everybody correctly knew how to write with a fountain pen. If you don’t know how, it can be a little difficult.

Antiques Diva:

Honestly, I’m horrible at writing with a fountain pen! I tried and I know I’m probably ruining nibs – it’s safe to assume you shouldn’t rip the paper when you are trying to write, right?! By the way, how many pens are in your collection?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

If you added all the pens, including ones with company logos, it is probably upwards of 1,000. If you are counting just the pens that I really consider to be collectible fountain pens, I’m thinking it’s about 400. I’ve actually stopped counting. Years ago, when I was doing this, I would actually inventory everything – where I bought them, what I paid for them, what their names were – they all do have names, but I just don’t have the time for it anymore.

Now most of what I buy is at brocantes and I bring them home, put them on a shelf and they just sit there. It’s a huge problem because when you first start out, you put together a display case, etc. Well, over the years, that has grown tremendously. I’ve got two cherry wood multi-drawered boxes and each has 64 pens. I’ve added a couple smaller wooden boxes and my wife, who is an expert at cartonage, made me a box which holds 24 pens. At
some point I got lazy and purchased, over the internet, what looks like 3-ring binders but they are actually nylon cases with the rings and plastics inside, specifically made for pens. I’ve got two or three of them I guess.

Antiques Diva:

Is there a pen website that you frequent to purchase these supplies?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

For supplies and stuff, the best place to go is probably eBay. If you search for fountain pens and supplies it’s incredible how much you’ll find.

Antiques Diva:

In your 400 pens that you consider collectible, what is your preference?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

There are probably 400 different types of Pelikan pens and my goal was to have one of each type. It’s probably not an achievable goal because they come out with 5 to 10 different models each year and I just don’t collect that fast. I have the very 1st type of Pelikan pen ever made. From the late 1920’s. The reason I know it’s one of the 1st is because the 1st series of Pelikan pens were made with Bakelite. It’s very hard, but it also fractures quite easily so the pens would get leaks very easily – not a good thing for a pen – so they only produced them for one year. After that, they switched to true celluloid as is used today.

The other thing you find out is that – just like with stamp collectors – if there is a defect or material changes, they become another collectors item. Pelikan pens were made originally by a German company and they sold licenses to make Pelikans in different parts of the world. So, for example, you have Dutch Pelikan pens which were a limited series made right after the 2nd World War. And they didn’t follow the design exactly the same so you could have a Pelikan 120 pen and you could tell whether your pen was a Dutch Pelikan pen or a German Pelikan pen or from some other country. Shape of the cap, where the logo was – all the different variations. Of the 400 in my collection that I consider collectibles, probably 200 are Pelikans.

Antiques Diva:

Clearly you have a preference for Pelikan. Are there other makers that you like?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

Without a doubt. And, you know, a large part of collecting is what I was just mentioning – you collect a certain make like Pelikan – but at the same time, there are pens that you look at and just fall in love with. Because of the beauty. Pens are useable jewelry– that’s a definition. For example, there is a series of pens that Omas has put out. Omas is an Italian maker – there are quite a few Italian makers that I like – Omas would be one, Aurora would be another and Visconti would be a third one. They just make incredibly beautiful pens. Visconti, years ago, put out a pen called the Titanic – a limited edition pen.. It was a huge pen – was actually uncomfortable writing with it. But it’s a beautifully designed pen and it has a piece of porcelain actually from the titanic – it’s a true collectors item. There are other companies – smaller – that many people might not be aware of. Ancora is another Italian pen company and they have a series made out of sea shells, actually. They have an exclusive resin in order to reproduce the richness of pearls of the south seas.

Sometimes you get lucky – for example, a company will make a limited edition series – only make 400 pens – and getting one of those 400 in and of itself is pretty cool but what’s even cooler is if you get, for example, #41 and #42 in that series. And you’ll see that there are people who try to collect a series – try and get as many in a series as they can.

Antiques Diva:

Tell me about the price range of pens.

Pelikan Pen Guy:

On average, a good quality fountain pen is going to run you about $350. That’s a good everyday fountain pen. You can certainly find good pens that are considerably cheaper. Typically the ones I collect I don’t write with everyday. There is a company called Rotring and another called Lamy, which are both German companies. They both make outstanding fountain pens that are, on average, considerably cheaper – more in the $100 range. And yet the quality and penmanship is outstanding, particularly Rotring. It is one that I highly recommend to people because of it’s solid brass barrels, even though they are steel nibs, they are very well-made steel nibs, flexible. There is a premium for gold nibs, but the manufacturing has gotten s
o good for steel it actually creates a very nice writing pen with a steel nib.

Antiques Diva:

What are a few things in your collection?

Pelikan Pen Guy:

There’s a series of Pelikan pens. I love Pelikan. There’s some beautiful Omas pens, also the Aurora Optima, a blue one, that my wife bought me for Christmas. If you really want to write comfortably with a fountain pen, Namiki (a Japanese designer) makes a retractable nib. It’s push button – you push the button and the nib comes out – so you can wear it in your pocket. The nib is fully enclosed so it can not leak. The Japanese are known for the quality / manufacturing of their nibs. They’re also known for this particular way of making fountain pens. Most fountain pens in the West are made with celluloids, and different colors or swirls . In Japan, they have a process called Maki and they use it for boxes and other things and Namiki uses it for fountain pens. It involves lacquers. They put layer after layer after layer of lacquers and intricate designs – it’s a piece of art.

Antiques Diva:

Whenever someone talk about pens, I always think Mont Blanc.

Pelikan Pen Guy:

Mont Blanc probably leads the industry in terms of taking the fountain pen and making it a piece of jewelry. And they have a caché – certainly they command much higher prices as a result of that caché. In terms of the quality of the pen, however, I like to say that I write with Mont Blancs, but I collect better fountain pens.

Antiques Diva:

With a provocative quote such as this one, perhaps its best to end here today. Readers come back in a few days for the conclusion of “An Audience with The Pelikan Pen Guy” as we discuss the differences between pens from different countries and receive advice on starting a pen collection.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

Click here for Part 2 of this interview.

PS. Should you, or someone you love, have a Mantiques Collection worthy of discussing on The Antiques Diva™, email me at toma@antiquesdiva.com.

The Diva’s Wardrobe Stylist Extraordinaire!

Today’s blog comes to you from The Diva’s dear friend — a Parisian-Trained, California-Based Wardrobe Stylist Extraordinaire!

Ms. Kelli and I met in Paris years ago and I’ll never forget the way she wore her scarf, always managing to look perfectly coiffed regardless of the dreadful Parisian weather. When I found out that she and her darling husband were moving to the USA, it didn’t surprise me a bit to discover that, within a few months of opening her Wardrobe Styling business, she had clients lining up around the corner awaiting her advice and expertise!

Happy Reading,

The Antiques Diva™


Dear Antiques Diva™ Readers,

Happy New Year and Heureuse Année 2008!

As I begin writing this blog, I can’t help but wonder what topics you, the Diva’s loyal readers, would like to read about most. So, for my 1st guest blog, I will cover a few different topics to get you started off on the right foot for the New Year.

Let’s first talk about wardrobe purging and closet organization. Ladies and gentlemen, I know this can seem like a daunting task and one that you might be tempted to place at the bottom of your very long to-do list. However, I encourage you to move it much closer to the top! Mess is stress and this is one easy way to bring the stress level down in your life. Whether your closet is the same size mine was in Paris, itty-bitty, or if you have the luxury of a larger walk-in, once you purge & organize each time you open your closet, armoire or dresser drawer you will feel relaxed, happy and zen!

It is worth setting aside a few hours for the many added benefits of purging and organizing. You will most likely find pieces that you forgot you had, which creates the possibilities of new outfits. If some of your old clothes do not fit you like they should (this is when I, your Stylist, come in handy) and they are classic foundational pieces, in good condition, take them to the top tailor in your city for a fresh touch and perfect fit! As any sophisticated and stylish diva knows, the key to looking fabulous is in the fit! You will be adding “new” pieces for a fraction of the cost.

Now, as you begin to pull pieces out of your closet, give each one a good, long look.

Do you love it? Do you wear it? Do you REALLY need it? All the clothing in your closet should relate to each other, therefore creating a wardrobe that is fluid. If you need to, try it on! Make 4 piles and get started. (Charity, Tailoring, Dry Cleaning or To-Be-Stored and Trash) If you live in an area of the world where you store seasonal wardrobes, be sureto pull those out as well. To help you with your organizing and to keep your closet organized long term, invest in some good quality wood hangers, skirt & pant hangers, sweater bags, uniform shoe boxes and scented shelf & drawer liners.

Ideal pieces to always keep on hand in your wardrobe:

* Classic wool coat
* Trench coat to bridge the seasons
* A classic handbag, coat or shoes in leopard

* Black cashmere turtleneck along with 1 or 2 cashmere sweaters to add a great punch of color in winter
* Knee length pencil skirts and A-line skirts
* Designer dark wash trouser leg jeans – 1 pair tailored for flats and one for heels

* V-neck, sweetheart neck, scoop neck, boat neck blouses
* Crisp button front shirts (FYI – not all body types can wear button front. If it gaps, do not buy it!)
* Flawless suit, jacket and skirt, in a neutral color (espresso, steel gray, navy or aubergine)
* An LBD

* Shoes, shoes and more shoes! A pair of black pumps & slingbacks with a classic pointed toe and at least a 2 ½ inch heel, black leather boots, kitten heels, ballet flats, a Euro sneaker and a pair of flat, simple thong sandals for your tropical adventures.

Don’t forget to express your love for color and your style with your shoes! Buy many and in all colors!

* High quality scarves (Hermès, Dior, et cetera)
* Classic handbag

* Pearl earrings and necklace

** Side note: I highly advise owning fewer things of better quality. The classic, foundational pieces of any wardrobe are worth spending more money on. They will last you much longer and will always be in style. Pay close attention to the cut of your pants, skirts and suits when buying classic pieces.

Invest in high quality foundational pieces

Secondly, let’s talk briefly about sunglasses! As the Spring ’08 lines start to become available in stores, I think it is time for a gentle reminder that sunglasses are a must during any season; rain, snow or shine! Now, I know that half of the world is in the dead of winter but it is still very important to keep your eyes protected and plus… glasses add a bit of style to a sometimes boring and dark winter wardrobe!

Spring 2008 Trends Alert:
Animal print
Belts – All sizes and colors
Asymmetrical shoulder lines
Vibrant splashes of color (pinks, greens, yellows)
Large graphical prints (somewhat reminiscent of the 1980’s)
Grecian goddess inspired transparent layered dresses
Shoes: wedges, demi-wedges, patent, sporty, animal print
*careful that the wedge doesn’t appear chunkier than they actually are

I want to thank The Antiques Diva™ for this opportunity to guest blog with her! It was a pleasure!

If you are interested in more information about the Styling & Wardrobe services I offer, please email me at kellimdj@gmail.com

Until next time…
Keep It Sophisticated, Keep It Simple, Be Beautiful!






The Diva’s Wardrobe Stylist Extraordinaire!