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Diva-scovery: NYC’s Showplace Antique and Design Center

What is Diva-scovery?
A fabulous find or shopping discovery – be it an Antique Shop, Vintage or Home Decorating Store – that will entice diva’s on parade to stop, shop and drop some dough!

Do you have a Diva-scovery? Email The Antiques Diva™ at toma@antiquesdiva.com, giving all the details of your find: write a quick blurb telling about your Diva-scovery, the name of the store & their website, including address & phone number. Plus, include a link to your blog (if applicable) and a photo of yourself!

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9CWw_BgxI/AAAAAAAADPE/m9ScPubPjWk/s320/untitled.jpg” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Did you ever take a shortcut and it takes twice as long as the suggested route? Today was one of those weird weather Manhattan days…it couldn’t decide to be rainy or dry, sunny or cloudy, windy or calm, humid or dry. Every corner brought a different climate. So as I headed down lower 5th Ave, with my ultimate goal being 21st and 7th, I decided to turn west at 25th and avoid the heavier foot traffic further downtown.

The shop windows on 25th St yielded surprises: antique shops! Most were shuttered or gated this Tuesday afternoon, but one doorway that was open boasted: Showplace Antique and Design Center. It looked appropriately shabby for the neighborhood and there was a bored guard at the door – I had about 15 minutes to get to my destination, so I decided “why not”?

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9CXJF1tHI/AAAAAAAADPM/biACGD-1uGk/s320/untitled+2.jpg” border=”0″ />With more than 45,000 sq feet and 4 floors with over 200 vendors, variety was guaranteed: lighting to furniture to posters to vintage clothing to jewelry to silverware to African and Asian art and everything in between, some displayed as a complete room setting. The 15 year-old design center in Chelsea advertises monthly live on-line auctions and an espresso bar (closed when I visited). Many of the individual vendor booths were closed, but many had signs directing clients to Center staff or had contact numbers posted.

Prices were all over the place – again variety. Next time you’re in Manhattan, why not check it out yourself, or visit on-line, and see what you can discover? I know next time to drop in when I can leisurely browse the aisles and aisles and aisles. Diva-scovery!

Showplace Antique and Design Center
NY Showplace website
40 W 25th St (5th/6th Ave)
NY, NY 10010
212.633.6063

Happy Shopping!

La Reine – Guest Blogger Diva-of-the-Day!

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We interrupt this blog for an Italian vacation…

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uKaXMdMI/AAAAAAAADC8/Asdeb3L8tHI/s320/divas+off+to+florence.jpg” border=”0″ />Buongiorno Diva Readers,

Today’s Italy photos were all taken last summer as we skipped across Italy, hitting Piedmont, Chianti, Naples and even Sicily. They’re being posted now as an Arrivederci before I depart for a delicious journey to Florence to celebrate my 13th wedding anniversary. My husband – The Wine Guy – and I have been to Italy several times before, but this time somehow feels a little more special.

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to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uKZmGrNI/AAAAAAAADDE/ZP1GR8fYt3U/s320/divas+off+to+florence2.jpg” border=”0″ />Usually when we travel in Italy we’re frantically hopping here and there, tasting wines in Piedmont before scurrying to Tuscany, Roma, Venice or the Amalfi Coast. I like racing across the autostrada – driving in Italy always gets my blood boiling and my pulse beating. When it’s my turn to drive, my husband reclines back in his seat, napping to avoid watching me take the curves, and I repeat aloud phrases in Italian along with my “Learn Italian in Your Car” cd. As WG floats in and out of consciousness, his dreams are peppered with me calling “Dov’è Stefano?” and other repeat-after-me vocab lessons.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uKA-aZiI/AAAAAAAADC0/9hpwZxReyw4/s320/autobahn+fun.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uKl8kZaI/AAAAAAAADDM/bMUKE8SfO2Q/s320/divas+off+to+florence3.jpg” border=”0″ />Though I don’t speak more than a few words in Italian beyond “Non parlo l’italiano. Parla inglese?” and “Quanto costa?”, my mouth wants to speak the language. I find the words, “Per favore”, “Mi dispiace” and “Mi chiamo Diva” rolling around in my mouth almost sensually as they rest on my tongue and in my mind and though I can’t speak the language my lips move as if trying to repeat what is said when I listen to the radio or watch two lovers speaking Italian at the table next to me. My mind takes off, trying to speak a language it doesn’t yet know, but I think that perhaps, if I believed in that kind of thing, it might have known it long ago. It makes me feel alive. I love Italy, the loud and affectionate Italians, the gelato, the food, the wine and the language.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uX4LLOQI/AAAAAAAADEE/1mWEHuhkO3c/s320/divas+off+to+florence10.jpg” border=”0″ />The problem with Italy is that there are so many places to see that I can never decide on just one locale to visit and thus end up trying to see everything all at once. Readers who know me well know that I always have several pots boiling at one time, my hands dipped in many projects: chairing committees for various women’s and decorative arts societies, running my Antiques Diva™ business (which is bound one day to be an empire) – all while living an active social life that borders on diabolical. In the past, I’ve always vacationed this same way… running night and day, trying to see and do all. But perhaps it’s because I’m growing older, or perhaps my husband – a connoisseur of slow travel – has finally rubbed off on me… We’re leaving for Italy and instead of making a grand tour we are returning to Florence.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uK8qLydI/AAAAAAAADDU/9W1xVTojziQ/s320/divas+off+to+florence4.jpg” border=”0″ />Simply Florence and no place else. We’re driving into the city from our home in Berlin so I can feel the rush of the road (and to insure plenty of space on the return drive for Italian antiques and wooden crates of wine), but instead of visiting several cities and villages in the area, we’ve reserved a spot in a parking garage nearby the Ponte Vecchio and booked a simple suite in a hotel recommended in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, a bargain family-run pensione with a two-tiered roof-top terrace and 360 degree view overlooking the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and the surrounding terra cotta roofscapes. And though we’ve “done” Florence before – at high speed – this time we’re going to linger.

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uRzQLTGI/AAAAAAAADDs/rjvR7Nv0-Yk/s320/divas+off+to+florence7.jpg” border=”0″ />Last time we were there we did 3 musuems on our first day and were so brain dead by the 2nd that we barely remembered the 3rd, and though the reason for the trip is to study the art (and to eat the food), I’ve taken a different approach this time. I can’t help myself but to organize our days, it’s in my nature to plan and book outings for us. But each day I’ve planned only one thing per day. I’ve pre-booked our museum tickets – Tuesday is the Uffizi, Wednesday the Bargello, Thursday the Galleria Dell ‘Accademia, Friday the Medici Chapels and Saturday the Church of Santa Maria Novella and on and on…

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uR2R2oAI/AAAAAAAADDk/lo0g4HpFYgI/s320/divas+off+to+florence6.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uSIFMIoI/AAAAAAAADD0/ESWwmTSvrfQ/s320/divas+off+to+florence8.jpg” border=”0″ />Knowing me, I’ll feel compelled to go to Pitti Palace or the Museo San Marco, to visit the Duomo or the Church of Santa Croce, but our goal in booking one musuem for each day of our visit, is to encourage my husband and I to linger in each museum, to sit and sketch what we see, to take long coffee breaks and siestas when the sun is high in the sky. We want to drink wine at sunset, watching the view, eating long, delicious multi-coursed dinners full of antipasti, pasta, pesce and dolci – dining in Italy on dinner that only the Italians can create with such simplicity and flavor.

When we return home to Berlin, I’m certain we’ll have done more than we intended, but this to+florence9.jpg”>to+florence9.jpg” border=”0″ />time, on this trip, my goal is to leave a few things undone as a perfect excuse to return and enjoy the true pleasure that is Florence.

Arrivederci and A presto!

Signora Antiques Diva™

P.S. In the meantime, while I’m away, I hope you enjoy these upcoming Guest Blogs from La Reine, Lady Lotus and The Contessa

Amsterdam – Secret Sale Days

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Long-term Diva Readers have heard me time and again divulge details on Amsterdam’s best kept secrets: The Open Door Days of Annette Brederode and Johan de Feijter.

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Mark your calendars for a sensational weekend of Antiques Shopping in Amsterdam!

June 5, 6 and 7, 2009
11am to 6pm.

To read more about past sales, click on the names of each vendor and get all the diva-licious details and pics!

Annette Brederode
Lijnbaansgracht #56D
Amsterdam

The sale takes place on the 3rd floor in an inconspicuous building.. ring the buzzer and climb the stairs for shopping paradise!

Then pop a few blocks over for another Secret Sale!

Johan de Feijter
Bloemgracht 58
Amsterdam

As always, Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™

P.S. The photo at right was taken the night of our good friend Harry’s 50th birthday dinner at De Jonge Dikkert (a restaraunt just outside of Amsterdam in the city of Amstelveen). The restaurant is among our favorite Dutch treats, partially due to the historic ambiance inside a Dutch windmill built in 1672 and also owing to the sensational modern French Mediterranean cuisine done with a Dutch touch!

It’s Queen’s Day Darling…

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SfmIx_N0krI/AAAAAAAAC8A/oiJVMaFFZp0/s320/043.JPG” border=”0″ />Dearest Diva’s,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>It’s Queen’s Day Darling – the most important holiday of the year in The Netherlands! And at times like these I regret that I’m not back in Holland dressed head-to-toe in Orange celebrating my favorite Queen’s birthday in Amsterdam! While most countries prefer a more staid pomp and circumstance when it comes to their royal’s special days, the Dutch, in typical Dutch fashion, break the mold in coming up with bizarre party ideas to help their Queen celebrate growing another year older. Shannon McAllister of Amsterdam’s Travel Blog writes, “New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Munich serves up Oktoberfest. Pamplona parties with bulls. When it comes to the world’s best parties, Amsterdam holds its own special spot with Queen’s Day.”

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 282px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SfmIxpWM9SI/AAAAAAAAC74/_I_74b_ydnE/s320/Queen+Waving.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 186px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SfmRCYTG06I/AAAAAAAAC8w/e7MzLAuNpeE/s320/Prince+Willam+and+daughter.jpg” border=”0″ />Queens Day, known as Koninginnedag in Dutch, is a national Dutch holiday celebrating the birthday of the Queen. But here’s the catch – it’s not celebrating the current Queen Beatrix’s special day but rather that of her mother, Juliana. When Queen Bea took over from Juliana in 1980, she decided that rather than having the national holiday changed to her actual birthdate of Jan 31, she’d instead bow to tradition and celebrate on her mum’s birthday as well. Perhaps she made this decision because January’s in Holland are bleak bleak bleak and known as the “dark days of winter” when the sun barely shines, the rain never stop and clouds loom ominously. Given that the Queens Day celebrations take place outdoors, a January Queens Day Celebration would have been a disaster.

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SfmI3e9aUEI/AAAAAAAAC8g/95yLVz1lwSI/s320/queens+day+5.jpg” border=”0″ />But “How does the Dutch Queen and her nation celebrate Beatrix’ jarig?” you ask… by throwing a country-wide yard sale of course! Well, that and drinking copious quantities of Dutch beer, and covering their tos/ig/Photos–Queen-s-Day/” target=”_blank”>body head to toe in Orange in honor of the Dutch royal house of Orange. Given that I’m a flea marketing queen, it’s the country-wide yard sale element that catches my attention. Expatica explains: “This is the one day a year that ordinary folk are allowed to set up shop on the sidewalk without a trading licence. Traditionally in the days running up to Queen’s Day, strange boxes are sectioned off on pavements around the country and marked with the word ‘Bezet’, or occupied. To the uninitiated, these markings in chalk or tape may appear to be some kind of bizarre crop circles. They are not, they are just an example of the assertiveness of the Dutch – if you want to sell items on Queen’s Day you have to mark out your territory well in advance.” Of course, as Expatica continues to say, The Dutch are “not so interested in tidying up afterwards, so that the ‘Bezet’ markings tend to linger on long after Queen’s Day and for months after that.”

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Similar to Lille’s Grand Braderie (a town wide garage sale in France held the first weekend in Sept) but sadly not as stylish, residents empty the contents of their zolders (attics) and dump both trash and treasures. Though as an antiquer I’ll be the first to say that, like the Amsterdam flea markets, this special Queens Day sale is heavy on the fleas. Used toys and forgotten VCR tapes of your favorite movies and TV shows are piled judiciously next to old running shoes, sandals with broken clasps and ties with stains. Shopping on Queens Day is sort of like shopping at the Goodwill would be if they didn’t have someone sorting through the crap in advance. That said, amidst the rubble there is almost always a jewel. I’ve bought cds of my favorite 80 bands, a myriad of faux delft to crush up and use in a mosaic project, and cut-glass serving platters galore. It’s the latter kitchen goods and entertaining table ware that are the true bargain du jour – picking up a Wedgewood plate for 1E or a 1960’s glass “Lazy Susan” for 1.50E have been my big catches.

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Truth be told, I don’t do Queens Day for the sales. I do Queens Day for the excitement of raising my hands over my head, singing national anthems and humming along to Johnny Jordaan – for taking part in the party and dancing in the street with strangers. I do Queens Day as an excuse to drape myself head to toe in Orange (a color in my personal color wheel but am often ridiculed for wearing). And I do Queens Day to celebrate my surrogate Queen… moving to Holland for me 4 years ago was a treat – I finally had a Queen to call my own!

Long Live The Queen!

The Antiques Diva ™

(Seen right with dear friend Cindy T – Cindy was my first friend in Paris and has known me since the day I wore denim overalls in Paris –– and she loved me anyway. Now that, dear diva readers, is a friend!)

Bringing the Luxury Hotel to Your Home

Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I’ve been intending to write about the trend of hotels selling their linens and more ever since last summer when on my Med Cruise I noticed that Holland America was selling everything from their bedding to their beach chairs. You could order the chairs online (or while lounging in the sun) from the boat and they’d be shipped (no pun intended) and waiting for you at home when you returned. Recently, The Informed Traveler put a good spin on this trend, claiming that in this bad economy, even if you can’t go to the hotel, you could at least bring the hotel to you.

The Informed Traveler writes:
“… You’ve cut back on travel and don’t foresee a stay at the ton.com/en/Default.htm” target=”_blank”>Ritz-Carlton anytime soon. Now you can bring the luxurious comforts of the Ritz-Carlton home with you, and replicate the experience chez vous with hundreds of exclusive items now made available at the online retail store. Recently launched, tonshops.com/” target=”_blank”>The Shops at Ritz-Carlton features sumptuous sleepwear, spa products and toiletries, bathrobes, and even a mattress with the Ritz-Carlton Sleep Experience.”

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Hotel chains are branching out into the retail sector and I love it, for the sheets at the Marriot in Paris are divine and I loved my bedspread when staying at the Budapest Intercontinental. For years I’ve been taking pictures of bathrooms in 5 star hotels hoping to someday emulate “the look” at home should I ever “do over” a bathroom in one of my abodes. The artwork at the Swissotel Berlin (my temporary transition home when I moved from Amsterdam to Berlin) totally inspired me and I’ve just the place to hang the modern art. I for one am glad that hotels are branching out and trying to capture a bit more market share!

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Art for Sale at the Swissotel Berlin

The Hotel Adlon here in Berlin has even opened a “Lifestyle Shop” near the back entrance of the hotel and produces an accompanying high-quality glossy catalog offering everything from the Adlon’s beds to crystal wine decanters, silver candle sticks, books detailing the history of the famous hotel’s history to the silk pillow shams gracing reading chairs and lamps in their lobby!
Now, if only I could bring the cabin steward home with me to make towel monkeys to leave on my bed each night… of course, who needs a pretend monkey when you’ve got the real thing waiting for you at home already??

Until next time, Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™

Photo right: The Diva’s Real Life Monkey – WG!

Tip from Diva Reader – The Contessa

Dearest Diva –

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I just ordered another cook book that I thought your readers might be interested in learning about – The Tavern on the Green Cookbook! It’s just out and has some wonderful recipes and a complete history of the restaurant. I’m sure you are familiar with this wonderful NYC restaurant.

to 10px; WIDTH: 200px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 261px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdSATBB9PxI/AAAAAAAAC3c/FjBIK6gJ37w/s320/Tavern+on+the+Green.bmp” border=”0″ />I think my cookbook count now is somewhere close to 250. Someday I’ll have to tell you about my favorite recipe in each one! One of my favorite recipes to feed a hungry large group in the dead of winter is the Chili for a crowd from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I have friends call and ask me to “puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeeze make a batch”. It’s a lot of work but so worth it!

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And before I go, I wanted to ask do you know about the website www.luxaholics.com ? If you’re not familiar with it, I’m certain you’ll be happy I introduced you to it.

The Contessa

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Silver Palate Chili For a Crowd!

to 10px; WIDTH: 262px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdSAS1_2iNI/AAAAAAAAC3M/H-il_Bu6QHA/s320/chili.jpg” border=”0″ />When choosing chopped meat for chili, you’ll find that beef chuck adds great flavor. And you never can have too many spices. Look for dark-red kidney beans. Lemon juice brightens all the tastes!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
4 pounds beef chuck, ground
1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons salt,
or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cans (16 ounces each) dark-red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (5 1/2 ounces each) pitted black olives, drained

1. Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground chuck; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.
2. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add olives; simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve immediately.

Serves 20. Per serving: 260 calories, 19g carbohydrate, 26g protein,
10g fat, 55mg cholesterol.

Dutch Calendar Alert: Amsterdam Traditional Textile Fair

Mark Your Calendar A’damers for The Amsterdam Traditional Textiles Fair – Sunday, May 24th, 2009

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Kerk De Duif
Prinsengracht 756
Amsterdam

10am – 6pm

Entry 7 Euros

A diversity of textiles will be presented and sold including batik, embroidery, indigo, ikat, plangi and quilts; weavings from all over the world such as African textiles of the Ashanti, Bambara, Ewe, Fanti, Haussa, Kuba, Kente, Nupe, Shoowa, Woodabe, Yoruba. Also textiles from Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Chinese minorities, Philippines, India, Pakistan, India, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador; antique textiles from Europe for example cashmere shawls, lace and linen kitchen towels.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 226px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdnEd1DxHEI/AAAAAAAAC5I/60mWvyYrqvk/s320/amsterdam+textile+fair2.jpg” border=”0″ />For more information, click here.

Of Valentines Past… Perfectly at Home in Berrrrrlin

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdR3elXoIqI/AAAAAAAAC10/yGRhRwhwejI/s320/412.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Having recently posted about my “Valentines Affair with LG”, I thought you might appreciate reading about another Valentines gift of years past. WG was away on a business trip that year, freezing in Helsinki, Finland, while I was at home in The Netherlands occupied with Diva Business. He hadn’t bought my Valentines present prior to his trip for he had grand aspirations of buying me a quite unusual present that year. He was searching for a particular item I’d fallen head over heels in love with at a friend’s house.

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Our Dutch friends Ed and Britta have one of the most gorgeously decorated houses in the whole of Holland. If I were to post a picture to give a visual definition of the word “Gezillig”, it would be their dining room with the large table built by Edwin’s father nestled in front of the wall of windows overlooking their sculpted back garden. Across the room sit some wonderful , Flamant-styled chairs pulled close to the roaring fireplace – draped over the back of the chairs are reindeer pelts perfect for snuggling into on a cold Dutch day.
to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 214px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdR4smFuvLI/AAAAAAAAC20/IVr7CE5qLjY/s320/IMG_2558.JPG” border=”0″ />I had fallen for these pelts and spent half the time at their house petting them idly while chatting with a glass of red wine in hand. Knowing that Ed & Britta’s parents had picked these skins up in Finland while there on holiday, WG set out for his 3 day business trip with plans of sourcing me my own reindeer rug.

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[Photo courtesy of to/beckster/helsinki_turkey/1157740140/04-_fur_stall.jpg/tpod.html” target=”_blank”>Travel Pod
“Reindeer are semi-wild, are not extinct and are killed for their meat. The pelt is a by-product.”]
Fortunately for WG (given he did have work to do and his trip wasn’t entirely devoted to searching for my present) he didn’t have to search far. While I like to think of him cross-country skiing through snow and wind in the Arctic in search of my prized pelt, in reality he checked into his hotel, The Scandic Grand Marina, and there in the lobby of the harbor-view hotel sat a store selling mountainous piles of the pelts for which he’d travelled north.

Several days later he hopped on a plane and returned home to Holland. He carried the reindeer pelt onto the plane and as he was climbing into his seat, the man next to him asked, “What do you have there?” to which WG proudly proclaimed – “A Valentines gift for my wife!” showing him the pelt. Over the course of the flight WG, who is reputed to be downright surly when strangers talk to him on planes, chatted with the stranger about life, love and other mysteries. When the flight landed at Schiphol and WG was gathering his briefcase and pelt from the overhead bin, the stranger tapped WG on the shoulder, dug deep into his coat pocket and pulled out a few bite-size chocolate bars. Putting them in WG’s palm, he nodded with wisdom, “Just in case the pelt doesn’t go over so well… and you need a back-up plan!”

to 10px; WIDTH: 177px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SdR4sVp_2kI/AAAAAAAAC2k/ETD_oi0olpM/s320/070.JPG” border=”0″ />The stranger need not have worried!! I loved my reindeer pelt but actually never found a place to display it as nicely as Ed and Britta displayed theirs. In Holland it lay in front of a small settee in our bedroom – and while we enjoyed the plush feel of fur between our toes when crawling from bed in the morning, it wasn’t an ideal spot for displaying the V-day treasure.

One of the things I love about moving is the opportunity to redecorate my house time and time again – seeing my favorite items displayed in new ways with each new house. As often happens, what doesn’t work well in one house works better in another and with my reindeer pelt, this is the case. Perhaps because of the freezing cold and damp German winters or maybe it’s the traditional German coal burning stove, but finally, years after receiving it as a present, the Reindeer Skin has found a perfect home chez moi in Berrrrrrrrrrrrlin!

Until next time, stay warm & dry!
May these “April Showers Bring May Flowers!”
The Antiques Diva™

More on Miro

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Miro Pozar is a Czech sculptor whose work has appeared throughout Europe and North America. His face and torso are as chiseled as the sandstone sculptures he makes from rock culled from nearby quarries. Miro studies the stone in its rugged raw state and he sees what is not there, but could be – crafting the breast of a woman or the weary face of an old man in the veins of the stone. From time to time, the stone cries out for something different – to be made into more abstract art – and Miro creates from the past the future – making sculptures that appear both medieval and modern in their simplicity.

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/ScFE7zetVjI/AAAAAAAACyM/NkjtiM_913M/s320/divas+statue.jpg” border=”0″ />When my husband WG & I stumbled into Miro’s gallery in the charming Bohemian village of Cesky Krumlov, he stood like a Czech god with the sun shining only on him as tourists and customers circled in the shadows. As we studied the sculptures, something about Miro’s work niggled and wiggled in the recesses of our minds, reminding us of another artist whose work we had fallen for while visiting Toronto nearly 10 years prior for my 25th birthday. For years we had regretted not purchasing that piece that haunted us. From time to time WG would comment, “Remember that artist in Toronto?” and I would nod claiming this piece was “the one that got away – our great travel-shopping regret.”
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Crowds stumbled in and out of the gallery and when the tourists thinned, Miro sat on the step next to us and started talking, sharing his life story as we shared ours. He told how before the fall of communism he’d been granted a visa to live in the USA and Canada. He spoke of the cold Toronto winters of where his work had been exhibited and WG’s eyes caught mine as we read one another’s mind – “Could Miro Pozar be the artist that got away? Whose work we’d coveted for so many years?”
to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/ScFE8od-0mI/AAAAAAAACys/kUWsAlvlOV0/s320/miro+pozar+4.jpg” border=”0″ />We’ll never know. Much like reading a book and remembering the main character’s name, but not the author’s, WG & I had over the years forgotten the name of that Toronto-based-artist while the art lived on in our memories. Whether Miro was the mystery artist might have been serendipitous, but it was oddly a moot point in the purchase decision, for upon seeing his chiseled work it was a foregone conclusion that we’d return home to Holland with something from his atelier. We wouldn’t pass a second chance with “coup de foudre” – he wouldn’t be another artist whose work we’d regret letting “get away”.

Miro, upon seeing our joy at his work, offered us a discount for paying in Euros instead of the local currency and smiled as he said, “You are young. The young, they never buy art. It is always the old who buy art. They, of course, can better afford it, but I make art for the young, for the future, not for the past.” He attached the bust we’d chosen to a rolling cart, giving us a stand upon which to display it as a gift with the purchase. As we chatted, he offered to roll the statue to our car which it turned out was parked opposite his atelier and warehouse.

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/ScFE8LqhBiI/AAAAAAAACyc/a0z6N20OhKE/s320/miro+pozar+2.jpg” border=”0″ />Taking us into his workshop, we studied stones and he pointed out “See this one… It is a child.” Another was bow of a ship, a third a shoulder dropped seductively and a woman’s chin bowing to her lover. Standing in his storeroom surrounded by statues that weren’t yet, I saw the world as he sees it and I felt his hope and his inspiration. Miro Pozar’s imagination came to life and among the rubble of stones laid out for future projects I saw the wings of an eagle – soaring higher and higher above this little Bohemian town, Cesky Krumlov.
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As we drove away, WG released his grip on the steering wheel and reached over to rub my neck, “Do you feel we bought a piece of history?” he asked and with a nod and graze of his leg, I smiled “Perhaps even a piece of our own history” as I thought of that trip to Toronto years prior when we were young and didn’t buy art.

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To Beard? Or Not to Beard?

A Question of A Personal Nature…

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Expat life does things to people when they move from country to country. As an expat when you are living in a new country, attempting to learn a new language, clamoring for comprehending a new culture… sometimes you feel like you need to make a visual representation of the internal change that is occurring. Enter exhibit A, my husband – better known for his more polished, preppy looks and Ralph Lauren wardrobe. The Wine Guy has traditionally been a khaki pants and blue blazer kind of guy, but Berlin has done something different to him. WG’s gone BOHO!

So, readers, we have a serious question of a personal nature for you here at The Antique Diva ™ blog.

To Beard? Or Not To Beard?

Berliner Wine Guy

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Parisian Wine Guy

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Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™
(who loves her husband avec ou sans beard)

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