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Living La Dolce Diva – Part 1

So, I lied. I didn’t mean to, but I did.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pChjbl4I/AAAAAAAADSE/Wdv0C3r9zsw/s400/166.1.jpg” border=”0″ />top: 2px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Last month, I wrote a blog telling about our upcoming trip to Italy. I waxed on about how for once in my life I was going to slow down and smell the roses. That rather than attempting to crunch a Grand Tour of Italy into a week and a half of vacation, that my husband and I had decided to visit just one location – taking it easy, lingering over the sights of Florence, absorbing the culture and romancing the moment. But this intention towards slow traveltowards only studying one site – was a fallacy in my mind before we’d walked out the door, rolling our luggage behind. You see, what I forgot to mention in that particular post was that before we even arrived in Italy, we were taking another trip to visit friends for 4 days and that we allowed an extra 3 days worth of time for taking detours on the 11 ½ hour drive each way from Berlin, Germany to Florence, Italy.to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pBg292XI/AAAAAAAADRk/1sRVNgL5XhQ/s400/024.1.jpg” border=”0″ />The plan was quite simple, really, and though we saw lots more than just Florence as I proclaimed, we really did take time to linger as long as possible at each site visited. The vacation started one day after work, driving late into the evening, arriving at our friend’s front door in Stuttgart Germany as the coo-coo tweeted twelve times and the station wagon turned into a pumpkin. Herr and Frau Stuttgart were waiting “chez them”, dressed in PJ’s and we kissed hello, laughing over a glass of wine before slipping under the covers and awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread the next morning.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pB7QRVWI/AAAAAAAADR0/JJ6Xej1P2xE/s400/092.1.jpg” border=”0″ />For the next two days we lingered at “The Stuttgart Family” house, sitting in their garden, admiring their view, their vineyard and 10,000 rose bushes. On a lazy afternoon we went into town, meandering the Stuttgart Flea Market stalls and visiting antique shops and then spent the evening at a nearby Schloss, listening to music at the regional music festival.

to 10px; width: 320px; cursor: hand; height: 320px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9rPgeA6lI/AAAAAAAADTE/_D6NiN15v_A/s320/Mercedes-Benz_logo.gif” border=”0″ />The next day we drove our black Benz to the Mercedes Benz Museum – a tour that while very interesting to me later came back to haunt WG when I asked him to join me in Florence at the toreferragamo.it/” target=”_blank”>Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Then the next afternoon the 4 of us hopped in our car and drove to the border where Austria, Germany and Switzerland meet at Lake Constance, taking the funicular to the top of the mountain enjoying the wonderful, panoramic view.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pZQJU1AI/AAAAAAAADSM/fSbH1qsqExQ/s400/172.1.jpg” border=”0″ />Perhaps it was that very view that inspired our detour for the next day as WG & I departed on our drive towards Italy. As we crossed into Switzerland, I pulled the Europe atlas from the pocket behind my seat to look up the route our GPS was guiding us on, and realized that with a slight detour we could visit St Moritz, a place I’d never been but always wanted to see. As it was June, the roads were clear from snow and ice for the season and the great glacier pass was open for traffic, though around us as we crested the mountains snow still rested on the ground. From St Moritz, we continued our journey south crossing into Italy and arrived just in time for dinner at Bellagio, on Lake Como.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9paIgm_OI/AAAAAAAADSk/GYeCo4PPSRE/s400/257.12.jpg” border=”0″ />The next day we arrived in Florence, just as planned, checking into our “oh so humble” hotel, marveling over it’s great location and noting that a mention in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die doesn’t guarantee the hotel won’t have mildew in the shower. Perhaps it was because the room was less than inviting that we found ourselves meandering the streets of Florence, leaving early in the day and returning late at night.

to 10px; width: 300px; cursor: hand; height: 400px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pCZuFttI/AAAAAAAADR8/Uyi2EWYb5eY/s400/110.1.jpg” border=”0″ />Mornings were started with a jolt of liquid personality, saddling up to the bar at cafes dotted on the Ponte Vecchio, ordering half-priced cappuccino or espresso (discounted because you drink whilst standing). Sufficiently caffeinated, we dashed to and thro across one of the most amazing cities in Europe. Florence – the birth place of the Renaissance – seeped into my soul, causing a rebirth of my artistic sensibility. We visited the Uffizi, the to/home.html” target=”_blank”>Galleria Dell’Accademia, Il Duomo, and the Medici Chapels, not to mention the Palazzo Vecchio and Mercato Nuovo and Mercato San Lorenzo and to-inet.or.jp/org/orion/eng/hst/gothic/croce.html” target=”_blank”>Church of Santa Croce alongside its famous leather school.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9p5I0-70I/AAAAAAAADS0/fGHAaWCGXXo/s400/357.1.jpg” border=”0″ />We took a walking tour with Art Vivia that was the best walking tour I’ve ever taken and we ate copious quantities of gelato, shopped relentlessly for Italian silk ties and purses made by Florentine leather designers.

In a fit of channeling Fitzgerald, WG purchased a silk ascot for those crisp, fall days we lunch at Lutter & Wegner on the Gendarmenmarkt back home in Berlin. And I worshiped at the altar of Ferragamo, visiting Salvatore’s’ namesake museum dragging WG along in a tit-for-tat moment as he drug me through the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart a few days prior. Naturally, I can’t visit a city without checking out the antique scene so we strolled through the antiques district and spent an afternoon shopping the Piazza dei Ciompi Flea market.

to 10px; width: 300px; cursor: hand; height: 400px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pBxVPxaI/AAAAAAAADRs/CaOgaWHPJS4/s400/072.1.jpg” border=”0″ />And we reconnected, my husband of 13 years and I, on this trip celebrating our anniversary. We held hands and made public displays of affection, kissing on street corners and snuggling on park benches, rubbing one another’s feet at the end of the day when we’d walked too much. As we took our car from the valet to start our return drive to Berlin, we were delighted in knowing that we’d be back to Florence next summer when we take my niece Tessa on a Grand Tour for her 16th birthday. When asked what she wanted to see while abroad, Italy topped her list, much to our delight, and we’re already planning next summer’s odyssey to Venice, Florence, Milan and Cinque Terre.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 345px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pZzw8HVI/AAAAAAAADSc/42ftaxPj-30/s400/257.1.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9paeTO0GI/AAAAAAAADSs/cOZz3unW-6s/s400/269.1.jpg” border=”0″ />In the meantime, with Venice on our mind, we detoured there on our drive home, spending an afternoon in Venice and taking in an early dinner before hitting the road yet again, cutting through the Alps and Austria before returning home to Berlin.

to 10px; width: 400px; cursor: hand; height: 300px; text-align: center;” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9pZmU5TQI/AAAAAAAADSU/HXn-0ovl7sM/s400/209.1.jpg” border=”0″ />We may not have stopped and smelled the roses, but it was indeed a sensational vacation. One you’ll be reading about for weeks on end these coming months as I post hints, tips and addresses from our trip, telling tales and sharing divalicious photos of Living La Dolce Diva!

Arrivederci!

The Antiques Diva™

(Seen Right rubbing the brass porcellino which legend says will ensure a rapid return to Florence)

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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.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sh0uRvVyWPI/AAAAAAAADDc/wvvkKK0x118/s320/divas+off+to+florence5.jpg” border=”0″ />

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

England’s Museum of Victorian Curiosities May 18-21, 2009 Auction

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Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>One of my favorite blogs, Paris Hotel Boutique Journal, (a San Francisco-based antiques dealer who muses about the glitz and glamour of a bygone era) recently posted an incredible scoop, giving divalicious details on an upcoming auction.

to 10px; WIDTH: 275px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 194px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsCri6I09I/AAAAAAAAC_U/Q9fUjpKEhGg/s320/auction5.bmp” border=”0″ />Paris Hotel Boutique advises:
The Shambles Museum in Gloucestershire England is closing its doors and thus this Museum of Victorian Curiosities is holding a 4 day auction this May 18-21, 2009. They’ll be auctioning off over 2000 sensational finds!

Lynn shares a few of her favorite finds and I fear she and I might start a bidding war between the two of us as I’ve got my eye on more than a few of the items she’s highlighted!!! To compliment her divalicious collection, I’ve added a few more selections below!

While non-UK based Diva Readers might be thinking, “Oh Diva, this is yet another place I’d love to go but can’t – that whole I don’t live in England thing gets in the way!” Never fear – you can join the bidding without leaving home!

Simon Chorley Art & Antiques is posting the catalog online and accepting internet, email, commission and telephone bids – and best of all, they will recommend a courier firm to deliver your purchase chez vous! For a small fee , they even pack your purchase safe & sound for delivery!

A few items in addition to PHB’s selections include:

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A 19th C sheep dip measure for Bigg’s Dipping Composition – Leicester House, London, 10cm/4” high
Estimate: £ 30 – 50

Lot 2070 – You can find replicas of these English pottery containers at Ballard Designs but I have to say the originals are much more charming and pack a wonderful GRAPHIC PUNCH when used in bathrooms or kitchens as functional décor! Should I “win” this bid, I’ll be packing it full of cotton balls, stashing q-tips in it or dropping my Blackberry charger inside!
to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 218px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsCrTlI0DI/AAAAAAAAC-8/2Ma2IuGvxQI/s320/auction2.jpg” border=”0″ />

A turned beech framed shaving mirror with supports on each side fitted with a swing arm sconce for candles on circular base. 39.5 cm/15.5” high + 2 more shaving mirrors thrown in for the fun of it! A perfect present for my husband WG!
Estimate £ 40 – 60

to-beard-or-not-to-beard.html” target=”_blank”>Lot 1386 – An anniversary present for WG! He’s an “to-beard-or-not-to-beard.html” target=”_blank”>Art of Shaving” man and it just so happens while the sale is going on we’ll be in Florence Italy celebrating our 13th year wedding anniversary!

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Victorian walnut tilt top table, with oval top on a loped column supporting issuing four carved cabriole legs with shell feet on castors, bears label for TH Filmer & Sons, London 112cm/44” long.
Estimate £ 300-500


Lot 1395 – In fact, this one I’m only interested in for purely selfish reasons – I’ve this tables sister at home in the sitting area of my office! I bought it for a song (less than 200E) when an antique store in my village in Holland went out of business.

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC0ZKFncI/AAAAAAAAC_k/r1fc9w7chVo/s320/auction7.jpg” border=”0″ />A brown glazed lavatory bowl, the interior transfer printed in blue & white, a Cheltenham Sanitary Closet and a white lavatory bowl.
Estimate: £ 40 – 60

Lot 2010 is something I know I want “someday” when we buy and renovate our 2nd home in Italy or France. The estimate on these lavatory bowls is SOOO sensational that I might buy this now and stick it in the basement until I need it! This is a great price (especially with the current exchange rate) if it goes for estimate!

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsCrRUHEBI/AAAAAAAAC-0/ieY6JgdZ0AI/s320/auction.jpg” border=”0″ />A tin hip bath (110cm/43.25) long and hot water can.
Estimated for 20-30£

Lot 1383a Remember La Reine’s post last summer when she turned her antique Hungarian bath tub into an herb garden?

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 266px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC0RkB6VI/AAAAAAAAC_s/WIiwKNzZhzo/s320/auction8.jpg” border=”0″ />Sundry Beer Barrels
Estimate: £ 20 – 30

Lot 1842 – I’m certain Guest Blogger La Reine would think of something to do with these too in her garden!

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC0s3OdBI/AAAAAAAAC_0/y4qXnBjhmzg/s320/auction9.jpg” border=”0″ />A large tole flour bin with D shaped hinged lid 61cm/24” high.
Estimate: £ 80 – 120

Lot 1811 – Wouldn’t this make an excellent extra trash can for the kitchen? Now that I’m a recycling queen I’m always in search of more “recycling” storage solutions! A little pricy for “poubelle” but sensational nonetheless!

to 10px; WIDTH: 251px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC0qkgB4I/AAAAAAAAC_8/gbBE_T0Vkv0/s320/auction10.jpg” border=”0″ />A Christy’s grey top hat made for Spence & Co Ltd Madras, plus 2 additional grey top hats and 2 bowler hats. Estimate: £ 30 – 40

Lot 248 – an instant hat collection!

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 290px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC610M3kI/AAAAAAAADAE/gNIqEFJJkd8/s320/auction11.jpg” border=”0″ />A quantity of wooden and other hat display stands
Estimate: £ 20 – 30

Lot 280 – Of course, if you’re buying the hats you’d better get hat stands!

to 10px; WIDTH: 218px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SgsC7PGbrWI/AAAAAAAADAM/qrR_mRwRo0o/s320/auction12.jpg” border=”0″ />A Harris & Sheldon Tailor’s dummy – the canvas covered torso sits on a turned wood adjustable pole, 107cm/42”
Estimate: £80-120

Lot 365 – Last but not least, I’ve been dying for one of these for years… again I love the lines and graphic punch a dress form makes in a bedroom, dressing room or master bath! It’s not just a charming bid to the past, but it’s also practical – you can drape necklaces or scarves putting the dummy to good use!

Additional Sale Details:
Auction viewing dates are 14- 17 May, 2009
Entry into the sale is by catalog only (which admits 2 people).

Bid Online Now!!!

Until next time, happy shopping!!!

The Antiques Diva™

Last Minute Diva: Sotheby’s to sell Bags designed by Hester van Eeghen

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>When I received this email from Sotheby’s PR Director, I knew I needed to share these divalicious details of a special sale this Sunday, November 9th! Sotheby’s is helping Hester van Eeghen celebrate the 20th ANNIVERSARY of her creative career as they sell 24 exclusive bags & collector’s items!
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On Sunday, 9 November 2008 at 6.00pm Sotheby’s Amsterdam will offer 24 exclusive bags and other collector’s items by Hester van Eeghen. The auction will be led by auctioneer Albertine Verlinde. The 24 ‘unica’ – one-of-a-kind creations – with estimates mainly between €500 and €2.000 – can be inspected at Sotheby’s on Friday 7, Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November, daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm. to 10px; WIDTH: 149px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 216px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SRAIkZWcpsI/AAAAAAAACNo/ikPR3tNI6Mo/s320/image003.png” border=”0″ />

Hester van Eeghen has achieved international acclaim as a trend-setting designer. Her bags, shoes and other leather objects are sold the world over. The 20th anniversary of her creative career is celebrated with a photo book about her work and her life, the exhibition “Gem of a Bag” in Tassenmuseum Hendrikje in Amsterdam and the sale at Sotheby’s on 9 November.
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Hester van Eeghen (49) has been a designer in Amsterdam, London and Milan since 1988. Her bags, shoes and other leather goods are produced in Italy by small factories/ateliers and craftsmen. Her outstanding designs are inspired by architectural forms, by theatre or by human psychology. Bags and objects with geometric lines of distinct beauty are the result, losing nothing of their practical function. Her designs are for sale in her shops in the Amsterdam Hartenstraat, and also in any of more than a hundred shops all over the world, including other parts of the Netherlands, but also in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S.A, South Africa and Switzerland.
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*The Hester van Eeghen Leather Design Foundation
Hester van Eeghen began this foundation ten years ago in support of the leather trade in the Netherlands. As a result of the high costs of wages and environmental legislation, the traditional craftsmanship/methods slowly began to disappear. The foundation sees to it that debutante designers and the remaining artisans meet. A database with all the addresses in the leather branch aims to achieve the goals of the Foundation, as much as the organization of exhibitions or of a competition for young designers, once every three years. The winner’s prize shall be the production of thirty samples of their winning design by a respected craftsman/tradesman/artisan.

Auction: 9 November, 6.00pm
– Viewing days: 7, 8 and 9 November, daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm
(also on view will be Old Master Paintings from the sale on 11 November)
– Sotheby’s, De Boelelaan 30, 1083 HJ Amsterdam, Nederland
– Tel. 020 5502200
to:amsterdam@sothebys.com”>amsterdam@sothebys.com

The Diva Returns

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>The greatest problem of going away for a month-long holiday is that you have to return home when the vacation is over – back to reality and all its demands. to-moi.html” target=”_blank”>My August vacation, a short driving tour through Italy before taking a 20 day Mediterranean Cruise, was heaven! The return, a week ago today, has been hell. Loads of laundry and unopened email aside, life looms large before me. As demands on my time outweigh the hours in the day, I’ve found I’m in a post-vacation funk. Apparently this is a fairly normal occurrence, as torial.cfm?Ed=322″ target=”_blank”>Performance and Profits newsletter writes:

“Post-vacation blues are such a common malady, even His Holiness has had something to say on the matter. ‘I try to imagine what passes through the spirit of one who comes back after a period of relaxation, perhaps long desired and now already over,’ the late Pope John Paul II once said, adding that some people often dread ‘daily reality, with its concreteness, its problems, its heaviness’.”

The Pope’s words ring true as I face this post-vacation hang-over. August was a month at sea with no worries, not a care in the world, and no responsibilities or looming deadlines. The vacation was excellent. I’ve returned sun-tanned, a solid 5 pounds fatter than when I departed, and full of glorious memories of a month spent side by side with my husband, renewing our energies and relationship.

While this vacation was among the best we’ve ever had, I must admit I have mixed feelings about the actual process of cruising. One part of me loved the cruise – the glamour of going to bed at sea and waking in a new location each day in the heat of the Mediterranean, with the sun slowly teasing me awake each day. I loved the 16 destinations, 8 countries, 6 formal nights full of ball gowns and tuxedos, nightly 5 course dinners, and room service breakfasts.

Yet, another part of me mildly hated the lack of authenticity one experiences when contained in the cultural cruise bubble. When traveling in the Med, I want to taste the local culture, to wake up to Turkish coffee or a perfectly frothed Italian cappuccino. Instead, I found myself surrounded by taco bars and hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza by the poolside while eavesdropping on people saying “Well, we’ve done Greece”, as if a 4 hour tour in Corfu constitutes a check mark.

What we did find was that cruising was an excellent way to test-drive a country. Our desired future vacation “to do” list has grown with comments such as, “We must return to Dubrovnik, Croatia someday – a day wasn’t nearly enough!” And research has already begun on low cost airlines for a return to Ephesus for a long weekend around Easter next year. Weaving through the alleyways of Sicily, we stumbled into La Vucciria, one of Italy’s greatest markets with its crowded souk-like passage ways. We loaded our arms with vacuum packed sundried tomatoes, capers and olives as fat and ripe as mandarins, knowing that we’d just done the grocery shopping for our next cocktail party.

Cruising was also an excellent way to recall past trips, returning to Barcelona to recall everything toni_Gaud%C3%AD” target=”_blank”>Gaudi, or to torini.net/” target=”_blank”>Santorini, climbing to the top of the caldera on donkey-back, an experience we’d missed on our last trip and swear we would never repeat again. We tasted Tunisia and loved bartering in French with the locals who exclaimed in delight that we couldn’t possibly be from the cruise, giving us an extra discount because we spoke French. We finally entered the magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral in town” target=”_blank”>Valletta that we had missed seeing on our first trip to Malta and realized that for the last 7 years we had missed out on seeing one of the most interesting cathedrals in the world.

Days at sea found us bidding at art auctions, taking cooking courses and passing hours gazing out at a still blue sea over the top of a Truman Capote novella. For perhaps my first time on vacation, I entirely forgot about the life I’d left behind at shore as I lost track of the days of the week or the hours in the day. Upon filling our first tank of gas on a 2 day drive home from Rome, my husband realized that in the absence of responsibility the month before he had forgotten the code to his gas card. Days after I returned home I went to call my sister and couldn’t remember her phone number. Given that I usually call her weekly, this lapse in memory was just a small example of how far removed from reality we’d been while at sea. Having not had a care in the world for an entire month, it’s no wonder I’ve returned from vacation a little blue… but it’s a deep Mediterranean blue, the color of a church roof in Santorini or the sea when the sun is setting and you’re sailing away from the rising rocky coastline of Croatia…

The Antiques Diva™

Roving Reporter La Reine’s Hungarian Bathtub Herb Garden

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Roving Reporter La Reine emailed a few weeks ago with a sensational idea! She’d recently moved into a penthouse apartment in Manhattan and was looking for ways to decorate her huge wrap-around balcony. While surfing the net, La Reine discovered a vintage Hungarian Baby Bath Tub at Garnet Hill and decided that it would make the perfect home for an herb garden! Apparently it was a limited item as I can’t find this item for sale on the Garnet Hill website anymore, but regardless of where you buy your baby bath tub – the idea is a sensational one! As I have a roof-top terrace as my back yard, I am always searching for planters and this photo has me rethinking how I will go forward with planning my plantings this fall!

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Repurposing antique and vintage unique objects such as bath tubs, or lobster pots, or any number of things, are an excellent way to make a diva-worthy eye catching display
! Do you have a diva-worthy idea that you would like to share with Antiques Diva readers? If so, email me at to:theantiquesdiva@yahoo.com”>theantiquesdiva@yahoo.com

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

One Minute Diva – Winetini

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#781300;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:90px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Leave it to La Reine & Lady Lotus to tell me about a new thing that is all the rage in the
States — Winetini Hors D’oeuvre Plates.

You take your favorite champagne or wine bottle – perhaps a special bottle from your wedding or anniversary – and have it flattened into a fun & functional tray to serve hors d’oeuvres, cheese or petit fours! This is an excellent gift idea or a great way to make a memento of a special occasion. I’m trying to decide which would be more fun — a Winetini Tray with my Riga’s Finest label (from a bottle purchased while on holiday in Latvia a few years ago) or perhaps that fancy gold Bohemian Champagne label stripped off one of the many bottles we lugged home from the Czech Republic last year?

Whichever bottle I choose, it’s certain to be a conversation starter at my next cocktail party.

Bottoms Up!

The Antiques Diva™

August Special Edition: The Great 2008 Coleslaw Cook-Off

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>While The Antiques Diva is lounging on deck aboard Holland America’s Noordam enjoying her 20 day Mediterranean Cruise, two American At Home Chefs, La Reine & Lady Lotus, take hold of the reigns for today’s blog, going head-to-head in The Great 2008 Coleslaw Cook-Off. In one court, we have La Reine with her soon to be famous mayonnaise-free coleslaw recipe. In the other court, Lady Lotus brings forth a very diva-colored pink coleslaw designed to impress friends and foes alike. Both Home Cooks claim their non-traditional coleslaw recipes make them “The Coleslaw Queen”. Only you can decide which contender takes home the tiara!

Contender # 1 – La Reine

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“I was just asked AGAIN for my soon-to-be-famous coleslaw recipe. A couple weeks ago we had a guest marathon and I was cooking one healthy and one very unhealthy meal. The only thing on both menus was my coleslaw. I hate mayonnaise, but love coleslaw. So in almost any restaurant, when they say: ‘Would you like coleslaw?’ I say, ‘Is it made with mayo?’ They say, ‘Yes’ and I say ‘No.’ So, I’ve concocted my own recipe, which since it’s been asked for so many times recently, I will share with you too.

I always make a huge batch, I never make it just for The Big Guy & me, but I made enough so that I can keep some at home while taking the rest to potluck lunch or BBQ. This easy, fast & healthy recipe is also inexpensive to make and keeps for several days in the fridge. What more could you want? “

La Reine’s Coleslaw Recipe
Mix:

  • 1 large bag shredded cabbage
  • 1 small bag shredded broccoli
  • 1 small bag shredded carrots
  • 3 chopped apples, I use Fuji but Granny Smith would be better except The Big Guy thinks they’re too tart
  • 4 chopped green onions

    Dressing Mix:

  • 1 large spoonful sour cream
  • 1/2 can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds

    Add dressing to greens. You can add additional vinegar or apple concentrate to make it sweeter or tarter, to taste. Add raisins, cranberries, or nuts as preferred. You can also add broccoli florets or other tiny vegetable to taste (and color). Let blend in refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving, better over night. Serve cold. Keeps several days.

Contender # 2 – Lady Lotus

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://bp3.blogger.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SHYsh3LQynI/AAAAAAAABMI/Uia5G9tS6sI/s320/178.JPG” border=”0″ />“Move over Coleslaw Queen … A new recipe is in town! That’s right, I actually cooked this past weekend and tried something new since a friend had given me some fresh horseradish root. The coleslaw seemed to impress my Mother-in-Law and her friends, but maybe they were just dazzled that I actually spent some time in the kitchen! We served it with corn on the cob, garlic bread, grilled chicken and T-bone steaks. My coleslaw may use mayo, but it also turns a bit pink once you mix the ingredients making it ‘A Coleslaw fit for a Diva’!”

Lady Lotus’ Horse-Power Slaw

  • 1/2 head shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 head shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
  • 2 cups shredded broccoli stems (remove crowns first and save for another meal)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup nonfat mayo
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons creamy prepared horseradish (Or, better yet, do it yourself, a la Lady Lotus Style – Peel fresh horseradish root and cut into chunks. Toss in blender with a little water. Grind. Add half a lemon to neutralize).

Combine the cabbages, carrots, onions and broccoli stems in large bowl. In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegars, sugar, and salt and pepper until sugar is dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mix and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, and horseradish. Stir. Add to slaw mixture and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate again 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

So, Diva Readers, what do you think? Is one better than the other? Have an alternative suggestion? Let me know!!

Until next time, keep enjoying this wonderful summer!

The Antiques Diva™

The Wine Guy Goes Mojito!

THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER While my tour guides are taking a much needed holiday and I’m away for the month of August sipping champagne at sunset on a Mediterranean Cruise (after taking a driving tour of Italy), I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, in my absence. August 2008 you’ll enjoy a multitude of guest blogs, pre-posted light blogs and miscellaneous reader questions. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more great addresses and shopping tips this fall! All email inquiries or posted comments will be responded to come September!

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>While my husband the Wine Guy is more a St Emillion or Sancerre kind of guy, from time to time he goes Mojito. He just gets a craving for this sweet, minty concoction and before I know it he’s got the mortar & pestle out, going to town grinding mint leaves. So many guests have asked for his recipe that we decided to share his secret recipe on The Antiques Diva Blog as part of our Special August Edition while we’re on holiday soaking up the sun in the Med! While you’re reading this pre-posted blog, we’re sipping ouzo off the coast of some gorgeous Greek isle!

For one 12 oz glass:

  • 1/4 cup Havana Club Rum
  • 2 splashes of Dutch “Authentique Angostura” Ooievaar Bitters (or any bitters)
  • Juice from 1.5 to 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves washed and dried
  • 2 – 3 tsp sugar 10 oz bottle of Tonic Water already cold
  • Crushed Ice

to.jpg”>to.jpg” border=”0″ />In a mortar & pestle, combine lime juice, sugar and mint leaves. Press the mint leaves considerably to extract as much flavor as possible. Let set for 30 min to allow flavors to mix. Pour into a clear tall glass, and then pour in rum and splash of bitters. Add very cold tonic water until glass ¾ full, stir very well then add crushed ice. Put a slice of lime and mint sprig on each glass and serve on a silver tray!

Enjoy the summer!

The Antiques Diva™

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