French Quarter architecture

French Quarter architecture

Storefront in the Warehouse District

Storefront in the Warehouse District

Another covered sidewalk

Another covered sidewalk

New Orleans has its own special look and feel, and I attribute this to the architecture.  It’s a city that has held on to its traditional or landmark features, such as wrought-iron balconies, porches, covered sidewalks, shutters.  Even the new construction going on in the residential areas had not succumbed to the sleek, boxy, unadorned modern designs that are trending in Seattle.  It’s refreshing to visit someplace that does not look like every other destination.

“I alight at Esplanade in a smell of roasting coffee and creosote and walk up Royal Street.  The lower Quarter is the best part.  The ironwork on the balconies sags like rotten lace.   Little French cottages hide behind high walls.  through deep sweating carriageways one catches glimpses of courtyards gone to jungle.”
— Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

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We spent a memorable couple of hours just wandering the streets of the Garden District, looking at the lovely houses behind iron fences.

“I turned onto Prytania, a lovely old street with melancholy mansions dripping with whispered dramas from another time.”
— Andrei Codrescu, New Orleans Mon Amour

The Anne Rice house

The Anne Rice house

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“They say a kitchen is the heart of a house, but I believe the porch is its soul.”
— Rick Bragg, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South

Lafayette Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery

While the houses of the living were charming, New Orleans is also known for its cemeteries, those above-ground resting places of the dead.

“This may be the one place on earth in which the dead do not every, really, completely, lie still.”
–Rick Bragg, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South

“New Orleans cemeteries are like New Orleans.  They swing between destitution and opulence but always with style.”
— Andrei Codrescu,  New Orleans Mon Amour

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“New Orleans cemeteries look like vast bakeries quietly holding ancestral loaves.”
–Andrei Codrescu, New Orleans Mon Amour

 

Wisteria vine framing a porch

Wisteria vine framing a porch

” . . . twenty clusters of wisteria are hanging right outside my bay window, each one a tidy tumble of gray-purple faces with lavender bonnets.  I think they look like turn-of-the-century ladies seated in church pews.”
— Diane Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love:  A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing

The wisteria is now past its bloom.  I took these photos last month when Seattle’s yards and gardens were graced with the purple clusters.  I wanted to try my hand at painting them, and I just now got around to it.  Enjoy!

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"Turn-of-the-century ladies in bonnets"

“Turn-of-the-century ladies in bonnets”

Watercolor sketch of wisteria

Watercolor sketch of wisteria

 

 

I like the following quotes from William Davies King, Collections of Nothing:

“To collect is to write a life.”

“For all of us, the pursuit has its pleasures, and some sensation of fulfillment comes in the rhythm of acquisition.”

“Collecting is a way of linking past, present, and future.  Objects from the past get collected in the present to preserve them for the future.  Collecting processes presence . . .”

Vintage embroidered linens

Sugar bowl and creamer from my sister's mother-in-law

From my sister's collection of Johnson transferware turkey plates

I always enjoy visiting my sister’s house.  She is an avid gardener, an excellent cook and baker, and a professional quilter.  Her house is full of her collections of things that reflect her varied interests.  You’ll see what I mean when you look at these photos of her home:

My sister's farmhouse kitchen

Dining room with handmade quilted table runners, place mats, and cupboard full of dishes

Living room chock full of handmade quilts

Front porch, my favorite room in the house

My sister's bedroom - more quilts


Welcome Home

April 9, 2011

“Sweet is the hour that brings us home,
Where all will spring to meet us . . .”
     — Eliza Cook, “The Welcome Back”

Here are some images of welcoming homes in my neighborhood:

Basket of spring flowers on the porch

Pansies and watering can on the porch

Bouquet of tulips through a window

A neighbor's front steps

Welcome Spring!

March 20, 2011

Today is the Spring equinox.  I am rejoicing that Spring is finally here! 

Crocuses after a rain

A neighbor's welcoming porch

At our latitude in Seattle (Latitude 47.67′ N), we have 12 hours and 9 minutes of daylight today, and we will add 3 minutes and 27 seconds of daylight per day over the next few days.  My spirits lift just knowing that we will continue to gain more light each day, albeit at a gradually slower rate, until our longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, when we will enjoy 15 hours, 59 minutes, and 29 seconds of daylight.

Happy Spring!