Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Walk Around Philadelphia and my recommendations

The main reason I stay at the Courtyard or the Residence Inn when I go to Philly is I get to look out the window at City Hall. I recommend both of these hotels.

The past few years when I've been there there has been scaffolding on the building while they cleaned it, this year the scaffolding is gone.

Obviously it has been a long time since I've walked through City Hall because I did not realize there was a garden on the other side from where I stay. It's called the Dilworth Garden and there is a maze there for the winter.

In case you haven't been city hall has a large courtyard in the middle of it! And I haven't done this but you can go up into the tower of city hall. The view must be incredible! Buy a ticket at the visitors center inside city hall and reserve a time, obviously there isn't room for a lot of people up there at once.

Just around the corner is Macy's in the Wanamaker Building, built in 1911. Wanamaker's was the first Department Store in Philadelphia. The most amazing thing about it is the huge organ in the atrium. The organ is from the St. Louis worlds fair and is the largest playable organ in the world.

It has been played daily since its installation. I always try to hear it each visit and this year happened to go upstairs to shoot this photo and was invited in to see the keyboard. Wow!

The weather was very nice for February, as I stated in a previous blog post, I've been there in some pretty cold and snowy weather. Took a stroll by Independence Hall. And other architectural beauties in the oldest part of town. A hint, lots of the shops in that part of town are closed on Mondays.

And the food is fabulous, there are so many great restaurants you could never eat at all of them but here are a few that I have eaten at.

Vedge is a vegetarian restaurant on Locust Street - my first time there, wow! The food was delicious (as was the Daiquiri or two we had made with lemongrass), and beautifully plated.

Didn't go to Moriarty’s this time but often do. Can't beat the burgers and over 150 kinds of beer.

But I did go to the Caribou Cafe. which I do every visit. I've had some of the best food I've ever eaten here and this time I was not disappointed.

I've never spent much time in China Town but did this time. I didn't have time to get my hair cut before I left New Bern so went to Perfect Cut and was very happy with both the cut and the price, I highly recommend it!

Of course my favorite murals in Philadelphia are the mosiacs by Isaiah Zagar I've written about before but there are fabulous murals all over downtown Philadelphia.

Other recommendations - Di Brunos Deli.

and of course the not to be missed Reading Terminal.

I've written about some of these places in other blog posts but never tire of visiting Philadelphia.
Here are links to those.
Magic Garden
Home from Philadelphia and Baltimore 2014

My only disappointment this time was that there were people approaching you at every turn asking for money. It's unfortunate that in our country of plenty we have so many people living on the streets.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Favorite in Philadelphia the Magic Garden

I've been to Philadelphia probably 20 times but don't always get a chance to do any sight seeing. The last time was in 2009 when I got stuck there during an historic blizzard. Everything was shut down. I was supposed to go home on Monday and didn't get there until Thursday.

It was beautiful, I tromped around the streets, sometimes walking down the middle in one of the two tracks. Once I got into the swing of it I had a great time. Of course not much was open and it was erie being on the streets, much of the time by myself.

 This time the wind was howling but there was no snow.

Taking a break from looking for art for Carolina Creations I walked about 30 blocks - to get a hair cut, visit Dick Blick Art Supply Store, the Visitors Center at Independence Hall, The Reading Terminal, and my favorite of all, the Magic Garden.

This time I got a special treat and even got to meet the artist Isaiah Zagar. I have to admit I always assumed he was some kind of odd ball but he's not! He's articulate, fascinating,  and passionate about his art.

For years we sought out his murals - my favorites being the mirrored ones.

Then in 2002 we noticed that you could tour his Magic Garden but for some reason we never did.

Until this time. Perhaps this is what I'll do in my side yard when I retire!!

Isaiah went to Pratt, married, spent 3 years in Peru and was fascinated with the folk art there.

He and his wife moved back to the US and bought a building on South Street which was a scary place in those days. The area was going to be demolished for an expressway so everything had moved out.

The expressway never happened and his building was the first one Zagar ever mosaiced. They had and still do have a gallery there where they sell folk art.

Other artists and shops moved in. They bought
another building (the current one attached to the Majic Garden) and he mosaiced that. Then started building his magic garden in 2 vacant lots beside. The owner of the lots wasn't happy with it but let it stay until property vallues rose to the point that he could sell the lots for $300,000.

Zagar didn't have that kind of money so was faced with having to bulldoze his work. After the press got ahold of the story a group of civic minded professionals stepped forward and made the Magic Garden into a non profit institute and purchased the land.

It's a fascinating visit!  

 I need to remember 3 parts cement 1 part sand.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Frances MetalWorks New Work

Inspired by the world’s greatest water bird sanctuaries, these majestic sculptures, handcrafted from iron and Minnesota fieldstone offer timeless reflection of nature’s finest works, adding a touch of serenity to any environment. 

Charles Adams and Thomas Widhalm created these wonderful sculptures by marrying their passion for gardening with Chuck's 40-year background as a jeweler and Tom's 33 years as a creative metal worker. 

Chuck found working in his garden not only to be peaceful, but another way to express creativity. He designed his garden using 54 tons of boulders, and planting 1,800 perennials over 1 ½ acres of mostly shade gardens. 

After searching for artwork to compliment his garden, and finding nothing that seemed unique or natural, he decided to make his own. He collaborated with his long-time friend and fellow gardener, Tom Widhalm. Together over a period of almost a year, they designed their unique one-of-a kind iron and stone sculptures. They have been adding designs ever since. 

Their sculptures are crafted from iron and hand-selected Minnesota fieldstone chosen for character & shape. Their water birds offer a timeless reflection of nature’s finest works, adding a touch of serenity to any environment.

We are really excited about a couple new pieces where the metal is the main ingredient and the rock the add on instead of the other way around. Love love love this spirit sculpture with a stake coming out of her base that shoves into the ground.
First we have the bird bath- base is core 10 steel, which will develop a rusty patina and second is the 

Spirit Sculpture.
Stop in to see the entire collection!
Open 7 Days a week
Carolina Creations
317 Pollock St
Downtown New Bern, NC

Monday, February 06, 2017

New Garden Spinners Add some color to your garden year round

Just in time for our Garden Show!

Carolina Creations is pleased to bring back these beautiful kinetic sculptures for your garden.

The carefully crafted design of this dimensional kinetic sculpture allows for gentle, steady interaction with the wind. 

Featuring superior weather resistance and beautiful hand-painted details, its bright color and movement will bring your outdoor space to life. 

Made of heavy-gauge metal that resists corrosion and rust. Mount on tree, fence, wall, auger, stake, or other surface. It comes with the mount that scews into the surface you want to attach it to or there is an optional stake it attaches to that sticks into the ground.

We have lots more!! 
8" $46
13" $80
18" $104
8" Pink Butterfly spinner

13" Orange Flower on Green Dots

8" Blue Flower with Green Leaves

8" Yellow Stars

13" Green and Purple Flower

18" Purple Flower with Red Dots

13" Yellow Flower with Orange

"As an artist, I tell my story by applying glorious color over black surfaces.

Each stroke of color turns darkness to light and reminds me that darkness will not overcome the light.

My work explores darkness and light interacting, as both goodness and darkness are inextricably woven together in our experience of life.” - Carol Roeda

Friday, February 03, 2017

Art for the Garden

Our Annual Garden Show has opened and over the next few posts I'll show you some of the great things in the show!

We love the wonderful things we get from Annabelle Noel and she's always coming up with new for us.

First I'll start with our best selling No talent needed - Easy Arrangers -


Ever feel like you’re not doing justice to the beautiful fresh-cut flowers of summer? Are your arrangements droopy or lopsided? Overcrowded or too skimpy? We’ve found the cure for amateur-looking arrangements. It’s a simple wire grid that fits over the mouth of a vase and adds support so that stems stay upright and have the breathing room they need. With Easy Arranger you can still get creative and dream up your own flower arrangements -- the vase topper just helps you execute the designs like a pro.

Easy Arranger comes
 to us from Annabelle Noel Designs, a firm with a mission to launch innovative household products designed and manufactured exclusively by women. The founder is Anne Cork, who tapped her jewelry-making skills to create Easy Arranger after being inspired by the tape grids she saw florists using to hold their flowers in place.

Each wire grid is woven by hand, not by a machine. Easy Arranger comes in a variety of diameters to fit different vase sizes. It’s simple to work with, especially when it comes time to change the water: You just lift up your entire arrangement and use the flexible grid to keep it intact until you’re ready to return the flowers to the vase. Easy does it!

New are these fabulous glass flower stakes, each one of a kind and in 3 sizes. We don't have these on our website because we know they won't last long enough!

Copper and stainless steel dragonfly garden stakes.

Sweet copper enamel flowers, 1 inch across. $3 each singly, 6 for $15.

And this is just a start!! I'll be posting other new pieces in our show over the next few days!