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permission of Carolyn Croll. ©All rights reserved Carolyn Croll

December 29, 2009

New Year's Wish

Peace, health,
love and
prosperity in
the new year.

(click image to enlarge)

December 21, 2009

Il Famoso Ignoto

Went to Naples, Italy to see the 
antique presepi figures in the 
Museo di San Martino. 

Un presepe is a nativity scene. In Naples, the 
presepi take on operatic proportions. 

Not surprising. Naples is home to 
the oldest opera house in Italy, 
il Teatro San Carlo, built in 1737.
Many of these elaborate displays belonged 
to wealthy aristocrats. Some to churches.

In the museum, one glass case after another 
of exquisitely crafted, costumed and detailed 
miniature objects, animals and figures 
depicting all aspects of life in old Italy in 

Clay, wood, silk, wool, silver, copper, brass 
and jewels worked with extraordinary skill, 
keen observation, great wit and humanity. 
My costume, doll, folkart and miniatures 
loving heart nearly leapt from my chest.

Only problem, no photo taking permitted
nor was there a museum shop with postcards 

and books. 

Many quick sketches and much note taking. 
One artist, Ignoto, seemed most prevalent.
Not only did Ignoto seem to have made 

almost everything, I soon realized he was 
active for several centuries....
With only 6 years of Italian language study
behind me, it suddenly dawned....
Ignoto, Italian for Anonymous;-)

(click on images to enlarge)

Without these two beautiful books, there would be no images to show you.

       Il Presepe Napolitano, by Allessandra Griffo, De Agostini 1996
      Il Presepe Napoletano del Settecento, Electa Napoli 1995

December 20, 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Wishes

 (My illustration from my book, THE LITTLE SNOWGIRL,
 Whitebird/Putnam - click image to enlarge)

December 19, 2009

Snow Cat Tizzy

(Click image to see TZ's 1st snow)

Blizzard outside this morning reminds 
me of Tizzy's first snow 9 winters past. 
Fat snowflakes drifting by made baby
cat chirp excitedly with delight.
I know the feeling.

December 17, 2009

Wild About Charlie

Charlie Williams and his wife Lydia are public library 
Librarians from North Carolina, now retired. 
When Charlie discovered my picture book, REDOUTÈ, 
The Man Who Painted Flowers, at an exhibition of work 
by another botanical artist, Mark Catesby, he wrote to 
me suggesting Catesby as subject for a future book. 
He also mentioned his interest in Andre Michaux, one 
of Redoutè's outstanding Botanist collaborators. 
Andre Michaux

We finally met when Charlie's Michaux research 
brought him to Philadelphia and the American 
Philosophical Society. I shared a paper mentioning 
Michaux, that I had acquired from its scholar 
author during my Redoutè search. Turned out, it
contained information Charlie needed.

When Charlie returned to Phila. with his wife, 
Lydia, we enjoyed a visit to Bartram's Gardens,
18th century home of the fascinating John and 
William Bartram, America's first Botanists. 

Charlie Williams as himself

Back home in North Carolina in conjunction 
with Stowe Botanical Garden, Charlie began 
talking to school children about Michaux and 
his work in America, particularly North Carolina. 
To further children's interest he began dressing 
in 18th century costume. As he refined the costume 
to look more like an 18th century Botanist 
working out in nature, Charlie soon "morphed"
into Andre Michaux telling his own story.

Yesterday's holiday card written by Lydia, contained 
the news that Charlie Williams is the 2009 recipient 
of the Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award of The 
Southern Appalachian Botanical Society for distinguished 
professional and public service in advancing knowledge 
and appreciation of the world of plants. The first non 
professional Botanist to win this award. , Lydia writes 
that, typically, Charlie was flabbergasted.

Lydia also sent this photo of Michaux's Lily which 
unexpectedly bloomed on their mountain property.  
They don't know if it bloomed because conditions
were just right or Michaux's spirit was hovering over them.
No doubt in my mind.

(Read Charlie's biography of Andre Michaux)
Stowe Botanical Garden 
American Philosphical Society
Bartram Gardens

December 15, 2009

The Boss Of Me

Awakened this morning by a sudden crash and
near complete certainty that Fred Feliney is the
reincarnation of the fellow who ran the trains
in Mussolini's Italy. (which accidently I
first typed as Mousolini).

Fred had cleared everything but the
clock radio from my night table onto the floor.
Not the first time.
I turned over and resumed dozing.

Hardly back in my dream, heard rattling
amongst the items on my jewelry making
desk. The thought of picking up THAT
potential mess, achieved the desired effect.
I was up and out of bed.
Inured to my verbal threats, the Boss of Me
waited patiently through my ablutions.
Then led the parade into the kitchen and breakfast.

Afterwards, took up his post pulling my sleeve when
the kettle boiled.

Poor Fred. It must be awful living with such a slacker.

December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Girl

Wishing Mom a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Mom likes to say that she was born on Pearl Harbor Day.
She also declares her years in Celsius, so she's 31c  (which she learned from George Carlin).
Some how she managed to raise the four of us with lots of love, lots of humor
and lots of patience.

Mom with us when we were kids.

December 6, 2009

The Murphy's In The Details

Saturday mornings have become a cross 
between a carefully choreographed ballet and 
the old TV game show, Beat The Clock.
Between 9am and noon, armed with shopping 
cart and Whole Foods cloth bags I catch a bus,
get the Philly Car Share, Prius (parked in the 
garage of my Mom's building), drive to Whole
Foods lot on South St, shop Super Fresh 
(across the street), load the car. Then shop
Whole Foods, load the car, deliver my stuff
to my apartment, then back to Mom's, end
my car reservation, deliver her stuff, help 
her with chores, mail and meals and other things 
that are difficult because of her blindness.

Sometimes Murphy lurks in the details.
Icey, rainy yesterday, returning to the car 
with my Super Fresh purchases, the car 
was GONE!! Called PCS. Turns out 
(as suspected) a  new member took the 
first PCS Prius she found, though HER 
car was waiting on the floor above at 
the marked official PCS space.

After this happened to me once before, I made a
little sign that I attach to the steering wheel.

It seems to have worked well for several years until
yesterday morning when I forgot to put it on. :-0

I want to thank the Philly Car Share employees,
Brielle, Tara and everyone else whose quick thinking, 
understanding and kindness saved the day.

Now I just want my Whole Foods bags back. 


PS: Got my bags back, Monday Dec.7, 2009
      Many thanks again to Tara at PCS!!

December 3, 2009

Some Cookie!

                                                    © Bea Weidner 2009
My wonderfully talented friend and 
colleague, Bea Weidner (see my 
6/3/09 post) has just opened 
CookieFriends, her new Etsy shop. 
Bea has been making delightfully quirky 
edible cookies for years. People say,
"They are too wonderful to eat". 
Well now you can have your cookie 
on a greeting card to keep, send or both. 
Go to Etsy and see the rest of her wimsical 
cookie cards
I want two of each. One to keep and one to send.

 © Bea Weidner 2009