Remainders of the Day, Shaun Blythel
Readers, it’s been a while and I am filling this letter only with certified gems, I’d say impossible to dislike if you have been following me for a while and normally enjoy my exquisite finds.
First up, the new book from author Shawn Bythell, Remainders of the Day, more musings from this seemingly anti-social and grumpy Scottish bookseller. Nothing is new, nothing is old, and if he started a daily podcast narrating his life and the happenings at The Bookshop I would tune in every day.
If you haven’t done so, I thoroughly recommend reading or listening to his previous books too – Confessions of a Bookseller, The Diary of a Bookseller and Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops. Peter Kenny does a brilliant job at narrating all his books, such a convincing impersonation.
Vanity Fair (2018)
A few weeks ago, I continued my journey down memory lane, bringing back to life another favourite classic book I have read years ago, Vanity Fair, through the miniseries which came out in 2018. I enjoyed it very much, although I disliked the very strong and forthcoming version of Becky Sharp.
I don’t remember disliking her quite so much in the book, but Olivia Cooke did such a brilliant job with her role that now I can’t separate her from it. I recently saw some pictures of her in another production and she seemed to me instantly annoying.
I was sad when I realised it was a miniseries and no other seasons were available, which is clear proof that I was enthralled and would have liked to spend more time in the universe created by director James Strong and composer Isobel Waller-Bridge. And if the latter name sounds familiar, it’s because she is the sister of Phoebe Walter-Bridge of Fleabag, what a talented duo! I truly made a note of the choice of soundtrack for the miniseries – Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower.
Solange, by Katharina Cibulka
In museum news this week, this art installation, a giant cross stitch manifesto, for and on The National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, D.C., stopped me in my tracks. The message, the execution, the context – all seems on point to me. What a brilliant use of space and scaffolding while a museum is under renovation. What a simple yet all-encompassing statement. What good timing (unfortunately) with recent incredible political events in the US.
This work is part of artist Katharina Cibulka’s project entitled Solange, which includes a number of similarly simple yet striking executions developed over the last few years. A brilliant discovery for me.
On a recent work trip to Turin, I was lucky to spend a couple of nights in Hotel Victoria, which was just my type of classic elegant yet cosy abode, with antique décor and old-school luxury. From the heavy metal key medallion to the opulent manor house living-room-like lounge, the beautiful staircase adorned with paintings and a sky-painted ceiling, the green marble in the bathroom and the vintage functional bed canopy, I was overloaded with details to notice and photograph.
It is in their lounge where I discovered a collection of antique miniature house bird cages and I found them beyond charming. I don’t think I’ve seen any before, in real life or online, but they played right into my (fairly recent) passion for dollhouses or miniature houses and buildings of any kind. Remember the beautiful greenhouse-shaped terrariums from a few weeks ago?
I’d love to find one of these beautiful cages at a car boot and bring it home to give it some sort of new purpose. And I would also love to own a beautiful miniature house lamp like the one above, spotted also in Hotel Victoria, although I am having no luck in my Google searches, I might just email them to enquire about it.
Venice, Burano & Murano
I also had the big pleasure recently of going on a holiday aboard with my parents, my husband and my son, celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday. We went to Venice as a surprise for her and I think we all have some lovely memories to cherish from the three days we spent there.
Venice is such a beautiful city and even though I have been a couple of times before, I never really visited. This time we got to walk a lot, wander with no aim, get lost and just enjoy our surroundings. We spent a lot of time on the boat buses, and we managed to also visit the islands of Murano and Burano. We found Burano so colourful and pretty, we took hundreds of photos. Then Murano presented the big surprise, when my husband found a boat ‘coach’ to take us from there straight to the airport, something not sure how many airports can boast of, simplifying our lives a lot and allowing us to enjoy a lovely last dinner in Italy, in the garden of the Osteria al Duomo before we flew back.
I sneaked in a quick visit to the famous Alta Aqua bookstore while in Venice, which I recommend even if it was very busy, and I fell in love with a local art shop selling miniature bookshelves, called Armonie di Anna Rizzato. But the local craftsmen and studios are plentiful and everywhere we looked there was something to be marveled at and coveted. We also managed to find by luck, two lovely restaurants for our two evenings in Venice, Pizzeria Cico Bar and Trattoria Rialto Novo, both nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets, in these generous piazzas where my son had plenty of space to run around in the warm evening air.
Source – Libreria Aqua Alta
This has been truly exquisite, I am looking forward to going back one day!
DIY Bow Earrings
I’ve had it in mind for some time to make myself a pair (or a dozen pairs) of simple ribbon bow earrings, to match with different outfits, when nothing else seems to work. I had all the elements needed – I bought some sets for DIY earrings a while ago from the car boot market and I had some leftover thin silk ribbon from my Couture Bookmarks, so this morning it took me five minutes and here they are.
Source: Inspiration from Burberry for oversized bow earrings. I think I can create some better ones for 1% of the price, that are also not clip-ons.
This is the first attempt, but I will try a few more options, paying more attention to the execution and details. I followed the below tutorial to do the mini bow using a fork. But there is another bow shape I want to try, which I think requires sewing, and I also want to make some dramatically big ones for special occasions, inspired by the ones above.
Painting Flowers on a Wall
For a while I have had the urge to grab some paint and adorn a wall with flowers. Simple, ludic, two-dimensional, bright and beautiful flowers, to transform a space. I had it in my mind to do this at my parent’s house when we visited in summer, but never got around to it.
The universe keeps bringing this idea back to me, so I decided to gather some inspiration in a dedicated Pinterest board to help me just make the decision and go buy the paint and brushes. I must say I have never really painted in my life, bar from when I was a kid in school, and more recently having fun with my son. Surely never have attempted a mural. I haven’t even painted a wall in my life… at least I can’t remember doing it?
What do you think, have you done anything like this before or would you undertake such a DIY project? I feel like I just need to take the leap and see how it goes. To be continued…
Source: Surely, I can do something like this?! And how exquisite, yet rudimentary this bathroom is?
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