Monday, August 31, 2015

COLOGNE, Germany - Part II

In my previous post I shared photos of the exterior of the magnificent 
Gothic Cologne Cathedral, the largest in northern Europe, here are 
photos I took of the splendid interior.
Entering Cologne Cathedral took my breath away. First, one feels incredibly small 
beneath the 140 foot ceilings. It was light and bright with numerous soaring stained 
glass windows, paintings, frescoes, statues, carvings, and hanging tapestries, artifacts 
in silver and gold. 
There was no evidence of the darkness of the Gothic exterior, the eye was 
immediately struck by color and light everywhere.

After feasting my eyes on beauty whilst looking up, around and about, on reaching 
the choir I suddenly looked down where my feet stood on what to me were the most 
exquisite mosaic floors. 
These were so beautiful and the work to create the meticulous designs
must have have taken many artists years - there were so many areas covered.

I really loved the natural things depicted in the designs - acorns and oak leaves, 
grapevines bearing fruit,  ivy twining, even the thistles of Scotland with the 
English Tudor Rose in the center (above), which I admit I've only just noticed in my photo.

Via Cologne Cathedral 

Cologne Cathedral Floor Mosaic Floor Plan

The floor, completed in 1899, measures 1,350 square metres and is the largest 
work of art in the cathedral. 
It covers three main themes, each of which is portrayed in a different 
part of the choir: the history of the archdiocese takes up the entire ambulatory and
 features names and coats of arms of bishops and archbishops; the Christian world
order and humankind are portrayed in the inner choir; and the cosmos is depicted
 in the crossing
The entire cathedral is gorgeous - having a chance to view, even though our time 
was brief, was time well spent and memorable. Once again, Germany's 
beautiful architecture and art came through - noticed in the smallest village 
house to the largest place of worship.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

COLOGNE, Germany - Part I

Sunday, beautiful late Summer morning, and I'm working on my final posts 
from the Spring trip we took from Budapest to Amsterdam, and the last pix from 
Devon and London trip in June. I need to remove many photos from my 
laptop to my TRAVEL portable drive before I travel again ---------
---------I desperately need to free up some storage space !

Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city, is a major cultural center filled with museums, 
galleries, the university, historical architecture and of course the easily recognizable 
Cologne Cathedral which dominates the skyline.

Construction on this magnificent Gothic cathedral in the Old City commenced in 1248
and continued in several stages over seven centuries. Finally completed in 1880, it 
largely escaped the damage that ravaged the city during World World II. 
The largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, and a UNESCO World Heritage 
Site, it has two soaring spires and beautiful stained glass windows.

Friends Kim & Rob at the main entrance to the cathedral.
I think this photo shows its massive size compared to the people in the 

In my next post I'll share the interior of the cathedral - a truly fabulous place full of 
color and light, quite different from the somewhat dark exterior.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Fashion and Health Update ~

This morning I started back walking - for exercise and health.
I arrived at the running track of a nearby school at 6:45 AM and walked four laps, taking 20 minutes. Didn't want to hurry it being my first time out distance walking in a while due to the  steamy Summer heat.
I plan to walk several mornings a week until I leave for Europe. I'll be on my feet a lot whilst there, plus I want to be able to enjoy French cheese so need to lose a few pounds, LOL! I'm trying to keep any possible back surgery at bay and am so thankful I declined the surgery in January. Thrilled to report that so far the one injection and PT have continued to banish almost all my pain these last seven months, and walking is quite comfortable. 
I give thanks every day.

So, no exercise clothes here but I will share my new coat for the soon to be here cooler weather.

I'm still coming to grips with actually stepping outside my neutral color box and buying a red coat! I haven't worn a really bright color, especially red, in many years, not since I changed my hair color to red. Now that I'm more brunette with some dark reddish tones (I love how my colorist has been adding them to my growing out hair), I think this 'Bordeaux' shade works.

I love coats and have a couple from years back including my classic camel and a black/white bouclé tweed. I saw this Zara coat online and it's a style I like - loose, unstructured, unlined, and can be worn casual or dressy. Textured fabric is wool/viscose blend, knee length is good and it has a walking slit in back, both good with tall boots. Color is great with denim, black, grey and some blues, all of which make up my Winter wardrobe. An extra was the construction - I fell for the facings being on the outside and topstitched - and also the deep pockets and really long sleeves (I have long arms), Being unlined, all inside seams are finished with black binding - I like that too.
At $149 I think it's a good buy - also free shipping, non-taxable as there are no bricks and mortar Zara shops in my state.

via Zara

What do you think? Will this red coat make me happy on dull Winter days?
Will having a warm red coat to throw on during the Holiday season make me a little more festive? 
Does it work with my hair?
Be honest - I'm counting on you - and I have removed the tags!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A late Summer day at home. . . . . . .

This is today on the front porch.
Morning glories still appear early, twining around whatever they can grab on the porch. Yesterday I had to trim them back a bit as they were engulfing everything.
It's still very warm hereabouts, and the trees across the cul-de-sac remain green and full, however just here and there I see a few leaves turning color and thoughts of Autumn are running through my mind.
The figs are just about gone and picking is over. Just a few left on the topmost branches where we can't reach but the birds and squirrels can feast. Now and then I see a squirrel run off with a whole juicy fig in it's mouth, looking for a hiding place to nibble in comfort.

It's been a less than perfect Summer in my garden when it comes to color. Many plants succumbed sadly. The weather has not cooperated, too hot, too dry, so the arrival of the bronze, gold, orange and red shades of Autumn will be welcome. 
I changed my flag today - put away the sunflowers and hung the colorful birds feeding. Our hummingbird Ms. Ruby is still arriving constantly at her feeder on the porch, many other garden birds have stayed with us all Summer and are here year round. We stopped filling our feeders near the fig trees to keep birds away whilst harvesting fruit, soon we'll treat them to good quality mixed seed again as we love to watch them through the cooler months. I'm surprised to see one of our little Carolina wrens already tucking into a hanging Boston fern on the porch - it arrives at dusk, sings a song, and flies up from the porch rail into the basket, just like other years, but this seems much earlier in the season. Perhaps my favorite tiny bird is claiming it early for cold nights ahead.

Speaking of which, I'm feeling a tiny bit of a change in the late evening and morning air, aaaaaah, lovely.
Autumn can't arrive too soon for me. . . . . . 
and I'll be spending part of it 'across the pond' - more on that later!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gathering in the Hydrangeas. . . . . .

This has been such a disappointing Summer regarding the hydrangea blooms.The exceptionally cold Winter here in the southeast, followed by a torrid, parched Summer which seems endless, has everything and everyone suffering a malaise. Even as I write, afternoon temperatures are still reaching the mid-90's in central North Carolina - this has meant fewer blooms of a much smaller size, and the colors fading earlier than usual.

A couple of weeks ago -

All my hydrangeas are blue, either Nikko Blue or Endless Summer. 
They are old bushes and were cut almost to the ground when house painting took place several years back. 
They soon rebounded and the past couple of years did well. I was able to cut huge bunches for drying and sharing with friends.

This past weekend they were starting to fade fast to beautiful shades of chartreuse and pink, so I decided to start cutting in hopes they will dry and remain pretty for the Winter months. Some are already too far gone, turning to brown and looking wrinkled and old. . . . . rather like the gardener, yours truly! These, facing inwards towards the front porch have been saved from sunburn and they are now here. . . . . . 

. . . . . . . . on the dining room table and hopefully will dry gently and hold their petals without curling and crinkling.

How about you? 
Are you in an area where your hydrangeas have fared well through the Summer months?  
Will you be cutting and drying to make Autumn and Winter displays for your home?
I strip all leaves and put mine in just a little water, 
leaving them until it evaporates, then letting them 
dry naturally, this usually works well.
Any tips on saving lovely hydrangeas are always appreciated.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Well I'll be domed!

Last weekend Jasmin messaged me from her fun, part time workplace 
It was a photo of another display dome and it had just arrived 
at the shop - was I interested?
You bet I was. "Please hold it for me dear personal shopper
Nice wood base, glass dome about 13" tall.
Took a ride over later in the afternoon and sweet co-owner 
Jenny gave me a great deal - thanks as always Jenny.

For now I'm displaying three resin life-sized artichokes 
as they are cool-looking - later I'm thinking a stack of 
mini pumpkins, perhaps sprayed matte 
nickel silver - I loved that look on these larger 
ones I painted last Autumn.

I can't believe I'm already thinking about decorating for 
Autumn. I bet you have special things you're planning
to display this coming season . . . . . .  
when it's cooler and our energy has returned.
I'm even thinking wool coats, sweaters and tall boots. . . 
can't come soon enough for me after this hot Summer!