Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Redecorating: Pardon the Mess!

Regular readers may have already noticed that there's a bit of redecorating going on here around the Oasis ... for quite a while, I've felt that my old "design" was looking really tired and tattered and needed an updating, so I finally screwed up my courage to the sticking point, and made the scary transition to the new Blogger templates. Now I'm glad I did, though it did scramble up quite a few things in the process, but now that I've restored some semblance of its original order, I think the ole Oasis has a lot of room to grow in the coming months. I hope you'll continue to like what you see, especially when the snows recede and venturing outside isn't dangerous anymore (as it has been frequently of late!) ... the promise of the bulbs and spring flowers is already making me impatient!

Au salon de la rue des moulins
, Toulouse Lautrec, 1894

Now, some of you may be wondering what Toulouse Lautrec has to do with all this ... trust me, it does go with the redecorating theme. This piece was a placement we made back in August when we had a major rearrangement and decorating of the living room, and it somehow didn't make the cut at the time. When we watched Moulin Rouge again on New Year's Eve, I was reminded that I'd never posted this Lautrec lithograph and decided it was about time to do so! This lithograph is from a series of numbered and stamped editions from the Musée Toulouse Lautrec in Albi, France ... though it's not one of his more famous works, the subject matter is well known in his work. Yes, these are filles de joie from a maison privée on Rue des moulins in Paris, where he was reputed to have spent some time living around this time period. I know little else about this particular work, but, as a long time Lautrec admirer, I'm really glad it's part of my collection.

I came by this print rather by accident ... one of the former owners of the company where I work had bought this for the office and it arrived damaged (broken glass and frame), and no one really wanted to put it up in the office. Quite frankly, I was the only admirer (other than the purchaser) who liked it and it wandered about the office before ending up in my cube. When our office went 'virtual' a year ago, all of the artwork was divvied up among the employees, and this, the ugly duckling was unwanted ... except by me! So I got to bring it home in its ramshackle frame to await better treatment, which took a few months but finally happened. Since Fernymoss is a professional framer (he's the frame shop manager for a local retail big box craft store), he was delighted to take it on as a project. Believe me, the framing work wasn't cheap, but the results more than made up for the expense! This photo doesn't do justice to it really, because it looks like it should be hanging in a museum ... well in a sense it is, the museum of our eclectic delights ... thus the inclusion in this post devoted to spiffing up the familial spaces, such as this blog.
Of course you must have guessed that more puppy pictures were inevitable, didn't you? Here are a couple of candids of Hanna playing with her new squeaky puppy Kong earlier tonight ... we've just about decided that Kongs are the only way to go for her in terms of toys right now, because she manages to destroy just about anything else (even apparently durable) at this point. And boy, do the Kong toys keep her entertained and busy! Just what a growing puppy needs to slake that chewing instinct. One of our dear friends from the neighborhood dropped by last night with a welcome bag of toys and treats for her, only to see her destroy two of them in minutes ... I felt so bad about that, but at least a few of the things she gave Hanna seem like they may survive to play another day. As responsive and obedient as she is already, I have to keep reminding myself that she is still a puppy and any kind of insane idiosyncratic behavior is indeed possible ... but isn't that part of why we love pups? Their in the moment way of living and their downright funny-crazy antics ... honestly, I'd forgotten about a lot of that, since Pepa was a bit older when I got her, but still wild and crazy ... but that was 13 years ago and many things have changed since then. Anyway, here's Hanna chewing away on her Kong and reveling in the squeakitude!
Here's the happy pup taking a break and holding one of her new favorite toys securely in her paws. I set her loose earlier tonight with the evil alien squeaky mouse for a while and she went wild, bounding across the room squeaking and growling at it as she lept about ... despite the noise (I was trying to watch Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show at the time, with varying degrees of success), she was having such a great time entertaining herself (and me) after being such a good girl while I worked today. Now in our second week, we sort of have a routine established now ... out in the morning, breakfast, lounging on the futon in my office for most of the day (with regular outs) and then romping at night. And, despite the cold, she even looks forward to "walkies" with Fernymoss when he gets home from work ... and for that, he's declared that she is going to get boots very soon to protect those puppy paws that aren't quite tough enough yet for the snow and cold. We'll see how that works out, but she does get chilly quickly outside with her short coat, so anything we can do to ease that, we'll do (though I've always thought doggie boots silly ... curmudgeonly me).

So, tonight at Casa IVG, the new doggie era continues to evolve, and we couldn't be happier with our new little girl ... I'm glad that my previous dogs Coco and Pepa had a paw in her being here ... before we got Hanna I had a series of dreams about them, and in retrospect, I feel they were messages to seek Hanna out and make her a member of the extended family, but that's a post to come when I can do them justice. Suffice to say, Coco the corgi tipped me off about her and Pepa gave her approval ... you'll have to wait for the rest at some future point.

So ... please let me know what you think of the new look around the place (I've even posted a poll, lol), and make any suggestions you think would improve the overall look! I believe in evolution in blogs as well! It's about time this one had a bit of a shake up!


Roses and Lilacs said...

I like the new look. Sometimes I think about changing the format on mine but I'm too chicken;)

Good framing job on the picture!

FARfetched said...

It'll do. Your picture of the picture got cut off in the frame, but that's a matter of resizing. Speaking of the picture, it's interesting… kind of a candid look at the ladies at rest. Definitely worth rescuing.

Janet said...

It is a great picture.

I can't remember the name of the artist right now, we're sick and feverish... but Danni has a favorite painter and he does the backstage dancing/ballerina drawings. This reminds me very much of those that she has of his. Gosh I must be sick... I can't remember an artists name HA!

I love the photos of Hannah. And I love that you guys adopt. Lady at work bought a puppy from a pet shop.... GRRRRRRRRRR! We all tried to stop her, too. Of course, it now has worms and is a biter. Some people.

I now know who Hannah reminds me of. The ears and the tongue photo did it for me. She reminds me... and don't get mad... she reminds me of Wile E. Coyote. :) He'd use his ears as a form of language just like Hannah does. :D

Acme Kong!

It's cold and icky here. Yesterday we had freezing rain and then it snowed. I slid just coming out of my driveway so waited an hour before going into work and now sick like the kids. Going to be a short paycheck for moi.

I'm slumping back to bed. Bye from Portland.

boran2 said...

It looks great, IVG. Interestingly enough, shortly before I read this post I was watching Rick Steves' travel show on PBS. He was in France at viewing some of Lautrec's work. He showed the very same piece. Interesting coincidence since it is not a well known work.

Gail said...

I love the new look...I tried changing mine and ran back! I have to relearn how to size my header photo and I am attached to it! Many bloggers change theirs seasonally but I seem to be a rut walker!

Hannah continues to charm us...she is too cute. Love the booties and sweater I am already imaging for her!
Tell Fernymoss the print looks great~~

Take care.


Janet said...

I asked Danni, we're both home sick, and she said Degas, Edgar Degas. Then she rolled her eyes and gave me a "duh!".



Annie in Austin said...

The design is pleasant, IVG - and the crocus picture at top is a winner.

Were the photos of Hanna supposed to be square? The properties show the Kong photo as 500px × 375px so I'm guessing you uploaded rectangular photos. This template seems to have proportionately more narrow main section and wider sidebar so maybe Blogger crops them automatically?

We have a new Grand-Dog...maybe I'd better look for one of those Kong toys!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I know what you mean! I dithered for months about changing over to the new templates, but that "some changes will be lost" warning really intimidated me! It looks like you started with the new version, so you should be less afraid ... and it's been fun tinkering with the different layouts and color and font options so far. At least you can always revert to your old version if you are unhappy, so just jump if the inclination hits you!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

I've been fighting with photos busting the margins of the blog for months now, and that's what ultimately made me jump into the new version. After tonight, I'm almost happy with the results, but you can expect more changes. If you have any suggestions, please pass them along ... you're a lot more blog savvy than I am!

Funny you see them as "at rest," where I think they're bored and sitting around waiting for "Jean" to arrive, hehe.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Janet,
Sorry to hear you've got that nasty crud that has been going around here (the one the got me at Christmas) The weather sure hasn't been cooperating for either of us, that's for sure! I hope you and Danni start feeling better soon, but if you have what we did, it's a 3+ week bout of yuck....

We have never "bought" a dog, but have always chosen to adopt because we prefer mixed breeds ... they're smarter, healthier and just damn good dogs! Now, I have to admit if I could afford a pure bred Cardigan Welsh Corgi, I would search out a nice one to bring home, but they're rare and usually start at around $1200 for "pet quality" dogs. Too rich for my blood! That's why I watch dog shows, lol!

I think that's hilarious you thought of Wile E. Coyote! No offense taken, in fact, I was always a fan of Wile E., and I bet Hanna would be pleased if she knew who he was ... she sure can run fast and jump high!

You guys get well soon! Hugs from our house to yours!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Talk about synchonicity! That's really wild you saw that there, and then here ... I take it Rick was in Albi, the home of the museum? There's a lot of Lautrec in Paris in the Musée d'Orsay as well, but the real home is in the Albi museum, a place well worth visiting if you're ever in that neck o'the woods!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail!
I have a lot to learn about resizing the header photo too, as this new incarnation proves tonight! Don't be afraid to experiment though, because nothing is changed until you hit "save" so you can tinker to your heart's delight! As you can see, I've been having fun myself!

Hanna is charming us continually too! I took a short nap after work today and she jumped up into my chair and nestled down on my chest under my arm and snoozed away with me ... she's such a great little snuggler! And that's nice in this weather we're still having!


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

I was going to chime in with Degas, but Danni beat me to it! No surprise those guys knew each other and were contemporaries, eh? Though at the time people tended to consider Degas the "serious" artist, while Lautrec was the "poster guy." Pity, because aside from his famous poster work, he did a lot of other really interesting neo-Impressionist work!

Get well, babe!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Annie,
Thanks for the props! You're right, those photos were mysteriously cropped, so I ditched that template for a "wider" one that accommodates my photos. I like the new look I got tonight, though I'll probably tinker more with the color scheme, but will consult Fernymoss (Mr. Color Consultant) to see what he thinks.

New grand-dog??? I can't wait to hear all the details! A Kong would be a great gift, especially if s/he is little and still wants to chew ... and they come in many sizes, so you should be able to find the right one. We got ours at Petco and Target, and they're not that expensive, given how tough they are!


Shady Gardener said...

You are very fortunate to have this print. And the framing is wonderful. Hanna is as cute as can be, and I really like your new blog format! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady!
I sure think I lucked out on this print, but since I was the only one who actually knew who Lautrec was, I think I was entitled to it! hehe

Glad you like the new layout... Once I figure out more of the details I think it will be so much better than the old one.

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