Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Furniture / Rugs / Art

Good morning everyone!

First off, I'd like to thank all those who DO send me emails telling me how much they enjoy the Blog. I enjoy writing it. I AM having a good time here. I know Mike has to work very hard and the language barrier is always there. It can be frustrating! I do think he's enjoying himself too. He's playing golf each week - last Saturday he played 18 holes - he didn't do as well as he wanted but he had fun. And again this Saturday, he's going to play another 18 holes of golf.

Today I got an email from my friend, Beth Marko Fox, Class of 1972, Beaver High School. She asked me for some photos of some fabrics and some cloisonne. I have bought some cloisonne items - not much but I will include them in a future blog. Tomorrow I'm going to the fabric market - again. I need to pick up some slacks and have a fitting for a silk jacket. Mike went to have a fitting for his winter coat last Sunday.

If you've got special requests like Beth's, please let me know. A request forces us to make a field trip and my friends are always up for a field trip - today we're going on the Jewish Ghetto Tour on The Bund. CeCe and I have to be in the lobby here at Shama at 8:30 so her driver, Skip, can take us on the cross-town journey during rush hour. It should be very interesting. More about that next week.

The weather here is pretty good still. Yesterday; however, it was dark and gloomy all day and it drizzled for a while so my friends, CeCe and Ellen and I went to the Furniture Street. It isn't too far from our house and it is close to Ellen's house - but I didn't take my camera with me. I think the best way to describe it is this: It's a street with some furniture malls on it. We went into one Mall that had four floors of furniture stores in them. We stopped in at a carpet store too - beautiful carpets - no, I didn't take any credit cards - I'm leaving them at the apartment - but I did see some beautiful rugs.

These malls remind me of a huge Wickes store. Remember Wickes? Each store had a theme - either leather, contemporary, futons, children's furniture, kitchen, family rooms, some very interesting "Gone with the Wind" furniture and much, much more. We saw things we liked and things we walked right by.

We saw Natuzzi, La-Z-Boy and another brand I cannot remember. I know that Suzi has a chair and ottoman made by these people. It is a Scandinavian brand and the chairs are leather or suede. CeCe's husband, Brian wants one of these chairs in the worst way and they run about $5,000 back in the States. We figured one of these chairs here would run about $1,900. So I'm sure she's taking him over there to check it out.

We also saw some traditional Chinese furniture - some absolutely beautiful things. I will try and go back to take some photos of what they look like. There was some contemporary Chinese furniture that I didn't like too. Some stores don't want you to take photos because that might mean you're stealing their designs. You and I know that I can't steal designs - I can only appreciate them. I'm not talented in that realm - I just recognize great beauty! You know - your child's first crayon sketch, the American flag, the Grand Canyon, a Pittsburgh skyline? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I like what I like.

Speaking of beauty, we also saw an art street that had some good and some bad art. I'm taking Mike back over there because I saw some great Chinese calligraphy and some beautiful watercolors. My Gunny - we called my maternal grandfather that name when we were kids - was a fabulous artist. My Aunt Frances is a fabulous artist herself but she has grandchildren to have fun with now so she doesn't dabble anymore. Sure wish she did though -I've been trying to get her to draw/paint/sketch me something for many years. My cousin, Tommy New is also an accomplished artist. God grants certain gifts to each of us. I can type. . . that's my gift!

Anyway, back to Gunny - my mother gave me two paintings he did that were in her dining room for years. They need re-framed but as all good art. They are currently at her house because I didn't want to put them in the storage facility. Yesterday, I saw some nice pieces that I'd like to buy for our apartment here and they will complement my other pieces at home too.

We also stopped by a porcelain store that had ginger jars, bowls, vases and the most amazing sinks. Yes, sinks. I saw some of the same thing last weekend at the Hongqaio Flower Market. I went there with John while Mike was golfing. The woman at the Flower Market told me that the plain sinks (usually one color) are about 150 RMB - about $20. The more detailed or those with lots of color range from 180 RMB to about 300 RMB. I will definitely be bringing back one or two of those. I will try and get some photos of those too. You won't believe how gorgeous they are.

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