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English Muse: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sinatra and Strauss

Hello my dears, my mom on Friday gave me a box of my dad's old records, a mix of classical music, big band and jazz. We spent the holiday weekend listening to them, drinking wine and reminiscing. The music reminded me again of how capacious my dad's mind was. There were so many aspects of beauty he enjoyed -- music, art, literature. Some of the best conversations I had with him concerned all three. It gave me a deep appreciation of the different cultures of the world, especially those of Europe. Before I even set foot in Italy or Austria or France,
I was already in love.

Listening this weekend to Strauss' waltz, Vienna Woods, and Respighi's Fountains of Rome, I was taken back to my New Mexico childhood, when I first realized how big and beautiful the world really was. Music carries us places that words can't quite describe. It also evokes deep memories. I remember my father playing these records over and over on his old stereo.

As they pop and crackle now on my Crosley turntable, I've learned something about my father: With his overtures and waltzes, he had a flair for the dramatic and the romantic. There were no requiems in his collection, just grand happiness. Thinking of that now makes me happy.

I hope you're having a lovely week. I'm excited to get back to posting here more often!


Friday, May 28, 2010

My Dad

Dear Friends, as kind Liss informed you, my beloved father passed away last week after a long illness. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated not only the inimitable Daydream Lily and all the other bloggers who stepped in to keep this site going, but also all the expressions of affection and support you have left here. I feel so fortunate to be part of this wonderful community.

Before I resume regular posting next week, I want to share with all of you a few thoughts on my remarkable Dad. He was born in rolling hill country along the Kentucky-Ohio border, where his surviving sisters live still. For 35 years he worked for General Electric as an aerospace engineer. He held several important patents for his inventions, and if you've recently flown on a Boeing airliner, chances are he'd devised the engine seals that kept you airborne. He loved his family and New Mexico, where I grew up, but his private passions were painting and sculpture. My home is filled with his art and every time I look at one of his paintings or sort through his watercolor portfolios, I'm reminded of how his character combined, in equal parts, an engineer's precision and a gifted artist's sensitivity and intuitive insight.
I will miss that very much.

One of the benfits of being formally jobless during his last illness was that I enjoyed the unexpected blessing of being able to spend a great deal of time with my dad. He'd always loved our moments together and looking back at how much we both enjoyed just going out for coffee and talking,
I so wish we'd done it more.

The hours we spent together during his final year and, particularly, during this past month are something I'll treasure for as long as I live. I had that rare privilege of hearing my father assure me of his unconditional love and of his great pride in the woman I'd become. I vividly recall how my heart soared when he called my daughter Isabella, his only grandchild, "your marvelous girl." It was his last gift to me--and one of the most precious among so many.

After he died, I asked my mother for his paint brushes and I've arranged them in vases about the house, each one a flower of memory, a reminder of the gentle but skilled hand that once held it. In one of our last conversations, my father said to me, "You've always been my shining star."
I know now that, if I glitter, it is with the light he gave me.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a moment

Dearest readers, Tina has asked me to let you all know her dear Dad passed away today. Please say a prayer for her and the family.

♥ Liss

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

White Cells & Blast Cells

Hello my dears, it's Tina here. I wanted to check in and give you an update on my dad, who is fighting leukemia in the hospital at the moment. For the past week, we've been keeping vigil at his bedside, watching helplessly as his body wages a war against a growing army of white blood cells. A week ago, his white cell count was 23,000 -- twice the normal rate. Today it topped 140,000, mixed with "blast" cancer cells. His hands and arms are covered with bruises. He stopped eating days ago, despite my mom's delivery of home-cooked food.

Yesterday, the hematologist gently asked him to open his eyes.
"Mr. Daunt, can you tell me what I look like?"
My father lifted his head, opened his blue eyes and answered: "You're a handsome man."

This horrible disease will inevitably rob him of his life but it has not yet stolen his sense of humor. And because of this I have hope...

Photo above by Dicky Jiang

Important PS: I am so grateful to the Liss, LenoreNeverMore and the other guest bloggers who have kept English Muse going. And thank you for reading. Love you. T.

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ten days of perfect tunes

Hi Everyone, I'm Flaurette from Floddertjeblog. First of all, I'd like to thank Tina for giving me the opportunity to write on her amazing blog. English Muse was one of the first blogs I regularly followed when I started blogging about a year ago, so I'm very happy to be doing my first ever guest post here!

Well, I suppose I have to introduce myself before anything else! I'm a french art student who runs an inspiration blog called Floddertjeblog. If there are any dutch readers, they might recognize the name! Floddertje is a character created by dutch illustrator M. G. Schmidt, my family used to call me this when I was little. Oh, yes, I'm dutch too! Back to what I was saying: I post everything that inspires me, photography, illustration, fashion, music, design, home interiors...(a king of great and perfect melting-pot!). Come visit me!

For this post, I thought I'd share with you two of my recent favourites.
Let me introduce you to Sophie Richards's photography. Be sure to have a look at her blog, she always shares such beautiful delicate pictures!

And last but not least, my favorite doodle by The Notebook doodles who doesn't need any introduction I guess!

So this is it! Thanks again to Tina! I hope she's going well and that she'll be back very soon!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend turns to Monday don't you know...

... Helloo English Muse readers! yup~its' me, LenoreNeverMore* once again...from the other side of the Blog!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I thought I should just share some of my weekend photos today. I live not too far from the beach, about 20 minutes short-slow drive. It's always so nice to smell or taste the salty know weekend has its own scent right?! (sniff-sniff I should bottle it!) Anyway, It's Monday here & I can't wait for my weekend to arrive again! Am I bad or am I bad?! Confession; Monday has never been a friend...Weekend is!!
PS: Please send our thoughts & prayers to our Tina and her family. She is still spending her time with her dear father in the hospital. ~Peace be with you darling Tina!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend* is finally here! ~yesssss...

Answer to the 'Guessing Game' :
The always lovely Brigitte Bardot*
( congrats to those who guessed it right! Clever you ! )
Isn't this FUN* ?!
Tina & I would do the above routine one day.
But first thing first...we must find the perfect tartan skirts to match!
Who wants to join...
" Have a wonderful weekend everyone! "
much love, LenoreNeverMore*
a.k.a guest blogger
-Credits: Bardot via & GIF by L i l l i C a r r é found via Down&OutChic

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday Inspiration

Hey lovely readers of English Muse, Liss aka Daydream Lily here and I thought Id pop in to share some Friday inspiration or things to get you through your Friday.
Happy Friday!!

Let's play a guessing game, shall we?

Can anyone guess who she is ?
Let me be generous & give you a BIG clue...
the clue : she is famous! (I'm generous like that!)
Answer will be revealed on Friday Darlings!
a.k.a guest blogger

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I am a FAN*

Vera Canvas Prints Set
I'd like to share this CHARMing floral art works by Vera Neumann [1907-1993]
Originally created as silk scarves from the 60s, have now been reproduced
on canvas [available for purchase~HERE ]
Vera spent decades creating delightful bright designs
that radiated so much charms & optimism.
Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly & John Lennon were among her fans! am I, ehem*~ I have a few of her pieces now! (show-off !)
Anyway, those of us who frequent the flea market scenes,
should be on the look out for her silk designs I think.
Simply adore flea markets... get butterflies in my stomach each time
I reach the crowded flea market car park! ~am I alone here???
Do share your favorite things to get when you visit your favorite flea markets
errr...besides the fresh corn-dogs? ~YUM*

a.k.a guest blogger

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Garage Makeover*

" cute is this! "
... The 250 sq foot home in Seattle that was converted recently from an old garage. Michelle de la Vega acted as her own general contractor, and spent only $32,000 for the entire renovation.~Wow Lady! I'm certainly impressed! Check out the entire article and more garage-now home sweet* home tour here.
a.k.a guest blogger
-Via & Photo NY Times.

"So sorry Tina...I have to do this to your lovely readers!"

Question Of The Week :
" Thank You "
[...don't worry it's not even loaded!]
a.k.a guest blogger

Monday, May 10, 2010

" Good Morrrning! "




~Hello Everyone!
Tina & I hope that you had a lovely-lovely Mother's Day weekend.
"...did the kids make you a special breakfast? "
~my-my-my...these photographs by Francesca Bondy are delectable and so drool-worthy no? We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but must admit that I am not a huge eater in the morning. But when the night falls ...well that's another different story~ I devour!!! Anyway, I normally just prefer a simple warm breakfast, a quick omelet; 2 egg whites + 1 yolk on a piece of toast. Either that, or the wholesome goodness of a warm bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries. ~Do you enjoy your breakfast? ...tell me what you LUV* to have (I'm very nosy like that!).
P.S: Thank you Tina & all your readers' lovely comments, certainly make me feel so welcome here~SWEET!

Friday, May 7, 2010


"It's me...from the other side of the block!"


Well hello everyone!
LenoreNeverMore* here, and I'm so glad to be one of the guest bloggers.
It's my very first time EVER! a tiny bit nervous here, be gentle pretty pleassse...
~Let me briefly introduce myself:
Well, I enjoy blogging about art & design, food, travels and once in a while, even
about men! yup~ men that make me go either 'blush-blush' or 'grrr-grrr!' (my-my...I'm so eloquent with words!).
It all depends on my quirky-hormonal mood or mind!. (I'm quite dangerous like that!).
Anyway, hope to do the same here, to uplift & delight each time I drop by this side of the block..errr I mean blog!
It's going to be FUN* !!!


I've promised Tina to behave myself...errr
But I must admit that sometimes I can't help 'my-juvenile-self' !
(so pardon me... it might be rather cheeky & raunchy)
Just hope that Tina doesn't regret having me as her guest here, in her beautiful blog!


...see you again soon?! I hope...


-naughty photos of Siri Tollerod by Ellen Von Unwerth for Lula

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Web Designer's Inspiration File

Hi there, my name is Michael, and I have the pleasure of wasting some of your time this fine day.

Not 'what I'm going to talk about will waste your time'-waste your time', but rather 'if you're anything like me, one thing will lead to another and you'll find that it has grown dark outside and the cat is clawing your leg for having forgotten to feed it'-waste your time.

And I don't even have a cat.

My personal blogging usually centers on web design, film and games (which I used to develop, now I do freelance web design). Today however, in honor of Tina, I thought I'd highlight some of my inspirational watering holes.

Starting with the ultimate rabbit hole: Ffffound. A chaotic stream of design, typography and photography ranging from the cute through the absurd, beautiful and outrageous to the sexy and mysterious. It's amazing. It's driven entirely by its community, and is updated... always. Blink, and there's something new.

Now, it bears mentioning that you do risk coming across nude photos; so depending on your temperament and surroundings... But then, that's true of most of the internet, isn't it? Luckily, their site mechanics seem to magically keep you around the kinds of images you're looking for, so don't let that keep you away.

Of course going there just now, I spent half an hour picking out stuff for my inspiration folder:

I'm a Star Wars nerd as well, did I mention that?

I have no idea how this was done, but wow.

I want these for my new office!

And yes, there's even plenty of room for nesting envy (I've got a folder full of 'God I wish I lived there'-images from Ffffound).

Then there's wine label designs, flower wrapping designs, fashion, ehm..., this guy, fantastic posters, impossible architecture, landscapes like you wouldn't believe and of course aliens from below.

So that's Ffffound. My favorite watering hole of them all

Then there are some of the more eclectic, like Sleevage, a site dedicated to album cover artwork. One of the unfortunate side effects of downloadable music, is the loss of the album cover. I personally love UNKLE's War Stories and Pocket Symphony by Air, which is covered in great detail, including the manufacturing process of the figures used on the cover. I'm also a huge Trent Reznor fan, and Year Zero is about as good as it gets, with regards to making an album feel like a worthwhile purchase.

Then there's Letters of Note, a site that features... ehm... yeah. Me being a science fiction and film fan, this letter from Philip K. Dick talking about Blade Runner was a great read, as was this 'letter', albeit short.

Now we come to something a bit less... arty. Namely Information Aesthetics, dealing in data visualization, one of those things I like to follow peripherally, and in which wish I had some talent. It sounds dull, but then you see the visualizing of the song lyrics from the band OK Go, or the human body as a subway map. I don't have any idea what most of it means; I just like looking at it.

Related, by the way, is Visual Complexity.

Also check out The Ampersand, a blog dedicated to just that. The Art of the Title Sequence (so many memorable ones; I hold a special place in my heart for Bullitt). The Orientalist Gallery, which features paintings of the romantic middle-east of old. My favorite of the orientalists is Jean-Léon Gérôme, whose art I could lose myself in for hours at a time.

I could keep going on and on, but at least let me leave you with Swiss Miss, run by Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss designer living in New York, who runs one of my favorite design blogs, and who is in a sense one of the sources of inspiration for my starting up as a freelance designer on my own.


I hope that wastes just half as much time for you as it's done for me.

Editor's Note: This post was created by the very modest Michael Heilemann, computer code master and creator of WordPress' legendary Kubrick theme. His brilliant design helped establish the framework for the modern blog. For more on Michael and Kubrick's secret history, please see the story I had the honor of writing recently for the Huffington Post! -- Tina

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

abby try again

Beautiful film photography from Abby Try Again.
x Liss

PS. I miss Tina, I hope shes doing ok.

Monday, May 3, 2010

true scandinavian

A sneak peek at soon-to-be published book True Scandinavian by lifestyle and interiors photographer Pia Ulin. I like the mix of quirky and vintage with white light filled spaces, I think this is exactly how Id like to have my home one day.

You can look through more images as well as her other published books - I also like a room of ones own - on her website (discovered via From Scandinavia with love)

I really must get over to that part of the world, I think id love it!!

x Liss


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blogger Meetup

Hello everyone! My name is Micaela and I'll be a sporadic guest blogger, popping in every now and then while Tina is away. I run an inspiration blog, The Drifter and the Gypsy, where I write about photography, art, interior design, and anything else that inspire me.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Tina in person. It was such fun. Tina really is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. We went to brunch, then hit up these amazing boutiques in South Pasadena that were so visually inspiring.
Blogger Meet-Up
Blogger Meet-Up
The first boutique we went to was Marz run by a lovely lady named Marcia. She has such a great eye for pretty stuff! The store was so beautifully decorated with flea market finds.
Blogger Meet-Up
The boutique next door was Camille. Unfortunately, the owner, Camille was away so I didn't get to meet her. She has this awesome wallpaper of faces in her fitting room. All the clothes there were so pretty and feminine.
Blogger Meet-Up
Blogging is a funny thing. You don't get it unless you're part of it. Which is why it was such an amazing experience to meet up with a fellow blogger-we pretty much talked about blogging the whole time, blogging nerds we are! There's a certain buzz, a certain excitement that only comes when meeting other creative people. And I felt it that day. Days like these should be cherished.