Sunday, August 18, 2013

Heritage and Tradition: A trip to the Smithsonian

Hello Inspired Readers,
I know...I haven't posted anything for almost a year and now 3 posts in a week. Well, my hope is to do one or two Inspiring posts per week, but I'm catching up a little!
So, my new business name...If you guess it, get a big prize. Seriously! Make a guess, after this post! 
I have changed the way you can comment, so go to the bottom of my blog site and you can now post, even if you aren't signed up! (Hit the grey words at top Inspired Design and it will take you to the blog)

These fabulous pics below are from a trip my mom and I took to the WHOA show & the Smithsonian! Whoa show, next blog. But in order to view the archives on my Grandpa (Allan Adler) and Great Grandpa (Porter Blanchard) you have to GO to the Smithsonian, in Washington DC and actually view the archives of the American Craft Wing, but there is intense security. Firstly we had to make a reservation months in advance. Then, we had to check our purses into a special set of lockers and go into a room and take nothing in OR out. We could use our phones or their copy machines and that was it. AND they were not messing around with the rules. We had to sign an email first, then a copy in person upon entering. OH...and when we entered the building we had to have a security check with our drivers liscences, photo id first, then we were issued an i.d. badge. They were strict about lunch from noon to one, then we could come back. There was no loud talking, laughing or fun of any type to bed had! Not one ounce! Oh, also, we had to take the folders out in a certain order, leave a bookmark on the spot we were looking at and return it FIRST, before we were allowed to move on. We were not allowed to BOTH touch the papers, only one of us. (I'm a BIG rule follower and I was SCARED of this lady), the history and heritage that came out of these fragile papers was indescribable. It was beyond worth it to fly back to Washington DC for one night with my mom to view these. There was no pomp or circumstance involved, simply an offsite office building of documents. Smithsonian documents. It was pretty amazing that the Smithsonian treasures my Grandpa and Great Grandpa as some of their founding Silversmiths. 

The ability to touch my Great Grandfathers very large sketches from HIS own portfolio was breathtaking. To see his words scribbled and his pencil markings for clients was amazing. His sketch lines were so similar to mine, and his ideas and phrases were so inherently familiar. It's very difficult to put into words how impactful seeing, feeling, touching, smelling these papers that my Grandpa (and Great Gpa) had had their hands all over. Seeing the familiar right brain touches all over were again, overwhelming. 

I began this journey because I was to write an article for Silver Magazine. As I did my research, I stumbled upon person after person who told me story after story about my Allan & Porter. One after the other, so much so, I couldn't keep up! I gave up on the story and began to dive into the research as it seemed to beckon me into it's history. The Arts & Crafts Museum of Los Angeles wants to have a series, I've been invited to some incredible craftsmen's homes and studio's to learn and experience what they know about my Allan & Porter. (Shorter than saying Grandpa Allan Adler & Great Grandpa Porter Blanchard)

As the research developed I was directed to a silver historian in Orange County who had done extensive research on my families silver line. I know you won't believe this (I hardly do) but I have 450 silversmith's in my family. Huh...It began in England and they immigrated to Boston, and so on. But 450, how could that be? Well, with 8 or 9 common in big families it doesn't take long for it to get to 450, with spouses and entire families of 8 children learning the trade. It was fascinating. I'm still trying to absorb all the information. 

I'll give a brief description of the pics...but the reason I share is because a big part of the new business name is from my heritage! Here is some...
My Great's sketch above is dark, rich and certain. I only knew Porter until I was like 12, but he taught my Grandpa Allan everything and I was very close with G Allan. He was very certain and definite. He was never called wishy-washy! I took a dear friend and client to him once to design a stand for an Australian wood bowl and it was both entertaining and beautiful. My client was an engineer. My Grandfather was the most right brained person that perhaps ever existed. Funny combo.

I love this sketch of my Grandpa Porters workshop in Burbank. It turns out in the most amazing turn of events ever that a client of mine a few years ago lived next door to Grandpa Porter. Now, I didn't meet through a relative or such, but a referral from a friend. After designing for them for over a year, I suggested a silver set to go with their Federalist style and she said "Oh how funny, my next door neighbor was a silversmith when I grew up." I had remembered she grew up in Pacoima (where the studio was moved to) long story short my friend Loretta grew up next door to my Grandpa Porter. When we were going to select marble for their kitchen we stopped by the house, which was still there but going to be torn down (of all things in one week from when we visited). What a crazy story! I know, I almost don't believe it either.
The above pic was my Uncle Lewie (Allan's Bro in law, Porter's son in law) and his boys my Uncle Ralph and Troy.  Below, my Grandpa Porter as I remember him...much older!

Here was book that was published, in limited edition, for Gumps about Silversmithing...Porter Blanchard. Above, was my pretty Auntie Alice holding up some silver for the camera's. She was very sweet and lovely.

Above is Allan's Store on the Sunset Hollywood! Chin Chin Chinese Food is there now...but for my whole childhood I would take a trip to this spot and see the most amazing retail store up top and workshop on the basement story.
Above, Grandpa Porter...crafting a spoon.
Below, Uncle Lewie...

My mom and I at the Smithsonian with the folders of our heritage.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Big and Little Beautiful

Hello again...
I'm so glad to hear from you again and glad you liked the last post. I'm feeling so much joy getting back into home & design. It is my big joy, along with cooking now!!!

Sidenote: What is up with me and comma's? I noticed my last entry had comma's all over the place and in all the wrong places! The comma key was broken (wink).

I didn't post very much this last year because I was more than knee deep in figuring out some minor (though sometimes they felt like major) health issues. My daughter has Hashimoto's disease, and I, hypothyroid. I mentioned I'd share some of the books, but for now Gwyneth Paltrow's two books from the last post should keep you busy. She gives a wealth of information between her recipes not one of which isn't amazingly delicious. (Yes, she has a sous chef, staff, and tons of money for the incredibly expensive ingredients, but I am still a huge fan and can tell where to skip...for example on the $55. honey) I studied like crazy to figure out some natural solutions...

We now eat only organically, though I will sneak a horrific diet coke now and then or a cup of coffee, but once I began reading about the ingredients and what the GMO's and hormones do to our bodies I decided to make the switch. After the first six months my dental hygienist said, "WHAT did you do?" (gasp, I thought I was in huge trouble) as I normally have to go in every 3 months for bad gums. She said my gums were now normal, so I was thrilled!  Really!!!

I share this because I am enjoying cooking like crazy! My kids don't complain anymore, maybe their pallets are mature now? My husband and I have a big garden and the veggies and herbs below are all home grown! I also share this because the direction I am going with my business (blog and life) is I guess what I have known all along...I thrive on living in positivity and beauty. I LOVE to concentrate on what is good, beautiful, lovely etc..(Phil 4:8, you know, my favorite). I discovered that while I am a realist, the life is sucked out of me by concentrating too much energy on well...the opposite...what needs "work". 

I love to be around people, places and things that find the GOOD, JOY and BLESSING in everything!  I am inspired by my friend LORI (joy and light even in cancer) for example, though thankfully now recovered...who was even joyful throughout that journey. I like/desire to call out the good in everything. I've realized THAT is who I am. (Perhaps it is because it is also easy for me to become negative if surrounded with negativity or pessimism or finding what doesn't work well, my weakness!!!)   I will be focusing now with my new business NAME on what is worthy of celebration...that is where I'm going. I'm so excited for you to join me. 

So, before I move on to all these future joys....celebrate with me this summer's precious memories! Write yours down too! Share them with us! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

As I mentioned before, but blogger ate this photo, this was right before I tumbled down the hill. :)

 My amazing cousin, like a bro, Dan!

 More dolphin pics...before we move on.
The kids were giggling and screaming. 
We were speechless. In my whole life I have never seen anything like it.

 The joy of listening to Justin play guitar is just the best.
Never tell him I said that! (wink)
Catherine dancing to Justin's music. Precious beyond words.

 I am in love with all things nautical, the line, the knots, the way the woodwork is done and cared for! Sanded, varnished, smooth and shiny. It so reminds me of my childhood aboard my grandpa's boat the Shawnee and our summers in Catalina. His big permanently black hands from silversmithing pulling up the chains to set sail, the smell of diesel, the rocking of the hull, washing dishes together...
Love, love, love!

 Baby Shoes!!!

 I absolutely loved the wall they made out of chicken wire and rocks. I took a ton of pictures of the beautiful simple solution.

 Isn't this close up of the white seaweed just gorgeous?
The shadows of the palm trees on the bocce ball court was so enchanting.
 Roasted beets are one of the pretties and most delicious veggies around! These were yellow and purple and I just wanted to make a pretty dish with lots of color!

 Isn't this lettuce just gorgeous? I love the color.
I love these onions. I picked them, washed them, then roasted them. Just beautiful, gorgeous nature.

 Catherine's blue eyes are almost piercing! 
The girls before dinner...
and another type of Paella...
Silhouette of the boys!

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