Inspirations…

A Blog Fan stopped by Il Poggiolo. She wanted to get a look at that blue. Once surrounded by Our Blue-blue-blue, her reaction was Sure IS blue. I said Yep. And that Yellow in the Kitchen? You says it attacks bugs. Oh, Look! He’s right. They’re so many on the ceiling. Do they bite? No, only hoping for any residual when I deem to cook. You’re so funny! May I see the Sage-green too?  Sure. Don’t disturb the bugs. Well, before I go may I ask what was your inspiration? Oh, just some books. The tour ended. I make a terrible salesman for the fruits of My Labours.

Alone and a bit morally bereft, I thought back to Inspiration. You & I had collected quite a library of books, mostly, on architecture, renovation, stone houses, decorating, accessorising, stuffing a house in the country, even before we had laid eyes on Il Poggiolo.

You would come home from some conference, say in Paris, where he had found and bought a magnificent coffee table book Living in ArgentinaArgentine interiorsBegged the question What does Argentina have to do with an Italian farm-house? No reply other than Take a look. I’ve put post-its on what I like. Don’t mix them up, please. I loved every single page!!!

Perhaps, in a bid for retaliation, I’d  surf  amazon.com’s website late at night seeking some super delicious big picture book on what all one can do with stone and 10-14 days later arrived on Our Doorstep in Genoa, New Stone Architecture. New Stone ArchitectureThe thing costs a bloody fortune today. Nearly $1,000!!! Used too. Not when I had bought it though in 2004. My turn with the post-its. Mine were day-glo pink.

And, a friend lugged from NYC a book she thought You & I might like. Axel Vervoordt: Timeless Interiors. Axel Vervoordt Timeless InteriorsIt was a birthday gift for me. I have to say, I am an unstinting fan of Belgium design. To see wide oak planks oiled to a weird greyedgold forces me to take an extra heart-medication as I flip through the book’s enormous pages.

None of what can be seen in these publications has arrived copied per se at Il Poggiolo. Don’t think that’s the point. Inspiration does not mean to copy. It’s more the shot of permission for you to go out there and through the process of discovery create something your own. On that score, Living in Argentina, New Stone Architecture and Timeless Interiors did the trick and marvellously too. And, you have the proper answer now to that Fan’s querie. Gads.

http://www.amazon.com    http://www.amazon.it    http://www.amazon.co.uk

 

My German fan’s farm-house…

German Plywood PanelingIt must be a particular horror to find yourself the owner of a house in Italia only to stare at the grotesque manifestation of bad taste of your own people back home. Cannot hazard a guess what that would be for an American, unless it’s a mobile home in Tuscany. For our newly made German Friends… still My Italian House blog fans but, they have been upped in Our Fine Estimation… they are the proprietors of a formidable, quasi prestigious farm-house high up near the clouds and lined top-to-bottom with cheap plywood paneling… stained to the hilt too. You loved it!!!  Did mention the need of a suitable paint color. What, white? I gasped as I headed for the nearest door and air. I was quickly followed by Our German Friends. Poor things, they cook, clean, watch TV and run naked from the single and far-off XXL bathroom to the wardrobe in the upstairs hallway never escaping the confines of their wonky wood lining. Who could give a hoot about the presumed bishop’s coat of arms on the SE corner of the farm-house when the place looks like a bierstube in the Black Forest? Naturally, My German Fans confirmed their ardent desire to yank the paneling out at their first convenient opportunity. We were divided in Our Sympathies.

Oh! Hot off the You Historical Info Service… which, if the Truth were to be known, is You’s fleet of nurses, who assist him to surf the In-terrr-nett for everything from train schedules, airline tickets to the Vatican’s website on coat-of-arms. Betcha didn’t know the Vatican had such a thing. Apparently, that SE corner stemma, thought by Our Germans Friends to belong to a once-upon-a-time bishop, likely represents one Aragonio Malaspina, the singular member of the Malaspina dei Rami Secchi… as opposed to the Malaspina dei Rami Fioriti… to be listed as a bishop in the Church’s archive. A link… http://www.araldicavaticana.com. Be forewarned of the website’s sensationally cheap graphics and colors. Somewhat akin to a psychedelic Italian train departure/arrival board.

After You’s adventure with the paneling, it was my turn for the farm-house’s kitchen. I loved it!!! Not exactly, but then, what would be more than love? All for nought though. The new kitchen will be situated in the considered epicenter of the house and right next door to where a new XXL bathroom will go. These two items are mine to dispute. This new bathroom should, instead, be the larder, freezer, laundry room, vacuum-cleaner storage facility of the house and not a quick place to pee, shower and brush your teeth because your in-laws are coming. OK, put in a toilet and shower but size them S, please. I nearly lost my morning’s cappuccino e brioche when Our German Girl-Friend/Fan said she envisioned a center island cook top and the oven housed in a niche under the stairs… presumably because the stairs need to be heated? Why have a kitchen complex you have to roller-skate around? OK, that could be fun, but still!!! The current kitchen, and its view of incoming traffic climbing through 38,000 feet, is a masterpiece of quirky yet really cool design. Gottaknowittorecongizeit. An unknowingly artful concoction of alternating flooring materials… it takes a Masterful sort to cut up 30 square meters of linoleum, ceramic tiles AND wood into a gifted je ne sais pas qu’a look. AND THE COUNTERS!!! My Ideal. More of the same avantguardia of design… a huge “L” shaped contemporary-style white formica & beige wood laminate base counter… super smart looking though a bit too IKEA… hauled in from the couple’s old apartment in Berlin… is capped by the remnants of the old kitchen cabinetry painted in what You wanted as The Paint Color in La Casa Grande’s It-goes-elsewhere-over-my-dead-body Kitchen. The color? Creme Brûlée, naturellement. You loved the kitchen too!!!  And was equally shocked as I was of its imminent future. Upon this topic, we found Unity. The current kitchen’s design and the choice for the new one kept You & Me busy with designer babble for the next 27 to 36 hours… just to warn you, again.

The house properly sniffed, we were escorted to experience a small portion of the extensive grounds of terraces of a life-time supply of olive trees needing a bit of attention. The main impression was how stylish wild nature can be. Clumps of ginestra… a spindly green-stemmed plant erupting into bright yellow in the month of June… alloro… bay-leaf bushes tall as a house which also explode in June with a fragrant and oddly delicate bouquet of pale yellow flowers… and huge expanses of wild flowers in every color possible. What charmed us was the sproutings of wild garofini in a sharp fuchsia. The tour brought us back around and across to the old washing tubs and an impromptu inauguration with a chilly pro-secco, the faucet to the tubs ceremonially turned on, and done at the fine hour of 11AM. What for? To fill the three up after being hand-sealed personally by both concerned. All slights of design and space planning forgotten. These kids… well, to say middle-aged young-adults sounds so futzy… are just wonderful and their hospitality memorable. Ditto for their house… the bishop’s coat included. Gads.

 

 

Our Oven..

Il Poggiolo has an oven. It’s the only one on Our Side of the village. Codiponte has three. One is in a courtyard of a house on the other side of the stream in a labyrinth of alley-ways, yet to be explored by Yours Truly. And the other is up at the Borgo Castello high above il Poggiolo. Geographically, too far away. Back in the olden days, neighbors would bring what was needed to be cooked to the nearest oven… from breads to potatoes to meat. The daughter of Our Sadly Deceased Neighbor told us that practically everything or anything could be pushed-in raw & pull-out cooked to perfection in Our Oven, well beyond the above mentioned array of meats & potatoes faire… from savory pies, to cakes, stuffed veggies, sausages and so forth.

This was Great News to You’s Current Codiponte Court. This font of folk-followers sprung spontaneously from a collective visit these Folk had made to said Doctor in his private studio up in Genoa one fine Saturday morning. Seven Folk suffering from one eye irritation, malady or another, seeking succor from il Dottore You. From that moment on, he was theirs. They were his. What bed-fellows. Let me say… if I haven’t before…

when you are IN with any or all Italians YOU NO LONGER BELONG TO YOUSELF. You’re their personal possession. Nothing more to do but let whatever flow…

anyway, the Folk’s affection does not include me. You’s un dottoreun essaltato dottore. I’m merely in the way. The Folk call me only to know when You will next be in Codiponte. The Folk call You to invite him to dinner one fine Saturday night and in the last seconds of the call haphazardly add that I would be welcomed too. I’d be less bent-out-of-shape if they’d just included one of The Dogs in the invitation over me. And, the Folk stop by to give me a plastic basket filled with some ghastly vegetable You said he adored, asking me if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to burden me with it. Seriously friends, I’ve serially risked the contemplation of dumping the entire lot in the river. So, you see, I am violently offended!!! Up until that one fine Saturday morning, I was the King of the Roost here. People sought me out and not Il You. I have been side-lined. It hurts. I am unused to these feelings. These Folk climb over me to get to You. I may resign. No chance of that though.

One special aspect of these Folk… all women and a few inconsequential men added for color & balance since, none can cook, clean, do ironing or, sew… LIKE I DO!!!… are nearly competition-level cooks. Another reality show in the making. When You invited the Team Leader Folk to make pizzas in Our Oven a month ago… BOOM!!!… she & her cohorts arrived pronto per farle!!!… the dough, the fix-in’s and the toppings too! The success of that evening spawned last Saturday night’s 2nd Invitation for A Pig-out At The Ol’ Poggiolo Oven. At six in the afternoon… I hadn’t even thought of taking a shower, much less thinking I’d see 9 persons gaping at me… and which, at that hour, I am normally foraging nel frigo for something to assuage My 6 o’clock Hunger Pangs, so conditioned am I from 30 years of living & eating in the US of A… Team Leader Folk and her two burly assistants & wives & children had arrived to begin shoving in… pork sausages, basted ribs… a pork roast!!!… potatoes, stuffed vegetables, savory pies… and lasagna… to pull them out an hour and a half later for a sit-down orgy of eating for 20 + children.

I can admit, You set a splendid table…here is a pre-orgy shot of You & a few Folk… please note The Dog Numero Uno spying the b-r-e-a-d… Oh! And You has already sent me a text message to remind everyone to pay special attention to il centro tavolo….

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Being of minor importance, I was NOT ALLOWED near the Oven Work Zone so, the only thing I could ferret from the proceedings was that it is mightily important to keep the casings on the sausages, so the fats… I can hear My Mother grown… will burn off and the meat will set nicely. Personally, I HATE the casings and never miss a moment to cut & tear them off. Not anymore. There’s A Good Reason that they are there.

The food was spectacular. Nothing else to say except there was too much! And the desserts were equal to the taste, variety & quantity of the main meal… 2 ice creams & cookies, a semi-freddo, watermelon and a cake.

And, to add misery to injury, the Folk did an amazing clean-up job afterwards. I hardly lifted a finger. How pleasant it was to wake-up Sunday morning… birds chirping, puffy clouds moving towards Parma to dump their rain, motorcycles growling as drivers & their WO-MEN wove their leather-jacketed way up to the Carpenelli Pass, to know that there would not be a dirty dish or a bit of clutter to attend to. Maybe it’s not so bad to be over-looked? Gads.

Pizza Party at Il Poggiolo…

IMG_4573Ever see inside a pizza oven? Well, here’s your chance. It’s the day-after… You & I hosted a Pizza Party last Saturday night. A Codiponte friend, who lives in Casciana above, if we must be precise, came & made pizza for us 10 hungry guests in every way, shape & form… focaccia all’erbe, focaccia al formaggio, focaccia al formaggio e speck, focaccia con prosciuto, pizza con rosmarino, pizza con salvia, pizza con tonno e cipolle, pizza con formaggio e wurstel… the quaint Italian & Euro-way of saying hot-dog… pizza con verdure, pizza con carciofi e prosciuto, pizza con mozzarella, pizza con olive e carciofi e prosciuto, pizza con salsiccie e formaggio… which, in my mind is the most visually stunning & tasty pizza there is… and more combos now long since eaten & enjoyed. We sat underneath the gazebo but had to flee after the meal of pizza when a huge thunderstorm struck. We had caffe’ & dessert on the Loggia while the Heavens struck lightening & the hills rumbled with thunder. We are going to do this again… senza la pioggia pero’. And, you are all invited!!! Gads.

A new addition to Our Complex…

There is nothing so dangerous as a store catalogue in You’s hands. The fine folk at IPER-COOP sent the darn thing for their summer kick-off… lawn chairs, sun-bathing chaises, picnic suits of wood tables & chairs… Oh! boy!!!… swimming-pool toys and several gazebos of various shapes & sizes. The 20 page paper flyer was actually address to me but, You stole it out of My Letter Box up in Genoa. Once he set his eye-surgeon eyes on the biggest of the lot, his heart was won. He just had to have it. I thought differently and am suffering mental & psycho-exhaustion for it. I managed to block for two months any idea of driving an hour to Sarzana’s IPER-COOP to buy the thing. Then, during You’s Five-Day Sojourn to Codiponte last weekend, I lamely suggested we might go to Sarzana for some shopping, intimating a possible look-see as the Gazebo of You’s Heart. We made it to the IPER-COOP and, rounding the corner of the Housewares Dept. there stood this cathedral-like gazebo. My heart stopped. Then, it revived and long enough for me to stutter out a No and I left. The next 24 hours were HELL!!! You and his bonnet’s burr made me black & blue from his endless rational for that Milano Duomo gazebo. I won’t bore you with the list. It’s long. I awoke the next day and said… so even The Dogs would understand… Let’s go buy that gazebo. BOOM!!! Dott. You was dressed, perfumed, shoed and had the AUDI”s keys dangling in his hand to hit the road to Sarzana. We are now the proud owners of this new addition to Our Complex… this is now the view our the Kitchen window…
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and, here is your-nose’s in it view…

 

 

 

 

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But my favorite is how well the gazebo functions to dry laundry when it rains. I’m sold!!! Gads.

 

 

 

TUB! Christmas…

IMG_4081Don’t be alarmed. Nothing to do with torture. Not yet, at least. They do resemble bizarre crucifixes though. Must have been torture for Jesus. Gosh! Someone has got a birthday coming up. Those pictured items are only mini-fireplace end-irons. You found them at a mercatino… or, flea-market in Udine. Paid the whopping price of 2 Euros. TUB! applauds these sorts of inexpensive Euro investments. The tucked-away emporium was a NEW! find too. And apparently, ’twas a mother lode. You’s AUDI was jammed, jammed, jammed packed full of Goodies. Even the top of the passenger’s side of the dashboard had some Gs. Felt & looked like Christmas. I am a little amazed, being so encumbered & all, why You was not stopped by the Carabinieri for suspicion of thievery, in light of on-going events… the thieves are still loose & very much active throughout the entire Lunigiana. Il Popolo non e’ contento.

As Mr. Sunhsine crossed the December sky, You spent all of the Saturday afternoon unloading, lugging & unwrapping The NEW! NEW!! NEW!!! Goodies. Even past sundown. I was trying to bring closure with Il Poggiolo for My Return to Life in Genoa by cleaning & straightening. You made a mess. The result of being over-joyed. When in such a State of Ecstasy, he sings under his breath with a pseudo-baritone voice. You really is way too short for that but, I keep my mouth shut. The tactic, however, covers the tracks of his Joy. A private affair. By the time You had brought out a hand-painted jardinière of frolicking maidens twirling garlands into the real dim 5 o’clock light seeping into the Sala da Pranzo from the Cucina’s window, he was belting out Verdi! And, his singing never faltered, whether for a waist-high mock-malachite marble pedestal, a tall brass floor-lamp with a pergamena shade showing quaint scenes of an olives harvest… so delightfully apropos to the labors of the real olive harvest up on the slopes above Codiponte’s Commie Apt. House… a 1930s rattan recliner with a printed cotton mezzeri cushion, two large & furry badger pelts and… and… and well, a lot more Goodies.

Part of the haul were the pair of these end-irons. It’s going to be a TUB! Christmas this year! Hang onto your Santa hats & Elf caps… You has had a Happy Holiday idea. He wants to use the end-irons as table decorations for Our Christmas Day Family Dinner on the 25th. Just what exactly he has in mind has yet to be announced. While he cogitates, let me give some possible TUB! Christmas decoration ideas… however, since I have not had a moment free upon My Return to Genoa to descend down to Level -1 and forage around in You’s storage locker to pull out what there is in the way of Christmas decorations, I will have to give you brief written descriptions…

a) the Christmas Minimalist Concept might be placing the end-irons in such a way as to balance a HUGE Red Christmas ornament between them. The enormous orb was a gift from a grateful patient several years back. This will save us both from attempting to dangle the darn thing from the Foyer’s chandelier and TUB! is delighted by using what’s on hand too... b) boughs of alloro… or, bay leaf branches, again, intertwined to make a Yule-tide basket between the two irons to hold either the traditional clementines & chocolates or a motley array of Christmas ornaments… and c) string micro-mini-ultra-small LED in red, green & silver to link the two end-irons from either end of Our Dining Room Table AND, for the Christmas piece de la resistance, a tiny Santa Klaus might tip-toe across. This is very big in Italy… the Santa, no the LED. I can already hear Our Halls… i.e. Our Open-space Loft walls reverberate with My Call… WATCH OUT FOR THE CORD, EVERYONE!!!

Anyway, I think these TUB! ideas beats Martha Stewart by hundreds of… kilometers. Do you think she would know an end-iron if one were to bite her? Who cares? We are on Our Way to a TUB! Christmas.

Stay tuned for more! 

 

 

 

TUB! bulbs…

She’s unavoidable. I ran into Gwyn- again last night. I had methodically gone to the BBC World Service going for full saturation from the news & tributes dedicated to the passing of Nelson Mandela. Quiet a fellow, a class act, now gone. But there, in the lower right-hand corner of the BBC web-page was her… AND the fayeshion designer, Michael Kors. A suspect infomercial. Both were shown laughing. Gwyn- must have a HUGE pubilicity machine working for her. She’s everywhere! For instance: the Daily Mail posted her. She had just won a reprieve with Vanity Fair over the magazine’s attempt to publish a less than complimentary article on her… and hey? Over at The New York Times, they had a warm & cutsy article in their Fashion & Style Section… isn’t that a big surprise… on all of Gwyn-‘s chummy and equally rich & famous friends, many with their own life-style blogs too… etc. What’s Goop-ing? The two celebrities, a Hollywood actor + fayeshion maven have happily collaborated on a coat for Goop costing $1,600. No wonder they were laughing.

But gosh… here at Il Poggiolo… and by osmosis, TUB! too... a mighty lot of plants could be had for that figure, even translated into Euros, and sunk into Mother Earth to do their God-ordained thing. Plants are bright & cheerful. What does a coat do? It hangs. On your hide or a hanger. But, please, let me further dispute that $1,600. Why spend so much? At TUB! we like to spend much, much less and get a lot of product. How about 5 cents? Here…

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these iris-bulbs cost 5 cents, give or take. And, very soon, like in less than an hour, long enough for me to finish this post & pell-mell myself away from the laptop and head into the Garden, they will be distributed & buried up to their necks in whatever spot needs a bright, cheery iris-flower.

Why don’t we turn to the Math now to Compare & Constrast…

100 bulbs x 5 cents = 5 bucks + My Time & Labor of about 3 hours… or, until pranzo, whichever comes first… and massively discounted ’cause I’m a nice guy… brings the total to, say… hmmm? How about 25 buckeroos? That’s $1,575 less than what that collaborated coat cost and you won’t have to give it away to Goodwill when the thing goes out of style in about…  Ooops! So, sorry… goes out of life-style. No. Those iris-bulbs will flower until the sun don’t shine no mo’!!!

Baring that happenstance, here is Me smiling for an eventual TUB! infomercial…

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More later.

 

 

TUB! endorsers…

Further Fun with the Endorsers…
not that any of these Famous & Important Personalities have agreed to dedicate themselves unstintingly to My NEW! NEW!! NEW!!! Life-style Blog, TUB!... well, that their lawyers/advisers/Lord Chancellors have agreed to agree to let them do it… but, here is an initial representation of My Choices to help me promote a fantastic way to live. I mean, aren’t you all drooling over a TUB! house coat? I am and want one in every color & fabrication possible…
Spy vs Spy vs Spy, if only Mad Magazine will release them contractually long enough for the Spies to discuss flower clippings as fertilizer for plants. We at TUB! will forgo any unreachable or definitive agreement.
And, in all fairness, how can I neglect My Ultra-famous Cousin, Britney? At least, for the photographers & scoop-writers employed at the National Inquirer or, at the Daily Mail. She might want to espouse upon all the fun to be had in making rugs out of pieces of old music-video costumes… lingerie. Like, doesn’t everyone have that? She’s HOT for TUB!
Now, this gal was My Absolute First Choice but, I’ve been wondering if I’ll have to give her a discount on a pair of TUB! garden trousers for wearing that tiara in her endorsement video? I don’t have a lot of funds and You is so tight these days.
Queenelizabethii
And, when going to The Top, there ain’t no-one more Top than God. Just imagine what he would have to say for TUB! I mean, he got it all started with that Garden of Eden. Gads.

I am so excited by these pickings. I may have to fight them off at My Internet Gates. However, I need to find an Italian since, after all, this all originated at Italian House. I wonder if Sophia has time? Then, we would really be at the Top-top!!! Gads.

Life-style, dammit…

Moses woke me up last night. I thought it was robbers. Why a robber would whine outside My Bedroom Door just demonstrates how shot My Nerves are. Moses was acting a Spokes-dog. He & Nina needed to commune with Nature. Urgently. Fine. While waiting for them to do so, I hit the laptop. Surfed the Internet. Hit a few fayeshion sites and ran into Gwyneth and her Goop. Would it matter much if she were to spell her name… Gwenyth? Seems a proper spelling from the root Gwen. A Welshman might rebel. Probably to be avoided. As for her goo… is that the plural for goop or, are we already in a transitive verb territory?… perhaps, the “p” and the double “o” is the better option. Graphic. And, Goup, Goupe, Glop, Gloop might confound the Search Engines and I know Gwyneth wouldn’t want that. She’s got stuff to say, things to sell and a staff to pay. How else could she post daily? My Nerves went into a pre-caffe’-at-5-in-the-morning overdrive. Provoked, I skidded into a debate with myself since, there were no Dott. You or Dogs around… I may be forced to come up with My Own Life-style blog. I’m toying with calling it… TUB. And, here already is The Iconic Photo…

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I feel a tub represents an appropriate life-style of conservation… recycling… respect for nature… the gardening angle, eh?… and it probably will never fly. How can saving greasy dish water to douse thirsty summer dried hydrangeas, for instance, ever be chic? Or, fayeshionable? It’s a problem. I may need that staff to solve it. Ugh.

In the meantime, I have put together a possible product list. Here are a few items of TUB Garments & Accessories…

    A lovely range of TUB house-coats reworked from old floral dish-rags… bio-treated to be water AND bug repellent… and just perfect to wear around the garden snipping roses before the neighbors notice you are up…

    TUB stilts cuts from old house beams… or do I mean girders?… and envisioned for tours around the garden with very your own You… not included… and not get your little footsies muddy…
    A full range of fun refrigerator magnets with… of course… TUBS... and stuff… to show your concern for recycling though, frankly, if we could rid ourselves of the need to package things, the garbage man might be eliminated…
    A super buff tool hook for applying to some shabby pair of Levi’s… ideal for hanging your TUB-style mini-hoe… yet to be designed… or a TUB-style smart phone…
    A very practical sun-bonnet… please note: the protective flap or mud guard. We try to think of everything at TUB.
Gosh, there’s so much to organize. This could be a launch. How about it? Do you think the World… Gwyneth included… is ready for TUB? Now, if you will excuse, I must pen a note to Michelle Obama asking for an endorsement. Gads.