Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shopping at Two Graces Vol. 6

This column is dedicated to my Mom's Aunties: Nini, RoRo, Poppie, and my Mom's Mom Lena. One day my Mom purchased a pair of LEE Jeans, (she called them Dungarees), when I saw the name on them I asked why she had my Grandmothers' jeans. My Mom LOL had to explain to me that they were the name of the brand, not my Grandmother's name sewn onto them! Please continue...
Everyone needs a Guardian Angel, this one is hand carved wooden with Glass Eyes, probably Italian, possibly from Portugal? 12" wing span, SOLD as beautiful an angel as can possibly be. Placed over a door to bid you good journey each time you leave your home, or over your bed to bring sweet dreams as you close your weary eyes.
Starting on the left this plastic light up Infant of Prague is priced at SOLD stands at 12", the red robed Infant is 12 1/2" and comes with a set of extra Robes $129.99, the next one is a 'planter' with a small compartment at it's back for flowers or gifts 10 1/2" tall priced at SOLD, the last one on the right is 12" tall and comes with vintage medallions pinned to it's robes $129.99.
Two Graces is fortunate to have these lovely statues available at this time.
This is something very special to me, on the bureau or on top of a cabinet, The Infant of Prague was to have a proper place in the homes of my Mom's Aunts where they could see this depiction of the Christ Child and ask for favors. When the wish was not forthcoming in a timely manor the tradition was to break off the hand of the statue, but to glue it back in place once the favor was complete. Then out of guilt you were to adorn the statue with new handmade robes and/or to pin medallions onto the robes. Except for the light up plastic one to the left, the examples above all have broken and re-glued fingers.
Placing the Infant outdoors the day before an event such as a wedding will ensure good weather, ahh the possibilities!
Part of the story of "The Infant of Prague" which makes my hair stand on end...
The Carmelite Friary was plundered by the Lutheran Swedes, and the image of the Infant of Prague was thrown into a pile of rubbish behind the Altar. Here it lay forgotten, its hands broken off, for seven years, until it was found again in 1637 by Father Cyrillus and placed in the church's oratory. One day, while praying before the statue, Father Cyrillus claimed to have heard a voice say, "Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless you."
The Buddha 9" tall seated black stone pumice SOLD, what I call the Venus de Milo type 8 1/2" figure with stand is SOLD, and the metal head 9" of Buddha with nice patina and stand is$59.99
The Buddha taught non-violence, respect for all life, the merit of giving generously and of a simple lifestyle, serving for many people as a model of the highest standards of humane behavior, how nice is that and how can you not have one!
When the Great Potter Mary Witkop was taking a trip to Indonesia she asked if I'd like her to bring anything back for me, I asked her for a Buddha, she returned with the Smiling Buddha, and that makes me smile to this day.
On a recent Shopping Two Graces Blog someone asked about Holy Water Bottles, so here they are, in the front is a vintage glass bottle with dispenser top from Mexico 3 1/2" tall priced at $24.99, to the left a vintage 8" plastic Our Lady bottle SOLD, the tallest one is a 12" vintage plastic Our Lady of Lourdes and contains Holy Water collected from the grotto up to about her tummy priced at SOLD ( I can't guaranty that miracles will happen but this seems a very small price to pay), the pink and white plastic bottles are contemporary 8" tall from Mexico $7.99 each.
In New Mexico it seems to be the phrase "Our Lady" is used to describe what in other areas are called a "Madonna", to me both seem interchangeable. Perhaps with the connotations that the Pop Star Madonna negative and/or positive can conjure up, the term Madonna has fallen out of favor. Above is a selection of vintage statuettes starting at the left is a delicate 'head vase' 6" tall SOLD (a nice addition for anyone with a head vase collection), next is a metal statue with silver plate remnants 6" tall priced at SOLD, next in the back with starry blue robes just over 10" tall standing on a serpent SOLD, in the front she glows in the dark 6" tall priced at SOLD, behind her the thin white figure is SOLD and her companion in Blue robes SOLD, these are each just over 7" tall, in front is a light up torso her hands holding a pink flower and a crown of pink flowers on her head SOLD, to the far right the off white one with glaze just beginning to crackle is 9" tall SOLD, the tallest one 13" to the back with blue robes, (a finger on her right hand is broken off) SOLD. As you can see gathered together, these make a worthwhile and spectacular arrangement, start collecting now.
Lastly, these 4 photographs are from the collection of Violetta Barela which was brought to me by her family. Rather than toss it all into the dumpster they brought it to me. This collection includes some of the most beautiful vintage Holy Cards I've ever seen, (and that includes the ones I've seen in books). Vintage Bibles, Scapulas, Rosaries, Statuettes, can you imagine all going into the trash, because IF I didn't want it, who would??? I understand this and the disposability of our belongings once we are gone, but it still bothers me and I wish it didn't have to be that way. Blessings to you on your journey Viola...


Monday, November 8, 2010

What I do on a day off with friends...

South of Taos the village of Pilar lies along a bend of the Rio Grande, a view from the hillside in Autumn colors. We took a loop drive to Talpa, Penasco, Dixon, Pilar and back to Taos, and here is our adventure...
This past week we had friends visiting from out of town, on Friday we took the day off from our shops to go with them and wander around. Here's what we did, a little tour for Maggie & Alex...
Just up the road from Ranchos de Taos St. Francis Plaza is the intersection of 518, it's here where you'll begin a journey on what is known as the "High Road", which is full of little villages and their respective beautiful Churches, each different each amazing. As usual the Churches are kept locked up, but are wonderful to see nonetheless. This photograph is from a quick visit to a small Church/Capilla in Talpa, sitting back from the road behind a chain link fence.
Before you travel into the mountains from Taos you will pass the Fort Burgwin Archeological site on the left and Southern Methodist University summer school campus on your right.
Above, an assortment of crosses leaning against a Church wall in Trampas. I've included these here to show the extraordinary variety. After you wind your way up into the mountains the road takes you down to an extreme switchback which you'll be turning right at, if you were to go straight this would take you on to Sipapu, Mora where you'll find a wonderful raspberry farm & Las Vegas, NM. At this junction you will be turning onto 75 and heading for Penasco.
We drove through the village of Penasco and headed for the Harding Mine near Dixon. Passing by the Picuris Pueblo, which usually has 2 entrances one of which was closed, causing us to unintentionally miss visiting there. You'll need to download and print a release form before visiting the mine unless you know where the caretaker's house in Dixon is which is tricky to find. epswww.unm.edu/harding/harding.htm The mine has deposits of various rocks and minerals the Lepidolite here is spectacular, a semi-precious violet stone with a similar consistency to Turquoise. The Calcite deposits are some of the best in the world, I'm told during WW2 this was used in bomber plane missile sightings making use of it's purity as a a type of lens and that the largest deposit is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum. You are allowed to carry out 5 pounds of stone, please keep to this allotment if not much less. Adendum: One of my friends here tells me that Lithium Gas leaches from the mine walls, which he says will cause a person to feel very Happy. Wow!
Wandering around the mine you'll find where miners sat and had their lunches, leaving rusty tin cans behind, perhaps enticing you to bring your own picnic next time. The views of the surrounding mountains are clear allowing you to see all the way to Abiquiu and the Pedernal.
Holly with Maggie & Alex in the mouth of the Lepidolite mine. Looking at how the violet rock walls are reflecting light in my photos here I think this would make an extraordinary place for a photo shoot. Fashion models in Designer gowns or Wedding dresses would be amazing, just a thought.
Out of the mine and on to lunch back in Penasco to "Sugar Nymphs Bistro", one of those places 'off the beaten path' you only hear about and never quite find. Well find it here smack in the middle of this village 505-587-0311, call for hours. Winters they are open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday for Lunch & Dinner, the proprietors are Ki & Kai who are always busy in the kitchen. These ladies know ho to serve up tasty meals using locally grown product whenever possible.
A couple of refugees from Halloween greet you at the side entrance.
We had soup & sandwiches, here's the BLT on a focaccia roll they bake, nice tasty bacon and fresh farm grown tomato, delicious with a bowl of tasty pumpkin soup, this was $8.95 Maggie enjoyed the Green Chile Cheese Burger which she told Kai was the best she'd tasted. It's a nice idea to tell the chefs how much you enjoyed the dinner they cooked for you, I think chefs are under appreciated, and can use a nice compliment.
Tablecloths are paper for you to draw on with crayons provided, I wonder if I could have traded my drawing here for lunch...
For me it's about dessert which you won't want to miss, Chocolate Cake, Pumpkin Spice Cake, giant Chocolate Chip Cookies and Carrot Cake. Desserts run out quickly so order your choice before you order dinner, or you'll be sorry.

Upon entering Penasco the road turns right, (straight is not an option), yet a left will take you to a tiny village which may or may not be Rodarte. The cemetery surrounding this Church is old and picturesque. My photographs here are of, once again, the variations of crosses and grave markers.


A few years ago, I drove up to this Church in my VW Beetle with friends B & D, only to find myself face to face with a runaway bull, which quickly turned towards my car. As the bull was thinking about charging the car 2 guys came running towards it, seemingly out of nowhere. They told me afterwards they'd been chasing this bull since 7PM the previous evening. As far as I know those guys are still chasing that bull to this day, it makes me laugh just thinking about it!

Concrete Crosses embedded with glass covered photographs, or mini Christos of plastic or pot metal, below a faded Sacred Heart of Christ depiction, perhaps I should print this one for postcards.
Leaving Penasco on 75 we went back through Dixon passing the La Chiripada Winery and the Vivac Winery. These and the Black Mountain Winery which is south to Valerde, are places to stop at, take a break, and a sip of wine. These days we tend to prefer Vivac, my Dad enjoyed the wines of La Chiripada, and Holly's Dad likes the wine at Black Mesa. To each his own preference, reason enough to point out all of these fine wineries in our midst. On to 68 heading north and back to Taos.
In Taos off Kit Carson Road there are a whole lot of side streets, (some of which are worth exploring) a left onto Morada Lane will take you to Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Always a worthwhile part of Taos history, above is an old abandoned house just northwest of the Mabel house, don't try to find it to explore there are many neighborhood dogs that are there to keep the curious away.
What I did want to show my wife and our friends was the old Morada, Morada de Fernando de Taos de la Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, to find this it's about 3 streets east from Morada Lane left onto Las Cruces Road, and a left onto Penitente Lane past the old cemetery. Here's where you'll find the Black Cross which Georgia O'Keeffe captured in paintings a number of times. The cross is still standing, recently adorned with flowers and a crown of thorns. I know what you're thinking that this all sounds backwards and that shouldn't the Morada be on Morada Lane, but trust me and follow my directions to Penitente Lane.
Directly past the cross from O'Keeffe's perspective towards the mountain there is a right of way lane between barbed wire fences. The land on either side of this lane is private Taos Pueblo Land, so please don't try climbing the fence. If you take the time to travel this lane on foot or mountain bike you'll find a few more large crosses on the path, do it, it's beautiful and worthwhile.

After viewing the Morada we headed into Taos visiting the brand new Lenny Foster Living Light Gallery in the former Gallery A space on Kit Carson Road, next door is Greg Moon Fine Art Gallery, both these gallery owners are wonderful human beings who will be happy to show you around their galleries. We headed across the street to Taos' oldest Trading Post El Rincon Trading Post and Museum, this is not to be missed on a visit to Taos. We also shopped a bit at my favorite Taos store Dwellings Revisited owned by Cam Martin for about 30 years on Bent Street where I purchased a very cool Day of the Dead skull t-Shirt, and we made a quick stop into Starr Interiors formerly La Unica Cosa, owned by Susanna Starr for 36 years to look at a collection of Mary Witkop pottery that has just gone on display. There are many shops and galleries worth visiting in the downtown area too many to list here, (we tend to avoid the Plaza, but even the Taos Plaza has some hidden jewels worth visiting) sometimes you've just got to go back...
After all that I know I needed to take a nap...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Taos Balloon Rally

The 4 seasons here truly give you a sense of the magic that is here among us in this little mountain village of Taos, New Mexico. Autumn is unusually beautiful this year, with the month of October having so many events Taos has been quite busy. If you missed the Wool Festival at the beginning of the month, the end of the month included the spectacular Taos Mountain Balloon Festival. This year the rains held off and allowed the balloonists to fill the skies of Taos. From the north to the southern end of town, balloons were everywhere, flying overhead or landing in your backyard. There are Taos balloonists that primarily will take you towards the Rio Grande Gorge during the year, but this annual event Oct. 29-31 is smack dab in the middle of everything.
If I'm on the ground and they're up above me, then why am I dizzy!
The end of October also brings cold weather, so bundle up for the 7AM mass ascension, here's Holly with her teeth chattering and the Zia Sun Balloon the state symbol of New Mexico just beginning to ascend.
New Mexico State flag and the USA flag with balloons being filled. Yes Mom, New Mexico is one of the 50 United States. No Mom, you don't need your passport when you fly here.
Where there's a Kachina you know I'm going to have a picture of it!
Here's a shot of the spectacular Koshare Balloon from Gallup, New Mexico. My absolute favorite this year. Taos doesn't normally get the character balloons that attend the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, well what a treat to see this one in the sky.
As for me ever getting into a balloon, well there aren't enough pills to calm me down available in any pharmacy.