January 28, 2009

Successful fellow blog in Calabria: Bleeding Espresso

'Michelle Fabio, an American writer and attorney leaves the Anthracite Coal Region of Pennsylvania for her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy, falls in love, gets two dogs, writes to her heart's content and begins bleeding espresso. No really.'

I can't say it in better words, so I let Michelle introduce herself. She and her blog are located in the small village Badolato in Calabria, just on the other side of Pizzo.

Pizzo and Badolato in Calabria, South of Italy
I discovered her blog when she left a comment on mine. Since then I am following her writings with interest. She is a talented writer who has besides writing a broad interest in many things like travel, literature, culture, history, politics, Italy & Calabria, photography AND cooking !

She also writes among others for
About.com as a Guide to Law School,
Guarda! a weekly column for Italy Magazine,
easyJet, the airline's Destination Guide to Lamezia Terme, TomatoCasual.com and Italian Notebook.

The latest news is that her blog Bleeding Espresso entered the final of the acknowledged 2009 bloggies awards in the category 'best european blog' !

Go here and vote for Bleeding Espresso, the blog that promotes Calabria, as 'best European blog' ! (Hurry, until February 2nd only !)

It is now almost a year ago, when I was in Pizzo and phoned Michelle, my Calabrian fellow blogger. We said we will visit each other one day, or we could meet in the middle, in Serra San Bruno.
Michelle, when you win this blog award, you and P are invited for tartuffo ice in Pizzo! (and if not: you are invited the same!)

January 21, 2009

interiors in photo art

Naomi Campbell by Michel ComteTo post about problems with renovation work is not that sexy.

But today I came across this beautiful photo (above) and I thought it worth to share it ... it is such a beautiful duvet ... and the tapestry on the wall is so noble !

Liaison VII by GaboAnd there was this other one. The same fabric of the curtain, probably silk, is used to decorate the wall ! The primary colours blue, red and green give a fresh touch.

Kai Stuht The Beauty and the dark Elusive GloomAnd this black and white photo reminds me a bit of my basement: the stairways and the piles of tiles on the right... aah, excuse me... the lady looks like she needs to have a word with the bricklayer...

Kai Stuht The Beauty and the dark HauteurAnd may I introduce you to 'Mrs Sleepless in Renovation'

All photos via LUMAS

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And because of the special day today please allow me some special words to all my friends and readers from the U.S.:
Congratulations to your new President Obama and to your new first family! I saw pictures from the inauguration and I am full of joy and hope !

January 15, 2009

Natural Spots on Natural Stone (black slate)

For our new bathroom in Germany we have chosen to use black slate tiles (type: Brasilian Rio Negro or Mustang, 60cm x 60cm x 1cm) for the flooring. We have them already since almost six years in our kitchen, our actual bathroom and guest toilet - and we are very happy with the quality and the look.

Today I learned that all the spots and marks on my new schist tiles - that I hoped can be somehow removed - have a natural background - as its a natural stone.

I never thought that the brown spots and the brown 'scratch' might be from iron accumulations. (We have not had this before). Even the brown big spot that looks like from a foot print is not from rubber band or chewing gum, it is natural! Again iron. Also the spots that look like some acid had dropped on one tile are apparently 'natural'.

The answer from the craftsman surprised me that much - well, I ordered natural stone, so if it's natural, everything is fine - that my brain got totally blocked and I did not say: well, I did not order multicolor schist tiles (I found them via google later today) or better: this tile would not pass quality control, if I would be in charge for purchasing in your company...

On Monday the natural stone tiles will get an impregnation with special schist oil. I am afraid that the spots might pop up even more - the craftsman said no.

Or should I see it from the other side: Lucky to have some special natural stone tiles, with iron accumulation ? Almost as exciting as a snail fossil ?

My recommendation if you use natural stone in a relatively small area:
- lay out all the tiles in front of you,
- cleaned of course with a wet towel,
- and choose one by one regarding the texture and colour and maybe not so beautiful spots,
- which one you want to have in front and which one you prefer hidden e.g. under a sink.
- Especially schist tiles (Schiefer Fliesen) are delicate among the natural stone tiles (Naturstein Fliesen) as cutting and laying them is not easy at all. So take the most recommended and experienced floor tiler (and even this is no guarantee for surprise free flooring!)



The story took another turn today (4th Feb).

After not feeling happy with the slate tiles and talking to a lot of people - including some experts and our architetto - we wrote to the company a letter (copied to the owner).

This morning the owner and the middle man (who told me that everything is natural) came to my house for further inspection of the flooring. The appointment was settled at 7 am because I wanted my husband to support me (somehow some workers seem to respect 'housewife's' ideas less).

The owner was charming and sovereign, no need to explain much, he saw the situation and he saw our other slate floors and then decided to exchange 4 of the tiles. However not all of the claimed ones, as the iron spots can be cleaned with an iron sponge (why didn't the middle man solve the problem that way in the first place?). Two tiles that will be taken out have micro fractures and two have major damages (splitting-offs) at the borders. One of the damaged tiles is the one that has lots of strange spots. So I am very very relieved !!! Although there will be a delay of the finishing of the bathroom and more dust. But I am happy.

January 14, 2009

What am I doing

I can't stand to see that my last post is older then a week!

Today I read an article about twitter... and that it is cool and apparently interesting for a lot of people to just write a short message (140 digits for twitter) about what they are doing.

So my 'twitter' message would be:

I am now going to clean up my 'construction field' (in Germany) because a worker's boss is coming to check on the work (I have some complaints, so cross your fingers....)

And I am announcing some posts about Feng Shui on my other blog 'in China' (I will provide links here) - soon!

What is a post without a picture? So I am providing a picture of my son taken this morning: instead of going to kindergarten he wanted to observe the workers. From this he probably can learn more then in a (German) kindergarten ... That's why I allowed him to have his breakfast on the construction site. Like a real worker!

January 06, 2009

The New Year starts with New Decisions

Finalmente we got the long awaited drawings of our doors. Okay, after all the pictures we had I could have done it myself, but our architetto kept promising to do it for us.

And I am glad he did it. When it is visualized it is easier to imagine and to decide.

We, in the family, agreed on the design. But we have not decided yet whether we will have the borchie in ottone, the brazen bullen nails, on all three doors or only on the main door.

And when I started the discussion with my husband, who translated ottone first into the wrong German term - thanks to LEO I found the correct one, 'Messing', brass, I saw that there is not only the question about how many doors we do in that style but also:
Is brass the right material? I don't want it too shiny, non mi piace troppo lucido, maybe it is possible to have it more dark ...

....like in this door below:

or maybe also like this door, which seems to have brazen bullen nails:

I will email with our architect to ask his opinion and meanwhile I invite you for another voting! On the blog roll on the right (remark: if it is not there, then it is because of technical problems, sorry, please send instead your comment below, I try to fix it):

A: All three doors with decorative bullen nails
B: Only the main door gets the nails ?

FYI, the far left door leads to the guest apartment, the far right door is kind of a back entrance that leads to the kitchen through a storage room.

And here one more time the front view of the house to support the decision making:

Thanks for your help and once more Happy New Year , Buon Anno!

Above drawings copyright by Architetto Pino Pitt, Pizzo
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