Friday, July 20, 2018

Old School - Wicked Little Town #2 - Third Friday Post - July 20th

When I was a small boy I remember going to the neighborhood bakery with my mother every Saturday morning.

Walking in, the place was huge (to my young self at least) with large glass display counters on three sides, wooden racks behind the counters and an old fashioned number/ticket machine on a pedestal inside the door.

Most Saturdays, when we took a number, it might be, say #76, and on the wall behind the counter was a non-digital hand flipped counter that may have read - Now Serving #44.

Yes, there would be thirty plus people ahead of us.

The wait was actually my favorite part. I got to peruse the cases peeking around other customers legs and looking for what I would want to get as my cookie treat. That cookie was in addition to the usuals, 6 honey buns, a loaf of bread, bagels, a layer cake of some sort and a few danishes, brownies or turnovers. (Did I mention how I LOVED weekends!)

The wait was never long at all. This because there must have been 8 or 9 women behind the counter, most of them in their 50's or 60's, librarian glasses on chains, old fashioned salon-set hair styles, all in their pink outfits and white shoes, calling on numbers, taking orders, filling pink bakery boxes, making change.

Then other helpers running trays up to the front to replace the empty ones. The cases were stuffed full, the bread racks filled, the cookie counter piled with trays of cookies.  The counter ladies were super friendly and so sweet to me as a child.

And looking back on that bakery, here's the thing. There was zero pretentiousness. . . Zero foodie / fad diet influence. . . Zero artisanal anything.

A true, old school bakery.

Now, you never know at that age that things will change. Some for the better and some, not so much. In those days, maybe because of the lack of movement in old, generationally settled families, it seemed like every city had many such neighborhoods, each with their own stores and shops.

It seems now that every city I lived in has lost that. The old school shops, eateries, bakeries, bookstores, newsstands, grocery stores and delis replaced with a never ending carousel of whatever the flavor of the month is in the retail world or larger, one-stop stores that seem to be everywhere now.

So when we moved to our little town by the bay, I was thrilled to find a true to life, old school bakery that still did things the old fashioned way and all from scratch.

Unassuming in it's looks when I step out my door at 5:30am just a stone's throw north of here, I can smell the donuts frying and the bread baking! 

It's run by a couple in their sixties who do ALL the baking themselves. They used to have a full staff but finding good help in small towns can be a real headache so now they're only open 4 days a week and they start their work day at 10pm. Yes, you read that right. 10PM.

They open at 5:30am and they close between 1 and 3pm when they run out of things (which is nearly every day)

I usually get a danish for my morning coffee (and a few extra for the weekend if I don't feel like baking on their closed days) and a little something for the afternoon too, which can be a hard choice.

The case if nearly full right at opening and there are trays waiting for room as the day goes on.

They've been at it for over 30 years in this location. At times they've consider selling it and retiring but have never gone through with it. According to them, most people who inquire, don't have clue about the hours or work needed to make it all from scratch each day and they're not willing to sell it to someone who is going to come in and make it a par-baked, freezer-to-oven kind place.

And the best part? Ohhhh yes, the prices. A fresh baked fruit or cheese danish or almond bear claw the size of a salad plate? $1.50. A donut or apple fritter? 75 cents. A loaf of fresh baked and sliced English Muffin Bread? $1.99 A ginormous two-person cinnamon roll? $2.50

At least a dozen times each summer I overhear people from the city in there telling them, "You really need to raise your prices!"

No, they don't. That's old school.

And in the seven years we've been here, I've come to think, when this place goes, it will be about time to move on for me too.

 Seriously.  :)

The harbor is just a few blocks away. A great place to sit with a danish and coffee and watch the fishing boats roll in or out. 
We've got a few old school places like this. The general store, the old grocery store, the counter diner. Yet none of them have kept that feel quite like our little bakery. :)

Thanks for dropping by, as always, see you again soon!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Inspirations and Oddities - Second Friday Post - July 13th

Friday the Thirteenth??

My, oh my. . . may luck and fortune be with you all today!

Well, I feel like this month had been overrun with inspiration AND oddities!  In the process of writing the first draft of my fantasy book, "The Ledgerkeepers", I've been doing a whole lot of research this past month which has led me down some very enticing paths. . .

It's summer so let's start with this link for a very comprehensive list of old world names for our favorite plants and flowers!

Old Flower and Plant Names

My favorite? Far and way it's Foxglove which was once known as fairy fingers!! Oh and check out the list of links on their sidebar. . . SO many herb, plant, witchy, old world links and the such! :)

I think, since his name is in my tag list, that I've spoken about the work of Shaun Tan before. . . surreal illustrations and heart tugging stories, sometimes with no words at all. (as in his book, the Arrival)

This book, which I just read, is wonderful.

And I have been diving further into the amazing creative world of Kickstarter. Games, illustrations, comics, art, paling cards, Tarot, dice, and on and on. . . I have to limit my funding allowance or I would go absolutely CRAZY!

Here are two Kickstarters that I was drawn to lately.

Penzinni's Inklings

From the Creator: -"Penzinni, the old inventor, known for little more than his eccentricity, scratches at his papers like chicken in the dirt. The functional idea, like a worm, always seems just outside his reach. Will this be the one? The one that works? Perhaps not. But given a little time and a few more sleepless nights, who's to say "the one" isn't just around the corner..."

This is an idea I hope the artist will go further with. Mech/Tech creatures drawn as "blueprints" with an aged look to the design. Brilliant! I love old blueprint/design and love the idea of a character who draws these up but they never seem to work.

Saturn Playing Cards

From the Creator  -  "Saturn is considered to rule Capricorn, which is symbolized by the goat, hence the goat-like beings represented in the Saturn court cards. The Jacks allude to Saturn, and its Greek counterpart Cronus, being associated with the passing of time and relevance to the harvest seasons. Notice that the hats worn by the Jacks are shaped like the planet itself. Look closely and you'll find other symbolism woven into the illustrations of the courts."

So, playing cards seem to be one of the hottest things on Kickstarter of late. I've seen a lot of cool designs but this one really caught my eye and hits on so many interests of mine: Planets, zodiac, etc.

Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, July 6, 2018

New Work - First Friday Post - June 6th

Hey everyone!

July has arrived and while much of the country is under the heatwave we've been inundated here with weeks of summer days in the 60's, foggy mornings and breezy afternoons.

I let things slip again the last few weeks as far as blogland goes. It wasn't my intention but there have been so many things going on, mostly good, and I had to cut back somewhere.

But i have aa LOT to share this month and look forward to the usual weekly Friday posts to get caught up!

For now,  just a showing of some of the new work around the studio this past month.

Hoping you've all been well and I look forward to catching up on your blogs this weekend!

Thank you for coming by, as always,

XO Nicolas

The newest of my Adobe Fairy Houses - HO scale

An original design based on ancient Hathor iconology

A new selection of tiny towers with holiday shoppers in mind. . . .I love the patina copper roof on this one.

And I love the texture and aging of the surface brick of this one.

Continuing to expand my Ancient Egyptian bust icons, this is Sutekh or Seth/Set

Looking back at 9 YEARS of selling on Easy. . . this was inspired by one of the first villages I made and sold there. 

An original Auset amulet design with an 8mm Carnelian cabochon

And this Auset throne piece with added ankh and a 12mm carnelian cabochon.