Wednesday, October 28, 2015

November at the Mouse House

Susan returns from paradise, aka, her artist residency in Oregon at Playa, on the red-eye this Friday night.  She arrives at 6:10 AM on Saturday in Charlotte.  I have decided to stay overnight in Charlotte on Friday instead of leaving at 4:30 AM Saturday.  She can take the shuttle to the hotel when she arrives (ha ha). When Susan left for Oregon in early October, we drove to Charlotte at 5:30 AM on October 4 during the biblical flood event of Columbia.  We were very fortunate to make it safe and sound, and I was equally fortunate to make it back to Columbia later that day.  I was quite happy Susan was in Eastern Oregon, an area with spotty cellphone service and limited internet.  She did not have to read about all the horrors of the flood and its aftermath.  So it is back to normal at the Mouse House beginning on Halloween.  We will be open Saturday afternoon and Susan will be here all day.  Next Wednesday, November 3, she delivers twenty pieces from her Stained Glass and InBox series to the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville, GA for a show.  The artist reception is Sunday, November 8 from 2-4 PM.  I expect Susan to be at Mouse House most of next week, except Wednesday so please come and visit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My pet weeds


Susan is now in Wisconsin to the Wormfarm Institute for the next three weeks.  She is sleeping in the barn where the temperature was 37 degrees yesterday.  Today she is gardening.  Hopefully it is a little bit warmer today.  In honor of her planting skills I am going to show her how my pet weeds are growing.  It has been a joke for years that I allow some strange exotic plant/weed to grow under my protection.  I am particularly fond of this plant that until recently  I had no clue to its identification.  Our friend Bert Easter told me it was a pokeweed, and it is edible.  I am sure all baby boomers remember the song "Poke Salad Annie" by Tony Joe White.  As a teenager I had no idea that this plant was...I just liked the song.  Well there are a slew of recipes on the internet that use this plant, but I am not going to try any.  Here are some pictures of two different pokeweeds.

Pokeweed near the brick wall in the back of Mouse House.  Several weeks ago I cut this weed with my lawn mower but it grew back with vengeance.  I am going to allow it to stay a while.

One of my pet pokeweeds.  It is growing next to the stump of our deceased pecan tree which was struck by lighting in June,  2004, the firebolt jumped to our roof and nearly burned our house down. It lived until the autumn of 2013.  On top of the stump is a sculpture made of pecan chops by Stephen Chesley









Monday, May 11, 2015

News from the Mouse House

Susan begins the second week of her art residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN.  Her creative juices are flowing, and I encourage everyone to visit her blog to see her new creations.  As for yours truly, my back seems to be getting better.  Hopefully I will be able to continue my "spring cleaning" of the workshop and dreaded back room


Bottle cap photo-frame (click on image to enlarge)


Susan created some bottle cap photo-frames recently.  They are designed for a 5 by 7 image with UV glass, a black-core mat and flex points for easy installation of your own personal photo.  I have both horizontal and vertical orientations, and they sell for $49.00 plus sales tax.  They make wonderful gifts.

We also created a number of bottle cap mirrors in various sizes and price ranges ($66 - $165).  During her absence they are 25 % off the original price if you mention this blog post to me.

Hampton Court and Palace

During my March visit to London (on a 40000 mile frequent flyer flight!) to visit Mathias and see him dance one of the principal roles in Carmina Burana, I visited Hampton Court Palace.  Great place, incredible gardens and its own famous art gallery.  Needed a lot more time for a proper visit and I will return at a later date.  To save some money I stayed in East London at the Barking Travelodge.  Excellent inexpensive hotel with new beds and surprisingly large rooms.  Hotel is a 5 minute walk from the Barking Train and Tube station and 45 minutes to Charring Cross/ Trafalgar Square.

Barking Abbey Ruins (click to enlarge)

A little gem in Barking, a one minute walk from the Travelodge, is the Barking Abbey Ruins and St. Margaret Church and Cemetery.  The Abbey dates back to AD 666 and was surrendered to the Crown in 1539 and demolished.  Good stone and lead were used at the king's manor house in Dartfort and at Greenwich Palace. 

St. Margaret's Church and Tower, London Barking

The church is quite active but closed when I visited.  The cemetery is well maintained and contained some really cool tombstones that would make some great rubbings.

One of several tombstones with classic 17th century skull and crossbones embellishments (click to enlarge)









Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May at the Mouse House

Greetings.  Susan, the head mouse, is out of the office until mid-July!  Why?  She is attending three artist residencies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pickens, SC with a two-day teaching workshop in St. Louis sandwiched in-between.  We leave for Scotland on July 3 for Mathias and LJ's wedding and returning to Columbia on July 15.  I have been meaning to blog while she is away, but unfortunately on yesterday I tweaked my back stretching (to ease my back issues...go figure), and I was not up to writing.  I have since discovered that my upright position for typing actually feels ok.  This morning my back was stiff, and I felt like I could not even get out of bed.  Once up and with my back iced down for twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off, I can move around with with tolerable discomfort.  It has been a while since my back has acted up, and of course it happens when no one can take care of me, and I must keep the shop open.

The back flair-up is still another reminder that I must exercise these muscles every day... I have to admit that I had been a little lazy recently, but to twist my back touching my toes is a little much!  Time to drop a little weight off my belly, but I must get my back pain controlled.  Since we are a one car family, my only mode of transportation is the moped, and it sucks to ride a moped with a sore back!  Ibuprofen and ice will be my medicine for a while.

This weekend I will have a rental car in order to pick up her work at Palmetto Hands in Charleston (she won an outstanding merit award) on Saturday, and on Sunday I will drive more of work up to Asheville to the Grovewood Gallery.  I'm looking forward to the drive as long as my back behaves.  I will continue to post the happening at Mouse House during Susan's absence.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Open for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Twenty years ago during the Thanksgiving weekend of 1994, we moved our business from Confederate Avenue to our present location.  We were open for business without a hitch (except for phone issues) on the following Monday.  A month later we moved our personal belongings upstairs and sold our house.  In honor of 20 years in business at our Park Street business and residence, we will be open on Friday November 28 (9:30AM to 5PM) and Small Business Saturday, November 29 from 10AM to 2PM.  Susan will be here on Friday and probably Saturday with demonstrations of her fiber art techniques.   All visitors during these two days will receive a free gift.  Please come by and shop for one of Susan's unique art pieces, our framed mirrors or other framed images. 

Custom framing orders can be dropped off for Christmas, but they must be here by the end of December 11 to be guaranteed for Christmas pickups.  We will be closed from December 17 through December 24 but will be open on December 26 through December 30 at our normal business hours.  Please come by and celebrate with us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

20 Years Ago

September 2, 1994. 3 1/2 months after the City of Columbia Zoning Commission told us we had to move or close.  Here are a few of the many highlights of our lives and circumstances during this period:

The Mouse House was finishing the final negotiations to buy/finance our present Park Street home and business. Assuming a favorable rezoning ruling, this would allow us to legally live and work in the same building (which occurred in November, 1994!).  Running and managing an ever growing framing business with employees in our illegal Confederate Avenue location needed to come to an end.  We were already selling framed antiquarian prints and offering limited custom framing at Terrace Oaks Antique Mall in Charleston; framing for most of the Charleston King Street antique dealers; working for our best corporate/personal client, Leonard Long as well as Kiawah Development Partners; attempting to raise our two little boys and exposed them to the arts; making numerous out of town trips in search of antiquarian prints to resale, etc. I was one year past any chance that I would ever return to the scientific and academic world that I knew during my 13 years of college and three years of professional work.  Whew and Wow!

September 2, 2014.  Terrace Oaks is a nice and distant memory (by choice).  Nearly all of the King Street antique dealers have died or retired (we miss SOME of them). KDP was sold and we choice not to continue our relationship with the new corporation. Leonard has retired and enjoying life.  (We hear from him occasionally.)  There are no employees or children (at least one kid likes us!).  We have a small but loyal custom framing clientele.  Best of all, Susan's art is making amazing strides and accomplishments.

We are coming up to our twentieth anniversary of Mouse House at Park Street.  We will be celebrating this milestone in some soon to be named exciting way.  We are also going to use the untapped social media market to brand and advertise the New Mouse House and all we have to offer in the coming months.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer at The Mouse House


 One of Susan's stain-glass fiber pieces.  More images can be found on her website.




The summer season has arrived at The Mouse House.  Historically this tends to be a slower time for custom framing and walk-in business.  Susan has been taking advantage of this slow period by creating more of her stain-glass fiber work which is locally available  here at The Mouse House and Ellen Taylor Interiors.  She is also teaching this and next week in Goose Creek, SC for the gifted and talented high school art students in Berkeley County.  She is making the long commute up and down I-26 Monday through  Thursday and will be at The Mouse House on Friday.  I am also able to attempt the impossible task of cleaning the downstairs gallery.

We are continuing the transformation of Mouse House into a gallery showcasing Susan's artwork, a nice selection of beveled mirrors and a few original oil paintings by Stephen Chesley.  New storage space created when I downsized the antique print collection now shows Susan amazing art quilts and other original work.


A sample of Susan's art quilts

We still have a large selection of 19TH century antiquarian decorative art engravings by Owen Jones, Racinet, and others,  as well as a few really nice larger antique botanicals and other antique prints.  Contemporary prints include larger Audubon birds and other miscellaneous prints.  All of these can be customed framed if you allow Susan to do her thing with the matting and frame selection.  Come in and visit.


Some of Susan's unique fiber vessels.