Friday, December 30, 2011

Changes in 2012

2011 is coming to an end. It has been an interesting year at The Mouse House. We have not missed our move out at Terrace Oaks Mall. We have been surprisingly profitable in 2011 and I hope this trend continues in 2012. Susan and I are in the process of converting the back room into her new 3-D artist studio. We will officially launch this new addition during Open Studios in April, 2012, but the studio will be finished way before then. We are continuing a downsizing of our antique print collection to make room for more of Susan's artwork. We have great deals on existing framed antique images and loose prints, and we continue to have a great selection of framed beveled and non-beveled mirrors. Our next big trip is to NYC to visit with Mathias and LJ on January 5-8. Alex still occasionally comes around but still is afraid to call his mom! Hopefully their relationship will improve next year (I'm the eternal optimist!). He can really work if he wants to.

Best wishes to all for a safe and healthy 2012. Please come by and visit!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pictures of Dover and Rochester, UK

Greetings to all. Susan and I just returned from Arizona where she had her art show at Vision Gallery in Chandler. I have posted a link to my pictures and videos that I took during the week of October 3, 2011 when I went to the UK to watch Mathias and his girlfriend, Laura-Jane (LJ) dance in several ballets with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Click here to watch. I'll be posting some pictures of our trip to Arizona shortly.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ravenel Bridge Bike Trip

Self-portrait of yours truly at the top of the Ravenel Bridge across the Cooper River in Charleston, SC.

View of the Ravenel Bridge from the docks adjacent to the SC Aquarium. You can purchase tickets to Fort Sumter here, as well as take a water taxi to Patriots Point. I thought of taking the water taxi back from Patriots Point, but I rode back!!

Yesterday I went to Charleston, SC to attend the wedding of Lauren Slocki and Captain Matthew Verdin. As I posted on Friday, Lauren is the older sister of Mathias's roommate and best friend Philip at The Kirov Academy of Ballet. Since the wedding was at 5PM, I spent the morning and early afternoon on my bike and rode to Mount Pleasant from the SC Aquarium over the Cooper River Bridge (now named the Ravenel Bridge) to Mt. Pleasant. Needless to say it was a blast and not as strenuous as I thought (maybe I am in better shape that I thought). I was smart, however, to start in Charleston and ride to Mt. Pleasant and back instead of the reverse. The uphill climb toward Mt. Pleasant to the top of the bridge is longer, and since I just started my bike run, I was pretty well rested. Once I crossed over the bridge I rode around Patriots Point and Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. I rode out on the fishing pier that lies below the bridge and went into the visitor's center. I have posted some pictures from my journey. Click on any to enlarge.

Here is the sign that greets bike riders and pedestrians before they cross the bridge. Note how wide the path is so that both walkers and bikers have their own paths. For the most part pedestrians stayed on their path, although one idiot almost stepped into my lane!

One of the many cruise ships that frequent Charleston Harbor. Their dock is just down the block from the Aquarium. This photograph was taken from the top of the bridge.

A view of Mt. Pleasant from the top of the bridge. The Battleship Yorktown is in the distance.

Another view of the Yorktown from the bridge.

This is a nice view of the bike path on the bridge looking toward Mt. Pleasant. The public fishing pier lies to the left of the bridge support pilings.

This is the view of the public fishing pier at Mt.Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. There were a few people fishing, but in general, it was not too busy. The fishing piers extends about 1/4 mile out into the Cooper River.

I have also posted two short videos taken from the top of the bridge. I especially like the second one, although you cannot really appreciate the scale unless you are standing where I filmed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Off to Charleston

Susan is still in Hot Springs National Park as their Artist-in-Residence for the month of August. I will fly out on a one-way ticket on the 31ST, and we will drive back over the Labor Day holiday. Saturday, August 20TH, I have the pleasure of attending a wedding in Charleston at St. Philip's Church. Lauren Slocki, who is the sister of Philip, Mathias's roommate and best friend at The Kirov Academy of Ballet, is getting married at 5PM with the reception at The Old Exchange Building. I will be leaving bright and early Saturday morning. Since Susan took the car, my mode of transportation has been our moped. Although it would be quite an adventure to take the moped to Charleston, sane minds prevail and I will be renting a car for the trip.

One of the things I've always wanted to do is to ride my bike across the Cooper Bridge Bridge. Thanks to a very generous upgrade from Enterprise, I will be able to take my bike in the Ford Explorer they rented to me for $19.99/day! I plan on driving to Patriot's Point and ride to my heart's content or until heat stroke sets in. I am hoping that I can take pictures from the top of the bridge. I will also take pictures at the wedding. If I survive my trip I'll post some next week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Changes on the horizon

Max, King of Park Street, posing as a dead cat at The Mouse House (click to enlarge)

On August 4, Susan leaves for Hot Springs Arkansas and a one month residency at Hot Springs National Park. From August 4-September 4, there will be limited framing services available at The Mouse House. The gallery will remain open for sales of Susan's artwork, mirrors, and framed prints. All framed artwork will be 20% off the entire month. During this time I will be doing many things around the Mouse House which will include exterior painting, lap siding repair on the workshop with my buddy and Susan's art mentor Stephen Chesley, and other assorted chores. My hours may vary, but I can always accommodate anyone wanting to come over and shop.

Last Wednesday afternoon at the spur of the moment, we decided to reduce our stock of antiquarian prints. We have collected hundreds of prints over the years which we successfully sold as framed items, predominately at Terrace Oaks Mall. Since we are no longer there, we decided to free up some space in the gallery by consigning some of our collection to Quinn's Auction House in Falls Church, VA. We took a trip to DC on Friday and brought 16 boxes of prints and some assorted plate books to the auction house. We hardly made a dent in our collection! I also have some much needed floor space in order to better show our mirrors and Susan's artwork.

Here is Max in all his glory. Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Life after Terrace Oaks

We moved out of Terrace Oaks Antique Mall in Charleston as scheduled. We had rented a small Ryder Truck for the move. I originally thought we could move everything out with a cargo van, but Susan refused to listen to me. She teased me the whole day as we filled the truck up with all our merchandise! There was little fanfare; just a few comments wishing us luck in our new endeavors! We never felt that we were special, and that is probably a good thing and done intentionally by the management. It alleviated any charges of favoritism in the mall. I don't think our work was ever really appreciated in the mall in the last months. Susan and I will not miss the trips to Charleston. We still have some fine pieces on consignment at Merrill Benfield Interiors at 28 Hassel Street in downtown Charleston; we'll see how long this will last. In the meantime, we have some great merchandise for sale. To name a few items, there is a nice selection of framed antique birds from Bree, History of the Birds in Europe, 1863; framed 19Th century botanicals from Curtis and others, and other mirrors and framed antiquarian prints. For anyone mentioning that they read about this sale on my blog from now through June, I will give 20% off on all framed prints, mirrors, and loose prints. Selected original artwork by Susan Lenz will also have this discount.

One of Susan's art installations has also been installed at The Mouse House. The doors contain many framed keys that have been shown in Charleston, Salisbury, NC and at her studio. These make wonderful gifts and I encourage all to come over and see this wonderful installation.

Below is a picture of my beloved dumb cat, Shadow, in all her glory!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A New Addition to the Memorial Garden

Mouse House, Inc. moved to our present location Thanksgiving weekend, 1994. The backyard area was overrun with weeds and an old and poorly maintained asphalt parking lot. Quite honestly it was a jungle back there. One of the first things we did (after the garage was built in January, 1995) was to replace the asphalt parking lot with a nice cement one which has held up very nicely over the years. The second thing we did was to contract Woodley Garden Center to do some rudimentary landscaping. One of the things they did was to plant a few small dogwood trees to replace the overgrowth of weeds, as well as a few azaleas, bushes, and other assorted plants. The palm tree has flourished very well and the oleander blooms every June.

We added an 8ft by 10 ft by 15 in. pond later that summer which is still as beautiful and relaxing as ever with an assortment of multi-generational gold fish and the occasional bull frog. It is completely self-supporting, although I occasionally feed the fish.

Last Sunday I noticed that one of the dogwood trees had no blossoms or buds. Upon further inspection and pruning it was quite apparent that the poor dogwood did not survive the winter. I removed all the limbs and cut the barren tree down with a hand saw. What remained was a one ft stub of a tree. After excavating the soil around the root system and using a sledge hammer I was able to remove the root ball of the dogwood. It now stands proudly with the tree stump which marks Siren's grave. The remains of Blackie, our former black cat, are buried nearby.

Now for some other news, the moving out of Terrace Oaks Antique Mall in Charleston sale is going strong. There are some real bargains to be found. The sale will end on May 3.

A pair or vultures (buzzards) in front of The Mouse House.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving Out Sale at Terrace Oaks Mall

The details of our move out from Terrace Oaks Antique Mall are complete. Our last day will be May 3, 2011. Starting tomorrow, April 1 (or when the sale signs are posted.. probably later that day), everything EXCEPT one item is 30 % off. The one exception is a fine framed West-African textile which is 15 % off. There are books, prints, mirrors, linens, and framed antique prints and framed Audubon prints available. Please come and shop for some wonderful bargains. Note that bookcases are not for sale.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Leaving Terrace Oaks Mall

The decision was difficult but necessary. We have decided to leave Terrace Oaks Antique Mall. Our tentative move out date is May 5 but could change. We expect to have a significant clearance sale during April and more details will follow when the exact move-out date is set.

We have had a great relationship with Camille over the years, but unfortunately, times have changed. We are not selling our framed antique pictures with great consistency. Our big reproduction Audubon birds are not moving. There is a abundance of cheaper pictures available in the mall that are not the quality of our work, and we cannot nor do we choose to compete with this merchandise. We do not sell enough mirrors, books, linens, prints, etc. to justify the weekly trips to Charleston necessary to rearrange, clean, add and shuffle our merchandise. We cannot "work" our booths the same way as the local dealers. We do not want to run a continuous "sale". We are working on other options to continue to have a presence with our wonderful antiquarian artwork in Charleston. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Going to England

Since there's no possibility that my elder son Mathias reads this blog.....I can announce that I'm flying to Manchester this afternoon to see Mathias and Laura-Jane dancing in BRB's new production of Cinderella. I am also bringing a specially built crate for a collection of framed picture. I will miss my cats but am sure that Susan will take care of them!