June 27, 2016

Wowed by the Nationality Rooms at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning

The centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh is no doubt The Cathedral of Learning.
A well-known landmark, it's listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It stands 535 feet tall and was built during the late 20s and early 30s
in the Late Gothic Revival style of architecture.
This colossal room was given to the university by Andrew Mellon.

On the first floor, students can study in the impressive Commons Room,
which covers a half acre and whose ceilings soar to 4 stories.
(Definitely reminiscent of the Main Hall in Harry's Hogwarts Castle.)

On the Cathedral's first and third floors are 30 Nationality Rooms.
Since Pittsburgh had a large population of immigrant families, 
the rooms were designed to pay homage to the various heritages 
that the students brought from their home countries.
Classes are still held in these rooms today.

My photos show just a handful of the rooms and their spectacular features.
They give only a taste of the fascinating details and craftsmanship in each one.

The chair backs in the Swiss Room represent Switzerland's 26 cantons or states.
There's a beautifully carved wood frieze all around this room.

The ceiling of the Hungarian Room features a folk motif and is the color of paprika.

A 16th century tapestry is in the French Room.

The English Room features stained glass windows with coats of arms 
honoring an English city, famous person or historic subject.

In the Turkish Room, a mural of Istanbul behind glass windows gives the impression
of an outside view, a common practice in Turkish architecture.
Notice, too, the fold-down desks that flip back seamlessly into the room's decor.

In the Czechoslovak room, an artist from Prague created this fresco
of a miracle tree having branches with a variety of leaves, fruit & flowers.

Architecture of 5th century Athens is represented as a temple in the Greek Room.

A beautiful mosaic in the Romanian Room commemorates the 
martyrdom of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and his 4 sons, 
who refused to renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam.

"When a guest enters the house, God enters the home." 
This proverb reflects the importance of hospitality to Ukrainians, 
and is represented in the Ukrainian Room as a home of an 18th century nobleman. 

Beautiful windows in the Polish Room feature coats of arms of Polish universities.

The formal Austrian Room highlights Austrian musical compositions such as 
Franz Gruber's "Silent Night" and Joseph Haydn's "Emperor's Song," which was 
both Austria's and Germany's national anthem for a period of time, 
and currently serves as the University of Pittsburgh's alma mater.

Wood carvings of Irish wolfhounds adorn the chairs in the Irish Room.

A beautiful floor mosaic graces the Israel Heritage Room, 
which was modeled after a Galilean home from the 1st century.

The most recently added Nationality Room is the Korean Heritage Room.
Its design was inspired by Seoul's Hall of Enlightenment in the Royal Academy.

An immense amount of information can be found
at the Nationality Rooms website.

If you're heading to Pittsburgh, I encourage you
to add this to your list of places to visit!

Would you like to read more of my Pittsburgh posts?

June 23, 2016

Kaleidoscopic Food Scans by Hargreaves & Levin

With some help from a scanner, artists Henry Hargreaves & Caitlin Levin capitalize 
on the beauty of fruits and veggies by cleverly arranging them in detailed patterns. 
The mirror images remind me of the cardboard kaleidoscopes we had as kids.
Look closely to recognize asparagus, figs, pears, and so on.

See more on their website.

Here's another post I did featuring Hargreaves & Levin:
Food Maps - Henry Hargreaves.

Images used with direct permission from Henry Hargreaves.

June 20, 2016

Rollin' Out Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Hooray for summer! Each year on the first day of summer, 
I sing a song made famous by the incomparable Nat King Cole. 
It's just a good old fashioned fun song that is guaranteed to make you happy!
I have to share it with you, so you can learn it and sing along.

For your listening and toe-tapping pleasure,
courtesy of a BBC special back in 1963 called 
"An Evening with Nat King Cole," and YouTube, is
"Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer!"

June 18, 2016

Vegetarian Brunch at The Zenith in Pittsburgh

Located in Pittsburgh's South Side, The Zenith is a trendy cafe 
serving yummy food that leaves smiles on the faces of vegetarians and vegans.
Aside from the menu, we were blown away by the crazy-cool interior!
An explosion of vintage lamps, furniture, clothing, jewelry, 
kitchenware, wall art and tchotchkes!
A true browser's paradise!

A vingette saluting the Netherlands.

Did I mention jewelry? I simply couldn't pass up this initial pin.
A girl's just gotta buy herself a souvenir sometimes.
(Look in the upper left corner of the photo above. There's my pin before I spotted it!)

We decided to go for their Sunday brunch.
Each table was set with a different combination of vintage linens and glassware.
Along with one of their brunch entrees, a fantastic buffet of salads was included...

...as well as this great selection of bundt cakes for dessert!
(Am I the only one who thought of My Big Fat Greek Wedding?)

The Zenith is located at
86 S. 26th St. in Pittsburgh.

More info here:

June 16, 2016

Pittsburgh's Gorgeous Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

I can't say enough good things about our visit to the 
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA!

This horticulture heaven has breathtaking themed gardens around every corner. 
What a thrill it was to explore this gorgeous, Taj Mahal-esque structure!

Just inside, this astounding chandelier by artist Dale Chihuly fills the glass rotunda!

Banners like this one piqued our curiosity.

It just so happened that we were in town when the giant corpse flower
was expected to bloom at any time, so it was garnering much attention.
Native to the rainforests of Sumatra, it blooms only once every few years, 
and when it does, it emits an odor similar to rotting flesh. I know- eew, gross!
We missed the big event by only a few days, however, so our noses were spared.
Here's the infamous corpse flower in all its pre-bloom glory.

The Serpentine Room features seasonal plants & flowers.

Phipps has an outstanding collection of Bonsai. Here are just a few.

A huge variety of lush ferns in every shade of green.

Beyond-beautiful orchids! 

More of Chihuly's art glass is situated throughout the conservatory,...

...including this spectacular sunburst called "Desert Gold Star" 
located in the cactus-filled Desert Room.

June 13, 2016

The Textile Art of Jackie Cardy

Jackie Cardy's creativity is evident in these embroidered feltworks.
This textile art requires a multi-step process to achieve such amazing results:
constructing the felt, dying the silk velvet, machine or hand-stitching 
the embroidered embellishments that add texture and definition, and so on.

Here's a great quote that Jackie has on her website:
"He who works with his hands is a labourer, 
he who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, 
he who works with his Hands and head and heart is an artist"
St Francis of Assissi

She also makes beautiful brooches...

...and colorful birds that can be used as brooches
or hung from an attached ribbon.

She creates some of her designs on silk paper.

Her website: Jackie Cardy Textiles
Her blog: Dog-Daisy Chains
Her shop on Etsy
Her Facebook page