A trip to Sotheby’s to see the Alexander Calder Jewelry

As I was going through my pile of unread magazines this weekend, I saw a picture of this gorgeous brooch heralding an auction at Sotheby’s featuring a record 37 pieces of jewelry by the famed sculptor, Alexander Calder.

calder sun brooch


I first fell in love with Alexander Calder’s jewelry at a retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Art in 1998. So, off I went!

Most people are more familiar with Calder’s mobiles

calder 0

(which are often larger than their delicate-looking structure would suggest),

calder 00

or his stabiles, many of which were designed to go outside.

calder stabile

These large pieces are so perfectly balanced that I was able to make them bobble & turn just by blowing on them.

Calder Stabile

(That is, until a museum guard asked me to stop blowing on the art. Did I mentioned they were designed to go outside?)

The jewelry at auction today comes from the estate of Hope Makler, a Philadelphia gallerist who was a good friend to and patron of Alexander Calder.
The whimsy of Calder’s sculptures carries over into his jewelry in pieces like this loopy, spikey piece worn by Angelica Houston titled… wait for it…

Calder Jealous Husband Neckalce



The Jealous Husband.

or these dramatic pieces.
calder flower necklace calder brass necklace

While almost all the pieces of Alexander Calder’s jewelry at this morning’s Sotheby’s auction went for at least $100k more than their pre-sale estimates,

calder 2

and many pieces went for at least 10 times their estimated values, the big winner of the day was this pair of earrings:

calder mobile earrings


Estimated at $60,000-$80,000, they ended up selling for

calder 6a

$1.2 million dollars. (I can only imagine how happy the members of the Makler family must have been when they saw those numbers!)

In addition to jewelry, Sotheby’s was also selling several Alexander Calder paintings, mobiles and stabiles.

calder painting

For more images visit Sotheby’s

If you’d like to make your own mobile, check out this great post by Molly Corrine, featuring mobile making instructions from a 1954 issue of Popular Science “How to Make a Mobile”

calder - mobile chart



Posted in Art

Surreal Self-Portraits by Fiddle Oak

The surreal & whimsical portraits and self-portraits that 14 year old Zev, aka Fiddle Oak , creates with the assistance of his sister, Aliza, take the viewer to another world . These imaginative images have drama, movement, excitement and a sense of magic, and I believe everyone of them. Fiddle Oak shares his work on Tumbler and has created a blog  that gives a behind the scenes look at how he creates his images and gives how to instructions on photomanipulation.   For many more images, visit FiddleOak.com, and thanks to  demilked.com for bringing his work in photomanipulation and surrealism to my attention. Enjoy! Marsya

Fiddle Oak Portraits

Take a Closer Look

Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce

If you ask a farmer at your local farmer’s market, or if you have a well-stocked produce section you might be lucky enough to catch the last tomatillos of the season.

Tomatillos grow on bushes similar to tomato plants gone wild Tomatillo plant - a nightshade vegetable

The fruit of the tomatillo is about the size of a golf ball and covered in a papery husk.Green Tomatillo fruit nightshade vegetables

Tomatillos have a crisp citrus taste, similar to a green tomato* and a smooth waxy skin.  The most common color is a beautiful kiwi green, but tomatillo fruits come in many colors including a gorgeous purple/black

The bright flavor of the tomatillos makes a sauce that is delicious on everything from a cold roasted vegetable salad or grilled vegetables to huevos ranchero, grilled fish, or even pulled pork.

This Green Tomatillo Sauce recipe is quick and easy. You can even make it ahead and keep it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.  It’s wonderful to have on hand for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking dinner.

Pick up a rotisserie chicken or a piece of cooked salmon on the way home from work, pour your Green Tomatillo Sauce on it (hot or cold), and voila! You now have a work night meal that feels fresh and inspired.

(A ripe tomato salad is a wonderful accompaniment for any dish with this sauce.)



Green Tomatillo Sauce


1 dried Cascabel chili

If you like a little heat, add 1 jalapeno chili

2 Tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 onion, finely chopped

10 fresh tomatillos, husks removed*

  1. Soak the dried chili in hot water for 30 min until softened. Drain, remove the stem, slit the chili and scrape out the seeds, leaving as much pulp as possible on the skin of the chili.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic and onion for 3-4 minutes until the onions become translucent, while being careful not to let the garlic burn
  3. Chop the chilies and add both chilies and tomatillos to the pan
  4. Cook stirring constantly until the tomatillos start to break up.
  • If you want to give your sauce a deeper flavor, just before you lower the heat, let your sauce burn just a little bit. Then turn down your heat and really give the bottom of the pan a good stir to make sure there is nothing stuck to the bottom.
  1. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more min.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. If you want a more rustic sauce serve as is.
  3. If you would like a smoother sauce that would be perfect for enchiladas, let it cool slightly and then puree in a blender.

*Tomatillos are part of the nightshade family. The nightshade family is native to the New World and includes foods that have gone on to become dietary staples around the world, including, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chilis, eggplant, tobacco, and goji berries. While most of these foods are widely considered vegetables, they are in fact fruits.

**If you can’t get fresh tomatillos, don’t despair. You can buy them frozen in many grocery stores and Latin American markets, and the frozen ones work just as well.  I have some that I picked and froze myself, and they are just the same once you cook them.

Green Tomatillo Salsa


Chuck Eye ~ A Steak for Ribeye Lovers

For all you lovers of well-marbled steak, for all of you who know that “fat = flavor”, for everyone who would choose the ribeye or Delmonico as your favorite steak, do I have the steak for you!

Introducing the “Chuck Eye”

chuck eye beef steak ribeye

As the ribeye gets closer to the shoulder (ie the chuck) it gets smaller and smaller. This is where you will find the chuck eye ~ on the border of the rib and the shoulder. Now don’t be fooled, this is NOT a “chuck filet”, a braising steak that can be  tough and chewy. 

cuts of beef butchering diagram

(Last week I had a butcher try to convince me for about 5 minutes that they were the same thing, before finally admitting that his store doesn’t carry chuck eye because they buy their cuts of meat off the bone.)  Neither is it a “chuck blade” otherwise known as a flatiron steak.

chuck eye, better than ribeye

Beautifully marbled ,with all the flavor and tenderness of a top quality ribeye, the chuck eye sells for about half the price.

Because they are such a small part of the total cow, you might have to call ahead, but it’s well worth it.

I got to know the butcher at my local Gristedes here in NYC, and now I call in the morning or the day before, and he will hold as many 3/4″ 12 oz chuck eyes as I want. (There are typically only 3 or 4 available on any given day.) Today, however, I stopped by on a whim and lucked out with the two beautiful steaks you see here.  Because I am trying to lighten my footprint on the planet, but love food too much to go vegetarian, I typically cut my 12 oz steak into two pieces ~ This gives me two beautiful little steaks, each one the “recommended serving size” for protein.

How to cook a chuck eye or ribeye steak? Over high heat – flipping every 2 min.

Since I live in the city and don’t have grill, I preheat a cast iron pan over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Then I throw in the steak – two min on each side at high heat, then two more minutes on each side over medium/medium high heat (8 minutes total for Medium Rare). That will make a 3/4″ chuck eye medium rare on the inside and crunchy on the outside. If you like your steak rare cook it 6 or 7 minutes, if you like it medium cook it 9 or 10. If you like it more well done than that, well, you’re missing the point and you are on your own!

Sometimes I’ll sauté some onions and mushrooms in butter

sauted onions

I sauté the onions separately until they just start to burn. Then I remove them from the pan, add more butter and sauté the mushrooms.

sauteed mushrooms

Then, just as the sauteed mushrooms are starting to release their liquid, I’ll put the sauteed onions back in the pan, pour in a little sherry (between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup or so) to deglaze the pan and create an easy sherry reduction sauce. Then I pour the whole flavorful mixture over the perfectly crunchy juicy steak.

Simple, easy and delicious!

chuck eye steak in sherry reduction sauce 




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Shoe La La!

Form Follows Function in the Art of Design

The spiral Mojito shoe by award winning British designer, Julian Hakes, is a design masterpiece.


Inspired by a twist of lime, the stunningly beautiful shoe is a triumph of synergy between form and function. 


The sleek curl of leather wraps foot, simultaneously supporting it and highlighting it’s nakedness, defining the arch as the season’s hottest new erogenous zone.


The heel cups the foot securely

The heel cups the foot securely, providing a stable platform that both supports and reveals, even from behind.

I am Wild about these shoes!

If you want to see them from a particularly erotic, yet still SFW, angle, follow this link to the designer’s website:

Julian Hakes Spiral Mojito Shoe-la la



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