Monday, January 31, 2011

The Best Home-Made Popcorn Machine

The stirring popcorn maker by West Bend, Stir Crazy, makes wonderfully fluffy popcorn every time. This model is superior to the analogous product made by Presto, which costs ten dollars more at Wal-Mart and has a very weak bowl and useless lid. This popper is much more well-made. Instead of vegetable oil, I use coconut oil for a more health-promoting snack.
One of the better bagged raw popcorn brands is Wal-Mart's Great Value. I find that it is superior to that of Orville Redenbacher. Pop Secret is good too, though it tastes a little less corny.
©M-J de Mesterton

The Best Home-Made Popcorn Machine

The stirring popcorn maker by West Bend, Stir Crazy, makes wonderfully fluffy popcorn every time. This model is superior to the analogous product made by Presto, which costs ten dollars more at Wal-Mart and has a very weak bowl and useless lid. This popper is much more well-made. Instead of vegetable oil, I use coconut oil for a more health-promoting snack.
One of the better bagged raw popcorn brands is Bob's Red Mill White Popcorn. I find that it is superior to that of Orville Redenbacher. Pop Secret is good too, though it tastes a little less corny.
©M-J de Mesterton

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spanish Architect Miguel Fisac 1913-2006











Above: the Last Interview with Spanish Architect
 and Painter Miguel Fisac



Miguel Fisac, Spain's Beloved Modern Architect

Miguel Fisac (Born Daimiel 1913 - Died Madrid 2006), was the quintessential modern architect in Spain. His work takes place during the second half of the twentieth century. Señor Fisac had more than 60 years of in the art and and architecture professions. As the most prolific Spanish architect, he constructed over 350 building projects. The Spanish city of Daimiel, an ancient spot in Castile-La Mancha formerly known as La Villa de Daimiel, is proud to be home to three representative works of his long career:  Instituto Laboral (Labour Institute), the Market Building and Housing Parterre.

Miguel Fisac invented an unique style of sculpting a flexible structural concrete, having developed and patented the innovative plastic-like cement itself. Some of the buildings designed by Fisac display a quilted pattern made of his proprietary and innovative concrete.

Instituto Laboral
Former Labour Institute. Current Water Interpretation Centre (1951-54)

This is one of the most representative buildings of Spanish architecture from the nineteen-fifties.
It has been defined as "the first modern building" because it represents a real break with the classical architecture that was being done in the 'forties in Spain. Miguel Fisac had the idea to build one of the first business schools in Spain, using modern technology. Fisac designed the business school with reference to the plastic values of the architecture of La Mancha that can be seen in some of its basic elements, including the anarchic arrangement of holes, rounded corners, and external textures generated by successive layers of lime.
In this building Señor Fisac contributed all the interior design elements such as furniture, a unique lighting system in the auditorium, and interesting murals that he painted in each classroom.
Mercado Abastos

Food Market (1955-1960)
It is the second major work by Fisac in his birthplace Daimiel, defined as a large complex devoted to the merging of folk architecture and functionality. 

The exterior is executed in the typical style of La Mancha, with and thick whitewashed stone walls inspired by the ancient "Quinteria Mancha," with a somewhat chaotic distribution of windows. 

Functionalism is defined in the interior of this structure by the utilisation of large concrete pillars. At the entrance of the building there is a ceramic mural by Francisco Farreras.

In 2006, a remodelling of the building was completed. This last Fisac project involved adaptation of the market to new uses. On the top floor of the building there are ever-changing, temporary exhibitions in tribute to Señor Fisac, the artistic and creative architect.


Edificio Parterre

Parterre Apartment Building (1978-82)


On the site in Daimiel, Spain where a pharmacy was owned by his father Joaquin Fisac, now sits a modern residential building where Miguel Fisac employed his famous patent, known as flexible concrete. This is a concrete form-work process that gives an appearance of sagging walls, which is reminiscent of the original slurry aspect that his proprietary concrete has before use. The quilted look of the façade is achieved by application of this technique, a prime example of it being fulfilled in the last stage of this quintessential work by Miguel Fisac, the building's balcony.



Young Miguel Fisac began studying architecture in 1930 at Madrid's Universidad Central.  He studied watercolor (wash), statuary and mechanics. 



Señor Fisac travelled the world. He was especially impressed the Japanese traditional style of architecture and landscaping. Fisac also became fond of the Nordic architectural idiom. He admired the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and was a friend of Los Angeles architect Richard Neutra.

In 1954, Miguel Fisac received the Gold Medal at the Exhibition of Religious Art in Vienna, for the church of “Arcas Reales” in Valladolid. His work began to be known abroad.

In 1955, Mr. Fisac  designed the Teologado San Pedro Mártir for the Dominicans Friars in Alcobendas, Madrid.

Spain's great modern architect Miguel Fisac passed away at his Madrid home in 2006, not long after the interview presented at the beginning of this article.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Esparto

Photo of Esparto in Portugal by Carsten Niehaus

Esparto and Its Uses
Esparto, also known as "halfah (or alfa) grass" or "needle grass," macrochloa tenacissima and stipa tenacissima, is a bunching grass that grows in northwest Africa, Portugal, and most notably in Spain.

Esparto has a very durable consistency, thus it has traditionally been used for making rope, cords, baskets, espadrilles, and even women's undergarments.

Esparto is also used for fibre-production in making paper. The fibres of esparto contribute to a high-quality paper often used in book manufacturing. First used in Great Britain in 1850, it has been extensively used there and in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States because of the high cost of transporting it. Esparto combined with five-to-ten percent wood pulp for paper-making.

The "Spanish" grade of esparto is usually regarded as the higher-quality, while  "Tripoli" esparto from northern Africa is considered  lesser in quality. The fibres are fairly short in relation to their width, yet do not create any significant amount of dust. Because of the short fibre length, the tensile strength of the paper made with esparto is less than that of many other papers, but its resistance to shrinkage and stretching is superior, thus it is an attractive, dense paper with excellent inking qualities. Paper made with esparto also folds very well.


Lygeum spartum, another species of grass, is often woven together with true esparto, and is incorrectly  labelled with the colloquialism "esparto grass," but  is also known as "albardine."

The Villa de Daimiel, an ancient municipality in Ciudad Reál (Royal City) of La Mancha, an area also known for its viniculture, has produced esparto for  many kinds of crafts, textiles and garments since the middle ages. 

~~M-J de M.

Esparto

Photo of Esparto in Portugal by Carsten Niehaus

Esparto and Its Uses
Esparto, also known as "halfah (or alfa) grass" or "needle grass," macrochloa tenacissima and stipa tenacissima, is a bunching grass that grows in northwest Africa, Portugal, and most notably in Spain.

Esparto has a very durable consistency, thus it has traditionally been used for making rope, cords, baskets, espadrilles, and even women's undergarments.

Esparto is also used for fibre-production in making paper. The fibres of esparto contribute to a high-quality paper often used in book manufacturing. First used in Great Britain in 1850, it has been extensively used there and in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States because of the high cost of transporting it. Esparto combined with five-to-ten percent wood pulp for paper-making.

The "Spanish" grade of esparto is usually regarded as the higher-quality, while  "Tripoli" esparto from northern Africa is considered  lesser in quality. The fibres are fairly short in relation to their width, yet do not create any significant amount of dust. Because of the short fibre length, the tensile strength of the paper made with esparto is less than that of many other papers, but its resistance to shrinkage and stretching is superior, thus it is an attractive, dense paper with excellent inking qualities. Paper made with esparto also folds very well.


Lygeum spartum, another species of grass, is often woven together with true esparto, and is incorrectly  labelled with the colloquialism "esparto grass," but  is also known as "albardine."

The Villa de Daimiel, an ancient municipality in Ciudad Reál (Royal City) of La Mancha, an area also known for its viniculture, has produced esparto for  many kinds of crafts, textiles and garments since the middle ages. 

~~M-J de M.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Elegant Pantry Update

Groups of similar-looking food storage containers in your kitchen cupboard or pantry 
create a tidy and elegant appearance.
©2011 M-J de Mesterton 

Elegant Pantry Update

Groups of similar-looking food storage containers in your kitchen cupboard or pantry 
create a tidy and elegant appearance.
©2011 M-J de Mesterton 

Elegant Wrought-Iron Furniture

Elegance in Wrought-Iron and Wood 
My outdoor furniture  is congruous with its surroundings: the  greens and browns of raw nature.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elegant Japanese Ginger Jar

You ought to consider stocking up on ginger this winter; eating it will help reduce the symptoms and duration of rhinovirus.

Elegant Japanese Ginger Jar

You ought to consider stocking up on ginger this winter; eating it will help reduce the symptoms and duration of rhinovirus.

Elegant Gardening: Outdoor Furniture

My Elegant Patio Furniture Blends with the Garden

Elegant Gardening: Outdoor Furniture

My Elegant Patio Furniture Blends with the Garden

Elegant Gardening: Outdoor Furniture

My Elegant Patio Furniture Blends with the Garden

Duffel

 
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Gloverall Duffel Coat




Elegant Purple Vegetable Smoothie

An elegant smoothie is made with buttermilk, celery, lemon juice, red cabbage and cucumber.

Elegant Purple Vegetable Smoothie

An elegant smoothie is made with buttermilk, celery, lemon juice, red cabbage and cucumber.

Elegant Patio Furniture

My garden furniture, constructed of wrought iron and wood, blends well with nature.

Elegant Patio Furniture

My garden furniture, constructed of wrought iron and wood, blends well with nature.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lavender, a Fragrant Perennial Shrub

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Lavender, a Fragrant Perennial Shrub

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Lavender, a Fragrant Perennial Shrub

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Elegant Hamburger Sandwich Buns

See Elegant Bread for M-J's Hamburger Bun recipe.

Elegant Hamburger Sandwich Buns

See Elegant Bread for M-J's Hamburger Bun recipe.

M-J's Elegant Sandwich Rolls

M-J's Elegant Sandwich Rolls

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Elegant Sandwich Rolls

Elegant Sandwich Rolls

Elegant Sandwich Rolls

Elegant Home-Made Buns


Elegant hamburgers and other sandwiches can be served to luncheon guests on buns that you make at home. See M-J's original recipe for Elegant Hamburger Buns on the Bread page at Elegant Cook.

Elegant Home-Made Buns


Elegant hamburgers and other sandwiches can be served to luncheon guests on buns that you make at home. See M-J's original recipe for Elegant Hamburger Buns on the Bread page at Elegant Cook.

Elegant Home-Made Buns


Elegant hamburgers and other sandwiches can be served to luncheon guests on buns that you make at home. See M-J's original recipe for Elegant Hamburger Buns on the Bread page at Elegant Cook.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Elegant Bridal Gowns


Elegant Wedding Gown

Posted by M-J de Mesterton on January 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Prospective Brides: Something to Consider

Why not eschew the modern strapless evening dresses/corsets  with long trains that are now standard in the wedding business and adopt a classic, elegant, dignified style for your bridal gown? Following the crowd is not wise. That which is in fashion right now may make one cringe in the future. Brides of refinement and good breeding, women of high station in life have traditionally worn bridal gowns with long sleeves and elegant, high collars. Here is Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music, wearing a gorgeous wedding dress that looks right for any decade:
Note that this elegant wedding dress has a figure-flattering shape while bearing none of the tacky, complicated embellishments that often find their way onto the most important garb of a woman's life. If it is now impossible to locate a ready-made bridal gown of dignity and taste, there are patterns available from which one may be made. 

©M-J

Elegant Bridal Gown Patterns

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM





Elegant Bridal Gowns


Elegant Wedding Gown

Posted by M-J de Mesterton on January 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Prospective Brides: Something to Consider

Why not eschew the modern strapless evening dresses/corsets  with long trains that are now standard in the wedding business and adopt a classic, elegant, dignified style for your bridal gown? Following the crowd is not wise. That which is in fashion right now may make one cringe in the future. Brides of refinement and good breeding, women of high station in life have traditionally worn bridal gowns with long sleeves and elegant, high collars. Here is Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music, wearing a gorgeous wedding dress that looks right for any decade:
Note that this elegant wedding dress has a figure-flattering shape while bearing none of the tacky, complicated embellishments that often find their way onto the most important garb of a woman's life. If it is now impossible to locate a ready-made bridal gown of dignity and taste, there are patterns available from which one may be made. 

©M-J

Elegant Bridal Gown Patterns

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM





Elegant Bridal Gowns


Elegant Wedding Gown

Posted by M-J de Mesterton on January 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Prospective Brides: Something to Consider

Why not eschew the modern strapless evening dresses/corsets  with long trains that are now standard in the wedding business and adopt a classic, elegant, dignified style for your bridal gown? Following the crowd is not wise. That which is in fashion right now may make one cringe in the future. Brides of refinement and good breeding, women of high station in life have traditionally worn bridal gowns with long sleeves and elegant, high collars. Here is Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music, wearing a gorgeous wedding dress that looks right for any decade:
Note that this elegant wedding dress has a figure-flattering shape while bearing none of the tacky, complicated embellishments that often find their way onto the most important garb of a woman's life. If it is now impossible to locate a ready-made bridal gown of dignity and taste, there are patterns available from which one may be made. 

©M-J

Elegant Bridal Gown Patterns

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM





Elegant Bridal Gowns


Elegant Wedding Gown

Posted by M-J de Mesterton on January 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Prospective Brides: Something to Consider

Why not eschew the modern strapless evening dresses/corsets  with long trains that are now standard in the wedding business and adopt a classic, elegant, dignified style for your bridal gown? Following the crowd is not wise. That which is in fashion right now may make one cringe in the future. Brides of refinement and good breeding, women of high station in life have traditionally worn bridal gowns with long sleeves and elegant, high collars. Here is Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp in the Sound of Music, wearing a gorgeous wedding dress that looks right for any decade:
Note that this elegant wedding dress has a figure-flattering shape while bearing none of the tacky, complicated embellishments that often find their way onto the most important garb of a woman's life. If it is now impossible to locate a ready-made bridal gown of dignity and taste, there are patterns available from which one may be made. 

©M-J

Elegant Bridal Gown Patterns

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM





Elegant Auguste Renoir Rose

Plastic furniture is all right indoors, especially if it is in the high-styled modern idiom, and was created by or emulates that of 1950s and 1960s designers such as Eero Saarinen. But outdoors, one ideally will have garden or patio furniture made from wrought iron or of teak-wood, which will not deteriorate from exposure to the elements. Wooden and iron furniture exists in perfect harmony with landscaping and nature, especially when made in greens, browns, and other earth-tones.
Here is my old garden courtyard, where I had outdoor dining furniture by the now-defunct, elegant wrought-iron furniture company Lyon-Shaw, and a smaller chat-table in iron, wicker and tile, byAlfresco Home.

Elegant Auguste Renoir Rose

Plastic furniture is all right indoors, especially if it is in the high-styled modern idiom, and was created by or emulates that of 1950s and 1960s designers such as Eero Saarinen. But outdoors, one ideally will have garden or patio furniture made from wrought iron or of teak-wood, which will not deteriorate from exposure to the elements. Wooden and iron furniture exists in perfect harmony with landscaping and nature, especially when made in greens, browns, and other earth-tones.
Here is my old garden courtyard, where I had outdoor dining furniture by the now-defunct, elegant wrought-iron furniture company Lyon-Shaw, and a smaller chat-table in iron, wicker and tile, byAlfresco Home.

Elegant Diuretic Smoothie

One half-cup of water, one fourth-cup of lemon juice, one jalapeño pepper (roasted, pickled or fresh), two stalks of celery, one-half of a cucumber, one tablespoon of thick yoghurt, and one tablespoon of parsley, all whirled in a blender till smooth. Add more water if necessary for processing.
Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2009

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