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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

By Popular Demand - The Living Room!

     Recently, when I posted an article about our morning coffee and muffins, with a tour around the kitchen, several people indicated a wish to see a little more of our house, so this morning I am presenting the entrance hall and living room to you.
     I must apologize for the quality of the pictures; I am not good at dealing with the light pouring in from the windows and the reflection created, but you will get the sense of more of our living space, and the place that birds and books occupy in our lives.
     As soon as you open the front door and step inside, the first bird picture greets you. 


     It is an original oil on board that appeals to me quite a bit. Here is some information about the artist.


     I suspect that the picture has little artistic merit, but I am fond of it nonetheless and I acquired it at an auction for the princely sum of $4, framed.
     Down the hall a little way, my personal favourite of all of Miriam's creations hangs. It is called Garden Path and if you could see the exquisite detail in it you would be floored. It is a very fine work indeed.


     The lamp you see in the picture is sitting on a small table, at the bottom of which is a sculpture of a Common Loon (Great Northern Diver) of which I am inordinately enamoured. I have three other carvings of loons, one of them a particularly fine piece, but they all are in the stereotypical pose of the bird on the water. This is the only work I have ever seen showing the bird out of the water, in its characteristic ungainly stance, due to its legs being set so far back on its body - great for swimming but next to useless for moving around on land.



     It is an exquisite work, in my opinion, and I consider myself very fortunate to have it. Again, I acquired this piece at an auction. I forget what I paid for it, but you can be sure it was considerably more than the painting of the swans in flight!
     J. Fenwick Lansdowne is considered by many to be the finest wildlife artist Canada has ever produced, and is in the highest echelons of wildlife artists the world over. His output was remarkable and superb. I have several books devoted to his art and I have spent, and continue to spend, countless happy hours poring over them.
     Many years ago, I used to have my pictures framed by a small picture framer, an Armenian immigrant to Canada as a matter of fact, and we developed a friendship, and once when he needed a few minor repairs done to his house, I dispatched a crew to do the work, and didn't charge him. 
     As a token of appreciation he gave me this numbered print by Lansdowne of a Black-billed Cuckoo, and framed it for me. The  delicacy of this image is nothing short of genius. 



     A woman I once knew had the artistic sensibility of a slowworm; I suspect that her concept of beauty was barely above a velvet Elvis. She had a folio of Gould and Richter bird lithographs, and doubtless had no idea what she owned. They had been brought to Canada from New York by her grandfather sometime around 1900. 
     And so it was that I obtained a number of these lithographs. Some are framed and take pride of place on my walls, others I sold. Here are the two that are on the main wall of the living room, showing Semipalmated Plover and Virginia Rail.


      They are nothing short of spectacular!



     You can barely imagine my happiness in owning these very important works in the history of ornithological illustration, by the finest proponent of the genre, and an interesting fellow to boot.



     For anyone interested in learning more about this seminal figure in the development of ornithology as an artistic and scientific discipline, I recommend the following book.


     As many of you know from previous posts I also have a decent collection of wood carvings of birds, and this American Woodcock is one of my favourites.


     Books are a vital part of our lives. Neither Miriam nor I could imagine living without books. They are everywhere throughout our house.



     You will perhaps indulge me while I recount a small anecdote about the first time I was ever invited into Miriam's home some weeks after we first met. Going through the door I heard the music of Edvard Grieg, the incidental music to Peer Gynt, playing in the background, and as she took me through the house there were books everywhere. Now to have Miriam, Grieg and books all at the same time is not such a bad deal, and even though I didn't have to be sold any more than I already was, it did seem like a bit of a clincher!
     This Northern Pintail unfortunately suffered a broken tail, and now hides away under the table.


     On top of the table is a burl bowl which Miriam possessed before I knew her, and we both consider this to be an item of great beauty, and are delighted to have it.


     My brother-in-law, Amos Weber, was an accomplished woodworker and achieved great things in the genre known as chip carving. Here is one of his pieces.


     Let me show you a little more of the living room.




     And the dining room.


     In the last post I waxed rhapsodic about Barry Kent Mackay, so I will not go into a great dissertation about him again, but I do have other paintings to show you.
     The first is the original art for the front cover of the book Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers.



     I am very lucky to own this picture, but I have been further rewarded to have my copy of the book signed by both David Brewer, the author, and Barry Kent MacKay, the illustrator.




     This original watercolour of an American Dipper with young is another one of my prized possessions. Barry has captured the scene to perfection and rendered it with the touch of a true wildlife artist, someone who appreciates the subjects he is painting, and based on hours of field observation and sketches.



      In 2014, Linda R. Wires, wrote a very important book called The Double-crested Cormorant, Plight of a Feathered Pariah.


     This should be essential reading for anyone interested in birds, or in the principle of justice for animals, and fair and rational treatment of our fellow inhabitants of the Earth. 
     Barry, a long time advocate for cormorants, and for animal welfare in general, produced all of the art for this book and donated it. I bought ten pieces of the original art, three of which are framed on my walls, the rest I gave away to people I considered worthy recipients. Ironically, the Little Pied Cormorant of Australia, shown below, did not make into the book, but the other two pictures I kept did.


     We are all confined to home during this Coronavirus more than is usually the case, and it is no doubt more of a strain for some than others. I prefer to be outside, and fortunately, I have been able to escape the confines of the house each day, but if I have to be stuck at home this is really not a bad place to be.         After all I have music, Miriam and books - and I didn't even mention art.

79 comments:

  1. Impressive !Wow!So many goodlooking paintings from so many birds!Some of them are realy really cute!!

    And all those books!I would like to have a sneak peak there!Because I cant live without books..Allkind of books(I think we who read alot becomes maybe a little more educated People)
    I love the photoes from you living room and dining room..Just my style!

    Miriam I think does a good job there!

    We all stay in Our little Caves right now..I was out today to do a little easter shopping and it was so Nice seeing other humans..and someone even had put a heart in my mail writing "It will be allright.-Big hug!"

    Ok thank you for sharing beautiful photes !

    Wish you two all good :)))

    anita

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  2. What a nice tour of your living areas...beautiful art, books, sculptures! Thanks for sharing it all. I'm sure you will continue to enjoy it in these "shelter in place" SIP times.

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  3. You have some very fine art on your walls, and around your house. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am sitting at my desktop just after 5 a.m. as I have just managed to get a slot for a supermarket delivery on Tuesday, 14th, if I had left it until 7 a.m. I would have missed out. What a strange world we live in. Keep safe and well.

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  4. Hi David - what a delightful look round - thank you. Loved the art work ... and all the birds - no wonder you and Miriam 'go together like horse and carriage'. I'm sure I've come across Gould before - through Darwin, or more probably Lear ... though, of course, Gould's Book of Fishes comes to the fore too - nothing to do with you Gould though, but the Australia connection is there - in a somewhat 'convicted' way ...

    You've some wonderful works - and aren't the ones we choose that gladden our hearts continue to do so ... love seeing them ... and the woodwork pieces ... sculptures and chip carving - beautiful wood ... such a golden colour - do you know what it is?

    Stunning - and thanks so much for showing us round ... it looks delightful and what a place to spend time in ... you're so right. Take care - and a few hugs to you both from here too - Hilary

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    1. The bowl is signed by the artist, Hilary, but unfortunately I don't recognize the wood. As for Lear, he was instrumental in many ways in Gould's success, but was treated poorly for his trouble. And Lear may have been one of the greatest illustrators of all time.

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  5. Thank you for showing us more of your lovely home, David. You have many very enviable works of art, and I can think of plenty of worse places to be confined to than your house. It looks very cosy and has plenty to please the eye and keep the brain active and entertained - and I'm not just talking about Miriam!

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  6. You really do surround yourself with beauty in your home! And I'm sure you consider Miriam at the top of this list too! How delightful to be invited inside your home for a tour. Your art is exquisite and I love that unique piece of furniture with the books on the side. It must be a desk...it's very nice! I'm glad you are able to get out every day. We are trying for every other day, but have to get up in the morning and see what the day holds. Take care and stay healthy. Tell Miriam we appreciate be invited inside your beautiful home!

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  7. La extraordinaria biografía de John Gould, "The Bird Man" es un gran libro para estos momentos de confinamiento casero que vivimos, creo que lo he leído muchas veces y más que lo leeré. Me ha gustado mucho la escultura del colimbo, excelente trabajo. Espero que lo que vivimos estos días en España no llegue a Canadá, aunque en el Norte donde vivo yo casi no ha llegado el Covid 19. David un fuerte abrazo desde España, todo lo mejor amigo mío!!!

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    1. I am happy to hear that you have read the book, Germán. I just completed it for the third time.

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  8. What a fabulous tour of your living room. All the beautiful art, books and sculptures were a treat for the eyes. My favorite is also Miriam's creation, the Garden Path, it is absolutely beautiful.
    Take care and have a wonderful evening.

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  9. Thank you for this peek into your home. Which is beautiful. Hooray for art (in all its forms) for books and for someone precious to share them.

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  10. Waaa quelle belle collection!J'aime aussi beaucoup la création de Miriam, c'est vraiment très beau!Bravo.
    Il y'a de belles sculptures, un vrai musée chez vous.
    Bonne soirée

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  11. I loved the tour. It’s lovely to be surrounded by so many birds and objects with personal stories attached. Home as a haven is very important these days. We don’t really mind being stuck in ours either!

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  12. Thanks for the tour!
    Elegance - is the word for both the living room and the dining room.
    I love the wood carved birds, as well as the wall paintings featuring birds.

    Luckily, Canada's a peaceful country. Where there are wars, one has to store all this sort of beauty in boxes,until the war is over. Not always it gets put back in place.

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  13. Wow, David, your plave is like a lived in gallery. You hve so many fantastic artifacts and books, what treasures. I think we are all enjoying our home space more when we have to stop home. But my fave is Miriam's gorgeous creation. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you both, Valerie

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  14. That is quite an impressive cand substantial collection.

    Sigh. I suppose I have to discard my Velvet Elvis now?

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  15. Lovely place and a nice tour!! You have some wonderful pieces!

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  16. So many beautiful paintings and lithograps! I like the lamp too, David. I also like Edvard Grieg, but that's a mucic I grew up with. We have a lot of books here too. We read and buy a lot of books all the time. A lot them are about World War II. I guess you maybe thought that all of them was gardening books.

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  17. Such a wonderful collection. I especially love the plovers and cormorants.

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  18. Hello David, what a fantastic collection of art. Paintings, woodcarving and books with the illustrations of the artists themselves. Thank you for the information and stories behind some of the artworks. The illustration of the Dippers, Wrens and Thrushers is much and I think most of my liking. So kind of you to show us around your lovely home.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  19. Nice post. I've thought of something similar.

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  20. " After all I have music, Miriam and books - and I didn't even mention art." Thank you for sharing your home to us.

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  21. What a peaceful place. I too have a burl bowl I purchased from a old wood carver in Georgia. Min has holes through. I love it. And I love the egrets. I've had the honor of seeing egrets one time in my life.

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  22. Such a lovely collection of, of course, birds!
    I heard a woodcock this week.

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  23. Elegant and cozy is your home. The decoration is a work of your artistic and sensible souls. Just beautiful.
    Greetings and stay safe. Abrazo!

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  24. You have surrounded yourself with the things you love and created harmony for the two of you. I feel that is important in a home. Hopefully some normalcy will resume in the not so distant future...but I think some people are coming unraveled so I'm steering clear. Today at 5 pm I got an Emergency Alert text it said "GO HOME, a Stay at Home Order Starts NOW"...wow fortunately I was on my way home.

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  25. Miriam's Garden Path is beautiful too!

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  26. Thanks for sharing your home David. So wonderful to be surrounded by what is important to us - books and art, which my home is full of too. Love all the bird carvings.
    Miriam's Garden Path is a beautiful work of art, and I love, love, love that book cabinet/desk in your sitting room, such an unusual piece of furniture.

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  27. How wonderful to see more paintings, sculptures, lounge room and dinning room along with everything else. I do like Miriam's path can see the colouring and how well Miriam designed it to look so real, it's no wonder it hangs on the wall in all it's glory.
    Don't mind Peer Gynt myself.
    Take care, be safe and keep well.

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  28. Hari OM
    Late to the party but no less impressed!!! The full-room shots really helped to put your art pieces into perspective and I love how you have such wonderful associations with them all... I can absolutely understand the appeal of the flying swans; and the Garden Path is something I would also happily hang on my wall!!! YAM xx

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  29. You are blessed with a beautiful home. Your collections in all their guises are a delight. The books particularly drew my eye I wanted to pick them up and browse through them. Stay safe and well.

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  30. You have some lovely things in your home. I'm also rather fond of your $4 swan painting. The author of the John Gould book is presumably the same Isabella Tree (there can't be many of them) whose book "Wilding" I wrote about recently. She and her husband returned their farm to a more natural state.

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    1. It is indeed the same author, John, and I am keeping my eye open for "Wilding." It is especially relevant for me since I am helping a friend do exactly that with his farm.

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  31. You can't go wrong with a houseful of books! Thanks for sharing your home David, it's perfect for you both :)

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  32. Gracias por esa invitación y recorrer una parte de vuestro hogar queridos amigos. Preciosos cuadros de una querida y adorada afición de toda una vida dedicada a ella en la que cada cuadro o figura seguro tiene su bonito y encantador recuerdo. Precioso el trabajo de Miriam con esas piedras tan bien alineadas formando un bonito diseño. Un cuarto acogedor para leer o escuchar la música preferida.
    Un gran abrazo de vuestros amigos y compadres Carmen y Juan. Gracias por esa invitación compartiendo un poco de vuestro querido hogar.

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  33. Hello, a lovely tour of your home. I love books too. The art work and bird figurines and carvings are beautiful. Miriam's wall hanging is a pretty piece. Very peaceful and relaxing.
    Take care, wishing you a happy day!

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  34. Hi David, you do have a great and fine collection of art (your own museum!). The paintings of the wrens are fantastic and a collectors item I think. The woodcarved birds are wonderful too, and I agree with you that the woodcock is very nice and I can understand that it's your favourite.

    All the best to you both,
    Marianne

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    1. Great to hear from you, Marianne. Hope you are coping well with enforced confinement. Stay well!

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  35. Hi David.

    It is beautiful with you.
    Beautiful paintings and carvings.
    I love the Ice Diver's Lamp.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  36. Hello, David,
    it's fantastic to be a virtual guest at your home. It's very interesting. I remember your post about wood carvings of birds and now I see you have the collection of these ones. I also love your furniture, especially bookcase. Looking at the books there I understood they have been read many times.
    Thanks for sharing, stay well.

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  37. Oh David, where to begin when you love it all. Those lithographs (Gould) are exquisite and so too is the art by Barry Kent MacRay. So detailed; it's brilliant. As is your carved loon -- oh, good grief. As is ALL of it! I would be remiss if I didn't mention Miriam's walkway hanging and the work of your brother in law as well as that burl bowl. I can see why the woodcock is one of your favorite carvings. The workmanship is remarkable. I have to say I loved peeking into your bookshelves and that bookcase/desk -- one piece? That's a treasure. I've never seen one like that and boy, would I snatch it up in a heartbeat if I did. A stunner. Your home is warm and inviting and what I love most is that it is filled with things that have a very personal resonance for you. How it makes me smile.

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    1. It is one piece, Jeanie, and without doubt is our favourite piece of furniture.

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  38. Miriam and David!
    Thank you very much for visiting your wonderful home.
    It is very cozy and elegant. You surround yourself with beautiful pictures, books. You listen to the wonderful music of Edvard Grieg. I like him very much too. In Norway, I visited the Grieg museum.
    Hugs and greetings:)

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  39. Books are compelling moments of escape when the weather outside is not positive.

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  40. Thanks so much for this look around I thoroughly enjoyed it I think you did a great job of the photos of framed pictures. I have tried with ours and the light on the glass is just impossible. I love Miriam's Garden path, what is it made from, the stones look so real? Our house is mostly wild life including some birds. The dining room/kitchen is Nigel's domain and that has a lot of Porsche paintings on the walls. I agree what would we do without books. I am sad we left many behind when we left RSA 😞 Moving from a very big house there to a tiny house in the UK we parted with many things I now regret. Take care and stay safe both of you. Diane

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    1. Hi Diane: Miriam's "Garden Path". Is made from cotton fabric, hand quilted, with interface to give it a little rigidity.

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  41. I enjoyed having a look inside your house David. You both own beautiful art.

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  42. Your home is a parade of bird art. Some lovely paintings and carvings you have. I too love books although not dozens of bird books like you. One book I am very fond of is a coffee table size called Birds of North America. It has some beautiful illustrations. I also went for an interview with a publisher when I first came to Canada and he gave me a Field Identification boo Called the same. Didn't give me a job mind you.

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    1. Dozens? Try hundreds! To be fair, none of the books in the desk in this post are bird books and we have a huge number of fiction, classics, poetry, biography, essays, short stories........

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  43. Beautiful house yours, bird art and books everywhere, the dream home for most bird watchers
    Thanks for sharing

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  44. Thanks for the tour of your sanctuary! Lovely artwork.

    I'm delighted to read your post at 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for linking up!

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  45. David - thanks for sharing more of your surroundings with us. I am the kind of person that likes to visualize a place when I am thinking of someone, so now I can! You and Miriam are obviously well suited to each other, and have a very comfortable home with lovely treasures!

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  46. What a splendid tour! Maybe we should start a blog link up called 'My Library Thursday' - although I suspect it would be short lived! Do you have any Australian birds on display?

    Cheers - SM

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    1. Hi Stewart: Unfortunately the only Australian bird I have in display is the Little Pied Cormorant shown above. I would love to have more! It is not looking good for July, is it?

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  47. Loved the art work ... and all the birds ... You have so many beautiful paintings and lithograps! The "secretaire" is very nice and also the lamp. In the dining room I like the dining room cupboard. Miriam has decorated everything very nicely, is that the colonial style?
    Take care, wishing you a nice day, David!

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    1. I find it a tad amusing, and more than a little sexist, that a few of you have implied that Miriam has created this all by herself, as though no one else exists. If a man expressed similar opinions I have no doubt that you would jump all over him.

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    2. Mea culpa!
      I really didn't want to be a "sexist" ...
      You're right, at home the decisions about furniture and arrangement were made by the two of us!

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  48. Great piece of artwork David.

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  49. Hasta en la decoración de la casa, se nota el gran amor que sientes por las aves.

    Tienes un hogar muy acogedor.

    Besos

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  50. What an inviting living room you have. I love all the artwork, especially the Black-billed Cuckoo.

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  51. No doubt about it David, your house breathes birds.
    Greetings, Kees

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  52. Gracias por mostrarmos tu casa Dadid. Mucho amor y belleza tienes presente en ella de tu pasión que por la naturaleza. Comentas que tienes una colección decente,Oh friend, it's not decent, it's magnificent, you well represent yourself in it.
    I wish you a good Easter David.
    Cuidaros
    Desde casa os mando este abrazo 🙅

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  53. Estoy encantada de estar invitada a tu salón, me ha encantado verlo tienes bonitas obras de arte. Un abrazo fuerte y cuidaros. Me encantaría veros algún día por aquí.

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  54. The light that seeps through windows is difficult as it is beautiful. Your world is filled with exquisite artifacts and paintings from likely and unlikely sources that reflect your interests. Most importantly, it is filled with the warmth of a loving home.

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  55. Hi Both,
    Thank you for the invite into your house, some wonderful artwork and books for bird watchers
    ou bothe keep safe.
    My best wishes,
    John

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  56. Boa noite tudo bem? Procuro novos seguidores para o meu blog. Posso te seguir também. https://viagenspelobrasilerio.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Se você me seguir manda o link para o meu blog que eu te sigo de volta.

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  57. Hello David, you have a beautiful place there. The bird carvings are lovely. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, stay well! Enjoy your weekend! PS, thank you for the visit and comment on my blog.

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  58. Hello David and Miriam
    We have to stay at home as much as possible. And now we can visit virtuel your museum . So special to see your livingroom with all the art about Birds!
    My favorites are: photo 6, 8,9. 10 and 14! and the American Dipper. Stunning!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Stay well and take care both of you!
    Maria

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  59. Hello David,
    thank you for this tour through your warm and homely house. I would have guessed it to be filled with birds and books. You have a lot of beautiful pieces of art too.
    It's a house that says: welcome.
    Extra important in these crazy times to have a house that is really a home.
    Best wishes for Miriam and you, take care,
    Corrie

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  60. wow, you really have a lot of gorgeous artwork in your home. I love what I see of paintings, photos and woodwork. Lovely birs. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  61. Hello. You have so beautiful living room. And you have great artworks there. Happy easter. Take care.

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  62. I have several historical books about birds. I am often touched when I watch some disproportionate birds in the engravings. Now we have it easier because you can paint from a photo. In the past, you had to have an excellent visual memory and observation sense to paint birds.

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  63. I am very happy with the look in your home. Now I can also imagine how you sit there with Miriam. I see beautiful paintings, but your brother-in-law's woodwork is also very beautiful. You can see that you are a nature person because everything shows that you love nature 😃
    Thank you for giving a peek into your private life.
    Dear greetings from me,
    Helma

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