A Case of the Human Condition

I’m Barbara Falconer Newhall and I’ve got an incurable Case of the Human Condition. And since you do too, I’m counting on you to laugh and cry along with me as I riff on life as we know it . . . Below you'll read about my creaky, old fifties house, my forays into home gardening, my shopping stories, my spectacularly low-fashion wardrobe -- and more.

At the Hallmark Store — Teary-Eyed in the Sympathy Card Section

An array of commercial birthday cards for mailing. Photo by BarbaraNewhall

My stash of birthday cards. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall.

When the kids were still in the house and I still had a newspaper job to report to, I finally got smart: I started buying birthday and anniversary cards in bunches whenever I spotted some good ones. [Read more...]

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Shopping at the Berkeley Potters Guild — Three Artists, Three Visions

By Itsuko Zenitani, two round, fine porcelain ceramic bowls with ceramic lids-\that appear to be straw. At the Berkeley Potters Guild. Photo by BF Newhall

Appearances notwithstanding, the lids on these two fine porcelain bowls by Itsuko Zenitani are ceramic — not wood. $30 and $28. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Lots of wonderful stuff to see at the Berkeley Potters Guild the other day. The work of three potters in particular, each with a distinctive vision, caused me to pull out my trusty point-and-shoot and click away. [Read more...]

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Institute of Mosaic Art — A Berkeley Spin on an Ancient Art

A lavendar mosaic bundt cake on a table alongside a plate of cookies at the Institute of Mosaic Art, Berkeley, CA.  Photo by BF Newhall

The bundt cake is inedible — it’s a mosaic. The cookies, on the other hand, seem to be the real thing. At the Institute of Mosaic Art, Berkeley. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The Institute of Mosaic Art left its creative mark on facades all over Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood before moving last year to Berkeley, where its owners hope the studio and its artists will get more public exposure. [Read more...]

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Amazing Places: A Walk Around Oakland’s Jingletown

First panel of the murals along Rue de Merde in Jingletown, an Oakland, CA, neighborhood is by Bill Silveira. It shows the words "Oakland Riviera." Photo by BF Newhall

Bill Silveira’s mural is the first of many along Peterson Street, nicknamed Rue de Merde in honor of its role as a popular dog walk . Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Is Oakland the next Brooklyn? Lots of people are saying so. [Read more...]

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Oakland’s Jingletown: Arts, Crafts, Cool Kitsch — And Cookies

The facade of Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with colorful mosaics of fanciful castles and towers. Photo by BF Newhall

Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with mosaics inspired by Laurel True, founder of the Institute of Mosaic Art. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It was a lovely afternoon for wandering in and out of artists’ studios in Oakland, California’s Jingletown neighborhood, where a vibrant, up-and-coming arts community mingles with a robust Latino population. [Read more...]

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