Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wanna Hang Out and Chat and Shop and See Some Fun Stuff?

Doing nothing but hanging out and laughing and eating and drinking ice cream sodas was fun for awhile.

But, it's almost the middle of the month, and frankly, we're feeling the onslaught of a mild case of cabin fever...and perhaps a bit of an ice cream headache.

So what do you say? Let's take a little tour around some of the fun things on sale this month!

I'm a fan of these birdcage hanging fixtures ... I think I'd have to use frosted bulbs because I am definitely not a fan of bare light bulbs. But the cages are wonderful and I love the idea. They are available from Ballard Designs.

It should come as no surprise that these needlepoint pillows are favorites of mine! With two of the most iconic images of my beloved Paris, they would be most welcome in my home! These are also from Ballard Designs, and can be found here.

I guess the circus themes I've been working with have altered my taste a little. I am very fond of this waste basket, and think it would be fun to have in the studio. If you feel you must have a circus waste basket yourself, you can get one at Jaye's sale at One Kings Lane. While there, be sure to check out the black and white harlequin/fleur de lis waste basket, too. It's pretty terrific!Now, I realize that this is not everybody's cup of tea ... I'm not even sure it's mine. But this Francois Lalanne piece is the most amazing and dramatic bed I've seen in quite some time! I found it at at Maison 21:Decorative But Not Serious. He finds fabulous interior design items!

Look at this miniature work of wonderment! It's a 1913 Marionette Theatre I found at one of my new favorite blogs, Theatre du Boheme. She finds and shares and makes and creates some of the most wonderful things!
Check out her blog and find more of her treasures, such as ...
I found this charming Marie Antoinette Valentine while browsing Photo Bucket. I don't know anything about the artist, other than her i.d. is ErikaMySpace2008. Such a lovely use of vintage papers and crepe paper and ribbons. I can see this being made by a young boy's mother so he can give it to his secret crush on Valentine's Day!

Are you ready? Let's take a fun little foray into the world of mystical and wondrous creatures ... but first ... remember ...

I'm not going to write much about these exquisite works by Betsy Youngquist. After oohing and aahing at these, head for her website Sculptural Mosaics and see more of her work in different series.

If you have never seen the 1934 Josef von Sternberg classic, "The Scarlet Empress," starring the ethereal beauty, Marlene Dietrich, at the height of her allure and power, it's an absolute must!

The story is basic history: Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't like her husband, but she likes Russia, and is very fond of Russian soldiers. She dutifully produces a son -- of questionable fatherhood, but no one seems to mind that. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat with the aid of the military, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great.

The film plays a little loose with the facts, and takes a few liberties with issues that nobody knows the facts about, but for a film from the 1930's, it does stick fairly close to the actual history.

But that's not the reason to see it. You want to see it for the magnificent sets - the dazzling sumptuous costumes - and von Sternberg's eye which creates a visual feast in every frame. Many of the shots seemed to be the precursor of Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête ("Beauty and the Beast").
Two gnarled statues of grotesque beasts make love in the garden, a perverse cuckoo clock exposes female bodily organs, a skeletal figure shot through with arrows twists its face in a silent wail towards heaven. This is the decor of "The Scarlet Empress."

Von Sternberg himself called it "a relentless exercise in pure style" and he wasn't kidding. It marks the apex of Sternberg's worship of Marlene Dietrich (worship is hardly too strong a word; it might not be strong enough). His justly famous expressionistic lighting, brilliantly shot by Bert Glennon, dazzles the eye throughout. During the wedding ceremony, for instance, the whole scene is lit by what must be 10,000 candles and is shot through a variety of diffusion materials; in one shot Dietrich's face can hardly be more than a foot from the camera lens but there is a candle between them, and fabric as well, making her face waver and melt into the sensuous texture.

I hope you'll find a copy and revel in the sumptuous displays of exquisite decadence. And, if you've seen it before, watch it again, and find something marvelous you hadn't noticed before!
Another film we saw was a most harrowing and terrifying piece, which shows just how much evil can lurk within the most unassuming and seemingly innocent souls.

2007's "An American Crime," directed by Tommy O'Haver and starring Catherine Keener (Oscar winner for "Capote") and Ellen Page (Oscar nominated for "Juno"), is based on the true horror story of the torture and murder of a young girl in suburban Indiana during the 1960's.

In 1965, Betty Likens (Romy Rosemont) and her husband Lester (Nick Searcy) decided it was best to leave their two daughters with a neighbor while they went off with a traveling carnival. So Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) and her sister Jennie Fae (Hayley McFarland) settled in with the Baniszewski clan. And what a clan it was. Mother Gertrude (Catherine Keener) already had five of her own in tow, and now she added two more. What happened then, well documented in the record, is now played out for us with horrifying realism.
When Mother Gertrude is unable to handle the fact that her eldest is getting out of control and following in her footsteps, she selects one of the girls she is caring for to scapegoat. In other words, Silvia will bear the scars and marks that she can't place on her own children. She shifts the blame from her and her children to Sylvia. Sylvia soon becomes the target of all the neighborhood children, believing that they are "teaching her" to be good. The adults in the neighborhood hear the screams coming from the house as she is burned with cigarettes and branded with a hot wire, and turn the other way.

As difficult to observe - and realizing that all the facts of the case were taken directly from court transcripts - the horrors this innocent child endures, in real life the tortures were far worse, and the violence has been toned down by the writers and directors. That's so hard to imagine.

Gertrude accuses Sylvia of telling more lies about her daughter, then forces Sylvia to put a Coke bottle up her vagina in front of the family. Gertrude then orders Sylvia to the basement. When Sylvia refuses, both Stephanie's boyfriend and Johnny throw her down the stairs. Jenny asks how long Sylvia will be in the basement, to which Gertrude replies "until she learns her lesson." Gertrude makes everyone swear that Sylvia was sent to juvenile hall. Johnny begins to bring neighborhood children into the basement so that they can torture Sylvia. When they hesitate, Johnny assures them that it is all right because his mother said that they could. The children visit regularly to beat Sylvia and burn her with cigarettes.

For me, that was one of the most horrifying aspects ... how readily and easily these average neighborhood children could turn into the stuff of campfire horror stories and Stephen King novels.

It is a hard film to watch. For those not exposed to this stain on America, it can be very traumatic. Be forewarned. It's an important piece of film making - but it's also a film that will haunt you.

Oh, I need to get out of the mood writing all that put me in! For some of the most intricate and fascinating jewelry art, head over to Tjep. His work is in the permanent collection of both the Netherlands royal family and most of the major museums in the world.

... Yes, those are diamonds on the tips! ...

... taking steampunk to a whole new level ...This cross was reviewed and described so elequently by Louise Schouwenberg of Frame Magazine: "The absolute climax of the jewellery display was a design by Frank Tjepkema. From a distance, his piece resembled an opulently decorated cross. A closer look revealed paper-thin layers of gold-plated steel perforated to proclaim the symbolism of modern religion. Banal logos like those of Coca Cola and Gucci tell the story that jewellery - a metaphor for the Milan furniture fair itself - has always told: the world of capital loves to wrap itself in the illusion of timeless beauty."

... every possible way of saying "I love you" ...
... commissioned by Jijenkorf - the most famous department store in the Netherlands ...

I guess it's time to flip the music and get to the studio. I'm busy making a plethora of paper whimseys for all the Valentine swaps I said 'yes' to ... what was I thinking?!
Thank you for spending some time with me today ... I hope you enjoyed your visit and that you'll return.

My sincere wish is that you were inspired and are now going to run off and go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan

Ah! I see I have crossed the 300 followers mark - and the 200 post mark - and the 40,000 hit mark! It's time for a special giveaway! I'm going to put my thinking cap on and announce it later this week!
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