Saturday, April 14, 2018

What's behind this decaying vision of faded elegance?

Tuscany is known for its incredible rolling hills, Renaissance art, and Castello di Sammezzano. If the latter is unfamiliar, photographer Martino Zegwaard is here to change that.

Originally built in the 17th century, the Moorish now-abandoned castle underwent an expansion and colorful makeover in the 1800s, according to During this time period, it was home to Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona, a politician with a passion for architecture and botany.
In addition to reinventing the interiors, Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona also transformed the grounds, adding more than 130 rare and exotic plants to the gardens. Today, the castle's lush property is known as Historical Park.

The regal residence found new life in the 1970s as a hotel and restaurant, but closed down less than two decades later, sitting uninhabited, abandoned, and slowly aging for over 20 years.
But the Castello di Sammezzano could be making another comeback. Palmerston Hotels and Resorts recently purchased the stunning property and revealed plans to turn it into a luxury sporting resort, complete with a boutique hotel, apartments, spa, and country club.

While the castle and its grounds are typically closed off to the public, and will remain so with the redevelopment underway, Zegwaard was permitted to go inside to capture the grandeur of the historic residence. 
To see more photos of this stunning castle hidden in the hills of Tuscany, visit .
Be sure to see the offerings of the other participants on Beverly's Pink Saturday Blog Hop!

Now, go make something beautiful!
¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´
(¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥ 
 I've made the decision to full-on full-out retire. I hope to still be able to create
things as the whim and desire and need finds me. But, no more deadlines and shops to keep
stocked up with (hopefully!) unique little bits and bobs and treasures!

So, I've been busy cleaning out and des-stashing my studio. My! What a lot one
artisan can collect over 30 years of making 'stuff!'

I've assembled box "lots" of things to sell on eBay. All the things I'm selling are
items I had the best intentions of using, but never did - or always needed another
just to make sure I never ran out! - or just because I had a coupon and used a lot.

I think I should have opened  supply store instead of being an artisan!
This is an example of one 'box lot' I've assembled. It's all the coordinating pieces
one could ever want to make a paper crafted project, memory/photo album, or
scrapbook - themed with Prima's lovely "Vintage Emporitum" paper collection.

If this sort of thing interests you, or if you know anybody who is always in need
of a good deal on mixed media art/craft supplies, please check out my list
of sales and auctions on ebay! I'll be listing through the rest of next week.
Thanks so much!
(Box Lot #6)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Well... it LOOKS normal ...

It's a safe bet that this home in the small coastal town of Newport, Oregon is the only one — here, or anywhere — with an armorial flag behind which the 10th Earl of Shannon marched for 32 years in processions.

The late earl himself lived at this address with his wife, now the Dowager Countess of Shannon. She sold the home in June 2016 for $400,000.
Unassuming from the outside, the three-bedroom, three-bath home resembles a medieval castle on the inside, where two small foyers are wallpapered with moire silk. In the kitchen, you expect to see a king tipping back a pint of mead alongside his Venetian glassware and copper pot collection.

A great room worthy of Valhalla boasts an ornate beamed ceiling, from which hangs an imperious chandelier and below which sits a grand piano, a four-foot oriental vase and stained-glass windows, some dating to the 1700s.
"She had the house before she married him," listing agent Bonnie Saxton of Advantage Real Estate said of the countess. "It's just incredible ... There's a door in the kitchen from 1904 that a preacher traded for a car with Henry Ford."

The regal decor continues in the master suite, where French cathedral windows are set into birch paneling and the ceiling features a mural of Jesus Christ's transfiguration on the mount.

The en suite bathroom is fit for a kin — or a Monty Python sketch — with 1800s stained-glass windows alongside a large hot tub with gold-seeming fittings.
Well, that is certainly a case of taking a sow's ear and turning it into a silk purse - a royal one at that!

Be sure to visit all the other participants on Beverly's Pink Saturday Blog Hop today!

Now, YOU go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´? Tristan 

 To be honest, I don't remember where I found these delightful matchbox puppet theatres. Maybe on a blog hop while blog hopping, maybe on Pinterest, maybe somebody sent an Instagram. I'm only sorry that I can't remember the artist's name to share. But, aren't they just enchanting?!

Friday, March 30, 2018

🎶 That's How They Creep the Day Away, In the Eerie Old Land of Oz ...

What could be a better weekend destination than the Land of Oz? That's what Grover Robbins, the guiding force behind Carolina Caribbean Corporation thought. He acquired private property in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina and built, for its time, a cutting edge theme park - The Land of Oz. It was fully operational until 1980.
Visitors would start off in Kansas, "experience" the tornado which struck Dorothy's house, and walk down the Yellow Brick Road to visit with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch, and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Opening day was a rousing success, with over 20,000 visitors and presided over by guest host Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher.
The Emerald City consisted of gift shops and an amphitheatre that the Magic Moment Show would stage on every half hour. An artificial balloon ride, a specially modified ski lift, allowed visitors to get a bird's-eye view of the park and mountain scenery before leaving Oz. A small museum showcased props and costumes from the film. Eventually these were purchased by Debbie Reynolds for her Las Vegas Hollywood museum.
Land of Oz opened in 1970 with the intention of extending the ski resort to be a 'year-round' attraction by offering an attraction at the pinnacle of Beech Mountain. A ski lift was specially designed to become the hot air balloon ride which has since been redeployed to be a ski lift on the back bowl, now Oz run, of Ski Beech. In later years, characters from the story conducted tours, but the original design was for the visitor to assume the role of Dorothy – experiencing everything from Kansas to tornado to the meeting the characters on the yellow brick road to Oz. The visit culminated in Emerald City, where Dorothy appeared with her friends to meet the Wizard.
The park was the top attraction in the southeast the first year. Its opening day in 1970 attracted 20,000 visitors. Dampened by the death of owner Grover Robbins a few months before the park opened, the driving force to keep the park as a special experience gave way to commercial necessities foisted on Carolina Caribbean Corp by the downturn in real estate sales. Emerald City burned on Sunday, December 28, 1975, destroying some artifacts, including the dress worn by Dorothy in the movie. There is some speculation that the fires were set by disgruntled employees who were angered at having been dismissed. 

In 1980, reeling from the devastating fire and a change in ownership that resulted in dwindling attendance, Dorothy finally tapped her ruby slippers together for the last time, and Land of Oz closed its doors.
By 1980, the park had become a shell of its former self. The real animals in Dorothy's Kansas barn were replaced with bizarre — and slightly creepy — animatronic copies. Original costume designs were replaced with cheap imitations, the yellow brick road needed to be replaced, and the sound system kept breaking in the middle of performances. New ownership had let the place fall into disrepair, and the exorbitant price of restoration is what eventually made the park's proprietors pull the plug for good.
Land of Oz finally closed in 1980.
After the park was closed much of it fell into disrepair. Props were vandalized, stolen, or left exposed to the elements. Some of the park was saved, including parts of the yellow brick road, a few munchkin houses, some of the later costumes, and sections of the witch's castle were preserved.
The owner of the land restored the park about ten years later. In the late nineties, former employees started the Autumn at Oz event as a reunion. Later this became an annual event, and in 2009 the festival had 8,500 people attending. In 2010 more of the park's original characters returned, the Fountain of Youth had green water, and vendors and face painters added to the event. American author Gregory Hugh Leng was the guest of honor, signing copies of his The Land of Oz–Over the Rainbow at Beech Mountain, North Carolina, his book on the park's history. A museum now shows costumes from the movie and other memorabilia. The Yellow Brick Road has a few of its 44,000 bricks missing but again takes visitors through the Enchanted Forest and Poppy Field. Dorothy's house, which can be rented for events, includes a basement intended to make visitors feel the experience of a tornado; the Wicked Witch's legs stick out from under the house. In 2011, the park hosted the International Wizard of Oz Club and some of the original 1970 cast returned to share photos and tales from the original inspiration of Grover Robbins.
After Land of Oz was restored, the property wasn't reopened as an amusement park. Instead, it became a development complex where people could rent out cabins and have the spooky experience of living in Oz's haunted forest. It was basically the IRL experience of waking up in a technicolor hellscape and realizing you have no idea how to get out. Wait, are those flying monkeys? Are you sure the Wicked Witch was destroyed?

Every kid remembers that crippling moment of fear when they saw the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys for the first time. Recreate this feeling tenfold, and you've basically experienced what it was like to stay in Land of Oz's refurbished cabins in the '90s.
According to Kelsey Garcia, a writer who spent a childhood vacation at the cabins, everything about Land of Oz was eerie and run down even after it was restored.
"It was old and creaky in a way that was almost comically creepy. The furniture definitely had that antique thing going for it, and there was a painting of a stoic, haunting woman on the wall. We inexplicably named her Rebecca, I guess to just make light of it all," she wrote."...Toward the close of our trip, my sisters decided to take a look at what was in the basement, the uncharted territory of the cabin that still gives me the creeps over a decade later. The owners of the old park had long ago decided to mysteriously store many of the park's old rides and decorations in the basement of the very cabin that was being rented out to my unassuming family. There it all was: an animatronic Wicked Witch of the West, carts belonging to amusement rides, a winding yellow ramp that led somewhere else underground. And no, we did not care to find out where that might have been."
Ms. Garcia continues with her creepy and eerie memory: "My older sisters elected to sleep together in the least scary room, while my parents stayed in the master bedroom upstairs that had the most beautiful skylight. Meanwhile, I got to stay in "Dorothy's room," complete with a pair of ruby slippers. I slept on the bottom level of a bunk bed, which just altogether made me feel uneasy about who might be sleeping on the top bunk. Dorothy, is that you? At least the room had all these old-timey dolls to keep me company.
Then things got weird. We all started noticing these quirks that we, well, didn't appreciate. At midnight every night, a little tune — "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" — would float down the hallway from an old cuckoo clock. Except it was so old that the song sounded distorted and unbelievably eerie; it was like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on Xanax. One evening, a surly, inebriated older man appeared at our door. His drunken and incessant knocking on the front door woke up my dad, who then just casually waited for him to leave."

Should you be dying for this experience, follow the link above ("Dorothy's room") to make reservations and get rates.

Urban explorers often visit the park, shooting photos near or stealing relics from the site, including pieces of the yellow brick road.
... magical, enchanted dreams taken a distressing wrong turn. sigh.

Now, go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´? Tristan

 "At midnight every night, a little tune — "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" — would float down the hallway 
from an old cuckoo clock. Except it was so old that the song sounded distorted and unbelievably eerie; 
it was like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on Xanax."

I hope your bonnet is the finest in the Easter parade!
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter is coming upon us ...

Have you been a good boy or girl?!
Be sure to stop back on Saturday for my weekly post for Beverly's Pink Saturday Blog Hop!

Now, go make something beautiful!

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´
(¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥
 Just finished a new photo/memory album ... this one has a 
Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" theme. 
Space for lots of photos, journaling notes, mementos, 
poems, ephemera and souvenirs! 
(I think this would make the perfect gift for a 'sister!')

Saturday, March 24, 2018

... it's a small small world ♬

clever, witty, skillful assemblages by unknown Japanese artist ...

 In my research, I could not find what this artist's name is. If you know,
please contact me, so I can give credit!
Thanks to Len Bentham of Happy Holidays! Blog, I now know and
can pass on the information that this artist's name is
Tatsuya Tanaka
Please visit Len at his wonderful holiday blog and thank him for his help!
 Be sure to see all the other participants' posts this week in

Now go make something beautiful!

¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´
(¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥