Saturday, December 19, 2015

Take a Respite from Holiday Sparkle and Glitter ...

Well, we all know I love that sparkle, shimmer, glimmer and gleam that Christmas brings with it - hopefully in a shower of glitter and lots of magic and enchantment.
But even the most ardent fan of Christmas glamour can weary of it just about this time of the year ... a few weeks after Thanksgiving and the novelty has worn off and the splendid joys of the season haven't quite hit home yet.

So, today, I'm feeling the need of something a little different ... no more Christmas trees, ornaments, holiday decorations or DIY's ... I'm feeling the pull and lull of the languid, luxurious and sensuous curves and elaborations that are that inspired decorative style ... art nouveau.

The Art Nouveau style (or Jugendstil in German) was an artistic style popular between 1890 and 1910. Inspired by natural forms, the two-dimensional perspective of Japanese block prints, and undulating curves, (or "whiplashes," as they were called after a critic's 1894 description of these lines as "sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip"), Art Nouveau spread throughout Europe until it was superseded by the clean lines of modernism and Art Deco in the 1920s.
Art Nouveau can be considered a "total" style, meaning that it found a place in visual art, architecture, and the decorative arts, and its consumers and creators sought to blur the boundaries between the fine arts and applied arts. Despite the characteristic reliance on organic, dynamic lines, Art Nouveau adherents did not eschew modern materials or industrial processes like their brethren in the Arts and Crafts Movement (1860-1910).
Instead, they relied on glass, wrought iron, and technological innovation to create pieces that seemed to blend with the natural elements of daily life. In Art Nouveau, industry facilitated the visual harmony with nature that its practitioners so ardently sought.
There were a few main themes across Art Nouveau to keep in mind. In an era of industrialized production, many designers looked to a local, pre-industrial past for a foundation; in Russia that was folk tales and folk history, and in France it was the 18th-century 'golden age' of French design. Working in cities like Paris, Nancy and Brussels, Art Nouveau designers found greatest inspiration in nature — not necessarily nature's beauty, but instead its vital force, its never-changing life cycle of birth, life, decay and death. Nature sometimes took the role of a creepy other-world, governed by dark uncontrollable forces.
Exquisite art nouveau pendant in gold, silver, platinum and ivory with enamel details
This idea of an uncontrollable world all around us was mirrored in the Art Nouveau interest in psychology, symbolism and the supernatural. Sigmund Freud was writing about the unconscious dream world, and artists were trying to explore that world through art and design. Symbols weren't fixed — their meaning shifted and was ambiguous.

Also ambiguous was the role of women in Art Nouveau. As always, women were important muses for artists and designers, and at this time there was a lot of interest in famous performers like Sarah Bernhardt, the dancer Loie Fuller, the nightclub performer Jane Avril. But in an era when women were increasingly independent — struggling for suffrage, gaining the right to divorce, more visible in the public sphere than previous generations — the Art Nouveau woman had a menacing twist. She was alluringly sexual, but also scandalous, morally compromised, even mortally threatening.
Luxe sterling and enamel Russian art nouveau caviar server
 Nature was a big inspiration for Art Nouveau, but not necessarily the 'pretty' side of nature — more its vital organic force that could be almost terrifying.
 The demi-monde of Parisian nightclubs was an important source and inspiration for Art Nouveau.

Sometimes I torture myself by doing a search for Art Nouveau furnishings on 1stDibs. I covet the impossibly beautiful lamps, mirrors, plates and furniture — all impossibly priced.
Glass was an important Art Nouveau medium, with designers like Emile Gallé in France and Louis Comfort Tiffany in the US experimenting with both ancient and brand new techniques. Glass was effective for conveying the important Art Nouveau theme of metamorphosis, with surfaces treated as three dimensional layers, and varying from opaque to translucent. Dragonflies were a common motif during this era, as were bats and other creepy creatures of nature that could be seen as menacing or otherworldly.
With its sinewy lines, flower and plant motifs, and ethereal curves, Art Nouveau decor is almost fantastical in its beauty.
This Parisienne restaurant, an art nouveau wonder, was simply boarder over when the style became obsolete, only to be discovered in the 1950's, completely intact and perfect. It has been refurnished and is now a popular café catering to the well-to-do and tourist trades.
Thank you for taking this little stroll through art nouveau land with me ... I hope you enjoyed the delightful - almost faerie tale wonder - of the art movement that created such exquisite design in everything from architecture to jewelry to art. I hope you're inspired ...
... now go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mother Nature's Christmas Tree Ornaments ...

Every year we wonder and ponder and over-think what our decorations should be for that year (completely refusing to acknowledge that we have HUNDREDS of ornaments in storage!), hoping to come up with that one "theme" that will make this year's decorations stand out from all the others.

And, yet, we never think to look right to the corner florist for the most beautiful, colorful, unique and delightful displays of all!
I love the way these tiny little flowers look like perfume bottle toppers on the floor!

...shall it be a regal year?
 ... or an unabashedly romantic one?

... a faerie princess tree
...the colors chosen for this tree make me want so shout "ahoha!' and dance the hula!

...vintage magic!

Hope you've enjoyed this small display of Mother Nature's Christmas Tree Ornaments...and I've helped put you somewhat in the mood for a joyous holiday season.

... now, go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Nutcracker Mini-Theatre

Here it is - December and heading into the excitement and magic of the Christmas season. For me, that has always meant one thing since I was a small child: a trip to see "The Nutcracker Suite" ballet. It could be anywhere - I love lavish productions like the Bolshoi Ballet which was an enchanted evening; I love fun amateur ballet companies when perhaps the dancing and the technical requirements are not first class, but the energy and joy and delight of the dancers make up for it all; and I love campy, contemporary versions, such as Mark Morris' "A Hard Nut" which turns "The Nutcracker Suite" on it's head and spins in circles!

So, it was only natural that when I found out my assignment for the December design project for Alpha Stamps was to use the Open Front Room Box Kit (which is essentially a stage), I immediately knew I wanted to make a Nutcracker scene filled with my favorite characters, and all the really charming miniature treasures and collage sheets available at Alpha Stamps.

The entire diorama, showing all the rooms and Nutcracker Suite characters...
 ...and the same scene in the shadows of night!
(Remember - as always - you can click on any image on
Enchanted Revelries and get a larger image!)

I thought you might like to see a few Ready-for-my-close-up-Mr. DeMille of the Nutcracker characters that appear in this diorama. There isn't, of course, room for them all - and I had to leave
out a few of my favorites - the Russians and the Spanish are two I always look forward to
seeing. But, we do have ...

And, to let you know how you can get all these wonderful things to make your own Christmas scene, here are all the different items and links to Alpha Stamps from whence they came!

Photographs are Framed in
this Setting and this Setting and this Setting.
The fringe on the bottom of the ribbon is the
The tree is decorated with miniature Christmas Ornaments, 
available here, and is standing on the miniature mahogany
pie crust table here. All of the tiny presents under the tree were
made from the Tiny Little Christmas Gifts collage sheet here.  See the wonderful
fireplaces available to warm up your room here. The fire
in the fireplace image is from page 2 of the Ghostmore Manor Collage Sheet
Set which is available here. That is also the set of collage sheets that has the floors I used in the diorama.  I love the pair of candlabrum available here which 
illuminates the miniature créche, and the Mini Pine & Berry Garland that I used
to drape the room is available here. The ever so handsome fireplace tools and 
pair of andirons are available here...the set also comes with bellows which I didn't use.
The set of fireplace tools also includes the lovely Anniversary Clock under a glass cloche 
that I used on the glass shelves (bottom shelf) in the photo below.
 The large Brass Frame to the left is available here - it looks a bit different here
because I bent the hanging hook to the back of the frame so it's no longer visible.
 I was so glad to finally be able to use this wonderful piece of artwork available on
the Boutique Exquisite collage sheet available here and the 1"x2" glass shelves can be found
here. On the shelves are some beautiful Victorian miniatures that fit right into the house where
this magical story takes place. On the top two shelves, the lidded 'ivory' jardinere
and the 'marble' Bust of Diana. The lovely Anniversary Clock under a glass cloche
comes as part of the set of fireplace tools and andirons.
The perfectly adorable little pug is available here, but, be sure to check out all the miniature pets here - especially the cocker spaniel and the bichon frise! as well as cats and other animals - to find the perfect pet for your room diorama!
 The center room, which is where I started constructing my 'house,' is the Open Front
Room Box - a sturdy, well made, and easily assembled kit to get you started. You can make just one 
room, or do as I did and continue to build onto it and make a series of rooms - or to make it easy
on yourself, you could just use 2 or three of the Open Front Room Boxes and put them next to each other - easy peasy! There are also several other styles of room diorama boxes to choose from
so take your time and pick out your favorite ones!

The chandelier hanging in this room is not electrified, but is a real beauty and very reasonable.
The Brass Chandelier can be found on the website here.

The Mini Garden Plant Stand makes the perfect serving stand for luscious miniature
treats. The tiny foil wrapped gifts are available here and the single candlesticks with candles 
I've used in the windows are available here. The pretty miniature gold tinsel garland on the tree
picks up the light beautifully and is available here.

This lovely Victorian Side Table is - believe it or not! - plastic. But it really does
look like the 'real thing!' I couldn't believe it when I saw it. You can see it on the site here.
 Under the tree, you'll find lots of toys left by Santa ... well, in this case, they were all
left by Alpha Stamps! Foil-wrapped gifts, a sled, a drum, a toy train ...
a miniature child's puppet theatre, which is from the Tiny Paper Theater Blocks Collage Sheet ...
a sled, a ball, a jack in the box, a sailboat, a toy airplane, and lots of books which
The adorable tiny rocking horses are available here.
You can find all the other toys in the Dollhouse Toys section.

Thank you so much for visiting and seeing my Nutcracker Christmas diorama ... and I hope you're
inspired to make a Christmas scene or room of your own! The possibilities for themes are endless! go make something beautiful!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan

Be sure to check out my Zibbets shop for all the vintage inspired Christmas
gifts for others and yourself I have been busy creating!