India

A most blessed life…

21 February 2011

!!!!WARNING…  SUPER LONG POST, LONG WINDED RAMBLINGS, LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!

Sometimes I am amazed at my blessings…  To the point where it almost makes me nervous.  Is it really true, is this my life, is it a dream that I will wake up from?  When I got up this morning this was what greeted my eyes…

It has rained quite a bit in the last few days and it was rather cold last night…  so…  if only for a brief time…  snow!

My husband and I are very lucky to live on a ranch, Dos Pueblos Ranch. The top two pictures are the view looking to the north from our yard over the Avocado orchard.

This is the view looking across the street towards the west…

That is the ocean in the distance.  As much as I love England and the Smokey Mountains and would love to live in Devon or Ashville, this is pretty wonderful!  It is quiet and the neighbors are great people who obviously love rural areas too. Our foreman often rides his horse up the street on his way to his cows.  There are cats and dogs everywhere, I love it!

Our home is beautiful, my Cat Man honey and I share it with lots of cats (for full story click here).  I also have tons of beautiful things.  Being almost 50, having lots of various lives, lots of traveling and hobbies and NEVER getting rid of anything means I have loads of the most wonderful things.  I have posted pics of our home and a few of my workspace (in mid event mode) before but not yet of my office.  There are bits from my whole life in here, the parts that I love that are an inspiration to me.  It is here that I write my bids for brides, paint, draw, pay bills, practice my guitar (I have just started learning!!!  Yea!!!), read, think, dream.

From here on you can click on the pictures for a larger size.

In the above picture on top of my Indian armoire and to the right is one of the sets of wings from the faerie wedding I had so much fun doing.  I have these wings all over, I just love them so much…

This is the view from my desk…

It makes paying the bills much easier!

I was going to say these are my secretaries but really they are my bosses…  That’s Flat Top on the printer and Tiger in front with his tail on the book “A Bit Of Velvet and a Dash of Lace” by Magnolia Pearl’s Robin Brown…  possibly one of my most favorite people on the planet!  To see her lovely web and blog click here.

“Munchkin”. She is my most special companion and muse.  For more about the precious kitties we look after click here.

Below, this is my art desk, where I play…

The wings I made for the Practical Magic Blog Party.  For the story click here.

My toys…

I love the colors in Tiffany style lamps.  They glow like jewels!

Some of the results of my playing…  faeries…  lately always faeries…

A few (surprise!) non-faerie results…

The painting of the blue door is one I did from a photo in a wonderful book on India.

It sits with several of my inspirational mementos.  That is a vintage picture from India on the top left, isn’t it cool?

Below on the right is a collage I made.   For the story that is part of it see an earlier blog (here). Of course I have lots of Tolkien books.  The father of the modern Faerie Tale I think.  I wish he could have lived forever so he could keep writing wonderful stories.  But only if his lovely wife could have too.  I understand they were madly in love…  sigh!

The “taro readings” sign (above hanging on the left) is  from a Moroccan themed 40th birthday party I did.  Like I said I do not throw anything away, especially when it is cool.

Of course I have lots of lovely book-friends I dream with in my office.

That is Nipper at the bottom getting ready to jump on the computer

(what is it with cats and computers, they just have to be on them!).

I love to spend an afternoon loosing myself in great stories…  cup of tea, incense…  bliss!

Of course there is always a cat tucked in here and there…

By the way all the books on the shelves I can highly recommend.  Especially the stories by Sarah Addison Allen. They are most magical and precious, in the same vein as Practical Magic only more sweet and innocent.

More friends…

Below, vintage faerie tale books from Europe.  On top of the stack is a Navajo hogan (their style of house) jewelry box with my tiara from when I was 5 on top.  That is a picture of my mom on the left (the black and white photo, not the painting…lol!).  Sometimes I miss her so, so much.  I think she would have gotten a kick out of my life.  I inherited my creativity form her.

Its weird… she has been gone so long (35+ years) that it feels like she is a figment of my imagination.  In some ways she is like a secret invisible friend I carry around with me, like you used to do when you were kids.

OK, this is funny…  my mom hated having her picture taken, absolutely loathed it!  Every other picture I have loaded so far as been fine.  The one of my mom I had to try 3 times before it would align properly.  I told mom to cut it out, the picture was beautiful and I would put it on the blog no matter what even if it was upside down so she might as well let me do it properly…LOL!

Here is one of my beautiful Indian cabinets that hides the ugly paper work, files and such.  All through out my office I display my most precious belongings.  On top of the cabinet is my collection of Native American pots.  I gathered these during the time in my life when I had a Native American art store.  This was somewhere around 15 years ago!  Boy does time fly!  Also…  surprise, surprise, faerie wings on the wall.  Those were Bathilda Buzzwings, the reporter for the Faerie Wedding I did.

Up close of the beautiful pots…

Just in case you are curious…  from left to right there is a Story Teller from the Cochiti Pueblo, a Navajo pot (brown), inside is a Zia Pueblo piece with an Acoma pot inside.  Behind those are a Chumash basket with a vintage tourist kachina on top.  Next is a San Ildefonzo black pot (not by Maria unfortunately) and a vintage tourist kachina.  Behind these in the center is an antique tea pot from India.  Then there is a Hopi (my favorite) Nampeo family pot with another Hopi pot inside.  Next are two more Hopi pots with a plate from the Zia Pueblo behind it.  Behind the plate is a Santo Domingo pot with a Hopi pot inside and on top an old Pueblo pot of unknown origin.  Behind that is a Navajo wedding basket (whew! ).

On the doors are a collection of Native American and Tuareg fringed bags…  That’s a flint bag on the left and a paint bag on the right which has powdered ocher inside.  They are in the Sioux tradition but made by a local Chumash man.

The green bag is Tuareg and the white buffalo bag is from Taos pueblo.

Another one of my favorite pieces is a traditional wedding dress from Pakistan.

That is an Indian wedding Sari on the right.

Another thing I utterly delight in is my ridiculously large jewelry collection.  When I had my Native American store we carried tons of jewelry.  So consequently I have an embarrassingly huge amount of turquoise.

Behind the jewelry is an antique doll clothing steamer trunk.  I used to keep my jewelry in it but slowly it has all come out to be displayed so I can see everything easily.  The jewelry is just too pretty to be kept hidden.

My turquoise…  There is a mix of new and old pawn pieces.

Do you remember the scene in Amadeus where Mozart is trying on wigs before he is to meet the king?  He tried on several, three of which he loves.  He says, and I am paraphrasing, “Oh there all so lovely…  why can’t I have three heads”… and then he gives one of those ridiculous laughs.  I wish I had more arms so I could wear all my bracelets at once.

My Indian bangles…

My earrings, definitely need more ears too…

Necklaces too. at least with these the more you wear the cooler it looks…

Look at this beautiful piece.  It is a miniature Buddha shrine.

Here it is open, showing the Buddha.  That is a rather magnificent turquoise pendant behind it.

And look at this adorable mini Christmas tree.  I got it from Karla’s Cottage. A lovely lady and beautiful artist.  I couldn’t pack it away with the Christmas things as it was just too cute.

Well I think that is enough eye candy for one post.  If you have made it the whole way through…  thank you for letting me share.  Don’t you agree I am one lucky lady!

Blessings!

Add a bit of faerie dust to your wedding

31 March 2010
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I had the great fortune to indulge in a faerie dream that was swimming around in my imagination and create a beautiful and fastastical faerie and elf wedding.  I wallowed in making wings and costumes, and setting a beautiful stage on the magical ranch my husband and I live on.  I went a little crazy with it and the results have been published I am happy to say in Faerie Magazine  (summer 09) and is currently in Santa Barbara Magazine and is coming out in Elle mag in China in May as well as on numerous bolgs.  The most excellent photographer Elizabeth Messina captured the magic on film beautifully.  This was my faerie bride and groom and their magical owl,

To see the whole wedding go to the faerie gallery on my web site.

I know that most people would not go to quite these lengths in a muggle (non-magic folks) wedding so I have taken some of the faerie pictures and suggested what you could incorporate from them in your wedding,

Hold the ceremony outside at the base of an ancient tree.  Possibly add a garland around the trunk or hang a chandeliere from one of the branches.  You could easily purchase an old funky chandeliere from a thrift store and then cover it with moss or bark.  The day of the wedding add fresh greenery like Ferns and Ivy.  You can hang ribbons from the branches and then pin wishes to the ribbons or tie flowers to the end of the ribbons.  You could hang a big beautiful flowering basket from the branches off to one side of where you will be standing.  Keep in mind what the camera sees and make sure that nothing looks like it is coming out of your head in the photos.   You could place around the base of the tree trailing potted plants and flowers like Ferns, Petunias or Impatients for added lushness and color.  Hanging colorful lanterns looks very festive even if the ceremony is in the day time.

Bring natural elements into the ceremony such as having the rings brought forth on a moss pillow or on a lovely piece of bark.  Nestling rings in large shells or birds nests look beautiful as well.  Set a feasting table outside in the middle of a field/park/forest/glade/orchard/wherever natural.  Hang lanterns all around for twinkling light as the evenings draws near.  Use any type of lanterns or even a hodg podg of different styles.  If cold evenings are a factor you can rent mushroom heaters from a party rental company to scatter about or have some outdoor fire pits for a wonderful effect as well as heat.

Bring natural elements to your table such as plants (both green and flowering), cover any plastic pots with moss and tuck in lots of goodies like fruit, mushrooms, feathers, bark, branches, driftwood, shells, etc.  You can also add in sparlkey elements like beaded bits, crystals, personal momentos, pictures,  and lots of pretty glass containers for candles.

Make chargers for the plates out of feathers, moss, large green leaves or bark or other natural elements.  Add a bit of sparkle with gliter or colorful glass beads.

Set you cake outside near a tree or other beautiful vista.  Go a bit crazy with a lushious display of gorgeous candies, fruit and flowers.  It becomes a lovely focal point throughout the evening as well as makes for beautiful pictures.

I also created another wedding for a photo shoot with a magical/mid-summer-nights-dream feeling.   Christine Arnold took the following great pictures.  Most of what I created muggles could do.  I used lots of plants and natural material like tree branches and trunks, moss, mushrooms and bark.  I also used lots of outdoorsy items like garden figurines, old fashioned hurricane lamps, and mixed them with more elegant pieces like candelabras, Indian saris, beautiful goblets, and absolutely loads of candles and twinkle lights.  I really think almost anything can look beautiful in candle light and twinkle lights come as close to candle light as any electric light available.

Use large leafs as chargers, have short sections of tree trunks as risors.  Tuck in bits like pine cones and fun fruit and vegiatbles.

Make a green wrap or head wreath for some of the statues in the garden.  They should be decked out for the festivities too!

Use lots of candle elements like lanterns and pretty glasses with votives in them.

Even bottles with tall grasses in them look cool.  Go and trim your yard and tuck in the bits of branches, ferns, and succulents on the table.

Use lots of layers of mismatched fabrics for great texture.  Stay within a color story of 2 or 3 colors so it doesn’t get too messy and then use lots of variations of those colors.  Rent a simple inexpensive base linen for all the tables in the same color and then layer on lots of other fabrics.  I also like to include a natural fabric like burlap or gauze to reiterate the outdoor feeling.

Use lots of lanterns, it doesn’t matter if they match.  One way to keep things from looking too eclectic is to keep each table with like items on it.  So have one table with hurricane lanterns and then another table with more exotic lanterns.  Do not mix the two different styles on the same table.

Here I have used a vintage Indian sari that had wonderful gold thread woven throughout.  The colors for this event were browns and greens.

Here I use my own green sequened shawl over a long strip of brown velvet which was layed over the base brown linen.  I also swirled around the candle holders more fabric.

Hanging all over were large tree branches with the leaves still on them and curtains of twigs with Spanish Moss all interwoven with lots of twinkle lights.  Wrapped on several of the beams was dried Honeysuckle vine, again mixed with twinkle lights.

I also created a mini lounge with tree trunks with cushions on them and a brass table again on a small tree trunk. On the table were lots of river rocks and moss which would also look good on the dinning tables.

Just remember to bring outside items in and add a bit of sparkle.  It is the combination of rustic or natural elements with sophisticated glamour that is so alluring and beautiful.

Saris, India & color!

28 February 2010
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Saris amaze and delight me.  Their colors and patterns are endless yet all express unfettered happiness.  Most Indian women, even the very poorest working in the fields, wear them .  No drab khakis or blue jeans for laboring but instead sunshine yellow, cheery pinks and fuchsia, vibrant reds, turquoise blues and teal greens.  Most of these beautiful creations have incredible detail woven into the fabric.  Some are shot through with metallic thread and some have elaborate embroidery.

I have recently been helping some friends open their Indian store in Santa Barbara and have had the tremendous pleasure of playing with all their gorgeous merchandise.  I am continually struck by how beautiful even the most simple items are.  Everything is embellished and most everything is created in a riot of colors.  Every little thing seems to celebrate life!  The senses are under a constant barrage of beauty, whether it’s your eyes delighting in all the color and patterns or your nose taking in the aroma of pungent incense and spices that your taste buds are also savoring.  Even the music has an incessant celebratory beat.

I have a couple of books that express well the vibrant sights and art that is India.

“Rajasthan” by Pauline van Lynden

Above: An Indian wedding                   The women wear stacks and stacks of bangles!

Sari detail

Always the clothes are a mixture of beautiful colors,

no mater what they are doing.

Another great book “India in word and Image” by Eric Meola

Beautiful architectural detail!                           An entirely blue city!   Jodhpur

Working in a sari

I never tire of looking through these books, they are wonderful!

I also know I will never tire of beautiful saris…  I hope my friends need my help at their store often.