Winter whites,

12 January 2011

Some beautiful quiet winter whites with a hint of color for your enjoyment…

Magic

7 January 2011
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“The real magic of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”

Marcel Proust

To see all the faerie images click here

The holidays have just gone to the cats I tell ya!

4 January 2011

What the holidays looked like at our house..

Between jobs there was lots of hanging out with the kitties,

Watching movies (Nanny McPhee II)

Trying to get a bit or work done on the computer (with lots of feline help).

Of course the kitties had to have turkey too…  on the good china, it is Christmas after all…

“Yummmmm…..  gobble, gobble”

“Mine… all mine”                                               “hey he got more than I did!”

Turkey, gravy and stuffing (Looks a lot like kibble I know).

“Boy you would think this place could spring for a few more plates…”

“Is there any more?  I still have a few nooks and crannies that need filling…”

“Gotta wash up now”

“Get behind the ears”

“and between the toes…”

“Did someone say more turkey?!…”

Full tummy!

“That was so good…  so good…”

“Yummy, yummy….”

“so good, so good…”

” I mean that was GREAT!”

Nap time

Flat Top fell asleep while cleaning his belly!!

Our holidays were just purrfect, hope yours were too.

For more information on the wonderful crazy herd we look after visit our web site,

The Lucky Few

Precious Metals table setting

1 January 2011
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Hello my lovely blog friends!

I had intended to post a beautiful blog wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season…  However the holidays took over my life and this is the first posting I have been able to manage.  I hope all of you had a wonderful time.  Ours was busy but lovely!

I was playing around with some table decor ideas (initially it was to be for a New Years party…  a little late for that!) and here is the result.  It particularly suits the winter but I think it would be a pretty color story for anytime of the year.

I was thinking what a lovely idea it would be to near the end of January when everyone has more or less recovered from the holidays and is least likely to expect it,  to host a quiet winter dinner that sparkles and twinkles.

I love the muted colors of old sepia tin photos and had always though it would make a great color story for an event.  To create this look I pretty much mixed all the metal colors, gold, brass, silver and pewter with the sparkle of crystal.  I started with some old silver plated candlesticks that were loosing their silver color and helped them along a bit.  I soaked them in Tarnex and lightly sanded them until the brass underneath started to bleed through.  This created a lovely vintage look and a great color.  I then glued on bits of trim, fringe and tassels and then added old pearls and jewelry for sparkle.

I covered the table with lots of layers and textures (something I love to do!).  I started with a long bit of olive green courderoy I picked up at a garage sale.  Over that I draped a pannel of chocolate brown tafeta curtains.  Then in a narrow band across the center of the table I placed a vintage tea stained lace cloth.  To top it all off I finished with an inexpensive glittery shawl I found in a thrift store.

I layered the dishes also starting with some funky old brass trays (again from the thrift store) then a crystal plate (again from the thrift store) then a small crystal plate and the soup bowl.  I placed the party favors in the soup bowls.  The napkins are mismatched lace pieces that I tied up with bits of trim or pearl necklaces (fake and again from the thrift store).  I then attached orphaned single earrings (again very inexpensive from the thrift store) or a crystal tear drop.

For the candles I had some beautiful Moroccan tea glasses and some old liquer glasses.  The liquer glasses were so tiny that I carved down a tea candle to fit.  For the silver wear I used mismatched silver and old ivory handled pieces.

The flowers were a mix of cream Roses, Hydrangeas, white Stock, assorted Eucalyptus and Berzillia Berries.  I tried to match the vintage color story however my choices were a bit limited since I didn’t pre-order anything.  A better choice for the Roses would have been a true beige as in a variety called “Sand”.  An antique variety of Hydrangeas with touches of burgundy and olive would have also been better.

At each place setting I also set another vintage stemmed liquer glass with a single Rose and a piece of jewelry.

All over the table and tucked in the flowers were more strands of pearls just to add to the decadent feel.

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts.  Have a lovely beginning to Winter!

Terri Windling, untidy desks and the underwater Christmas wedding

21 December 2010
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I just have to tell you, I am so tickled!  One of my favorite people out there in faery tale land is Terri Windling.  She wrote a book I dearly love called “The Wood Wife”.

It is a wonderful story of a woman who journies to the Arizona desert in pursuit of a poet and his story and finds instead magic and a deep soul changing power.  I highly recommend it!  She also has a lovely blog that covers all sorts of manner of things not the least of which is her art (sort of a cross between Susan Seddon Boulet, Arthur Rackham and Brian Froud) and her life with her husband and silly black hound in Devon, England (does everyone wonderfully touched by the fae live there and can I too… please, please?).  She is blogging a wonderful series called “On Your Desk” and has asked for creative types to send in photos of their “desk”, untidied, as-is, in the middle of the creative process, or however it appears to be.  She has already featured many of my heros like Alan Lee, Charles De Lint, Rima Stains and more.  So… on a whim…  I sent in my desk top (workspace) pictures, as it appears in the middle of the wedding I just did, and…  she put it up on her blog!  How cool is that I ask ya!  Here are a couple of the pictures I sent her but please go and visit her site (and look for the blog dated 12-20).

I think it will charm and delight you and you can see yours truly’s completely wiped out work area.

The wedding I was working on that appears in the “desk top” photos was a really fun beachy Christmassy style with tons of red roses as well as other rich burgundy colored flowers mixed with driftwood.   Here are some of the completed centerpieces…

The tent was beautiful both glowing warm and inviting and yet wintery looking up above.  Here are a few shots of the tables and decor…

They also had some fun lounge ares…

The couple also had a thing for hearts so I made two 12′ tall driftwood hearts, decorated them with flowers and a mini chandelier and hung them from the tent rafters.

The tent looked beautiful as the night moved in…

And check out this desert spread!   The worst part was that I had to look but not touch (or eat!)

Now for the “underwater” part.  We here in Santa Barbara are in the middle of a week long deluge with another week or so predicted.  Absolutely everything is soaked, saturated, drowned and in every other way… wet!.  Now this wedding was held in an outdoor venue at the San Ysidro Ranch…  yes I said outdoor.  They had decided right from the off they would have a tent just to keep everyone warm.  What we all didn’t know is that the tent had to work in the driving rain as well.  I mean I think I saw Noah sailing the ark by at one point!  So not only did they tent the reception site and the ceremony site but they had to tent all the walkways and even the rented bathrooms.  They even had to build floors and sub floors for all these tents too!  What with washed out service roads and parking areas and huge tent and party rental trucks, delivery vans with trailers (us), and all manner of support vehicles jockeying around trying to keep to the only narrow road that was left…  lets just say that you could have shot the pilot for “Exstream Weddings” (pun intended) on this wedding!  Now I notice I said narrow service road…  what I should have said was narrow-fast-moving-river-with-rapids.  To unload you had to stand in the rapids with the water sending waves up to your thighs as you tried in vain to keep the items you were unloading dry.  After I set up the ceremony Chuppa I had to take paper towels and dry off the flowers and branches so it didn’t drip on the bride.  Quite the day let me tell you!  The pictures however show a beautiful serene and cozy wedding, which I guess is as it should be.  After all the craziness and a lot of completely exhausted vendors the bride and groom had a lovely time and were completely unaware of all the stress (that is until they read this).  So another wonderful wedding completed and thankfully the next one isn’t for a couple of months…  I need that time to dry out!

Finally… a bit of Christmas!

13 December 2010
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Santa’s helpers finally showed up…

After they helped me decorate a couple stayed behind to hang out on the wreath…

We made this wreath by hot gluing different types of moss to a Styrofoam wreath base.  We then added bits of pepper berry and bark with a couple of beaded flowers for sparkle.

The tree…  we got a tiny one this year (because the house is so full!!)

Sorry I am not a photographer!  I tried to capture the lights at night…  it didn’t work too well.

I love to add natural bits in like Heather, Succulents and Eucalyptus.  It makes the tree look full and pretty even in the day time.

A drawer full of elves and Santas..

A collection of Nutcrackers, some from my mom and snow globes too…

My all time favorite story…  Peter Pan.  This globe is so fun. When you wind up the music box Peter flies around Big Ben.  Wendy, Michael and John are shown on the bottom flying around the buildings of London.

A Santa globe.

A little village scene…

I wish I could shrink down to a pixy size and play in the houses, except my cats would probably catch me and eat me!

There are only two of us but I have stockings for lots of feet!  They are just so fun!  Since we do not have a fireplace I just hang them around the walls.

Assorted books spanning my childhood up to the present.  “The Night Before Christmas” on the right I have had since I was one.

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads”

As a kid I used to look at this picture for hours desperately wanting to fall into it…  It is probably part of the reason I am obsessed with faries now.

Anyway just some fun bits to show you…   In the next post I will have a tutorial on how to make custom garland of which I made about 100 feet today!

Enjoy the festive season, don’t forget to go play and have fun in the midst of all the craziness!

Our lovely, eclectic, scitzophrenic, stuffed home

10 December 2010

I always love to look at beautiful home decorating sites.  Places like Vintage Rose or French Larkspur.  These sites always have gorgeous pictures of serene white on white homes with beautiful vintage items all in soothing shades.

I pour through old stacks of Victoria magazines admiring the sophisticated homes with everything just so.  I have created weddings with that beautiful cream and white rustic/vintage look.  I just adore them!

I have tried so often to create a similar look in our home…  but to no avail.  The 50 cats and the devastation in their wake not withstanding, I just have way too many wonderful, crazy, disparate, colorful,  things!

As I said in an earlier post I have been clearing out a couple of storage sheds and putting our house back to rights (we had to evacuate in a fire, lucky the house didn’t burn).  I didn’t remember how much wonderful stuff I had.  And of course over the last year and a half that our stuff has been in storage I collected (as I am wont to do)… more lovely stuff!

I am ready to move into the mansion any day now, one with at least 20 rooms,  a barn, a garage, work spaces and a huge library and kitchen.  Unfortunately those are a bit out of our price range (not too mention I would have to CLEAN those 20 plus rooms and of course we would have many more cats with all the extra room!)

So here I sit with all my lovely stuff thinking wistfully of those beautiful cream colored magazine homes.

I look at my Moroccan rugs with all their warm desert colors and imagine replacing them with a huge sisal or Berber carpet in shades of oatmeal.  No.. can’t do it.

My colorful Tiffany style lamps with their jewel tones glowing at night.  Instead a beautiful linen shaded lamp or wall sconces?  No,  not really me.

What about my Indian Sari collection in a rainbow of hues?  Put them in a cabinet and hide there joyous celebration of life’s happy colors?  No, the doors on the cabinet would have to be left open.

The other item that causes me such decor consternation and one that I rarely see in those beautiful pictures of pristine homes are books. At least not in the quantities that we have.

I wouldn’t mind them so much if we had an old English library, the kind that is two stories with walnut shelves, a huge fireplace and a brass ladder on railings that went around the room.  They would fit beautifully there, though maybe we would need three stories…

Did I mention we have a lot of books…

Ours are not the gorgeous large coffee table art books, ours are much loved, read and re-read tattered friends.  Some of them look like the cats dragged them in (or at least curled up on top of for long catnaps in the sun).  Many of these came from our families who also read and re-read them.

I actually do have a few beautiful art books, these came from my Grandmother.

Look at these precious tiny books…  I think they belonged to my Grandfather.

I saw in a magazine once a home that had turned all the books in the bookcase so their colorful spines faced the inside of the bookshelf and the plain pages side faced outward.  Maybe I am missing something but the obvious question to me is how do you know which book is which?  The plain paper edges blended in nicely with the color pallet of the living room but I DEFINATELY could not do that!

And my china.  I have dishes from both sides of my family going way back!

Hide them in a cupboard because they are jumbled and colorful?

No… can’t do it.  I love to have them out so I can feast my eyes on all their loveliness!

Look at this beautiful tea set from my Mom,

She would have no problem getting me to finish my tea…

You see there was a lovely surprise in the bottom of the cup, waiting for me…

Another fun item from my Mom…  The Old Man…

He is really a tall candle holder. Maybe he was supposed to be one of the three kings, I don’t know.  I just thought he was so cool when I was a kid, still do…

Our bathroom…  my husband is really very indulgent!!

I love vintage clothes…

A garden pot holder, sometimes I use it for flowers in a vintage wedding…

(More clothes…  for faeries…)


(our bedroom…  we love trees, can you guess?)

(my side of the bed…  I just love vintage suitcases!)                 (Vintage trunks across from the foot of our bed)

(My vintage steamer trunk… with curious Cleo the kitty)

(Across from the foot of our bed.  This used to be a display cabinet in my store 15 years ago.  Now it houses our TV)

Looking into our tiny kitchen…

I got a little crazy painting the walls in here (they used to all be white, now the bathroom and the kitchen cabinets are the only white left in the house!)

After sponging several colors onto the wall I then stamped old postal markings, watches, and dragonflies in various complimentary colors.

Vintage cloth napkins in a letter holder on the wall (the stethoscope is for the kitties…)

Our pantry… and tea storage…  My Mom trained me well with the lady in the bottom of the tea cup…  I am constantly drinking tea!

So as I carry on trying to find a place for everything and those things I can’t find places for shoving and tucking and squeezing them in all the nooks and crannies I am reflecting that my home though not the polished show home of my dreams is however my husbands and my home and should reflect us.

This is always the counsel that I give my brides and grooms, that their wedding should be about them and not about the latest style in the magazines.  I guess I am taking my own advise.

Unpacking these many boxes and discovering all my treasures, the road markers from my life and that of my husbands’ makes me grateful for my eclectic style and the generations of “crapstakers” that I come from (a friend once called himself that and after I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard I thought that aptly described me).  I am so lucky to have all these wonderful, beautiful keepsakes!  What a joy to look at and use!

So when you get tired of dusting and organizing all your lovely wonderful stuff visit this post again and remember that these things are part of who your are, these things tell your story…  and be grateful you don’t have as much stuff as I do!!!!!!!

WHEW!!!  That was exhausting!!!

PS  I just got the Christmas goodies up…  I will post that soon (hopefully).

Winter Floral Arrangements

1 December 2010
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Thought I would share with you some lovely floral arrangements I have made.

Warm colors for cold winters

A touch of white…

And all cool tones…

I am a lucky lady to get to work with such beauty from Mother Nature!

Vintage… take two

24 November 2010
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I know everyone is in a holiday mood but I finally got the pictures from one of the weddings I did a couple of months ago.  It was another beautiful vintage style, which I absolutely adore…  The next post will be holiday oriented I promise.  In the mean time enjoy…

The brides and bridesmaids bouquet

Up close of the brides bouquet.  A combination of garden Roses, Eucalyptus, blue Thistle, Dusty Miller, Stock, Lavender and Sage.

boutonnieres for the groom and best man.

The bride and groom were delivered to the reception in a vintage tractor and carriage.

The carriage with a garland of Baby’s Breath.

A stack of vintage suitcases with the top one filled with flowers greats the guests at the entrance to the ceremony.

Along with the check in table and a wagon of parasols.

A bit of decoration on the way to the ceremony.  That is actually my husbands bed side table. He is very accommodating actually.  There are a number of occasions where he would come home from work and small things like the living room couch and coffee table would be rented out for a wedding.  So far I haven’t rented the bed yet…  I think he might draw the line at that.

The ceremony Chuppa (with the living room carpet on the lawn!)

In the trees surrounding the Chuppa I hung lots of birdcages with flowers spilling out.

The aisle (the carpets from the hallway…)

I hung small jars with flowers at the back of the chuppa.

How fun are they?

The bride’s Dad driving the couple to the reception.

I created a fun eclectic sign that hung on the back of the carrage.

One of the arrangements on the cocktail tables.

I hung birdcages with flowers at the reception also.

A lounge we set up for the cocktail hour (the living room couch and chair by the way…)

An old wine barrel caddy as a coffee table.

Another cocktail table arrangement.

A reception table arrangement.  I placed a small floral arrangement under an old cloche and hung the “bloom” sign on it.

Some vintage tins filled with flowers

The head table.  I used a glass door off an old cabinet, set it on it’s side and then set various arrangements and bits around it.

Upclose shot of the glass door and the bits around it.  I stacked a couple of antique floral frogs and then tucked a couple of flowers in the top.

More of the head table…

A vintage tray with bottles of flowers.

Another tray.

A fun item for the buffet…  Those are my boots!

The cake…  it is hard to tell but there are a variety of vintage apothecary jars filled with flowers surrounding the cake.

All the pictures, by the way, are from the wondefully tallented Brian and Brady of BB photography.

Hope you enjoyed the pics…  see you with some holiday stuff soon…

A Magical “Green” Woodland Party…

4 November 2010

OK all of my blog friends…  get ready for a mega-super long faerie packed post.

Remember a while back when I said I was working on a fund raiser for the Community Environmental Counsel that was to be a faerie themed event?  Well I finally got the pictures back…

I feel like a proud parent that is dying to show off pictures of her children…  all 100 pictures.  So consider yourself warned…

It was held in an outdoor large rotunda of the Fess Parker’s Double Tree resort.  We filled this huge space with approximately 250 trees, 400 shrubs and divided it into two spaces, one for cocktails and the other for dinner and dancing.  You are looking at the diner area in the front with the stage on the left and the cocktail area to the back on the right, behind the curtain.

The theme was an enchanted woodland forest.  As they are a non-profit that consults on local environmental issues they wanted a green event.  Well as you can probably guess green means a bit more to me that the average person.

I wanted to remind people of our heritage, of the myths and legends that surround the forests.   Of a time when we were intrinsically tied to nature.  When our daily lives were so mixed with nature and it’s folk lore that there was no dividing line.  Now because of the marvelous wonders of technology and science many of us live a life that is very removed from the rhythms of Mother Nature.  Our Earth is beautiful, and so magical.  To walk in the forrest or on the beach or any place where the magisty of Mother Nature is felt is to heal your heart, calm your mind, and remember your part in the big picture.  I get so frustrated at how political environmental issues have polarized us…  in large part because of the crazies on BOTH sides.  To me it is just good manners to care for this precious Earth.  My Mom taught me to not take more than I need and say please and thank you.  To strive to live a healthy earth friendly life is to do the same.   OK I am done preaching…  thank you for listening.  Anyway…

Some of the tables had wild fantastical trees complete with feathers, flowers, butterflies, bugs and hanging candles…

And some of the tables had low arrangements which were an eclectic mix of fun items like birdcages (with the doors tied open…  it is a thing I have against caging flying creatures) filled with butterflies (fake), lanterns, plants, garden statuary, cloches, funky old bottles with feathers, birds nests, and all manor of magical woodsy beauties.

Our Faerie court…

(click on the picture for a larger size)

We had a Faerie Birch Queen who rode in on a Unicorn and would you believe it…  I do not have one picture!!!!!  Maybe it is the magical nature of the Unicorn that does not allow for photos…  However here is our lovely Queen

She sat on her Birch throne up above the rotunda and with her ladies in waiting reigned over her forrest that evening.

Along with the Queen we had Satyrs.  Does this picture make you giggle or what?…

There were lots of beautiful details…

And some just fun silly details…

Kenny Loggins played for us…

The deserts were adorable…

I think everyone had a fun time and came away thinking more about our beautiful Earth.  Even though a party of this size does have an impact on Nature no matter how you slice it.  Everyone did their best to keep it to a minimum.  The trees and statuary were loaned to us from three wonderful people…  , Katie Oriely Rogers Landscape Architect, Eye of the Day Garden statuary and Cal Western Landscape.  Everything went on to their respective permanent homes in peoples yards.  These people were brought in by the Event Coordinator Merryl Brown. She is wonderful at connecting all the right people together.  This event would not have been possible without the trees plants and statuary.  Imaging a forrest without trees!  She kept the big picture in mind and got anything that I might need… usually donated!  Most of her events have a huge on being green.  The food was locally organically grown, the decor (me) was mostly plants and props (which I use over and over) with a few locally grown flowers.  The costumes I made were mostly of recycled items from thrift stores.  The party supplies such as dishes, tables, chairs, etc were all rented and used again.  Fewer dishes were used (such as no bread plates and limited amounts of glass wear) so the water usage in clean up was reduced.  And I composted the remains of the flowers on the ranch that my husband and I live on.  Not too bad for such a decadent party!  Hope you enjoyed all of it!!


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