Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Terri Windling, untidy desks and the underwater Christmas wedding

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!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finally... a bit of Christmas!

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!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our lovely, eclectic, scitzophrenic, stuffed home

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).