Saturday, May 30, 2009

Top Hats for a Mad Tea Party

Have you heard about the Mad Tea Party being held on 27 June and hosted by A Fanciful Twist? Go here to sign up your blog to be part of the fun.

To get us in the mood, I've gathered together some top hats any Mad Hatter would be happy to wear. Just click on each pic to check out these crafty milliners.

In January 1797, a certain John Hetherington appeared in the streets of London. The hat maker walked along the thoroughfare wearing a top hat in the shape of a stovepipe. Within a short time, a large crowd had gathered around him. There was such chaos that an 'officer of the law' grabbed Hetherington by the collar and summonsed him before the court. He was accused of disturbing public order. The officer, who dealt with the scandal, described the offence as follows: Hetherington had such a tall and shiny construction on his head that it must have terrified nervous people. The sight of this construction was so overstated that various women fainted, children began to cry and dogs started to bark. One child broke his arm among all the jostling. Hetherington was fined 50 Pounds, an absolute fortune in those days. And a law was passed forbidding anybody to wear the top hat in public on the grounds it scared timid people!

Or if you’d like to whip up one of your own, have a look at these pdf patterns for a crocheted and a knitted number.

Top hats make arresting decorating statements. How lovely to lay about in bed gazing up at your own Mad Hatter chandelier - seen on Poppy Talk and available from Lampa.

Add to the look with this quirky top hatted deer lamp at Minas Art.

But be careful. Top hat wearing is contagious. Look at this group gathering that I chanced upon at my house this morning.

ps The print giveaway here will be drawn on 3 June so leave a comment on any post to be in the draw.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rainy Day Giveaway

We've had a lot of rain in these parts and most of us have been very lucky to escaped flooding. So in celebration I'm giving away a print from an original in my 'Look Up' series. The original work is a mixed media on canvas in acrylics and oils with paper collage and cotton thread.The print is 5in by 5in and the paper is A5 size with a white border for framing. Signed and dated by me. To be in the draw just leave a comment here before Wednesday 3rd June. Also if you want to be in the monthly 'grab bag' giveaway make sure you're signed up as a follower.

Rainforest Tasmania by Oz Jim Bob

I had to share this exquisite poem by Todd Turner...for my sister...

There was something in the rain,

in the way it fell.

Something in the way of the birds.

And in

the way of the river.

Something in the way it fell.

Otways, Victoria, Australia by Paul Pichugin in JPG Magazine

Something about how the river rose, and

about the stillness of the birds on the banks

in the rain

and about the way the air made it feel possible to

forgive –

and be forgiven.

Grace by Todd Turner in Meanjin Quarterly Vol 68 No 1 2009

Tasmania, photo also by Oz Jim Bob
Some more Australian bird songs here and here.

Well it's 3 June over here in Australia. You my lovely readers have left 81 comments since the giveaway was introduced. The Random Number Generator has selected number 25 making Lilly Shay Style the winner! Congrats! And thank you so much to everybody who's left comments over the last week. You've lifted my spirits...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pink Champagne Craft Night

Come on in dears. Welcome to our weekly craft night!

Moroccan Party Inside on by E-Mosaik

Oh don't you all look gorgeous!

Vintage Dress and Long Jacket at from Grizzly Bear Couture

Handmade Necklace with Vintage Elements at from Rebecca 3030
Classic Birdcage Viel at by Topsy Turvy Design

Pink Tulle Dress at by Violetville Vintage

Secret Garden Wedding Dress at by Bridal Fashion
Pink and Black Vintage Dressat by Chiffon Lounge

Vintage Pink Cigarette Holder at by Anti Nu

Let’s pop those corks and settle in for a chat before we get down to business.
Vintage Ice Bucket and Glasses at from Abundancy
Maybe a little nibblie.....
Vegetarian Canapes on by Lo Master Pro

White Chocolate Cherry Truffles at from The Fancy Lady Gourmet

Feeling relaxed? Caught up on the gossip? Well now down to business. Tonight’s crafting activity! Don’t let it be said that we just lounge about drinking champagne and gossiping. No, we’re serious crafters here!
Painted Wine Crate Will Work For Champagne at by Liz Vaughn

Now we’ve collected quite a few champagne tops from our weekly craft nights…so…Let’s whip them into some chairs!

Pink Champagne Motel Photograph at by KW Magnets

Amazing how crafting nights bring out the creativity! And remember, you don’t have to drive home tonight. Your loved ones know that the driver takes you home late tomorrow morning. Oh, and wait till you see what we’re doing next week!?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gypsy Magic

black sara patronsaint of gypies

Sara's Shrine

It is May in the south of France in the town of Saintes Maries de la Mer. The weather is superb, and I can smell the thick curls of frankincense and myrrh on the gentle lavender-scented air, hear the chapel bells and strum of guitars, and taste the special boat-shaped breads and cookies, called les navettes, that the bakeries make to commemorate the arrival of the Magdalene to the Camargue and to celebrate Sara, the patron saint of gypsies. In my mind, I recall the traditional prayer to Sara la Kali, the patron saint of the gypsy people:

Sara Le Kali / Sara the Black photo at Alimojo

Sara, patron saint of travelers and gypsies the world over,
you who lived in this region of Saintes Maries de la Mer.
You came from a far-away country from across the seas.
I love to come and find you here, to tell you all that I have in my heart
and in you confide my sorrows and joys.
I pray to you for everyone in my family and all my friends.
Sara, come to me.

Photo from Walter 999

For most of the people throughout Languedoc, Camargue, Bouches du Rhône, and la Provençe, the question of Marie Madeleine in France is not even worth asking. "C’est sûr," they will tell you. Yes, indeed, this is where the Magdalene fled after leaving the Holy Land.

The question some are more hesitant to answer is that of whether or not she carried the Davidian bloodline, the ancestral father-line of Jesus, in her womb when she got here. Thus, we have the story of The Magdalene as Holy Grail, carrier of the sangraal or "royal blood" of future French kings.

Photo of Gypsy Caravan by Emma Bradshaw

By most accounts, Marie-Jacobé and Marie-Salomé (not biblical figures) accompanied the Magdalene in her voyage to Saintes Maries de la Mer, and hence the town name. Other accounts give the landing party as Martha and Lazarus—her sister and brother—and Mary of Bethany, who is often conflated with the Magdalene.

In at least one rendition of the story, it was Sara the Egyptian who greeted the boat at the shore. But other accounts say that Sara was a servant who accompanied them on the journey while still others regarded Sara as the actual daughter of Mary Magdalene.

Inside a Gypsy Caravan via Skhona Hem

In any event, this is the same Sara venerated by the Roma people, often called gypsies, who come from far and wide to celebrate her as Sara la Kali, which translated means Sara the Dark One. She is their patron Saint, although not a Catholic one, and they honor her in pilgrimage every year.

via Apartment Therapy

Sara, a dark-skinned woman may also be an avatar of Egyptian Isis. As an avatar, or divine representative on Earth, a dark-skinned woman and goddess come together in her in a confluence of myth and symbol. Her statue is dark, as her name attests. During her festival, those who seek her healing and blessings come to touch her skirts, put scarves around her neck, offer flowers, light candles, and give thanks for miracles and prayers answered in the preceding years. Through her, the Magdalene, a pagan goddess, and Black Madonna are related.

also from Apartment Therapy

Even the crown that sits upon her head holds a symbolic key to revealing the union within her of pre-patriarchal tradition and contemporary Mariology. In it rests thirteen pearls, the number itself recalling the lunar round, and the pearl both Aphrodite’s and Mary’s sacred gem.

Bunting from Giggleberry

Sara's veneration by the Roma, who have origins in India, and indeed the very name they call her, Sara la Kali, make the connection to the Eastern goddess Kali much more explicit. Even her ritual bathing in the ocean at the culmination of festivities make her worship akin to that of the goddesses of the Hindu East who are taken to be immersed in the Ganges River, or other waters in proximity to the temple, after puja rites are performed during the major holy days.

Crocheted Skirt from Sub Rosa 123

I’m grateful for the ‘religious’ experiences I have had. There is such beauty in ritual - in the sounds of prayer, chanting, music, in the scents – the smell of frankincense always uplifts me, the sight of beautiful churches and icons, the quiet reverence, and the sense of community.

Vintage Handbag from The Playpen

I don't follow a set religion believing in the equity of all beliefs but even in this I've had to come to an understanding that my view is one reality and not ‘the’ reality, superior to others.

Fortune Telling Cup and Saucer from Crescent Moon Herbals

Sources: Geocities, Wikipedia, Maabatakali

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Not everything comes with a map.

Photos via Visualize

And maps can be very useful.

Typographical Error Seafloor Silk Map Tie by Toy Breaker screenprinted with distressed remnants of 1900's sea-depth estimates taken in Scandinavian and Arctic waters.

You can wear them.

Paris Metro Map Cuff by Betty Death. This cuff showcases many stops and lines in and around central Paris, including St. Michel, Notre Dame, the Louvre and many other memorable locations. Take a tiny tour of Paris, from the comfort of your own wrist! The cuff is handmade from a colour print printed with water-resistant ink. A slice of vinyl is affixed to the print to provide high gloss goodness and additional protection against the elements. This cuff is backed with friendly black felt to ensure a comfortable and stylish wearing experience, and closes with one silver snap.

Or decorate with them.
Globes Magazine Rack and Chair via Curious Sofa Boutique. Table from J Industrial Designs. Map Wallpaper via Garden Web.

Poems can be written about them.


'Cartography' Original Watercolor by Aine Scannell and Poem by UK poet Ted Slade, 1939 to 2004, founder of The Poetry Kit a worldwide website for poets.

You can draw on them.

River Flowers Original Map Drawing by Pyglet Whispers. Original hand-drawn line design over a coloured, vintage 1970's Australian road atlas page. Design features Brisbane river and surrounds utilising drawing cues from the vintage map. Drawing is completed using black archival ink pens directly over the book page.

And even journal on them.

Altered Atlas Journalling Workshop from Juliana Coles. Juliana states " It’s time to expand our horizons and stretch our limits. It’s time to map our existence and point the way out of the confines of our known comfort zones. Beginning with a large format Atlas- the bigger the better-as a matter of fact, if you can barely lift it, you’re onto something- we’re going to press the parameters of our creativity by going boldly where we have yet to venture- no more 5x7 books with nice little pages. Not for us. No 7x9 finely decorated little altered book. This book gets big, gets bold gets pushy gets out there gets loud and in your face with larger than life images and words so big they have to shout across the pages. Using a large Atlas, no smaller than 11x 14, as the container for our visual journaling experience, we will learn to find our powerful, and aggressive artistic voice that is waiting at uncharted depths to be discovered. By combining journal writing exercises with art making assignments in a mixed media frenzy, I will introduce you to the joys of working large- you may never work small again! It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s beautiful! This book will relate to distance, mapping, and asserting, I AM HERE. Humble, small, less than, not enough, has no place here. Let me introduce you to a different side of yourself. As your guide, I’ll help you chart the distance."

As well as making other mixed media fabulousness with them.

Hanging On By A Thread Assemblage by Attic Antics. Watched over by a lovely porcelain angel with metal wings, the woman's portrait dangles among vintage chandelier crystals, a ceramic feather, and the tiniest little key. An old cheese grate backed by map imagery serves as a backdrop while the watch face creates a halo behind the angel's face when viewed head-on.

Oh Danny Boyd Collage on Canvasby Super Minx. This is an original 5”x5”x1.5” canvas mixed media collage which utilises maps, magazines, advertising catalogues, scrapbook papers, ink and acrylic paint. The entire canvas is papered, including the sides, and for extra durability a gloss varnish applied.

Finding Your Place in the City, an original mixed media
painting incorporating a map background by Kelcey Loomer.This is number 20 in Loomer's Rest Series. The series is a reminder to take a moment for yourself~ to quiet your busy body and mind and be still. To create a space of rest... so that you may hear your own voice and dreams. The chairs are a symbol of this awareness. Size: 12" x 12" x 1.75". This painting is created using many thin layers of paint on top of many collaged elements and handmade papers. The words in the painting say "one way to fly in your dreams". Layered into the painting there is also words from a description of New York City from a vintage history book. In the background you can see a map of NYC.

And sometimes those things make our brain map much clearer.

Photo by Austin O