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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Romantic V-Day Gift Ideas

Gifts for the Romantic

Pam Grossman is the creator of Phantasmaphile, a blog which specializes in art and culture with an esoteric or fantastical bent. As co-founder of the Brooklyn arts & lecture space,Observatory, her programming aims to explore mysticism via a scholarly yet accessible approach. She lectures on such topics as “The Occult and Modern Art 101,” and teaches classes on herbalism and ritual.
With a February 14th birthday,  it was inevitable that I’d be a born romantic. Dedicated to love and decadence, Valentine’s Day ignites imaginations and calls upon us to dream and swoon. But it’s not all candy and roses. The holiday was originally derived from the pagan festival, Lupercalia, which celebrated the she-wolf, Lupa, and consisted of raunchy shenanigans like parading naked through the streets to spread fertility throughout the village. Rrrrrowl, indeed.
But ultimately this day is about generosity and figuring out creative ways to dote upon your partner, your pal, or most importantly, your darling self.  That said, here’s a myriad of marvels to help capture any heart.

For Sweet Hearts

If you think love is a fairytale, then you’ll fall head over winged-heels for these treasures.
Clockwise from top left: This Titania necklace by Larkandlotusjewelry is fit for a queen. Lock your secrets up in this red leather wallet with skeleton key byUrbanheirlooms. A magic love potion by Whitemagickalchemy: enough said. Hawthorn is known for its heart-opening properties, so this Hawthorn Rose Kyphi incense byForestgrove should get your pheromones flowing. This psychedelic Victoriana “I love you” card by Inkadinkadoodle is right out of Alice in Wonderland.

For Dark Hearts

Gothic gals and guys need love, too. Here are some gifts that like to lurk in the shadows.
Clockwise from top left: Get soft as angel wings with this black soap by Soapychica. This key will set you free in Monpetitfantome’s stunning “This Is Your Only Escape” papercut print. Light up the night with a tainted love candle by Witchcitywicks. Thisbutterfly-heart biology mash-up patch by tsl8 is a peculiar and lovely way to say “I’m yours.” Remember those packs of valentines you would sign and hand out in school? Yeah, this five pack of valentines by dollfacedesign is not them. And the arrow is such an apt metaphor for the exquisite pain of love, and this wounding necklace by Bloodmilk is beyond gorgeous.

For Twee Hearts

Sometimes I feel like being cute to my cutie, without drowning him in a saccharine typhoon. Here are some options that make me go “awww,” but don’t feel too cloying.
Clockwise from top left: Theo Ellsworth has become one of my all time favorite comic artists (side note: you must read his book CAPACITY if you haven’t already). I am loving his romantic beastie card. This “You’re Fantastical” card by Happydappybits says it all and is appropriate for friends and lovers alike. I haven’t yet grown out of my unicorn phase, and don’t ever plan to. This unicorn card from Ferdinandhome puts a sophisticated spin on mythic love. And I can’t resist this take on Cupid’s bow that is “tiny but tough,” as the maker, Datter, puts it. These star spangled chocolate-covered Oreosby Sweetiesbykim are a stellar alternative to Whitman’s.

For Sensual Hearts

At this time of year, Eros is in the air. Here are some treats to turn on your lust light.
Clockwise from top left: This surrealist sea nymph tank by Jamesanthony makes me weak in the knee-shells. Smother your smoocher in this heavenly wild rose balm byPhoenixBotanicals. These silk panties by Honeycoolerhandmade are sexy while still being elegant. Sacred Vibes is an herbal apothecary here in Brooklyn, and everything they make is pure and potent. Their love oil can be used in a long bath or as part of a slow massage. You’ll be a living fantasy is this lace butterfly mask by 1274PeriwinkleLane.

For Retro Hearts

Sometimes it seems our ancestors had a better sense of style than we do now; I long for a past age of opulence and fine detailing. No matter, here’s modern spin on good old-fashioned romance.
Clockwise from top left: Herbal Alchemy’s all-natural Elysium perfume is filled with rose, vanilla, and orange peel. It looks beautiful on your vanity to boot. In Reality Bites, when Ethan Hawke says to Winona Ryder, “You look like a doily!” I always thought she should have taken it as a compliment. These red heart doilies by Knot & Bow are pretty, pretty, PRETTY! Lover’s eye jewelry began being worn in the late 18th century, to remember those dear or lost. You no longer have to scour estate sales for one, thanks to thishand-painted eye pendant by Swanbones. I’d love nothing more than to lounge languidly in a nest of pillows covered in these damask velvet covers byMogirldesigns. This rose-bedecked cocktail hat with detachable birdcage veil fromVelvetowl will make anyone feel like a real dame.
Here’s wishing you a day filled with love and a heart full of wonder. Viva la Valentine!

I love this Idea - So making something like this.....!

From the Etsy Blog

Valentine’s Day Candy Box Diorama-Rama

Heather Atkinson is an artist, crafter and creator of narrative vignettes inspired by all things obsessive, haunting, and bizarre. She utilizes various media, including photography (digital and analog) and found objects, to populate the worlds she imagines and creates. For more information, visit her blog. (P.S. Heather abhors writing bios and bribed her BFF Tonya to write this for her.)
There is simply no argument – the handmade valentines of elementary school are simply the best valentines ever. Period. Recapture the edible paste and construction paper high of your youth with a project suited to your more mature (debatable) tastes and refined skill set. You can use big kid hot glue, fancy paper and even knives! Why not make a freaking rad DIORAMA for your valentine? Here’s how!
You’ll Need:
  • Heart-shaped cardboard candy box, preferably with contents emptied into tummy. May I recommend Russell Stover as a fine choice?
  • Assorted ephemera: Decorative paper, photos, postcards, drawings, clip art, wrapping paper, paper dolls, hair, etc. – the only limit is your imagination and your box size.
  • X-acto knife with fresh blade and/or small scissors
  • Box cutter with fresh blade
  • Pencil
  • Metal ruler
  • Brush – soft bristle or sponge
  • Decoupage medium – I used the fancy stuff but good old Mod Podge never fails!
  • Glue stick
  • Corrugated cardboard. A shipping box destined for recycling is ideal.
  • Glue gun
  • Optional: Small piece of plastic or mylar, masking tape, specialized miniature lighting
Heather Atkinson
1. Decide on a theme and plan out the scene you want to create in the diorama.
You will want at least three layers to create depth: background, middle ground and foreground. The lid of the box will be the topmost layer with a viewing hole cut out, and the interior bottom of the box will be the background. You can also decoupage the bottom of the box if you like.
Heather Atkinson

Heather Atkinson
2. Gather all of your ephemera and have it prepared.
Plan what items will go where and in what order. I recommend photographing your plan or sketching it as you will have to dismantle to build up from the background to the foreground. I chose a “sea-captain-death-at-sea-mermaid-true-love-rescue” theme and used an old postcard; clip art scanned, scaled to size, printed and cut out; pages from a poetry book; and vintage wrapping paper.

Heather Atkinson
3. Decoupage the box with your choice of background layer – you’ll build on top of this. This is a base layer to cover the obnoxious scene and brand name on the candy box. Follow manufacturer’s instructions labeled on your gel medium of choice.
Let dry completely. (Again – let dry completely!)
Trim excess paper from around both pieces using your X-Acto knife. Immediately after use, tightly close the lid on your gel medium and wash your brush in lukewarm soapy water. Helpful hint: Check the opaqueness of your paper before beginning. A translucent or light colored paper may require a double layer.

Heather Atkinson
4. Measure and use X-Acto knife and metal ruler to cut a viewing window from the box lid according to your design plan. This will create your viewing window.
Heather Atkinson
Heather Atkinson
5. Now it is time to start creating your scene! To make your interior scene, start with the hindmost layer and build forward creating layers of interest. Use pieces of corrugated cardboard to build up the backing of your scenery. Loosely trace the object and cut cardboard to fit within the lines. Apply hot glue from your glue gun to stick layers of together. (I added a black cardstock background to the bottom of my box covering the cardboard. To do, simply trace the heart shape, cut out, and glue in place. )
Heather Atkinson
Heather Atkinson
6. Carefully place your inner pieces in correct order and hot glue gun in place. It is helpful to make a light pencil mark delineating where each layer should be placed. Make sure you view the subject with the lid on and looking at it straightforward before setting the final display. Arrange and decoupage the layers of your lid design – remember build from back to front overlapping to create visual appeal. Let dry completely. If desired, glue lid in place so diorama is tightly secured.
Heather Atkinson
Heather Atkinson
7. Add special details such as a ribbon around the outside of the bow, an image on the back, lighting inside, attach a wall hanger, etc. You can add lights ordered from a specialty hobby or dollhouse supplier to put inside the box out of sight for a special glow – this will really show off depth! Simply use a dab of glue to apply. This is a sure fire way to impress.
If you want to be extra profesh you can add a pane to your window using plastic or mylar. Cut a piece of plastic slightly larger than window size. Glue and/or tape it to the backside of your window. Clean as needed with glass cleaner.

Heather Atkinson
A special thank you to Artifacts for the loan of the styling props – including the eye popping plastic lace and hot pink tablecloth seen in the photos above. No boring stuff allowed!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why's Everyone Hating on Steven Tyler??

What's up with all the haters of Steven Tyler's National Anthem performance?  I don't get it.  Number one, I thought he rocked!  Number two, that's obviously the sound they were going for when they asked a rocker to perform the anthem.  They didn't hire a Broadway or Opera singer - they asked Steven F'ing Tyler to perform it & they got what they asked for - a Kick Ass All-American rocking rendition of the anthem, heart-felt and respectful to boot.  Ok, so he messed up a couple of words, but who the heck cares?  I would need a teleprompter to sing it (if I could even sing!)  So let's give the dude some props.  To the haters I say, "Get off the man's case - He's a Legend & he totally killed it, in a good way!"

Love these Great Decorating Ideas and Items!

Get the Look Decor: Boudoirs of Yore

Get the Look isn’t just about real homes; it can also be pure fantasy. This week, guest writer Gabriella Cetrulo imagines where ladies of yesteryear have rested their heads.
Whenever I visit my parents’ house, I feel as though I’m transported to another century. The halls are painted in deep, muted tones of burgundy and olive. Every room is filled with elaborate patterns and turn-of-the-century antiques. It makes me wonder if my mom could have been Queen Victoria in a past life.
As I enter my old bedroom, associations with Marie Antoinette wash over me: the walls are a pastel pink, the floor is covered with an antique floral rug, and the furniture is a pale yellow with golden accents. In fact, my friends have asked me if an arsenal of tiaras and chandeliers is hiding inside my closet. (The answer is yes.)
Being in a home so influenced by women of centuries gone got me to thinking: what if I could create bedrooms inspired by iconic women from the past? What would they look like?

The Queen of France

France’s former queen Marie Antoinette was not the most admired monarch, but her influence on art and design is undeniable. She represented decadence, femininity and style, and these qualities were reflected in her surroundings.  Rococo elements like pastel colors, floral patterns, and gilded accents would cover her walls.

The Queen of the Nile

Cleopatra claimed to be the reincarnation of a goddess; the woman clearly had confidence. I imagine her bedroom as an earthy space with bold, geometric patterns. The color scheme would include warm muted tones, gold, and rich black accents.

The Lady With the Lamp

Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale was a woman of self-sacrifice. Her bedroom would be simple and utilitarian, with plain industrial furnishings and clean white linen sheets.

The Maid of Orleans

Joan of Arc was born a French peasant, but she died a saint. I imagine her in a fit of spiritual visions in a dark and dramatic room populated by wooden Gothic-style furniture and Catholic iconography. Dark wood and heavy iron are suited for this national heroine.

The Artist

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who eventually became known for her surreal self-portraiture and fiery personality. I envision her bold painting style permeating her walls with splashes of audacious color and nature-inspired imagery.

Looking for more styles and interiors? Check out our video series, There’s No Place Like Here, where creative types show us their unique spaces — infused with their aesthetic and filled with the treasures they collect. Get involved and show us your amazing space in this Flickr pool.
Gabriella Cetrulo is a freelance illustrator with a BFA in illustration from Parsons the New School for Design. She is also the shop owner of vintage oasis Tomorrow Is Forever. She is in the process of opening a second online shop featuring her illustration work.