Sunday, January 29, 2017

Yesterday's ghosts

When I was young I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favorite songs
When they played I'd sing along, it made me smile

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they'd gone
But they're back again just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well...

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they're startin' to sing's, so fine... 

Remember that song by the Carpenters?  I have always loved Karen Carpenter's soft contralto voice. She died from anorexia way too early for her time. Her music as well as the story of her life make me so sad. But I love Karen, and love all of her songs even if they make me sad, and today I've been remembering her and singing her songs all day long, because the Fisherman had bought us a Turntable Record Player, and we've been hunting in thrift stores and flea-markers for some collectables records and original oldies, and have found some very lovely original hits by various artists... and who knows if one day the fairies decide to smile down on me and I'll find a Stevie Nick's original?  Like "Bella Donna", or "The Wild Heart"?

If a fairy came to me today and ask me for a wish, I could only think on one thing this very moment—to be a famous drummer player... really!  To play the drummer the way Karen did.  Her skills as a drummer has all my admiration.  What would you wish for if a fairy gives you a magical wish? 

Winter has settled in around here.  Super chilly temperatures and dark days have kept me wishing for sunshine and warmth, so I'm trying to keep warm and create a little.  I have been making more canvases for my gallery wall.  

More Frida Kahlo's canvases that is, because Frida is another of my favorite ghosts from yesterdays.  What is it with Frida that I adore?  Her paintings?  Not as much.  But her unique example of freedom of spirit and inner strength.  The way she knew how to make for herself a pair of wings when she had none.  "Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly.”  Frida Kahlo.

And I have a new lover, or two... Eugène Delacroix and a remastered variation with unknown spoof of William-Adolphe Bouguereau paint: "Monsieur M"... ghosts from the Victorian Era under whose spells my heart have succumbed to... and I should soon summons a Mr. Darcy too.  For how can anyone resists his charms?  “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I love this following print here, artist unknown...
I have name it, "Friends"
"Friendship... is born at the moment when one man ('girl') says to another 
"What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves.

But my favorite.... oh my favorite among all the artwork hanging from my gallery wall it will have to be this little duplicate of a Pre-Raphaelite girl and her pet owl... by Valentine Cameron Prinsep, entitled Il Barbagianni, which means The Barn Owl.  Was this girl real once?  And if so, who was she? I've been under her spell ever since I found this painting.  Oh I was so sure that girl was me there... my soul pouring out through that painting from some other life outside life... the connection was so strong. That's what I wanted to believe the moment I discovered this painting, but no... obsessed by it, however, I did a bit more digging on it the other day, and what I found it is just amazing, and overpowering and beautiful.

Artist, writer, Deputy Editor for Faerie Magazine, Grace Nuth has written a most interesting post about this painting... she insists that the woman in the painting is no other than Lizzy Siddal, who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and who was the model for Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia. 

While posing for Millais' Ophelia in 1852, Lizzy floated in a bathtub full of water to represent the drowning Ophelia. Millais painted daily into the winter putting lamps under the tub to warm the water. On one occasion the lamps went out and the water became icy cold. Millais, absorbed by his painting, did not notice and Lizzy did not complain. After this she became very ill with a severe cold or pneumonia. Her father held Millais responsible and, under the threat of legal action, Millais paid her doctor's bills. 

It was thought that she suffered from tuberculosis, but some historians believe an intestinal disorder was more likely. Others have suggested she might have been anorexic while others attribute her poor health to an addiction to laudanum or a combination of ailments. In his 2010 book At Home, author Bill Bryson suggests Lizzy may have suffered from poisoning, because she was a "devoted swallower" of Fowler's Solution, a so-called complexion improver made from dilute arsenic.

Lizzy Siddal was the primary muse for Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti throughout most of her youth...

Lizzy Siddal as 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, 1866
The story tells that Lizzy overdosed on laudanum in the early months of 1862. Rossetti, who by then was her husband discovered her unconscious and dying in bed. Overcome with grief after her death, Rossetti enclosed in his wife's coffin a journal containing the only copy he had of his many poems. He supposedly slid the book into Lizzy's red hair. Before publishing his newer poems he became obsessed with retrieving the poems he had slipped into his wife's coffin. Rossetti and his agent, Charles Augustus Howell, applied to the Home Secretary for an order to have her coffin exhumed. It was done in the dead of night to avoid public curiosity and attention, and Rossetti was not present.

Howell reported that her corpse was remarkably well preserved and her delicate beauty intact, probably as a result of the laudanum. Her hair was said to have continued to grow after death so that the coffin was filled with her flowing coppery hair. The manuscript was retrieved although a worm had burrowed through the book so that some of the poems were difficult to read. Rossetti published the old poems with his newer ones; they were not well received by some critics because of their eroticism, and he was haunted by the exhumation through the rest of his life. 

Seven years after his wife's death, Rossetti published a collection of sonnets entitled The House of Life; contained within it was the poem, "Without Her". It is a reflection on life once love has departed: 

What of her glass without her? The blank grey
There where the pool is blind of the moon's face.
Her dress without her? The tossed empty space
Of cloud-rack whence the moon has passed away.
Her paths without her? Day's appointed sway
Usurped by desolate night. Her pillowed place
Without her? Tears, ah me! For love's good grace,
And cold forgetfulness of night or day.

What of the heart without her? Nay, poor heart,
Of thee what word remains ere speech be still?
A wayfarer by barren ways and chill,
Steep ways and weary, without her thou art,
Where the long cloud, the long wood's counterpart,
Sheds doubled up darkness up the labouring hill.
— From Without Her

Extrange, sad story, isn't it? The more you read about her the more fascinating she becomes. There's quite a few books, documentaries and YouTube movies out there about Lizzy's life. You can read a thoughtful timeline of Elizabeth Siddal’s life HERE.

Hope you have enjoyed my super long post... till we met again!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

On a rainy sunday...

The rains are upon us.  It is the season of magic in a thousand silver liquid drop.  It is a lullaby sent from heaven, a singing pool on the birdbaths.  Rain—the little sleep song on my ear at night.  Do you love rain too?

Yesterday morning we drove to a neighboring little town for breakfast and on the way there a storm unfolded... the skies, laden with a heavy rain opened up its fountains and it turned our world gray and stormy.  Cloudy sheets blinded our vision in a thousand dream, and we followed the rain imagining the world being some ancient great cathedral where treasured pieces were displayed like holy relics. Trees, cars, the rivulets of rain on the windshield, the fathomed winding road ahead... everything was priceless in the enchantment of the moment...  

It has been another dark-gray rainy day today in the little white cottage.  Little lights are being turned on because it is so dark inside it feels like night, although it is only four o'clock.  Outside the windows the world unfolds dreamy and silent; except for the angry rumblings of thunder in the far horizon from time to time.  I am terrified by thunder and lighting, yet I find something magical and exciting in it.  My soul must share some hidden similarities with thunder? 

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light...

Before it started raining this afternoon, there, in the garden, materialized a most lovely vision... a round, super big sorts of a furry vision that is!  One I'd never seen around here before, but it surely knew how to keep my heart skipping a happy bit and running around the house in search of my camera, whilst praying it will stay put for a little bit longer until I could get my lenses ready...

I was thrilled would you not!  Such big cat too!  Perfectly round and colored in a most lovely honey-vanilla fur.  What shall I name him, I wonder!

The Fisherman saw him first and at that first glance thought it was a dog. You should had heard him calling me ever so excitedly to come see 'another dog roaming your gardens... hahaha!  I adore him... both the man and the cat. 

I want to always be able to enjoy the little moments in my life; to never lose this zest for the usual and the everyday little things that are so important and awe-inspiring to me.  Life isn't easy for anyone, but we most purposefully seek out the beauty in the seemingly trivial if we want to be happy. So alas, go find your own rainbow my friend.  Look around you!  I know you'll find it.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Returning home...

A mockingbird told me the other day that the snows of the North decided to pay us a quick visit while I was away taking care of my parents... tumbling down came the magic... one, two, a thousand crystals made snowflakes. The little white cottage basked in a whiter white, and I heard it said that it felt cold and lonesome without me.  The handsome fisherman who leaves in the little white cottage called out my name every day, and asked for my return.  And thus, I just had to come back.  This is where I belong.    

...Now it is just cold when the sun sleeps, warm when it is out, but mostly cloudy, cloudy and gray for days and days, with a dancing fog in the evenings wrapping us up in dreams and tales upon last lights. 

The garden has nothing lovely to gift us and I only go out to it for a few minutes from time to time during my days.  But then again... listening to the woods murmuring, the sound of the wind among evergreens singing sad songs and enchanted tales.   Sometimes, I can't tell which moment, which cool gust of wind tousling my hair and my heart is real or just a dream.  And I'm reminded again and again that indeed there is beauty where one may had thought none.

I'm spending most of my hours in the house doing this and that. I light up all the little lights early every morning after waking up. The tea lights chasing shadows upon our mornings are my favorite kind of lights this time of the year. Every winter I'd search around the house for all the glassware I can find to use as candle holders.  I'd set them atop the large, square table and let them glow.  

I love the soft light of tea candles and glassware… I love how glass lets the light shine through ever so softly and romantic… I've been doing this since that first year we moved into our little white cottage. You can read more about it HERE if you wish. 

Ah yes, let flickering candlelight conjure up beautiful soft light and create the effect of imaginary angels standing in shadowy corners...

Clouds lingering over quieted woods, naked trees shivering under a cobalt blue sky, the music of Spanish guitars playing from my CD player, the scent of "Autumn Afternoon Stroll" –golden oak leaves and apples and acorns, imbuing each room, birds by the hundreds outside. Quiet. Calm.  My everyday magic...

I spent sometime raking leaves off the front yard the other day... 

Piles over piles of dead leaves that keep accumulating faster than fast under the slanted light of winter... 

But I won't complain. That's just what you get when you wish upon a little white cottage in the woods. And thus, my soul embraces it all... the amount of leaves, the work, the feeling of being part of Nature as you cohabits with it and become part of it.

There's so much to do in the garden, so much all-embracing, all-enduring love for Nature, and I want to be out there again, working the soil, prettying up the garden, saying pretty things to the fairies, the flowers and the birds as I remove debris and paint garden furniture.  But I must wait a little bit more. 

A new chapter in the life of this little garden awaits, and I am ready to ride off into all the magic awaiting me there!  Are you anxious for spring too?  What do you do to cope the blues of those long winter days of the North?  I am glad I don't have to suffer those cold, snowy days that seemed to never end any more.  Still, we do get our own taste of winter here too, but only for a short time... and I wait for spring filling up our little white cottage with potted plants that I don't know where else to place any more... hehe...  I just can't help it! 

Wishing you sunny days and blue birds!

Monday, January 16, 2017

My dream living room

If you are reading my blog for the first time, a very warm welcome! Hi, I’m Cielo, dweller of a tiny white cottage situated on a lot surrounded by woods in its entirety.  I believe that everyone deserves a home that is full of style and reflective of their own unique personality.  Thus, just because I live in a cottage that does not mean I have it decorated in the traditional cottage style...  

In fact, my home is a happy potpourri of styles.  I favorite the French Country Style.  I love the romantic touches and clean lines of whites and modern monochrome, but I also have such a soft spot for rich colors.  Moody charcoal, dark gray, navy and gold.  I think it is the contrast of rich dark colors with the glamorous metallic what captivates me.  Rich dark colors make for a cozy room and the gold adds that element of glamour that I love.  For me, it all comes to light surroundings, modernity, glamour, lots of patterns, painted furniture, animal prints, mirrors, and gold.  And since I love glitz, I couldn’t think of any more appropriate style than a little bit of Hollywood Regency thrown in the mix too.     A style that pretty much looks something like this...

The other day someone asked me what my dream living room would look like. Of course, it would have to be a totally different architecture, high ceilings, lots of dark hardwood floors and exposed beams, but based on what I have and some of the other work you’ve seen around here, the following images summarize what I love to see in my present living room.

First off, I want a velvet couch - something like this Wakefield Sectional - 2PC in Regal Smoke
...or this one in Regal Sapphire

...Or this Warwick 109" tufted upholstered sofa in Lourdes Fog – from Arhaus.  Love the softness of the color and composition of it.

But my favorite would have to be this stunning green tufted sofa in Arabella Ash, also from Arhaus. Truly gorgeous.  

I can already picture this stunning couch embellished with hips of decorative pillows inspired by antique carpets, like these Tapete plum Chloe velvet rectangle pillows.  Their rich jewel-like colors and designs remind me of old fairytales, of Aladdin and his magic carpet and beautiful princesses.

A velvet couch is bold, is modern, is classic.  Paired with gold and animal-print accents, the result is simply glamorous...

A dark gray accent wall for sophistication is a most... add a super beautiful velvet couch and it will make the room look even more glamorous.

A pop of lively green among the black/white geometric it simply spells glam to me...

Beautiful rugs, hides and sheepskin rugs are so important when designing a dreamy home... floors, walls and furniture acquire a different tone to it and the feel of your home becomes exactly what you want it to be with the right kind of rug. 

I love texture and pattern.  My style focuses on geometric shapes, angular patterns and bold curves. Carpets with geometric or animal prints are my favorite.  

Next is the coffee table... graceful, modern and refined.  Glass and metal design combination paired with geometric features.  These two first ones from the Brooke Collection, Zgallerie.  

Art Deco design coffee table in brass, from Arhaus... 

A dark gray or navy accent wall instantly ups the coziness of a room and it looks amazing with super white trims and dark woodwork.  I love layering a dark gray accent wall with lighter shades of furnishings and a pretty chandelier to create a warm and inviting space.

A beautiful vintage chandelier is a must in my dream living room... like this unique Spanish Brass & Crystal c1950 from Antique Lighting...

Our this Marie Antoinette Brass & Crystal Chandelier c1950

Mixing glamour with romance is pure awesomeness to me... 

And always lots of black and white paired with a pop of color to break down dullness

I also love big art pieces and bold geometric patterned accents.  Those quick pops of color and patterns in your eye line can make a huge difference to the energy of a room. 

You have to love patterns... 
Something about the combination of black and white patterns broken down by
the simplicity of a burst of color steals my heart every time!

I love the combination of the Hollywood Regency glam and the romance of vintage...
One or two large mirrors like these would do for me...

Abstracts and heaps of decorative pillows

Black and White and Gold... combining black, white and gold produces an elegant and glamorous look to a home. This color palette reminds me so much of Rita Hayworth.  I love how all those cold and sleek black elements go so well with the warm tones of gold.  Following I have chosen a few pieces that summarize what I love...

What's your decorating style?  So many choices, so much fun imagining, so rewarding making your home beautiful with what you have!

Have a lovely day my dears!

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