Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fairy Tales

In case you have been hiding under a rock lately, let me tell you that fairy tales are a pretty big trend right now.  ABC has Once Upon a Time, NBC has Grimm.  Paramount is releasing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a horror movie set to take place 15 years after the gingerbread house incident.  Universal Studios is releasing Snow White and the Huntsmen, starring Charlize Theron as the evil queen and Kristen Stewart as Snow.  Meanwhile, Relativity Media will be releasing their own updated version of Snow White entitled Mirror Mirror.  This one stars Julia Roberts as the evil queen, Lily Collins as Snow White, and Sean Bean (from HBO's Game of Thrones) as Snow's father.  Warner Brothers will be distributing Jack the Giant Killer, which has some great actors attached to it like Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor.  Sean Bean is also going to be in Pan, a very different take on J.M. Barrie's beloved Peter Pan.  The cast for this one sounds fantastic too, and it will be interesting to see how well this adaptation does.
There are more movies set to be made and/or released after 2013, and some of them look/sound like they could be pretty amazing.  It's interesting how these classic stories have endured over the ages and through different cultures.  Some might argue that the television and movie studios are doing these classics an injustice by re-imagining them, but I think they are just following in the steps of storytellers throughout history, re-purposing them and retelling them to fit a specific audience.  The classics should be remembered as classics, but one of the things that makes them classic is that they endure, and sometimes change is required for this.
Plus, the look of these re-imagined fairy tales can border on the spectacular.  In today's age, with today's types of popular film, we don't always see the fantastical wardrobes and sets that can be used (and are even expected) in films of a fairy tale nature.  I love the dark feeling that these stories often have.  They can be scary, and even nightmarish (as many of the old fairy tales often were), but still seem safe. 

wedding dress trend of 2011- romantic fairytale dress

gorgeous photographic print by paper artist, Elly MacKay
Designer Jill Stewart said of her Spring 2012 collection, "I wanted it to look like a dream, a fantasy, a fairytale."

Jill Stewart's Spring collection 2012
is more cotton candy fairytale than dark,
 ethereal inspired fairytale

Veteran fashion journalist Camilla Morton has also been bit by the fairytale bug; she is writing memoirs of famous fashion designers and intertwining their lives with well known fairy tales.  Her first memoir mingled Christian Lacroix with the story of Sleeping Beauty (Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty: A Fashion Fairy Tale Memoir)Her second piece is entitled Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker.  The designers themselves provide the illustrations for their memoirs. 
Manolo Blahnik

Christian Lacroix

Over at Bullet magazine, photographer Fiona Quinn did a fairy tale inspired photo shoot, inspired by the darker elements found in the stories.

photos by Fiona Quinn
for Bullet magazine

On his blog, Life As Good, our friend Ryan is doing a series of canvas pieces called Monster Ballads.  One of my favorites is the Goblin Pony, which was inspired by the French fairytale of the same name.  Ryan turned me on to a collection of fairy tales by Andrew Lang that was published in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, with each book in the series given a different color.  The tale of the Goblin Pony is found in the Grey Fairy Book

The Goblin Pony, available for purchase
I love that fairy tales are having a more pronounced moment right now; they are so ingrained in our culture, and I like the fact that they are being recognized as rich material for children and adults to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

White Christmas

Fresh white complements the fresh green.
I am dreaming of a white Christmas, but here in the desert it isn't likely.  At least I know that the inside of my house can be merry and white!  Here are a few examples of beautiful ways to decorate for a white Christmas.  I also love the fact that if you have a predominantly white interior, any color scheme will work: from multi-colored and fun, traditional red and white, natural greens to sparkly metallic.  Take a look at the spaces that inspire me.

The soaring windows are highlighted by the swags of greenery. Tiffany blue taper candles? Yes!
Same house as above: White, creamy yellow and tiffany blue. Not traditional Christmas colors--love.
I am always looking for cute ideas for my cloches.
I just love this idea, and I want to try to make them!

Trophies with mini trees! It couldn't be simpler or prettier.
Christmas doesn't have to include fancy, elaborate decorations--this room is country beautiful.

LOVE this!

Natural greens and lovely white are welcoming and classic.
The sweetest little Christmas cabinet display.
Pretty and subtle reminder of the season.

via digsdigs
I think I might do this next year!
An all white bedroom is dreamy, especially at Christmas with the cute stockings.
Gorgeous entryway display.
How cute is this? Talk about easy.
via digsdigs

Minimal and Festive.

I had to stop myself!  There are so many beautiful, light interiors at Christmas; and many wonderful projects too.  I will post my own Christmas decorations soon!

Monday, November 28, 2011

DIY Jewelry Board

I'm a big fan of jewelry.  It doesn't have to be expensive; it just needs to look good.  I love scouring thrift stores and antique shows to find vintage jewelry (I really started collecting old jewelry after I inherited my Gram's quirky collection).  I love nabbing things when they are on sale, especially when Dillard's puts their clearance stuff at an additional 50% off.  I like picking up cheap little pieces that don't look cheap, and I don't mind investing in pricier pieces every once in a while if I feel that the piece is really worth it.  I subscribe to the theory that the more often you wear something, the cheaper it becomes.  (I think I've mentioned that before.)  I wanted an easy way to  show off my jewelry so I would be able to take most of it in at a glance.  I have a lot of necklaces and bracelets, and I wanted a way to store them so that they wouldn't get easily tangled.  I had seen shadow boxes that display jewelry, which is functional and aesthetically pleasing.  So a couple of years ago when I was looking for a way to display my jewelry, I thought of going the shadow box route.  But I am lazy, and I didn't have any big shadow boxes, and I am cheap, and I didn't want to buy any.  I also didn't want to have to worry about hanging up said shadow boxes, because I am lame and I didn't want to deal with the whole issue of nails and hammers.
So I looked around my garage to see what I already had, and came up with a cork board that my old roommate and fellow teacher had left behind. 
Cork board
Perfect.  I dusted it off and brought it into my closet, where I was too lazy to hang it up.  I set it on top of a little table I have in the closet that also holds my Mom's old jewelry box that she gave me (the jewelry box actually came from my great grandparents' jewelry store that they owned when my grandfather was a kid).  I got some thumbtacks and started pinning my necklaces and bracelets to the board.
Jewelry Board
I ran out of room on the cork board, and needed a place to hold my chunkier bracelets that I couldn't pin to the board.  I searched my house and came up with a three tiered serving tray that I use occasionally for tea parties with my daughter and nieces and nephews.

 I unscrewed it and took two tiers off, and now I have a handy little bracelet tray to hold extra rings and bracelets, like my current favorite mixed metal piece from Hive and Honey.

Love- but it's no longer available
(similar style here)
I made a jewelry board for my daughter, too.  I had a framed cork board that I'd gotten from Marshalls eons ago.  The frame was originally green; I painted it black to go with her newly painted grey room. 
Now she wants it painted blue.  It'll need to match the bedroom that she just switched to, which Rebecca has graciously offered to help us decorate (hint hint!). This is a super easy, super functional do it yourself project that anyone can do.  Promise.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thrifted: From Dress to Apron

At the beginning of this month I did a post entitled "Thrifted."  I said I would share something special that I had found at the Goodwill.... this wonderful tunic/dress!

Although it is pretty, I knew it wouldn't work for me as it was; it didn't fit right, but I couldn't pass it by.  I decided to ask my amazing mom if she could turn it into an apron for me.  She not only made one for me, but had enough to make one for Gwenna as well!

My finished apron!

Little hooks for the back closure.

The pocket was made from a sleeve of the dress.

Thanks to a little imagination and the sewing skills of my mother, a not-quite-right, yet pretty dress is now two aprons that we can use everyday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

Anthropologie Brass Tacks Boots

Buxom mascara from Sephora-
this is my new favorite mascara!
The one that got away

Dutch Oven from Kohl's

I have already gotten a lot of my Christmas shopping done, so I didn't find it necessary to camp out or brave the crowds for any Black Friday deals.  That doesn't mean that I didn't partake in any of the sales though.  Sephora had a deal where ten of their top products were available for only $10.  I literally just bought some of my favorite mascara by Buxom, but I couldn't pass up getting it for only 10 bucks!  The sale didn't officially start until midnight on Thursday, but they didn't specify if it was EST or PST, so I checked at around 9 my time and scored some great deals (read-gifts) before the site apparently crashed.  The other sale I was interested in was Anthropologie: they offered 50% off of sale and clearance items for just a few short hours, from 6-11 a.m., I think.  They actually specified local time, but I still set my alarm for 3 a.m., just to be safe.  Unfortunately, someone else beat me to the one thing I really, really wanted- the map of the world skirt designed by Anna Sui for Anthropologie.  Damn it, I really wanted that skirt!  I even had it in my cart, and was willing to go up a size and have it altered to fit, but after back clicking one time (stupid, rookie mistake!) it came up as out of stock.  Oh well.  I got a pair of brown leather boots (it's so hard to guess what size to order, so fingers crossed that they fit!) and some other items that I won't list because I don't know who actually reads this little blog, and I don't want anyone seeing their gifts on here!  That is also the reason I'm not posting any pics of or talking about any good toy deals that I scored, because little eyes peruse this site from time to time, and to me, Christmas is all about surprise (and family and love and celebrating Christ's birth, of course).  I also managed to get my mom the dutch oven that she wanted, thanks to Kohl's having a sale online.  Even though I don't usually shop at Kohl's, I have to admit this was a pretty good deal- it was on sale, free shipping, extra 20% off, and $15 in Kohl's cash to use sometime in December.  I guess that $15 can buy someone else a little giftie, or maybe I can use it to buy some stocking stuffers for Al.
 What deals did you score on Black Friday?  Did you brave the crowds, or shop online?  Or do you think Black Friday is just a weird American thing and that we are all crazy?!
So Black Friday is over, but today is Small Business Saturday, and there are some local stores that I just might have to go visit.  While I do think it is a shame that the Christmas season has become so much about shopping and commercialism, I have to admit that I love trying to find the perfect gifts for my friends and family.  And if I can get those perfect gifts on sale, then that's even better!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas in Connecticut Movie House

I stumbled onto a wonderful blog, Hooked on Houses, a few years back when I was looking for pictures of a house I fell in love with in the movie Something's Got to Give.  It is an ingenious site devoted to houses; one section of the blog is devoted to houses from Christmas movies.

If you are like me, you probably watch some movies just for the houses, sets or clothes.  If not, you are missing out because there are so many inspirations in the movies.  What strikes me first is the mood of a space; I then want to stare and study to find out what it is that creates the feeling I love.  This site allows me to do that, as opposed to pausing the movie myself.

One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas in Connecticut.  The house in this movie is a very beautiful set that I would love to see someone actually build in reality.  There is nothing homier than a sprawling country home at Christmas.  And thanks to Hooked on Houses, I can stare as long as I want!

photo 1-living room
Barbara Stanwick's first view of the Connecticut Christmas house.

Christmas in Connecticut fireplace 4
A fabulous view of the sprawling stone living room.
photo 8-staircase
Amazing half-circle staircase.
Jefferson & Elizabeth-guest room
In the bedroom: Fireplace and built-in window seat.
Christmas in Connecticut farmhouse 1
Outside view of the lovely house.
My all-time favorite Christmas movie house is from Holiday Inn, but that house isn't on the site...yet.  Let's see if I can convince her to add it!


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