Thursday, December 31, 2015

In 2016

2016 is just hours away and I am enjoying the peaceful quiet of our home while I've lately been in a reflective mood. John and I have always preferred to ring in the New Year relaxing at home. Tonight we will enjoy a bottle of Veuve Clicquot French champagne and King Crab legs as we watch the final hours of 2015 ease into 2016 with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (we get a kick out of their antics) waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, NYC.

I realize my hope for Peace on Earth is only a wishful dream because of terrorism, strife, religious conflict and war continuing in hot spots scattered throughout the globe. But I do have a sincere New Years wish for you, in 2016 I wish you genuine inner peace.

For it is only when inner peace is created within ourselves, within our families, in our communities and it develops and grows throughout society it can ultimately bring the World Peace on Earth.

Our Christmas decorations were keep simple this year, opting for rustic live small trees throughout our row-home. Choosing European Cypress and Norfolk Island Pine unadorned and appreciated for the beauty in their rustic charm. 

One recent purchase turned into a new winter fascination. Needing a few ingredients for some recipes John and I stopped into a local supermarket. Top on my list was - pick up Tulips in memory of Max. Our Max >^..^< loved Tulips, my second favorite flower, first being Roses. For whatever reason in his sweet cat brain he loved tulips so much he would chomp on them, but he also loved munching on fresh basil on the window sill.

So there they were - glorious Red Christmas tulips, in a clear glass vase with rooted bulbs and only one bulb opened with flower. Modern and minimalist, a revival to my gardening spirit ... I fell instantly in love.

An extravagance of vitality during the winters months, seriously how could I resist? Watching a profusion of color emerge in a smooth progressive waltz towards the sun. Mother Nature is a choreographed perfectionist. 

There I sat with excitement over the idea, clicking away on eBay and Amazon purchasing pre-chilled Dutch Bulbs from Holland. Purple Triumphs (Max's favorite) symbolizing royalty for he truly was our feline Prince. Pink triumphs for happiness and confidence for me.  I was hooked!

Sure if I had the wisdom of sight beforehand I would of in August purchased bulbs and refrigerated them for a cold sleep of 12-15 weeks in our basement refrigerator. Tip, do not store apples in the refrigerator because the gases will permeate and cause the bulbs to not produce flowers. But live and learn and plan ahead for Winter during late Summer 2016. 

I love the plethora of entangled roots, providing nutrients to the bulbs to flower. I've gathered all our tall glass vases to place polished beach glass into the bottom to cool in spring water in a dimly lit place (a designated spot of our basement). Left for a month to root the bulbs and then place in sunlight and rejoice in their flowering color a welcome sight during the months of Winter's frozen ground.

Magnificent Springtime tulips were originally from Persia and brought to the Netherlands in the 17th century. Throughout my winter posts I will include photos of my sweet pinks and purple tulips. I will for Easter force giant moody blue's crocus bulbs.

And as our homes dwindling light turns into nightfall and fades into the past - precious fleeting moments of 2015 will become lingering memories that hopefully forever last.

There are times when New Year's Eve arrives without your consciousness or imagination requiring any further explorative look...
To record your years discoveries and dedicate time in writing the next chapter in your innovative future's legacy book.

But for me the ending days of 2015 were not meant to pass by without deep reflection of my own creative and spiritual need,
To become more adventurous and aware to freely share of myself and explore my talents and in the process enrich myself to soulfully feed. 

I invite you to embark on a journey during 2016 to reach inside unexplored possibilities dwelling within each one of us.
To wander and realize the amazing potential inside our heart as we go forth to hopefully ponder and candidly discuss.

© Vera

I love reading each of your comments, please leave one behind.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A play in France and a wedding in Romania

Welcome to my Holiday presentation of a play and a wedding in two different countries, France and Romania. This is my third winter production and for this year I found my inspiration from Tim Burton. He has made some of my very favorite movies. Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland and The Nightmare before Christmas to mention just a few. I greatly admire Tim Burton's ability of imagining magical stories that can captivate and totally engage you in utter make believe.

Iggy Pop the rock legend in an interview I recently watched and really enjoyed mentioned and I quote "stuff you did on instinct not intelligence". It truly defines my whimsical escapade in this presentation. At the end of this post please click onto my friends Doré and Lin's links, who are also producing holiday presentations, our gift to you. So in my attempt of storytelling to entertain you with a whimsical fantasy holiday production please sit back and believe...

Violet is a mouse who lives in this abandoned centuries old opera house. She produces magical Ballets for each holiday. Last Christmas she produced the Gypsy Ballet. But this year for Christmas, sweet Violet is leaving with Rémi, her finance soon to be wed in Romania. Rémi is a very theatrical thespian and attends each of Violets performances. He instantly fell head over heels in love with her and on Valentine's Day proposed to Violet on bended mouse knee right up on the stage during Violets révérence. The audience went wild applauding as Rémi jumped up on the stage during Violets final bow. 

Today is December 23rd and their nuptials are tomorrow, Christmas Eve. Three of Violets friends Eugène, Frédéric and Henri offered to produce a play based on the old English fairytale rhyme of 3 Blind Mice. Violet ever being the perfectionist spent much time with them and choreographed their song and dance numbers.

Needing to board their plane to Romania Violet dropped by unexpectedly the morning of their dress rehearsal. In anxious bridezilla craziness she actually suggested to keep the play authentic they should cut off their tails with a carving knife! Since the nursery rhyme goes "They all ran after the farmer's wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife, did you ever see such a thing in your life, as three blind mice".  Henri firmly told Violet - A we are not blind, B we are only actors and C you are speaking crazy so just go away! Whew, with a plane to catch Rémi literally pulled Violet off the stage and thankfully the tail chopping incident did not occur. 

The plane awaits to fly our couple into Transylvania, Romania known as "The Land beyond the forest." It is in the medieval town of Brasov in a castle nestled in a fairytale village in the Carpathian Mountains they will wed. 

Why get married in Transylvania, Romania and not Paris, France? Simply because Rémi a hopeless romantic and Violet ever the prima ballerina looking for a fairytale wedding were captivated by stories told by Rémi's young ingenue cousin Alina. A Romanian ice skater with Olympic Gold ambition. Alina's enchanting stories and folk lore all about local villagers and the legend of Dracula convinced the couple nuptials there would be enchanting. In a world that often is overwhelming and scary Violet and Rémi are adventurous and courageous, undaunted by fear.

Cousin Alina can not afford an Olympic coach and was befriended by Gus a Vampire Kangaroo rat that lives at the castle where Alina loves to skate everyday. Gus coaches and encourages his new friend. Fairytale fascination certainly runs rampant in Rémi's family with Alina's Olympic Gold medal dreams.

Gus dwells in Count Dracula's 14th century castle and explained a wedding could be arranged since the count sleeps during the day and Christmas Eve day would be perfect.

Meanwhile back in Paris ...

Opening matinee begins and there is magic in the air. Tails intact the audience enthralled the play commences flawlessly. 

Singing, dancing and energy filled the air as the sound of applause resonated throughout the theatre.

The cast:
On the left Eugène, middle Frédéric and on the right Henri. 

Bravo, bravo, bravo as large Red Roses were placed on the theatre stage, as the trio joyfully performed.

Rémi and Violet touched down in Romania many hours later and the extremely cold night air embraced them with anticipation and much excitement for their wedding day.

Violet and Rémi made all their plans during phone conversations with Alina and Gus weeks ago as they headed over to the castle to check everything out. Violet had her heart set on a large White Christmas tree with Silver balls and hoped it was just as she had envisioned. Both Gothic romance novel lovers spending late evenings up reading to each other this Gothic 14th century castle was everything they had ever dreamed about and much more.

A perfect medieval castle with turrets and Gargoyles the couple was thrilled.
Violet has always loved the Gargoyles that sit on top the rooftop cathédrale at Notre-Dame in Paris. Once Violet wanting a closer look climbed up to the roof and perched her petite self up on the head of a gargoyle. It turned out to be a impulsive idea since she was nearly blown off by the high winds that day.

Violet adored her Christmas tree and Rémi loves the Gothic coffin of Count Dracula. Secretly hoping he would make an appearance, although aware he would not. 

Alina and Gus escorted the Orthodox Priest and best friends Veronica (matron of honor) and best man Mike into the castle.

At Rémi's request the Priest wore a Vampire cape, that had been custom made just for the day. Rémi believed it would add authentic charm to their wedding.

The adorable Mr. and Mrs. as they leave the castle for photos. Hand in hand to live happily ever after, a theatrical life in Paris. Their sweet innocent hearts filled with wonderment and hopeful dreams.

Alina, Gus the vampire kangaroo rat and the Priest. In the fairytale village nestled in the Carpathian Mountains there is a deep bond and respect with the local villagers to honor the legend of Dracula. 

Snowballs were playfully tossed around and Rémi took one on his nose as the final photo was snapped on a perfectly enchanting fairytale wedding day. 

                                 ~  The end ~
See you in the New Year as I enter my third year of blogging. Have a joyful Holiday and I wish you much love, health, happiness filled with many fun adventures in 2016.

Doré's presentation -

Dracula's castle made by John and gifted to me years ago on my Birthday
French theatre and ladder purchased from Burlap Luxe on etsy
Violet, Veronica, Mike and Gus needle felted by Penny at -
Alina, Priest, Eugène, Frédéric and Henri - CozyMilArt etsy
Rémi was a gift from John 
Paper vintage book trees in French theatre and cutout metal urn -
Mini chandelier in French theatre handmade by Méa out of an antique chandelier and part of my Christmas gift this year from John -
Everything else made, choreographed and written, photographed and dreamed up by me - Vera

Thursday, December 3, 2015


We've entered into the most magical time of the year and what better time to share my reveal of my finally completed laundry room. A room that was long imagined in my wishes and dreams, a room inspired by Alice in Wonderland. But most importantly a room when entering suddenly the chore of laundry fades into playful imagination and dare I say play.

Photo is of the back of our kitchen bi-fold door I faux painted a Harlequin pattern on.  What better guide then an adorable elf who's name is Elfie popping through a pet door opening.

The door downstairs to the laundry room/basement/outside in the back of our house is in our kitchen and I wanted to be able to open the door and feel embraced by a memory of an AIW inspired tea time. Throughout the laundry room I have applied my faux painting techniques, but I wanted the walls a snowy White because to me it just seemed totally right.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

A hand painted canvas closeup photo. It has glittery paint touches that were not captured in this photograph and is hung to the side of my stripe faux painted tea cup shelf. 

Purchased from Violet House Crafts on etsy. Under my poem titled Believe you will find all the sources for this post. I've had a fascination ever since I was young of the moon and glittery stars that fill our heavenly skies. The painting is whimsical and appeals to my inner child that is enchanted by make believe places. I tend to be a deep thinker and I am always willing to flip the switch into play.

The most magical word of all to me is Believe. The word has guided and encouraged me throughout my life. Méa from Méa's vintage designed and created the Believe banner. It is Cartapesta (Papier Mâché) and it was a piece I purchased last year. I am graced to call Méa my friend and in 2016 with our European travel plans at the end of our vacation will bring us to Germany to finally meet Méa and her family in person.

I Purchased my AIW teapot/cup for one on eBay ... I believe my Simon >^..^< may very well be born from the Cheshire Cat dynasty! 22 pounds, striped, a real tom cat and ever cunning and clever.

An overall view of the laundry room. What was once old and scary has become old and fun. Our kitchen refrigerator was brought downstairs for additional storage when our long desired glass front Sub Zero became part of our kitchen update. We dwell in a house built in 1934 and deal with old building construction and its irregular measurements and quirky charm.

Under the stairs two cat litter trays are located and all the necessary tools! Just keeping it honest as the air purifier beneath the stairs provides white noise and rids any odors. 

We are currently working in the center part of our basement renovation (peek will be shown at the end). Christmas decorations are neatly packed away in translucent plastic tubs from the container store which are piled high. Not at all easily reached in the gathered clutter of storage during construction so this year those tubs are "Forget about it"!!! 

2015 our Christmas décor is rustic live, lots of small live trees and whatever I can grab from my stash!!! Thankfully all our Christmas inspired art canvas's are up and bottle brushes were located. Christmas pillows were stored upstairs so our house does look festive. My adorable elf named Elfie was purchased weeks before Thanksgiving from Cocoa and Olive. I've been moving him around room by room to keep me company. In his arms he holds a needle felted mouse, a gift from John a few years ago. The mouse traveled from Amsterdam to live much beloved by me in Philadelphia.

I delight in the opportunity to leisurely enjoy a day or two and just be a "house cat".  I believe in nurturing our inner child and mine enjoys cute slippers and PJ's.

The Razzle dazzle from the Golden sequins reflects as they entertain and amuse me. Hey what can I say I live in Philadelphia and enjoy the Mummers Day parade!

I love industrial chic and I instantly loved this wire cage pulley wall light. It can be raised or lowered by the Bronze cloth covered cord. A 7 inch Edison bulb can be dimmed thanks to John installing a dimmer on the cord. The shadows cast at night fill me with wonderment.

A French market bag hangs on one of the shelf hooks and the stocking is made by my friend Doré from Burlap Luxe blog. Made of a vintage velvet fabric with a zinc ring and tattered ribbon found its display along side the bag. I walked around the entire house and this is where it spoke to me to hang. 

All the artwork is Black and White photography printed by John on canvas hanging in the laundry room.
We polished the concrete floors and there are two cowhides on the floor. When our foundation was being poured in 1934 a large dog ran through the wet concrete. It is because of the paw prints giving legacy I would never cover up the concrete throughout the basement. Polished it gives a warm industrial feel. 

Wire shelves hold supplies over the washer next to a Stainless Steel utility sink.
A wire gym basket holds flour sack towels and are always at the ready hanging down on cast iron vintage style faucet head hooks from Décor Steals.

John built a wood folding laundry table/shelf. It is hinged and when pulled up will accommodate folding Queen sized bedding. Pushing a latch drops the extension down to the side. I faux painted 5 inch wide Charcoal Grey stripes which were painted over a White pickled finish to the Birch Plywood. I then applied in different directions a raw Siena glaze followed by a Taupe glaze, last technique was to fog the entire piece with a warm white to soften the effect. 

The back door I painted a French Bleu which had a Periwinkle hue. I then mixed a warm White in a 50/50 base of paint and glaze and with a brush pulled the glaze down the door and softened it with a rag. The finish I refer to as my rain finish because it resembles a weathered age effect.

Close up of my faux painting. It's fun when you become your customer.

The antique wire rack is from Mary Alice of Chateau Chic. Mary Alice had displayed it over her mantel on a blog post and I commented her how much I loved the rack. Much to my surprise and delight she offered to sell it to me. Needless to say I jumped at the offer. I've been told it is a very old Bakers cooling or drying rack.

The side of the folding table/shelf dropped down to the side.

Time inspired I hung time on the rack. I am very conscious and respectful regarding time and I'm always on time. We made this little sign from the White Rabbit quote in Alice in Wonderland. 

A clock is hung, it is made from a Citroën Deux Chevaux (2CV) speedometer face. I also have displayed 3 pocket watches. Steampunk factored into two of them and they are double sided.

Hung away from the wall the shadow play it creates is simply delightful.

As renovations continue in the center part of our basement, dust, dirt and debris is back once again in our row-home but thankfully contained downstairs. Work will continue through the winter and in Spring a new powder room will be built. Here is a sneak peek... More to follow.

Elfie and I invite you back soon for a very special Holiday presentation and until then I leave you with my poem Believe. Sources beneath the poem.
Each morning I awake and believe to accept in the feeling of an inner truth even without any absolute proof of it's existence.
I listen to the needs of my inner child within my psyche providing vitality and creativity and she guides me with insistence.

Throughout my life I've discovered there are magical words that can set your imagination free and the most miraculous one for me is Believe.
A word that is both enchanting and astonishing in the magic bestowed then achieved when you accept in your imagination to perceive.

We all have desires, ambitions and dreams that enable us to learn through self discoveries each and every day.
I practice the theory we own our happiness in thoughts and deeds and by engaging our inner child we never lose the joy of play.

Perhaps it's solely for my own amusement I engage in the art of play but in my heart I truly Believe ...
spontaneous engagement in creative play will reward your psyche with magical moments for you to receive.

© Vera
Violet House Crafts on etsy