Monday, March 31, 2008

The Hermitage

If you haven't already explored the enchanted world of The Hermitage, you are missing out! Her blog is so amazing...Folkloric bliss! I really can't explain the feeling I get when looking at her touches my soul!Image Hosted by
Imagine living in an Gypsy Caravan, traveling though the lush green landscapes and untamed forests. Sitting around the campfire at night, dancing, laughing, drinking, and telling folktales! Passing through villages to sell your wares at the markets.
The Hemitage Website
Riva's Blog
Etsy Shop

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dark Forest

I'm into this Dark Forest theme these days. Owls, Stags, Mystical Beasts n' such...the Witch's cottage deep in the thick of the woods! I found these great pics on my favorite Design/Fashion blog, Kalidescope Eyes. I can't help it, I love fur! But I would NEVER buy new fur. At this point in history, we humans have no excuse to kill helpless animals in the name of Fashion!
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Just look at that fur blanket. Have you ever seen Conan the Barbarian? Remember that hot scene, where Conan meets the sexy Sorceress...she lived in a beautiful cave like dwelling, her Love Den was covered in fur!Image Hosted by
My mom has a full length white fox that I'm been dying to get my hands on. She's hasn't worn it in 15 years! I'd like to recycle it and make some giant throw pillows.
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Check out Ouno Design...Ouno (pronounced "OO-no") makes one-of-a-kind and limited-edition decor accessories - bags and fashion accessories for men and women, pillows, bedding, throws & blankets, floor cushions, rugs and wall hangings, sculptural objects and conversation pieces. Virtually all of their soft furnishings and accessories are "upcycled" from vintage fur coats!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Hobbit House ~ Home Sweet Home #1

Have you ever dreamed of living in your own story book house? Well people are building them all over the world and anything is possible! Eco-Villages are being built everywhere with maximum regard for the environment. This is one of my's a Hobbit House! This low impact eco-home took only 4 months to build and cost approx. $6000.00 in materials! Check out this Website for pictures of the interior, building process, and one amazing little family's story! More proof that dreams can come true...
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sigur Ros-Glósóli

If you haven't experienced the magic of Sigur Ros, the time has come! This is so beautiful...just watch...

Translation: Glósóli - Glowing Sun

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Grimm's Fairy Tales revisited! Surely you've seen the work of Eugenio Recuenco? I just can't get enough of him. Check out his portfolio sometime. I haunt his Website regularly to view his latest works! So inspiring...

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Season of the Witch

Ex Reverie's debut album, Door into Summer is finally out! It was released by the Language of Stone label...which currently claims most of my favorite bands. The band is influenced by early Psychedelic and Glam Rock, but you should erase any preconceived notions of what that might sound like.

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Gillian Chadwick is the frontwoman for Ex Reverie... Imagine the little girl who wandered off into the Black Forest in any of your favorite fairytales...well she made it out alive. She learned a spell or two from the witch and tamed the wolf. She's all grown up now and has a new tale to tell! I can't wait to get this album! Only $12!!
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Above photo by Courtney Brooke, the ultimate Folk Rock photographer! She is one of my official all time favorites!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


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My Dream Bed...
Shawn Lovell Metalworks

Friday, March 21, 2008

Prada does CoCoRosie

Well if you haven't heard, the premiere of Prada's "Trembled Blossoms" was the talk of Fashion Week 2008 NY. Prada's new collection is inspired by the magickal, musical, surrealist sister act...CoCoRosie. Check out this animated promotional video with music by CoCoRosie shown at the Premiere...HERE. It's really cool until the Saytr gives the Nymph a handbag!
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First, I should mention I LOVE LOVE LOVE CoCoRosie! But I don't think I feel so good about this collaboration...don't get me wrong...the whole collection is gorgeous...but that's because CoCoRosie rocks...not Miuccia Prada! Image Hosted by
I would much rather have seen them start their own private label, collaborating with some cool indie designers...something a little more street. Or even something bigger but still independent like Gwen Stafani's L.A.M.B. Or hooking up with visionary designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivian Westwood, or Ann Sui would have been really cool. But these shoes and stockings...they are fabulous...aren't they?Image Hosted by
Is this IT for CoCoRosie? I mean Prada will go on to rip off someone else's style... But will CoCoRosie be able to re-invent themselves in a fresh non-commercial way?

Earlier this year FAFI, one of my favorite graffiti artists from France signed with MAC Cosmetics...MACFAFI. Prior to that she linked up with LeSport as well. Don't get me wrong, it's all super cute in a Hello Kitty sort of mass produced way and I love MAC, but...! My nieghbor had a FAFI messenger bag and I was so shocked... I was like "Oh my God is that FAFI!?" She was like "umm, I don't know what it is, I got it on clearance at Filene's Basement." I have to admit, that kinda killed it for me.

What would you do? Sell out or forge your own path to fame and fortune? I believe in Happy Mediums!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I can't wait to get my hands dirty! I'm counting down the days until my pottery class begins. Aside from making face jugs... I want to make some serving platters and little catch-all dishes. Nature and Pottery seem to go hand in hand, so I'm going to go with the Nature Theme. Earthy goodness! I have so many ideas, it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. I thought I'd share with you a couple of my favorite Nature Inspired Ceramic Artisians. I love Diana Fayt! Buy her beautiful wares in her Etsy shop!

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She handpaints and etches each piece. She documented the process with step by step photos in her blog if you'd like to peep!
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I also really love Laura Zindel! Her amazing collection is inspired by Victorian Cabinets of Curiosity! (The art of collecting and displaying your passion.) In her case, her passion is Natural History... bugs, spiders, snakes, and birds! Image Hosted by
Her process is quite different from Diana's. All of her designs were first handrawn, then reproduced by screenprinting them onto each piece. She has an entire collection of serveware available...and I want it all!!!
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Liz McGrath

Happy St. Patrick's Day! My Daddy is 100% Irish so I had to do an Irish blog. I was going to post a recipe, but Irish food sucks! Thank God my Mom's side of the family is Italian! Ha! So I thought I should write about Liz McGrath today...she's Irish...and she Rocks! Does Elizabeth McGrath really need an introduction? She's the Queen of the Pop Surrealism scene!

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Pop Surrealism aka Lowbrow Art has it's roots in early the Surrealist and Dada movements. It started to develop into a notable art movement decades ago, spawned from Southern California hotrods ("Kustom Kars") and surf culture. Ed ("Big Daddy") Roth is frequently credited with getting Lowbrow, as a movement, underway by creating Rat Fink in the late 1950s. During the 60's, Lowbrow (not known as such, then) branched out into underground Comix. Artists such as Zap, Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso, S. Clay Wilson and Robert Williams. Lowbrow Art has been assigned a "circa" of 1994, as that is the year that the aforementioned Robert Williams founded Juxtapoz magazine. Juxtapoz showcases Lowbrow artists and is currently the second best-selling art magazine in the U.S. Over the years, Lowbrow has unapologetically picked up influences from classic cartoons, 60's TV sitcoms, psychedelic rock, punk rock and goth music, pulp art, soft porn, comic books, sci-fi, "B" (or lower) horror movies, tattoos, Japanese anime and black velvet Elvis, among many other "subcultural" offerings. Lowbrow was born of underground or "street" culture.

But back to McGrath...she's one little powerhouse. Aside from being an AMAZING multi-media artist, she also manages to find time to rock out with her Hubby in their band Miss Derringer. Her art is just amazing. She creates beautifully grotesque creatures with just the right dose of whimsy. She is master of faux taxidermy. She creates the beasts from resin, fake fur, and fake leather layered over taxidermy forms and beautified with paint, roofing tar, and hand-sewn fabric. Her dioramas are to die for! Lovely little spooky detailed sideshow attractions. Every tiny detail handmade! But the one below is my favorite! A Victorian dollhouse mounted onto the back of a faux taxidermy, two-headed deer!

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Check out her website to view her current body of work. Don't forget to look at her art archives. She also has cute affordable stuff in her shop! And if you still can't get enough, buy her Art Book, "Everything That Creeps", for your coffee table!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Absinthe is so 2007

Ever since Absinthe became legal, obtaining a bottle just isn't as fun. But don't believe the hype... Absinthe available in the United States is crap! It's made with southernwood rather than wormwood. No wormwood means no thujone, no thujone means no dancing with the green fairy! I still stand by my favorite Absinthe source, the Green Fairy Organization for real Imported Absinthe. But like I said the thrill is gone, pulling out a bottle of Absinthe at a cocktail party just doesn't have the same effect now that we have cheap American substitutes. So what to do you ask? How about authentic Thai Scorpion Vodka! Or perhaps you'd like to try some Cobra Whiskey! Come on I dare ya!
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O.K. I don't want to drink it either...but it will look cool sitting on my shelf! If you'd like your own check out Thailand Unique for all kinds of strange delicacies. Like those roasted buffalo dung beetles you've been dying to try, yummy! So if Scorpions and snakes aren't your thing, check out the Extra Strong White Whiskey Infused with Reindeer Horns and Herbs. Oh, I're a Vegan? Well they have Vodka infused with 9 special medicinal roots, stalks and shoots. And it's an Aphrodisiac...yay!
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Just when I thought I'd seen it all as far as Genius Artists go, I stumbled across this guy named Wayne Martin Belger. The picture below is not just an incredible embellished's a camera! This is 1 of 11 different models. The eyes are cast from bronze and silver with a brass pinhole in each. A divider runs down the middle of the skull creating two separate cameras. A finished contact print mounted on copper is inserted in to the back of the camera to view what Yama saw in 3D. I should also mention that Wayne is a self-taught artist and machinist!
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The camera is named Yama, the Tibetan God of Death. In Tibetan Buddhism, Yama will see all of life and Karma is the “judge” that keeps the balance. The skull was blessed by a Tibetan Lama for its current journey and Walter is working with a Tibetan legal organization that is sending him to the refugee cities in India. Image Hosted by
Yama is made from Aluminium, Titanium, Copper, Brass, Bronze Steel, Silver, Gold, Mercury with 4 Sapphires, 3 Rubies (The one at Yama’s third eye was $5000.00), Asian and American Turquoise, Sand, Blood, and 9 Opals inlayed in the Skull. Image Hosted by
The film loading system is pneumatic. A 300psi air tank in the middle of the camera powers 2 pneumatic pistons to move the film holder forward and lock it into place. The switch to open and close the film chamber is located under the jaw. Image Hosted by
Designed for the study of exodus and for the research of modern incarnations of historical iconic figures. The photo series will take place in the Tibetan refugee cities of India, a home coming through the eyes of a 500 year old Tibetan. Below is a photograph taken with the camera.Image Hosted by

Sunday, March 9, 2008


If you live in Chicago, as always my Supernatural Soap is available at WILLOW. It's not featured on the website because my inventory turns over so quickly, I can't keep up! But if you call the shop, I'm sure they would be happy to accomadate you if you'd like to place a phone order. Eventually I'd like to be more consistant with the types I make...well ideally. I usually just make the kind my nose and skin crave. I just dropped off 5 new batches. *Lavender/Peppermint/Lilac* *Fig w/Oatmeal* *CoCo/Cinnamon/Clove w/Oatmeal* *Rose/Lotus w/Moroccan Red Clay* and *Tangerine/Mango/Pineapple* 100% Natural Made with Love & Magick!
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Little Haunted House on the Prairie

I want to tell you about one of my favorite Etsy shops, Mon Petit Fantome The aesthetic is Gothic American Folk. Like if Dorothy Gail from Kansas was a goth chick. Or if the Addams Family lived in the early 19th Century West...Little Haunted House on the Prairie! The country style of the early 19th Century period was relatively simple compared to the Victorian styles of the era because prairie women didn't have access to as much in the way of lace and decoration as the East and West Coast women did. I adore everything in this Petit Fantome's shop...check it out! If you like something you better scoop it up, things go so quickly! I LOVE this silhouette...
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And these cute little owl pillows!
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And this fancy black hooded capelet...SOLD!
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The Fantome behind the curtain is a cool fellow named Chad Merritt. He also makes lovely ghostly atmospheric noise for melancholy days with bandmate Tracy Uba. The project is called St. Mary's. Listen HERE! After a little chat with Chad, I found out he used to live in Chicago, just blocks away from me...small world! My old neighborhood is called Ukranian Village. Anyway, it occured to me that he must have named the band after St. Mary's Catholic Church on Augusta Blvd. I used to live right across the street. The head priest would parade around the block with a procession of church go-ers on Saint's days and Easter...while singing and playing odd instruments, like bells and the accordian. I miss the Church bells on Sundays...

P.S. Chad, if you are reading this...I hope you'll make a Raven silhouette soon!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Face Jugs/Ugly Jugs

I started Spring cleaning early this year...I'm almost done! Things are going to start getting really busy for me so I need my house to be clean and organized. I just ordered some new jewelry making supplies. I'll have some cool stuff to show you soon! But what's really exciting is that I'll be taking a Pottery class! I start the first week of April...I can't wait. I've been wanting to do this for soooo long. I have a bit of experience, but it was a long time ago. Maybe it'll be like riding a bike. I'm already overflowing with ideas, but my main objective is to make face jugs. Face jugs have a really interesting history. They were first made by Slave Potters and others in the early 1800's. They were made to mark the graves of dead loved ones because slaves weren't allowed to have tombstones. They are also referred to Ugly Jugs and are said to have held moonshine. The ugly faces would scare off children from getting into the liquor stash.

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This one is made by my favorite face jug artist Heather Gwinn.

But the fact of the matter is that these face jugs weren't just turning up only in the South. Jim McDowell believes himself to be the only black potter who creates face jugs from far reaching ancestral traditions as well as from his own family lineage. He explains "Slaves were not allowed to have tombstones, they said, so face jugs served as their gravemarkers. My great-great-great-great Aunt Evangeline was a village slave potter in Jamaica. She made face jugs, too. The story handed down from Evangeline was that slaves placed personal items on their loved ones' graves along with face jugs. The ugly face on the jug evolved something like this: Slaves from Africa revered their ancestors and participated in ancestor honoring, or what we might call ancestor worship. African slaves were taken to the Caribbean to be acclimated and there they picked up the religion of voodoo. Eventually ancestor worship, voodoo, and Christianity amalgamated into the tradition of the face jug. Many slaves who came to this country converted to Christianity and acquired a belief in the devil. They combined all their beliefs and came up with the ugly face jug. Apparently it had to be ugly enough to scare the devil away from your grave so your soul could go to heaven."

Jim Dowell's story about his Jamaican Aunt is probably true. But he got the rest really mixed up. Voodoo actually originated in Africa not the Caribbean. It was brought to the Caribbean during the African Diaspora via slave ships to the Caribbean and the Americas. West African Vodun originates from the African Kingdom of Dohomey now called the Republic of Benin. It is the national religion to this day. The people indigenous to this area are the Fon Tribe, they originated in Togo and spread throughout Benin and Southwest Nigeria. A large population of Fon peoples were taken to Haiti, so Vodun morphed into Haitian Vodou. Haitian Vodou is a syncrenistic religion combining Vodun and Christianity as well as both the Fon and French language. Finally a large population of Haitian slaves were brought to New Orleans...this is why we have Voodoo. Voodoo spread throughout the South so now we have the even more obscured version of this...African American Folk Magick known as Hoodoo. An integral part of all these belief systems is Honoring the Ancestors. Vodun...Vodou...Voodoo...Hoodoo.

This mischievious imp I picked up a street fair!

Spirit Vessels in Haitian Vodou are called Pot Tet (Head Pot) These vessels are made to house the Soul or Gwo Bananj of the Initiate during ceremonial trance possession. It is usually a white clay vessel drapped with scarves and beads. The vessel is kept by the Houngan (Preist) in the Temple. It is kept even after death because it houses the Spiritual essence of the deceased ancestor. This practice is an integral part of Hatian Vodou. Spirit vessels are found amongst the Yoruba and Fon too but not to house the Spirits of the dead. They house the Spiritual essence of the Orisha and the Lwa (Celestial Spirits/Dieties). You have to remember the Fon weren't the only Africans in Haiti. This practice was more likely introduced by the Bantu of Central and South Africa. The Bantu religion is called known as Nganga Kiyangala. This religion spread throughout the Carribbean and is also known as Las Reglas de Congo, Palo Mayombe, Palo Monte, Kimbisa or Santo Cristo Buen Viaje...more commonly referred to as simply, Palo. The Spirit Vessel is called a Nganga....a large iron cauldron filled with magickal herbs and items. The Nganga is called the Prenda in Spanish. Again these vessels house the Spiritual essence of the Ancestors.

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