Friday, December 28, 2007

The Poison Diaries

I am totally botany obsessed! I'm particularly interested in the poisonous plants and flowers known as "Baneful Herbs". Such herbs, including Henbane, Hemlock, Hellebore, Mandrake, Datura, and Belladonna, were popular in Renaissance magic for inducing visions, creating the illusion of psychic awareness, drawing love, tormenting the mind and even alleviating pain. The most famous use of baneful herbs was in the preparation of the "flying ointments." The ointment was rubbed onto the body, and the anointee often laid before a fire and hallucinated. The hallucinations often contained the incredibly realistic sensation of flying. I've also experimented with many plants which contain thujone, such as Mugwort. It makes a great divination tea due to the fact it is slightly hallucinogenic! Shaman's herbs like Salvia Divinorum produce visions too when smoked properly. More of that later though...

I want to tell you about Colin Stimptson! He was commissioned to illustrate a book called The Poison Diaries, written by Jane, the Duchess of Northumberland. She has long researched poison gardens. She is responsible for creating the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens in England, which opened in 2004 to worldwide acclaim. The Poison Garden is the culmination of her life’s goal to teach children and adults alike the curative and lethal properties of poisonous plants. Colin Stimpson worked as an animator at Steven Spielberg’s Amblimation studio in London and then at Disney Feature Animation in California.

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Book Description
This truly gothic tale—a “facsimile” of Weed’s journal found at Alnwick Castle, in England—is not only a story of the battle between good and evil, but an educational parable of the curative and lethal properties of plants.

Weed—an orphan boy who apprentices with an evil old apothecary—is both used and abused. His journal is part botanical workbook and part diary of his own relationship with poisonous plants.

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Weed discovers that he is one of the few people whom the plants talk to, and they try to persuade him that, with their help, his master can easily be disposed of. Although he refuses at first, after Weed’s first love, Marigold, experiments with the poisons and dies, he is pushed over the edge and plots to kill his master with a taste of his own evil medicine.

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Each chapter of the story begins with Weed’s botanical notes: a plant’s appearance and properties, where it is found, how it should be cared for, the most poisonous parts, and how poison is extracted and administered. Accompanied by Weed’s sketches of the plants in their natural form, his diary also reveals the “real” personalities of the plants.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Disce Mori

Mourning jewelry mirrored the lives and times of the people who wore it. It was a souvenir to remember a loved one, a reminder to the living of the inevitability of death, and a status symbol, especially during the Victorian era. Mourning jewelry reached its height of popularity in England after the death of Prince Albert in December 1861. Queen Victoria went into deep mourning, which was imitated by her subjects when faced with their own bereavements.

In the United States the use of mourning jewelry increased with the outbreak of the Civil War. This coincided with the black jewelry used in England in sympathy with Queen Victoria's widowhood. For the first year, a woman who was in mourning was not allowed to exit her home with out full black attire and a weeping veil. Her activities were initially restricted to church services. But mourning attire was the perfect way to show the wealth and respectability of a woman.

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The earliest examples of mourning jewelry were found in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Black and white enameled heads or skulls were often set into rings and brooches. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a status symbol to present mourning jewelry to friends and families of the bereaved.

I am particularly in love with hair brooches...beautiful jewelry in which one would keep a lock of hair belonging to the deceased.

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I am smitten by modern interpretations of Victorian jewelry. One of my favorite designers is Julia deVille of Disce Mori. If you love the Steampunk aesthetic, you will love her web design! Her work is not limited to jewelry, she also offer elegant leather gloves, spats, and taxidermy art objects!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Tasseography: Tea Cup Fortune Telling

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).

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Tasseography has probably been around as long as there has been tea - over five thousand years. Tasseography probably had its origins in ancient China. The Chinese would often read the dredges of their cups for symbols, omens or unusual patterns.
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Just as psychological analysis grew prodigiously during the Victorian era, tasseography became popularized as a parlor game. But the practice distinguishes itself from amorphic fortune telling, mystical, occult or other magical activities. Specifically, tasseography is not an application of magic, but rather a tool for tapping into the subconscious by applying meditation to pattern recognition and symbolism.

My 9 year old daughter, Maya and I started reading each others cups after Hot Chocolate. She's actually very good at it! All you need is an open mind and a nice white cup. There are different methods for reading so I suggest doing a little research. I found quite a few sites that posted interpretation of symbolism. Check out this tea set for two below. Gorgeous, fine Japanese porcelain has tea leaf reading hints inscribed on the inside of the cups, and the saucers bear a handy dictionary of symbols and their meanings. Two oval cups, accompanied by lovely rounded-oblong saucers.

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And I love this design...inspired by the classic turkish coffee telling, wong and co-conspirators have produced a series of cups and saucers with fortunes suspended in time in 22 Kt gold. available in 3 styles of cups.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ill Famed Spirits

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"Ill Famed Spirits is the dream and vision of Faye "The Tattooed Psychic"
and Miss Oblivious. One day many moons ago...well known doll maker Miss Oblivious, looking for adventure, decided to pack up her pirates and dolls and sail to the salty sea air of Seattle. Little did she know when she arrived there she would meet the well known Psychic Medium Faye "The Tattooed Psychic". Now Faye had been planning on world domination for sometime but felt she needed a partner in crime. One night while Faye was doing her live show...Spiritus...she saw in the audience and amazing spirit and life force with blonde hair and ruby lips. She gave that life force a reading and met her as the fabulous Miss Oblivious! They soon began to tell gypsy stories, drink ales and share ideas. They discovered that they both were ill famed and both wanted to take over the world. So Miss O suggested a TV show. Now Faye had been wanting to do a TV show for sometime and so she knew she found her perfect partner. Now Miss Oblivious has joined as Hostess of Faye's show Spiritus and they are filming all over Seattle and amazing people with Psychic demonstrations and inspiring people with Spirit Dolls." Tune in to Ill Famed Spirits TV!
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I can't wait to meet these two ladies in person! Faye and I developed a friendship through MySpace. I knew immediatly that we were destined to meet! Both of us, Tattooed Fortune Tellers with the life path number 7! And both of us grew up under the guidance of our Gypsy Grandmothers. I'm going all the way to Seattle just to attend her Spiritus event! (That's one of my goals for 2008...a much needed 2 day, mini-vacation...with no kids!) How can I resist this carnival folly...a Tattooed Psychic and tribal bellydancers! And now that Miss O has teamed up with Faye the line up gets even better!
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I found Miss Oblivious on MySpace too. I can't remember how I stumbled across her page. But I was so impressed by how many dolls she produces! I make dolls too, so I know how long all that hand-sewing takes! Her dolls are so cool, they are called Payne Creation Dolls. She creates dolls of underground punk rock icons like Darby Crash of the Germs and Exene of X. Her latest icon dolls, the "deranged, anarchic, gypsy caberet" known as the Tiger Lillies! She also is the creator of the Oblivious Nation zine. Check out Miss O's Etsy shop to see what she has available!

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Top: Miss Oblivious and her Carnie Slut Doll Bottom: my personal favorites...Spiritus Dolls
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Thank you for the inspiration ladies! xo

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Saintisme Vaisselle: Sacred Vessel

Mediumistic automatism, automatic writing that is done in an altered state of consciousness that is attributed to spirits of the dead. It is believed by some that the spirits literally manipulate the writing utensil in the hands of the medium to communicate, as the writer is often unaware of what is being written and often even scrawls out text in handwriting that is markedly different than his own. Others believe that perhaps the spirits may also communicate by forming messages in the mind of the medium, which reproduce on the page. Most likely though, the medium is writing unconsciously and messages are formed from material in the subconscious mind or from a secondary personality that is gifted with extrasensory perception.
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Other forms of automatic writing go beyond mere messages and include drawing and painting and even music that is allegedly inspired by the dead. In some cases, mediums or individuals with little or no artistic training will suddenly feel compelled to paint or draw in distinctive, professional styles. They fell guided by a spirit, as if another hand is guiding their own. In some cases, the paintings are recognizable in the style of a famous artist. *SEE SPIRITUALISM

Surrealist automatism is different from mediumistic automatism, from which the term was inspired. Ghosts, spirits or the like are not purported to be the source of surrealist automatic messages. Surrealist automatism, automatic writing and drawing were fundamental aspects upon which surrealism was built. As long as the drawings were attributed to the subconscious, we speak of surrealist automatism. Most of us remember surrealist Salvador Dali, but not many of us know that the father of surrealism was Andre Breton, writer of the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924. *SEE SURREALISM

Personally, I subscribe to a combination of both ideologies. I believe we have at least one primary Ancestral Spirit that walks with us. I also believe we are governed by our Higher Self. Our Higher Self speaks to us in Dream Language, hence the dreamlike quality of Surrealist art. Wikipedia says "All individuals are one of the many incarnations that the Higher Self or the "real" you, sends to garner experiences on the third density, in this case, Earth. When an individual dies, the energy stream is withdrawn from the physical body. Without the physical constraint, an individual is allowed to spend more time exploring the third, fourth, and parts of the fifth densities in order to keep building a portfolio of life experiences. This is done until the energy stream is completely absorbed back into the Higher Self. This happens when all of the incarnations have achieved their main objectives, at which point the individual and its other incarnations are merged back with your Higher Self, the "real" you. The physical universe (the Earth, sun, galaxy) is within the confine of the third density. The fourth density is where dreams, astral projections, or out-of-body experiences occur. The fifth density is where the Higher Selves live."

In any case, I should mention Automatic writing is a method of Channeling. The Mystics and Sages of all ages have been practicing these techniques forever. How do you think The Bible, or any other Spiritual Scripture were written? When you open yourself to channeling, or any kind of divination or prophetic transmissions for that matter, you act as a vessel for Spirit. That being said, proceed with caution! This is not for everyone. Energy meets energy...if you are in a negative place mentally or emotionally, chances are you will attract lower level beings. These entities can do more harm than good...they are Spiritual parasites. I encourage researching the subject and Physical and Spiritual Cleansing. Cleanliness is Godliness!

Patricia Cram walks the razor's edge of the Sacred and Profane. She is an Esoteric Artist and Vessel for Vial Magazine. The Dark Mother manifest. She is offering customized "DIVINATORY COLLISIONS", embellished automatic writings. "AUTOMATIC WRITINGS INSERTED, VIA BOOK DIVINATION, INTO ANTIQUATED TEXTS. DECORATED AND SANCTIFIED." For more info click the image below.
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Friday, December 7, 2007

All I Want for Christmas!

I love Kerry Kate's October Effigies! This Boudoir Doll is currently in her Etsy shop. If you buy it before I do, I'll forgive you.
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I also really really need this Classic Working Replica Gramophone. It plays 78 RPM Records!
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I've had these amazing Silhouettes plates by Thomas Paul on my list forever!
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sweet Sights and Sounds

Beirut is such a Gypsy! I love this song even more after I watched the video...

Nikki Pinder's Gypsy Soup!

I'm so excited, I just couldn't wait to post this! Check out NIKKI PINDER'S version of Gypsy Soup. This was created just for me! She hasn't added the text yet but I just had to show you all. It will be in banner format for my blog here. Isn't it so Steampunk? I told her it should be the cover of a Dark Romantic Steampunk novel. She's brilliant! She has created artwork for the music duo COLT, the Punk Caberet group VERMILLION LIES, and Gothic Folk Songstress CATHERINE ANN DAVIS...just to name a few. She is also the genius behind NIGHTOWL MAGAZINE! I hope to contribute to the next issue, #2! Thanks Nikki, you Rock!
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

How to Make Victorian Terrariums

Terrariums are small, self-maintaining, self-enclosed ecosystems. They can maintain themselves as long as you select the right plants and give them the right amount of water. For the instructions here, I use jade plant and a pear plant...Orchids would be lovely too!

If your a beginner, try a terrarium kit like Carnivorous Creations. It contains a seed packet of a variety of beautiful, exotic, carnivorous plants like: Venus Fly Trap, Cobra Plant, Yellow Trumpet, Hooded Pitcher Plant, Sweet Trumpet, Purple Pitcher Plant, Maroon Sundew Plant, Pink
Sundew Plant, White Sundew Plant.

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Rocks or marbles for drainage (for a fun alternative, try glass beads, dainty wood or bark chips)
Large Apothecary Jar or Terrarium
Dirt with peat moss
Plant specimen (something that loves a moist environment, such as jade, a pear plant or a fern)
Sheet moss (available in craft, hobby and gardening stores)

Small spade or trowel
Spray bottle
Watering can

Put your rocks in the bottom of the jar for drainage. Next, top that off with a wee layer of lovely dirt, rich with nutrients, mixed with peat moss. Pull your plant specimen out of its container and place it in the jar. Add a little more dirt around the edges to secure it if necessary.

Cover the dirt with some moss that has been sprayed with water to bring it back to life. This is best done by tearing the sheet into small pieces and placing it around the base of your plant. Water your little miniature garden lightly, and put the lid back in place.

Keep an eye on it for the first few days. If the jar fogs up, that means there is too much moisture in there. If this happens, take off the lid and leave it off for a little while to let the moisture evaporate. But be careful, you don't want it to dry out completely. The key to a self-maintaining terrarium is the right amount of water. Once you've figured that out, you'll be able to leave it for extended periods of time without having to add water.

It's fun to experiment with plants and containers. Larger apothecary jars and smaller specimens will make it possible to use more then one plant, which can add variety to your display. Have fun!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Supernatural Soap™

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On the curing racks right now! These will be added to my current stock at Willow in Chicago... and my Etsy shop!

Green Fairy- Anise, Mint, Lemon
Venus Love Drawing Soap- Lotus, Rose, Moroccan Red Clay and Rose Petals
Shaman- Sage, Sweetgrass, French Green Clay
Satyr Sexual Attraction Soap- Vanilla, Clove, Cinamon, Patchouli
Divinity- Frankincense and Myrrh
Santeria Purification Soap- Coconut, Lime, Verbena
Hoodoo Mud Scrub- Clove, Coco powder, Oatmeal, Cinamon, Chocolate
Lady Rococo- Inspired by Marie Antoinette...smells like cake!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Poppytalk Handmade

I'm super excited right now. I just found another Handmade Online Marketplace, called Poppytalk Handmade! It's a virtual street fair/flea market where selected crafters and artists showcase there wares. Here's the scoop:

Poppytalk's website
will host an image from each table/designer on the front page. A link from the image will go to the designer’s table (page) holding 9 items. Each page will introduce the designer and why they were picked. Each item will have a description along with a link to their online store (Etsy, Mintd, Dawanda or personal online store/site). Just like a regular street market, there will be a charge to rent a table (or in this case a page) which will cover administration and web hosting fees. Once an item sells, you will be able to upload a new item.

I was browsing their website and guess what? No handmade bath and body products! As soon as I get my Etsy shop stocked up I'm going to contact Jan, the curator... I hope they'll showcase my Supernatural Soap!

Click on the image below if you want to check it out! xo Lavona

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Visit my Etsy Shop!

I've been trying to make at least one batch of soap a day! My house smells sooo good! I finally set up my Etsy Shop... I'll be listing soap and other goodies SOON! So if you're on Etsy, add me to your favorites! If your not, set up an account NOW! lol! You won't be sorry...Etsy rocks! You can buy unique, handmade gifts for everyone this Holiday Season. xo Lavona

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This is my first post here on blogspot!

First of all I'd like to thank Leila Rose, of "Red Heart Cult" fame, for helping me out with my banner! Check out her Etsy shop for beautiful Art Assemblages:

She creates exquisite relics...this one inspired by Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis.

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