Saturday, April 23, 2016

An Alien City and Its Unlikely Origins. . .

Greetings to you today, Dear Friends of The Tearoom,

I have always been fascinated with worlds which might exist someplace else.  When I was a little girl, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and there was a time when I answered, "An astronaut!"  I was told that girls didn't become astronauts.  I accepted that answer at the time, especially because my grandfather was an amateur astronomer (even built his own telescopes), and even he didn't think there was any reason that girls should be interested in astronomy!  Luckily for me, even though I had plenty of people telling me what I couldn't be, something in my head told me that I could do whatever I wanted to with my mind.  So, I now dabble in whatever interests me and see things through my own vision as much as I want!  I now place no limits on myself as to what interests me and I am certainly more enlightened when it comes to any ridiculous, if not dangerous, limits placed on anyone based on their gender.

(As always, please click on the image to see it larger.)

My collage today is of an alien city, perhaps located near that brightest star you'll see in the sky tonight.

I think the most curious thing about my collage today might not be what is about, but the source of the images I used to make it.

For sometime I have been fascinated by the botanical photographs of Karl Blossfeldt.  He photographed stems of plants, seed pods, blossoms and buds, very closely, with a camera he made himself!  I was able to find many of these images online at The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  They very most generously have made 200,000 of their works of art available online in their RijksStudio and placed them in the public domain.  You can even save collections to use in your artwork or for future reference, as I have (take a peek at my collections here.) After looking at several of the Blossfelt photographs there, the wheels of my imagination began to turn and I began to think of these botanical artifacts as buildings in an alien urban landscape.  To see which botanical images inspired me in this work, take a peek here.  I also used several images from space from their site for the background of my collage.

Thank you, Dear Friends, for taking a trip with me through my imagination once again today!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Bat Babies. . .

Greetings Dear Friends!
Some of my most creative ideas sneak in the back door when I am sleeping and I hardly hear them come in until I realize I am in the middle of them.  But others come riding in, making all kinds of ruckus, on the backs of other projects.  This was the case with my new collage sheet Bat Babies & Their Garden of Gloomflowers, for my Etsy shop Velvet Revived.  As I was working on my last collage sheet The Rootababies, I was getting ideas for making some kind of bat creatures as their play-mates!

And so, today, I introduce you to their world...

(As always, click the images to see them larger.)

When the moon is full
The Garden of Gloomflowers is at its most morbidly fragrant...

Their scent attracts many creatures,
and I think I hear the quiet beating of leathery wings now...


Here comes one of the Bat Babies now, 
cute but creepy,
baby-faced creatures of The Night...


Let's get a closer look...


And, look, she is being joined by some of her sisters!

The Bat Babies and their flowers of Gloom can come
to live with you and make your art projects just a
bit gloomier by visiting my shop Velvet Revived!



All of my collage sheets, printable invitations & other
fun and decorative projects are available for
instant download, and therefore, instant gratification!

Oh, and by the way, I just finished the updating of
my shop!  I hope you like it!

I've even taken advantage of Etsy giving us more sections to
use by creating a "Digital Oddities" section for my
dark-but-fun creations!!


And now, back to the mental drawing board,
where my next dark idea is starting to pick at me...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Sunday...

...and Happy Easter and Happy Springtime to all Friends of the Tearoom!  Wishing for lots of sunny days ahead for us all!


Little Victorienne has brought you some flowers to celebrate!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Rootababies. . .

Dear Friends,
I hope this finds you all well, enjoying cups of tea and formulating your plans for the arrival of spring!

Recently,  I have been researching which plants I would like to plant in my container garden on the porch this summer and I started thinking again about an idea I had had a while ago.  I was thinking about how kind of funny and creepy some root vegetables look.  So, you know me, as soon as I spot them, I feel compelled to follow those breadcrumb trails of creativity!  After finding some public domain illustrations of root veggies, I added some butterfly and insect wings and some images of doll faces (and even one from a spirit photograph!) and soon, I had discovered some new friends!!

And so, in celebration of my newest collage sheet set at my Etsy shop Velvet Revived, these are The Rootababies and this is their story:

(As always, please click on the images to see them larger.)


Somewhere near here (or perhaps, far away)
there is an ancient abbey in ruin.

Covered in vines and overgrowth,
a mysterious group of creepycute creatures lives within.



There, behind the crumbling wall of the ruin,
there is a patch of bare ground,
frequented by a variety of insects and butterflies...

During the day,
these creatures lie in slumber underground.
But at night,
they come up from out of the Earth...






They are so curious about you!
I hope you won't mind if they flutter close to your face!


Here they are, 
emerging from their hideaway in the ruin,
fluttering happily away into the moonlight!

If you find these little creatures interesting,
they would be happy to come and live with you
and make your projects more creepycute!

Click here to be taken to my Etsy shop
Velvet Revived
in order to find The Rootababies!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day Tea Dance 2016....

Dearest Friends of The Tearoom,




Not everyone loves Valentine's Day like I do, but the Queen of Valentines hopes you are having a lovely day nonetheless.  Here's hoping that those who are having a day of gooshey red, pink and purple, mummified in doilies, wrapped in yards of lace, covered in cupcake crumbs will be able to share some of their joy with those who take a more cynical view of the holiday!

I do hope that all Friends of the Tearoom, the Covered-in-Cupcake-Crumbs Crew as well as the Cynical of Commercialism Crew will all join me on the dancefloor as I spin a selection of cynical as well as sweet odes to the day!


David Bowie
Strangers When We Meet


Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith
I'm Not in Love


New Order
Bizarre Love Triangle


Scritti Politti
Perfect Way


Echo and the Bunnymen
Lips Like Sugar


Psychedelic Furs
Love My Way


Marc Almond
She Took My Soul in Istanbul (Blue Mosque Mix)

(Whew!  After so much dancing, you should have a piece of cake!)


(Images used in my collages from Tumble Fish Studios on Mischief Circus.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Tribute...


(As always, please click the image to see it larger.)

Dearest Friends of The Tearoom,
The collage above is the one I have finally finished in tribute to David Bowie.  

I was so very shocked and saddened to learn of his death very early in the morning on January 10th, shortly after it was announced by the BBC.  

I always admired him and his sense of innovation.  In his career, he constantly re-invented himself. 

As we now know, he was still creating art until only a few days before his death, in spite of being so ill.  As an artist, knowing this affects me greatly.  He leaves us with a tremendous gift of an enormous body of work, hours and hours, days and days of music, endless amounts of video performances, interviews and movies.  In this amazing time of digital information, you can surround yourself with his art and almost forget he is gone.  As I listen to his music and watch him online, one thing occurs to me:  To my mind, his parting gift to us was raising the bar as an artist, one last time.  He has challenged us all.  What can we do to devote ourselves to our art by spending every moment we can, perhaps even some of our last ones, making our art?  

UPDATE:  Please see my response to a comment by my friend Bill below for a note about something interesting I learned after posting this collage and blog post.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Triptich...

(I dedicate today's post to Calvin and Karen, a friend from the past and a friend from the present.)

Greetings, Dear Friends of The Tearoom!
I'm showing you a project that I have been working on for a week or so because today, it is done!

In the late 80's, I worked in a bookstore with a very sweet man named Calvin.  He and I clicked right away when we began to work together and we remained friends until his death from AIDS in 1992.  The summer I began to work in this bookstore with him, I had an interest in reading some classic books from the horror/thriller genre and read "The Phantom of The Opera" by Gaston Leroux and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde.  In "The Picture of Dorian Gray", Dorian reads and is influenced by a "morally poisonous" novel.  The name of this novel was not revealed in the text of the book, but reading the introduction, I learned that Oscar Wilde had admitted that this book was the decadent French novel "À Rebours" or "Against Nature" by J.K. Huysmans.  I asked Calvin if he had read this book and he told me he had and encouraged me to do the same.  This decadent book was unlike anything I had read before and I found it fascinating.

Last year, I learned that one of my favorite musicians, Marc Almond, was starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund a musical version of this book he was composing with fellow musician Othon and poet Jeremy Reed.  I contributed to this campaign and followed its progress with interest.  The project was funded, the musical was produced and resulted in a lush, hallucinogenic and decadent musical interpretation of this book.

And so today, I bring to you the unveiling of a triptych of digital collages inspired by and dedicated to the artists responsible for this musical piece!  You can take a peek at the liner notes for the project here, at the official Against Nature website.

(As always, please click the images in order to see them larger.)

Marc Reading "Against Nature"
For the First Time

Othon and The Hypnotic Effects of Music

Jeremy Fashions Poetry from
the Fabric of Words

The frames I used for the collages were adapted from the title page illustration from a 1922 copy of "Against Nature" (or, as it is called for this edition "Against the Grain"), from The Internet Archive.

Other images for the collages came from the painting "The Yellow Scale" by Franz Kupka (1907), Valentine Grimm on Etsy, The Graphics Fairy, YouTube, Othon's website and Jeremy's Twitter site.

The flowers in Othon's and Jeremy's collages were modified from photos of flowers from my own garden.

A big thank you goes to Marc Almond, Othon and Jeremy Reed for their talents which made their project possible and inspired me to do these three pieces of fan art.

Finally, a hug and a big thanks to Karen L-W, my new friend and fellow Marc Almond fan, for making it possible for me to receive a much-cherished souvenir from the Against Nature workshop performance.  Thank you to all who were involved in this surprise for me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How Very Nice!

Dear Friends of The Tearoom,
One of the things I like the best about having a blog is how many lovely people I have had a chance to meet (in an Internet way, that is)!  One of those nice people is my friend Bill Charlebois!  He has a cool, art-oriented blog himself and does some super fun digital art and has even had online classes!  The thing I admire the most about Bill is that he is very good at following his creative muse.  Whatever is interesting to him at the time shows up in his work and I greatly admire that.  Right now, he is fascinated with chandeliers, the sparklier and twinklier the better (although Bill does a nice job of increasing the sparkly/twinkly factor!!)

Bill is an avid follower of my blog and was especially happy to visit during my recent opening of the museum from my imagination, "Le Musée du Divan Rouge".  He was so enthused that he created one of his recent chandelier collages in honor of it!!!  How beautiful it is!!!



You can find Bill's blog here and you can find out more about his classes here!

Hoping life finds all Dear Friends of The Tearoom well and following their respective muses!

(Speaking of which, I am currently working on three digital collages which are being inspired by something of interest to me right now.  Keep watch to see what I'm working on!)

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Cooking Lesson...

Dearest Friends of The Tearoom,
We greet you warmly once again and hope you are all having a Most Lovely Christmas Day!!

It is our pleasure to meet with you again, here in the atelier above the museum, for some hints and tips on making tiny miniature tea food, such as was served at our opening at the museum last night.  Such a beautiful night it was and how nice to have so many friends and family with us!

It's easy enough to find toy and miniature foods, made of non-edible materials, but I wanted to challenge myself to create edible food that could be served on doll's dishes.  I will admit freely to being inspired by some videos I found on YouTube where people cooked tiny edible food, sometimes over tiny stoves heated by tea-light candles!!  If you search "cooking miniature food", you too can be inspired!

The sandwiches served were a combination of my own creation and here is how they were made:

(Please click image to see larger.)

Enchanted Garden Tea Sandwiches

5 oz. chevre or cream cheese (I used a chevre flavored with herbs and garlic, but plain would be fine)

3 tablespoons of milk
A small handful of fresh dill, very finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

An unsliced roll (I used a mini baguette roll from Whole Foods, but any finely-grained unsliced roll will do)

Several very thin slices of small Persian cucumber
Several very thin slices of French Breakfast or Easter Egg radish
Several pretty leaves of baby lettuce
Several watercress leaves
Edible flower petals such as pansies, violas or nasturtium (optional) *

To make the chevre mousse, beat together the chevre (or cream cheese), milk, dill, salt and pepper until creamy.  It must be soft enough to pipe, so add more milk if needed.  After mixing, scoop into piping bag and set aside.

Cut several thin slices (approx. 1/4 inch) from the roll with a sharp knife, remove the crusts and trim so the pieces to 1 3/4 inch-2 inch square.  Cut each piece in half.

Assemble the sandwiches by piping the cheese mousse on one side of half of the pieces of bread.  Cut in half the radish and cucumber slices and overlap if necessary so that the edges show, but not overhang from the edge of the sandwich.  Do the same with the lettuce, watercress and edible flower petals.  If necessary, place small dots of cheese in between layers to keep the sandwich together.  Serve on a plate from a doll's tea set or an old-fashioned butter chip (a plate used to serve pats of butter).

Makes several sandwiches, depending upon the size of roll used.

*Please make certain that any edible flower you intend to eat has been grown organically, has not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals and has been washed thoroughly to remove any small insects or specks of soil.  Also, please do not eat any flower unless you are certain it is edible, as some are toxic.




Dark Chocolate Icebox Cookie Cake
with Buttercream Frosting


1/4 cup softened butter (I prefer salted, as it accents the other flavors, you may use unsalted if preferred)
1/4 - 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
A few drops each of vanilla and almond extracts, to taste

8 Famous Chocolate Cookies or other thin wafer cookie

1 piece of plain, soft white bread

Whip the butter until creamy.  Add 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar.  Beat.  Add more powdered sugar if necessary.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts to taste.  Add more sugar or drops of milk as needed to make the frosting soft enough to pipe.

Start with one of the cookies and evenly spread the frosting.  If the center is thicker than the edges, make certain there is more frosting around the edges so that each layer will sit firmly together.  Repeat process until each of the cakes has 4 layers each.  With the edge of a butter knife, smooth around the edge of the cake so that the frosting looks even all around it.  Pipe frosting in a decorative design on the top of the cake.  Repeat the process to make the second cake.  Refrigerate cakes in a covered container along with the piece of white bread, torn into 2 or 3 large pieces*.  Place the bread around the cakes and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

After they have been left in the refrigerator to become softer for a couple of days, remove them from the refrigerator and with a sharp knife which has been run under hot water and dried, carefully cut each cake into 4 pieces (Please don't allow the cakes to remain out of the refrigerator for too long before cutting.  It is essential that the frosting remain cold and hard when cutting so that it does not squish out between the layers).  Serve on plates from a doll's tea set or on old-fashioned butter chips (plates used to serve pats of butter).

Makes 8 pieces of cake

*When my mother would make homemade cookies, if they had become hard, she would add a slice of white bread to the bag where she stored the cookies to add moisture back into them from the bread.  The plain bread adds no taste at all, only makes the cookies softer.  The purpose of adding it to this recipe is to make the cookies soft enough so that they can be cut without crumbling.




Tea

One of my favorite tea flavors is Vanilla Caramel.  It reminds me of a very Marie Antoinette-like tearoom in Paris where I had caramel tea for the first time.  I prefer mine with milk and sugar.  Of course, Earl Grey is always nice, as well.  The lovely bergamot flavor which makes it so special is actually from a citrus fruit, grown in Sicily.  This tea is also nice served with a slice of citrus in the cup, so for my tiny dolls dishes, I was challenged to find one small enough to use.  I found a small Meyer lemon and cut it into pieces.  It had a lovely flavor and was just the right size.  Also, slices of kumquat could be used.  Of course, you may substitute any tea that you prefer.  Tazo's Wild Sweet Orange would also be a delicious choice, should you prefer an herbal tea.  Serve in tea cups from a doll's tea set.




Thank you so much for attending my cooking lesson in making miniature edible food today!  I hope to be able to create more lessons such as this so that you and your own Doll and Animal Family can enjoy some lovely tiny meals together.

Wishing you all a Most Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve at The Museum

Dearest Dear Friends of The Tearoom,
My own Dear Family of Dolls & Animals and I would like to warmly greet you with wishes for a wonderful Christmas Eve!  Whether you are joining us tonight or at a later time, we are so happy you have chosen to join us for this happy occasion!

On this Lovely Christmas Eve, we welcome you to the opening of Le Musée du Divan Rouge (The Museum of The Red Couch)!  This lovely old space of red brocade and purple velvet and tiny, twinkling lights is a warming and welcoming place in which to view a very special exhibit tonight!  The Dolls & Animals have looked forward to this event for such a long time!  For tonight, the exhibit is one of a collection of many of my own digital collages from The Blog of The Tearoom, all displayed in ornate frames!!  And we do hope you will stay and have a lovely evening tea with us all as well after!

Everyone is so happy to see you here!  Thursday has a new dress and new shoes she would love to show you (or, perhaps, you saw her preview of her new outfit here yesterday)!  Joining her here tonight are Baby Hoobert, Mr. Mookie, Teddy, Brownie McNutt, Mr. Bear, Betty Boop, Baby Adin, Bebé Agnès, Bebé Noisette, Baby Petunia, Mr. Bun-Bun and Tulip.  They are all most excited to be joined by their Paperdoll Sister Victorienne!!  What a special occasion it is for them to all be together tonight!

(As always, please click images in order to see them larger.)

The first to arrive are Thursday and Victorienne.


Days to Come

(Bebé Agnès loves this one because it reminds her of
warmer days, of sunshine and pansies...)

Mommy

(Victorienne loves this picture of her Grandmother,
who now lives in Heaven.)

Violette & Victorienne


We are so happy that Bebé Noisette, Bebé Agnès and
Baby Adin could be here with us tonight!  They are
all original members of My Dear Mommy Cupcake's
Doll Family!  If you would like to know more about them,
you can read their stories here.

Joining them is Betty Boop, swaddled in speakeasy chic!

Word Salad
(This collage was one I made for a very early blog post
on The Gossamer Tearoom blog.  It was an illustration
for a poem I wrote.  You can read it here.)

Still Life with Plum

The Pansy Garden
(This is one of Betty's favorites because she loves how
happy Victorienne looks in the pansy garden!)

Teddy and Mr. Mookie are having so much fun
they can hardly stand still!

In the meanwhile, Victorienne is getting a big bear hug
from that big old softie himself, Mr. Bear!!
He gives the best hugs ever!

Balloon Vendor Two

Valentine Universe (The Universe of Love)

Balloon Vendor One

Baby Hoobert and Baby Petunia are here as well!
Such good babies they are!
So well behaved.
Their big sister Thursday keeps an eye on them,
but it's probably not necessary.
They are just quietly cooing to each other...

The Photograph
(Victorienne tells us that her favorite part of being part of
this collage was getting to pet the giant white kitty!)

Eugenie
(Mr. Mookie wants to know where the circus is located
where this beautiful lady performs her balancing trick!)

The Hotel Unusual
(Victorienne has just shared a secret about this interesting
hotel with Thursday.  She'll be sharing it with you soon...)

And just look who has just arrived!
It's Tulip and Mr. Bun-Bun!
We are so happy to see them here with us tonight!

The Fairy of Great Potential

Flying Fish

(Teddy hopes the next time Victorienne goes on an
adventure such as this she takes him with her!!)

The Halloween Party

Diva

Moonie Moon

As I mentioned in my recent story about Mr. Bun-Bun, many of my dear family are rescues and so they have stories they have never told to me.  Who would have known that our own Dear Brownie McNutt was a piano virtuoso!  Here he is, entertaining us with twinkly plinkly music from the toy piano!!



Plink Plink-a Plink Plink!!

And while we enjoy the lovely music, we will all enjoy a light evening tea picnic, right here in the museum!

Menu for Christmas Eve at
Le Musée du Divan Rouge

Enchanted Garden Tea Sandwiches
(baby lettuces, watercress, Persian cucumber, 
French Breakfast radishes,
goat cheese mousse with herbs on baguette)

Dark Chocolate Icebox Cookie Cake
with Vanilla Almond Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Caramel Tea with Milk and Sugar

Teddy, Thursday and Mr. Bear are
so enjoying their sandwiches, cake and tea!

Victorienne is feeding Baby Hoobert and Baby Petunia
some cake!  What a helpful big sister she is!!

Tulip and Mr. Bun-Bun are so happy to be spending
time with their family tonight!

And here's everyone all together!
Such fun they have all had tonight!

Once again, we all thank you warmly for visiting with us tonight!  As a special treat, won't you please join us again tomorrow for a very special cooking lesson, where I will show you how I made the miniature edible foods we enjoyed here today!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!