Monday, October 31, 2011

Dressing up for Halloween ... and a little All Souls Night


I always loved dressing up. Who am I kidding? I should use the present tense! I love dressing up.

The thing is though, that Halloween is just another excuse to dress up. Growing up, there were many a theme party that my grandmother gave, as well as plays, various singing performances ... you know, a Tuesday afternoon in July, in fishnets, channeling Liza in Cabaret ...

I generally liked being something glamorous or at least semi-attractive, whereas my much cooler older sister, didn't mind being something completely creepy and weird. Though I admired that about her, glamour was still my go-to objective, even as a spider.

This was the year I read Charlotte's Web
... and my sister was a very creepy Hunchback of Notre Dame (Not sure how she came up with that since she was pretty young and it was pre-Disney version)


My Mom made our costumes, most of the time, or we'd take some old costume from my grandmother's closet and rework it. Back in the day, studios like MGM would have big sales where they'd dump old costumes and my grandma would pick things up for a bargain. Dress up at her house was really fun!

One year I wore an old, faded chiffon, chorus girl costume from Singing in the Rain and was a ghost. It was from the "Beautiful Girls" number in the film and had turned from the original blue to a nice faded grey. Perfect for a ghost! I powdered my wild curly hair and face and did a powdery blue around my eyes. (see? still glamourous.)

Anyway, here are my sister Penny and I on one Halloween, in the entryway of our old house in Ventura. As you can see, I was a huge I Dream of Jeannie fan! (costumes by Mom)



Hope whatever you are doing, glamorous or scary, you have a safe and Happy Halloween!

I will be dressed as a witch (you know, a glamorous Stevie Nicks version! ;) and going to Italian class. I will also be trying my best to avoid the West Hollywood traffic jam I somehow find myself in for hours every year! We'll see if I succeed!

Please enjoy a bit of the mystical beauty of Loreena McKennitt and "All Souls Night"




Bonfires dot the rolling hillsFigures dance around and aroundTo drums that pulse out echoes of darknessMoving to the pagan sound.
Somewhere in a hidden memoryImages float before my eyesOf fragrant nights of straw and of bonfiresAnd dancing till the next sunrise.
I can see lights in the distanceTrembling in the dark cloak of nightCandles and lanterns are dancing, dancing, dancingA waltz on All Souls Night.
Figures of cornstalks bend in the shadowsHeld up tall a the flames leap highThe green knight hold the holly bushTo mark where the old year passes by...



Blessings and light
on
All Souls Night!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumkin Patch, Sunflowers, Hay Rides and a Corn Dance! ~It's October!




"All the way to heaven is heaven."

~St. Catherine of Siena
1347-1380


Charcoal and sanguine on paper
October 2011



This is the Boccali's Pumpkin Patch in Ojai! The sunflowers were enormous this year!





My sister Penny and nephew Benjamin ...









The "Corn Dance"



Every moment lived fully
is a moment of transcendent alchemy,
of fires transforming dull metals
to dazzling gold.

~ Anonymous



Love a hay ride!


I wrote about a scarf in a recent post about Boulder. I was saying how I loved it but didn't buy it. My friend Evelyn read my post, called, and said "WHY NOT?!" Anyway, she told me I should call the store and see if they had any left, and that it would be my (early) birthday present! Sweet, huh? And my birthday isn't even until December! (I'm a Sag, you know.)

Well, it arrived and here it is!!! Isn't it magic?!


I have already worn it 5 times ...


Thanks Evelyn!!!!! I love it!

Hope you all have a magical, beautiful week!
Blessings and light!!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor Collection with Christie's





I've always admitted that I'm ruled by my passions.

~Elizabeth Taylor

I heard some time ago, that at some point Christie's would be touring some of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of art, jewelry and costumes before auctioning them off for charity. I must say I was hoping to see her incredible collection of paintings (her father was an art dealer so she knew her stuff) but for the most part, what came to Los Angeles last weekend was a pretty amazing sampling of her jewelry and clothing.

Here is a sampling from the exhibit which they held at MOCA at the Pacific Design Center last weekend ...



Up the stairway to the exhibit, photos of Elizabeth in all her gorgeous glory ...


Amethyst, kunzite and diamond "Triphanes" jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels.


Versace jacket. Cute with jeans, eh?


Coral, amethyst and diamond Dodecanese bracelets by Van Cleef and Arpel


The Taj Mahal Diamond (circa 1627-1628.)
This, below, was by far my favorite piece in the exhibition, partly because of it's romantic history. It belonged to Emperor Shah Jahangir, who had the heart shaped diamond inscribed with his wife's name "Nur Jahan." He passed the stone on to his son, Shah Jahan. He was the one who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz, who died in childbirth. It's incredibly beautiful and so unique, and Cartier made the gold and ruby cord replacing and replicating the original silk one it was on. It was given to Elizabeth by Richard Burton for her 40th birthday.


I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine.
You can't possess radiance, you can only admire it.

~Elizabeth Taylor



Art Nouveau Butterfly Brooch by Boucheron, ca. 1905
Opal and aquamarine butterfly, extending blue and green plique-a`-jour emamel wings
with rubies, emeralds and gold wirework. Isn't it so pretty?


And I thought my charm bracelet was heavy! These were incredible and the charms were huge!





Her Oscar for Butterfield 8, borrowed for the exhibition. (It's against the rules to hawk your Oscar!)
She called it her sympathy Oscar because she won it after almost dying in the hospital.



Chiffon Chanel ball gown and cape she wore at the Royal Film Performance of Taming of the Shrew with Richard Burton ...


A bound copy of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof! Loved this. Would have loved, even more, to look inside and see what notes were in the margins!





This necklace, made of opera tokins (circa 18th & 19th centuries), was such a fun piece! It was a gift to Elizabeth from the famous costume designer Edith Head.



"La Peregrina"~ The Legendary Pearl. Richard Burton had the whole Cartier designed necklace below made for it (that big pearl drop on the bottom.) It was once from the Spanish crown jewels in the early 16th century and is a 203-grain pearl. We were told by this guy who was there and called himself a "jewelry geek" that the brooch is detachable and you can attach the pearl directly to the choker. You know, depending on your outfit. ;)
Estimate: 2-3 million, if you are interested.



Christian Dior taffeta evening dress with silk coat ...



The tiara was a gift from her husband Mike Todd. (circa 1880, given to Taylor in 1957) After she wore it, many a gal decided she could pull off the tiara look, but you know, unless your a bride, a homecoming princess or actual royalty? Tough to pull off.


In this video you can see a clip of her in the tiara.


Iconic Warhol image ...




There are hundreds of costume jewelry pieces that are going to be auctioned as well. One guy said that some pieces might go for a hundred bucks! Hard to believe but what do I know?

The Taylor Burton Diamond was also on display. 33.19 carats (estimated 3 million bucks.) You know, just a little bauble. I know I posted this YouTube video before, but it continues to crack me up! Just make sure you get to 3 minutes 10 seconds ... Hilarious!!!


Big girls need big diamonds.

~Elizabeth Taylor



for tour information, click here

Have a fantastic weekend!!!



Monday, October 17, 2011

October ~ Indian Summer

It was hot here last week. Really hot. Now the temperature seems to have settled and hints of autumn come in the late evening.

I have been a bit distracted lately and not keeping up as well as I should with my Italian studies. I keep vowing I'll get back to it but somehow I can't seem to get away from one distraction or another. (Like taking pictures of my desk and it's centerpiece altar of golden fall colors!)

We had an assignment to draw something from nature for my watercolor class which resulted in the sun flower at the bottom of this post. I would like to write more, but I have an audition out in Santa Monica this afternoon and I still haven't done my Italian homework! So, I will be back soon with more of my recent adventures and happy distractions!

My little little altar celebration of fall ...






How, but in custom and ceremony,
Are innocence and beauty born?
~W.B. Yeats









So many worlds,
so much to do
So little done,
such things to be.

~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Charcoal, chalk and red pencil on colored paper
October 2011



Blessings and light!
And I hope you are enjoying
some of the happy distractions of fall!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Beauty and Peonies in Pastel


There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace.
You will find that deep place of silence right in your room,
your garden or even your bathtub.

~Elizabeth Kubler Ross


Pastel on LaCarte September 2011



The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn
is unconditional love,
which includes not only others
but ourselves as well.

~Elisabeth Kubler Ross





People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

~Elizabeth Kubler Ross





I first learned about Elizabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004) when I started working at the VA Hospital in West Los Angeles, as a hospice volunteer in the late 1990s. I ran across a quote by her and decided to share a little of her life and words.

From her website ...
"a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies ... Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, humanitarian, physician, and hospice pioneer wrote the landmark “On Death and Dying” in 1969. Still the best selling work in the field, this book raised the consciousness of the world about the plight of dying people and their families... In this work she proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief as a pattern of adjustment.These five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance."

If you want to know more about Her and her work, check out her website here.


The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known
defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths.

These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity,
and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion,
gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.

~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross





For more beauty ... here is the amazing musician and singer/songwriter Loreena McKennitt...




I am off to do laundry and study for Italian class tonight!

Hope you all have an amazing week full of beauty and light!