Monday, December 28, 2009

Pasadena's Arts & Crafts Past

The Gamble House, by Greene & Greene

Mr. ChaCha and I took a tour of the Gamble house that was built in 1908. It was sensational in the craftsmanship and attention to detail that was typical of the Greene brothers and which was demanded by their clients, David and Mary Gamble. Even the furniture was specifically designed for the Gambles by Charles and Henry Greene.

We also took a walking tour around the area to see some other Arts & Crafts homes nearby. Here are two other homes and also some details from the neighborhood:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Venice Views

Venice, California was the conception of a tobacco mogul named Abbot Kinney who was also a co-owner of an Ocean Park casino and resort. He wanted to build a little town reminiscent of Venice, Italy, complete with canals, lagoons, and gondolas. You can read about some of the history here.

Since Abbot's day, all kinds of architecture has been happening in Venice. Here are just a few photos that I took.

This place looks like it should be on an exotic island:

There's quite a bit of modern architecture.

There is wonderful vegetation and landscaping everywhere.

There are also the homes that resemble their Italian counterparts. This next home is painted a beautiful color that you would typically see in Venice.

Venice, Italy, is perhaps the most magical place on earth. Venice, California, doesn't come close, but it is super fun, with an eclectic mix of homes, a carnival beach culture, and a hip mix of independent businesses. It's well worth a visit.

Friday, December 25, 2009

SoCal Noel

Greetings from Southern California where Mr. ChaCha and I are celebrating the holidays in Los Angeles. Here are a few cheerful photos from our first two days here:

Entertainment on the Santa Monica Pier

Ocean View from Santa Monica Pier

Tile Mural, Venice

Birds of Paradise, Venice Beach Boardwalk

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Deer Friends and Deer Ladies

Welcome to the magical world of Zeng. I learned about her from some of the deer who wonder through our property on the way to the nearby forest. They were singing the praises for Zeng's artwork and I overheard them.

Zeng is a Chinese professional designer who majored in furniture design and graphic design. When I contacted her about featuring her work on my blog, she said that she was delighted but because she is in China, she cannot view my blog. Evidently Blogger is blocked and so is Facebook.

Zeng's images will cause your imagination to swoon with delight. They are a magical potion to make you feel young again. Her rabbit girls and deer ladies are inspired by her love of children and reading fairy tales.

Zeng says that she is good at design software such as Photoshop, CS, Cinema 4D, CorelDraw, and Painter. We all would wholehearted agree about her talent.

More than her talent, it is Zeng's vision that embraces your soul and makes you feel like the world is new and anything can happen. It is a world where deer ladies wear bustles and little rabbit girls frolic in tulle and organza.

Zeng's world is one to which we all want to belong. It is a world in which there are no health care debates and everybody gets along.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Follow the Soaps While Bar Hopping

A little secret about Etsy which you may not know is that some of the products sold there can really make it fun to clean up. This post is a little gallery tour of some tempting soaps and shops that may make you rethink your bar habits.

Go get a glass of wine, some hot mulled cider, or some herbal tea and settle in for the tour. I'll be your designated driver and guide.

Our tour begins with romantic decorative bars like the four gorgeous ones in the photo above and the tempting ones in the next two photos. This white chocolate Victorian pair reminds me of the Metropole Hotel in Brussels and the next one helps me imagine Hawaii, where I have never been.

Some bars have interesting organic materials in them. They are not just your ordinary neighborhood bars they aren't. You never know what you'll run into inside them, but it's sure to be a delightful surprise.

by apothicaire

Some soaps look good enough to eat. I'd be in trouble looking at these around the house. Would have to hide them in a cookie jar between bathings or I'd want to be baking all the time. No, the cookie jar's a bad idea. Mr. ChaCha might find them and take a bite out of one.

Apple Cinnamon Spice
by sandycreeksoap

by CandiedBeauty

Some soaps are tempting simply because of their splendid color, the beautiful photos, or the scent that you can already smell just looking at them:

by Intentions

Berry Beautiful Soaps
by countryheartgifts

Dark Raspberry
by WickedSoaps

Some bars come all dressed up in fancy wrappers or clothes:

Ginger Spice Soap
by songbirdsoaps

Even felted winter clothes:

by feltsewcrafty

Hope you enjoyed the bar hop as much as I enjoyed organizing it. Cheers!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dear Santa

I've been so good. Could I have just a few little things for an ensemble for a winter dance, please?

These earrings:
Emerald City
by twotightlywound

This dress, with the necklace, too, please:

1950's Elinor Gay DesignerCouture
Vintage Shop: TimelessVixenVillage

for these shoes:
Green Velvet Holiday Heels
vintage shop: Loves Charles

And most importantly, cause I know you love me . . .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

She Returns With Treasures

Lost in a sea of gift-knitting projects, that's where I've been. Eighteen knitted gifts all got wrapped and mailed yesterday. Phew!

To make up for having neglected my blog for two weeks, and for needing a break from my own projects, I've decided to do a series of December posts about complete strangers whose work I simply adore. Their work inspires me to carry on, to improve my technique, and to continue dreaming. Perhaps they may also inspire you.

Today's inspirations are by TaraBacci:

Amelia by TaraBacci

This necklace with a huge ruby teardrop, tiny pink topaz rondells, rhodolite garnets, and amazing silver wirework makes me imagine wearing it with a simple floor-length sheath-style gown. It's a totally different style, but could it work with the dress in the next photo?

Of course, for me to wear this dress I should be at least eight inches taller and a few pounds lighter.

The next inspirational item by Tara is equally dreamy and I don't think it would be too over the top to add it to the ensemble:

Venetian Laguna by TaraBacci

This amazing cuff has a base of crocheted fine silver wire supporting silver wirework in various gauges of silver wire. For a list of the gemstones nested in the intricate wire embellishment click on the link and read the artist's description.

Oh, and I found the perfect dance shoes to complete the outfit:

Now I am imagining that I look like Audrey Hepburn. And that the dance I am attending is in Venice. Gotta go--my gondola's here!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dreaming of Tango Shoes

The only thing better than a ruby slipper reverie is to dream about tango shoes, especially the sexy red ones.

Or dancing tango in red light:

Tango fashion is just as much fun as tango dancing, and tango shoes are a key element in a milonguera's wardrobe. Would that my middle-aged feet could still wear some of these sexy stilettos which are often found in 3 1/2 to 4 inch heel heights.

A good tango shoe, with a very high heel placed straight at the very rear of the foot bed really helps you to maintain the forward position that is characteristic of Argentine tango. This shoe is different from a traditional ballroom shoe in which the shoe's heel is placed in a central position under your heel and in which the heel is not usually as tall.

I can wear 3-inch heeled tango shoes, if they are well padded and fit my feet perfectly, for about an hour and a half. Then I start walking like a sailor on shore leave because my feet ache so much. This is a serious limitation to taking intensive tango workshops. Nevertheless, a girl can dream!

(Even milongueros can have this dream.)

If you would like to dream of dancing tango in sexy shoes, here are some Comme Il Faut tango shoes featured in a video that will show you the allure of a night spent dancing tango.