Friday, August 22, 2014

Describing Your Home


Lately I've been thinking about words and the power they have to transform the way you see the world around you.  Finding out an object's or person's story and background are part of the appeal, but there's also just a certain response we have to the words themselves....reading an object described in an appealing way.

I'm sitting at my library desk looking at a small vase of Black-Eyed Susan flowers a coworker brought in and set on the work table.  Lovely as they are, my eyes don't focus on them, but if I were to write a little paragraph describing their yellow arched petals and dark centers facing up toward the fluorescent light, I would somehow see them differently.  The very process of writing about something is alchemical.  It transforms the object.

I've begun incorporating this rumination into my life in different ways: I'm working on a little list of simple paragraphs describing our library's most endearing and fascinating patrons who come in daily.  For no further reason than just to celebrate their characters.  I've decided to start writing short creative fiction pieces based on the modeling shots I've taken over the last few years.  My claim with the photos I'm involved in is that I like to take shots that tell a I'm going to start telling those stories (I'm working on a personal website hub that will lead to all my creative endeavors, including this blog, my modeling, and those stories among much more). 

The final way I've tried to incorporate this awareness of the power of description is by writing a short piece simply describing my own home.  And guess what?  Here's where you come in.  I started the below piece of writing just to see how writing a description of my home, as if it were for a story, would make me feel.  And the result was wonderful!  I saw and appreciated the place in a whole new way!  I only described the exterior of the building and the gardens, but everything magically transformed to be more charming, more enchanting. 

You really should try it!  And if you do, I'd LOVE to see the results, either here or on the Domythic Bliss Facebook group!

Here's mine:

                The little house known as Catty-Corner Cottage lives up to its name from the first moment you see it.  Not only is it located quite literally on the catty-corner of two streets, but it is a cozy little white Cape Cod cottage, surrounded by a frame of profuse flowers and shrubs.  The neighborhood is charmingly old-fashioned: All the neighbors, mostly older retirement-age couples, look out for each other and will even occasionally have a neighborhood picnic, bringing together pie, barbecue, and gossip.  It is simultaneously an entirely ordinary community and marvelously rare.  And right in the center of it all stands Catty-Corner Cottage. 
A well-kept sidewalk darts a direct line up to a small front stoop.  Evergreens planted in twin urns frame a wooden door painted a rich plum color.  Tucked to either side of the steps are large pots of lavender that sooths the senses.  Below both of the sets of windows that face the street, white flower boxes painted with plum-colored scrollwork overflow with petunias in a mix of purple, red, and plum colors.  Twin arborvitaes stand tall and narrow, guarding either corner of the front flower gardens.   As you walk around the side of the house, tall spires of Hollyhocks in shades of pink and red flash their ruffled blooms at you, vibrant against the white siding.  The back yard is set off from the street by a white picket fence.  An arbor arches above the side gate, covered in thickly twining bean vines dotted with small scarlet blooms. 
                Open the gate, step through into more gardens.  To your right is a patio of antique bricks with an inviting flower patterned umbrella shading an iron table and chairs.  The patio is framed by cheerful yellow daylilies on two sides, and with a tall lilac bush on the corner.  A cat gargoyle sits by the lilac, facing out to the street to welcome guests or guard against intruders, depending on your intent.  To your left, running down the length of the garden fence line, there is a very long flower bed planted with dozens and dozens of different plants.  Raspberry vines twine along the fence slats, bushes of yellow and pink flowers mix among roses and spikes of Foxglove, Snapdragon and Coneflower, Sedum, Bee Balm, and Hosta.  
In the far corner of the yard, vivid green ferns capture your eye even in the shadows of a spreading Hawthorn tree, two glass lanterns dangling in its branches like jewels.  A beautiful tree, its branches twist in a pattern like the framework of an umbrella, sheltering a variety of small birds who swoop and sing to you from its branches. 
Under the shade of the same tree, a cheerful white painted wood and iron bench sits by the back gate, inviting you to sit at the bottom of the garden and look for the faeries disguised as tiny birds hopping among the dense branches above. 
Slowly and gently, the house and its small garden work their magic on you, and you can feel your worries and stresses melting away with the sun and gentle breezes.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Songs for Ophelia - A Review

Switching gears for a moment from domestic fantasy, I was recently lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy of Theodora Goss' new mythically inspired poetry collection, Songs for Ophelia.

I was impressed not only with the individual poems in the collection, but also how beautifully they all fit together as an overall narrative.  The poems are organized into the four seasons, and although you see the transformation of certain natural elements across the seasons, there is little to no repetition.  Some poems are canvases that capture a single moment in time, while others encompass entire lifetimes of fascinating characters.

My favorite poems in the collection all seemed to fit into the latter category, but I appreciated them all.  Poems like "The Witch" and "Shoes of Bark" beautifully explore the idea of the ages of womanhood, of motherhood and daughterhood, and how we weave magic with each other or have the ability to tear each other apart.  The poems are full of rich rich imagery, each one best experienced slowly so that it can be pondered and savored.

Theodora's technical prowess also quietly shines through...the quality of the meter and solidity of the structure of her poems is easy to forget when you get so caught up in the imagery she also provides, but it is nonetheless still there, like the sturdy spine of a dancer whose costume and movements distract us from her underlying strength.

I highly recommend this poetry collection.  Theodora Goss is one of those authors, unlike James Patterson or Nora Roberts, who takes her time to put out a truly priceless creation rather than churning out new materials for filler.  There is no filler in this collection, each poem shines like a jewel.  Pluck your own jewel today!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hansel and Gretel Kitchen

My friend Kellie recently posted to the Domythic Bliss Facebook group:

Hello all you crafty people out in Domythic world! I have a kitchen that I started decorating in a 'Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread' theme a couple of years ago,have not worked on it for a now geting little urges to add a few things,any one have any ideas,pictures off the web and websites,etc...that you could help with? Maybe some one out there in the group has this type of decorated kitchen

Well my brain was off and running, and before I knew it I had a bunch of images saved from Pinterest...I figured I might as well turn them into a blog post!

First there's the overt.  This store in Helen, Georgia is actually called Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen.  But how cute is that trim?  And you could have a sign like this made for your kitchen.

Or maybe this sign above instead....or in addition.

The below image...I love the idea of baskets hanging from the ceiling, from a rafter or even a faux beam.  And of course here's one of many examples of a large fireplace or cookstove.  It could be fun, if you are a fan of murals and wall paintings, to have a Trompe-l'œil fireplace painted on a kitchen wall.  

A rack for the Hansel & Gretel Witch's extra brooms, perhaps?

And of course what would a Hansel & Gretel Witch's kitchen be without gingerbread?  In this case, I mean the trim, which could be painted a rich burgundy or green for more cheerful color.

Which brings me to color...I definitely think the room should have very little if any white on the walls, maybe just some between wood beams on the ceiling.  But the walls should be warm, gingerbread-y colors, with trim and accents in richer shades of the colors of candy, like burgundy, rose, green, etc.  I love the subtle shades of warm browns and blues in this kitchen below.

And the yummy greens and blues of this cabinet.  Also, of course, hanging foodstuffs from the rafters.

Or even a delicious butter yellow. 

Folk art motifs and paintings would work perfectly I think.  After all, the witch has been in that cottage for many years.

I definitely picture various foodstuffs, supplies, and pots and pans hanging in the rafters.  If there are no rafters, hanging shelves in rich wood (with perhaps more gingerbread trim?) could work to hold supplies.


And if the Hansel & Gretel witch has a quote in her kitchen, I'm betting it would be this one.

I would recommend getting this book, and buying a cookbook stand to hold it open on the counter, for a touch of wicked whimsy:

Or even making your own more ancient-looking tome with a page open to a similar recipe.

And finally, since we ultimately know the kitchen is tongue-in-cheek, and you're truly a good witch and not a bad one, I recommend buying your kitchen witchery goods from Cucina Aurora, run by the most kind and skilled kitchen witch I know!