Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dawn Treader Concept Art!

Do you ever have a piece of trivia that just gets under your skin and rubs and chafes? Something you really want to know or remember, but no matter how hard you try, your Google-fu fails you and the answer is elusive? Well, that was my predicament after I watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We always meant to go see that movie in the theater, but wound up watching it for the first time on BluRay at home (which I think was an even better idea, as the movie *really* translates well to BluRay). When the Pevensies first come aboard the Dawn Treader, and Caspian takes them into his State Room, I was dizzy with admiration. I even did a blog post about it. But what I wanted to know most of all was...who did those gorgeous wall murals in the room?

Finally, almost a year to the day (BluRay was released April 8, 2011) after I asked myself the question, I got an answer. This morning in the library, I was pulling the book request list, and one of the items requested was a picture book from the movie Prince Caspian. The art in the book was beautiful, and I thought "let me just google this artist's name, just on the off chance that he's the mural artist I'm looking for." Well, he wasn't. But he has a wonderful blog where he shares tidbits of his work, and he was a conceptual designer on the Narnia films. He *did* design much of the State Room, including furniture and hardware, etc. And on his post about his work in that room, he mentions the answer to my elusive question.

The wall murals are painted by Min Yum.

Further exploration of his blog yielded many more conceptual drawings of details from Dawn Treader that might have gone unnoticed while watching the film. Especially since they never did do any sort of behind the scenes or art-of book for Dawn Treader, unlike the first two films.

Don't be surprised if I someday return to this film in a blog post, as the interior design in the film (the Dawn Treader, the Magician's island home, etc) are just sublimely Domythic. But here at least is a small tidbit to inspire.

You really must look at all of Jeremy Love's Amazing posts.

Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 1
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 2
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 3
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 4
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 5
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 6
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 7
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 8
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 9
Jeremy Love Dawn Treader concept art post 10
(Post 7 is the most amazing of all to me)

Epic Domythic Bell Jar epicness.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Useful and Beautiful

This gorgeous print can be found at the V&A Shop.

Well, I'm about out of crafts for the time being, but since spring is a time of cleaning and decluttering your home and life, as well as a time of creation and newness, I thought we could talk a little about getting rid of some of the excess in our homes.

Personally I love a slightly cluttered-looking "Cabinet of Curiosities" look, and my own collection is still in its growing phase, rather than its "paring back and getting rid of excess" phase. But as someone (I can't recall who!) on the Facebook group pointed out, Domythic decorators are often prone to collecting and over-stuffing their houses with lovely things. How do we pare it all down? find the solution one only has to look as far as the Grand Master of all things Aesthetic, William Morris. Not a single book on home decluttering, and very few books on home decoration, fail to include his most famous quote somewhere in its pages. And here it is.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

This motto is not only lovely to read, but it quite thoroughly sums up an entire philosophy by which we can explore our homes and choose what to discard and what to keep. It's very straightforward, but I still think we can glean a little by a line-by-line closer examination.

"Have nothing in your houses"

William Morris' statement here is absolute. He isn't saying "have very little" or "Try not to have." His statement is a direct command, and one that brooks no room for leeway. William Morris lived his life by the philosophy that if you want to learn about something or do something, take it as far as it can go. He was a role model when it came to starting projects and seeing them all the way through rather than abandoning them. Of course he was only human, so there are some exceptions, but for the most part he lived more of a life than any five other men as far as how much he accomplished, learned, and did. It should not surprise us then that such a man found no room for a tepid statement. Have absolutely, positively *nothing* in your houses...

"that you"

William Morris gives the individual the responsibility for judgment in this situation. He could have easily adopted a more passive tone..."have nothing in your houses that is not useful or beautiful"...but instead he leaves it up to the homeowner to decide for him or herself where to draw the line in the sand. I really consider this aspect of the quote to be the most important...that Morris is telling us that taste and beauty are in large part an individual thing. Of course he was also saying this during a time when people would stuff their houses with the stereotypical objects of the day: stuffed peacocks and layer upon layer of tassled curtains covering up any light coming in from the windows, ornately carved furniture and frail teacups Morris would have crushed in his hand with a single distracted wave of his arm. None of these objects were of personal significance...the entire point was to fill one's house with objects to impress others. By emphasizing the word "you," William Morris was putting the importance of interior decoration on what the individual deemed lovely and useful, not society or conventional wisdom. But of course, we don't have this problem at all nowadays, do we?** This epidemic of styling our houses according to trends and public popularity rather than a personal aesthetic or artistic expression?

"do not know to be useful"

Here's an extremely important word as well. We aren't supposed to keep what we suspect might be useful, or what we think perhaps someday might come in handy. We are to keep what we *know* to be useful, present-tense. This is the piece of advice that is repeated time and time again in modern books on decluttering.

"or believe to be beautiful."

Again Morris emphasizes the importance of individual taste in the decision making process in one's home. But beyond that, the simple inclusion of this line into the directive indicates just how integral beauty is to our daily lives. For Morris, a man who was a huge inspiration to the Aesthetic movement, beauty was just as essential as usefulness in helping a person get through the basics of an every day life.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

Whole books have been written and haven't expressed the idea of what a home should be 1/100th as well as that simple sentence.

I'm absolutely in love with this photograph of Morris, found by my friend Kirsty of The Kissed Mouth.

**Link contains language some may find offensive

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Domythic DIY Compilation

How to transfer a photo to wood. I can imagine doing this on a more curvy wood-block and enhancing it with paint. The result could be quite Domythic.

Making miniature photo frames for extremely-cheap. I could definitely see little classical mythic artworks in here, added to an organic faerie cottage or somesuch.

This one's not an especially easy looking craft, but the results are lovely. Making a faux metal filigree frame from toilet paper tubes.

Faux stained glass tutorial.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Musing on Home Makeover Shows

For the past week or so, I've been relaxing in the late evening by surfing the internet and watching old episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Netflix streaming (thanks Kerry for the heads-up). Watching the episodes of QEFTSG makes me remember just how much I love home makeover shows. I haven't had cable in 12 years, so I don't get a chance to watch them often. When I do have cable access, I glut myself on hours and hours of home makeover shows. (I swear if we ever got cable, the television would never move from the HGTV channel) And sometimes when I see the incredible results (and all the fancy stuff the homeowners get for free) I have a pang of "oh...I wish I could be on one of those shows..." But then I I don't. And here's why.

-Nothing you have is good enough for the designers. And there's a reason for that. No one wants to watch a home makeover show where the designer just takes what's already in the room and moves it around for better flow. The public wants to see Big! Wow! Makeovers! So ironically, often the designer will poo poo items you may have in your room that are perfectly adequate or downright beautiful, just because they may not go with "their concept" of how the room should be. I watched a recent episode of Queer Eye where the guys at the beginning were mocking and laughing at the homeowner's stained glass window clings. In the big reveal, Thom pointed out that he had used the clings as color inspiration for the whole room (and left them up). Apparently they weren't so awful after all, huh? And speaking of which...

-The room that is created for you is one that intentionally appeals to the widest variety of audiences. This is public tv, honey. Creative canvas art projects are brought in that are just giant blocks of color on a newly striped wall. Everything is generic, and very little is personal. Now, some designers do a better job than others of trying to incorporate your feedback into the new space. Thom Filicia from Queer Eye usually takes the guy on a shopping trip to explore what he wants in the new space. But even these segments drive me batty, because it's obvious how they steer the homeowner toward the products *they* want them to end up with.

-Quirky and whimsy are mostly thought of as four letter words. My husband and I have a Geek Room in our house. We keep our computers, DVD collections, and gaming consoles in there. And our theme to the room is...Spider-man. What childless grown-ups would have an entire room of their house devoted to Spider-man? Ones that haven't lost their sense of whimsy, that's who. But most home makeover shows cringe at the idea of including anything in the new space that will make it seem silly or lighthearted.

-You sometimes have no say in what they do to your house. Sure, sometimes (like on the Queer Eye episode I watched the other night) the designer will pay for new chair railing, wood beams, and leaded glass doors to be installed in your room. But then sometimes, the designer will decide to try out a new paper bag faux finish technique that involves gluing hundreds of crumpled bags to your wall. And then if you hate it, you have to spend hours and HOURS getting the room back to normal afterward.
Imagine trying to undo this...

Sometimes I may pull my hair out at the way that my obsessively design oriented brain looks at a space in my house and just knows it's "not quite right" yet, without knowing quite how to fix it. But learning how to find the answers for ourselves is how we manage to keep our spaces personal. Sure it's an easy quick fix to have an expert show you how to divide your strangely shaped living room into three separate comfortable seating arrangements, but where's the pride in knowing you eventually sorted it out on your own? I believe that the energy of a home that has been decorated and built-up by the heart and hands of the owner is quite different than the energy of a home that has been decorated by a professional, no matter how hard they try to make it seem personal. I believe that energy translates into the comfort level and enjoyment of the home not only by the people who live there, but also anyone who visits the house.

So no. You'll never see me on a home makeover show. I prefer to stay a hot mess all by myself, and learn as I go, thank you very much.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dollar Store Apothecary Jars

Tonight's Domythic DIY is one I shared in the Facebook group a while back, but perhaps some of you missed it. It's a method for making Apothecary jars using items from the dollar store for next to no cost!

Here are the instructions.

Here's a blog from someone who found a way to make them even cheaper by using a less expensive wooden finial painted metallic.

Even less expensive, here's a version that can be done for $2 with two items from the dollar store:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Inexpensive Moroccan Lantern DIY

Tonight's Domythic DIY is another one I found a while ago and have been wanting to try, but haven't had the chance to yet. But what a fun idea it is for an outdoor party.

Spaghetti sauce jar Moroccan lanterns

A couple of beautiful painted jars from Etsy seller LitDecor.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Embossing Velvet

Tonight's craft is embossing velvet. While sorting through some old Martha Stewart Christmas magazines to discard at the library, I came across an article detailing how to emboss velvet leaves to use for making Christmas wreaths and runners. Of course velvet leaves have about a trillion year-long uses in a Domythic home too.

But beyond creating leaves, you can emboss velvet and use it for pillow covers, curtains, blankets...any and all fabrics needed around the home.

A botanical rubber stamp set available on Etsy would work great for this. The seller has other stamps that would work great too.

Another great article detailing how to emboss velvet is here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shadow Box from the Dollar Store

Whenever I ask for feedback about Domythic Bliss, one thing that is often brought up is the desire for more advice on how to decorate in a Domythic way that's affordable. I also have a lot of people ask for more D.I.Y. posts. There's an added challenge to these two requests, and I've mentioned it a time or two already...Domythic style is all about creativity and individuality. Therefore, it's difficult to do a post on affordable decor when much of what you can find that fits the bill will be obtained through garage sales and antique stores (and are one-of-a-kind). And of course it's challenging to do D.I.Y. posts when the most Domythic of the D.I.Y. projects are ones that are quite open to individual expression and putting your own mark on a project. (A perfect example of this is Windling Trees...we have a whole forest of trees forming from blog readers and artistic minds who are painting trees on their walls, but each one has its own character and style)
But I'll try!

So I wanted to start a series on Domythic Crafts. Most of these crafts may not seem very Domythic at first glance, but the important thing is to keep your mind open when looking at crafting sites and projects. Today's craft is one I first saw in the book called The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2. Almost all of the crafts were very colorful, quirky, and modern-art-esque, but this particular craft idea struck me as extremely versatile and potentially useful.

This craft works well for a Domythic home because there are so many potentials for narrative items to put into a shadow box! Create a multi-level diorama from pictures cut from a fairy tale book. Or follow Bryony Whistlecraft's brilliant lead and create an "Evidence of Faerie" display utilizing local magical items you find. Gather your materials and put them in this shadow box made exceedingly affordable.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hobbit Library

Two posts in one night, but when a friend of a friend linked to this post about the phenomenal 600 square foot Hobbit library, I had to share.

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Hobbit House traditional living room

Hobbit House traditional home office

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Hobbit House traditional exterior

Additional picture resource 1
Additional picture resource 2

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Save Faerie Cottage

Thanks to Jodie Frasier for posting the link to the Save Francesca's Faerie Cottage blog. I had heard only a short summary of the well-known teen author, Francesca Lia Block, and her struggles to save her home from possible foreclosure due to mistakes and irresponsible action on the part of Bank of America, her mortgage company. This blog goes into much more detail including a timeline of what Francesca has been through, and a link to a petition to sign to try to get the attention of the bank to give her the assistance she should be receiving.

Francesca's home is called the Faerie Cottage, and in her letter on the blog, she writes:

I have been in the Faerie Cottage for almost five years. Here is where you have come to share cupcakes and read your stories and laugh and cry. Here is where my children play and snuggle and sing and where my dog barks at you one second and the next is kissing your face. Here is a mermaid bathroom, an apricot tree with tiny pink blossoms, a pond with purple flowers, a jacaranda that I planted, roses tall as a man in spring, a pot of mung beans and rice on the stove, my father’s paintings, my mother’s books, lots of little goddess statues and other charms from you, my friends and readers. My kids can walk to their school, which is great since my ability to drive is getting more and more uncertain (due to the loss of most of the vision in one eye due to a perforated retina and the cataract in the other). Their friends are also within walking distance. It is a safe, lovely neighborhood with a park and a library nearby. I planned on living here until I died, in my bedroom overlooking the garden with my children on either side of me, and everything would be okay. All the heartache and pain and stress would be worth it if I could own this home and pass it on to my kids.

I don't get "political" very often, but this is pretty much the epitome of what Domythic Bliss is about...a mythic space by a fantastical author. And now that bliss is threatened. Please check out the blog and consider signing the petition.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrate the First Day of Spring

Image source

Signed etching by Isabel Saul

Froudian creatures by Wendy Froud enjoying the daffodils.

LinkA field of daffodils from the movie Big Fish.

It's the first day of spring! Here in Ohio, and apparently in many other places as well, spring came early as temperatures rose to the mid-60s to mid-70s two weeks ago. As I drove to work this morning, I noticed all the daffodils in bloom (they began opening a few days ago). The Hellebore in front of my house has exploded with large saucer-size dark purple blooms, and the bushes behind the library are dotted with pink buds. The Forsythia in the neighborhood is a tumble of yellow, and my lilac has begun to bud with green. Spring seems to know that today is a special occasion, and she twirls her earthen skirt for all to see, with a flash of pink here and yellow there.

Last year, in my first warm months as a home owner, I discovered quite quickly that I absolutely adore gardening. Therefore, in advanced warning, my posts will become more and more garden-centric as the weather warms and the yard beckons. But after all, there is very little quite as mythic as a garden.

So, spring has sprung! To celebrate, here are a few ideas...

-Grow something from seeds.

This year, I am trying this for the first time since I was a little girl with a styrofoam cup and a trowel of dirt. Three days ago I bought a seed-starting plastic terrarium and planted 30 Hollyhock seeds, and 6 Morning Glory seeds. Now the little divisions of dirt are sitting in a south-facing window, and all I can do is keep the soil moist and wait. I am exceedingly excited to see the seedlings make their way from the potting mixture and grow into small plantlings large enough to replant outside.

For a lover of magic and myth, there is an added step to the process beyond impressing a hole, dropping in seeds and watering the soil. I would advise you also ask the faeries and/or spirits of your home to watch over the plants and flowers you are growing from seed. Green and growing things are kin to fey, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask them to add their energy and enthusiasm to the growing process. Surround your seed pots with crystals and other enticing objects, and be sure to express your appreciation for any help they can provide. (But of course, do not thank must never thank a faerie)

-Cut a few daffodils and bring them inside.

If you have daffodils in your yard, even if they have only begun to bloom, cut one or two of them to bring inside to celebrate the first day of spring. If you don't have daffodils, try to find something that has begun growing and tend to it in its own space. Talk to it, clear the weeds and crumbled leaves from around it. Focus on the beauty of new life in spring.

-Plan your garden even if you can't yet plant your garden

Even the most experienced of gardeners know that there is new planning to be done every year. If you live in an apartment, think of what herbs you could plant in a windowsill. If you live in a basement apartment with no natural light at all, try succulents, cactus, or imagine ways you can infuse a touch of plant life into your decor (painted vines? A large garden artwork?) Or if you have a home, think of a few new areas where the earth can be tilled for new flower beds.

-Create a seasonal space in your home

We've seen Bryony's beautiful example of a seasonal mantle above her living room fireplace. Set aside a space in your home to celebrate the beauty of the current season. Blow the yolks from eggs and decorate them with natural dyes or paint. Add the daffodils you picked. Find whatever it is that makes you smile about the current season, and celebrate it.

And it should go without saying...take down those dried and browning evergreen boughs. ;)

-Open a window

There are so many symbolic ways to freshen up your house for spring (and I hope to talk about Domythic spring cleaning soon), but there is no easier way to literally give your home a breath of fresh air than to open up a few windows. Let the sheers billow out in the breeze coming from the back yard. Watch your cat as he sniffs the air with his eyes closed from the windowsill.

-Buy one new thing for your house

If, like me, you have a tendency to prefer jewel tones and dark colours, try to buy one new thing for your house to lighten it up. This could just mean buying a tulip in a pot for your windowsill (yes, plants again) or a throw pillow with Art Nouveau flowers on it. I'm currently searching for a new bed set to put on our bed in warmer months that will be more cheerful and light.

-Hang windchimes

I know not everyone feels this way, but I absolutely love the sound of windchimes. Their merry tinkle (or as I prefer it, deep and resonant gong) signifies that weather is warming and spring is here. There is no ancient lore to back up this idea, but I do believe the faeries are drawn to windchimes as well. In our old apartment, I painted a faerie by our patio door named Saoirse who held chimes in her hand. Every time the chimes on our patio would sound, we knew Saoirse was making herself known.

-Clean up your faerie spaces

If you have any circles of pebbles in your flower beds devoted to the faeries, or beds of moss where they especially like to lie, clean them up. Straighten any stones that might have been moved aside in the cold months. Reaffix the tiny wooden doors to the bases of the trees where they reside. Faeries may not hibernate, but they certainly rejoice in the return of spring as we do, and deserve our celebration and acknowledgement.

There are so many more ways to celebrate spring and the return of warm weather and longer daylight hours. Go for a walk, play a beautiful song through the open window while you sit on your patio or porch, start a new artistic project in celebration of all the creation and new life around you. It all boils down to this: whatever you do, don't go through life, or this changing season, with your eyes closed to the beauty of the world and the miracle of your every day.

Oh, and buy The Muppets.

Monday, March 19, 2012

House Buses

The series of Domythic mobile houses ends today! I want to close with some house buses.

Sam and Pat's Bus. Wow!

This is a gorgeous house bus owned by "Grace."

More house buses like the above two are at this link.

Image Source

Janus, David Shane Odom's bus from years ago, holding many fond memories.

I would be remiss not to mention Jake's school bus conversion...a Victorian Steampunk piece of magnificence.

It's an Airstream, not a bus, but I can't end my Domythic rolling homes without sharing Magnolia Pearl's Airstream.