Sunday, December 26, 2010

frolic architecture of the snow

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,Seems nowhere to alight: the whited airHides hill and woods, the river, and the heaven,And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosedIn a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermoreFurnished with tile, the fierce artificerCurves his white bastions with projected roofRound every windward stake, or tree, or door.

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he for number or proportion.
Mockingly, On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hiddden thorn;Fills up the famer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gateA tapering turret overtops the work.

And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished ArtTo mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,The frolic architecture of the snow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Snowstorm
1835 [1841]

On Christmas night snow came, a ticklish, caressing kind of snow. The kind that brushes your cheek for a moment, before settling down to melt into your skin, crystalline flakes catching the light, catching the wind, swirling and sparkling like tiny shards of glass glitter through the trees. Overnight the snow built it's crystal castles and offered it's wild creation up to the day, but as quickly as the sky built this frolic architecture, with equal speed it starts to melt away.

(Amy's depiction of our Merry Merrick Christmas is so sweet, give it a read!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Just north of the famous Brussels flea market, Jeu De Balle, we found this little shop...



Modes is a costume designers wonderland, frothing over with antique textiles and museum quality vintage. Amy and I stocked up on pretty tortoise shell hair barrettes and handmade lace.

Hamleau de la Reine

The Queen's Hamlet on the grouds of the Petit Trianon, at the palace of Versailles









It must be nice to have your own little weekend palace, on the grounds of your royal palace, and if your weekend palace starts to feel too stuffy, just build a farmhouse in an imaginary Swiss hamlet in your back yard, so you can feel like your faraway in your own magic kingdom fairytale.

I can't blame Marie Antoinette... I want to live here too.






I imagine girls in feathery hats, high collars and button up boots eating macaroons and sipping coffee in this very same shop, one hundred years ago. Everything is perfectly maintained. Parisians do not seem to suffer from the neurotic need to update and remodel that which is already beautiful.

Friday, December 3, 2010



Le marche aux puces de Saint-Ouen... antique Lido or Mulan Ruge costumes

These vintage costumes most likely graced the stage of the Lido cabaret.



SDC13638 copy


Being that I was a somewhat strange child, playing alone in the woods in old ballet costumes, sequin tiaras, and vintage rhinestone necklaces, not to mention prairie dresses, hooded capes, Indian princess costumes and folkloric hippie dresses, all from my prized trove of goodwill dress-ups, was an every day sort of activity. Thanks be to my mother, who's hippie goddess sensibilities indulged my imaginative endeavors.
To be honest, I've never grow out of this phase. My closet looks more like a costume stock than a wardrobe. When I went to pack for this trip, I had to imagine what a sensible person (who didn't want to be cold while traveling through Europe) might look like. I tackled the project in full costume designer mode, hitting the thrift stores to create a simple warm wardrobe... so that I wouldn't end up hauling a colossal mishmash of flowing fairy dresses, fringed vests, flimsy footwear, and all the imposable impractical articles of dress of which my closet is mainly comprised. Think I did alright... one pair of black boots, one pair of wool pants, one pair of jeans, two dresses, three sweaters, a few tee shirts and undershirts, leggings, tights, wool socks, a coat, a scarf, gloves and a hat. Everything fit into one carry on. I selected my items based on a neutral color scheme instead of fit, so all the pieces could be mixed and matched, and then got creative with the sewing machine to bring things down to size. It was all very practical... not my normal mode of operation when it comes to my wardrobe. It's funny that my job is sort of like playing dress up with other people but I go about it in a much more organized way. It was nice to "costume" myself with the same sort of order I try to bring to my work.

All this being said, I found no lack of fuel for the creative imagination through out our travels... clothes to tickle my fancy for impossibly frivolous and painfully beautiful. The pictures above are vintage costumes from the Lido cabaret for sale at the Puces de Sant-Ouen flea market. As you can see from our Paris Top-Ten on Amy's Apple a Day, this flee market was not our top pick due to it's prohibitive priceyness, it was still worth a look for inspiration.

Thankfully, for me, this store was closed. The feathered fabulousness was only within reach of my imagination, so I was spared the temptation to add a rhinestone bra and matching head piece to my wardrobe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's really rare for Amy and I to have time off at the same time. Usually one or the other of us is up to our noses in some kind of project and can't get away. We have barely been in the same state for more than two week's time in a any given year since 1998! That's why we jumped at the opportunity to travel together. Who could be a more perfect travel buddy... We have similar interests, and we know each other inside out, the good, the bad, (and the tired and hungry) and still get along. It's one of the main reasons this trip was so special for me. Yes, I am thrilled, inspired, and culturally enriched by my experiences, no question, but it added an extra dimension of specialness to share these memories with my sister.

Paris at last!


All employees of the international resort where I worked (as a costume designer and performer for the better part of last year) are required to wear a name badge. This badge details with little flags your country of origin and the languages you speak... my tag shamfuly displayed four little American flags. You can imagine the teasing I had to endure as I would sit down to dine with well traveled Parisian guests... "And what do you think of Paris?" they would ask. "Oh you've never been? never been to Europe?? An American girl who speaks only English and had never been to Europe... How typical." No matter that I've visited thirty seven of the US states, five provinces of Canada and twice traveled to Central America, this did nothing to ease my feelings of worldly inadequacy. A trip to Europe seamed to be an important rite of passage that I somehow missed along the way. Everyone had a good laugh, including me (and I silently vowed to correct this situation as soon as possible.)




So now it's done! I've been to Europe, on the first of what I hope will be many adventures.
and I can answer when asked that "Paris is unmatched in it's graceful refinement and delicate beauty" Just what the french want to hear... and also very true.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...