I had the wonderful pleasure of teaching 8 women how to make marionettes recently! The birthday girl chose a black and white theme, and most of the marionettes followed suit. Thank you Lana, and Birthday wishes for a whole year!!! More photos HERE!
Very special guests are arriving at 'Mouse Castle' from near and far! Little Miss Plum Blossom, carried in a silk ribboned golden cart, came through the 'Mouse Castle' gates today. Known for her delicate and pale beauty, lovely eyes and near perfect manners, she is now resting in preparation for the big day on friday.
Please come and welcome Plum Blossom and all her other Mouse Friends on Friday November 9th.
Opening Celebration will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. but the shop will be open at 10:00 am.
Only 3 more days until 'Mouse Castle' in unvailed. The Prince of the Castle is seen here looking over his domain. It's the final touches that are being added now... Mouse Domain flags are being hung, silver towers are being polished, lots and lots of stairs are being swept, and cheese, cheese, and more cheese is being cut and placed on platters. Little feet are scurrying every which way, so that everything will be perfect when the Castle gates open this Friday.
Special Opening with spectacular displays, bubbly, hot cider, treats and 25% off Friday November 9th from 5:00 to 7:00
Little Millie Mouse can't wait for the 'Mouse Castle' gates to open! She's borrowed her mothers shoes and filled her handbag with edible goodies in anticipation of the big day! Now if only she could walk without tripping every two steps...
MOUSE CASTLE will open November 9th, 2012, at CASTLE IN THE AIR, in Berkeley, California!
Looks who peeking through one of the 'Mouse Castle' windows. Non other than John McRae! A passel of mice, John and I have been crazy-busy working on getting this years 'Mouse Castle' ready for Christmas. So many little details to be taken care of! Parapets to construct, Garderobe's to clean, Crenellations to mount, and Solar's to furnish! Only two more weeks until the 'Mouse Castle' gates open!
What hangs in the 'Mouse Castle' kitchen? Why - Sugar-plums, Ripe Chestnuts, Sweet Radishes and Peaches - of course! Cook is furiously mixing, stirring and tasting, getting everything ready for the holidays! Mouse tea is brewing and itty bitty crackers are drying. Sweet corn is being shucked and wheat plucked. A feast is on the menu and every mouse whisker in the Castle is wiggling in delicious anticipation!
All eyes were focused heavenwards this afternoon, when a very special delivery was made here in Berkeley! A winged troop of elephants carrying the teenyest, tiniest little baby mice - (sent by slipper post no less) arrived at the 'Mouse Castle' gates. You can imagine the excitment on such a momentous occassion! Little feet scurryed every which way - so much work to be done - cribs to be laid, bottles warmed and diapers cleaned and hung. A new generation has arrived and celebration is needed!!!
The word is spreading - deep discussions are happening in under-lit and secret corners. "What are the 'Mouse Castle' towers made of?", "Who is the special guest from the far east?", "Will there be a dungeon?" and most importantly, "What kind of cheese will they serve?"
Few know that there is a thriving and growing underground society of furry creatures busy at work here in Berkeley. In the wee hours, when the harvest moon hides behind the trees, little mice quietly scour the local neighborhoods -scrounging, hunting, borrowing and acquiring all kinds of wonderful found objects to use on their current master project. Nothing will go to waste - building a 'Mouse Castle' takes time, creativity, and many little hands worth of help!
November 9th will be the official unvailing of Christmas at Castle in The Air. Please Join Us!
Despite being a bit hard of hearing, and having sore bones when the weather is cold, FRUNELLA continues to be the official 'Mouse Castle' seamstress. Not a day goes by when her little studio isn't filled to the brim with projects to be cut, sewn and mended. Her proper Scottish upbringing dictates her work ethics; stiff tea in the morning, black please, 3 hours of sewing with soft cheeze nibbles on the side. Work until dusk, when singing and dancing commences and she can admire her finished work from a comfortable chair. Ahhhh - such is a mouses life!
Come join us on November 9th, when Christmas officially begins at CASTLE IN THE AIR, in Berkeley, California!
A friend of mine recently asked me if I collect anything. I smiled and rattled off a half dozen of my favorite collections. She then asked me, "Are you a temporary collector or a lifetime collector?" I was completely taken aback. There's a difference I asked? Yes, temporary collectors collect until they 'have enough' of something and then stop and go on to the next collection. But a lifetime collector focuses on one item her entire life - for example someone who only collects dolls, or postage stamps or model trains. I am in the first group, a temporary collector who dabbles in lifetime collecting.
As a child, traveling the world with very limited space, I collected postage stamps. I remember loving the thrill of finding a new stamp that I had never seen and sticking it into my album with those wonderful little double sided glassine hinges. But even then, I was more interested in how pretty the stamp was, then in the value of it. If there was a choice of one valuable stamp from England or 5 glorious gold and silver foil stamps from Africa with little or no value, the foiled stamps won hands down! My father was a stamp collector as a child too. And like me, his eye ruled his collection, as he cut off those 'offending ragged edges' on each and every stamp he owned, promptly de-valuing anything he collected.
Other collections followed me through my younger years as well; foreign folk dolls, postcards, antique scrap, and teacups - now lovingly stored in my garage or studio. Back then it was the attraction of having something pretty to keep, something that I could search for when out and about with my parents. Something that I could call all my own.
So what drives me today? I realize that I like how things look in multiples. They say if you have 3 or more of something then you have a collection. If that's true, I must have hundreds! But seriously, I do have quite a few collections that number more than 3 - and just as many of 'only 3'. Like a child again, I sometimes gaze at them and count! Why is that? Deep down I know it's not the number that interests me as much as the looks and appeal of the items. I never add something to my collection just to 'have one more'. Or is that true? What about my feathers that I posted about yesterday? True, I do leave the ratty and dirty feathers or the ones that are just too tiny where I found them, but all the others get pocketed.
The collections that decorate my home now, and there are many, have to look good as a group when I display them. If there isn't room for another, I stop that collection. There I've said it...
I have been known to weed out parts of a collection for something better when found, but it doesn't happen very often. Like my friend said, I am a temporary collector, and I move on to something else. But beyond this, what I collect has to pull at my heart-strings and fulfill some kind of nostalgic need buried deep down in my soul. I collect for memories. Memories of loved ones past, or experiences remembered. Good memories, Romantic memories, Soft - Gentle memories and even Imagined memories. I own quite a few 'Inherited' collections. I wouldn't have hung the plates in my kitchen, if they were not hand painted by my grandmother when she was losing her eyesight. The tiny purses in my bedroom, recently given to me by my mother, are filled with memories of her finding them, once buried in my childhood consciousness - but now out for public display.
I love the search as much as the display. Researching and discovering, learning more about something's history is important to me today. Thrifting and antiquing makes me swoon! Secretly I like to find things to fall in love with that I hope no one else has discovered yet - which of course never happens, except in my imagination. I also love Thematic collections geared around holidays, moods, and fairytales.
I have a dear friend whose home is a serene oasis. Everything chosen for its beauty and line. It is filled with lots of empty space, plenty of blank walls. I love visiting her, but I couldn't live in her home. A blank wall, for me, is a giant invitation - fill me with something - a collection! My friend will look, research and wait for that 'perfect' item to add to her 'collection'. I was not gifted with that patience! Plus how can I pass by a doll who is missing one shoe, has a vertical crack down her face and hair that looks like it was washed in the creek outside??? Collections tell us so much about who we are, I thrill at discovering what my friends covet and hoard.
I collect to feed my soul. What do you collect and why?
(photos of my current ongoing collection of Chinese baby hats - 27 in all - and composition Chinese dolls - 32 and counting)
A summers worth of feathers sit in a corner of our living room. I try to walk my muppets twice a day, a quick little walk in the morning, and a longer lingering walk late in the afternoon. The muppets are constantly on the search for neighborhood cats, squirrels, and new scents, and I look for feathers. Its truly amazing to me that within a 5 block radius we have such a variety of feathered friends living here. Looking at my stash is like viewing the worlds wonderful variety - but in miniature! Crows, Doves, Robins, Bluebirds, Songbirds, and even a friendly Macaw who gets to go outside on a regular basis, are represented here. As the days get shorter, my finds are fewer. Perhaps its time to start looking for acorns instead...
I was recently gifted this wonderful 'Heart Token' - Thank You Lana!!! Covered in black velvet, and beaded with what looks like an anchor and flowers, it has a surprise on the inside! Open it up and there are tiny little precious scraps glued to handcut paper hearts. It is truly delightful and precious (3 inches in length) and I am hoping to create a class inspired by it!
I also recently aquired my own WW1 'Sweetheart Pincushion' on ebay. I was surprised by the weight of it, being stuffed with sawdust. It is also larger than I had imagined, about 6 inches in width. The beading is bold and covers the entire pillow. My pincushion classes have been so fun and inspiring, I can't wait to create a new version.
Oh how time flies! I've just posted a few of my summer classes on the sidebar. I'm especially excited about my Sea Dragon Fabric Bracelet, (Class On July 1st) pictured above and below. Inspired by my 'Dragon Familiar that I posted about HERE, this one is a tiny dragon or serpent, easier to wear and oh so fun! I need to get a photo of it on, they are quite wonderful. I added a bit of elastic under their heads, so they perch on your hand as you wear them!
Spring was filled with wonderful classes including a Rabbit Theatre, Dressed Figures, and Waxed Flowers... My last class of this session will be 'Cake Toppers' (Class is full) to be held at the Castle!