Friday, March 31, 2017

The 1883 Botanical Project

I was fortunate several years ago to acquire a huge Botanical Collection from 1883 from a Private Individual who had been related to the Man who Created them.  I J'Adore Botanicals and it's fine to get nice Prints or Etchings of them, but even better to get the Real Deal pressed Plants categorized and from 134 Years ago!!! 

There are well over 200 Specimen Pages in the Binder, but I had always intended to frame some and hang them on a few of my Home's Walls.   Deciding which Dozen or so would be chosen was an agonizing decision making Process since each is Unique and Beautifully done.  I finally got my Dozen Favs together for the beginning of The 1883 Botanical Project, long overdue.

There were numerous reasons it was long overdue, The Big Move... deciding which Simple Frames I'd use since The Botanical is the Star of the Show so I didn't want a Fancy Frame competing with it... finding enough of the right sized Frames once I decided which basic Floating Frame I wanted... going to several 'Michael's' Stores to procure enough of said Frames over several Months!

Each Botanical had been stapled into it's protective sleeve by the Original Family whose Great Grandfather Created the The Herbarium Collection.   His Name was Dr. William A. Tope and all of the Specimens were Collected in the Spring of 1883.  I can't remember which State, since I bought it from the Great Grandchild who lived out of State and was Selling it.  It may or may not have been from the State it was shipped from?

At the time I didn't Care since I was just Jazzed to get it, I'd been looking for Antique Botanical Specimens for years and they were usually too spendy and typically came out of Europe.   I paid less for this extensive Collection than most that only offered a half dozen Antique Specimens from Europe, so Color me Happy for getting such an incredible Bargain!  And from a Private Collection that had remained in the same Family from it's inception 134 years ago!

They were on a variety of Hues of Paper and so in choosing my Dozen to hang, I tried to select a variety of the background Papers to add Interest to the grouping.   Botany has always been Fascinating to me, the Scientific Study of Plants, including their physiology, structure, genetics, ecology, distribution, classification and economic importance is Intriguing and very important Work.

I wanted the matting to be very plain too and a simple Grey Cardboard looked nice, I mounted each Specimen with some of my Favorite Tim Holtz Washi Tissue Tape that has Butterfly Specimens printed on it.   Washi Tape doesn't damage things and I just Love it and use it a lot for a variety of Purposes.  I try to find Washi Tape that has Graphics I am drawn to as well, Tim Holtz Line of Washi Tapes is my absolute Fav Graphics.

I was only able, thus far, to procure 10 Frames of the size I needed, after exhausting every 'Michael's' Store Inventory in the West Valley!   I'm hopeful that the next time I'm in the East Valley I might pick up at least 4-6 more to finalize my 1883 Botanical Project.   Until I get the entire Dozen for this Room I'm not going to hang them yet.  A Smaller grouping will go in another Room.

And of coarse the balance of the Specimens will remain in their Binder, which I keep here in the Library Room.   I don't know yet how many I will eventually Frame and Display in various Rooms of New Villa Boheme', it seems a shame not to have them visible to Enjoy daily and better protected in Frames.

If we don't peruse the Binder too much they are protected in there just fine.  But bending such Old and Fragile Paper and Dried Plants can cause damage, so I'd like to Frame more of them eventually.   There is also a hand written Book that Categorizes all of the Specimens.

The Beautiful Penmanship of a Century and almost a half ago is in itself quite a Lovely Collection of Antique Ephemera.   This small Hand-Made and Hand-Written Book was an addition not often found when you buy Antique Botanicals that aren't a complete Collection.

The painstaking Work that went into Collecting all of these Specimens, Researching, Categorizing and Mounting them, Hand-Writing all of the Labeling of them and then Creating a Manual for the entire Collection was indeed a Labor of Love!  One that I want to Share, in part, to anyone who Visits our Home and will see those I've chosen to Frame and Display on our Walls.

The Appreciation of such Lost Arts is something I Cherish very much.  I would assume that Modern Botanists probably use more Convenient Methods to compile such Information?   I can only Imagine the Hardships involved in doing a massive Project like this 134 years ago, when the United States was a very different Landscape than Today and with no such conveniences or safety as we Enjoy now!!!   Thank You Dr. William A. Tope... for a Job well done!!!


Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Arrangement

The Arrangement around here is that I Love to Style but I Hate to Clean... so I couldn't wait to do my Arrangement of the New Display Case, even tho' there was a tonnage of housework laying about being procrastinated and retracted!  *LOL*  I was like a Kid with a new toy when I FINALLY got my Antique Barrister Bookcase to Display and Arrange my Cabinet of Curiosities and Oddities in, I couldn't wait to get to it... unlike said housework!  You see, I'm like that Kid that abhors Cleaning their room but will spend endless hours foofing random shit happily!  *Smiles*

So... said Case looks Awesome... rest of Home, not so much!  Tho' I did Clean the Hallway it's in, just to Stage the Photo Shoot to Reveal how far I've gotten in filling up the new Cabinet.   It's not done yet, I'll be arranging and rearranging things endlessly for a while until it finally comes together the way I like it best.   But for now you get the gist of what it will be Displaying of many years of Strange Stuff I like to Collect and Style our Home with.   I have never had a Curiosity Display that didn't attract Interest when anyone comes to visit, Humans basically have a Curious Nature.  How they Feel about the Strange Stuff will vary, but they will Feel something and that's the point!

I've said it numerous times before, but it has always been my Desire, since Childhood, to have a Home as Interesting and Fascinating as The Addams Family Sitcom Home.  So when I find anything Peculiar, Interesting or Macabre I usually pick it up if it's within budget.   Items in Nature and Botanical Specimens also Appeal to me strongly and I like Decorating with them too and adding them to the mix.

 Along with items that signify various Belief Systems of Mankind, which were always my earliest Collections, since Beliefs and Spirituality around the World are Fascinating and Interesting to me.  How Mankind Worships, relates to and interacts with the Spiritual World that we cannot see is evident in every Culture on the Planet.  I find this to be no mere coincidence and something I've sought to have more of a deeper Understanding of and mutual Respect for.

Speaking of Spirit, a Spirit Orb showed up in this Image right after I was done, Critiquing my Work perhaps?  *Smiles*  It hovered around the Cabinet for a while and was a bright enough one to be seen with the naked Eye, sometimes you can't see them but they'll Photograph nicely.   We co-exist with the Spirit World effortlessly, since I grew up to Respect it exists all around us.  Since both my Mother and Father's Cultures have Great Respect for the Essence that is Spirit, in Living Form or that which has Crossed Over to the other side, it's not unusual to us to sense Spirit presence and the Essence of a Living thing's Spirit as well.  That aspect too is Fascinating to me, how Cultural viewpoints have an impact upon how Individuals view Death, Spirit and any interactions with either.

Though we do have certain Rules to what is brought in and how any of it is used or Displayed, since I admit I was raised by very Superstitious people and thus I am Superstitious by upbringing and I rarely Questioned the Wisdom of my Elders about how to Respect the Spirit World.  Such as I do have a Collection of Vintage Spirit Boards, but no Planchette is brought into the Home ever and we don't fool around with contacting the Other Side or conjuring up stuff.   I don't take lightly that you can get into things ignorantly that can Create chaos and invite evil in... no such Invitations are extended.  I don't Freak people out quite as much as my Dear Old Mom used to, with her considerable Abilities, but she taught me a lot and it's Served me very well.

As a Family we've always been more Comfortable around the Macabre and the Unusual than the average person might be.   I have always strongly Connected to others who are too, we are mos def a Tribe of sorts.  If the Weird And Wonderful Appeals to you strongly, you are likely to get along very well with others who gravitate towards it too and find you have much it common beyond even that.   Amulets and Talisman Objects are something I Lived alongside all of my Life and it was Amusing to me when I discovered that so many others did not... who knew?   Needless to say, because we did, we were thought to be the Peculiar ones... and we were Okay with that.  *LOL*

I really like that our New Home has many Niches to Display various Collections and very wide Arched Hallways to put Furniture that lends itself to the Display of Styled and Curated Collections.   I know that for most people Hallways are a nuisance, but for me, I've always Loved a Home filled with Hallways, the wider and more maze-like the better!   We've had many Visitors turn in the wrong direction and get Lost in both our Old Historic Homestead and here at New Villa Boheme'!!  Because of how disorienting the various Hallways were as to what direction they were heading!?  *Smiles*  You should see someone's confusion when they realize they don't recall which Hallway they entered through and which Door leads back out?!   So they go down the wrong one and have to be Guided back.   *Winks*

It was the Quirky and yet ingenious flow, layout and Architecture of this Home that actually caused me to fall in Love with it and be able to Let Go of our Historic Property.   It wasn't Typical and I'd not seen any like it before, it was Uncommon... and of coarse I Like that better, right?!  *Winks*   Though I knew a New Build, unless it was completely Custom, would not be OOAK like our Old Historic Homestead, it could be Unusual enough to suit us, this fit the bill nicely. I also like how it Showcases my Possessions, those I've decided to Keep.

I liked that it had Sepia as the predominant Color Scheme too, so all of my things went very well here and it felt Warm and Inviting.   You wouldn't Believe some of the hideous Colors I'd seen predominating a lot of Homes when I was looking to buy a new one!!!  Yikes!!!  Even more off-putting to me than a completely White Colorless empty Home, since if every Wall is painted White it looks too stark and devoid of Personality or Character, so I couldn't leave it that way and would have to banish it, which would be too much Work to repaint an entire house right after a purchase!  *Smiles*  And now, since Grey is Trending, some have gone overboard with the predominance of Grey, especially with Home Flips.   I Love Grey if it's Tastefully done like an Old European Chateau, but if it's not done Well it can look very Cold and have an Institutional feeling. 

I do Love a good Jewel Tone and a Marrakesh Style Home too, but here in the Arizona Desert you don't find any Moorish Designed Homes, which is a pity, I'd like to have had that as an Option.   But I am totally at Home in a Santa Barbara Tuscan Inspired and Designed Home, I Love the Architectural Details of it and the Warm Tuscan Color Palette as well, it's Timeless and not Dated.  Don't you just laugh out loud when you see the Home Flip Shows and they walk into a Home that is very Dated and not in a Good way?   Some Eras were so Culturally Deprived or just plain Weird with what Trended during them, that it's a Bad Flashback and Trip to the Sins of the Past Architects that built them!  *LMAO*

I Love Old Homes and Historic Homes in particular, but 1965, the end of the Mid-Century Modern Era of Architecture, is my Cut-Off.  Since much after that was just hideous and Dated in a Bad way in my opinion and there's nothing redeeming about any of it.  I'd have to break out the sledgehammer and gut the whole thing if you gave me a Home from the 70's thru 90's!  *LOL*   And even most of the floor plans and Trends of Today just don't Move me in a Good way.  With the exception of Vintage Industrial Loft Style... me LOVES that!  There were entire areas I Loved but the Homes in them I just couldn't get past how underwhelmed I was with them... or had a downright aversion to how they were Designed on the Interior.   Many now had more Interesting Exteriors, often mimicking Lovely Historic Architectural Details... but then the Inside didn't match at all! Whattsup with that??!??!?!?

But I digress, back to foofing my Cabinet... I moved things in... then out again if I didn't think it looked just right...

And replaced it with something else... like the Skully swap on this shelf since I got anal about the Hue of the Skully better matching it's surroundings.  *Ha ha ha*   I actually still have the very bottom Cabinet now emptied out and void of anything because I haven't found anything I want housed there for a Display right now.   And the steady rotation of Collections in and out of this Display meant that other Furniture Displaying my Collections then expanded in the overall foof.   While housework still laid around as if it were invisible and I didn't notice it was still there.   *Smiles*   Today tho' I did start the Laundry, since the Family brought it into this very Hallway in baskets just so I wouldn't Miss it! Just how can you when it's blocking the entire Hallway, right?! *Winks*

So they'll all be on Folding Duty as each load gets done... and I suppose I couldn't procrastinate any longer or nobody would have had anything to wear?!  *Smiles*   They did however really like what I'd done with my New Cabinet and so have their Friends they have brought over... it's been a big hit with the Kiddos... Kids Love Creepy shit on Display!    Your Gramma has the Coolest Home ever I'll often overhear... no telling what their Parents actually Think and say behind my back tho'?!???!???!?!?  *Winks*  Some Neighbor kids aren't even allowed to come inside our Home, it's Hilarious!!!   *Bwahahahahahaha!!!!*

Slowly I'm unpacking my various Collections that have lain in wait to see the Light of Day again after being Stored boxed up in the Garages.  I'm still wading thru the Hoarded Garages, it's thinning out slowly but surely and most is Moving Out of Villa Boheme' and being Sold Off or Donated.   I feel pretty good about the fact that I've Culled a considerable amount on my Quest to Keep only that which is most Beloved or Used often and has Purpose.   But in the Realm of my Collections, there are of coarse the Keepers.  Those things I probably couldn't replace... at least not easily nor economically, since I got 'em when they were cheap as Hell for the having of back in da day... or sometimes given to me.  Yes, for years now when peeps have Weird shit they don't know what to do with, they will just give it to me... knowing it will find a Home here!  *LOL*  Coz... that's how we Roll... Weirdly and Wonderfully my Friends! 


Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Hold-Out

I have wanted an Antique Barrister Bookcase to house my Cabinet of Curiosities in like... FOREVER!  I've sought just the right one, and the affordable one, for years now!  To finally find it was so exciting I could hardly contain myself.  To have my Vendor Friend Michael even give me a break on the price just iced the cake for me! He'd just brought it in to our Antique Mall and Staged it, I bought it immediately... quick turn for him, end of long Quest for me!  This one is SO ME too... with it's raw Original varied Patinas... unusual mismatched cabinets... and Cool Original wavy old glass on the doors!

It's also deep for optimum Display of my Oddities that will eventually be housed in it and stands five cabinets high.  It also comes apart in seven individual pieces, which made transport and set up so much easier to do with The Grandson's help!   I can't tell you how many of these Bookcases I've come across over the many years I've been looking and Holding Out for one.  Always there was a barrier to Purchasing any of them.   Too expensive, too narrow, not high enough, missing doors, missing or replaced glass, right price but not having the money at the time, too new and modern... on and on the laundry list goes of why I could never bring one Home!

I have never seen one like this tho', so it was meant to be... like it was Special Ordered for me!   It couldn't match my Aesthetic or my Home any better than it does and the average Customer looking for one of these Bookcases probably wouldn't be looking for one with so much 'Character' and Quirkiness!?  *Smiles*   I'd had my Antique Junquing Friends scouring for one that I could buy.   Alas, the majority of these Old Bookcases of the Barrister Style are almost always spendy... and way out of my budget and league to purchase.   I'd estimate that 99% of the ones I have found over the years, or Vendor Friends had, I just couldn't afford.  Even if they were perfect in every way to what I'd envisioned for my Purpose.

I had never envisioned one like this tho', because I had literally, until I laid Eyes upon it, ever seen one like it!   Michael hadn't either, which is why he had to have it.  He's my 'Go To' Vendor for those Weird and Wonderful Finds that are me to my Core... Michael is actually the Male version of me I swear!  *Smiles*  Our Aesthetic and Love of identical things in all their Quirkiness is Eerie actually.  So I'm probably one of his best Customers and he usually can't wait to show me what he's Found, knowing I'll 'Get' it... and sometimes, even Buy it!   Okay, more than sometimes... his Prices are always very fair and his Eye is on point for what I totally dig and Lust after!  *Winks*  I'm not filling it up yet since some of the doors stick a bit due to Age and I want them to slide open easier.

The cabinet I put on the bottom has the original Maker's Label, I like to Imagine what the History of these cabinets were and how they all ended up together?  They fit together like a glove but I suspect each had their own Journey judging by the varied Patinas.  Some have been painted over the years, some have been stripped of their paint over the years, all have a lot of wear and tear so they really have been in service, I suspect Commercially, for a long, long time.  You can't faux finish quite like actual wear and tear on a piece being actually used over a long period of time, that's what makes Original Patina Priceless in my opinion.  To find a piece nobody has refinished or restored and left "As Is" can be quite difficult actually.

Somewhere along the way typically somebody wants to try to make it look 'New' again or Pristine, since Condition can be everything to some who Collect and they will only pay for Perfection.   Personally I'd rather pay for Imperfection, since it is preferable to me, so I suppose in a Polar opposite way Condition is everything to me too.  *Smiles*  I like to Imagine what previous Lives the pieces I now own have had?   Michael had numbered the pieces on the back with chalk when he took it apart for me, so that I could put them back together as he'd had it Displayed, I Loved the Uncommon alternating hues of the cabinetry.  It goes with the Decor of our Home much better than had it been a Traditional matching cabinetry Display that I've always seen before and is rather Common.

 With all the wear and tear, the obvious Age to the Wooden and Metal parts, I was astounded that the fragile wavy Original glass of each cabinet remained intact!   With waves and air bubbles Old glass is desirable since they don't Create it like that anymore and replacement of it is Impossible!  Yes, Color me Deliriously Happy to have FINALLY procured the Antique Barrister Bookcase I've always wanted, well worth The Hold-Out all these years!  Originally I'd bought it to put Upstairs and with coming apart I could have easily gotten it up there.  But I decided I wanted my Curiosities and Oddities to be Displayed in Pride of a prominent Place, in a very visible Hallway instead, where it fits and Showcases nicely.  Sharing your Collections with others is part of the Fun of owning them.  I can't wait to Reveal how it will look once filled up housing it's Beloved Contents I've Collected over the years!


Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Blissfully Doing Nothing...

I haven't been out much while the Kiddos have been on Spring Break, the Young Prince has been anxious about changing Schools yet again so he's wanted to stay Home and seclude himself.   So I'll regale you with some Imagery I took earlier in the Month while at my Friend Shelly's Shop RUST AND ROSES in Phoenix.  I too am physically and emotionally adjusting to being back on insulin shots and added diabetic meds, so I haven't felt much like going out either even tho' our weather is Glorious lately!   Just holing up at Home has been what the entire Family seems to want to do lately, while School is out and we can sleep in and take long leisurely naps and just gel.   Sometimes having the rare Luxury of doing nothing and going nowhere is rather Blissful here at Villa Boheme'.


Blissfully yours from Villa Boheme', while doing nothing and choosing to go nowhere... Dawn... The Bohemian

A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl