Sunday, March 29, 2015

...a memory of a perfume and hanging on to the past...

Created by perfumer Edouard Flechier, Poison by Dior came out in 1985. That was 30 years ago and I’m still processing that as I write this post. It was a radical departure from the perfumes that Dior had previously released. Poison was a modern fragrance and wasn’t intended for traditionalist. The female is a dangerous vamp.  Even the name was daring and intriguing at the time. The commercial which I’ve included from 1987 seemed dark. 

Most folks my age have a strong opinion about Poison—they either love it or hate it. Regardless, the perfume was popular in the late 80s.  Poison even won a FiFi award in 1987, and by that point my best friend from middle and high school wore Poison. At the time, Poison was crazy-expensive. I could never afford anything like it. I wore imitation perfumes but my best friend, an only child, was given the perfume by her parents. I remember my parents hating the smell of the perfume and complaining that my friend wore too much of it. To me, she smelled amazing. Poison makes me think of her leather jacket, the goth clubs of our teens, and teenage friendship. The bottle was a cross between a magical purple apple with a touch of alchemy.  

Whenever I smell the perfume while I’m perusing a fragrance counter, I close my eyes and remember her.  Poison is rich, woody, and spicy with plum, tuberose, and musk.
I’ve been thinking about Poison today because I went out to pick up hair dye. I’ve been tired of my usual fragrances and decided that I might need a change. I am terribly drawn to the names of perfumes (and paint color, fabric shades, etc.) I really have to trick myself into selecting the best fragrance. I use the bottle samples to spray on the paper strips. I always mix up the strips on purpose so I don’t recall which perfume has been strayed on which strip. Once I settle on the smell, I then have to go back and figure out which perfume I actually liked (meaning, I have to spray more paper strips and match them). It isn’t the best science but it works for me. One of the perfume samples that I tried today was the newest of the Poison collections called Pure Poison. Introduced in 2004, the perfume includes a blend of orange, jasmine and gardenia with hints of sandalwood, musk and amber. There were actually three perfumers (Carlos Benaim, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge) who created this perfume. After I decided to purchase a bottle, I read some of the reviews. One of my favorites reads, “Strange, witchy white floral. Odd and slightly macabre somehow, like the witch from the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe [sic]”.

It rhymes slightly with the original Poison while being lighter and more modern. Pure Poison reminds me of my youth while also revealing that while that girl is still in me, I have grown up; I just haven’t changed *that* much. After taking this picture, I realized that the genie lamp incense burner on the left was purchased when I was 15. Yep, I have a habit of hanging on.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

...buds, the remains of an old pumpkin, & a DIY fix....

“Spring will be here before we know it,” I whisper to myself. Today was a chilly day albeit sunny. This week I have been looking for signs of life. It’s coming.
My fella says that he knows that he’ll lose me soon… to the outdoors. Once the weather is warm enough, I’m gardening and sitting outside on the patio as often as I can.

But for now, it’s a bit too cold to be outside sitting.

There are some new buds on the azalea and rhododendron bushes. And, well, I have the remains of a pumpkin who was placed in the backyard for him to return to the earth… which he decided to do on his own time :p

Today’s DIY project:
 I bought a sparkly bat “cross body” bag but the strap was much too short for it to actually cross my body. Was this meant for a child? Maybe. Shrug. The fabric was cute and I thought it would be the perfect size for quick errands.
First attempt

My first solution to lengthen the strap was to add a bracelet. After further inspection, I realized that the strap is too thin for the contents I’ll most likely put in the bag. I’m not very nice to bags. 

My second solution is one that worked but would require a bit of a project. I wanted to add grommets to attach another strap. I planned to use one of the straps from my Harvey’s Seatbelt bags because those babies are built to last! “Why don’t you just buy a Harvey’s cross body bag”, you ask? Simple- they don’t have bat fabric *anymore*. I went to the local Michael’s to pick up grommets only to discover that they didn’t have them. Instead, a sales associate recommended eyelets which I didn’t think would work at first but then I decided to add some key rings (key rings through the eyelets and then attach the handle to the key rings).  I think it turned out pretty great for my first time using a leather punch (which I figured would cut through fabric and it did), and setter tools. The bag was $20; the rotary punch was $10; the eyelet kit was $8; and the split keyrings were $2. Making the bag just right cost as much as the bag but then I'll also have the tools for later... and now I want to add eyelets to everything since they were super easy. 
My fella thinks the “after” looks a bit more industrial which is fine by me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

... Hollywood Cemetery's 3rd Annual Rose Maintenance Day...

I'm still catching up on blog posts from my spring break and the weekend... that's what happens when you're out having fun and not sitting in front of the computer.

Saturday was the 3rd Hollywood Cemetery's annual Rose Pruning and Maintenance Day. Connie from Hartwood Roses suggested that we really should come up with a more catchy title for the event so if you can think of anything please leave a comment!
Picture taken from Hartwood Roses
Saturday was such an amazing day. Since some of the volunteers were former Rose day volunteers and wanted to work with the same roses, all of us newbies were placed in groups. I was super psyched to be in Connie’s group because I knew that I was going to end up working with some amazing historic roses. In fact, our group began working on the Crenshaw Rose which is one of my favorites and one that I wrote about in my guest blogger post. The Rosa Moschata has fragrant musky scent and a fascinating story. This is a very old rose introduced in 1540, and because it isn’t on the walkway this isn’t one that visitors simply run into. This rose was thought to be extinct until it was discovered in Hollywood Cemetery.  It blooms in late summer but while I was there last October, there were still a few roses on the bush. On Saturday, we pruned the bush to about a quarter of its original size. While we forgot to take a before picture, you can see some of the after piles. The picture isn’t great because of the angle of the sun. And honestly, by the end of the day (I think we worked from 10 to a little after 4pm), I was way too tired to make sure that my pictures turned out. We worked on the Crenshaw Rose for nearly two hours. What an honor it was to be trusted enough especially as a newbie to work on this rosebush and to take part in the tradition.
The Friends of Hollywood Cemetery  provided volunteers with lunch from Sally Bell’s (circa 1926), which is a Richmond tradition in itself. I was thrilled to have a deviled egg in my boxed lunch and an egg salad sandwich. And no, the double egg items are not over-kill in my world.

By the end of the day, I had scratches all over my forearms, cemetery dirt all over my clothes, and I was exhausted... the good kind of exhausted when you just can't stop smiling. When I arrived home, I even found a twig in my hair. That’s the best kind of happiness right there. The day was sunny; the people were friendly. I’ll certainly be volunteering again.

At the end of the event, I spoke with Connie who I’ve been trying to persuade in writing a book about the Hollywood Cemetery Historic Roses. I’m documenting this here because Connie agreed to this if we work together. I think it would be an amazing endeavor and could be even more of a Win-Win-Win if we donated the proceeds to The Friends of Hollywood Cemetery.
 Of course, there aren't any roses in season just yet but fortunately the cemetery has plenty of lovely stone roses. And, I can't talk about Hollywood without noting the trees. This little guy is starting to bloom.

There are over 2,000 trees in the cemetery today; some predate the cemetery.

...a film screening of Song of the Sea...

The story of the last seal-child’s journey home.After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival. Directed by Tomm Moore. 2015 Oscar Nominee for Animated Feature Film

As part of my gothy blogger adventures with Jade from Daughter of the Jaded Era, we attended a screening of Song of the Sea at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. for the Environmental Film Festival. Per their website, the Environmental Film Festival occurs each and includes over 150 films to an audience of over 33,000.  

Song of the Sea was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. 

It is an enchanting tale about the last of the Selkies (or in Irish folklore those who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land.) The tale is mostly told through the eyes of older brother Ben and the young Saoirse (seal girl) who is yet able to speak. Prior to that, viewers witness the loving relationship that Ben has with his mother. We are left to assume that her mother dies in childbirth but this is not clear because the family simply doesn’t talk about it.  The children live with their father on a small island with a lighthouse by the sea. One night after Ben is frustrated with his little sister, he discovered that Saoirse has left the house. Viewers know that she has been led to the ocean by a group of seals. When the grandmother discovered that the young child was out alone, she insists that the children move to the city to live with her. After this, the story takes a travel literature approach with the children escaping their grandmother’s house and finding their way home. Along the way, there is a mystical coat that must be found along with numerous characters to encounter.

I found the story incredibly moving as did many other film goers since I shared my tissues. For starters, the film wasn’t Americanized—the father drinks at a bar when he is missing his wife (something we wouldn’t typically see in an animated film); the villains aren’t pure evil like we often sea. Macha, the Owl Witch, and her owls can be both creepy and scary but the story is complicated by her backstory which is actually included in this plot (i.e. we don’t have to wait for a retelling of a traditional tale from another perspective). I also enjoyed how some of the characters were turned to stone which could potentially frighten younger audiences.

While the characters are a bit cartoony, I found the visuals pleasant overall. There are many darker greys and blues throughout the film contrasted with the stark white Saoirse’s magical coat. I enjoyed the ending but it wasn’t the Disney happily-ever-after version which I especially enjoyed.

In the end, viewers are left with a tale of a girl literally and figuratively finding her voice, and about loved ones doing everything possible to protect loved ones.