Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Art of Scherenschnitte

This was a rather insomnious week, and as it's somewhat less than satisfying continuing with one's typical 2:00 a.m. routine of surveying eBay for new acquisitions when they'll have to be packed up in a few months, the early sleepless morning hours were spent checking Blogger Stats instead. Which, as you can probably imagine, is a lot less entertaining than trying to find something new to collect.

In addition to the usual referring URL's, there were two from sites never before seen. The insomniac  didn't bother clicking on the one from livepornofeeds.com but, being the inquisitive person she is, did investigate the other one and discovered Doppelgänger - a brand new blog written by artist Danielle Luckenbill Mock of Papercuttings, who creates traditional and contemporary scherenschnitte. The insomniac  would like to express her gratitude to Danielle for unknowingly assisting her with a topic for this week's post - because up until late yesterday, it was definitely leaning heavily towards an announcement of last week's Giveaway winners and nothing more.

Scherenschnitte, meaning “scissor cuts” in German, is the traditional art of papercutting, and originated in Switzerland and Germany in the 16th century. It was brought to Colonial America in the 18th century by immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania.  

Some of the insomniac's  favourite examples of scherenschnitte are the silhouettes of Lotte Reiniger, who created animated films of traditional fairytales using the technique - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel and Thumbelina being a small sampling. While not as intricate as more traditional scherenschnitte, the insomniac  finds these very appealing - probably due in part to their purple backgrounds.




The lack of a purple background is more than compensated for by the inclusion of bats. And a spider. And a skeleton ...

Google research says it's from the Frog Prince,
but that looks more like Puss in Boots ...

One mentioned a scherenschnitte card purchased in an Austrian folk art shop last year which will one day be framed, and Danielle asked to see a picture of it. One thought it wiser to share it before the move, since there's always a slight chance it could be mistakenly filed away with the income tax receipts, never to be seen again ...

Nach Original Scherenschnitte von
Eva Tornatzky

The insomniac  is greatly looking forward to future posts and seeing more of Danielle's art, and would also like to inquire whether she does skulls. And ravens. Because she'd like to purchase one of each, so the scherenschnitte owl won't feel so bereft hanging on the wall by himself. In the new house. If we ever find one. So obviously there's no rush, Danielle.

Of course, after Googling scherenschnitte, the insomniac  ran across this book which is now on her Amazon Wishlist. It's probably not even necessary to mention she has no intention whatsoever of purchasing the book ...

No. Intention. Whatsoever.

Congratulations to the winner's of last week's Giveaway - V'kronia V., winner of Gothic & Lolita and Laura Morrigan, winner of 1000 Steampunk Creations. The insomniac  hopes you'll both spend many enjoyable sleepless nights with the new additions to your libraries.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Downsizing Continues or One Step Forward, Three Steps Back ...

One would like to begin by apologizing for the disorganized state of this week's post, much like the insomniac  herself these days - starting to declutter in one room, only to discover something that needs to be put with others of its ilk which are stored in another room, eventually ending up many hours later with every room in the Gothic Mansion in total disarray. Although, in all honesty, one is reasonably satisfied with the progress made thus far, and as long as the number of items exiting remains greater than the number of items entering, we should be more than ready for the For Sale sign to be put up June 1st ... of next year.

A great many trips have been made to the thrift store with bags and boxes of donations. The insomniac  has had the good sense to park in the 5 Minute Unloading Zone while dropping off these items; except for that once when the 5 Minute spot was taken and she had to park elsewhere, which led to a quick look inside afterwards since she was already there. And she just happened to run across this sweater, which isn't anything she'd ever dream of wearing, but could potentially be made into a lovely pair of armwarmers. It is now packed away in the box with the other sweaters waiting to be made into armwarmers.

Really?

Having offered some of her silkscreen supplies to a staff member employed at the boutique where she used to work, the insomniac  stopped in last weekend to drop them off. Just moments before managing to leave the store empty-handed, she noticed this lovely pan light. Frankly, she feels she showed remarkable restraint having left with just the light and nothing else, as in addition to the tempting clothes, accessories, giftware, soaps, perfumes and makeup, there is also an excellent selection of vintage and antique treasures. Yessir, dodged that bullet nicely ...

Only came into the house long enough to be secured
in more bubble wrap before going back out to the garage ...

A small portion of the work wardrobe has been auctioned off on eBay but, eager to prepare for her new lifestyle, the insomniac  did purchase a deeply discounted Levi's black plaid flannel shirt. And a Ralph Lauren black prairie skirt. The ensemble just needs the perfect pair of black combat boots to complete that “Goth in the Country” look that one predicts will be imitated by many once it's been debuted.

Things long forgotten have been rediscovered, such as these postcards found in a brown paper bag of holiday memorabilia from a trip through New Mexico. The used Disneyland theme park tickets from that same trip were discarded, but these two beauties will be re-filed in The Box Stuffed with Prints that Lives in the Attic. If memory serves, the eldest chose a Starbones Coffin t-shirt and the youngest selected a Skeletubbies t-shirt by the same artist. One is almost certain those two items will be turning up in the basement here shortly.

L-R: Amistad (Friendship) and El Observador del Cielo (The Skywatcher)
L. Bark'karie 

This antique print, long thought lost, was found crammed in with some old prints of Buffalo Bill. Apparently, the insomniac  could use a little help with her filing system and is giving serious consideration to flying The Bane of Clutter up for some much-needed assistance. Logically, this print should now be put in its proper place in the Box Stuffed with Prints Etc., but is instead sitting on top of a bookcase so one will hopefully remember to take it in for a proper archival framing. Preferably before it goes missing again.

The Missal, John William Waterhouse

While picking up another can of black paint to finish the remaining kitchen chairs, Kaos' bed and favourite squeaky toys were left behind for the enjoyment of the Lauren Lane mascot, Horse. One small can of black paint incoming - one large dog bed and various dog toys outgoing. Way to downsize, insomniac.

Horse (who isn't really a Horse but an Afghan), enjoying his new spoils ...

And lastly, the new taxidermy raven has finally arrived. The realtor will rue the day he said the Taxidermy Collection added to the Gothic Mansion's ambiance although, come to think of it, maybe he didn't specifically mention the Taxidermy Collection and possibly the insomniac  misinterpreted his statement. Regardless, all future purchases between now and June 1st will be justified by claiming they “add to the ambiance” ...

L-R: Jackdaw #1, Nevermore the Raven, Jackdaw #2

To celebrate the insomniac's  one-year blogoversary this week, as well as her tremendous progress in the whole downsizing debacle, she has decided to give away two books from her personal collection. This could be considered a win-win situation for all concerned - two lucky readers will have one good-as-new book to add to their collections, and the insomniac  will have two fewer to deal with in hers ...

Gothic & Lolita
by Masayuki Yoshinaga and Katsuhiko Ishikawa

1000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear and Art
by Dr. Grymm and Barbe Saint John

The Giveaway ends on Saturday, February 23rd at 12:01 a.m. and the names of the winners will be announced on Sunday, February 24th. Please be sure to mention in your comment which book you'd prefer!

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


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Sunday, February 10, 2013

CorpGoth's Mid-Month Status Report - Love What You Do

The February status report at CorpGoth is entitled Love What You Do, and Trystan has asked this month's participants to describe what we love most about our job - whether it's a decent paycheque, reasonable hours, fun co-workers or being able to wear what we want.

During her long and diverse working life, the insomniac  has held many jobs, ranging from computer analyst to sales associate, and in each and every one she has considered herself fortunate to have been blessed with either a decent paycheque, reasonable hours, fun co-workers or the liberty to wear what she wants. Unfortunately, she was never lucky enough to find a single occupation that included all  of the above at the same time.

Having worked retail for the past twenty years, she decided in October of 2011 to take another stab at office work. And while perfectly content to spend many hours a day slouched in front of the computer at home, being slumped in front of one in an office cubicle didn't hold quite the same appeal. Although the pay was certainly better than retail, after a year she concluded that office work was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, and that she actually missed working sales.

The plan was to start looking for a new job in January, but that was sidelined by the decision to sell the Gothic Mansion. Unemployed for the first time in her life since the age of fourteen, the insomniac  has found herself with time on her hands and has rekindled her interest in furniture refinishing, which she hasn't done since the last of the woodwork in the Mansion was completed many years ago. And as there happens to be an overabundance of furnishings that have somehow managed to accumulate in the basement these past twenty-five years, it would almost seem as if the universe is suggesting this might be the very thing the insomniac  should pursue as her next career move.

One can actually get started on this project now that the
tack hammer was rediscovered while cleaning out the basement ...

In this completely unplanned way, the insomniac  has come to the realization there is a definite possibility she might not be looking for a new job after the move. And while this means the rather frightening reality of no more regular paycheques, decent or otherwise, there is the advantage of being able to wear exactly what one wishes. It seems fitting the steel-toed boots, purchased over forty year's ago for the insomniac's  very first full-time job on the railroad, will now be worn for what could be her most satisfying job thus far - refinishing furniture for the Darkly Inclined ...

Future Outfit Post ...

Thank you, Trystan, for hosting this month's report! Please be sure to check out the other participants, who will likely be posting around February 13th and 14th. Although the insomniac  is a tad premature with her contribution, she felt it was better to be early than late. You know how much she hates having to walk into the party after everyone else has already arrived ... 

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award ... Wait, There Must be Some Mistake

Participating in theme posts and blogger awards is not something the insomniac  feels especially comfortable doing, so when Aristocratic Elegance nominated her for this award, she inquired of AE whether it would be acceptable to decline. And when Lesthi nominated her, she thought to herself, “We'll just pretend we didn't see that.” But when chosen for the third time by Madame Mari Mortem, she decided it would be very bad manners to continue avoiding the situation. So thanks to all you lovely ladies for choosing the insomniac  but, and please know this is said with the utmost good will, if you find her  inspiring, you may want to consider setting the bar a little higher next time.


In accepting this award, one is required to reveal five odd facts about themselves. There are so very many odd things about the insomniac  it was a challenge trying to limit it to merely five. Besides (and you could almost consider this a bonus fact), the insomniac  doesn't care for the number five and so increased her list to six. And although her preference really would have been to list thirteen (because that IS her special lucky number) she felt if that many unusual things were divulged, you would no longer be thinking, “Oh, how delightfully quirky that insomniac  is!” and would instead be saying, “Wow, that poor woman could really use some professional help.”

  1. The insomniac  really is an insomniac. While some weeks are worse than others, more often than not she wakes up around 2:00 a.m. no matter what time she goes to sleep, stays up until around 6:00 then heads back to bed for a few more hours of shut-eye. As she doesn't like taking medicine, the insomnia has become part of her regular routine and really doesn't bother her anymore. Except for the past year of working office contract jobs when the alarm was set for 5:30 a.m. That was difficult.

  2. Practically everything moves the insomniac  to tears - beautiful music, a piece of art, a thoughtful gesture, certain long distance phone commercials - it's quite embarrassing, really. It was a regular sob fest when the offspring were small and we watched Disney movies all the time.

  3. Even though the insomniac  swears like a sailor, she doesn't care for foul language in written form. She will refrain from reading a book or blog if there's swearing - unless it's humorous, which somehow makes it okay. Verbal profanity is perfectly acceptable. Except in public places.

  4. She is a stickler for the truth. Therefore, everything you read in this blog is true - some things might be slightly downplayed and some slightly exaggerated, but they are always based on truth. If she jokes about being a hoarder, it's because she is. If she casually mentions she might have a small eBay addiction, it's because she does. If she said last week she took 33 books to the second-hand bookstore, rest assured she counted them first.

  5. Many social situations strike absolute terror into the insomniac's  heart. Things such as meeting friends but having to walk into the restaurant or bar by herself to find them, attending a party where there will be people she doesn't know, public speaking (public being defined as a gathering of more than three people) - these and countless other situations can cause many sleepless nights. In the past, she has been known to go to the washroom during a party and then been too frightened to come out, remaining in there for hours until after everyone has left. And it's not like that was a one-time occurrence, either. Despite her social anxieties, she loves working retail and talking to total strangers. Go figure.

  6. And lastly, the insomniac  detests having her picture taken, and since she generally controls the camera is almost always able to delete photos of herself before anyone else gets a chance to see them. And one day, when the offspring are reminiscing, they will say to one another, “I can't remember what our Sainted Mother looked like, can you? There aren't very many pictures of her. I seem to recall she was very VERY pretty though.”

Number 6 might actually be one of the insomniac's  more useful idiosyncrasies ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... as for herself, most likely lying wide awake tonight worrying whether she's managed to unintentionally miss somebody else who may have nominated her for something. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


PostScript: Laura, thank you for recently selecting the insomniac  as a recipient for the Gargie Award. She still feels terrible about that time she asked to be excused when you tagged her for the Liebster Award. Although in her defense, that award was complicated!