Tuesday, 14 February 2017

For my Valentine

Tarot Art Nouveau


So Valentine's Day rolled around again - I was a little surprised by how many men I saw dashing last minute for bunches of flowers, as if it had caught them by surprise. Perhaps they feared sharing St.Valentine's fate ...

For my Valentine Titch, I share an aria from my favorite composer of operas:




                                               Caro nome che il mio cor
                                               festi primo palpitar,
                                               le delizie dell'amor
                                               mi dêi sempre rammentar!
                                               Col pensiero il mio desir
                                               a te sempre volerà,
                                               e fin l' ultimo mio sospir,
                                               caro nome, tuo sarà.

                                       Sweet name, you who made my heart
                                       throb for the first time,
                                       you must always remind me
                                       of the pleasures of love!
                                       My desire will fly to you
                                       on the wings of thought
                                       and my last breath
                                       will be yours, my beloved.
                                          Translation by Guia K. Monti


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Sun's Out

The Sun by ZackLoup



I am constantly surprised by the sheer quality of Art that there is available on the Interwebz; my own total lack of skill just makes my awe greater.

I was searching for just the right depiction of XIX The Sun because of this post, to reflect the actual sun being out today, the topic of my post, the words on the Finished Object, and my satisfaction - and there it was, this beautiful fox created by ZackLoup. If you scroll through their other cards, one of my favorite creatures, the Wolf, features (as it does in their name) ... this is definitely a deck I'd back if it came up on Kickstarter. Thank you, ZackLoup.

I was looking for the perfect card to celebrate the completion of an overdue project - it was supposed to be a Christmas present for Titch, a popcorn 'word' blanket from designer Jody Pyott.

Yes, last Christmas, not the one before. Or the one before that. I only have one longterm UFO, and this wasn't it - I was derailed by a seasonal retail job which I loved, but the hours were tiring and left little time or energy for crochet.

Anyway. This project had Issues. Firstly, color choice - wanting several yellows that all needed to complement each other meant testing the customer service at the Wool Warehouse: the lovely lady who answered my call physically ran up to the actual warehouse to check that the colors I'd select would actually go together: and she was right. 





Secondly, my first time working with Scheepjes Colorcrafter DK yarn - I'd wanted to try it for a while since it's arrival on my radar as it has a great color palette. It is soft, but I found it splitty to crochet with even with a larger hook than recommended. It does wash well so far.

Thirdly, I had gauge issues. Major ones. In a blanket like this one needs the blocks to be very uniform, and using a few different sizes of hook was necessary for me to achieve that. It also highlighted that I cannot handle row gauge: width was fine, height .... not so much. I'd chosen to make it in DK rather than Worsted or Aran, as I wanted a smaller FO than stated in the pattern - but because of the aforementioned row gauge it came out smaller than I wanted, which meant I needed more words, that I had to create the charts for myself ... uncharted territory, ha-ha. And it was also not the right size for Titch's new truck, a MAN rather than a Mercedes.




BTW, that's a whole other discussion. Suffice it to say, the MAN is more Melania than Michelle, rhinestone than diamond, cod roe than caviar. Her one redeeming feature is that she bears the name of a beautiful angel baby.

But I was too close to the finishing line to quit. Having plenty of yarn left meant I could add a generous border ... I completed it yesterday while watching Dwayne Johnson as Hercules: quite apt, don't we think ?

 And here is the result of my Labors:

 



Friday, 20 January 2017

Inauguration Day

Deviant Moon Tarot
So the title of the post kind of reminds me of some movie titles - ''Independence Day'', for instance, where Earth is targeted and millions die in an alien attack. ''The Day the Earth Caught Fire''.''Day of Wrath''. ''Day of the Dead'' ... and many others in the same vein. All pretty much dealing with the end of the world in some form.



But we will focus on ''The Day After Tomorrow''.



Anna K. Tarot

A speck of light in the darkness; it leads us on, gives us a goal, encourages us along the journey and helps to illuminate the path. Do you wonder where the light comes from ?


IX The Hermit, from The Portland Tarot

 He is you. 

And me. 

He is us. 

And we are not alone - others will see our light and be drawn to it.





Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New Year, New ...

Tarot of Vampyres


 Nope, it is the old me, but lazier- can you imagine that ? Yes, a challenge, I know.

Today's accompaniment is the following mellifluous version of a country classic:




I have been absent owing to my own ennui,Weltschmerz and angst, as neither did I want to bore you, my Dear Reader, with it nor send you running for the bunker loaded with ammunition and canned goods ...


challenge: name this classic movie



Instead because we are foolhardy brave, we will commit to writing a couple of goals for the coming year:

*   to blog at least weekly, without empathy or compassion for my readers as regards the topics - I will share the ennui/Weltschmerz/angst, with occasional dollops of other stuff

*  to overhaul my website

*  to go 'Cold Sheep' - no buying of yarn this year, knit/crochet only from stash. This has 2 provisos: (1) if any baby knitting becomes necessary, I can buy yarn for those specific projects (2) I have a threshold/big birthday, and if anyone gives me yarn vouchers I can spend them. Except please not vouchers for McADirect - long story for another post.

*  to streamline/downsize/declutter and simplify. Except for yarn and tarot decks, naturellement.

Have you committed publicly to any goals this year ?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Stiffen the Sinews

Halloween Tarot



Congratulations, Titch - we made it through another year. Bear Grylls and the Island would totally be a breeze for us.



uncredited as I cannot find the source or creator of this image



It takes a certain very warped specialized skillset to find versions like the one below. You're welcome.






Friday, 23 September 2016

Tarot Blog Hop Mabon 2016: The Cook's Tarot Review








For the second time this year, I've been drawn to join in again with the quarterly Tarot Blog Hop - host Jay Cassels' brief was this:

It is at this time in the Wheel of The Year, our ancestors would traditionally start to harvest and begin to store food for the winter. In the spirit of tradition it was suggested that this Tarot-Blog-Hop be about food; however those of you that have ever read my posts in the previous hops know I do tend to stay on topic but go off in strange tangents (similar to this funnily enough)...
Okay so the title of our blog hop this time is Foodies Guide to the Tarot and the premise or brief is actually quite open. I'd like you to take your readers on a gastronomy (foodie to everyone else) tour of the Tarot...
I decided to share with you a review of a quirky little food-themed deck - The Cook's Tarot, created by Judith Mackay Stirt, published by Schiffer, ISBN: 978-0-7643-4620-0.

When this book & deck set came up for review, I thought it might be interesting since I already own the Epicurean Tarot, also food-based. This – if you’ll excuse the pun – is a completely different kettle of fish.

The author/artist Judith Mackay Stirt has a Jamaican background, and the colors of her deck are certainly tropical in tone; the art is primitive in style and the cards being borderless and oversize (3 ¼’’ x 5 ½’’/9.5cm x 14cm) means their impact is more immediate. I was not surprised to see the World Spirit deck referenced in the bibliography, as the art style is similar; I am sad to say, it puts me in mind of the reproductions used as décor in some restaurant chains. The deck and cards are packaged in a sturdy, glossy lidded box; the shiny yet somewhat sticky feel of the cards is typical of many decks printed in China.


Looking through the cards, one is instantly stuck by the humor evident in several of the depictions; I particularly noticed the following:






















Obviously the cook from the 10 of Swords needs more practice in making a spatchcock chicken ! However, true cooks still sneer at the use of microwaves:






















And in addition these renderings made me see a connection between the 4 of Pentacles, XV The Devil and XI Justice:










And between the 5 of Swords and XI Justice:






















For me, the most interesting part of the accompanying book was the author’s description of her creative and artistic journey - so fascinating to have a rare glimpse into what is a very individual and personal process.

Five spreads are given at the beginning of the book, but the only unusual one is the ‘Maitre d’ Spread: and not just because a Maitre d’ is a professional who works with chefs, not cooks in a home kitchen – it is shaped like a body and the card positions represent the ‘head, heart and guts of the situation’.

The symbols of the suits are not consistent throughout, but are easily recognizable, whether it is cups, goblets or jugs representing Cups, or matches, cats’ tails or baguettes representing Wands; Swords are of course knives (or cleavers) with clever alternatives like novelty cocktail sticks or so very appropriately, skewers in the 9 of Swords. Pentacles are shown by pizza, cupcakes or even fruit.

Although the art and color are crude, some of the symbolism is not; I especially appreciated the Ace of Swords; I wondered if VIII Strength is referencing Obeah, and indeed the author in the end refers to the ‘sorceress’:






















The card interpretations given in the book are standard, but the summaries given under the header ‘Kitchen Wisdom’ seem to be a poor fit, being a mix of proverbs, sayings and simple advice, very little of which is connected to cooking, food or kitchens.

The author addresses the most obvious and glaring omission in her preface, where she tells us this deck is ‘not a culinary guide, or about recipes and wine-pairing’; it seems a shame to miss such a great opportunity to share some of recipes for the foods that must have affected the author’s path in creating a ‘Cook’s Tarot’, even if it was merely to include the recipes from ‘Dining with the Major Arcana’ (self-published).

Overall, a charming little deck with evident great personal meaning for the creator; for others, look beyond the obvious and immediate impressions in order to get the best from it: the art style may fool you into thinking there’s little of substance, but you’d be mistaken.

                                                © Vivianne Kacal 2015
(1st published on the TABI Blog 2015)



Friday, 19 August 2016

Floral Triumphs Summer 2016

Whimsical Tarot



I have found it less challenging and more enjoyable to maintain our patio garden this summer; and in spite of prior experience, ''hope springs ...'' yaddayadda ... I planted a few types of seeds, mainly bought on sale. Most impactful (apart from the French and Runner beans standing at well over 8 foot high and who belong firmly in Titch's domain) was the amaranthus, a.ka. Love Lies Bleeding.

The seeds are tiny, and my record with seeds isn't good, so I threw caution to the wind along with the seeds themselves, and sowed them all.

Of course, they all germinated, so I gave some seedlings away, and since I can't be fiddling with teeny stuff, planted some in kind of clumps - I figured, Nature will thin them for me. It worked:




That said little yellow flower in the middle ? That's Thunbergia (Black-Eyed Susie) of which I also had many sprouts, but when planted out refused stubbornly to really go upwards like the voracious climber it claimed to be on the packet.





The clary sage and the cerinthe did not emerge; the nasturtiums looked fabulous draping from my front planter - for about a day until the blackfly found them. I bugsprayed them but I think that just overwhelmed the plants, who crumpled and withered accusingly.





I missed the opportunity to take a photo of my dahlia in its full glory (the pic was taken a month ago when my Asiatics were also beginning to bloom) - it was maybe £2/US$2.62 to buy the tuber, but man, you get some bang for your buck ! It flowers forever ! Well, OK several weeks, anyway. My mother didn't like them - along with gladioli, she thought they were vulgar, but they're a great splash of longlasting color. Now if they were scented ...

But my favorite this summer happened accidentally: I had a couple of pelargoniums (which us oldies like to still call geraniums) - including a scented-leaf variety -  and a random hardy fuchsia hanging around, so I bunged them all into a pot, and look what happened:





I have very carefully tried to avoid any photos showing the actual patio slabs, because it is in desperate need of weeding, which is Someone Else's job always and forever and ever amen. I'll let you know how that goes ...