Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Victorian Halloween

There's an indescribable magic about the Victorian era and I've often wished I lived in those mysterious times. As my favorite holiday is fast approaching I thought I'd share some of my inspirations for this years festivities...

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There's nothing more representative of creepy and mysterious than a haunted house. Creaking floors, hidden passageways and numerous generations walking the halls. Victorian homes have a rich history that I'm fairly sure if the walls really could talk we'd be running out the door!

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According to the Newark News, candied apples were first invented by William W. Kolb in the early 1900's. I have also read that Carmel or candied fruit dates back into the early 18th century so who's to say for sure. No matter what, this modern/rustic take on the vintage treat sure looks spooky!  

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Cameos are most amazing and to me a bit mysterious. Who is that woman depicted in all her beauty? Dating back to the Victorian era, cameos have stood the test of time and can be worn every day or as a strong statement piece.

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Ghostly images are common place in the Victorian era. At the peak of the western world's spirituality movement, psychics, mediums and other ghost whisperers made strong claims of having spoken to and photographed encounters with the living dead.

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Crows have been around for centuries and in most cases have had a bad wrap for representing death and evil. I was intrigued to learn otherwise! Last year my daughter and I witnessed hundreds if not thousands of crows flying & perched in a small area of Vancouver. After learning just how amazing these birds are I realized that what we experienced was the ritual of a funeral. Yes these highly intelligent, very social birds come from far and wide to pay their last respects to the dead. Creepy but so cool!

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Read more about the Quija baord here

I had no idea but yes the Quija board dates back to the Victorian era. Elijah Bond was granted a Canadian patent (No. 36,092) for the Ouija board on March 10th 1891. I've also read there were other forms of the classic Quija used many decades prior to Elijah's version.

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Halloween in the Victorian era really wasn't as we know it today. I have read so many conflicting stories as to where the name came from, most agree it was based on the Scottish variant for the celebration that happened on November 1st. It was followed by a celebration of Souls on the 2nd. As for the modern October 31st, best I can tell it was in the late 1800's when the practice of children dressing in costumes and going door to door begging for food and treats began. It was known as Guising. The first recorded Guising happened in Scotland 1895, followed by the children of Kingston Ontario in 1911. The small town of Blackie Alberta was recorded in 1927 as having changed the phrase to 'trick or treat'. Wikipedia has pages and pages on the history of Halloween so I offer you the first page I referenced to read at your leisure here.

I must admit I love the magic of modern day Halloween, always have and always will. But... if I lived in the Victorian era where my home was lit with candle light and the only sounds I heard were creaking floors and crackling fires, I wouldn't venture far for a sweet treat from a neighbour especially in the midst of the  paranormal enlightenment era!  

Have a most spooktacular Halloween my dears!
xoxo
Dawna
Creative Curator

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Vintage Halloween...

My favorite time of year is fast approaching!! I love the witchy ways of Halloween... dressing up as an altered ego, the parties, being scared out of my skin and of course all the yummy treats!   
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Having grown up in an era of home made, our costumes were thrifty, fun and very creative. I remember my dad reaching into the fireplace and taking a had full of soot and proceeded to wipe it on my face!! Next my plaid dress was stuffed with a pillow, he tightening up my belt, tied a scarf on my head and sent me out the door... as Aunt Jemima!! I laugh about it now but as a little girl I was the grumpiest pancake you'd ever seen!

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Now that I have a daughter of my own I admit I have fallen prey to easy street. Last year while in a box store my daughter spotted the costume section. Much to my dismay we headed over for a look. Guess what! She fell in love... not a witch or a princess as most 3 year olds would... no my girl picked the ugliest beige, gold, brown and orange Octopus I have ever seen! Unique it certainly was, just like my girl ;) For me it was easy on the pocket book, took no time at all and best of all it made us both giggle.  

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That was last year. This year we'll be making a costume and have fun doing it! Yes I know buying one is easy but I fear my daughter won't have the same kind of long lasting memories and embarrassing moments as I did. This year she wants to be a scary witch so along with repurposing some clothing, making a hat, embellishing her to the 9's, I've decided to pass down the tradition and will be wiping her face with soot! Thanks for the crafty idea Dad!

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Between getting costumes ready, making decorations, prepping the house and deciding on tricks or treats to hand out it will be a busy month end for everyone. Here's a few reminders of the fun we had as kids... carving pumpkins, embarrassing costumes, great parties and of course all the sexy moms! Enjoy!

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Halloween preparations to take care of I must be off!
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Stay tuned for Friday's Victorian Halloween Post! For a sneak peek and a look at my inspiration boards come follow me on Pinterest! If you're not a member yet send me an email and I'll be sure to invite you to the fun!

Have an amazing Holiday Monday!
XOXO
Dawna
Creative Curator

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Wondrous Weekend

I closed the boutique last Saturday and was a bit hush hush on the reasoning. Not to keep you all in the dark but it was such an exciting weekend I wanted to make sure I got back on the blog horse and wrote about my adventure!
 
As some of you are aware I was an interior decorator and stylist in my former life. Since the conception of arOka I have maintained my passion for d├ęcor but fallen much deeper in love with vintage and the endless creativity it brings to a home. My favorite eye candy... an uber modern home with whimsical touches from the past mixed in seamlessly.   
Sixx Design knows modern vintage like no other! 

Earlier this year my dear friend Victoria from Edin's House invited me to join a group called Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West. While the roster of careers in this group ranges from Interior Designers to Photographers, one thing we all have in common is BLOGGING!


This past week was the Interior Design Show West in Vancouver. The city was buzzing with amazing designers, jaw dropping displays and lots of parties. Four lovely, dedicated ladies from our group, Victoria, Barbara, Nancey & Karla, worked very hard to create a special event for us all called Blend2011.



 Ikea Canada came on board with full sponsorship of the event!

What a treat!! What were we in for? How about a high style cocktail party at the Loden Hotel in Vancouver! Who was going to be there? 50 of us from the group, Ikea Canada of course and just a few of Canada's most talented designers... Suzzanne Dimma, Mark Challen & Vancouver's own Kelly Deck ! WOW!! 

Suzanne Dimma & Mark Challen

Knowing no one at the event other than Victoria, my nerves were easily calmed by all the friendly faces and new friends I made. A tall drink early on helped too. Everyone had the most amazing time! Lots of laughs, amazing food, yummy drinks and the guests were all gorgeous!! A night out like this was a definite treat for me!

Myself, Darryl Bueckert (photographer & the lucky winner of the $1000 Ikea shopping spree), and the lovely Andrea Mills of Ikea Canada

While I didn't formally meet Suzanne, Mark or Kelly I did have casual conversations with each of them, leaving the one on one time for the designers waiting for their turn to chat. On a funny note... I nearly mistaken Mark's drink for my own and really should have had a sip just to say I drank from his straw! LOL Truthfully though they were lovely - super sweet and very down to earth. Everyone had a most amazing time!!

I was so excited to have won a door prize, a beautiful pink jewelry box courtesy of Kerisdale Design. A few of the other door prizes were Delta faucets, original Jewelry by Mo' Funk Designs', Art prints by Tracey Ayton & Nancy Marcus, plus the big one... a $1000 Ikea shopping spree!! Every one of us took home a swag bag filled with amazing gifts from Ikea, Para Paints and many other sponsors.

We were all tweeting up a storm during the Blend! 

After a great night I was super happy I had booked a room at the Loden. My review of the rooms -  amazing! Floor to ceiling windows (I had 2 peek a boo views of the water & North Shore Mountains) modern decor and my favorite, the sliding wall between the bathroom and main area. Having not slept properly for 2 days prior to the event (partially due to excitement and the other house training a puppy) I fell fast asleep in the soft luxurious bedding.


In closing I wanted to say a very special THANK YOU to my darling friend Victoria of Edin's House, Barbara of Hodge Podge, Nancy of Marcus Designs & Karla of Kerrisdale Designs for organizing fantastic event. It was their amazing efforts of coordinating with the sponsors, the hotel and all of us that made this a night to remember. Also I must thank Sari McNamee for sharing the great photos she took (as you've seen here)!

Barbara, Nancey, Suzzanne, Karla & Victoria

Now go enjoy your lovely long weekend Giving Thanks!!

Until next week my dears...gobble gobble!
xoxo Dawna
Creative Curator