Wallis

Wallis Simpson photographed with former king Edward on their wedding day. She was a real feminist, unlike some contemporary feminists who pay lip service to the idea, mistakenly thinking that a strong woman is angry. Faux feminists wouldn't recognise an actual feminist if one stomped on them

The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders took note as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.

Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. They gave her books, soft lights and sweet music to keep her subdued.

From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Only enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her trim figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking petite. These days, she always felt a little hungry.

It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman with more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy for social deference. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.

~_~

Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine

The Feast at Samhain

Three pairs of eyes, dusted heavily with shadows of Dior, beamed at the stage where a D-list “vessel” was just sold. The auction house, or rather, suite, was rattled by the combined assault of perfume, statement earrings and martini shakers. Plush carpets steadied the unquiet clacking of new Louboutins.

Up next was a down-on-his-luck A-list actor with perfect teeth, two ex-wives and mortgage payments of $60,000 a month. His nickname was, “Paper Tiger.” The auction proceeds, minus a 9% fee to the organisers, would net him more than he earned from his latest blockbuster film. He was a raw vegan, free of infection, drugs and alcohol. They could have called him, “Prime Meal.” His blood was that refined.

The auctioneer called the bid. “Vessel withholding one litre of highest quality, purest, untainted blood of Hollywood’s acting elite. Bidding starts at nine MILLION dollars.”

The actor’s pulse raced as all paddles clapped the air in unison. It was one past nine of the clock. The vampires would continue bidding for two hours and ten minutes.

🖤

Happy Halloween!

Photo credit: The three vampires are wearing Christian Dior Haute Couture – via Blogazine.

S-s-s-saigon!

Empress Tikki gave her minders the side-eye. They were waving at the scantily clad women dancing in the hall. The Ambassador was seated next to her, outlining his plan to bring animals to the country instead of an embassy. She was only half listening.

It was a terrible idea. Animals aren’t valuable hostages. They don’t bring jobs to the local economy. The Empress fluttered her eyelids. The Ambassador thought she was impressed. She was, in fact, signalling the kitchen.

Someone brought out a bowl of soup garnished with roasted chili peppers. “Fragrant, warming spices,” she said, taking a sip. “Astringent herbs improve the circulation, Excellency.” She handed him the bowl.

The Ambassador had blundered into a dangerous valley and was now trapped in a bog. Moments later, he was in floods of tears but was obliged to keep sipping. Empress Tikki asked one question to end the discussion. “What will you name your residence, Excellency?” He was in death throes but managed to sneeze out a response: “Eh… Eh… It… Eh… S-s-s-saigon!!!”

Saigon | SB

Photo credit:
SHXPIR for Harper’s Bazaar China.

Darling Poacherette…

image
Text printed magazine pages cut out to create a collage like the one linked.

Darling Poacherette

Alas, and did my neighbours bleed
to witness thy wonky third act
rewarded with divine blessings
from that Philistine Hack.

What generous praise hast
thy bland theft wrought,
dear poaching one!

I was rudely interrupted by a messaging app
while dancing in a Polish nightclub.
“Indeed, there is something rotten,”
agreed my dates from Denmark.

They queried: “Will these purloined rhymes
bring the boys to her yard?”

My thoughts fluctuated. Yes? No! Maybe so…

I hope you’ll recover from
that leg thing, soon, my young friend.

William Shakespeare

Go, Diva!

heart shaped Godiva tins in silver and pink, with grunge filter

You know those days when you go all Cypress Hill and say, “Who you trying to get crazy with ese, don’t you know I’m loco (loco, loco)?”

heart shaped Godiva tins in silver and pink

Four and a half private rants in, I remembered my own advice as well as the wise words of the uber talented writer/director/producer Dagmar Baumunk of Tomorrow Definitely. She said…

noir chocolate; noir shot of inside heart shaped Godiva tin

I put my hands on my ears and go:
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah 🙂

She’s adorable. Of course, I did exactly that.

silver polished can with Godiva marked on it

While my voice reverberated in my skull, I had a brilliant idea.

chocolate bitten through

I decided to OD on TLC with the choco. My feeling was, “I could talk about you, or I could choose to act like a queen.”

assorted chocolates from Godiva, in vintage noir

Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes (thanks Christopher) but I heard that plugging them with cocoa butter and sugar works like magic.

champagne flavoured chocolate

Ooops.  My eyes are rolling over in my head and I forgot to offer y’all some.

dark vintage chocolate ribbon, Go, Diva!

Hey!

Note: Heavy on the musical references to “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill and “Bad Blood” with Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

Empress Tikki

Shxpir for Harper's Bazaar ChinaThe actuary’s gaunt face presented harshly against the hush of apprehension that gripped the room. The Empress veiled herself with a blank expression. When no one was looking, she released a slow eye roll.

Etiquette dictated that she not show scorn or deference. Today was particularly challenging. On the eve of expansion, the actuary stopped to raise a challenge. He had discovered two spots on a six inch map. The surveyors looked confused. But they quietly agreed that this was a democracy, and let him have his say.

Trailing off the table were yards of hemp scroll. Empress Tikki wanted to wrap it around his neck. “One more passage and then we’re whole, one last signing is the end I’m told…”

Shadowed by nervous ministers, the actuary started clearing his throat. The metallic timbre induced, in the Empress, a maddening primal scream. “Be impermanent in this please, do not drag it out another note…”

♫ Gffmh-gmffh gffmh-gmffmh gffmh-gmffh fhmm
hmmfh fmmgh fhmm hmmfh gffmh-hhhmm ♫

“Pray the deities, restore my soul,” muttered the Empress, “we are held hostage by a mating goat.” She flashed a smile to restore decorum. The actuary had until sunrise to interrogate the two moth stains.


Empress Tikki | SB

Photo credit: SHXPIR for Harper’s Bazaar China, 2014. Musical inspiration:  Habanera from Carmen by Georges Bizet.

One Bright Day, at the Office

Romance in the stone
[Romance in the stone]

Hello and welcome. We are in the private office of a friend. She is out of town all week so make as much noise as you want. I borrowed the key because she said I could capture a few of her office mates for this story.

 

Watchers
[Looking out]

velvet flower with stuffed teddy bear
[Flower bear]

Her office decor resembles a zoo in a botanical garden. In winter, the humidifier stays on at full blast and it gets foggy in here. There are creatures of all sizes waiting to meet you. Please watch your step.

 

Ladies
[Going somewhere, ladies?]

Sapphire cat
[Sapphire cat]

Auditors
[Auditors]

Open heart
[Open heart]

That is not mine
[“That’s not mine!”]

Sleeping
[Sleeping]

Office mates
[Office mates]

That’s all for the tour, my friends. I hope you’re not too exhausted from running around in here. Thank you for visiting and have a great week.

Spare some change, Ma’am?

coins from Taiwan and Hong Kong, photographed in a black tote [i] Taiwan and Hong Kong, in homage to the 007 films

Change is tough to do. Photographing mine was certainly more challenging than I expected.

Australian five dollar note with an assortment of coins; featured is the back of a large coin and it is marked Silver Jubilee [ii] Australia and Silver Jubilee

I don’t carry a lot of loose change in the tan wallet. It does not stretch. I know what you’re thinking but my coin purses keep small objects I tend to misplace, like my USB sticks. Rabbit coin purse up ahead.

Three wallets, one tan, one navy blue and one white, lie on a silk cloth, next to an assortment of coins [iii] Notes from Singapore, India and Australia

coin purse, featuring lip balms and two USB sticks and a coin from the Ukraine [iv] Ukraine with rabbit coin purse (from November, 2014)

When traveling overseas, I must make at least one transfer before I reach my destination.

United States coins, assorted [v] United States

Taxi, train and small purchases in each country require cash, so I need different types of currency. They come in handy on subsequent trips. At my favourite transfer, some ₩ (won) help me out.

Several Korean won coins, on the back of a receipt, with the message, someone likes you [vi] South Korean won, for a beverage at the Incheon Airport Starbucks

Thai bhat coin, resting on raw gemstones in amethyst and onyx [vii] Thailand, with raw amethyst and onyx purchased there

The woven silk fabric is from Myanmar and below, the tote that started this post.

A note on the back of the black tote reads, thanks for always [viii] Thanks for always being nice to me when I visit your country

Thank you for viewing. Have a fabulous week.

Make a tissue box cover with a handkerchief

This time round, I combine the concept of grids with something practical anyone can try. I have grown to like plaids and check fabrics. Today is Monday and I’ve included a selection of my mundane stuff.

Set of handkerchiefs in check patterns from Burberry, Kitson and Vivienne Westwood, along with other items, photographed outdoors

Below, you will see two tissue covers, three of my favourite handkerchiefs and a mini hand towel. Later, you’ll see a green and white mini tote for a lunch container.

One tissue cover, open

I have a terrible cold and, over the weekend, consumed a whole box of lotion tissues. I cover tissues in two ways. The easier way is to remove the tissues from the boxes and place them inside one of two flat covers.

A large multipurpose wrapping cloth in red and white check, open, with the tissue box on top

The other way is to use a handkerchief or square of cloth to cover the box. It takes less than a minute. This box is oversized, so I used a multipurpose wrapping cloth. I have two in this red and white check. The other one wraps a different lunch container.

Cloth ends are tied up at one end of the box Drop the box in the middle, fold up and adjust as you work.

Knot tied at one end of the boxAlmost done, but I crush down the top ends of the box to give the cloth more room to move. Tie and tuck the ends.

The box is completely wrapped, with the box ends crushed down to make room for the cloth to fit overFinished. That didn’t take long. Remember to crush the box ends if you need more room to work. (Miss Vivienne looks pleased.)

Thank you for viewing. I hope you’ll like covering your tissues.

Collage style cover for multi-functional journal

I promised a fellow blogger, Eva, I would show her how to do one of my art projects. She is a primary school teacher and I thought of a project she could do with the children.

I recycle magazine pages to create collages. Mostly, I paint on them. Occasionally, I use collages to personalise sketchbook covers. All I need are magazines, a book with a paper cover, glue and scissors. I tear out a story and glue away.

scrapbook, scissors, masking tape, magazines

This is a croquis sketchbook. It is larger than a copy of Esquire or Bazaar (pictured). One book has 100 pages. If both sides are used, you can have 200 entries.

scrapbook, open, blank pages

These sketchbook pages will have many functions, all rolled in one:

  • guest book
  • photo album
  • scrap book
  • notebook
  • journal/day book
  • sketch book

magazine cutouts arranged on the cover

After selecting pictures and cutting out text, I arrange everything loosely.

I sometimes visit homes with official guest books, and I thought it would be fun to modify the idea. For example, you could ask house guests to pose for instant photos. Later, they can add notes for your album pages. Or, young siblings may enjoy updating a book as a yearlong project.

magazine cutouts arranged on the cover

Need it —–> Glue; magazines; notebook or sketchbook with paper cover.

glue swiped on the cover
Opt it —–> Oil markers or acrylics; decorative masking tape; a friend to chat with.

done and taped with decorative masking tape
All done and taped down. Work it —–>

  • Find striking images, words or lettering.
  • Try to tell a story as you search.
  • Tear or cut around text or pictures.
  • Arrange the cutouts for a quick look.
  • Glue cutouts to the cover.
  • Try to cover the entire space, the more overlaps the better.
  • Do not try to be neat.
  • Use decorative masking tape or clear tape to secure weak points.
  • If you like, you could add a painting or drawing with oil markers.

done and taped with decorative masking tape, close up

Use it —–>  One entry page should be as crowded as possible. Share the fun with friends.

open page with welcome message and heart shaped sketch

Thank you for viewing. I realised too late the camera automatically switched to the “hand held night scene” setting, hence the romantic ambience. (Palms forehead). Happy crafting until next time.

Faux pas

If Kublai Khan were to see my hair today (92% humidity), he would mistake me for a cave dweller. Do not be misled, Kublai. I am a vain, stuck up precisionist who was raised by a Debrett’s handbook.

I once torpedoed plans to fund a small wedding party for a recently married colleague. I objected because he invited part-time staff to his wedding. However, he snubbed full-time, worked-to-the-bone six-days-a-week staff. He did not follow protocol and inform his boss. He kept it a secret from the persons who covered for him when he skipped work.

The Monday following nuptials by the lake, the Photo Album was flopped on my desk. As I thumbed through it, there was a faux smile on my face. But he still hadn’t told me he was now married, so I did not congratulate him.

Victoria Beckham. I have two versions of that dress in grey.
Photo credit: Pop Sugar.

Snobs resemble prudes to a degree. But prudes are predictable and rigid across the board. You already know what they’ll disapprove of. To succeed as a snob, however, you need to have double standards and these must fluctuate unpredictably.

For example…

Thanks to Marc Jacobs’ final rule-bending antics at Louis Vuitton, I now have a collection of dresses that could pass for nightgowns or underwear. I have also been outdoors looking like this:

 Alexander McQueen Photo credit: Vanity Fair, Italy.

Ask my wine club. And yes, it is appropriate for male guests to remove their clothing after a few glasses of Riesling. I won a pair of neon pink lace briefs in the raffle at the last gathering. The morning after, my inbox was flooded with requests to see me wearing them. That was everyone’s way of thanking me for a fun evening out.

Now, does this view pop your tart?


A facsimile of mornings in my office. Nail polish is banned, but this goes unnoticed. 

Photo credit: Star FM, Australia.

Because I’m a snob and have double standards, that does not pass. Not at 08:13 in the morning, when my eyes have just started to focus.

Ashes

Rings
chime to reveal
all revellers unmasked
silk stockings are tokens; salvation’s the ask
tween sips from elixirs
dispensers scream chants
as ashes ascend
from bonfire’s
trance

**

Ashes x SB
with photography by Stephen Day

I would like to thank Stephen Day at the Iconophile for sharing this mesmerising photograph. It accompanied his reflection, He says: D for Disguise. I could hear a song chiming from a distance and I sat down on Monday afternoon to invite it in. Please tune in to Stephen’s blog for more art magic.

Echeveria

Echeveria
Gouache on glossy paper.

This was a photograph of a rose echeveria pulled out of a copy of Bazaar. I’d used a Copic brush tip to write a poem on the petals but that didn’t turn out right. I’m glad I didn’t throw it away. x SB

 

Prude

Prude

Collage, one Saturday morning

x (∿°○°)∿ ︵ ǝʌol
Love is free and I am an equal opportunity ego butterer.
x (。♥‿♥。) 1000%  ( ⋆•ิ ᴈ-ิ(ᵕ❥ ᵕ⁎ ॢ) x
Sabiscuit

… continued in Notes 5/3 

Guinness, Rich girl greatness

Guinness
Photo credit: “Mick O’Connells pub, Utrecht, The Netherlands”
from Tiberiu Ana via Flickr/Wylio

I’m on a journey …
(In a taxi at the airport)
It started 3 months, two weeks, 5 days, 7 hours, and 1, 2, 3 minutes ago
I’m in this line
My friends say TMI’s annoying
But I’ve come too far
Too far to stop the hysterics
Too far to consider being discreet
Too far to flash less … than Kate
25, 26, 27, 28

The socks for my honey
Wrapped up by my scarves
You know where the store is…
(And now we’re boarding)
They’re both proof that I’m rich
Right now I’m starved
My flight’s in the air
My bags are on the floor
41, 42, 43, 44

I’m on a gurney
After I stubbed my toe ..
In the restroom
49, 50, 51

Airport Sheremetyevo."Aeroflot" Night.
Photo Credit: “Aeroflot” from Aleksander Markin via Flickr/Wylio

TMI version inspired by the Guinness, Reach for Greatness TV “Spoken Word” commercial for the Caribbean.