Friday, February 26, 2010

The Art of Photography and Fashion: Annie Leibovitz 2003 photos are Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece, Alice in Wonderland

Looking through the lens of Annie Leibovitz, a well known American photographer -  I am completely captivated time and again of her amazing photographs.  Back in 2005, the American Society of Magazine Editors unveiled “the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years,” they gave first place to the infamous photos such as naked John Lennon curled up next to fully clothed Yoko Ono that were taken back in 1980, during the time Annie was working for Rolling Stone. Lennon was shot and killed five hours after the shoot. Second place went to Vanity Fair’s pregnant Demi Moore wearing nothing but diamonds  which was another of Annie Leibovitz's amazing photography.

Annie Leibovitz did a eye-catching series of photographs titled "Alice In Wonderland" for Vogue Magazine back in December 2003 featuring Russian model Natalia Vodianova as Alice. Leibovitz uses surrealism expertly in this photo shot to reveal the world in which Alice lived.
Editorial: "Alice in Wonderland" Ph.: Annie Leibovitz -
Scan source: unknown? The scans are exceptional

Vogue US, December 2003
Curiouser and Curiouser
Beyond nonsense verse and coming-of-age fables, Lewis Carroll's true passion was photographing moody young beauties.This is the only black and white photograph in the whole shot. Olivier Theyskens, in the guise of Carroll, captures model Natalia Vodianova as Alice Liddell. Natalia wears a Rochas iridescent blue-flower ruffle dress specially designed by Theyskens.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
 Down the Rabbit Hole
Faster, faster, faster she fell! Chasing Tom Ford's White Rabbit, our Alice disappears down the never-ending dark passage.
Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent Gauche sky-blue silk-satin dress.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
      Drink Me
How was Alice to know the innocent little bottle would make her grow to such a size?
As Helmut Lang watched from the wall, she curled her legs up and hoped the designer's organza minidress wouldn't be crushed by her startling height. Dress from the Helmut Lang made-to-measure studio.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
  Advice from a Caterpillar
Alice found herself engaged in an infuriatingly roundabout conversation with a mushroom-dweller.
Where am I? she wondered...and how have I gotten here?
Alice is clad in Marc Jacobs's ruffled chiffon minidress,
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
The Cheshire Cat
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” Alice asked sweetly of the cat with a grin as devilish as anything she had ever seen.
“ That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” replied our Cat,
Jean Paul Gaultier. Blue silk-jersey draped dress by Gaultier Paris.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
    Tweedledum and Tweedledee
“If you think we're alive, you ought to speak,” said the one marked DEE.

Alice, in a Viktor & Rolf multilayered silk dress, stared as the Tweedle duo spouted nonsensical tongue twisters. Rolf Snoeren, left, and Viktor Horsting wear matching suits and bow ties of their own design.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
     The Mad Tea Party
“No room!” The March Hare and Mad Hatter shouted. “No room!” But Alice plunked down, desperate for some biscuits after a long day of living backward.

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture dress with painted and sculpted mink dickey over a lace top and frilled lamé skirt. Stephen Jones (right), wears a custom-made hat of his own design. 
Lacroix, as the March Hare, is at far right
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
Who Stole the Tarts?
“My name is Alice, so please Your Majesty,”  said the young girl softly. “ You make me giddy!” screamed the Queen.

Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano hand-painted polka-dot dress. Galliano as the Queen of Hearts, wears a Dior Haute Couture coat and is accompanied by his King, Alexis Roche.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
The Mock Turtle's Story
“What is his sorrow?” asked Alice, “Once,” sighed the Mock Turtle, “ I was a real turtle.”

Alice is wearing a Atelier Versace layered silk-tulle and chiffon-organza dress lined in lace. Donatella Versace and Rupert Everett are in Versace. Photo: Annie Leibovitz


Saturday, February 20, 2010

MATCHES--- A Magpie Tale!

It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. ~John Steinbeck
ru_glamour Louis Vuitton Core Values
There was something tugging the blankets off me waking me from the twilight of sleep. I notice a faint whimpering sound barely audible. A cool breeze gently moves through the wind chimes right outside my bedroom window, causing them to chime softly.  I woke up to a room bathed in sunlight.  I wonder what time it was as I fumble around trying to find the clock.  My dogs are excited that I am finally awake and jump up on the bed and want to play.  They don't stay long but jump off and  start running to the door, signaling they have to go out. I follow them and unlock their doggie door so they can get back in,  start the coffee, and get myself ready for the day, or afternoon for it was already 2:00 pm.
After a long hot shower, a continental breakfast and endless coffee, I feel a sense of anticipation as I  revisit in my mind all the details that happened to me in the last 36 hours. With all the last minute changes I almost didn't catch my flight back to the states; then again would that have been so bad?
The feelings that gripped me while I was there take hold of me again. I recall the quote from John Steinbeck  "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone"
 by Joanny
I promised Claudia as soon as I was settled, I would email her to let her know I arrived home safely.
Claudia was our tour guide, and interpreter for the three week hands on cooking lessons with Michelin-starred chefs along the delightful Amalfi coast town. We would visit all the important sites of the area, including Pompeii, Capri, and Positano while we would experience an Italian cooking school like adventure and learn the culinary secrets of southern Italy. The last part of the tour  she made a mistake she didn't make a reservation for me. I have known her for a while and she can argue with the best of them and pull strings and make things happen so I wasn't too concerned, after all I was in good hands.   This time it was different - she came back with a look in her eyes, "I can not get you in, but found you some thing better, much better, in fact you could never afford this place and would be a fool to turn it down."  Claudia was not happy that this happened but secretly glad it happened to me instead of one of the others on this tour.  They would be very upset and besides she knows that  travel excites me, awakens my senses, I would be up to the adventure.  Especially when it leads to exploring some ancient Italian town and staying at some glorious villa, truly a once in a life time opportunity.  There were going to be only seven other quests and I would have my own wing to myself.  It was a favor owed to her and she cashed it in to save the day,  ah good friends are a treasure, indeed.  Off she sends me packing for three days till departure back to the states, with the reminder that I better leave on time for there was only one train time available to get me back to Rome and then to the airport - miss that and I am stuck.

ru_glamour Vogue Flor, Jani, Veiga, Susan by Pedro Ferreira for Vogue Portugal June 2009
There is an archway, just outside this magical enchanting villa, in the hillside village, which neatly frames a cluster of white washed homes, sculpted trees, an extravagant array of flowers, dazzling blue water and clear blue sky.
Someone greets me in Italian, quickly takes my bags and shows me to my room. "il pranzo di seniora sarà servito al 6:00 pm che squilleremo per voi". That is how I met Peter, he was one of the guest staying there. The dinner was lavish, Peter and I left the others and ate on the balcony over looking the beautiful floral gardens and the shores of Lake Garda. 
 google images from Italy
An infinite number of twists and turns throughout our lifetime led us to each other -  As fate intervenes by the result of a series of happy circumstances; which I believe is another way of saying it was a gift from God.
My thoughts trail off --every muscle in my body tightens up and I am gripped with  fear, I am thinking every negative thought possible.  I am in utter disbelief at what I am seeing -- there it was in the email Claudia sent me a link to the Italian news article -- The Villa Capra built in 1866 is completely destroyed in a fire ,,,, it is not reported if all occupants have been safely evacuated.... It is not known what started the fire that destroyed the whole building, but that it happened in the early morning hours.   In my mind I am trying to retrace my steps the morning I left the villa.....
DavidHR's photostreamDavidHR photography of Castle Miranda
....the night before Peter came to my room and we enjoyed a wildly romantic dinner.  We sat in front of the fireplace all night into the wee hours of the morning.  We were barely able to understand each other -- except love is the same in any language.  
We must have fallen asleep  I heard a knock on the door and when I opened it there was a tray with breakfast  and a fresh pot of the wonderful Italian coffee and pastries.  It was my morning wake up call to be taken to the  train to Rome..  I did not wish to wake Peter but instead left him a note on the breakfast tray and lit a small fire in the fireplace to take the morning chill off the lovely but drafty room. I kept the box of matches for it was my only souvenir.
Le Love blog
In my haste to leave so that I would not miss my connections for my flight back home --- then was it I who was careless? Could it be?   Did Peter? -- did the others all make it out safely? My head felt like it was going to explode.... my thoughts consume me.. My dogs are barking loudly outside and  it brings me back to the now--the phone rings -- I can not bring my self to answer it . I let it go into the voice message.  I let the dogs in the house to stop them from barking  and sat there clutching the box of matches tightly in my fist. Not knowing what to do, what to think-- the phone rings again,,, this time I look at the caller ID -- it is long distance calling from Italy.  I collect my thought's and say a pray for strength, for courage, the safety of all those at the villa.  I answer the phone...  It is a woman's voice -- Claudia -- her voice explodes in the phone  -- "are you alright?" she asked "why haven't you answered the phone--  the emails?"  "Yes, of course I am alright, what about ..." I asked.   I did not have to finish my sentence she interrupted me and continued to say that it was a kitchen fire -- they still used a big wood cooking stove  -- everyone got out safely but they could not save the building --  and the whole town was saddened by this. There is one last thing she said-- there is someone here who wants to say hello -- Peter.
The only thing Peter said to me was "restituisca me il mio amore "


 Willow over at Life at Willow Manor has come up with a new blog site called  Magpie Tales  She will be posting a photo weekly as a prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history and/or how the item came into your possession.  Be sure to check out the other people's blogs for their tales.

Ecstasy of Seeing Things --

"I See Nobody On This Road."said Alice in Wonderland
watercolor washed in a sepia tone
"I only wish I had such eyes,"  the king remarked in a fretful tone. " To be able to see Nobody! and at that distance too! 
Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people by this light!" 
Lewis Carroll


Friday, February 19, 2010

Legares -- A Bohemian Cafe Portland Style

Legare's is a small, cozy intimate place, with a neighborhood cafe vibe and a charm that a corner Starbucks can never conjure up.  This charming cafe is located in the Clinton Street district of Portland, Oregon and it boasts an eclectic crowd and an equally eclectic menu.  A cafe culture in a neighborhood is often seen as inspirational, one that invokes images of a bohemian cafe house of Europe; Legares fits that image perfectly.
The restaurateur Jon Legare, let's me in on some of the weekly happenings and events at the cafe -- he explains that it is a community resource center, a gathering place for writers, artists, poets, and a family friendly place.  There is one wall that is reserved for artists to hang their work for sale and on another wall that is reserved for film night.  The cafe is often a buzz with congenial conversations; everyone seems to know each other.
In the end though, it is the food that draws them in, and it is the food that brings them back.  It is hard to find a restaurant that serves gluten free pancakes or waffles.  A friend turned us on to Legare's and since then it has become one of our favorite spot's.  Jon's menu is reasonably priced; everything is under $10.00.  The portion's are big, and the food is delicious.  He takes great pride in selecting the best ingredients; he goes early to market and buys the freshest he can find.  His menu is rather unique, as is Jon.  You will find cajun blackened alligator -- sorry, it is already sold out to this lunch crowd.  Other menu features are elk patty's bison burgers, barbequed quail and of course here in the Northwest, we love our salmon. 
The gluten free waffle comes with a variety of toppings -- this one is a personal favorite, it is featured with brie cheese, fresh sliced pears, almonds, lavender seeds, and it is oh so good!
The other dish is a cup of vegan chili, with a delectable tomato base sauce that packs a punch with garlic and red chili flakes and Jon's secret ingredients that makes it unique in favor and taste.  Chili with meat is also available. 
In the Northwest we love our coffee, and Legare's doesn't disappoint us.  Jon serves his own  special blend.  He also has a variety of French presses of specialty coffees.  Legare's also is the only one in the country to serve the rare Kopi Luwak coffee.  Personally I have not tried it yet, but there is a young couple from Reed College who told me that every week they come for Sunday breakfast and try a different French press specialty coffee.  I asked which is their favorite --- after some reflection on their part, they hadn't decided yet, but  will let me know when they try them all.  Real connoisseur's no doubt.
For the tea lovers there is also a nice selection of blooming teas, and a ten year old pu'erh.  Remember to save room for desert, for there is also an assortment of pastries, and of course Jon's special home made cookies. 
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Magpie Tales: Muddy Water from the dowsers daughter

Here it is Tuesday already and Willow over at Life at Willow Manor has come up with a new blog site called  Magpie Tales  She will be posting a photo weekly as a prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history and/or how the item came into your possession.  Be sure to check out the other people's blogs for their tales. 
Muddy Water
I received a phone call to go out on a dowsing job, some call it "water witching", and it certainly is not the best day to go-- the ground is still muddy here in the North West. Have to remember to pack my Wellington boots with me and leave the dog at home, otherwise my car would be filled with muddy paw prints. The owner told me on the phone they needed to drill right away and couldn't wait till the weather dried out.  He also said that he was a mushroom grower, truffles, chanrelles, morel, and herbs, but mostly mushrooms.  I am always amazed at the diversity of people you meet when you go out on a dowsing job.  The gentleman who I spoke with on the phone didn't say much, he was brief, to the point, a little curt I thought, but he did have a lot on his plate from the little he did share with me.

Driving along the Columbia Gorge Highway, I feel like I am traveling back to the past.  At least, I thought to myself the trip will be filled with beautiful scenery.  When the Columbia Gorge Highway was built in 1916 it was coined  "the king of roads" with its mossy stone walls and graceful viaducts winding past dozens of waterfalls, this "All-American road still reigns as one of the world's most glorious drives. 

As I am getting nearer to my destination, I pass by the Columbia Gorge Hotel built during the roaring 1920's. My imagination soars as I dream about Rudolph Valentino, who was  a frequent visitor.  The old guest books reveals a showing of many young starlets signature's who Valentino brought to this  remote getaway far from Hollywood's prying eyes.

I leave the highway and drive up a long windy steep road, that eventually towards into a gravel road.
The mushroom grower's house is located off of an old logging trail.  There he is fixing a fence post -- looking somewhat serious, like an old weathered sea captain caught in a winter storm.  He points to where he wants me to park my car.  I was not wishing to waste much time here, it is cold, wet and getting dark out, besides he doesn't look like the friendly sort.  I quickly grab my dowsing  tools and jump out of the car, and both feet land in muddy water.  Drat! Now my feet are all wet I forgot to put on my boots.  Not to pleased with myself I quickly change into dry socks and warm boots. No sooner do I start to say hello -- he nods his head as if to say hello back and quickly turns around and walks away at a very fast pace.  I follow him in silence, amazed at how agile he was.  We head to one of his mushroom barns, one of the wells to the barn went out and he didn't want to lose his mushrooms.  Joseph is his name-- opens the door to the barn and motions me to go in.  It is well lit inside and I am taken back by what I see.  the place is immaculate inside- beautiful rows of colorful mushrooms -- well cared for.  His demeanor changes once we are inside the building -- he is pleased that I am taken by what I see.  This is the first time he actually looks me in the eye and manages a small wry smile.  His eyes are deep set, dark and piercing - they say that the eyes are the window to the soul  and his eyes speak volumes.  He softens a little and takes note that I am genuinely interested in his trade; he gives me the cook's tour. I run my finger through the deep plush of the chartreuse chanrelle and surprised by my own voice, I ask if I could come back and visit sometime and take photographs.  As we head out the back door I notice an object way up high on one of the shelves pushed back in between rows of mushrooms - it looks out of place.  Somehow he notices me staring and without hesitation he reaches up and snatches it off the shelf and hands it to me.
And says "Nobody ever asked"  Nobody ever cared."  "It is yours - I won it long time ago and it since lost it meaning, but today I offer it to you in the toast of friendship, and yes, do please come back and take pictures."


Did You Get Chocolate For Valentine's Day?

While exercising on a trendmill - and passing the time away  I was chatting with my friend Jeanie who was exercising next to me -- most of the time the gym has the television on without the sound and a  music CD is blaring in the background.  The food network channel was on with the show "Whats the best thing you ever eat?  With food on my mind -- I asked her "did you get chocolate for Valentine's Day?" Actually it is a long standing joke between the two of us. She has been married for 27 years and her husband, who is a real nice guy, but never seems to know what to get her.  On different occasions he actually solicited my help in selecting the "right" gift for her.  One thing he does know  she is a confessed chocoholic and he never can go wrong with buying her some chocolates- Each year he gets a little more venturous and looks for shops that sell gourmet chocolate products -- and surprise's her with some irresistible delicacy
 Chatting away -- she was describing the dark chocolate velvety mouth watering confections
When she stopped right in her tracks and disappeared from my peripheral vision and I heard a loud bump, bump  thump... I stopped my treadmill  to turn around and help my friend -  when she was laughing with joy that's it look look on the television.....

"The Golden Opulence Sundae"
 In all its glory right in front of us ...for a mere $1000.00  you can order The Golden Opulence Sundae 
That is the name listed on the menu at the famed Serendipity 3 in New York I know she said it sounds crazy to want an ice cream sundae for a $1,000.00 but that is what I want for our 30th wedding anniversary.  She went on to say that they never done anything like this ever and instead of a big party or a cruise she rather go to New York and celebrate.  It is her hometown and she hasn't been back there in years. Now she said she just has to convince her spouse ---- she does has three years to do it in. 

You are probably wondering only a few people have that kind of money to indulge in such opulence, but you can make this sundae for a lot less here is the following recipe from Serendipity 3 in New York

Use "5 scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23K edible gold leaf, the sundae is drizzled with the world's most expensive chocolate, Amedei Porceleana,

Cover with chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela's coast.

Then it is suffused with exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragets, truffles and Marzipan Cherries. 

Topped with a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusive dessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color.
Sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac.

The sundae is served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18K gold spoon to partake in the indulgence served with a petite mother of pearl spoon and topped with a gilded sugar flower by Ron Ben-Israel."

Of course there is nothing quite like being there and ordering  the world's most expensive ice cream sundae and having  it prepared and served by the chef.
Visit Serendipity's website for more information.

 Bon Appetit

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Valentine’s Day and love is in the air!

This is one of those few days during the year we set time aside and  allow our spirits to soar and have fun - be romantic,  dreamy, and allow ourselves to feel love and give love to our  partners, family, friends, neighbors, pets, & ???
google inage
"Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him." C.S. Lewis
image by dowsers daughter 
Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here in the Northwest it isn't too early to be thinking of planting for the spring garden, most of our winters are fairly mild,  but it is still to early to use a rototiller the soil is mostly wet and damp. 
My plants have been resting all winter long under a bed of rich compost that nurtures and protects them through the cold, wet winter months.  There is a sense of continuance that I count on each year with the first sign of spring. Dormant life stirs in my garden.
Old favorites planted a couple of years ago pop their lovely heads up and open wide to the sun.
A fragrant bush planted by the front walkway scents  
the air greeting all those who come to my door.
A pretty faerie ring pops up around the base of the tree
I disturb the tree by poking around  the roots-- and it wakes up from its long winter nap
I climb up the ladder with my saw to prune some unwieldy looking branches when I spot
a very beautiful  empty nest  left behind from last years fledgling's --
Curious that I am by nature -- 
I look inside thinking it was empty and startled  from my find -- 
 image found on Country French Antiques
All other images by Joanny
The lovely inhabitant inside the nest leaped out and 
disappeared inside the tree not wishing to be seen or caught no doubt. 
 Lady Wisteria  not wanting to be outdone 
by Mister Tree 
shakes her head,  a cool breeze carries her laughter to the top 
of her long tendrils wrapped around the deck
a whispering is heard in the wind 
There is magic afoot 
in Milady's Garden and down falls a gift - 
Landing at my feet --