Tuesday, February 13, 2018


40 Free Valentine's Day Images
I found the following article on the origins of the holiday.  Not romantic at all.

Any way


Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.
Those Wild And Crazy Romans
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.
Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love."

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

William Shakespeare helped romanticize Valentine's Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.
Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas
Shakespeare In Love
As the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Handmade paper cards became the tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages.
Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.
Today, the holiday is big business: According to market research firm IBIS World, Valentine's Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year; this year's sales are expected to total $18.6 billion.
But that commercialization has spoiled the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have only ourselves to blame.
"This isn't a command performance," she says. "If people didn't want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business."

And so the celebration of Valentine's Day goes on, in varied ways. Many will break the bank buying jewelry and flowers for their beloveds. Others will celebrate in a SAD (that's Single Awareness Day) way, dining alone and binging on self-gifted chocolates. A few may even be spending this day the same way the early Romans did. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Clothespin Dolls

One day recently I read in a newspaper about a lady that made clothespin dolls.  She made storybook, holiday, and all kinds of  scenes using clothespin dolls she custom made for the scenes she was creating.  I was unable to go see her exhibit, but being a doll maker I was curious.  Soooo...... I went to the idea spot:  Pinterest.  I put clothespin dolls in the search window and WOW was I ever surprised at the talent and sophistication of these dolls.  Now I will probably never make one, but I am fascinated and I think you will be also.  I found instructions to make a simple clothes pin doll and I am pining it so you can see how its done.

clothespin tut by azc
clothespin tut by azc

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fairy Castle Renovation

While researching Astolat Castle, (see previous articles on Astolat  Castle) I ran across some new information on Fairy castle.  You will recall that being the fabulous doll house owned by  silent screen movie star Colleen Moore.

There has been a two hundred thousand dollar renovation of Fairy Castle. Fairy Castle was designed by Coleen Moore, a silent screen star.  It was built in the 1930's and cost millions to construct and furnish. Below is a video detailing the work.


You will have to type in the YouTube link above into your address bar at the top of your screen.  There are several videos on the fairy Castle and Colleen Moore.
Make sure you have 15 to 20 minutes to watch them.  There is also Colleen Moore's granddaughter telling about playing with it with her grandmother.
Fairy Castle is so beautiful and detailed it is breathtaking.

The following article was written by Eloise Valadez.

Colleen Moore's iconic fairy tale castle at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is in the midst of a makeover.
While the castle and all its fixtures, furniture and other trinkets housed within are being refurbished, visitors to the museum can enjoy a special exhibit revolving around this conservation project and actually watch while it's being given a face lift.
"Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle Conservation Project" continues through Feb. 17 at the Museum of Science and Industry.
"It's a good opportunity to take something very familiar to guests and let them see it in a whole new way," said Kathleen McCarthy, director of collections for the Museum of Science and Industry. McCarthy said the castle was closed in late October so conservationists could give it a facelift.
"It took about a week to take the castle apart and then we opened it (the conservation exhibit) to the public," she said. Active conservation work on the structure began in mid-November.
The castle, featuring fascinating miniature items and artifacts, dates to 1935 and was the brainchild of silent film star Colleen Moore.
"The fairy castle was actually designed to travel," McCarthy said. "When Colleen Moore built it, she toured it across the country."
Viewers of the castle paid a small fee - 20 cents for adults and 10 cents for kids - and proceeds went to children's medical charities. The castle, which is close to 9-feet tall, was permanently housed at the museum in 1949.
McCarthy said the majority of the work being done on the structure is due to damage done by its electrical and plumbing systems. Water actually ran through the castle's fountains.
"We're switching out (much of) the electronics and updating with fiber optics. It'll be modern behind the scenes but will be restored to its former glory," she said.
The plumbing system will remain in the castle to keep the historical integrity of the structure, she said. But they're replacing the water with cast acrylics.
Museum guests exploring the conservation exhibit can get an up close view of the miniature artifacts which are now displayed in separate cases. From tiny books to small paintings, vases, tapestries and other items, there's much to explore.

"We're happy to provide guests the opportunity to see this in a whole new way, to see how it was created and see the rooms come together like a puzzle," she said.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fairy Castle

Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle
Image result for pictures of colleen moores fairy castle

Fairy Castle
 I am continuing the study of dolls houses. The last time
we visited this subject we looked at many doll-houses This
 doll-house that we look at today
is an American doll house called the Fairy Castle. It is located in
the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. 
Fairy Castle was originally owed by Colleen Moore, a famous film
actress of the 1920's. She was always fascinated by doll-houses
having owned several elaborate ones as a child. Her father, Charles
Morrison suggested to her that she pursue her passion for miniatures
by creating the doll-house of her dreams. We cannot look at Fairy
Castle without learning about Colleen Moore, who is equally fascinating. We
will look at the doll-house of her dreams, Fairy Castle.
Later I will include an article on Colleen Moore. I have found her
to be fascinating and I am sure you will also. 

Fairy Castle. Beginning in 1928, Colleen Moore enlisted the help of
many talented professionals to produce a Fairy Castle of fantastic
proportions. Horace Jackson was an architect and set designer who
worked for First National Studios. Jackson created the layout and
floor plan of the castle with this basic idea, the architecture must
have no sense of reality. We must invent a structure that is
everybody's conception of an enchanted castle. Moore also enlisted
the aid of art director and interior designer Harold Grieve. Grieve
had also designed the interiors of Moore's real life mansion. By 1935
over 700 individual's had lent their expertise to the creation and
building of the castle. The price for this eight foot two- inch by
seven feet seven inch palace containing 
more than 2000 miniatures was nearly $5000,000. Moore one of the most
successful actresses of her time had the financial resources to finance her
dream castle.  Also by being an actress she knew all the creators of design and
fantasy in hollywood to work on her dream doll house.

I am putting a link to the Chicago Museum of Science
and History as they have posted  videos of Fairy Castle
below the written narrative  tour of Fairy Castle in
Colleen Moore's own words.

This is a narrative in Colleen Moores' own words
as she takes us on a tour of her castle. 

This is Colleen Moore and this is my fairy Castle. Come along with me
on a trip to fairy- land. In order to go on this trip, you have to
pretend that you are only five inches tall, so that you can walk
through the rooms. We will start in the kitchen. Over the door are
the 3 little pigs, and to the right, Jack and Jill tumbling down the
hill. The copper stove in the back of the room is the stove in which
the wicked witch locked Hansel and Gretel. The set of china on the
table has the Queen of England's crest on it. This is Royal Doulton
China, and two sets were made, one for the Queen of England's (Queen
Mary) doll house and the other for my fairy castle.
The next room is the dining room with King Arthur's round table in the
center. Beside the gold plates are wee knives and forks, also of
gold. The glasses are crystal and most of them over a hundred years
old. The tapestries on the wall are of needlepoint made in Vienna,
are the smallest stitches that have ever been stitched. You can
barely see them even under a magnifying glass.
Look above the kitchen and there is the bathroom of the princess. The
crystal walls are etched to tell the story of Udane. The tub is made
of silver, and real water flows from the faucets shaped like dolphin
Next on the tour is the Princess' bedroom. Above the dining room is
the bedroom of the fairy princess. The bed is the one that Sleeping
Beauty slept in. The bedspread is the gold spider web that covered
her for 100 years. The chairs are platinum and set with real diamonds
and emeralds. The floor is made of mother of pearl.
The attic. Now look up in the roof of the doll-house and there we see
the attic. This is filled with all the things that were left over
from the different rooms that belonged to the ancestors of the prince
and the princess.
Below is the Cinderella Drawing Room. The floor was made in China
years ago and is of rose quartz and jade. The chandelier hanging up
in the center of the room is gold, hung with real diamonds, emerald
and pearls. To the left you can see a little chess table just waiting
for the wee folk to come and play. The painting on the wall is of
Cinderella. The vases at each side of the door going into the great
hall are made of carved amber over 500 years ago. They came from the
collection of the Dowager Princess of China.
Upstairs is the bathroom of the prince. It is made of alabaster. The
mirror over the shell-like wash-basin is gold set with a sapphire and
surrounded by diamonds. The gold Japanese chest is over 500 years old.
Next to the bathroom is the bedroom of the Prince. This tells the
story of the Russian Little Czar, Saltur. The story is carved in the
furniture. The polar bear, of course was shot by the prince. It's
really and ermine skin with a mouse's teeth. The sword standing by
the wardrobe is Excalibur, King Arthur's sword.
Now let go around the corner and look at the Great Hall. 
This is Colleen Moore and this is the Great Hall. Outside, above the
room, is the good fairy welcoming you to fairyland. Below her are
figures of Cinderella, the prince, and the wicked stepmother. The
floating staircase in the center of the room has no railings because
the fairy folk balance themselves with their wings. The ceiling of
this Great Hall is painted in scenes from the Grimms and Hans
Christian Anderson fairy tales. Over the door at the back of the room
is the Pied Piper of Hamlin and the children climbing up the wall to
get to him. The knights in armor at each side of the door are
silver and came from the collection of Rudolf Valentino, a famous
motion actor of times gone by. The tall glass window at the rear are
etched in fairy tales Jack and the Beanstalk, the Princess and the
Seven Swans and Prince Charming.
In the roped off sections are treasures of Fairyland. To the left and
on that low rosewood table are Cinderella's glass slippers. They are
hollow with high heels and have tiny red glass bows. These are the
tiniest little glass slippers that have ever been made. Next are the
silver skates belonging of course to Hans Brinker. And under that
glass bell the tiny chairs of the three bears sit on the head of pins,
the largest weighing only 150,000th of an ounce. There are many
things in the Great Hall that are very old. For example, you can see
to the left way back in the room on a green pedestal a statue, a bust
of a woman. This is Roman and about 2,500 years old. Next to this,
on that table are 4 art objects, 3 are statues pf the Goddess Isis,
and are over 4,000 years old. The 4th, a Syrian vase is over 1,000
years old.
To your right behind the ropes is a Battersea enameled table, and on
it sits a nest filled with golden eggs, and beside it a goose. These
of course, were stolen for the Giant by Jack. On the next table is a
small pistol. It actually shoots. At the foot of the stairs you see
two jars, one a 3,000 year- old alabaster jar from Egypt, used by
ancient Egyptian ladies to keep their mascara. The other is a glazed
porcelain jar from ancient Siam and is over 1,000 years old.
As you go around the corner, stop and look through the clear glass in
the center of the chapel window. You will see the altar, and on this
altar is a little tabernacle. On top of the tabernacle you will see a
beautiful golden sunburst. In the center is a glass container holding
a sliver of the true cross. This was given to me, by my friend Claire
Booth Luce, when she was ambassador to Italy and had her first
audience with the Pope. He gave this to her, and she gave it to me to
put in the chapel of the fairy castle. Now, lets move around the
corner for a better view of the chapel.
This is Colleen Moore again. We now stand in the front of the chapel.
Be very quiet and you can hear the music. It's coming from that
little organ in the vigil light. In the top is a very large diamond.
This was my mothers' engagement ring, and when she died, she left it
to me to put in the doll's house. So the vigil light is in memory of
my mother.
The silver throne you see is a copy of the famous English throne in
Westminster Abbey. The statue on the pedestal to the right near the
front is a bust of Pope Pius IX, and on the bottom is the seal of the
Vatican. On the prayer bench in front of the altar is a small bible
printed in 1840. It is the smallest Bible in the world, and is
printed from real type. On the prayer bench is a small book depicting
the lives of the Saints. This was done in woodcuts.
Now we pass on to the room above the small hall. This is the cave of
Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. The treasure is reached by a trap door,
which opens only if you say the magic word.
The Library is done in a sea motif. Over the fireplace stands Captain
Kidd with his treasure behind him. The door to the right shows
Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday. Above the other door is Gulliver,
pulling the Lilliputian ships through the gates of the city. The
furniture has a sea motif and is verdigris copper. Seahorses and
seasnails hold the shell like furniture. This furniture is made for
fairy folk who like to read in different positions. That chair turned
up in front is made for a little elf, who likes to read with his feet
in the air. The books are all real. There are over 100 and many hand
written by some of our more prominent modern authors. These are first
and only editions. On the reading stand is a dictionary. This was
given to me by my father when I was only five years old and this is
what started my whole collection. There are many other printed books
in the library, many over a 150 years old.
As you go around the corner you will see the Magic Garden. Look for
the weeping willow tree standing by the pool. It's the only weeping
willow in the world that lives up to its name. Look closely and you
will see it is crying real tears, which fall into the pool. Then
notice that cradle that sirs on the rocking tree. It is made of gold
and pearls and, of course is the Rock-A-Bye-Baby cradle. Above the
three arches are represented the stories of Aesop's Fables.
To the left on the wall of the garden, in bas-relief is the story of
the Wizard Of Oz. Over the arched doorway, going into the Great Hall
is Aladdin with a genie coming out of his lamp, and Aladdin's servant.
The silver coach, well, of course you know that it is waiting for
Cinderella to take her to the ball.
Painted on the balcony is the story of Don Quixote, and if you will
look to the sky you will see Santa Claus' reindeer pulling his sleigh,
because, of course in Fairyland everyday is Christmas.
I hope you had a good time. And it was my great pleasure taking you
on a tour of my Fairy Castle. This is Colleen Moore saying goodbye.

I hope you enjoyed the tour as narrated by Colleen Moore herself. I
could never have brought the Fairy Castle to life like her words and
descriptions did. 

Below is a link to the Chicago Museum of Science and
Industry.  Allow enough time to go to all the Fairy
Castle sites there.