McFarland Enterprises has some truly wonderful ideas displayed on their blog, Las Cruces Carpenter. One of which is this novel, coffin-shaped book case:
If you’re not following Sarah Ferguson on Pinterest, you really ought to be. I’m re-posting several of my favorite Victorian parlor designs that she has collected:
I’m absolutely in love with this dark, Queen Anne arm chair for sale by Taylor Llorente. The price is rather out of my ballpark, but what a great idea for a do-it-yourself project with a little wood, velvet, leather, and ingenuity. Here’s what the vendor has to say about this item:
Couture and stylised high back armchair. The highly stylised and exaggerated ‘Queen Anne’ style shaped back and wings on a shaped base with pronounced and stylised cabriole legs. Solid wood base finished in antique gold leaf. Other finishes from the collection available on request to include silver and copper leaf. Upholstery available on COM (customer’s own material) or alternatively in leathers and fabrics from our main collection. On request. This collection is also available as sofas, single armchairs and as a double bench. Coffee tables with stylisation in keeping also available.
Want a truly original way to make a first impression upon your visitors? Try Derek Bernstein’s “cat and dead mouse” door knockers, sold on Etsy:
Dan Gillis at the Damn Interesting blog has a masterful write-up on one of America’s worst and least-remembered catastrophes — the fire that baked the entire town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin with its 2000 residents alive. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:
As the fire approached the frantic citizens, they did everything they could in their desperate attempt to escape. Many jumped into wells, hoping the water would help protect them, only to be boiled alive. As people inhaled the superheated air, they dropped dead, their lungs charred. Men, women, and children rushed for the bridge that spanned the Peshtigo River, but it had not escaped the fire’s indiscriminate carnage. As the townspeople crossed the bridge, it succumbed to the abuse of the flames and collapsed in a deadly heap. Even more had rushed into the river itself, hoping the water would help protect them from the looming inferno; but the fire bombarded the people with burning wreckage. The river was soon littered with lifeless bodies.
James Watkins’s 2012 thriller/horror movie “The Woman in Black” stars Daniel Radcliffe and takes place in a gloomy little Victorian era English burg. The story revolves around a mysterious figure–a woman shrouded in black–whose appearance always foreshadows the death of an innocent child. The movie isn’t as scary as I would like it; it depends more upon shock and surprise than psychological thrill. Daniel Radcliffe’s character seems to just stumble from one creepy surprise to another, as though he were going through a haunted house attraction at Halloween. There’s little storyline or mystery to solve, and many of the frightening signs that Radcliffe witnesses are gratuitous. The atmosphere, however, is positively beautiful, and the decaying old mansion in which most of the film takes place is gorgeous. I recommend watching the film, if only for the mere beauty of it. It’s not a bad film by any means. Just don’t expect to come away from it severely disturbed.
The above picture is of a riad in the western Moroccan city of Essaouira, photographed by Christine Oakley. The riads of Morocco are traditional palaces with interior gardens or courtyards. Wikipedia explains the riad concept:
The riads were inward focused, which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. This inward focus was expressed in the central location of most of the interior gardens and courtyards and the lack of large windows on the exterior clay or mud brick walls. This design principle found support in Islamic notions of privacy, and hijab for women. Entrance to these houses is a major transitional experience and encourages reflection because all of the rooms open into the central atrium space. In the central garden of traditional riads there are often four orange or lemon trees and possibly a fountain. The walls of the riads are adorned with tadelakt plaster and zellige tiles, usually with Arabic calligraphy, with quotes from the Quran.
I greatly enjoy this particular riad. Its use of dark royal purple curtains contrasts wonderfully with the trailing green of the hanging vines. The intricately decorated lamps, dangling from exaggerated chains, cast a nice subtle glow on the brown and black walls and hand railings. It has just the minimal amount of light, and every part of the scene is a carefully thought out work of art.
Thinking about taking your last breaths and wishing there were a method of disposal for your body more interesting than simply being stuck in a coffin and left to decompose in the ground? Well, there are many more interesting options!
1. Life Gems
LifeGem is a company that will take your cremated ashes and turn it into an actual, certified diamond. The company extracts the carbon from your remains, purifies it, and subjects it to intense heat and pressure. The gem can then be mounted on a ring and worn by a loved one forever.
A Swedish company called Promessa Organic will freeze your corpse until it becomes brittle, and then subject it to powerful vibrations that turn it into powder. The powder is then poured into a cornstarch urn, which can be buried and composted in a shallow grave.
3. Buddhist Sky Burial
The hard, rocky ground in Tibet does not serve well for digging graves, and coupled with the region’s many reincarnationist Buddhists who believe that the dead human body is an empty vessel that has no more use, the tradition of sky burial has become quite common in Tibet. If you so prefer, you can have your body dismembered and crushed into a pulp, which is mixed with barley flour, tea, and yak butter. Buddhist monks will then feed your remains to hungry vultures in the desert.
4. Burial in Outer Space
Forget burial in ground or at sea. An American company called Celestis Memorial Space Flights now offers to launch your remains outside the Earth’s stratosphere. Celestis offers four different burial options for your cremated remains: you can orbit the Earth for a while and then crash back onto the surface ($695), you can orbit the Earth permanently ($2495), you can crash onto the surface of the moon ($9995), or you can be launched into deep space ($12,500).
5. Human Taxidermy
Cut decomposition out of the picture entirely. Let your loved ones remember you in death as you were in life. Human Taxidermy Services can stuff and mount your corpse, just like they can do for any pet. Whether you simply want to be lying down ($2000), you want to be giving a military salute ($5000), or even something as novel as the pose of Michelangelo’s “David” statue ($10,000), HTS puts the “fun” back in “funeral”!
What woman wouldn’t look ravishing in this black nell dressing gown, inspired by pin-up legend Marilyn Monroe? There are a couple of these going for $150 on Etsy.com. Explains Betty Blue, the creator of this minxy masterpiece:
It is made of the same buttery soft jersey that is stretchy and comfy, of the original Nell. It also has the same beautiful lace midriff section that moulds to the curves of your body, nipping you in, in all the right places.
Take a look at this regal, black and white bedroom design posted on BuildingScheme.com. The beautiful use of full length curtains and wrap-around drapery makes the room seem tall, while the busy, intricate patterns on the wallpaper and bedding make the room seem narrow and cozy. The foot and head boards on the bed are covered in a wonderful, soft, black cushioning with patterns reminiscent of Chesterfield furniture. The use of antique-ish furniture and plush adornments create a living space suitable for a Victorian aristocrat.