Saturday, January 20, 2018

Just Calling It To Your Attention: Une Semaine De Bonte

Just Calling It To Your Attention is going to be a new thing around here.  I'll choose something interesting and post image and links to more information.

Today's installment:  Une Semaine De Bonte by Max Ernst.

Max Ernst was a surrealist known best for his collage art.  In 1934, he published a comic collection of collage pieces in serial form called Une Semaine De Bonte (A Week Of Kindness).  Here's a few examples from the book:

Here are some links to more info:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Possibly The Perfect Tarot Deck

Tonight's deck is one I've always just called "The Barnes and Noble Tarot".  I figured it had to have some official name, but all I knew was that the only place I'd ever seen it for sale was at Barnes and Noble, in the spinny rack of desktop-sized work distractions that they keep up by the registers...tiny Stonehenge models and golf games and Harry Potter wands.  Apparently, this deck does have a name, though, and it's Tarot Nova.

It's so little and cute!!

This thing hits all my right buttons:  It's small and adorable, it comes in a small and adorable box, it's got a small and adorable companion book, and all the components sit together so neatly and so orderly in the small and adorable box, that it just makes the organizer in me fall to pieces with dollhouse-sized delight.  The artwork is also adorable.  Simplistic, but full of color and personality.  It follows Rider-Waite traditions and flows nicely.  I especially love the colored corners, which more card artists should get down with, in my opinion. The cards themselves are thinner than you would expect, but durable, though I have to tell you, I've done readings with this one, and it is a nightmare to try and shuffle if you do the fan thing like I do.  The cards are too stiff, their size makes the pile very fat, and the shape of them does not lend itself well to being manipulated physically.  The cards also tend to like to stick together, due to the edges being ever so slightly curled, which also gets in the way of proper shuffling.

To give you an idea of the size

That said, there's something about this deck.  Something that resonates with people.  The first time I did a professional reading with it, the client loved it so much they demanded I give them the deck.  (This person was my boss at the time, so I didn't argue.  Oh, and in case anyone wonders who may be reading this, I am not Wiccan. I'm not bound to those rules they have about not charging for services of this kind.  I'm proud to say that my prices run *considerably* lower than average, and I don't charge friends and family.  Or bosses.)  Anyhoo, I went and bought another one.  And the next time I showed it to someone, they squeed so hard I couldn't resist, and made them a gift of it.  Sooo...I went and bought yet another one.  I imagine one day, someone else will flip out over it and I'll give it away again, and by then I'll have to buy one from Amazon because Barnes and Noble will have petered out completely and closed like every other bookstore on Earth these days.  I've had all kinds of decks over the years, and done professional and personal readings with numerous different ones, but Tarot Nova has been the only one that I've had people get this excited about, or merely straight out ask me to hand over to their possession.  I'm not saying this deck is special in a mystical way.  The power never lies in the cards, but the reader and the....the read-ee, I guess?  But the art, the size maybe?, the layout?....something about these ones hits buttons in people.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Next, I'll Be Making Toilet Paper Cozies With Doll Bodies On Them

Anytime I want to use a bookcase that only has two shelves, I run into the same problem:  There's a big gap in the middle where there are no peg holes.  You can either make the top shelf short and the bottom shelf ridiculously tall, or vice versa.  I had a shelf that I wanted to place tall books on, but in order to make that work, I had to drop the shelf below that peg-less gap, leaving me with all kinds of empty air above the tops of the books, which makes the space look off-kilter. The empty space constantly draws the eye (its right next to my bed) and drives me crazy-go-nuts.  So, how about something to fill that space, right?  The easiest answer was a valance.

There is nothing easier in the world to make than a valance.  It doesn't even have to be sewn if sewing is not your thing.  All you have to do is cut a strip of fabric the width and length you need, create a channel on top for the rod, maybe hem the bottom, and voila, a valance.  I'll throw some links to valance-making instructions down here if you're interested in doing this yourself.  Hell, you might want to create an overly-tall bookshelf on purpose just you can do the valance thing because it looks nice and adds charm and homeyness to the room.  You know, you could even make a valance or little curtains, and use the shelf as a stage for a diorama.  That would actually be really cool.  Hmmm....I may have to try that, myself....

Follow the link for valance-making instructions.  There's a lot of leeway to be had on how technical you can get on something like this, but at least a modicum of measuring is definitely needed, depending on how ruffled you want your finished product to be:

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cats. Cats. Cats. Twenty Two Of 'Em.

Have I ever posted about this one?  I don't think I have....maybe I have.  I don't know.  Let's pretend I never did post about it, and its all new and you've never seen it before, okay?

This deck was a gift from a friend years ago.  It's the cutest little thing, and also a collectible, so there's a double joy-whammy.  Now, I was about to type "I've never been a cat enthusiast, but I love this deck", but then I remembered that people on the internet, whether involved in the pagan community or not, tend to take cats and their importance really insanely seriously.  For some reason.  So, let me clarify.  I grew up with no less than two cats in the house at any given time.  They were country cats who, (usually, though not always) lived their lives as both loving housepets and terrifying predators.  We had a cat named Wisteria who I think really was on friendly speaking terms with Satan himself.  I think that fact was confirmed for me the day she snuck into a rabbit warren when the mom was away and half-devoured/mutilated every one of the babies.  Maybe I'll make an entry someday out of stories about her.  ANYWAY.  I will usually enjoy the company of a cat, but I don't go all gaga-crazy obsessed over them.  I've always seen them as completely fierce, independent spirits who don't need any blundering, obtuse, blind-minded humans constantly pawing at them and fussing over them and messing with their diabolical plans.  Oh, and also, as has been amply chronicled by YouTube, they are NOT allowed to walk all over my kitchen counters when I am cooking and stick their faces and paws and tongues in the foods and drinks that are meant for my consumption and get their greasy matted hair all over everything I own and leave partially-eaten animals anywhere but in the weeds outside the house and they are definitely not allowed to make my house smell like cat pee by spraying everything they have the desire to take ownership of.  Because no.  All that said, let's move on to the deck:

I wanted to make sure that you all could see the details, so I did close-ups, but the photos don't convey the size of this thing.  It's little:

It's a tiny portfolio!  SQUEE!

The portfolio is labeled " 22 Arcani 'Gatti' ", "Il Meneghello" edition.  Number 793 out of 2000.  It was printed way back in ye olden dayes of 1990!  Actually, now that I think about it, I was 14 in 1990...I'm 41 now.  I guess it really was ye olden dayes.  Okay, now I'm depressed.

The cards are printed on very heavy stock and less yellowed than the photos are making them look.  I wouldn't dare ever try to use them for a reading or shuffle them.  The cardstock is super heavy, but would absolutely get creases or bends in it if you tried to use the cards for anything but careful display, which I imagine is what it was meant for in the first place.  The deck only includes the major arcana:

The High Priestess


The Devil.  Wisteria?  Is that you??

The only criticism I have is that most of the cats look extremely similar, as if they're almost all the same cat playing different roles.  But that's a nitpick.  Overall, its a super cool little treasure.  You know, every time I've ever looked at this thing, the first thought that has popped into my head, every single time, is "I wonder if they did a Dog Tarot?"  Or, like, a whole series of animal tarot decks in tiny limited editions?  I should look into that one of these days.

I Must Succumb To The Perfectly Executed Whimsy

The word I see most often associated with the Joie De Vivre Tarot is "whimsical".  I've been trying to think of another word to use to describe this deck, but I'll be damned if I can make it happen.  I never thought I would use the word "whimsical" as a descriptor without a tinge (or, let's be honest, a huge sandbag-full) of sarcasm or hipster irony, but here we are.  There is no other word.  See for yourself:

whimsical ?

Whimsical !

WHIMsical !!


That said, I love the Joie De Vivre Tarot.  Love, love, love.  It is wonderful.  I've made it my current go-to deck.  Love.  Lovelovelovelove.

Back when I used to collect decks with more regular zeal, I was always looking for tarot artwork that I could never quite find.  So many decks with excellent concepts, but with artwork that left characters looking stiff, heavy,  Or it went in the other direction:  artwork with personality, but coming across like the artist, well, just isn't that great an artist. Doodly, sketchy, or primitive-looking, but without the charm that goes along with making it look that way on purpose.  The Joie De Vivre Tarot is what I was always looking for, but was never lucky enough to run across until now: wispy, ethereal, and ever-so-slightly dark enough in tone to avoid being cutesy.

That's not to say that I'll never use another deck again, but for now, this is the one.  The cards are plenty sturdy enough.  They shuffle fine without nicking the corners or peeling at the edges.  I could not recommend this deck more highly.

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