Friday, February 19, 2016

Tossing and turning all night ...

I decided to write this post to share something about myself and in sharing hopefully help others. Through our own blogging styles we inspire, share and in the process oftentimes even educate and entertain. My intent is always to leave you with something to ponder as I weave my stories together. Todays topic is about restorative sleep and insomnia. My poem is a poetic share about myself. Further down I hope to leave you with smiles as I show you my latest clay creature and tell Coco's story as I imagined creating her. 

"Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together."
~Thomas Dekker~

Sleep cycles are referred to as the Sleep Architecture, a neurologically dynamic environment for the brain. Alternating cycles allow the body and mind to physically and cognitively restore. Fact is we sleep one-third of our lives which equates to 121 days annually and 9,581 days in an average lifetime based on a 7-8 hour sleep.

I believe with that much time spent in bed our bedding should comfort and embrace us in warmth in our sleeping nest. Winter time we snuggle under a Hungarian 100% goose down comforter. The duvet cover is a Matelassé with matching shams designed by Nicole Miller. I lucked out with savings buying it during the January White sales. 

There are 3 alternating cycles of sleep. From light to deep and we progress through the cycles every 120 minutes.  It is the 3rd cycle of Rem sleep that is most important for our health.

Stage 1 is when we are falling asleep, a period of light sleep and muscle tone.
Stage 2 is sleep between wakefulness and deeper sleep.
Stage 3 Rem sleep is the restorative sleep. It's when we dream with rapid eye movement and it's associated with cellular regeneration and cognitive restoration, memory allocation and retention. Needless to say stage 3 is extremely important.

They say an Elephant never forgets, I guess they get lots of restorative sleep. I am loving my Sugar boo Elephant pillow with derby patch on it. It propped me up when I wrote my poem for this post. I believe indulging in bedding can reward you with a good night's sleep. We always sleep on 100% natural linen pillowcases that I purchase from Moo on etsy.

Sadly on the flip side of restorative sleep insufficient sleep has become an epidemic in our country. People are sleep deprived and oftentimes suffer from an undiagnosed sleep disorder. 

Those nights all you do is toss and turn and you become sleep deprived and it's a caffeine filled morning just to face the day exhausted.

We like the romantic touch of a petite French chandelier overhead our bed. A dreamy focal point laying in bed right before you drift off to dreamland.

This petite chandelier hangs over our guest room bed. Both petite chandeliers are vintage and were rewired by John and have vintage crystals. Some crystals came with, others were added for flair. Both were found on eBay a great many years ago. Personally I think we won the auctions with a steal.

Statistically for 1 in 3 people sleep doesn't come easily because they suffer from mild to severe insomnia. I became one who suffered from insomnia after my only child, my son Chris suddenly died. I'd toss and turn all night and had no relaxing sleep for months. I became desperate and I felt like a walking zombie but I refused to surrender to the dependence of a sleep aid.  It wasn't until I started to meditate each evening in bed that I found relief from insomnia. Below is my poetic share, it will explain.

Sleep evaded me again tonight as I watched illuminated alarm clock hands swept by half past three.
Relaxing and listening to the hypnotic rhythmic soothing sounds of a CD of waves cresting at sea.

Suddenly out of the blue problems falling asleep became reality along with constant exhaustion that I hate.
Insomnia occurring night after night, laying still in anticipation for sleep to come and all I can do is just wait.

The chatter of my thoughts became deafening blocking the peaceful silence during evenings serenity in rest.
During this period of wakeful nights I'd fluff my pillows, read or watch TV as I tried to make my bed a comforting nest.

But of course insomnia was a complication of my inability in acceptance of a loss that broke my heart.
To relax my mind and body I turned to meditation as a resolution and lying in bed meditating was a fresh start.

Flat on my back with palms facing up to heaven I'd close my eyes and through meditation enjoy restorative sleep.
Nightly meditation has became my magical elixir and remains my solution and now I never need to count sheep!
© Vera

I believe meditation gave me back my restorative sleep and I hope those who suffer insomnia will give it a try. The benefits are amazing and below I've listed some.

* You gain clarity and peace of mind
* Increases your attention span
* Gives you more energy and increases creativity
* Keeps you stress free
* Increases your immune system and helps fight disease
* lowers high blood pressure
* Increases serotonin production improving mood and behavior
* Reduces the aging process
* Improves metabolism 

I meditate twice daily and I will say for me it truly has enabled me to enjoy a greater appreciation of life. I hope you will give it a try. There are numerous websites and videos that instruct you on how to meditate and are easy to follow. 

Source Burlap Luxe

On December 22nd I purchased this from Burlap Luxe's etsy store. The two photos are what Doré photographed and put as 2 of her listing photos. I fell instantly in love with the French bed, the essence of French grandeur with those adorable wonky legs. 

Source Burlap Luxe
I knew exactly what I would do with this bed, my heart and my creativity had already taken possession ... But it just days before Christmas, should I, dare I buy myself a Christmas gift? I honestly must of shown John the listing a half dozen times when he said to me "Vera your heart already owns the piece, just buy it!" 

Being an artist myself I created a scenario to combine my talent with my friend Doré's piece. I told Doré about my plans but have kept the reveal secret until this post. 

My mousy fairytale ... Meet Coco. She's made out of White clay I baked. Named Coco as in a little modern fashion forward mouse who lives a fantasy existence in the apartment at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, France. Shhh... let's not wake her as she is sound asleep dreaming about fashion in her French nightie made by me out of lace with pearl buttons.

Let's cover Coco with my favorite retired Winter White cashmere sweater I fashioned into a blanket just for her.

Coco Chanel lived at 31 Rue Cambon until her death in 1971. But Coco Chanel slept across the street in a private suite at the Ritz. Our little Coco mouse fell in love with everything Coco Chanel after reading a biography on Chanel.
Little Coco read the Chanel quote "A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous." That was all it took for little Coco to spend her days living and dreaming all things Chanel.

Now I bet you're wondering why little Coco sleeps at 31 Rue Cambon and not at the Ritz... Simple the Ritz has rodent pest control. Little Coco set up her bedroom under the eaves of the attic to not be disturbed. Coco's attic boudoir décor is Chanel inspired. 

The tiny chandelier was hand made by Méa of Méa's Vintage from recycled crystals from an antique chandelier. Metal urns were hand cut by Rosemary of VILLABARNES. The Persian rug I created from hand made paper I had stored from another project. I backed it with felt and glued eyelash trim to create the fringe. 

So what's my favorite Coco Chanel quote? Ahhh that's a simple one, "You live but once; you might as well be amazing."

I snapped a photo while I was painting Coco. Notice those flirty long eyelashes I carved for her! I continue to enjoy playing in clay and in the future will share some clay creations from time to time. 

After photographing both Petite chandeliers for this post I asked John to print out my photos onto canvas. They are large Black and White pieces, each measuring 24.5 X 33 and are hung on our floating wire gallery wall in our Living room. We had been looking for quite awhile for an affordable petite chandelier to hang over our coffee table and finally found it last week on eBay. In a future post I will invite you into our Living room for another tour. We live and entertain casually with art throughout our home. A magical piece of art is as I type making its long journey to America and I look forward to sharing it with you in the Living room future post.

I hope you will try meditation, if you do not practice it already. It really will enhance the quality of your everyday and give you restorative sleep.

French theatre and French day bed -
Mini chandelier -
hand cut urns from salvaged metal -

I love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to speak your mind in a comment. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

On Valentine's Day ...

source Adventure Journal
Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the World. Although in some countries not quite as publicity as we do in America where it is considered a holiday.
For romantics February 14th is the day set aside to honor romance, but I truly feel everyday can be like Valentine's Day when we acknowledge that love does make the World go round and fills our hearts with bliss. 

"Now a soft kiss - Aye, by that kiss, I vow endless bliss."
~John Keats~

Throughout the world Valentine's Day is celebrated in many different ways. In Japan for example it is the woman who spoils the man on Valentine's Day with the women buying and gifting the men with chocolate. In Finland it's a popular day for getting married but instead of a romantic gifting day it is called "Happy Friends Day". In Finland people exchange cards and gifts among friends. 

Mathematical heart, source Wikipedia
The legend of Saint Valentine's Day also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine has history of its patron saint shrouded in mystery. Leaving us wondering who was Saint Valentine of Rome. Saint Valentine who is credited with February 14th being about love and affection was beheaded on Valentine's Day about the year 270 AD. Legend is that while Saint Valentine was jailed the jailers daughter befriended the martyr and Saint Valentine signed his last letter to her "From your Valentine".

Gradually during the years following February 14th became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and small gifts like flowers.

The depiction of a drawn heart to symbolize love dates back in the 1250's. I doubt there is ever a day now that passes without seeing a graphic of a heart symbolizing love. For me just seeing it amazingly lifts my spirits and elevates my mood. 

"This fire that we call loving is too strong for human minds. But just right for human souls."

"For me the visual of a illustrated heart represents the innocence of lips meeting in a kiss."

In our Dining room a Lavender sachet heart hangs on our armoires door knob. Handmade by The Old White House out of Vintage French linen tole from a tablecloth. The raw edges to me represent that love in marriage is a lifelong adventure of shared experiences and sometimes emotional struggles. 

In a recent post titled When was the last time? I showed a clay mouse - my first clay mouse I worked on. Since then I have created more to eventually be presented in my seasonal theatre productions. For my Valentine's Day post meet Théodore. 

Théodore is a young male light Grey mouse and tonight for Valentine's Day he has his first date with a cute little mousy named Èmilie who recently he's been flirting with. Théodore is giving a once over glance before heading out the door on his date.

One last mirror check!

Chocolates and Red Roses tonight will be the start of a budding romance with Émilie ... Eyes, fingers and mouse toes crossed.

For Valentine's Day Red is featured throughout our row-home. Upstairs in our sitting room Red Roses grace our mantle. Amongst all the neutrals it adds a color punch. I have always been fascinated with color psychology and have used it in my artwork. The color Red is an interesting contrast of emotions - it awakens our physical life force. On one side Red can trigger anger, danger and is associated with war. Then on the flip side it is energy, action, passion and love. I feel the Red used in decorating for Valentine's Day has given me energy and increased my passion. 

A double bouquet of Trader Joe's Spray Roses in one of our vintage French floral buckets. Spray Roses grow in clusters on one stem producing smaller blooms. They are sold as sweetheart Roses at the Florist. I adore them, especially in mass for they add a petite sweetness to a bouquet. Plus spray Roses cost less than single blossom Roses which have a larger size flower.

"A Rose's rarest essence lives in the thorn."

Every season I adorn the cherub upstairs that sits on our metal table against the exposed brick wall. When the cherub arrived he was 70% Gold, it wasn't exactly what I envisioned nor wanted so I faux painted him to resemble garden statuary. 

The Red Roses are from Christmas, they are spray Roses that I dried. Amazingly they fully retained their vivid color. I hung them in low light in the basement upside down with plenty of air circulation.

The French handmade crown the cherub wears is twisted wire with a tag that says loved. Purchased a couple of years ago from friend Doré over at Burlap Luxe on etsy. The wire crown on top the faux Boxwood topiary with a clay tag with Royal on it was a recent surprise gifting from Doré. I like many woman love and collect crowns.

A marble Bundt cake with a chocolate drizzle is plated on a hand painted Parisian cake stand we purchased in the early 90's. It is a handmade French piece that makes me smile. The embellishments are flirty and add a romantic flair to any dessert. 

Cappuccino and cake for friends stopping by later and no I did not bake the cake, Whole Foods did!

Sorry for teasing you with this close up, hope it's yummy.

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."
~Audrey Hepburn~

So whether you will be spending Valentine's Day with your date, soulmate or sidekick I wish you a very fun Valentine's 2016. I expressed my sentiments of celebrating your Valentine and love throughout the year in my poem below.

There will be gifts of Chocolates, Roses, jewelry and Teddy Bears but Valentine's Day shouldn't be celebrated only one day of the year.
Everyday love dwells inside your heart no matter how stressful life may become hold onto your soul mate who is precious and dear.

Love is defined biologically as a powerful neurological condition sending hearts all a flutter in bliss.
I believe love is the most magical emotion of all as it starts out blossoming romantically from that first amazing kiss.

Love is the deepest emotion, it's passionate and free becoming a commitment we nurture and develop binding two people forever.
Indulge your heart to encourage and welcome the feeling of true love as a love that lasts a lifetime is your souls most precious endeavor.

On February 14th the 45th day of the new year its time to celebrate a holiday to honor and show appreciation of your chosen one.
Celebrate the enduring miraculous power in love and realize on this Valentine's Day Cupids mission with you is done. 

© Vera

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