Friday, December 20, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: The Insects' Christmas (1913) dir. Wladyslaw Starewicz

This is probably the dreamiest and most enchanting Christmas film I've ever seen. A Father Christmas ornament leaves the cozy confines of an indoor Christmas tree in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and journeys outside to construct a Christmas Tree and bestow gifts upon the deserving insects and amphibians of the forest. The ladybugs, dragonflies, assorted beetles, and a lanky frog are all pleased to accept Father Christmas' invitation to the celebration. It's difficult to believe that this Russian stop-action animation film was made 100 years ago. And as a huge fan of John Denver's "Alfie: The Christmas Tree", the combination of Christmas mythology and the critters of nature gets me every time.

Friday, December 13, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: Post Haste (1943) by Richard Massingham

Ok, so this is not a particularly intriguing film...but a gentle reminder to get your Christmas orders in Post Haste! Our final shipping day before the holiday is Thursday, December 19th! Overnight options may be available after that, but please contact Babil & Bijou first to ensure we will be able to accommodate you.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: Kodak Kodachrome test (1922)

You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: Genuine: A Tale of a Vampire (1920) by Robert Wiene

Genuine: A Tale of A Vampire directed by Robert Wiene (director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) in 1920 has a somewhat convoluted story...but the sets by Expressionist artist César Klein and the costumes are fantastic! I have been trying to find out who's responsible for the modern soundtrack, but to no luck - if anyone knows the artist, please leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

At the Nickeldeon: Poe meets Redon meets Maddin

Picking up on yesterday's Edgar Allan Poe/Odilon Redon post comes this extraordinary short film by Canada's Guy Maddin entitled "Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon" (1995)

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Memorium: Edgar Allan Poe

On the 164th anniversary of his passing... here is a collection artwork inspired by the literary genius of Edgar Allan Poe by Odilon Redon (one of my all-time faves). Charles Baudelaire's mid-19th Century translations of Poe's works for the French reader proved to be an incredible influence to the artists of the Decadent movement.** Poe's writing is now in the public domain, so if you click on any of his works below, you will find the noted work in full.

inspired by Poe's most famous work, "The Raven"...

"The Raven" by Odilon Redon - 1882

Inspired by Poe's poem, "The Bells"...

"A Mask Tolls the Knell" by Odilon Redon - 1882

Inspired by Poe's poem, "Lenore"...
"Lenor appears in front of the black sun of melancholy" by Odilon Redon - 1882

"Lenore" by Odilon Redon - 1882

Inspired by the "The Masque of the Red Death"...
"The Masque of the Red Death" by Odilon Redon - 1883

Inspired by "The Tell-Tale Heart"...

"The Teeth" by Odilon Redon - 1883

Friday, October 4, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: Put on your Fancy Face! (1936)

Constance Bennett offers make-up tips from the 1930s (and gets nagged by her maid Mary)

And some additional tips from the time... just for fun

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Goodbye ETSY!

Babil & Bijou is saying goodbye to Etsy!

Due to the changes announced by Etsy in their Town Hall Meeting today, we have decided to leave the site after 7 successful years. Babil & Bijou takes great pride in offering one-of-a-kind, handmade items that are personally made for our customers. Now that Etsy is encouraging their sellers to use factories and implement drop shipping, we feel it is time to make a clean break.

To clear our the shop, we are offering 50% OFF our current Etsy listings. Please use coupon code: closeout50 to apply the discount at the time of purchase.

Moving forward, we will be selling on our own website:
(re-launching shortly).

Please see our shop announcement to sign up for our newsletter or keep in touch with our work via your favorite social network. Thanks for 7 amazing years! We hope you will continue to support independent artisans as you shop the Etsy marketplace.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Photo Journey: That time I photographed a ghost in Prague

A few years back, whilst completing our Masters degrees in England, my friend Mollie and I took a jaunt through Eastern Europe for Spring Break. We stopped in Berlin, Krakow & Prague. I was taking photos with a wonky Lomo camera - figuring I'd capture Eastern Europe with a camera from Eastern Europe. Upon arriving back in London, and getting my photos back from Snappy Snaps...I spied something utterly creepy in one of my photos - A GHOST!!!!! I convinced myself that my Lomo had truly captured a ghost or ghoul. The ghost photo came just after a series of photos I took at Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery where the tombs are layered upon one another (sometimes up to 12 graves in one plot).  Perhaps this crowded situation caused the souls entombed within to feel somewhat claustrophobic. Maybe one had escaped.  And I had the photographic proof...

Tombstones - Old Jewish Cemetery - Prague
Crumbling tombstones - Old Jewish Cemetery - Prague
The Prague "Ghost"

I called Mollie when I got the photos back. She was also convinced I captured a ghost. I showed my flatmates. They were hard-pressed to explain the image... Did I really capture a ghost? It took months of frightened thoughts before I realized that the photo was one of the hundreds of handmade puppets in the market stalls of Prague. When I was young, we had a "kitchen witch" in our kitchen and seeing a similar witch puppet, I took a quick picture. It was the only puppet photo I took. And even though I finally figured out what I had captured, it still freaks me out. Have you ever taken a mystery photo? Any spooky tales to tell?...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

DIY Delight: A Binoculars Vase

On nearly every jaunt to the flea market, I find an old pair of binoculars or field glasses. And how can I not be enchanted by them? Were they used on the field of battle? Aboard a ship? By children glancing into the great unknown? By a peeping Tom?... Most often the binoculars are a bit banged up, cracked, missing lenses..etc. I've taken to re-purposing these portals to far-away places by adding feathers, flowers, stems, and even here a vintage lion-shaped decanter spout. If you are lucky enough to find a set (like this one) with screw-top eye lenses, they can easily be fitted with your favorite finds. Most are even wide enough to support a small test tube if you'd like to use the binoculars as a bud vase. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

At the Nickelodeon: Dames (1934) choreography by Busby Berkeley

I hope your weekend includes drama and decadence on par with the elaborate and amazing spectacle created by master "cinematerpsichorean" Busby Berkeley in this clip from "Dames". This film just squeaked into release before the restrictive Hollywood code was implemented in July of 1934. And how would the world have ever survived without the bathtub sequence from this dance number???!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The look of clandestine love - Georgian eye portrait jewelry

One of the most tortured love stories in this history of the English throne involved George, The Prince of Wales (eventually George IV) and Maria Fitzherbert (a twice widowed Catholic). 

Enchanted by Maria, The Prince of Wales was determined to marry her. Sadly her Catholic faith proved a severe impediment to the star-crossed lovers as neither the king (Mad) George III or the Privy Council would ever consent to such a union. At first Maria spurned his overtures of affection, but following his suicide attempt (he could not live without her!!!) she accepted his doomed marriage proposal. The very next day Maria fled to Europe where she remained for a year in an attempt to distance herself from the smitten Prince and perhaps cool his adoration. However this separation had the opposite effect on the distraught Prince. He wrote to her, begging for her to reconsider - and along with his love letter, he included a token of his amour - a portrait of his eye painted by Richard Cosway. Maria relented and returned to England to marry the Prince in a clandestine ceremony on December 15, 1787.  She later commissioned Mr. Cosway to paint a portrait of her eye that she in turn gifted to her husband. As with all star-crossed love stories, theirs was not destined for a happy ending. Maria was informed by letter in 1794 that her relationship with the Prince was over. The Prince was married shortly thereafter to his first cousin, Duchess of Caroline of Brunswick, and upon their union, his 600,000 pounds worth of debts were paid off. Yet shortly after the Prince and Duchess's baby was born, the Prince drew up a will bequeathing all his "worldly property . . . to my Maria Fitzherbert, my wife, the wife of my heart and soul." Upon his ascension to the throne, George IV turned (at least publicly) against Maria, yet when he was ill he slept with her "Get Well" letter under his pillow. Before his death, he requested that he be buried with Maria's eye portrait around his neck. His wishes were followed and he now sleeps for eternity with Maria's eye gazing upon him... The gifting of eye portraits became common practice amongst the members of the Aristocracy in the decades that followed...

The glorious Wintherthur Museum in Delaware is currently exhibiting "The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection" (thru January 5th). 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sam Spriggan - Prince of the Fairy Bodyguards

They make their home in Cornwall guarding old ruins and barrows and the treasures held within. Spriggans, also known at the Fairy Bodyguards, are impish little creatures known to expand exponentially in size and rumored to be the ghosts of legendary giants. Sam Spriggan is the Prince of the Spriggans. I've created this new necklace from an antique, Art  Deco era watch fob featuring a three-dimensional rendering of Sam. Wear it when you're feeling a bit impish...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Verses to Live By

New to the shop is this colorful collection of bracelets that feature 1930s celluloid pin back buttons at the center. The buttons were given out to Sunday School students as awards for when they memorized Biblical verses. I chose a variety of buttons that have universal themes and a somewhat "secular" wording so that they may be worn comfortably by someone of any faith.

In this crazy world, it's a comfort to have sentiments such as these wrapping around the wrist....

Be Kind To One Another!

Love Never Faileth

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Rejoice Evermore

and especially... Overcome Evil With Good

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Babil & Bijou's Carnival Collection

Just in time for the season of street fairs, cotton candy, fun houses, and parades... a few images of our new Carnival collection. Available exclusively at Babil & Bijou

Beguiling Beauty at the Masquerade Ball

Ballerina at the Business Men's Carnival

The Star of Mardi Gras

Philadelphia Peace Jubilee (1898)

Sailor Girl Masquerade

Sitting in the Moon at the Roseburg Carnival

The Lady and the Clown

A number of additional pieces will be added to the shop soon!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And an Irish blessing for you: May you always have... Walls for the winds A roof for the rain Tea beside the fire Laughter to cheer you Those you love near you And all your heart might desire.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter Clearance Sale!

Our Spring designs will be debuting in early the meantime, please enjoy 40% OFF ALL ORDERS from our Winter collection! Use coupon code: RELAUNCHCLEARANCE to take 40% OFF all orders! Visit the SHOP to see the gorgeous sale items!

At the Nickelodeon: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

DVR alert...this incredibly bizarre and imaginative film from 1953 is being shown at 8am (EST) tomorrow on TCM. The entire film is also available (for now at least) on YouTube (embedded below). The story follows Bart, a young boy with a curious hat, who lives with his widowed mom and absolutely dreads his weekly piano lessons with the imposing Dr. Terwilliker. During one of his lessons, Bart enters a dreamlike world where he and 499 other boys are forced to play the immense piano that Dr. Terwilliker has constructed. Of course Bart desperately wants to escape...and...well I guess you'll have to watch to see what transpires. The film was written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and is notable for its "Seuss-like" set design. It's definitely one of the creepier children's films I've ever seen...although The Peanut Butter Solution is a close runner-up, but that's a post for another day.