Category Archives: the alternative Bride

Fairy Cuisine, in the Raw

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Pink roses, azalea, sweet lilacs, bleeding hearts, quince blossoms and pansies sit waiting in a bowl. DSC_1633Washed and picked for sugar coating they await their transformation…they will become sugar coated flowers. Lovingly painting their petals with a brush, I cover the flowers  with a special mix of frothy white of egg, a touch of confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.  Some flowers can be dipped into the liquid. I then pour crystal showers of finely ground, almost powdered castor sugar over them in waves until thee petals are covered. I do it again , catching the empty spots until they are all covered , then allow them to dry. The flowers can be gently placed on a sieve or a screen placed over a plate to catch the excess coating that will drip off the petals  while drying. More o the fine castor sugar can be poured over the drying blossoms and after sitting overnight they will be dry and sugar coated and sparklingly preserved. The crystal covered flowers make wonderful cake decorations , especially for fancy tortes and cakes made with rose petal jam.  DSC_1710DSC_1772

Roses are the Food of Love…

DSC_1554Traditional recipes have been handed down in my family from generations of wonderful cooks whose art was expressed in beautiful embroidery and fine cuisine. .Southern Ukrainian cooking made with love filled my childhood along with the stories told in the process of baking and cooking. Every holiday a feast to be remembered. My mother excelled in the making of cakes and desserts, conscripting me as her sous chef from the age of four when I was considered old enough to start helping in the elaborate preparations of the treasured traditional family cake recipes for special occasions, especially birthdays.  Everything was prepared and done by hand and the taste of love was in every amazing mouthful.

Her walnut torte, the traditional Ukrainian cake  was my favourite . I would sit grinding mountains of nuts by hand to please my mother and make the cake. No matter how much my small arms hurt, I kept grinding the nuts in a small hand grinder knowing what the ultimate reward would be – the most delicious cake in the entire world. The most special cakes were made with an exquisite jam between the torte layers that my mother made every summer. This was her special ambrosia –  confiture of roses. The scent was intoxicating .


We would snip the heads off at their peak of bloom together, cutting them into baskets on the morning after a Full Moon in June when their scent was at its peak. The petals were then plucked off the heads into bowls and cleaned of any caterpillars and leaves.

Old fashioned fragrant deep pink Damask roses are best used for this exquisite delicacy. There are many different ways of making rose jam. One is made raw, allowing the petals to macerate in the sun with sugar crystals and a touch of lemon until it becomes a sticky fragrant paste…my grandmother’s recipe. The other  is a silky textured syrupy fragrant jam that is cooked .

Fill a large bowl with cleaned rose petals . Cover them with sugar and the juice of 2 lemons and mix together. Leave to blend their juices overnight, covered with a linen towel.  Add half a cup of water with more lemon juice  to taste and stir.

Bring 2 cups of water to a slow boil with 1 cup of sugar, some grated lemon rind  and 2 tablespoons of agar agar, mixing to dissolve. Add the rose petal blend  and slowly simmer for 30 minutes slowly stirring in and adding 3 tablespoons of a light mild raw honey and more lemon juice to maintain the colour of the roses. Take care to  not overcook the rose petals or they will lose their colour and tenderness.  Ladle the mixture into boiled an sterilized jars and seal tightly. Store the preserves for up to a year, but they are best eaten within 7 months. DSC_1575

This recipe yields 3 medium jars of ambrosial , silky textured rose preserve that has a jelly like syrupy quality fragrant and delicious beyond your wildest taste dreams, like the taste of an unforgettably romantic summer love.

Chapeaux Fantastiques

My fantasy HATS … and Headdresses… Magical creations, each one is a small and unique work of art. Some are made entirely with natural elements and flowers like fairy wreaths Others are for city wear, weddings and special occasions. Created with love and and embellished with silk faux flowers, pearls and threads they are made to order and each is a a celebration of the joys of spring… a Chapeau Fantastique !


Madonna of the Lake

JenMadonnatinywThe Madonna of the Healing Waters… The Moon,  recently full in Virgo  in opposition to Neptune, lord of the seas and Chiron the healer, in Pisces  is pulling us. She beckons us to enter the endless sea of Divine Love. A portal opens at every New and Full Moon, and we can sow our seeds of hope in prayer , and manifest our dreams and intentions flowing with her cycles. Birthed at the New Moon in Aquarius, my Madonna is reaching her final stages of completion asNeptune and the Moon pause in their opposition in the skies . She keeps growing and expanding in my minds eye, and I am now ready to bring in the next phase as I pay homage to the Goddess of this potent  Virgo Moon.

the little things …


small , but eloquent  Where would bigness be without the small ?

It is the detail that brings the smile , the finishing touch … the sense of whimsy .

ImageThe detail brings sparkle , the light  in the twinkle of an eye … the curl in the corner of a mouth … A love letter hidden in a bodice , and springtime  reflected in a young girl’s eyes … and a little hat – on a pretty girl’s head , especially in springtime , is a delicious delight . a little thing , but such an eloquent statement … A wonderful bit of whimsy … a lace collar , a jewel , or an artwork of  hat speaks , sings , and has a presence and personality all its own .

A small detail , and a small package perhaps , but with it comes  amazing style …A silk satin chapeau , pearl embellished , trimmed with ostrich feathers ,hand made and  fit for an heiress from the Great Gatsby Era , this little  detail creates magic as soon as it is put on . Perfect in lieu of a veil for a very modern retro bride …. and  for a Twenties style , Gatsby influenced wedding ensemble .

Available by custom order directly  from NatashaVon ,or on Etsy

Photographed and styled by the designer , and modeled here  by Julia Fairchild.

Glittering Gatsby , Modern Romantics

My dresses  and art with fashion have been  featured today  in an article on the modern resurgence of Twenties Style …Gowns

An Eccentric Yule …

Winter Solstice draws near . The holiday spirit makes us sparkle and glow , bringing light to the dark nights with the warmth of our hearts and  loves .

Rich velvets and embroideries , romantic silks , antique laces and satins gleam in the  warm , afternoon light , adorning a retro and timeless woman , a Zhivagoesque Julie , shown dressed in Custom Couture fantasies designed  by Natasha Von .

Hand made , each Chapeau is unique , and one of a kind … as is each garment .

Perfectly beautiful , glowing  in the  spirit of  Yule …  the fanciful whimsy of the sumptuous hats and couture fantasies  make  fashion a work of timeless art , and bring the joy of a personal theater to our lives …

And what better time than Christmas for tradition to mix with fantasy , and to celebrate times gone by ,  – with a delicious quixotic spin  or  two ?Or the New Year , to bring joyous delight , and whimsical magic into the year to come ?

And in the spirit of an Enchanted Holiday ,  this charming duo , true Modern Romantics , are doing it right , and starting early !

Mlle. Julie , our lovely model  glows in lace and velvet , styled and created by Miss Natasha Von , with love …. Julie’s mysterious admirer , M. Gerard , ready for New Year’s Eve , and dashing as always , both masked and unmasked , wears a lace jabot , sequin trimmed shirt  by Natasha Von ,  Custom Creations , Chapeaux Fantastiques …

Perfectly beautiful , in the spirit of Yule …

A Hat for each Occasion …


From a perfect Christmas dinner , wearing a hand embroidered velvet and fur Russian style Hat ,

And  a black velvet and sparkling rhinestone Hat called Black Magic ,  a perfect fantasy  in the spirit of New Year’s  Eve ….

All furs are lovingly restored , recycled , and recreated Canadian pieces .

The Mysterious Magic of the Color Purple …

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The mysterious color purple seduces our eyes and spirits … Redolent of secrets, regal and seductive, it enchants us  and we flow into its mystery. Merging  passion and the mystic in the mix of red and blue, seductive and deep…  A  slightly other worldly  aura accompanies the one who wears it, exuded by the lovely lady photographed in this exquisite dress, hand beaded and worthy of a princess from a time long past…  This evening gown that is a work of art, embroidered on the artist’s drawings , line by line and stick by stitch… lovingly created by a team of 5 artisans, then stitched by hand for Natasha Von .

Custom Evening Wear , NatashaVon , available on Etsy ….

The Ultimate Great Gatsby Flapper Wedding dress

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ImageBronze and ivory , sequins , heavy glass beads like an enchanted glass painting , with arabesques and rich fantasies unfolding in an embroidered wonderland of graceful  curves silk and pearls … This dress is magical , and was embroidered and stitched entirely by hand on my meticulous drawings translated into an exact design with a symphony of needle pricks to make the original embroidery pattern …as if a perforated pointillist lacework . The gowns are custom made , and made in small series of similar pieces with slight variations . Each piece is a work of art , and may take up to six months to complete  from the first drawing . They are made by the finest embroidery artists , usually young Moslem men with traditional skills of ancient embroidery techniques , and lovingly made . Sometimes only one is made per design . They are timeless beauties , lasting  through years of delicate wonder , and treasured wear . … and beauty never goes out of fashion … Opulent , full of the energy in 1000 hours of work by loving hands , the garment falls with its’ weight , just so … enough to sculpt the female form , to  hug it’s curves with a  matchless , fantasy of elegance … a la twenties Gatsby , but truly , timeless haute couture .

Wearable for a Gatsby wedding , perfect for a ride in a white Bentley , a night on the town , dancing  on tables with bottles of champagne as the sax player  shuts the club down , with memories of sweet Charlston nights  somewhere in the distant background , as you remember Paris , and just keep dancing while  the world is seen through rose colored glasses  ….  with strains of  a sweet and elegantly seductive nostalgia .

The dress is made  to order   , and more styles may be seen  here and  on Etsy … and  gowns maybe custom ordered .

Feminine and Fabulous …

describe the exquisite wedding gowns created by the wonderful designers LowonPope . Sleek , with beautiful lines that elongate and caress the form , they make every woman feel immersed in old time glamour once they slip on over her skin .  These gowns  radiate a heady mystique … Many have a retro twenties inspiration , while others are  timeless.  Eternally elegant gowns of future heirloom quality , yet with a very modern aesthetic , they flatter with their refined drama . . . Heavy silk satins cut on the bias hug the form like wet drapery on a Greek goddess from an ancient past.

Tara glows in this gown by Lowon Pope  in  these bridal portraits . From Goddess to Queen of the Nile , to modern flitatious Vamp , Tara is a gorgeous bride in these in this magnificent streamlined bias cut flowing silk crepe satin wedding gown with a sweeping train . .Dream dresses for a dream wedding ….. Lana Lowan and Jim Pope enchant and seduce with their unique  styling understated elegance with romantic drama , and signature couture .

To see more of these fabulous dresses, go to Lowon Pope’s web-site: