Friday, March 18, 2011

day 67 ~ Mad as a Hatter (March Mix-It-Up)

The Challenge:
March Mix-It-Up Madness

Utilize the following pieces in a collaborative piece, 
either individually or collectively, with your own theme. 

Feeling Mad as a Hatter, I opted to use them all at the same time. 


"The Daily Dose"

Everyone knows that Alice stepped through the looking glass to Wonderland, and that when she grew up, she still found following white rabbits to be irresistible (consequently, falling down the rabbit hole again and finding herself in Underland). It is also common knowledge that she went on to defeat the jabberwocky and set off on the high seas to trade with China. What is not well known, however, is that later in life Alice undertook the greatest adventure of all by becoming a mother.

In honor of her father, Charles Kingsleigh, she named her beautiful newborn daughter 'Charlotte' and called her 'Charlie', for short. Charlie was just as free spirited and as valiant as her mother. Her imagination knew no bounds. When she wasn’t tailing rabbits, she was daydreaming with such fervent delight that she came to think of herself as a cloud dweller.  While her mother regaled her with firsthand accounts of her visits to faraway places, Charlie dreamed of embarking upon adventures of her own.

One day, as Charlie was lying in the grass, gazing at the clouds, Alice sat down beside her and placed a small gift box on her tummy. Smiling, she sat up and marveled at the whimsically wrapped box. “What is it?” she asked.

“Open it and see,” Alice said with a grin.

Inside the box was a beautiful snow globe, a crystal clear, shining orb full of flakes begging to be shaken and set a'tumble. Charlie looked puzzled and asked, “Why is there only snow and water inside?”

Her mother replied, “It’s your daily dose.”

“My what?”

“Your daily dose. Think of it as inspiration in the palm of your hand. We all need inspiration, Charlie, even those of us with active imaginations. Just give it a shake each day and gaze into it to see the possibilities unfold.”

Charlie wrapped her arms around her mother and whispered her thanks. Alice kissed her on the cheek and got up to leave her daughter to her discoveries.

Charlie lay back down in the grass and held the snow globe up in front of her.  Watching the dancing snow glittering in the sunlight, she wondered what it would be like to be inside the globe looking up at her own eye looking in. As wondering is akin to wishes (a third cousin once removed or some such thing), Charlie felt herself falling up and into the globe within her own up stretched hand.

Twirling, spinning, whirling amid the tiny snowflakes, awareness kissed her with the sudden knowledge that each was a portal, that all the snow globes in all the world are connected, that each is a maze, a quest! Drifting ever so softly side to side, lit up and completely alive with the thrill of adventure, Charlie gently landed on the bottom of the globe, stood up, and took a look around.

She was immediately taken with how, from the inside of the globe, all of the snowflakes appeared to be bubbles. She felt as if she were inside a champagne bottle, an endless, enchanting champagne bottle. “Welcome to your daily dose!” a bubbly voice proclaimed.

“Who said that?” Charlie looked around and found herself staring into a large eye! She stared back, entranced. The eye didn’t blink. “No. No. Up here,” the voice directed.

Charlie looked up, half expecting to see the Cheshire Cat or a blue caterpillar. Instead, she saw a tiny house nestled in a tree. “No. No. Over HERE,” impatiently bubbled the voice.

Charlie walked around to the other side of the tree where she found neither cat or caterpillar but rather, a very colorful fish!

“Ah. There you are,” Charlie said.

“What? You’re not surprised to see a fish in a tree?” the fish asked, sounding a bit disappointed.

“Not at all,” Charlie replied, matter of factly.

“Hmph,” shrugged the fish, turning slightly away from her view.

Realizing that the fish was accustomed to providing the element of surprise and that she had unwittingly taken a bit of fun from the poor creature, Charlie tried again by venturing, “You certainly are a brilliantly colored fish, and you’re so shiny! Are you made of glass?”

The fish cast a casual glance her way and very nearly whispered, “Yes, actually. I am a glass fish, a rainbow glass fish.”

“I’ve never met a rainbow glass fish before. I’m so happy to meet you! My name is Charlie. What’s yours?”

With the disappointment soothed, the fish turned to Charlie and wagged his fishy tail, for fish cannot resist the bait of heartfelt kindness, and said, “I’m Ralph and I’m happy to meet you, Charlie.” As he left his perch in the tree and made his way towards her, Charlie asked, “What is this place, Ralph? It’s so very lovely and strange. As I was falling, I felt as if I somehow knew that each of these snowbubbles connected this snow globe with all the snow globes in the world.”

Ralph looked directly into Charlie’s eyes and said, “It’s your daily dose, of course.”

“My daily dose? My mother said something about that but I’m not entirely sure that I understand it completely. I know that inspiration is important, but what does that have to do with snow globe quests and talking fish?”

“It’s different for everyone,” Ralph continued. “The only thing that is the same for everyone is that it is important to get your dose daily, otherwise, the world sort of wilts.”

“Wilts? How can the world wilt?”

“Exactly like a garden, I think,” Ralph replied thoughtfully. “Take me for example. I go on a daily quest riding on a wendy wave of inspiration.”

“A wendy wave? Don’t you mean a windy wave?”

“No. No. Anyone can ride on a windy wave, but only my wave is wendy. You wouldn’t believe where my wave has taken me.” Ralph looked off, lost in a reverie with a little fishy smile upon his not so little fishy lips.

“But how did you find your wendy wave? How will I know that I am on the right path for my quest?”

“Oh, you’ll know,” Ralph replied. “Besides,” he added, “there are always signs along the way.”

“What kind of signs?”

“Oh, you’ll know,” repeated the fish. “Although, I suppose you could rest in the heather a bit. She might be able to help you,” and with that he started to swim away.

“Wait! What do you mean? I’ve rested in heather before, but I’ve never thought of it as a she.”

Ralph turned around briefly and with a tiny, glass fin pointed to the miniature tree house.

Charlie was pondering how she would scale the tree in order to reach the house, when she remembered to wonder. As if in a dream of recalling dormant flying skills, she floated upwards and landed at the front door. She knocked.

“Who isssssss it?” sang a voice from inside.

“My name is Charlie. I’m on a quest. I think. Ralph, the little glass fish, suggested that I come here to rest in the heather.”

The door swung open. Charlie peeked inside. The room was bare. “Hello?” Charlie called.

“In here, dear. Walk towards the far wall.”

Charlie did as she was told and as she walked, the room grew deeper and deeper. After what seemed to be a long walk, a polished, old wooden door appeared in the corner of the far wall. Charlie opened it and found another room just the same as the one she was standing in. She walked inside. Again, the room deepened as she walked, but this time the deepening seemed to take on a slight spiraling turn, as if she was continually walking to the right. At last the far wall stopped moving. Instead of a door, this time she saw a beautiful portrait. It seemed so hauntingly familiar and yet so utterly new! Charlie was mesmerized.

“So glad you stopped by!” the portrait said.

Charlie jumped backwards and landed bottom side down on the floor. She looked up at the portrait, took a deep breath and smiled. “What a delight this place is! There’s a surprise at every turn.”

“Sounds about right for your daily dose to me,” the portrait said, returning Charlie’s smile with an enigmatic one of her own.

“Are you Heather? Ralph said that I should go rest in the heather, but he said it was a she and you look to be a she and” The portrait saved her from further rambling, “Relax child. Our little fishy friend was referring to me, but also to this house, to the expansive calm here. I suppose it all started a long, long time ago when the twigs of the flowering heather were used to sweep. The plant name came to mean, “to clean” and once you’ve rested here awhile, you’ll understand the significance. Of course, you can forget all of that and just call me, Heather.” The portrait smiled. Charlie took a deep breath and felt a relaxation deeper than any she had ever known wash over her. She felt as if she was in that place just before sleep, that in between state feeling of deep peace with a dash of consciousness still remaining.

“I like your hat,” she said simply.

“Thank you,” Heather replied, demurely reaching up to touch the brim. “The Hatter made it for me.”

“The Hatter? THE Hatter? My mom is very good friends with The Hatter, but I still haven’t met him yet,” Charlie exclaimed, then feeling much too calm to get overly excited, she noted, “I really like the pattern. What is it?”

“It’s a depiction of this world in which you find yourself. Snazzy, isn’t it?”

“It really is. I think I can even see myself in there. That’s really amazing.” Unsuccessfully, Charlie stifled a yawn and stretched. “I’m really sleepy. Would it be okay with you if I rested here a bit?”

“Make yourself comfortable, child. Rest to your heart’s content,” Heather said in a soothingly low voice.

As Charlie slept, she dreamed. She dreamed she was walking deeper and deeper into the House of Heather. She walked for so very long, and yet she never tired. Spiraling, spiraling, walking, wondering, until at long last she came upon another door. This door looked very much like the one leading into Heather’s room. The only difference was that it had a small brass plaque on it. The plaque read, “Library”.  Being an avid reader, she was excited to explore just what kind of books would be found in the library of this house. She opened the door and was surprised to see that there weren’t any shelves or books lining the walls. The room appeared bare just like the others except for a small speck barely visible off in the distance. Charlie walked.

As she neared, the speck grew and took shape into that of a woman reading a book. “Excuse me, “ Charlie said.

“May I help you?” the woman replied.

“I’m just curious why there aren’t any books here. Is this really a library?”

“If it isn’t the library, then I’m surely not in the right place.”

“How is it a library if it doesn’t have any books? And how can it not being a library mean that you aren’t in the right place?” Charlie asked.

The woman smiled. “I’m the librarian,” she said, adding, “and while it might not seem like it to you, we have all the reading material you could ever need.”

“But the only book I see here is the one you’re reading?”

Laughing, the librarian said, “Yes, dear, but what could you possibly need besides your daily dose, where the possibilities are all possible and the endings are without end?” The librarian looked back down at the page she had been reading and said, "Just let me finish this page and it is all yours."

Charlie's dream, being as dreams are, slid effortlessly into another where she found herself standing face to face with The Mad Hatter.

She laughed and continued to dream.


Clearly, once I finally began working on these collaborations they had their merry way with me!  The images were created first, but because they didn't have the cohesion I was hoping for, I was forced by The Muse to tell their story. If you feel inspired by this tale and want to write Charlie's next adventure, please do! Just be sure to tell me about it so that I can read along.

Here's some info on who's included here, though, I believe you all know each other:

Charlie is composed of pieces from the following fellow 365'ers ~

Angie at Simulacrum ~ paper doll head
Stace at Artifacts ~ knight body
Tara at Sun A Day ~ sun patterned arm plate on armor
Jess at Play by Play ~ Swiper the fox on shield

Charlie's snow globe world includes work from ~

Amy at Snow Globe 365  ~ beautiful, all seeing eye and the entire base of the shot with which I took great liberties!
Madonna at The Happy Homemaker ~ this entire creative exchange for the month of March was Madonna' brainchild. She also contributed a lovely house template which was used for the tree house.
Wendy at The Little Glass Fish ~ Ralph!

Heather, the portrait in the house of heather, features a brilliant piece that Heather at 365 Days of Me created for her Friday Challenge, during which she is imitating great works of art. I just added the hat (and the drink me bottle on the cover of "The Daily Dose"). The hat and bottle are both 3D renderings of the snow globe piece.

Our lovely librarian is Meg at The Beheaded Goddess 365.

Thank you all for playing, for reading and for allowing me to have fun with your images. YOU are my daily dose.



  1. I'm still feeling the calm from hanging out in the House of Heather. :D

    Or, maybe I just needed to get all this up and out?

    Whatever the case may be, I'm smiling in a B I G way.

    Thanks for wading through, my friend, and for letting me use your amazing piece.

    merrily, merrily, merrily ~

  2. WOW! Awesome! I have to share this!

  3. Thanks, Amy. Maybe Shaggy and the gang can star in Charlie's next dream adventure. I would love to see what you come up with!

  4. That was AMAZING!

    I found if through Megan's blog.
    My daughter wants me to send her a link so that she can read it later too.

  5. love this and especially the fish!

  6. Good morning, Ladies :)

    Welcome, Ange. So glad you popped over.

    Damaris! XO~

  7. This is crazy cool, Misha! You are not only a great photographer, but an awesome storyteller! I am off to ride the wave of Wendy!

  8. I finally had time to sit down and read this--great work! Very imaginative, and very inspiring!

  9. Wendy, and what a wave it is!

    Thanks so much for the kind words and for taking the time to delve.


  10. Hey Stace ~ I know all about that time thing.

    I'm glad you were able to find a few minutes to come over and share it with me. I've tried my hand at some short stories before, but, for some reason, this one just came much easier. I'm chalking it up to the fun factor.

    Happy to hear that you found inspiration here. It's my aspiration. :D

  11. Masterpiece.

    (you do need to turn this finished year of treets and weaves into a book)


  12. I had so much fun with this, Rick. You are very generous with your praise and support.

    Thank YOU :)