Author Archives: Yolanda De Leon

About Yolanda De Leon

I love music, art, and anthropology: I am an ethnographer of all things cool!

medieval knighthood aesthetics – a few of my favorite things

i am often obsessed and lately it is with anything medieval . the likes of knights,CASTLES and tapestries, armors, relics and treasures make me want to bury myself in my room burn candles, put on black makeup and re-live my old high school goth days. Being that I am a grown woman and can no longer get away with such eccentricities , ( or can I?) I relieve myself by visiting my local ye-olde-English-pub-themed dive bar because its soo old world and I can munch on $2.00 happy hour quesadillas and gulp down a Manny’s pale ale while I stare at the most amazing knight a girl could ever meet while I think of ways I can redecorate my study.

Here are a few of my favorite medieval like things:


beautiful church chairs and rugs in the studio of california artist JR De Leon

anais nin alcove
my alcove
inspiration board: goth noir
scottish castle

knight in not so shiny armor and scarf

cozy corner at the canterbury ales and eats in the capitol hill neighborhood of seattle

one of my newest designs for my carlotta valdes jewelry line . components include: vermeil, vintage brass, 1930s jet button, and fresh water potato pearls designed my me.

another favorite new design for my carlotta valdes jewelry line . components include:antiqued brass, handmade sterling silver chain, and flower motif sterling silver treasure

i cant forget the goblet.cheers!

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Anais Nin in Bed

Anais Nin Archives : Blue prints of Anais Nin designs. 1920s style goes Moorish and they are available for the first time!

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Fall:New Obsession – A Reocuring one everytime I redecorate

This past summer, I spent pretty much every Saturday selling my jewelry at an open air craft market and making new friends. Being outdoors every weekend was a total treat for a home body like me who will gladly read a couple of New Yorkers, a Fashion Magazine, my books, and tons of blogs in one weekend if one lets me!

Well now that the sun has deserted this wet city, the rain welcomes me home! Literally…
Now “forced ” to stay indoors, I look forward to making more jewelry, to preparing my new website on Amazon, and catching up with my New Yorkers! An additional treat however is the New Official Anais Nin Blog I plan to read religiously!

Here is a peak at what you will find . The following images are of Anais Nin on a bed she designed and blue prints of furniture designed by her in the 1920s. I posted and entry I read in an Anais Nin diary which depicts the very blue prints. Apparently the editor of the Nin blog had found these prints but was not exactly sure if they were her designs. Upon reading my entry , he concluded that indeed the blue prints corresponded to the first Parisian apartment designed by Anais Nin. Who knew they existed. Awww the years I spent imagining the colors and the details. AND here they are out of thin air they appeared to me . OMEN. Inspired I designed a pair of Sterling Silver earrings.

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Filed under anais nin, Anais Nin Diary, arabesque, Film and Jewelry, furniture design in the 1920s, Home Decor, Home Decore, How Jewelery is made, inspirational, Literature and Art, moorish style, Uncategorized

Summer Crafting and Vending – Enjoying your booth while selling your Jewelry

When I left Oakland, CA I made a commitment to myself and my jewelry / crafting business: to get it OUT at craft shows !

I have been making jewelry since I was 12 years old. My first necklace was a watch on leather cord and feather charms… Girls in school would pay me to make them a “rad” necklace and when the most popular and cutest girl in school complimented my jewelry , it was the “icing on the cake”…

The same feeling comes to me when ladies and gentlemen at the Seattle Square Market compliment me on my “Beautiful” jewelry line under Carlotta Valdes and my funky display…

Every weekend I try something new with my set up, I show case an under-appreciated necklace or earrings.

I make at least one new item for each Saturday show and post it on facebook. This keeps returning customers interested and intrigued.

I try to pair items in one cluster of “likes” i. e. cocktail earrings and fancy necklaces.

I am always on the look out for new showcase displays to add to my set up . I love finding new raisers AKA cake stands and old wooden bottle crates . I love that old shabby chic / eccentric gypsy lady thing.

I even have a mini back office housing my receipt book,scissors, bags , pens, hand wipes, breath mints and extra mirrors.

And if the traffic is slow , I make use of my time by re-tagging my jewelry and taking pictures for my Etsy page ( which is so not updated but it will be soon).

I am not saying that my way is the best way , it just really works for me and I have fun doing it.

I am obsessed with methods, do any of you “crafters” have a method to share?

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Cities of the Interior – Inspirational Happenings

Its been a while since I have jotted down my most inspiring moments and deepest secrets in my diary. I do miss it… I have been writing a diary since I was 8…

Today, I was a journal writer…

Aww the lovely Anais Nin

She inspires me in so many ways: Dedication, perseverance, beauty and ridiculousness.

What is ridiculous is owning “Cities of the Interiors” for more than 7 years and not reading it….

Well with all the moving and starting a new job and vending at the Historical Pioneer square ” Seattle Square Market”, who has time for loveliness…

As I start reading “Cities of the Interiors” with its promise that , “this book is that alchemical transformation of the ordinary life into art”,

I am inspired by home bliss and the metaphor of cities for psychic worlds in this book.

I begin to think of my own cities.

And I realize that my new city ,which has embraced me kindly has nooks and nooks of psychic worlds!

And Lovely things :

And wonderful people come to visit my world:

And Magical things happen!

Inspiration everywhere I turn…

Bringing out the best in me …

“The Nesting Necklace” my new line Inspired by my little apartment in Capitol Hill – Seattle, WA


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Anais Nin Interior Bliss : 1930s Apartment Home Decore – 24 Boulevard Suchet, Paris France

While decorating AND setting up my area for another jewelry making session, I had no choice but to dive into that little corner stacked with books and hardly any space for laying out the chain and yummy tourmalines that await. After a few minutes, like is usual, I had to rearrange my corner putting away my first edition Anais Nin Diaries which of course I had to look through once again.

Flipping through the pages of the early diary of Ananis Nin – Volume Four 1927-1931, I came across beautiful pictures of her apartment on 24 Boulevard Suchet in Paris, France.

Much is known about her house and scandalous affairs in Louveciennes thanks to the book and Film Henry and June . I believe little is known about her lavish apartment in Paris . Thanks to Hugh’s success as a banker during the late 1920s , the couple lived in an amazing apartment, where Anais designed her furniture and decorated her place and named it ” A modernization of the Oriental style”.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures along with some contextual diary entries. Please make sure to click on each diary (to enlarge) .Each diary entry describes her inspirations and design process. Also, each entry is beautifully written -wich is why I love Anais..

P.S. One day I will have my uncle ( a carpenter) replicate those bookcases!


Filed under Home Decore, Literature and Art, Uncategorized

Adapting to a New Neighborhood – Taking a Walk

My neighborhood is filled with beautiful homes and lovely gardens. Each day, I find a “new favorite” park, garden, house or building. When the wind picks up , the cherry blossom trees that are slowly shedding their petals lead me to new appreciation of this city. Capitol Hill : Seattle, WA.

Purple House - Gorgeous tree and House combo.

Birds around everywhere - A symphony of nature.

Birds around everywhere - A symphony of nature.

I love finding trees that match a house.

Water Tower at Volunteer Park. One of these days I am going to climb those scary clautrophobic steps to the very top.

Atrium - Botancal Garden at Volunteer park.

Typical Garden around here.

Garden in the Alley around the corner from our yellow apartment.

I can see the "goings around " in the neighborhood, while a make a cup of coffee.

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The Design Process : Using your favorite beads.

Yesterday , my design juices where flowing like never before and I decided to really exploit my creative skills. I needed a story, and I had a craving for a hefty necklace.

After stringing my African beads , I added these ancient silver links acquired as my “going away” present from my friend Leah.
I tried channeling her aesthetic because it is really clean and she is brilliant at layering components to create these luscious pieces (She has a great eye and great sources for wonderful ancient beads and components). Leah is the main designer of fantastical silver and gold components at NINA DESIGNS. I use many of Nina Designs components in all my designs.
After trying on the simple strand I had just finished stringing, I realized it made a great layering piece but it needed “Je ne sais quoi”. I knew I wanted a strong focal centerpiece and my story was incomplete so I wrote the following:

Those who know me well also know that I LOVE bats. I fell in love with them when I traveled throughout Bali, Indonesia. Bats are considered holy in Bali and their “drippings” are medicinal. I love how cute their faces are. Despite their scary appearance they are wonderful creatures that are remarkably human like.

I relate to bats because despite my “Scary” appearance, I am kind and seek to heal those around me. Additionally, I am most alive late at Night!

It became clear that the necklace would be one that could be worn at night; say to a concert or to a party so I decided to add some chain.

AHA! a tassel of chain (very me )! Then it all came to me, perfect time to resurrect my little Bat Netsuke bead presented to me a few years ago by Leah. I added some ancient glass beads and as a little inside joke, I added a little bead cap to the top of the bat’s head.Laying out my story

Making a tassel

Making a tassel

wirewrapping the tassel
Adding a bead cap and Roman Glass

Adding a bead cap and Roman Glass

Viola! Here’s my Netsuke Tassel Fantastical Necklace. Now I need to figure out how to attach a clasp to the silk string I am using. For now a super tight knot will do , any suggestions?
I need a hand please

I need a hand please


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My New Home in Seattle

On February 2010, my boyfriend was offered a job at Amazon Seattle. As a software engineer, this was an awesome opportunity so we decided to make Seattle our new home. March 31 , 2010 was my last day in Oakland, CA and it was a sad day indeed. On April 2, 2010, I drove up to Seattle . Tired and hungry, I arrived to Capitol Hill and to an adorable big yellow house! Immediately
, we unloaded a car full of my beads and  two kitties. My wonderful brother,who helped me do the ten hour drive, confirmed the loveliness of this neighborhood which I now call home!  It took me five days to decorate and organize a plethora of funky old stuff hauled from Oakland to Seattle! Here is our little home.

Painting of a Coffee Bean Goddess by Tony Machado

Makeshift - Bookcase and Sofa table squeezed into a nook . Our place is too small to fit all our furniture.

Trees! My view while I post Etsy stuff!

Bedroom Wall -A nice little arrangement of my favorite black and white pictures and artwork.

Cabinet of Curiosities AKA Liquor cabinet - My kitties fight for this corner.

"New" Persian Rug : Just a little something I aquired from my brother JR. He is now a Rug Dealer's apprentice and scored this beauty for my Birthday!

Our "New" Teal leather couch. A local used furniture store in Capito Hill supplied this cutie!

My new "beading" corner! Time to make some stuff!!!!


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Fall Pasta A’ La Chez Panisse

farmers market 004This Saturday my boyfriend Andrew and I went to the Grand Lake Farmers Market in Oakland, California once again (a favorite Saturday ritual of mine).  A recent purchase of a used “ Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza and Calzone” recipe book by Alice Waters that I bought at the local used furniture store inspired yet another “Yolanda and Drew cook off  duel” .

We love Alice Waters’ recipes because they are simple and down to earth. If you like French or Italian country style – her recipes require only a few ingredients often found in your pantry. farmers market 008 In other words, you don’t have to drive to end of the world to find that esoteric spice or vegetable to make a delicious and unique dish.  The big plus is that her dishes are vegetable heavy (I’m a Veggie) and she encourages seasonal cooking. Her book inspires us to shop at the local farmers market down the street which usually carries seasonal produce and gives me the opportunity to cook with a vegetable new to me. For example, I have never cooked fresh artichokes and my new fall pasta dish calls for it so this gives me the opportunity to face a nice challenge.

With an Alice Waters dish, you can never “mess up” trust me, that is why I lover her. Besides, I LOVE her aesthetics just take a look at her website for her Chez Panisse  restaurant and you’ll know what I mean.

In conclusion, I made the artichoke hearts, prosciutto and fettuccine dish and I substituted the mushrooms for the prosciutto and it was light and market 005

farmers market 014This dish and the adventure in making it got me thinking of how the farmers market reminds me of when I was a child visiting my Granny Margarita in Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico. She used to drag me to the market to pick up cheese, sour cream, meat, nuts, and produce. She would buy me corn on the cob with lemon and chili, or a seasonal fruit treat.Mexican Market - Mexican MarketMexican Market

As I write this I realize that I have to praise the local farmers and our local chefs even though I have to forgo going to the movies or other costly attractions in order to afford good organic and local foods that will feed me throughout the week! Where you live, do you recommend a local restaurant or do you have a favorite recipe book? Do you know your local Chefs? What do you sacrifice for good food?farmers market 003

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