Friday, January 29, 2010

Jean Simmons - 1929-2010

GR&DF your kind comments as always make my morning!!!
Thank you so much!

As you know I am very fond of the Moving Pictures and like nothing better than to be stitching and watching one. Usually I talk about a film after watching but today I wanted to bring to your attention a tribute evening on TCM. Last Friday the Movie Industry lost a wonderful actress - Jean Simmons.

As the usually do TCM is paying tribute to her wonderful career in the films with three outstanding picks - The films they are showing are start off with - "Great Expectations" -1946- starring John Mills, Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons and as you know another favorite actress of mine - Martita Hunt, This is a very early role for Jean and she is just super playing the young spoiled Estella. The director is the great David Lean. If you have not seen this version I would highly recommend it!! Second on the bill is "Elmer Gantry" - 1960 - starring Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Dean Jagger and Shirley Jones. Burt won the Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role and Shirley won the Oscar for best supporting actress. Another great film to see. The third film of the evening is one I have not seen - "The Happy Ending" - 1969 - starring Jean Simmons, John Forsythe, Lloyd Bridges and Teresa Wright. Simmons was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress in a leading role but lost out to Maggie Smith playing Miss Jean Brodie in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." The films start at 8 pm EST/ 5 pm PST. It should be a great evening!!

Thanks for stopping by - have a great weekend!!! See you on Monday!

Take care,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Super Mail and some Flicks

GR&DF I do thank you for such nice comments yesterday about my little bit of re-charting. I had quite a few emails about the Q square and my other changes - I will try to post them all when I finish the sampler - but I am so bad about making notes if you don't see and explanation about anything feel free to ask.

Yesterday the mail brought me some wonderful things from two very dear friends I have made here because of blogging.

From the Holiday Exchange Blog I received my Valentine Exchange from my partner Becky. She once again spoiled me with her package - as she is wont to do....... The beautiful box arrived...

and after taking the brown paper from the mail off was this beauty!! Opening up the box I found that Becky had filled it with such goodies..... candy, ribbon buttons, Valentine decorations..... my goodness poor spinning head!!

with the star piece being a gorgeous needlbook.....

beautifully stitched and finished!!! This opens to reveal...

lovely brown and blue paisley pieces for needles - and there are even some needles already there! I am just in love with this needlebook. Not only because it is beautiful and came from sweet Becky but because it gives me hope. The hope you ask about.... I have avoided the needlebook finish because of my non-sewing skills - but the construction of this needlebook I might actually be able to accomplish - It is beautiful, functional and inspirational!! How often can you say that. Thank you so much dear friend for the wonderful exchange!!!

The mail also brought a sweet gift from another dear friend - Donna - a friend I made a couple of years ago when she organized the LHN RR that I participated in.

Donna had sent me an email a few weeks back telling me she wanted to get me a chart that I wanted and what would I like to have. Well, I thought about it for a moment or so and then almost immediately said "Paradise Lost" by Plum Street Samplers - and so slam bang it arrived yesterday. This was such a very generous and kind gesture - Thank you so much dear sweet Donna!!! I now need to think about stitching it up and wondering if it can take a Belle Soie Conversion..... I wonder????

Sherry asked what was up on the stitching agenda after AlphaBlocks - nxt up is "Memorial Sampler" from Midsummer Night Designs.

Picture from the chart pack - I will need to chart out my family names. I had wanted to do this last year and got all the floss but just never got a good piece of linen I liked. I also ran out stitching time - Now I have a great piece of linen and it is next up so it will get done over the next few months.

The flicks for today start off with a hum dinger - "To Each His Own" - 1946 - starring Olivia de Havilland, John Lund and Mary Anderson. This film is one I had not seen before and really enjoyed. Set around 1917 the story is told in flashback and evolves around a small town girl in "trouble." This trouble is adopted by another woman after the loss of her baby. The story wraps up with a teary revealing scene in London during WWII. Certainly a woman's film from the period - Olivia de Havilland was very good. For a real tour de force picture of Olivia's watch "The Heiress" - 1949 a great film with a great actress!! Next up - "It Should Happen to You" - 1954 - starring Judy Holliday, Peter Lawford and in his first starring role on film Jack Lemmon. A delightfully breezy comedy of a girl that wants to make a name for herself - and does she ever - in a big way!! Then ensues all the hilarity and of course and love triangle. The direction is by that super director George Cukor. The next flicker is "Bell, Book and Candle" -1958- starring Kim Novak, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Elsa Lanchester and Hermione Gingold. Another great comedy with a magic touch of the mortals and the supernatural. The last film today was last nights flicker - "Pennies from Heaven" - 1981 - starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters and Christopher Walken. A superb but dark musical of the depression. I have alwys enjoyed this filom and over the years has gotten a big cult following.

It's getting late so I will sign off dear ones!!
Thank you again for your visit and your kind comments do come again!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Q Block, Comments and Learing a Thing or Three!

GR&DF again I must thank you for your kind words!! Warm thoughts on this - a cold and blustery Wednesday morning. We are drying out a bit with no rain for the next few days, but another storm is gearing up for next week. That means we might actually be able to get to an Estate sale or Consignment Shop this weekend!!

Last night I finally got to work on the Q block of Alphablocks. If you have noticed I have worked all around an avoided this block - for no other reason than I was pondering a complete re-charting. Of all the blocks this is the one block that I have never cared for. IMHO it just did not fit with the rest of the images, so I have been turning over ideas as to just what I could replace it with. Finally I settled on an idea and here is a snap of the block as it stands today....

The chart I made is a sort of 9 Patch quilt banded in brown - I like this much better than Queen - and think that with the blocks - N for Needle and X for X-Stitch it is a better fit - I may put something in that white space next to the quilt but will leave it alone for now.

I wanted to talk about a few of the comments from yesterday....

Ariadne asked about my flicker watching - yes, I do watch films and stitch in the evenings - it is my decompression and down time. How I sitich is another matter.... imagine two of the the three hounds on me - usually Pete is laying across my shoulders and either the Peach or Lolly is snuggled down on my left side - that is me and my very poor stitching posture. The movie channel I watch the most would be TCM - this is a super station and they show films 24/7. We have HBO and other pay channels but I seem to settle on TCM more than any other movie channel. I also have a Netflix account - what works for me is the 3 disc rotation. It is usually a day turn around for a disc and by keeping my queue full I always have something either coming or going.

Judy mentioned Terri and her Alphblocks piece - it is Terri's finihsed piece that is the cover photo on the chart - this lovely piece was one of the reasons I wanted to stitch this sampler. The blog universe is a great place to see others works and find new inspiration for stitching.

Melissa asked about the Sheepish Designs charts - I got them from Em-Li's. She still has quite a selection and I figured that with the charts disappearing so fast and going OOP I better just bite the bullet and get what I want now instead of paying the big bucks on the secondary market. Melissa is also having a great give away for her 100th Posting so click on over and comment before the 31st.

Sherry asked about acquiring my copy of CHS Alphblocks - as with most of my charts as I finish them I usually pass them on to other stitchers - and this is no exception. I would love to pass this one on to you except I have promised it to another stitcher as part of a trade. If it falls through I will certainly let you know.

Talking about trades and tradiing - I am thinking about other charts in my stash heap and have already started to cull this pile of things I have done or may never do. I am hoping to get them together so I can make some other trades. Keep watching as I will probably happen sooner than later.

Last night it was an evening of interesting history. There were 3 Netflix Discs awaiting perusal - starting off with "Echos from the White House" - 2001 - This was not some dry history of the house itself - although I would have enjoyed that also!! - but the written word of those that had lived in the house and their impressions. All the letters, diary's and words were spoken by famous actor types. Pieces where read or spoken from the earliest words about the house by George Washington to the present day. I really enjoyed this presentation and had never seen it before. Second up was a National Geographic TV piece - "The Last Voyage of the Lusitania" - 1994 - I had seen this special before and it was nice to see it again. Such a tragic event that instigated the US into WWI. The last but certainly not the least was another National Geographic TV special - "Inside the Vatican" - 2001 - I had never seen this special but I have visited Rome and spent quite a bit of time inside Vatican city - so it was nice to see places I had been and some places that regular tourist types never get a chance to see. All three of these specials where made for TV and are pretty shortish - except the Vatican which was about 90 mins.

There you go sports fans. Thank you again for making my little Blog a part of your day - do come again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stash, Stitchin and a few Flicks

GR&DF the title sort of tells it all - in a nutshell!! It is still raining here and will continue on and off for the next week or so. I so love the rain and rainy days and nights. I think today will actually be a more dryish day and then the storms start to pour in from the Pacific again. In the afternoon and evenings when the hounds go out for their "communing with nature" time - I don't think they really care for the cold wet grass and pavement and I think that if they could they would prop up on a single foot to keep the other three dry.

Yesterday the mails where great - I decided that with all the trouble I had with acquiring the Sheepish charts I should try and get any of the other SD samplers that I wanted now if I could-

They arrived yesterday along with the November and December BBD Stocking charts. I really like the SD samplers as they are not too big and usually have some really great specialty stitches to keep things interesting. Now that I have all 12 of the stocking chart books I should probably get to stitching some of them up!! I also received in a trade.....

The final piece of the SD "pillow" charts - "R" is for Rabbit. I was so happy to get this part and now have to work things around in my brain as to how I am going to get them all to go together.... with an odd number of charts should I try my hand at creating a sixth one to make things even....?

I worked some on Alphablocks.... here is a snaperoo -

this is the lower left hand corner.... still liking this one and moving right along.

The block of films today starts off with a fun film - "That Touch of Mink" - 1962 - starring that perpetual "girl next door" Doris Day, Cary Grant, Gig Young and Audrey Meadows. I really enjoy the DD films and can watch them over and over again!! Once again Doris plays a beautiful girl - but she is an out of work computer operator who wants nothing but to get married. Cary Grant plays a business man that goes from affair to affair without any intention of marriage until he "splashes" the Day. Great movie with a few giggles and a happy ending. TCM on Sunday showed a couple of great films starring John Lund. Today he is not as well remembered as some but he was a very credible actor of his time. One of his more memorable films is "Foreign Affair" - 1948 - starring Jean Arthur, Marlene Deitrich and of course John Lund. This film is set in post WWII Berlin with Lund playing an Army Captain dating ex-Nazi Cafe singer Deitrich. When in flys Congress Woman Arthur - so begins the triangle of love. A great film directed by Billy Wilder. Sunday afternoon TCM showed an old favorite of mine "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - 1961 - starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Patricia Neal. A great flick every time! Last night the flickers where - "Sweet Bird of Youth" - 1962 - starring Geraldine Page and Paul Newman. The film was taken from Tennessee Williams play and just crackles with the superior acting with most of the original Broadway cast. The last movie for the evening was "The Diary of Anne Frank" - 1959 - starring Millie Perkins, Jospeh Schildkraut and Shelly Winters. Winters won her first of her two Oscars for the role of Petronella van Daan. A really great movie interpretation of the story of the Frank family in hiding.

There you go sports fans.
Thank you for the kind comments and for stopping by!!
Do come again!

Take care,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back up and running....

GR&DF what a super welcome for our newest little who-hound. She has sort of settled into a routine. Although last night was a complete circus - she was up and down and walking around about every 45mins or so like clockwork. Each and every time she would get up she wanted to play with either Pete or the Peach and they were not having any of that at 1:50am. Eventually she settled back down but I am feeling it this morning.

I missed out not posting on Friday as I stayed away from work thinking I was coming down with something... I felt way better by evening and the rest of the weekend - so who knows. Rico's mom and entourage came for a quick visit Saturday afternoon - here is a shot of the grand baby. She really likes this hat!!

My weekend was basically a non-stitching Saturday and then yesterday I worked exclusively on an upcoming exchange so there are no snaps of that - yet.

There have been a ton a flickers lately - I'll talk about some and will break it up into chunks over the next few days - First up would be "Female" - 1933 - starring Ruth Chatterton and George Brent. Ruth Chatterton plays a tough executive running a family automobile factory. She plays by her rules and runs things with an iron glove. She uses men as playthings and is anything but typical for the time until she meets Jim Thorne played by George Brent. This is a DVD included in Forbidden Hollywood Vol II. Worth watching for the sets and costumes if for nothing else. The next two are Netflix pix - "Ridicule" - 1996 - a French film of pre-revolutionary France. The basic story is of a poor nobleman coming to Versailles to get funding for draining the swamps in and around the Dombes. The Versailles of 1783 that he comes to is a place where only the strong survive - and I do not mean strength in muscle but strength of the mind. Where a misplaced word or step can destroy a reputaion instantly. A beautiful and clever film of the rot at the beautiful and superficial court of the Ancien Regime. I usually don't talk about foreign films here but this one is worth a look. It starts off with a bit of nudity but don't let that put you off the movie. The second film is another fun "French" film - "Merci Docteur Rey" - 2002 - starring Dianne Wiest, Jane Birkin and Stanislas Merhar. A Merchant and Ivory Production this film was written and directed by American Andrew Litvak. The setting is Paris, and there is a murder and some really funny situations and some great lines. The film is also full of the famous in cameo roles. Do not come expecting "A Room with a View" as this is not that kind of film. I really enjoyed the film and was laughing out loud in some places. The last two films are fully subtitled, but if that's not your thing then I would avoid them.

There you go sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by.

Take care,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

3lbs of Love

GR&DF Thank you for stopping by and for the nice comments about Alphablocks. It is a fun piece to stitch on as are all the CHS pieces. As a group they are beautiful to look at an a delight for the stitcher.

Last night was a complete bust for any kind of anything!! After dinner and cleaning up the kitchen I settled into my chair with the hounds and promptly fell asleep - so there was no stitching, no movie watching - no nothing but warm hounds and a ton of snoring!! I guess I needed the sleep but just hate to waste an evening doing nothing!

Speaking of hounds - there was an addition to our little family yesterday...... like the title states we got 3 more pounds of lickity love ........

....sorry about this extra crappity snap of mine - you must welcome our newest hound-o-licious.... Miss Lolly. I just couldn't get her to stay put for more than a second and even when she sat for the 5th or so cookie - it is not as clear as it could be - but you get the idea. How this bundle of joy landed in our arms is sort of a odd story. Here goes.... one of my co-workers mother breeds and raises Chihuahua's and Lolly was a gift to him. He is really not able to have a puppy/dog where he lives and so Lolly has been living with a friend of his. Now, the friend was not really able to have another dog as he already has two and so Lolly needed to find a more permanent type home or Heaven only knows where she would have ended up. I am sure everyone has heard of the Chihuahua explosion here in California - and in the Bay area it is really bad. I was approached since we already have Sweet Pete and The Peach to see if we would we like to have Miss Lolly??? Of course we would and so we have this darling 8 week old 3 pound bundle of rambunctious love. I will try and get better snaps of Lolly up soon. How the other two who-hounds are reacting is how I though they would - Sweet Pete is scared to death and runs as I knew he would and The Peach is leery yet curious - not too much snarling and very little barking - but lots of the Mohawking (where all her hair stands up in a line down her back it kind of looks like a Mohawk, hence the name).

In the comments Colleen mentioned a movie I had forgot I wanted to see - "Defiance" - 2008 - It is now on the queue - thank you for reminding me. Maggee also mentioned a film I really love - "Songcatcher" - 2000 - a super movie I recommend highly!!! Jill asked about Alphablocks and the stitching -I am doing it 1 over 2 - for some reason the last few piece have stitched have been 1 over 2. I have really enjoyed the 1 over 2 - to me on 36 ct linen 2 over 2 looks heavy and on some 36 ct it is just way too tight - so 1 over 2 fits the bill. I would also encourage you to click over to Jill's Blog to see her gorgeous finish of the Isa Vautier Sampler!!! This super piece is something I have waiting in the the to be stitch stash pile. I have quite a few things to stitch so it will be a while before I get to it.

Ther you go sports fans! Thank you once again for stopping by and for your kind comments.

Take care,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is that a Zebu in your Pocket?

GR&DF your kind words made my morning - it is still storming away with blustery winds and pouring down rain!! I think it is here to stay for the next few days. We have had such dry winters for the past many years that a nice wet one is a very good change!! Carol asked about what a Zebu was and I was very curious also as I stitched him up. A Zebu is a southeast Asian kind of water buffalo - for more info click HERE.

A couple of Zebu's pulling a plow

Yesterday just before dusk the sky broke through the clouds once more and we had another glorious rainbow -

This one was very large and spanned the entire city.

Last night I stitched some on my upcoming exchange and then moved on to Alphablocks,
here it was before getting rolled up for the evening -

I watched a number of flickers over the past few days. Let me start off with the oldest of them - "Charley's Aunt" - 1941 - starring Jack Benny, Kay Francis and Anne Baxter. This film adaptation of the popular play was a lot of fun. Set at Oxford University in 18090 or so it is a cross dressing, misidentifiction and greedy fun comedy. A very early role for Anne Baxter and a very late role for Kay Francis. It is great to see the ascending and descending stars interact on screen. The next flick would be "Dragonwyck" 1946 - starring Vincent Price and Gene Tierney and supported by Spring Byington, Walter Houston and Anne Revere. This Gothic drama set in the Hudson Valley was a winner!! I so enjoy Gene Tierney and she was wonderful playing against Vincent Price. "Sunset Boulevard" - 1950 - starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden is a favorite flick of mine that I have spoken of before. The last film I saw last night was a Netflix Pic - "I am David" - 2003 - starring Ben Tibber, James Caviezel and Joan Plowright. What a wonderful film even if the plot is a bit implausible you cant help but be moved by the adventure of this child. I am usually not a fan of child actors, but in this case Ben Tibber carries the entire movie on his his very young shoulders. The basic story is a child who for a reason you are not too sure of has grown up imprisoned in a Post WWII "concentration camp" in Communist Bulgaria. He has to escape and needs to make his way to Denmark. You don't know why nor do you know who has helped him with instructions. The big reveal/twist at the end even had mean old me choked up. I would highly recommend this film - at about 90 mins it isn't too long for you to be moved. There is a line of dialogue spoken by Joan Plowright that I really love... "most people are good" - a lesson for us all. All four are very good and very watchable films!!

There you go sports fans.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave your super comments!!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rain, Rain and more Rain - It was a wet Weekend

GR&DF, well - I am back from my three day weekend!! I did miss not blogging yesterday - and almost crawled over to the computer when I drug myself out of bed at 10:18am yesterday morning. That thought was fleeting with no followup - so I here I am once again this grey and wet Tuesday morning.

The weekend started on Friday evening with a large and delicious Haystack pizza - yea - no cooking and no dishes!!! My kind of weekend start.

The TV weather folks kept warning all last week of the storms that were to start pushing in over the weekend and so I decided I wasn't budging from my warm nest - but of course that fell through Saturday morning. I got up earlyish and started a couple of loads of laundry in our buildings laundry room and when that moved to the dryers and I threw in the next two loads - what a greedy laundry hog I was!! During the second loads wash - we Zoomed out to Walgreen's and then zoomed down to South SF to pick up breakfast......

ahhh, yes a breakfast of champions!! I figured a mini vacation deserves treats!!! I know - these aren't DD - but they are delicious!!! By the time we got back my first two loads were dry and ready for folding and then the last two loads went into the dryers - it worked out perfectly!!

Since it hadn't really started to rain yet - just very overcast and a bit windy - I was thinking ahead about what was I going to do for dinner.... we had talked about fixing a big pot o'chili, or a stew or even a roast in the crock pot...... I decided to chop up a bunch of onions...

... and browned up some voila a few hours later......

vat o'chili-licious!!! It was really pretty good - since I had never made chili before I was a bit intimidated in the end it turned out fine - we had delicious hot bowls of chili Saturdays cold and rainy evening - then for Sundays cold a rainy evening we had chili cheese dogs... and last nights cold and rainy evening it was chili-frito boats - at this point we are all chilied out so I have packaged up the rest and into the freezer it went for future cold rainy evenings!!

The rains came and went all day long Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Late in the afternoon on Saturday I looked out across the city as the blue sky had broken through and saw this....

I ran for my camera and caught the last bit of the rain bow - it was very fleeting and lasted only a few mins. Then the sky closed up and the rains started again.

I really had no big plans and only wanted to work on some stitching. I worked quite a bit on my Alphablocks, but also got going on an exchange piece. Here is a snap of the Alphablocks piece as it stands now -

I finished up the border and am now working back through the squares. I changed up the cart colour in Zebu as it is charted as brown and this is a really brown square already - so I used green apple instead. I will probably not work on this again until I finish up my exchange piece.

There you go sports fans!! I hope you had a great weekend. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the for your nice comments!!!

Take care,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Post - some stitching and a Flick

GR&DF thank you again for stopping by and for your kind comments. I got to thinking about the OOP comments...... I remember when I was first getting back to x-stitching a few years back - 4 to be more accurate - after being away for more than a decade. I was just blown away with all the lovely linens and gorgeous floss - I had only known Aida and DMC - I think the biggest hurdle I faced back then was whether or not to become one with a blog. I thought to myself would I have enough to write about or would anyone want to read what I had to say. After I got over the hurdle of self doubt and finally realized that a blog is more cathartic for me and sort of an ongoing mini diary of what I do. I am so very happy that others enjoy what I write about and what I stitch. Now - where was I going.... oh, back then when I picked up the needle again, I kept seeing things on various Blogs being stitched I just had to have for myself - and so very often I was hitting that old wall - OOP. So I made it a mission to find certain charts I "Had to have." Ebay got lots of my money, but what is money when there is a lovely chart to acquire!! These blogs are the great enabler and the lust machines of the stitching world. I have found that in the past few months that I am not alone in wanting the OOP and hard to find and do thank everyone that has helped me in my chart searches.

I did want to post a little snap/teaser of my Alphablocks piece.

This Batman inspired angle shows where I am.. I will post a full snap on Tuesday - as I am already in numb-butt mode for the weekend!!

Last night the flicker was a BBC Masterpiece Theatre TV Movie called "Miss Austen Regrets" - 2008 - starring- Olivia Williams, Greta Scacchi, Imogen Poots and Samuel Roukin. I thoroughly enjoyed this film - even with the tiny problems of story line. The film is of the last years of Jane's life. The sets, costumes and locations used where all top notch. I would highly recommend the film as I think that Olivia Williams who plays JA is so very believable and makes this historical figure a very 3 dimensional person. The DVD is part of a JA series and the disc art is incorrect but that is so very negligible.

There you go sports fans, thank you again for stopping by!! I will be back to the Blog on next Tuesday. I took Monday off - so there will be 3 days of stitching and movies and I can't wait!!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Fun Mail and a Flicker

GR&DF thank you for you kind words about my little blog - and my not boring you all into a daily coma!! I do enjoy posting daily during the week and often wonder about my blathering on about things I like or things going on in my life. I would guess that many times the Blog reading public would rather I didn't drone on about some topics, but that's me a soap box standing - droning crazy person!! Don't you think we are all just a bit off any way - and crazy comes in degrees... from completely unhinged to just slightly off the nut! I would hope I am on the nut end!

Yesterday brought some super mail. This mail would never had occurred if I hadn't been on the frantic search for those Sheepish Designs - "Alpha" charts. The search opened a Pandora's box of goodies that Ms Bradford published and that are now very scarce in the open market. In my searching on line and calling about a bazillion different Needlework stores searching for the "Alpha's" I came across another set of 5 charts - that make up 5 different ABC Pillows - I found 4 of the 5 charts in one place -

I first saw a single piece finished in an album somewhere on line and knew that there was more - as it was the V for Viper piece. I wrote it on my list of OOP things to find not thinking I wouldn't have an ice cubes chance in Hades of finding any of them. Then slam bang a call to a shop asking about the "Alpha's" led me to finding 4 of the 5 charts - and I snapped them up. Now I am only missing the R is for Rabbit chart to complete the set. I couldn't believe my luck. I would say to anyone that likes Sheepish Designs - If you see a chart you like for sale buy it - do not wait - they are getting harder and harder to find - especially the multiple chart pieces.

Last night I saw a very entertaining film - "A Harlots Progress" - 2006 - starring - Toby Jones, Zoe Tapper and Sophie Thompson. I really enjoyed this film - the story is imagined and tries to explain the creation of the series of 6 paintings (now lost) that William Hogarth made his name with in the 1730's. The series was turned into a set of etchings and from them we know of the paintings. "The Harlots Progress" tells the all to common story of a young country girl come to London to fond her fortune. The six pieces illustrate her rise and fall and eventual death from the seedy life of a Prostitute. The film is really well done and brings to life the early 18th century in London. It is an adult film made for TV. The sets and costumes are top notch along with the very interesting cinematography - all very well done. With the occasional sub title thrown in to explain something or for shock value - the film brings to life the common dirty underbelly of the city where the very wealthy and very poor mix for pleasure.

There you go sports fans - Thank you once again for stopping by and for your kind words!!

take care,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mid Week Musings

GR&DF what great answers and comments from yesterdays brain bubble. I often will see something out on the web - either on a blog, a forum or in some discussion group that I think is of interest - I figure if I'm interested then I bet there are lots of others out there that are also. I think I will not just let those thoughts marinate but throw them out there for others to comment and think about. After mulling things over I am thinking that as a group we are of one mind generally. That we often will give and give openhanded without regret or strings, but (and there is always a but) only gifting to a narrow group of those that are close to us and will appreciate that it is not just a gift but a bit of our love for them in stitching form. Goodness could I get just a bit more sappy and sticky this morning????

Moving on.... last night TCM had a 100th Birthday Tribute for Luise Rainier with a grouping of her better know flicks. Starting off the evening with "The Great Ziegfeld" - 1936 - starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainier. What a great movie if just a bit off on the real story. This film also included two real Ziegfeld stars - Fanny Brice, Ray Bolger. Luise Rainier won an Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role playing Anna Held, Ziegfelds first wife. Next up was "The Great Waltz" - 1938 - A fun if inaccurate story of the life of a Johann Strauss. This movie has gorgeous costumes and beautiful sets and wonderful cinematography - and - perfectly fantastic music - these are the reasons to see this movie. "The Good Earth" - 1937 - was next - and Luise was awarded another Academy award for Best Actress in a lead Role playing the quiet and ever hard working wife, O-Lan. I have enjoyed these films numerous times and would recommend them all as top notch and Luise Rainier is superb in all three!!

Jennifer mentioned Mary Beale's other pieces - you may be thinking of this piece... The Days of Advent Sampler - which is fantastic but a bit daunting in size a scope. Aren't peppermint Patties delicious!!!! :)

Ginny B - What a very kind offer - Yes - I would love to have the Plymouth Sampler - let me know where to send my snail mail address - my email is - edgar matt at g mail dot com . (Leave out spaces).

No snap of my non-existent stitching - if I can get some done tonight I might take a snap for tomorrow - I don't want to bore you with little bits of nothing.

There you go sports fans, Thanks again for your comments and for you continued good wishes!!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Question for Tuesday....

GR&DF once again I do thank you for the kind things you had to say about AlphaBlocks. I am still enjoying stitching on it and will be very sad when it is finished. I think it is always like that. Once you have been working away on something for a time and then its over. Even with the excitement of the next piece or pieces... There is a kind of void until something else takes hold and your off again - a love affair with needlework!! I did very little last night so I didn't bother with a snap of the piece. Luned asked about how I am picking the colours for the block fill - very carefully or at random - well I did pick all the OWS floss I had and put them on a ring. From this ring I randomly pick for the fill. Between blocks I will usually pop it out of the Q-Snaps and give it a good look and pick one of the colours I think will look nice. I am really liking the way the multi coloured boxes look. Since I have been accused of only stitching grey,brown and blacks..... this is a way colourful piece.

I got some really nice mail yesterday - a really OOP chart - the Mary Beale Sampler Wreath. I saw a finished one of these a few years back and have been on the hunt since then. This is a really rare and hard to get chart that is totally expensive on the secondary market. If you have this in your stash know you have a great little gem there. I think this will line up after my Alpha piece - there I go planning out my projects way into the year. But, I figure if I want to have this up at next Christmas that I need to get it done!!

The flicker last night was a TV movie from a Cathrine Cookson novel - "The Black Velvet Gown" - 1991 - starring Janet McTeer, Bob Peck and Geraldine Somerville. I had never heard of this film or novel but threw it on to the Netflix queue because of Janet Mcteer - a very fine actress. The film that brought her to my attention was "Songcatcher" - 2000 - a wonderful film I have seen many times. The Black Velvet Gown was very good and the story was really good. I would highly recommend either film - however Songcatcher is the better of the two - IMHO.

Now for the question - the set up - reading on a Forum yesterday a question came up that made me stop and think a moment.... it was .... Have you ever regretted giving away a piece of needlework? I read through the responses and then it got me to thinking... I have never regretted for a single moment anything I have ever given away. Excluding exchanges and gifts to other stitchers - gifts of my needlework have only gone to family members and very close friends that know the time, effort and cost that go into making a cross stitch or needlepoint piece. Have you ever had a bad experience with a gifted Needle work piece? Some of the responses where quite unnerving to say the least.

There you go sports fans - something to think about!! Thanks for stopping by and do come again!

Take care,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stitching, Stashing and a drawing.....

GR&DF I do thank you for your kind words about last Friday's post. I am also pleased that you enjoyed the murals from last week. I know there are loads of them all over the city - as I run into others I will get snaps of the more interesting ones.

This past weekend started off with a nice cosy dinner over at Dale's house. It wasn't just for dinner as Dale wanted a "reading." A Tarot card reading that is and Rico was happy to oblige - after smudging his apartment they got to reading, I of course sat in the living room and promptly fell asleep - typical.

Saturday was laundry day - and after 5 loads I was beat but had that sense of accomplishment from getting it all done!! The rest of the day was spent stitching away on my Alphablocks.... here is a snap of where it stands at the moment -

Sorry about how wonky the piece is - but you can see that the vine met without mishap - I was so happy when that happened!! You might also notice that I have started the block fill. I figured that this will be the year of "stitching from the stash" and so that's what I did. I went to my extra over dyed floss' and found that I had quite a few OWS floss' I had gotten for an earlier project. There is plenty of floss there so I am doing the fill with the lovely softly coloured OWS floss. So far I am very pleased with the result and may have to pull other bits for the fill from that ring of lovelies.

Yesterday we made a pilgrimage to NIAH. Specifically to meet up with Susan, who had very generously offered to loan me the "Alpha" charts I was so desperately obsessing about. I had already gotten as a gift the first chart - Thank you so much dear Sherry!!!! So I was only going to have to borrow the other two charts..... When I got there I went on over to where the Sheepish charts where hanging and right there in the little pile of them was the third part - "Alpha Sheep" - damned if I didn't do a jig right there in the store!!!! I completely thought I would have no chance at finding this chart just out for sale. I know that many stitchers are looking for these three charts and they just do not appear that often on eBay or anywhere else for that matter. While looking around, we where there a good 2 hours, I saw lots of other charts that are either out of print or ones other stitchers have mentioned looking for - If you have a chart need or hard to find chart I would suggest emailing NIAH with any requests you might have and you might just luck out. Now with my having the first and third charts I only needed to borrow the middle chart from Susan - which of course dear Susan loaned me!!! I am totally stoked to get this going....

Here is a snap of the three charts and the Belle Soie conversion I made. The piece is charted for NPI, DMC and Anchor - but I wanted to do this in over dyed silks (You know how stubborn I can get about some things!!! ) - so my conversion is mostly BS but there is a Gloriana skein in there for the Olde Gold colour. I had most of silks and only need to get a couple from NIAH. I think it will work up quite nicely. I do not have a piece of linen yet - but I did pick up apiece of linen for my next piece......

The memorial sampler I wanted to get going last year - I just never had a piece of linen I liked or that was big enough - so I made my decision and got it yesterday - it is vintage navy bean (I think) and is nice an lightly splotched - I have had the floss kitted up for the longest time and now with the fabric it will certainly be the next piece after Alphablocks.

We had the drawing for the JCS yesterday....

and from the BOD a name was pulled - and after being checked out by The Peach....

It was Donna's name that was pulled and is the winner of this the First Drawing of the Year!! Congratulations, Donna - I have emailed you for your snail mail address.

There you go sports fans!! Another low key weekend - Thanks for stopping by and thank you again for your kind comments!! Such nice things to read on a cold a windy Monday morning!!!

Take care,

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wrapping up the Week

GR&DF - TGiF (Remember that Movie??) I just can not wait for this week to end and have a couple of me days! Most weeks just run on into the next and the seasons turn.... but..... I was and am ready for this weekend to start.

Don't forget that today is the last day to throw in for the JCS Drawing/Giveaway. I will toss all the names into the "Bowl of Destiny"... have the Chihuahua's dance around a bit and then have Rico draw the winning name - you know the usual shtick - then on Monday announce the winner. The post to comment on is HERE. This issue has this sampler chart in it....

This is my version/conversion on meadowlark by BOAF - I really enjoyed stitching this piece.

Last night the flickers were two of the "Histo-tainment" variety. First up would be "Warrior Queen" - 2003 - starring Alex Kingston, Emily Blunt and Gary Lewis. This version of the Boudica story was entertaining first and foremost - and historically correct secondly - as a TV movie should be. They got the basic story right and then embroidered upon that. In a nutshell - Boudica was the Heroic Celtic Queen of the Iceni and fought against Roman occupation of her lands in east Anglia. The second film was "Follow the River" - 1995 - starring Sheryl Lee, Ellen Burstyn and Eric Schweig. I enjoyed this film also but have come to find that the story is from a book and that this movie version is not very accurate. I have not read the book, but will find a copy and read it for myself. Until then I thought the movie was really pretty good. The story is set in 1750 in a small settlement in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The settlement is raided by the Shawnee settlers are killed and captives taken. They are then marched for many days back to lower Ohio as slaves/captives. FtR is the story of one of these captives and her determination not to give up and to get back home. Both of these movies are short at about 90 mins each so everything moves along quite briskly without much to bog them down.

Here are some final Mural shots from Clarion Alley -

There you go sports fans - Thanks for stopping by and for your very kind comments!!

Take care,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mid-Week Marketing, Murals and some Movies

GR&DF yesterday was the Wednesday Farmers Market in the United Nations Plaza and I was there. Although it is winter and produce is low there were still quite a few people out. I of course had my camera and took a few snaps.

There were these lovely celadon green cabbages....

and this display of lettuce/greens....

and I do not think I have ever shown this 1984 gift from the people of Venezuela - a statue of Simon Bolivar. A hero in Latin America.

Nanknit asked for a translation on the French sampler. My French is so very poor I ended up throwing it through the translator - BabelFish - "Each Tree has its way to Accommodate Spring." Probably not the best translation.
The murals are all done by local artists - it is "The Clarion Alley Mural Project" or CAMP as it is known is an ongoing artist endeavour. Here is an older article about CAMP. It would seem that today CAMP is a loose knit group, here is another voice about CAMP.
A couple more snaps.....

Last night the flickers were the first part of the month long series on TCM called - Shadows of Russia - showing how the vision of Russia changed from the 1930's through the 1950's. Last night the first two flicks were dealing with Russian History..... "The Scarlet Empress" - 1934 - starring Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge and Sam Jaffe. The film is over the top visually and has very little to do with actual Russian History - the exceptions where.... there was a Princess Sophia from a provincial German court - she did marry Empress Eliazabeth Patrovna's Nephew Grand Duke Paul and she did lead a coup and become Empress Catherine II, The Great. From those bare bones of historical fact the fantastical movie sprang - it is fun to watch but not believe!! The second film "Rasputin and the Empress" - 1932 - starring the three Barrymore's, Lionel, Ethel and John. Once again Hollywood takes some historical facts and makes a not very accurate movie - but seeing the Barrymore's interact on screen was wonderful. The films a fun to watch not for the historical value but for the visual impact in the first and the acting in the second.

Don't forget to sign up for the JCS Drawing - comment on this POST. It will close tomorrow afternoon - with the winner being announced on Monday 1/11.

There you go sports fans. Thanks for stopping by and for the great comments!!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Commenting on Comments and Mural Snaps

GR&DF thank you once again for your very kind encouragement and well wishes!!!

Last night was a bust for stitching and flickers as I wasn't up for either and just passed into coma land with a hound in the stitching chair - not a pretty sight!!! After I snored myself awake at about 9:45pm I clicked off the the downstairs and shuffled on off to bed. I hope I am not getting sick or something.

I wanted to respond to some comments and answer some questions.......

Beth asked about my opening - GR&DF - for me it stands for - Gentle Readers and Dear Friends - I just like that way that sounds and the feeling of camaraderie I have for you my group of stitching buds.

Berit asked about SABLE - Stash Above and Beyond Life Expectancy - I reached that a good long while ago - so I figure why should I hang on to charts that I have finished that I will not use again - I should just pass them on...... keep watching for more things.

Colleen asked about my having a Give Away so soon - just passing along and sharing with others - there will be more.....

Sherry aka Celtic Dreamweaver mentioned a sampler I did about a year ago. The chart comes from an OOP French Magazine I had no way of getting and Julianne very generously loaned me her copy. Here is a snap of my finished piece - I remember I did change up the floss - it was charted for DMC and I changed it to GAST and WDW over dyed.

Patti mentioned wishing she had joined in on the Quaker AEoL RR. I do love doing RR's and group stitching projects. They are easy to organize and there will be others as this RR winds up at the beginning of June.

Maggie finished seeing the Thin Man Series - they are super movies - I really enjoy the teaming of William Powell and Myrna Loy - they play so well together!!! I highly recommend themas a group or individually.

Another film mentioned was "Pacific Heights" - 1990 - by Glenna - I have never seen this movie but will throw it on my queue to watch.

Here are a couple more mural shots....

How cool are those trees...

Don't forget about the drawing for the JCS Magazine. Leave a comment on this post and remember to let me know that the comment is an entry - thanks!

There you go sports fans. Thank you for stopping by and for your great comments!!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Little Stitching, a Couple of Flicks more Murals and a Drawing

GR&DF what nice comments about everything!!! Yes, the home is pretty incredible - and the history that surrounds it..... first built as a single family home, in the 30's it was broken into a warren of apartments and stayed that way for decades - then brought back to a single home - while always retaining many of the original bits. Nanaknit asked if it was one of the famous Painted Ladies that are on Alamo Square - it is not one of them, but sits a block or so down from them and predates them by about 10 years.

I have been stitching along on AlphaBlocks and AEoL RR - up first would be my finished section on the RR -

This is Margaret's and it is really coming along beautifully - The floss that she chose is a gorgeous red over dyed by Threadworx. Ready for the mail next week.

Here is a snap of the small progress on the Alphblocks -

As you can see I have finished most of the rose bud things and most of the black blocks on the fourth line - not too exciting, but necessary. Even though I am still really liking this piece I am looking ahead to the Sheepish Designs sampler start........ How crazy is that!! I need to get a grip - as I still have to do the fill on the open blocks here. I guess that's what keeps us stitching away - the next project!

There have been many flicks over the Holidays - I did want to mention a few. First up would have to be "Evelyn Prentice" - 1934 - starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. A top rate film with the stars not play Nic and Nora Charles. The plot revolves around neglected rich wife and a murder. Everything about the film is good, costumes, photography, acting, dialogue. If you like William and Myrna (and who doesn't) then this is a film you should enjoy. Second up would be "Love Nest" - 1951 - starring June Haver, William Lundigan and a small part played by Marilyn Monroe. A cute if predictable film - returning Army Vet finds his wife has bought a dilapidated Apartment Building - and then an old Army buddy - Marilyn Monroe - moves in. The third film is "Strangers When we Meet" - 1960 - starring Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovacs, Barbara Rush and Walter Matthau. Infidelity in the suburbs - or sacrificing everything for love. An interesting film with some pretty good acting. I think one of the best things about this film are the cars that are shown - not as any plot vehicle but just in the outside scenes - really spectacular!! A little sappy a times but I kind of enjoyed this film.

Here are a couple more Clarion Street mural shots -

I was thinking over the Holiday that I have way too many things to stitch - in fact I probably have double SABLE - and why am I hanging on to charts and things I have already stitched???? With that in mind I also thought there may be some out there that missed the JCS Issue with the TiTD Sampler Chart. I thought it might be nice to have a small drawing for the JCS Magazine. -

This is a snap of my finished sampler in its old frame and the JCS Issue - so if you would like this copy of JCS to make your own TiTD Sampler - just leave a comment on this post before this Friday 1/8. I will have Rico draw a name over the weekend and announce the winner on Monday. Be sure to say in your comment you want to be entered in the drawing so I know not to leave you out. Good Luck!!

There you go sports fans! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments!!!

Take Care,

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers and a Couple of Christmas Snaperoos

GR&DF you stitching folks out there are just beyond generous!!! I was overwhelmed by the kind emails and comments about my psycho obsession about the "Alpha" charts. I went from having nada to many offers of loans and gifts. You're the best and you know it!!!!!! I think I have worked it all out now and so very soon you will see me stitching that sucker up!

I was going to do a giveaway today but it will have to wait until tomorrow as I couldn't find what I was looking for - oh well - my dis-organization in action again!!

Over the long weekend - and no computer - we did some fun things. Don't get me wrong the computer was working it is just that I sit in front of one all week and so I tend to avoid them like the plague on my days off.

New Years Eve was a very low key - got to bed by 10:30 pm then get rocked out of a dead sleep by the huge firework explosions at midnight. Oh well - I am just getting to old to get out in all that mess. I heard there was a 1/4 million folks in the city that night so it was just as well that I stayed in - crowds like that and me are a no go!! On Friday we attended an annual New Years Day afternoon get together. Friends of ours bought a "new" home this year and it was so nice to see not only their "new" house but the Christmas stuff left up. Here is how the front looks as you walk up....

The house is just off of Alamo square ( a huge tourist destination in SF) so there are lots of people from out of town and locals walking about. I was amazed at how many stopped and gave the tree and house a look. Talk about living in a fish bowl. Here is a snap of the tree from the inside....

Even though the tree is a bit dry after being up for so long it was till beautiful - at about 12 1/2 feet it really filled out the window bay quite well.

Saturday there were no Estate or Garage sales - so we hit a bunch of the thrift and second hand stores. I picked up a few books but nothing exciting. We did stop down at Community Thrift on Valencia. Near the shop there is a street called Clarion that is known for the some really outrageous and beautiful murals that are painted on every wall up and down the street. Of course I took some snaps and thought I would share them with you this week.
Here are a couple for today -

and here is one on the end by the street sign -

There are many murals all over the city and you can even take a Mural tour - but I think that Clarion Street is one of the few completely covered streets.

That about wraps it up for today. Thank you for stopping by do come again!!

Take care,