Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Traditions

Gentle Friends as we wrap up the year tonight it is always good to look back not only over the year but further back to other New Year Eve's, thinking back to when I was small and seeing my parents going out all dressed up to some party or some other fancy event - my dad in his white diner jacket and my mom dressed up and covered in one of her furs to keep out the cold (she did love a good fur... be it a wrap, coat or stole) in a cloud 

of Joy by Jean Patou.

It was the same this Christmas, it was a low key day, with just the two of us and some friends coming over we combined some of our family Christmas traditions and memories - From Rico's family came the main dishes, he made a big enchilada and Spanish rice - we also had pork and cheese tamales....  my contribution was the cake.  If you have been reading this Blog for a while you know that one of the oldest family traditions I keep up is a Birthday Cake for baby Jesus.  I make a different one every year and this year I settled on a "Robert E Lee Cake."  An old fashioned southern cake that I had seen my mom make many times for special occasions.  There are many variations of this cake.... the cake I remember well is pretty easy - and of course a snaperoo.....

....  it's two 9 inch white cake layers (split in half), some lemon curd for the filling and lemony/orange coconut icing.....  you can click HERE for a pretty basic recipe.  You would have to leave out the yolks from this cake recipe so that it stays white but other than that it stays pretty true to the majority of versions.  Of course we had to have ice cream with the cake and with it being such a lemony cake vanilla fit the bill perfectly.

There you go sports fans, have a wonderful New Years eve, stay safe - I'm staying in and off the road!!

Take care,

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Stitchity Update.....

Gentle Friends the week just flew by.... whoosh..... and now it is once again Monday morning!!   This will also be an odd week as we have a short day tomorrow, off on Wednesday and then two "short handed days" will round out my week, so I am not sure what kind of posts I will have, but I'll do my best.  

One of my really great prezzies this year was a new laptop from Rico.  One of my rules of life is to never touch the computer at home, in the evenings and never, ever on the weekend, but now that I have a slim, lightweight, lap fitting, easily used toy and it is so accessible, I may just have to start Blogging in the evenings after work and over the weekends, who knows...... I have noticed the last few days that playing with my new toy has cut into my stitching time..... it is a fun distraction and so handy!!!

Even with a new toy, I got some stitching done on the Christmas Band Sampler.....
 here's an updated snaperoo....

I am a bit further along than this picture, but you get the idea.  I stitched the left hand side vine to the end, to see if I was going to run out of linen, I am mighty close, but since I am not stitching the numbers along the bottom I will be fine.  This is a totally fun piece to stitch and I am enjoying it immensely!!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

... and the #1 Film on the List.......

Gentle Friends I thought I would save this film for the #1 Spot, since it is truly one of the top 5 Christmas films there is.....

.... "White Christmas" - 1954 - starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.  A tour de force film with super musical numbers. wonderful sets and some spectacular costumes.  A really wonderful film from 20th century Fox, that spared no expense!!  - and  - was the first film from that studio in the then new "VistaVision.".  In a nutshell the story is about ....."a successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont Inn of their former Commanding General."   

A great clip from You Tube ...... Snow......


I hope you enjoyed the movie list this year, and that you got to enjoy some of the films.  There are lots of other films out there I didn't mention with Christmas Themes or built around the Christmas Holiday..... "Shop around the Corner" - 1940, or the remake nine years later... "In the Good Old Summertime" - 1949, "Trading Places" - 1983, then there is always the the "Santa Clause" franchises - 1994,  2002 and 2006, and there are the "Home Alone" films - the best being the first in 1990, I could go on and on.....  so go enjoy a Christmas film - there's got to be something out there to tickle your fancy!!!

Take care,

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Last Couple of Films.....

Gentle Friends for the #2 slot in my film list I wanted to put one of my all time favorite films.....

...."The Nightmare Before Christmas" - 1993 -  starring the voices of Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandn and Catherine O'Hara - the film is more of a cross over film between Hallowe'en and Christmas than solely a Christmas film. Even with the blending of the two Holiday's I still love the imagery and the story line.  The main character is Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who, once he stumbles onto Christmas Town becomes enthralled with the "Christmas" concept.  He tries to wrap his head around the idea of Christmas and at the same time tries to overcome his boredom with his own "Holiday" - Hallowe'en.  He then tries to recreate Christmas from a Hallowe'en point of view.  Not a typical Christmas film by any stretch of the imagination, it's still a wonderful film.

Here's a clip of one of the songs from the film  "What's this?" - where Jack encounters different things in Christmas Town.....

There you go sports fans - another day closer to Christmas!!  

Take care,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Themed War Films

Gentle Friends, alright, I just can't help myself, I love the movies, and there are just too many Christmas films I want to mention to leave off these from the list.  

All 3 are WWII films - a favorite genre of mine.  The first film......

..."Stalag 17" - 1953 - starring William Holden, Don Taylor and Otto Preminger - although not overetly Christmas themed the story comes to a head on Christmas. "It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POW's in Baracks 4 - who have to deal with a security leak" - the main them of the film is about trustworthiness......  and who is the informant.  

A really great film, and I think one of the top 10 war films ever made.

The next films are more Christmas in theme and similar in story line....  the second film is....

.... "A Midnight Clear" - 1992 - starring Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon - ....."Set in 1944 France, an American Intelligence Squad locates a German Platoon wishing to surrender rather than die in Germany's final war offensive,  The two groups of men, isolated from the war, put aside their difference and spend Christmas together."  From a novel of the same name by William Wharton.  A much underrated film with wonderful acting - with little gun fire it relies on great acting and superior visual stimulation. 

The third and final film is a TV film, but so worth a look and such a wonderful true story....

.... "Silent Night" - 2002 - starring Linda Hamilton, Matthew Harbour, Romano Orzari, Alain Goulem, Martin Nuefeld.  A really powerful fact based film about a mother whose home has been destroyed by bombing, she has lost her eldest son at the battle of Stalingrad, her husband has not been heard from for months......so she decides to take refuge with her son by leaving the city and going into the forest, to their hunting cabin, not knowing it is near the front lines, in the Ardennes forest.  On Christmas Eve her home is invaded first by three American soldiers then by three German soldiers, but by shear will she compels the soldiers to put aside their differences and share Christmas Dinner.  A really powerful film that like "A Midnight Clear" is also much underrated and not well know, but so worth viewing.

Although not your typical Christmas movie fare, I do hope you get a chance to see them.

Thanks again for taking time to stop by the Blog, do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Film #3

Gentle Friends, the film in the #3 Slot is what many consider a modern Christmas classic - the movie....

....."Elf" - 2003 - starring Will Farrell, James Caan, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steenburgen.  The story in a nutshell is.... a human, played by Farrell, raised at the North Pole by elves  finds out he is not an "elf" but human.  He sets off on a quest to find his real father in New York, played by Caan.  He gets a job at Gimbals, and in a mail room and has adventures in the Big City, as only an Elf can. Here's a little something to remember from the film.....  "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  A really fun, often silly film that is great for all ages - it often plays during the Season, so give it a look.

I will leave you with a who hound snap.......

......  yesterday we went Christmas shopping after work and I bought a really super "faux" fur throw and within seconds of unwrapping it her majesty, the Peach, found a lovely soft, warm spot!!!!! 

That about wraps it up for the week sports fans.  Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thrifty Thursday and Film #4

Gentle Friends we are coming down to the last few films in my little Christmas film list.....  this is really more of a group of films than a countdown of favorites, there are lots of Christmas and Holiday films that I like that space will not let me include - tomorrow I have another "Special Film Post" scheduled that I hope you will find interesting.

Since today is Thursday I wanted to also show some of the bits I picked up last weekend while out rummaging around in Thrift Stores.....

... of course when I find films that are in super condition and don't already have I'm going to pick them up...  a copy the newest 007 - quite good, "Vera Drake" such a wonderful performance by Imedla Staunton, and "Guys and Dolls" although not one of my favorite musical films, the DVD was in super condition and I didn't have it..... and .....

... these individual sterling pepper castor's, after cleaning - I got them when they were really black with tarnish.  Some fun stuff for sure!!

The #4 film for today is a lesser know B&W Christmas film .........

...  "Remember the Night" - 1940 - starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi (love her!!), Elizabeth Patterson and Sterling Holloway.  This film was made 5 years before the Stanwyck's much more famous Holiday film "Christmas in Connecticut" (the #17 film on this list).  This is as terrific as any other of her films, and with MacMurray as her co-star they had such great chemistry!!  It is a sweet, heart warming tale of bad girl/good boy and a loving home can make anyone fall in love!  I think it is probably one of the most overlooked Holiday films out there, and really should be in any Christmas Film Library.  I found a little clip from the film on You Tube, that shows just how sweet this film is.....

.... it is out on DVD and played quite often on TCM, so if you get the chance give it a look, you won't be disappointed.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!

Take care,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Stitchity Update and Film #5

Gentle Friends since I have been doing next to no stitching posts while I count down some fun films I thought I might just throw in an update on the Christmas Band sampler I have sort of been working on.....  it seems that every evening I am just busy doing something other than stitching.....  I guess it's that time of year!!  Well, here it is, the update...

... I am actually a bit more along than this, but not much!  I really love the colours that are used.  I am thinking that things will actually slow down over the weekend and I'll get some big chunks of stitching time in - so I am anticipating this being much further along by next week - fingers crossed.

For the #5 spot I have picked a modern film, in fact a modern British/American 3D Animated film......  

"Arthur Christmas" - 2011 - starring James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Stauton and Ashley Jensen - the story is set on Christmas eve and the youngest son of Santa, Arthur, learns that a present was not delivered and a child would wake up with nothing from Santa.  Arthur makes it his mission to deliver the present.  With the help of his grand father, the retired Santa Claus, Byrony, and elf, and the old fashioned reindeer and sleigh delivery system they take on the mission. 

I really enjoyed this film and found the story line of a dysfunctional "Santa" family and the power struggle as to who will be the next "Santa" very entertaining.   There have been many films over the years with the "save Christmas" theme, but this one has a different twist to it and I think it quite charming.  It is available on both DVD and Blu Ray - so get a copy and give it a chance, I think you'll enjoy it!!

Here's the trailer for the film from You Tube....

That's about it for today sports fans - thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A "Seasonal " film for the 6th Spot

Gentle Friends we are quickly coming to the end of my listing of "Christmas " Film's - and one I want to include is not solely a Christmas film but a "Year in the life" type film .........

..."Meet in St. Louis" - 1944 - starring Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer and the ever wonderful Marjorie Main!!  Set in 1904 and against the backdrop of the coming "Worlds Fair" we follow the Smith family through the changing of the seasons - culminating with a grand section around the Christmas Season.  It is from this film that springs a super Christmas song - "Have yourself a Merry little Christmas"..... from the You Tube....

I have loved this film since I first saw it with my mom - many years ago - it was one of her favorite films so has a special place in my film archive - If you've not seen it, give it a look, I think you will enjoy it immensely!!

Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some Winners and we're at #7 with "Holiday Inn"

Gentle Friends let me begin the week with some winners..... I had Rico and the Who Hounds draw the names and they are.....Nancy - "Charlie Brown Christmas," Paula - "Polar Express," Kevin - "White Christmas," and Barb - "Bishops Wife" - I've sent out notification emails and will pop the DVD's into the mail when I get the addresses.  Thank you all for your entering the Gift-a-Way!!

We're at the #7 Film today and that will be ...........

..."Holiday Inn" - 1942 - starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire - and although not focused on Christmas probably the most famous Christmas song there is originated in this film....  "White Christmas."  In s a nutshell from IMDB the story is..."At an Inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer."    Each section of the film as it progresses, opens with a calendar and the Holiday and is followed by a production number, some more effective than others, but as a whole really a charming film. 

That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wrapping up the Week with "The Bishops Wife" Film #8

Gentle Friends I wanted to wrap this week of fun Christmas Films with a hum-dinger!!  One of the top Films of the Season.... 

....."The Bishops Wife" - 1947 - starring David Niven, Cary Grant, Loretta Young, Monty Woolley and Gladys Cooper.  A wonderful film that works on so many levels.  A superb cast in great rolls; snappy writing; superbly paced editing and some super music!  The final cast were not the original choices... The original casting choices were: David Niven was to play the Angel, Dana Andrews the Bishop and  Theresa Wright as the Wife - what a different film that would have made.  The story in a nutshell....."A Bishop trying to build a new grand Cathedral prays fro guidance.  An angel arrives, but his guidance isn't about fundraising."  

I watch this film two or three times over the Season and have seen it few dozen times, and it never gets old or boring - that's what makes it a true "Christmas Classic!!"

I found this clip of the Mitchel Boys choir singing "O Sing to God" from the film.  It's a super number ....

A little tid-bit about this film is that yesterdays film "The Man Who Came to Dinner"'s star Monty Woolley is a featured actor in this film, playing a Professor of Ancient History.

Today is the last day to sign up for my Christmas Film Gift-a-Way, you can click HERE to go back to the Post and leave a comment there to Enter. That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thrifty Thursday and Film #9

Gentle Friends over the weekend I was out and about to my usual haunts looking for those ever elusive deals and bargains.....  and found a few....

.... I found some great DVD's.......I loaned out my copy of "Home Alone" and it never came back, so this was a good find to replace my lost copy, "Bill and Ted" a funny period film from the late 80's, "Mystic Pizza" a really good, early performance of Julia Roberts, and I was really happy to find what looks to be an unplayed "Mr. Selfridge".  The brass picture frame I think is from the 20's, I found another Longaberger Basket, I do love Brown Betty tea pots, and this replaces the 6 cup one I broke a couple of years ago - the inlaid box I picked up for Rico, he like these boxes quite a bit, and the gilt framed picture is a copy of the Simone Martini "Annunciation with Saint  Margaret and Saint Ansanus" the original is at the Uffizi Gallery - Some fun stuff for sure!

Film #9 - The film for today is another of my favorite films - and although it takes place at Christmas it is not your typical Christmas film.........

"The Man Who Came to Dinner" - 1942 - starring Monty Woolley, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, and Richard Travis - is based on the 1939 play by Moss Hart and George Kauffman.  The story in a nutshell..... "When acerbic critic Sheridan Whiteside slips on the icy front steps of provincial Ohio Businessman, Ernest Stanley, and breaks his hip, he and his entourage take over the house for the Holidays!!"  

I love this little bit about the film I lifted from IMBD..... "Monty Wooley Brilliantly delivers the Groucho-like insults penned with supreme wit by the Marxian play and film writer Kauffman, of course, co-wrote many of the Marx's best works and was a good friend of Harpo, upon whom the character "Banjo" is based.  The entire cast is brilliant save for Richard Travis who, while not distractingly bad, is somewhat outclassed by the likes of Bette Davis, Billie Burke, Mary Wickes and Reginald Gardiner."  

Another fun tid-bit about the film is that it was Mary Wickes First film performance, she originated the roll of Nurse Preen on the stage and then recreated it for the movie - it is great to see such a super performance for a first timer!!

A fun, smart film, with period jokes and references, but so worth watching again and again!!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for sticking with me and my list!!

Take care,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Quality Without Compromise" - and Film #10

Gentle Friends today I'll talk a little about a San Francisco Institution, "See's Candy" 

 "Quality Without Compromise"  

Started in 1921 down south in LA, the main headquarters and factory are located here in South San Francisco.  There are 4 locations in the City you can acquire this delicious stuff......  what prompted this "commercial" for See's was my visit to the mall to do some Christmas Shopping. 

 I stopped in to pick up some "Scotchmallows" (one of my favorite candies) and found a real Christmas treat - I like taking chances with the new (to me) and Seasonal, and so "Egg Nog Truffles" fit the bill.

Egg Nog Truffles are described by the company as....."A holiday must. - Enjoy classic egg nog flavors featuring hints of nutmeg and vanilla covered in white chocolate."   They are smooth and delicious, and so taste like Egg Nog!!  The "Scotchmallow" is a piece of caramel with a honey marshmallow on top covered in chocolate.... couldn't you just die!!!  Here's a snap of two pieces cut open....

.... so if you ever see it while visiting out west or in selected airports, you should try a box, you will not be disappointed!!!  Here is the complete "menu" of what you can get at the See's Candy Counter..... 
the front....

... and the back......


We're at #10 and today's film is "Christmas Vacation" - 1989 -

 .......starring Chevy Chase, Beverley D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki - a Christmas comedy film that cracks me up every single time I see it - the premise of the film is basic, Clark Griswold, played by Chase, only wants to have a "Good old-fashioned family Christmas".... and from that little idea things go from bad to worse. As the big day looms closer and closer things get frantic as various relatives start to arrive - and then there is the kid napping!!  Crazy stuff for a Christmas movie.  There's lots of slap stick and silly moments, but an overall a fun film.

There you go sports fans, another film down, a little silly, but worth a look!! 
 Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#11 and we're almost half way there.....

Gentle Friends I a really enjoying this Christmas Film Countdown, reading about the films and looking things up.  I am also learning things I never knew......  today's film, #11...... is....

.... "Miracle on 34th Street" - 1947 - starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Porter Hall and Gene Lockhart.  The film is based on a story by Valentine Davies.

A perennial favorite that is well cast, and well acted with little Natalie Wood as charming as can be as the disbelieving child in the story.  usually I cringe at child actors, but this performance is top notch and believable.  The basic question in the movie.... is the Macy's Santa the REAL Santa Claus?  The film has charm and wit and even an evil "Doctor" of sorts - it has been remade a couple of times in 1974 and again 1994 - but both of those versions pale in comparison to the B&W 1947 version.

Now, for a great little piece of movie trivia....  Thelma Ritter, that great character actress at 20th Century Fox, started her career with a bit part in this film.  She played the part of the weary shopping mother talking to the Floor Walker towards the beginning of the film.  It was from this small part that lead to a wonderful film career with 6 Academy Award nominations (no wins).

I found this expanded trailer created for the film by 20th Century on YouTube......

.... it's a bit on the hokie side, but interesting to see.

This fine film is another of my favorite Christmas Must See's - 
"Miracle on 34th Street" is a wonderful film worth seeing.

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!  And don't forget to thrown in your name for the Gift-a-Way on yesterday Post.

Take care,

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Exchange, a Little Christmas Gift-a-Way and we're at #12......

Gentle Friends I loved that I hope you enjoyed the "Specials" post from Saturday.  I couldn't just not leave off TV Christmas offerings.

I mentioned last week about the Exchange I did with Shirlee over At "The Easily Influenced Stitcher" - well she got my box of cheer and here's the ornament I sent along to her......

... I stitched a chart form the 2005 JCS from BBD - it had a real old fashioned feel about it so I used some velvet/lace ribbon I have had for just such a special Christmas piece - I used Gloriana Silks and stitched it on a piece of opalescent linen, that reminded me of glistening snow.  It was a a really fun exchange.

In conjunction with my Saturday Posting I wanted to hold a little Christmas Gift-a-Way - and since I am doing Christmas Films what better than to give away some of those films that I am Posting about......

.... I picked up 4 Films that are great favorites of mine for the Gift-a-Way - to enter the Gift-a-way is super easy - just leave a comment on this Post Only with the title of the DVD that you want and that's about it - there will be 4 Winners, one for each title - make sure in your comment that you leave a way for me to contact you.  This Gift-a-Way is open to anyone anywhere - just remember that these are region 1 DVD's - if you have a multi-Region Player that will not be a problem, but I thought I should mention that little fact.  I'll run the Gift-a-Way through the week and close it on Friday, 12/13, then over the weekend I'll have the Who Hounds pick 4 names and announce the winners on Monday December 16th. I'll mail the packages out Priority so you have a good chance of getting your winning DVD by Christmas!!

Today's film #12, I've sort of tied to Saturdays post and "The Homecoming" - 

"It's a Wonderful Life" - 1946 - starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Beulah Bondi.  This film actually has two ties to "The Walton's."  The first is more obvious tie with Ellen Corby.  She plays Esther Walton, the grandmother on the Walton's in both "The Homecoming" and the series.  In "IaWL" she has an uncredited bit part as Mrs. Davis (look for her the next time you watch the film).  The other tie is with Beulah Bondi, she plays Martha Corinne twice during the Walton's series - a great character actress if there ever was one!!  

The film is a perennial classic that gets played to death on TV, but I find myself watching it  3 or 4 times through out the year, it is one of my all time favorite films!  You can read all about the film HERE.  Here are a couple of interesting tid-bits about the film  - that it comes from the 1939 story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stren - and - in a 1973 interview Jimmy Stewart named this film as his favorite film of all that he had done.  Originally when released it had mixed reviews but as with so many films has grown in popularity and prominence with time and exposure.

I found the movie on YouTube - give it a look if you've never seen it before.......


That's about it for today sports fans, thanks again for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Addendum to My 17 Christmas Films List

Gentle Friends I wanted to add a few more fun titles to my list of Films, those additions are some  "made for TV Specials".  During the month of December and even earlier the TV waves (cable) is inundated with tons of Christmas viewing opportunities - some good, some bad, some really bad and some excellent.  I wanted to mention a few of the excellent ones....  at least in my book they are excellent!!  There are 3 cartoons and an made for TV film on this list.........

The first two cartoon specials are ones I've been watching at Christmas for as long as I can remember -

 "A Charlie Brown Christmas"  - 1965 - a true Christmas classic if there ever was one.  It usually plays a couple of times during the season - read about it HERE - and ....

...Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"  - 1966 - the other classic from the 1960's.  You can read bout this TV special HERE.  

The third is a modern special I fell in love with the first time I saw it.....

... "Olive, the Other Reindeer" - 1999 - a story based on the book by Vivian Walsh.  You can read about the TV Special HERE.  It's all about hope and the magic of Christmas!!

The last on this "extra list" is a real "Made for TV Movie".....

......  "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" - 1971 - this was the series pilot for the "Walton's" TV show and although some of the main characters were played by different actors once the series began, this film is top notch and so heartfelt and warm it'll melt marshmallows!!!  I love this film and especially Patricia Neal (who was replaced by Michael Learned as Ma Walton in the TV show).  You can read all about the Walton's HERE.

I hope you like this little additional list of things to see, stop back on Monday as I am planning a little Christmas Gift-a-way!!!  Thanks for stopping by on the weekend.

Take care,

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Exchange and a Secret Santa Arrive, I make a new start ....and We're at #13......

Gentle Friends today I'll wrap up the week with some real Christmas cheer......  let's start off with an Exchange that I did with Shirlee over at "The Easily Influenced Stitcher" - a while back we emailed about doing an exchange and set the date for St Nicolas Day, today December 6th, as the send date, well as everyone knows both Shirlee and myself are early senders so I got my Exchange yesterday and she'll get hers either today or tomorrow ( I tracked it to see just how close to the Devils Playground it had gotten...).  I got mine home last night and out tumbled a super Christmas Exchange..... here's a snap...

... Shirlee knows me so well, she included some super DVD's and some delicious Christmas tea... but the focus of the exchange is the ornament, it is simply gorgeous!!!

... so perfect for the season and so wonderfully finished!!!  Thank you so much dear Shirlee!!

I also took part in the Secret Santa Exchange over on the 123 Stitch Board, and Belinda my partner sent me a chart I had on my wish list AND the floss to stitch it with......

I pulled extra floss from my stash just in case I it is needed.  I love Beth's colouring for this piece, the faded reds, greens and golds are so lovely this band sample will be a wonderful addition to the sampler wall..... here's my teeny tiny start....

I would have started it two days ago but the linen (36ct Sand) was way to light and cold, I thought, so I tea-stained it and warmed it up a bit, now I really like the linen and the stitching looks great on this shade of brown.

For the 13th Christmas film I thought I would talk "Dickens" - and do "A Christmas Carol" mention.  There a dozens of versions of ACC out there, lots of film, TV, and radio, even in print, the story is so universal it can change place and time and still the message is the same.  I love this story, always have and always will.  I have in my Film collection numerous versions; some great, some good, some bad and some really bad - but my all time favorite is .......

"Scrooge" - 1951 - original title, renamed for the American market "A Christmas Carol" - starring Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley and Jack Warner.  The story stays pretty true to the book, but what I think makes this a wonderful version is Sim's interpretation of Scrooge, spot on through the entire film!!  Other versions of ACC I'd like to mention would have to include.... "Scrooged" - 1988 - a modern version with Bill Murray in top form, "Scrooge" - 1970 - with Albert Finney heading up this musical version, it was my Mom's favorite Christmas film and I have always enjoyed it immenselly, "A Christmas Carol" - 2009 - a 3d animated version from the Disney Studio, starring Jim Carrey, "The Muppet Christmas Carol" - 1992 - starring Michael Caine - it's the Muppets and just darling!!, There are other versions..... 1984's ACC starring George C Scott, 1999's ACC starring Patrick Stewart, and 2004's ACC starring Kelsey Grammer.... I could go on and on.... each highlighted ACC should take you to a Wikipedia link to read more about the individual films.  There are many, many versions out there to watch and enjoy, try and catch one this season!!!!

That's about it for today sports fans, thanks for your continuing kindnesses, have a super weekend!!

Take care,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thrifting Thursday and #14

Gentle Friends thanks so much fro your kind comments and emails, I am way behind, as usual, in answering them....  I guess that's my lot in life, late emailing!!!  

The day after Thanksgiving is a shopping day, and although we didn't hit any big stores, we did get to a number of smaller shops here in the City.  The three areas we hit we the Valencia Street corridor, Geary Street and the Haight.  My niece is a big Buffalo Exchange shopper and so we hit both of those and a Crossroads - in addition to a bunch of boutiques, were I found a comfortable chair to sit a watch the goings on in every store!!  We also got to a number of thrift/consignment shops.....  I was able to find a few things, all DVD's.......

... "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Clue" a fun films I didn't have, "Two Fat Ladies" is a great series and I had never knew they were on DVD,  "Santa Clause 3" is the third in the franchise, I really enjoy the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas show is always superior and I love seeing it every year, this is the 2011 Christmas Concert and although I already had Disney's "Pocahontas", I didn't have the 10th Anniversary edition - a pretty good haul I think!!

Today is Film #14 ...........

 "Holiday Affair" - 1949 - starring Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh and Wendell Corey, this romantic comedy is a modest film based on "The Christmas Gift" a story by John D Weaver.  Although not well received when originally released it has gone on to become a minor Christmas Classic.  The story revolves around the love triangle of Mitchum - Leigh - Corey, Mitchum is a seasonal clerk in a toy department in a large store in NYC, Leigh is a war widow trying to raise a child alone, and Corey her long suffering ever marriage proposing suitor - the story is on the predicable side, but such a charming one it can be seen again and again. There are no elves, and no Santa, but the Christmas magic is there all the same.  I really enjoy this film and if you get a chance give it a look.

That's about it for today sports fans, do stop again!!

Take care,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Flower Market ..... and #15 is a War Film!!

Gentle Friends I got a few shots of the SF Flower Market last Wednesday and thought I would share them with you today.....  the Flower Market here in the City is a great place to go for flowers and even if you are not in the buying frame of mind, it is a beautiful place to just walk around.  There is a super selection of the freshest cut and potted flowers to be had in Northern California - and even if you are not a Badge Holder, you can still purchase arm fulls of lovely blooms.  There are around 50 vendors of all types of flowers and plants and related items.   Here are some snaps....

... there are so many lovely choices it is often hard to choose.....

... and with it being so close to Christmas and the Holiday Season there was tons of greenery.....

...  (notice the overflowing blooms on the Christmas cactus's in the lower right) We are going back this weekend to get some cedar garland and a wreath for the front door, they really do not have cut trees here so we'll have to search that out somewhere else - we'll also pick up a poinsettia or two, they have all kinds of them from the traditional blood red to the speckled white curled petal kind...... can't wait!!

... and #15 in my Christmas Film Countdown is.....

........ "Joyeux Noel" - 2005 - starring Benno Furmann, Guillaume Canet, Daniel Bruhl, Diane Kruger and Gary Lewis.  Based on a true story this is a remarable film telling about the extraordinary "unofficial" Christmas 1914 truce between warring soldiers, German, French and Scottish in the trenches in France during WWI.  The truce and the film demonstrate just how ludicrous war really is and how the human spirit can overcome blind ignorant hate.  With the words...Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten and Merry Christmas the soldiers come together to celebrate the birth of Christ and bury the dead.  Performances, cinematography and direction are all top notch, but what's important about the film is the message.  It is a feel good film with a difference.... and the difference is that the story is based on a real event.  It is a French film and the languages spoken are French, German and English, there are subtitles to follow along.

There you go sports fans, thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

... and the Countdown Continues.... #16

Gentle Friends thank you so much for your kind comments and emails, once again warming the heart on a cold blustery day..... we have a really cold front moving through this week, even the who hounds are finding it on the chilly side!!

Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving wound down I got back in the kitchen and whipped up a cake I had wanted to make for a while now..... "Cranberry Crunch Cake"....I really love the cranberry, so tart and such a great colour, a real fall fruit!!!  The recipe comes from Flavors by Four a fabulous Blog run by Nicole.  You can find the recipe HERE..... and here's my little pile of cake.....

..... as you can see I have traded out my Fall stuff for a Christmas...  this is a great cake, really moist and the candy nut topping gives it a nice crunch.  The berries a tart and delicious, I would highly recommend this cake for the season!!

Today's Christmas Film is one that I would call a modern classic..... 

 "A Christmas Story" - 1983 - starring Peter Billingsley, Darrin McGavin and Melinda Dillon.  Initially when released it did not do well and was considered a "sleeper film" it has gone on to become one of the staples of film for the Christmas Season, at least in my little world!!  The story is set in 1940's Indiana and revolves around Ralphie and his desire for a Red Rider BB Gun.  The movie is in three acts, each act has Ralphie trying to convince an adult in his life the BB Gun is essential to his existence, except everyone continues to warn him that "He'll shoot his eye out."   It's a really fun film and usually at some point it appears on TV, and has in past years been given marathon status with the moniker "24 Hours of a Christmas Story."  The film has been released in every format imaginable from Betamax and Laserdisc to Blu Ray.  It's a great film and a fun piece to watch, if you've not seen it give it a try.

That's about it for today sports fans.  Thanks for stopping by, do stop again!!

Take care,


Monday, December 2, 2013

A 17 Day Christmas Film Coutdown

Gentle friends I hope you all had a super Thanksgiving - we had a house full of family and friends, and that's what it's all about, in my book!!  I took off Wednesday so that we could get a good running start at getting things whipped into shape for T-Day.  We started off at the SF Flower Market and had breakfast at the Cafe there, it was nice and convenient.  I picked up my 18" tapers for the table and then it was a walkabout looking at what were available and making decisions about what floral things we wanted...... Here's the dining room table with the polished silver I wanted to use and the flowers before being cut and condition and arranged....
.....  I did the polishing Tuesday evening so everything would be ready to get set up Thursday morning.....  And here's the main table just before we sat down to dinner.... I had the kids table set up separately since I cannot seat 10 people together.......
..... it was nice to sit and remember those family members that are no longer with us..... I could look out and see things we are using that go back 150+ years, the linen, silver, crystal and china conjure memories of family members long gone and not so long past... even some of the food was inspired by cooks and past Thanksgivings....... my menu was

Brussels sprouts with Onions and Bacon
Cauliflower gratin
Parker House Rolls
New Potatoes with Bacon
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Zest
Sausage Stuffing with Apples and Cranberries
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Roasted Turkey and gravy
For desert my Sister brought Marionberry and Apple Pies from Lee Farms in Tualatin, Oregon and Martin brought a Pumpkin Pie - so we had dessert covered!!

Since there are only 22 days until Christmas - and really only 17 more posts I'll be making - remember I Post only during the week, I thought it would be fun to list 17 of my Favorite films, doing a film a Day.  Some of the films a more "Christmassy" than others but all of them have a little Holiday Cheer in them - and they can all be found on DVD or Blu Ray, so go watch a fun festive Holiday Film this year!!!!!

The first film I think I'll talk about is one of my all time favorites....

"Christmas in Connecticut" - 1944 - starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner, S.Z. Sakall and Una O'Connor.  This is one of the essential Christmas Films to see.  

In a nutshell from IMBD..."a food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional Christmas."

Thanks for stopping by, do stop again to read about the next film!!

Take care,

Memorial Day

  "Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."   John Adams