Monday, February 27, 2012

"And There Was Music..."

Yep.  Still on that "The Music Man" kick. ;)

Double feature this Monday for you: The Kristin Chenoweth/Matthew Broderick version (to match everything else I've been posting about it), and also a lovely (though very short) piano cover version I found whilst poking about on YouTube when I ought to have been putting away laundry.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Come and Visit the Other Me!

As some of you know, I have an Alter Ego that is picking up steam as a business venture.  A lot of good developments are falling into place, so I want to shamelessly beg you to show some blog love and check out

from time to time.  Especially in the next 6 months, there are going to be all kinds of posts relating to costumes being constructed, Douglasville's Hydrangea Festival in June, and other various and sundry lovely things.  I'll be scheduling a photo shoot or two when the weather decides to cooperate, so you can see me in my natural habitat. (In clothing that went out of style at least 100 years ago!) :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Mail: Week 20

ALREADY?!  Flying by fast! :)

Here is the fantabulous mail I got this week:

Letters from Kendall C of Happy Little Mailboxes (Look
at the peacock feather goodness!), and Cathy in OH.

Fantastic letter and postcard from Vanessa in Germany.
Visit her blog, Vanessa's 52 Weeks of Mail.  Middle letter
is from Donovan of the LWA.  London postcard came from
fellow Month of Letters challenger Mary in the UK.  I've been
working on a letter to her and it will go out on Monday!
And here is what I sent:

A long reply was sent to Hilda C. in MS.  After not being able to get an
outer envelope for it for a week or more, I finally got Svenja's off to her
in Germany.  Krista E. got all kinds of fun glitter alphabet stickers on hers.
The bird envies are to fellow Month of Letters writers: Val F. (Day 8),
Eleri H. (Day 9), Melissa T. (Day 10), Hannah D. (Day 11), Melanie W.
(Day 12), Laura O. (Day 13).
Hannah D. writes the blog A Lost Seamstress and loves to
sew/knit/embroider/all that stuff, like I do.
So I used a split stitch in red floss on a piece of off white felt
 to embroider her name and address.  It was fun to make and I hope it makes her smile!  I also paired it with a scarlet tanager because red is her favorite color. :)
My dear friend Taylor in Jasper, GA is working hard on her senior year of
her undergrad.  Over the last 6 months, I've been saving up little things
 that I found that I knew she would love.  I didn't see her at Christmas and
her birthday is in the spring, so I figured I would split the difference and
send this lot now. She got a box of salt water taffy, some otter paper dolls
and the first installment of a story I wrote about them.
I also got her a mini clip-on otter.  (She's in love with otters and I happily
feed her addiction.)  Notecards aren't complete without a dip pen and ink
to write on them with, and the pen isn't complete without a seal and sealing
wax, and some stamps to send them. :)  Also included was a blank journal,
and an Avon airmail envelope pouch, like the one I gave away here a
few weeks ago.
Taylor's box, all packaged and ready to go.
Lettermo-ers Rose L. (Day 14) and Flora A. (Day 15) were mailed out to this week.
While out shopping with my mom on Friday, I found these beauties and could not pass them up:

Yay, peacocks! :)
My friend Cayla in TX often gets cards with Chickadees on them from me.
Loved finding these!
As it is Week 20 of the 52 Weeks of Mail challenge, I thought it would be fun to count up what I've sent and received so far.  It looks like (if my records are right) I mailed out 105 items through the USPS, and received 72 in!  WOW!!!  That's more mail than I normally got in an entire year not too long ago! And we've only been going for 4 months!  I LOVE sending mail.  And I LOVE getting it! :)  I don't know how much has been spent on postage the entire time of the 52 weeks project, because I didn't start recording that until January, in my new mail log.  But so far this year I've spent $50.27.  Considering that just ONE reenactment would cost us around $100-$200 to attend, and we attended 6-8 events per year, this is a MUCH less expensive hobby!!!  And more lasting, as I'm forging relationships with other human beings and can re-read the letters over and over again whenever I like.  Totally worth my $50 bucks so far! :)

What about you?  Do you have any idea what kind of send/receive numbers you are sitting at currently? What about the postage?  How much have you happily shelled out for stamps?  Isn't it a completely worthy cause? :) :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shhh! :)

SO much goodness is happening over here, and I can't wait to have the time to get all caught up and share my happy news!  But I'm afraid that will have to wait just a little while longer!  I'll give you a hint: Needle and Thread. :)

I'm in a Broadway Musical kind of mood again, not to mention still loving that Honda ad (Superbowl Sunday's post), and so I simply couldn't resist this scrumptious number from the 2003 remake of "The Music Man" with Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Broderick for today's Music Monday post.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Mail: Week 19

A stellar mail week!  I sent out and received some awesome stuff!

Valentine's Day fell within this week, and while in all other ways it was the worst one of my life bar none, it was made to suck a little less when I went to the mailbox and MR. DARCY WAS IN IT!  No, seriously!  Look!

School friend Carrie drew this for me!!! :)
Also arrived was a wonderful letter from Katie M. in PA.
The week brought other mailbox goodness:
A reply from Mary Robinette Kowal, who is responsible for the
Month of Letters Challenge.  A reply from Olivia C, just down
the road in Hiram.  Wonderful letter in a stitched envie from Suvoni.
 Pretty, pretty letter from fellow MOL participant Rose L. 

Mail from KY!  Thanks, Laura! :)  Fellow MOL participant.
Here is what I sent:
Letters to a Penpal in the UK, and Rin over at Papered Thoughts.

To a penpal in OH, MOL (official) Day 7.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Mail: Week 18

It has been buzzing at the mailbox!  Here is what got sent out:

Valentine to TX, and MOL Day 5 to one of my favorite
radio DJs on The Joy FM's "Prevenings" show
Reply to a penpal in Iowa

Valentine for a high school friend

While I wish I could mail out every day for MOL, I
really can't.  The idea, though, is to WRITE a letter
every day, which I do, and then make it to the mailbox
at least once, if not twice a week.  I can do that, and I
think it still counts for the challenge.  MOL Day 6 goes
out to a fellow MOL challenger in Australia.
And here is the fabulous mail that arrived:

All 3 are fellow MOL challengers: Flora A. in SC, Jim B. in the UK, and
Melanie W. in NY
Melanie is a fellow JASNA member and sent this decadent
Jane Austen card. Love, love, love! :)  For more on JASNA,
check out the link in my "Stuff I'm Involved In" page above.
I am so fortunate!  (And now rather behind in my replies. O_o)  Off I go to create mail.  Keep writing more letters!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bueller..? Beuller...?

I don't really care that it was a Superbowl commercial. We're not NFL fans in the least here, so we were only vaguely aware that there was a recreational competition of national interest happening on Sunday evening. (We played with the kids at the park and then had a nice supper and played dominoes at home.)

But here is my choice for today's Video Wednesday post (trying to get back to my blogging schedule, you know). It completely made my week. The only thing that could have made it better was to include Alan Ruck, but according to some interviews, he wasn't interested in seeing his days as Cameron Fry revived. I can respect that. Anyway.  I still love this commercial. Enjoy.

Ferris Beuller, you're my hero! :

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dickens is still as popular as... well, the Dickens!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, arguably the greatest fiction author of the mid 19th century.  Some of us were forced to read Dickens in school whether we liked it or not (most of my peers), but some of us not only read it willingly, SOME of us had voluntarily read it years before that and were re-reading them like letters from an old friend. (ME!!!)  Some of us also found out today that the phrase "like the Dickens" is of Shakespearean origin and has nothing to do with Charles Dickens whatsoever.  (Me again!  Who knew?)

I read and loved A Christmas Carol at the age of 9, after loving the "Mickey's Christmas Carol" movie  year after year until I learned to read fluently (hey, the exposure has to come from somewhere!).  I moved on from there to Oliver Twist around 10 or 11, and by the time we were collectively studying A Tale of Two Cities in high school, I'd already finished Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations.  (Yes, I was teased mercilessly by my peers for being a bookworm and an introvert.  Such is the social structure and pecking order of the public school system.)

Dickens has a way with the details of the scene that I love.  His minute descriptions draw me into England the way he saw it.  Every house, every carriage, every article of clothing is depicted to me in words that leave my mind's eye in no doubt as to the existence of every item and every action involved with them and the movement of the plot.  His characters are introduced in such a way as though you are sure you are in the room along side them all.

I have been a life long Dickens reader, although I did not read Little Dorrit, The Pickwick Papers, The Life of Our Lord, and A Child's History of England until I was in my 20s, the latter two appearing in my personal library in handsome hard back covers as a Christmas gift from my dad's mom.  Little Dorrit is perhaps my favorite curl-up-by-a-winter-fire read, excepting maybe David Copperfield.  

I will confess readily that Pickwick Papers was a HARD read, in that it had perhaps more to do with the differing social classes and customs and phrases of the day than any of his later works.  I got through it, but it was an arduous process that took several weeks (ages, in relation to my natural reading speed) and I was forever marking my place and having to Google something I didn't understand (Sam Weller's cockney speech, among others).  And although Pickwick Papers is praised for its accurate descriptions of the old coaching inns of England during that time*, not only have two full centuries passed and rendered such establishments a bit archaic, Georgia and its history bear so little resemblance to the England of Dickens' time, I have no reference point from which to understand the events of the plot which happen in the coaching inns, except what I learn about online and by asking my British friends who love and study the history of their own country.

On the whole, however, Dickens is beloved and cherished in our house, and many volumes of his work take their place on my bookshelf along side Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and various and sundry other favorite literary greats.

Also in my list of favorite things are several film versions of Dickens titles, produced by BBC and available either in their shop to order, or on Youtube if one doesn't mind the interruption of moving from one episode segment to the next.  They employ the top of my list of favorite British screen stars: Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Macfadyen, Alun Armstrong, Andy Serkis, and James Fleet (to name only a few).  Stellar writing combined with stellar acting performances = excellent entertainment for this grown up bookworm. :)

*taken from the first paragraph in the summary of Pickwick papers on Wikipedia article here.

Related links of interest:
Little Dorrit miniseries by BBC on Youtube, first part here.
Little Dorrit for purchase at BBC website here. Or on Amazon here.

David Copperfield miniseries by BBC on Youtube, first part here.
David Copperfield for purchase at BBC website here.  Or on Amazon here.

(Interesting note, both of these star Alun Armstrong in vastly different roles!)

My favorite versions of A Christmas Carol:
George C. Scott classic, on Youtube, first part here.  Buy at Amazon here.
A Muppet Christmas Carol, on Youtube first part here.  Buy at Amazon here
Jim Carey's version is too new to be on Youtube, but watch the trailer here. Buy at Amazon here.

I'm sure there are more great movie links, but that will have to keep you happy for now! ;)

Mail!!! 52 WOM 15, 16 &17, plus Month of Letters News

This post is shamefully past due, as are my library books that should have been returned on Monday. Hmm.  Anyway...

The truth of the matter is that while letters have been faithfully going out and coming in, I haven't actually had much time to photo them.  So here is the recent stack of outgoing that I photo'ed all ready and together (before some went out and some were delayed and some didn't get photo'ed at all).

From top: Insurance information form (I'm just grateful to have any,
so I won't complain!); clear envie with pink flowers going to Vanessa
in Germany; pretty calendar envie going to Snail Mail Fan in Canada;
glittery and beribboned pretty envie going to Svenja in Germany
(in a bigger envie, as I found out the PO sorters will snag on the ribbon. :(
Rather it get there safely than in ruins!);
SQUIRREL! to Laura in the UK.  Read Laura's blog here.; small but
highly decorated blue envie to Su in Ireland.  Wish you could
see more of it, but I don't show addresses unless the person lists theirs
on their website.  See Su's beautiful blog here.; one of my beloved
peacock cards goes to Olivia who lives just about 30 minutes or so from me.
I found her blog link through the
  Save the US Postal Service by Writing More Letters Facebook page.;
 last but certainly not least, a cheeky little chickadee takes greetings
and news to one of my favorite pen pals and bloggers, Misty, The Pen Thief.
Here is what has come in over the last 3 weeks:

2 wonderful publications: The Victorian Trading Co. catalogue, and the USA
Philatelic catalogue from the USPS! :) Guess what some future posts will be on!
Also in my mailbox was a postcard about postcards from Kendall C. of Happy
Little Mailboxes; a wonderful, thick envie with pretty collage on it from a new
pen pal in MS; a reply letter from one I sent to France in October.  She moves around
a lot for her job, so it takes a while for her to get mail and send a reply.  But it was
worth the wait and I'll be writing her a long reply this week!; a pen pal in the UK
sent the cute puppy in the rain card; I got a lovely reply letter from pen pal Emily
in MI; pen pal Krista in CT sent me some Twinings tea (FAV!) and some tea stickers. :)
Remember my earlier post on the Month of Letters Challenge?
I had 2 calendars of backyard birds that I wanted to turn into envelopes.  I decided to use these specifically for the challenge, because 12+12=24 and there are 24 days in the challenge!  Perfect!
Here are all 24 made:

Here are my two favorites:

A Blue Jay and a Cedar Waxwing. Love those!
It was pouring down rain the first day of the challenge and I had a cold so bad the second day I couldn't move.  So I had to make the first mailing a "one day that week" trip, but the point is to write a letter a day, which I did.  So it still counts. :)  Here are the first 3 days:

Sent to 2 people I found on the challenge
website and the red-headed guy in the middle
goes to Randi of My Happy Mailbox.
And Cute Gremlin #4's chubby little hands, holding Day 4's at the Post Office yesterday:

To none other than Donovan B., the founder of the LWA. :)
That's pretty much everything up to this point.  I'm replying to letters as fast as I can, and I'm having so much fun!  Right now I'm off to clean the house, after which I have plans to take Cute Gremlins to the park to play while I bring along my stationery and keep writing. :)

(PS- I took the library books back yesterday after the Post Office.) :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Gratitudes

The first month of the new year is gone!  Here is some of what I was blessed with and thankful for. :)

1.31- A day of not being rushed.
  • 1.30-Superglue! Also, keeping calm in an emergency where blood was involved.
  • 1.29- Long phone conversation time with my BFF who lives far away
  • 1.28- The library
  • 1.27- A comfy bed to sleep in
  • 1.26-Lemon scented body wash. That stuff makes me feel soooo good the rest of the day!
  • 1.25-Finding stuff from my childhood that makes me smile
  • 1.24- Awesome pre-printed day planner sheet (see tomorrow's "Thought I'd Share" post)
  • 1.23- Hope
  • 1.22- Church
  • 1.21- Free Saturday to do whatever I feel like doing. Really nice!
  • 1.20- Meeting other costumers at work :)
  • 1.19- AMAZING first day of new Beth Moore Bible study!!!
  • 1.18- Hugs and kisses
  • 1.17- A cute new haircut
  • 1.16- Extra time to get some work finished
  • 1.15- Hot tea to soothe my throat
  • 1.14- Quiet time and then a dinner date
  • 1.13- Epic swing dancing! :)
  • 1.12- Family dinner time with awesome polynesian pork chops. Nomnomnom
  • 1.11- Gremlin #3 is doing very well in school. Conference went great! :)
  • 1.10- Using Christmas gift cards for new stationery supplies. :)
  • 1.9- Friends who get you through a butt-kicking workout. And promise to do it again on Wednesday.
  • 1.8- Rediscovering a stash of papers I can use for making my own envelopes
  • 1.7- Fun day at work
  • 1.6- Forgiveness
  • 1.5- Prayer
  • 1.4- A step forward
  • 1.3- Love and Support!!!
  • 1.2- AWESOME 2012 Avon Kick-Off meeting!!! Going to be a great year with Avon!
  • 1.1- There is no better way to begin a new year than in church worshiping the Lord!!!