31 October 2010

"Addie and the War Hero"

If you are looking for something different to read for Hallowe'en, you might like to try my Hallowe'en themed Addie Mills story.

27 October 2010

Autumn Amidst the Raindrops

Dark, dripping, and dreary: today in a nutshell. There were fits of rain, but surprisingly no thunder, and it was necessary to keep the lights on all day.

I kept my own inner light burning with the warmth of music in the morning and podcasts in the afternoon. First things first: I played the copy of "New England Christmastide" I received in the mail yesterday so I could do my feedback. I've had "New England Christmastide 2" on cassette tape for years, and when we were on vacation, I saw it on CD in the Christmas store in Weston, VT, along with a newer album, "New England Yuletide," which I purchased, but not the original album. So when I got home I hunted it up on Amazon Marketplace.

All of the collection are instrumentals, my favorite type of Christmas music, done in a simple style on "folk instruments" like hammered dulcimers, bagpipes, recorders, etc. As I expected, it was quite lovely. These are all from North Star Music, located in East Greenwich, RI.

Following were my autumn albums: George Winston's "Autumn," and David Huntsinger's "Autumn in New England" and "New England by Piano." The former Huntsinger album is my favorite of the two, but I really love a piece on the second. It's a bouncy little tune called "Climbing Katahdin" that sounds as if it could be background music in an Addie Mills story. I can see Addie out on her bicycle or working on an art project when I listen to it.

The afternoon was reserved for some podcasts, a "A Way With Words" talking about things like "olly olly oxen free" and its various regional permutations, and two Rick Steves' Travels, one about misconceptions about French culture and the other about Naples.

During lunch and in the evening I worked on my "Father Christmas" cross stitch. I haven't cross-stitched in ages; the light is not good in my usual seat and the rocker is usually clogged with books and magazines, but I loved the old-fashioned look of the piece. I always think the English "Father Christmas" looks better than our Santa Claus, with his hood and robe rather than the silly tassel hat and the red snowsuit.

[10/28: It was finished during lunch today; here it is on the oval backing board, ready to go in its gold frame. The French knots on the tree are not good, but I left them that way, just to look quirky.]

25 October 2010

61 Days Until Christmas

After a beautiful week of New England autumn leaves, the ones here are a bit disheartening. It's not the trees' fault; the soil and the climate is different, and it hasn't yet become cold, so the trees are of subdued hues; even the occasional orange and yellow are muted.

However, we had a good rain this morning, and, although it looked as if it were clearing up when I went to lunch, when I awoke from my nap the clouds had come over again, almost completely covering the sky. It wasn't dark, but grey and misty, and it lent an unearthly look to the trees. The color is always a bit brighter at work, because the complex is set next to a wetlands, and the combination of turning trees against the clouds was quite pretty.

I am doing something tonight I haven't done in ages, work on a cross stitch! It's a small kit I bought on Saturday. I have Strong Poison (the Sayers story done with Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey), and stitching Father Christmas and watching Harriet Vane be cleared of murder make agreeable evening companions.

06 October 2010

80 Days Until Christmas

Here are the classic Raymond Briggs stories as animated for television, but you may not have seen them this way before. Father Christmas has the original British voices (the version that is sold to American audiences was retracked with a different actor) and this version of The Snowman has the original introduction by Raymond Briggs.

Father Christmas, part 1

Father Christmas, part 2

Father Christmas, part 3

The Snowman, part 1

The Snowman, part 2

The Snowman, part 3

02 October 2010

Funniest Christmas Parody Ever

STAN FREBERG - Christmas Dragnet (1953) / Yulenet (1954)

"Most folks call 'em green onions..."

01 October 2010

85 Days Until Christmas

Whew! End of fiscal year is finally...well, ended, and it's time to start living again. Temperatures dropped a few days ago—I never thought I would be so glad to see it in the 70s, as high 50s are my favorite. Driving home lately I have noted goldenrod sprouting everywhere. It's time for wonderful things

• autumn leaves
• open window weather
• fall festivals
• fall decorations
• pumpkin tarts at Trader Joe's
• hot chocolate and hot soup
• next year's calendars
• Christmas planning magazines
• great photos of autumn landscapes

(hmmn, sense a theme here?)

Ironically the craft project I have now is partially an Easter project, but it can also be used for winter. I bought two little stools to go in the foyer to hold holiday figures or decor. One is red and will work for Christmas, autumn, Valentines Day, and even Independence Day, but it really didn't work for Easter, so I also bought one that's kind of a distressed creamy white. I'm going to paint it pale blue, so it will work for both Easter and winter.