Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Deliberately Relaxing

  I am sure if you read one of my previous posts about relaxation that you have tried to relax, but if you are like me and many others, while you are sitting still drinking tea, your mind is in a whirl with all the things you must do. As I stated previously, the Australians do much better at deliberately relaxing.

  It is often impossible for me to follow the idea of leisure which I so often post here, because of my heritage.  My husband's Grandmother in Kansas, would say to her farmer husband when he came in to sit a spell (or set a spell, as they said), "Sonny, (that was his nickname for as long as anyone could remember) while you are resting, how about fixing the roof (fence, porch, driveway)."   No wonder we think about these things when we are in a relaxed position. So, you see, we all came by it legitimately.

One thing that kept us sitting still yesterday, was a new Hallmark movie, "The Christmas Train."  I rarely buy a video unless it is extraordinary and haven't bought one since  "Love Finds You in Charm." I may buy this one when it appears in the Hallmark store. 

This one  reminds me of the old technicolor movies with the clear color, beautiful sound, the layers of scenery and the feeling of warmth. I like also that it is a clean movie with no mind-bending agenda. It was just a story.

Hallmark usually operates on a less than lavish budget, but this is a "hall of fame" production, which means they pulled out all the stops, and really decorated the train stations and the inside of the train was wonderful. It looks like a big cinema production, the kind you would go to the theatre to see. If you get a chance, watch some of the cast interviews, especially Dermot Mulroney, the central figure of the story, describe how the movie set was made into a train so realistically that the movie of scenery going past the train Windows made the performers a little dizzy when they looked at it. They felt they were on a real train. They did film quite a bit of the movie on actual trains.

Now, you might be thinking a quarter way through this movie that this is a slow story with a typical sappy romantic theme, but that is just to throw you off the mystery, to which there are clues all through the script. I had to watch it several times to see where the characters slipped up and left hints of what was really going on.

 Mr. S., who mainly likes old westerns and car-chases, stayed up late and watched this with me and it kept his attention. He wasn't secretly writing ideas and plans and schedules in his little notebook like he usually does when he's not interested in something. All attention was on board the train. Men like anything with a vehicle in it, whether a boat or a plane. I'm not so sure they are as crazy about coaches, barouches and wagons, but a train moves slightly faster.

Some of the details of the movie I enjoyed: the chess game with a surprise outcome, the song about the Christmas train, which I believe was sung by the male lead of the movie, Agnes, the lady who is a resident train passenger for some unexplained reason, the movie producer who wants to have a script about train passengers, and the sleigh scene. There is a pleasing mix of generations in this film.

The only thing missing was a scene of afternoon tea being served in tea cups, but this wasn't the Royal Scotsman.  Even "When Calls the Heart" pictures the Mountie having tea in th saloon. More tea scenes, please, Hallmark! Since so many of their movies are filmed in Canada, proper tea sets should be accessible. 

There was such an unexpected twist at the end. I never saw it coming. 

I liked that  although the story had some friction  in it from past resentments coming from the two main characters, they had the grace to be kind to one another.   

I think it has to be viewed several times before you can pick up some of the details in the script. 

You can go to Hallmark.com and  see behind the scenes and interviews with the performers.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Susan Rios Card

California artist Susan Rios send this card on email today and I want to share it. On email, it is animated with snow falling! You can see more of her art on SusanRios.com and other places and n the web where she sells her paintings and prints.

Last year, Hallmark produced this video, a caper around Oregon, which is about a young woman trying to get to her Mother's place for Christmas. She is a creator of hand made ornaments and on the way home manages to pick me a free puppy and travel with an FBI agent, unknown to her, which results in an amusing mayhem.

I like both these Canadian performers, and especially Meghan Ory's wonderful smile! A wonderful 2016 production. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Today

I have a couple of early morning pictures for you from my home. It all looks much better in real life, but I want to post a greeting and am busy sewing, so I don't gave anything to show except these. My kitchen is looking better and I've asked for new canisters to complete the look, but Mr. S. would rather I go get them myself and then tell everyone it is a gift from him. Does anyone else do that?

 I was delighted that nice songs are being put on signs, and this one is from the song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas":

Tomorrow is Christmas in Australia. They are a day ahead of us. I've had several Australian Christmases and really enjoy their deliberate relaxation, which is part of their lifestyle.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Little Sewing

This is the daughter version of the ensemble I made with the green plaid flannel snowflake fabric. The outfits looked a lot better on them, than this photo shows. I made a matching shawl collar scarf that could be tied in front or on the side, and the effect was quite pretty and energizing, I thought. I bought them cotton pullover shirts to go with.

I'm sorry this is all for this post. I never got the kitchen ready for a photograph because there was always some activity there, so maybe tomorrow,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Seasonal Decor 5

The kitchen is a very active part of my home, and not as easy to make show-worthy, so I am sharing only one section of it today. Above you see part of the porch scene, using holly cut from the trees around here. It is frozen in the container, as we had a sudden cold spell.

I have used this lunch box for many different things, including a serving dish to hold snacks. This year I have lined it with the rosemary and Sage which is growing prolifically in the cold months. Small apples and led-lite flameless candles complete the vignette and the whole thing smells very pleasant.

In a kitchen not designed for a kitchen table, I was determined to add one, even if just for looks, and I'm glad I did because people often sit there and talk to me while I am working in the kitchen.

I'm using two outdoor chairs with the table because I don't like leaving them in the harsh elements this time of year.

Some of the shops are selling chalk boards and plaques and paintings quoting the lines from the song "Winter Wonderland" which Is so delightful.  I tried to think of a phrase from that song that I had not seen in a shop, and came up with this one:

But then, I noticed on Pinterest how popular this phrase was already:

How do the Australians handle this song, when it is the hottest time of year?

This year, in consideration of our friends and rellies limited living spaces, we gave them these:

One reason I didn't get the other side of the kitchen ready to photograph is I've been attempting to make these again, and my kitchen isn't quite recovered:

I'm not going to tell you how many years I've tried to make croissants, or how many recipes I've used. This year I almost got it. The flavor was perfect and they puffed into nice layers.  I think I know what mistakes I've been making over the years ---rolling the dough too thinly and blending it too well makes it turn out like bread.  Thick layers rolled loosely puts more space inside the croissant. 

 But of course I've watched videos and read tutorials and still not quite where I want to be in making these. One mistake I've made is trying to make them with the same texture and appearance of the commercial ones found in the grocery stores.  These taste so much better and the texture is still light, and not rubbery like the bakery made ones. Also they toast really nicely when split and are still tender melt in your mouth.  The recipe is  the book called "Bread" which is a historical and educational cookbook, but I do not think the recipe matters as much as how the dough is rolled.

I can't use the store bought croissants as a guideline to what they should be like.  The homemade ones are very different. The commercial ones are the replicas!

Ingredients: butter, eggs, milk, flour, yeast, salt.

Shelf life: if you are alert you can save some and make them last more than an hour.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another Dress From Elizabeth Lee Pattern

This is the 8th Elizabeth Lee pattern I have sewn into a dress, in the last two months.  It is kind of sad there is nothing like these dresses for sale on the rack in local stores for the new mothers. They are sold online, however. There was a wonderful decade or two when these patterns were being sewn, and how pretty and elegant they were on the ladies who wore them as nursing dresses.  It does not seem like it was so long ago, but I often talk to young mothers who say they have never heard of a nursing dress nor ever seen one.  

Since these dresses are pullover dresses, I like to put a little rosebud or embroidered piece on the front to make it easy to see which side is the front.

This is a plaid homespun cotton with a gold metallic thread, so I accented the hem and sleeves with gold ribbon.

I also made a matching girls dress, size 14.
The girls dress is fully lined with an added petticoat sewn in.

When there isn't quite enough fabric, I make the sleeves of another fabric that coordinates:

This fabric does not wrinkle, so no ironing is necessary, and the dress is soft, as soft can be. The fabric was such a pleasure to sew, I have made up my mind to get some of the fabric for myself.

My Seasonal Decor 4

One of the ladies made this dish towel for me and tried to get me to promise to actually use it.  I do use it, as a wall hanging.

This is not a season theme but it is in guest room #1 and has a festive look.
My husband painted the mountain scene when he was in a high school art class in the previous century. 😉

Thank you for visiting this well-worn house.  I hope to have the kitchen and a couple of other scenes postd in another day or so. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

My Seasonal Decor 3

Several ladies have asked about this round tablecloth. It is from Walmart, about $3.00, flannel-backed plastic, and is located with the holiday platters, Chargers, dish towels, holiday dishes,  trays, etc.

Here is the other side of the front room. It doesn't always look this cluttered, but for pictures I added more things on spaces that are usually bare.

I like this over-sized jingle bell, sitting next to the candle, from Dollar Tree last year.

How do you like this frosty looking plush blanket? I've used some mesh ribbon to wrap it like a gift. This is where I sit on cold mornings for a few minutes before I'm needed!

I haven't used plaid much, in the past, but am really liking it this year. This is the dining room.

The melamine plates are sold at Safeway and Albertsons for $2.50 each.

When teamed with roses, plaid is quite attractive and appealing.

Guest Room 1, with Grandmother's Furniture: 
You might have noticed the change in the curtain color throughout the house. They used to be white. Last year I dyed them all seafoam/sage green, as well as all the tablecloths. Scroll back  and have a look!

Guest Room 2

I like the way reds and seafoam green look so well together.

Everything around here is wearing thin, but now and then I fnd something new that brightens it all.

Sewing  Room: preparing to sew some green plaid with snowflakes:

I hope I can find a way to use the cute snowflake buttons someone sent me years ago: