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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Vintage Patterns Online!

Found a cute website today, http://thevintagepatternfiles.blogspot.co.uk/

They have vintage patterns with lots of free ones to download and use! Check it out!

 

**I have no relationship with the blog posted above, I really just think it’s cool.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Vintage Baby Photos

I’m attracted to vintage photographs, especially of babies and children. Here are two that make me smile:

Naked Baby Butt Baby in a Bathtub

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Vintage Beauties

 

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A pretty solution to my bad habit

I’m an artist. It’s just who I am. All the things that I do have something to do with my artistic nature. One of the things that I do is paint. Well, I have to confess, I have a very bad habit when it comes to painting…I leave my brushes sitting in the water too long. The problem with that, in case you aren’t a painter, is that it destroys the bristles. They literally get bent out of shape!

I recently spent, ahem, several hundred dollars on new paint brushes (didn’t throw the old ones away ’cause, how could I). I admitted to the manager of the art supply store my shameful secret, and she recommended getting a water dish that is too shallow to let the brushes stand up in. I’ve always known she was brilliant, but that one was quite spectacular.

I guess I could have used an old plastic container, or a glass baby food jar, or…something, but, I can’t do that. I went to one of my favorite antiques stores (Carriage House Antiques, James Island), and bought an antique salt. It’s a silver base and came with a beautiful cobalt glass insert (originally intended to hold the salt) and works perfectly. I can pull the glass out to change out the water, and I can’t stand my brushes up in it. Bad habit, broken!

P.S. I also discovered that soaking the bristles of a brush with paint dried onto it in Murphy’s Oil Soap (overnight) can rescue the brush from total ruin. Good one to keep in my back pocket!

Paint Pot (Salt)

 

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Vintage Beauties

 

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Twin Sisters (De Tweeling)- 2002

A touching and thoughtful examination of the lives of twin sisters in the tumultuous 1930’s and 1940’s, this Dutch film received a well-deserved 2003 Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film. The film tells the story of twin sisters separated by the death of their family and sent to live in completely different circumstances. Lotte (Thekla Reuten) is sent to live in the Netherlands with an affluent family while her sister Anna (Nadja Uhl) lives with German peasants. They try to keep in touch with each other, but it becomes more and more difficult as the war engulfs the region.

Lotte, a participant in the Dutch resistance, falls in love with a Jewish man named David (Jeroen Spitzenberger). Anna falls for a soldier from Vienna, Martin (the incredibly handsome Roman Snizka), who is conscripted into the Nazi SS. Each woman loses her love to the war, Martin to a shell explosion, and David to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. All of this is revealed as extended flashbacks, with a modern meeting of the now elderly sisters. Elder Lotte (Ellen Vogel) cuts off contact with her sister Anna in the immediate aftermath of the war. Elder Anna (Gudrun Okras), has spent her life wondering why her sister was so hesitant to write to her as they got older and then cut her off entirely. The two ladies play a game of catch me if you can until Anna tracks down Lotte in a heavily wooded park and the two ladies finally reconcile.

The interactions between these two are so sweet and heartbreaking, especially as they end up stranded in the park and spend the night together sleeping next to each other, something they hadn’t done in more than a half-century. The movie is beautiful, beautifully shot and beautifully lit. It leaves the viewer thinking, a great thing for a movie to do. Subtitled in English, this is one well worth seeing.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Movie Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs

The Know It All- Book CoverDISCLAIMER: It is well known that my sense of humor is idiosyncratic. Contrary to what some may think, I do find things funny, just not usually what others do. In this world, there is funny “ha-ha” and funny “ah-ha”. While I understand the “ha-ha” style of humor, I am, at most, bemused by it. Now, funny “ah-ha”, that’s my thing!

The quest that Jacobs sets himself on, to read the entire 2002 Encyclopædia Britannica is one with which I am familiar. No, I don’t intend to read the great EB, but I have set myself on two similar quests. One is to watch the 1,001 best movies of all time…well, I also added in Roger Ebert’s best of the decade lists, so I’m up to about 1,025. The Western’s, full of gung-ho macho men and terrible stereotypes, kill me…but I digress. The other, which I see as more of a life-long quest, is to read the “Must-read books of all time.” While rather Eurocentric, the list does reach out enough to not be completely discounted. The reason for this quest is my feeling that I had not read enough of “the Classics”. I have to say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is leaps and bounds better than any movie version and Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables  taught me more about the battle of Waterloo than I would ever have absorbed in history class. What I mean to say is, I understand the desire to accomplish, intellectually, the nearly impossible. That’s what drew me to this book.

Jacobs was, as a 12 year old, convinced he was the smartest person in the world. Coming from a hugely accomplished family, including a father who had published multiple law tomes, and a brother-in-law who’s an equal opportunity “mansplainer”, he felt he’d fallen behind.In a bit of Oedipal brilliance, he decided to finish the task begun by his father decades before, and thus, the quest began.

The book is presented alphabetically, just as Jacobs tackled the EB. Each letter receives a chapter. Some entries include a brief recap of the information in the EB, others provide a fun fact previously unknown to Jacobs, and still others, my favorites, use the entry as a segue into anecdotes about Jacobs’ life in the year it takes him to read all the volumes. His attempts to out-know his brother-in-law, his young cousin, and his realization of just how obnoxious one can be when endlessly spewing facts, including the $1 fee imposed by his wife for each useless or ill-timed fact he made her listen to, their struggles to conceive a child, and a dawning realization that he really is getting to understand his father through this journey…all this is what makes the book such a good read. Plus, he gets to meet Alex Trebek (which disqualifies him from competing on Jeopardy!, much to his chagrin), compete on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and join MENSA.

Some of my favorite moments:

  • Under the “embalming entry (p. 75 paperback), Jacobs takes a brief detour into the human tendency to find loopholes in laws…including this gem. In medieval times, “monks were banned from eating meat on Friday. Somehow– and there’s no explanation of the logic behind this one– the monks decided that baby rabbits were fish.” That one set me off in serious, tear-streaming laughter for a solid 5 minutes. Hell, it still makes me laugh.
  • “Yes, [Isaac] Newton was a complete nut job, the angriest and nastiest scientist in history. The Britannica comes right out an uses the phrase ‘pronounced psychotic tendencies.'”
  • Jacobs, an avowed hypochondriac, finds the biographical sketches fascinating for the multitude of gruesome deaths suffered by historical figures. Livingstone– hemorrhoids, Harlow– uremic poisoning. (p. 284 paperback)
  • Written in 2003, the one of the only elements that date the book is a reference (p. 80 paperback) to the “market leader” in Internet and CD/DVD encyclopedias, Microsoft’s Encarta. I had completely forgotten Encarta and it amused me to realize how much things have changed in just 10 years.

So Naomi, what do you really think?

A fun, fast, and entertaining read, I’d recommend this book as a friendly travel companion…much friendlier than a volume or three of the Encyclopædia Britannica. (p.227 paperback)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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Vintage Vogue

I have a small collection of vintage Vogue patterns, the illustrations are simple, the styles are beautiful. I buy them whenever I come across them. I’ve chosen Vogue because I like the illustration style the best. I’ll probably never use the patterns themselves, but they are great as inspiration when I’m designing costumes.Vintage Vogue Pinafores Vintage Vogue 40's Blouse 2 Vintage Vogue 40's Blouse Vintage Vogue 40's Dress 2 Vintage Vogue 40's Dress 3 Vintage Vogue 40's Dress 4 Vintage Vogue 40's dress Vintage Vogue 40's Skirt Suit

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Vintage Beauties

 

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The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

I have set myself a goal, it’s ambitious, but it’s fun. I found several lists of the 1,000+ movies you must see before you die and I collated them to make myself a master list. One by one, I’m working my way through them. I will review them here from time to time. Please know, these are my personal thoughts, you’re welcome to disagree, but please be nice if you comment. Also, as these are invariably older films, there will be spoilers. Without further ado, here’s the first review!

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

This film portends to tell how the behind-the-scenes machinations of Hollywood in its heyday. The son of a Hollywood Producer, who is left penniless as his father passes at a particularly low moment in his career, plans to rescue the family name by becoming a rich and famous producer himself. As the movie opens, Pebble (Walter Pidgeon) is trying to convince three former friends of Jonathan Shield’s (Kirk Douglas) to set aside their differences and make just one more movie for them.

Each of the former friends takes a turn remembering their tale of how Jonathan has done them wrong. First, there’s Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), a director who worked extensively with Jonathan at the start of his career. Amiel wrote a great screenplay and Jonathan pitched it to a studio, but cuts Amiel out of directing his own work in favor of a bigger name.

Next is Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), an alcoholic struggling actress who stars in Jonathan’s first major movie. She falls for Jonathan, and he woos her and leads her to believe that he loves her too, keeping her from drinking and getting a spectacular performance from her, before cutting her loose as soon as the picture is wrapped.

Finally, there is James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), a best-selling author whom Jonathan convinces to come to L.A. and write a screenplay based on his book. Finding that Bartlow is distracted from his work by his wife Rosemary (Gloria Grahame), Jonathan finds a way to keep her occupied… Gaucho (Gilbert Roland). When Rosemary and Gaucho are killed in a small airplane crash, Jonathan spins a tale about how Gaucho was flying Rosemary to visit her husband. Bartlow finishes the script, even through his grief. Jonathan brings him on as a producer and  ends up firing the director on the film and directs the movie himself, only to realize at a screening that he has turned it into a major piece of dreck. Jonathan tries to cheer up Bartlow but accidentally lets slip that he knew the whole time that Rosemary and Gaucho were having an affair. Bartlow, betrayed, walks out on Jonathan.

Pebble, himself a producing partner of Jonathan’s, has called the three to his office and reminds them that, regardless of what Jonathan may have done to them, Amiel is now a famous director, Lorrison a famous actress, and Bartlow a famous author. He asks them to reconsider working with Jonathan again…and they do.

The whole film is, unfortunately, beholden to this conceit. Three separate stories, all taking place as extended flashbacks, with only 15 minutes or so of action taking place in the “present moment”. It rings false, although each story is very well done in and of itself. The happy ending also seems hollow. There’s no real merit to the argument Pebble presents to the three, and as they change their minds while overhearing a telephone conversation, one can’t help but feeling they are only being manipulated again. It is an interesting concept, and a fun portrayal of a Hollywood cad. The best part of the whole feature are the magnificent costumes, especially a wedding gown worn by Lana Turner on the set of her first movie with Jonathan.

Bad and the Beautiful

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Movie Reviews