Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blog happy: English Muse

Very nice blog -- full of intensely beautiful images -- and this recent posted video was a real treat:

Temperley London Circus Zoetrope from LEGS on Vimeo.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Thank you to everybody who entered the giveaway drawing for Flea Market Fidos.
Lucky GLC (Good Looking Corgi) was the lucky winner!
Enjoy, GLC.
Happy President's Day, everybody.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Magazine Heaven!

Don't you just love it when you discover a new magazine you can really sink your teeth into quite happily?

I had seen Mary Janes Farm on the newsstands before and loved the look of it, but thought "Oh, this is really all about cooking and gardening stuff, and I don't do that so ... "

I passed.

Today I was at Barnes and Noble using the last of my XMAS gift card, and when I spied this cover -- look at those luscious colors, purples, plums and pinks with the light yellow border -- I thought "I have to have it just for the cover alone".

Surprise, surprise -- the insides are just as visually satisfying. The founder of the magazine states that "Farmgirl is a condition of the heart". I believe I fall squarely in the category of "Urban Farmgirl".

Mary Janes Farm is a confectionary concoction of Mary Engelbreit's Home meets Victoria meets Country Home (miss that one), with a heavy slant of cookery thrown in. Oh, and there is a very fun, authentically retro feel to a lot of the images ... none of which take themselves too seriously.

It is, therefore, FANTASTIC!

If your tastes are similar to mine, check it out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tea Making Tips, 1941

Tea making is serious business, apparently!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Musings on 2009's "Emma"

I've just finished watching part 3 of Emma on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.

At first, I found this adaption much less accessible than the 1996 version starring Gwyneth Paltrow. I'm used to seeing the Hollywood-ized adaptations of Austen novels, and fitting the whole of an Austen masterpiece into a mere 90 minutes has its disadvantages.

Actress Romola Garai -- one of those rare screen stars who miraculously looks far better without heavy makeup -- is a spirited Emma, quite sure of herself and full of verve. Her expressively mobile mouth anchors a wide-eye, imperfectly pretty face. As the heroine, she plays not so much on her looks as her ability to play a character whose face cannot help but give away her underlying emotions.

The nuances of Austen's writing and the exchanges between the characters -- many of which are not necessarily verbal -- are given a deeper, wider treatment in this four-hour version. The characters are less obviously drawn, and the actors have the opportunity to flesh out their performances -- with gratifying results.

I was particularly touched by Tamsin Greig's sympathetic portrayal of the unfortunate Miss Bates. Her goodheartedness, matched only by her social awkwardness, cannot conceal her dignity as a soul fully equal to any other, regardless of her poverty.

It's a small but crucial role, and Greig inhabits it impressively.

Johnny Lee Miller makes for a different sort of Knightley than Jeremy Northam's. Less imperious and more reserved, he's not the dashing wit, but a steadier flame to Emma's tempests. He sees more than he says, but when he speaks, more and more of his character is revealed. His is a Knightley with more dimensions, reflecting a maturity which eventually tempers and attracts an older, wiser Emma. An Emma who comes to know her own heart when faced by her follies and their consequences for those around her.

His sense and her altered sensibilities meet, in the final and very fulfilling climax of the story, in a most perfect meeting of the minds and hearts. In the end, "Emma" concludes with happy outcomes and charmed futures for most, but I always come away feeling bad for Miss Bates ...

... was that Jane Austen's intent? There are no miscalculations in her novels.

She noticed the smallest things ... and never missed their meaning.

Is this why we continue to love Austen, even to this day?