September 29, 2011

Fall Film Fest!

If I were a good, serious, capital-B Blogger, then I would have had this list ready to share on September 1st. Since I am a lazy, haphazard, lower-case blog-when-I-feel-like-it blogger, I'm just now posting this autumn film smorgasbord. Here are a few movies that I love to watch as the days get a little cooler, food gets a little heartier, and trees throw a big costume-changing party.

September: Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel

This series of "Anne" movies are sentimental and dreamy and quaint, for sure. My childhood self drank them up on sick days when I got to stay home from school, and they've stuck ever since. This one spans a few years and several seasons, but there are some lovely autumn shots and I love the series of scenes when Anne takes her students on a picnic on the behalf of Mrs. Harris, the crotchety grandmother of one of her students. It's the turning point for her relationship with Mrs. Harris, and their gradually warming friendship fits well with the charm and sparkle of the season around them.

October: Fantastic Mr. Fox

There is something about the combination of Roald Dahl + Wes Anderson + stop motion animation that is just perfect. And the warm sunset backgrounds, underground burrows, wool-and-plaid-clad humans, and storerooms of fat poultry and golden cider make for a delicious and light-hearted fall movie. (This soundtrack is pretty great, too.)

November: Gosford Park

I love this movie for a lot of reasons: a truly incredible cast, an understated and brilliant sense of humor, a dark and twisty mystery, a captivating wardrobe. The mood is set right away; even the opening credits themselves serve to set a damp, dreary, melancholy tone. It's about a group that gathers for a hunting party on a 1930's estate and a sort of Agatha Christie mystery unfolds, involving both the visiting upper class and "below-stairs" lower class staff.

(right about 2:00 is a beautiful title shot)

It's so suited to a bleak, misty, tea-sipping and blanket-bundling kind of afternoon.

(The costumes at 3:00 are so spot-on: tweed! wool! hats! and one poor fox. And the lavish outdoor lunch at 5:00 feels brisk and lacking just enough color, except for the glasses of richly red Bloody Mary... too much foreshadowing?)

September 23, 2011


In an effort to help my dad & stepmom purge, I recently brought home a carload of family heirlooms they had been holding on to- in the form of china. SO MUCH CHINA.

I'm pretty sure this all came from my mom's side of the family, but any more information is lost to history, which is too bad. (Unless one of my relatives is reading this and can fill in the gaps for me!) I am resisting doing some purging myself, mostly out of a vague nostalgic attachment to family history, although I really don't know when we are going to have a dinner party that requires THIRTY PLACE SETTINGS of a wine glass, water glass, (not pictured) dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate, teacup, and saucer. Not how we roll.

Bryan's solution is to see what these would fetch on Ebay. I'm a little bit tempted, I'll admit.

These teacups, though, have much more sentimental value for me. My mom collected them at random before she passed away, and I wish I knew when and where, but that's just another mystery upon all the others, unfortunately.

To quote my stepmom: THIS is why nobody has silver any more. Because you would spend your life polishing it, forever and ever. (And I'm not really the type to go back in time and move to England and hire a staff to do it for me)

But still kind of cool, right? I would love to find a way to work them into our ordinary dishes, or use them for decoration or something. 

There is more porcelain and silver and glass, (oh, so much more) but I will spare you. The last category, though, I'm even less sure of what to do with.

This pink quilt lived on my bed for a while when I was a kid, and I'm pretty sure it's a family heirloom too, but once again: mystery. What's not a mystery: the rough shape it's in, what with all the shredding and stains.  

This one rotated through mine and my brothers' childhoods as well, and it's in better shape (although still pretty stained and beat up):

I love the scalloped edges on this one. The question is, is it worth it to try to clean/restore these? I'm not particularly attached to them, but they aren't really functional in their current state, and I can't bring myself to just throw them away.

This last one, though... so much potential.

I love all the colors going on, and how the honeycomb effect is orderly and whimsical at the same time.

This quilt is also unfinished, which means I could do that myself (or learn?) and put it to good use, although it would probably only fit a twin-sized bed in the end.

All hand-stitched.
OR, I could take a deep breath and cut it up. Throw pillows, a tablecloth or runner, Christmas tree skirt, mixed-media art or wall hanging. The right inspiration could lead me to do it, but do I really want to undo all the hours of sewing that some dedicated person (relative?) poured into this? I hesitate.

I love when treasured possessions have stories that give them a little life, and even more when they evoke a particular memory on top of it. I just don't know when I cross the line from sentimental into aimless hoarder, or if I'm already there, which is entirely possible. We tend to purge every time we move anyway, which is roughly every ten minutes, so maybe that will solve the problem for me! Time will tell.

September 14, 2011

Autumn's Inauguration

A chill settled in last night and has lingered all day, prompting me to start the Seasonal Closet Turnover process. A lot of laundry and digging and sorting as I decide what clothes need to just go to Goodwill already because I have not worn them in six years anyway, but I keep them because they are pretty (not because I am a batty old hoarder).

I don't know how people from California or any other temperate climate do it, keeping their entire wardrobes accessible all year round,  because I just don't have the closet space to pull it off. Which maybe explains why so many women are more obsessed with walk-ins than I am. In any case, I love this ritual, and it has definitely become a ritual. I love unearthing jackets and boots and sweaters that I forgot I had, and stashing skirts and sundresses away to make room for them. Trading out the linen for the wool. Pulling out the heavy, thick blankets for the bed. There's something about the organizing and preparation process that feels comforting and right, like gearing up for hibernation. Like storing up the harvest before a long winter.

All this scenario is missing is some hot (spiced? spiked?) cider, and today would be perfect.

p.s. My lovely stepmom (yes, those two words can coexist, much like "lovely mother-in-law") found this beauty for us at the weirdest garage sale I have ever seen, and I am pretty stoked about it.

I have never upholstered a thing in my life, but I'm willing to give it a shot. The sheer pressure of picking the perfect fabric just might kill me, though.