Monday, December 28, 2009

Grab a cup of hot cocoa and sit a spell!

Okay. So shopping is done. The gifts have been wrapped and unwrapped. And we can finally promise to never walk into a mall again until next Christmas. (I can proudly say I didn't even walk into one this year!)


Many in the world celebrate Winter Solstice and Yule with the enthusiasm others celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. These photos are the most beautiful Winter Solstice decorations I've ever seen. Isn't that candleabra clever as all get out?! I wish I could say I took these at a party to which I was invited. But I can't. The Peak of Chic posted them last week. They made me want to go right out and slay a boar!
Okay! Now for a little window shopping to see some of the treasures the world is offering us today!

... get your favorite hat ...
... grab your favorite hand-blown 1650 German gold ruby-glass shell goblet and have a sip of something light and bubbly ...
Have a quick bite from the dessert tray at The Ladybug Bakery in Napa Valley.
... and join our oh-so-chic chauffeur for our ride around town ...
What could be better than an oil lamp (newly electrified) 1880 harlequin torchiere from Italy?


Why, of course, a PAIR of oil lamps (newly electrified) 1880 harlequin torchieres from Italy! I want these in my living room! Unfortunately, at 6 feet high, they might be a bit overpowering. But I could live with it!
This week's bibliotheque comes from Russia. This 1800 neoclassical piece is made from mahogany and inlaid brass geometric shapes. The well balanced pediment is flanked by brass finials which are above fluted columns either side of the pretty brass trimed doors.
This early 19th century Venetian gesso polychrome & parcel-gilt display cabinet is decorated in red-orange colors. The arched feather pediment over a pair of molded doors open to a shelved interior. The center with small serpentine shaped panelled drawers. The bombe shaped bottom cabinet raised on cabriole legs. The whole with floral decoration and gilt highlights. Be sure to click the image and see the details in this wondrous piece!
Feel like writing a letter? How about doing it at this early 20th century carved and laquered rosewood Chinese desk? I bet my letters would turn out far more inspired than they do at my plain ol' desk I use now!

What are you going to do with all those Christmas gifts of gems and jewels? How about storing them in this dramatic 18th century French Louis XV tortoiseshell and bronze mounted jewel casket? At the rather monumental size of 30" wide(!), I'm sure you'll have room to store all your treasures!
This beauty just knocks my socks off! From France, a 1920 chandelier with silverbronze tritons decorating the corners. The structure is in nickeled iron and bronze. The decoration at top center made with glass pearls imitating coral or a jelly fish. Five lights should provide plenty of illumination on whatever you want to see!
Is it getting late? Check out my favorite 19th century French ormolu clock. This ormolu bronze clock with two musicians is signed on the enamel dial by the famous French clockmaker, Gigault a Nantes. On top of the rectangular clock case is a music-stand showing real music notes - precisely incised - one of them transcribing "Air du Troubadour".
Do we have time for a light snack. Here is my late 19th century Japanese picnic set. This Japanese lacquer picnic set is a fine example of the exquisite lacquer work created in Japan during the late 19th century. The brown background color harmoniously combined with various shades of gold and all finely painted with stylized landscape scenes with figures and decorative borders. The piece is fitted with serving trays, a stack of food boxes and Kutani porcelain sake bottles. The rectangular box is fitted on top with a metal handle. Okay. I lied. It's not mine. But I would certainly like it to be!
I'm not sure what appeals to me about this 1900 French stained terra cotta concrete garden statue. On one hand, it's not that detailed and seems rather commonplace. On the other hand, don't these little charmers look ever so pleased with themselves? I think it would always make me smile if I were to live with it.

On a lighter note, how about this amazing collection of 100 cookie jars?! Now, not only am I a huge fan of cookies (hey! no wisecracks from the peanut gallery!), but notice all the Wizard of Oz cookie jars?! I'm sure I was meant to have them!

I found this whimsical sewing machine decoration at French Charming. I just recently discovered this blog and I love browsing through it. It's very light hearted and pretty and the writer (Karyn) is quite fun. I don't know if I could actually bring myself to do this to my sewing machine ... that's a lot of $'s to play around with LOL - but it would make it more fun to sit at the machine, wouldn't it?
I guess after checking the time on the 1810 Swedish tole clock, it's time to wrap up the tour.Well, that was a fun window shopping excursion! Did we see anything you can't live without? - or can't live without wishing for?!

You probably need some refreshment, so have two layers of moist chocolate cake, a layer of smooth raspberry mousse and fresh raspberries and a layer of rich chocolate mousse. The entire cake is enrobed in silky chocolate ganache and topped with the perfect chocolate bow. (Order yours from A Grande Finale.)Every Christmas Eve we have our traditional viewing of "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sidney Greenstreet, and "The Bishop's Wife" with Loretta Young, Cary Grant and David Niven. They both just make us believe in all things Christmas-y and good!










However, this year, we added a new film to our tradition! Thanks to Turner Classic Movies, we saw "Remember the Night" with Barbara Stanwyck (again!) and Fred MacMurray. What a charming movie! When you think of holiday classics you might not think of "Remember The Night." You may have never even heard of it. But it is a must see and as good as any of the other Christmas classics we're offered over the season.

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star perfectly together (before they re-teamed for "Double Indemnity.") He is a prosecutor for the district attorney, she a shoplifter who gets caught stealing some jewelry just before Christmas. With the Christmas weekend holiday approaching, he arranges her bail so she won't be locked up over the holiday. Thinking he only did this so she would, um you know ... she shows up at his apartment as he is preparing to go home for the holiday. He convinces her that he's not after her uh ... you know.

Over dinner they discover they are both from Idaho, "how'd you like to go home for Christmas?. he asks her. He offers to drop her off at her folks on the way to his.

A road trip, comedy, drama, funny and likable supporting characters, and love and tears follow. Also, a wonderful moral to the story. And a surprisingly unhappy happy ending.
On Christmas day we watched "Children of Paradise." I won't go into it here, as I'm sure you're familiar with it. It's been called the greatest film ever made. Filmed during the Nazi occupation in Paris, it is an elegant tale of love between a beautiful courtesan and four disparate types - a rich jealous nobleman, a mime, a vicious member of the Paris underworld, and an idealistic rising young actor.

Everything about the film seems to swirl in a riot of people, costumes, and overlapping relationships, a sort of mad confusion of life lived in a very elemental manner. And the cast carries the director's vision to perfection. Jean-Louis Barrault is both a brilliant actor and brilliant mime, perfectly capturing the strange innocence his role requires; the famous Arletty offers a divine mixture of exhaustion, sensuality, and self-awareness that makes Garance and her fatal attraction uniquely believable. And these performances do not stand in isolation: there is not a false note in the entire cast, the roles of which cover virtually every level of society imaginable.

It is interestingly to have such earthiness and such dreaminess exist side-by-side.

If you have never seen this film classic, do so! It's highly recommended! And if you have already seen it, enjoy it again.

We saw the premier showing of "Nine." And it's a very exciting and exuberant disappointment. The musical numbers fairly well explode off the scene. They are nothing short of gorgeous - and everybody is fabulous in them. The costumes and art design are also spot on target - it's both beautiful and interesting to watch and there's always something to catch and delight the eye. The actors/singers/dancers are all top notch. Again, no complaints from a single person in front of the camera. Unfortunately, this all has to balance against a perfectly dreadful screenplay. It's dreary, humorless, and at times, incomprehensible. I saw the original musical on Broadway, and it was a charming show - I have no idea why they felt the need to cut up the text so much.

However, if you like musicals and big splashy production numbers, it's definitely worth going to the cinema to see this one, as I'm sure the small screen will lose much of what is seen on the movie screen. Just think of it as an elaborate and extravagant concert - and forget the story! Click on the photo to get a large version and see all the big stars who strut their stuff.
Thanks for visiting with me today ... and welcome! to the new followers. I'm glad you joined us and hope you'll return often! Only ten more followers until a giveaway is required. Hmmm. What could that be?

I leave you with a question that has puzzled many for years...
Now, go make something beautiful!
♥´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan
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