Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wanderings in Doll Land

So I'm sitting here listening to fireworks* and looking at Etsy. I've already exhausted the "rabbit" search and have also perused some wonderful ring bling (as my mother is a true, fashionable southern lady). And I decided to enter the words "cloth doll." Well, I shouldn't have done that; since I'm supposed to be saving up for a vintage Ada Lum doll ( yay, I get to link to myself :) and still have a long way to go. There are some really sweet cloth dolls and creative doll artists out there. I do have a particular weakness in this area. So I thought I might share a few of the ones I found with you.

Katherine at Katesmeister's Shop has created these simply elegant Jane Austen heroines. I'm pleased to present to you Fanny Price from "Mansfield Park" and Lizzie & Jane from "Pride and Prejudice." She also has some lovely knitting in her store and is asking for suggestions of other Literary Ladies to sew. (I'm going to recommend Elizabeth Gaskell's Molly Gibson.)

Another pleasant discovery I made was this precious storybook girl with a little bird perched on her shoulder. Isn't she dear? And what a darling black cat.

"Little Red" was created by Aimee from Sidney who is also a wonderful bear artist. She combines mohair with other fabrics to make truly unique bear friends. You can find her lovable, quirky creations here at Teddy Allsorts.

This beautiful EFA doll, Meg March of "Little Women," is the artistic inspiration of Bettsi at Tender Arts. Her dolls are amazing.

Don't even get me started on EFA dolls. I only recently found out about them and absolutely adore them. I think they have the dearest expressions and daintily detailed hair, clothes, and shoes. Plus I love their vintage appearance. I think Bettsi excels at capturing Ackley's sweet old-fashioned look while at the same time making special dolls that are distinctly her own. Edith Flack Ackley was a woman of great insight and ingenuity, as are those who recreate her treasures.

Speaking of little birds and vintage treasures.... Have you been to visit Little Jenny Wren? She makes precious Steiner/Waldorf type dolls with old-fashioned and hand-knitted clothing right out of the pages of by-gone catalogs and storybooks. I had such a difficult time deciding which of her dolls to post here, because I love them all. Each has an endearing personality all his or her own. "Little Jenny Wren" is also a fantastic vintage-living blogsite with lovely photographs and ideas.

Okay, clearly I need to get out more. My leg is still bothering me some, but I think I might go for a long explore tomorrow. By the way, the boys got back safe and sound and had an awesome weekend.

Thanks so for dropping by! You make my day.

*see this post related to the15th day after Chinese New Year.

And thank you to all of the ladies who generously allowed me to use pictures from and introduce their Etsy shops & Blogs. I enjoy sharing things I like. I hope it has been enjoyable for you too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pink Saturday

Even though pink is my favorite color, I have been hesitant to join in Pink Saturday (hosted by How Sweet the Sound) for the following reasons:
*The preferred decorative style in our home is functional-masculine.
*I haven't had much success taking clear, attractive macro shots with my little point and shot camera.

But I do love pink; so here are some little ways I express this suppressed affection.

One of my first "home" purchases when we moved here 10 years ago. The Chinese character in the middle is Ài (pronounced long I) meaning "Love."

Pink Scarves: most were gifts from sympathetic pink-loving friends.

Pink clothes

My Mother's birthday is coming up March 5, and I missed my precious nieces' birthdays this winter; so I am exploring the wonderful treasure trove called Etsy in search of something special to send them. My mother loves rabbits; so that's where I'll begin.

I also love how Karen at A Scrapbook of Inspiration some times highlights lovely pink items she's found on Etsy or another blog for her Pink Saturday post . One of my favorite Etsy finds is this lovely Secret Garden lampworks bracelet. Some of you know that "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of my all time favorite stories, and this bracelet is just the thing that rose garden dreams are made of.

Suzanne at Earthbound Gems says, "I love creating Jewelry that's Bold, Rich in color, Earthy, Unique and reflect more than just a hint of expression. My pieces are inspired by my roots, French Canadian Indian, making for what I hope you'll feel is a nice combination of hearts reflected in my creations."
Please drop by and visit her and see some more of her lovely bracelets & necklaces.

While wandering through Etsy, I also discovered this wonderful princess pink Prom necklace at Babbette Bistro's Shop. I love its pale luminescent shades and delicate elegance. Babbette's Victorian modern jewelry is amazing, like wearing an heirloom of vintage-dream collage art.
You can find her here in Blogland as well.

Thank you to Suzanne & Babbette for letting me share their photos and a little about their shops. As for my Mother & nieces. You'll just have to wait and see what I picked out. March 5th is just around the corner.

I leave you with a picture of a precious pink rose given to me by my dear husband. He did a good job didn't he.

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

So I got my post all written up and found that a person has to be a little more fore-thinking than I normally am to share in this particular theme day. I will still play along, but without being linked. You can find the other true Pink Saturday participants here.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Okay, you know all that feeling stuff yesterday... well, today I don't want it. I'm thrilled for all of my boys to be going off on a youth adventure this weekend, but the apartment sure feels lonely all of a sudden.
*rubbing my eyes* Wait, that's not them. We don't even live there anymore.

Where does the time go?

At least Rusty (the reddish, wookie-looking one) is coming for a stay. Otherwise MeiMei and I would be quite Forlorn (whoops F was the letter yesterday). Thanks to everyone for all their kind visits and heart-felt comments. I am really enjoying the friendly, creative people I am getting to meet at my place and traipsing through Blogland.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

F is for Feel

Jenny Matlock

I've tried out several different F topics in my mind (including the word "Far," since I live so far from the place I grew up and family & friends I have there); but none of my attempts have Felt quite like me.

Some other possibilities have included:

"Fireflies" - which evoked images of velvet summer nights and bare feet dancing across the grassy expanse of yard in pursuit of tiny twinklings of light.

I also considered "Frost" - thinking of crisp Fall mornings and boots crunching down on stiff frozen blades of grass (and scraping the ice off the car windshield in order to drive to school or work).

This great picture below, which was a freebie from iStockphoto (if you have an account), tempted me to write a post on "Frogs" or maybe even frogs waiting to be kissed and transformed in to princes. I am an ardent fan of fairy-tales and meanderings in the land of fantasy.

**Spoiler: If you've never read "Rose in Bloom" by Louisa May Alcott (and you should; but read "Eight Cousins" first, as it tells the beginning of the story); you should skip this section between the double asterisks.

One of my favorite stories along this theme is illustrated below. Rose suddenly finds that her all too familiar frog has turned in to a first rate prince without her realizing it.**
This illustration by Clara M. Burd from The John C Winston Company of Philadelphia 1933 copy of "Rose in Bloom" by Louisa May Alcott is still under copyright and therefore may not be sold or used for personal crafting or artwork. I'm sorry.

But as I mentioned earlier, even this didn't Feel quite right... quite like what I wanted to capture in my post. Some times I wonder if I even really know what "me" Feels like on any given day. I guess my heart knows; but why be so emotional and vacillating instead of firmly fixing my thoughts in the concrete reality of "just the facts?" Would it be as much fun? Doubtful.

Alphabe-Thursday is hosted by Jenny Matlock of "off on my tangent," you can find other fun F posts here.

Thankful Thursday - #s 61-70

This week in light of Alphabet Thursday's Letter F, I am thankful for Friends:

Patty and her sweet Renee - who teach me about living life with exuberance, joy, and love.

Amy - who exemplifies outward & inner beauty, good health & nutrition, a dry sense of humor, and the thirst to always be going deeper.

Carla - who is a mentor in all things beautiful - my role model for true, wonderful, "old-fashioned" wife & motherhood and making a house, not only a home; but a safe, lovely in every detail, comforting place. She is a woman of great strength.

Teresa - who daily demonstrates to me: true faithfulness and fun in friendship, the quests to know things & for excellence, and compassion for others.

Kelli - who teaches me the good way of humor, hospitality & caring, and how to keep home a place of real life and learning.

NanaofNC - my new blog friend who faithfully reads my posts and comments with words of sincere interest, understanding, and encouragement.

Harriette - my US friend who manages to keep clear of the demands of Internet-ia; but I know, none the less, holds strong commitment to and love for me. She also models for me a deep and wise love for God, her husband, family, and others.

Judy - a US church friend who first reached out to me and continues to do so by faithfully thinking of me, praying for me, and sending words of encouragement.

Leslie - for my dear sister who keeps me ever in her heart, who listens, and loves.

Allen - who never gives up on me and is always ready to make me laugh.

There are, of course, other precious friends whom I have yet to mention and appreciate in this blog. This was just the list on my heart this morning. I am truly blessed in the area of friendship; and genuinely grateful to all of you who have been a friend to me in words and deeds, both large and small.

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look What Arrived Today...

A Valentine's Care Package mailed on February 1st.
Fun American Treats! Thanks so much, Mom!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One Cute Giveaway

Alexa at Jaebumfangirl* is hosting a giveaway from CuteAbility (a must visit for anyone who finds tiny treasures entrancing). Karen at A Scrapbook of Inspiration first brought this precious store to my attention on one of her Pink Saturdays. Jaebumfan seems to be pretty aware of cute as well and has been or is hosting several great giveaways.

So if you like Korean pop music & all things girly, fresh and fun; you should pay her a visit.

But hurry..... The CuteAbility giveaway ends Friday 26th of February 2010. For more information on how to enter click here.

*Jaebum is a Korean-American rapper/singer and former member of the popular boy band 2PM.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alphabet Thursday - Catching Up - C&D

I have CombineD the letters C & D in this post; since I am trying to Catch up. So without further aDo, I give you...

A Chinese Cloth & Composition Doll Collage

Since my Collage also qualifies as a Mosiac. This is my first time to link with Mosaic Monday hosted by Mary at
Little Red House.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alphabet Thursday - Catching Up - B

There are so many wonderful "B" words, that it is difficult to Bring myself to choose...

But without a doubt one of my favorites is Beloved. So I thought it would be appropriate on such an occasion to share some words on love.

The Brownings of course are quite famous for their discourses on love. And I would be remiss if I did not include some lines from Will Shakespeare...

"My Bounty is as Boundless as the sea,
my love as deep;
the more I give to thee,
the more I have,
for Both are infinite."
(Romeo and Juliet, ActII, SceneII)

Anne Bradstreet, a Puritan poet, also wrote a lovely verse to her Beloved husband.

To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

And the Bible holds some very dear and precious words relating to matters of the heart.

Did you know that in addition to the sweet reference pictured above, the word "Beloved" appears more than 100 other times in the Bible?....

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.... In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son ... for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."
1John 4:7 & 10-12

We, each of us, whether we feel so or not; are Beloved.

Alphabet Thursday - Catching Up - A

A is for Asperger's Syndrome.

When he was 7 years old, my oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (a disorder falling towards the high-functioning end of the Autism spectrum).

Hans Asperger, and Austrian pediatrician, first described children with certain Autistic-like characteristics in the 1940's; but the diagnosis only came to serious attention in the early 1980's.

It was a caring, experienced 1st grade teacher who first identified our son for evaluation. We had noticed some unique activities in his early childhood - like waving his fingers while running back and forth, engrossed in a wonderful world of borrowed imagination. At times he was also difficult to discipline; because he didn't seem to understand the affects of his actions and could be very immovable.

He fit the description of "the little professor" and even now still loves to gather information whether through listening to adult conversations, pouring over reference books, or searching the internet. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, he has maintained focused and consuming (though changing) interests - everything from cars & trucks to insects, superheros to Star Wars, LOTR, X-men, and now music and language. He does need to be prepared for change (though I believe living overseas has really made him more flexible than most in this area). He has strong opinions and is very rigid in his thinking. He can be quite verbally eloquent and/or destructive on topics he feels strongly about. He loves stage acting because he gets to pretend to be someone else. And he appreciates and likes his own uniqueness.

Tony Atwood is currently one of the recognized leading experts on Asperger's Syndrome. You can find so much more information about this disorder in his book, "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome" and at his website.

He set up this shot and asked me to take it.

Here is a little teaser for the next letter of the Alphabet....
B is for:

Well, actually, you might think I would answer this way with the plentiful and wonderful specimens I have ever around me. But I have chosen differently....
You'll just have to wait and see.

Alphabet Thursday on Saturday - E!

Jenny Matlock
I just discovered this great site which includes Jenny Matlock's Excellent idea to post through the Alphabet. Obviously, I am starting out behind; so I will try to do some catching up. But today I will focus on the letter "E" ....

E is for Entering (as in Entering Jenny's classroom to accept this challenging assignment). E is also for Exams (of which I hope there will be none). And for English, which unbelievably, was my major. But finally I am stealing one of Jenny's own Examples in "E is for Elephant;" because I love this picture from the beach in Thailand of my son and his Elephant friend.

Hope you Enjoy it too.
Btw... I must confess that I Erased some one out this photo using PhotoImpact.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Saying "I Love You" with Chocolate (& Peanutbutter)

Once I accepted the reality that box mixes would not be a part of my life here, I began to search for an easy and tasty "from scratch" brownie recipe. This is the one I settled on and use all the time:

By: Katrina
"I have had MANY brownies and I have to say that these are BY FAR the best brownies I have ever had (and they aren't difficult to make)!"
(quote from RecipeZaar)

SERVES 16 , 16 YUMMY Brownies

*3/4 cup butter or margarine
*4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I use cocoa: 3Tbs to 1Tbs oil = 1 ounce)
*4 eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla
*2 cups sugar
*1 1/3 cups flour
*cooking spray
*chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9x9-inch square pan w/ cooking spray.
2. On the stove over medium-low heat, melt chocolate and butter in a medium pot.
3. (Remove from heat.) Mix in eggs, vanilla and sugar until combined.
4. Add in flour, mix well.
5. Pour into prepared baking dish, and sprinkle w/ chocolate chips if you want a true chocolate experience.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool , cut into 16 bars.

This recipe was originally posted here. I purposefully changed the name on my recipe to "Thank you God for a delicious, easy Fudgy Brownie Recipe." This time around I added peanut butter chips inside and out.

Hope you enjoy these brownies as much as we have!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday - #s 51-60

Thursday is almost over in Asia, and I find myself still needing to stop and offer words of genuine thankfulness.

I am thankful:

that the back and leg pain I was experiencing earlier in the week is mostly gone.

for this past Sunday spent worshiping with two other ex-pat families, sharing the traditional New Year's day meal - jiǎozi 饺子 (Chinese dumplings), and watching "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (it was Valentine's Day after all).

that we live in a country where teenage boys can legally use potato canons to send fireworks soaring miles high to burst in brilliant color against the dark night sky.

that I actually won a "One World One Heart" giveaway. Geni from Loose Ends is mailing me a wonderful gift of hand-dyed cloth and other material & dainty accessories. How fun!

that it's been quite some time since we've experienced a serious autism melt-down.

for teenage sons that are willing to give their time, attention, and energy to playing with young children.

for a sense of humor, when I have one :) .

for a warm comforter on a cold day.

for my husband's homemade chili.

for a cute, faithful poodle.

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Work in Progress - Journey Scarf

The scarf pattern that I choose to work on for my friend comes from the website. It's a wonderfully delicate scarf pattern created by Kim Guzman called "Journey Scarf." As you can see, I haven't progressed very far in these past few weeks. The motifs are so pretty and easy to make. Kim gives excellent instructions. If all I had to do was crochet motifs, we'd probably have a hundred scattered all over the house by now. But the joining has been my downfall. The motifs are meant to be joined as you go. I tried to interpret the instructions several different ways, but it just was beyond my skill level. Finally, I contacted Kim Guzman at her website. She was very gracious and kind and pointed me to a video that explained this method of joining. Seeing a similar technique was very helpful and I have sort of developed my own way to progress. But I have to really think about it every time; thus the slow progression. I hope it turns out even half as beautiful as Kim's.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Did I Have A Pain!"

I'm too young for this. I seem to be having my first bout with sciatic nerve issues; and to be honest, I think my case is rather mild. Just a lot of discomfort, but not disabling. Anyway, it brings to mind Emma Watson from the "Andy Griffith Show." In the 1960 episode "Ellie Comes to Town," Emma reminds Andy,"Don't you want to know if I had a pain last night?"

Please say it isn't so with me. Okay... so... it's not just mild discomfort.... I'm open to any advice.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This Is It!

I'm so excited. This is the day I get to draw and find out who receives my One World One Heart Giveaway. I wish it could be each one of you who have dropped by for a visit and left such kind words behind. It has also been great fun returning visits and seeing all of the friendship, creativity, artistry, and uniqueness that lies out there in the international community of bloggers. I will be taking time in the next weeks and months to revisit you at a slower and more savoring pace. Originally I had intended to use a random number generator to pick the winner, but then I felt I might like to do something more personal. So I have collected the name or identifying information from each comment and placed it in my son's magic top hat.....With pink blindfold in place, my youngest reaches in and pulls out a name...

And the Winner is:

Btw.... There were 179 entries altogether including Alice who left a post on my doll blog and HereBeDragons who chimed in just after 12 (duplicate responders were included only once and there were two of these).

The Day After

We finally settled in to sleep around 2:00am the night of New Year's, but were shaken from our slumber some time before 8:00 by a deafening and now familiar roar. A little sleuthing by my husband uncovered the culprits. Our neighborhood cleaning crew was out bright and early removing any remnants of the previous night's festivity. But in order to be sure all was safe, they were detonating any unused fireworks.

We live in an awesome neighborhood!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year's Eve

While many of you are enjoying watching the opening ceremonies and/or first day of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, we are celebrating Chinese New Year. As we headed to the post office today, hoping to pick up a Valentine's care package; we noticed that shop after small shop (which line the streets of our city) had their metal doors pulled down and locked - closed. As fate would have it, the post office was closed as well; but we should have anticipated this. Everyone was spending the day with their family and getting ready for the exciting night ahead.

I've never quite understood it before when Chinese friends told me that New Year's (or Spring Festival) was a lot like my Christmas. But today, when I heard the teenagers come out from our neighbors' apartment, laughing and talking while they decorated their door with the traditional red papers and Fú 福, I began to get a sense of it. Then our upstairs neighbor came down for his weekly English tutoring accompanied by his father, and they gave us a huge gift tin of Dove chocolates decoratively wrapped up together with a plush tiger. This eleven year old boy was beside himself today and got more and more giddy as his lesson went on. He informed me that he was looking forward to eating bābǎofàn 八宝饭 or eight treasures rice at his grandmother's house and that after dinner he would set off fireworks.

At about 6:00pm firecrackers started going off sporadically, first here and then there, around our complex (sounding much like machine gun rapid fire). The poor neighborhood guards had to go from place to place and make sure any lingering sparks were stamped out. Just after 7:00, as the sky began to darken, the fireworks began. Our teenagers opted to join some friends and go to the public park near the government building, where they could light explosives to their hearts' content (with thousands of others) and see a spectacular fireworks display. My husband and I met some neighbors down in our complex park area, where the men and children set off bottle rockets, a few spinners, and roman candles. It's wonderful how fireworks can turn grown adult guys in to really big kids. We all also enjoyed watching other revelers with their fire play. It seems that as each family finished their meal together, they came out to light their own personal arsenal .... There were sparklers for the little ones, some fireworks like we had, and cones and boxes that shot out cascading fountains of white spray or that burst into colorful flowers in the sky.

The "pops" and "bangs" of fireworks bounced off the apartment buildings like canon & rifle fire, and we heard the not so distant "booms" of other celebrations from every direction. At one point in the park, we were hemmed in by the individual fire displays. The air was filled with a gray haze and the strong smell of sulfur. I figured the only option we had, if something shot our way, would be to drop to the ground and camo crawl through the smoke to safety. I could close my eyes and easily imagine that I was in a war zone; except that everyone's mood was expectant and light-hearted.

Even as I write the fireworks are still going off. As I understand it, the displays will just get larger as the evening goes on with a grand finale at midnight. We've decided that a good measure of the potency and awe factor of a series of fireworks is how many car alarms and sound triggered stairwell lights it sets off.

Well, the boys have called in to say that they've spent all their fireworks and are going to go eat skewer grilled street food. And I'm going to bring this post to a close. All I have left to say is,

"Chinese New Year - this is what Chinese fireworks were made for; or, at the least, they do fireworks well."


*Okay so what we experienced earlier in the evening was infinitesimally minute (toy pop-gun size) in comparison to midnight. Our boys were able to watch the whole city explode with a crescendo of light and color from a friend's 12th floor apartment (the late night barbequ-ers having also taken the night off for New Year's - I guess the only sellers doing business this evening - and a good one at that -were the fireworks stands).*

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday - #s 41-50

To be honest, I am feeling a little homesick today. What a good opportunity for me to reflect on the many wonderful things in and about my life.

I am thankful:

for all of my boys, but this week, especially for my youngest who turned 13. He has a smile that's full of sunshine; but when he was younger, he also could give you the look of storm clouds. He is great working with his hands, a verbal processor (think: words in head means words out mouth), anxious to top his older brothers in anything; and he has a dear, sensitive heart. My treasure!

for three happy deep voices late last night laughing & enjoying each other's company out in the living room.

for 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths all on one level.

for computer and internet technology which allows me to communicate with and receive communication from half a world a way in a matter of minutes.

for health.

for friends who invite you over for old movies, especially musicals, and pizza. I watched Doris Day and Howard Keel in "Calamity Jane" for the first time this week.

for my little Altoids box size camera.

for care packages from home.

for the stars in the heavens and a timely reminder to stop, look, and be awed.

and for my husband this Valentine's week... that "I got you babe."

UB40 & Chrissie Hines "I Got You Babe"

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You can still comment...

to be included in the "One World One Heart Giveaway" drawing (up until midnight February 14th EST).

One World One Heart post

cute New Year's packaging

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mosaic... Tuesday

So I missed Mosaic Monday, as we are 12 hours ahead of EST, but it was some what intentional.

I call this Mosaic: 13! It's actually not so hard to believe that my youngest turns 13 today. Every time I glance at him, I find a boy rapidly developing in to a young man. And I am terribly proud of him, but I can't help wondering how the days, each precious moment of childhood and elementary school, slipped by so fast.
Happy Birthday 小石头!
You are a gift to us.

More Love - Jane Austen Cross-stitch

If you have been following this blog, you know that I recently watched a delightful new BBC version of Jane Austen's Emma. Also, as I have been exploring many wonderful blogs through OWOH, I came across a tremendously lovely one featuring amazingly creative and attractive cross-stitch patterns. There is even a sweet pattern displaying Jane Austen's memorable heroines. Please follow the link below to see Gazette94's
Austen Heroines:
Jane, Elisabeth, Emma, Marianne, & Elinor
Thank you to Gazette94 for the use of the above photo.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

As Valentine's Day Approaches

As Valentine's Day approaches, I find that visiting the blogs of so many creative & talented people is encouraging me to anticipate the event more than I normally would. In light of this, I thought I would bring attention to a BBC series currently airing on PBS. My family and I have been enjoying a new and somewhat unique interpretation of Jane Austen's Emma. The cast includes Michael Gambon (now famous for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies) as Mr Woodhouse. Of course, he will always be dear Squire Hamley to me. Actress Romola Garai (Amazing Grace) plays an innocent, uncontriving Emma with brilliance. This production addresses one of the major troubling issues of Emma's character - how can she be so exceptional and manipulative while at the same time remaining a sympathetic and likable figure. The underlying answer given is sheltered naiveté. Garai portrays Emma as a truly lovely and endearing creature. Her relationship with her father is displayed in a more sensitive and understanding light; and the repartee, rapport, and comfortable interaction between Emma and Mr. Knightly is wonderful. Besides there is a great deal of quirky humor and fun throughout. Be prepared for a new fairytale-like device for introducing the primary characters of the story and then settle in for a treat. I hope you enjoy this classic "coming to know one's own heart" romance as much as I have. You can find out more about the airing of Emma on here:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Captivated Valentine

I've been looking forward to playing around with some of the lovely vintage images I found at The Graphics Fairy and Magic Moonlight. So here is my first attempt at digital collaging vintage style.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday - #s 31-40

My special blog friend Nana of NC pointed out that my "Best Things in Life" post was much like a "Thankful Thursday"only a few days too early. So there may be some overlap here as I continue to try and cultivate a thankful heart.

I am thankful:

31. especially this time of year, that the boys attend an international school; thereby receiving the best of both worlds.... Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays!

32. that, for the first time in 13yrs, we are not traveling out of the country during Chinese New Year.

33. for a husband who washes dishes and does laundry.

34. for an e-mail from my Mother this week. She has such a precious heart & deep care for me and for others. I love the way she keeps me up to date on daily life news - the goings on of she and my Dad, the rest of the family, and long time friends. My love for beauty is a gift from her.

35. Even though I have said that I am disappointed to miss the big snows in my home state this year, I am thankful for our lovely spring-like days full of sunshine.

36. for domestic appliances: my hand mixer, bread machine, and waffle iron. (We had waffles for dinner Monday night, with homemade maple syrup.)

37. for a bakery in town which makes delicious bagels.

38. for the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell.

39. for our sweet poodle, MeiMei.
When we returned to China, leaving our dear cats behind, one of our big priorities was to find another pet to be a part of our lives. We also had some pretty specific requirements because of allergies in the family. The problem was that, at that time, any breed of dog other than cute, fluffy, fur shedding Shih-tzus were difficult to find. My husband and I went out to look again and again always returning home tired and discouraged. Finally, we found her - petite and precious. She sat in my lap on the ride home, and we tucked her under dad's shirt upon arrival saying that someone new had come to stay with us for a long time. She is a parvo survivor (which we think may have stunted her growth). And her front legs are shorter than her back, causing her to continually walk downhill. But her outlook is happy, she jumps like a child on a pogo stick, and has been the dearest companion to me.

40. for the many new warm, friendly, and talented bloggers I have met through OWOH. Also, even if we were already friends in Blogland, please be sure to comment on my "One World One Heart" post if you would like to be included in that drawing. I would love to share it with you.

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Of Journals & Words & Stickers & Things...

This is my current journal. The cover is handcrafted by women from the Yi minority.
In the center is the character for Love handstitched in red.
Embroidery Closeup

a look inside

This is actually from a different journal.

Thanks for taking a peek!


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