Monday, July 30, 2012

Tony Martin: Farewell to the Last of My 'Disney Princes'

There have been several entries about the five men that I call my "Disney Princes." They're all singers. They're all tenors with that high, dream-like quality of the first three princes in Disney's full-length fairy tales. The five men are Kenny Baker, Dennis Morgan, Allan Jones, Gordon MacRae and Tony Martin. That isn't to say that every song recorded by any of them rates that "princely" rating, as some of them only sang the style when they were younger, but they all have that dreamy sound that kind of melts my heart to listen to it.

Tony Martin was the last surviving of my princes, and we just found out about one hour ago that he died on Friday at his home in California. He was 98 years old. I don't think that leaves many (if any!) singers from the golden age of crooning --- the 1930s through the 1950s. That was back when music was beautiful and romantic and the singer, not the percussion, was the "star" of the song.

So, all of my princes are gone now. That's rather sad to me, though ninety-eight is quite a long time on earth. Especially since he had survived his wife of sixty years since 2008. He did leave a beautiful legacy of music that will not be equaled, and we can all be thankful that we live in the age of recordings that can be enjoyed and appreciated long after the artist no longer sings.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

State Fair Results and Another Bookstore

The State Fair opened yesterday, and the weather was quite decent. Being such good conditions, we decided to go down and see the entries and the results of the judging. Being the first day, if you entered the fairgrounds before 3:00pm the ticket price was only $3.00. Not a bad day to decide to go, I guess! There was an absolutely huge harvester outside the Creative Arts building, so Mom took our picture in front of it for scale.

The Carmen Miranda doll got 1st place in needle felting and Best of Show for felting! That made me very happy. She's the best doll that I've ever made. :) The Indian Brave got second place, so he's very happy, too. We get to pick them up the day after the fair closes, which is a week and a half from now, I think.

We looked at all of the other Creative Arts entries in the building. The amount of them seemed lower than last year, but there were several very cool items that I just loved. First, cupcakes displayed in corn-on-the-cob plates. They were frosted in yellow with yellow and white jelly beans covering the tops in rows. This gave the impression that they were an ear of corn. The picture was completed by sticking the little corn holders into the cupcakes at the edge. Wow! That is one of the cutest ideas that I've ever seen. Got to copy that one some time.

The other stand-out to me was a large, hand-pieced quilt. Every square was a different tree branch loaded with fruit. There were oranges, limes, pears, bananas and even a pineapple! Definitely cool!

We finished up at the fair by about 11:45am, so we continued way out to Springfield (that's a bit of a trek) to a store called Bookhaven. Before entering that marvelous place, we stopped at Pizza Hut. Can't look through books while you're hungry, can you?! The bookstore is owned by the same person as the one that we visited in Columbus last weekend, though this is her main store. Wow! We all voted it the nicest used bookstore that we've ever been to. We spent hours in there, and were able to find some nice things.

We went down the highway a couple exits and looked at some more books at a very over-priced antique mall, but we were all pretty tired. The trip home took a while, but it had been a pretty fun day! More later.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another Book Sale and Book Store

The weather was fine yesterday. Clear skies, no chances of storms and the like, so we were able to head down Columbus way to another library book sale. This was the second day down there, and it turned out that they were selling the books by the bag instead of by the piece. Great deal. We got eight bags which came to a grand total of $24.00. Not bad, huh?! They are now all in the TV room upstairs waiting to be cleaned, sorted and shelved.

After finishing up at the library sale, we went on down to a book store farther in the city. It's been about ten years since we went down there, and Mom and Elizabeth are on the hunt for childrens' non-fiction by author Walter Buehr. This store is really crammed with books. A bit too many (I know, how can that be, right?), as there were stacks on the floor in front of all the shelves. The stacks stood three feet tall or more, so you could only see what was on the top half of the units. Still, I was able to find a biography of William Pitt the Younger. This was from 1930 and one that is referenced in a lot of the Abolition-era books that I've got.

The most fun find of the day, though (for me) was not actually a book. In the corner of one of the rooms was a large stack of sheet music, so I spent a while going through that piece by piece and found five nice songs --- two of them, in particular. First, there were two different Bing Crosby covers, and that's great since I've been collecting Bing sheet music for years. Next, there was a Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald song from their first film, Naughty Marietta. Cool!

The real finds, though, were two unexpected songs. One was It's a Woman's World from the film Woman's World. This is a film about Mr. Gifford, the owner of a car manufacturing company (played by Clifton Webb) who is trying to find a man for the job of vice-president of the company. He calls his three best district managers to the HQ in New York (played by Cornell Wilde, Fred MacMurray and Van Heflin) for a weekend of plant tours, meetings and parties. All three men are also accompanied by their wives (played by June Allyson, Lauren Bacall and Arlene Dahl), since it is Mr. Gifford's opinion that you can judge a lot about a man by meeting his wife. Well, it's got a theme song that plays through the credits (sung by one of the famous groups that I can't seem to remember right now) and the two of us have liked it for years. What we didn't know was that it had been put into sheet music. I was so thrilled to find it, that I almost squealed. Hooray!

The other fun piece is a song called Kathy-O from the 1958 film of the same title. Never seen the film and don't know the song, but Dan Duryea starred and is one of the three people featured on the cover. Not bad to get one's favorite non-musical actor on a piece of music. Mom and I had just been wondering the other day if he ever appeared on any songs. Wow! Now I own one. Too cool.

So, it was a great day. Pretty hot outside, but hey! nothing can stop book buying. Today is a real scorcher. We went to church this morning and then ate lunch with the Clarks. That was fun. Now we're relaxing. The State Fair opens this week, so we might go down to that one day. Depends on how we feel about it and on the weather. Best to play things by ear around here. More later.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Having Fun While Trying to Beat the Heat

It's been really hot and humid here over the past week. So hot, in fact, that several days were spent mostly in the air-conditioning in the TV room upstairs. It can get a little dull sometimes being "room bound" all afternoon, but it's a great time to take advantage of the fun of a hobby. I've started another felted doll and gotten a lot of things taped into my scrapbook. It's too hot and humid to print anything here at home, because the ink actually separates and spreads --- but I was able to get prints of old newspaper clippings that Dad could do at work.

On Tuesday, I spent an hour cutting clippings out and gave myself a nice sore spot on the hand from the scissors. Hey, "no pain, no gain" as the saying goes. Spread out all of my clippings and tape and scrapbook pages on the floor and got to work arranging it all. They were all about Dan Duryea, this time. Fun. All together, that was a nice way to beat the heat.

We went out to Wooster to a book sale and a book store today and did really well! The most exciting thing, in my opinion, is that I got another version of Gone With the Wind. This one is the 1940 paperback movie tie-in edition. And it was only $6.00! Not a bad find, huh? Also got a book that is the history of the filming of Gone With the Wind, so I'm looking forward to reading that one. Elizabeth got another version of Lorna Doone. This is the movie tie-in edition from the silent film with Madge Bellamy. We also got a lot of kids' books and some sheet music (with Hoagy Carmichael, Bing Crosby and Ray Noble on the covers). Pretty fun day. Weather permitting, we're hoping to catch another book sale tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

One more exciting thing happened. Yesterday afternoon we went out to pick up a few things. Passed by Harbor Freight Tools. That's a store we've never had a need to go in, but it's next to Staples --- where we did need to go. What should we see passing by the window? A garden windmill! For $25.00, too. A bargain. Well, maybe not to everybody, but it's a bargains when you've been spending all Summer looking for one. It's about seven feet tall, green on the bottom with the actual wheel painted red and yellow. Boy howdy, I'm excited. Dad's going to coat all the pieces in some kind of non-rust coating before we put it together, so pictures of the finished product to be posted at a later date.

Well, nothing else too thrilling happening. I got a really interesting book from the library yesterday. It's called Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir. Don't get me wrong. I can't stand film noir, but --- I love Dan Duryea, and this is the only biography listed anywhere for him (what a shame!), so I ordered it into the library. Surprisingly enough, it has a ton of guys that we watch in other things, since it seems that almost all actors appeared in some film noir at a point in their careers. So far, Fred MacMurray, Arthur Kennedy and Sheldon Leonard have been the most interesting. That is, aside from Mr. Duryea!

Mom and I looked into ordering it this morning, but it seems to be quite a pricey book. I figure on watching for it over time and hoping for a deal. The price of new books is pretty crazy. More later.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

State Fair Entries and Another Stormy Weekend

What ever happened to plain old rain? You know, the kind where peaceful little drops fall from the sky and you can walk outside with an umbrella? It seems that we don't get rain here. We get storms. There might be a few minutes of precipitation, but it's always accompanied by hours of grey sky, super-fast wind, thunder and lightning. That's what was all over Ohio throughout the last weekend.

In light of this weather blowing around, we decided to take the State Fair entries in on Saturday morning --- just to be sure that they got in. We had planned to go down after church on Sunday afternoon, since CAPA was playing High Society, and the two of us really wanted to see that, but it wasn't looking to good on the weather reports. It really worked out, though, as we now had time to go to Whole Foods and a Mexican Supermarket to pick up a few things.

The entries went in without a problem and very quickly. Since all of the paperwork is done online, and they mail the entry tags to your house in advance, all you have to do is sign a paper stating that you entered your items and drop the things off. I've been missing the Carmen Miranda doll ever since. It's sad to give a doll up right after you finish it. Ah well, it's forced me to start another one! :)

Sunday morning was grey, but not bad, so we made it to church just fine. Came home for lunch, though and it started getting pretty bad. We couldn't go to the movie. That was pretty disappointing. I mean, we've been stormed out of every CAPA movie that we wanted to see this year, so we have to wait until next Summer. The sad thing is that we've hardly had any rain. Ohio is actually in drought conditions from Cinci to Cleveland. Pretty much all the grass is totally burnt brown and dead.

We spent the afternoon at home. Elizabeth and I had a movie from the library that we hadn't seen, so we watched that. It's called The Pride of the Marines and is the story of real-life WWII Marine, Al Schmid. He fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal and was blinded by a Japanese grenade. Despite that, he and his buddy were able to continue firing from their foxhole and killed over two hundred of the eight-hundred Japanese that were invading that night. Both men received the Navy Cross. It's a great movie with John Garfield and Dane Clark as the two Marines and Eleanor Parker as the girl back home. Apparently, the film is also very true to life. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes WWII films. More later.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Brazilian Bombshell: A Needle-Felted Carmen Miranda

After about three months, she's finally finished! This is the finest needle-felted doll that I've made yet, as far as construction and general technique. I've been working a lot over the last couple of weeks and managed to finish yesterday evening.

She stands 10-1/4" tall to the very tip of the pineapple in her hat. She weighs 3oz. and took approx. 75 hours of work to complete. She was felted with .40 and .42 gauge needles. To date, that's the most amount of time that I've spent on one doll. Entries for the State Fair are due this weekend, so there's nothing like finishing just in time, huh?!

The wool for her body (the skin tone) is Cotswold wool, her hair is black mohair and all the rest is Merino. The blue Merino that made her skirt and shirt is mixed with 10% silk, which is what gives it the shiny appearance. There are nine different colors of pom-poms that line the outfit. Each ball was felted individually and then sewn on to the outfit to keep them loose and "dangly" looking.

Elizabeth made the jewelry for her out of brass beading wire and glass seed beads. It's great to have such a talented sister! The fruit in her hat was all felted individually and attached one piece at a time. There is a pineapple, a large bunch of grapes (with grape leaves), a naval orange and two bananas (one on the under-ripe side). Each grape was made felted individually, then I sewed them together to keep them loose and "drapey". Once I draped them over the side of the hat they were felted on.

Making the face and the hat was the most fun. The mouth and the eyelashes were particularly enjoyable. The mouth took about two hours and the eyelashes took about five minutes each! ;) The hardest part was the second foot and shoe. It's always easy to make the first one, but matching up the second one is rough. I actually had to make three feet before getting the one that matched. There is about thirty-two hours in the legs, feet and shoes!

Well, now it's time to start another one. Elizabeth and I have plans for it already. In fact, we've got plans for two more. Better get working. More later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Highlights from a Trip to Cleveland

This past weekend we went up to Cleveland for the day. We've been wanting to go back to the Cleveland Art Museum, so this was a good chance. It was also a good opportunity to go to a couple of the family cemeteries to get pictures of some grandparents' graves.

The Faberge Imperial Egg was back on display, so we finally got to see that! Most impressive. I'm not much for the ancient artifacts, and we were all getting tired of the amount of nudity passed off as art, so we skipped a lot of the ancient collection. There was one thing that I did like though, and that was a marble bust of a little boy dating from somewhere between 1-100AD. One of my very favorite displays is a wood carving of a monk. This was made c.1620, if I am remembering correctly. It is all wood, save for the glass eyes, and is carved in pieces by multiple workmen. Those pieces are then assembled and painted to form the object as you see it. It's absolutely gorgeous. A real work of art.

One of the featured galleries is a display of etchings and sketches from John Taylor Arms. The sketches shown dated from about 1916 into the 1930s. What amazing work. I was really impressed and encourage you to look him up. The detail in his work is exquisite. They even had magnifying glasses in the room for you to get a close-up view. Wow! He even designed their own Christmas cards.

The museum is not without its fun connections, either! The first is a painting of the American West by Albert Bierstadt. Bierstadt's wife's grandfather was a Swetland (that's the family from Morrow County that Elizabeth has been researching). Cool, huh?! That's her standing beside it in the American Gallery.

The second fun connection is the museum's one Joshua Reynolds painting. It is a large portrait of the Ladies Amabel and Mary Jemima Yorke. They are first cousins of John Eliot's wife (Edward James' sister-in-law). We had some fun with that, and that's me standing by it. It's large, isn't it?

The armour court is a neat place. It's interesting that they have a real lack of anything British. The majority of the collection seems to be Germanic with a good dose of French. The center-piece is a full set of armour for man and horse, mounted on a horse statue as it would have been worn. There is a nice collection of swords, too. Puts me in mind of all the swashbuckling tales.

Last but not least, was a very cool painting from 1848 by British painter, John Linnell. It is called Noah: The Eve of the Deluge. What was so interesting was the fact that the ark is portrayed in a realistic fashion, of a large size with thousands of animals entering. It is obvious that the artist believed in the Genesis account of the Biblical Flood. Cool!

Well, that's all for now. Our telephone is finally fixed. The repairman came out today. Our telephone box was actually struck by lightning, and it has a surge protector that keeps the whole house from being affected. Nice precaution. It was this that needed to be fixed, which he did. So we're back in the electronic world. More later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Lilies are in Bloom Again

Today was the coolest day in several weeks and looks like it is the coolest for a while to come. I spent a while yesterday picking up sticks and branches in the yard. It was amazing how much the storm brought down and how far it was all strewn around. Elizabeth and I went out early this morning and finished up with that. Finally, I was able to mow the grass!

It's been a hot afternoon, so we've been upstairs in the air-conditioning and I've been felting. I'm almost done with this next doll, and she's really looking cute. We have to take the State Fair entries down on Sunday afternoon, and it would be really nice if she was finished on time. We'll see, though.

The lilies are all in bloom this week and looking very pretty. I took some pictures this morning. My favorite is the one called Salieri. It's a burgundy flower with bright yellow center (seen in large picture above). The pink and burgundy lily in the first photo and the top left are a new one that Mom and I got from Wade and Gatton. It is called Scaramouche. You can probably guess that I bought it because of the name, but it's a real bonus that it's pink! I've been looking for that lily for ages.

Well, dinner is just about ready, and I've got to get going. I haven't been doing anything at the computer, so I'm behind. Elizabeth is working on editing a tribute (at my request!) to Dan Duryea. Yay! It's going to be cool. Can't wait for it to be ready. We went up to Cleveland this weekend, and I've got pictures to post from that, but . . . more later.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Catching Up with Birthday News

I've gotten a bit behind in my blogging lately, what with the power outages and storms and all. Our power has been on since last Sunday, but we're having rolling blackouts in the afternoons. Our telephone is still off. It came on for about one afternoon, but other than that it has been out of commission.

Our birthday was the day before the big storm. We stayed home, since it was so hot (87'F in the shade) and had pizza and ice-cream. Mom and Dad gave us some presents and we watched a movie which had been a present from Gramma. It was Luck of the Irish, starring Tyrone Power and Anne Baxter. If you've never heard of it, then I encourage you to watch it. It's one of our new top-favorites. A sweet story about appreciating the simple things in life.

Oliver helped us open presents. He thinks that wrapping paper is just the greatest thing (as seen by the picture). We got matching sterling charms for our bracelets that look like little birthday cards. They are even engraved with the date on the back! I'll have to take some pictures of the presents and post them in another entry later.

Sunday morning was when the power came on, so we ended up driving down to Columbus to get groceries. Mt. Vernon and all the surrounding towns were still out of power. We got back about 3:00pm, and then Mr. and Mrs. Keultjes showed up! They were worried about us, since they couldn't call and knew that our area was out of power, so they brought us birthday dessert, birthday cards and birthday flowers! How sweet was that?! We've carried the flowers all over the house with us, but now that it's been almost a week --- there isn't a lot left of them. Too bad.

Buddy and Kay came over yesterday. It was so hot, that we all just watched a movie int he air-conditioning upstairs. It was a nice break, and they're pretty busy, so they don't get a chance to come over too often. We had pizza together and everything! More later.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Appreciating Simple Things Like Telephones and Electricity

Thursday was our birthday, and it's been an interesting birthday weekend. Elizabeth and I wanted to go down to Columbus the next day to see Laura play at the Ohio Theater. With that in mind, we decided to stay home on Thursday and try to stay cool. The temps have been in the high eighties and nineties. So we bought three flavors of ice cream, ordered in a pizza dinner and opened our presents in the air-conditioning.

Friday was another scorcher, so we figured on taking it as cool as possible before going down to Columbus in the evening, then that big storm hit our house at 5:20pm! There was twenty minutes of some of the hardest winds that we've ever had! Trees were bent down sideways and branches were flying all over the place. Rain came with it and was coming down so hard and, literally, sideways that we had water pouring in through the seams of the sliding glass door and the air-conditioning units. Our power went dead and the phone went out.

In the end, our power was out for 36 hours, until Sunday morning at 5:20am. Boy, were we ever thankful for that! Living in the country, no power means no water. That makes life pretty miserable when you can't get a drink, can't wash anything, can't take a shower and can't even use a toilet. The phone didn't come back on until yesterday afternoon. On Sunday, we decided to drive down to Columbus to get some groceries, and the damage was amazing to see. Most of the towns still didn't have power (most of the towns around here still don't have much, if any, today!), and the amount of downed trees is pretty eye-opening. There were two huge trees down on the phone wires about a mile and a half from the house, so that is what must have knocked ours out.

So, we're all really appreciating the simple things in life. Like flipping a switch and a light turns on, and air-conditioning and turning the faucet and the water flows! More later.