Remembering Christmas in July

 Yes, we have a blue Christmas tree. My baby luvs blue.
This is the first and last time I sew velvet. Crazy slippery stuff.
But we had so much Christmas company -it was way fun!-
that we didn't have enough patchwork socks.
And I had this blue sock UFO since...…close to forever.
Finally got 'er done!
A Christmas Miracle ;)
People here get so clever in decorating the desert for the holidays.
Agave doesn't usually bloom like this in the winter, but we had lots of rain.
So I'm thinking it could be many more holidays before we see this again.
Gotta make the most of the rain, whenever it comes!
A fine Crackerbarrel sentiment,
good any time of year.

Interweave July Sale

INTERWEAVE has a July sale, -64% OFF all magazine subscriptions: $14.99/year!
This includes:
Creative Machine Embroidery
Sew News
Piecework
and my favorite, Crochet Magazine.
There are also jewelry, spinning/weaving, and paper craft titles.
Please use our affiliate link in the right sidebar to find this sale.


Why not send an early Christmas gift to your BQB (best quilting buddy)?
.....or get some for yourself ;)

Enjoy!

Lessons of Dickens

For this pre-season celebration post, I am reviewing the 2017 Christmas movie,
The Man Who Invented Christmas
based on the book of same title by Les Standiford.
[This post contains affiliate links. Thank You for shopping here!]
2017
To begin with.....;);), the background stuff:

I enjoyed the soundtrack by Mychael Danna, in particular the opening Yankee Doodle Dandy
performed by The Band of the Royal British Legion. It was fulfilling, with a touch of campy dramaticism in all the right places.

You will enjoy watching for the many subtle costume enhancements by Leonie Prendergast. For example, the Ghost of Christmas Present gets progressively festive in dress until he's sporting a shouting red plaid vest and literally delivering presents. Bonus points when costume is the source of symbolism in a movie!
Another subtle enhancement was Mrs. Fezziwig's dress, which I want to give special mention for it's realism. As a character of Christmas Past, her dress rightly represented an older era.
Mrs. Fezziwig et al at bookshop
Another costume treasure, Mrs. Dicken's bias plaid dress was one of the first things in the movie that made you sit up and take notice. Although I wish she had more dresses to wear in the movie (she only had 3 dresses and a nightgown, but she had more than three scenes).  Also not to be missed are Tara the maid's entredeux aprons, and all the lace collars and really clever period hats throughout.

But if I were awarding the Academy Award for Best Costume Design it would be for Mrs. Fisk, the housekeeper sorry I couldn't find suitable pictures, played by Miriam Margolyes, who happens to have authored a Dickensian book herself!


And I must make mention of the 3 drool-worthy library sets in this movie. The publishers' office, the lawyer's office, and as you can imagine, Dicken's own home office were buried in beautiful bindings! Alas, all the bookshop scenes are of the (above) window-shopping variety. And why were there no scenes from the Garrick Club library? Surely that could have been worked in. Which brings us to our last background point.

This movie was a sleeper of the last season, possibly because it was only released for a short run at AMC theaters. But I blame the editing for any lack of success in this film. As mentioned already, where were all the book shop scenes? And much ado is made of introducing Marley's cat, Mittens, but the creature is never seen again. Plus, a mysterious bearded man shows up in the cast of book characters. I've read/watched/listened to A Christmas Carol at least a thousands of times, I kid you not, I am the hugest of fans, and I have no idea who this guy was supposed to be. Likewise, the char woman pops in from nowhere. Was this planned? Could have been, but it was too hard to tell with all the other sequencing breaks in the movie. Makes you want to read the new story just to find out what you might be missing.

Now, on to the turkey and plumb pudding….
(In the movie, it was turkey instead of the fabled Christmas goose. Anybody know why? Perhaps an influence of Dickens' American tours?):

Best of all, in this film the casting is absolutely genius, the best you could hope for, AND, all these great actors read from the original A Christmas Carol, a true holiday treat!

The old script takes on double meaning when Dickens the character takes over the book's lines in confronting his inner demons. [In fact, Charles Dickens thrice went to the work house to earn his family's release from debtor's prison. The social consciousness he expresses in all his writings is hard won realism.] Dan Stevens (right, the Downton Abbey guy), admirably portrays Dickens the rock star of his day, Dickens the man hiding from his past, and most importantly for our study, Dickens the #WAHM. [Tweak that to read Work-at-Home-Man.]

Yes, you heard me right, the chief plot in the movie is Dickens' struggles as a work from home writer:
  • being the chief support of everyone around him
  • trying to work despite their constant interruptions
  • having to cajole hired professionals into stepping up
  • even the materials (story characters) won't cooperate as planned
Sound familiar? Yes, overall, The Man Who Invented Christmas is an exhausting (albeit heroic) portrayal of what every #WHAM knows to be daily life. Except we don't get The Garrick Club to escape to. ;)

However, just like Dickens, we also get the blessings of the season to fully celebrate corralling our inner Scrooge, appreciating our friends and family, and possibly even creating something that changes the world. [Spoilers] As Dicken's own frenemy put it, a work that is "a happy inspiration of the heart.....(which) it is impossible to read without a glowing bosom and burning cheeks between love and shame of our kind."
Watch this movie, and channel all that into making your next Christmas quilt. I know you can do it!


Charles Dickens Candle Book
@Victorian Trading Co.
 
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