Wednesday, February 25, 2009

David Schock of University of Dayton Finds Long Lost Martin Luther King Tape

David Schock from the family alma mater, the University of Dayton, was doing a documentary about UD's poet Dr. Martin,
who does a mean one-man show of Paul Lawrence Dunbar's poetry, when he stumbled across a tape from November 28th, 1964 when Martin Luther King Jr. came to speak at the University of Dayton in their Fieldhouse.

For more information and to listen to the actual speech, you can visit the article at the Dayton Daily News Website

Masterpiece Theatre Classics: Oliver Twist

We are PBS junkies in our household, and Masterpiece Theatre productions particularly the Mystery! and Classics are our favorites. The talent that goes into these productions always shows and we love to get drawn into them.

On the past two Sunday evenings, the first and second halves of Oliver Twist were shown. This latest adaptation of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist is the best that I have seen and is my very favorite.

The acting in this production is just wonderful and the setting and costumes are what we have come to expect from the very best Masterpiece productions. I think the highest compliment that can be payed to the actors is that, with the exception of the true villains, those at the workhouse and the undertaker's and of course Edward, a real sympathy was created for the characters. In particular, Timothy Spall (Fagin), Sophie Okonedo (Nancy), Adam Arnold (the Artful Dodger) and Tom Hardy (an actually sympathetic Bill Sykes) excelled in their portrayals. You might very well recognize Timothy Spall as he was Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter.

If you missed out, you are in luck because for a limited time you can watch Oliver Twist on the Masterpiece website here

*as a little note of local interest, Dickens stayed here locally at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon and it is rumored that he, or Mark Twain, or both (at separate times of course!) stayed at a house that was once an inn right here in Waynesville, Ohio!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras Y'all!

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is here! According to Catholic tradition, Fat Tuesday is celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. While most of us today don't eat meat on Fridays throughout Lent, try to give up something and/or try to do something to benefit others on a daily basis, and fast on a handful of days, in the past and in very "orthodox" Catholic families the fasting aspect is much stricter.

Fat Tuesday originated as an opportunity to clear the larder out of tempting indulgent foods and have one last shebang before the solemnity of Lent. Obviously, Mardi Gras has definitely evolved and grown over the years, especially in the town synonimous with Mardi Gras--New Orleans.

We are a little more traditional in my family. Every year for Mardi Gras, Dad makes us a big weekend breakfast spread with the all-important pancakes for dinner. (He is quite the cook...part of the reason Mom married him!) It is simple but delicious and filling which is important because the first day of fasting is tomorrow.

If you would like to make your own breakfast Mardi Gras Dinner you can find all sorts of Brunch recipes here!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy 75th Grandad!

This weekend was my Granddad's (Mom's Dad) 75th birthday! We closed up shop yesterday and headed on out to my grandparents' home in the country to celebrate. My older brother was unfortunately unable to come because of work but my younger brother was able to get away from campus in the evening and joined us. Given that he has such an intense schedule and is involved in so many things we don't get to see as much of him as we would like and were thrilled to see him. We had brought his English Springer, Gabby, with us and she, in particular, was in alt that she was getting to see "her boy".

It was a lovely, laid back evening of t.v., pizza (the birthday boy's choice) and cake that Mom had made. Granddad has not been in the best of health the last few months. About four weeks ago, just before our beloved Aussie terrier mix Oreo passed away, he went into the hospital and ended up staying just shy of three weeks. He is doing better but he is still very weak and not doing as well as we would all like. It was wonderful that he was able to be up with us to celebrate this milestone. We are all praying that by this time next year he will be able to get out and about to make a day of his birthday and any prayers that you have to spare would be greatly appreciated.

Next week it is Grandma's turn. As she is a southern lady born and bred, hailing from Kentucky, I will not say what year she will be celebrating, it will suffice to say that she is the younger of the two!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Librarian Quarantines Books due to CPSIA

Well here is one librarian who is actually following the law with regards to the CPSIA with the result that over a thousand children's books are no longer allowed to be borrowed from the library. Click here to read the article.

On a lighter note, here is a link to a really funny and thought provoking CPSIA story written in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Spring is Coming

These last few days of February are sometimes hard to get through because we look so forward to Spring. But now is the time to think about the garden that you are going to plant, maybe get the seeds and actually start the plants. Kerry is looking forward to doing just that and we will be starting the seedlings this next week. She likes to use cardboard eggcartons because they are frugal, biodegradable and the perfect size. She (and my mother) have been hoarding them back so she'll have an ample supply. This year she is looking forward to finding some heirloom vegetable seeds appropriate to southwestern Ohio, especially for hardy, forgiving varieties. Starting the seeds early indoors, helps to bring a little Spring into our lives a little sooner than waiting for Mother Nature. Sowing the seeds of bliss, you might say which we will enjoy throughout the rest of the spring and summer.

Soon there will be bouquets and planters full of early blooms from nursery bulbs. If you can afford it, buy one to cheer yourself up during these last dreary days of winter. I like to buy a small planter and then I plant the bulbs myself. I always go outside at this time of year to see if my bulbs have started peeking out of the ground. I get so excited when I see their little green shoots. I know that Spring is just around the corner. I expect to start seeing them anytime now. It is time to check out gardening books out of the library. Even if you don't garden, they are so lovely to look at and dream over. Reading them, or in my case, just looking at the pictures and reading the captions under them, is like a mini vacation in the winter. Another little bit of bliss.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of Valentine's Day, we thought we would share some of our vintage valentines with you!

(and what Valentine's Day in the Dayton area would be complete without some Esther Price dark chocolate hearts? YUMMMMMM!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blissful Reading Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage Costume Jewelry

Mom and I have decided that we would like to start something new here on our blog. Beginning with this post we are going to share with you some of the books that we have looked at or read and enjoyed. These may be novels, collectible guides or decorating inspirations...whatever catches our fancy! These posts will be called Blissful Reading, in keeping with our wish to share Bits of Bliss with all of you!

The book that I am sharing with you today is by Carole Tanenbaum and is called Fabulous Fakes: A Passion for Vintage Costume Jewelry. It is illustrated throughout with truly scrumptious shots of the jewelry by Puzant Apkarian.

Buy this on Amazon!

This is a lovely survey of the topic, spanning the last one hundred years in costume jewelry. In this book, Tanenbaum takes you from the Victorian and Art Nouveau movements to modern pieces of the 21st century. In the beginning of each chapter, she introduces the period with background information on the world at that time and highlights the important aspects and characteristics of the period as well as its defining artisans. Throughout, she has picked fantastic pieces to illustrate each era and style and Apkarian has captured them in equally fantastic shots. If you have ever tried to photograph a piece of jewelry you will certainly appreciate his skill.

While I would not recommend this as the sole piece of reference for a serious collector of a particular period, Mom and I do heartily recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by this subject and appreciates beautiful things. This is a beginning point in your reference library on the subject and is a lovely read as well. This book is equally at home on your shelves or your table and can be a real pick-me-up read (or browse) on a dreary day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Clara Estelle's New Looks

Well we've gotten a number of hats in the shop and Clara Estelle just couldn't help herself, she just had to try them on! We thought we would share some pictures with you. Doesn't she just look so lovel? She is always quite the lady and so fashionable as I am sure you will agree!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Judging a Book by Its Cover

You know old adages often have a lot of wisdom behind them, especially the ever-popular "don't judge a book by its cover". There are many wonderful books out there that maybe don't look like much but once you've opened it up and begun reading you are just hooked. Others lure you in with a great picture, font or graphics and you wish there was a way to demand a refund of your time from the author. Sometimes, however a cover is just so great that even if the inside turns out less than you had hoped you would still be pleased just by the pleasure you get from looking at it.

These books, though I have not yet read them, bring me pleasure whenever I look at them in the shop because of their great covers and frontpieces, so I thought that I would share them with you!