Monday, November 28, 2011

My Holiday Favorites

Not much to report on the goings-on of Merriman Park.  Still anxiously awaiting a special delivery or two.

Oh, my long-awaited flooring finally arrived...but as much as I thought it would be real wood --it wasn't.   I guess the price should have tipped me off.  But what about truth in advertising?  Whatever, --Merry Christmas. Chalk it it up to caveat emptor --let the buyer beware!

Speaking of Christmas...there was a time, in the long ago, ye-olde, distant past, when holiday music served as a tonic to my soul.  But after toiling in the glamorous, glitter-filled world of retail display for most of my adult life, I can honestly say that most Christmas music now sounds like fingernails scratched across chalkboard.  There are, however, a few notable exceptions.  And as my Holiday Gift to you, Dear Reader, I offer the following, my personal holiday favorites:

Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me, by Rosemary Cloony.  George's aunt was a fabulous chanteuse who only improved with age.  Here, a decidedly young-ish Rosemary belts her  (broken) heart out.  Though this is not exactly a "Christmas Carol" in the traditional sense it is from the movie White Christmas, and it does contain the lyrics: "To send me a Joe, who had Winter and snow in his heart, wasn't smart..."  so it makes the list.  The gown, the gloves, the back-up dancers, the stylized choreography, all conspire to create a moment of pure Hollywood, holiday magic. 

There's Always Tomorrow, from the 1960's Christmas classic, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  This animated gem from my childhood always aired on television right around the first of December and was nearly as eagerly anticipated as Christmas Eve, itself.  This song, again not strictly a Christmas carol per se, but one of my holiday favorites, nevertheless.

 I absolutely cringe whenever I hear the ubiquitous, over-played and decidedly played-out carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, but this video version, The Twelve Gays of Christmas, given a well-needed injection of punk rock vigor and a revamp from some highly-talented male dancers,  never fails to slap a holiday smile on my somewhat jaded, (but still relatively youthful-looking, even in absence of major-cosmetic-surgery) face. 
Christmas would not be complete without a view of this John Waters classic from the cult hit, Female Trouble.  Silent Night was once a holiday fave carol of mine, (until the millionth hearing) whenever I hear it I long for the abridged version sung this clip, Dawn Davenport, desperately wanting a new pair of  'cha-cha heels' for Christmas,  has a little holiday melt-down.  Ah, the true meaning of Christmas, distilled down to a two-minute clip, wrapped up with a big, red bow and presented, dear Reader, as my special gift to you.  Enjoy!

Christmas without Dolly Parton would indeed be a rather dismal prospect!  This song, Hard Candy Christmas from the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas always brings a little tear to my eye.  (Perhaps it's the 1980's hair-dos)?  Or maybe it's just a great, sentimental song from one of my favorite Country-Western divas!

Speaking of tears to the eye and continuing the Country-Western  theme, I give you this heart-warming piece from Jim Reeves, A Memory of an Old Christmas Card.  I simply adore this song, not only because you don't hear it every day at the Mall, but especially for the faux-sincere spoken passage at the middle: (1:35)  "why, I know you must have looked through THOUSANDS of cards to find that wonderful  'po-em,' that still brings a tear to my eye."

Another, 'real' Christmas Carol!  Fortunately, this festive little number, performed by The King's Singers and Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, will never make it to the Mall's playlist.  Therefore, it makes mine.  Plus, it features a harpsichord, which is forever A-OK by me!

My personal fave.  When I first saw the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang! Bang! in the theater as a very small, tow-headed youth, I instantly glommed on to this delightful scene, featuring Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) as a clockwork doll.  Oh, the countless hours later spent in front of the looking-glass, in a sad attempt to recreate the magic!  Again, not specifically a holiday song, yet the toy theme allows me to put it on my Christmas list.

To me, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without copious amounts of --well, booze Cocktails!  If you're looking to expand your collection of fab holiday music, run I mean run out and pick up any of the several versions of Christmas Cocktails, must-haves for your personal collection.  Here's the inimitable Nancy Wilson singing another one of my lesser-known, holiday faves.  Ching-Ching, everyone!
Speaking of over-indulging, this is what Christmas is all about  --a well-choreographed, boozy shin-dig!  Poor Judy Garland, mixing up reindeer with rainbows, and what was that Santa had in his sleigh?  And Mel Torme  all trying to keep the well-lubricated holiday ship from altogether sinking... Christmas never looked so messy --or so much fun!

Last but certainly not least, OK, admittedly not a Christmas song in the traditional sense, The Morning After by Maureen McGovern from the sensational, monster-hit-movie, The Poseidon Adventure (the original, 1970's version, not the deplorable, more recent remake) does take place on New Year's Eve, and does feature an up-side- down Christmas tree (which I have gotten plenty of mileage from), putting it squarely within my holiday-song criteria.  'Disaster movies' were  la hauteur de la mode  as I was growing up and this campy, schlock-fest was, arguably, the genre's crowning jewel!  I will sit through this movie every time it shows up on cable if only to see Shelly Winters' belly-flop and subsequent death-scene. The aforementioned belly-flop is featured in this clip, but alas, not the must-see, heart-wrenching, death-scene dialog: ("You see, Manny,  in the water, I'm really ...a skinny lady!......Ach!...Ach! ...''  [Dies.  Scene].

I hope you enjoyed this sad, little tour through my personal, holiday favorites --what, pray, tell,  are yours? Undoubtedly, I will have something more Merriman Park -related things to post in the near future.  Til then, I wish you, dear Readers, and yours, a happy Holiday Season!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Official: Dollhouse Weather

This is the scene I woke to this morning,dear Readers.  The first snow!  The first snow is rather devious:  it always fools you into thinking, "oh, how pretty.  Maybe winter isn't so bad, after all..."  That's before it piles up in glacier-like proportions.  They are predicting a 'colder and snowier winter than usual,' here in Siberia I mean Minnesota.  All I have to say in response is "BRING IT!"  I have five count 'em five rooms to work on!  And Old Man Winter (and Seasonal Affect Disorder) ain't about to stop the likes of me, I'm here to tell you!

Winter-Schminter!  I laugh in the face of sub-zero temperatures!  Wind-Chill Factor?  Ha!  --Oh, I suppose you probably don't even know what the Wind-Chill Factor is, poor, deprived Reader!  The Wind-Chill Factor is, I believe, strictly a Minnesota thing (or at least a Mid-Western thing), when the thermometer actually reads thirty degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) but because of the Wind-Chill Factor it feels like fifty below!  I know!  What fun, right?

But like I said, who even has time to dwell on the weather when the empty, bare-plywood rooms of Merriman Park are staring me in the face?

So I'm plodding along with the Drawing Room...  My new fireplace mantle from Braxton Payne Miniatures arrived this week.  May I wax poetic for a moment on Braxton Payne?  If you're not familiar with him, gentle Reader, you should be!  His mantles are the most divoon creations on Earth!  Not only are they exquisitely designed, but also expertly wrought with the most superb detail.  He even signs and dates his work, which I think is such a nice touch!  But don't take my word for it:  check out his on-line catalog.  You affectionados of eighteenth-century design will undoubtedly find something to delight the eye. 

The arched frame over the mantle will hold a mirror, and mimic the corner niches.
Because there are so many moldings and panels in this room, I decided to use illustration board, cut to the rooms dimensions, as a 'backer' for everything.  This way, I can work on each wall separately and flat on my work table.  It will also conveniently hide all the wiring.  Sweet!  I stole this idea from Mulvany & Rogers.

 ...Just waiting for my cornice, flooring and ceiling ornamentation to arrive.  Hopefully, it will all come before I run out of stuff to work on!  If it doesn't arrive before then, I may end up like poor little Edie, the Sheltie:

Poor girl!  She looks positively bored to sobs!  I know exactly how she feels --I tell you, it's this weather!  Think she needs a walk, or something?

Monday, November 14, 2011


I almost accidentally deleted a bunch of posts when I tried switching to a new blogger format.  I think I saved them but they were all 're-posted,' so it appears like you will be receiving a lot of  my old posts as' new.'  I am so sorry!  I can't seem to do anything right, lately...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pilasters Arrived!

Another package greeted me on the front porch as I arrived home last Friday --my new pilasters!  I was so excited they came so I could get to work on the Drawing Room.  I was a little nervous about their dimensions being "off," but my fears were quickly assuaged when I tore open their packaging and set them into the room.

I also worked on my corner niches.  They're coming along rather nicely, but I'm still perfecting my arched molding technique! 

A trip to the Art Supply Store brought me rubber casting compound so I was able to make a better-quality mold.  I also needed some more spray-primer and so whilst at the Art Supply store I asked if they carried any.  They didn't.  But they did carry spray-gesso!  I did not know there was such a thing, silly, ol' me!  I love the stuff!

BTW, the DAS clay sands really well so I was able to fix the imperfections of my first niche.  No need to cast a third! 

I have quite a few Lawbre wainscot panels already on hand.  I was going to just pop a panel in under the niche but in consulting with dear, Mrs. Thorne, I opted instead for this slightly more fanciful version. 

It's a lot of extra work with the mini-miter box, but I think it was worth the trouble.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  We just switched back to Standard Time, so it's getting dark at five-o'clock!   Ugh!