Friday, February 28, 2014

Thornton's Walk | piano improv

Mr. Thornton.  Ah, what an image of strength, wisdom, manliness, and,  - ahem - an amazing accent is evoked by the name of the hero of North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell's brilliant novel.
Gaskell is to thank for the character, Richard Armitage for the voice, and Martin Phipps for the heartbreakingly beautiful theme song.

Here's my tribute.

quotes and characters | LHBP

"I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy fiercest battles hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted courage than has been shown by woman when called upon to suffer by affection or duty."
― Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

“I take it that “gentleman” is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but when we speak of him as “a man” , we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow men, but in relation to himself, - to life – to time – to eternity. A cast-away lonely as Robinson Crusoe- a prisoner immured in a dungeon for life – nay, even a saint in Patmos, has his endurance, his strength, his faith, best described by being spoken of as “a man”. I am rather weary of this word “ gentlemanly” which seems to me to be often inappropriately used, and often too with such exaggerated distortion of meaning, while the full simplicity of the noun “man”, and the adjective “manly” are unacknowledged.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
“If Mr. Thornton was a fool in the morning, as he assured himself at least twenty times he was, he did not grow much wiser in that afternoon. All that he gained in return for his sixpenny omnibus ride, was a more vivid conviction that there never was, never could be, any one like Margaret; that she did not love him and never would; but that she — no! nor the whole world — should never hinder him from loving her.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

"Come, I like that. Give me a wise man of science in love... No one beats him for folly!"
--Mr. Gibson, Wives and Daughters
"I won't say she was silly, but one of us was silly, and it wasn't me."
--Squire Hamley, Wives and Daughters

“Now, when their glances met, they understood one another. The power that lay within both their souls had met, and, as it were, clasped hands. They accepted one another's sacrifice. Hers, mayhap, was the more complete of the two, because for her his absence would mean weary waiting, the dull heartache so terrible to bear.”
― Baroness Emmuska Orczy, The Laughing Caviler

"Butter is a divinity"
--Amy March, Little Women

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

  "I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
—Gwendolyn Fairfax, The Importance of Being Earnest

“A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.” 
― Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

"May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again."
― Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Above, some favorite quotes from beloved classics.  Below, some ridiculously fun character quizzes in honor of the last day of the 2014 LHBP!

Marguerite here.

This quiz brought to you by Blakeney Manor.
Find out:
Which Scarlet Pimpernel character are you?

I am Elizabeth Bennet.

Which Scarlet Pimpernel and Austen character did you score?  
What's a favorite period drama quote of yours?  
Do share in the comments!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Little Dorrit Theme | piano improv

Today, a medley of themes from BBC's Little Dorrit - one of my favorite books, films, and heroines of all time.

“It was the shadow of Some one who had gone by long before: of Some one who had gone on far away quite out of reach, never, never to come back. It was bright to look at; and when the tiny woman showed it to the Princess, she was proud of it with all her heart, as a great, great, treasure. When the Princess had considered it a little while, she said to the tiny woman, And you keep watch over this, every day? And she cast down her eyes, and whispered, Yes. Then the Princess said, Remind me why. To which the other replied, that no one so good and so kind had ever passed that way, and that was why in the beginning. She said, too, that nobody missed it, that nobody was the worse for it, that Some one had gone on to those who were expecting him-- 

'Some one was a man then?' interposed Maggy. 

Little Dorrit timidly said yes, she believed so; and resumed:

'-- Had gone on to those who were expecting him, 
and that this remembrance was stolen or kept back from nobody. The Princess made answer, Ah! But when the cottager died it would be discovered there. The tiny woman told her No; when that time came, it would sink quietly into her own grave, and would never be found.” 

― Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

Literary Heroine Blog Party 2014 | The Questions

It's been four years since the first Literary Heroine Blog Party.  I can scarce believe this tradition has grown so much!  It's been absolutely fantastic, as always, to read every one's posts and meet new friends.  Some of you have been with us for three, if not four, years, and to you I apologize for the unchanging question list.  I keep meaning to spice it up every year with some new questions, but never seem to think of any!  So if anyone has suggestions in that line, be sure to let me know.

As it is, I'm definitely keeping some of my answers unchanged from last year (and the year before... ahem), with perhaps some variations.  Here we go.

The Questions:

Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!    I'm just a girl who wants to use this precious gift called life for the glory of God. 
 I'm enthralled with vintage photographs, foxes, homemade cheesecake, and shooting things.  With cameras, or bows, or a Winchester. 30.30.  Something bigger if you have one.  It all depends on the target.
A secret dream of mine is to clear a dance floor with my partner in the middle of an epic swing dance.  I want to own a Jeep grand Wagoneer with a roof rack.  Filmmaking is the ultimate.

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?
To me, the essence of a true heroine lies in the fact that she is a true lady, in every sense which that wonderful word stands for.  I believe it takes far greater strength and courage to be a real lady then it ever does to stand as a self-sufficient, self-centered, self-empowered feministic individual.

She embraces femininity in all of it's glory - regardless of her situation in life, she is an innate homemaker and source of comfort for those she loves. She loves beauty, but she isn't afraid to get dirty, either, and she knows how to work.

She is courageous, because no matter what trials or dangers she must overcome, she knows her treasures are stored up where moth nor rust can corrupt. She is selfless, supporting those in her life rather than pulling them down, as she knows that true love gives all without expectation of return. 
And lastly, when, as a human character, she stumbles and falls, she has the grace to acknowledge her imperfections and the faith to ask for forgiveness, learning from her mistakes. And ideally, she has a saving sense of humor!

A tall order? But by God's grace, I truly believe that each and every one of us has the power to become that heroine - a woman after God's heart. 

Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

This is getting so hard! This year's nominees:

Esther Summerson of Beak House.  Her gentleness, her loving heart, and her quiet wisdom are spiced by a bit of over-exaggerated humility, which gives us a clue to her great sense of humor.  She also speaks her mind, especially when she sees something she perceives as wrong, which I appreciate.  And - not to give away any spoilers - when she undergoes a terrible trial destroying her beauty, she adjusts and moves on with her life to make it a more beautiful place in spite of her loss.  

Melanie Hamilton of Gone With the Wind.  This woman is one of the most inspiring to me in all of literature.  Her life was so beautiful, her soul so strong in spite of being small and fragile all her life.  It's almost unbelievable how naive she could be, but somehow it worked.  She was so wrapped up in caring and protecting those she loved, during a time of incredible hardship and even danger, that nothing could stand between that and her stalwart heart. 

Sophy Stanton-Lacy of The Grand Sophy.  Sadly, there is no film adaptation of this brilliant and delicious regency romp, but I plan to fix that when I grow up.  (Oh, what I wouldn't give to cast Richard Armitage as Charles.)  Sophy is so relatable.  She's a heroine not only quite as adept at verbal riposte as Lizzie Bennet - she is both unconventional and unashamedly feminine, a fearless and competent horsewoman and markswoman, a loyal and generous friend, and is ridiculously tall and strong for a lady of the age.  Green is her favorite color.  She loves to play hostess and leads the world of fashion.  She is perceptive, tactful, more than a little forthright, and, at times, susceptible.  

[Illustration: "Good morning," said Belvane, recto]

Lastly, either Countess Belvane or the Princess Hyacinth from A.A. Milne's Once on a Time.  Though antagonists, I love them both equally:)  Hyacinth is adorable, lovely, a little naive, and very determined, while Belvane is simply indescribable  She's bad... or is she?  She's magnificently bad, but somehow you simply love her anyway.  I listen to the Librivox recording of this book over and over while working on projects.  It's fabulously brilliant and it never gets old.  Even after all these years.

Five of your favorite historical novels? 

Our Mutual Friend - it's brilliant Dickens at his best.
Gone with the Wind - it's a sweeping epic, an engrossing look into a decisive period in American history, and an amazing portrayal of human nature in all it's forms.
The Scottish Chiefs - William Wallace.  The Bruce.  Scotland.  Romantic heroism at it's finest and most outrageous.  Alba gu bràth!
The Chestry Oak - again, heroism and war and a gallant litte boy.  Folklore and sacrifice and a magnificent horse and celebrating the human spirit.
National Velvet - it's british and improbable and whimsical and the writing style makes my heart sing.
(I adore Austen, Alcott, and Montgomery, of course, but I try to choose lesser known favorites to share...)

Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why? 
I think Melanie Hamilton gets this honor, for the reasons mentioned above.

Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? 
Mrs. Brown from National Velvet.  She's a tower of strength and acerbic wit.

If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? 
My ultimate, lifelong dream trip would be to Scotland - and I would do everything. Even Haggis.
But right now, I'm really wanting to go on a simple car trip down the Oregon Coast - Hwy 101-  with friends.  Salt water taffy, sand in your shoes, Paul Bunyan, the Samoa Cookhouse, singing in the car going through the Redwoods, photographing the sunsets and shore.  Driving this:

What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? 
 Great Britain, the American west, and the Spanish Main - all through history

You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? 
 I think a rendition of 'On How To Be Lovely' (Funny Face - Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson) with Tasha would be perfect. Wearing blue fringed tablecloths, of course.

If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? 
Lady Marguerite Blakeney, as I'm simply dying for an excuse to get out this dress again!

What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
 My sentiments are such that they quite overcome me, at times. . .*faints* 
Seriously, I adore chocolate, and consider it something to be savored, not gobbled. It is magnificent alone, awe-inspiring paired with cherries or ginger, and a masterpiece when combined with mint. . . oh, and I am very much in love with chocolate mint oolong tea and hot coca. 'S like heaven.

Favorite author(s)? 
 G.A. Henty, Sir Walter Scott, Kate Seredy, Baroness Orczy, James Herriot, Jane Austen, Marguerite Henry, Charles Dickens, L.M Montgomery, L.M. Alcott, Georgette Heyer, Laura Ingalls Wilder, A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, and Margery Sharp, to name a few. . .

Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? 
 A Tilley hat. A ukulele, I think... And this, in chestnut. Yes please...
(Camera and good traveling companions are essentials!)

In which century were most of the books you read written? 
19th century

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 
There are so many ultimate heroes in literature - but for me, there's no one who can touch Sir Percy Blakeney.  He is, in a word, magnificent. Besides the charms of his excellent sense of humor, daring mind, manly strength, and indomitable spirit, he is incredibly brave, always cheerful, and possess a driving vision which nothing on earth can make him stray from.
Oh, yes... 
Runner up is John Thornton - I deeply admire his strength, wisdom, and spotless honor, as well as the tenderness waiting deep in his heart. (R.A, you also have a voice that melts my heart...!)
And Jack Worthing... I stuck you in here because your portrayal by Colin Frith (who wants Mr. Darcy, anyway?;) is adorable, and I love a hero who is inordinately hilarious and can make music. The End. 

Describe your ideal dwelling place. 
 Filled with family and friends.  An old, well loved country victorian/farmhouse, rich with memories.
A wrap around porch...wood floors...window enormous garden and a little and crannies...fabric, notions, and antiques galore...a glorious kitchen and a wonderful pantry...a claw foot tub...and books. books everywhere. Cozy. Creative. Warm. Productive.That's my House o' Dreams. On a majestic, tree and meadow-lush piece of North Idaho.
But definitely this:

Sum up your fashion style in a simple sentence. 
Vintage inspired, feminine, practical, and lots of green, florals, and leather.

Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 
 Not particularly, though I often amuse myself by naming the people around me with fictitious titles...

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... 
I'm ging with Masala from Ben-Hur... the way he turned on the friend of his childhood was villainous enough, but everything he did after that was despicable, dastardly, and evil to the last degree.

Three favorite Non-fiction books? 
 (Besides that most precious of all books, The Holy Bible) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, and Webster's 1828 dictionary.

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 
 I'd go to our favorite spot on the lake, Talache, with a picnic hamper and accordion, my family and friends.  First swimming, then food, followed by a good ol' jam session.  Summer, come quickly!

Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 
 I love hats. I could describe half a dozen that I could call my favorite, but for this question, I think my beloved rattan pith helmet describes my personality best. It's sturdy, practical, fun.  It can go on Safari or attend a tea party with equal class, and is rather unique. 

Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 
Bought a car.  Made new friends.  Drove and drove and did awesome things with dear friends, old and new.  Watched my business grow beyond my dreams.  Met a precious friend of years for the first time.  Assisted in a Bride kidnapping.  Went elk hunting.  Built a house.  Was in a car accident.  For starters.

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently. 
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." --ll Tim. 1:7
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." --Psalm 34:4


If you haven't yet, be sure to go take a look at the rest of the fun Here! Enter the giveaway, visit other participants, and join us yourself!

As always, I hope you're enjoying the Literary Heroine Blog Party as much as I am.  Thanks so much for reading!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Liz on Top of the World | piano improv

In token of the Literary Heroine Blog Party; some improv recordings of various period drama score favorites will be forthcoming throughout the week.

"I often tell young ladies, that no excellence in music is to be acquired, without constant practice. I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she will never play really well, unless she practises more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. Jenkinson's room.  She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house.''
                                              --Lady Catherine DeBourg

Forgive my most inexpert performance - I have made only the most limited use of Lady Catherine's gracious permission of the housekeeper's piano forte, and know I have none but myself and my insufferable pride to blame.

This is Liz on Top of the World, a beautiful theme from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack by Dario Marianelli.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

From the Kitchen // Birthday Waffles

  Sour Cream Waffles   

1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs sugar
3 eggs (yolks separated, whites whipped)
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 milk or buttermilk
1/4 C oil
1/4 C melted butter

Beat egg whites into soft peaks, fold gently into batter.  Cook up in the greased and heated iron of your choice.
The perfect waffles need the blend of the right temp. waffle iron, the best ingredients possible, and that magic touch on the batter, ever-so-softly folding in the egg whites till they're light as air.  That's it.

For my birthday, we made waffles.  Waffles from my Grandma's recipe - golden, crisp, light, creamy and silky as a really good dream.  She was famous for her sour cream waffles and her hospitality.

A variety of toppings were set out on the festal board, including homemade plum sauce, almond butter, and cinnamon.  But for my first, I reached for the freshly skimmed and whipped raw cream, so sweet that no sugar was needed. A lavish helping of :adorable: chocolate sprinkles, some flecks of butter - and bliss.

Later, a stack of golden waffles for snacking and Wives and Daughters.  
Come on over for breakfast sometime?  'Cause making waffles is my favorite.

February Photo-a-Day | Week Three

ONE // a birthday breakfast of unparalleled sweetness. 

TWO // the Wall Tent Tote is ready to go again

THREE // Adorable, sugary, ridiculous conversation hearts... my favorite!  Except that I don't like to eat them - they're entirely disgusting.  What would be perfect is a carved wooden set, painted to look like the real thing.

FOUR // Excellent reading.

FIVE // Sautéed brussels sprouts in coconut oil and a dash of redmond salt are the finest.

SIX // Favorite people, birthday party, game night, ensuing hilarity and brilliance = the best.

SEVEN // Precious morning spent joking, praying, and sharing scripture over Google Chat with my bestie, answering convos, and sorting fabric.  Also tea with cookies and a big helping of springlike sunshine.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Photo-a-Day | Week Two

Feb 9 // the Amaryllis blooms at last

Feb 10 // An evening of Chinese Checkers

Feb 11 // getting in a Valentine's mood

Feb 12 // Work.  Such happiness.

Feb 13 // In which my sisters and I design dresses and have a tea party

Feb 14 // Little sister and our friend Seth happened to match perfectly at the Contra dance.  Happy thought indeed!

Feb 15 // Spent the night at my bro's house and went to the Winter Fest Skijoring event on Saturday.  Skiing over jumps propelled by galloping horses - such a cool and crazy sport!

Went down to the beach afterwards...

...and at last, on arriving home that night, what did we all find but the front door and walls completely plastered with mysterious paper hearts!  I'm dying to know who perpetrated this ingenious and wonderful deed... it's fess-up time:)

The Literary Heroine Blog Party is going fabulously!  I can't wait to visit all of you who have linked up already.  Party on!
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