Tag Archives: Cartoons

Are You All Right, Mr. Scrooge?

snowbelle 003The wee snow-lady above is called Snow Belle.  She was designed by Susan Fuquay and made by me way back in 2005, so she isn’t one of my newer quilts – on the contrary she’s a retread.  But aren’t many of our holiday traditions and decorations retreads?  We haul them down out of the attic, or from a high shelf in a closet or garage year after year.  The season would seem a little off kilter if I didn’t bring out the well used, and in some cases, the tired and faded components of what constitutes Christmas in our home.

Would it really be Christmas without the tawdry little yarn snowmen I made for our Christmas tree the year we were married?  And the egg ornaments, decoupaged with brightly colored calicoes, from that same year?  Christmas traditions come in many forms; the cinnamon apples at dinner when a certain brother-in-law comes to visit, peanut butter cookies and peanut brittle for my sisters, and let’s not forget the Christmas movies – they’re the gravy on the mashed potatoes, the ice cream on the apple pie, the melty marshmallows on the candied yams, the aristocracy of retreads… or at least they are in my world.

fredschristmaspartyIt doesn’t matter how much decorating goes on around the house, the holiday season hasn’t officially begun until I screen the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim.

What in particular do I love about this movie?  For one, the soundtrack is exceptional.  How about the music played by the fiddlers at Mr. Fezziwig’s Christmas Party?  The name of that ditty is Sir Roger de Coverley, and I dare you not to tap your toes when you hear it played.  There isn’t a better musical introduction for the Ghost of Christmas Present than Oranges and Lemons to convey a child’s sense of wonder and plenty.  Then the hauntingly beautiful song, Barbara Allen.  It was played as background throughout the movie, and sung as a duet at Fred’s Christmas party.

Oohoohooh – and what about Mrs. Dilber’s happy shout, “Bob’s yer uncle!” when Scrooge, for the first time, gives his charwoman a Christmas present?  (Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel)

Is this way more about A Christmas Carol than you ever wanted to know?  Okay… moving along.

rudolph2A Christmas Carol must be followed immediately by the Max Fleischer cartoon, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, from 1944.

After that, it’s Katie, bar the door… the evenings leading up to the big day are filled, in no particular order, with Scrooged (1988), A Christmas Story (1983), White Christmas (1954), Christmas In Connecticut (1945), Holiday Inn (1942) which  happens to be the Mister’s least favorite, Penny Serenade (1941), and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966).

One last thought:  It’s odd, but Snow Belle has never made it out of the sewing room.  Oh, she gets moved to the front of the stack of little quilts so I can spy her whenever I walk past, but perhaps this year will finally be her year to shine.

Well Begun, But Not Quite Finished

Clue #4 of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery, Celtic Solstice was published last Friday.  All the strip sets have been joined and cut, but sadly, only 80 of the required 120 4-patches have been finished.  My excuse?  …..Christmas!  Hopefully, I’ll get the remaining 40 finished before next Friday.  Then again?  Maybe not.

4patches 002

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don’t clean it up too quickly.  ~  Andy Rooney

Block Thirty: Broad Arrow

Okay, fun subject today… let’s talk about prison uniforms, those items of clothing that were designed with a two-fold purpose: as a mark of shame and to make escape and avoiding recapture difficult.  (yippee-skippy)

Great Britain once used the Broad Arrow symbol, either stenciled or sewn onto clothing, to mark a person as a convicted criminal.  Here in the United States, stripes were the usual mark of a convict.

Either way the uniforms were decorated – arrows or stripes – they instantly shouted ‘prisoner’ to anyone that saw them.  So how does this relate to last week’s block in the Grandmother’s Choice quilt project?

In Great Britain, as here in the US, many suffragettes were willing to risk imprisonment to draw attention to the movement.  Once released from the prisons or workhouses, the members of the Women’s Social and Political Union turned the Broad Arrow into a badge of distinction, proudly wearing replicas of their uniforms in public displays to draw even more attention to the fight for women’s rights.

Mrs. Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst in prison dressWhen deciding on fabrics for my Broad Arrow block, I wanted to include a stripe as a nod to the women in the United States who used the same strategy – demonstrations utilizing passive resistance that resulted in arrest, conviction, and imprisonment to promote public awareness of their demand for the right to vote.  (oops… the queen of run-on sentences strikes again)

Broad Arrow Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's Choice

Take us home Mr. Sulu.  Full impulse power…

In other words, I’m going to make a sharp left turn away from reality and let you have another peek at the way my brain works.

Whenever I ponder prison stripes – and I don’t really ponder them too often, but when I do – my thoughts often wander over to memories of Krazy Kat, a comic strip created by George Herriman, that ran as a daily from 1913-1944.  Ahem… that was before my time, but my thanks go out to the many devotees who kept the strip alive until I could stumble across it.

The strip took place in Coconino County, Arizona, and the storyline revolved around a love triangle between Krazy Kat, a mindlessly happy creature who absolutely adored one Ignatz Mouse, and Offissa Pupp.. who was patently ignored.

Ignatz absolutely despised the naively curious Krazy Kat, and the one joy in his life was to “Krease that Kat’s bean with a brick.”  Krazy Kat always misinterpreted the brick bombings as a sign of Ignatz’ love.

Krazy Kat at Wikipedia

Meanwhile, Offissa Pupp – the Limb of Law and the Arm of Order – was always on the lookout for a chance to nab Ignatz and toss him in the pokey.  The strip would often end with Krazy disconsolate and alone, muttering, “Ah, there him is playing tag with Offissa Pupp, just like the boom compenions wot they is,” and Krazy Kat, the poetic clown, is left pining for her “L’il Ainjil.”

Of course the strip had many other wonderful characters that popped up here and there:  Mrs. Kwakk Wakk and Bum Bill Bee, Don Kiyote (an aristocratic coyote) and Walter Cephus Austrige, just to name a few.  But I know what you’re thinking… how much fun could it be reading about a perpetual victim of abuse where everyone uses an idiomatic vocabulary?  Lots.  You always knew how the strip was going to end – love always finds a way – and the joy, as in many things, is in the journey.

To our softhearted altruist, she is the adorably helpless incarnation of saintliness. To our hardhearted egoist, she is the puzzlingly indestructible embodiment of idiocy. The benevolent overdog sees her as an inspired weakling. The malevolent undermouse views her as a born target. Meanwhile Krazy Kat, through this double misunderstanding, fulfills her joyous destiny. — e.e. cummings

If you’ve never before heard of Krazy Kat there are several books out there that celebrate the comic art of George Herriman.  Who knows, you might just enjoy the antics of Krazy, Ignatz and Pupp as much as I did do.  Here are some other sources you might find interesting:

Krazy Kat (overview at Wikipedia)

The Comic Strip Library

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oops… Did I Miss A Block?

Grandmother's Choice SchoolhouseBlock Eleven: Little Red Schoolhouse

To illustrate on what level my mind often operates, let me tell you what I was thinking when I was making this block —

I see a schoolhouse… I see a schoolhouse in the woods, in a valley, in the winter, at twilight; and inside, the lamps are lit and the schoolroom has yellow wallpaper.  (A little childish?  In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “Eh, could be.”)

Perhaps you’ve noticed that a couple of new fabrics have tiptoed into the fabric pull for this quilt.  Probably not – gray is gray, right?

Grandmother's Choice BreechesBlock Twelve: Little Boy’s Breeches

In today’s post, Barbara Brackman brought up the subject of a failed attempt at women’s dress reform in the mid-19th century.

The idea was simple: Out with restrictive clothing such as crinolines, corsets, hoops and long skirts.  In with Turkish Trousers covered modestly with a much shorter skirt.

Does it not seem odd to you that women got the right to vote well before society accepted such a little thing as women wearing slacks?