Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 Resolutions

It's a new year and a new decade.  I personally am glad to see 2019 go and hope that 2020 is a better year.  Here are some resolutions:

Read More Books
I got very lazy this year about reading and my reading stash beside my bed will soon be taller than my bed so reading almost every night is going to be something I plan to work on. I will count the number of books I read this year.

This one is on my list. I heard an interview with the author recently on NPR.  The author is a lawyer, the step-son of the individual who supposedly drove Hoffa to his death in 1975. Sounds like a great read.

Eat a Plant-Based Diet
Our eating habits are killing us and our planet.  Just look around - everyone is fat and many are obese.  It is killing us.  We eat too many processed food and too much meat (chicken, beef, pork) and I detest the way chickens are raised in large CAFOs (it is beyond inhumane). Quit buying chicken unless you know it was raised cage-free.  But our planet cannot sustain our American eating habits.  So I am making a huge effort in 2020 to eat a more plant-based diet and to cut out processed foods almost completely.  Sugar should also go but that's not a huge issue for me.

You can read about how to "cut the cord to the American way of eating badly here.

New Goals for Alfie
In 2020 Alfie and I will concentrate more on equitation. We need a new goal and this will give me something to work towards and it will make me a better rider on Madison. Equitation is where they judge the rider and not the horse - my form on the flat and over fences.  We have our work cut out for us.

Work on the Small Details at Home
It's all in the details - a well-kept house, a neat yard, fresh flowers, fine sheets on the bed, a tidy kitchen, nice lampshades....... the quality of everyday life needs to improve.  And it's the small things every day - like staying in a nice hotel where they think of everything.....

Live By These Words

 Hoping that 2020 is a fabulous new year full of pleasant surprises and unexpected treasures.  Thank you for reading HCC! 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Charlotte Moss' A Winter House

I love Charlotte Moss' book, A Winter House, which chronicles her house in Aspen (she sold it in 2007 for a cool $8.5M) but it's so timeless and perfectly put together, it could exist in any decade.

The house is huge, is filled with stuff everywhere, heavy winter fabrics, lots of books, paisley, and she attends to every detail: comfortable guest rooms with writing tables complete with pens and paper; baths with robes, salts, slippers, heavy towels and mats; beautiful lampshades; a winter china collection beyond your wildest imagination complete with winter cutlery; placecards; game rooms; a wine cellar.

(From the book)
When the house was up for sale a panorama of the house was put on line and luckily it's still there.  You can see it here.

If you have not explored this marvelous home please do so! Would love to see what the new owners did with it.  They bought it unfurnished.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 - The Highs and Lows

There were some high spots and low spots this year, but we'll mostly focus on the positive.....

Arrival of Apollo
Mid-January brought this little gray wonder into our lives and what a joy he has been (mostly).  He brought new vigor to Sega and it's fun to have a young one running around.  He's almost 18 months old now.

Madison's First Year End Award
Madison surprised me this year by winning her first title in our second year out.  Hoping there are more titles and coolers in her future.

 Trainer Ashley with Madison

Late Season Trip to Europe
We traveled to four countries in late November and had a grand time. Another trip is in the planning stages for 2020.

Visit with California Chrome
In April we visited Taylor Made and saw the famous Chromie.  It's a good thing we saw him as he is moving to Japan this month after being sold.  

Sega had some highs and lows and I thought we almost lost her in early September but she rallied. At 25 she's still going but definitely slowing down.  Hoping for continued good health. 

Sega in her horse show days

Trip to Boston in June
We made a short trip to Boston in June (our third visit there in recent years) and experienced the most fantastic weather.  My favorite was the historic Swan Boats in Boston Commons.

The year went by too fast and I did not read as much as I had hoped (one of my resolutions) and my eating habits need some improvement (another resolution).   Life on the farm is back-breaking (literally) and I continue to struggle with that (and it will force me to quit at some point in the future) but overall, life has been pretty good to us here in Virginia.  Hoping 2019 was a good year for you as well.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Needlepoint Sales - Fill Your Stash

There are some good sales (but very short-lived) on needlepoint canvases so this is a great time to fill your stash for 2020 (as if mine needs filling, LOL). But here are some of my picks.  Right now at Needlepoint.com, in-stock canvases are 25 percent off.

I've had my eye on this one for a while.  It would make a great pillow.

Love this sampler:


If you have never stitched a Herend Bunny this one would be fun to work on. Love the colors!

I've been wanting to stitch both the male and female version of this Staffordshire.

Love this ornament:

Another very cute ornament:

I'd love to stitch a Christmas Wreath:

Love this too. Would make this into a large pillow:


Another great ornament:

This would be great on a pillow, a handbag, or as an ornament:

A Funda Scully Box is on my "to do" list and I love this one:


Love this Keeneland sampler:

Happy Stitching in 2020!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Nordic Sweater

It's that time of year when a warm wool sweater comes in quite handy. Nothing serves this purpose better than an old fashioned Nordic Sweater. They can be fashionable as well as functional. You'll pay a lot for the wool ones but they'll still be going 30 years from now.  Here are a few picks just in time for January......


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Equestrian Christmas

There's nothing better than an equestrian Christmas in the country.....

Twas the night before Christmas and all about the farm, not a creature was stirring except a barn mouse - darn. The horses will all be tucked in their beds, with peppermint mashes and alfalfa cubes spread on their faces and heads.  We'll be dining with neighbors just down the lane, eating and drinking until late, hoping you'll do the same.  There's nothing like celebrating the holidays in a place that you love and adore, so enjoy the season, cause soon it will be no more!  Have a merry Christmas and hope that Santa is good to you all, at my house he usually brings me a haul.  So eat, drink and be merry with your furry four-legged friends, and spend the next few days with all of your kin. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Little Known Facts About White Christmas

White Christmas is the best holiday movie ever made.  We watch it every season and last night we watched it again, for the I don't know how many times.  It's a family tradition that caps the holiday season.  It came out in 1954 and stars Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen.  But did you know that Danny Kaye was not the first pick to play the part of Phil Davis?

He was the third pick actually after Fred Astaire and Donald O'Connor. Astaire was too old and O'Connor was detained on other projects.

 Does this picture look familiar?

 In this movie, this is the photo of Benny Haynes, the Haynes sisters' brother who was an old Army buddy.  It's the real picture, however, of Carl Switzer who played Alfalfa in the series, "Our Gang" or "The Little Rascals."

All that dancing in the movie is done by the talented Vera Ellen.  She started dancing when she was 10 and became a Rockette at 18 and was considered one of the best dancers in Hollywood at the time.  Incidentally, she car pooled to dancing lessons in Ohio with Doris Day when she was a child.
In her contract, it was written (at her request) that she was to wear a turtleneck in all of her scenes.   But none of the singing in the movie is her own voice - it's all dubbed. Her real name was Vera-Ellen Westmeier Rohe.  She died in 1980 of ovarian cancer at the age of 60.

All of those costumes in the movie were designed by the famous Edith Head who won eight Oscars for her work in costume design. She also made the dresses for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina and Roman Holiday.

Does this face look familiar?

That's dancer George Chakiris and he accompanies the Haynes sisters in an uncredited role. But soon after, he received the credit he was due: He later won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Bernardo in West Side Story.

The "Sisters" act early in the movie with Bing and Danny was not originally in the script. Danny and Bing were playing around and the director, Michael Curtiz wrote it into the movie.  The laughing during  the scene is real. The take in the film was the best one they could get of the two.  Who knew?

Love, love, love this movie.  Make it part of your holiday tradition. 
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