Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 2: Mourning "Downton" Book and Movie Club

Yes, still in mourning on Monday mornings.
It's just not the same.
I've been dealing with a rough stomach bug over the past 24 hours and when I was laid up in bed and/or laying on the bathroom floor, I was thinking, "'Downton would make it all better'". Just kidding, of course. But I turned to another fantastic period series...

Forsyte Saga

If you haven't seen it already, or maybe even if you have, I dare you to check it out.  The characters are multi-dimensional...they aren't just all good, or all bad...and at times that is what is annoying and brilliant..and very captivating, I have to say, as well. Just like "Downton", the sets, costumes, every detail is exceptionally done.
It's on Netflix Instant Play, FYI.
The Forsyte Saga is a series of three novels and two interludes (intervening episodes) published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of an upper middle-class British family, similar to Galsworthy's own.[1] Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames Forsyte, sees himself as a "man of property" by virtue of his ability to accumulate material possessions—but this does not succeed in bringing him pleasure. - Wiki

Yup, vicissitudes.

The New York Times back in Sept of 2012  wrote an article saying that it was the success of "The Forsyte Saga" 10 years ago, that paved the way for "Downton".  Read the NYT article  "The Bodice Ripper that Started it All". 
And, I like tall dark and you know that about me? It has one of my most favorite character actors in what I think is, the best role in the series... Actor Rupert Graves plays Jolyon Forsyte.  He's been in a ton of films and TV Series...from "A Room with a View" to the new, excellent, PBS "Sherlock Holmes".  You'll recognize other "Forsyte" actors, too. It's a fantastic series to hop into.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany, by Susan Vreeland

I am so glad that my friend Jen, brought this to swap at our "Downton Abbey" Luncheon and Book Exchange...this is the book that I got that day!!!

This book is by far, one of my recent favorites. Historical Fiction = my favorite genre.
The author, Susan Vreeland, stumbled upon an exhibit that had been laced together from Clara Driscoll's letters and diary, proclaiming Clara and the artisans of Tiffany's Women's Studio to be the true artists and originators of many of the Tiffany treasures. Vreeland knew that there was a fascinating story to be told.
"Then, I settled down at home to six months of intriguing research, piecing together like a Tiffany Girl myself the narrative upon which my imagination thrived".

During the Gilded Age just before the turn of the twentieth century, Tiffany forged his reputation in stained-glass. His highly recognizable style blended Art Nouveau, the exoticism of the Aesthetics Movement, and his own adoration of nature.
Until recently, it was assumed that he was the designer of the celebrated leaded-glass lampshades. However, two collections of letters reveal that an unrecognized woman, Clara Driscoll, designed the floral shades as well as many of the bronze bases.
Clara and Mr. Tiffany presents these two figures--one the giant of American decorative arts, the other unknown--as they engage each other, collaborating, probing and frustrating each other, stumbling over their passions.
Driven by the Tiffany Family Imperative to honor his father, owner of Tiffany & Co., by surpassing his elder's fame and financial success, Tiffany confronts the central issue in the Arts and Crafts debate: art versus industry, and its concomitant, creative indulgence versus financial restraint.
Yearning to establish herself as a creator of exquisite pieces of art, and to be recognized publically, Clara is a vibrant, intelligent, wry woman, a leader whose challenge, like that of many women, is to decide what makes her most happy--the professional world of her hands, or the personal world of her heart.
The novel interprets her creative and personal life, her loves, losses, triumphs, and her startling decisions.
-Susan Vreeland, Random House

Reading "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" prompted me to Google some images after each was so much fun to imagine right along with Susan Vreeland, how these female artisans were inspired to create the motifs that became ICONIC...what Tiffany art glass is known for. And Clara is, of course, in New York at quite an interesting time. It makes for a fun read.
Tiffany, Window, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Sothebys action cover
Clara's most iconic designs were there--Dragonfly and Wisteria (1901)
--with suggested bids of $450,000 to $600,000.
Maiden Feeding Flamingoes in the Court of a Roman House, Window, 1892.
Made for the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893.
So, put "Forsyte Saga" and Clara and Mr. Tiffany on your "to do" list!! 
I may just watch and read them over again if I don't get over this stomach bug today.


  1. Thanks for the recommendations. I hope you are better sooner rather than later!

    1. Thank you, Andrea. Starting to get back to normal, haven't been this sick in a long while. But there's nothing like a house that is imploding to make you feel like you're needed and need to recoup on your feet, doing dishes, laundry and grocery shopping. No time for mom to be sick! XXXOOO!

  2. I agree with your Downton Abbey withdrawals!! I love their show usually (I still can't watch her slipping on the bar of soap/miscarriage scene again.). My Mom didn't read the British blogs before she saw the last episode (Matthew dying) & she was bummed for a week. Luckily I always like the plot lines "spoiled" so it was no surprise to me. I don't get nearly as emotionally involved with any shows if I know the ending in advance. ;). Anyway, i left a comment about those fabulous "Tables" from RH a little while ago. I wanted to show you what I had in mind as far as how they would work in an actual setting. I pinned a bedroom picture with a very similar table on my "3456" board. I don't blog but I'll check back here to see what you think. :) "3456"

    1. I have to admit, I get some of the scoop from The Daily Mail and try to avoid too much plot point info but when they discuss contracts then I'm prepared...there is another main character that isn't going to be on next season, btw. I don't know how I could have missed your tables comment, I'll hop over now, sometimes blogger doesn't list them in the comments section, but I'll look on Pinterest and come back to reply ;) HOW EXCITING!!! I love to see what people find! XXXOOO!

    2. Ok, checked out the tiny table pic on Pinterest, left a comment on the pin. Love seeing the proportion in the space, and think it is a fabulous, minimal move to have less clutter and notice no table lamp, wall sconce...things are more simple. Very nicely chosen table for the style and size of the room. There is very little space between the bed and the door frame, so a tiny table is perhaps the only functional piece that could fit or seem "right" and not cramped. Thanks for sharing ;) LOVE design n real spaces!

  3. P.S. Have you seen the newer version of "Emma" made by BBC? I bought it on Amazon a while back. It has only been out a fee years. The guy who plays Sherlock Holmes on that new CBS show is one of the stars. PBS showed this series last year. I think you'll enjoy it.
    Obviously all the BBC movies (especially Pride and Prejudice) rock. I think you would like the Series "Lark Rise to Candleford" as well. "Mr. Bates" also stars in that PBS series. :)

    1. I HAVE seen that EMMA! And loved it! Ramona Garai and Johnny Lee Miller- excellent. I liked it better than the GO version. Thought it was more well rounded and the cinematography was lovely...beautiful light.

    2. Sorry, iPad difficulties..continuing, I haven't seen "Lark Rise to Candleford", will check it out. I love "Cranford" and that will make it to the list soon ;) thanks for suggesting Candleford, I want to include many of the Downton casts' projects as I can ;)

  4. I agree with you that tiny table only works in very limited spaces!! I am mulling it over still. They are not selling well and that is a big red flag for me. I always use my iPhone for the Internet (I have a Mac but I literally haven't opened it in months). I have a hard time seeing items I'm trying to buy online. I ALWAYS prefer to see something in person first but they are not carrying it in store. :( I was really bummed when I went to their new store on Saturday. They have tried to make their store high end. They say it's a "gallery layout" now. It used to be so inviting. I couldn't wait to leave their store. I have been trying to find the right decorating pieces for my home for a while now. I like your blog because you mix new and old (your love of vintage globes & maps!). I have really bad Spring Fever and am dying to get new pieces to mix up my decor. I have five kids and they don't exactly make it easy for me to go to thrift stores to find something amazing I can up cycle. I have found I can incredible furniture at Yard Sales. It is still too cold for yard sales in my area. I am very excited for Spring to come!! :)

    1. hi! I think they aren't selling well because they are so small. If they were more like 18" I think they'd be more appealing. But 12" is pretty tiny. They need just the right spot. I think they'd be cute with two together in place of a coffee table in a small space. You'd need pretty low profile furniture/seating for this, too. I've thought they'd be cute as a decorative piece and not just a table. Cute on top of a large armoire, bookcase, cabinets as decor. Or on a large hearth, etc. I am the same way, mom of 4 and I don't do a lot of getting out on my own shopping. I hit a resale shop here once a month but not as often as I'd like because if I take my little ones with me not only is it stressful but it's just not worth it. I DO love combining old and new and wish I could get out more but it's just not that easy for me and I turn to online for comparison shopping to narrow down my 'reality' time in a store. I'm disappointed to hear that about RH.I think it is the new wave for retail. I've noticed it more and more with Pottery Barn...SO SO SO MUCH is not available in the store, only on-line. And then if you actually purchase something (Like I did at PB - a couch) I had to wait 8-10 weeks for it to arrive...even though I ordered a pretty standard color/fabric choice. I think shopping on line gives me a starting point so that I've narrowed down what I am looking for and I have a good idea of what the average cost is, etc. So that when I see a good deal, I know it and can act quickly on it. I love having conversations about this stuff. Keep me posted!!

  5. One other thing I have been meaning to ask you. I don't blog because I am a very private person. :) Even though I don't blog I love to keep up with various blogger events. Have you heard of Alt Summit? Apparently it is the not to be missed event for up and coming bloggers!! I would live to see you there. I plan to buy a ticket for Alt Summit Salt Lake for 2014. The Alt Summit blog has really good ideas to make your blog successful. Word to the wise though, when people like Martha Stewarts people show up at your events (the last one in New York) the event sells out in minutes. Not even hours or days! ;)

    1. That is awesome that you are up on all of the inside blog biz stuff. Yes, I came within seconds of clicking the 'enter' button on registering for ALT in NYC this JUNE. I was totally planning to go, and mostly because it was MSLIVING OMNI MEDIA that was hosting, too..but I felt like I need to get some of my basics down first. Instead I decided to take the $ and time and redesign my blog to be a bit more functional. When I started back in NOV, I just went for it and had no idea that I'd love it so much and that I'd want to build it up this quickly. SO instead of putting the cart before the horse, my plans are to work on the design functionality of the blog first, and do ALT in SLC next winter.WOULD BE AWESOME TO MEET UP. I've been listening to some of their podcasts and I think ALT is the next networking tool for me that I need to invest in- the timing of NYC this June would have been tough. So 2014 it is!!!

  6. Not live... Not a stalker... Love to meet you lol

    1. HA! MY iphone changes love to live ALL THE TIME. DRIVES ME NUTS! So funny- I'd love to meet you, too. It's actually one of the reasons that I finally took the leap into get to reach out and connect with more people that I have things in common with. It is weird at times to be talking so much about myself- but that's part of blogging, so I'm trying to be more comfortable with it, although I prefer to talk about ikat or tiny tables :) Thanks so much for jumping into Commona-my House and for being a friend and supporter! So glad to have you here and to have your feedback. Keep it coming! I'd love to know more about your style and what you envision for your space. With kids, its hard. but I feel I needed to still find a way to have our home feel like 'us'.

  7. Ramola...ipad changed it to Ramona! Funny! I think she's cool. She is in a really great movie called "Glorious '39"..I'm going to maybe suggest that next week. Anyway- thanks and keep all suggestions coming!!!

  8. and...I meant to say "thank you" for thinking that I am an "up and coming blogger"... <3