Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ice Lantern

I forgot to add these pictures to my last post----a large ice lantern I made with springs of rosemary. This is one of those Pinterest projects I had on my to-do list, and I'm proud of myself that I actually got around to it. I've got about 125 projects on there that I aim to try at some point---so far I have completed 3. You know how it goes :) You can see my boards if you click on the large "follow me on Pinterest" button to the right.

All the snow and ice is gone and we have had torrential rains here for days. But---the crocuses and violets are out now, so it really does feel like Spring is on the horizon.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Glass Forest

I had to share these pictures, the result of yet another winter blast that we received here in the temperate NW valley I live in. This time it first snowed, then rained, then froze, coating each and every bit of plant matter in a gleaming sheath of ice. I took the above picture at midnight, and it was dead silent, with everything looking like brittle glass. It was like I stepped into a fairy land, or the domain of the Snow Queen.

Frozen pine tree under the street light

Earlier in the day

It was one of the more extraordinary things I have ever seen. We aren't used to this sort of weather here where I live---in fact, it rarely snowed when I was growing up in these parts.

Vintage tea towel from my collection

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Passing of an Animation Icon---Farewell Arthur Rankin Jr

The Bumble, from "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"

The news has been dominated lately by the recent deaths of folk music/activist legend Pete Seeger and actor Philip Seymore Hoffman. However, another giant in the arts industry recently passed away on Jan 30th and one that is dear to me---Arthur Rankin Jr. He may be best remembered for producing the children's stop-motion Christmas classic "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" in 1964, with his partner Jules Bass. However, he helped make many, many other tv specials and movies, including the iconic animated version of "The Hobbit" in 1977, which to me is the definitive visual version of that enduring classic, and which received a Peabody Award in that same year.

soundtrack record of "The Hobbit" from my collection

He also made another fantasy novel into a classic cartoon---"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle:

He was also responsible for the "Jackson 5ive" animated tv series in the 70s and the "ThunderCats" animated series in the 80s. The 80s also brought us the animated "Wind in the Willows" which I very much love, and "The Return of the King".

He and Jules Bass were pioneers in the stop-motion animation field and the distinctive look of the characters in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (Heatmiser and Snowmiser!!), and "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" are an integral part of my childhood memories.

Recently, I encouraged my friend, who has a 15 year old daughter, to buy a DVD of the Rankin/Bass "The Hobbit" for her daughter for Christmas. I was confident that her teenager would love it, despite the bombastic Peter Jackson renditions of "The Hobbit" that dominate the theaters these days. Turned out I was right, she did love it, and another Rankin/Bass disciple was born :).

Farewell Arthur Rankin Jr---thank you for "The Hobbit", the stop-motion masterpieces and all the other work you have done. I continue to watch your movies to this day :)