Tag Archives: photofacefun

My Homely, Homey, Home-Made Sort of Christmas Tree . . .


First thing this morning, streaks of pink and orange crossing the sky, a touch of frost on the grass. It’s cold and I am bleary-eyed from too little sleep.

Time to go and fetch a Christmas tree, a real one for the first time in years, and the first real tree that wasn’t purchased for charitable support of some sort. Nothing shipped in from a Christmas tree farm. Just a home-grown number.

I pull on a lightweight sweater and my jeans and put on my Elf Shoes Version 2.0.–red hi-top Nikes with one glittery green lace and one green-and-white-striped lace. I grab my newly washed red fleece cape with the hood–yes, call me Not-so-Little Red Riding Hood. I’m still cold so I grab my sequined Santa hat and pop it on my head. My husband walks by as I adjust it in front of the bathroom mirror and gives me a look.

“You don’t have to get glammed up for this, you know.”

“I know. Got to wear something. Figured I might as well look festive. ‘Tis the season and all that.”

My Glitzy Santa Cap, perfect for a bit of Christmas tree hunting, yes?

My Glitzy Santa Cap, perfect for a bit of Christmas tree hunting, yes?

Even with the cape, I am chilled. I grab a sweater. Of course, it is a Christmas cardigan, with festive appliques and embroidery. You can’t see it under the cape, but I know it’s there.  I tug on my black knit gloves with the soft chenille cuffs and I am ready to go.

We drive up and down the dirt road in our Jeep, windows rolled down to check out what’s available, heater blasting to take the edge of the morning chill.  We’re looking for a cedar.

“Too tall.”

“Right size–oh, really lop-sided.”

Benny points and grins. “How about that one?”

It’s a sprout. A little better than a Charlie Brown tree, but not much.

Pig Pen and Charlie with his homely little tree.

Pig Pen and Charlie with his homely little tree.

“I think we can do better than that.”

“This one’s nice.” We get out to inspect it. It’s full–very full. Not sure it will fit into the alloted space in the living room. And I honestly don’t want something as big as our artificial tree. FMS body is demanding I scale back.

Back into the Jeep, our eyes peeled for other candidates. Finally, we decide on one. It’s not perfect, but it will work, its size much more manageable for me. Benny cuts it down with an old hand saw. I hold the saw for him as he lifts the tree to place it on the rack atop the Jeep.

“This was Daddy’s, wasn’t it?” He nods in the affirmative as we tie it down with a bungee cord.

I remember hunting for Christmas trees back in my childhood and smile as I look at the saw with its slightly rusted handle.”Daddy never cut down the tree we chose. He knew better . . .  and there was always a huge bald spot. Never failed.”

Fast forward about 12 hours. Benny helps me sort through the lights and find working strands. I’d always gone for white lights in the early days of our marriage. But Benny recalled the colored lights of our childhoods so warmly and wistfully.  I’d bought colored lights a few years ago–and one strand of genuine Noma Bubble Lights just for him to enjoy.  Very retro.


We have–lots of ornaments. I love Christmas and collecting Christmas items of all sorts. We’ve had a 7 1/2 foot artificial tree in the past, very full, with lots of branches.

Everything won’t fit on this smaller, wispier tree. And with its slightly assymetrical look, its homeliness and fewer, more delicate branches, it seems to me myfaceted beaded garlands, opalescent glass spheres, delicate angels and other breakable ornaments should stay put in their boxes. They are made for a showier tree.

This year it will be starched white crochet snowflakes, comical clothespin reindeer, cross-stitched ornaments made by yours truly, Olde Worlde cloth-covered styrofoam balls, handkerchief angels . . . a homey, homely, handmade sort of Christmas.

Well, except for one thing. We cannot find our angel tree topper. We try out one of our old-fashioned Santa figures but it’s just too heavy.

What to do?


Just had to glam it up a little, you know. ‘Tis the season, y’all. And now my tired old body begs for a hot shower with some lavender vanilla body wash to help me relax. Hoping for sweet dReAms.


Now I wouldn’t leave you without some Armitage beauty, either.  ‘Tis always the season for THAT.


“An Experience Like This . . .”


“I know there are a million people out there for whom I will probably not be their version of Thorin, but I can only be my version of Thorin. Yet even that is elusive, and I still don’t know whether I can achieve what I want to do with this role. Peter thinks I can do it, thinks I can get there; so I trust his judgement and hopefully we’ll get there together. And that’s very exciting because an experience like this doesn’t come around very often.”

~~Richard Armitage in a quote from The Hobbit:  Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley.

This is a photo taken of a fairly small photo situated on a page that would not lie flat, so there is some distortion.  Still, I think you can see why I liked it so much.

This book and the movie tie-in visual guide both finally made it into my hot little hands tonight.

Benny and I watched Prometheus together whilst dining on Papa John’s pizza, so I haven’t had the chance to properly peruse them both. Something tells me I won’t be falling asleep early tonight either. The guide is a large 166-page paperback with slick and glossy pages, tons of photos, including all that behind-the-scenes stuff so many of us love and lots of interviews with cast and crew.

But, what do you know– my fingers immediately seemed to find Sibley’s article with RA.  There is a photo I had not seen before of Richard and Sir Ian standing in a field talking together,  a down-filled coat covering Sir Ian’s costume. For some reason it put a lump right into my throat. And then I read that Richard was trying “desperately” to stay in character on the first day on set whilst thinking, “That’s Gandalf!” Seems he still gets starstruck, too. Which I find so endearing–the seasoned professional sparring internally with the wide-eyed boy feeling a major squee coming on.

The BTS photo of Richard in Thorin gear looking down with a pensive expression is amongst the photos in the article; the cutline is “An actor prepares. Richard Armitage becomes Thorin.”  This perfectly mirrors what many have expressed about that particular photo, that it is neither Richard nor Thorin, but a combination of the two melding before our eyes.

Turns out our poor lad was doped up on painkillers when he auditioned for the role–he’d injured himself doing a stunt for Spooks, which makes me hate TPTB there just a little more–and says if nothing else, he had succeeded in showing his ability to convey pain!

And the clever boy has come up with a reason for Thorin’s beard being so short compared to the other dwarves and the description by Tolkien. It seems that his father and grandfather’s beards were badly singed after their encounter with that wicked dragon Smaug. Thorin decided to cut his beard short to show his elders respect for the indignity suffered by them. And if he ever does get to sit on the throne again, maybe he will grow it out again!

And that’s just a small portion of the good stuff you will find within.   In his interview alone, RA elaborates on the Shakespearean connection to Thorin, why the part needed to be played by a younger man,  why it’s important to know the history of the other characters as well as yours, and more.

It’s $18.99 for the paperback or $9.66 for the Kindle edition. Personally, this is the kind of thing I would prefer in traditional book form, particularly if you don’t have a color e-reader.

If you haven’t already gotten a copy of the book, you can do so by visiting www.richardarmitagenet.com and using their Amazon or AmazonUK portals to order and a portion of the sale will go to charity.

Resistance is futile. Go ahead and dive right into full-fledged Thorin Mania if you haven’t already.  What an amazing ride!!

Thorin was in my mailbox. Yippeeeeeeeeeee!


Thorin. Oh, Thorin. Monday night my husband presented a package for me from Jolly Olde England. My eyes lit up. It felt just the right shape and size and weight  to be–“Yes! It must be my magazine with Thorin!!”

Yes, my own personal copy, purchased from a London newsstand and sent to me by one of my lovely RA friends. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

The photo really doesn’t do it justice. It’s just breathtaking in person. Thorin and those soulful eyes leaping out at you from  this cover. *sigh*

And I received notice that two more of my Hobbit books, the visual guide and movie companion, should arrive via the USPS tomorrow (well, today). The mail is really fun of late. 😀

Anyway, this all put me in a Thorin mood, and so here’s some more fan art fun, including a version of a new behind-the-scene photo Servetus had on her blog.

It’s never too early to instill the proper values . . .


                                                                                Or to promote development of the Good Taste Gene.

Soaring with Thorin!


Another idea for promotion of The Hobbit. He certainly makes our hearts soar, right?

The bad news is my glands are swelling in my neck, throat is sore and head aches. ^%%$*&@!%   ‘Tis the season . . . please let me be able to sleep!

The good news is my freshly shampooed and conditioned hair is shiny and sweet-smelling and full of body. I am having a Good Hair Night. “It is better to look marvelous than to feel marvelous” LOL

Thumper discovered the wonders of fresh catnip tonight courtesy of her daddy. A slightly stoned three-legged tuxedo cat with a Hitler mustache can be very entertaining. She appeared to be feeling no pain.

And in a couple of days I will be at the beach, hopefully feeling much better.   Fingers crossed! Tomorrow I need to run to town and pick up a few items pre-trip, including preparations for Benny’s birthday Saturday, and do some packing (once I figure out what I am taking to wear).

In the meantime, here’s some more Thorin including the giant mural in NYC of Thorin & Company kindly shared in a link with us by JaneGael. Thank you, Jane! Thorin–larger than life! *thud*

This 150-feet-tall mural–actually painted rather than printed as most are today–will be on display for a number of weeks in NYC. Thorin and Company have arrived in the Big Apple!

Some fun Thorin fanart on a gloomy LA day


Thunderstorms rolled through this morning. I woke up earlier and couldn’t get back to sleep. I went and got a cat to cuddle and played with some more photo editing to pass the time. It’s dark and gloomy here at present but these images brighten things up for me–and I hope, for you. Have a good Thorin Thursday!


The RAinbow Connection


Look what RA’s done so far . . . he’s so amazing, he keeps us star-gazing, who knows who next he’ll play?

Somehow we’ve found him, the RAinbow Connection, the lovely, the brilliant RA  . . .  (with apologies to Kermit the Frog)

Guyday Friday: Epic!!


Richard in the final series of Robin Hood gave a virtuoso performance, one of operatic grandeur. He ran the gamut of emotions from the depths of despair and self-loathing to a heady, sleek self-confidence; from a man bent on murder and revenge to one heroically arguing for the life of a girl even as his own existence is about to be snuffed out.  He was half-mad, furious, humiliated, smug, scheming, stoic, remorseful, chivalrous, heartbreaking and even funny. He was beautiful. He was–epic.

The Thorin Oakenshield Effect: Pole-Axed By the Hot Warrior Dwarf


“I had never heard of Richard Armitage before The Hobbit.  I’m more into the Thorin Oakenshield Effect.  He rode up in the trailer and turned to the camera and I was poleaxed…and I swore I would never look at another man after my last marriage.  Let alone a man with long hair and a beard like my ex.  Well, Richard proved me wrong, so here I am cruising the interwebs for treasures.  I have watched “King Under the Hair” several times and sent it around to friends who were equally delighted by it.  I have just started to peruse your site and have already found it to be a treat.”  (Excerpt from a comment made by Jane Rafferty here at TAE)

I saw this comment and I could not fail to smile. What happened to Jane (and welcome, Jane, to our little community!) is something I suspect many, many more folks will experience: being “poleaxed” by the amazing charisma and presence of Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.

Of course, I am feeling a bit smug about all this because I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but of course, I DID.  Sure, when I first heard Richard was going to be playing a dwarf I raised my eyebrows. A strapping six-foot, two (and-a-half!)-inch-tall, youthful-looking fellow like RA as a pint-sized warrior of rather advanced years?

But I reminded myself he’d convinced me over and over again–as a conflicted “evil henchman” with a troublesome conscience, carrying a torch for a fair, duplicitous maiden, a determined Victorian mill owner with a foolish passion for a persnickety parson’s daughter, a cripplingly shy gentle giant of a Yorkshire farmer,  a dedicated, cerebral spy damaged by eight years in a Russian prison, a tough, sometimes ruthless soldier  seeking redemption who is also a loving father and a true hero–and the list goes on.

He’s so very good, our Richard, a veritable chameleon, submerging himself in each character.  Why would it be any different with Thorin, I asked myself?

And indeed, from all evidence thus far, Richard IS Thorin Oakenshield–proud, regal, passionate, at times arrogant, a charismatic leader who can convince a small company of dwarfs with “willing hearts” to follow him on a very difficult and dangerous mission. 

I suspect since the last trailer appeared, many, many more people who were interested in The Hobbit in a more general sense,  are finding themselves specifically drawn to learn more about the actor behind Thorin. “What a voice! And those eyes! The way he carries himself. Who IS this guy?”

Even as a dwarf,  forced to look up at Gandalf and the elves, RA is somehow larger than life as Thorin. It’s a role that will surely become iconic. 

What will it be like to see him on the big screen, to hear him through the stereo speakers in the theater?  I may very well have to see it twice–just to absorb into my brain the whole sensation of that much RA truly larger than life, his honeyed baritone reverberating in my ears, and then a second time to actually enjoy the entire movie, because I do believe there will be much to appreciate and savor in the film as a whole. 

Many, many people will flock to the theater in December to see The Hobbit because they are Tolkien fans, or their kids, grandkids or significant others are fans. I believe a fair number of those attending (who were not already RA fans) will leave as converts to “our little community.”

Because once you discover Richard Armitage, once you’ve been poleaxed, as Jane puts it, by him in one role, it’s almost impossible not to pursue seeing him in other roles. 

To discover the sweet and sunny-natured accountant Harry Kennedy, the brooding John Thornton, smouldering Sir Guy, sweet John Standring,  the passionate artist Monet, rebellious biker Ricky Deeming and the other memorable chaRActers he’s brought to life so vividly.  Not to mention all the wonderful audio recordings he has done, the irresistible appeal of the CBeebies . . .

And then to watch/listen to/read his interviews, and find out what an intelligent, insightful, funny, sweet-natured, modest individual he really isIn a world of wanna-bes, it seems Richard Crispin Armitage is all that and a big, big bag of chips.

Richard in a GMTV interview prior to Spooks 9. Courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

Oh, for those who have not yet experienced The Armitage Effect (and I don’t mean the blog, because if you are reading this, you’ve obviously found me), there’s so much wonderful, amazing stuff out there to be discovered.

I look forward to Richard’s fanbase growing and diversifying in the coming months as more people discover just what an amazing and versatile talent he is.  I fully expect more folks to come forward and say they’ve been poleaxed, too.

As Mezz said, resistance is, indeed, futile.  And we’ll welcome you to the fold.  😀

Oh, and is it December yet?