Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A few Christmas Delights

To finish off the seasonal posts I would like to share with you some interesting things that I acquired for Christmas. It seems that I get just as much pleasure from the little things as I do from the big ones. The item below came in my stocking.

A Westie soap. Now how can I use this? Impossible!

The mailman brought me this today. A Christmas card and some of that special chocolate that Modica, Sicily is so famous for. Yes, from Welshcakes.

Buon Natale e un felice Anno Nuovo

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thank you for the lovely surprise Welshcakes, a little after Christmas, but you know the Italian Post Office. Pazienza! Well it could have been the Canadian one for they surely require Pazienza too sometimes.

On the right is a Moleskine Notebook, put into my stocking by my daughter to replace the ordinary but colourful notebook I normally carry, shown on the left. She saw me looking in the notebooks one time at Barnes and Noble and lamenting that mine did not have an elastic closure which is so useful. So ta-da! Now I have one.

The Moleskine Notebook has a history to go with it, of course, which is held in a little pocket in the back of the book and paraphrased in part here. Originally produced by small French bookbinders and sold in Parisian stationery shops, the notebooks were used by artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso as well as by writers like Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin for sketches, stories, notes and ideas. The last French ones were produced in 1986 and Chatwin, an English novelist and travel writer, who had ordered 100 of them, bought up all that he could find.

A Van Gogh Moleskine notebook, in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

In 1998, a small Milanese publisher brought Moleskine notebooks back again, with many different interior styles. The pages are printed in China now but they are still bound in Italy. Each notebook is handmade and carries its own quality control number, mine is 7542 and is the original famous design. There will be little sketches in mine, as well as notes on things I see and places I go and talks I hear. No resemblance to Picasso's or Hemingway's notebooks, just things that interest me and I want to remember.

Do you think I should ask for 99 more?

The New, with elastic and bookmark and The Old, with notes for a post


Janice Thomson said...

Wow! Westie soap - is that ever cute! What a sweet surprise from Welshcakes too -awesome!
Your notebook is lovely as well - I have now moved into high technology via my daughter LOL. She sent a gold hand held recorder (size of a cigarette package)that is waterproof and will do up to 200 hours of recording - perfect for those trips in the woods when I wish I'd remembered my notebook...

Eurodog said...

No jmb, you cannot use the Westie soap. It is just too pretty for words.
I have never seen a Border Collie soap but will look out for it on my travels.
yes, I use Moleskin notebooks too. They are terrific and the paper is of good quality which is just ideal for writing on with a fountain pen.

Liz said...

What lovely presents, jmb! All thoughtful. And what a good idea to do sketches in the notebook to accompany your notes.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree. you absolutley cannot use that pretty soap! Glad the choc eventually got there, despite the Ital PO. What an interesting history of the moleskine notebooks.

Carver said...

As always, a very interesting post. I didn't know the history of the moleskin notebooks. I always enjoy the little things at Christmas as much as bigger ones. The Wetsie soap is adorable and dark chocolate is the best. I've eaten more than my share of dark chocolate this Christmas.

leslie said...

I literally went "Aaahhh" when I saw the picture of the Westie soap. My sister has her second Westie now (Angus) and she has a lot of Westie ornaments - last year I gave her Westie coasters that I found in Salisbury, England. Lucky you to get the Italian chocolate! And the notebook is perfect!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I suspect the soap will long remain an ornament.

I think asking for 99 year might be construed as cheeky...

jams o donnell said...

What a nice haul of little prezzies. THat Westie soap is too good to use.

Political Umpire said...

Happy New Year, and Best wishes JMB

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

The cards and notebook are lovely.

Ellee Seymour said...

It looks like you have been thoroughly spoilt, what wonderful treasures these are. I was given a hardback notebook too, but not as smart as yours, and a really useful card holder to put all my business cards.
That soap is too wonderful, how clever, and what a wonderful find.

lady macleod said...

What fun! The vicarious looting of someone else's stocking!

I am a Moleskin girl from many years! I love them, I don't know what I would do without mine. I fill them with notes, stories, people, theater ticket stubs, sketches, napkins, brochures, playbills, train tickets,...
I almost always by halfway through the book have to secure it with an additional length of ribbon around horizontally. I have boxes of memories held within the bindings of that small book.

You know now they have them for certain cities - that include maps, metro lines, and other data of the city - very helpful for a visit.

I love visiting over here. You know that I am 'on the road ' at present and can do very little time online, but I always make time to drop by your place because it always puts a smile on my face.

I thought about you and the scientist-guy yesterday as I was drowning standing up, in the storm that had winds so fierce it was like walking up the side of a mountain! I could really have used a nice cup of tea looking out at Vancouver!

Dreaming again said...

Oh I love the story behind the notebook! thank you for sharing.

The soap is too cute!!

My favorite dog, a beagle. I grew up with one named Nutmeg, then we had Cinnamon when the boys were younger. I keep telling my husband that my heart is aching for a beagle ... he keeps looking at me funny.

MedStudentWife said...

Small things.. that is why I think I love Christmas stockings better than the presents:)

Fidel and I were looking at Moleskin note books a couple of months ago. He was very knowing about them;I had never heard of them before.Now I know the story behind their fame.

Thanks JMB

The Laundress said...

You received lovely small gifts. Anyone would be delighted with the Westie soap, even cats-only people. Sicilian chocolate is quite exotic-sounding, never heard of that before but if it tastes as good as the packaging looks, you are a lucky woman.

Moleskines? I started buying them at our local bookshop maybe 18 mos. ago? Have filled up six so far -- mostly with book reviews and sometimes with those things that wake you up at night that need more research... They are pricy but handsome and that little elastic band is VERY helpful! Moleskine + nice fountain pen = even shopping lists are appealing.

Happy holidays!