Thursday, July 11, 2013

Art Festival

I went with my grandparents to an annual arts and crafts festival in our area. This particular one is my favorite of the few such events I have visited. This year was even better than last year. I went a little crazy with my shopping. I wish I had thought to buy Christmas and birthday gifts though :(

The event was on the same day as a graduation party, so I bought a peace offering/graduation gift.

I love these types of pendants and would love to learn how to make them. This particular one was reversible.

The spoons this local couple made were not stained; this is the natural walnut wood when aged and treated. I would like some of their salad tongs in walnut, that would be gorgeous against the green of lettuce and/or spinach.

The camera does not show the lovely sea green color of this mug very well. I would buy from all of the vendors I bought from again. This lady had lovely owl vases as well as various other serving and cooking dishes.

Isn't this bracelet exquisite? I loved lots of the artist's pieces and would like to buy more. They would make excellent wedding jewelry!

This is my crowning purchase.

Gorgeousness, pure gorgeousness.

These next two set of purchases came from a local shop. I would like to have several of the little tea bag tray,s so that whenever I have a tea each my guests can use one. I had one already, so now I have three. That is a tea ball; we have never had one before.

This is proper sealing wax. Yay, for elegantly sealed invitations for the next tea party!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Les Mis

Delayed post from months ago. I read Les Mis back in December. I don't have a great desire to see the movie.

A Pinterest pin had this note: "Les Mis UnabridgedPut on you big girl pants and read it." 

I did thanks, and all the extra "history" sections are mostly NOT facts but rather absurdly romantic interpretations. That. Is. Not. History. 
Also, I really don't need to know Mr. Hugo that the sewage should have been used as fertilizer and that it would take care of disease. 
Many abridgments are sacrilege; Les Mis abridged is salvation. 
If Victor Hugo had spent all the emotion and sweat he put in his philosophizing and lecturing, the story would have been amazing literature.
 As it is, it needs a misinterpreted musical to make it great. 
There was no gem in all that muck; there was a promising phantom perfume of a story.

Also, I HATE hearing sympathy for Eponine. Read the book and you will see the REAL Eponine and why I have no sympathy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Sign of Four Review

This was my least favorite of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries; I actually didn't really like it. The story was dark and creepy, I hated the savage character for many reasons, and the ending was unsatisfactory. The only slight gleam of light was Watson's darling little romance and Holmes' slightly mischievous attitude about it...he just doesn't miss a thing even when he doesn't say much about it. That is a big difference between the original stories and Sherlock. Sherlock loves to point out everything he notices (such as the fact that he knew Donovan and Anderson were having an office affair) to show off or hit back, and yes, lots of these people...Donovan, I hate her...are cruel to him, but the real Holmes was above all that; he was MUCH more noble period than his flatter, less developed modern reincarnation. I digress.

Much of what was in the story was more gross and chilling than I could handle (and I just read something truly horrifying in the newssomething that to me was the most horrific thing I have ever readso I was extra sensitive at the time of reading). The tide of the mystery still carried me on, but I felt that the suspense was not fulfilled or justified by the ending.

I did not feel any empathy whatsoever for this criminal and his back story did not seem overly intricate. He was a cold-blooded murderer, so his disgust at his savage and the unnecessary death didn't ring quite true. The only thing of pulling interest in the main part of the plot was the fact that the jewels were at the bottom of the Thames. How infuriating but above the commonplace.

After I read The Valley of  Fear, I noticed that someone pointed out that most of the story was not focused on Holmes. In that particular story I was fine with that because the mystery of that back story was ah-mazing! I have to wonder though, if I would have liked The Sign of Four better if Holmes was shown to the best advantage.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Study in Scarlet Review

I read the Sherlock Holmes stories a while ago, so I cannot really elaborate more than this. I need to remember to take notes as I read and then thoughtfully write out a review right after I finish the books before I forget both my impressions and the details of the story. Mysteries are hard to review anyway, I think.

I will admit to being a cheater and watching all the currently available episodes of BBC's Sherlock long before I picked up the marvelous original stories. However, since I am now an ardent fan of the books (how can I not be?!), I think I am redeemed.

 There are significant differences besides the time period—and some of the stories are so much quicker to read than I expected from the television series. I love how the T.V. series takes parts from the books and mixes them up—it is brilliant.

I love having the plot unfold and every detail explained; in the T.V. series it is hard to follow everything while in the stories the explanations of Holmes’ reasoning process is much more realistic.

A Study in Scarlet

The two part sequence surprised me, but I liked it, it lent so much more interest to the plot. I love backstories and long, complicated motivations (these seem to be lacking in the T.V. series). After reading the backstory, I wasn't sorry for the victims—well I wasn't sorry for the first, but the 2nd death was too horrific. I was sorry for the vigilante (I don't wish to say murderer—I know he oughtn’t have turned vigilante—but  I completely sympathized with him and believe that he wasn't as evil as a cold blooded murderer [to put that more Biblically, I believe he had considerably more common grace than a cold-blooded murderer]).

Oh, the scene when he finds out they are gone! The horror is well built up in the story. I love the understated emotion. It is always soo much more effective than blatant description and tons of blood and gore—it is chilling and realistic and mysterious. All the hints and whispers lend a greater edge than statements of description. I love that (maybe because I am not that way?).

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Christmas Carol Review

Forgive me for taking so long to post. I have a huge load of Classic Club reviews I haven't finished or barely started, and so I have been procrastinating. The reviews will probably be out of order.

I read this in a few hours at work so that level of easiness made me happy.

It is a familiar story. I grew up with the Disney animated version and our local theatre versions. It is a lovely tradition of a story, with just the right level of scary and sad balanced out by great happiness in the end.

The tone of the story is not too dark despite some of the subject matter. The subject is serious, but the tone is humane with touches of humor. There is not a bit of preachiness, but lessons are given just the same.

This story is classic for a reason. Seeing past, present, and future is a continually intriguing theme. The lesson is easily seen.

I loved the pattern of opportunity to change. We see nasty, and then hopeless and then hope and then change. Can anything be more cheering than second chances?