Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yarn Along

 I am again, after a long hiatus, joining in the yarn along here.

I have not finished one of my other yarn along projects nor many of my other knitting projects, but once again I started something new. It is a baby blanket for a baby due in June. I don't know when the shower is (and did not even know there was going to be one when I started), so, to excuse myself, this project needed to be started.

The pattern is from ravelry here and is free of course. I chose only three, rather than four, colors and added an extra 24 stitches to the width, and it is still going to be narrow, but then I knit rather tight currently.

The book is Belinda by Maria Edgeworth. As our library's Maria Edgeworth collection is rather small, I had to obtain it via interlibrary loan, and it came from another state (I find that rather exciting). I have read Castle Rackrent, Ennui, The Absentee, and Ormond. The latter two I have to write reviews (for the Classics Club) on I think, but the former two I read years ago. Ennui is hilarious, the best so far. Castle Rackrent was boring, and I don't know if I understood everything. Edgeworth was Irish, although I think of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, and from this rank she drew her subjects in the four I read. I need to pay attention to publication dates better for Belinda is set in London and is about English people and reads more like a Frances Burney novel (the three I read were published 5 to 23 years before Belinda) than like the previous Edgeworth novels I read although not quite so melodramatic as at least Cecilia and Camilla. I am reading the 1801 version I think or an early revision not the seriously revised 1810 version (which I think probably reflected the less decadent [than the Georgian standards] Regency standards and scruples). (I looked up the dates and except for Castle Rackrent the other Edgeworth novels I read were published 8-16 years after Belinda and contemporary to the Austen novels).

Anyway, enough on literature. Here are photos of the finished shrug:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mansfield Park 2007 Movie Commentary

This is a running commentary as I rewatched Mansfield Park. I hadn't re-watched it in years. I tend to have difficulties watching things straight through when I watch on my computer and phone and this film was begging for instant criticisms! And I have a term paper to avoid writing.

Ugh, I forgot how horrid a lot of this was!

Fanny's hair is sloppy, short, and childish. The other girls have very modern updos with weird sloppy "tendrils" which look like some sort of bug spirals. Miss Crawford is immodest in a way not period correct, she is more like a nightwalker, not flirting but trying to seduce. Edmund though blind would never fall to someone so bold. I think she is more like a worse version of Cynthia rather than the strumpet she is in this movie. She knows better. Henry looks like a clown. Tom's hair is sloppy too but not near as bad. I don't think the dresses are period correct either the waistlines aren't high enough (too early, I suppose to make them look backwards next to Miss Crawford?) .

Maria is so obvious in the beginning!

The girls are bold not flirtatious. The whole tone of the movie is entirely too modern. The attitude the way the scenes are done the sort of sarcastic feeling. Modern people masquerading in period clothes. I know the other Mansfield Park is much, much worse.

Does anyone else find it fascinating that Henry did really love Fanny in his selfish-Willoughby like manner? I think he was the worse villain, but still Fanny attracts him.

Tom is so roguishly handsome.

The music is so silly and than makes it all ridiculous. And the kiss? People, married couples didn't kiss in public. Maria was engaged, Just wow all wrong.

And the quoting of those scandalous lines. I think that even the book Tom would have been more offended at his sisters expense. And I don't think the book Rushworth would've done that anyway. They don't understand other time periods very well.

I assume that putting on plays was considered inappropriate because of the roles in plays and because of the lives of actresses. It tarnished a lady's name to be associated with it.

They overplay the distinction between Julia and Maria.

And I KNOW that Edmund would never kiss Miss Crawford in such a situation.

Did Fanny really bring up slavery. Aren't the heroines such "forward minded people"

What is with Maria's wedding day outfit and hair?!

And I don't think that Miss Crawford was so bold about her intentions in her speech to Edmund?

The movie is too fast. All these people look bolder for their acquaintance is shorter. There are ways to make time past with seasons, hello!

Oh, William, so handsome and so sweet. Again, though Fanny isn't a child. And she was quiet and meek and I think easily fatigued.

Haha, the film in which I first learn the British pronounce lieutenant as "left-tenant."

Oh, yeah, and People didn't run around house in front of the family and boy cousins don't go in girl cousins bedrooms . . . they married cousins then so super no no.

Okay the game. I am sure childrens played games like this, but this just another sensual thing for this overtly sensual movie. Sheesh.

"Well I should have known you Miss Price." Yeah, is a rake and is being one, but Edmund totally deserved the criticism . . . which he probably didn't feel.

Hah, Henry's disappointed face when she didn't grab him after he totally put himself to be grabbed.

Henry is in his shirt sleeves. I do believe that state was considered undressed and probably so even later than the regency or at least very casual as it is pointed out in books.

I saw this movie before the Emma (which was made later), and I really think the actor for Edmund/Mr. Elton plays a much more natural Edmund than Mr. E even though it could seem to be based on first seen bias. He seemed to try a bit too hard as Mr. E although he was funny.

Henry Crawford flirted with the other girls, but proposed to Fanny. Good girls win.

I don't think Fanny would let him near nor would he have touched her so, bad as he was, he had honorable intentions toward her.

Henry proposed to Fanny twice (of course the second time was when she was left alone at the house in the movie, erm). I am sorry, but guys have got to grow some guts these days. If that rake can try so hard to tie himself to matrimony.  . . I think to that he was going to continue on with trying for Fanny but the Maria affair proved too great a temptation, at least that is the impression I received from the book long ago.

I don't think she would have permitted the constant hand holding, kissing, massaging. The fact that Mr. Knightly seemed about to kiss Emma's hand (and they had know each other all her life) was made much of in  the book since he had never done it before (and didn't actually end up kissing her hand). So it was a big deal.

And she wouldn't have let him get near her enough to try to kiss. I don't think the movie showed that he did care for her. It made it seem that it was all about his ego, but it wasn't.

Okay, and the illness, another gratuitous sensual scene along with gratuitous ick!

Here my computer crashed, so I took up finishing it on my phone yesterday. So I will scramble a few more thoughts (most of these written are ones I have thought before about the film).

Edmund's repulse of Miss Crawford doesn't really make total sense because the movie in so sensual it doesn't portray the period morals clearly, so it just looks weird that he suddenly has a conscience despite the fact that he fell in love with someone who dressed as she did and pulled up her skirt. He just seems wishy-washy.

Seriously the bedroom stuff. She is in her nightgown. Dude really. Again, you cannot portray period morals believable when everyone is acting like this.

Oh, and was their new dance the waltz? During the regency in England is wasn't danced while it was in the more scandalous France. (Another mistake in one of the Emma movies; I read that they danced country dances to waltz music, and this is what the waltz in the book referred to).

I do enjoy this story. It is easy to pretend they aren't cousins (not so easy in Rose in Bloom). And I do love the end of this movie (although what is it with running scenes and terribly unrealistic timing? Fanny hadn't been gone long enough for her to have gone very far even if Edmund had gotten the scissors which I am pretty sure he didn't). I know Mrs. Bertram wasn't as aware of the world in the book, but I am glad they made her a bit smarter if only for the adorable scene between the two at the end and the way she connives at ridiculous besotted Edmund. I am glad Fanny teased him. I don't think she was quite the Fanny of the book though, especially not in that.

I am off to rewatch the end on my computer this time. I have had papers to write, and I have my longest yet plus another small one and then a final next week. After that I can be better, and more grammatical, with my posts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nicholas Nickleby

I laughed out loud several times.

I read somewhere how someone thought Nicholas was boring, I didn't think so, but at the end I got annoyed with him about the whole "honor" issue with himself and Madeline and then also Frank and Kate. The description of the maiden lady and bachelor brother is ridiculous. I get something of his problem, but he should have known the brothers Cheeryble better than that, and I am sorry, even if it is the 19th century I am sure he didn't have to be quite so extreme . . . but that is Nicholas for you.

I had watched one of the film versions (2002) a couple year ago, and for some reason expected Smike to feature a bit more, I guess when you see him more it feels that way. He was always there in the book but not mentioned as doing anything. Why did it seem as if he lost his lameness?

I like that the book followed all the several interesting plot lines and mini plots. I could feel a bit more in this book how Dickens dragged out the story for the serial, but I think all this back and forth helped keep my attention. I either read or heard something about Dickens and personal stuff in Nicholas Nickleby, and so I noticed a lot of the references to writers' trials, like the one part when Nicholas gets into an argument with a stranger . . . which seemed totally out of character. He got angry about his family but didn't pick petty fights.

You know how I mentioned in my Great Expectations review how I didn't like the stupid good characters? Yeah, I didn't like Mrs. Nickleby at. all. She needed a good smack. I found it a bit ridiculous how Nicholas defended her, I mean I know he should and would, but it was soooo ironic. She was the stupider version of Mrs. Dashwood whom I also do not like.

I was surprised at the depth of Ralph's hostility and evilness. I guess the movie didn't give a strong enough impression, or I just didn't pay attention to that aspect. He want Nicholas dead, he said he would kill him if he could and let him be eaten by dogs, and he said this not as a figure of speech, but in all truth. I knew he wasn't nice, but I guess I expected him to soften although I realized the ending and it seemed familiar. I think I am just used to crotchety old men who soften up rather than truly hardened characters. But his nephew!

I cannot wait to pick up the film/television adaptations of this book and Great Expectations from the library.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great Expectations

So, um. I read to about the middle of this novel years ago (as in possibly like six; I am ancient, I could read at this level six years ago?!). I put it down because it was my sister's copy, and I was mad at her (that was the reason, I kid you not). I might add that this occurred during the period when I skipped through books before reading them and often consequently instead of reading them; I am a bit (notice the emphasis) better about that now.

I took this novel up again last summer, and I think got half-wayish again. I picked it up in the last month or so and got myself hooked. I really enjoyed it. I may or may not have been imagining Pip and Herbert as they appeared in the newest film/television rendition (I cannot WAIT to see it although I will make myself watch some older versions first, or not).

Oh, Pip. Oh, Herbert.

The patheticness of convict and his story :( (yes, I am using emoticons to describe Dickins, get over it).
Pip's softening towards him. Excellent.

Wemmick, and the Aged. And Walworth sentiments. That needs to be a code phrase, "will you give me your Walworth sentiments at a later period?"

Herbert's perfect, total, self-sacrificing friendship. What he did for his fool of a foppish friend (let us be real about Mr. Spend-money-and-do-nothing)!

I am not the biggest Joe fan (he is the stupidest character, and I cannot abide stupidity when cloaked in goodness). Stupidity ranking starting with the lowest I.Q.: Joe, Orlick, Drummle and the convict.

The Drummle fireside showdown. Hysterical. The Pumblechook saga. Real. I love how even though Dickens is Victorian; his characters don't have to be "above all that"; they can be petty and nice all the same.

I hate Estella. I hate that Pip does not give her up. I prefer the original ending, naturally.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Button Down Challenge Day 3

I was reading the post of one of the other ladies participating in the challenge, and she mentioned calling the tops button-ups. I thought, "Oh, I have been titling all my posts that; is the challenge really button-down?Yikes!" Then I looked at my posts; I had typed button-downs for both even though I usually call them button-ups too, I think.

I usually wear my tops tucked in (even sweaters often), but I thought leaving the blouse out and belting it would work better both because it is new to me and because the bunching if I tucked it in would bother me today. Oh, and I made the skirt a couple years ago. It is about 3 times my waist and knife-pleated and then attached to a very poorly made waistband (I wear belts over it at least sometimes). I like all the colors I can pick up from the pattern, and the skirt also goes with other colors not in the pattern.

I decided that this is my Beauty and the Beast necklace! I got it at a antique/thrift modge podge sort of store for $1 (!!!)

No more alterations for this outfit, but I finished altering two of my hand-me-down skirts for my sister, sewed on a new skirt for myself, and worked a bit on another alteration for myself.

I finished Under the Lilacs. I forgot to mention a couple other random thoughts on Wednesday. The Dickens allusion that I recognized on like page 4 made me quite happy. Yay! "I get that reference!" I thought the name "Thorny" semi-interesting . . . and then after I few pages I read his full time of "Thornton." Yes, I love it! Oh, and then later on in the story Miss Celia reads from Maria Edgeworth to the children. I love literary references in literature!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Button Down Challenge Day 2

This is my favorite one of my three outfits (I had to plan them out to make sure I could do the challenge nicely or perhaps even at all). The dress (yes, I did another top-over-dress styling :P) I bought from a discount designer store for somewhere around $15 (I think), but the original price was probably $100-$200. The store carries discounted designer goods (including Prada, I call it the snobby store), and I bought this for 90% off, so yeah. I think the brand is Baraschi which I have never heard of before.

So brand shoes from Kohls. I also have these in shimmery blue and silver (but the silver are a bit too small), and I want the green ones too (and I wish they had them in purple too); they are kind of like Easter egg shoes, or just plain Easter shoes, but I prefer the former description. Kohl's had them on sale plus I had  30% off, so they cost about $12.60.

On the same Kohl's trip during which I bought the shoes, I bought mini Eiffel tower earrings ($5.60 with all the discounts), aren't they darling?!

Okay, the dress is my second alteration which I mentioned. I let down the hem and added a couple inches of silk to lengthen it a bit.


Again, I am not very good with taking photos of the whole process . . .

Done. Nice hem crease :P 

Um, the dress isn't too tight or too short standing up, but it is both when I bend over and sit down. I guess I will have to bring an extra cardigan to church or wherever I am going to drape over my legs when sitting (I have done that a couple times before) . . . and never bend. I have nowhere to go today, so it is fine now.
Do you like that detail in the corner there? I need to have a week long series entitled "The Hunger Games Hypocrite."

I didn't end up wearing this outfit for more than 3-4 hours, it is definitely a Sunday outfit since it is so uncomfortable, and the shoes probably didn't lasts a few minutes as I was running so late I didn't go to school since I only had one class and 2/3 of my time is driving and walking.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Button Down Challenge Day 1

I wore my button down (the brand is The Limited, and I either bought it from Goodwill or thrifted it) over a dress bought from Dress Barn. I don't find the oxford style of collar flattering, so I altered the blouse.

I am not very good about taking a photo before I start taking apart stuff, so I just have one before I cut out the neckline but without the collar.

I used that cake stand to cut out the neckline.

No, it is not very neatly done on the inside, but perhaps with practice I will get to the point when I sew the inside nicely too. I do need to put a clear snap on the top, and fix the sleeves. I took out the pleats at the shoulder seams and did gathers in the hope that the sleeves wouldn't be as full, but they look worse. I am not going to touch this until after the challenge though, so I will not get frustrated in the attempt and be unable to complete the challenge.

Please forgive the pathetic quality photos; photography is another skill I have yet to learn.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Random, Button Down Top Challenge

I am reading Under the Lilacs. What homespun, home grown strawberry sweetness. I loved the part about the imperturbable one; it reminded me of Demi in his marplot (what a delightful word) stage. I decided I want a "Demi" (maybe I could make it short for Daniel?), yes I know my son would want to kill me for it later. I also want a "Tommy" since they seem so scrumptiously mischievous.

I want to participate in the Button Down Top Challenge. Button downs that are silk and preferably ruffly I wear on Sunday's, but I don't like regular ones much. I have bought some from thrift stores to alter, so if I finish two alteration projects today I can participate :P

Hours later: I finished the top enough to wear, and I can do the other alteration project tomorrow or Friday. Now I have to be able to take photos.