Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wedding Prep Frivolousness



Mom liked the earrings the heroine in Hallmark's Crown for Christmas wore to the ball, so I made her some (with Swarovski crystals) for Christmas and gave them to her early, so she could wear a pair (she chose the blue) in the wedding.




I bought make-up, hair tools, jewelry, a backless and strapless bra (basically a sticker bra), and Jamberry wraps for the wedding. I ended up not having to use my back-up hair plan (French twister), wearing different earrings, and running out of time for the wraps. I just had my sister paint my nails when we arrived, but the polish quickly flaked off. I doubt my hands were visible and the color was sheer and neutral.


I woke up at 5:30 in order to have enough time to slowly fix my hair without rushing and stressing. I wasn't even sure I could fix it properly; I had only had a few slip-shod practice attempts. But I managed. I thought it looked well although that could have been because my previous "attempts" were so dreadful. My make-up was simple and relatively quick. And even though Mom rushed me at the end, we still arrived (from an hour and a half away) before everyone else (the local people). 

I thought I looked nice, but I would redo two things: 1) I needed a gloss/frizz spray and 2) I would have used nicer nail polish, but those are details that really just irritated me and did not affect anything else. Oh, and I would have brought some activity.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Mini Book Review Collection 3

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek
My grandmother clipped an article about this book, the author, and the inspiration book years ago, and I finally ordered the book from the library. I wanted the inspiration book too, but our library does not have it (I guess I could have suggested a purchase; all of my other suggestions worked). I found Maya's project interesting, and I could personally relate with the fashion side. But whole Border-landia culture intrigued me also even though that is not a main point. There are some few objectionable issues.



The Black Moth
Well, I warmed to this story faster than the first one Heyer novel I read. This one had more romance, the other more humor. Again, nothing superb other than the fun and . . . the romance. Scarlet Pimpernel-esque. I did seriously enjoy the romance, especially the epic honor vs. wooing, Jack vs. Diana battle.



Jip: His Story
Gorgeous writing. Sensitive, delicate, exquisite. Another brilliant description of a difficult subject. Jip is so precious; this will shred your heartstrings. This is possible better written than Bridge to Terabithia or is at least up there with it above Jacob Have I Loved and Lyddie. I love Paterson's writing style.



Dear Mr. Knightley
I usually scorn, deride, and snub books that try to retell classic novels. I cannot stomach arrogant, talent-less authors leaching off of classic authors or worse finishing said authors manuscripts (!!!). How arrogant can you get? I read Austenland (not well-written or clever or good) and considered trying Lost in Austen because those did not seem to be retellings precisely. Anyway. I saw this mentioned twice, once on a blog from which I have found several books which I like.

I am glad I read it; it is no silly knock-off. The author is by no means brilliant but compared to Austenland, this book is fairly decently written. I would like to try the other novels.

Here is my (somewhat) equivocal Goodreads review: Maybe 3.5. This is not what it appears. It is not really an Austen modernization. There is a lot of Austen quoting, but this story is definitely its own. It was fun, not in anyway superb, but definitely tolerably written for a modern, grown-up novel . . . of course my only major adult fiction experience has been with horrifyingly bad Christian fiction so . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mini Book Review Collection 2


Pat of Silverbush
Can I gush again about how beautiful these new L. M. Montgomery book covers are. Covers are SO important.


Mistress Pat
One of my little sisters thought these were boring, but I think books that have wonderful descriptions (you know the kind, they do not feel like descriptions, but you just *know* how things are in the book) are far better written than those that rely almost entirely on action and melodrama (e.g. Georgette Heyer novels). The L. M. Montgomery books are like that. Sweetness, humor, personality, intensity, sensibility. Unfortunately (ruining my positivity), Montgomery rather fails to develop the main male well . . . so many of the other male characters have more personality (e.g. Perry and Davy). Jingle, I feel is a bit better developed than Gilbert* (at least perhaps until he becomes know as "the doctor") or Teddy. Barney is an exception to the pathetically undeveloped rule.
*The Gilbert in the movie is somewhat stolen from Laurie from Little Women (I am not kidding, it is not funny; Anne of Avonlea movie literally plagiarized from the Little Women novel; I am going to do a post on the Anne movies and that issue someday).




A Pocket Full of Murder
Sweet and fun. And oh, Quiz is darling. Interesting although simplistic concept. Feels rather more juvenile than the author's other works (still hoping for a third installment to Swift someday, btw), but I am looking forward to the rest of the Uncommon Magic series.



Cry, the Beloved Country
Picked for my 2015 challenge. I thought it would be dense, but I thought it easier to read but in no way light or shallow. I found the writing moving and elegant. Definitely recommend for moving out of our safe British/US fiction zone without moving into anything unnecessarily disturbing. Brilliantly written, especially in light of the difficult subjects.





Friday, December 25, 2015

Chrismas Eve


This red dress (more blue red in reality) was part of my Christmas present. Mom gave it to me early, thinking I might want to wear it to the rehearsal dinner, but I wore it to Christmas Eve instead. I received the zebra gloves during the $5 gift exchange, and I hand-knitted and gave the purple cowl as my five (really $6-ish) gift. In the adult gift exchange I received the necklace. I drew my sister's name and kept it (so much easier plus I already had a gift). My parents won the men and women's $1 stockings.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter Fashion: Cape Coat

I am trying to build (slowly) a satisfying AND sensible winter wardrobe. I made a major step before the season got to terribly cold (yay me . . . I sound like London Tipton :P).

I knew I needed a wool coat (sensible) in grey (fashionable), so I searched on ebay and found a cape coat. I had kind of wanted one for awhile, and the price was right, so I bought it.

I wore it a few times before realizing it needed a trip to the dry cleaners. Now it is fresh and crisp, but I still want to touch it up just a bit with new, sterling silver or pewter buttons at some point soon.



I think one of my red hats would look well (perhaps) with it; now if only I could get over this hat shyness. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hallmark Holiday Movies

So, we started rating our Hallmark movies favorites (probably kind of started because we rate the guys :/). I decide I wanted to rate them myself. So I put them in an Excel chart like a dork.

Also, some horrible ones thrown in for comparison, and to vent outrage. And, some of these are not Christmas or even holiday, but they fit in with the holiday spirit. When I update, I will probably only include more favorites.

Movie Rating
The Christmas Card 9
Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade 9
A Season for Miracles 8
Window Wonderland 8
Half My Heart 8
Love by the Book 8
Hitched for the Holidays 7.5
Let it Snow 7.5
The Best Christmas Party Ever 7
The Thanksgiving House 7
Fir Crazy 7
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 7
The Nine Lives of Christmas 7
Call Me Mrs. Miracle 6.75
Naughty or Nice 6.5
The Three Gifts 6.5
Christmas Under Wraps 6.5
Snow Bride 6.5
Tis the Season for Love 6
A Bride for Christmas 6
Matchmaker Santa 6
Trading Christmas 6
Royal Christmas 5
A Princess for Christmas 0
One Starry Christmas 0

Thursday, December 3, 2015

L. M. Montgomery Week and Tag

I love the L.M. Montgomery books and it is nice to find a party that is not Jane Austen themed for a change.

Here is the link to the tag.

How did you first discover LMM’s books?

When we were little some friends who loved the movies (although if we watched it with them it was when we were much older and after reading the books) gave us 2-5 and 7 of the Anne of Green Gables books. So I actually knew Anne Shirley first from Anne of Avonlea (the BOOK; the movie, which I despise is more based, loosely, on Anne of Windy Poplars  . . . and Little Women  . . . but that is another story for another day).

What’s your favorite LMM book? 

What?!!!

What’s your least favorite LMM book?

I didn't like, sometimes disliked the stories/tone in Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Who is your favorite character in allllll of LMM’s works?

That is hard to choose. I usually like the main characters and their leading men. I also like funny characters like Davy (you know the movies are bad because there is no Davy) and Ilse and Philippa and Miss Cornelia and Perry and etc.

What couple is your favorite?

Valancy and Barney.

What is your favorite quote from LMM (either a quote from one of her books, or from her personal life)?

I do not know about favorite, but I can relate to this one actually I say that I come off of a book high, you know after you have to read like addicted? Goodreads says this is an L. M. Montgomery quote, and I am too lazy to verify: 


“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” 

How many LMM books have you read?

The 8 Anne books, 3 Emily books, 2 Pat books, The Blue Castle, Kilmeny of the Orchard, Chronicles of Avonlea, Further Chronicles of Avonlea, Story Girl, and allegedly The Road to Yesterday (according to Goodreads although I have no recollection of reading it, perhaps I meant to put it on the to-be-read list?). So 18 or 19.

Which LMM book would you most like to see made into a movie?

You know only British people can do British period dramas well. Canadians and Americans butcher their own stories, so I am not sure I would look forward to a movie. I want a remake of the Anne movie and then films of the Pat books.

Have you found a kindred spirit?

Well, my family (they are kindred spirits themselves anyway) has for all of us collectively.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Baby Sweater

As usual I did not meet my deadline (the baby shower) although  I was close (and I did gift it before the baby was born). I completed the knitting, but the sweater was still quite wet on the blocking board. I embroidered fabric and made covered buttons.

Per usual, I took a while finding a yarn and pattern to suit me. I ended up modifying this pattern by using different edging and motif. I love the way it looks except for the stockinette edge; I should have modified that part better.

This was my first raglan sleeve sweater and my second baby sweater.



Friday, November 27, 2015

Mini Book Review Collection 1

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Here is my rambling, incoherent Goodreads review: Hmm. I think the historical fiction aspect well-written; I mean it could conceivably have been written at least in Dickens' time if not perhaps in the actual time. The fairy and later magic felt authentic/similar to other fairy fiction and what little study I have done of Celtic mythology/fairytales. But I disliked the earlier Black Magic, as differing from fairy and mythology type actions which is disturbing in a distinct, violent way. I also felt that for the slower, calmer pace at the beginning and the overall, the end was discordantly fast and dramatic. I understand the change in part to go with the story, but it was too much, too fast for good artistry. I also felt that many complexities in many characters were hinted at but not developed/delivered. Also, I disliked the ending. It was too weak to cause hate but rather contempt. I enjoyed it while I read it until the end. I think 2.5 perhaps. Not worth a reread, I do not think, just perhaps a skimming.



Half-Magic
Cute, but more notable to me because the author's mention prodded me to try add some E. Nesbit books to my library stack.



The Red House Mystery
Not brilliant but fun and less ridiculous than Christie. I must have a thing for grey-eyed, 30-something, fastidious upper-class detectives. I picked this from this list of mysteries.



A Long Walk to Water
A tough subject, and new to me so enlightening. Overly simplistic and not artistically managed. Picked for my best-seller book on my 2015 book challenge.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarn Along


I am knitting the Moonrise shawl as a selfish interlude between baby knitting projects. I also have a Christmas project in the works. I am trying Never Let Me Go; I am not sure if I will stick with it or not, I just burned myself on a book. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Touch of Elegance

I bought a little something I had been eyeing for a while in this store (I wanted to buy tons more jewelry, but I was good, at least temporarily) to wear in my hair for my brother's wedding.

Again, my horrid photography does not do the subject justice. Here is the store photo. Also, the hairpins came in such darling little bags.



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vogue Knitting

I remember years ago picking up a Vogue Knitting Magazine and seeing two lace items which I adored (this was when I only dreamed of knitting lace). I finally tracked down the issue and ordered it and a few others (one can see some of the patterns in each issue on Ravelry to determine if one wants them . . . ). There were even more patterns that I liked than I expected. YES!

I normally am not super thrilled with knitting magazines and even a lot of pattern books, but Vogue Knitting has intermediate to advanced patterns with unique styles rather than the majorly simplistic styles in some of the magazines. Put "Vogue" in the name and voilà, professionalism . . . Vogue sewing patterns are the best modern patterns in U.S (please, someone make ALL Marfy patterns more easily available to us in the U.S.!).


Fall 2012, Fall 2010 (the one with the adored lace garments), and Early Fall 2012, respectively. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shawl and Kerchief

Forgive my photos. At least I am using my camera :/
I tell you, blocking is MAGIC. I love the way these look . . . and of course you cannot tell with my horrifying photos. I will finish my photography class and invest in more lenses at some point, I promise. Digital literacy, people, I have got to master this.




 The teal kerchief was so tiny, but I managed to block it to a more visible size. I want to buy enough yarn to knit the full-size pattern at some point because it is gorgeous and unique.


This is brighter in reality and glossy and sumptuous and lovely!!!!! Again, I love the pattern and will use again. I have so many shawl patterns that I want to try though!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Some Movies We Have Watched Over the Past Few Months

Okay, so the title is probably going to be longer than the post . . .

We watched the Disney animal animated Robin Hood which was cute for about 30" and then I was bored, especially because I kept thinking about the BBC's Robin Hood.

We rewatched The Emperor's New Groove for the first time (for me) in like a decade. Again, I did not find it uproariously funny. Kinda funny, but a little tedious also. I have started to label certain types of humor as funny-for-those-who-like-Princess-Bride. Like, most of the Studio C sketches; do not get me wrong, some are hilarious, but most fit the above category or the wow, this is gross/embarrassing categories.

We watched How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2. Cute, sweet, a teeny bit funny but sorry, missing the "awww" and "wow" and "dying of laughter here" factors for me.

We bought Cinderella the day it came out on DVD. That movie is precious.

The Legend of the Guardians. Um, how did I not know Chris Pine voiced Jack Frost until we watched it?! Pretty cute, a little funny but not awing. Still need to see a few more Disney/Pixar or similar type movies (Inside Out, Epic, Megamind, and perhaps Big Hero 6 and Brave). Some rewatches are in order too.

Wedding Daze. A really goof Hallmark movie with a hilarious dad. Gearing up for the Christmas season. I hope there is at least one gem this time around.

Avengers: Age of Ultron. I did not like the first Avengers movie. This one was FAR less tacky (while still majorly tacky) BUT blasphemous and mocking of Judeo-Christian worldview and wow, is Stark vulgar. Yeah, there were a few more suggestive/vulgar episodes. It was also kind of hilarious how they all pretended to care for civilians after all the "collateral" damage of the previous films because they all had to be in cities (I wonder if this "caring" was a reaction criticism of the other films). Also, it felt like they were (until the end) only selectively saving civilians. There is a reason why the Pentagon is not right in the center of D.C. I feel like the Captain America, Avengers, and Iron Man movies are far too melodramatic for their time frame. I am a Thor and Amazing Spider Man girl. They are sweeter with less vulgarity and tackiness while still containing humor.

The Phantom of the Opera. I loved Christine and Raoul's voices. But when the Phantom is horrible, the overall feel is rather pathetic. I watched this with my little sister and kept saying things like, "Wait until you hear the 25th anniversary version." The movie did have more from the book though like the visiting of the cemetary although I think they added in the fight between Raoul and the Phantom. Also, I feel like Christine was portrayed as being more "in love" with the Phantom than in either the book or theatre versions. There were other added details as well. Oh, yeah, and Ciarán Hinds starred in it as well.

Speaking of embarrassing celebrity "singers" some of my sisters and I started re-watching Les Misérables. We did not finish. I want to try a theatre version. but I do not think I will like it as much as The Phantom; I do not think that the musical is as good overall.

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Vague Autumn and Winter Fashion Plan

I am summer colored and I tend to like summery fabric and patterns and styles. I was not happy with my everyday Winter wardrobe last year and I have very little in the dressy category, so I want to try to improve my Autumn/Winter style.

I really need to realize that if I want the elegant style I have in my mind and the colors that flatter me, I am going to have to make quite a few of my clothes. I am also realizing overall that I really need to be more selective and careful shopping. Altering anything and everything is not reasonable, and much altering is not worth it to me; I prefer something original if I am going to spend a lot of time sewing. I have given away/gotten rid of so many clothes recently because they do not fit, are not my style, are not my color, etc.

I made a secret board on Pinterest. I also glued some items from magazines on cardstock for a mood/style board. But I have ideas in my head that I could not really find, so I also created some Polyvore boards.

I also have very little in the way of business outfits whether informal or formal, so I also need to work on that. Yeah, practicality. Oh, yeah. I need coats. I just have trench coats. I might want to try to make a coat or two.

I am not that into plaids, stripes, neutrals, and dark colors, so I want to find ways to make my colors and patterns work and yet not look summery. I have some ideas, but we will see if I can make them happen.



Monday, October 26, 2015

First Autumn Yarn Order.

Yarn is like candy, it is so scrumptious. I still have oodles left of the gorgeous stuff from last year, but I have made a few purchases this year.

I also finally bought blocking boards and (not enough) pins! I also invested in a set of interchangeable circular needles. I will have a few previously finished, newly blocked projects to post soon.

Anyway. I recently found this lovely yarn shop on Etsy from which I purchased the purple yarn. Everything else, including the blocking supplies, I purchased from Knitpicks.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Classics Club Update

I am going to be changing a few aspects of my Classics Club participation. I originally chose to participate in an effort to gain blog readers, but I doubt that I garnered many, if any this way. I have myself not found (or really even tried to find) any blogs this way.

I find the process of marking date read, reviewing, sending in the review, and linking the review to my posted list rather tedious. I already keep track of date read via Goodreads and blog readers can simply Google my reviews or look under my book labels. I also do not want to feel forced to write a review, particularly if I forget about it until months after reading the book,. All this to say, I am not going to follow Classic Club procedure for book reviews.

I altered my list a couple times in the beginning and I am going to alter it again. I stupidly put all of the Leatherstocking tales on the list without trying a single novel seriously. I found them indescribably tedious and would prefer not to waste any more time on them. I am sick of Greek and Roman mythology, and those stories have such hideous morals, and I just do not want to read The Iliad and The Odyssey. I am going to add some replacement titles beneath my list and remove the titles that I do not want. After I finish the list I will probably remove it as a tab and make it a post without links.

I still want to read my list within the stated time frame. I do love book lists, but I prefer to be able to add and amend them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Winter Accessories: Hats

I am not a hat person, but I have gradually started to collect hats. Here is my newest (and favorite) which I bought from this blogger.





I would like a wider brimmed wool hat, an indescribable hat something between a sailor and a pillbox, a wool beret, and maybe some velvet hats. Perhaps I could learn to make them, we shall see.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Autumn Epicureanism

I have been wanting to try chicken tetrazzini, and so one day when I had some chicken and the job of preparing supper I found a recipe and tried it. We rarely have wine on hand, but I scavenged a teeny tiny bottle from Brazil which Dad must have received as a gift or something on one of his trips. The bottle held just the right amount.

I followed this recipe except I did not want peas and could not find mushrooms. We also did not have fresh herbs, so I used the ratio of 1/3 dry to fresh conversion. I would like to try it with fresh herbs and mushrooms. But we still enjoyed it. We barely had any leftovers.

We have also been testing out recipes for the showers. I made these savory scones. I had to substitute a bit of onion for the 1/3 cup of chives or green onions. Hopefully for the shower we will have the original ingredients.

I am making petit fours for one of the showers, but many of the recipes called for almond paste and almond extract and we have a lot of nut allergies at church, so I tried a new pound cake recipe. I have previously made this pound cake (but used all butter and now shortening), so I will just have to choose between the two. Another time I would like to try the almond recipes since I love that flavoring.

Hopefully I will remember to get shower photos.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pickwick Papers

I had tried this novel before and this time around I took awhile to warm up to it, but then I enjoyed it greatly. Well, I enjoyed the Wellers immensely anyway.

The plot was intentionally mishmash, if you could even say that the book had a plot. The tone varied from the lightest type of humor to rather serious at times to more sophisticated humor and many blends of all these tones.

I could feel that this was Dickens' first novel; his deep characters could be a little stock and his caricatures a bit shallow. I suppose he had not gotten into his characterization stride yet. Mr. Pickwick himself was rather a sanctimonious, pompous prig who was often rather rude to poor Winkle. Winkle's cowardice and ineptitude could be funny at time but painful at other times. Mr. Snodgrass was my favorite of the quartet but received the smallest attention. Dickens rather abruptly dropped and picked up characters in this novel.

In the Wellers Dickens gets very near to his later greatness. "Samivel" "Veller" and his father were definitely both the most excellently created and developed characters and my favorite ones. Often I find lower class accents in Dickens' novels irritating (that could be because the characters are usually irritating people), but I enjoyed the Wellers' accents.

This novel is not superb compared to Dickens' later works, but for a young man in his mid-twenties it is a brilliant first novel. And there dies any mercy for all the so-called "writers" that are all over the home-schooled/ Christian fiction internet world.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall Sewing

I pulled out my autumn clothes at the end of August to look through them. I had hardly any dress clothes and no everyday bottoms that fit. I did however have a TON of sweaters. I just need more necklaces and scarves for those. I bought some brown fabric during a New Year's sale at Hancocks, so I made two skirts. I tried to make the plain (twill, I think) one look a bit nicer with edge and top-stitching since I simply followed a basic pattern. The other fabric was cheap, so I did not do much different except hand-stitch the hem. I had enough of the twill for a pencil skirt which is on hold since I need a zipper that matches decently.










Monday, September 21, 2015

What I have Been Reading

New Reads:
Steal Like an Artist
I probably should have included this in an earlier book post but forgot. The book should not be forgotten though. It is really simple and I do not agree with everything, but it is SO fun, interesting, and encouraging for people who like to create and are talented. 

Artemis Fowl
I had heard of this before but had no idea of anything other than the Irish setting (I picked it for "a book set in a foreign country" which since it barely reflected anything other than the stereotyped magic obsession probably is cheating but whatever). The plot starts slow but is mysterious and interesting but then the author sped up the pace and added in waaay too many undeveloped details for so small and simple a book. Artemis, the character, started out intriguing but again, greater promise than deliverance. All the other characters were rather dull with the exception of the dwarf who was unnecessary and unnecessarily disgusting. Overall the book was not well-written. I would like to try others but I do not know if I will finish them, we will see. I need to reevaluate my reading of nonsense.

Percy Jackson
I tried this book at least once before, and I know I skipped through it a little (but did not even find that interesting). I chose this for my "everyone has read but you" entry on one of my book challenges. I found the characters somewhat interesting but stock and rather, um, strikingly familiar. Ya, know, black-haired, green-eyed, über-specially talented preteen with a connection to lightning and a female best friend who is an obnoxious know-it-all. Oh wait, its a 2 males, 1 female bestie triumvirate! That sounds really familiar. Other than nervousness, Grover is not such a blatant copy-cat of Ron as the former two mentioned are of Harry and Hermione. Not well written in regards to character development/originality (obviously said in Snape voice), plot development, and description, yeah, basically everything . . . why am I reading these again? I think I will try more of the series anyway.

Re-reads:
Northanger Abbey
Ah, Henry. He did like Catherine more and sooner than the intensity (i.e. liking+pity) and time-frame (near the end) than I thought I remembered the book implying.

Catherine was not quite as silly as I had thought and the movie implied plus had a greater sense of right. But compared to my teenage sisters she is quite silly.

In the book Isabella was a fortune hunting, jilting, double-sided, manipulative flirt. Obviously not a nice person but the movie added immorality to all these characteristics which majorly changes both the character and the tone of the story. Likewise, Captain Tilney was a young-ish flirt in the book, not the middle-aged rake the movie portrays. Also the novels Catherine reads in the book are not as scandalous as the movie implies nor of the type of scandal the movie implies.

Henry is hilarious and is perfection.

I enjoyed the cozier tone (as opposed to the "formality"/distance of the other novels) of this novel this time.

"Is there a Henry in the world who could be insensible to such a declaration? Henry Tilney at least was not. " p. 70

"Catherine . . . enjoyed her usual happiness with Henry Tilney, listening with sparkling eyes to everything he said; and, in finding him irresistible, becoming so herself." page 103

"The formidable Henry soon followed her into the room, and the only difference in his behaviour to her, was that he paid her rather more attention than usual. Catherine had never wanted comfort more, and he looked as if he was aware of it." page 160






Saturday, September 19, 2015

Teatime

I had some coupons for a local tea parlor, so I took my grandmother for her birthday. The parlor is connected to an adorable shop and my grandmother bought me some tea items plus some cookie cutters to use for a wedding shower (we, church+family, have lots of gender reveal parties (I am not super crazy about this; our culture is too into selfish parties and more and more showers and gifts, but for our cousins I am excited) baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, and births starting from late September to January/February).



We had a sweet scone and a savory scone, zucchini muffins, corn souffle, turkey sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, benedictine sandwich, mini shish kebab of sorts, and a variety of cookies and cupcakes.


I just love polka dots.


I have the job of using these and making adorable cookies for one of the wedding showers.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Along

I caved and finally bought the Holden Shawl pattern. If I pay, I would prefer to pay for a more unique design (this stitch is not an original one), but I did not want to wait to get this class and figure it out myself. Oh, well.

I definitely want to try this with a lighter weight yarn and beading (a photo of such as shawl on Pinterest was my first introduction to this apparently widely popular pattern).


 I am using KnitPicks Diadem variegated; I bought it majorly on sale last fall since they were discontinuing the variegated. The color is darker and more red, but I did not feel like fooling with my camera anymore. One day I will finish that photography class. I saw some Tumblr posts on the tv/movie on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, so I decided I would read this. Not quite what I was expecting, but interesting.

I finished my little neckerchief, but as I still have not bought blocking boards, a photo will have to wait. I have another project, a scarf, on hold as I found this shawl much more interesting and speedy to knit. I have been looking for sweaters, dresses, and yarn; I will have to see if I can make such big projects work. I already frogged a skirt. I think I want to make up the pattern myself but do not know how to figure out gauge and stitches for cables. Oh, yeah. And I have several baby projects I need to make for which I am having trouble even simply deciding on patterns and yarn. And I only have two months for some of them.

I am linking up here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Few Unique Aspects of Style and Color Theory

I love what I have learned on Inside Out Style Blog. I am rather disappointed that she seems to have removed old posts with her updated site though, or maybe I am too techno-ignorant to find them. Here are some unique aspects of fashion and color theory, most of which I had never read about or heard mentioned before I learned about this site. The first two are quite interesting for me because I do not like neutrals, and yet I do not like wearing colors that are too far opposite on the color wheel. And now I know that I do not look good in these and why.

Color Contrast, how eye, hair, and skin color relate to each other in this post.

Value Contrast, the varying intensities in eye, skin, and hair color in this post.

Both together in this post.

Texture and sheen of fabrics and how it relates to the sheen of your skin and hair in this post. I have noticed that I do not look amazing in charmeuse :( and now I know why. FYI oily skin does not equal shiny skin and you also have to consider your hair texture.

Color Intensity in this post.

Comfort in this post.

Beyond the color seasons in this post. I have yet to search further in this one. I bought a summer swatch fan, but I really feel like I need to determine my colors rather than rely on the fan since I looked at some of the colors and noticed ones I knew would not work. Maybe I could get a more reliable set of colors to use via this theory.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Accessories: Scarves

This is my scarf collection minus one (a very important one: my first cashmere scarf). I have only in the last year seriously started my scarf collection and my winter selection is quite limited. I also would like to build my ethereal silk scarf collection. I am also hoping to find a real, white lace scarf.




When you find a clothing item (particularly an accessory that is your color and style (and for me material), you need to snatch it up instead of waiting until you have something to match. If you buy colors in a color determination theory that suit you, all your colors should go together and you will eventually have something with which to wear the piece. And buying items you need when you need them can be disastrous and wasteful (like waaay to large to be easily altered, in a color or style you do not love, and etc.).




When  I worked at Clothes Mentor one of the stores had a scarf tying sheet pinned to a bulletin board, and one style was this braided infinity style. I loved wearing my scarves this way last winter. I also liked tying the ends together to make a regular scarf into an infinity scarf. A customer also showed me a way to make a scarf into a wrap which she said a waitress had showed her; it involved folding it and tying ends together. I think the scarf may have to be a certain shape. I will have to research that. I need to experiment more with styles. I want to build a pin/brooch collection and also get jewelry pieces to turn a regular scarf into a scarf necklace like this. I have collected several tutorials and scarf style lists on Pinterest.





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Whimsey Collective Mini Mini-Review

Just read them.

I read them.* I loved him them. I refused to read the sacrilegious last "book."

*I still have a few I need to order through interlibrary loan, but I think those might be mostly collections.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Scarlet Pimpernel Tag

Join in the fun here

1. The obvious question... how'd you get introduced to the Scarlet Pimpernel?
I think I first read it for a church book club. My sister had Dad order ALL the books (quite an assortment of covers and conditions) all of which she read; I was not that thorough.

2.  If you could meet any of the characters in real life, who would you choose and why? (you can use the obvious answer of Sir Percy if you really want to, but this is your chance to get creative. ;))
Besides Sir Percy, Armand (from The Scarlet Pimpernel; he changes age and personality from that book to become a total sap in El Dorado). And after Armand, Tony also from the first book (he too also changes from interesting to sappy between books).

3.  What are your top 3 favorite quotes from the books or movies? (yes, just three)
1980's Movie
Sir Percy: "My dear chap, I never would have dreamt of depriving you of your moment of triumph. Alas, a moment was all I could spare."

Countess de Tournay: "God bless the Scarlet Pimpernel, whoever he may be. Surely he must be an angel in disguise." 
Sir Percy: "Amen." Okay, so I think this for Percy, tone, and facial expression.

Sir Percy: "They seek him here. They seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he in Heaven? Or is he in Hell? That damned, elusive, pimpernel." Again, the beauty of the thing is Percy's ridiculousness.


4. Who is your favorite supporting character in the books? (Percy and Marguerite are ineligible)
I am going to cheat and use the movie character of Tony.

5. Which film versions have you seen and which do you like best?
1934 and the 1980s one. The 80's one of course. I feel vaguely as if I might have seen another with a Percy who was not really. I think it was another older one; I am pretty sure that I have not seen the 90's one . . . I think.

6. What's your top-absolute-favorite scene in the first book? (if you've read it-- if not, what's your favorite scene in whichever movie you prefer?)
I have not read the books in years, so I will use the movie. Um, anything with Percy being goofy. But I love the end scene when Percy reappears from "the dead" and taunts Chauvlin.

7. If you could dream-cast a new adaptation of the book (a period piece, that is) who would you choose to play the roles of Sir Percy, Marguerite and Chauvelin?
Tom Hiddleston, the girl from The 100 Foot Journey, and Jason Isaacs (if he can do a good French accent.

8. Do you think the Scarlet Pimpernel does his rescue work purely for "the love of sport," as the narrative would tell us (and as he would often claim) or does he have more noble motives that he won't admit?  Explain your answer.  Show your work.
Of course not. He works far too hard, and he choose to keep his anonymity rather than fame. And I am sure I could come up with more reasons when I (hopefully soon) reread the book (I think it is on my rereads list).

9.  Second to Chauvelin, who is the worst villain in the book series, and why?
I do not remember others, sorry.

10.  What's your favorite novel in the series (if you've read more than one)?  If not, which one are you most excited to read?
El Dorado (I have not read them all; my sister loves the prequels which are on my to-read list). I like increasing in this order (and recommend first-timers read in said order, so that they build up to the best) The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Elusive Pimpernel, and El Dorado. FYI, the 1980's movie is a blend of The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado and is more like the latter, I think.

11.  If you could change one thing about your favorite version of the movie, what would it be?
I think Chauvelin is rather pathetic. He is not the clever, calm, superior villain of the book; he needs to be Percy's equal, so his defeat would be more glorious.

12.  Lastly... how would you convince a skeptical friend to read/watch TSP?  What is it that you love about it?
I do not know. My brother (Mr. Action, modernity, sports, scorning nerds, kind-of-jock, engineer geek) watched it and liked it and asks to watch it again. We count this towards his culture list.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My First Designer Purse

I have had a suede leather purse, but it was small and I am not a fan of suede. I have usually only had cheaply made but expensive man-made material purses. I want to make some purses, but I will have to buy materials.

Anyway. One of the Clothes Mentor stores had some of their designer purses 50% off a couple of weeks ago, and I bought this, for about $30. I LOVE it. I think it is so beautiful. And because designer purses are not always real leather (which is ridiculous considering their price), I double checked the tag inside to make sure it was real leather. Silver leather, how perfect.




It matches with most of my wardrobe (except some items that are not my season), and the size and style fit my figure well. I tried it on at a mirror with some other purses also; I had not really thought of doing that and how important that is until I noticed customers doing it and felt the weight of some of my other purses. This is a good first step in improving this category of accessory. Now for a nice wallet, nude/cocoa purse, and some cute small cross-body purses for travel and long shopping days.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bookish Tag

I love blog parties about books and period drama. Join this one here and be sure to read one of the interviews such as this one.

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
The last book I finished was The Pickwick Papers, and I recommend it if you like Dickens and British humor. I took awhile to warm up to it, but I really ended up enjoying it.
2. Describe the perfect reading spot.
Somewhere quiet and seclude where I can curl up comfortably and spine-wreckingly.
3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?
Whole milk.
4. Share favorite quotes from four books.
I have a quote book, but I only recently started, so I have many more loves in quotes. Also, my humorous to serious collection is a bit skewed.
" 'Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life.' " Henry IV, part I
" 'I feel," said Harriet, maliciously, 'as if we had just been married at St. George's, Hanover Square.' 
'No, you don't,' retorted Wimsey, 'If we had, you would be trembling like a fluttered partridge. Being married to me is a tremendous experienceyou've no idea.' " Have His Carcase
" 'It has been agreed,' said Mrs. Selwyn, looking around her with the utmost contempt, 'that no man ought to be connected with a woman whose understanding is superior to his own. Now I very mujch fear, that to accomodate all this good company, according to such a rule, would be utterly impracticable, unless we should chose subjects from Swift's hospital of idiots." Evelina
"It was one of the most exasperating attributes of Bounderby, that he not only sang his own praises but stimulated other men to sing them." Hard Times
5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?
Well, I am kind of on a Dickens binge right now. The Lunar Chronicles are my favorite Sci-fi although I also like Ultraviolet and Quicksilver (which are better written). I do not really care for dystopias and the series I think is most well-written I cannot recommend and the series I can recommend is HORRIFIC quality. I will stick with the status-quo The Hunger Games. Bleh. Set it contemporary times? I will go with a middle-grade, A Snicker of Magic for now. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so I am allowing myself to pick 3: The Faerie Rebels, The 100 Cupboards Trilogy, Harry Potter, and Narnia . . . oh, . . . wait.
6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.
Jane Austen, Shakespeare (do plays count?), R.J. Anderson.
7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?
I love it when it is well done and clearly differentiates between good and evil. I think the occult is a TYPE of magic and one which I do not approve of if it is treated as good.
8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.
Darling middle grade illustrated covers. Fantasy covers. The new L.M. Montgomery covers.
9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.
Mr. Pickwick . . . because I just read The Pickwick Papers and he was the main character . . . I thought he received too much focus; I would have preferred more on the others, my favorite, Mr. Snodgrass received the least attention.
10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?
My reaction is (internally at least) along the lines of, "Heard of the library?!" I always have tons of books from the library and only buy books I now I love.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Random Reads from Recent Months

Middle grade Fun

A Snicker of Magic
Precious and unique. Magic and Appalachia. Cute characters. What a title! And the title and cover together. I hope the author's newest book will be a sequel.

Under the Egg
Cute if you like art mysteries for kids. Not near as excellent a work as above book.

Boys of Blur
N.D. Wilson. Are any of his books not good? Again, a combination of new, modern setting plus some magic. Not fantasy, but legend in modern day. Hard to explain but fun and unique.

Y.A.

The Lunar Chronicles
I greatly enjoyed these books which were fairly clean (minus book 3.5 which I decided was not worth finishing for a couple of reasons) except for a few, rarely mentioned issues. Fairytale+futuristic concept is fun. Not brilliantly written but probably good for general run of Y.A. books. Thorne is hilarious but Kai and Cinder are my favorite couple. I think maybe Jacin and Winter will come in second. Wolf and Scarlet are a bit much. I cannot wait until the fourth book is published although I am a bit afraid of what the quality will be. I think three slipped, and I do not think that a resolution can be reasonably reached in one book and match the pace thus far.

The Princess Diaries
I read books 2-4 this time around. I did not think these were as fun as the first one (i.e. Michael's awesomeness is not as well-portrayed) and found them a bit tedious. I think I will read the rest but am not in much of a hurry. Oh, and these are not squeaky clean. 

Rereads

Dad read The Chronicles of Narnia to us twice, and then I  read a couple on my own. This spring and summer I read the series start to finish. I love those books every time. In approximate order of favorites The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Horse and His Boy, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Last Battle, and The Silver Chair and The Magician's Nephew. Prince Caspian had to grow on me; when Dad first started reading it when we were children I was so disappointed in the change and that imposter, the usurping Caspian! Yet, I enjoyed The Voyage of the Dawn Treader right away. This time I enjoyed The Last Battle more than before, but only a little more than my least favorites. Actually, maybe I should've included it with them. Incidentally, I just learned that high fantasy is fantasy in another world while fantasy fiction is ostensibly set in our world, interesting.

I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights for the first time in 8 years I think. I do think Jane Eyre is better written than Wuthering Heights (although I think with a better writing quality Wuthering Heights would be better), but I still find Jane Eyere and Mr. Rochester irritating. I think I enjoy the story in film version better. I bought the newest version, but I think since I have not watched it yet that I will still try to watch a few more earlier versions first. I find the situation with Wuthering Heights quite different. I found Wuthering Heights painful to watch (besides not clean and no warning of that fact) and did not finish it nor am I over eager to finish it soon.

I reread Beauty by Robin McKinley. I loved it as before. I still think I prefer the Cinderella story overall. You have to admit falling in love with a beast is at least a bit disturbing, but I love the setting and atmosphere of Beauty and the Beast. Forest, mystery, wonderful enchanted castle with a majestic library (Prince Derek's library is pretty great too, fyi), and beautiful gardens.

I started on rereading Northanger Abbey. I have watched the movie. I meant to reread and then watch the movie but that did not happen.