Friday, February 17, 2017


The longer you go without writing a blog post, the harder it is to write one, apparently! There has been knitting, and there have been things I want to talk about, but I always find an excuse. I haven't made enough progress on this project, the lighting is too bad for photos, I'm not really enjoying what I'm reading at the moment, etc. But two weeks without a post is too long, so please excuse the not-great photos and the rambling nature of this one. :)

I feel like I've been knitting the same projects since the beginning of the year. It's the same thing I did last year: after months of craft fair and Christmas knitting, I'm so excited to make something for myself that I go overboard and start too much, and then those projects linger for a little too long. I did finish my Marion cardigan, but I'm waiting for the buttons I ordered. I found those two vintage navy buttons in my stash and got obsessed with the thought of using them for the sweater. I'm usually not picky about buttons, but I really wanted these. I needed five and only had two, so I searched online until I found some on eBay. I'm waiting for them to arrive now, and hoping that they will be the correct size. Then I'll be able to get pictures of the finished sweater!

I'm still knitting on my Germinate shawl. I've enjoyed knitting this shawl, and I think I'll love the end result, but the lace sections make my brain hurt. They're not that difficult, but for some reason they don't feel intuitive at all and there are so many repeats, and repeats within repeats. I couldn't print the charts so I'm having to use the written instructions and it's mind-boggling. I can't listen to conversation or watch TV while working on it. Yesterday I knocked out several rows of the last section, until I made the same mistake twice and had to redo almost an entire row. (Frogging lace is not my favorite. After that I decided to put it aside for the rest of the day.) I'm hoping to finish it in the next few days.

(And in the midst of all that, I cast on a new pair of socks with some lovely yarn that Monica kindly sent me. I need some mindless knitting!)

I'm reading Cold Comfort Farm, a book that I've owned for a while, and I'm not enjoying it very much. It's supposed to be a hilarious parody, but I'm not really seeing that. It's such a short book that I would feel bad about not finishing it, so I'm trying to push through. I've also started reading more of the Sherlock Holmes stories, just one or two a week, and of course I'm enjoying those.

Kenny and I have started watching Doc Martin recently. It started with getting drawn into random episodes on PBS, but now we've started at the beginning, getting the series through Netflix. I'm a huge fan of British TV anyway, and even better if the story features a town full of kooky characters. :) I'd heard of the show before but wasn't really interested because I thought it was a medical show. But other than the main character being a doctor, there isn't much of that, and it's so funny!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What I Read: January

After being in a reading slump for most of December, I was glad to start off this year with a pretty good stack of books. Thanks to a long weekend being stuck in the house (due to a bad cold plus 8 inches of snow), I managed to get a lot of reading done! As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review.

Something New, by Lucy Knisley. I read one of this author's earlier books last year and was a little disappointed with it. But the whole idea of a graphic novel memoir intrigued me enough to try another of her books. This one is about the author and her fiancé planning their wedding. Overall I really enjoyed it. The illustration style was very cute, and my only real complaint was that the author comes across as a bit annoying at times.

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan. The second book in the Percy Jackson series, which I started back in November. This one was fun and enjoyable, but not as good as the first!

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Just like her first book, this one was light and quick, with some of the essays being funnier than others.

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The beginning was very promising, and there were some really lovely, creative, charming parts. But it felt tedious. I think I'm getting pickier about middle grade books, which makes me sad!

Unmentionable, by Therese Oneill. You know those things that you always wonder about in BBC period dramas, things that either don't seem historically accurate or are never even mentioned? This book promises to answer those questions, and I guess it does to a degree. But the interesting information is buried under too much sarcasm and too many jokes. So even though I found out some new information, this one wasn't what I expected.

Miss Jane, by Brad Watson. I picked up this book solely because of the cover and the title, because they reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. :) I really loved the first half, but things kept going downhill for most of the characters in the second half. The writing is really beautiful, and I felt compelled to keep reading throughout the entire book. But the story was sad and focused so much on loneliness that it was difficult to feel satisfied by the time it was over.

The Shepherd's Life, by James Rebanks. I've been wanting to read this one for a long time now! I enjoyed it a lot, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The author's attitude grated on my nerves a lot, and the book felt disjointed and choppy at times. But sometimes the writing and imagery was beautiful, and if you're at all interested in sheep, I feel like you'd enjoy this book.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Yarn Along

Reading: The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This is a middle grade novel about a young girl and her brother who leave their abusive mother to go stay in the English countryside during the Blitz. I'm enjoying it so far...there's a bit of a different twist to it than the usual evacuee story.

Knitting: My Marion cardigan. I needed a navy cropped cardigan to wear over dresses, so that's what I'm knitting. I'm almost through with the body, so it's finally starting to look like a sweater! :) Then I'll just have the sleeves and button band/neckband left.

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Rescuers Down Under {1990}

{Animated Disney Film #29 of 56}

Honestly, this movie is the reason why my Disney movie plans got derailed. I had it in my Netflix queue, but it became unavailable on there, and I couldn't find it anywhere. (I didn't want to pay for a copy because I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not.) I didn't know how I was going to watch it, and I didn't want to move on with the list until I did. Finally I found the movie on YouTube. (The version I watched cut off a couple of minutes before the end, so I had to find another upload to watch those last few minutes.)

The Rescuers Down Under is basically what it sounds like: a sequel to 1977's The Rescuers set in Australia. (That was fun, because I went through a stage as a young teenager when I was obsessed with Australia, thanks to the Newsboys.) The plots are even very similar: a child is kidnapped by a villain who wants to use them to find something they want. But being set in Australia, this one is much more of an adventure story.

Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor reprised their voice roles as the two main rescuers: Bernard and Bianca. The sound quality on the video I was watching was so bad that I didn't even recognize them as the same voices at first, ha. The distortion also made the kid sound like he was about 4 years old, so I had a hard time imagining him doing all of the adventurous things he does. (Apparently the boy who did the voice for Cody was Norwegian?) My favorite character was probably the albatross...just like in the first movie. :) Although they're technically different albatrosses, cousins or brothers or something.

The villain, an incredibly creepy poacher, is voiced by George C. Scott. I don't know what it is, but I usually find the villain in a somewhat realistic setting so much worse than those in fantastical stories. (I know the animals talk, but otherwise it's more realistic than a lot of other Disney movies.) It started off with the disturbing way he pulled Cody out of his trap, by having him grab hold of a gun barrel to climb out. But then it escalated quickly, with a kidnapping, and ended up with the kid dangling over crocodile infested waters. (What is it with crocodiles in these movies, by the way?)

There were no songs in this movie, and I was glad of that. I love good Disney songs, but honestly the songs were my least favorite part of the original Rescuers movie, so I didn't miss them at all here. They were originally planned but were felt to be out of place, and I'd agree. :)

The Rescuers Down Under marks a change in the way Disney movies were made: it was the first animated film where all of the final elements were assembled and completed digitally, using the CAPS process (which was Disney's first collaboration with Pixar!). This movie was actually the least successful, box office wise, of the "Disney renaissance" films. That's a big contrast to the original film, which was Disney's most successful film to date at the time it was released.

So overall, I enjoyed this movie, even though it's not a new favorite. It was exciting and held my interest, and there were some funny moments. But I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd been watching a better quality video!

Next up on the list is my absolute favorite Disney movie: Beauty and the Beast. I can't wait! :)

Do you like The Rescuers Down Under? Which do you prefer: the original one or this sequel?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Weaving: my first attempt.

Last year I picked out a small, basic lap loom for Christmas. (I got it from an Etsy shop, but it seems they're no longer in business.) I started practicing on it once last year, but then didn't pick it back up again. One of my resolutions in 2017 is to learn the basics of weaving, so with that fresh in my mind, I cut out what I'd started last year and made myself a wall hanging. :)

I used two tutorials to help me out: this one from Karen at Fringe Association and this one. I'm pretty comfortable with the actual weaving part now, I just need to work on making my edges more uniform. And the whole process of getting the piece off the loom stressed me out, because I wove so close to the bottom edge that when I cut the strands, there wasn't much to tie there. I think I've figured out something different to try next time to make that go a little more smoothly.

I keep a lot of my yarn scraps, especially handspun yarn. So I used some of my favorite scraps for this, and I tried to stick with a sort of brown/blue/hot pink color scheme. I didn't intend on making that middle section so wide, but it was handspun left from a skein I sold, and the color changes looked so pretty that I had to keep going. :)

So I don't think weaving is going to be my new thing, but it was fun to spend a few hours one afternoon working on this tacky little wall hanging! I'll probably make one every few months or so, and eventually it might be nice to have a few of them to sell at craft fairs, too.

{I didn't have a wooden dowel, but I do have a jar full of straight knitting needles that I don't use, and hey, it works! Also, my room is dark, especially the corner where this weaving is hanging, so that's why the pictures are of it hanging on a tree instead, ha.}