Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now see here!

Mickey Rooney cracks me up. The first time I ever saw "Babes in Arms," I just burst out laughing at him when he impersonates Clark Gable and Lionel Barrymore. I kept rewinding it to watch it again. :) You have to turn up the volume a lot to here this, but really watch the black and white sections (they're from the movie "Babes in Arms"). He's hilarious.

I've been invited to attend a big, local fall craft show event in October. So I've started getting sort of panicky about making lot of new items before then. This week I had a little extra time, so I made these (and a wallet just like this one):

Brown with pink polka dots cotton and pink/brown gingham, with dark brown zipper.

A set of five thick, reversible coasters. Inside each of them are two layers of recycled felt.

I've also been working on my dress form. It's a lot of fun, but it's also pretty nerve-wracking and experimental. I have pretty much finished with the padding, and now I'm working on the cover. Today I made the front, from the waist up. Here's a progress shot, with the darts pinned. Things are a lot less wrinkly now that they're sewn. And I've still got to figure out something with those wrinkles around the neck. :) I'm so excited about getting closer to finishing it! I mean, her.

I went a little crazy over the past week with some money that I made around the farm and from my sewing, and I ended up making a rather large Amazon order. I'm getting a lot of books...novels and some sewing books. I'll be sure to post about them when they get here. :)

Until next time,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

About three of my most favorite things: or, a celebration of randomness and summer.

Hello, lovely people. Today is my last day of summer break. Sigh. The month went by so quickly, and I didn't get to accomplish everything that I wanted to. I'm not complaining, though- it was a nice break. And my fall semester should be pretty easy. I've had so many ideas for posts lately, but we've been so busy with stuff around the farm this week (grape harvest in the vineyard=first sunburn I've had in years=first time my nose has ever peeled. Ew). So now, I will try to condense roughly 5 posts into a very long, rambling post about my life and things that have inspired me lately. Enjoy! :)

Books. Yesterday I found some great deals on books, at the local bargain store. Let me tell you about this place. A large chunk of our store is all books. A lot of the books are obscure and sort of strange, particularly the picture books, but usually you can find an amazing deal if you really look. The books are sort of all mixed up, vaguely organized into categories, on shelves and on huge piles on tables. I sift through these very carefully. In the middle of the aisles there is usually a huge table piled several feet high with books. On that table, I usually just look without touching, because I have images of being buried under an avalanche of Spanish picture books, unfamiliar chick lit, and fifty-pound coffee table books.

And...they blast oldies music in the store. Real oldies- I don't consider 70's and 80's oldies, like the local radio stations do. The other week it was Michael Buble, Frank Sintra, Rosemary Clooney, and Ella Fitzgerald, all in one store visit. I was reminded how much I love the song "You're the Top" (I ended up buying it on iTunes last night). And I fought the urge to dance around the children's section when they were playing Michael Buble singing "Sway." Swoon.
Here is what I found yesterday:

"Peculiar Treasures (paperback)," by Robin Jones Gunn: $3.99, "The Sweet By and By (nice hardback)," by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck: $3.99, and "Sew U: Home Stretch (hardback, spiralbound), by Wendy Mullin: $4.99

Okay, so I'm a little excited about the two novels. But I am majorly excited about "Sew U: Home Stretch." This is one of those Built by Wendy books, specifically about sewing knit fabrics. I am slightly terrified of knits and have been eyeing this book on Amazon forever, but couldn't deal with the price. So $5 sounds lovely. :) I almost passed out when I saw it sitting there.

I recently finished "100 Cupboards," by N.D. Wilson. I didn't like it very much, though I can't say why. I wanted to like it. I loved the cover and the general idea of it. I guess it was a little draggy and parts, and I kept waiting for a big adventure to happen (it never really did). And the writer's style reminds me of my own (which is not a good thing)...he's too wordy and tries too hard to help you form a mental picture, instead of trusting you to imagine it on your own. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel(s).

I'm currently reading "The Mysterious Benedict Society," by Trenton Lee Stewart, which I bought at the same time as "100 Cupboards." I love this one so far! It reminds me of Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket. It's surprisingly funny, with fascinating characters. I'm not quite halfway through, so I'll post more about it when I've finished.

I also just finished reading "Daring Chloe," by Laura Jensen Walker. I had already read the second book in the series ("Turning the Paige," both purchased at Ollie's) a while back and really liked it. This series combines two of my favorite things, and favorite things to read about: books and traveling. The books aren't anything miraculous or life changing, but they're cute stories. They make me want to go to Europe even this first book, the group goes to Paris; in the second one, a trip is made to Ireland. I love the fact that they revolve around a women's book club and include a lot of bookwormish characters and reading suggestions. I want to be in a book club. I am a major bookworm. Classmates always ask me how I have time to read in college, because I always carry a book with me in my bag. How could I not have time to read?

I love the way my bookcase looks, crammed full of books I love. I love sifting through books at a store and toting around a stack of them on my hip. I love the smell of a new paperback (or even textbook, for that matter). I love carrying around one with me so I can pull it out when I have a few minutes to wait. I love talking about books. I love writing about books. :) I love meeting new characters and getting new ideas.

Music. Some of my favorite songs lately have been: Dream a Little Dream of Me, by the Mamas and the Papas, You're the Top, by Ella Fitzgerald, and My Wish, by Rascal Flatts. And a new discovery...She & Him. Zooey Deschanel is so cute, and she has a nice voice, in a 60's kind of way. I'm usually not very fond of the 60's music style, but she makes me like it. I love these two songs from She & Him's album "Volume One": Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? (and love this video)and This Is Not a Test.

Movies. A few days ago, I watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound." That movie has a special place in my heart, because as far as I can remember, it was the first Hitchcock film I had ever seen. I checked it out from the library on whim a few years ago, mostly because of Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. It's a pretty creepy movie, and I love it.

Yesterday, I watched "Strike Up the Band." Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland are ridiculously adorable together. I love that they were the popular teen couple and hearttrobs in the 30's and 40's. How cute is Judy Garland?

Last week, I finished Mom's curtains for the living room. Hopefully I'll have pictures of them pretty soon. It took me slightly over all three Lord of the Rings movies to make them...I watched the films while I was cutting out, sewing, and pressing. :) It had probably been at least a year since I had watched them all the way through, and I forgot how much I liked them. I had also forgot how funny Gimli is and how pretty Arwen is and how much of a total wimp Frodo is (I'm sorry, but he wouldn't have made it a day without Sam, the real hero). Anyway, it inspired me to read the books again. Or at least attempt to. I've only read the entire series through once, and it took me well over a month. But I think when I finish my new books, I'll start the LOTR trilogy again.

Whew. Are you still here? :) Hope everyone's having a great week back to school and classes, or I hope that you will if you haven't started yet.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A coptic bound book.

I officially have a new crafty pursuit.

I know what you're thinking. But crafting is sort of an addiction. You start with one hobby, and things quickly progress as you always think these infamous words:
"I can make that myself."

I started out with sewing. Then I got involved in scrapbooking/paper crafts, then embroidery, and now...bookbinding.

This all came about when I realized that soon I would need a new journal. So I started looking around on Etsy, where there are some gorgeous handbound journals. But they're all very tiny and expensive...a smaller book for a higher price than I want to pay. So I said, "I can make that myself." I started looking around for instructions and pictures and tutorials. Once I find the perfect piece of leather, I'm going to make myself a new journal (my old one's not filled quite yet), something like this (only a little more rugged and natural looking-see that beautiful exposed stitching on the spine?). Seriously, how amazing is it that you can sew a book together without using any glue?

This is my new planner for school. I was going to buy one at Target, but it was $10. I made this one for less than $5, probably. The covers are cardboard recycled from the box that my sewing machine came in. They're covered in scrapbook paper, which was on sale for 25 cents a sheet. I had to buy the paper, which is cream cardstock, and the waxed thread used to bind it.

It's bound using the coptic stitch. I measured, marked, and poked the holes, using an awl my dad gave me (he used to do some leather and beadwork). Then I made it completely using this video tutorial. And I checked off another goal on my bucket list. :)

I messed up on one part and had to take out a lot of stitches and start over. The stitches are far from perfect, but it turned out pretty good for my first book. Here are the two that look the prettiest. :)

This is the first page. I used scraps from the cover, an old hymnal page, my flowery stamp, purple ink, and my alphabet stamp set to do my name (last name blocked).

I already filled in the dates from August 23rd (first day of school) to the end of January. I'll do the rest later. My pen was going bad and smearing everywhere.

Blank pages for more dates:

Back inside cover:

Back outer cover:

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Retro florals and life lessons.

I made myself a new bag today. :) I love it! It's from Simplicity 2396. Sorry for the bad lighting...we had a thunderstorm and there wasn't much sun coming through the window.

The bottom fabric is a bright, retro-looking floral. Here's a secret. When I picked it out, Mom didn't like it. And when she and Dad saw what I was matching it with (which really is a coordinating fabric, according to the colors and the info on the top of the bolt), they really didn't think that it matched well. But now that it's all together, they love it. I'm glad I decided to use the two different fabrics instead of doing it all the same fabric. The top part is a coordinating lattice design. The colors in the bag are beautiful, especially the dark blue, red, and green.

Inside is a coordinating white with black polka dots. I've actually become a little fond of the style of pockets I made for this bag (which is the same pattern as this just looks a little different when it's full of stuff), so I made a huge gathered pocket for mine, too. See how much junk can fit into that pocket?

I love it. It's bright and quirky and slightly obnoxious. It's also a lot smaller than the suitcase that I've been lugging around (the last bag I made for myself), but it holds all of my stuff.

Three Things I've Learned This Week

1. Don't get involved with sewing or sewing inspiration right before bedtime. My next project for myself will be a winter coat. The idea is terrifying and thrilling at the same time, and I've become quite obsessed with it. I've scoured the internet for info about fabrics and styles and colors, and now I know exactly what I want. I've bought the pattern and I am going to make a purple coat. Yes, purple, and most likely in corduroy. I have wanted a long, purple coat ever since I first saw "Penelope." I originally planned it in wool but have found that purple wool fabric is nearly impossible to find. So I think I'm going to go with corduroy, maybe interlined with something warm like fleece, and lined with a pretty cotton. I'm so excited. But for the past few nights, I've been on the web looking at pictures and fabric until I was exhausted. And then when I finally get in the bed, I can't sleep because I keep thinking about the coat or going fabric shopping or how many wallets I need to make before I go back to school. Sewing is a vicious cycle, people. You have no idea (well, some of you do :).

2. Sometimes it's nice to step out of my fashion comfort zone. Yesterday I came home from Payless with two new pairs of flats that were on sale: a red pair and a purple pair. This is not a normal occurence for me. But it's sort of exciting. :) And yes, I did get the purple pair with my new coat partially in mind.

3. No matter what hardships you go through (tumbling down hills, stepping in cow pies, getting caught in a rain/hailstorm), your hair will always look ridiculously adorable. If you're Amy Adams, that is. I watched "Leap Year" last night. I've been wanting to see it for a while because 1. It's set in Ireland, 2. It seemed to be a relatively clean chick flick (rated PG), 3. I liked Amy Adams in "Enchanted."

I have mixed feelings about it. I think I really wanted it to be amazing but sort of expected it not to be. It was cute, but lacking somehow. It was basically a remake of "It Happened One Night," lacking a lot of the spark, wit, and Clark Gable, of course (though the male lead was pretty cute). The scenery is beautiful; the music was good. There were some very sweet moments. Amy Adams is so cute that even during parts when her character isn't so likable, you still can't help but like her.

There was a little bit of language, some drinking (the guy owns a pub), and, with some characters, a flippant attitude towards living together before marriage. But these issues were all pretty minor. The movie, in general, was good enough that I'm considering buying it...although, I'm going to watch it again before it goes back to the rental store to decide whether I should get it or not.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A butterfly.

Hi, guys. Hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I've been busy lately trying to sew my mom some new curtains for the living room...but I unfortunately ran out of fabric before I could finish. And the store was also sold out (go figure), so I can't get more until Thursday. Mom's birthday is today, and I really wanted to have them finished before today, but it was impossible. I'm hoping to work on a bunch of stuff tomorrow and Tuesday, and I'll post what I make (including-hopefully-a new bag for myself!).

I finished reading Jane Austen's "Persuasion" again last night. I love that book! It seems to be one of the more overlooked of her novels, which is sad because it's such a sweet story. Seriously, how romantic is the plot? Two people who were separated but could never love anyone else because they were still in love with each other.

I just wanted to take a minute to post this. It's my second major embroidery project. My cousin's little girl is about to turn 3 on Thursday, and her birthday party was yesterday. She is all about butterflies right now. The other day, I was finishing my Alice embroidery, and Maya was watching me. I said, "Do you have any butterfly pictures in your room?" She said, "No. Will you make me one?" It was so sweet that I couldn't resist. So I made her this:

I found the picture on Google and printed it off, then traced it onto the fabric (with a pencil this time, at least). I'm sorry that the pictures are bad, but I was finishing it on the way to the party, so they were taken during the poorly lit, bumpy truck ride. :)

I used a backstitch, an attempted satin stitch, a long and short stitch (on the body, which I'm really proud of), and a split stitch for the border. The floss was pink, purple, and black.

I struggled with the back. It's for hanging on the wall, so the back really doesn't matter. But I wish I had had enough time to make it look more finished. I ended up having to use glue to "hide" the edges of the fabric. It looks sort of sloppy up close, but of course when it's hanging up, you won't see it. By the way, this is smaller than my Alice, which is in about a 9 inch hoop...this is a 6 inch one.

Until next time,

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lynyrd Skynyrd?

Today I thought I would be really random. This post isn't truly random, though, because I've been thinking about it for some time now.

You probably already know this (I doubt it'll come as a newsflash), but I am quirky. I'm a little strange. By the world's standards, I'm downright weird. Lately it seems that I have been noticing it more than ever before. Some days I embrace who I am, quirkiness and all. Other days, I struggle with feeling so different from those around me. One of the amazing things about blogging, however, is that it has shown me that, believe it or not, there are a lot of girls out there who have the same interests, hobbies, standards, and beliefs as me.

I've come across people who are obsessed with sunsets just as much as me. And girls who are my age and haven't met Mr. Right yet (and refuse to settle for less). And girls whose favorite book is "Pride and Prejudice." And those who believe that classic movies are almost the only ones worth watching. These things have been really encouraging to me and have caused me to continue blogging. So without further ado, here are six examples of my quirkiness (because today is the 6th :):

1. I can't bring myself to watch TV episodes out of order. If I'm watching reruns on TV it doesn't bother me, but if I'm watching one of my series on DVD, it does. Even if it's an episode that I don't particularly like, I can't skip over it. I have to watch them all in order. :)

2. I despise the sticky residue that some price stickers leave on books. That is one of my major pet peeves and it drives me crazy. As soon as I buy a new book, I automatically peel off the sticker. I can't stand to leave it on makes it seem like it's not mine. I feel the need to bond with a new book. :) But I hate, hate, hate it when the sticker is one of those cheap flimsy kinds that leaves sticky gunk and tiny pieces of the sticker behind after you pull it off. And then the sticky gunk attracts all kinds of dirt. And then you put the book in your bookcase, and when you pull it out again, it has welded itself to the back/front of a neighboring book. Seriously, a sticker that pulls off cleanly is not impossible...some bookstores already use that kind. Why can't the others do the same? *rant over*

3. I am a collector. I collect many things, such as books, CDs, and DVDs. I also collect all sorts of pretty old magazines or pictures or paper scraps that I think I might possibly use some day in my journal (which has become a journal/art journal/scrapbook kind of thing now). This is a sample of my case of CMOCD (classic movie obsessive collecting disorder):

4. I am obsessed with idea of traveling to Europe. This is one of my major life goals, as silly as it may sound. On my honeymoon or sometime turning my life, I want to go to Europe. Most specifically the United Kingdom, but I do want to visit Paris, Rome, Venice, etc. I've actually started a list of places in the UK that I would want to visit. Most of my favorite books or movies were written/set/filmed there, so I want to go to all of those places: the Yorkshire moors, all Jane Austen-related places (including her home at Chawton, seen below), C.S. Lewis related places, and the filming locations of the 2005 P&P and 2009 Emma. I also want to visit Beatrix Potter's home, at least one real castle, the Lake District, thatched roof cottages, and the list goes on and on. I may have an unrealistic view of traveling to Europe, but I'm pretty smitten with the beautiful sights.

5. I recently wrote out a "bucket list." Does that sound completely morbid? Because it's really not. I'm not exactly planning on dying anytime soon (that's up to God, of course), but I do have a list of things I want to accomplish before I die. The idea had been in the back of my head ever since I saw "A Walk to Remember," but I actually decided to do it a few weeks ago when me and my mom went to the local production of "Annie." I decided right there that, once in my life, I wanted to attend a real Broadway musical. So that was the beginning of my bucket list. I plan to add more gradually, but right now I have nineteen goals. Some of them are: travel to Europe (surprised?), learn book-binding (like the coptic stitch or some way to make my own journals), go to a midnight movie showing, and tour a real castle. The only one I have checked off so far is "write a novel," because I did that last November in NaNoWriMo (and I intend to do it again this November...I'm already jotting down ideas). Is it cheating to write down something that I've already done?

6. I love a few of Lynyrd Skynyrd's songs. Yes, those long-haired, 70s, southern rock guys. It's sort of a cultural thing here, I guess. My dad loved them when he was younger, and I really like a few of their songs ("Sweet Home Alabama," "Freebird," "Simple Man," "Mr. Banker"). If any band or musician comes around here and plays "Sweet Home Alabama," the people here hoot and holler and sway so much that you would think you were in Alabama. Never, ever tell anyone who was born and raised in our part of Virginia that we really shouldn't be considered a Southern state (didn't you know that the last capital of the confederacy-for precisely 7 days-was in a small town in Virginia?). We have a serious dose of Southern pride. :) And I guess Lynyrd Skynyrd is just a small part of that.

Until next time,