Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, 2010.

Happy New Year!

This is the great thing about the movie "Holiday Inn." I can post a video from it for nearly every holiday. :)

Until next time,

Best of 2010: Movies

2010 has been a good year for movies. And that's saying a lot, coming from the girl who might go see one movie a year at the theater. :) This year gave us quite a few amazing movies! I won't go into a lot of detail since I wrote reviews of most of these.

Emma (BBC)

I know that this really came out in 2009, but it didn't air in the US until this year. This is definitely my favorite adaptation of "Emma," and it's probably my second favorite Austen movie after P&P 2005. It's just beautiful. :) My review is here.

Alice in Wonderland

A quirky, lovely movie that got me interested in Alice again! Very bizarre, but that's to be expected. I wrote about it here.

Leap Year

I didn't see this in theaters...I rented it just a few months ago and fell in love. The Irishness plays a big part in making this such a charming romantic comedy. It's surprisingly clean and very funny. :) It has grown on me considerably since I wrote this.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I was expecting so much from this. And it didn't disappoint. I can't say anymore than I already said here.


Oh, Disney, thank you! You have made some pretty mediocre animated movies over the past few years (this does not include Pixar films), but this one completely made up for it. I gushed over Flynn Rider here.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I wish I could learn not to read the book before I see the movie. I need to see this one again, because I hear that us obsessive Narnia fans appreciate it even more the second time around. :) I analyzed, compared, and contrasted here.

I saw four movies at the theater this year. I think that's a record since I got into classic movies. By the way, I did watch lots of awesome "new" classic movies this year, as well, but that's too much to go into. :)

So...that's the end of my 2010 posts. I'll have something up tomorrow to celebrate January 1st!

Until next time,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010: Music

My music discoveries this year seem a little lacking. Though I listen to music all the time, this year was mostly rediscovering old favorites. None of my favorite bands put out new albums this year. Here's what I came across:

Keith Urban: "Get Closer"

I love country music. I have for as long as I can remember, really (it's sort of a natural thing where I live). But I hate all of the content that most country songs contain, so I feel limited in what I can listen to. I like some Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, older Dixie Chicks stuff, etc. And I was also a casual fan of Keith Urban. I had bought a few of his songs on iTunes, but never a whole CD. When "Get Closer" came out, I heard a lot of good things about it. I read the Plugged In review, which said, "It seems Keith flat-out skipped country-lyrics orientation class." And that sentence made me very, very curious. I listened to clips of the songs online and really liked them, so I bought the CD. And I love it! Practically all of the songs are happy, upbeat love songs, which is not your typical country music. The music and lyrics are so catchy...I am very impressed. " I especially love "Put You in a Song" and "All For You."
P.S. I cannot believe this guy is Australian. I always forget until I hear him in an interview or something. Because his accent just disappears when he sings.

Michael Buble: "Crazy Love"

This CD didn't come out this year (I don't think), but I only found it this year. :) I was also just a casual listener of Michael Buble at the beginning of this year, until I finally got some sense and realized how amazing he is! I used to think, why would I listen to a new guy singing the old songs when I can just listen to Sinatra? But there's something pretty cool about a handsome young guy singing the old songs that I love. :) I love this CD. Not all of the songs on it, but most of them. :) His voice is great on every song, but some of them just aren't my style. My favorite song is "Haven't Met You Yet," and I also like "Cry Me a River" and "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)."


I found Lenka's music on a blog over a year ago, but I really started getting into it and bought a lot of her songs this year. I love the light, bouncy feeling of her music. My favorites are "Knock, Knock" and "Don't Let Me Fall."

She & Him

I love the 60s sound of She & Him's songs! I actually only own a few of them so far, but I'm hoping to get more. You can listen to my two favorites on the music player here: "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" and "This Is Not a Test." And isn't Zooey Deschanel just adorable?

The Avett Brothers

Same thing as She & Him...I only have a few of the Avett Brothers' songs so far, but I love what I've heard. My mom is even starting to like them now (when I first started listening to them, she wasn't so sure :). I first heard about these guys from Natalie Lloyd. "Swept Away" and "Will You Return" are my favorites.

Other than these, I mostly spent the year listening to Sinatra and finding some "new" swing music/oldies songs that I love. Also, the "Alice in Wonderland" soundtrack by Danny Elfman is pretty awesome.

Tomorrow will be the last "end of the year" post, and it will be about movies. That should be interesting. And very long. :)

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leather bound book and jewelry tree.

I made this journal a couple of months ago, but I just technically finished it today. :) See, I originally had a little piece of leather sewn on, to slide the flap under to close the journal. It was too loose and looked sloppy, so I took it off and made a pearl snap closure instead.

I seriously need to find some bigger pieces of leather. I'm limited to what I can find at Hobby Lobby. I really want to make leather books (regular leather, not just suede) that have a large flap that folds across half the front. Like this one. But that requires a longer piece of leather.

It's really a dark, rusty red color suede. I was planning on selling this one. But it was sort of a test run, the first one I ever made with felt on the inside. I learned a lot of lessons with it, but it's not perfect. So I'm keeping it. It just so happens that I'll be needing a new journal in the next week or two. :) Funny coincidence, huh?

I'm really proud of the stitching on this one. It turned out much better than on my first one. I figured out that keeping the thread tight does not mean pulling on it until it makes the spine buckle. Oops. Another really cool thing about this stitching is that you can leave a tail of thread that you can use for a bookmark! I wanted to put some different beads on it, but these dark wooden ones were all I had at the time:

The outside is red suede. The inside is chocolate brown wool felt. To hold them together, I used the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. Note: sewing through felt and leather with nothing special except the heavier-duty needle is not easy.

This is the slightly tacky looking closure. As I went to add the snap today, I realized that the snap would not go through the main part of it- the leather and felt together are too thick. So I had to put the snap on a square of leather and sew it on. My future books will not look like this-I will set the snap into the leather before I sew the felt on. But for me, it's fine. Besides, when the book is closed, the little flap covers the tacky square.

Close up of the felt. This was my first time working with wool felt, and it was interesting. Very different from cheap craft felt.

Inside the front cover:

Where two signatures meet. I just used cream cardstock for the pages.

As usual, I used these great tutorials:

And now...the easiest craft project ever. :)

Up until this week, I have been keeping my jewelry on my staircase. Not a good idea, I know. But my steps are open and right at the kitchen, and I usually just grab my jewelry and put it on as I'm leaving, so it's convenient there. But with stuff falling off, and certain cats constantly batting my necklace pendants onto the floor, it was time for a change. None of my jewelry is real or expensive- most of it is handmade or purchased on Etsy, but I still don't want it on the floor. I was going to buy a jewelry stand. But then I had the idea to look online for tutorials. And I came up with this:

It's sort of creepy looking, isn't it? :) It would look a little better if I took off those two huge button bracelets hanging off the sides. But it serves its purpose.

Here's how you can make a really cute jewelry tree: Go outside and find a suitable branch. Let it dry out for a few days. Spray paint it. Find a wooden stand with a hole in it. Spray paint the stand to match the branch. Then glue the branch into the stand. Voila- lovely jewelry tree!

Here's how you can make a cheap, adequate jewelry stand that looks like something from a Tim Burton film: Go outside and find a suitable branch. Be in too much of a hurry to let the branch dry out, even though there is snow outside. Blot it off quickly with a paper towel, reasoning that it was on the ground and therefore dead and most likely dry anyway. Find an old vase and stick the branch in it (you don't have a wood stand and won't be going to town for a few days and you need this jewelry tree now! and the only color spray paint you have is black...ugh. Tell yourself you like the natural look anyway). Fill the vase with marbles that you and your brother used to play with when you were younger.

Marvel over your amazing five minute handiwork. Then arrange your jewelry on the branches. Done! :) No glue, thread, or needles required.

Until next time,

Best of 2010: Books

At the end of 2009, I did a sort of recap post, where I wrote about all of the great music, movies, books, etc. I discovered that year. It was fun, so I want to do it again now that we're nearing the end of 2010. I'm planning to break it into three posts, though, over the next three days, so as to not be overwhelming. :)

2010 has been a year of changes. I, in general, do not like change. But I'm not saying this has been a bad's actually been a very good one. Just different. Some parts were more difficult than others.

In 2010, I turned 19. I continued taking college classes, even through the summer (ugh). I spent part of my summer doing work study at the college child care center. Through a series of unfortunate events, my family had to leave our church, the church that I'd gone to my whole life. This was one of those very difficult changes. On a happier note, I opened my own Etsy shop (Sew Technicolor, just in case you didn't know) in October and it's been pretty successful so far. I also participated in my first ever craft fair, which was a nice experience.

This year was good, but I'm hoping 2011, even with its challenges (public speaking class- oh, dear), will be even better.

Now, on to the books of 2010! I did a lot of reading this year. More than I thought I would be able to do with classes. I actually kept a list of all the books I read this year. For all of you fellow bookworms, here it is. If you're not interested, please don't feel obligated to read it! :) Books that I reread, that I had read at least once previously, are in italics. This is the order I read the books in, as well.

1. When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy
2. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
3. The Magician's Elephant, by Kate Dicamillo
4. Once Again to Zelda, by Marlene Wagman-Geller
5. Love Comes Softly, by Janette Oke
6. Havah, by Tosca Lee
7. Prada & Prejudice, by Mandy Hubbard
8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
9. Emma, by Jane Austen
10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
11. A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin
12. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate Dicamillo
13. Homecoming Queen, by Melody Carlson
14. Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman
15. Viva Vermont! by Melody Carlson
16. Taste of Salt, by Frances Temple
17. Paperdoll, by Natalie Lloyd
18. So Over My Head, by Jenny B. Jones
19. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
20. Turning the Paige, by Laura Jensen Walker
21. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
22. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
23. Ruby Unscripted, by Cindy Martinusen Coloma
24. Me, Just Different, by Stephanie Morrill
25. Quest for Love, by Elisabeth Elliot
26. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
27. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
28. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
29. The Tiger Rising, by Kate Dicamillo
30. The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo
31. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
32. Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl
33. 100 Cupboards, by N.D. Wilson
34. Daring Chloe, by Laura Jensen Walker
35. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
36. The Sweet By and By, by Sara Evens with Rachel Hauck
37. Becca By the Book, by Laura Jensen Walker
38. Dreaming in Black and White, by Laura Jensen Walker
39. Dreaming in Technicolor, by Laura Jensen Walker
40. Walking with Frodo, by Sarah Arthur
41. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
42. A Bride in the Bargain, by Deeanne Gist
43. Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume
45. Kristy's Great Idea, by Ann M. Martin
46. Paperdoll, by Natalie Lloyd
47. Stars in the Night, by Cara Putman
48. Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God, by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald
49. A Constant Heart, by Siri Mitchell
50. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
51. How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser
52. Fools Rush In, by Janice Thompson
53. Swinging on a Star, by Janice Thompson
54. She Walks in Beauty, by Siri Mitchell
55. Savvy, by Ingrid Law
56. How to be Hepburn in a Hilton World, by Jordan Christy
57. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis
58. It Had to Be You, by Janice Thompson
59. Matched, by Ally Condie
60. A Bride Most Begrudging, by Deeanne Gist
61. Preparing to Be a Help Meet, by Debi Pearl

So that's it. Sixty-one books. Sixteen rereads. Four "classics." A lot of children's books (I rediscovered children's literature this year!). And a lot of Christian chick lit and historical fiction...I don't know exactly what to call it. Your typical Christian bookstore books, except that I got them for just a few dollars each at the bargain bookstore.

I wanted to pick out the top ones that I read this year. Note that these are books that I read for the first time this year...this doesn't mean that they were released in 2010. Some of them were, but some weren't.

Dreaming in Black & White and Dreaming in Technicolor, by Laura Jensen Walker

I really loved the two little books! I meant to do a post about them but never got around to it. I first came across Laura Jensen Walker earlier in the year, with her Getaway Girls trilogy, which involves a book club and traveling to Europe! I also really loved that series. These are all really light chick lit type books. Anyway, these two books are about a single girl named Phoebe Grant. She is a huge classic movie fan...I think that's what drew me in. :) There are ton of old movie references. I read these at the beginning of the year, so I'm not qualified to give a good description months later. The ending of the second book was the slightest bit disappointing for a hopeless romantic like myself. I want to reread these, though!

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers

This Mary Poppins is not the Disneyfied Mary Poppins you're thinking about. :) The movie was based on this, the first book in the series, but they are vastly different! P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins is a very cross, vain nanny, not much like Julie Andrews as the singing, cheerful, "never cross" nanny. The book is just lovely, though. It's clever and imaginative in a way that it seems only English children's literature can be (but more on that in another post). It has some beautiful parts that were left out of the movie...some of my favorites were the chapter about the twins, Barbara and John (who are left out of the movie entirely) and a part involving propping a ladder against the night sky and hanging stars! :)

Stars in the Night, by Cara Putman

This book was definitely one of the top books of the year! It was perfect and I still find myself thinking about it a lot. To read more, check out my review here.

Weddings by Bella series, by Janice Thompson

I loved these books! Again, they were very light and quick reads. I loved reading about Bella, the wedding planner, who has a crazy Italian family and who falls in love with a hunky cowboy. I liked reading about the themed weddings she plans...but I have to confess that one of my favorite parts was how oldies songs (particularly Sinatra and Dean Martin ones) were incorporated. As you might have noticed, the three books are named after famous old songs. So are all of the chapters in the book, and the songs are included in other ways as well. Some reviewers are critical of how over-exaggerated the stories are, but I liked it. It's exaggerated in a sitcom sort of way, like in "I Love Lucy" or "Full House."

She Walks in Beauty, by Siri Mitchell

This was a lovely book. Very realistic historical fiction that really draws you in. Plus, the cover is gorgeous! I meant to write a real review about this, but just take my word for it and read it. :)

A Bride in the Bargain, by Deeanne Gist
Sorry, forgot to get a picture of this one! Another great historical fiction novel. Read my review here.

Matched, by Ally Condie

I heard about this one from Natalie Lloyd. I don't read many futuristic books like this, but when I do, I'm always surprised by how much I enjoy them (like "The Giver"). Maybe I should read them more often, then, huh? Anyway, I really loved this book (probably this one and "Stars in the Night" are top two of the year). I loved the characters and the plot and the whole creepy feeling I get while reading about this "perfect" Society. (Spoiler: by the way, I thought for sure that the red tablets would kill them. Darn.) And I can't wait to read more! This is going to be a trilogy, right?

Preparing to Be a Help Meet, by Debi Pearl

I had read many good things about this book, so finally I just ordered it from Amazon. After reading the first chapter, I felt like someone had knocked me over the head with something (something very large and heavy). And I mean that in the best way. Every single chapter has been opening my eyes. To how very unprepared I am for marriage (good grief, as someone who wants to be a homemaker, how I hate to write that! :). Because that's what this whole book is about.

This book, along with "Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God" (seen below. My cousin's wife let me borrow this and it made such an impression that I bought it...despite the fact that it's really written for already married women, while this other one is specifically for single girls), are the two books that have had the most impact on my feelings and beliefs about relationships, courtship, marriage, etc. And I've read quite a few about such topics. :) Some of these books (like some of the Ludy's books, as much as I love them) make me feel just hopeless about reaching such standards. And if I feel that it's impossible, why would I even try? "Preparing to Be a Help Meet," on the other hand, was very practical and instead of making me feel hopeless, it actually motivated me and inspired me. It comes highly recommended from me. I just finished it last night, and I'm going to start rereading it again today, really taking my time and absorbing it all.

Okay, now that all of that bookishness is out of the way (for now)...tomorrow's end of the year post will cover music! :)

Until next time,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beauty and the Beast.

I got the 2-disc "Beauty and the Beast" DVD for Christmas. I was so excited about it!

"Beauty and the Beast" is my favorite Disney movie. And that's saying a lot, because I am a real Disney dork. Even though this movie was made in 1991, the year I was born, I grew up loving it (and "The Little Mermaid," which was made two years before I was born). The story has so many positive messages: the importance of inner beauty, sacrifice, jealousy (edit: not that jealousy is positive...warnings about jealousy, I mean :), redemption, etc. All of this in a "children's movie," you say? Yes. :) Not to mention a bunch of ridiculously catchy songs.

First up, there's Belle. The best Disney heroine, by far. Not only is she pretty, but she's smart and clever, and she loves to read. Belle is a bookworm who's a little shy and doesn't always feel like she fits in. So maybe that's why I feel such a connection with her. Plus, she's really the only brunette of the princesses, right?

Also, she doesn't follow the whole love-at-first-sight thing that is so common in animated Disney movies. She sees past Gaston's "handsomeness" (I've always thought he was sort of ugly), that the other princesses would have swooned over, to recognize his nasty personality. Smart girl.

I love all of the songs. I frequently have "Belle" and "Gaston" stuck in my head ("When I was a lad I hate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs so I'm roughly the size of a barge!"). And the whole movie itself is gorgeous. Especially the very beginning, the "prologue." The music and the scenery is incredible! And I love the stained glass telling the backstory. In Disney World, in the France pavilion in Epcot, there's this gorgeous stained glass window based from the movie (all Disney World pictures in this post are mine):

And the library! Good grief. If the Beast had showed me a room like this, I would have married him right then and there.

(Only joking. Sort of.)

The famous ballroom scene is probably one of the most beautiful animated scenes ever. Another great thing about Belle is that she wears a yellow dress! Well, technically golden, but it sure does look yellow to me.

I used to be disappointed because I thought the Prince (aka the Beast) was not very handsome (I realize how ridiculous that sounds since before this he has a tail and horns). But he was actually better than I remembered. I like that he's so tall and broad, like Beast. I think him having shorter hair would be a great improvement, but I suppose it too sort of fits the Beast look.

He actually looks very nice at the very end. :) (Edit: picture disappeared!)

Anyway, the DVD has tons of awesome special features. And I love that sort of thing. There are documentaries, an alternate beginning, and lots of other things. One of the documentaries is about an hour long. I love seeing behind the scenes information about animation, and this one is great, even with the amusing 80s hairstyles. I haven't even watched all of the special features yet. Anyway...highly recommended!

Watching the behind the scenes features made me really want to go back to Disney World. :) It's an amazing place for nerds like me. But since I can't, here are some pictures from the lovely theater version of "Beauty and the Beast" we saw at Disney World, in Hollywood Studios (at least that was the name of the park last time we were there. They change it every few years) when we went in January 2009:

"Be Our Guest" was the best!

Although it was so sad, I almost burst out laughing when the Beast was dying. Unfortunately, they had the Beast in this huge awkward costume. So instead of gracefully collapsing, he was standing straight up and sort of...just toppled over. Like a domino falling.

Poof. The effects were pretty cool.

Besides "Beauty and the Beast," I also watched the live action version of "Peter Pan" yesterday. That also made me want to go back to Disney World, even though it's not a Disney movie. Because it made me wish I could fly. Seriously...if you could have one superhero power, wouldn't you want to fly? I think it would be the most glorious feeling ever (even though, according to the actors in the special features, being in the harnesses to "fly" was very uncomfortable). And the closest I've ever got to flying was either one of the roller coasters at Disney World or the Soarin' ride. Although I did have a dream not too long ago that I was on our farm, holding a picnic basket and flying with a rocket pack strapped to my back. It was a wonderful dream. :) And a little weird. I must have had chocolate a little too close to bedtime that night. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I do also recommend the "Peter Pan" movie, though. It is really sweet and similar to the book in many parts.

Until next time,