Saturday, March 31, 2012

May the odds be ever in your favor.

*Note: This post contains spoilers from the book and film. So if you don't know the story, be warned! :)*

The Hunger Games?

You might be thinking what some people said when my mom told them we were going to see the film..."The Hunger Games? Isn't that just a bunch of killing?" Yes, the movie (and book) is violent. But there's so much more to it than that.

Last year, I kept hearing hype about the YA book trilogy called the Hunger Games. I honestly had no desire to read them. If something is talked up that much, in my experience, it's very rare that it lives up to the hype. Also, I generally don't like things that are very popular, especially with teenagers. Maybe I just enjoy being contrary sometimes. :)

Anyway, after hearing so many good things about the books, I finally gave in and read them. And guess what? They were amazing. Different (they stand out amongst all of the mediocre dystopian fiction out there right now) and heart-breaking and intense and very thought-provoking. One of the rare occasions when something lives up to all you've heard about it.

So me and my parents went to see the film on Tuesday night. And here are my very random and scattered thoughts about it. :)

First of all, this is probably the most faithful book-to-film adaptation I have ever seen. And that impresses me greatly. :) I'm one of those nerdy fans who reads (or rereads) the book right before I see the film, so I analyze and criticize the many changes that are generally made. I think Suzanne Collins, the author of the series, helped write the screenplay for the film, which explains the close adaptation. And if that's the case, then I wish that every author could have a hand in the screenplay if at all possible.

Sometimes it was almost page by page accurate. And the tiny changes that were made (I did notice them) were so small that they hardly mattered. I could understand why they made them, which is probably a first for me. :)

The casting was perfect. Peeta even worked out okay, though at the beginning, on the train, I was afraid they were going to make him out to be a goober. {By the way, the "love triangle" aspect of the books was always my least favorite part. I ended up liking Peeta better, but only after the second book. I wasn't rooting for him or Gale in the first book.} I was also a little worried about Haymitch, because he wasn't how I pictured him. But he was great.

I loved how they portrayed the Gamemakers, though it made me furious, too. Sitting around in their room with their electronic toys, putting fires and vicious Mutts in the arena to provide "excitement" for the viewers and take out any threats. Playing around with people's lives as if they were meaningless. Ugh. But I loved how it showed them viewing and plotting about the arena, how they put up the crest and pictures in the sky at night. And how they had every bit wired with cameras (the tree trunk). The books always made it clear that you were being watched at every moment inside the arena but never quite explained how the cameras could see you. It was a nice touch. :)

I also loved how they would flash over to the hosts and the people in the districts during the Games. Clever how they explained things (like about the tracker jackers) that Katniss and other tributes would have already known and obviously wouldn't be discussing. I liked how you could see the reactions of people on the outside instead of just being stuck in the arena.

Caesar Flickerman wasn't too much of an exaggeration from TV show hosts now, was he?

Was it just me, or did the whole Reaping scene have a very WWII/Holocaust feel about it? Very eerie. And reading the books, you understand how poor people in the Seam were, but it was even more affecting to see the poverty on screen.

The scenes with Prim were heart-breaking. The ones with Rue were sad, but not as sad as they would have been if the Katniss/Rue relationship had gotten more screen time. {That was one small disappointment for me, that they didn't talk together more about their home districts like they did in the book.} For some odd reason, the salutes to Katniss from Districts 11 and 12 were the parts that almost made me tear up. :)

I loved how they went ahead and included some scenes that showed the beginning of rebellion- the ones with President Snow and the one in District 11. I think they show you just how dangerous the government is and the power they hold, and they point to the fact that Katniss' actions are going to provoke a rebellion. Without them, you would still have Haymitch telling her that she's in danger, but you wouldn't really understand just how much.

Just a word about the violence. There is a lot of violence. I mean, the whole premise of the first book is that the government randomly chooses two teenagers from each district, puts them all in an arena together, and the whole country watches while they kill each other until there's only one "victor" left (yes, it has been done before in real life-Roman gladiators). You can't have a story like that and not have violence.

But the moral of the story is about how wrong and corrupt the Hunger Games are. It's about how the government uses this as a tool to show their power over the districts, and how the residents of the Capitol have disgustingly come to view this bloodbath as "entertainment." And it's all leading up the point that the people in the districts have had enough, and they're going to rebel. The film (and the books) doesn't encourage or condone violence. And the way it's handled in the film isn't gratuitous at all...if anything, it's dwelled on less than in the books. {It goes without saying this isn't a movie for kids.}

So, this is what I think...The Hunger Games was an incredible film. Amazingly close to the book and it really makes you think. Though there are little moments of light, it's a dark movie and there really isn't a "happy" ending. It's not entertaining or particularly enjoyable to watch, and I won't watch it over and over like I do my favorite classic comedies.

I think it's a thought-provoking sort of cautionary tale (pretty heavy for a teen book series, huh?). Maybe I'm overthinking things, but it can definitely be seen as a warning for the world that we're living in. It seems far-fetched and futuristic, but it's happened before. This is what happens when governments have too much control and start using fear and power to control people. This is what happens when we start viewing bloody murders and other atrocities as entertainment.

It's something to think about.

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clara the kid.

Goat kids are the most adorable baby animals ever.

{This is Clara.} 

Seriously. Sweeter even than lambs (and they have much more personality). These pictures can't even begin to show the cuteness of a baby goat's face.

Except maybe this one. :)

Until next time,

Friday, March 23, 2012


{Not to be confused with ModPodge. That stuff is awesome, but I have the worst luck with it! Every time I open the container I have some sort of disaster. The first time I knocked it over and Modgepodged a large portion of the carpet. I didn't touch it again until a couple of weeks ago, when I managed to get it in my hair and on my shirt. Good grief.}

Just some random things that were too small to write about separately, so I'm just putting them all together in a hodgepodge of a post. :)

First of all, thanks for all of the sweet comments on my last post. Not five minutes after I published it, I was doubting it. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. :)

1. I finished watching through The Dick Van Dyke Show again last week (I had forgotten how hilarious and spoofy the last "real" episode, The Gunslinger, is), and now I'm starting through The Andy Griffith Show again. I always watch an episode or two of my favorite TV shows while I eat supper (lunch, instead of supper, is my family's big meal together).

{We don't have satellite TV service anymore. We did away with it months ago, and it's so nice. The only thing I miss is PBS. Masterpiece Theater and such. :) We still have our TVs to watch movies and things, and I have my favorite classic TV shows on DVD. I don't really watch any modern shows...I was watching Pan Am and Once Upon a Time on Hulu, but I missed episodes and then just didn't continue with them.}

I love old TV shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, and The Andy Griffith Show. I love that you can depend on them to be hilarious and charming and clean. What a relief not to have to worry about any profanity or inappropriate stuff. :)

The Andy Griffith Show is especially likable because it doesn't take place in New York City or a NY suburb. Mayberry is modeled after Andy Griffith's hometown of Mt. Airy, North Carolina. That's not awfully far from here (we've visited a couple of times), so the whole show and characters feel sort of homey and familiar. :) I can relate to the setting much more than Lucy living in New York. It's so neat to be watching a show and hear real Carolina places mentioned (the real Pilot Mountain is called Mount Pilot in the show).

And Opie is too cute. :) Ron Howard was a truly talented child actor. Even in the first season episodes when he's this tiny little boy, he's still good. {Especially compared to the little boy who played Ritchie in The Dick Van Dyke show. I'm sorry, but I sort of cringe when he comes on the screen. He always sounds like he's shouting and/or reading his lines.}

The first season feels a little different from the rest of the show, though. It was like they were still trying to figure out how things should work out. Andy and Barney are both sort of goofy, unlike in the later seasons when Andy becomes the straight man to Barney's silliness. And sometimes Andy's accent feels a bit put on. I do love his retelling of Romeo and Juliet to Opie, though.

2. I started working on my first ever Colette Pattern this week- the Crepe dress. I traced out the pattern (no way can I bring myself to cut into a $20 pattern!) and made the muslin. It actually fit with no adjustments! I'm so happy with that. I didn't even have to lengthen the skirt, which is something I always have to do.

I'm making the dress for a special occasion in April, though it will likely be my Easter dress, too. I found this unusual seersucker at Joann's today that I'm going to use.

I'm so used to seersucker being white striped with something else, but I really love this fabric. :) It's sort of beachy and summery feeling.

Now I've just got to decide whether to underline the dress. I'm going to have to at least underline the bodice, because this dress has some crazy facings and they keep flipping out. If I underline it, then I can hand-stitch the facings to the lining fabric without the stitches showing on the outside. I don't especially want to underline the whole dress, but I don't know how it will be to do just the bodice.

I also got a tiny bit of this fabric- it's from the Lisette line that Joann's carries. It was on clearance, and I got all they had left. Which was less than a yard and a half. I'm hoping I can squeeze a blouse out of it.

As for embroidery, I've been working on a series of tiny crafting characters for the sewing room. They're from this Wild Olive pattern.

3. Hunger Games! I haven't seen the film yet- I think I'm going on Tuesday. Which means that I have time to reread the first book before then. :) I avoided the hype for as long as I could, but finally read the books last fall. They were amazing. Read my vague reviews of the series here: 1, 2, and 3.

I have been listening to the CD nonstop, though. I love it. I am so happy with the bluegrassy/country/mountain music feel they went for with the songs. Because that's pretty much my favorite kind of "modern" music. :)  I almost would have bought it for The Secret Sisters and The Civil Wars alone.  There's definitely an urgency and a survivor theme to the songs.

The only songs on the album that I don't like? The Ruler and the Killer and Take the Heartland. Ugh. And I could have done with a little less Taylor Swift, but I don't mind Safe and Sound at all, because she seems to channeling some Civil Wars there, which is definitely an improvement over her usual fare. :) {I know they're "featured" in that song, but I don't think there's enough of them.} There are a couple more that I'm not too crazy about but have grown on me after a couple of listens.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The comparison game.

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

I first came across this quote in this pin. How true! I thought that it would be neat to turn it into an embroidery piece. Weeks later, I started working on a cross stitch pattern for the quote, and that exact same day, two of my favorite bloggers wrote about it {Natalie and Mollie}. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I know that I usually don't get too personal here. There are reasons for that. First of all, I write mostly about my interests: sewing/crafting and old movies. And it's pretty easy to write about those things and not get personal. Also, when blogs get personal, they tend to get a little negative. I don't particularly like to read blogs that are depressing.


There's a difference between being overly-negative and being honest. And of course, I want to be honest. It's so easy to present a better version of yourself on your blog and hide all of the not-so-good things. And as a "good girl" who wants everyone to like me, it's even more tempting for me. {I've got a whole post about that little topic that's been sitting in my drafts for months because I've not yet been brave enough to publish it.}

So here's my first tiny attempt at being more authentic on my blog.

I've struggled with comparison for as long as I can remember. And I think a lot of other girls (dare I say, most girls?) struggle with it, too. It definitely seems to be more of a girl problem instead of something that guys deal with.

I've always been a little strange. {When I reminisce about things that happened when I was younger, I usually end up saying, "I was a strange kid." One of my parents usually replies, half-jokingly, "Were?"} In elementary and middle school, I was a good bit taller than my classmates {but I have to say that I never, ever got bullied or made fun of. The only reason I can figure for that is because my height made me slightly intimidating. :) } I went through a chubby stage where I only wore baggy pants and big t-shirts, which, as you can imagine, didn't help things. I always felt awkward. I was always quiet and never confident. To make matters worse, I was one of the "smart kids." It's not exactly cool to finish your assignments and projects way ahead of time, or to have your nose stuck in a book during free time in class. :)

But I had a small band of sort-of misfit friends, especially in middle school. They didn't mind my frizzy hair, my Jesus Freak shirt, my obsession with the Newsboys, or the fact that I wrote my favorite song lyrics in my notebooks. And then when we started homeschooling in 9th grade, I fell into this whole world of wonderfully weird people and got to know some who were even "stranger" than me. :)

I stumbled into blogging almost three years ago. I loved it. There were tons of other girls out there my age who sewed and loved Jane Austen and mostly watched classic movies? Teenagers who knew who Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly were? I couldn't believe it.

But here's something I've learned over the past three years: Blogs can be breeding ground for comparison and jealousy. You come across a lot of people who seem to have perfect lives. It starts off innocently enough. I would think, wow, what a pretty outfit she's wearing. Or, that's exciting that she gets to visit Europe. Or, what a creative idea!

Then things change and the devil gets involved. And I start thinking things like this:
-She's so thin. Why can't I be thinner like her?
-My outfits look so dorky compared to hers.
-Her sewing skills are so much better than mine.
-Why can't I think of creative crafty ideas like that?
-It's not fair that she can afford to travel overseas every summer.

You have no idea how much I hate to admit that. But it's true.

Here's something else I've learned. When I find myself thinking things like that, I have to take a step back. And I look at my life and the countless ways that God has blessed me. And I get a little embarrassed and sheepish and guilty. Sorry, God- forgive me for foolishly imagining that I know better than you do.

So, I'm a little awkward. I have frizzy hair sometimes a lot, and I'm not thin. I don't wear make up, color my hair, or have much of a fashion sense {I'm mostly mentioning physical things here, because in my case, comparison has mostly revolved around me being insecure about the way I look compared to other girls}. I've not yet been able to afford a trip to England, and I might never be able to. I may never have one of those super-successful Etsy shops with thousands of sales.

But guess what? As I get older, I'm kind of starting to like my quirky self. I like that I have "unusual" interests for someone my age. And I'm so thankful for the life that God has given me.

{Even when it involves getting soaking wet chasing chickens- in my pajamas (it was a rather unexpected affair and I wasn't dressed)- during a thunderstorm. True story that happened during the writing of this very post. :) }

This might sound totally cheesy, but sometimes it's fun to take the negative things that I pick out about myself and put a positive twist on them. For example- my hair is frizzy. But it's also naturally curly and I don't have to deal with it much. As for not wearing make up, that just means it takes me a little less time to get ready and gives me a little extra time to read, right? :) Okay- I can't afford to visit England. But that gives me the opportunity to see all of the wonderful sights in my own home state that I've never seen before. Perspective is everything. :)

Comparison is an ugly game that only spreads envy and hurt and bitterness. Trying to be someone else is exhausting! But just being myself frees me to live.

Whether Theodore Roosevelt or Dwight Edwards said it, comparison is the thief of joy. How on earth can I be joyful and content in my beautiful life if I'm too busy focusing on the beautiful (but different, and never perfect, no matter how it looks) life that God gave someone else?

So...I said all of that to say this. :) I finished the cross stitch piece and it's going on my wall, a daily reminder that I really need.

I sketched out the design on graph paper, but then I remembered that I had downloaded a free cross stitch chart program to my computer a long time ago. So I transferred my design to that and turned it into a PDF. And now I'm sharing it with you guys, in case you also need the reminder.

{Yes, I know there's a crease in my Aida cloth. Some of the cloth that I was given has majorly stubborn creases, but it's not as noticeable in person.}

This is the first time I've done anything like this, so I don't know if it will go as smoothly as I hope. I've never uploaded a file to share before, so please let me know if there are any problems and it doesn't work.

It's a very simple piece that only requires two colors of embroidery floss. The colors I used are noted in the pattern. I love these two colors together, and I'm one of those girls who can only handle pink in small doses. :) By the way, if you frame it in an 8 inch hoop like this, some of the side design gets cut off. It would be best in an 8x8 frame, but I didn't have one. (Do they even make them? I know that a lot of Etsy prints come in 8x8.)

This is the first of hopefully many free patterns and tutorials on Sew Technicolor. :)

And hopefully the beginning of a more honest and joyful blogger.

Until next time,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Very first swap.

I had so much fun participating in Wild Olive's first Stitch Swap. I didn't want to post any pictures in the Flickr group (or here, though I think I was just being paranoid because she didn't know anything about me except my name) until I knew my partner had received her package, because I wanted her to be surprised. :) Well, according to the delivery confirmation, the package was delivered yesterday.

As soon as I got the name and information about "my person," I did some investigating. I felt a lot like a stalker, hunting around someone's Tumblr and Flickr to gather information about what they're interested in. :) But it was fun. I still didn't feel like I had enough to go on, so I ended up contacting her to ask a few questions.

I found out that she loves the Lord of the Rings movies. I'm a fan, too, so I started thinking about some of the awesome quotes from the films. At first I imagined this elaborate hobbit hole door that would open up to something inside, but that got a little complicated. So I decided to embroider this funny quote from Gandalf.

I used some LOTR-ish font from my parents' computer and traced it out. Stitching the quote actually went a lot faster than I expected it to, because the words are so tiny and with this font, I didn't want the letters to look too perfect.

It looked a little plain with just the quote, so I added some leafy green vines. And then I realized that everything was green, so I added some blue flowers.

I didn't have any ribbon in the right shade of green, and I didn't want to just paint the hoop because I wanted texture. So I used this idea and wrapped it in fabric strips. I really love how it turned out. :)

The letters are done in backstitch. The vines are split stitch, the leaves are lazy daisy, and the flowers are French knots.

It was a little challenging deciding what to stitch when it has to fit into a 4 inch hoop! You have pretty limited space. :) When I look at some of the beautiful, intricate pieces in the group pool, I almost forget that they're fitting into such a small hoop.

The swap is for one 4 inch embroidered piece, but Mollie said we could include extra goodies if we wanted to. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to. And when I saw all of the cute pictures of my person's son wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume, I knew the little something extra should be for him. :) So I actually made this before I had even decided what to make for my partner.

I'm so proud of it! :) My first self-designed cross stitch piece. I found some pictures of Buzz and printed out some 14 count graph paper (after attempting to design it on a larger count and then downsize it, which didn't go so well). It took a bit of time, and a lot of erasing and counting squares, to get the proportions right, but I love how it turned out.

I used metallic thread on his helmet. I think the way he's standing and his big goofy grin are very Buzz Lightyear-ish. :)

I'm anxiously watching the mail for a package from my partner. :) This was so much fun, and I definitely want to do another swap very soon.

Have any of you ever done any craft swaps before? Craftster has had some really amazing ones in the past.
Until next time,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Just when I had decided that I've been spending too much time online, our internet went out. How convenient, right? :) We didn't have any service for three days. And although there were several times when I wished I could check my email or Etsy, it was pretty nice. With no internet access I had time to do other things...I got quite a bit of reading done over the weekend. :)

We've had some lovely spring weather lately. I don't feel ready to give up my cardigans and tights yet (and I'm not especially crazy about summer), but spring is such a nice time of the year that it makes the change a little easier.

{I'm oddly obsessed with moss.}

Jack and Ollie like spring, too, even though they are inside cats. This one morning, there were about twenty robins in the yard. It was a little creepy, considering it hasn't been too awfully long ago that I saw Hitchcock's The Birds {I may be scarred for life}. Jack had his eye on one near the window, and he was ready to pounce. He was digging in with his back legs and his ears were twitching and he was crouched as low as you can get with a belly like that.

He totally would have gotten that bird, too, if it weren't for the tiny inconvenience of a glass window separating him from his prey.

They also like it when we open the windows.

{If you look very closely, you can see Oliver peeking out to the left of Jack.}

One of my favorite things about spring, besides open windows, is the fact that I can keep fresh buttercups in a jar in my room.

I love buttercups. {That's what we call them around here. I have no idea what their proper name is.} I love that they're scattered in the most random the yards of abandoned old farmhouses, on the side of the road, on the edges of grassy fields.

Until next time,