Sunday, June 30, 2013

Project 360: Week 26

{175} After a full day of babysitting, this is about the most creative photograph I could muster. :)

{176} Lovely zinnia.

{177} Had some amazing finds at the local bargain outlet. Blue Skies Tomorrow: the third book (that I haven't read yet!) in a WWII series I love. Summer and Bird: a book with a gorgeous cover that I pinned months ago (no, I'm not fond of birds. But look at it! It's beautiful). The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic: a book I hadn't heard of, but Brett Helquist illustrated it. He did the incredible illustrations in the Series of Unfortunate Events books.

{178} Someone let us borrow The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the series from the 80s. After the first episode or two, I was like, eh. But they started getting better and better! I'm really enjoying them so far, and I love getting to watch adaptations of some of the stories I'd never even heard of before. But don't worry...BBC's Sherlock is still my favorite. :) I think what this series is lacking is the emotional impact that Sherlock has. {Particularly the episode "The Final Problem," which is the equivalent of the Sherlock episode "The Reichenbach Falls." There's no comparison, really.}

{179} A coreopsis bloom. (I think? Some of these sprang up from a wildflower mix my dad planted.)

{180} I am a bit obsessed with this particular zinnia. It's like an inch and a half thick and so fluffy. :) I have to pet it when I walk past it in the garden.

{181} My macro setting is not cooperating seems that happens a lot when it's sort of cloudy and overcast.

Until next time,

Friday, June 28, 2013

A bloggy reminder...

I guess I'll join the bandwagon and remind you guys that Google Reader will be gone soon. I still don't quite understand if GFC is disappearing, too, but I've taken the precaution of transferring all of the blogs I follow over to Bloglovin. Just to make sure I don't lose anything. :) {I've always read blogs through the Blogger dashboard.}

You can follow Sew Technicolor through Bloglovin here. There's also a "follow by email" option in the sidebar.

P.S. I know I never technically announced this, but the winners of the Classic Movie May giveaways were drawn and the prizes shipped a couple of weeks ago. (I did edit those posts to include the winners, though.) Thank you so much to everyone who linked up, commented, or participated in any way. :) I had a great time writing about my favorite classic films and reading about yours, too!

Until next time,

Monsters University.

When I heard that Pixar was making a prequel to Monsters, Inc., I was really excited...but also a bit worried.

It's not that I doubt Pixar can make a good sequel or prequel. They did it twice with Toy Story. But Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar film ever. It's also probably my second favorite animated film ever (after Beauty and the Beast), which is saying a lot because I love animated films. :) So I guess I was concerned that the prequel wouldn't quite live up to the original.

I should have never doubted Pixar. Because Monsters University was amazing and I absolutely loved it. :)

Here's an idea of what's going on in the story: Mike Wazowski and Sulley start their freshman year at Monsters University, both majoring in Scaring. Mike has grown up knowing he wants to be a scarer, but he has to work and study hard because he's not exactly the scariest monster ever. :) For Sulley, though, scaring runs in the family and he expects to ride that through college without opening a textbook. When it's announced that the final exam will determine whether students stay in the scaring program or not, the rivalry between Mike and Sulley grows even worse until, after an accident, the Dean rules they both have to leave the major. The two are not happy in their new major, so when they hear about the annual Scare Games, they decide to participate to prove to the Dean that they deserve to be back in the Scaring program. The thing is...only fraternities and sororities can submit teams for the games. So Mike joins up with a misfit group of students in the Oozma Kappa fraternity, and then reluctantly lets Sulley join, too, because their group is lacking one member. And that's where the fun begins. *whew*

The people at Pixar are experts at making you feel for the characters (Up, anyone?). While Monsters, Inc. was probably a bit more focused on Sulley, because of his attachment to Boo, this prequel seems to be more about Mike. Let me tell you...the scenes with tiny little elementary-school Mike were absolutely adorable. He's small and sort of an outcast in his class, which already makes you want to root for him. But that expression on his face when he visits Monsters, Inc. and gets all starry-eyed was enough to make me almost tear up. :) Mike is the one who has to work so hard at school, so he's the one who has more to lose.

And Sulley. Oh, Sulley. He was my favorite in Monsters, Inc., because he was basically just a big, sweet teddy bear. He's a little different here. He's like the equivalent of a typical teenage jock...a big, strong guy who's effortlessly cool and arrogant. His hair, you guys. They made his hair spiked-up on top. Just enough to make him look like a cool, young college student. :) That's the kind of subtle detail that I love and that Pixar is incredible at including. Mike, on the other hand, has braces as a kid and a retainer in college. Which is perfect for him. :) So while Sulley is kind of a jerk at first, he's still likable and of course, later on you see how good-hearted he is.

There was a new character who I was especially impressed with...Dean Hardscrabble. She is the stern head of the scaring program who used to be a top Scarer herself, and she doesn't accept anything less than the best in her program. Everything, from her voice (Helen Mirren) to her make up, the shape of her face, her color, and the fact that she's basically part dragon and part insect/creepy crawly thing with all of those legs, was perfect. I thought they did an amazing job with her. :)

My other favorite new characters were definitely the quirky misfits in Oozma Kappa. You've got a nerdy middle-aged monster who went back to school after losing his job, a two-headed monster in the drama program named Terry (and Terri), a strange hippie-ish monsters named Art, and a shy and awkward monster called Squishy (the scene at the party where Squishy is dancing and tries to get Sulley to join in...oh my goodness. I loved it). By the way, the fraternity house is actually Squishy and his mother's house, which means that she shows up quite often. Her hair is always in curlers and she's always wearing a flowery pastel house dress. :)

And of course, it was nice to see some familiar faces, even if just for a moment: Randall, Roz, the Abominable Snowman, the orange horned monster who has the child's sock on his back in Monsters, Inc., etc.

I thought Monsters University was hilarious...the humor was right up there with that in the first film. It seemed a bit more grown up, though. I guess because they're in college, so the humor is a bit different. There are still funny bits that are aimed at young kids (though it wasn't crude humor like Brave had), but there are also more clever bits of humor. Also, I think this film would probably be scarier for kids (particularly towards the end).

{There seemed to be two Princess Bride references in the film, which makes me happy. Mike is dreaming and he mumbles something about, "I know I'm just a stable boy, and you're a princess...", which reminded me of Westley and Buttercup in PB, especially considering Billy Crystal was Miracle Max in the film. And there's another part where Sulley says, "I don't even work out," which reminded me of Andre the Giant saying, "It's not my fault I'm big and strong. I don't even exercise."}

I don't want to give anything away about the ending, but I was very happy with it. Things didn't magically get smoothed over...characters had to deal with the consequences of their actions instead of getting an easy way out. But it was still a very hopeful ending, and I thought it was perfect. P.S. There is a short, funny scene at the very end of the credits, if you're willing to sit through them all. :)

So...yeah. I loved Monsters University. I think Pixar did a fantastic job of making a prequel that is worthy of my beloved Monsters, Inc. :) It was charming, very funny, and the colors and animation were gorgeous and included so many subtle details. Despite what some of the critics are saying, I thought it had just as much heart as other Pixar films and I think it's a step in the right direction after Cars 2 (which is the only Pixar film I haven't seen yet, but I've heard it's rather disappointing) and Brave (which I really enjoyed but didn't feel was quite up to Pixar standards). Writing this post has made me really want to see it again...I can't wait until it comes out on DVD. :)

Have you seen Monsters University? What's your favorite Pixar film?
P.S. I've had the very neat experience of seeing both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University in theaters this year. Back in January, MI was rereleased in theaters and I had a free ticket, so me and Mom saw it (I didn't seen it in theaters when it was originally released). And then we saw MU earlier this week.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid.

I have a new yarn-related obsession. (I know, like I really needed one. :)
I want to experiment with natural dyeing this year, but I'm still waiting on things to grow so I can actually use them. So, in the meantime, I stumbled across dyeing with food dyes. This technically isn't natural, because these things are filled with artificial colors and such. But it is safe, to a certain extent, anyway. People do ingest these things, you know. :) I actually don't remember ever drinking Kool-Aid. If I did, it was probably at VBS or another kid's birthday party or something.
So over the weekend I gathered up some white yarn and stocked up on the little Kool-Aid packs at the grocery store so I could do some experimenting. :) I used the instructions found here, but here is basically what I did...

I started off with a skein of yarn from Hobby Lobby (I Love This Wool! Naturals in ivory) that I had bought months ago to dye. I wound it into a hank on my niddy noddy and then gave it a bath in the sink with a bit of detergent.

Most people seem to agree that the basic starting point is 1 package of Kool-Aid for every ounce of yarn. This skein was 220 yards and weighed 4 ounces, so I opened 4 packs of the black cherry flavor. While the yarn was still soaking, I put those in a pot and added enough water to dissolve the powder (being sure to keep the water at about the same temp. as the water I was soaking the yarn in).

This was the color of the water:

Then I started adding more cold water to the pot as I transferred the yarn from the sink into the pot. As soon as it hit the water, it started changing colors. :) And at this point, I was getting pretty excited.

I finished filling the pot up with cold water, and look at how red the yarn already is.

Then I put the pot on high heat on the stovetop for a few minutes until it started smoking (steaming? Nothing was on fire :) and was close to boiling. The yarn had absorbed all of the color from the water, and the water was clear:

Then I turned the heat off, covered the pot, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. (You can set the heat in the microwave, but we don't use one so I used the stove.) Then I let it cool, and after it was cool, I rinsed it, then washed it in detergent, then rinsed it again. It didn't seem to lose any of its color.

I was getting a bit braver now, so I pulled out the second handspun that I made on my spinning wheel, and started the process all over again.

I had seen online where if you use lemon-lime Kool-Aid and green food coloring, you can get a pretty darker green. (Lemon-lime itself tends to be lime green.) This yarn was 3 ounces, so I should have used 3 packs of Kool-Aid, but I only had two. So I put both of those in, but it was looking pretty bright.

So I ended up adding approx. 20 drops of green food coloring and about 3 or 5 drops of blue. I don't really think this did any good, because this color was bright green. Like St. Patrick's Day green.

When I was heating it up, I realized that the water was actually a light teal color, I guess from the blue food coloring. You have to use acid to help the colors stick to the yarn. Kool-Aid has enough citric acid in it to do that, but when you add food coloring, you also have to add more acid. So I added two tablespoons of white vinegar, and soon the water was completely clear.

I finished the process with this yarn, and hung them both up to dry. And here's what I ended up with.

No, I wasn't intentionally going for a Christmas theme here. :)

I'm really pleased with the red. It's a bit darker, which is what I wanted rather than a bright red. It almost has a hint of orange to it. I'll probably use this to knit up a hat or cowl or something this fall.

I'm not as happy with the green. It's pretty, and it lightened up quite a bit by the end, but I just don't see myself knitting anything in this color. So I might try to overdye it sometime with another color, like blue. We'll see. :)

So...I think I'm hooked on dyeing with Kool-Aid! I bought some different flavors yesterday and another skein of white yarn, which I'm going to divide into sections so I can test all of the other flavors. :) This was so easy, and so much fun. The end colors are very bright, and you could easily make a rainbow with the flavors. Also, you can mix them up and get stripes or a hand-painted yarn look. I'm really looking forward to trying that!
Have you ever dyed yarn before?

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Make Mine Music {1946}

{Animated Disney Film #8 of 52}

Make Mine Music is yet another segment or package film from Disney. Which means it's not one solid story, but lots of shorts put together into one film. I have to be honest and say that I'm getting pretty tired of these...this is the third in a row, and I think there are two more coming up! I just want a real story again. :)

This film includes nine short parts. Well, technically it includes ten, but the first one has apparently been edited out. It was a sort of Hatfields and McCoys story that was seen as too violent for kids.

So the first section on the DVD is Blue Bayou, which is basically like a 1940s lullaby. It's very slow and sleepy. Not exactly the best way to kick off a film, Disney! :)

The next part was better: All the Cats Join In. Not cats as in kitty-cats, but cats as in 1940s slang for a hip person. It's about teens and popular music...Benny Goodman did the music so it's a lot more upbeat and fun than the previous part. As a fan of big band music, I loved the music. The story and animation was good, too. (Except for one part. In this section, a pencil is drawing the story as it's happening. There are a lot of couples dancing to the music. The pencil draws one girl who is very hippy, and the boy near her won't dance with her. Apparently because her hips are too wide. She pouts at the pencil, which then erases a bit to make her thinner. The boy then gladly dances with her. Was that necessary? I don't think so. Maybe I was extra-sensitive about that because I'm a pear-shaped girl myself. :)

Next up was a ballad called Without You. It was pretty and I liked the music...but I just can't see kids being into this kind of thing?

Then there was Casey at the Bat. I've always heard about it, so I was curious to see it. The ending was very unexpected! :) Next was Two Silhouettes. Eh. I did like Dinah Shore's singing, though. Then Peter and the Wolf, which was narrated by Sterling Holloway (always a good thing!). It was pretty good, though it felt like the story was a bit underdeveloped. But I guess it's supposed to be a classic. After that, there was another bit by Benny Goodman called After You've Gone. I really enjoyed the big band just didn't last long enough.

The next two parts were the weirdest sections of the whole movie, but they were also my favorites. Go figure. :) The first is a love story, sang by the wonderful Andrews Sisters. It's a love story between a fedora and a blue bonnet. Yes. My favorite part was a love story about two hats. What does that say about me? I'm not sure. It was just really charming. :) The two hats are side by side in a store window, and they fall in love. But when someone purchases one of them, they're separated. Will they ever meet again? Oh, the drama. :)

And the final part was The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met. No, I'm not joking. I couldn't even make something like this up. I don't like opera at all, but this was interesting because it was pretty goofy and Nelson Eddy sang all of the roles. That was awesome. There is a whale named Willie who sings opera. A man thinks that he swallowed an opera singer, so he decides to kill him (and presumably save the singer?) with a harpoon. The crew on the boat try to stop him, and we see images of the whale singing in famous opera houses in front of huge crowds. I thought these things were really happening, but apparently not. Because, at the end, the man kills Willie with the harpoon! Seriously! I couldn't believe how depressing the end was. They tried to lessen the blow by showing Willie happily singing in heaven, but I did not expect it to end like that. Sorry for spoiling it, but I had to mention that.

So...Make Mine Music started off very slowly, but it had a couple of lovely sections at the end. (Minus the fate of poor Willie the whale!) But I'm getting tired of these package films, so I probably wasn't able to appreciate it as much as I might have otherwise. Hm.

Up next is yet another package film: Fun and Fancy Free.

Until next time,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Things I've been loving lately.

1. The Great British Sewing Bee. I read where Ashley mentioned this on her blog and decided to check it out. It's so awesome. I watched the four episodes on YouTube and just wish there was more to see! Why can't we have "reality TV" like this in America??

The contestants were great and so different, the Doris Day/1950s soundtrack was right up my alley, and it was just strangely fascinating to watch other people sew. Under a time limit and a lot of pressure. (If I was a contestant, I would want the judges and host to leave me alone instead of being nosy and lingering around asking questions! How distracting! All of the contestants were so patient about it, though. :) It cracks me up how the contestants are like, "I won't look around and see how everybody else is doing. I just need to stay focused." And then the next shot shows them sneakily glancing at their competitors. :) Also, I want a sewing space like they have! A huge room with white walls and hardwood floors and piles of fabric and assorted notions everywhere?? Yes, please.

Anyway, I loved it and I think it might be just what I needed to break me out of this awful sewing rut I've been in for most of 2013. {P.S. I couldn't figure out why Tilly seemed so familiar, and then it hit me: Tilly and the Buttons. I've stumbled across her blog quite a few times in the past, but now I'm finally following it.}

2. The new Hawthorn dress pattern from Colette! Every time I watch an episode of the Andy Griffith Show with Thelma Lou in it, I am reminded of how much I want a couple of shirt dresses. The last few Colette patterns haven't been to my style, but wow...this one is adorable. It's like a slightly more modern version of Thelma Lou's shirt dresses. :) No gathers or pleats at the waist, which is good because I can't pull that off, anyway. I've already received my copy of the pattern, though I have no idea what kind of fabric I want yet. I really want chambray, but I'm not sure I'll be able to find any locally. Even better, Colette Patterns is hosting a sew along! It's been too long since I've participated in one. Two of my favorite and best-fitting dresses are the result of a sew along, so I have high hopes for this.

3. Watching Doctor Who all over again. Or, as far as I can watch with the DVDs I own. Which means I'll have to stop after series 2 until I save enough to purchase series 3. :) I had been wanting to rewatch episodes after the previous series finale, but for some reason I've felt superstitious about it. Though I rewatch my favorite shows all the time, I think I was afraid that, somehow, Doctor Who wouldn't seem as good the second time around. I know...of course, I was wrong! I'm about halfway through series 1 and I think the show is even more fun and amazing than before. If that's possible. :)

4. Dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid. I had stumbled across this idea before, but when I saw Meredith post about it, I wondered why I've never tried it. So after a little research, I purchased 15 packs of various Kool-Aid flavors, and over the weekend I experimented a little. Oh. My. Goodness. Dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid is so much fun!! I never want to spin colored fiber again (at least for the moment- I'm sure that'll change eventually :)...I only want to spin white so I can dye it myself in bright colors that smell fruity. A dyeing blog post is coming soon, but here's a tiny peek.

5. The BookTube community! Over the past couple of months, I've been discovering the readers who make bookish videos on, book hauls, tags, etc. I have a couple of people that I really enjoy following. And as I've been watching these fun videos, I've been so jealous that I can't join in. So I'm thinking about maybe doing some of the book-related tags, but in written post form instead of in video form. :) We'll see...

Until next time,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Project 360: Week 25

{168} A few of the zinnias in our garden are blooming.

{169} Reading on top of my quilt and wishing that the weather was cool enough for me to be under my quilt. Summer is not my thing, you guys.

{170} My camera was not cooperating today. Hence the rather blah photo of a pink sunset.

{171} Me and Mom cut our first homemade soap into bars! :) Mine is lavender and hers is orange/cinnamon (it smells like fall). We had a soap-making class on Tuesday with a friend, but had to wait at least 24 hours for it to set before cutting it. Now it has to cure for four weeks before we can use it...

{172} I love yellow. :)

{173} Unusual clouds.

{174} The lovely new Hawthorn pattern came yesterday! I've only splurged on two Colette Patterns so far. They were offering a discount on Hawthorn this past week, and though I really wanted to order it, I couldn't afford it at the moment. But then one of my embroidery pieces sold, so guess what? :)

I apologize for the blog being so quiet this week. It's been kind of a crazy week. I baked zucchini bread and learned how to make soap and helped my parents extract honey (and tried to take photos of the process without getting my camera too sticky :) and made deodorant...yeah. Between all that, I've been doing a tiny bit of spinning and reading library books like a crazy person.

Though I'm starting my babysitting job again next week, I've got several ideas for posts that hopefully I'll have time to put up. :)

Until next time,