Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Favorite actors. {Classic Movie May}


The above guys are pure awesomeness, in my opinion. :) Just look at them! These are talented actors that I almost always enjoy seeing in movies, for one reason or another. Here's my list...

1. Cary Grant. First of all, at the risk of sounding really superficial, Cary Grant is ridiculously handsome. :) But the best thing about him is this: There is only one Cary Grant. No one can ever truly be like him, and he's just in a class of his own. He had a distinctive voice and style and quirky mannerisms. But he could be anything. He could be a debonair millionaire, a loveable ex-husband (but he never really stayed the ex-husband for long, did he? :), a fast-talking newspaper man, a nerdy professor and a former jewel thief. And he was all of those brilliantly. He could be hilarious and swoon-worthy within the same five minutes of a film. I really like Cary Grant, could you tell? :)

Favorites: The Awful Truth, His Girl Friday, The Talk of the Town, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Charade.

2. Gene Kelly. I saw Gene Kelly in of the first musicals I ever watched, Singin' in the Rain, and it was one of my most memorable classic movie experiences. Gene Kelly can dance (boy, can he dance!), act, and sing, and he's amazing at all three! The first thing I noticed about him was how enthusiastic he was while dancing, and how it was obvious he really, really loved what he was doing. Gene Kelly was my introduction to real dancing (I'm a child of the 90s and the only dancing I had ever seen was the synchronized moves of popular boy bands). And his smile is really contagious. I also love to hear him sing...I read once that his singing voice was an extension of his speaking voice, and it's so true. It sounds so natural.

Favorites: For Me and My Gal, Anchors Aweigh, On the Town, Summer Stock, and Singin' in the Rain.

3. James Stewart. Jimmy Stewart could be your next door neighbor. He's so likeable, earnest, unassuming, and good. He seems easy-going and familiar, but he could definitely surprise you with emotional scenes. In one case, there was even a murderer hidden behind that nice guy fa├žade! :) I don't really know what else to say about him...I mean, he's Jimmy Stewart.

Favorites: You Can't Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shop Around the Corner, Harvey, The Glenn Miller Story, and Rear Window.

4. Humphrey Bogart. He didn't have the attractive looks of other actors like Cary Grant or Gregory Peck (strangely enough, he always reminded me of a mouse. Very weird, I know, but I think it was how he sometimes talked with his teeth bared :) but Humphrey Bogart was incredibly talented. Sometimes he played characters that were genuinely rough and rotten to the core. But quite often he just seemed to be putting on a tough guy act to hide the fact that he was actually a nice guy. :) And he was perfect with Lauren Bacall- it's like she smoothed out his rough edges.

Favorites: Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, Key Largo, The African Queen, and Sabrina.

5. Gregory Peck. After you've fallen in love with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, there's really no turning back. :) I haven't seen as many of his films as I'd like to, because I'm generally not a fan of Westerns. He's tall, dark, and handsome, and even better, he seems like such a nice guy. He also has a perfect voice. And could anyone have ever been a better Atticus Finch? I think not.

Favorites: Spellbound, Roman Holiday, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

So...who are your favorite leading men from classic films? Let me know in the comments or link up your post below!



Until next time,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Project 360: Week 17









{112} A Bug's Life view of the cucumber plants.

{113} When I buy a skein of yarn at a LYS and the owner asks if I'd like it wound into a ball, I always say no. Because I do enjoy winding it myself by hand...for approx. the first half of the skein. By the second half, I'm either thinking, "Just let them wind it at the store next time, goober," or "I really need a ball winder for Christmas."

{114} Can you tell what's on my mind this week? :) I go through obsessive stages with crafting...lately I haven't had much desire to sit down at the sewing machine. All I can think about is knitting, spinning, and finding a raw fleece locally.

{115} This is one of those 9:30 p.m. "good grief, I forgot to take a photo today!" pictures. As you can see, my yarn plying process is very technical. It involves my spindle, three overturned flower pots, and lots of tangles.

{116} I'm really glad I can hang my yarn outside to dry now that it's warmer!

{117} My sweet little Jack. (And here my mom would say, "Little!?" because he weighs 20 pounds.)

{118} Today is a drizzly day...the perfect chance to wear one of my favorite brooches. (It's from this lovely Etsy shop.)

Until next time,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mission accomplished.

Doesn't it feel good to be able to check something off your new year's resolutions list when you're not even halfway through the year yet? Especially when you haven't done such a great job with most of your other resolutions? :)
 
Spin enough yarn for a knitting project. Check.
 
I've finished spinning the three packs of roving I bought from KnitPicks. I ended up with three skeins {94, 92, and 95 yards respectively}, which added up to 281 yards of yarn. It's all 3-ply worsted weight.
 

I've been working on this since January, and I love how I can see myself improving gradually. The first skein is very inconsistent, the second one is better, and the third one is the best. {Below are the first and third ones...the second photo wouldn't load for some reason!}



I'm so pleased with how they turned out. Of course I'm going to knit something with them...I'm not sure what. But I'm going to dye them first, so it might be a while before they get used. For now I'll just keep them close by and remind myself every so often, I made this yarn! :)

I am feeling a bit anxious now because I'm out of fiber. I'm sure I'll find a way to remedy that, though. :)


Until next time,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Free (really good) music!

I promise that I'm not intentionally trying to post every day this week. :) But I just had to share this!

Have you guys ever heard of Noisetrade? It's a site where lots of bands offer EPs or even full albums, and they're free to download. You can leave tips for the artists, but it's optional. And yes, this is completely legal. :)

I have found some really amazing music there. One of my favorites is a bluegrass album by Chance McCoy and the Appalachian String Band. But I also discovered the Vespers.


Some of the Vespers' music is very foot-stomping bluegrassy, but at other times they remind me so much of Eisley (another group I love). Their music is just really good. I downloaded a sampler from Noisetrade and loved it so much that I purchased their second album, The Fourth Wall, on Amazon.

Today I got an email from Noisetrade announcing that the Vespers were putting both of their full albums, Tell Your Mama and The Fourth Wall for download! I was thrilled, and I'm listening to my new download of Tell Your Mama as I write this. :)


Just wanted to let you guys know about this awesome band and the fact that right now, the music is free! (I really do need to leave a tip at this point because I've gotten so much enjoyment from their music.)

By the way, these aren't Christian CDs but apparently the band members are Christians, and the music is completely clean. In case you were wondering. :)

P.S. Speaking of really good music, happy 96th birthday to Ella Fitzgerald today!

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Extermiknit!

*cue scary music*


Exterminate!

Oh, no. Daleks in London! (Wait...didn't a spaceship already take out Big Ben?)


Daleks in Paris!


Okay, so I ran out of iconic landmark knick-knacks. :) I had way too much fun taking these pictures, even though they turned out badly because of the time of day I took them (near the window).

I knitted this Dalek with a free pattern on Ravelry called Extermiknit!. Just in case you're not hooked on Doctor Who (yet), Daleks are an alien mutant race that know no emotion except hate. Their main goals is to exterminate! anyone and everyone in the universe who is not a Dalek, and of course, they are sworn enemies of the Doctor.



The pattern came together pretty easily, though there were some challenges for me. This is the first plushie type thing I've knitted (as in a 3D object). All of those bobbles were a pain, though this wasn't my first time making bobbles...I did quite a few of them on this hat. It was my first experience with colorwork and my first time knitting an I-cord (which was much easier than I expected).

{By the way, stuffing a knit plushie is way different than stuffing a doll you've sewn. You can't stuff it too much because the knitting will stretch out after time.}

I also tried to do a jogless join so that all of my colorwork and stripes would turn out neatly, but that didn't go so well. I really didn't want to show a picture of the sloppy back of my Dalek, but for the sake of honesty, here it is.



The long arm has wire (technically an unbent paperclip :) inside to make it stiff. Obviously, you wouldn't do that if you were making it for a kid, but this one isn't a toy. The pattern suggested it, but I was going to leave it out until I realized that the arm would probably get very droopy after a while.


The eye stalk also has a paper clip inside. I did leave the two bobbles off the side of the Dalek's head. On the show, the two little circles are very subtle, but on the pattern, all I could see was two big eyeballs and I think it's distracting. So I left them off.

I knitted this in some really cheap acrylic yarn...some leftovers from a big Red Heart (?) skein of black, and the silver/grey is Vanna's Choice, or something like that? Something with the Wheel of Fortune lady's picture on front. :)


This was an easier knitting project than I expected it to be, though knitting the base was a bit of a pain. You've got an upside down, mostly stuffed Dalek in your lap and the wire in the eye stalk keeps shifting around and poking out (finally I just took it out until I was finished with everything else), and it makes for some very awkward knitting.

But I'm so pleased with how it turned out. It's such a fun, nerdy finished item. :) This is one of those projects where I'm like, "I can't believe I actually made that!" I'm not bragging, but you crafty people know what I mean, right? I feel like that about my Penelope scarf and my purple coat and the first pair of socks I knitted. And the Dalek turned out so much bigger than I expected (it's probably 13 or 14 inches tall). It looks so cool and imposing sitting on my desk. :)

P.S. Remember how I mentioned that one of my cats hated Olivia? Well, I showed him the Dalek and he sniffed it, and that's it. A cat doll with a polka dot dress and he runs from it, but an evil robot alien thing? No big deal.

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs {1937}

{Animated Disney Film #1 of 52}

Yesterday marked the beginning of my attempt to watch all of the major, theatrically released Disney animated films. Of course, it started with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs...a film I've been watching since I was very young.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated film ever, basically. Before it was released, the media was super skeptical and called it "Disney's folly." How ironic is that? It was a risk, definitely, but look at what its success brought about: the massive monster that is the Disney empire. :) While watching it, I was trying to think about it in a historical context. The late 30s...films like Wife vs. Secretary, You Can't Take It With You, and The Adventures of Robin Hood were being released (give or take a year or two)...the movies were full of Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, and platinum blonde Jean Harlow.


Okay, first of all, I can see why audiences were so impressed with Snow White. Not only was it significant because it was a 90 minute film instead of a short, but it's just a beautiful, clever, fun movie. In a documentary in the special features, they talk about how Walt Disney wanted it to not only be funny, but to have heart and to include joy and sadness that the audience could really connect with. Well, I think he succeeded with all of that.

I cannot wrap my head around all of the work that went into animation like this, and I'm blown away by it all. Even crazier is the fact that this is their first big attempt, and they did it so well. I love the beautiful scenic shots, like the ones of the cottage. They look so perfect anyway, but when you look even closer, you see the little creek shimmering realistically. And I love how Snow White's hair is just the slightest bit blurred around the edges (I just noticed that this time. Not sure if it's intentional or not, but I like it :).

I'm personally not too crazy about operatic style singing, and Snow White's voice almost veers a little too far in that direction for my taste. But her singing voice is perfectly 30s, you know? She's not supposed to sound like Mandy Moore (not that I have anything against her! She's perfect as Rapunzel). And I do love the songs in this film.

Snow White reminds me so much of Shirley Temple. I wonder if the animators were inspired by her? I've seen pictures and video of her at the premiere (arm in arm with a couple of costumed dwarfs, nonetheless! :), but I'm not sure if there's a bigger connection there. Snow White's speaking voice and so many of her mannerisms are so Shirley Temple-ish.


A couple of comments about other characters...the Evil Queen: fairest of them all? I don't think so. Not in that outfit. :) {With that awful black-looking thing that covers her hair! What are those called?} I do see some 30s Hollywood starlet influences in her, though: her Bette Davis eyes and those skinny, severely shaped eyebrows. Also, I'm glad that Disney has improved on their princes over the years...this one (unnamed) has kind of a feminine-looking face. :)

I had forgotten how funny this movie can be. I love how Doc is constantly getting words and phrases mixed up..."Look at our stable! Er...table!" And please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks Seven Brides for Seven Brothers majorly borrows from Snow White. There are so many similarities there: the new lady in the house making the seven (!) brothers/dwarfs wash up and learn table manners. Though Snow White is far too sweet and smiley to ever turn the table over in frustration like Milly does. :)


There are certain parts of this movie that I remember so vividly and that bring back memories of watching it as a kid. I remember how scary Snow White's run through the forest was when the branches were reaching out to get her. I remember loving how the woodland creatures helped her clean up the cottage- like when one of the squirrels uses his tail as a bottle brush. :) And I clearly remember the awful looking texture of the Evil Queen's potion...I can remember imagining how bad it must have smelled because it looked so creepy. :)

So...I'm really bad at writing reviews. :) This is how most of my Disney film posts will be, I'm afraid...sort of rambling and nostalgic. Until I get to one I haven't seen before, anyway! Hope you guys don't mind. I'll be back within the next week or two with my thoughts on Pinocchio!
 

Until next time,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Classic Movie May! {Introduction and Schedule}

A while back, I threw out the idea of hosting a classic movie blog party. You guys had a good response to it, so I decided to go for it. I'm really excited to write a lot about classic films and I can't wait to read about your favorites (and least favorites), too!

So here's the deal. I'm really bad at coming up with creative names for stuff, so guess what the event is called? You got it...Classic Movie May. :) Brilliant, I know. By the way, for this event, I'm generally considering classic movies to be any made through the 60s. So...the creation of films until 1969. :) But this isn't a strict rule- exceptions are fine. For example: Fiddler on the Roof was 1971, I think? And The Apple Dumpling Gang movies were from the 70s.

Twice a week during the month of May, on Tuesdays and Fridays, I will have scheduled posts about a certain theme. {The first post will actually be a bit early, on April 30th.} At the end of each of these posts will be a link-up. I'm giving you the schedule now, so you'll have time to go ahead and type up any posts for the topics you want to write about.

Schedule

April 30 (Tuesday): Favorite Actors
May 3 (Friday): Favorite Actresses

May 7 (Tuesday): Famous Classic Films That You Don't Like
May 10 (Friday): Your Absolute Favorite Classic Films

May 14 (Tuesday): Actors/Actresses Who Had to Grow On You (aka, you didn't like them at first :)
May 17 (Friday): Best On-Screen Couples

May 21 (Tuesday): Favorite Musicals
May 24 (Friday): Favorite Hitchcock Films

May 28 (Tuesday): Obscure or Underrated Classic Films (mine aren't exactly obscure, but just ones that I think don't get the attention they deserve)
May 31 (Friday): Classic Films You Haven't Seen Yet (famous ones that are still on your to-watch list)

I'm sure there will be other classic movie related posts (though that won't be all I post about) during the month...maybe a couple of reviews, or other random posts.

And the giveaways! There will be giveaways...hopefully three of them. They'll be announced throughout the month. Linking up or participating won't be a requirement to enter the giveaways, but it will earn you extra entries. :)

I'm really excited about this, and I hope you guys are, too. I want it to be a fun, relaxed blog party. So if you want to join in but don't have time to write long, detailed posts, that's fine! Any way you want to participate is fine. Most of my scheduled posts are simply lists, some of them longer (I like to ramble :), but a lot of them quite short. Pretty much anything goes...silent films or talkies, animated or live action, black and white or Technicolor.

Here are some not very professionally made buttons for you, if you'd like to take one for your blog. :)



 

 


Until next time,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Project 360: Week 16








{105} I have Lilo and Stitch on the brain. :) I recently watched the movie again and had forgotten how much I love it! It was my favorite movie for a while when it first came out.

{106} Pretty little star-shaped flower.

{107} Almost finished my first big(ish) spinning project.

{108} After our lovely day trip, I came home to find this had arrived. :) {B&N.com had them on sale last weekend, plus I had a 15% off coupon from an email. By the way, BBC America Shop has had them on sale lately, too. Like half price, which means they were cheaper there anywhere else right now!}

{109} The Dalek is approaching...I've very nearly finished knitting it.

{110} Things are growing well in our greenhouse- it's so exciting! These are tomato plants.

{111} My book and movie birthday gifts! As you can see, I have very sophisticated reading habits. A fairy tale retelling (from what I understand, the hero is a guy knitter! Should be interesting :), two children's books, and my first Georgette Heyer novel.

Today is my birthday (just found out that I share it with the queen of England! Pretty neat :), and it's been a very nice one so far. I got some lovely gifts, and after we got home from church, we had homemade pizza and birthday cookie and ice cream. I'll probably spend the rest of the afternoon reading or knitting, and we're getting together with some friends for (more!) ice cream later.

I apologize that this week's photos are pretty bad. I really need to start taking more effort with them, but it's been kind of a crazy week! :)

Until next time,

Friday, April 19, 2013

A little trip (and a big yarn haul).

My birthday is on Sunday (I'll be twenty-two! Goodness...am I getting old? :). A while back I started thinking about what I wanted to do to celebrate...last year we went to a museum and saw Mirror, Mirror in theaters. I had no idea what I wanted to do this year, but then it hit me...
 
I wanted to go shopping.
 
First of all, I have to say that I'm not one of those girls who loves to shop. I could care less about buying clothes and accessories and things like that. I do like hunting around thrift stores, and of course, I love to shop for books (and movies).
 
But for my birthday, I wanted to go crafty shopping. :) And the best place I could think of to go crafty shopping was the little town of Floyd. So we took a little day trip yesterday.
 
The mountains are so pretty in the spring. We go every fall, but I think the mountains are just as lovely in the spring. Everything is green and magical-looking. Sorry that these photos are crooked...they were taken from inside the truck and I'm too lazy to try and straighten them up. :)
 



Excuse the glare...but I loved this abandoned old house. It looked like something from a movie.


Before we headed to Floyd, we stopped in Rocky Mount. There's a yarn shop there called The Crooked Stitch. Last fall when we went to the folklife festival, we came home through Rocky Mount and I saw this yarn store. But unfortunately, I'd already spent my money at the festival so we didn't stop in.

So I was very excited about stopping by this time. It's a lovely store, and they sell yarn and fabric (two of my favorite things) and all sorts of other supplies. Our town doesn't have a yarn store...we only have Hobby Lobby. And of course, I love HL, but local yarn stores are so much better. I was overwhelmed with all of the beautiful yarn.

And I had my first encounter with Madelinetosh yarn. When I first started knitting and joined Ravelry, all I heard about was this yarn. And with good reason, too...the colors are absolutely gorgeous. The whole time I've been knitting, I've wanted some of this yarn. And, well. I went a bit crazy yesterday. :) Madelinetosh yarn is expensive, but actually it wasn't as expensive as I expected. {Two years ago, I never spent more than $5 on a ball of yarn. Over the past six months or so, I've finally started spending more on quality yarn.}

I bought one skein of Tosh DK, in this pretty red color (none of these photos even begin to do the colors justice). I'm planning on using this for a pair of fingerless gloves...I've had my eye on a certain Ravelry pattern for a while.


I also got one of Tosh Vintage, in a dark blueish teal color (Kelp, according to the label). I don't have plans for this one yet. :) It's so much darker and richer than the photo!


We stopped and ate lunch at Tuggle's Gap first. My dad had to go to a farm outside of Floyd and get some organic fertilizer, so after that we came back into Floyd.

Did I mention that I met Elvis there?


Floyd has a yarn shop, too: The Wooly Jumper. I had went in there when we went to Floyd a couple of years ago, but I had just started knitting and had no idea what I was looking for. :)

This shop was a bit smaller, but they had Madelinetosh yarn, too! *swoon* :) Meredith is making a pair of socks from the Tosh Merino Light, and that inspired me to do the same thing. I got this gorgeous turquoise yarn, though it'll probably be a while before I start on the socks. :)



So yeah...I haven't even used any of the Madelinetosh yet, but I think I'm already smitten. :)

{My dad buys feed from the mill in Rocky Mount, so I know I'll be going back to the first shop, The Crooked Stitch, soon. I already know the next color of Madelinetosh I want. :) }

And I got two skeins of this Cascade 220 Sport. It looks TARDIS blue, and that's why I bought it.


My collective yarn purchases. This was definitely a splurge- I had been saving money for about a month and a half for this trip. :)


Of course, we had to stop at Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd. Three floors of novelty cottons, fleece, knits, wedding fabrics, buttons, notions, etc. It's crazy.



I only bought a tiny bit of fabric here. A yard of this vintage fashion cotton print.


And a half yard of this coordinating print. I'm such a nerd- so many of my favorite novelty prints are sewing-related.


I also bought some long doll needles, some yarn to make more dishcloths for Mom, and something that I'm going to keep a surprise for now because it's going to be a giveaway here next month! :)

Until next time,