Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving stitching :)

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving with their families. We had a good Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house. My aunts and uncle joined us for our crazy spread of goodies. LOL One of my aunts made some non-traditional items for our dinner in addition to everything else such as stuffed mushrooms (yummy), deviled eggs, and two desserts, cheesecake and chocolate cake!!!

With a four-day weekend I managed to get a lot of stitching done!


Almost finished with my Feu block!! Just a few more motifs left :)


Sorry about the dim lighting!!!


LOL My stitching movies ^___^

Since the past few days have been dismal in terms of weather (lots of rain and wind), I sat in the dining room and stitched away while watching a few period drama film/series!! LOL I'm a period drama geek, which my family can attest to with the Christmas list I came up with this year O_o"

Speaking of period dramas, one of my favorite film companies, Sullivan Co. in Canada, had a Black Friday sale online!!! I bought the entire series of Road to Avonlea for $125......talk about a deal because the set of them usually goes for $280!!!! The same company produced the Anne of Green Gables series, another one of my favorites (the movies and books)!!

I know I shouldn't be spending money on myself, but I thought if I'm going to buy one big thing for myself this year it was going to be this series. My sister and I used to love watching this series on the Disney Channel when we were kids. We didn't get to finish the series though :( We didn't have cable when we were little so we had to wait for the channel to be 'free' for a month or so and we would watch what episodes we could before the channel wasn't free anymore. I love how the Disney Channel is a free channel with TVs now ^___^

I can't wait for my dvd sets to come in the mail!!! It will be something nice to watch while stitching on my Elements sampler. I have two more small motifs, a bit of the alphabet, and a large dragon to finish in the Feu block and I'll have that one done :) I'm hoping I can finish this sampler by the end of the year. I think I'll be able to do so as long as I stitch everyday :)

I want to work on some small-sized patterns next year in my stash instead of starting on my other French sampler by Anagram Diffusion called Saisons. I have a few Little House Needleworks patterns I would love to stitch up :)

Happy Stitching everyone ^___^

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Feu update and mags :)

I haven't stitched that much this week. I got a cold last weekend while mowing the yard....in the cold air. I'm finally getting over it after a lot of cold medicine, Kleenex, juice, and soup.

I did get some stitching done on my Feu block while watching my grandmother this weekend.


Feu block! Sorry about the wrinkles, I just removed the Q-snaps when I took some photos O_o"

I had a chance on Saturday morning to go by my local bookstore and buy some craft mags :)



The Cross-Stitch and Needlework magazine for January 2009 has a lovely Christmas biscornu pattern that I would love to start stitching. I need to go to my LNS and get some nice fabric and threads for it :) The latest issue of Piecework has an interesting article about the history of Oriental embroidery/cross stitch. It also has two charts that can be reproduced for personal use!!!

Happy Stitching ^___^

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Safety first!

I just got an email from a friend of mine who lives in CA to let me know that her family is ok with all the fires in southern CA. She said she and her mom had things packed up in case they had to evacuate the area.

I hope everyone is being safe with these fires. Personal possessions can always be replaced, human lives cannot. If you live in area that might be at risk of fires, kept photos, etc. in a box along with your important papers that can easily be picked up and put in your car when you evacuate. If your local law enforcement officers tell you to evacuate, please do so!!

Wishing safety to all those in CA who are dealing with wildfires!

Yummy!

Last weekend I bought several holiday baking magazines from my local bookstore. I was hoping to bake something that weekend, but didn't have the right size pans?! LOL So earlier this week, I had to make a stop at Target to pick up a 9 x 5 pan in order to make some yummy bread :) It wasn't overly sweet; it is definitely more of a breakfast bread than a sweet dessert bread.


Pardon the crazy drizzle!! LOL My aunt had to tell me the proper way to drizzle icing O_o"


White chocolate blueberry loaf!!

I used the blueberries we froze from our bushes in August. We didn't keep any pecans from our tree so I had to go buy some from the store :(



The Pillsbury Holiday Baking magazine has many great recipes! I might even try to make banana peanut butter bread next time :)

Happy Baking and/or Stitching ^___^

Happy Birthday!!

Today is my aunt's birthday!!! Woohoo!!!



What's in the bag? It's a surprise :) Happy b-day Snowbird! Love ya!!

Hope everyone is having a good Sunday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baking goodies!!

I had to go by the store today after we got our grandmother back home to get some groceries for dinner. Look what I found!


Mini-bundt baking pan!

I can never find these types of pans throughout the rest of the year. All the fun baking pans seem to come out during the holidays. Well, unless you make a trip to your local Williams-Sonoma store, which would probably charge you an arm and a leg for the nice baking pans. Not to blast Williams-Sonoma, I love that store, but I can't afford them that often unless I save up some money. If I won the lottery I would buy the whole store!!!! ^___^

I can't wait to make some holiday goodies with this pan. I've seen some yummy recipes that use this type of pan, but haven't been able to make them since I didn't have the pan to do so....and now I do :)

Happy Stitching/Baking!!!

Feu block :)

I'm so glad that I've gotten a good amount of my Feu block stitched this week. LOL I'll blame it on the presidential election since I started stitching that night and have been doing so the rest of this week too :)



Not bad for a week's worth of stitching! Like I said, I love the small designs so I can usually move through them quickly.

In other news, my mother and I were planning on going to Pensacola for some shopping, but got sidetracked. My grandmother fell while at church. Luckily it turned out to be just a small crack in her pelvis and not a broken hip, which would be devastating at her age!

We've got her home and she's been told by the doctors to go on bed rest for three days and two weeks of rest around the house. I know she would love to be up and doing her daily routines, but in order to heal she's got to follow the doctors' orders :)

Happy Stitching!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween decorations and the Costumes of Nerd-dom

I meant to post earlier about the Halloween party I attended on Friday night, but never got around to it O_o”

It did not help that my aunt picked up our computer’s tower on Sunday in order to get it fixed. It was a shame really, because it has been making the same noise for a couple of years and we never found the time to take it and get it fixed. I do not know if it was a glitch in the programming of our tower’s fan, but it would make the most awful noise while the computer was running. It sounded as if we had a small airplane in our living room!!! Luckily, my mother had bought a replacement fan for the tower ages ago in the hopes of installing it herself so the person who installed it for us only charged $35 for his time and labor.

You would not even guess it was the same computer now because it is SILENT!!! Amazing! With our computer back, I can finally post about the Halloween party with the pictures I took of the decorations. To be Internet conscious, I will not post pictures of my friends though they had some fabulous costumes. I will try to find the pattern my aunt used to make my dress so you can at least get an idea of what I wore to the party.

My sister and her friend did a marvelous job with the decorating, inside and out. The front yard was home to several creepy foam gravestones with spider webs attached. To decorate the solitary tree in their front yard, they had cut wooden square boards and nailed them into a step formation up the tree. They carved out several pumpkins and placed one on each board. It was very nice! I give them props for the inventiveness of carving a pumpkin to resemble Jack from the Nightmare before Christmas!!! The backyard had no decorations, but did have a nice area set aside for a small bonfire later that night.









My sister and her friend chose voodoo as their theme for Halloween decorations. With that in mind, they decorated the dining room table with the most amazing assortment of voodoo-ish items and candles.







The rest of the house was decorated in white sheets, used candles, and cobwebs to give the impression that the house had been neglected except for voodoo magic in the dining room.



As I mentioned earlier when I posted pictures of the Halloween invites, the guests to the party were nerds whether some of them wanted to admit or not. (Techies are nerds too; I do not how much you argue against it!!!)

With that in mind, along with those of the party who were movie buffs, we had some interesting costumes!!


Anime Club Costumes

1. Marie Antoinette from The Rose of Versailles = I went as Marie Antoinette even though my costume was actually colonial American. It fit the type of clothing seen throughout America and the Old World during that time so I went with Marie Antoinette. One of my favorite Japanese animation series is a shoujo storyline from the 1970s called The Rose of Versailles. When I saw the pattern at Joann’s Fabric a couple of years ago, I thought the dress would have been something that the character would have worn in the Japanese series when she first came to Versailles and was not yet influenced by the need for latest fashions. The dress was indicative of Marie’s simplicity, innocence, and youth.

2. Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist = Another girl in our anime club went as Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist. I have never watched the series, as I am not a fan of action series. I am definitely a shoujo girl. My friend’s costume was very good. She even had a yellow wig to complete the ensemble.

3. She-Ra = By far one of the nerd-est costumes we had at the party. My friend’s mother had made it for her when she in high school and wanted to go as She-Ra for Halloween that year!! LOL Complete with headband and gold boots!!

Nerd Herd Costumes

1. V from V for Vendetta = Our host’s husband has a ‘nerd herd,’ which is our affectionate term for his D&D group. This group is also a bunch of movie buffs so the costumes were great. I have yet to watch this movie even though my sister swears it is amazing. One amusing story of the night, ‘V’ answered the door wearing his mask and one of the trick-or-treaters asked who he was. He kept trying to explain who he was, but it was lost on the minds of seven year olds :)

2. Construction worker = Nerd herd guy wearing jeans, muscle shirt, and a hard hat!! LOL Spur of the moment costume, I think ;)

3. Sky pilot = Most inventive costume of the night. The construction worker’s girlfriend loves the Dr. Who series on BBC so she went as a sky pilot. Complete with goggles and a tattered Victorian-like skirt and blouse to suggest that she had been flying around forever!

Techie Costumes (more spur of the moment)

1. Plastic surgeon = Our late guests did not have costumes so they had to go and pick up materials to make theirs!! One guy came as a plastic surgeon with green scrubs and head cap. He also brought a fake stethoscope and a pair of gloves.

2. Risky Business' Tom Cruise = The funniest costume of the night. White shirt, shorts, socks, and sunglasses. He actually ran and slid across the dining room floor to the amusement of my sister and her friends!

Hostesses’ Costumes

1. Pirate captain = My sister went as a pirate captain with a cute dress she bought online. She also wore an eye patch :)

2. Magician assistant = My sister’s friend dressed up as a magician’s assistant with black pants, white shirt, and red tie. It was cute!

Non-nerd Costume (Artist, does that qualify as nerd-ish?!)

1. Spartan = One of my sister’s friends from work showed up to the party. He dressed up as a Spartan in a crimson chit┼Źn with gold edges and sandals. I do not where he got the idea to go as a Spartan, but it was a great costume.

I think a best costume award should have gone to She-Ra. It was by far the best costume just for shear fact that it was a throwback to our childhoods in the 80s and we could all relate to it.

LOL I am not sure if our Spartan friend got the reference because a) he is Canadian (his words, not mine!) and b) a child of late 80s. He told my sister that he had never heard of Rainbow Brite or the Care Bears. Granted, he’s a guy and probably wouldn’t have been interested in watching those cartoons, but come on……surely he should have known who they were!! I definitely do not blame it on him being Canadian either; I couldn’t believe he would bring that up?! I think he is just too young to relate.

So overall, we had a great time passing the time amongst our fellow nerds. Where else can you get a diverse conversation ranging from BBC films, Japanese animation/culture, Dr. Who, amongst other things?!

A Historical Day

What a day! My sister and I got up early this morning to cast our ballots before heading to work. The amount of people waiting to vote when we got to our local polling place at 6:30 am was amazing. Of course, it does not compare to the crowds in NY, CA, and other big states, but for Mobile, AL it was quite a line. In 2004, it only took me a couple of minutes to walk in, cast my ballot, and leave, while this time it took my sister and I an hour to vote.

My dear aunt Snowbird and her husband arrived at the voting place earlier in the morning and we saw them leave after casting their ballots. As we were leaving, our mother was waiting in line since she had to be to work later this morning.

I will not begrudge the time I stood in line to vote, it was definitely worth it to see the masses of people who were ready to change their state and/or country one way or the other tonight. Several issues on our county’s ballot were of importance to our education and transportation systems and I was glad to see people in line reading up on them in their newspapers or on the mock ballots before voting.

It definitely makes you think that many issues go unchecked when it comes to our ability to decide on them. I will readily admit that I am guilty of not voting in the everyday elections of our county. We automatically assume that enough people of similar mind will vote for us. It is quite a bad way to decide our state/county’s issues when you think about it. However, there have been several times this year when I would have voted on issues pertaining to annexes in our city, but could not do so because of voter districts. I have to say that politicians can be sneaky when it comes to drawing up those boundaries and declaring who is ‘affected’ by the issue and so gaining the right to vote on the issue. I will not go into specifics because I am sure every county does the same sort of thing to ensure that their issue is passed whether it pertains to the citizens voting or not.

In other news, I have been working on my Elements sampler. I have gotten one motif stitched up and almost a centaur with his crossbow finished in the Feu block. I am sure to get more done tonight while listening/watching election coverage on CNN.

Happy stitching everyone!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Japanese yumminess :)

My favorite seller on Ebay had the most recent volume of Stitch Ideas! I instantly purchased it and have been waiting impatiently all weekend for it to come in the mail.

I got home tonight from work and it was waiting for me :)



LOL I haven't even looked at it yet!! With that said, I gotta go and look at the yumminess!!

Happy Stitching everyone!!

An Utter Disaster!

What a devastating night for fans of Terry Goodkind’s fantasy series Sword of Truth when they sat down to view his world through the eyes of Sam Raimi, the director of the series’ TV adaptation called the Legend of the Seeker.

I got into the Sword of Truth series a couple of years ago when I was an undergrad. Debi, a friend I worked with, had gotten me the first book for my birthday. She told me that her sister had read all the books that had been published up to that point and that she loved the series. Her sister was trying to get her to read them, but since Debi did not have the time to sit down and read them, she bought the first book for me.

At the time, I did not have time to read them. I was in the midst of almost graduating and trying to get through my last couple of classes. I did not pick up the Wizard’s First Rule until a few months later after I had graduated and had time to devote to reading for pleasure. Granted, it took me a bit to get into the book, what with all the descriptions of the woodlands, but once I got into the lives of Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, I could not stop reading.

I just recently finished reading the final installment in the series entitled The Confessor and I have to say that I wish Terry Goodkind had continued with the series, but on the other hand, I am happy to know that he has decided to write another fictional series, if not fantasy-based.

I actually got my mother to ‘read’ the books, which is to say, I bought the books on CD for her. With two jobs, she doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to reading even though she loves to read (which she passed on to her nerd-ish daughters!) so books on CD are great for her to listen to while driving to work :)

So with our love of Terry Goodkind’s fantasy world of the Midlands, D’hara, and Westland, my mother and I sat down last night to watch the two hour premiere of the TV adaptation, praying that it would live up to our expectations.

To say that the adaptation was disappointing is only the beginning. For me, this adaptation is on PAR with the Eragon movie, which means it was terrible. While yes, you can enjoy the Eragon movie by itself as a stand-alone film, if you have read the books it does not compare in the slightest. (Yet another rant I could go into, but won’t!)

From the start, our expectations were dampened slightly by the lead actor they had cast as Richard Cypher, the main character of the entire series. While the actor they chose was handsome, he was too young and willowy for the descriptions of Richard. The leading lady who plays the character of Kahlan Amnell didn’t live up to the ideal of a Mother Confessor. If it was my decision, I might have chosen Cate Blanchett because at least she would have portrayed the leadership and command qualities that are evident in the novel. Honestly, she isn’t meant to be a temptress running through the Westland woods, looking sexy. Her life’s mission is to protect the citizens of the Midlands from the threat of Darken Rahl’s rule. Her sole purpose in braving the Boundary, a magical wall dividing the Midlands and Westland, is to seek out Zedd so that he may name the Seeker, i.e. the only person who can defeat Darken Rahl.

With temptresses in mind, the plot of the book was changed considerable for the TV adaptation in order to lure more viewers into the series. While my mother and I could have overlooked the actor/actress choices for the series, we couldn’t take the plot changes!!! (sigh) Richard’s father hasn’t been murdered yet. His brother already knows that Richard isn’t his brother, but an adopted orphan. The Book of Counted Shadows exists and Richard has never seen or read it before. Zedd is a total stranger to him.

Points to be made:

1. Richard’s father had already been murdered. The book, a much better version by far, starts out with Richard wandering the woods of Westland looking for a vine that his father had placed in a bottle before being murdered. Richard assumes that the vine (a plant not native to the Westland) might be a clue to whoever murdered his father.

2. His brother, Michael doesn’t know of anything unusual about Richard; he assumes he is his little brother. Michael is running for Council of Westland and does not share Richard’s thoughts of pursuing the murderer.

3. Kahlan isn’t meant to be a sexy temptress; she’s the Mother Confessor. Richard runs across Kahlan by accident while walking back towards the town of Westland. Kahlan Amnell is being chased by a Quad (a group of four men, sworn assassins of Darken Rahl) because she is the last obstacle in his way to ruling all of the Midlands. He helps Kahlan eliminate the Quad and persuades her to allow him to take her to Zedd.

4. Richard has known Zedd since he was a child. He was like a second father to him while his own father was away on business trips trading/selling oddities to the rich. Zedd is a bit of oddity himself; he passes himself off as a strange old man who knows about herbal medicine. In fact, he is First Wizard and has been molding Richard for his role as the Seeker since childhood.

5. Oh, and the Book of Counted Shadows doesn’t exist. As a child, Richard’s father made him memorize the book and recite it back to him over many years until he could finally recite the entire book by memory. At that point, his father built a fire and destroyed the book. Richard was told never to reveal the contents of the book to others.

I won’t go any further about the plot differences between the TV adaptation and the book because it makes my brain hurt just to contemplate the silliness of directors. I guess they need the Xena and Hercules audiences to approve of this series so they’ve changed many things, but I would like to point out that those same audiences have many devoted readers of various types of books. While we realize that you can’t always stick to the plot of books line by line, you could at least do us the courtesy of sticking to the main points and changing the minute details. We would appreciate it!!

So to wrap up this long-winded post, if you haven’t read the books, you might enjoy the Legend of the Seeker, but if have read them you’re in for a disappointment!!