Sunday, July 25, 2010

In search of paper and rainy weather!

The title of this post says it all! As you know, I had too much fun with my perforated paper last weekend and hoped to find some this weekend. Well, that's definitely easier said then done. I stopped by Michael's, Joann's Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby in search of perforated paper. All with no luck. Michael's was the only store to carry the brand I needed, but sadly it was the wrong color. Hobby Lobby carried it, but it was 'perforated plastic' not paper.

In all honesty, I should have just gone to my local LNS and bought some, but innocently thought my local craft stores would carry it.

Well, I just placed orders with The Silver Needle and Down Sunshine Lane. One for perforated paper and the other for the newest designs from JBW (one of my weaknesses!). Hopefully, I will have my perforated paper order from SN by the end of the week so I can start again on my Democrat pin.

In other news, it has been a rainy weekend, which is great for reading, stitching, or in my case watching Emily of New Moon Season 1. I rented this DVD set from my local library.

Emily of New Moon was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1923 and is similar to her Anne of Green Gables series as Emily Starr is an orphan who lives with her relatives after her father's death.

The TV series aired in Canada in 1998, two years after the end of Road of Avonlea series. From what I have watched so far, the series lacks the whimsicality of Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea, but it has charm with Emily Starr's endearing personality and her quest to be a famous writer.

As children, our aunt bought the Anne of Green Gables set of books for my sister and I. They still sit on our bookshelves today, battered from countless readings, but very much loved. I'm quite surprised that we never read the adventures of Emily Starr of New Moon.

I've already put a hold on the book at my local library and hope to pick it up some time this week.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend with all their various projects :)

Until next time ^____^

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A failure?! Oh, no!!!

I went by my LNS yesterday and bought a Mill Hill kit that was on sale since the owner is trying to get rid of her old inventory to make room for new stuff.

I started this afternoon and got as far as the right leg.....I went to secure the thread on the back and pulled too hard!

(sigh) And of course, I don't have any perforated paper so I will have to wait until this weekend to go get some!

Until next time ^____^

Gifts going around the world

I have two packages going around the world this photo yet as I don't want to spoil the surprise! One to California and the other to New Zealand.

As soon as they receive the packages, I'll post photos!

Until next time ^____^

St. Elmo

Hi, everyone!

I decided to read this book as Augusta Evans Wilson was a successful Southern writer during the late 19th century. Originally born in Georgia, she came to live at Ashland and later Georgia Cottage in Mobile, Alabama. She became famous in the literary circles of the South after her predecessor Octavia Walton Le Vert fell from society when she sympathized with the North after the Civil War.

St. Elmo was Miss Augusta Evans’ fourth novel written in 1866. It sold a million copies in several months and was adapted for the stage. So great was its popularity it was made into a parody called St. Twel’mo, or the Cuneiform Cyclopedist of Chattanooga by Charles Henry Webb in 1867.

In all, I found the novel both a pleasure and trial to read. It is quite possible that the author quoted every classic author whose manuscripts she could lay her hands on, which I found highly amusing when Edna Earl’s character tries not to fall into the 19th century definition of a bluestocking, but falls into the modern definition of word: a woman having intellectual or literary interests. The author was a bluestocking herself as her first novel Inez was published in 1850 when she was only 15 years of age.

I loved Mr. Hammond’s definition of a bluestocking when Edna asks him what it means:

“A bluestocking, my dear, is generally supposed to be a lady, neither young, pleasant, nor pretty (and in most instances unmarried); who is unamiable, ungraceful, and untidy; ignorant of all domestic accomplishments and truly feminine acquirements and ambitious of appearing very learned; a woman whose fingers are more frequently adorned with ink-spots than thimble; who holds housekeeping in detestation, and talks loudly about politics, science, and philosophy; who is ugly, and learned, and cross; whose hair is never smooth and whose ruffles are never fluted.” p.70

I thought the plot was good, but had been attempted before. In St. Elmo Murray, the brooding, cynical protagonist, I see Mr. Rochester of Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Both heroines flee the ones they love and try, unsuccessfully, to start a new life only to return in the end to marry their reformed lovers.

While searching for references to St. Elmo, I ran across several reviews from The New York Times archives. The first was a review of the novel on January 5, 1867, several months after it was published. The review in their literary section was far from kind and advised Miss Evans to “present herself again in a dress becoming the nineteenth century, and using the language of the present period, we shall have unfeigned satisfaction in extending to her a warmer welcome than it is now our privilege to offer.”

I think Miss Evans took their advice to heart as I finished reading A Speckled Bird written in 1902, which contains none of the faults mentioned in the review for St. Elmo.

Interestingly enough, there was an editorial in The New York Times that was published 30 years later in 1899 by a young man who could not understand why his wife was crying over such a “trashy and impossible and unnatural” book whose excessive quotes were “only a device to show how learned the author was.”

The editor replied that they couldn’t believe that the public took such a book so seriously thirty years ago, but that they liked the fact that the man’s wife was old-fashioned.

They even mentioned that St. Elmo was the “last of the ‘Rochesters’”, which I found hilarious. Who would have thought that I would have the same impression of St. Elmo as an editor in 1899?!

Do I recommend St. Elmo as a summer reading book? I recommend it definitely only for a university student or Victorian literature enthusiast.

Please feel free to read the summary below if you want. You will notice that the ‘sad past’ of St. Elmo Murray is not mentioned. If you really want to know about it, read the book!


Our story begins with young Edna Earl who has grown up under the care of her grandfather Aaron Earl in village of Lookout after the death of her parents. She is devoutly religious and virtuous due to the teachings of her grandfather and displays a love for books and education.

Her peaceful childhood is destroyed by the sudden death of her grandfather and she goes on to live with neighbors until she recovers from the shock of losing the only family she has. Eventually she decides to go to Columbus, Georgia in order to get work in the cotton factories there and to continue her education on the side so she can become a teacher.

The train to Columbus is met with a terrible accident and scores of people are dead or dying. Edna suffers a broken leg from the wreckage of the train, but is taken in by Mrs. Murray, a wealthy widow, to live at her residence Le Bocage.

After several weeks of recuperation, in which Mrs. Murray has carefully assessed Edna’s character, Edna is invited to stay as a companion to Mrs. Murray with the understanding that she will be provided for and educated until she comes of age. Edna accepts the offer, but makes it a condition that all the expenses of her room and board will be repaid once she procures a position as a governess when she is finished with her education.

While staying at Le Bocage, she meets St. Elmo, Mrs. Murray’s son who has finally come home after his travels abroad. St. Elmo instantly dislikes and mistrusts Edna. He thinks that she is playing on his mother’s sympathy and loneliness. Despite his misgivings, St. Elmo does not interfere with his mother’s decision to make Edna into her companion and helpmate. Edna begins her education under the tutelage of the local preacher, Mr. Hammond in classics and many other subjects in order to pursue a career as a governess.

Five years have passed and Edna has grown into a beautiful woman who cares nothing for the life of society that Mrs. Murray is constantly trying to force on her. St. Elmo has come back from several years abroad and Le Bocage is filled with the laughter and gaiety of his friends. Edna does not care for St. Elmo’s friends and consequently, St. Elmo’s manner towards Edna is cold and mocking.

With her education finished, Edna secretly starts to write a novel that wrestles with the question of mythology and modern religion. Her manuscript is rejected, but the editor, Mr. Manning, agrees to publish any articles that she might have and so begins Edna career as a writer.

Edna decides to take a position as a governess with the Andrews family in New York. With her eminent departure, St. Elmo reveals the sad story of his past and confesses his hidden feelings for Edna. After hearing his story, she flees to New York to start a new life instead of confronting her own feelings for St. Elmo.

Teaching the Andrews’ children during the day and working feverishly at night on her writing, Edna becomes a success writer at the expense of her health. She returns once to Le Bocage at the urging of her teacher, Mr. Hammond who is ill. She stays with Mr. Hammond for several months nursing him back to health. Both Mr. Hammond and Mrs. Murray try to convince Edna that a marriage to St. Elmo would be great to all parties involved, but Edna refuses their advice and leaves for New York.

All this time, St. Elmo has slowly changed his cynical ways and has even taken in an orphan in the village as a student. Unfortunately, Edna cannot forget his past and consent to be his wife.

Returning to New York, Edna finds that Felix’s health has declined and she accompanies the family to several retreats in order to revive him. Despite several months of care from the family and Edna, Felix passes away. Edna decides to return to Le Bocage to see St. Elmo one more time so she can start to forget him.

Coming home, she is surprised to find that St. Elmo has decided to become an ordained preacher. After attending his service, she returns to the chapel to pray for his soul before leaving and is met by St. Elmo. Once again, he confesses his feelings for her and she finally accepts him as he has been forgiven by Mr. Hammond and God for his past.

They are married and she gives up her writing at the St. Elmo’s bidding for her health’s sake.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June Recap


1. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Fields
2. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
3. Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America by Linda Furiya
4. Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms and Matsuri: A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities by Broderick & Moore
5. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
6. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Clearly

1. Love freebie by Plum Pudding Needleart

As you can see, more reading than anything else for the month of June. I am currently reading St. Elmo by Augusta Evans Wilson. I was surprised that the my local library had a copy as the book was originally published in 1866. The copy that I am reading is a rebound volume from 1902. Hopefully, once I finish reading that, I'll start another cross stitch project!

Tonight, my friends and I are going to see Avatar: The Last Airbender. I have no idea about the plot of the movie as I refused to borrow three seasons of the show to understand the movie. Tomorrrow, my mother and I will going to see Eclipse. Hopefully, it won't be too crowded with Twilight fans!

Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Until next time ^____^