Monday, November 17, 2014

*tap...tap* Hello? Is this thing on?

This space feels a little foreign to me at present.  So much time is spent in the "real" world and in my own head that I have neglected this.  Those of you who are still reading, thank you.  I'm going to dig back into my roots, the ideas that brought about my introduction to blogging in the first place...Knitting!
Fret not, wedding pictures and the full report will be sometime this week.  I get the pictures tomorrow!!  Meep!  

I have decided that I need to start small and start good blogging habits.  Talking about knitting, books, and perhaps the films I am watching to begin with.  Then add sewing projects and theatre projects and perhaps I'll become a real blogger some day!  Heehee.

For now I am knitting socks, a couple of Baby Surprise Jackets, and a personal sweater.  I just closed a show with The Outsider's Inn Collective, and have hit a bit of a rut in my tv knitting watching since I am done with White Collar, and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and Fleming.  Peaky Blinders is a bit intense to simply listen to, but I now have a pair of basic socks on the needles and that might solve the problem.  

I've picked up a couple novels that are favourites in my collection to re-read since my book reading has been rather spoilt by mandatory college reading and my eyesight being very tired these days, but I press on.  Boneshaker by Cherie Priest is on my bedside table along with Clever Maids by Valerie Paradiz and I am nibbling along at them.  

Pictures and Wedding chit-chat coming soon!  Promise!  


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

T-10 days!

Oh you guys!!  I cannot wait to tell you all about the wedding fun that is approaching.  Mostly I cannot wait to share my dress.  I ended up buying one rather than making mine as originally intended, and it is turning out so lovely.  Nate and I are adhering to the "no seeing wedding duds before the wedding" rule and it's going to be so much fun!
I picked up his tux yesterday so we have garments bag hanging out with each other until the BIG DAY!  Which, as my calendar reminded me, is in 10 days!  Meep!

Mom and I have been accumulating ALL the Halloween decorations and I think when this is over I'll be set for Halloween decor for LIFE!  It's been a little difficult because she will see something that is awesome and will want to get four of them and I will ask if she will use them at her house.  Naturally it's more my style than hers and she'll say no, and so they remain at the store.  I can only have so much crow paraphernalia before it gets ridiculous.  A hint at things, here and there is more my style.  The bowing crows in the above picture are currently decorating my mantlepiece and will also decorate my wedding!

We found the tiniest pumpkin salt and pepper shakers too!  Things are so cute it's starting to hurt.
Next week we start decorating so stay tuned for updates and if you follow my Instagram there will be loads of pictures on there as well.  


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Freshly Listed

Some fun little striped handwarmers are finding their way onto my Etsy Store!  I'm knitting away like a mad woman here since it is the only thing keeping me sane during all this wedding prep!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Digs!!

Well, last month we moved in to a darling little apartment that really feels more like a house over in Ballard.  It may have been nearly a month ago, but I'm still settling us in and unpacking boxes.  There is still re-arranging to be done, and fussing of the perfect places to put things, but progress is being made, so I am happy.  

We finally have an entire bookcase devoted to board games.  Hoping to host game nights one we're totally settled in.

The "Entertainment" wall.  Books, films, and music will live here.

Our closet is a bit awkward, the opening is far, far smaller than the entire space so I took the doors off to give us more access since we share this one.  Thinking I'll do some sort of curtain treatment to it in the future.  For now, it's helping.

You never know what is in your new garage!  Lurking beneath that bedspread is a beautiful dresser!  Bonus Dresser!  The last tenants left it here and since no one has asked about it or contacted me, I'm going to polish it up and adopt it into our home.

Pretty cabriolet legs!  All the hardware was sitting in the drawers, and the mirror mounting was in there too!  Very excited to restore this beauty.

And finally, it wouldn't be my house without twinkle lights.  A little "canopy" above our bed.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Some Thoughts on Sherlock Holmes in TV and Film

Those who know me will smile at this post, for they know very well my love of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes.  Recently I have undertaken the long put off watching of the 2012 tv show Elementary and found it to be quite charming.  I was initially strongly put off by the idea of Watson being portrayed as a woman, but after watching the first four episodes of the first season, have found it to be a very interesting version of the character and well worth watching.

I am not going to cover all of the myriad variations of Sherlock Holmes in literature, radio, television, and film, rather I would like to look at the ones I enjoy the most, and a couple of the offshoot films that tickle me.

So, oldest first;  Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce portrayed Holmes and Watson from 1939 to 1946 in a series of US made films.

This is probably my least favourite mainly because of the treatment of Watson. Nigel Bruce's portrayal and the writing turned Watson into a bumbling idiot who let the baddies slip and was constantly accidentally stumbling on something vaguely useful.  Holmes however ran around knowing everything, protecting the innocent women, chasing, and generally being a super cocky-arrogant prat.  Basil's portrayal is extremely classic, and the cinematography is totally worth watching.  Gorgeous angles, fabulous contrasts between dark and light, and a solid dose of Film Noir goodness to these films.

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985, dir. by Chris Columbus)

 I include this partially because of sentimentality and partially because it's charming.  I grew up watching this and thoroughly enjoyed it then and now.  It explores the possibility of Holmes and Watson meeting at boarding school, and having many adventures together.  Two rather bookish boys bump into each other and become friends.  Watson wants to be a doctor, and is supportive of Holmes' pining for the lovely Elizabeth whose uncle is Holmes' mentor.  The three get tangled with a gang of Egyptian Mystics who seek to replace their lost princesses beneath the streets of London.  Very charming, and worth a watch.

Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke and Edward Hardwicke (1985-1994)
Brett as Holmes and Burke as Watson (pre-hiatus)

Brett as Holmes and Hardwicke as Watson (post-hiatus)

Jeremy Brett is, in my opinion, the Consummate Holmes.  Not only is his portrayal magnificent, but it was supported and broadened by not only the writing in this show, but his two Watsons.  David Burke is my personal favourite, but Edward Hardwicke takes up the reins quite nicely in the later seasons.  This show is follows the short stories and novels most closely, matching dialogue word for word in many places.  They also feature many of Sidney Paget's original sketches which were featured in The Strand Magazine when the stories were run as serials.
What I enjoy most about this series, aside from the gorgeous costuming and brilliant acting, is that Holmes feels so human.  For me, this was the first time I really saw him laugh, show fear, pain, sadness, love for his stalwart companion and romantic love towards The Woman.  Watson was also much more enjoyable in these since he wasn't just a dumb assistant, but a true sidekick.  Watson learns deductive reasoning and applies it constantly, much to Holmes' delight.  The solve cases together, and come out stronger for having known the other.

Aaannnd now we come to Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011).  These gave me intense trepidation as I walked into the movie theatre to watch the first one.  It looked too "steampunky" and too American to truly be Sherlock Holmes.
I was, happily, entertained by this adaptation.  For me, it had a very distinct wink at the canon, as if to say, "Forgive us for this, but it was too much fun!"  Visually rich, lovely costumes, good characters, good villain, and entertaining moments of laugh-out-loud silliness.  Oh, and Jude Law...did I mention Jude Law?

Next up is BBC One's Sherlock (2011-) starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson.
This adaptation delighted me utterly.  I had my trepidations (modern adaptation? who needs that?) but after watching the first episode I was hooked.  This isn't so much an adaptation as it is an update.  They took the bones of the original stories and modernised them to fit in 2011 London.  The Study in Pink rather than the Study in Scarlet, quotes from the original, moments that I had grown to love from Granada's series were updated and honored in Sherlock.
Let's just take the above picture for example; in one story Watson comes home to hear gunshots and discovers Holmes has shot the letters "VR" for Victoria Regina in the wall.  This time it's a smiley face, but same concept.  "Bored! Bored! Bored!" is the reason the 1887 and 2011 Holmes' give to the perplexed Watsons.
This Holmes is extraordinarily awkward at time, a product of his spending so much time in his own mind that occasionally it's hard to watch.  Each time, however, he pulls through and learns how to be a proper human.  Love it.  Watch it.

If you had told me a week ago that I would be not only watching Elementary (2012-) but LIKING it, I would have laughed in your face, long and loud.  I avoided this show for two years because I couldn't fathom the idea of a female Watson, much less Lucy Liu as Watson.  Not because she's Asian, race has nothing to do with that, but because I couldn't even imagine it.
I watched the pilot...and then I watched another and another episode until this morning when I anxiously packed up the Netflix disk to the mail to await the next one!

For die-hard Holmes fans, this show is shocking.  You begin watching hoping for some connection to the stories or any part of the canon and you just don't find it.  It is completely different, and still very good.  The writers basically took the essence of Holmes and the essence of Watson and distilled them down to the core of the characters, plugged them into New York and went from there.  Holmes and Watson still meet, but this time because Watson is Holmes' Sobriety Companion to recover from his drug addiction.  Holmes' father arranged for Watson, there is no mention of Mycroft, the brother, and they begin their awkward yet fascinating relationship together.
This Holmes is imperfect, childlike in his reactions to situations, and open to mentorship.  Inspector Gregson and Watson guide Holmes through his world, buffering his awkwardness for other people.
He opens up to Watson more than Watson opens up to Holmes.  Watson catches him on things and he acknowledges his error.  They learn together and grow from each other.  And as much as I never thought I would say it, this is worth a watch.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life...and Stuff...and Things.

Lately my life, in general, has felt much like the cat in the above picture.  NOPE.  Not gonna, don't wanna.  We're all in a jumble here at Chez Millbank.  Firstly, we're trying to move, have a couple of leads on places, but nothing definite yet.  I started a new job selling computers (Yay Apple!) and it's going better now that I've been there a month.  Wedding planning, you ask?  HA!  I've basically postponed that until after we're moved in when I can actually think about that again.  

My mom was super sweet and suggested we go have a picnic supper on Thursday.  We ended up on Greenlake with a VERY cheeky squirrel who wanted some of our dinner.  

This is my life at present.  Boxes and packing and more boxes and more packing.  Suddenly never moving ever again feels rather appealing...but I have a Box Fort!  So everything will be okay.

I'm sorry I am neglecting this space, I love writing and hearing from people.  Soon!  I shall be back soon with more England posts, wedding dress updates, and a 1920's post!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Let's Talk About: Body Size (NSFW)

This is a touchy subject, but one that, as a woman who is all around average, I find I am encountering more and more and need to change my thinking and the words I use around friends.

I used to believe that "skinny" was bad.  It wasn't "healthy" and that "skinny" people should eat a sandwich!
Similarly, I was sad that "large" people were clearly not taking care of their bodies and allowing them to simply be large, fat, or overweight.

What I know now is that IT. DOESN'T. MATTER.  I have lots of friends who are super tiny and lots of friends who have a whole lotta curves to love, and you know what?  I love them.  This article "Is Staying Thin Easy? It Doesn't Matter" came up on my facebook feed today.  Previously I would have probably just scoffed and kept scrolling, but today I stopped, clicked through and read it.
I credit the things I choose to read in helping me change how I think about bodies, I credit kind and gracious friends who quietly come up to me and let me know that the skinny shaming comment I just unthinkingly made hurt them.  I, like many women, fell into the Body Mass Index lie and the desire to be "fit" which in my head went something like this: Fit=skinny=desirable by society/boys.
Fitness is different for each and every person.  Some people have an extremely difficult time exercising, changing diet, etc for a variety of legitimate reasons.  Some people over-exercise and look unhealthy so they can fit into the lie social media spoon-feeds us that we all need to look a certain way.

Truth is, you  need to look like YOU!  I am 5'5", 180lbs and could do with some cardio.  My BMI (lie) claims I am obese and need to be around 140lbs.  That my friends is bullshit.  140 was a number I hit in high school when I was 18, to go back down to that now I would need to seriously lose a bunch of muscle and all over body fat.  I, and both personal trainers that I have had the pleasure of meeting, think this is crazy.  155-165 is a better range for me on average.

Do I have the time to go work out a lot right  now?  Not really.  Am I going to feel bad for eating a hamburger and enjoying a beer?  Absolutely not.  It has taken me a long, long time to fall in love with this amazing body of mine, and I am still learning how to love myself.  I worry over how my body will change after I have kids, will I want a breast reduction?  Will my fiancee still love me?    It's easy to spiral downwards into a hole of self-loathing.

The most healthy thing, the best diet, the most vigorous excercise you can do for yourself?  Teach yourself to Love You!  Look at your body, look at your curves, or your slender frame and tell yourself that it is beautiful.  Love your stretch marks, love your bony hips or your nubby spine.  Love your curvy hips, tiny waist.  Love your wide shoulders and strong thighs.  Love yourself.  Find someone who genuinely loves you for, (wait for it,) YOU!  Don't settle for less.

This is plus-size model Tess Munster and I think she is fabulous!  I love how she unashamedly loves her chubby body, and how she unapologetically flaunts what she's got for all the world.  

Tumblr blogger RottenMorgue is the opposite of Tess.  Skinny, bony, and adorable, she makes a living flaunting her adorably weird little self in private video chats.  I'm including her here partially because I love how wacky she is, and partially because I can't think of a better example of skinny.

The list goes on...

people who work out all the time...

people who don't.
(yes, this is me, sorry Mom!)

Everyone is beautiful.  
Learn to Love You!


Friday, June 13, 2014

England: Part One

It's high time I shared photos of my trip to Europe!  I went in September for the better part of a week and saw so many gorgeous things.  Sometime in the summer Nathen's parents asked us if we would like to join them on a wee trip to London.  None of us had ever gone and of course we said yes!  
We left on September 5th and arrived on the 6th!  On the way over we traveled from Seattle to Atlanta, and from there we went across the ocean to the fabled lands of England.  


Sunset #1


I didn't take many picture of the trip over, partially because we were all quite sleepy, and because my phone was off most of the time.  I quite liked this sculpture in the Atlanta airport though.  Reminded me of a giant net, this one perhaps to catch mermaids?

Finally!  Finally, we landed on foreign soil.  We collected ourselves and our luggage from Heathrow airport and went to meet a car service to take us to our hotel.  There were so many people with signs in many different languages and it was a little overwhelming.  Clamoring, caterwauling throngs trying to get from one point to the other.  We huddled close to each other and scanned the crowd for "Millbank" on a sign.  Nothing.  Just as we found a corner to pause and collect ourselves in, I caught sight of a sign bearing "Curtiss"!  Who would have thought to look for my name?  I hadn't counted it out of the realm of possibility.  Our driver was a dear wee man from Eastern Europe.  He welcomed us to London in broken English and escorted us to his car.  We loaded up and headed out!
He asked us what hotel, to which we replied, "Lancaster Gate"  After a pleasant drive we were deposited outside a formidable looking hotel that at first glance was far more luxurious than the one we were supposed to be staying at.  Our driver unloaded our luggage, thanked us, and drove off.  
We went inside.  The young Austrian woman at the front desk had a disapproving look about her and told us, cooly, that the Lancaster Gate Hotel, Hyde Park was just five blocks over.  We were in zipcode W1, not W2.  

A short stroll in the intermittent rain got us to our very comfortable little hotel.  

MUCH better!

Inside we unpacked the poor, squished little Monsters and got things settled.

The littles quite approved of our room!

We were all quite grumpy, but made our way to the first floor of the hotel where there was a bar and a dining area.  Real food, at a real table, in real chairs, with COFFEE (!!) and we were soon back to rights.  
Nathen, his dad Bob, and I went for a little stroll after a wee snooze.  The main road, Bayswater ran along  part of Hyde Park which also houses the Kensington Gardens.  We ended up at The Swan, a fun little pub on Bayswater with more decorative Victorian panelwork than I had ever seen in my life.  It's common enough in downtown Seattle to find some panels on the ceilings of restaurants, but in London it was everywhere and I loved it!

See the wall texture?  

We collected ourselves and had a glass of proper ESB, English Style Bitter, which I would compare to something like Redhook or Smithwicks.  Very tasty.  Along our walk, every pub we passed claimed superiority in possessing the best fish and chips.  When the Brits say fish and chips, what they mean is an entire side of fish!  Skin and tail on the bottom side, tender white flesh battered and fried on the other.  It comes on a bed of "chips" which I would categorise as steak fries.  Nice thick ones.  Fish and chips also comes with a side of mushy peas.  Part mashed peas and part al-dente fresh peas.  Not unpleasant, just peculiar.  I had myself a delicious plate of bangers and mash.
In comparison, I think many American flavours are wild, loud, and extravagant against traditional English fare.  Sausages in the US give me a stomach ache after one, here I can eat nearly three and still be happy.  

Mmmm, Beer!
We finally pootled back to the hotel and dropped into bed. Not bad for our first day in England!

Next Up: Portobello Road Market, Westminster, Big Ben, Millbank Road, and the Hop-on-Hop-off Tour Busses.