Saturday, 31 August 2013

craft post: a bag and a basket

I'm becoming a crocheting machine! I'm only a third of a way through my blanket so I'm trying to do a couple of smaller projects at the same time. Both of these are based on patterns in Crochet Step by Step by Sally Harding but I modified both patterns slightly to get the size/shape and handles how I wanted.

A knitting basket for Mum

This isn't as rigid as I'd expected so it looks more like a bag than a basket. It's the first time I've crocheted in the round - it took a while to get going because I was having real trouble keeping count! The actual stitching turned out pretty neat though and Mum seems to like it!

String bag

This is a string bag - there's not much else to say! It was a relatively quick project - I did the whole thing in two evenings.

I think I'm going to try making soft toys next and I bought some chunky wool yesterday so I'm on the look out for scarf/cowl patterns. If any of you are on Ravelry you can find me here - I've yet to post any of my projects but my library is filling up! I hope you all have a nice weekend! I should have my monthly round-up posted in the next few days but it could be a little sparse!

Monday, 26 August 2013

film review: celeste & jesse forever

Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)
Director:  Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts,
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Drama
Rating: 8/10

A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people.

Every so often I'll be browsing through Netflix looking for something mindless to watch and I'll stumble across something perfect. It's not that the movie itself is perfect but it is just right for the mood I'm in. I'd heard about this when it first came out but it didn't get a wide release here so I didn't get the chance to see it in the cinema. In some ways that's a real shame - I would have happily paid to see the film and these visuals must have looked GORGEOUS on a big screen - but there's a part of me that was glad to be able to sit and watch it at home and appreciate some of its quietness.

I haven't been in a relationship or gone through a break-up in a long time and so I didn't have an intense ~this is my life~ connection to the film - I haven't married young or ever drank ranch dressing out of the bottle and I don't use drugs and booze to manage my depression ad yet in spite of all the ways in which my life and my nature differs from Celeste's, I became really invested in her and her happiness. Rashida Jones co-wrote the script and it shows in all the complexity of the character - the plot of the movie is based around the mourning process that Celeste goes through as she divorces her best friend and Celeste is treated with compassion by the script but it allows her to be self-destructive and unlikeable and then has her become aware of these tendencies.

I've been thinking about marriage a lot recently, partly because my dissertation is about divorce and partly because I have grandparents who think I'm pathetic for not being married at 24 and so it was really interesting to me to see how marriage and relationships were portrayed. Divorce is used as a framing device by the film but more interestingly is used by the characters who at once assimilate and disconnect their relationship and their marriage. The whole film is based around the premise that they've initiated divorce proceedings before they've 'broken up' and Celeste coming to realise that you can't just have the same relationship but call it something different. It was refreshing to watch a movie explore the idea that you can be in a romantic relationship with your best friend which is built on history and love and an abundance of affection and it still not be right. I loved that it was willing to look at all the unattractive and destructive ways in which we construct out whole lives around other people - about how we are defined by our relationships. I loved how much time was spent on the ideas of the need for effort and self-awareness in relationships, about being willing to make sacrifices but also knowing your limits and the limits of the other person.

Finally, (and most predictably) I loved the way this movie looked! I liked all of the aesthetics - there were some great music choices - but the DP David Lanzenburg really gets me! There were silhouettes and lens flares, all these beautiful colours and some really really excellent faces!

Overall I really liked Celeste & Jesse Forever! Though it was a little melancholy it was never bleak. It was thoughtful and stylish and definitely worth an hour and a half of your time!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

craft post: 'the office' blanket

I think I mentioned in my holiday post that while I was on the cruise I get my mum to teach me the basics of crochet. I'm hooked! (Pun intended!) It's really addictive - I can't sit in front of the TV now without my hooks and a ball or three of yarn!

Last week I finished my first crocheted blanket! As well as being my first project, I'll always associate it with The Office as it kept my hands busy while I marathoned that show for the first time! It's quite simple and by no means perfect (the tension varied quite a lot and none of the central motifs are square!) but I was quite chuffed to have finished it!

The pictures aren't great - the lighting in my room isn't ideal and apparently I can't hold a camera straight - but you can make out all the important things! I was using up wool that my mum had spare from knitting a blanket for my cousin's new baby so the colours aren't necessarily my favourites but I think it turned out okay - I really like the green/purple combo.

I've already started on my next project: a larger blanket using these colours...

I much prefer jewel tones to pastels so this is much more to my taste! Progress is a little slower now that I'm no longer watching 10 episodes of The Office a day but I really like what I've done so far! Once I've finished this I think I'm going to try my hand at stuffed animals - I've found some really wonderful patterns on Ravelry! I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

things making me happy: 3 august 2013

It's just the most beautiful day here - the sun is out and there's enough of a breeze to make it comfortable to sit outside for hours! Everything seems at peace and it's lovely to take some time to revel in that.

Every day like this needs a soundtrack like this song by Tired Pony:

This morning I finished re-reading The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares. I'm never quite sure why this book has such a hold on me but I've taken to re-reading it every summer. It's a stand-alone about two sisters in their early 20s and their friend Paul and how their relationship changes over one summer (and the year after it) spent on Fire Island. It doesn't break any new ground in terms of story and the prose isn't stunning but it feels like summer - you can almost smell the sea and feel the sand. It's what I imagined the New Adult genre to look like before NA became synonymous with erotica. If you're looking for a quick beach/garden read think about picking this up.

Finally, in case you missed my July roundup, I strongly recommend that you go and see Pacific Rim. The trailer made the movie look so dark and heavy but it isn't at all. It had a real sense of fun/play and was so much funnier than I was expecting. The whole premise relies upon soldiers finding companions - they fight aliens with love and trust! THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT! Plus, while the movie wouldn't pass the Bechdel test, the movie's main lady, Mako Mori, is a wonderfully complex example of feminine strength - she's a warrior but she's loving and warm and is never belittled for expressing her emotions. Just in case you need any more persuading, LOOK AT THESE FACES!!!!!!!!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and find plenty to be happy about!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

monthly roundup: july 2013

Between my dissertation and my holiday I've been a little distracted this month. I didn't love any of the books I read on holiday but I saw Pacific Rim the other day and it was AWESOME! Sure it was an epic CGI-fest but it had so much heart and was wayyyyyyy less heavy than I was anticipating! Definintely recommend it! I should also confess that I never watched The Office when it was on the air but I found it on Netflix earlier in the month and devoured the 6 seasons up there in a terrifyingly small amount of time! In my defence I've been using the time to practice my crocheting!

My dissertation deadline is the 28th August so I might not be around much until then. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer!

books read

029 Evelyn Waugh - A Handful of Dust (6/10)
032 Libba Bray - Beauty Queens (7/10)
031 Ken Follett - Jackdaws (4/10)
032 Will Schwalbe - The End of your Life Book Club (6/10)

new movies watched

Despicable Me 2 (6/10)
Pacific Rim (8/10)



Flatline - Mutya Keisha Siobhan
Back Seat Lover - Mayer Hawthorne
Release You - Megan & Liz
All of the People - Panama Wedding
Desert Night - RÜFÜS
Emmanuel - BASECAMP
Stay Inside - Raleigh Ritchie
No Diggity (AA 'All Inside' Edit) - DJ AA