Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie: The Blind Side

I saw this movie with my granddaughter and didn't have high expectations.  However, it was the only movie that was appropriate for both of us and that we could agree to see.   Sandra Bullock is surprisingly restrained playing Leigh Ann Tuohy, the wealthy southern woman who becomes a guardian for homeless  high schooler Michael  Oher.  Since it's based on a true story, there are no real surprises.  Not my usual type of movie, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.  I'm sure the company didn't hurt.

My rating:  *** (out of 5)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Movie: Coco Before Chanel

Audrey Tatou plays the young Coco Chanel in this movie that ends with Chanel being given the opportunity to open her own shop.  The movie's focus is on the disappointments from the men in her life.  Her father abandons her shortly after her mother's death, her first lover, the wealthy Etienne Balsan, finds her amusing but is unwilling to introduce her to the society he frequents, and Arthur "Boy" Capel, her next lover, supports her  career aspirations, but is unable to marry her because his aristocratic family requires him to make a more suitable match.

The movie shows her design influences, mens tailored clothing and the jerseys worn by French fishermen, but there is only one scene, near the end, that shows the clothing she created from these influences.

My rating:  **** (out of 5)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finished Object: Granddaughter's Ziggy

Pattern:  Ziggy
Yarn:  Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn

I started these on 2 circular needles but then Mary from Knit Night told me that stranded socks work better with the Magic Loop technique.  She showed me how to do it, and I switched to that techcnique.  Then Diana at Fiber in the Forest showed me how to do the Philosophers Wool method of stranding, and I switched to that method.  So I ended up using three different techniques while knitting these socks.  I'm afraid this is obvious in the finished object, but the recipient seems to be happy.

It was fun watching the zig-zag pattern emerge as I knitted.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book: "Spoiled"

The main characters in these short stores are spoiled upper class women who are always aware of class differences.  These distinctions cause them problems.  One character is disturbed when she finds her cleaning lady at a bistro she had planned to make her regular haunt.  Another has an awkward situation develop with the nanny.  This book is enjoyable and I recommend it to those who like this type of fiction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book: "This Is Where I Leave You"

Another comic dysfunctional family book.  In this one, the children of a recently deceased atheist father are surprised to learn that before dying he requested the family sit shiva for him.  Judd, the main character, has recently discovered that his wife is having an affair with his Rush Limbaugh-like boss.  He joins Wendy, his sister, who is largely ignored by her workaholic husband, and two brothers at the family home for the shiva.  Paul is married to a woman desperate to have a baby while Phil can quote pop culture references all day, but has no marketable skills. This family has no secrets from each other, and they use the intimate details of their siblings' lives as weapons against each other.  Very funny and enjoyable.

My rating:  **** (out of 5)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finished Object: Drops Jacket

Pattern:  Drops Jacket
Yarn:  Brown Sheep, Lambs Pride Bulky

This was a quick and enjoyable knit.  My only problem is that it flares out in the back, so I'm considering sewing a chain in the back to weight it down.   Now I just have to figure out where to buy such a chain.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fiber in the Forest

Yesterday I returned from a 3-day knitting retreat in Holland organized by Trish.  It was loads of fun.  There were about 20 women attending and they came from as far away as Idaho.  It was great to see the work other knitters do and to pick up a few tips from them.  I learned a new technique for fair isle knitting that should make that process less painful.  I also got lots of my own knitting done, completing the pieces for my Drops Jacket.  They've been blocked and I'll try to get it assembled this week.

On Friday we visited a local sheep farm and an alpaca farm.   On Saturday we went on a shop hop to 6 local yarn shops.  There were tons of prizes and I was lucky enough to win one of the big prizes - a hand-made wooden swift from Hornshaw Wood Works.  I also won some beautiful handspun yarn and a skein of Elizabeth Lavold Silky Wool.

Oh, and there was plenty of delicious food and snacks.  I'm so glad I went!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bird Deterrent

For the last couple of weeks, the co-homeowner and I have been hearing the  sound of a woodpecker pounding holes in the siding near our bedroom window.  When we yell at him (and it is a him according to our bird book) he leaves, but he's managed to create 2 significant holes, the largest of which is about 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches deep.  A little research showed that woodpeckers can be deterred by shiny objects, especially if they're blowing in the wind.  I decided to make a zero cost bird deterrent out of an unused aluminum roasting pan, some twine, and short nails.  Hope it works!