Monday, March 31, 2008

The Line Between

I read The Line Between by Peter S. Beagle for the Mythopoeic Award Challenge. This is the second book I've finished out of the seven I agreed to take on. Its a book of short stories so how about I review them individually?

1. Two Hearts is the sequel to The Last Unicorn. Apparently Mr. Beagle is working on a sequel. I'm probably the only person in the world who's not looking forward to this. I like how the characters were left in the last book thank you very much. The story isn't bad but it didn't do it for me. Probably because I'm a grouch.

2. Four Fables. Meh.

3. El Regalo I adored. Make this one into a book instead! A sister discovers that her annoying little brother is a witch - a very powerful one. Of course, that doesn't stop him from being a typical obnoxious little brother. It makes for a really good story.

4. Gordon the Self-Made Cat - all about a mouse who decides to become a cat. Too cutesy for my taste.

5. Quarry is a prequel to another book of Beagle's that I haven't read. It was really good though - all about two outsiders running from some scary folk. I may have to pick up "The INnkeeper's Song just to discover what follows.

6. Salt Wine was good and creepy. All about the dealings with a male mermaid which are apparently called "merrows" and are as ugly as the mermaids are bewitching. Very well done.

7. Mr. Sigerson is a Sherlock Holmes-ish tale. Not a bad story really. It deals with an investigation into some strange dealings with a cellist and his wife. However, had the notes not said that this was him playing with the Holmes character, I never would have realized it. Maybe I need to add some. Holmes and Watson into my reading.

8. A Dance for Emilia - really touching and lovely. I want to dream of the kind of dance that takes place in this story.

So it was a bit of a mixed bag. Enchanting in some places and a pure slog in others.

Chock full of movies and books

I'm still adoring Georgette Heyer. False Colours was pretty adorable. Its the tale of identical twins. When the heir goes missing, his brother takes his place to meet his intended's family. Sounds like typicall romance fare, right? But it is so much more clever and adorable. Heyer is far more Jane Austen-like; its a story about society and manners and people. Absolutely no bodice-ripping. In fact the most action in a typical Heyer novel might be a kiss - and a rather chaste one at that.
I particularly adored the characters of Lady Denville, the twins' mother, and her devoted Sir Bonamy. A very fun and fluffy romp!

Anne of the Island did not disappoint. I love it so much! I know that before very long, I'll have to buy this entire set for myself. I think Anne and all her neighbors will need frequent revisits. For now though, I still have whole bunches more sequels to look forward to. (Also I get to mark another book off my 101 list at the right).

We watched The End of the Affair the other night. Normally, any movie with the dashing Ralph Fiennes in it is a hit with me. Sadly, that wasn't so this time. I found it pretty predicatble and overly melodramatic as well as hard to care much for the two characters. Eh! Two saving graces though - the first was Julianne Moore's wardrobe which I covet and the second was the way Ralph's character's eyes glittered all angry and devastated when they met in the restaurant after two years. I must admit that caused a few small heart palpitations for this girl.

Stardust was so much fun! All adventure and romance and comedy and beautiful vistas. Good job! This is one that worried me from the start. I really like this book and the trailers looked pretty blah. But it wasn't blah at all.

And the whole way through I was coveting the witch's pretty yellow gypsy wagon, but that's to be expected.

My new favorite web comic

I'm really hooked on tge web comic Anders Loves Maria. Start at the beginning and read all about the rocky relationship of this adorable Swedish duo. Be warned though - I don't think I'd consider it a work-safe read.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Reading and watching

Why did it take me so long to get around to reading the Anne of Green Gables series? They have so much more detail than the super wonderful movies. Anne of Avonlea continued al the wonderfulness much to my heart's content. I'm so enjoying these books!

We're almost to the end of Monarch of the Glen. We recently finished watching the 6th season on dvd. Its still good and well written, but seeing cast members leaving one by one is pretty sad.

I enjoyed watching Dan in Real Life - mostly because I think Steve Carell is terrific. The movie is very similiar to The Family Stone but ever so much more likeable (even with the obnoxious Dane Cook).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Skinny Love

Right now. Absolutely right now, you must go and take a listen to the live version of Bon Iver's Skinny Love. Its so raw and good and makes me want to listen to it over and over and over again. In fact, I think I will.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh my!

We watched The Namesake last night. What a great movie! It was so sweet and touching and funny and beautiful and true.

Really really wonderful! Go watch it straight off.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


At long last, I've sent out my package for the garden swap over at A Little Sussy. Since the recipient doesn't know I have a blog, I'm free to go ahead and post a picture of what's being sent. (I'm impatient like that).

Gina is into flower gardening. She's a teacher who likes books and lives in New York. So what do you send such a lady? Here's what I put together:
- 4 packets of flower seeds (3 of them good for cut flowers)
- A cute vase to put cut flowers in
- A felt flower made by yours truly to put in the cute vase while waiting for the first flowers of spring to go ahead and bloom already.
- Some vintage flowery postcards
- Two gardening memoirs by Dominique Browning - Around the House and in the Garden and Paths of Desire
- Pretty photo notecards by my ever so talented husband (available for purchase on his etsy shop - In The Sun Studio)

I hope she likes her package!

Friday, March 14, 2008

God she's good

scar that never heals

This song makes me so happy.

New craftyness

No worries! I am finally making some progress on a brand new crafty project. There will be pictures this weekend.

I'm so tickled by them. Its one of those things that needs some tweaking definitely, but once I've figured it all out, these may go into the much-ignored Bandit Queen shop.

Details and pictures soon!


I picked up Fantastic Mr. Fox for two reasons. First, I love Roald Dahl. Second I love We Anderson movies and apparently he's working on an animated film based on this book.

It is, of course, pretty cute with wonderful descriptions of the three farmers. Can't wait to see the film.

I appear to be pretty firmly hooked on nonfiction reads anymore. The Day the World Came to Town deals with all the flights suddenly grounded in Gander, Newfoundland after the US closed its air space on September 11th. Its the sweetest read!

A small island of 10,000 people is suddenly host to over 6,000 people from around the world. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy about the world in general.

I listened to the audio version of World War Z, and I'm blown away by how much I enjoyed this book. War stories aren't usually my thing. Neither are zombie stories. But this is fantastic! Written in a journalistic style with some big name people reading different parts, it was hard to stop listening to. I loved the made-up slang expressions that felt so natural to the story telling. SO many people I know are getting copies of this book from me.

It wasn't until I was all finished and raving about the story that I found out that the audio version is abridged. Normally, I would be angry about this. I hate abridged stories. I don't care if it is forever long to listen to a whole book, I want the whole thing dammit! However, I felt kind of a rush when I found this out because its a great excuse to get the book and dive right back into the story once again. (However, I'm gonna be so much more cautious about these audio books and their tricky abridgedness).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chunkster update - Misfortune

I recently finished book #2 for the Chunkster Challenge. Misfortune by Wesley Stace clocks in at a hefty 544 pages. The premise sounded so interesting that its been on my to-read list for a while, but the idea of lugging this monster back and forth with me for lunchtime reading everyday put me off a bit.
The novel starts in 1820 and revolves around a baby found by a garbage heap by the wealthiest man in England. Although the baby is a boy, the man has never gotten over the loss of his sister and so decides to raise the child as a girl. Hooked yet?
When explaining the idea of the book to my husband, he declared it creepy sounding, but it isn't at all! I loved so many of the characters in this book. There's Rose Old who grows up believing herself to be a girl, her childhood playmates, the adopted librarian mother so geniusly named Anonyma, and her caring but obviously not-all-together father.
It took me about 100 pages to get really hooked on the story. Thankfully, the blizzard of '08 hit just as I got to the point that I couldn't bear to put it down. The book is an interesting mix of Possession and Fingersmith as well as its own delightful and odd originality. I really really enjoyed this one.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fitness update

My yoga class is hatha yoga - so says the instructor. One hour of stretching and working out in a dark classroom with a good smelling candle burning and pretty music playing. It may be my new drug of choice.

Today, I did 100 crunches. Tomorrow, I help Miss Kristen with packing and tossing. That has to be a bit of exercise, right?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Madness - with veggies

Following a fitness resolution with one about food is nuts, but I've been meaning to post this recipe for a few days. Recipe found here. I would probably add a bit more spice to it - maybe more pepper and basil and oregano. Its originally from Cooking Light so not too too terrible in small quantities. It made a ton for freezing for later and it really helped with my immense veggie craving I've had lately.


The scale today was a harsh mistress. I knew what was coming though. I have been bad bad bad this winter. Too much stress and illness and eating not so carefully. Not nearly enough moving about. My pants aren't fitting so hot and I'm determined not to give in and go buy new ones. Instead, I'm gonna start a March 10th resolution to watch better what goes in my mouth and make a better attempt at moving around more. Until then, my bigger pants and comfy dresses will have to do.

I've been admiring Lisa's endeavor over at Happily Ever After in Seattle. So expect some fitness updates around here as well. Tonight, I'm off to my yoga class.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

so sweet & so cold news

Kristen and I have made a change to our blog so sweet & so cold. Instead of limiting our content to etsy finds, we've decided we can feature all sorts of pretty things. Its so much fun! So check it out and feel the prettyness.

Garden swap!

I took part in Nicole's garden swap over at A Little Sussy. Unfortunately, thanks to my spam blocker eating the info I needed for the swap, I totally forgot about it until this delightful package showed up at my doorstep. Eek!

So right now, I'm having so much fun putting together a late garden package for my swappee who is so very understanding about my dingyness. However, I have to show what Bebe from Dos Hermanas sent me.

With 20 inches of snow on the ground, its so nice to have such pretty gardeny things to take my mind off of the cold. Bebe sent me lemon poppyseed scone mix (which I must admit I may not be able to wait for spring to try), pretty floral napkins, an adorable bird and nest centerpiece, a champage and punch recipe card (this is gonna get TONS of use), terrarium ideas, and a list of great gardening blogs for my perusing pleasure. Could a swap package be more perfect? I can't wait for good weather and the chance to do more entertaining on my patio surronded by pretty plants and soaking in the sunshine.

Thanks so much, Bebe!

When my package is sent off to my swap partner, I'll post some pictures.

Aren't these birdies the cutest?

Welcome to my abode

I realized that I hadn't shared some awesome thrifty finds. Please ignore the clutter!

Here is one corner of my living room. The yellow piece on the wall is really a silk scarf my husband found. We stretced it over a canvas and hung it up. I love it. The dragon was a goodwill find from years ago. I'm losing some fondness for it, but the husband keeps pointing out its supposedly excellent feng shui (even though I'm pretty sure he knows nothing about feng shui).

That awesome macrame ttree hanging was originally meant for etsy via MiriamandEleanor but I fell in love with it. The dangers of having a vintage shop!

And this I had to share cause it looks so pretty. Just ignore the laundry basket. And the bench that mneeds recovered. The iron bed is a serious find though. My parents found it at an auction and refinished it for us. The dresser (in need of replacement knobs) was a yardsale find.
Ever so slowly I'm working on finding things I like better and replacing some of our pieces or finding ways to improve upon what we already have. We're not much for brand new furniture whenever possible.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

one glittering higher up still

I'm behind on posting some reviews. The fact that all I can see outside my window is snow means I'll be doing plenty more reading, watching, and crafting. So look for multiple posts this weekend.
My very favorite read recently is Anne of Green Gables. I'm determined to read everything L.M. Montgomery has ever written. (Its on my 101 list to the right). However, I stalled on getting started cause I thought I'd be bored by the first couple of books since I've watched the movies eleventy gazillion times. Not so! They are so sweet and charming and funny. I can't wait to dig into Anne of Avonlea!

One excerpt had me scrambling to write it down:

"Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting."

Entirely a different sort of book form Anne, but I also enjoyed Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Murder mysteries are not my typical thing, but a detective who's also a serial killer? Count me as intrigued. I like it - an no, I haven't seen the tv series yet. I'll probably wait until I've read all the series available as of yet. Its an interesting book, but did anyone else feel like the ending was a bit rushed?

I snagged The World's Wife to add a bit of poetry to my reading. I really really liked Mrs. Midas and Mrs. Darwin. The rest I felt a little meh about. Still the concept of poetry from the view of historical and mythilogical wives is a great one.

I'm a Wes Anderson junkie. I love how he portrays family dysfunction. Still, the story in Darjeeling Limited felt a bit lacking. However, the scene on the train where it showed all the characters in a row really redeemed it for me. I could probably watch that scene over and over again. Plus Adrien Brody was pretty awesome.