Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cinderella in the thrift store?

Since my daughters and I love dolls (it has kind of become our way to bond...long story), and seem to spend way too much money on them, I've decided to start giving thrift stores a try. This is actually very huge for me, as thrift stores are kind of a trigger for my OCD. Since I was very young I have really despised thrift stores, they kind of freak me out. They still do. I hate the smell of them. I try to avoid touching everything, and refuse to look at anything other than the dolls to see what treasures we might discover. And even then, I will only dish out money if it is in near perfect condition and EVERYTHING can be thoroughly sanitized to my high expectations. So, this new endeavor is really pushing me out of my comfort zone.
So far we have only checked in our local thrift store 3 times. The first time we found a couple of good books (the one I got for me, I still haven't felt comfortable enough to sit and read it...but I will get there), and a bag of 2 Bratz Babyz fashion dolls and a cafĂ© play set of some kind for only $3. The second time my youngest lucked out big time and found a bag for $5 filled with all kinds of Mix and Match Lalaloopsy doll parts. There ended up being enough parts in the bag to make 3 complete dolls!
Today, I found a Disney Cinderella toddler doll! I have been wanting to get a toddler doll for a long time, but just haven't wanted to spend the money, unsure if I would enjoy making clothes for one. This one I found was in near perfect condition, with her original dress. The dress still needs to be washed, but she is freshly sanitized (several times), and her hair was thoroughly washed (several times). Her hair looks a little fuzzy in the picture, but I am pretty sure that is because I washed her hair with really harsh soap (it looked better prior to the washing), and it is still wet. I need to fiddle with her hair a bit. I think she is probably one of the prettiest Cinderella ones I have seen. Cinderella would probably not be my first choice, but for only $4 I could not pass up the chance to finally own one! Now I can get started in making some bigger doll clothes and see what I can come up with on a larger scale.
I did some searching and discovered she is actually a real Disney Store toddler doll, before they started making the Disney Annimators dolls. I am pleased with my find! We are officially on a doll buying ban though...thrift store and other. I've spoiled myself and my girls a bit too much in that department lately.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

doll sleeping bag craft idea

I have been having a bit of doll fun with my girls lately and came up with this super inexpensive doll craft idea....sleeping bags! What little girl doesn't want to have sleepovers with her dolls?

The most basic material needed is a felt sheet. You can find these in your local craft store. I know A.C. Moore's, Joann's, and Michael's sells them, and they come in all kinds of colors and patterns. The basic solid colored felt sheets sells for $ .49, and the patterned ones are up closer to a dollar. Then all you need to do is simply fold the felt sheet in half the long way and stitch the bottom and part of the long side closed. This can be done using a needle and thread, yarn, hemming tape, or even hot glue! For ours, we also cut and added a strip of colorful fabric across the bottom, which was super simple to just stitch in place. We then used the same fabric to sew a simple pillow we stuffed with fiber fill already in our house. We made several sleeping bags for dolls that basically cost us only $ .49 each, as we had all the rest of the embellishments in our house!

sewing doll clothes

I've been having a lot of fun sewing some doll clothes lately. I already have a small pile of fabric, but I stopped in Joann's Fabrics this past weekend to see if I could find some other pretty fabrics, only to discover that all their clearance fabrics were 50% off! Clearance fabric is about the only kind of fabric I buy, and I really only buy a very small amount, since doll clothes doesn't take much. I tend to have only 1/4 yard cut for each, which actually allows for quite a bit of clothes to be sewn from it. I got a bunch of new fabrics (my girls did as well). I think altogether we picked out about 12 different fabrics and paid only $8. It was pretty amazing. Everything the dolls are wearing in the photo I made (although the middle doll's shirt is a no-sew shirt), which I am also pretty amazed about. Me and sewing don't normally go together. I can't believe I am actually producing useable outfits! My Maleficent doll is one of my favorite dolls, given as a Christmas gift from my youngest. She is sporting some lovely monster pants. I got my Ariel doll from Disney World a couple of summers ago, beautiful doll. She is loving her new pajamas! And the middle curly haired doll is new; I found her at Toys R Us last week and couldn't resist. Since when does Barbie make a curly haired blonde doll with freckles?! She didn't come with a name, so I appropriately named her Riley Poof. Unfortunately, she came with one eyebrow paint a bit messed up (she was the only one available), so I've told my girls it is just a scar from a her podracing on Tatooine. Anyways...I've also made several doll pants for my daughters as well. I think up next is a pair of pants with dinosaurs all over it, a patterned picked out by my youngest!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

another bookstore...gone

So, this past weekend I went to a store I don't normally, and discovered it was in the same shopping area as our small local bookstore. When I got out of the car, I pointed to the bookstore across the huge parking lot to show my girls how close we were, only to discover a giant sign hanging before their entrance informing me that they were closing. I was so incredibly sad at that moment, if I wasn't out in public I probably would have wallowed in my tears! I have so much enjoyed having a bookstore that I can easily drive to and wander through the isles looking for something delicious to devour. It is so depressing that it is so hard for our town to keep a bookstore open.
With that said, my personal book buying ban is out the window. I immediately chucked it and was reading to start hoarding everything I could. They have a lot of books I know I want to read, books that I've put off purchasing for a late date, books I know I will be paying a lot more for down the road than right now. Everything in the store was 20% at the time, on top of used book prices to begin with. My oldest daughter made out like a bandit. She loves the Star Wars series for kids, such as Jedi Apprentice or Jedi Quest novels, and they had a ton on the shelves. I think I got her 8 Star Wars books total. My youngest is apparently unamused by books at the moment and just insisted she found nothing of interest. I kind of pushed a couple of books on her that looked like something she would enjoy. Myself, I finally splurged and purchased 4 of the Legacy of the Force books. I have been eyeing this series for a while, really interested in reading them. Unfortunately, they were several books shy of the series, but I will seek them out online to fill in the gaps. I am now the proud owner of:

1. Legacy of the Force: Betrayal by Aaron Allston
2. Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice by Karen Traviss
3. Legacy of the Force: Inferno by Troy Denning
4. Legacy of the Force: Fury by Aaron Allston
5. Star Wars: Tales from Jabba's Palace edited by Kevin J. Anderson

The bookstore has lowered the percentage to 30% off as of today, so I am sure I will return to try and gather up a few more of the books I've been wanting. Then when we are void of bookstores, I wont feel so panicked. Then my indefinite book buying ban will be reinstated!

Books I wont read. Ever.

I decided to do a Top 5 Wednesday, which is to share 5 books that I wont ever read. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. The Hunger Games series. I haven't even seen the movies, but the whole premise of this dystopian series doesn't impress me. I actually cringe at the whole idea.

2. 50 Shades of Grey series. Again, haven't seen the movie either, but I did get slightly curious with all the buzz and looked up a few excerpts from the book. Woah! It is pretty sexually intense, though that is not what surprised me. I was actually shocked at the horrible writing for the sexually intense scenes in the book. It amazes me that so many people like it, even if they purely like it for the sex scenes. There has got to be better written stuff out there in that genre.

3. The Vampire Diaries. Bleh. I absolutely love the show, but the books were a bit iffy for me. I picked the first one up in a bookstore several times, giving the first few pages a go. I just cannot get past the extremely teenagery feel of the entire thing. Even the first few pages were too saturated with "OMG, like, I'm writing in a diary."

4. The Fault in Our Stars. I watched this movie and immediately wished I could pull the story and all the heavy emotions that came along with it our of my brain. I literally couldn't stop crying that night I watched it, and I slipped into a bit of depression. Watching people suffer like that because of sickness is something that triggers a lot of grief for me, and probably always will. Reading that for however many days it takes me to finish it...will never happen.

To be honest, I can't come up with a 5th book that I absolutely don't want to give a try. I'm sure there is one...but my mind is blank after those four! What about you? Is there five books you refuse to read?  

Friday, May 22, 2015

What have I been up to?

I have been a little absent on here I think. Maybe more scarce is the correct word? But in all honesty, I haven't been up to much. Most of my time has been me trying to get my girls all caught up on their school work so that they will be completely done with their curriculum before summer break, which I am pleased to say they are right on target. I have also been thoroughly enjoying my ukulele. I have to say, I am really loving having an instrument in my life again. I practice about an hour every morning before my girls get up, and sporadically here and there during the day whenever I have some time. I always find it extra fun when I am practicing in the early morning by myself, the rest of the house quiet, and birds chirping along outside! I am not 100% sure a ukulele is the instrument for me, but we will see. I am dedicated to exploring it further and finding out. I am having a lot of fun with it. I have developed some lovely calluses on my finger tips that have already peeled and returned. For some reason it makes me feel accomplished knowing they are there. I don't remember my fingers going through that process when I played the viola, though I'm sure they did. I do wish we had a nice sheet music store in our area though. I would love to just browse through music books and find ones I really like that I can visually see are within the playing range of the ukulele. But, I do have my two ukulele books that I just need to dig into more.

I've also been in the mood to make some new doll clothes, though I can't seem to get much into crocheting lately. I think I am a little burnt out from crocheting. So, I dug out a small pile of fabric that I own (for reasons I am completely unaware of). I am not really a big fan of sewing. I hate using a sewing machine, so anything I attempt is hand sewn, which means it is time consuming. But, I managed to figure out how to sew a decent pair of pants for a Monster High doll. I am quite proud of it! Draculaura is loving her new Perry the Platypus pants!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Monster High Mini Cape Crochet Pattern

Created by Paperdollmom, Copyright 2015
If you want to view the free crochet pattern of this matching skirt, please click here.
Materials: crochet thread size 10, crochet hook size 6
- Chain 41, SC in second chain from the hook
- SC across for 7 rows, making sure to chain 1 at the end of each row before turning
- SC in the first 7 sts, decrease 1 SC 3 times, SC in the next 14 sts, decrease 1 sts 3 times, SC in the last 7 sts, chain 1, turn
- SC in the first 5 sts, decrease 1 SC 4 times, SC in the next sts, decrease 1 SC, SC in the next 2 sts, decrease 1 SC, SC in the next sts, decrease 1 SC 4 times, SC in the last 5 sts, chain 1, turn
- SC in the first 3 sts, then continue a pattern across of chain 3, SC in next stitch, then be sure to SC in the last 3 sts (this is the ruffle collar), chain 1, turn
- SC across
*You can tack down the collar in spots that you feel look best, or leave it as is. I tacked down my collar 3 ruffles in on each side, simply by sticking my hook into a row below while I was creating that SC (I put my hook into the new stitch, then into the row below, wrapped the yarn around hook and pulled it through). You do not have to tack the collar down during the last row of stitching if that is confusing or too difficult, you can still stitch it down afterwards with small scraps of thread.
-Finish off and then start with new thread on the bottom ruffle of the cape
- SC in the first 3 sts, then continue across with the pattern of chain 3, SC in next sts, then make sure to SC in the last 3 sts of the row, chain 1, turn
- SC across
- Finish off
* Now you can take an extra scrap of yarn and weave it through the bottom of the collar area, leaving a tail out on each side of the top of the cape. You can now use this thread to tie the cape closed with a bow.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nautical Songs for the Ukulele

Nautical Songs for the UkuleleI received my Nautical Songs for the Ukulele by Dick Sheridan in the mail today. I haven't really gotten to go through much of the songs within, but I am just marveling at how magical the cover is. It is beautiful! I am kind of in love with it...

Free Crochet Pattern: Monster High Ruffle Skirt

Created by Paperdollmom, Copyright 2015
Materials Needed: crochet thread size 10, size 6 crochet hook
Starting at the bottom of the skirt:
- Ch 35, sc in first chain made to form a ring
- Continue to SC in rounds for 17 rows
- Next row, decrease 1 stitch 4 times at the beginning of round and the end of the round (a total of 8 stitches decreased, all at the back of the skirt)
- Decrease 1 stitch 2 times at the beginning and end of this round (a total of 4 stitches decreased at the back of the skirt)
- Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning and the end of the round (a total of 2 stitches decreased at the back of the skirt)
- Finish off
- Starting at the bottom of the skirt, SC in first stitch, chain 3, SC in next stitch, chain 3, continue this pattern around
- SC around
- Finish off
*The skirt does not require any snaps or Velcro, but should snuggly slip up the legs of the doll and fit just fine!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cockles and Mussels....Oh My!

I decided to completely humiliate myself and share my progress on my ukulele in the area of chord playing. You are free to laugh as you wish, as I am well aware of the giant pause each time I have to play a specific chord. I'm still trying to master the crazy fingers! I suppose you can now get a little taste for what everyone in my house has been hearing me singing for the past several days! I think my oldest is hating Cockles and Mussels at this point, but my ever cheerful and positive youngest just continually tells me how wonderful it all is. Even just now I heard her faintly singing Cockles and Mussels from the other room. My purpose for sharing is mainly to force myself to have fun with it all. I wanted an instrument that would allow me to not be so serious and that I could play in a very casual way, and I am finding myself trying to "master" it all in a perfectionist sort of way, so I am trying to remind myself to just have fun. Hope you enjoy!
What musical instruments are in your own life? I'd be curious to know!

Color Cover Challenge

This is day 5 of Bout of Books, and the challenge is all about cover colors! Basically, pick a color, or colors, and find at least 4 books whose covers match! You can find more information on this challenge here.
I picked covers with a lot of blues on them. Here is Charlie Bone and the Beast, Star Wars: The Swarm War, Last Wool and Testament, and Letters of E.B. White (without the dust jacket, as I don't have the dust jacket).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Mother's Day Flowers

My special blue flowers are still holding strong and looking beautiful! I took a few photos that I thought I might share on here:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

beer and tobacco?

Irish Songs for Ukulele (Songbook)This is the Bout of Books week, and to be honest, I haven't felt in much of a reading mood this week. BUT, I am going to count my ukulele book, which I have been devouring on a daily basis. I am actually having a blast learning Irish songs on my tenor ukulele, finding the lyrics hilarious and super fun. Even though I am loving learning this new instrument, I have to say, I am absolutely more in love with being immersed into all of these folk songs- I think I have found a life long love affair. I am a singer, which I sort of keep to myself. Not the proud (or even good), wishing to be famous singer...but the constantly rhyming to a tune throughout my day singer. Just so you fully get the picture, I generally don't sing known songs...I sing constantly made up songs about whatever task I am doing or whatever I am talking about. I think it is more of a personality trait that at times drives my family insane, but I don't hear a word of it! I am sort of loving that I have stumbled upon this genre of folk type songs that suite me perfectly, even though I am singing about trying to find me noggin' hat that has been all gone for gin and tobacco, or a woman cryin' over cockles and mussels. I think it perplexes my husband why I am enjoying them so much, sitting there listening to me going on about beer and tobacco, but I love it! When I am reading through the lyrics, I can picture a moment in time where people were just belly laughing and having a great time singing together, like a real musical (whether that is how it went or not, it makes me smile!). Right now I am really good at reading the music and playing the harmony of the songs on my ukulele, which is my comfort zone of playing instruments. But, I would like to get really good at playing just the chords (which is how most people approach the ukulele, because it is probably actually easier), but chords like that don't really come natural to me coming from my musical background. I struggle more with that. Makes me feel like I have crazy fingers. But I would love to just be able to play the chords and have relaxed fun singing these wonderful jigs. 
My daughters have become quite interested in Mom's fun, so I jumped on the opportunity to bestow some of my musical knowledge upon them and ordered two soprano ukuleles from amazon (for only $35 each), and will be giving them some music lessons and teaching them how to play it. They are pretty excited, though they will most likely not be playing and singing songs about beer and tobacco. Since I was placing the order, I also picked up another songbook for the ukulele by the same author, Nautical Songs for Ukulele, which I am super excited about. I am glad that I pulled my ukulele back out this spring, the timing must have been just right...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Character Face-off!

Another fun Bout of Books challenge, hosted over at Lulo Fangirl.
This is a favorite character face-off:

Opponent #1: Pip from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Cons: He stumbles through life fixated upon trying to change who he is to please another.
Pros: He learns the truth of life, and develops a strong sense of duty towards protecting another that did right by him.

Opponent #2: Antonia from My Antonia by Willa Cather
Cons: To be honest, I can't think of much?
Pros: She acknowledge the earth around her and went through her entire life with a love for the land that never faltered. She understood that ones happiness is their own truth and that it doesn't need to be hinged on societal expectations.

Winner: Why Pip, of course!
Even though Antonia is amazing and beautiful, and looks at the world through eyes that allow her to see the beauty all around, I just love Pip and always will. He is a relatable character, in the sense that most people struggle to find their place in the world and have to learn the harsh lessons of life that he did. I also really admire people who stand up and helps others, even in situations when it goes against the norm or even the law. No character has ever really topped Pip for me since I read Great Expectations. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

bookish survey challenge

Here is the first Bout of Books challenge! Answering all of these fun question, hosted over at Writing My Own Fairy Tale.

1. How do you organize your shelves? I actually really only have one book shelf that is quite small, with 3 shelves. It is in our living room, and I have given a shelf to each of my daughters, leaving me with only one. I usually tend to fill that shelf up with my favorites and books that I am interested in reading at that time. All my other books I have stacked up to ridiculously high levels in my closet. I switch them out on my shelf, depending on what I am in the mood to read during that time period.

2. What is your one of your favorite books that is not in one of your favorite genres?
Hmmmm. I will probably say Grayson by Lynne Cox.

3. What is the last five star book you read? Well, I had to look it up on my Goodreads, and it made me laugh. Meet Molly: An American Girl.

4. What are you most excited to read during the readathon?
I am not sure yet. I went to the library today and picked up a few middle grade books that looked interesting. I have yet to look over my spoils, but I am thinking I will either read a lot of Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood, or The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu.

5. What book do you recommend the most?
I am guessing this is pretty much the same as asking what is your favorite book, so I'd have to say Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. But as I am in a fairy tale mood lately, I will also say One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey, just because it is a fun book.

10 Favorite Screen Characters Tag

I was tagged by Olivia from Meanwhile, in Revendell. I will just get right to it, in no particular order:

1. Sherlock in Elementary. Jonny Lee Miller plays such an epic Sherlock Holmes, I am always in such awe when I watch this show.
2. Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I love characters that dance creepily along that line of good and evil...
3. Regina from Once Upon a Time. Same thing, she is a good mixture of good and evil, with a background that backs it all up and has the viewer loving her for it all.
4. Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, played by Charity Wakefield. Marianne, oh endless emotional Marianne, how I love thee!
5. Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars films. Quite similar to Damon and Regina, I love watching Anakin make that shift from good to evil. It is quite eye opening to see how many factors in his life are at play, and why it all occurs.
6. Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean. Need I explain? Jack Sparrow is quite an awesome character. You can't help but to love him, even through all is grime.
7. Dr. House from House. I absolutely love those characters that are so grumpy, but really awesome at what they do. Also, I just respect a doctor that just does what needs to be done, even if it is with a bad attitude. I will take that any day over some of the stupid doctors we have had.
8. The Doctor in Doctor Who, played by David Tennant. Awesome show, with a lot of awesome characters, but David Tennant as The Doctor was pretty epic.
9. Miss Havisham from BBC Great Expectations, played by Gillian Anderson. That was one creepy Miss Havisham, and I loved it!
10. Candace from Phineas and Ferb. She is just awesome.

I tag anyone reading this who wants to participate!

My Grimm Monday #2

Okay. So I am still unsure if I will be staying committed with this weekly meme (see my previous post explaining my woes), but thought I would still put a post up while I continue to think about it.
I actually had a conversation with my mother about Grimm tales this week, expressing my thoughts about how the tales are overly negative and void of any lesson or message. Throughout  the conversation, I found myself saying, "I don't think I could ever enjoy reading them as long as I view them as stories they shared for enjoyment". Hmm...
It had me thinking, wondering if really they were not intended to be so from the start. I mean, we have wonderful books we read, or stories we share that are pure fun, and then we have our own legends or creepy tales that we seem to share for a completely different reason. I mean, if you reach your car, late at night and find that your car was unlocked, do you have the hairs on the back of your neck rise up until you thoroughly check through your car to be sure you are the only one in it? Doesn't just about everyone go to great lengths to be sure their identity doesn't get stolen? Don't all of us (good) parents make all efforts possible to keep our children safe from predators? Why? Because we have had similarly creepy things occur in our own world, tales from the news that we pass on as cautionary tales to others. Lock your car doors. Only purchase from a reputable, secure sites online. Tell your children about stranger danger. Maybe Grimm tales were not the stories they gathered around to hear, but the tales they told one another in passing. The tales one mother gossiped about to another as she was bringing over a freshly baked pie, or the tales that spread like fire in a work environment...all to force people to take caution, to be aware, to keep safe.
I also came across this thread on Goodreads discussing Grimm tales. The participants were diving into a lot of aspects of these tales, highlighting possible symbolism and all that good stuff, that were more of bringing awareness to ones station or role in life. I honestly think that my literary mind approaches fairy tales for the literary creative brilliance, like our society does today. I think the way we now approach fairy tales is much different from how people approached them way back then, and that they had completely different intentions.
To me, this 100% changes what this challenge is about, and pulls it into a much deeper and heavier realm than what I was expecting, and I'm possibly not in the right frame of mind to do so at the moment. But, for today....

The Giant and the Tailor
'"Thunder and lightning," cried the tailor, "what is that?" and as he was strongly goaded by curiosity, he went boldly towards it."
I chose this quote basically because I loved it. I love the phrase "thunder and lightning" being used in such a manner. After reading it, I found myself thinking it would be so incredibly awesome if people replaced "wow", or "OMG" with "thunder and lightning", on a daily basis. Aside from this quote, I felt this tale was very ambiguously written. I  don't even know if I fully understand what happened in this short little tale. Apparently the tailor wanted to branch out and explore life, and found himself in the land of a giant. He simply told the giant he was looking for a new way to earn bread, so the giant just as simply informed him he will do everything he says and will be paid with keeping his life. Then the tale goes on with the tailor saying strange things with every request from the giant, and the giant thinking to himself that the little man must be a sorcerer, and therefore, dangerous. At the same time, the tailor is also realizing he got the bad end of the deal, and both are no longer wanting this strange partnership. Eventually, the tailor is free (through an odd situation that I cannot tell if it was the tailor's doing or the giant's). And, like all of the Grimm tales...that is it! The end.
I guess if I were to look at it as a cautionary legend of sorts, I would say it is warning people to not be explorative out of fear of what dangerous beings you would encounter. Beyond where you live and what you know, all manners of crazies could be present!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

my ukulele

I am not sure if I mentioned this or not, but my husband gave me a ukulele this past Christmas. I have been craving for an instrument to get all creative with music (I think a good majority of my body was created with music), and I haven't done too much in the sense of playing an instrument since I left high school. I played the viola from 4th grade through to my senior year, even made it into our local youth symphony in 6th grade! But playing the viola was just not the same by myself compared to playing in a full orchestra, and my interest in the instrument dwindled. My heart would absolutely love to have fun on a penny whistle (and I have, we own several), but they are so high pitched that the sound really tends to hurt my ears, and the deeper toned whistles are much longer, requiring quite a large hand span to play, which I don't have. So this past Christmastime, I was pondering and researching on instruments that I thought I would really enjoy. I didn't want a complex instrument, but I wanted that I could fully enjoy, without hurting me ears. I settled on a ukulele, and before I had even shared my desires with my husband, he was apparently already deciding to get me a ukulele for Christmas! I was lucky enough to find a tenor ukulele, the only one in the store. As we were paying for it, another lady came in, disappointed to find that I had purchased the tenor, as she came to purchase it herself. It was destiny I suppose, that I arrived just before her and got my hands on this ukulele!
Aside from all my reminiscing about Christmas, I came home and got right to learning it. The first night I was playing some simple Christmas songs. I eventually grew upset about the ukulele, feeling as though it was very limiting (and in some ways it is). I then put the ukulele away in my closet....until last night. It has been whispering softly in my ears for a week or so, haunting me to give it another go. I am now trying to approach it differently. I had meditated a lot on this instrument and came to understand that I need to approach it more as a lute or harp than a guitar, strumming it much differently. I gave that a try last night and had a lot of fun with it. I need to just experiment and figure out how to translate that to being able to play actual songs from books rather than just plucking my own magical tunes.  
I really only own 2 ukulele music books (and a fold out chart of all the chords that I haven't even used yet), one filled with Christmas music and the other filled with Irish songs. I so want to be able to play a lot of fun Irish songs on an instrument, that was my ultimate desire or reasoning to trying a go at a new instrument. That is, I guess my goal, to master an instrument in a way that allows me to enjoy playing Irish music. I am glad that I put it away after Christmas, it allowed me to shake that guitar connection with the ukulele so that I could learn it a bit differently, a way that might actually allow me to get to where I want to be with this instrument.
So I think that is what I will be doing this Mother's Day weekend. That and enjoying my new mint, basil, and lucky bamboo plant (my first mint and basil sadly died). Oh, and my lovely Mother's Day bouquet of blue flowers!

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Grimm Struggle....

Well, I am oddly finding myself at odds here, in terms of My Grimm Monday meme. The more I read of the original tales, the more I feel like I don't want to?
I suppose I'll explain...
What you've always heard is true, the originals are dark, but not dark in the way that I had assumed they were. I had read several when I was younger, the originals of the well known tales, such as Cinderella and Little Red, but I think when you just randomly pick a tale, especially the ones you are unfamiliar with and have no current comparison, their darkness is more apparent. (Check out this article that goes a bit in depth on the gruesome side of these tales.) They are not written more dark as in the sense that the stepsisters cut off their heels, but are dark in a way that is strange for me. It is as if these old tales take the worst characteristic possible in a person, amplify it to such point that it doesn't make sense, and then nothing more. The character does not see right, has no desire to make things right, and gets everything they want, leaving little room for any sort of a positive message. To find a message within, you really have to stretch the mind, and then find yourself doubting that was what the story was intending to relay. And I have to admit, I am a huge lover of Aesop's Fables and stories with morals, I have been since I was a young child. Grimm tales just seem a bit twisted to me and am finding myself wondering how people sat around back then listening and enjoying these tales in this form, which is disappointing to consider as I always imagined that experience to be so magical! I am so much more appreciative of the creative minds of those in our time and how they can weave these tales into such magically wonderful stories, and I didn't know it was possible for me to appreciate them more than I already did! However, that is leaving me in a place of deep thought about this project.
In all honesty, the tales are really negative, and I feel like I don't need to foster that in my own mind as I cannot read anything without thinking too profoundly upon it. I don't want to sit around and read about someone who was so ghastly manipulative that he tricked his entire town to kill themselves. I feel like I am trying to love people more in general, and I purposely created this meme to try and foster something more positive in my world and create something that I can be excited about approaching on a weekly basis, and these tales are not helpful in that aspect. It never occurred to me that I might not actually like the original tales. So, sadly, I will be pondering on this, maybe reading a few more tales from my Grimm book to be certain the themes run through, and then probably trying to slightly tweak my new meme into something that is more appropriate for what I wanted to get out of it.
Do you have any of these same feelings about the original Grimm tales? I have to say, I generally adore older literature and have always been so fascinated with the idea of oral storytelling; it surprises me that I am not finding myself loving these tales. But, I am guessing if I am dreading picking the book back up again to write out a My Grimm Monday, I should probably make some changes... 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Reading Log: April 26 - May 2

I have been thinking a lot about trying to become "a better reader", in the sense of reading more a variety of authors and books. This doesn't necessarily mean dipping into all genres, but mainly trying to force myself to look past classics and just simply try to finish more books overall than what I normally do. I tend to start and stop, start and stop, never finishing books. Now I am trying to explore and find more books that make me actually want to finish them, rather than placing them back in my tbr book stack. I have grown into a book hopper, and I much preferred it when I wasn't (many years ago!). I am aiming to get back to that time when I felt excited to be reading the book I was reading, and allowing it to hold my attention through to the last page.
I was so impressed upon how much a readathon had me anxious to read more, so I've decided to start trying to keep track of how many pages I read every day. Not sure if I will always share these logs on here, but it may be fun to every now and then! So, here is my first week's log:

Sunday- 37 pages
Monday- nothing
Tuesday- 138 pages
Wednesday- 147 pages
Thursday- 12 pages
Friday- 26 pages
Saturday- nothing

Week total: 360 pages
Books read from: 6
Books finished: 1, Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Grimm Monday #1

The Frog-King Quote:
"Then she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. "Now, thou wilt be quiet, odious frog," she said.
But when he fell down he was no frog but a King's son with beautiful kind eyes. He by her father's will was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom."
Click here to read the full story, though it may not be the exact same edition I took this quote from. You can find the exact edition I am using in the menu under My Grimm Monday.
I was a bit shocked to read about how the frog became a prince in this tale. I think we all have that vision of the lovely girl kissing the frog to transform him. Knowing that she is so completely disgusting by the slimy green frog and throws him against the wall, triggering his transformation into a prince... is quite startling! Not to mention it doesn't make sense. She was the only one that could transform him, but why? Was being thrown against the wall the requirement? I would love to have known the premise or foundation for this bewitchment, and what the message behind this story was meant to be.
I can already tell in this very first story, that these tales seem to take the dark side of human nature, making them shine into twisted tales of how unfairly the world works. This is much different than what we all see today, where the basis for all revolves around love, and good winning over evil. It is very evident that these tales were intended for adults, those who have grown to see the harshness of the world and can appreciate these tales that showcase it. I am anxious to read on!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Grimm Monday: Introduction

So, I will be starting a new weekly meme on here (again), hopefully one that will stick! I have written a new section in the menu that explains the new meme, but I will share it in this introductory post as well:
I have been inspired lately to try a new meme on here, one that I think will continue to hold my interest and that I can have a lot of fun with. I absolutely love fairy tales, and anything fairy tale-ish, so this new meme will revolve around that never fading love of the Grimm fairy tales. I finally got my hands on a lovely hardcover copy of the original Grimm fairy tales, and I couldn't be more excited. I cannot wait to dive in and start devouring the foundation for so many fairy tales that we have floating around today! Every Monday I will be posting something Grimm or fairy tale related, just to simply have fun with these well known (and not so well known) tales.
For now, I believe I will start out with posting quotes from the tales I read in this new Grimm book of mine; quotes that I find intriguing or startling. To be honest, I am not yet sure what adventures will come of this new meme, but I am excited to start it anyways! For me, nothing will be off limits as I am allowing this meme to be pretty broad. You might see me sharing about films or shows that are fairy tale based, links to artwork I discover online that are fairy tale reminiscent, a fairy tale moment in my life, or even sharing some fairy tales I write myself. For me, right now, all is included in this meme, as long as it is something I want to share that is fairy tale related! These posts will be easily found under the tag My Grimm Monday, or in the archives labeled the same. I hope you enjoy a bit of Grimm on your Mondays, and feel free to leave comments with your thoughts, or links to your own blog for me to check out!

Friday, May 1, 2015

SO not Grimm!

My oldest daughter was feeling quite chipper after her Remicade today (well, feeling better than usual), so I offered to take to her to a nearby Barnes and Noble, to sneak in a little mother-daughter time that didn't require a  hospital bed. It was a nice surprise that she felt up to it! So we spent some time wandering around chatting, looking at different books. I picked up my youngest the missing book from Diary of a Wimpy Kid that we can't seem to find anywhere, and my oldest ended up deciding on a gluten-free cook book (as Crohn's is a tad confusing, and causes her body to not be able to handle wheat, basically also like Celiac).
I wasn't planning on getting anything new, but I did discover a hardcover book filled with ALL the Grimm fairy tales, AND it was lightweight! I have been searching for something like that for a few years, and could not believe I found a beautiful one, for only $8. I had a book in our family house when I was younger with all the original tales that I loved browsing through now and then. Since I've been married, I've been wanting to get my hands on a nice one. I know I will be enjoying this a lot! I think I will try to read through the entire book over time, and possibly come up with some kind of a blog project to go along with it. I am not really sure what I would do yet, I haven't thought too much about it...but I will announce it if I can come up with something! I am super excited to dig into all the original tales!