Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I've still got a little ways to go before the new year, but the pellet stove is blazing, it's 13 degrees out, the Christmas tree is lit! and everyone is ready for the Three Stooges marathon.

haven't really crafted in the past week, I did share a picture of some coasters I made last spring that people seemed to like. That's pretty much it. It was nice to relax after all the Christmas crafting.
Coasters...  I mean, coasters!!!!


Over the past week I have been thinking about some resolutions. I know I really want to get back into drawing this year. I didn't really put any effort into drawing or painting in 2013. That is definitely a skill that diminishes if you don't exercise it often enough. 

I've gotten rid of a good deal of my scrap yarn, thanks to that granny square project that didn't even last a month. I have to admit, I'm kind of glad I didn't have enough yarn to make it last the entire year.

Next, this one is a little ambitious, I really, really hope to finish ALL my current works in progress. Off the top of my head I can think of 6 projects that are in various stages of completion. They also vary in size so I'm not really sure how quickly they'll all be completed. I would be THRILLED to finish everything in 2014 that, at the moment, is sitting in my closet in colorful heaps.

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year with many blessings in store!



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

This week leading up to Christmas has certainly been a busy one, but I have to say that I am so excited to have a regular post fall on Christmas Eve! I have got to start taking notes throughout the week so I can have somewhat more organized weekly posts. (New Years resolution, hm?) 

So, happenings:
 I saw a pin on pinterest. This one actually: Sweater Restyle And made my own version. I'm not so sure I love it yet. I think maybe by spring I may learn to. 


I finished another Christmas present. It has to be mailed out still...so no pictures yet. (Well, it is on Instagram ;) ) 

Finally, some baking. I braved the supermarket today and got some red and green chocolate chips to put on brownies and I bought a sugar cookie mix. Yeah, totally copping out this year. In the cookie department. I have got to come up with a better plan for picture taking and sweet baking next year. 

I did manage to get some pictures of making ever so festive kale chips! I had to put my ipad on a stool which is why I appear to be a giant! These were deliciously simple. Literally. They also gave me a chance to wear my Olivia Walton apron. The most time consuming part was cutting the spine out of each kale leaf. After that I just tore them into 1 to 2 inch pieces mixed it with copious amounts of olive oil, speared a layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, sprinkled with salt ,and baked at 300 degrees for 16-20 minutes. very easy appetizer for Christmas! And as Lucy Ricardo says "It's so tasty too!"


Merry Christmas to you all, and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Past, Present, Future

PAST (and sort of present): Just barely more than a week to go before Christmas! My friend and I got together today to exchange gifts, shop, and chat for a little while. This means I can post the photo of the cowl now! I used this pattern from Fynes Designs. I love that it works up SO quickly, is not overly frilly at all, and the fact that it fastens with buttons instead of being an actual infinity scarf makes it extremely versatile. 



PRESENT: The Wizard of Odds and Ends is now on Twitter!!  One of these days I'll get all my social media links in one place. I guess I should've mentioned that in "future." Oh well.

FUTURE: While shopping today I found a great Fair Isle knit turtle neck from L.L. Bean. I have been patiently waiting for a fair aisle sweater to show up at the thrift store! Just $3.99, the price was certainly right. I also got another article of clothing, but that's for another day and another post!




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crazy Christmas Crafting

Well, well, Tuesday night again. It's pretty cold out tonight. I think the majority of the United States is pretty cold right now. Short story: I flew to Florida last January. I left there on a day when it was 70 something in Jacksonville and landed in Boston where is was exactly 2 degrees Fahrenheit!! 

In contrast to freezing-ness, something excellently toasty is this lovely little 28 square, scrap buster, crazy, granny square afghan. I was lazy and just sewed it together with a zigzag stitch. It turned out to be kind of fun looking and it's actually warmer than I expected it to be! That's great right now! I think the high on Thursday is only 17! 


I was also going to post a picture of a gift that I made for a friend, but I was on the phone with her today and told her about my blog. Since she may see this post, that plan is out now. She didn't know I had an etsy shop AND a blog. By the way, she's the one that thought up "The Wizard of Odds and Ends" name. See, she is an awesome friend!!

Just to tide you over until I can post that photo, here are a couple little treasures I found in one of my family's  ornament boxes. The fur trim is coming off of Santa's waist. Superglue would not even hold the trim down! Mrs. Claus is slightly worn and I think I'm going to attempt to do some minor repairs with some red sharpie, felt, and get a white pompon to cover her pseudo belly button. 
My mom thinks she saw the same ornaments in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but she's not completely sure. I can tell you this, nobody will get me to sit and watch it to find out. I'll watch Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, or Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney anytime I want to see a great Christmas movie but I will not waste two hours of my life watching Chevy Chase! Anyway. Rant over. Here's the cute Christmas Couple!






Sunday, December 8, 2013

Carrie Underwood Sound Of Music Review Part 2

Songs and Scenes

As I mentioned in part 1, the reason why I wanted to watch "NBC's Sound of Music Live!" was because, according to Julie Andrews in an interview, this performance was supposed to be the original theatre version of the Sound of Music. There are many differences between the theatre and film versions, not just the songs being "out of order" as my brother described it. 

Because I had to work last night, I missed Reverend Mother singing "My Favorite Things" with Maria, "Do, Re, Mi" occurring much earlier in the show than it does in the film, and "Lonely Goatherd" in Maria's room during the thunderstorm. I was glad that I did make it home on time to see both of the songs that Frau Schraeder sings. (Yep, Frau, not Baroness, but we'll touch on that in the next post.)

"How Can Love Survive?" is one of the songs featuring Frau Schraeder that was cut from the film version. It's very theatrical and basically plays off of stories that poor, struggling people are the ones with great romances  and rich people who have "everything" do not have the time or the means they need to fight for love.

Schraeder's other song in the theatre production is "No Way to Stop It." Where she and Captain von Trapp realize their political differences in a less than subtle way and know that a marriage between them is not meant to be. Very different from the 1965 film scene where she graciously steps aside because she sees that the Captain has fallen in love with Maria. The character equivalent of Schraeder in the German movie Die Trapp Familie (1956) doesn't have any songs, just like in the 1965 Sound of Music film.

Something I noticed that was similar to the movie was when the captain, Max, and Maria are discussing whether or not Maria should have dinner with the party guests the underscoring is "How Can love Survive." In the movie, they use it just a tiny bit later, when Max is talking to Elsa right after Maria has left to go back to the abbey because Elsa said the Captain was in love with her. Which brings me to the next point.

In the movie, Baroness Schraeder tells Maria that the Captain is in love with her and in the play, it is Brigitta who shares this information to Maria. What really happened, according to Maria von Trapp herself in her book The Story of The Trapp Family Singers, is sort of a mix of both stage and screen scenes. Princess Yvonne (Elsa Schraeder ;)) notices the captain admiring Maria. She tells Maria the Captain is in love with her, which surprises Maria and makes her want to leave, but the princess convinces her to stay until the wedding so she can look after the children until they go away to school. Sound familiar? Following a few more events and finally a broken engagement with the Princess, the children ask their father if he will marry Maria so she can stay with them. The captain tells his children he would love to marry her but he didn't think she liked him much. The children then go to Maria and tell her that their father doesn't think she likes him much, to which she replies, "Of course I like him." The children then went back to their father to say Maria would marry him. Of course, when Georg walked Into the room where Maria was cleaning a chandelier, spoke to her about marriage she was surprised yet again. This time Maria did leave. She returned to the abbey, this part is accurately portrayed in the 1956 German film, and asked Reverend Mother if it was the will of God that she marry Captain von Trapp. Of course, we all know what Reverend Mother's answer was.

Okay, now on with the show

Lonely Goatherd or Marco Polo. What was with that? The duet with Uncle Max blindfolded playing with the children in the yard. It was just so strange to use the song in that game, I think the film version with Baroness Schraeder passing the basketball with the children is a much more "normal" scenario.

Soon after that scene Maria returns, looking for her life, and Frau Schraeder leaves. In NBC's Sound of Music Live, the Captain and Maria finally reveal their feelings for each other by singing "Something Good." I was very disappointed by this. Had they really used the entire theatre score they would have sung "An Ordinary Couple." The song "Something Good" was written solely by Richard Rodgers, he composed both music and lyrics in the early 1960s when asked to write a new song for the film for Captain and Maria's duet. Oscar Hammerstein had died in 1960. 

I did enjoy the scene where Liesl introduces Maria to Rolf. This occurred when Rolf, delivers a telegram to the house after Georg and Maria are married. In the 1965 film, there was actually a scene that occurred somewhere around the "Do Re Mi" montage when Maria an the children are in town and Liesl introduces Maria and Rolf. It was thought to slow down the film and was ultimately deleted. 



The last scene in the movie that I both enjoyed and slightly cringed at was the concert scene. I thought it was played very well. I enjoyed the transition from the von Trapp villa to the concert hall was really cool, as I've said before, but the concert itself did not really go as well as the transition into it. First, the brass drowned out all nine actors singing the "Do Re Mi Reprise," Then it seemed like Stephen Moyer could have used a lot more practice on the guitar for "Edelweiss," and finally, at the end of "So Long Farewell," his voice nearly drowned out Carrie Underwood altogether. Obviously whoever ran sound was not hearing what the television audience heard. I know I wasn't the only one to notice this because when I went to work on Saturday my boss mentioned the sound during the concert scene and asked if I thought it was off balance too.

Because I have never seen the actual play and am so familiar with the film version, some of the scenes in Sound of Music Live seemed awkward, or disjointed compared to the relative smoothness of the film. I would give Songs and Scenes a 2.5 out of 5. Some things went really well, but when they didn't go well, they just really didn't at all. Plus the added disappointment in the fact that a film song was used to replace a theatre song. I read in "The Sound of Music: a Critical Review of the Changes Made from the Original Stage Play" by James M. Becher that the Rodgers and Hammerstein Estate is limiting aqusition to the songs which I assume was the reason for the change in this performance.


*Photo: Hirsch, Julia Antopol, "The Sound of Music: The Making of America's Favorite Movie", Contemporary Books, 1993
*Copy and Paste link to go to The review by James M. Becher: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-sound-music-critical-review-changes-1273471.html?cat=40

Friday, December 6, 2013

Carrie Underwood Sound of Music Review Part 1

 Just so readers are aware, I have not seen the original, complete, stage version of the Sound of Music. I have read 5 books by Maria von Trapp, Agathe von Trapp's book, and Die Trapp Familie, the German movie that the Broadway show was based on. Also, This review is going to have to be in multiple parts. I am not as concise as a professional critic, and I think I have a lot more knowledge on this subject than the average critic would have, so bear with me here. I want to share some things about Maria's books and "how it really happened" along with some insight into the German movie, what I do know of the original  Broadway show, the 1965 film, and tonight's televised production.


Let's start at the very beginning: Well, actually, I had to work until 8:30 so I saw the show starting at Sixteen Going on Seventeen. We'll start from about there.

When I walked in the house there were commercials on and I asked what everyone was watching. Mom answered, "The Sound of Music." Oh yeah, that special with Carrie Underwood was on tonight,  I almost forgot, but I did want to watch out of, well let's call it slightly less than morbid curiosity. My brother looked at me and said, "The songs are all out of order." They weren't. I knew that they were doing the theatre score/routined version. I heard it right from Julie Andrews in an interview.

Alright, show's back on...

Sixteen Going On Seventeen was pretty good, and I was taking into account the entire time that this was a theatre production, theatre and TV don't usually mix. There is a certain amount of overacting, large gestures and expressions, that have to be done in theatre that just doesn't translate well onto the movie or television screen.  Unless your watching the 1998 London West End production of Oklahoma. *Amazing!!* Anyway...that roll down the hill at the end of Sixteen Going on Seventeen was less than tasteful. However, the show as a whole did not leave me walking away with a jarring feeling and questioning "How could they even do that to this show?!"

The sets and scenery of the show this evening were impressive! There were so many details. From little shrubs in the foreground of 16 Going on 17 to the picturesque mural of the mountains in the background. 

Everything was very beautiful, even the props. The newspaper with the German headline that was about the impending Anschluss (I think) was a nice touch that, along with songs that were cut from the film, added to the intentional political overtones of the theatre version.

 I only have a few qualms about the set, the fountain in the garden of the Trapp estate was slightly cartoony, and the garden in Nonnberg Abbey with giant potted shrubs just seemed so....random. But alas this is the theatre, there are no "on location" opportunities and I have never been to Nonnberg Abbey. I bet they probably do have a garden. And the light projected snow in the final scene. Yes, they're in the mountains, and yes, I could have snowed...I think this was a painfully obvious attempt to add a Christmas feeling given the fact that tonight's airing was competing with NBC's rival ABC on their cable channel, ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas. But maybe I'm being too analytical.

Well done though. 4 out of 5 stars on Props, Set, and Scenery.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Deck the Hauls

I somehow miraculously ended up with all of Monday off, which after Black Friday and Saturday was a more than welcome break. I spent the day out on an impromptu  thrifting trip. We hit Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers. Here's the picture again that I put up on facebook yesterday.



The most I paid for any item was $7.99 for the gray cardigan in the top row. It's 100% merino wool so I'm hoping it will be nice and warm for the winter because I am always, ALWAYS cold.

My favorite buy is the incredibly glarey Lanz of Salzburg nightgown all the way over to the left. It doesn't even look like it was ever worn and all I paid was $4.99! They go from 45 to 60 dollars from Vermont Country Store! I also like the denim maxi skirt. I had been looking for one for a while. I had planned to cut a triangle out of the bottom on the front and back and sew in some of the floral fabric from the skirt on far right, but after I tried on the skirt I kind of liked it just plain.

The black article of clothing, on the bottom toward the right, I had thought was a skirt. It was hanging with the skirts and was nice and light and flowy, but since it was a dark color I thought it would transition nicely through the seasons. I got in the car and was admiring it and suddenly realized it was a pair of culottes and will soon become close friends with my sewing machine. 

The green scarf is going on Etsy, along with another item I purchased at an antique store recently. (wink)

In other news, I'm sewing together the 30 something(?) out of 365 squares that I managed to finish into a crazy afghan. Think crazy quilt, but crochet style. In all honesty, I take on huge projects when I am having no inspiration whatsoever for anything else and then part way through them inspiration hits and I move on. It's like a brainstorm for my fingers. You know how teachers had you free write before an essay to see if you could come up with any ideas to build off of? My big projects=Free write assignment.

And I also taught myself how to cable knit. Not too shabby, huh? 



Well, I guess that's basically it for this week.
Autocorrect just told me "that's spastically it" I consider that statement accurate.