New to Me: The Love Cats in Ukulele

Random Beauty, Stunt Double

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble and beyond have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain recorded a cover of “The Love Cats” by The Cure.

The Lovecats – Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on YouTube

Isn’t it wonderful? I laughed out loud, it was such a fun take. 🙂

Found via Whatever.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

World Map Wall Art in Rainbow Ombre

Colors, DIY

Eileen and her husband Ash, who blog at Just Measuring Up, did a fantastic rainbow ombre wall art project with craft paints and a stencil of the world map:

Just Measuring Up Ash Eileen Rainbow Ombre World Wall Art

Ash and Eileen at Just Measuring Up

Doesn’t it look fabulous?

And here is their project hung up:

Just Measuring Up Ash Eileen Rainbow Ombre World Wall Art2

Ash and Eileen at Just Measuring Up

In addition to giving you the how-to, Eileen also lists 6 other ideas for filling up a blank wall. Visit their site for a look!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Abstract Art with Cooking Oil and Food Coloring

Arts & Crafts, Colors, DIY

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger came up with an ingenious way to make abstract art – with cooking oil and gel food colors:

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art WiP

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Her point was to use something she already had. Can you believe the resist patterns were done with canola oil?

Dream a Little Bigger Allison Food Color Art

Allison at Dream a Little Bigger

Very nice! Apparently the colors change a little as the paper dries, but it looks so vibrant either way. I wonder whether you might be able to do wrapping paper with this technique?

Visit Allison’s tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger for more photos and a how-to.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Some Thoughts on the Sanditon Screen Adaptation

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Stunt Double

As a Jane Austen fan, I’ve followed the birth of the screen adaptation of Sanditon in this blog. Having seen the series and allowed my brain to properly chew it for a couple of months, now it’s time to share some of my throughts.

Note: Spoiler warning is in effect!

According to IMDB, the main writing credits for this miniseries belong to Andrew Davies, with assists from Justin Young (episodes 3, 4, 6 and 7) and Andrea Gibb (episode 5). I haven’t seen any of Young’s writing, but I have seen Gibb’s Call the Midwife episodes and as far as I can remember, I liked them. In the past I’ve had mixed feelings of Davies’s work, but I’d assumed it was due to the material he was adapting (Dickens just doesn’t do it for me).

I may now have to adjust my opinion of Davis’s writing. Although I should like to know how big of a say the producers and/or financial backers had, for his earlier adaptations were much more internally consistent.

The best I can say about the writing in Sanditon is that it was very uneven throughout, which hurt both the characters, plot and pacing. Moreover, the ending was left open, clearly fishing for season 2, but since this first season didn’t give us much to recommend itself, the intended cliffhanger feels rather insulting instead.

Guest blogger Yosa Addiss critiqued the costuming at Frock Flicks. I don’t have much to add except to say that for a fantasy story set in the regency (or regency-like) period the choices would’ve been more acceptable.

The same goes for the sets. Indeed, some of the interior scenes, specifically at the masqued ball, remind me of the 1986 movie Labyrinth. Just compare these two photos below, the first from Sanditon and the second from Labyrinth:

Ethical Hedonist Magazine The Dance Sanditon

Sanditon (2019) via Ethical Hedonist Magazine

Basement Rejects Labyrinth Ball Scene

Labyrinth (1986) via Basement Rejects

There were other sets that looked more period-appropriate, but I don’t know enough of the details of period architecture and interior design to really say. For instance, the Parkers’ house had a room or two with multiple faux framed paintings that were literally painted directly onto the wall (or wallpaper?). That was a very interesting choice.

Frock Flicks Sanditon Ep1 Faux Paintings on Wall

Sanditon (2019) via Frock Flicks

Overall the sets and photography looked gorgeous, and the lighting was just lovely; I just don’t know how well the design choices represented regency in general.

All of the faults would be more tolerable, however, if the adaptation cast of characters equalled that of Austen’s writing. Sadly, it does not.

The best thing about Jane Austen’s characters is that even when they’re superficially the same, they’re all different. They remain their own people. Every single Bennet daughter, for instance, has their own individual personas, habits and characteristics. Poor Jane Fairfax is different from poor Fanny Price. Notable men in their thirties like Colonel Brandon and Mr. Knightley are very different indeed from each other.

In addition, even the most odious of Austen’s characters often have one or more redeeming qualities. The Sanditon adaptation lacks in this respect, too. Our supposed hero, Mr. Sidney Parker, is initially barely distinguishable from his two foppish drinking buddies he drags to Sanditon for a change of scenery, and it looks like we were supposed to fall for the forced, artificially drawn-out, unconvincing hate-love tug-of-war between him and Miss Heywood a la Pride & Prejudice.

(Incidentally, one of Mr. S. Parker’s London buddies surprisingly turns out one of the best invented characters of the series, but I’ll return to him later.)

Miss Brereton and Miss Denham both come across as bickering sour bitches, with the only difference that Clara is a sexually abused gold digger and Esther a lovelorn gold digger. Miss Lambe reminds me of Lydia Bennet, apart from having a fortune, and the young ladies she lodges with are completely bland. The rich Lady Denham is simply a copy of Lady Catherine, only with an ailment and sans a daughter. Mr. Denham’s a slimy git who resembles Mr. Wickham; of him I have very little to say and none of it good.

Young Mr. Stringer, a builder and aspiring architect, was an enjoyable addition, but sadly he wasn’t given much to do besides complain about not being paid, pine after Miss Heywood and eye moodily at his competition, Mr. S. Parker.

Mr. Parker is defined by his monomania over Sanditon and his irresponsibility, but at least he genuinely loves his wife. I liked the little we were given of Mrs. Parker, but, again, her character fell quite flat; apart from the role of supporting wife and devoted mother, she was good-natured and that was all.

The hypochondriac comic relief characters, Miss Parker and Mr. Arthur Parker, perhaps stay truest to the kind of characters Austen had a habit of writing, and they remain simply delightful throughout.

As I said, it was quite a surprise to find Lord Babbington rise to the level of an Austen hero. He accidentally meets with the pining Miss Denham, falls for and attempts to pay court to her. As we learn more about him, Lord Babbington starts to redeem himself in our eyes and to display quite a different set of characteristics than his drinking buddies (one of whom’s a drunk git and should never have been given as many lines as he was).

Babbington was looking better and better, and the we hit episode 7 where Mr. Denham bursts into a ball and makes a final plea for Miss Denham’s affections despite her obvious disinterest. Mr. Sidney Parker and Lord Babbington physically stop him from getting close to Esther. Later Babbington tells her: “Your brother is not going to make a victim out of you. I’ll not allow it.”

Seriously, crushing hard here! He’d become attractive before, but this kind of determination and caring? Romance novel stuff. Jane Austen romance stuff! This here, right here, is exactly how Austen heroes behave. So why the everloving fork is it that the whiny Mr. S. Parker is the protagonist of the adaptation and Lord Babbington is not?!?

In fact, Lord Babbington and Esther Denham’s story is more compelling to me than that of Miss Heywood and Mr. S. Parker. Babbington and Esther even get the gorgeous wedding at the end:

Ethical Hedonist Magazine Babbington Denham Wedding

Sanditon (2019) via Ethical Hedonist Magazine

I seriously suspect I have a headcanon coming…!

I still need to watch Sanditon again to be sure, but it seems I’m leaning into the direction of not considering it a Jane Austen work, but a more generic (fantasy) regency drama.

Have you seen Sanditon? What did you think of it?

Intricate Knitting Pattern Based on Pictish Artwork

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

Many people in my social bubble have turned to handcrafts during the covid-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen such a wide spread of projects and patterns and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

This intricate knitting pattern for a scarf by Lucy Hague is based on Pictish artwork. In Hague’s words, it “explores the relationship between key patterns and spirals – slowly morphing from one to the other, and then back again.”

Twitter Lucy Hague Kirriemuir

Lucy Hague at Twitter

Ravelry Lucy Hague Kirriemuir Closeup

Lucy Hague at Ravelry

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? The knitted surface can replicate curvilinear shapes well, and the purled background literally lifts up the pattern. Excellent design work!

The color is wonderful, too; it reminds me of the blues and greys in northern skies and waters. 🙂

Find the pattern at Ravelry.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Bright Idea: British Murder Mystery Where Stewart and McKellen Garden and Solve Crimes

Geek out!, Movies & TV

Connecticut-based author M.L. Brennan had a brilliant idea the other day and tweeted it out. Basically she posits a murder mystery show set in Britain where “Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are elderly widower neighbors who bicker a lot about their gardens, and also solve crimes”. Brennan also suggests plot points and gives her casting choices for the supporting characters as well.

 

I really encourage you to read as much of the long, rambling thread as possible. It brightened our evening a lot one night when positivity was needed.

Here’s the beginning:

 

Absolutely fabulous, right? Stewart and McKellen be amazing together.

Like I saw someone remark, I bet we could crowdfund this baby in a second. I sure would watch the hell out of this show! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quilling Artist Sena Runa: Update

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers

I’ve shared quilling artis Sena Runa’s work before, but that was five years ago. (Yikes! Where does time go?) It’s high time to do an update.

Since I last posted, Runa has moved to Lisbon, Portugal. She also published a book, Quilling Art, and a second one, Quilling: 20 Beautiful Designs, will be out this summer. Congrats on both!

Like before, I’m only posting three of my favorites, but Runa is so productive it really is difficult to pick only from among her recent work.

World map (selection):

Facebook Sena Runa World Map

Sena Runa: World Map

Tardis – naturally, bigger on the inside!

Etsy Sena Runa Tardis

Sena Runa: Tardis

Welsh Dragon:

Instagram Sena Runa Welsh Dragon

Sena Runa: Welsh Dragon

Which one’s your favorite? I think I prefer the Tardis. 🙂

See her Instagram and Facebook accounts or Etsy shop for more!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Letter Tiles Make a DIY Floor Better

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

While browsing my inspiration binders for solutions for another problem, I rediscovered this nifty floor treatment from ReadyMade magazine June/July 2010:

ReadyMade June-July 2010 p88

Robin Reimer; photo by Kritsada Panichgul. ReadyMade magazine, June-July 2010, p. 88

As a word nerd, I especially appreciate repurposing letter tiles for this project (likely from Scrabble). Right outside an exterior door may not be the best place for wood tiles, though, but I suppose thorough finishing would take care of that.

The only problem if I were doing this kind of a project might be the urge to arrange specific words here and there and getting carried away with it! LOL! 🙂 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

The New Emma Launches Tomorrow!

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

Almost time: the new Emma movie adaptation written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde opens tomorrow here in the U.S.!

IMDB Emma Johnny Flynn Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn in Emma. Focus Features via IMDB

Yay – more Jane Austen on screen! 😀

If, like for me, the wait is almost too long for you, here’s an introduction to the costuming in Emma by Alden O’Brien to tide you over. O’Brien is a curator of costume at the DAR Museum in Washington, DC, and a life-long lover of historic clothing. Enjoy!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.