Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie Monday - 12/31/2012

There are still many movies that are getting Oscar buzz that I haven't yet seen.  I'm trying Y'all!

I've seen the 1998 film version of Les Miserables with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman, but I've never seen the musical.  The latest version is a musical adaptation on film.  It stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Sasha Baron Cohen and Samantha Barks.  It was the first time I'd ever heard most of these people sing, and I have to say - only Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne have real talent in that department. The story is played rather dark and serious; so, I really didn't get the comic relief provided by Helena BC and Sasha BC.  (Ha!  They have similar initials!)  I thought that their performances seemed a little out of place.  Despite all that and the fact that it was rather long - because they sing was alright.

Sparkle is the last time we will ever see Whitney Houston perform.  She died not long after the movie wrapped.  The movie is about a girl group in 1960s Detroit who have a momma (Houston) that doesn't approve singing outside of church.  There are jealous boyfriends, abusive husbands, drama and intrigue, as well as a lot of singing. Jordin Sparks, one of the American Idol winners also stars.  It was pretty good.

Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer who just cannot get published in The Words.  He happens upon a manuscript.  He starts reading it and immediately is taken in by the story.  He ends up passing the work off as his own and it gets published.  Because of the popularity of this book, he is able to publish other works of his that would have gone unnoticed.  One day, he meets an old man who starts to tell him an astonishing story...then, the movie becomes a study of how he handles the information.  Jeremy Irons and Dennis Quaid also star in this film.  It was good.

MK out.

Friday, December 28, 2012

FO Friday - 12/28/2012

There's been a flurry of activity, but not too much on the finishing of the objects, it seems.  I can show you one of the two Christmas presents I knitted this month:

I made a pair of Fetching mitts for the mail carrier.  I used leftover Cascade 220 from a shrug and another pair of Fetching mitts that I made for myself a few years ago.  This time, I didn't do a cable at the top of the mitts, because I just wasn't feeling it.  I also did a regular cast on and instead of the bind off specified, I just did two rounds of reverse stockinette and then I bound off.  Otherwise, I followed the pattern.

I have to snag a picture of the other gift to show y'all.

MK out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

The house was very quiet at first light:

There was evidence that Santa had been here:

It snowed later in the day:

MK out.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Movie Monday - December 24, 2012

Movies, movies...everywhere!  I did see a couple...

When I was in elementary school, I would race home after school in time to watch Dark Shadows...then, my friend Patty and I would discuss the previous day's happenings on the playground the next day.  It was a gothic soap opera in the late 1960s and was campy as all get out, but entertaining for sure!  Tim Burton decided to make a movie of the same name, starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Johnny Lee Miller and Helena Bonham Carter.  Depp plays the tragic hero Barnabas with the perfect pitch that only Depp can deliver. The story is that Barnabas had been turned into a vampire by the spiteful witch Angelique when he spurned her feelings in favor of the sweet Josette. Then, he was chained into his coffin and buried for eternity. That was back in the 1700s.  In the early 1970s, Barnabas is released from his prison and he returns to a world that has passed him by.  I thought it was a pretty good adaptation of the series (although some DS fanatics would think otherwise) and I really liked it.

Still in theaters:
Flight, stars Denzel Washington as an alcoholic pilot who actually saves most of the people on board when he has to crash land a plane gone bad.  The story deals mostly with the investigation after the crash to elucidate what happened and who was at fault.  Whip Whitaker (Washington) begins to see himself as the hero in all the mess, as the public is leading him to believe in the early days after the crash.  However, it soon becomes apparent that he was flying high, and the efforts of his attorney and union representative to cover up this information do nothing to dissuade him from the good opinion he has of himself.  The movie is not all doom and gloom, but the comedic relief (chiefly supplied by John Goodman) is a little dark too.  Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood also star.  It was a good story and it was well acted.  I really liked it.

Run...don't walk...and see Life of Pi.  See it in 3D - it's one of the few movies out there that benefit from the technology and it is worth it.  The movie is based on a popular book by the same name.  Pi's family owns a small zoo in India.  When it goes broke, the father books sea passage to Canada for the family and the animals where they hope to start over.  A terrible storm comes up and Pi ends up on a life boat with a tiger, an orangutan, a hyena and a zebra.  Through a series of events, Pi grows wise beyond his years and miraculously lives to tell about it.  I loved it.

Having mentally ill people in my family, I was ready to dislike Silver Linings Playbook.   Hollywood tends to take liberties with most topics and I was not in the mood for the exploitive treatment it frequently hands out.  Much to my surprise, I didn't hate this movie.  Sure, people who have undergone a breakdown take longer to pick up the pieces of their lives - if they ever do - than the characters in this movie did.  I forgave Hollywood for that.  I liked how they portrayed mania.  It was pretty spot on.  Overall, the story was good and the acting was pretty good too.  It was more than a movie about two crazy people who get together - It was about love, acceptance and loyalty.  Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro and Jacki Weaver star in this comedy about serious topics.  I really liked it.

MK out.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Movie Monday - 12/17/2012

The Golden Globe Nominations were announced on Thursday and I realised that I really need to get busy!!!

I've watched some older movies on DVD:

In Passengers, Anne Hathaway plays a therapist treating the survivors of a plane crash.  She begins to notice that their accounts of what happened did not coincide with the airline's version.  Patrick Wilson, Dianne Wiest, David Morse and Andre Braugher also star in this movie. There's mystery and there's romance...what's not to like?  It was pretty good.

Meet Monica Velour is a bit of a quirky twist to the "hooker with a heart of gold" theme.  Kim Cattrall plays an aging stripper/adult movies star from the 80s who has captured the fancies of an awkward teenager played by Dustin Ingram.  When he finds out his idol is playing near an interested buyer for his grandfather's weenie mobile, he sets out to personally deliver the vehicle in order to go meet Monica.  It is the makings of a B movie, but surprisingly, it had more depth than expected.  It was sweet.

I didn't know that Chuck Barris - the creator of tee vee game shows of my youth, such as The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show - was a CIA assassin.  Apparently, that's what he tells us in his autobiography.  Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a movie  telling is about it, too.  Sam Rockwell plays Barris.  George Clooney, who also directed this film, plays the CIA man who recruits him.  Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts also star.  It was pretty good.

You may know Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother.  He stars in and directs HappyThankYouMorePlease, a quirky dramedy about a group of friends in their late-twenties who are each dealing with grown up issues.  We watch them navigate their situations.  Sam (Radnor) is an aspiring writer with relationship issues.  One day, he picks up an abandoned child on the subway while on his way to a job interview.  He also meets Mississippi (Kate Mara) who bartends by day and aspires to make it big as a singer by night.  She's had her share of troubled relationships.  Annie (Malin Ackerman) has alopecia, and it is seriously compromising her self confidence to the point that she tolerates relationship abuse.  Charlie (Pablo Schreiber) and Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) are an unmarried couple dealing with a possible move.  I really liked this movie.

St. Nick is a sweet independent film about a brother and sister who run away from home.  Their adventure on the wide-open plains of Texas shows how they try to survive - from finding food and shelter to trying to blend in as if nothing is awry or amiss.  Real-life siblings Savanna and Tucker Sears play the duo.  I have it on good authority that the film was shot in Fort Worth.  I really liked it.

MK out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 12/12/2012

Because of super secret projects and ongoing other stuff I am always rushing around to do, my knitting projects are suffering.

I had to frog back about 2 repeats of the pattern on my November socks.  Here they are, in all their glory, this morning:

Kinda sad, really...

I haven't even started my December 2012 socks, and there is a strong possibility that I may pass completely.

MK out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Movie Monday - 12/10/2012

There are so many good movies out there right now...and so little time to see them all.  I'm going to do my best.

Mark O'Brien was a journalist and poet who was disabled due to suffering polio as a child.  One of the things he wrote was an essay called "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate" about his personal experience in this matter.  The Sessions is a movie based on his quest to lose his virginity.  John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy star in this very poignant movie.  It was good.

I admit it, I'm a Twi, and the movies are made for me and my kind. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is a good adaptation of the book and I loved every minute of it.  The usual suspects starred - Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Nikki Reed, Ashley Green, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellen Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning - and newcomer Mackenzie Foy played the half-immortal child.  It was really good.

That's all for now...

MK out.

Friday, December 7, 2012

FO Friday - 12/7/2012

I finished a couple of things last month and I am just getting around to showing them off.

First, I made a toddler hat out of some of the yarn I won from Berroco:

I just did a 2x2 rib and knit along for a good while until I decided it was big enough.  I had some yarn left; so, I made a pom pom.  The yarn is Berroco Comfort DK.  It feels good working with it, and your FO will be an easy care item.  You can't beat that.

I also finished the August 2012 Socks:

I used ONline Supersocke 100 Alpaka Color yarn and did a 2x2 rib.  I seem to like 2x2 rib...

I haven't been knitting as much as I'd like lately.  Christmas plans require time and effort.  I have three projects going and two of them are Christmas presents; so, it may be awhile before they are revealed.

Whatcha got for me?

MK out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - 12/4/2012

This week, Carole asks us to list our 10 Favorite Holiday Albums.  I don't own ten, but I will tell you about the ones I have:

1.  Natalie Cole's Holly & Ivy -  I just sing along with Natalie at the top of my lungs, usually in the car...but only when I am alone.
2.  The Judy Garland Christmas Album - Judy sings, as well as various artists from yesteryear.
3.  Kenny G's Miracles The Holiday Album
4.  Kenny G's Faith A Holiday Album - You can say that I loves me some Kenny G.
5.  That Christmas Feeling - It's a compilation album with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosy, Mel Torme and more...
6.  Harry Connick, Jr.'s When My Heart Finds Christmas - I love his voice.  He sounds like the greats in #5.
7.  40 Years, A Charlie Brown Christmas - It has various more contemporary artists performing classics.

I like to start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's Day, (and then I am done for the year).  I put it on the tee vee when I am cooking or doing things around the house.  I listen to it in my car.  I love to take the time to drive around the neighborhood when coming home from wherever to look at the lights and decorations, while listening to Christmas music.

I'm listening to Christmas music on the tee vee right now.

MK out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Movie Monday - 12/3/2012

Ho Ho Ho...There's lots of movies out there...Merry Karma needs to get herself out to the movie theaters and see a few.

In the meantime, here are some recently seen DVDs that may or may not interest you:

All Good Things is loosely based on a true story about a man (Robert Durst) who has been a person of interest in his wife's disappearance since 1982.  The names have been changed in this movie.  Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst play David and Katie Marks.  They meet, marry, open a store in Vermont that sells natural and organic products called All Good Things.  His dad is a powerful real estate mogul in NYC.  They move back and he joins the firm.  They enjoy the high life.  She starts to find out about the family business and notices her husband is changing.  Their marriage falls apart and she disappears, never to be found again.  The story then jumps a couple of decades later when the case is reopened.  I liked the acting, but how the story was handled seemed a little clunky to me.  It was alright.

Let Me In is a horror film that starts out with a scene from the middle of the movie.  Basically, the movie is about a boy, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is bullied at school.  His mom isn't very attentive at home.  He is kind of a loner until he meets the girl who moved in next door, Abby (Chloe Moretz).  Soon, it is apparent that she is a little different.  She is a vampire and that guy she lives with is not her father, but is actually her Familiar.  (Look that one up...)  Abby becomes protective of Owen and helps him in regards to his situation at school.  It was violent and bloody.  I used to watch a lot of horror films...these days, not so much.  It was alright.

Matthew McConaughey stars in The Lincoln Lawyer.  He plays Mick Haller, an attorney who is good at successfully defending thugs, all while conducting most of his business from the back seat of his car.  One day, he gets a new client. Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is a preppy looking rich kid who is accused of beating up a woman. Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy also star in this drama mystery.  It was pretty good.  

Mirror Mirror is a lighthearted, yet darker, remake of Snow White and the Seven Drawfs. Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane star in this tale about a wicked step-mother who tries to thwart the happiness of a beautiful princess and a handsome prince.  It was cute.

MK out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sometimes Miracles Happen...

For those who have not been reading my blog for very long, this post will not have too much significance, but....


The Husb put the tree together BEFORE Thanksgiving and three of the kids joined us for a family tree trimming party the day AFTER Thanksgiving.  It's a Chez Merry Karma record!!!

I've been meaning to put up this picture since then...

MK out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Movie Monday - 11/19/2012

It's been too long...

I haven't really had much opportunity to go movie watching in a theater, but a couple of times I did:

Ben Affleck directed and starred in Argo.  The film is based on the true story of six American diplomats who fled to the Canadian embassy in Tehran when the rest of the people in the American embassy were taken hostage by Iranian militants.  Affleck plays the CIA operative whose idea it was to rescue them by having them pose as part of a film crew that is scouting locations for an upcoming science fiction movie.  John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Brian Cranston are among the other actors in this very good, suspenseful and well acted movie.  I really liked it.

In Arbitrage, Richard Gere plays the head of a hedge-fund empire that is about to collapse.  His wife (Susan Sarandon) and daughter (Brit Marling) are oblivious, as he struggles to keep his world together.  There's intrigue, murder and suspense in this movie.  It is pretty entertaining. 

I've also watched a couple of videos:

The Romantics is a dumb movie with Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin and others. College friends reunite for a wedding. The maid of honor still has feelings for the groom. She and the bride experience tension...just dumb.

Tiny Furniture is a quirky little film about a girl who comes back to live at home after college and a series of nonsuccesses in order to figure out what she wants to do with her life. It doesn't help that her mother is an acclaimed artist. Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in this movie. It was alright.

MK out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 11/7/2012

It's been one of those days.  I was gone all day long running errands...

I did take a picture of my three projects this morning before I walked out the door.  This post will not be wordy...I am ready to hit the hay.

I started a hat to donate for hurricane victims out of some of the yarn I won.  It is Berroco Comfort DK:

I am intending for this hat to fit a toddler.  I am not using a pattern; so, hopefully, it will turn out as well as I am envisioning it.

The August 2012 socks are barely passed half-way finished:

I like the way the November 2012 socks are looking so far, although I've only just started them:

Y'all have a good one...

MK out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - 11/6/2012

Carole's topic today is Ten Things on My Mind Right Now.  Here are the  thoughts jumbling around in my head:

1.  Is that the upstairs toilet running again?
2.  The kitchen cabinets need a little decrapification.
3.  I could use that yarn I won to make some hats and send them to hurricane victims.
4.  When is my next hair appointment?
5.  I should schedule pedicure appointments for this month and next and have them on the books, instead of trying to get one at the last minute when no one can fit me in their schedule.
6.  I need a massage and I have no time.
7.  What can I make for dinner tonight?
8.  Where is my phone?
9.  Thanksgiving is coming...
10.  I need to get myself together, because I need to go vote!

If you haven't already, go vote today! 

MK out.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baby, I'm a Winner!

I've been out of town for a few days, but now I am back...

So, a few weeks ago, Berroco had a contest in its weekly newsletter, KnitBits.  They were giving away copies of one of their new books - Comfort Knitting & Crochet: Babies & Toddlers. There are many cute patterns in it.  I entered, as I do many such contests.  While I was on vacay, I found out that I had won.

So, I came back from out of town, and my house sitter informed me that a package had come for me and she knew that it was probably yarn...because apparently, I have a reputation for buying yarn on-line.

"No," I told her.  "I recently entered a contest and won a knitting book."

She watched me open the package and, much to my surprise, the book was in there, but so was yarn!

Interestingly, I was just the other day lamenting the fact that I have so much yarn, but not the right yarn for a Christmas present I am planning to make. And look what happened!  The more I thought about it though, the more I started feeling that I really need to pay it forward; so, I have a little plan in mind.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks...

Then, last night, I read a post on Facebook. Iris Schreier, founder and designer of a yarn company with really yummy yarn (Artyarns) that I like, was giving away a pattern.  It is called Sandy's Fury.  All one had to do was to add the pattern to his/her Ravelry queue on yesterday and she would then pick a winner from the group of people who did so.

This morning, I woke up and had an email waiting in my inbox informing me that I had won the pattern!  I was so excited!!!

I guess I can no longer say, "I never win anything!"

Since I've been neglectful of my blog lately, I think I will show you the two additional pairs of socks that I did finish in October instead of waiting until Friday.  First, here's Tara.  This pair of socks has been OTN since April:

I knittied them with two 2.25mm circular needles and used Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino in Hot Pink.  I really like how they turned out after all that.

The October Socks were also completed: 

I used Wullenstudio Superwash Sock Yarn in Monster Mash and two 2.0mm circular needles.  The pattern is Autumn Harvest Toe Up Socks.  I like the yarn and I like the pattern, but I don't think it was the best yarn to use to show off the pattern.  However, they were my official Socktober/Halloween socks and they served their purpose well. 

I finished the October socks before the April socks.  The pattern suggested using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off; so, I did, and it was my first time.  I really like it.

I like it so much, that when the Tara instructions suggested to use that bind off, I did not hesitate.

Oh yeah, remember that big test that I took a couple of weeks ago?  I passed.

I think everyone should be caught up with my doings for the last little while now.  Let me hear from you.

MK out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

FO Friday - 10/12/2012

Bear with me big test is next Thursday, and then I can get back to living la vida loca and documenting some of it here...

Today is a super day!  It is FO Friday...

AND is I Love Yarn Day!!! 

Go to The Loopy Ewe and order something today and Sheri will send you a bottle of Wollmeise Wool Wash to celebrate.  Now, that's a pretty good deal. 

Speaking of TLE...I participated in Camp Loopy this summer and completed projects in all three sessions, on time and everything.  That entitled me to a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere.  I chose the Sleeping Under the Stars colorway.

Isn't it dreamy?

In other news, I finished my September 2012 socks!!! 

I used my beloved size 2.0mm needles and some lovely Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red.  The pattern is Pillars by Lisa Stichweh.

I just love them!

The April, August and October ones are still OTN, but coming along people...(That test...remember?)  Really, I have been working on the others, and there is still time to finish at least two of them by the end of the month.


Did I tell y'all that the Yarn Harlot came to Madtosh Crafts last month?!?

Yep, she was there and so was I. 

MK out.

Friday, October 5, 2012

FO Friday - 10/05/2012

It's Friday and I have an FO to share!

I finished this cowl on the way to Nova Scotia, but silly me, I didn't take a picture before I gave it to the recipient:

And - I spent six days with the recipient and I didn't take a picture despite the proximity of said cowl with said recipient.  (Doh!)

I used the Spiral Cowl pattern and yummy Pura Mongolian Cashmere DK by Pura Bella Yarns.  It was a truly wonderful tactile experience and an overall enjoyable knit.

MK out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 10/3/2012

It's the first Wednesday of the month...It's time to show what's currently OTN!

There are two pair of socks that are currently on the front burner - First, I present the October 2012 socks - Autumn Harvest in Monster Mash on Wullenstudio Superwash Sock Yarn.  It is the yarn I won for one of the Sock Knitter's Anonymous challenges back in June. 

The socks are a twofer - I am entering them in one of October's SKA challenges - seasonal pattern AND they are my official Socktober socks.

Next, I still have Pillars OTN in Ravelry Red on Malabrigo Sock Yarn. 

They are my September SKA challenge entry and should be finished before the end of this month to qualify. 

I have two pair of socks on the relative back burner - I am still working on the Tara socks from April. 

A lot of concentration is needed to sit down and work on these socks, and I seem to be in short supply these days.  They will get done eventually.  I promise.

Finally, I have given up waiting to finish Tara in order to use those needles (2.25mm) for the August 2012 socks. 

I bit the bullet and am making them on 2.5mm.  I prefer 2.0mm needles for my socks - and the first two are being made on 2.0s - but I figured I could get these done faster.  You may think that there is not much difference between 2.0mm and 2.5mm, but in the sock knitting world, there really is.

My goal is to finish all four pair this month.

MK out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Knitting on the Wild Side...

So, I got to go to a knitting retreat with Lucy Neatby and a few other folks.  The setting was a little island off the coast of Nova Scotia called Big Tancook Island.  The big is relative, and is used to differentiate it from Little Tancook Island.

The Husb and I drove there, making a couple of important stops along the way...


We went to WEBS...and I didn't buy yarn!!!  

I know, right?


We took the factory tour at Ben & Jerry's...and we got to taste the flavor that they were packaging up that day.  Yum!

We watched the marine layer roll in at Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor....

....and watched the action at Thunder Hole.  It was pretty impressive.


Finally, the husb dropped me off and I boarded a ferry to Big Tancook with a group of eager knitters.


We were treated to a nice mixer and dinner the night before classes started. 


Lucy brought Fiona over for a visit.


The cottage where I stayed had a great view.


There was no shortage of food...


 ...or drink.


In fact, it seems that we were always eating.


Like - all the time!


There was a girly fort...


...complete with chandelier.


We even became honorary Tancookers.


We really did have classes and we learned quite a bit. Lucy is a wonderful teacher, and if you ever have the chance to take a class from her - do it!!!  

The retreat was more than knitting though and I have many great memories that I will always cherish.

MK out.

Friday, September 28, 2012

FO Friday - 9/28/2012

My bloggy hiatus is still in effect, but I have some things to share; so, I thought I'd put them out there.

I recently returned from a little trip that involved knitting.  I will tell y'all all about it very soon.  Monday's picture had something to do with it. I will not be giving specifics about the picture, though, because what happens on Tancook Island, stays on Tancook Island...sorry.

While on said adventure, I made three hats.

The Tancook Hat - a Lucy Neatby pattern, using Kauni yarn and 8mm circulars:

A hat for Barrie - an improvised pattern using MacAusland's Woollen Mills 3-ply medium naturals yarn and 4.5mm needles:

A hat for Patsy - another improvised pattern, using Briggs & Little Softspun yarn and 4.5mm needles:

Barrie and Patsy owned the cottage where I stayed during my adventure.  They are marvelous people who happen to be from Massachusetts and they happen to spend several months of the year at their cottage in Nova Scotia.

I finished a gift except for grafting the toes.  (Hence the not-so-artistic, artistic shot...)  I used Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband and two 2.25mm circular needles:

I did finish another project, but I don't have a picture of it, and it is currently residing in Nova Scotia.  I hope to be receiving a shot of it soon, at which time, I will share it with y'all.

Since I didn't do a WIP Wednesday post this week, I am going to go ahead and show two partially completed projects.  First, I am so close and yet so far away from finishing the Tara socks. 

They are my April 2012 what's a few more weeks?  I think I have about forty rounds left to go...

And then, there are the September 2012 socks, aka Pillars.  The heel flap is next:

Don't ask me about the August 2012 socks.  They've been banished to the corner like a naughty school child.  I don't really know why, except that I do not like the needles they are on and need to finish the Tara socks to use those.

So, that's me...How about you?

MK out.