Monday, December 14, 2015

Movie Monday - 12/14/2015

Goodness - I have a long list of movies I've seen and haven't mentioned, and the list will only get longer. Maybe, I should get busy and start knocking them out in the next few weeks to catch up, while I occupy myself with watching Countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark Channel. It was a favorite of my mom's. Continuing the tradition makes me feel closer to her now that she's gone. So, on to the movies.

The Martian, starring Matt Damon, is based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The movie is set on Mars in the not too distant future. One of the crew (Damon) of a manned space mission is presumed to have died while the astronauts abort and evacuate during a severe storm. He soon comes to and discovers he's been left behind. He has to figure out a way to survive. Some suspension of belief may be required to watch this film, but it was good. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star in this movie. I liked it.

Tom Hanks stars in Bridge of Spies, based on a true story and set during the Cold War. Attorney James Donovan (Hanks) is hired to defend an accused Russian spy. Later, Donovan is tapped to obtain the release of an American pilot shot down and captured, in exchange for that same spy. Amy Ryan and Alan Alda star in this movie. It was pretty good.

During World War II, the Nazis were busy stealing art and important artifacts. A group of art history and various other experts were put together to find items before the Nazis stole or destroyed them. The Monuments Men is the true story about these brave, non-military folks. George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett starred in this movie. It was very good.

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a documentary based on the book by a similar name by Lawrence Wright. A brief history of Scientology is presented. Several people who were former Scientologists were interviewed about why they first joined or why and how they got out. It was very interesting.

That's all for now...

MK out.

Friday, December 11, 2015

FO Friday - 12/11/2015

Lordy, Lordy...a month since the last post. Well, finally, I have something to show everyone.

Loopy Academy is quickly drawing to a close and Momma needs to get with it. One of the assignments in the sewing division is a drawstring bag or bags. Here are mine:

I used fabrics from the Moda Be Jolly line and the solid red Kona Cotton. I used this tutorial. I made two of the bags using the dimensions given in the pattern.  I made the third as big as I could to maximize fabric usage to fulfill the fabric yardage requirement. The only modification I made was using the accent fabric at the base of the bag. I figured since the Kona is just a touch heavier than the other fabric, it should be at the bottom. I so liked the snowman print and deemed it the main fabric.

Hopefully, I'll finish my other assignments soon. 

MK out.

Friday, November 13, 2015

FO Friday - 11/13/2015

I completed my donations for the St. Demetrios Greek Festival (this weekend, starting today - you should go) and took them to the church yesterday.


Kitchen towel/hot pad sets:

Little dresses:

And the hat and booties sets y'all saw last week.

It's not much, but the few dollars each will bring in is much appreciated by the church.

MK out.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm Sewing Along...

I am participating in a Sew-Along...because you know, not enough to do. Seriously, I have several of Marti Michell's template kits and I haven't used any of them until now.  Remember, I'm not a quilter, but for some reason, I felt the urge to purchase almost all the Marti Michell template kits that The Loopy Ewe sells. I'm not a quilter; I swear I'm not.

I have this book because the blocks are so cute, and vintage, and I really am meaning to make some things with them...but I haven't made anything yet. Then, this book came out and I bought it too, because I liked the colors, the 1930s vintage fabric and the blocks and, you know...I was meaning to make some of the blocks.

Then, I heard about the SAL (Sew-Along) and I heard that Marti Michell (MM) was going to make conversions of the blocks using her templates, and I thought it would be a win-win - make blocks out of the Farmer's Wife book AND get to play with the templates.

What's so great about the templates? Well, one thing is that they facilitate cutting the little dog-ear corners that just add bulk to the seams when the blocks are all assembled:

See how I've cut off the corners in the top square?  I cut the smaller square using MM's Log Cabin ruler which doesn't have corner-cutting capability.

Never fear, MM has a a ruler that allows one to cut the dog-ears off the most commonly used quilting shapes. Cool, huh?

Another cool thing about the MM templates is they help one line up the pieces - which takes the guesswork out of the operation. It makes for a smoother quilting experience...even for non quilters.

See how nicely the pieces line up on the left side of the block?

This week in the SAL, we are playing BINGO. Five blocks were chosen and we have to link them to the BINGO post.  Here are my renditions of the blocks:

I like the trick in the middle of the back of this block. 

One swirls the seam where the four corners come together in order to orient the seam allowances in such a way as to decrease bulk.

Four of the blocks took an hour to complete from cutting out to finish.This one took about two-and-a-half hours. 

I kid you not. I sewed every single seam at least twice, and some four times...because I'm not a quilter.

MK out.

(Remember to click on the pics to see them in their entirety.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

FO Friday - 11/6/2015

I have stuff! Unfortunately, it's not newly finished stuff, because I can't seem to do the finish work on my Loopy Academy semester projects for some reason...

The Lone Star State Knitters had a scarf swap this fall. I had to get the package for my recipient ready ahead of time, since we were going to be out of town when it was time to mail them. In my haste in finishing it, wrapping up the package and giving it to my neighbor with instructions to mail it out on October 1st, I forgot to take a picture. Thankfully, my recipient did and here it is:

I used the Gallatin Scarf pattern and the yarn is Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme Batik.

Anyway, back in September when we were in Europe, I made some hats to give to the male relatives. The gift box is heavy on girly things - I had plenty of gifts for the female relatives...but for the males, well...not so much.

So, I made these hats:

I used Encore for the ease of washing. The pattern is a slightly modified version of my go-to-boy-hat aka #30 Cool Hats by Nancy J. Thomas. The recipients liked them.

In October, I finished three hat and booties sets to donate to the church for the Greek Festival.

I winged the hat and topped it with a Chrysanthemum flower. I used the Seamless Baby Booties pattern for the feets covers.

I winged this hat too - pom pom and all - and again used the Seamless Baby Booties pattern.

For this ensemble, I used the Apple Hat and Baby Booties patterns.

I used Sirdars Dreambaby DK leftovers for all.

I am working on Loopy Academy fabric and yarn projects, as well we fabric projects to donate t the church. Hopefully, you will see them soon.

MK out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Movie Monday - 11/2/2015

Yes, I realize it's Tuesday, but I've got a backlog of movies to discuss. If I don't do it now, next Monday may come and I may not be able to do a post for whatever reason...because that has been the pattern lately.

Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen star in Far From the Madding Crowd. It is an adaptation of the novel by the same name by Thomas Harding. I have never read the book; so, I cannot comment on the strength of the adaptation, but I thought the story was wonderful. The scenery was beautiful and the acting was very good. I loved this movie.

The Water Diviner is set just after WWI in Australia and Turkey. Russell Crowe stars as Joshua, an Australian farmer and water diviner. His three sons fought the Turks in the Battle of Gallipoli four years prior and, having never returned home, they are presumed dead. When his wife commits suicide because her grief has completely overcome her, he vows to go to Turkey to find the his boys' bodies and to bring them back to bury them with their 
mother. It was a great story with good acting. I really liked it.

I finally was able to watch Her. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a guy who pens love letters for a living, but who is unlucky in love personally. He purchases an OS with artificial intelligence (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), designed to grow and evolve in order to better help its owner. She names herself Samantha and she is very helpful. Soon, the two have a very close relationship. Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde also star. After all the hype, I thought it was just alright.

Last awards season, there was some controversy about Jennifer Anniston being passed over for an Oscar nomination for Cake. She plays a woman who had been injured in a terrible car accident and who is living with chronic pain. As can happen in these situations, she is addicted to medications and is a bit of a drug seeker. She's also pretty cranky, but I'll give her that because...chronic pain. After seeing the movie, although Anniston delivered a decent performance, I personally didn't feel it was one of her best. It was alright.

Le Divorce is an older film starring Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts. Hudson plays a single girl who goes to Paris to visit her pregnant sister (Watts) who is going through a divorce. Without giving anything away, I really liked this film. Maybe, I was in the mood for this soapy, convoluted plot, but I was highly entertained. 

That's it for this week...

MK out.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm Back!

"Since my last post, I've been doing lots of celebrating. Firstly, we are in the middle of the infamous Birthday Season - which started a little early this year; more on that in a bit. Secondly, this past Monday marked the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of Chez Merry Karma.

Y'all know by now that my Birthday Season starts on September 15th every year, but several days before, we set out on our 30th Anniversary European Extravaganza. This post will be first in a series...of not too many, I promise.

We landed in Frankfurt in the morning. Since our hotel room wouldn't yet be ready, we jumped in our rental and headed to Wurzberg, the home place of the Dallas Mavericks' beloved player, Dirk Nowitzki. Apparently, he had founded a youth basketball program here.

A scene from the town:

We ate lunch there - and it was quite good. I was looking forward to eating German food and I wasn't disappointed at all.

The next day, we set out for Munich, but made a quick stop in Pfaffenhofen. Maybe, some of the knitters will recognize that it is the home of Wollmeise:

Here's a pretty building in the town square:

That evening in Munich, we took the train to a shopping/eatery district. I love this old cathedral:

Sadly, Oktoberfest didn't start for another week, but our restaurant had their beer offering available and we had some with our "appetizer":

The next day, we got up and headed to Switzerland. The drive was beautiful.

We had lunch in Innsbruck, Austria - with a view of the Olympic ski jump.

We drove through through Liechtenstein:

Tune in next time...more Alps and other cool stuff.

MK out.

Friday, September 4, 2015

FO Friday - 9/4/2015

I have FOs

Don't faint.

I finished the 2015 Camp Loopy Project 3 Yarn:

Pattern: Shleeves by Mary Annarella
Yarn: Rowan Fine Lace
The challenge was "something amazing" and I thought a shawl with sleeves fulfilled the requirement.

And I finished the 2015 Camp Loopy Project 3 Fabric:

Pattern: Take Four by Cary Flanagan
Fabric: Riley Blake Santa Express fat quarter collection, plus four other half-yard cuts.
The challenge was "something different" and those who know me know that I am a little matchy-matchy...and by little, I mean a lot. These coordinating placemats are definitely different!

Camp Loopy is history.

Loopy Academy just started.

MK out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Movie Monday - 8/17/2015

It's been a while, but I have been able to watch a couple of movies here and there.

Melissa McCarthy plays a desk-bound CIA analyst in Spy. She has to become a field agent to foil the bad guys. Also starring are Melissa Hart, Jude Law, Rose Byrn, Allison Janney and Bobby Canavale. It was cute.

Serena is set in the south during the Depression. A timber baron is well on his way to building his empire, when he meets the woman he feels is worthy of being his spouse. Never mind that he has fathered a child with the woman who makes him his dinner. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star. It was good.

In Divergent, the people of a dystopian society must commit to joining one of five factions based on human virtues when they reach adulthood. Divergents, have qualities of more than one of the factions and are feared by the one jockeying for control. Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet star in this great adaptation of the novel by the same name. It was good.

MK out.

Friday, July 31, 2015

FO Friday - 7/31/2015

In the nick of time, Camp Loopy Project Two Fabric is finished! 

For this challenge, we had to do a little appliqué or embroidery someplace on the project. I chose to appliqué a heart on a scrappy strip I used to piece the backing.

Pattern: Strip Tango
Fabrics: several from the Windham Fabrics Wildflower collection, Riley Blake Blue Dots from Girl Crazy and Pinwheels from Fancy Free.

MK out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday - 7/22/2015

The Penny Candy Tee is coming right along:

I never tire of views such as this one:

MK out.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Change of Plans...

Remember my Penny Candy Tee and how it looked on 6/28 when I restarted it? Here's a picture in case you forgot:

Something just hasn't felt right about it. I finally decided to rip out that 2-stitch I-cord cast on and I redid it in the darker grey color.

I just wasn't able to get my head wrapped around that teal color; so, it's going to be a three color sweater, instead of four. I think it will be more versatile that way. 

Now I can use that whole skein of teal for something else.

MK out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Night Fun

So, one of the challenge requirements for the July fabric project is to have a little appliqué or embroidery worked into it.


It's not that I have never appliquéd or embroidered before, but I've been a little bit apprehensive about that part. The quilt top got put together a week ago People!

I was originally thinking I would appliqué something in one of the rectangles. I had so much fun sewing them together, that I forgot to save one to put on the appliqué first; so, I thought I'd figure out something to put on the back.  I've spent the whole last week fretting about it.

Well, today I decided I was going to do a little scrappy something and incorporate an appliqué.

I think I will like it.

MK out.

Friday, July 10, 2015

FO Friday - 7/10/2015

I finished the Camp Loopy July yarn project. Yay!

Pattern: SUMMERTIME Shawl by Michele C Meadows
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Comments:  This project worked up quickly - all garter stitch; so, very relaxing to knit. If I were to make it again, and likely I will, I think it would look super in semisolid colors. 

MK out.

Friday, July 3, 2015

FO Friday - 7/3/2015

I cannot believe that I've already posted pictures of my latest FO all OVER the interwebs and almost forgot to post them here!!! Where's my head?

Here's the table runner I made for the June Camp Loopy fabric challenge:

Pattern: I Spy an African Beach (my own design)
Fabric: Moda Sun Drenched Batiks in Leaf, Sky and Gold, Moda Dreamcatcher Batiks in Ocean, and Timeless Treasures Tonga Batiks in Lime and Turquoise.

Here's the inspiration picture:

Comments: I had originally purchased the  lime for the backing and the turquoise for the binding. This project had no outline - I made each decision as I came to each step. 

After I put the pinwheel blocks together, I decided I should add sashing and I liked the lime; so, I used some of that. 

Then, I decided to make a border and wanted to make it with diagonal strips with the other fabrics, but added some of the turquoise for that.

There was one fabric that I didn't use anywhere else; so, I made the binding with that.

I made a scrappy backing since I robbed some of the lime for the front.

I quilted by stitching in the ditch.

What I learned: I made my own binding! I have quilted very small projects in the past. I even have a wall hanging that has been a WIP for the last twenty years. (You read that right.)  I have machine pieced it and am about hallway done with the hand quilting. the past, I've used purchased binding; so, now I feel really smart that I can make my own. :)

MK out.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday - 7/1/2015

Today is the first day of new month in Camp Loopy. I started my yarn project this morning.

I did the blue part when I woke up and the rest of it at the hair salon.

I think this project may go quickly...

MK out.