Thursday, August 28, 2014

Knight in Shining Sweatshirt

by Bethany

 It began one day while conversing with our friend, Liam, on Pinterest.
Becca found this photo,

we all agreed the sweatshirt was very cool, but quite a bit out of our price range.

"You should learn to make them," Liam said, "You'd make a killing in our HS (home school) group."

"I'll tell Beth," Becca replied, "The money will go in our castle fund :)"

What started out all in fun, got us thinking. Why couldn't we make one? It didn't look that hard; some extra pieces added to a sweatshirt.

 So I started sketching and drafting out a pattern for a prototype, using my American Doll, Brianna as a model.

 I found some dark blue t-shirt like fabric in our sewing room, and thought that would be similar for scale to sew with.
Only a few things changed from pattern to garment; I omitted one of the shoulder layers (too bulky), and added a nice wide waist band.

Brianna has a talent for winking. :)

"Stand back, dangerous foes!"
The next step will be to make something full sized, but this is just a experiment for now. 
I have to do more research on wholesale sweatshirt material and things like that. 

Getting out Brianna reminded me of another doll costume I had made some time back; a medieval princess dress.

A knight and a princess...sounds like it's time for a photo shoot!

A few woodland stuffed animals, who had previously been making their homes under our beds, joined us for our romp in the backyard.
Becca's doll, Natalie.
Brianna's little braids with the armor remind me of an elven warrior, minus the pointy ears. :)
"Pardon me, Princess. I couldn't help but notice that you look a bit lonely."
"What a delightful surprise! Yes, my woodland friends aren't much for conversation."
"We aren't?"
"Let me call my faithful steed."
"Is that a crow?"
"Care for a ride, my lady?"
"Looks like it's just you and me, buddy."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Firm of Girdlestone || A Review

All right listen up, BBC.  No more Jane Austen or Charles Dickens adaptations, the next mini series you should make is The Firm of Girdlestone by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

Do you think that will work? 

I don't know what's up with me, but it looks like I'm going to do another book review!  I never thought I'd be much good at them, but "The Beatles, God, and The Bible" was fun to write, so why not give it another go?  Especially since it's a book I've just finished, and absolutely adore.

When I found this book at an antique store in Michigan, it's cover grabbed my attention and then I saw the author.  I've read the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, so I thought it would be interesting to read something else by the author who created such an iconic character.

The story is about John Girdlestone and his son, Ezra who have quite a dreadful problem.  Their merchant firm is rapidly descending into financial ruin and if they don't do something to prevent it, the proud name of Girdlestone will be forever disgraced.
 One of their schemes to restore stability to their firm includes Kate Harston, the Girdlestone's ward after the unfortunate death of her father.  On the occasion of her 21st birthday, she will inherit her father's fortune.  If only there was a way for that money to come to the Girdlestones instead...

The story is filled with a fun, varied cast.  Besides John, Ezra, and Kate, there's Captain Miggs, Major Tobias Clutterbuck, and the Dimsdale family.
 Tom Dimsdale is Kate's lovable childhood friend who isn't sure if following his father's profession as a doctor is for him.  He does know, however, that Kate is the girl he wants to marry, no matter what the Girdlestones do to seperate them.
Even minor characters having memorable and interesting personalities, like the unnamed sailor Tom meets who likes to collect long words, and making up ones of his own.

The plot is exciting, escalating to a tense climax, which I dare not say too much about and give away spoilers.

The writing...the writing is just charming.  Though it may seem wordy and rambling compared to today's standard, each sentence creates a perfectly described picture in your mind, using every word to its fullest potential.

For an example, here's a favorite part where some of the characters are at a party.

"There was Mr. Smith, of the Gresham Insurance, rotating round with Miss Clara Timms, their faces wearing that pained and anxious expression which the British countenance naturally assumes when dancing, giving the impression that the legs have suddenly burst forth in a festive mood and have dragged the rest of the body into it very much against its will."

If I wrote a sentence that long, Becca would make me do some editing, but can't you just picture that?
So very British. :)

And there's another part I have to share, but for a different reason.

"Please sir," said the girl, with a bob, "I'm Sarah Jane."
"Are you, indeed," said the doctor, with mild irony. "And what d'ye want here, Sarah Jane?"

The doctor, here, is Tom's father, Dr. Dimsdale, but of course I immediately thought of these two:

I found this quote, supposedly by Doyle:

"If in 100 years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes then I will have considered my life a failure."

There actually isn't any proof that he said that, but you can't help thinking that might be a bit how he felt.  I had never heard of any of his other books until lately, but I am so glad I found The Firm of Girdlestone.  I loved getting to know these other characters he created, knowing nothing about them beforehand.  I had no idea what to expect, unlike reading about Sherlock Holmes, and it was very enjoyable.

So, find yourself a copy, and help spread the word that this book would make an wonderful period drama (with much emphasis on drama).

Becca and I even have the perfect Tom picked out.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beautiful People || August Addition || Bethany's Characters

I wasn't sure if I was going to do Beautiful People this month, but I think it would be fun to do one more character from "What Thou Need'st" before it's (hopefully) published.

So, say hello to Prince Bartholomew of Rovisland!

I know this is a picture of Alex Vlahos as Mordred from the show "Merlin" (which I've seen very little of), but I was excited to find it because he is just how I pictured Prince Bartholomew. 
Becca and I also think he, Alex Vlahos, looks like a mix of a young John Lennon and Paul McCartney. What do you think?

1) What does your character regret the most in their life? 
  Hmmm, maybe not getting to meet Princess Violet of Calmadria in better circumstances. Other than that, he's not one to waste much time regretting things.

2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory? 
   Bartholomew doesn't have many happy memories, and that's his own fault. Try as they may to please him, his parents didn't understand that giving their son whatever he wanted was not the key to happiness.
 His most sorrowful memory would be when he was 15 and his pet wolfhound died. He much prefers the companionship of animals to people, and he was quiet heartbroken over the affair.  

3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves? 
Anyone who doesn't do exactly what he says.

4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how? 
Yes. When he's alone and undisturbed he seems quite a bit nicer. 

5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
His parents are Christian, and he could tell you what they believe. To him, however, things like that are an unnecessary bore.

6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently? 
 He says, "Oh, yes," if he finds he's been mistaken about something, which is more often then he would care to say.

7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them? 
 He wouldn't like to admit he has any fears, but I think his first response would be to run.

8) Do they have a good self image? 
Yes, well, until something very unexpected happens. Spoilers! 

9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves? 
 He usually tries to isolate himself, but as a prince, that's rather hard to do.

10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry? 
 He might be able to make me cry if he was being especially cruel, but most likely I would just get angry at him. :)

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