Flashback: Costume Design & Concept Art

Gentle reader,

Once upon a time, I was studying theater to become a production designer, and along the way I designed for a bunch of student and independent productions (and even got to work backstage on some professional operas!). But, that was a long time ago.

While I was going through a cupboard and packing a box yesterday, I came across a little pile of some of my old costume design sketches and character concept art. I felt rather nostalgic, to be honest, and a tiny, tiny part of me missed those days when I ate, slept and breathed theater. I was also a little embarrassed and proud at the same time; with alternate thoughts of “That’s an awful drawing!” or “Ooh, this one held up well,” or “That’s such a stupid idea!” or “This one is a good idea, I wish I’d had the budget to make that…” I’m always hyper-critical when I find drawings that I did years ago.

At any rate, I decided to put any self-consciousness aside and share with you a little blast from my past. These are just a few of the sketches I stumbled across, the ones that are the least cringe-worthy perhaps ^_~ And I suppose it’s fitting to share some costume designs now, even though they’re not very Halloween-y. Give it a click to make it big.

Le Sketches Du Costume (That's French for 'costume sketches')

What’s something that you used to do all the time but don’t anymore? Do you miss it? Would you do it again?

And, Happy Halloween if I don’t catch you before then!

-R

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Of Cats And Dresses

Gentle reader,

Our move to the new house is slowly approaching, and I’ve tried my hardest to overcome my penchant for procrastination with some success. I’ve made a little headway with packing, but perhaps not quite as much as I’d like. It can be a bit difficult when you’re trying to pack in such a small space; maneuvering around stacks of boxes with not a lot of wiggle room and such. And, some of the other tenants have not been much help:

"What're you looking at me for?"

Ah well, I’ll get there eventually. Meanwhile I’ve had a little more success with Marelle’s crochet lace dress. I’ve finished the bodice and the first pattern section of the skirt. Hurrah!

Marelle's Dress; Coming Along.

I hate packing, but I love unpacking and having a blank canvas. Do you love or hate moving?

– R

If You Don’t Love Books You’re Dead Inside

Gentle reader,

I know there’s been a bit of a break between posts lately, and I do apologize. I’ve been so pleased with how diligent I’ve been with posting, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Here in my neck of the woods, we’ve been house hunting and that has taken up a bit of time, and even when I’ve not been doing it I’ve been thinking of it and nothing else! It’s very stressful but exciting, and indeed, we’ve found a place! I’m so stoked! I adore our new house, and I can’t wait to move in. Here is a sneaky sneak peak:

Window!

It’s an old house, not crazy old, but old enough to make me crazy happy. And it has lots of added bits and pieces; a franken-house if you will. I’m so excited! But, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about today. I’ve just read an amazing book and I’m nearly through another amazing book.

Do yourself a favor and read the book first...

The first book, which I’ve mentioned quite a while back, is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I read it voraciously until I was about three quarters of the way through, and then I had to put it down for a while because I go through headachey periods and I desperately need new glasses (still don’t have them, have I mentioned that I’m an excellent procrastinator…). But, then I picked it up and again and powered through to the end. And, let me tell you, it’s an epic read. It’s beautifully written and the characters are interesting and you genuinely feel for them. And it all builds to the most wonderfully sad and devastating yet beautiful and hopeful ending…Oy! I was a little messy when I finished, I love a good weepy book.

The whole time I was reading I was dreading the film, which I had not seen. I just could not picture Jude Law and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles. Well, they do okay. The movie is definitely worth a watch, and things have been re-jigged enough that those actors are totally wrong and actually do quite a good job. It’s cinematography is gorgeous and they did a good job of condensing the book into the film. Renee Zellweger was absolutely perfect in her role, and it makes me sad that I can’t remember the last good film I’ve seen her in. Natalie Portman also had a small but intense role that is a credit to her. I’ve started thinking about who I would have cast. Do you do that? Do you make up “dream casts” in your head for books that you loved? I do; it’s a problem, I can’t help myself.

Oooh, Gritty.

Immediately after I began True Grit by Charles Portis. I stuck with the Charleses and I stuck with the same century, though True Grit takes place a decade or so after the Civil War. I was terribly excited to read this book as I saw the 1969 film when I was but a wee bairn – my Ma is a massive John Wayne fan – and I adored it. I adored most John Wayne films I saw back then, but especially this one, perhaps because it had a plucky child for me to relate to (not that I was plucky, but I wished that I were).

I was very excited for the new film, but I decided that I wouldn’t see it until I had read the book, and I ordered it online and had it waiting for when I finished Cold Mountain. I’ve just reached the story’s denouement and gee willickers is it a swift ride! I’ve sped through book and have enjoyed every second of it! I’ll probably finish it in bed tonight.

I definitely recommend both of these books; one is more of a commitment – Cold Mountain isn’t a difficult read, but it can be emotionally draining (if you become as emotionally invested in your books as I do!) – and the other is a short but sweet affair; I’m a slow reader, so I think you could finish it in a only several sittings at an average speed.

If you’re interested in a proper review, let me know. I’ve not given too much away – just my recommendations – but I think a proper review could be fun (just not this close to bedtime!).

What books have you read that made great films? Or what books do you love that were made into awful films? Sharing is caring! ^_~

– R

A Deer-ish Dear, A Post-Op Teddy & New Toys!

Gentle reader,

I’ve been house hunting lately and attempting to start packing (read: procrastinating and putting something into a box every couple of hours. Oy!), so it has been mildly cray-cray around here. But, I’ve also gotten a few things done and treated myself a lil bit.

First up, we have the Pop Merino teddy who had some serious proportion/club-foot issues. Well, I operated and I think he came out on top. I also tweaked his eyes a touch.

I also finished off a new ami. I had a ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that I’d bought for something or other but had since forgotten what for. Well, I’ve been told by a few people that Cashmerino pills like crazy-town, so I decided I’d make a critter with it rather than a garment. I had literally no idea what it would be until I’d made the body, head and face, and then I was stuck. “What are you!?”

As it turns out, I was watching season two of True Blood (I’m not a totes massive fan or anything – it’s a little rudey-nudey for me – but I did enjoy it) and a deer popped onto the screen and *bing!* went the little light bulb above my head. He didn’t come out a dyed-in-the-wool deer – he’s too round and chubby – but rather had a deer-ishness about him, so he’s kind of his own little critter, which makes me kinda happy. So, I’ll package up Mr. Deer-ish and his newly-leggy buddy so they’re ready for my Etsy store.

O Hai! Antlers? I Got 'Em.

I’m also pretty excited about my little treat to myself. My yarn store I work in has a loyalty program that sends you a gift voucher after you accrue a certain amount of points, and I got mine the other day and it was pretty much burning a hole in my pocket. So, I bought myself the Clover Takumi interchangeable needle set.

Behold! And Drool With Crafty Covetousness!

The store had gotten these sets in months ago, and being the Clover fanboy that I am, I immediately fell in love and have been coveting them ever since. With my voucher and my staff discount, I couldn’t resist any longer, and I’ll tell you what, I carried that box home in my arms like a baby. Yup, I’m that sad.

I could tell you all of the things that I love about them, but I think I’ll save it for a proper review to post another time after I’ve played with them for a while.

Have any TV shows ever influenced your projects? Or are there some crafty treats you’ve been coveting? Sharing is caring! ^_~

Music To Make To – Lamb

Gentle Reader,

One of my favorite bands of all time is a duo named Lamb; if you’ve not heard of the name you’ve probably heard one of their songs – Gorecki is perhaps one of the greatest love songs ever recorded and seems to be one of those songs everyone’s heard but don’t know who it is.

You know how there are those certain songs and albums that attain a level almost akin to divinity to you? They become so much a part of your heart that you can’t even imagine what your life or your awareness might be like if you’d never heard them? Well, that’s Lamb for me. It’s hard for me to describe Lamb’s music, because so much of is so intimately tied to memories and people and experiences from my late teens onwards that I couldn’t possibly provide an objective point of reference for it but I’ll try. Lamb’s music is gorgeous, haunting, euphoric, achingly sad and just straight up amazing.

So after an eight year hiatus, they released a brand new album this year, “5”, which I somehow didn’t hear about until now, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. There might have been a little bit of pee, but please don’t judge me.

So, I’d like to share with you a song from this new album and a song from one of their older albums, and if you like them, I hope you’ll take time to discover their previous albums and that you adore them as much as I do.


Another Language from 5


Gabriel from What Sound 

What music has been the soundtrack of your life at different times? Sharing is caring! ^_~