Sunday, December 18, 2011

I don't know, if there'll be snow, but have a cup of Cheer.

I love Christmas. I really do. It brings out the mushy side of me that I scoff the other times of the year. I have a very spiritual belief of Christmas. I come from a very strong religious background, so to me, Christmas really is about the birth of the lord and savior, Jesus Christ, who I have a strong testimony of. 
I have quoted this before in my blog, but I truly believe the greatest thing Charles Dickens ever wrote was "A Christmas Carol." This story enthralls me every year when I read through it, pulled by Dicken's words through the streets of London and through the life of Ebenezer Scrooge as this man has a true change of heart. But Dickens says something in his story through the character of Scrooge's nephew that touches me every time I hear it. 

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which
I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew: "Christmas among the
rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has
come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if
anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time: a kind,
forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long
calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to
open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if
they were really fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of
creatures bound on other journeys.  And therefore, uncle, though it has never
put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good,
and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

It makes me sad when I go out at Christmas time and hear people being so rude and coarse and unkind. I try to be especially kind to people during this time, especially those in retail and food services. :\ They seem to get all the brunt of people's rudeness at this time. I try to wish everyone I come in contact with a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays. And I'm always sad when they seem surprised that someone would wish them that.

I am grateful for my knowledge of the gospel and the knowledge I have not only of the miracle of Christ's birth, but of his life and the things he taught and the miracles he performed. I am grateful for the writings of Isaiah who have inspired some of the most beautiful music ever written.

But I also love the fun parts of Christmas. My traditions of course include reading A Christmas Carol (I've never found a play or movie that did the book justice.)

 going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert:

But I also have some movies and tv episodes that always get watched every Christmas as a tradition for myself. I must say, I do watch shows like Grinch and It's a Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown Christmas and such, but my favorites are as follows:

Invader Zim's the most Horrible X-mas Ever
This is for my darker side, and is really weird dark humor. But if you love Zim, you know how twistedly funny of a Christmas episode this is!

Roswell's Christmas Carol
This was one of my favorite TV shows through High School and College. But the Christmas episode is still a really sweet, episode. And for those who have seen it, you know the best line is when the harsh, doubtful, skeptic, Michael says, "If there is a God, please help us." I love this show.

What is not to love about this show? Best movie Will Ferrel ever made. (Shortly followed by Anchorman) but This show is just SO FUNNY. It really cracks me up so much.

One Magic Christmas
If you haven't seen this, you should. See if Netflix has it. Makes me cry every time. My mother and I love this movie so much.

White Christmas
What else do I need to say? This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I've already watched it about ten times this year. The last 15 minutes just makes me emotional and teary and it's just such a wonderful movie. 

Little Women
I know a lot of you wouldn't consider this a Christmas movie, but I do. 
I love my mom and sisters more than anything in this world, and this movie just makes me cry for 2 hours because I can relate to Jo March more than any literary character ever written. 
I love her devotion to her sisters and how helpless she feels when change comes.
But I love the Christmas scenes in this movie. I love them reading their father's letter, to Beth getting the piano, to the party where Jo meets Laurie and Meg twists her ankle ("He put snow on your ankle? With his bare hands?") and the Christmas where the father comes home (cue me crying again.) 
I love this movie and it will always be a Christmas movie to me. 

I hope you all have a wonderful and Merry Christmas! I hope you find the spirit of this season, because I promise you, it exists. It exists through Christ-like love and the miracles of Santa (Yes, Virginia, there IS a santa clause) and he does exist. I have seen too many Christmas Miracles for the spirit of Santa not to exist. As QE2 puts it
"I want to wish you all, a blessed Christmas!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

What did you do tonight?

Oh. I faked a proposal on temple square, with my best friend, and kept a straight face the whole time, which was hard considering we were adorable and melodramatic the whole time. Sometimes, it's nice to be reminded why someone is your best friend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Book Thief

My brother, Russell, recently read a book, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusack. He gave it an amazing review and I thought, "oh, that's nice!" and got on with finals. I bought myself a kindle during all the black Friday stuff and Russell told me I should read the Book Thief. I'm always looking for a good book to read, and I completely 100% trust my brother's recommendations. He has taste and is educated to recognize good literature.
So I actually downloaded the book on tape and started listening to the book thief. I would only let myself listen to it while I sewed or cut stuff out (motivation to sew) and finished it last night just as I finished part of Brady's Christmas Present.
The book was wonderful.
I've always loved books. When I was a little girl I was always reading. My mom would have to bribe me NOT To read just so I would get something done. Usually as a child I could be found up some tree, with a book in my hand. My mom had an afternoon paper route and would very often leave me at the A.K. Smiley Library for the afternoon where I read every Nancy Drew, discovered Old Yeller, the Mixed up Files of Miss Basil E Frankweiler, and hundreds more.
What did I love about The Book Thief? What set it apart from so many other books I had read?
The author's voice.
Markus Zusack had such a phenomenal way to say things, write things, explain things. The story is told from Death's perspective. It is about a girl living on Himmel Street in "Molching", Germany. Molching is a fictional town, that sits right by Dachau. I have been to the city of Dachau and their infamous concentration camp. I speak German, have lived in Germany, and so it was a lot of fun to be familiar with all those things.
This story was beautiful. I loved the relationships with all the characters. This wasn't your typical "holocaust story." It was told from an angle I, personally, have never experienced before, and it didn't leave you feeling like the world is a terrible place and all humans don't deserve to live (which is how I leave after most holocaust storied and movies) Don't get me wrong, it was heart-wrenching. I cried, but I also laughed and smiled.
There were parts that were so amazingly written I was left breathless. Pick it up, read it. Do it. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dr. Frankenstein: Costume Design

One of my closest friends, Allen, is a phenomenal actor, and an even greater friend. He teaches drama at a Junior High, and will occasionally hire me to help with his shows. I feel like he's the first one who took me seriously as a costume designer and paid me for my time and work. He continues to do so, continues to introduce me to directors and producers and theater companies who will hire me for my work.
He just played Doctor Frankenstein in an adaption of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for Salty Dinner Theater Company and hired me to make his costume. I have always hated making men's costumes, but recently have become a huge fan! It kinda makes me want to be a Haberdasher (U.S. definition, not British)
This was a huge challenge for me. I used an old out of print pattern for jacket and pants, but made quite a few changes to better fit my design. He wanted the costume to fit the "Jane Austen" Time period also known as the "Regency period." This is also where the term "Empire waist" started, since this was the era of Bonaparte's Empire and women were wearing their waistlines just below the breasts.
ANYWAY. Enough of the history lesson!
Allen came over, picked the fabric out of my extensive fabric storage which somehow just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Someone told him he looked like Joseph Smith. Good. Roughly the same time period.
But I though he looked simply fantastic.
 Design and construction by Mandee.
Swagger and Facial hair by Allen. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time and Relative Dimension In Space: My Halloween Costume

I am a total whovian. I am a total nerd. Last year for Halloween I still had my short Blonde hair and dressed up like Starbuck from the new series of Battlestar Galactica. This year I still wanted to be nerdy.
I was actually going to be Rapunzel from Tangled since I had made two Flynn Rider vests (Pics soon to come in another post) but I just got this idea in my head and didn't want to give up on it.
I love Doctor who, and then became OBSESSED when I got to see David Tennant (The tenth doctor) and Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) in Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham Theater in London.
I really wanted to dress up as something from Doctor who. I didn't want to be a companion, because nothing they wear is very...distinct. I guess except for Martha Jones' Red Leather Jacket. But I don't care for Martha.
So my dilemma was...Who the heck do I dress up as from Doctor Who? I didn't want to be the doctor...Then I saw some photos of a different versions of a costume and had a Shakespeare moment. "That's really good. I can do it better." Then I remembered this moment from Doctor Who:

Which inspired my Halloween costume. I love the relationship between the doctor and the Tardis. Companions come and go, but he always has the Tardis. I love when Sarah Jane says to Rose Tyler, "Does he still stroke bits of the Tardis?" And I love the episode, "The Doctor's Wife" when the Tardis' consciousness gets put into human form so they can actually talk.

 So I present to you: The Tardis in costume form:

It was SO much fun to make. I paid attention to the details. The Choker is the Public Call Police Box sign. I was going to put it on the dress, but opted for the choker.
The hat? It lights up. Yeah, seriously. One of my closest friends, Brady Howard rigged the hat so it actually lit up with LEDs inside.
The sign on my leg was based on the sign that is on the box obviously. I printed it off on printable fabric and then appliqued it onto the dress. I made pieces that mimicked the panels that are on the door. And one of my favorite details was the key around my neck. Some of my favorite Doctor Who moments is the moment where he trusts his new companion enough to give her a Tardis Key. The Key is always on a long white cord.
And what girl doesn't want the Doctor to come take her away and give her a key to the Tardis and take her to far away places?
This years costume was so much fun! And I had a blast designing it and making it! And I had fun wearing it to a huge party at the University and seeing who recognized it. I know it wasn't perfect, and there's a few things I wish would have done different, but all in all, I love how it turned out.
Happy Halloween! 
(And I leave with you a few of my favorite Doctor Who Moments)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The colors of fall

Last week on our "Sister photography blog" our word was "Leaves." So for this challenge I went up to the mountains to find bright colored leaves. I live near a pass that goes over a mountain to the other side which is another, beautiful valley. But on the top of the pass is a trailhead, so Coco and I went to get pictures, and I just thought to myself as I was taking these pics and watching my dog run around and explore: I am so lucky to have such beautiful mountains almost literally in my back yard. 
It's so weird to think in a few weeks these will probably be covered in white and looking completely different.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Showcasing my Holga Photography

My friend, Stephanie, is an amazing artist. She's phenomenal at what she does. She has a watercolor painting she once did of a still from "Memoirs of a Geisha" that I'm determined to buy off of her when I'm rich enough to pay her worthily of her talent. Anyway, Last year for a class she asked me if she could use my Holga Photography for a project. I love Stephanie, and had no problem with it, so I sent her all my favorites and then focused on my own finals and forgot about it.
Until today.
When I asked her about it she sent me to a showcase website where she showed off the project. I was so excited to see my photos look like that and look so good. She has promised to get me a copy, which I'm way excited about.

Masquerade Ball

Last night my friend threw a big masquerade ball and invited tons of people. She created the facebook event page for it quite a while ago and I RSVP'd that I was going. And then promptly forgot about it. A few days ago I saw some mutual friends who mentioned how excited everyone was to see my Masquerade costume. Being confused I asked what masquerade they were talking about and they explained that Jennalyn was throwing a masquerade and I had RSVP'd yes.
I said I was going to a party
Everyone was expecting the costume designer to be dressed amazing.

Well I sat down all day Friday and whipped out a costume. The only part of the costume I didn't build was the mask, which was made by Tiffany Smyth for my fairies when I costume designed a Midsummer Night's Dream for Box Elde High and my Corset I bought at The Denver faire a year or two ago.
The ball was a lot of fun. My friend, Matt and I had a lot of fun dancing and watching people and just being us. But here's the costume and how it turned out, which I was very proud of.

The Mask is amazing. She works in Leather, adding feathers and beads. But the masks are incredible.
 The blue bustle was a velvet retro dress I had which was falling apart and had holes in it. So I took it apart, cut away all the torn holes and bleach spots and then put them back together and made the bustle. I then just placed a small bustle pad made from stiff tulle underneath.
Front and Back views of the costume
 I had a bunch of Gold Lace Appliques that I bought on Ebay forever ago. I attached four together and then strategically added swarovsky crystals to add sparkle. It ended up being remarkable! I hope I can use it in other shows as well. 

I also love how my hair turned out. I did really tight curls then pushed it all to the center of my head...well sort of like a faux-hawk.

I also love how my eye make up turned out. I did it really shimmery and golden then added the touch of blue near my lash line. I used all Ben Nye shimmer colors. I love how it turned out.

The only thing I didn't get done on the dress which I really wanted were big Baroque cuffs on the dress with gold venise lace that matched the necklace. I just ran out of time. Halloween in my busiest time of year. And on that note, there will definitely be more pics of some of the best costumes I made this fall season. (it's my busiest with Halloween and fall musicals.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stage Costume Final

I am back in school and majoring in theater with my emphasis in costume design. It's a tough road, very time consuming, but very much worth the time (Or so I'm told.) My stage costume class which is an intro level class required for all theater majors was only a half semester class. We all read and designed for the same show, James and the Giant Peach. It was a lot of fun to see how different designers interpret different things. Some of them I loved, some I secretly thought were awful, but I loved what my teacher said at the beginning of the semester, "There is more than one right answer."

When I read the play I refused to go watch the movie (I haven't seen it since I saw it at the Rainbow Theater in Redlands, California when I was 11 years old.) But my vision was the British invasion, focusing on the late fifties into the sixties. I also didn't want to do a literal translation of the insects, adding legs and pinchers and antennas, etc. So I stuck to the colors, the textures, and the shapes of the insects. Researching spiders and centipedes gave me the biggest willies. I hated it.

The Grasshopper

Aunt Sponge & Aunt Spiker
The Earthworm
The Centipede
Miss Spider

The last thing I want to talk about is what I learned from this assignment.  
1-I learned to draw bodies, THEN draw the clothes on them. My favorite place for poses, if I don't have a model, is Pose Maniacs. Which is a lot like that human body display that's been going around the world?
2-I'm really bad at faces, I draw eyes too big, and I am terrible terrible terrible at hands. Must work on that.
3-I did this assignment with prisma color pencils and inktense pencils which was good for some things (in fact, inktense pencils are pretty incredible), but I usually do watercolors, which I like better. So I need to practice with more mediums such as Markers, intense pencils, prisma colors, chalks and pastels, etc.  (If you want a good website with amazing deals on art products, I'm addicted to Jerry's Artarama.
4- Detail is worth the time it takes. From the lace on the spider to the cable knit sweater on the earthworm to the plaids, detail is worth the trouble. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I got sunshine...On a Cloudy Day

Took some fun pictures of my niece, Carly, to hang in her newly decorated bedroom which will be fun and bright and sparkly and happy!

And of course Emma and Katelyn wanted in on the fun too! And I don't blame them! Who wouldn't want to dance in colorful rain!?