Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Re-cap and New Years Resolutions

Accomplishments:


  • My husband and I did a lot of traveling this year. This year we've been to Birmingham, Newcastle, York, Nottingham, Stonehenge, Windsor, Eye, Canterbury, Brighton, some local farms, and several National Trust sites. Over the summer my mom came to visit and I took her to Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, and London. I finally left the island as my husband and I visited his family in Helsinki, Finland for Thanksgiving. Plus I saw the Tour de France and The Strawberry Fair in Cambridge, I visited the Tower of London poppies on Veteran's Day, and I saw The Burning of the Clocks in Brighton. 
  • I saw several musical acts in concert this year including London Grammar, CHVRCHES, Tom Jones, St. Vincent, Ha Ha Tonka, The National, Passenger, not to mention all of the bands at The Strawberry Fair.  In addition I saw comedians Miranda Hart and Noel Fielding on tour and I saw Matilda and Made in Dagenham (starring Gemma Arterton) on the West End.
  • In February I got my nose pierced and in September I added a new 3/4 sleeve tattoo to my left arm. 
  • I attended the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace and it was awesome! My biggest crafting highlight to date is meeting and sewing a Brigitte scarf with Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons
  • Thanks to Audible , I've been able to stick to my resolution to read more books and I've been able to keep up with the A Beautiful Mess Book Club. So I read 13 books in 2014 and I binge listened to the Serial podcast
  • I knit 9 and-a-half new projects this year (and forgot to blog about them) including a woolen frog and squirrel for the Canopy Arts Woolen Woods Project.
  • I participated in Gertie's Slip Sewalong and the Outfit Along 2014- where I sewed up a friggin' dress and knit a cardigan. 


Mistakes:


  • My Shop My Closet Instagram sale was an epic fail and I ended up donating most every item to charity.
  • I did not sew and knit all of the pieces that I had planned to make when I was working on The Wardrobe Architect Series. In fact, I'm currently setting out of Untangling Knots' Selfish Sweater Knitalong because I'm still trying to finish my Marion Cardigan from the Marion Knitalong. 
  • I still need to finish my 2014 and start on my 2015 Sketchbook Project sketchbooks.
  • I pretty much gave up on exercise. I got close enough to my fitness goal and then quit and let other things get in my way to keep me from maintaining.
Resolutions for 2015:

  • Travel- 2015 will be my last full year living in England so I need to make it count. Even though I was able to visit lots of new places in 2014, there are still many places that I want to visit both on and off the island such as Hebbden Bridge, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, and Spain.
  • Keep up With the Book Club- There were times this year when I didn't think I was going to reach my reading goal this year but I did it. In 2015 I'd like to keep up with the book club and then some.
  • Get back on the Exercise Wagon- I know I struggled with this in 2014, but my husband and I plan to start blocking off some time after work to exercise together and eat a bit healthier in the new year. 
  • Live Better with Less-  All this year I've been following and admiring blogs that have been talking about how to reduce clutter in your homes and closets in order to live a better life. I feel like my closet really benefited fro the Wardrobe Architect series and I hope to continue to define and minimize my closet and general clutter.
  • Make Achievable Art & Crafting Goals-  This will be really hard for me because I often have spurts where I am full of great ideas and want to make everything I see and then I'll get distracted and not be able to make all of the things I want. I think I'll feel less overwhelmed at times if I can sit down, figure out what I really want and define these lists.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Movie Watching List 2014

I know that Christmas has already come and gone, but to me it left all too soon so I've vowed to continue to watch Christmas movies throughout my holiday break. Here's a list of the Christmas movies that I've watched so far:
  1. I Am Santa Claus (2014) This documentary follows 4 real life Santa Clauses including former WWE wrestler, Mick Foley. 
  2. A Merry Friggin' Christmas (2014) Despite having a cast of great talent such as Robin Williams (R.I.P.), Joel McHale, Lauren Graham and Candice Bergen, this movie has gotten terrible reviews, but I liked it. 
  3. Home Alone (1990) You can rarely go wrong by watching a John Hughes movie, and this movie is just as fun and nostalgia filled as you can remember. I also recommend following this up with Home Alone 2.
  4. All I Want for Christmas (1991) This movie features that kid from Dutch (Ethan Randal aka Ethan Embry), that girl from Hocus Pocus (Thora Birch), and the same plot as The Parent Trap. All in all it's pretty good!
  5. A Christmas Story (1983) This movie is a time-tested Christmas cult classic. I still regret not visiting the Christmas Story Museum in Ohio when I had the chance.
  6. Elf (2003) I own this movie so I have to watch it every year.
  7. The Holiday (2006) My mom got me this as a Christmas gift this year so I had to watch it. The movie follows two women (One American, one British) who decide to swap houses, following break-ups, for the holidays (this was pre- AirBnB mind you!). It's a very cute and sappy film. 
  8. Love Actually (2003) Sure this film opened up a can of bad movies featuring too many "it celebrities" with too many story lines to follow, but this one is still good.
  9. Christmas with the Kranks (2004) Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis have an empty nest and decide to skip Christmas to go on a cruise, much to their neighbors dismay. Then their daughter decides to randomly return for Christmas and they drop everything to put on a last minute Christmas celebration for her. I think it's a little far fetched.
  10. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) First Ernest messes up Christmas and spends the rest of the movie trying to fix it.
  11. Comedy Central's All Star Non-Denominational Christmas Special. This seemed like a good idea and promised guest appearances by Stephen Colbert and others, but was disappointing to watch. 
Television Specials:
  • The Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)- If you haven't heard the news, Pee Wee's Playhouse is available to binge watch on Netflix. The Christmas special is great and features a ton of surprise celebrity guests including Whoopie Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello just to name a few. 
  • The whole BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 Christmas line up: including The Downton Abbey Christmas Special, The Derek Christmas Special/ finale, The Dr. Who Christmas Special, The Miranda Christmas Special/ Finale, The Call the Midwife Christmas Special and Esio Troi.
Have you watched any good holiday films or specials lately? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What's Making Me Laugh: SNL Parodies SERIAL

So I'm sure by now we've all finished listening to the SERIAL podcast that was sponsored by This American Life, right!? If you haven't you should probably stop whatever you were doing and binge listen to the whole series. 

For those of us who have listened to the podcast, check out this SNL parody of SERIAL with a Christmas twist. I'm not sure if it's completely hilarious or kind of creepy and weird. I mean, I wonder what Adnan thinks about about being compared to Santa Claus? Food for thought.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What I'm Listening To: Slade- 'Merry Christmas Everybody'

I've been blasting holiday songs from my radio since Black Friday, so this week I thought I'd share one of my favorites. Check out Slade from the 1974 episode of Top of the Pops performing "Merry Christmas Everybody"


Saturday, December 20, 2014

What I'm Listening To: Jake Bugg

Here's a shout out to my BFF and reader, Justin,who suggested I listen to some Jake Bugg. For those of you NOT in the know, Jake Bugg is a young British singer/songwriter from Nottingham who is very popular right now and sounds like he came straight out of The Beatles era. I've picked three of my favorite Jake Bugg songs and listed them below.


1) Lightning Bolt- This is a classic Jake Bugg song. It's very catchy, rock-and-roll fun.

2) Seen It All- This is a great song to listen to when you want to feel like a bad ass. Fans of ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland may recognize Michael Socha in this video.

3) Two Fingers- Yet another song to listen to when you want to feel like a bad ass.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Movie List 2014


Over the Thanksgiving holiday lots of families gather around the television to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, American Football, and the Westminster Dog Show; while others bolt from the Thanksgiving dinner table to go to the movie theater or get in line for the early Black Friday sales. But, whether I'm just trying to get into a Thanksgiving mood or I'm snuggling in for my post-Thanksgiving dinner nap, I prefer staying indoors and watching a movie at home.

While it may seem that there is a shortage of Thanksgiving films (especially compared to the number of Christmas films), here are a few Thanksgiving films that I watched this year:
  1. Free Birds (2013) - This animated movie starring Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as two turkeys from different sides of the tracks who aims to change history and have turkey taken off of the Thanksgiving menu was surprisingly good with plenty of jokes for adults as well as kids. It may be a new Thanksgiving classic.
  2. Plains, Trains, & Automobiles (1987) - This is a time tested classic that's enjoyable anytime of the year, but many people forget that Steve Martin is trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving dinner. 
  3. Dutch (1991) - Ed O'Neil (from "Modern Family" and "Married With Children") stars as a working class man who tried to bring his girlfriend's spoiled, rich, son home for Thanksgiving and teach him a lesson or two along the way. It's like Plains, Trains, &  Automobiles only it's a father/son duo.
  4. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) - If you're a fan of Woody Allen movies than this is a classic for you! This film stars Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow, Michael Cain, Dianne Wiest and of course, Woody Allen himself. The film follows three sisters who get caught up in a love triangle after Thanksgiving. 
  5. Home For The Holidays (1995) - This movie has a star studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Holly Hunter, Claire Daines, and Anne Bancroft, plus it's directed by Jodie Foster. This movie follows Holly Hunter's character as she returns home for the holidays following her recent job loss and discovery that her daughter plans to loose her virginity over the holiday. This movie was a surprising downer! I was not a fan! 
Have you seen any good Thanksgiving themed movies lately? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What's Making Me Laugh: President Obama Delivers The Decree

This week Stephen Colbert brought The Colbert Report to Washington DC for his "Mr. Colbert Goes to Washington, See Ya Later...Great to Have Me With You" farewell tour with many surprising guests including President Barack Obama who delivered a hilarious yet informative version of The Word. Check out the clip below:


I'm so sad to see Stephen Colbert leave Comedy Central but I can't wait to see what he'll deliver to CBS.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What I'm Listening To: The National (with Sufjan Stevens) "This is the Last Time"

Fun Fact: The first dance that my husband and I danced to at our wedding was a song by The National, so it was only natural that we would eventually have to see The National live in concert. 

Almost 2 years later we were able to see The National live at the O2 arena in London as the band concluded their Mistaken For Strangers tour with musical acts Wild Beasts (who totally blinded us with their LED lights) and Sufjan Stevens. It was a pretty magical evening (despite the blindness). 

Check out this fan footage of The National and Sufjan Stevens performing "This is the Last Time" at the O2 Arena below:


Saturday, December 6, 2014

What I'm Listening To: Passenger- "Ride to New York"

I don't want to brag or anything (but I'm going to brag anyways), but I've been going to quite a few concerts lately. Most recently I attended the Passenger concert at The Cambridge Corn Exchange and, in the words of Larry David, it was pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

Most of you might be familiar with Passenger's song "Let Her Go" but did you know that he has actually put out six albums!? If you like folksy, guy + guitar music, definitely check out this show live. Passenger is currently touring through the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa soon (see tour dates here) and you can watch a clip of Passenger performing "Ride to New York" from the Corn Exchange show below.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Virtual Paintout to Oia, Greece

Here's another drawing inspired by the Virtual Paintout. This time I painted a location in Oia, Greece using Google Street View. Do you want to know what inspired me to scout out Oia, Greece? I was totally inspired by Alexis Bledel (a.k.a. Lena's) scenes in the film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. For realz!

Oia, Greece
pencil, ink, watercolor, watercolor pencil
6 x 6 inches


Oia, Greece

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