Friday, February 25, 2011

Princess Seam Bodice Generator

Look what I did! And I'm letting anyone who wants to use it do so. This works for me, and I'd love to see how it works for you. This is taking the place of the dressing up/tutorial today, in case you couldn't tell.

To make it work, all you have to do is take your measurements and put them in the appropriate purple squares. Then follow the directions to draft your pattern! There are some notes at the bottom, so make sure you read those before you start.

This is not the final product! This is only the beginning of this "program."

It is password protected, and if you manage to crack the password and steal my work, well... Ok. I hope you feel really bad for it. I can't keep you from stealing things.

Just click on the link below to download the file. If you have any questions or suggestions or comments, leave them here as a comment or send me an email at

Download Anny's Princess Seamed Bodice Generator.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From The Kitchen: Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Garlic Roasted potatoes are shaped like potato wedges, which I generally don't like. I can't get enough of these, though, and neither can Josh. Aside from the chopping and mincing (I don't have a garlic mincer), they take no time at all. They're a great way to get rid of potatoes that are about to go bad. I bet some whole garlic cloves would go awesome in this, too...

4-5 potatoes, cut into wedges about 1/2'' thick at the top
3 T olive oil
4+ cloves garlic, minced
1 t herb of choice
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss everything together in a bowl or put it in a container with a lid and shake it. Spread it on a cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes over. Bake for 10 more minutes. Serve with or without ranch dressing.

There will be some leftover oil stuff in the bottom of your bowl (if you didn't pour it over the potatoes before you baked them). Wipe it out with a slice of bread and eat it. Seriously. It might be more awesome than the potatoes themselves.

4+ cloves garlic - It depends on the size of the cloves. Make them big ones!
1 t herb - I use basil, since it's my favorite herb and it goes well with garlic and olive oil.
1 t salt - Normal salt is fine, but I like sea salt on them. So does Josh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who You Are vs. What You Do... and something about a game

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Probably one of my favorite games ever. Then again, I love everything in the Elder Scrolls line. The last time I remember playing was July 2009 when I was coming down with piggy flu, though, and when I started having weird dreams about the game, I uninstalled it. The game itself, though, is absolutely wonderful! If you don't want to do the main quest or you want to wait to do it, fine! Wait. There are a hundred other things to do in the meantime. You could join one of the great houses or a guild... Or both! You could "level a profession," to use WoW terminology, or set out on an epic quest to kill all wildlife in the game... Or, as others have done, collect all the pillows and build a giant tower of them in Balmora.
The tutorial part of the game is the very beginning, when you wake up on a ship. Someone asks your name, and you type something in. A guard comes and you learn how to walk and open doors. You then get to pick your race and appearance. There aren't a lot to choose from, and appearances are kind of limited, but that's ok. It's a single-player RP game. No worries about looking exactly like someone else. You then talk to someone and choose your class and your sign. In another room before you're unleashed on the world, you learn combat and how to use things like food, torches, and lockpicks. In the last room, you get your first assignment: Travel to another town and find Caius Cosades. After that, you're off! The starting town has a lot of things to teach you how to play if you feel like hanging around and learning them, or you can go hop in a bug and ride to Balmora to find Caius.

In Balmora, you can join a House, if you are inclined to join the house dealing with rogue-ish traits. Sneaking, theiving, and smooth talking are all favored by House Hlaalu, who kind of own the place. There are also hubs for all of the guilds: Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Thieves Guild. The temple also has a club to join, if you feel like being religious. They kind of want to squash you near the end of the game, though. Hundreds of quests and rewards are in store should you join anything, though, and I strongly recommend it. You get access to trainers and vendors that you wouldn't have otherwise, and in a House, they build you a mansion! With all sorts of awesome stuff that's yours for the taking.

If you get through with the main game, there are two expansions. I've only played Bloodmoon (werewolves and a bit of Norse mythology! Lots of fun), but I'm itching to play Tribunal. And if you've played through those, there are mods you can download for free to add even more items and quests.

TES III: Morrowind is only $10 at Wal-Mart. Go get it and get addicted. Then play TES IV: Oblivion. I haven't played that one yet, either, but I'm going to before 11/11/11... When TES V: Skyrim comes out! *nerdgasm*

Tomorrow I don't work until the evening shift, so I'll give you some cool recipe in the morning.


P.S. - There's an opening at my husband's college that I might be able to fill! His professor is looking into it for me and he said he'd push my name up as far as he could. No more grease burns! *crosses fingers*

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bleach Dying Fabric

I had a blast the other day with a length of purple silky fabric, a dish of bleach, and an empty paper towel tube. My result turned into a dress that I can't wait to have an excuse to wear. And the best part: The bleaching and the sewing all happened in one day! And half of that while I was on the phone, to boot. So, do you want to learn what I learned? Ok, then!

You will need:
- Fabric suitable for dying. This means not silk.
- Old clothes that you don't care about. I didn't do this because I was to excited, but you should.
- Somewhere outside. DON'T DO THIS INSIDE! I still smell bleach and it's giving me a headache.
- Something to apply the bleach to the fabric. Paper towel tube, paint brush, eye dropper thingy, spray bottle...
- A bucket of water.
- A dish of bleach. Normal Clorox will be fine.

Here's the bleach and the object I used to put the bleach on the fabric with. I didn't need that much bleach at all, since I was putting so little on my fabric.

A scrap of the fabric I used. I'm not sure what kind it is, but it bleached just fine. I read that natural fibers work best, but that bleach weakens silk fibers. So, stay away from polyester and silk and you should be fine.

The picture is tilted, but it gets the point across. Dip your applicator in the bleach and let it soak up a good deal of the stuff.

This one's tilted too, bit again, it gets the point across. Apply your bleach.

Make sure your bleach really gets into the fabric. Apply as much as you think you need to. Then wait. The time will vary depending on your fabric and how much you put on, etc. I waited between three and five minutes.

Rinse it out really well.

Hang it up to dry. See the spot where the circles aren't very dark? If that happens to you, wait until it's dry to go back and re-bleach it. Yeah, you'll have to wait for it to dry again, but that's better than the bleach spreading due to the water and making blurry marks... Which is what happened to me.

When it's dry, turn it into something awesome. I cheated on this dress in a couple of ways. The bottom isn't hemmed... That's the selvage. It doesn't look much like selvage, so I figured it would be fine. And it was. I also put the bottom elastic too far down, and rather than just take off the tape and re-sew it, I folded the inside and stitched really close to the tape, trimmed the extra off the fold, and zig-zag stitched the raw edges. You can't even tell!

Links I used:
Dying With Bleach - This is the site I primarily used for the bleach dying. There were some other sites that I googled, but I can't find them now.
Ruched Empire Dress - This is the site that gave me the idea for the dress. Check it out. There's some awesome stuff here.

It's looking like I'm not blogging tomorrow. Haven't finished reading The Two Towers, and haven't seen any new movies.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Links - Free Patterns!

I am always drawn in by the promise of free patterns. Always. I've also found a couple awesome pages for my two favorite periods of costume: Renaissance and Victorian Era.

The first link I'll give you is for DawnPages. I found this site a long time ago, and then lost it again. It recently popped back up in a list of free pattern sites that I found, and now I'm going to share it with whoever's reading. These are primarily Renaissance styles that could be found all over Europe at one point or another, so says the webmistress and I'll believe her. They're easy to follow, and they look good too.
Not only does she give free "patterns," but also her thoughts on good and bad costuming. It's a pretty awesome read. If you're a quilter, go check out her blog.

DawnPages seems to be down right now. Maybe she's putting up the pictures of the Lord of the Rings costumes she got to see and touch and take pictures of...

Another site I'm sharing today is for Victorian and Edwardian clothing. They're the original pieces and instructions put on the webz. I find it a rather frustrating site because I like being told how to do things... or given an easy enough pattern that I don't need instructions. This site doesn't do that. The patterns were made for ladies who had grown up sewing and needed no instruction on how to follow the patterns.
The Ladies Treasury of Costume and Fashion
One day I will figure out one of these and I will show the world!

Today you get three links! This last one is to a pretty good site called Burda Style. What? You've never heard of it? Ok. There are free patterns there and not free patterns there. Most of the not free ones are found in Burda Style Magazine, and you have to pay for them. The favored price now is $5.40. The link I'm giving you will show all the free patterns, since that's what this blog is about.
Burda Style
Yes, it requires an account. It takes less than five minutes to set up and it's 100% free, and then you get wonderful, awesome patterns right out of your printer. I made a dress from this site and I love it! There are also a hundred other things I want to make but don't have the time or fabric for.

That concludes the Sharing of the Links for today. Tomorrow you get a double feature... A tutorial and a showing off! I can't wait!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From the Kitchen: Pork Chow Mein

This is ridiculously easy, super-cheap, stupid fast, and so good you won't have leftovers. Josh loves it, which is always a bonus. Just make sure you have everything prepared and within reach when you start cooking. You can't stop with stir-fry. If you need to, grab a helper to hand you things.

You will need:
2 pork chops, sliced into 1/4'' strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T soy sauce, divided
2 T cornstarch
1/2 to 1 t. ground ginger
1 cup chicken broth (I use bullion and it turns out fine)
1 T vegetable oil (NOT Olive oil*)
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
Hot cooked rice

What you do:
1. Put your pork strips, garlic, and 2 Tablespoons of the soy sauce in a bowl. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 2 hours. This is a good time to chop everything up.
2. When it gets close to time to pull the meat out of the fridge, combine cornstarch, ginger, broth, and remaining soy sauce.
3. Start cooking the rice.
4. In a wok or large frying pan, coat the bottom and sides with vegetable oil. Turn on the heat. It needs to be pretty high. Yes, it will smell like you're burning things when stuff starts going in, and there will be smoke. Don't worry. It's ok. Just turn on the vent hood.
5. As soon as the oil in the pan starts smoking, dump in the pork mess. Stir like crazy until the meat is no longer pink. Remove it from the pan.
6. Throw the carrots and celery (if used) in the pan. Stir like crazy for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the onions. Stir like crazy for 2-3 minutes.
8. Give the broth mess a good stir; the cornstarch will settle to the bottom if you don't and this isn't good when you try to pour it in. Pour it in along with the pork.
9. Stir like crazy until everything is coated and sauce begins to thicken. This will take 3-4 minutes.
10. Serve immediately over rice.

* Olive oil has a lower smoke-point than vegetable oil. This means that it smokes at a lower temperature, which isn't good. You need a really hot pan to make stir-fry work right. It's also important to have your pan hot when you add your first ingredient. It flash-cooks the food and seals in the flavor better.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Raid: Middle Earth (10 Man)

This isn't that much about World of Warcraft, since I haven't been on to play in a couple weeks. Sorry! I'll research and come up with something better next week if I'm not back on by then.

Instead, this is mashing together two of my favorite things: WoW and Lord of the Rings! My husband and I came up with it last night while he was washing dishes for Valentine's Day (it was AWESOME!).

The quest to destroy the Ring is a 10-Man Raid, and it's divided into three parts. A guild called Fellowship decides to do a run with 9 people (all Alliance, sorry Hordies!) and no healer.

Gandalf - Raid Leader/DPS - Human Mage
Aragorn - Main Tank - Human Paladin
Boromir - Off Tank - Human Death Knight Warrior
Legolas - DPS - Night Elf Hunter
Gimli - DPS - Dwarf Warrior
Merry - DPS - Gnome Warrior? Rogue?
Pippin - DPS - Gnome Warrior? Rogue?
Sam - DPS - Gnome Chef
Frodo - DPS - Gnome Brat

The gnomes decide to walk to the raid entrance. On the way they meet some nasty elementals, do a lot of hiding, and spend  most of their time eating and resting. Aragorn meets up with them in the middle, and Frodo gets a nasty de-buff cast on him. Boromir does the same thing, but he's moody and won't talk about what happened on his trip. Gandalf has some trouble with a Horde warlock and is eventually able to hop on his flying mount and fly to the entrance. Legolas comes for the grins and giggles. Gimli, who really likes to role play and should probably be in Clan Battlehammer, thinks it's what his character would do and goes along.

In The Halls of Khazad-dum, the first big part of the first part of the raid, a lot of stuff happens. Gimli got weepy when he saw a random tomb and declared that it was a relative. No one was paying attention to anyone's gear, so no one knew that Frodo had an epic in his chest slot that absorbed a lot of damage and saved the gnome's life. And then the unthinkable happened: The mage went OOM. He tried to be a hero and take on a boss on his own. Yeah, he downed it, but he died in the process. Aragorn was yelling "Blink! Gandalf, blink!" Didn't work. Gandalf disconnected, too, and didn't come back online after he died. The guys in the party decided to 8-man it since they didn't want to pull anyone else in, and kept going.

After a small vehicle quest with some lame arrow game on a river, the party decided to stop for a while. At this point, it's worth mentioning that there is a quest item, and only one person has it: Frodo. It allows him to go invisible, but over time it stacks a small de-buff on him whether he wears it or not. When they stopped at the side of the river, Aragorn pushed his new status as Raid Leader off on Frodo and told him to pick which way to go. Frodo walked off to think about it and look around, and Boromir followed him. Turns out, Boromir wanted the quest item and was getting angry that Frodo had it and wouldn't give it to him. "Dude, I need the xp! Do you know what I could get with that thing?!" He ended up hurting Frodo's feelings, so Frodo went invisible and ran away. He figured that everyone else wanted the item, too, and decided to finish the raid on his own, sneaking around all the mobs and bosses.

It's a good thing he was invisible and sneaking around, since a huge amount of patrolling trash mobs showed up. They Death Gripped Merry and Pippin and pulled them away from everyone else and killed Boromir. He logged off afterward 'cause he didn't want to play with Frodo any more, and left the guild the next time he logged on. Frodo swam across the river (and since you can't not swim in WoW [it should be known that Sam can't swim and doesn't trust water in LotR]) and Sam followed him. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli decided to follow Merry and Pippin, since they wanted more boss battles and it was pretty obvious that Frodo was going to sneak around them.

Sam and Frodo picked up a mechagnome NPC named Gollum, who led them most of the way to where they were going. Blizzard made the NPC so that you had to be careful around him in case he decided to randomly slit your throat. Frodo, being lazy as usual, decided to keep him around and not kill him when his name went red so that he wouldn't have to find his own way to the end of the raid. Sam didn't like it and roughed up the NPC every chance he got. Because neither of them read up on the raid or the quest, they didn't know that Gollum would eventually betray you and lead you to a big SpiderBoss. Frodo got stunned, Sam killed the boss, and they were almost there!

The two gnomes eventually reached the point that triggered an epic cut-scene where Gollum takes the Ring (quest item) and dances around, and then falls off a ledge into some lava. The ring is destroyed and the quest complete. The cut scene keeps going, though, showing Sam and Frodo running out of the mountain as it explodes lots of lava. Some Gryphons come and pick them up and carry them to a city. The end!

I didn't cover the content for the other half of the Fellowship because I can't figure out how to fit that into a raid context. I also don't like Frodo very much at all, in case you can't tell.

I had my first night of work last night and it's worse than before. I'll be changing jobs as soon as I possibly can. In the meantime, though, my hours are crazy! I either work really early or really late. This means that I'll be trying out the scheduled post function.

Tomorrow will be a stir-fry recipe that Josh absolutely loves. Pork Chow Mein.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A piece of paper doesn't make you any different than anyone else...

This is NOT to put down anyone that works fast food. NOT NOT NOT! This is about how proud and stuck-up I became after graduating from college.

When I was living at home finishing up school, I got a part-time job at McDonald's and was there for 5 months. I stayed after I graduated just because I had to pay for my wedding. Six days before The Big Day, I quit. You know... That was three months ago today. Oh, the irony!

I had all these dreams of working in a call center or for Geek Squad or some place I could use what I learned when I got to the city. I figured that sitting in a classroom for three years and accruing tens of thousands of dollars of loan debt would land me somewhere better than fast food. Two months of job searching only to read "Minimum ___ years experience required" on everything made me cave. I cried the whole time I was filling out the McDonald's application for the location down the street from my new home. I thought nothing could be worse than having to apply there... Until they called back and scheduled an interview. Then I didn't know what was worse: Them calling to say that I was hired, or not getting a job where I had experience.

Three months ago I quit. Today's my first day back. Part-time, minimum wage, flipping burgers.

There's a lesson in here somewhere. There has to be. Something about pride, perhaps.

My first round with McD's was one bad week after another. The manager that hired me got fired a month later. The only real good manager they had got fired. Another manager came in and no one could stand her. She broke her arm and had to leave for a while. I was gone for 2 weeks and half the people I started working with either quit or got fired. Corporate would come in during rush hours and get in the way and criticize everything and generally slow us down, then whine about our times. The new store manager they sent us was a complete idiot. I won't go into all the crap he did (or didn't do, which is a longer list). So, maybe it was just the people. I'm down with that idea. The people generally sucked. The people at this one could be great! I'm assured they are.

There's more to it than that. In my mind --this is not they way it is at all, and I'm learning-- McDonald's is great for a high schooler or someone that quit after their high school graduation and has no direction in life or a college student who can't work full time or for someone that doesn't need to work and is bored (though why they'd choose this place I don't know). For someone supporting herself and her husband, who has sat through three additional years of misery after high school and has 2 degrees, this job just won't do. This is the feared "spend the rest of your life flippin' burgers at McDonald's" job, literally, that we heard from teachers who said we were never going to amount to anything. This is below me.

Six months ago I would have punched me for saying this. Six months ago, though, I fell into the college-student-who-couldn't-work-full-time category. Nothing was beneath me then. I walked across the stage and something happened. My head got a little bigger. My last day of torment at McDonald's came around and I swore "Never again!" and my head grew some more. I had elevated myself above the rest of humanity just because I'd gone to a few extra years of school. Without realizing it, I was looking down on everyone from on top of a completely useless degree and one I'm still a class away from having (I don't have 2 yet, to be honest). I had become too good to work fast food or as a waitress. Retail was perfectly fine, though. I've been hoping for two months that Hobby Lobby would call me back. Someone explain that one, please.

I dread 5:00 pm today. I don't want to go back, still. I'm holding out hope for Hobby Lobby or a bookstore, though honestly I'll probably end up working both the retail and the fast food jobs.

So. Life Lesson #2 - No human is better than another. What's good enough for one is good enough for all.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Movie vs. Book Part 1

I am a Middle Earth fanatic. I've read The Silmarillion and bits of Unfinished Tales as well as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If you can, I advise reading through at least The Silmarillion in addition to the more well known stories. It makes a lot of things in Lord of the Rings make sense, except Tom Bombadil. He wasn't supposed to make sense, though.

I also enjoy the movies, even though they've got some HUGE differences from the books. Since I'm reading Fellowship of the Ring right now, that's the one I'll do today. Also, this is not the extended movie, as I haven't seen it.

It's time again for Bilbo's birthday! Yay! Party! Gandalf is coming to the Shire. Frodo meets him. Didn't happen in the book, but ok. It's a good way of introducing one of the main characters. They're driving to Bag End. Gandalf shoots off some fireworks for the little hobbits chasing him. In the book, the little ones chase him all the way to Bilbo's house and are incredibly disappointed because he didn't show them anything pretty. Not even a little one. This difference is ok, too. I liked that Gandalf got a little showy. The party starts, lots of food, music, fireworks, Bilbo's speech and disappearance, yadda yadda. Things go really well up to the end of that. And then no time passes at all and Frodo leaves Bag End with Sam, runs into Merry and Pippin in a field, and gets chased off by Farmer Maggot.

Whoa whoa whoa! What? No. Frodo doesn't find out what the Ring is for around 9 years. Then he sells Bag End to his uncle's most unfavored relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses, has Merry cart his stuff to a house in another part of the Shire under the pretext of moving, and sets off to his new house with Sam and Pippin. They have dinner with some elves one night, stop for dinner at Farmer Maggot's after being stalked by Nazgul for a while, and catch a ride with the farmer to the ferry. He even gives them a basket of mushrooms! Merry shows up and escorts them across and to Frodo's new house, where they spend a night and then set off into the Old Forrest the very next morning, leaving a hobbit named Fatty Bolger to pretend to be Frodo for a while. The trees in the forest are old and they don't like Hobbits very much after a bonfire the Hobbits started once upon a time in the middle of the forest, so they drive the travelers to the river, and Old Man Willow. Yes, he's a tree. No, he's not an Ent. He's just ancient and not very happy. Frodo gets dunked in the water and a root tries to hold him down. Merry and Pippin get sucked into the tree. Sam pulls Frodo out of the water and they decide to start a fire to force the tree to let Merry and Pip go. That doesn't work, so Frodo panics and starts running around screaming "Help! Help!" Along comes one of my most favorite characters, Tom Bombadil. He whacks the tree and tells it to let the little ones out, and then invites the hobbits to his house for the night.

Tom is described as being the Master, but he only has real power within the land he calls his own. This is the only thing that, in my mind, disqualifies him from being one of the Maiar. You see, There's Illuvatar (God), and then the Valar (Vala is the elvish word for Angel, but the Valar are, to me, more like lesser gods), and then the Maiar (helpers of the Valar. Sauron is a Maia). They have a considerable amount of power, such as Tom displays over the Ring and the forest, and have been around from the beginning of Arda, and Tom claims that he has. Anyway, back to the story.

They stay with Tom and Goldberry, his wife, two nights, and are sent on their way. As hobbits will do, they stopped for lunch and ended up taking a nice, long nap. When they started on their way again, a Barrow-Wight got them. Frodo wasn't as deep under the spell as his companions and managed to keep them from being beheaded, and then called Tom to save them. Tom rides with them to the road after that, and the hobbits come to Bree where they meet Strider.

Now the book and the movie are back on the same page for a chapter or two, after Peter Jackson cut out 3.

Strider takes the hobbits to Amon Sul, also called Weathertop, where they don't have the funny conversation about Hobbit meals (which was a good addition to the movie since it hadn't gone through the walk-eat-walk-eat-sleep-eat-walk-eat- rest-eat nonsense that it missed in the other 3 chapters). He and Frodo go to the top and find a rule left by Gandalf, and a large, scorched patch where there had recently been a huge fire. It was apparent that Gandalf had been there and had been attacked. They went back down and stayed in a cave thing at the base of Weathertop, where they were attacked by Nazgul, Frodo put on the Ring, and got stabbed. It was also a good thing in the movie that they had this part on top of the hill. It was more... Flashy? Cool? Yes. Cool. Frodo held out 17 days with a shard of the witch king's sword burrowing toward his heart. Seventeen days he was riding Bill, the pony Sam bought in Bree, talking, traveling, and not being so pathetic. While they were making their way to Rivendell an Elf Lord (not Arwen!) came and traveled with them, letting Frodo ride his horse. Then all 9 Nazgul showed up near the Ford, Frodo made it across on his own, and when the witch king stepped into the water, a great flood came down, and figures of tall riders on white horses could be seen. This wasn't the design of Arwen, but of her father Elrond and Gandalf (who put the horses in there to be showy), and was kind of a trap. Frodo fell off the horse, was found by elves, and carried into Rivendell, where Elrond healed him.

So, there were a few minor differences there. I thought the chase scene in the movie with Arwen and Frodo vs. Nazgul was pretty awesome, but I get frustrated with movies when they put in pretty chicks where there aren't any (don't get me started on the new CrapClash of the Titans movie, where they even got Io's story wrong).

Everything in The House of Elrond passed just about as it had in the book. Boromir wasn't so childish at the council, though, and there wasn't a big fight over who would carry the Ring. Bilbo offered to, since he said he started the whole mess by finding the Ring. Not much important stuff there.

The next big difference comes when they depart. Aragorn is carrying Anduril, which is Narsil reforged. He had been carrying around the hilt for years. This means that there's a huge wrong in the Return of the King movie (in fact, Elrond didn't show up there at all! It was a company of Rangers), but we'll get there later.

Walking, walking, walking, walking. They got that part right. And then Cruel Caradhras. My only gripe here is that it wasn't Sarumon causing all the problems. It was the mountain itself. It would have been funny, though, to see Aragorn and Boromir tunneling through the snow.

And then Moria. I think they did a pretty good job on Moria. What they chose to change, they chose well. Adding a little action with the Watcher in the Water, having Pippin push a skeleton and a bucket down the well instead of throwing a rock, making it a troll instead of a giant orc that stabbed Frodo... These were all excellently done. I also liked the scene on the broken stairs, where we find out that Dwarves will NOT be tossed, even though that wasn't in the book either. The fall of Gandalf was also very, very well done, and fit almost perfectly with the book. Gandalf yelled "Fly, you fools!" as he was falling, but I thought a harsh whisper before the fall better. The escape from Moria was done well, and being found in Lothlorien was ok. It was all right to leave out the company having to sleep in a tree for a night, but they missed out on Gollum.

I hate that they left out the blindfolding thing. Because he was a dwarf, Gimli had to be blindfolded to be led to the elvish city. He pitched a fit, but Aragorn said that if one of them had to be blinded, all of them would go as such. Gimli was appeased, but only due to the fact that Legolas was going to be just as blind to the beauty of the forest as he was.

Things in Lothlorien went well until the gifts. Ooh... This may make me more angry than leaving out Tom. In the movie, only Frodo got something. He got the right gift: A vial of light from the star Earandil. In the books...
Sam got a box of dirt and a seed from a mallorn tree. Merry and Pippin got silver belts. Aragorn got a scabbard for Anduril. Boromir got a gold belt. Legolas got a bow of the style that the elves of Lothlorien used. My favorite gift was that given to Gimli the Dwarf. It's no secret that dwarves and elves are not friends. Come on, Gimli was going to have to be blindfolded to walk through the forest. Galadriel asked Gimli outright what he wanted. He told her that it was enough to have seen the lady of the golden wood, and he meant it. When she commanded him to name his desire, he simply asked for a strand of her hair.

This was huge. Why should a Dwarf ask for and receive a strand of the Queen of Elves' hair when forever ago she refused the request to one of her own kind? That's right. An elf lord asked for a strand of her hair and she said "No." So along comes a dwarf and he gets three! That's right. She unbraided her hair and plucked out three golden strands to give to a creature with whom her kind have had a rivalry for thousands of years. The thing is, though, that he didn't ask for it. He would have gladly walked away empty-handed, because he was being honest when he said that getting to see her was enough, but she ordered him to name his desire, and she gave him what he named, though he didn't ask.

Floating down the river is kind of hard to mess up, and they stopped at about the right place. Everything followed the book to the end, and then kept going. The Fellowship of the Ring ends with Sam and Frodo going off alone. Boromir doesn't die until the next book. So... In a couple weeks, after I have once again read The Two Towers, I'll have that one to right about!

This ended up being longer than I thought, and the other two aren't likely to be any shorter. Of the three, however, Fellowship of the Ring is my least favorite book and movie. The book is about walking, and the movie found too many ways to mess that up. After reading into the history of Middle Earth, though, the songs make more sense, and things like Gimli and Galadriel's gift have more importance.

So. On Monday you shall have something I've learned, and it will probably be something about pride.

Until Monday,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dress-up Day

Today is a good day for a costume. I think I shall share a pirate one that I didn't make much of but pulled together from thrift store finds. First, however, I have decided to give you all a boring schedule! I'll be updating about specific things on certain days. Like today, and hopefully every Friday hereafter, is about costumes. I don't have enough costumes to keep this up for very long, though, so sometimes there will be a crafty tutorial instead. So here it is, the list of what to expect:
  • Monday - Stuff I've learned - Various lessons I've learned in my 21 years that I think everyone needs to know.
  • -Tuesday - World of Warcraft updates. They'll likely be about what Immortal Kings has done in raids or about a new way I found of being a better warlock.
  • Wednesday - From the Kitchen. Yep. I'll give you a new recipe every week, and they will have been tested in my kitchen and tasted by my picky husband.
  • Thursday - Sharing of the Links. I'll try to post a couple new finds that I found exceptionally awesome.
  • Friday - Costumes or crafts. See paragraph above.
  • Saturday - If I update on a Saturday, it will be about movies, because I love them.
No, I will not update on Sunday unless I feel that it's a life or death situation. Seriously though... A life or death situation based  around blogging? Don't think so.

Enough boring! Let's play dress-up!

No, I'm not the mostly shirtless guy. That's Cameron from Barely Balanced. They are my favorite show at any Renaissance festival, and I was very surprised to find them at the Norman Renaissance Festival three years ago. Enough about them. Now it's about me!

So where did the pieces come from? The black lace on top of my head (seen better in a different picture with a model) was snatched from my mom's Bag o' Belly Dance forever ago. The blue chainmaille necklace I made. The apple-seed necklace, barely seen here due to the bag, is from a yard sale. The people running it were going to throw it away because they couldn't get it un-knotted. I did, so they gave it to me. The shirt is a hand-me-down. The purple thing around my waist is a scarf I got from Wal-Mart on sale for $3.00. The silver and black dagger is from Scarlett's Midwinter Festival, which is no longer running. That makes me cry. The two belts are from my favorite thrift store back home. I got the bottle at this festival the year before, and ten minutes before we left for it the year this was taken, I finished the bottle holder. The dagger on my leg was a gift from a friend when we went to the Texas festival. The pants I got from Salvation Army, as well as the boots. I made the bag.

So. This just goes to show you what collecting a bunch of stuff will do. The rest of my costumes are primarily made my me and have a lot more layers, but this one was just "Oh! I have this that I could put here, and there's that that I could wrap on my head, and OOH! This dagger would go great here!"

Here are a couple more pictures of the costume on someone else.

Tomorrow will be a rant about Lord of the Rings: Movie vs. Book. You could probably skip it.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sharing of the Links

Today I think I shall give my readers, if there be any, a couple links few links. The first is to StumbleUpon, without which I wouldn't be able to share. The second is to a video, the third a tutorial.

I'm not a huge fan of the song Smooth Criminal. I like the Michael Jackson video, but I don't like his voice. I can tolerate the Alien Ant Farm version. Thanks to StumbleUpon, I found a version that I absolutely love. String instruments rock my striped knee socks right off my feet, especially cello. I have no idea who these guys are, but they are amazing. Without any further ado, I give you Dueling Cellists. Also, they remind me of Sam and Dean from the TV series Supernatural.

Now, while you listen to a rock song turned awesome, go make a 19th St. Wallet. "A what?" It's this awesome, cute, ultra-slim wallet thing with 2 pockets. If you want to wear a pair of jeans without having to carry a purse for your money and your ID, you could slip this in your back pocket without anyone knowing it's there. If you forget to sew pockets into your costumes and go to a Renaissance festival but want to keep your money close to you instead of in a purse where it's easily snatched, you could slip this in your corset and forget it's there. When you produce it from nowhere, shopkeepers (or cashiers if you went the Wal-Mart route) will see this adorable little wallet that's just big enough for everything you really need. So here it is! The 19th St. Wallet.

Until tomorrow, probably,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From the Kitchen: Rolls

I love these things, and despite being yeast rolls, they're easy and pretty quick, too. They were originally supposed to be hamburger buns, and I've used them for that, but they make a pretty good breakfast if you warm them up and slather them with some butter or drizzle them with honey (my favorite!). I've also successfully stuffed them with some meaty stuff and baked them with amazing results. So, without any further ado, here it is:

Hamburger Bun Roll Things
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 Tablespoons butter
4 1/2 cups flour, divided
1 package yeast (.25 oz)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg

1. Put the milk, water, and butter in a bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
2. Mix 1 3/4 cups flower with yeast, sugar, and salt.
3. Add the milk mess and the egg and mix well.
4. Add as much of the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, as the dough will take.
5. Turn it out on a floured surface and kneed for about 5 minutes.
6. Divide the heavenly-smelling wad of dough into 8 smaller wads of dough.
7. Roll them into balls, place them on a cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
8. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. While that's going, preheat the oven to 400F.
9. Bake 10-12 minutes.
10. Cut in half and serve as hamburger buns, or slather them with butter and jelly as breakfast, or whatever. These are incredibly versatile.

Meat filled:
Follow directions to step 6. Roll them into balls and flatten in your hand. Flatten quite a bit. Spoon some of your meat mixture (I used 3/4 lb ground beef with 1/4 lb sausage, some onion, and garlic, already all cooked) onto the flattened dough wad and fold the edges up around the filling. Seal it off, round it out, and put it on your cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining 7 and bake as directed above. They look just like regular roll things but have a yummy surprise waiting inside, and they're much more filling.

Get addicted to these. It's not hard. They're so good! I think I've had the recipe for 2 weeks and I've made them at least 3 times. Four if you count the meat-filled ones.

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mae Govannen!

Welcome to my blog! I'm known as Phwoosh, Master Sewstress, and Anny. Here I hope to share with the world my creations, the adventures of Phwoosh, and a little bit of what I've learned in my 21 short years. This morning, however, nothing will be shared, as nothing is really going on. I'm temporarily off World of Warcraft and I have no pictures of anything I've made in the last year.

Since I'm in a type-y mood, however, I shall tell anyone interested about my names.

Phwoosh: This started as a little joke, and then I made it real. I knew I couldn't play World of Warcraft (WoW) until I got out of school. My grades would have died. Instead, I watched my dad and my fiancee play and I told them I was going to be a Gnome warlock named Fwoosh, and I was going to run around on my mammoth and beat people with my epic fishing pole while wearing some huge engineered goggles. Translation for non-nerds- I was going to be a very cute two and a half foot tall humanoid that rode around on a huge woolly mammoth beating people with a funny-looking fishing pole whilst wearing a pair of Steampunk goggles. The day before I graduated from OSU, my fiancee bought me WoW, and I started playing two days later with the name Phwoosh, since Fwoosh was taken. I got my reputation up with Sons of Hodir and bought an Ice Mammoth, and I got my reputation up with the Kalu'ak and got my epic Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole. I am one material away from my goggles.

Master Sewstress: My husband calls me this because I made him some Jedi tunics. I keep it up because I've sewn other things for other people and it's just a funny name.

Anny: I've been called Anny (pronounced Annie) ever since I can remember. It's short for Annastazia (pronounced Anastasia), since my mom's dad can't say my full name. My parents and little sister call me Anny, and when my college buddies figured out that I like being called Anny more than Anna, most of them switched. I picked up Anna in elementary school when I moved to a new town and there was already an Annie. That stuck through the rest of elementary, all of middle, and all of high school. By the time I got to college, it was just habit to introduce myself as Anna. I prefer the original.

So now I will leave you with Lesson 1, and stop bothering everyone.

Lesson #1: Near-death experiences are the perfect cure for suicidal thoughts.