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Archive for June, 2009

Dear readers, I am sorry if you are not a fan of the awesomeness that is Harry Potter, because for the next three weeks there is going to be a lot of Harry Potter related ramblings posted on this blog. If you’ve never read the books or watched the movies, I suggest you run to your local library and catch up with the rest of the world, because really, truly, honestly—-you are missing out.

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The summer of 2007 was the Greatest Summer Ever if you were a Harry Potter fan. The fifth movie premiered in July and a week later the seventh and final book in the series (which I dramatically referred to as DH: THE END) was released. Fans around the world celebrated with midnight release parties, dressing up in costumes and listening to Wizard Rock. I celebrated the Great Summer of HP by making nerdy crafts and sharing them with my friends—-and now I want to share them with you. After all, just because we know THE END doesn’t mean the excitement & celebration has to end (we do have THREE more movies to look forward to)! So for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing tutorials & ideas to show off your love of the great HP through simple crafts that anyone can make.

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Back in 2007, I was a bit sad and disappointed when I heard the story line of Ron Weasley joining the Gryffindor quidditch team had been cut from the from Order of the Phoenix film. To show my support for Ron, I made a handful of “Weasley is our King” badges that I forced my group of friends to wear to the midnight release. Happily, Ron & quidditch seem to have made it into the soon to be released Half-Blood Prince movie, so to kick off my series of HP crafts we are first going to make “Weasley is our King” badges/pins, because Ron can use all the support he can get.

Weasley is our King-Supplies

First, download the PDF with my very low-tech badge pattern & instructions. All of the supplies can easily be found at your local craft store.

Weasley is our King-Steps 1-4

I think the pictures are pretty self-explanatory, but I’m going to quickly explain anyway! Cut out the crown pattern and trace it directly on the foam. I think I got 10-12 crowns out of one sheet of foam. Cut out all your crowns and use a small dab of glue to attach the rhinestones/sequins, I like to use one color to represent each house from Hogwarts. You could also just use glitter or any other sparkly doo-dads you have lying around the house. You could even make one using all pink & gold in the spirit of Lavender Brown, hahaha!

Use a fine Sharpie pen to write out “WEASLEY IS OUR KING”. I say a Sharpie because when I tried using a regular felt tip marker or gel pen the ink bled all over the foam and it looked terrible. So stick with a Sharpie or a similar permanent marker (when in doubt, test it out on a scrap of foam). You could make the font as fancy as you like—but I was sick when I made this and felt that my messy scrawl would do for the purpose of this tutorial.

Weasley is our King-Steps 5-6

To make the “KING” pop, go over it with a red glitter pen. White glue and red glitter works—but I find I can get a cleaner look with the fine tip of a glitter glue/paint pen. Once the front has dried, flip the badge over and glue your pin back on. Make sure you let it dry completely before handling.

Weasley is our King

Ta-da! Now wear your badge with pride to the midnight show Half-Blood Prince! Bring along extras to pass out to other fans who wish they were cool enough to make a badge like yours. Spread the nerdy love—it’s the HP way.

Wishing I was at Hogwarts,

christineh

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I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a snob. “No!” you may gasp in disbelief, but it is true. I think it is this trait above all else that would make The Sorting Hat put me into Ravenclaw. I am especially snobby when it comes to the books I read. With so many books in the world and so little time left to read them (60-70 years, the way I figure it) I just can’t justify spending my precious reading time on a light, fluffy, badly written “summer beach read”. However, it hardly seems the time of year to be reading heavy tomes (unless it’s a gripping biography), so I usually head to the Young Adult section of the library or bookstore for my summer reading. I think some of the most compelling, thought-provoking, well-written novels are coming out of the YA section nowadays (Harry Potter is just the tip of the iceberg), and most can be read in a day or two, which can make one feel very accomplished.

While there are many, many YA books and authors to recommend, the following are five books that I personally own and am always pushing onto anyone who asks me for a good book to read.

Recommended Summer ReadingThe Arthur Trilogy by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Okay, this is technically the second book in the Arthur trilogy, but I guess I never bought the first book, “Arthur and the Seeing Stone“. A beautifully written story of a boy, Arthur, during the crusades with stories of Arthur of Camelot cleverly woven into the narrative.

Recommended Summer ReadingThe Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

I hesitate to say anything about this book as it is so cleverly written and I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say it reads like historical fiction. There are three books thus far in the series…and I love them all.

Recommended Summer ReadingThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

A re-telling of the Grimm fairy tale. Shannon Hale’s lyrical writing is best read outside, under the shade with a summer breeze. The story is at times heart wrenching, funny, touching, romantic and exciting, which Hale deftly juggles which makes this a beautiful book. If you like this, please read the follow up, “Enna Burning“.

Recommended Summer Reading
The Story Girl & The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery

My favorite book by L.M. Montgomery. “The Golden Road” is more like a second volume than a sequel. There really isn’t any plot—two young boys go to live with their cousins on PE Island for a year and they have grand times and a girl tells them stories. I have read this book so many times I hardly feel the need to open it anymore, as I have passages and pages memorized. Love. Love. Love.

Recommended Summer Reading
Christy by Catherine Marshall

This is not really a YA adult book, but the first time I read it I was 10 (and about 2/3rds of the book went over my head) and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s one of my comfort books—something familiar I turn to during rough times—a book that has grown with me and every time I read it I seem to learn something new about myself. I have a bright & shiny hardback edition, but this tattered copy with it’s torn spine and marked up pages is so very dear to my heart.

What books are you reading this summer? If you decide to read any of these books based on my recommendation, let me know what you thought!

Your nerdy bookworm,

christineh

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Right, so this is probably the 20th time you’ve seen this dress pop up in your blog roll, but it is so pretty, I hope you don’t mind starring at it again! I can’t believe I almost let the chance to enter Grosgain’s contest to win this lovely, lovely summer dress custom made by the super fun & talented Loose Teeth slip by. Apparently, I wrote the entry in my head and only dreamed I had actually posted it here. *sigh* Sometimes, I am a blogger of very little brain.

But back to the dress. Seriously, what is not to love? Between the retro vibe, eyelet underskirt, the spaghetti straps complete with bows and the fact that it is made from a blue, yellow, white & red plaid seersucker, this is a summer dress for every girl. It brings to mind fireflies, popsicles, watermelon and sitting on the porch while singing songs like a Disney movie from the 60’s:

*sigh* I think my ideal grandfather would be a combination of Ed Asner, Burl Ives, John Wayne & my dad. That grandpa would’ve called me “kid”, sang his own version of “Lavender Blue”, would rant and rave over how many clothes we youngsters have and wondered why I needed a new dress—and a few days later the above seersucker loveliness would have shown up in a box on my front porch. I never knew my grandfathers as they died long before I was born, but think that save for the folk singing aspect, they would’ve been exactly like my imaginary ideal.

christineh

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UP!


Originally uploaded by cattycamehome and artam

A few days ago I went to the midnight show for UP. I will be the first to admit that I am huge Pixar fangirl, but I think the fact that there were several midnight shows playing in Austin and they were all sold out is a testament to the reputation Pixar has built as great story tellers & makers of films that appeal to the young and young at heart (the screening I went to was comprised entirely of 20 & 30-somethings—which I also think says something about Austin movie-goers & the Alamo Drafthouse: we are made of awesome!). There are few films nowadays that can make cry within the first fifteen minutes and have me laughing so hard my side hurts twenty minutes later—but that was my reaction to UP. Sweet, whimsical, sad, touching, hilarious, inspiring and beautiful are just a few adjectives that come to mind to describe Pixar’s 10th (10th? Really? Wow, I feel old) film. I highly recommend seeing it in the theatre and in 3D, if you can. Until then, here a few items to get you in the balloon mood.

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Originally uploaded by merebearlandon

Aqua+Vintage Pyrex=Love. I picked up the small balloon bowl at a garage sale for fifty cents last month. According to Pyrexlove.com, this is actually a promotional chip & dip from 1958, but they are most often found sold separately nowadays. Sadness. There are a few of these available on ebay, but at a kindof ridiculous price point. I am quite happy with the faded, well loved bowl I found, so I’ll just have to keep my eyes peeled for the matching large bowl in local thrift stores or let me know if you see one on etsy, okay?

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This lovely piece of whimsy can be bought as either a print or as a jewelry piece! I’m quite fond of the locket, but the seller also has it available as a bracelet.

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Timber! Preservation Society has some of the most fantastic folk & woodcut inspired illustrations I’ve come across and this t-shirt is a favorite. But I need another t-shirt like I need another copy of Lord of the Rings, so could someone please buy this & wear it in my name? Thank you.

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I love this simple, understated necklace. It could easily be a bouquet of balloons or a bunch of wildflowers.

I now feel like a Pixar movie marathon is needed so I can properly rank my favorites. This will mean another viewing of UP in the coming week or so, but I think I’ll start with my very most favorite, Wall*E. Goodness, it’s a hard life I lead.

christineh

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