Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Review

Date night was last night (yay!) and we went to see Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (yay again!).  It's my favorite of the Twilight books, so I was hesitantly looking forward to it.  I really didn't want to get my hopes up too high for the movie, especially considering how much I love the book.

We left the theater and I really didn't know what to say about the movie.  Usually I have an immediate reaction, like after Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - LOVED it!!  But I was really tongue-tied and unsure how I felt about this one. The best I've come up with so is it is an R-rated book that they forced into a PG13 movie.  So I thought I'd write a run-down of each piece of the movie, since I still have had a hard time putting an overall reaction into words. 

The movie begins with various reactions to the wedding invitation.  Jacob runs out in the rain and takes off in wolf-form, Charlie isn't happy (duh), and for some reason Renee seems surprised and needs to make travel plans (shouldn't she have already known about it and not needed the invitation to make plans?).  The wedding itself was very nice, I'm not too sure about the dress, though.  It was beautiful, but not what I pictured.  Probably could have done without Jessica's comment about Bella being pregnant, but I understand why that was thrown in since Bella herself was concerned about people thinking that exact thing.  The wedding toasts were awful, uncomfortable and totally unnecessary.  What was meant to be funny was just terrible.  Then there was the introduction to the Denali vampires.  Oh where do I start on this one?  Carmen and Eleazar are perfectly cast and gorgeous, as they should be.  Tanya, Kate and Irina were scary looking when they are supposed to be beyond beautiful (kinda like Rosalie, but we'll get to that later).  Their eyes were just weird, not the lovely gold of the Cullens, but yellow and wide and just awfully weird.  Even E commented on them!  Oh and to those of you familiar with the book, yes, I said Irina.  She was there and flipped out, making a huge scene that there were werewolves invited to the wedding.  Again, I understand why this was there, to give some back story to the [many] people who obviously are seeing the movies without reading the books [read: our entire movie theater], but coupled with their very strange looks and eyes, it was a very weird scene.  The scene with Jacob and Bella on the outskirts of the reception was fairly true to the story and done well.  Well, except for Edward bringing her out to meet him and saying it was a surprise for her... that wording was weird. 

Ohhhhhhh, the long-awaited "wedding night." Unfortunately the best part of this was seen in the trailers and the trailer made it look amazing.  In the full movie version, the breaking of the headboard and bedframe was silly and made the whole theater laugh, when it should have been super sexy.  The rest of the honeymoon scenes were fine, and went along with the book nicely.  I don't remember as much chess playing in the book, but it got the point across.

Here's where it gets tricky... I think the biggest problem was where it switches over in the book to Jacob's point of view, you get so much information on almost every character and this part of the movie felt extremely superficial.  You don't get any inclination of how much Rosalie wants the baby, or even why Bella would turn to her as an ally.  You get a teeny little feel for the animosity between Rosalie and Jacob, but nowhere near how much there should be.  The same with the pull between Bella and Jacob at this point.  My biggest issue was how they handled the relationship between Bella and Edward at this point.  Edward actually blows up at her, angry that she has forced him into watching her die and making the decision to have the baby without him.  Huh??!!??  Where's the "burning man" that Jacob saw time and time again?  Where is the internal blame in Edward?  Edward never would have yelled at Bella.

There was so much wrong with the wolves and the whole protection detail of Jacob's pack, again there are so many layers to it all in the book that the movie just didn't even touch.  I don't know if it was something that couldn't have been done, like it would have made the movie five hours long,  or what.  E and I agreed that the portrayal of the wolves' internal discussion wasn't done very well.  It was just another weird thing that didn't work.  This was a hard part for me to pull away from, knowing so much from the book, so I really needed E's opinion on it since he hasn't read the books.  He agreed that it was a bit confusing what was happening with Jacob breaking off on his own and all that.  And most of the scenes that should have been Jacob's pack as wolves were done with them in human form and talking to each other.  The whole vampires leaving to go hunt / wolves protecting thing wasn't done right either, but that's pretty minor in the whole scheme of things.

This should have been soooooooo much more than it was.  But I guess that's what happens when you take (yet another) R-rated situation and try to keep it PG13.

They did do an amazing job with CGI transforming Bella's skeleton-like look to vampire-perfection.  And the movie ends with her opening her orange-red eyes.  I was happy with that.  E and I had a little debate over how they made Bella look so skeleton-like to begin with.  I was glad to read this article. There was no way they could have had Kristen Stewart really lose that much weight, so however they did it was really well done.

Misc Items
Kristen Stewart was much better as an actress in this one, which gives me hope that she'll actually be able to portray the change in Bella as a vampire.  I've been concerned that she could only play the awkward Bella and that graceful Bella would just be even more awkward in her hands.  (It also gives me hope for Snow White and the Huntsman.)

Is it me or has not one of the sequel directors heard that vampires don't change?  And yet in each movie the hair of every vampire is different.  I don't mean styling either, they all had shorter hair in this movie than in any other, and Alice and Jasper (our favorites) were the worst.

I'm also confused about Rosalie.  Isn't she supposed to be the most beautiful thing Bella has ever seen?  I don't see it in the movies.  And in Breaking Dawn she looks downright manly in a couple scenes!  (Another detail E brought up to me, so I knew it wasn't just me seeing it.) It's awful since Nikki Reed is so pretty too.

I just think that there is so much detail that was left out, and I don't know how to feel about it.  Do I just chalk it up to the usual movie-to-book translation?  Or am I right to have wanted a bit more depth in the characters?

Finally, I think the thing that drove me the craziest was the fact that it was blatantly obvious that the entire audience we sat with hadn't read the books at all.  And the group of girls who sat next to us (that I came dangerously close to beating the heck out of the group of them) made me nuts.  So, with that, I will continue to be thankful for our home theater and being able to watch movies in the comfort and quiet of our home, and deal with awful teenagers only when I absolutely have to.  And I'll continue to love the Twilight books and be somewhat disappointed in the movies.  Now to find something else to obsess over until BD Pt2 comes out, Vampire Diaries/Secret Circle return in January, and some other movie comes out to tide me over.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stationery card

Chalkboard Of Love Holiday Card
Shop hundreds of holiday photo cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beginnings of "In 10 Minutes..."

 Sorry for the awful photo but it's the best I can get right now, at least from my cell phone.  Here is the beginning of a "minutes" page for my Sketchbook Project sketchbook.  I did get to do some work on it this weekend, including playing with image transfer for the cover and another painted page of the word "ten."  I'll post pics of those soon, as well as a better shot of this page.  I'm just so excited about the way the watercolors are working, I wanted to get this posted.  I'm thinking I might have planned the colors out better, but I think I know how I'm finishing it off.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One of my little man's Lego creations from today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sketchbook Project Breakthrough

I signed up months ago to participate in the 2012 Sketchbook Project, my sketchbook arrived in the mail, and I never opened the package.  It got shuffled around, never exactly lost, but certainly not in a particularly prominent spot.  My problem?  The theme I chose was stumping me.  I thought I was being smart - "In 10 minutes..." sounded perfect for me!  Especially when my first thought was, I'll fill the book with sketches done in 10 minutes, that should be nice and easy since that's about all the time I ever get to myself in one day.

Mmm hmmm... and it sat.  Just doing a sketch in 10 minutes wasn't exciting me.  Plus, I wanted the book filled with a bit more polished pages than 10 minute sketches.  I also needed a bit more direction:  a 10 minute sketch, ok, but of what?  I saw some pages from someone else's book of these great watery scenes.  So of course I started to wish I had chosen her theme (I forget what it was).  Suddenly, every other theme choice seemed like a better choice than the one I had made.  It seems my life is constantly a matter of "the grass is greener on the other side."  Okay, yes, that's because I always make it that way.  So I pushed myself to think outside the box, thanks to the note on the website and the rules that came with the book: "The themes are supposed to be a starting point, not a restriction, so remember to keep an open mind and consider the theme to be a guide."

Then I remembered a project we did in college, early on, in a typography class.  I love(d) typography (no, not topography - as in "the art or practice of graphic delineation in detail usually on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevations" as per Webster's dictionary - though I do love a good map) TYPE-ography!   The assignment was to make a graphic (yay graphic art!) representation of a word, overlapping the letters on each other, and then painting in the shapes created by the overlapping letters with shades and tints of the same color (or hue, to those of you keeping score on my artistic lingo).  I loved working on that project, every aspect of it, from picking the font, to arranging the letters, to learning how to mix and use gouache properly.

So I realized, why not create a book of different ways to represent "10" and "minutes" in the same fashion as that assignment from long ago?  And my idea was born!  Granted I have yet to start working on it, but now that I know what I'm doing I'm very excited to get started.  AND I have my whole girls' weekend away next week to work on it!  (Well, that and a few other 3D projects.)  So please stay tuned for previews of my sketchbook work coming in the next few days and weeks!  The whole thing is due, postmarked, by the end of January so I do have some time to finish it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Buddy and Tiny

My boys are obsessed with Dinosaur Train.  The show, the toys, the books, we even had to buy the little guy a duplicate of this so they would stop fighting over the one we have.  We ended up getting one from Target that is a special underwater version with their favorite shark (cretoxyrhina) character instead, and that caused more fighting initially because Babyman wanted "the blue one" instead of his "green one."

I figured what better for Halloween than for Babyman to dress as Buddy and Tiny to dress as Tiny, natch.  Small hitch:  I really don't want to pay $30 for each of their costumes... though I've done it before.  Sooooooooo I thought, well maybe I can make them.  Should be easy enough, right?  Nevemind the fact that my boys would never go for having these heavy-looking hoods on for any length of time.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find this!  My only concern is going to be translating the patterns to full size since I don't have a lot of experience with that kind of thing.  And the pattern is only for Buddy, not Tiny.  But I think it will be easy enough to translate the pattern to Tiny, changing the color and adding wings.  I have a bit more than a month to get it done, I think I can do it!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I have a confession to make:  I am obsessed with Twilight.  No, I'm not a 13 year old girl, and no, I'm not out buying everything with Edward's face all over it.  But I can't stop reading the books.  Especially Breaking Dawn.  I spend almost every night in Babyman's room reading while I wait for him to fall asleep, either a real book or one on my iPad.  And even if I have a new book that I'm reading, as soon as I'm done with it I go back to Twilight, again usually Breaking Dawn. 

I also have to watch the movies whenever they are on cable... as bad as they are.  Sick, isn't it?

I'd like to say that now that I've confessed I feel better, but nope.  Just as guilty as ever. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Ugh, having one of those days around here... can't get moving this morning.  Oh, wait, it's the afternoon?  When did that happen?  Um, ok, yes, I see, about an hour and 38 minutes ago. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rainbow Happiness

photo from

We've been loving rainbows around here lately, especially a little wooden xylophone the boys enjoy banging on.  So when I saw this article on Babble on Facebook this morning, I just had to share!  I'm loving the garden above, the painted stairs, the pie plate and especially the xylophone table!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simplifying Simplify

I've been doing a lot of thinking these days... well, most days, really.  My mind is constantly racing.  But Hurricane Irene this weekend has put a lot in perspective.  We were very lucky, no flooding, no trees blown over, no damage whatsoever.  I spent quite a bit of time moving things in the basement, deciding what was important and what I didn't really mind if it got wet and ruined.  So then it leads me to think, why do I have things that I wouldn't care if they were ruined?  They're just taking up space, right?  I'm trying to get my mind to accept that there are things we (I) possess that really aren't that important, but I always fight giving them up.  So basically a lot of stuff is heading toward Goodwill in the very near future.

The other point of this is that I tend to spread out and in my attempt to simplify as much as I can.  I had multiple blogs for different topics.  I have since taken most of those blogs down and will start working on importing them into this blog so that everything is together. 

I'd like to get back to blogging regularly and I think my biggest reason for the lapse in my blogging was the separating topics.  It got to be too confusing, rather than making it easier like I thought it would.  So everything from venting about the boys (big and little) to baking adventures to job search to etsy shop updates will all be here.  It's going to take a bit to consolidate everything, so please be patient on that.  I promise, eventually there will be a LOT to read from the past few years.  And there will be even more in the future!

Monday, June 6, 2011

IF: Shadow

Another Illustration Friday post! This week is "shadow" and my immediate thought whenever I hear the word shadow is of my former shadow, Dragon. She's my tiny little black cat and she used to follow me wherever I went. Nowadays, she's much happier to wait until nighttime to be with me, when there are no little hands trying to grab her tail or little heads trying to use her as a pillow. Instead, she sleeps upstairs during the day, maybe appearing once or twice to eat or use the litter box.

So here's my little shadow, sleeping on the arm chair in our bedroom last night. This is my first attempt at sketching, scanning in the sketch, redrawing with illustrator and painting with photoshop. I kept it all very simple, but I really like the effect.

Logo and "Mascot" Characters

I'm working on a new logo and a couple of little characters for Striped Turtle Studio! It's a little slow-going since I don't get a lot of design time on the "good" computer these days. It's in the basement and since there are two little monsters running around the house most days who can't be contained down there, it's hard to get into the basement to do anything productive.

I did get some progress done this morning while Babyman was at school and Tinyman cooperated by playing somewhat quietly and non-destructively. Then he decided he wanted to sit in my lap at the computer and play on the keyboard, so that ended computer time fairly effectively.

So sorry, but I can't give any sneak peeks until the new designs are done. But I think they're going to be really cute - I'm loving them already!

Monday, May 30, 2011

IF: Asleep

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Asleep." (Can you believe it? I'm finally doing an IF entry! Woohoo!)

When I saw the topic, my immediate thought was of my little guys sleeping. It's always such a wonderful thing when they sleep, whether it's a nap (rare) or at bedtime (when Mommy and Daddy sigh in relief). I have tons of pictures of them sleeping since it's the only time they are still enough to get the perfect shot easily, plus they're just too adorable when they are all peaceful.

So I decided to create two images for the topic, one of each of my guys. Both are digital photos that I played around with in Photoshop Express and PSCS5. My PSE is super simple, on my iPad, so I played around to see what it could do. I liked the results, but they weren't exactly right. So I brought them into CS5 to go a little further. I love playing with the artistic filters, it was neat seeing the effects I got on top of the PSE files.

So, without further ado, here are my sleeping angels. Just for the record, that's probably the only time I'll call them angels, when they're sleeping. ;)

My little guy sleeping on Daddy's arm, where he falls asleep almost every night.

My big guy with his multiple bedtime friends. One of these days he's going to end up looking like ET in Elliot's closet of stuffed animals.

Click the pictures to see them full size - the details are much better full size.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pre Madonna

Nope, I'm not referring to the era of music just before "Material Girl" and "Like a Virgin" hit MTV (back when MTV actually played music). I'm actually referring to the latest (and possibly the best) malapropism I've seen in a long time. Facebook tends to be good for that kind of thing and today was no disappointment.

In referring to one of the NY Housewives (Ramona, I believe), someone stated in the comments section that on their Morocco trip she was being a "real pre Madonna." I'm pretty sure they meant to say "primadonna." Now I have to admit that one of my biggest pet peeves is misuse of grammar and incorrect spelling, though I'm not one of those people to correct a friend or acquaintance (my kids and husband are a different story, lol). In fact, most of the time it makes me laugh, especially on Facebook. And "pre Madonna" definitely made me laugh!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I've been learning the ins and outs of molding crayons, and I'm really enjoying it! It's a lot of fun finally using all my chocolate molds for something other than candy that no one is going to eat. I made a whole bunch of different sets of crayons, with more in the works, but for right now here are a few of the current sets available for sale in the shop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stationery Card

Peekaboo Dots Teal Thank You Card
Shop thank you notes and photo cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Party Planning

My focus over the past few weeks (months?) has been my little guy's 3rd birthday party. I still can't believe he's 3 years old now. 3! Craziness.

So after we decided on a theme - Dinosaur Train - I got to work on the invitations. Next up were the goody bags.

Then t-shirt decals. And cupcake toppers.

The cupcakes were inspired by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and were sooooooo good!

I also printed a bunch of coloring sheets for the kids and set up our Crayola table and chairs in the kitchen to the kids could color and play with Play Doh.

We finished off the decorations by keeping it simple - green and orange balloons, streamers, paper plates and napkins. Green and orange because Buddy, the main character on Dinosaur Train, is an orange T-Rex with green markings.

Babyman LOVED it! He was so excited about his "Dino Train" party. My only wish is that the weather had been a touch better and we could have dug for dinosaurs too - I bought small dinosaur toys that we were going to bury in the boys' sand table and let the kids go to town with the sand toys, "digging for dinosaurs." But no one was the wiser (nor did anyone realize that there were a few more items I had planned to make as favors and goody bag items, but just didn't have the time) and the party was a lot of fun.

I'm hoping to add some fun items inspired by the party to the shop - cupcake toppers and goody bag decals, maybe even the iron-on t-shirt decals too. But first up is getting a bunch of crayons molded and packaged.

Next big project coming up: planning Tiny's 2nd birthday party!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cancel That

In a perfect example of my usual inability to make a simple decision, I'm refuting my last post. I'll be posting here and on Striped Turtle Studio. My mom gave me a great idea: to actually blog about my crazy schemes and multiple ideas and inability to decide what I want to be when I grow up (or really just narrow it down). So I'll be doing that here - on Simplify, natch - and continuing to blog about my little etsy shop at Striped Turtle Studio.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Voice of Color

A friend of mine had this color test on her blog and I just had to give it a try. I agree 100% with my result: Water Beads.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heavy Fog

Driving down to Cape May this morning, I just barely caught a glimpse of a sign through the fog. It said, "Caution: Heavy Fog."

Time for a change

Hi Everyone!
If anyone is still out there checking this blog, please move on over to Striped Turtle Studio. I promise to get better with posting and using my new ipad to help me post more often!