Ivory, Magic Mint and Champagne - A Breath of Vintage

Vintage inspires me in more ways than I can say. It comes out in nearly all my creations and is the subject of today's post.

Nothing says vintage more than cracked paint, soft colors, and delicate china. It's quiet and gentle and makes you feel peaceful. At least that's what I think when I see it.

While watching a few episodes of Once Upon A Time, I had to take a few shots of this scene.

Mary Margaret Blanchard, known in the other world as Snow White, lives in this apartment that completely reflects her soft and gentle, vintage yet modern style.

Her abandoned-warehouse/country-style apartment features cracked paint, brick walls, warm lighting and frosted windows. And yet, on the modern side, the stairs leading up to the second level are somewhat industrial: black and cold.

After seeing this scene I began to think how those colors melded. I even found myself pinning pictures that had the same feel and inspiration.

I'm that homey type of girl that likes a country style house, or vintage treasure. Modern has it's appeal but I always return to retro. I could cite a ton of reasons why this is so, but it boils down to being me.

From Pinterest.

Yes, I love pearls too. And creamy roses.

Peach Aqua and Blue Earrings on Etsy.

To see more of my Pins, check out my board Ivory, Magic Mint and Champagne on Pinterest. Plus, for a limited time, you can see the same inspiration on my Twitter, @CompulsivWriter.

But I can't speak about a movie or show without giving my opinion. The whole plot of Once Upon a Time is ingenious and keeps you wondering. The idea to put fairytale characters in this world without them knowing who they really are leaves us curious to know what happens.

And yet, as with nearly every contemporary TV show, wrong ideas and worldviews are flaunted. I eventually tired of the soap-opera style they carried on, and at the thought of two more seasons of this, decided I could do without watching it. I know there are many of you who will obviously disagree with me but that's a given. Sure, the fairytale characters are tainted with this worlds cruelty and seemingly lack of happy-endings, but do you have to run them through the mud? They lose the purity and virtue we love them for. Why else would fairytales remain popular today? People want to dream. They want to believe that there is still some good to believe in. Of course, this brings us to the even bigger picture of life with God. Simply put, for a true happy-ending, trust Him to run your life.

But that concludes this breath of vintage! Thanks for reading, and don't neglect to tell me what you think!

Crochet Inspiration in the Movies - The World War Two Beret

It's been a little while but here I am again with more crochet inspiration. To those of you who are new here, I am always on the lookout for more crochet inspiration. Partly because noticing fashions is just what I do, but mostly because I'm a crochet fanatic. I love being able to make my own things; and the feel of the different fibers of yarn with the cool aluminium of the hook, it's an experience only a true crocheter can appreciate.

So today's inspiration is brought to you by Foyle's War. Ever watch them? It is a modern crime drama series based on the situation in England during World War Two. Christopher Foyle is an English policeman who was refused a position in the war on the account of his usefulness at home. At first he didn't see it as so noble, but as the series continues he and his fellow policeman crack down on a great deal of war-related crime. There is mystery, some comedy, and a great deal of war-time drama. On the job with him is his sergeant, Paul Milner, a young man who was sent home after being permanently injured in the war, and his spirited driver, Samantha Stewart, fondly known as Sam.

It is definitely a series I recommend. But to get on with the post, in the last episode I noticed this beret.

Since I first discovered how easy it is to crochet berets some nearly ten years ago, I've made probably at least a dozen. But I've gotten to the point were I prefer the slouchier type on myself. I'm aiming to work out a pattern for a slouchy beret sometime soon.

But in the meantime, notice the stitch. It is really basic. In fact, it is the same idea as this infinity scarf I recently designed for Crochet Spot.

Vanilla Cream Infinity Scarf, click here to see more.
The scarf consists of three rows of double crocheted stitches and one row of double crochets and chain one intervals. Similarly the beret alternates between a solid row of double crochets and a row of double crochets with chain one intervals.

The stitch is obviously tight giving the hat some measure of stability. I would guess at the yarn weight being a size 3. In the past, crocheted projects were often made with a small yarn weight and close stitch. Only in the past 20 or so years have people become accustomed to the chunkier yarn. Now it's the norm to find crocheted items with the heavier look. But I wonder if that's just another evidence of mankinds impatience. Obviously, crocheting smaller stitches will take longer than crocheting a project with larger stitches. It stands to reason. But I digress. They all have their usefulness and I am in no way against one or the other. I use smaller stitches when I feel like it and the same goes for larger stitches. Or should I say, yarn weight.

Which by the way reminds me of the project I am getting ready to start. I have 7 balls of Hometown USA in Honolulu Pink. Anyone want to guess what I'm making?

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more on the ocean, and hopefully later on I'll have another movie review!

What Comes Ashore, Stays Ashore

Where I live you can practically call me landlocked. What water there is is hardly worth mentioning in that it is dirty and carries harsh and dangerous currents. This is obviously quite an extreme compared to my writing subjects and interests, but unfortunately, I can do nothing about it. So I drench myself in research...

Terschelling, Photo Courtesy of DivingHeritage.com
In a land much farther away, like so many others, water and what comes from it is their life. No, they do not fish commercially or anything on that order. They merely wait for the northerly winds to bring them their "treasures". Surprised? I'd say.

It's called Terschelling, located in the West Frisian Islands of The Netherlands, where Jutters are the professional looters that live there. And what a job! In times past, ships were constantly lost in their treacherous waters providing modern islanders age old artifacts in incredible quantities. But not only do they discover old treasures. Freighters passing by, near or far, lose cargo despite their precautions and the islanders are the first to receive it. From bananas to shoes, the people of Terschelling live the looter's life.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Years ago, this prospect made a minor but noticeable change to their society. It was said to be 1840 when a barrel of cranberries being shipped from the New World fell into the ocean and floated onto the Dutch island's shore. The climate was so agreeable to the fruit that it took root. Now it is the only island in the Netherlands to grow cranberries. Though not grown for commercial purposes, the restaurants and bakeries of the island are known for the delicacies they produce with this product. And all because of a "random incident"; but I hardly believe it was merely coincidental.

As only natural, the island has their own dive team and museum. With the growing use of SCUBA diving, salvaging was moved to the ocean itself where the men brought up treasure after treasure. With more than they could do anything with, the team ECUADOR opened the Wreck Museum Terschelling. In it you will find any assortment of artifacts from centuries past, some under glass, others open for close viewing. With a passion for history, as well as treasure, the Terschelling dive team is said to rarely come back empty handed.

And all because of those incredible northerly winds...

The HMS Lutine, Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I must add though, what fascinates me most is their proximity to shipwrecks. They're right at their fingertips and they don't hesitate to explore and excavate. Some are recent, having wrecked in the 40's and thereabouts, but one known wreck, the Lutine, went down in 1799 and is still dwelling in their waters today. What more might be out there? What treasures are still waiting to be found? The thought is exhilarating!

To read more, check out these references:

Christmas and Hedgehogs

As opposed to some people's, our family get-togethers are not only large and boisterous but they are traditional. For Christmas, each family brings a dish they normally bring with Grandma being the main coordinator or common denominator, and then we all bring sweets. There's usually too much food, but no matter what anyone says to the contrary, it's just what happens.

After the main meal, we fool around: some go walking, others play games, and the youngest one's play outside. Eventually we gather together for the reading of the account of Christ's birth, occasionally singing carols, and then for opening presents. Here's where my story starts.

A few of us "older kids" pass out the presents and we start with the youngest and move up. Adults find this a bit unpopular because there is no hiding your age with this method. This time, strangely enough, I received the first present. Grandma said to be very careful and Grandpa came walking slowly into the room with an average sized box. Though it was wrapped in wrapping paper it had holes in it as if it held something alive. And he was carrying it so carefully. I had mentioned sometime in the past how I would love a real hedgehog. In the few seconds that a person has to weigh their thoughts I somewhat not altogether asked myself if my grandparents would really get me one. I was in great doubt, but here was this present to prove otherwise. I understand getting a live present from your relatives for some people is nothing surprising, but with us, it's just not convenient, no matter how much someone may want it.

I cautiously unwrapped the present and absently noted that nothing was moving inside. It therefore had to be a dormant creature. The box was one with a flip lid and it was obviously upside down. I didn't want the creature, whatever it was, to fall out or get away. My grandparents have indoor dogs and cats. I carefully took the mysterious package over to Grandma so that she, knowing what it was and whether it had a tendency to jump, could help me properly open it. She opened it slightly and handed it back with a smile on her face. I took the smile to be one of happiness at my delight... I was wrong... I opened the box and indeed found a hedgehog. But it was stuffed... A stuffy... A cute little hedgehog stuffy with a squeaker.

I realized then that I was the brunt of this Christmas' joke. I dropped the box, and with hedgehog in hand, both gave my Grandma a hug and accused her of her meanness. Her smile was busting out in laughter now and everyone was rolling on the floor. Figuratively, of course.

If I had stopped to think of how much a live ANYTHING would cost I would never have believed it to be alive. But in those few seconds I didn't have the chance.

They told me later that they had thought of it only that morning. Grandpa with his honest way told how Grandma immediately took a screwdriver to the beautifully wrapped box and set it aside for later. Well, it was a good joke. And obviously, since I've taken the time to share it with you.

But that's my family for you.

As for my hedgehog, I am guilty of following one of the latest crazes. I called him Marty. I like BBC 's Sherlock, but I don't care for the fandom. I looked at my little guy and said, "You do look like a Marty." So it stuck. Isn't he cute?

He is my fourth hedgehog (or really sixth but you'll have to read on to find out what I mean). I started collecting hedgehogs when I bought this one (pictured below) while on vacation.

It's a mama and her babies. The babies conveniently fit inside the mama's belly. It's a cute idea. I've actually got two more stuffies in this style. First a hippo with three babies I've had since I could remember, and a ladybug and her two babies that I got from the same place as the hedgehog.

Another of my collection, which is obviously a Valentine gift, is my little Edmond Dantes.

Now surely you aren't going to ask me why I named it that? Stuffies always have the strangest names. But if you must know (and really, I love the chance to admit it) I am a huge "The Count of Monte Cristo" fan. Just to emphasize that, guess the name of my last and biggest hedgehog.

Jacopo, of course. Jacopo is the Italian smuggler Edmond fought to prove he should live. He in turn let him live and Jacopo promised to be his servant for the rest of his life. So my biggest hedgehog is an Italian smuggler.

But something else deserving of note in my hedgehog collection is my other gift from my Grandparents.

I wish the picture would have turned out better. It really doesn't do it justice. My grandmother painted it. It's a shadow box with the two hedgehogs on the glass and a wooded background. My grandmother is a remarkable painter. She did this from her own inspiration after learning of my love of hedgehogs. She is also painting a sweatshirt for my brother of a twister. I don't have a picture of it as it is not done yet but in light of what she has painted for me just imagine how good it will be.

And that's my update. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my simple experiences as I have enjoyed writing about them.