Monday, March 31, 2014

Crochet Inspiration in the Movies - Mrs. Muir's Afghans

You know when I posted the second Crochet Inspiration I mentioned the granny square afghans I had noticed in both movies Tammy Tell Me True and Many Rivers to Cross. After looking back at that post I noticed that I apparently contradicted myself, at first saying the two blankets were different and then suggesting they could have been a Hollywood prop used on both movies. I'm afraid that was clear evidence of thinking it out in writing. It's rather embarrassing, and my first tendency is to rewrite my post so no one will notice my "naive" mistake. But I've decided not to. I shouldn't constantly rewrite my posts when I learn something new; it's like trying to change history. So, going against my nature, I'm leaving the post as is.

But I didn't plan to write today just to tell you of my mistake.

I've already mentioned how I like to take screen-shots of crochet or a notable piece of fashion while watching movies (see my pages A Look At Fashion and Me and Crochet for examples). I found my recent inspiration from the movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

But before I tell you what the sources of my inspiration is let me touch briefly on my thoughts on the movie.

My Synopsis



The story is about an ambitious young widow desirous to move away from her deceased husband's nagging mother and controlling sister. She chooses a house said to be haunted by the previous owner, a suicidal sea captain. When the ghost plagues her she bravely stands up to him and she wins his friendship because of it. He assists her in keeping the house after she's ran out of money among other things and it becomes apparent that the two have fallen in love. Only there is nothing to be done and Mrs. Muir eventually falls in love with someone else. The salty captain leaves her and she begins to regard that time as a dream.

This is how it ends...


The years go by and her daughter marries and has her own family. Having never remarried, she becomes old and gray and dies in the same room as the captain. He comes at last to take her away so they can finally be together.


I read the reviews of the movie on Netflix and thought it sounded charming, though it was hard for me to see how it could end well considering. Besides, Hollywood directors have a way of building a good plot only to wreck it at the end. Which is what happened, essentially. It definitely could have been worse, but I felt it could have been better. In my own little story-telling mind, I think I would have enabled the sea captain to live again so that they could be together. There are issues with that but in a fantasy such as this, they could be dealt with. Either way, I enjoyed the movie for the most part. I will readily admit, I'm a sucker for a nautical flavor.

Now I'll let you in on that which is inspiring. Sorry for the delay but I can't let a chance to review a movie slip by.


In one scene, Mrs. Muir goes to take a nap. Her maid lifts an afghan from under the adorable Yorkie and stretches it out. It so turns out that this afghan is the same style as the one in Tammy Tell Me True! I can't be sure because there is a certain lack of color in this one --ahem, black and white-- but the design seems to be the same. Another lovely example of granny squares.


A second time Mrs. Muir goes to take a nap and she covers up with an afghan similar to the first only in a different way. Instead of motifs, the afghan is worked in continuous rounds of granny stitches so that the whole piece is a large motif. Usually tassels accent the ends and I do believe I saw some though I couldn't capture them in any of these images.


I had an afghan similar to this from years ago made by an aunt. I wore it folded over as a shawl but eventually it wore out. The colors were not my choice but I loved the design. I felt like something from the old days wearing it.

Seeing Mrs. Muir's second afghan has inspired me to recreate the design, if one can truly recreate something so culturally consistent. There is just something so attractive about remaking simple designs. It's like you're reliving history. It excites me!

Only I'm hung up on the color palette. With summer coming on my tastes in color have turned to naturals such as beige, peach, and cream. But I'll most likely use this more in the fall, winter, and early spring, and I might like a color palette more suited to those temperatures at that time. I must say, I am a bit undecided.

Whatever I eventually choose, keep on the lookout. I hope to present the finished product to you in a month or so.

In the meantime, you know the Frontier shawl I mentioned at the beginning of Crochet Inspiration in the Movies - Frontier Shawl and Motif Blankets? I am in the process of recreating the Frontier shawl. But more on that in an upcoming post. See you again soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Truth About Spring (1965) - Movie Review

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. This week I'm doing a review of one of my ultimate favorite movies. Read on!

The Truth About Spring is a movie my family and I have watched all my life. We call it one of the "good ones". The plot is fairly simple and frankly not a lot happens, in comparison to most of the others I've reviewed, but the whole story and how it's played out makes it worth seeing more than once.

What I like most is the fact that the father/daughter relationship in the movie is right on in real life as well, with John Mills playing the father and his daughter Hayley Mills playing his daughter in the movie. Both act incredibly well together and along with their co-star, James MacArthur, present a funny and lovable movie I'd recommend anyone, and everyone, watch at least once in their life. 


My Synopsis


On a run-down sail boat in the Caribbean, a father and his tom-boy daughter live a simple life, relying on the ocean, abandoned shipwrecks, and unsuspecting cruise liners for their survival and livelihood. One night, after mooring alongside a wealthy yacht called the Dryad, Tommy and Spring Tyler meet the owner's nephew, William Ashton, a young man just out of law school. He tells them he agreed to take this trip with his uncle before starting work but is now very bored. With something obviously in mind, Tommy invites Ashton to join them for a week on the Sarah Tyler, and Ashton gratefully accepts. Unfortunately for Ashton, his first meeting with Spring starts the two off on the wrong foot when he mistakes her for a boy.

Not long after they set sail they are met by the Juan Bango, a pig-sty of a ship captained by Cark and a small crew of worthless men. Knowing what they want, Tommy hides below and tells Spring to get rid of them. She tells Cark's first mate that Tommy died a week ago from the smallpox. Not completely convinced, the men leave for the present. Tommy gets perturbed that her lie was so outlandish while Ashton requests to be informed about what is going on.

Tommy then has Ashton go with him over to meet with Cark and make a deal. He figures that as long as Ashton is there to witness anything that happens, they won't try anything. Unfortunately, when Tommy tells them Ashton is his lawyer, the newcomer gets the raw end of the deal. He returns to the Sarah Tyler while Tommy hashes out some plan with Cark about a treasure map.

While waiting for Tommy to return, Spring and Ashton spend some time together. Her dream is to become filthy rich and she expects to when they finally find the treasure at the bottom of the map Tommy has. She assumes Ashton is rich, to his amusement, and she also assumes he's had many girlfriends. But when he admits to her that he thinks she's pretty and then eventually kisses her, she's both flattered and upset. Growing up the way she has, she's come to regard femininity as a hindrance instead of a natural occurrence to be embraced.

Tommy returns, having made a deal with Cark to meet him at the wreck site in two weeks, but being the pirates they are, Tommy knows they won't keep their promise. Before they leave though, another "friend" arrives. Cleary, a former partner of Cark's, wants his share of the treasure they are sure to find. Clever as always, Tommy wheedles a second deal. They both prepare to meet at the wreck but Cleary tries to overhaul them and get there first. In the end the Sarah Tyler succeeds.

Like Tommy guessed, Cark and his men are already at the island but they can't locate the wreck. Cleary arrives on their heels and manages to get the advantage over both Tommy and Cark. Tommy wisely adheres to Cleary's lead, which raises him in the old crooks opinion.

They all gather on the beach where Tommy says the wreck should be. With Cleary holding the gun and Cark and his men ready to grab the treasure, Tommy and Ashton are left with the dynamite and a tiny length of fuse. Ashton offers to light it for Tommy and after a few nerve-wracking seconds, the wreck is open. Suffering a scraped arm but grateful to have survived, Ashton returns to the Sarah Tyler, still acting as Tommy's lawyer and insurance, while Tommy watches over the proceedings.

Spoilers Ahead!


The wreck turns out to be a bust and everyone is disappointed. That is, except for Tommy, who always seems to have everything under control. Cark begins to threaten him but Cleary, who is still holding the gun, has a touch of a soft heart and lets Tommy go.

With Cark and Cleary left on the beach, Tommy returns to the Sarah Tyler. When Spring finds out the wreck didn't hold any treasure she's at first disappointed --until Tommy shows her the $1,000 he wormed out of Cark because of the wreck.

After making a careful get-away, the Sarah Tyler goes to meet the Dryad once again as planned. Spring realizes she's fallen in love with Ashton, which only torments her more knowing that he'll be leaving them soon. When they arrive the next morning, Ashton gathers his belongings and prepares to leave. Obviously a bit flustered, he thanks the Tyler's and boards the Dryad. Spring quickly escapes to the hold and bursts into tears. But when Ashton is presented to his uncle in the stern, he's met by a handful of scantily clad women who immediately bicker for his attention. He makes a split-second decision and races back to the Sarah Tyler.

There, he quickly proposes to an ecstatic Spring who immediately accepts. Glad to see Spring get her wish, Tommy tells her not to worry about him. He's got his maps, he says, and there's a woman waiting for him that likes things "ship-shape and Bristol fashion". They say good-bye and Spring and Ashton board the Dryad bound for Philadelphia. Ashton's Uncle is delighted with Spring and Spring holds her own against the jealous floozies.



My favorite quote from the whole movie is Spring's last words. When introduced, each woman saucily adds where they are from in attempt to intimidate Spring, for example: "Of Palm Beach, darling". But after she is introduced as Ashton's fiancée, she confidently replies with, "Of Catfish Key...Dah-ling." Which sends Ashton's Uncle into fits of laughter.

An Appealing Story


I've always envied Spring her life. I understand her difficulties and struggles with not being able to do and experience the things other girls do, and yet she was so free. The sea was her life. She new it like the back of her hand and handled it with ease. Her father, at one point in the movie, explains why he chose that life for them, and he said at her birth, "This one's for freedom." He later questions whether he was right but you have to admit, it's still an attractive adventure.

But that's not the only reason I've envied her. She had her freedom, the sea, and then she got James MacArthur! I'd say that's a lucky girl. Except for the fact that in marrying him she left the sea. But you can't have everything, I guess.

Trivia


It's interesting that, though they are supposedly in the Caribbean, this movie was filmed in Costa Brava, Spain. I suppose only the salty know the difference.

And that's it for this movie review! I hope you've enjoyed it and will come back again.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Crochet Inspiration in the Movies - That's My Duffel Bag!

Crochet Today's Duffel Bag
There are certain elements of style that never leave the fashion world. Duffel bags, for instance. The design may vary but because of their practical usage they still remain.

Bags, among other things, are accessories that I have a lot of fun with. Drawstring, satchel, messenger, backpack, the list goes on, and there's nothing like making one crocheted. If you haven't noticed, I attempt to crochet nearly everything and anything I can. Sure you can make it the original way, and that way may be more practical, but adding to the already appealing style crochet fabric says so much more.

So obviously I was very enthused when I noticed this bag in the latest Crochet Today magazine. I would change the main color to a brown, say burnt sienna or umber, and give it a mildly constrasting stripe, for instance, tan and cream.

If you are interested you can buy everything needed for this pattern, including the bag straps, at Joann's. I order most of my yarn from Joann's and am usually quite pleased at the price and results.

With this lovely pattern lingering in my mind as one I definitely want to try, I saw this bag in a movie from 1952 called Sailor Beware. It's a ridiculous comedy starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, two actors I'm not very fond of, but the movie is kind of history in my family.

Anyhow, the bag was being carried by a soon-to-be sailor and I noticed it immediately. See what I mean by some styles never change? I can't tell you why but I love finding styles from the past that match up with a modern style. Fashion changes but rarely is it new.

I felt I couldn't let this go by without sharing it. So what do you think? Have you ever noticed some of these style flashbacks before? Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Coming up: my next movie review! Starring Hayley Mills and John Mills, can you guess what it is?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Don't Stop Learning

Knowing how much I love to crochet, my family gave me a year subscription to Crochet Today Magazine two years ago for Christmas. Before I even noticed it had expired, Mum re-subscribed for me this last Christmas. I really appreciate it because this magazine is one I enjoy very much. Being a crochet designer myself, I sometimes need inspiration and a fresher look at things. Crochet Today magazine is a bright and fun magazine that I consider one of the best. I feel like many crochet companies have a tendency to be a bit dull, and even though they are just as informative, there's something about the atmosphere that just doesn't give you the cheer you would like.

Each time I receive an issue it's like Christmas all over again! Every time I finish I have a whole new list of things I want to crochet and I only have so much time! I spend the majority of my crochet time working on patterns for Crochet Spot and what crochet time I have left I squeeze in an extra project. To give you an example of how much time that is let me tell you that I started working on Crochet Today's Lollipop Tank from the May/June issue not long after I received the magazine and I'm still not finished. It's terrible but it can only have the leftover time.

This is a problem in a way because it is important to learn. Yes, I'm a professional crochet designer but this only means that I create crochet designs for a profession; it doesn't make me an expert. I need to continue learning and growing my skill just as much as anyone else.

And that statement really brings me to the point of my post today.

No one is ever finished learning. So you've graduated highschool, received your college diploma, et cetera, et cetera. A person should never get the idea that they are through learning.

As a crocheter there is so much more that I could learn while I continue designing. In this area my point may not be so difficult to understand. But take writing, for instance. My sole focus when it comes to writing is to "land" a writing job. You can give me many ways to go about getting it but in the meantime, am I still learning? Am I reading sound and challenging material that stretches the capacity of my brain? That should be my sole focus.

You should never be content at where you are intellectually, especially when in this day and age you can always learn more. I don't mean spend every waking hour studying and cramming like you would for a test. All it takes is for you to have the mindset of wanting to learn, knowing that it is important, and you will, and find that you enjoy doing it.

I stress reading because it is God's gift that through this human understanding would grow. I find it a shame to hear someone say that reading has never been their strong point. I don't condemn them for it, but I can't help wondering, had they had been taught differently would they then have a better view of reading. How you are taught something can really define how you regard it.

However, simply reading any old thing isn't what I mean. A steady diet of light novels may be better than not reading at all but they hardly stretch the mind. It's like a full grown person living on milk. They need meat, or for the vegetarians and vegans among us, hardier sustenance. What this may mean for you personally, I do not know. That is for you to find out. As for myself, I like a mix of fiction and non-fiction on a steady basis. They are both good for the soul. Granted both are of wholesome material. But what I consider wholesome material is enough for another post.

I will leave you with this: Don't ever be okay with what you know now. Ask questions and keep on learning. God has given us inquisitive minds for a reason. Let's use them as He expects and watch how meaningful your life can be.