Cheery quilt and cat lap pet

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I had one of those days where I just wanted to make something. I don’t know what causes these days, but I’m thankful to have them and when I have the energy to actually follow up on the urge. So I grabbed a set of charm squares I had in my stash and just started cutting them and sewing them together at random. I loved how happy and warm the colours were so I added some fat strips of other fabrics out of my stash which seemed to complement the charm squares. Pinterest got me super into the white sashing so I added some nice thick strips of white, some left over bits of charm square for the corners and extra bits of strips for the border.

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Once it was together I added some cherry blossom inspired flowers appliqued to the white sashing and it really became pretty. I decided to give it to my workmate Aimee around this time, and to make it even more comforting Anna suggested I add a fuzzy cat so you could have it on your lap and pet the cat… instead of making it part of the quilt I made it like a plushie. Really happy how this came out, like a soft sculpture made with machine stitching and some hand embellishments.

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The Thing (1982)

The Thing
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Bill Lancaster based on the story by John W. Campbell Jr.
(number 295)

A classic of the ‘monster picks off the cast one by one’ genre, and also of gross out alien genre, and also of everyone in this movie is a man genre? Okay, that’s not a genre. Mostly this is another of those movies which makes me want to play Geiger Counter.

Content warning for violence to animals in this movie, lots of cute huskies in danger 😦

I like how quickly this movie cuts to the chase. There’s very little scene setting or world building before things start going to shit and getting weird. The characters, again, unsurprising that they rely hard on stereotypes for characterisation, it cuts out world building time so nicely.

The alien thing is pretty Lovecraftian and in turn made me want to play the Time Stories playset I played with Luke and Sam based on a voyage in the Antarctic as well. Carpenter has said this is a potentially apocalyptic film because of the implications if this alien made it to a more populated area. I guess with that in mind it’s scary but I dunno, I find this movie so predictable, so run of the mill kind of.. I didn’t find it too ground breaking. Probably I should have watched it as a kid and had the crap scared out of me, but thankfully I didn’t.

The suspicion between the characters is realistic. I think it’s probably the strong point of this film, the way they all tell each other to watch each other. The question of how do you know who is human and who’s a perfect imitation of one just chilling and trying to blend in. The blood test sequence was probably the most tense of the movie for me.

I don’t like body horror, it’s a big squick for me. But the special effects here were so dated that it didn’t even bother me particularly. Maybe I’ve become cynical over the course of this movie watching project? But I think more realistically is just that movies have moved on so far since this that the stretchy neck or the alien spider head thing just seem plasticky. Movies like the Saw are far more visceral – you can imagine the pain of that better than the weird Thing mutations.

Does it make me love the people? Mehhh? I’m inclined to like Kurt Russel because he’s the one I recognise. I don’t think that’s any kind of strength in the script or acting, it’s just casting.

Bechdel test: Nope, no women in Antarctica.

Best line:

So how do we know who’s human?

State of Mind: I like that there were two whole black guys, not just the token one, and that they didn’t die first. Overall for me this movie didn’t live up to the hype I’ve had over the course of my life. So much refers back to this film and so many class it as a classic but…I dunno. It just seemed like so much of the focus was on the weird SFX or the horror of the bodies twisting into something new. I feel like if the focus was more on the suspicion and the breakdown of trust and the nature of humanity it’d be a lot stronger. It was a miss for me, and I’m disappointed that it was a miss.

Watched movie count

Roman Holiday (1953)


Directed by William Wyler
Written by Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton based on a story by Dalton Trumbo
(number 270)

What did I know going into this? That it’s a movie about Audrey Hepburn and it’s probably a romance. I was impressed to see it’s filmed entirely on location in Rome. In the opening sequence Audrey’s Princess Ann immediately won my heart by stretching out her feet during a formal occasion by slipping a foot out of a high heel one at a time under her huge hoop skirt. It was adorable and hilarious. Reminded me a little of the Princess Diaries … I’m sure there’s a conscious homage there.

Two Disney movies owe quite a bit to this: Enchanted was the first one which sprang to mind – especially the wandering through the town, not really understanding how things work and giving away/using the money the man has given her. And then I thought it was a bit like the city sequence in Tangled as well.

Ann getting a haircut was very familiar ‘are you sure you want it all off?’ and then a super adorable haircut at the end of it. Damn you Audrey with your fey good looks and excellent costume department dressing you.

It’s like a lovely tour of Rome in black and white, framed with a bit of story and romance. It was especially good because Anna kept being like “I’ve been there!” which is a nice counterpoint. To me it’s all foreign and only read of in novels. (Alex in Rome by Tessa Duder in particular…). It hits all the tourist stuff which is still popular to this day – I imagine there was a quite a boost in tourists to Rome after this screened in America. It certainly made me want to ride a vespa and eat gelato.

Does it make me love the people? Princess Ann immediately, she is most excellent. It’s hard not to love Audrey after all, and when she’s playing a character who just keeps on being delighted it’s impossible not to love her.

Bechdel test: Yes, and nice and early too. Ann and Countess Vereberg discuss what she wears, what Ann will be doing the next day and why Ann shouldn’t stand near the window without her slippers on.

Princess Ann: I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns, and I hate all my underwear too.
Countess: My dear, you have lovely things.
Princess Ann: But I’m not two hundred years old. Why can’t I sleep in pajamas?
Countess: Pajamas?
Princess Ann: Just the top part. Did you know that there are people who sleep with absolutely nothing on at all?
Countess: I rejoice to say I do not.

Best line:

Joe Bradley: Now, come on. You’re not that drunk.
Princess Ann: [laughing] If you’re so smart I’m not drunk at all. I’m just being
[her head falls against his chest]
Princess Ann: verrrrry haaaappy…

State of Mind: Aaaaaww, this is lovely. Once again proving my theory that movies about women/movies which are romantic comedies only have value if they’re past a certain age, though. If you remade it now it would be dismissed as a ‘chick flick’ but because it’s from the fifties and stars icon Audrey it’s acceptable to say this is a great classic. I did enjoy it very much and I can see myself watching it again for sure. It’s a bit more accessible than Funny Face. Although the ending is rather sad. I had hoped for something else… heh. Anna liked it and expected the ending, because she’d made the connection with the film’s title and is smart. The photo given to the princess right at the end of her smashing a guitar over someone’s head is a highlight for both of us.

Watched movie count

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives
Directed by William Wyler
Written by Robert E. Sherwood based on the novel by MacKinlay Kantor
(number 311)

This movie comes straight off the bat with the feels, showing the pain of coming home after seeing terrible things through Homer and his two lost hands and his fears about how his girl will handle seeing his hooks. The other two men accompanying Homer don’t have the same disfigurement but plenty of worries and reservations all the same.

I blubbered my way through all the reuniting scenes with the servicemen and their families and wives. Anna pointed out it’s like the end of a movie, not the start. And I guess that’s the point. The reunions quickly turn hard though, with Homer’s family uncertain how to deal with his hooks. Fred afraid to even find his wife, Al trying to fit back into a family that’s well adjusted to being without him.

It’s a slow burn of a movie, which is nicely framed because it’s about people being very polite to the returned vets and eventually saying no, or no you can’t or we can’t help. And because those conversations are slow and convoluted the pace of the movie makes a lot of sense. It’s carefully crafted to punch you in the gut, hurt your heart and make you cry.

Does it make me love the people? Yes, absolutely. I think I loved Fred first, and then Homer a lot. Al was a little tougher to feel sympathy for but I was there too once he woke up and went around the room checking it was real and not just a dream *sob*. I also felt for all the women in their lives and the various reactions that they had. I’m not so sure about the May to December romance Fred had with Al’s daughter Peggy, but hey… better than his existing wife who just wanted to drink and socialise, am I right?

Bechdel test: Alice and Milly talk on the phone near the start but we only see Milly’s side of things. Milly and Peggy talk, lots of mother daughter stuff but I think it’s always framed around the men in their lives? I could be wrong, I could be forgetting them talking about clothes or housework though. No stand out passes, anyway.

Peggy: I’ve made up my mind.
Al: Good girl.
Milly: To do what?
Peggy: I’m going to break that marriage up! I can’t stand it seeing Fred tied to a woman he doesn’t love and who doesn’t love him. Oh, it’s horrible for him. It’s humiliating and it’s killing his spirit. Somebody’s got to help him.

Best line:

Al: You know, I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I’ve had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it’s really true. Am I really home?

Milly: You’ll probably have to make a speech.
Al: It’s my plan to meet that situation by getting plastered.

State of Mind: I’m pleased that this movie didn’t end as bleakly as I feared it would. Anna felt like she could see where it was going and didn’t want to endure it, so I watched the last bit alone but actually it’s pretty positive. There’s a lot of social commentary, and a lot of it is damning, but there’s also generally satisfying and happy conclusions for our main characters. I was relieved. Knowing this, I may watch it again because a happy ending makes the earlier pain easier to endure I feel. All in all, a great technical movie, characters with depth who are portrayed well.

Watched movie count