nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
1. Finish petticoat.
2. Box up petticoat and batiste.
3. Take to the post office.
4. Get the envelope chemise printed.
5. Make the 1920s bandeau. - More than halfway done! Just need to do some binding and the hooks and eyes.
6. Fit the robe de style bodice.
7. Draft templates for the beading areas.
8. Sketch at least one beading pattern.
9. Make the pannier.
10. Order the rest of the crepe de chine and some extra lawn from Dharma.
11. Draft the skirt.
12. Make the 1910s brassiere.
13. Assemble the 1910s corset (as far as possible until the busk/boning arrives).
14. Learn the new sewing machine feet: ruffler, tucker, and hemstitcher.
15. Make 1810s strapped petticoat from pimatex.
16. Start on beading a test piece.
17. Gather pieces for 1780s shift and cut neckline.
18. Wait to finish corset before drafting/cutting the princess slip, the petticoat, and the negligee.

I've also corralled all my remaining pattern pieces into the nice new baggies I ordered off ebay last week. It's awesome to have all my patterns and instruction sheets put away finally, or at least in a neat stack for those I'm planning to use.

Currently I'm alternating between Hogan's Heroes in the living room (and, uh, Starsky & Hutch when it's on TV) and the A&E Nero Wolfe series on DVD in the sewing room. It's a really great series. If you can look past the women's costumes (which are very stylishly Vintage Inspired slash Retro and rarely include any actual vintage pieces, except for occasional awesome 1940s hats with vaguely 50s-styled clothing) and hair (which is almost always too long and too loose, except for random marcel waving on the 50s stage actress) and music (which is mostly modern big band swing with occasional forays into the 30s and even 20s).  But I'm used to that now. The acting, sets, and filming are great, the stories are extremely faithfully adapted, and it's a lot of fun to watch.

And although it'll be well into the 80s today (probably upper 80s at my house), it's still early enough in the year that the mornings are pleasantly cool. It's 10 AM and still in the mid/low 70s! I love sewing with the windows and doors open.
nuranar: (books)

I have the Baylor/Kentucky basketball game on. Kentucky's leading scorer of the game (who incidentally just fouled out, with under two minutes to go), is named...

Archie Goodwin.

:D

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

Since I have to. I guess.

;-)
 

 



[profile] roses_for_ann, I have you to thank for this dilemma:



Blue. And silver. And deco.  My winter coat is navy. And it's on (sort of) sale for this week, plus free shipping.  But it's still not a steal, and I certainly don't need it.  Agh! What to do?
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

Since I have to. I guess.

;-)
 

 



[profile] roses_for_ann, I have you to thank for this dilemma:



Blue. And silver. And deco.  My winter coat is navy. And it's on (sort of) sale for this week, plus free shipping.  But it's still not a steal, and I certainly don't need it.  Agh! What to do?
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Back when I first started reading Alistair MacLean, I was enthralled and wanted to share my find with the world.  It was disconcerting to discover how hard writing a review was.  "Hah!" you'll say.  "How many words and posts have you made on the fellow in the last month, hmm?"  Ah, but those are on him, on his style and the elements of his writing.  In the intervening years enough has gelled for me to have a semi-coherent analysis.

But the plots, still no.  Take, for example, Fear Is The Key, which I started last night and finished this morning.  A good review should begin with a summary, no?  Well, here's my summary:

...

I'm not being cute.  In journalistic writing, I was able to focus on the W's (and the H) to get the point of the story across.  Who, [did] What, When, Where, Why, and How.  For a review, sometimes all of the W's would let out a spoiler.  Easy enough to avoid, right?  You just tell part of the answer, and maybe leave out a couple W's and the H that reveal too much.  But for Fear Is The Key, the W's and the H are Spoiler City.  I'll do an exercise and see what I come up with.

Who:  Uh... His name? John Talbot.  But who is he?  There's nothing I can say to that.  In a MacLean story, identity and character are not confused or ambivalent.  The reader simply doesn't know.  That is, the intelligent reader doesn't know.  The ordinary reader thinks he does, until he's been fooled two or three times and gives up.

[did] What:  Definitely off limits.  I can't offer even the tiniest smidgeon of the beginning of a hint, or you'll start guessing things.

When:  Ah, well, this doesn't tell you much.  1962 or 1963, I think.  The prologue is in 1958.

Where:  Southeast Florida, partially, and partially off Key West on an oil rig.  No, that is not any kind of a hint; you can't extrapolate from that unless you're really imaginative.  Try it.  I dare you.  *g*

Why:  Uh-uh.

How:  Double uh-uh.

Okay, we've got a protagonist, John Talbot, in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico in 1962.  What kind of a summary is that?  Is it anything to build a review on?

Now that I've maundered on enough to give this entry a more-than-respectable length, I might as well attempt something worthwhile about Fear Is The Key.  So I don't have to restate it every two sentences, take it as a given that I could offer a less vague analysis if I didn't mind giving away plot points.

I think it's the saddest MacLean books I've read.  I don't like sad books.  I liked this one still because (1) it's a MacLean and (2) there's no dwelling on the sadness.  It's shoved to the back of the reader's mind, just as it is in Talbot's.  MacLean does not develop his characters by giving a psychological profile of their suffering.  He gives the facts, and a poignant phrase, and allows human emotion to develop a deeper empathy than any words would create.  Like in a Nero Wolfe I just read. To an acquaintance who'd just lost his only son, a flier, in Sicily: "I would hold up your heart if I could."  From Wolfe, that irritable, contrary, unsympathetic genius, it's outrageous.  Outrageous and heartbreaking.

I digress.

Correspondingly, it's one of the least humorous MacLeans.  Oh, his word choice is as much a delight as ever, and well-worthy of a few chuckles.  But it's in first person from Talbot's point of view, and Talbot isn't in a very funny mood.  He can still see the humor in things, but even his naturally dry humor is tinged by more than a little bitterness.

MacLean's more poetic titles, I ought to mention, are particularly apt, once the reader discovers what they mean.  Night Without End, which takes place on the Greenland ice cap, refers to the endless darkness that falls when the midnight sun sets.  Fear Is the Key and The Way to Dusty Death are even more integral to their plots.

My verdict?  It's not in my absolute favorites list, but there's no real reason I can give.  It's good, very good.  The opening sequence/hundred pages/however many chapters is, ah, excellent reading.  (Boy, he can mess with your mind!)  And that's not to minimize the rest.  No Save The World stuff, either.  Just some rats who need a very definite squashing, and a man with a great desire to right a wrong.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Back when I first started reading Alistair MacLean, I was enthralled and wanted to share my find with the world.  It was disconcerting to discover how hard writing a review was.  "Hah!" you'll say.  "How many words and posts have you made on the fellow in the last month, hmm?"  Ah, but those are on him, on his style and the elements of his writing.  In the intervening years enough has gelled for me to have a semi-coherent analysis.

But the plots, still no.  Take, for example, Fear Is The Key, which I started last night and finished this morning.  A good review should begin with a summary, no?  Well, here's my summary:

...

I'm not being cute.  In journalistic writing, I was able to focus on the W's (and the H) to get the point of the story across.  Who, [did] What, When, Where, Why, and How.  For a review, sometimes all of the W's would let out a spoiler.  Easy enough to avoid, right?  You just tell part of the answer, and maybe leave out a couple W's and the H that reveal too much.  But for Fear Is The Key, the W's and the H are Spoiler City.  I'll do an exercise and see what I come up with.

Who:  Uh... His name? John Talbot.  But who is he?  There's nothing I can say to that.  In a MacLean story, identity and character are not confused or ambivalent.  The reader simply doesn't know.  That is, the intelligent reader doesn't know.  The ordinary reader thinks he does, until he's been fooled two or three times and gives up.

[did] What:  Definitely off limits.  I can't offer even the tiniest smidgeon of the beginning of a hint, or you'll start guessing things.

When:  Ah, well, this doesn't tell you much.  1962 or 1963, I think.  The prologue is in 1958.

Where:  Southeast Florida, partially, and partially off Key West on an oil rig.  No, that is not any kind of a hint; you can't extrapolate from that unless you're really imaginative.  Try it.  I dare you.  *g*

Why:  Uh-uh.

How:  Double uh-uh.

Okay, we've got a protagonist, John Talbot, in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico in 1962.  What kind of a summary is that?  Is it anything to build a review on?

Now that I've maundered on enough to give this entry a more-than-respectable length, I might as well attempt something worthwhile about Fear Is The Key.  So I don't have to restate it every two sentences, take it as a given that I could offer a less vague analysis if I didn't mind giving away plot points.

I think it's the saddest MacLean books I've read.  I don't like sad books.  I liked this one still because (1) it's a MacLean and (2) there's no dwelling on the sadness.  It's shoved to the back of the reader's mind, just as it is in Talbot's.  MacLean does not develop his characters by giving a psychological profile of their suffering.  He gives the facts, and a poignant phrase, and allows human emotion to develop a deeper empathy than any words would create.  Like in a Nero Wolfe I just read. To an acquaintance who'd just lost his only son, a flier, in Sicily: "I would hold up your heart if I could."  From Wolfe, that irritable, contrary, unsympathetic genius, it's outrageous.  Outrageous and heartbreaking.

I digress.

Correspondingly, it's one of the least humorous MacLeans.  Oh, his word choice is as much a delight as ever, and well-worthy of a few chuckles.  But it's in first person from Talbot's point of view, and Talbot isn't in a very funny mood.  He can still see the humor in things, but even his naturally dry humor is tinged by more than a little bitterness.

MacLean's more poetic titles, I ought to mention, are particularly apt, once the reader discovers what they mean.  Night Without End, which takes place on the Greenland ice cap, refers to the endless darkness that falls when the midnight sun sets.  Fear Is the Key and The Way to Dusty Death are even more integral to their plots.

My verdict?  It's not in my absolute favorites list, but there's no real reason I can give.  It's good, very good.  The opening sequence/hundred pages/however many chapters is, ah, excellent reading.  (Boy, he can mess with your mind!)  And that's not to minimize the rest.  No Save The World stuff, either.  Just some rats who need a very definite squashing, and a man with a great desire to right a wrong.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I read Margery Allingham's The Crime at Black Dudley yesterday and today. It's the first Albert Campion book, published in 1929, and I really enjoyed it.  It's far more a thriller than a mystery novel, I was pleased to discover.  Now I really want to read the next one.

I'm in the midst of arranging The Great Nero Wolfe Book Deal on PaperBackSwap, so of course I must read all the books before they go in the mail.  I'm extremely fast, but upwards of two dozen still take me a while.

With so many to choose from, I've been able to go in something like chronological order.  I'm enjoying the 1930s Archie Goodwin very much.  He's a bit more whimsical and even outrageously funny in his narrative, less mellow than the 1960s version I've read from the library.  His devices for either goading or merely irritating Wolfe are delicious.

I need to re-arrange my workspace so I can prop up my feet on a desk drawer. Especially when said feet are clad in fully-fashioned stockings and peep-toe shoes. *purr*

I also need to put my wastebasket somewhere where I can kick it over deliberately, when I'm in a bad mood.  Too bad I don't have a fat companion who will be annoyed when I do so.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I read Margery Allingham's The Crime at Black Dudley yesterday and today. It's the first Albert Campion book, published in 1929, and I really enjoyed it.  It's far more a thriller than a mystery novel, I was pleased to discover.  Now I really want to read the next one.

I'm in the midst of arranging The Great Nero Wolfe Book Deal on PaperBackSwap, so of course I must read all the books before they go in the mail.  I'm extremely fast, but upwards of two dozen still take me a while.

With so many to choose from, I've been able to go in something like chronological order.  I'm enjoying the 1930s Archie Goodwin very much.  He's a bit more whimsical and even outrageously funny in his narrative, less mellow than the 1960s version I've read from the library.  His devices for either goading or merely irritating Wolfe are delicious.

I need to re-arrange my workspace so I can prop up my feet on a desk drawer. Especially when said feet are clad in fully-fashioned stockings and peep-toe shoes. *purr*

I also need to put my wastebasket somewhere where I can kick it over deliberately, when I'm in a bad mood.  Too bad I don't have a fat companion who will be annoyed when I do so.

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