Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sherlock "The Abominable Bride" - Review

I was expecting a lot from the Sherlock special.  It'd been 2 years since we'd been graced by a new episode of this gorgeous program.  So to say fans were ready for something new, was an understatement. Thankfully, the dynamic duo of writing knew that and they definitely gave us what we desired.

It was original and a bit off the wall, and I'm still not sure if I understand it all, but oh my goodness, believe me when I say it was fantastic! When word first broke the extra episode would be set in Victorian times, I was a little skeptical.  What would make it different than any other version of Sherlock Holmes we've seen over the years?  I really should have known that the creative minds had something else in store.  

The shock that the Victorian times tied into what had happened in the finale was so very delicious.  No spoilers here, but seeing what they accomplished within the whole Sherlock narrative, is exactly why I love Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.  While I may clamor for more between seasons, I know this kind of out of box thinking, can only be accomplished in such a time table.  No matter the episode, you know the writing will always be top notch - sometimes funny and sometimes heart breaking, but always quotable. What I wouldn't give to have the talent these guys have. 

Then of course, you have the production choices.  An episode of Sherlock is just gorgeous. There's no other way to describe it.  Between the signature text messages appearing on the screen, to the always crafty scene transitions, I just can't get enough.  There are some big-budget movies that don't have the same production value as Sherlock does.  The set designers and directors, really put a great deal of care into it.  And it's reflected in the episodes.  The specific color choices, and lighting decisions all feed into the narrative.  These choices are always unique and always creative.  And always a delight! Oh, and one last note on this team, whoever chose the costume and makeup for the character, the Abominable Bride, you are spot on in the creepy department.  Oh so macabre!

Lastly, of course, you have the on camera team.  It's not hard to see why this show is so popular.  The team of actors they pulled together, is unbelievably talented.  And harder to pull off, they're beautiful as an ensemble as well.  Sherlock and John had to be a great unit or the show would never have worked, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have that relationship in spades.  But more than the main cast, you also have a truly outstanding supporting cast.  Sherlock wouldn't be what it is, without a perfect Mrs. Hudson, or Mary, or Lestrade or Molly.  Some of the best scenes take place between the main and supporting cast. I honestly couldn't imagine replacing a single member of that cast.  They've all made their roles their own, and I'm over the moon for them!

If you couldn't tell from my gushing, I was incredibly happy with the special.  Avoiding it for the first week of 2016, until I could see it in the theatre, was torturous.  But the payoff was ten fold.  In fact, I think I've been spoiled and I now want to see every episode in the theatre. Can we make that happen, please?  The Sherlock fandom is pretty powerful, I think we totally need to work on this...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Project Life 2016: Re-Do

In 2014, I talked a lot about not getting Project Life. While layouts and spreads were beautiful, and the idea behind it was lovely, the process seemed a bit over-done.  It seemed to me that scrappers were spending more time scrapping their lives rather than living them. At the time, I decided it was most definitely not for me. 

Then 2015 rolled around...

After milling around Pinterest and tons of gorgeous blogs, I began to get it.  It wasn't so much the process and what the product looked like in the end that counted, it was the fact that you actually had something to share.  The final product was a review of all things wonderful and not so wonderful in that particular year.  These albums are like snapshots of a moment in time and can be used to show children and grandchildren what life was like "back then."  It took me long enough to come around but I finally got there. 

So the obvious next step was to start an album of my own...

That sounded like such a great idea at the time. I bought a 6"x8"" album, organized my supplies, and started taking photos.  Now, I'm single and have no pets.  I read a whole lot and like to bake, cook and watch Netflix.  Often the most exciting nights I spend are at the weekly trivia game with friends.  Now if that sounds boring just reading it, imagine how truly nail-biting the album was.  I made it about 3 months and I was done.  At the time, I decided you needed a giant family full of kids and pets and daily schedules to make project life work.  There's no way you can have a "fun" album as a single girl in a not so exciting city.

Then along came blogs and twitter and Instagram - brimming with ideas for the single girl to scrap.

After a few months of kicking myself for not succeeding the first time around, I decided it was a fabulous idea to start back up in 2016.  So, long story, sort of short - here we go again. What's the plan you may (or may not) ask. Because in my life, there's always a plan - it's just whether or not the plan is followed is the real question. 

The Album: I'm in love with all the scrapbooking ideas I find on A Beautiful Mess, so it only made sense to purchase their 9"x12" album for my project.  Honestly, I've always found 12"x12" albums super intimidating.  They're just too large and bulky and have way too many holes to fill.  And the 6"x8" albums - my absolute favorite for trips and travel - are just too small for weekly layouts (the one thing I did learn in my half-hearted attempt last year.)  On top of the logic, the black and white with the aqua inside is just adorable!

The Kit: Last year, I was convinced (ok, mostly I was being cheap) that I didn't need a kit.  I could just make cards out of the ridiculous amount of paper I have on hand.  Yeah, No. While some cards I made were cute, others were not and none of them matched each other. Also, as I'm learning, Project Life isn't supposed to take too much time - adding in the time to make inserts, was killing me.  So, I decided on one of the gorgeous kits from Project Life and it just so happens that the one I chose was created by A Beautiful Mess as well. Honestly, how can you not love the bright colors with the black and white.  It's just so happy!

The Photos: I'm not a Photoshop person.  I've tried to be.  I wish I could be.  But I find it incredibly difficult to use.  Instead, I use PicMonkey.  While it can't do as many things as Photoshop can, it works well in a pinch for quick and dirty edits and collages. I also use Costco for photo printing.  No matter what printer I buy, it never seems to work correctly so it's just easier to send them out.  However, I'm tempting fate at the moment, and purchasing the Canon Selphy to make this process a little easier.  Hopefully, this might be the one (seeing as every scrapper I read about LOVES this little thing.)

The Apps: My favorite apps are ones that I can use on the go for photos.  Seeing as I take most oh my photos on my phone, getting a chance to edit them quickly, is a total timesaver. The one I love the most is PicFrame.  It allows you to stitch together 2 3"x4" photos into a 4"x6" for easy printing.  The other I've just discovered is PicTapGo.  It's great for one stop edits. After the photos have been edited and stitched together, they can be sent directly to Costco for printing through the Costco app.  What a lifesaver!

The Add-Ons: In my search for Project Life inspiration, my most favorite and most visited destination has been  They have TONS of beautiful products from super-talented designers.  Because they had such a good Black Friday Sale, I may or may not have spent a boat-load on fancy inserts to add on to my kit.  I cannot wait to use them!  Through Studio Calico, I've also recently discovered digital downloads.  These cards and digital stamps, are super cheap and super fun to use. And since the digital stamps can be used in PicMonkey, I'm set for life!

The Process: My plan is to scrap weekly.  Chances are some weeks will be heavy with photos and some will be very very light, but that's ok.  I plan to do a Day in the Life each month and use 6"x8" inserts for those.  I have high hopes to do 52 weeks of lists too and incorporate those.  Outside of that, the plan to be go easy and not to stress it too much.  And keep reminding myself: Project Life is fun not stressful!

And Away We Go!