Sketchbook Corner

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these.  I’m proud to present more of my art!

I’ve been sketching more than usual lately.  Here are some snippets:

See the uncolored Cinderella sketch in the above gallery?  I transposed it to watercolor paper and here is the result.  I wish I had been more bold with some of the colors, but it’s a start!

IMG_4259Also, I’ve been continuing making bookmarks.  Just as I did with the Cinderella painting, I take doodles from my class notes, copy them on narrowly cut watercolor paper, and paint them in.  I love creating art that’s actually useful.  These sure brighten up my assigned reading.

Finally, this is a project I’ve spent this week working on.  We just finished reading and discussing Tennyson’s Idylls of the King in my Courtly Love class.  At the end of the poem, Camelot ultimately falls because of Guinevere’s infidelity with Lancelot.  This painting is one of the few instances where I consciously construct the image.  I put a lot of thought into her pose and color scheme.  The text is a quote from the end of Tennyson’s fantastic poem.

Cinderella

I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings.  My favorite being Cinderella.

What fascinates me about fairytales is that, even though the stories are hundreds of years old, they are still being told.  They hold a valuable place as cultural markers.  The stories a culture tells speak volumes about the culture’s values, customs, and fears.  All fairytales have their core elements.  Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger, Snow White eats the apple, Rapunzel is saved from her tower by a handsome prince.

The thing about adaptations is that they tweak the core elements of a fairy tale.  Changes are significant because they reveal the values, customs, and fears of culture today.  It’s amazing how we can tell a story can be told for hundreds of years and continue to find new ways to tell it.  What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple?  What if Sleeping Beauty never pricked her finger?  What would happen if Rapunzel wasn’t saved, but left of her own volition with not a prince, but an outlaw?

As you may know, I’ve been looking forward to Disney’s new Cinderella for a long time.  (See posts here and here for my anticipation).  I caught wind of the film three years ago and have been following its production ever since.

With adaptations like the book Ella Enchanted or the movie Ever After out there, what’s so special about this movie?  Well, it’s a remake of the animated movie.  And I HATE the animated movie.  I think it’s one of the worst adaptations out there.  So I was excited for Disney to have a chance to redeem itself.

I saw the movie yesterday and, for the most part, I agree with many of the critics.  Disney played it pretty safe.  It’s your traditional Cinderella tale with all the elements: dead parents, evil stepmother, stupid stepsisters, forced servitude, fairy godmother, a pumpkin coach, leave before midnight, forget the slipper, etc. etc. etc.  They fleshed out the characters a bit, but it’s nowhere near as convincing as the development in Ever After.

Did Disney redeem itself, though?  Absolutely.  What the movie lacks in innovation is more than made up for in how stunningly beautiful it is.  Everything about the film is gorgeous–from the costumes to the sets to the dashing Richard Madden as the prince.

My favorite part of the entire movie was probably Cate Blanchett’s performance as Lady Tremaine.  Her costumes were stunning and every line was delivered with the perfect level of poison.  I’d pay to see it again just to soak in her villainy.

To be honest, if I think too hard about this movie, I’m pretty sure I’ll make myself dislike it.  (My inner feminist can’t deny that the heroine of this adaptation is ridiculously passive.)  So, for once in my life, I’m not going to let myself think.  It’s the kind of movie that is made to be enjoyed.  You watch it, feel warm fuzzies, and then go on with life.  I’m determined to sit back, soak in the prettiness, and daydream about Richard Madden’s smile.

To my Cinderella fans out there–what did you think of the movie?  Let me know in the comments!

On Tangled (and why it’s wonderful)

After a long (but great) night at Bible study in the next town over, I’m ending it all with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and watching a movie that, in light of the Frozen obsession, everyone seems to have forgotten about.  Can we all just take a moment to appreciate what a fantastic movie Tangled is?

I mean, Mother Gothel is one of the most terrifying Disney villains.  I often find that the scariest villans are the ones with no superpowers.  Take Gaston from Beauty & the Beast.  He’s horrifying because he fights with ignorance, pride, good looks, and the popularity card.  Gastons actually exist in the world.

Mother Gothel is in that same boat.  She doesn’t have any superpowers, but what she has are words.  And oh, how skillfully she uses them.  She twists and wraps Rapunzel in her lies to the extend that Rapunzel doesn’t even realize she’s being emotionally abused.  There are people like that in the world.  Not just people, there are mothers like that in the world.  That’s why this movie is resonating so deeply this time around.

Well, that and the fact that I keep reading into it as an allegory for Christianity.  I went to an event at a local church a couple of years ago where a guy analyzed the entirety of Tangled (performing the songs as they came along) and tied it into Christian faith.  It forever changed the way I see this movie.

Also, stuck in a tiny town in the middle of the prairie with nothing to do but watch movies and freak out about my impending finals, I kind of relate to Rapunzel here:

P.S. This is my 100th post on Keep Your Feet!  YAY!!!

Giddiness and gorgeous Cinderella posters!

As many of you may know, to say I’m excited for the upcoming Cinderella adaptation is a bit of an understatement.  With the recently released trailer and photos, I’ve been dancing around like a little girl before Christmas with glee.

This promo poster came up in my Facebook feed the other day and I was absolutely blown away.

There’s even more gorgeous photos and posters floating around online.  Be sure to check them out!

Can it be March yet?

 

Things to be excited about on a Wednesday

Wednesday is always the worst day of my week.  I’m busy from morning to night with class, work, homework, and clubs.  It’s easy to get pessimistic when they come around.  I’ve been pondering more meaningful posts, but it looks like seriousness is going to have to wait for another day.  Here are some things I’ve been getting excited about lately.

1. The trailer for the new live-action Cinderella

Cinderella has always been one of my favorite fairytales.  From Ever After to Rogers & Hammerstein to the novel Ella Enchanted, I adore a well done adaptation.  I’ve been tracking Disney’s latest live-action fairytale for the past few years and am delighted by the trailer.  I think the casting is absolutely wonderful and cannot wait for March to come along.

2. Thanksgiving is next week

Which means I get to escape small-town Morris for a few days at home with family before the end of semester hell sets in.

3. Mockingjay Part 1 comes out tomorrow

I’m attending the midnight release with some friends tomorrow night and it’s going to be great.

4. My least favorite class is cancelled

Well, technically we still have it, but it’s the kind of class where you’re given a big project and have all of class to work on it.  My professor is gone at a conference, so we are allowed to do our work at home without going in.

5. Shakespeare

In my Grammar & Language class, we have been studying the different stages of the English language.  We’re on the cusp of the Early Modern period and, as I did this week’s reading, I was delighted to find several pages devoted to the beloved playwright.  Like the stereotypical English major that I am, I LOVE Shakespeare.  Whenever he comes up, I automatically become giddy.

6. Scotland

Although I’d REALLY love to, I’m not going any time soon.  But I’ve spent the hour before going to bed curled up with a book that takes place in Scotland, so it’s been fresh on my mind.  It’s a beautiful country, and I’m already looking forward to tonight when I have time to delve back into it through reading.

AmeliaScottishHighlandspicnik
Me in the Highlands of Scotland last November.

 

What kind of things are you excited about, readers?

Here’s the scoop (on a non-sucky weekend in Morris)

So… if you keep yourself occupied enough and plan in advance, weekends in Morris don’t suck as much as they normally do.

My Bible study girls night on Friday was a success!  Thanks for all the encouragement, dear readers!  We had a good turnout, great fellowship, and our toenails are sporting all kinds of flashy colors.  (Mine are golden.)  We also watched Napoleon Dynamite, which was like a massive flashback to middle school.  (Vote for Pedro, anyone?)  My hostessing, in case you were wondering, was certainly as awkward as it always is, but everyone was pretty good-natured about it.  Thank goodness!

On Saturday afternoon, the International Student Association organized a celebration called the Festival of Colors.  The event was to celebrate the Hindu holiday of Holi, which celebrates springtime, good triumphing over evil, and community.  The problem is that Holi is a springtime holiday, so celebrating it now is like suddenly moving Christmas to August or Easter to October.  Personally, I think the oversight in the original event planning shows a lack of cultural awareness.  But they later remedied it and marketed it just as a color festival.

My roommate Katie and I attended and, boy, what a fun half an hour!  It was a free for all of water balloon tossing, bucket dumping, and (of course) throwing colorful powder!  We got covered in all kinds of colors!

Katie and I after the Festival of Colors.
Katie and I after the Festival of Colors.

For some reason, even though it’s now officially Autumn, the ghost of Summer has come back with a vengeance.  The weather the past few days has been absolutely glorious!  To celebrate (and get out of the apartment), I organized the few friends that didn’t go home for the weekend and we walked to Dairy Queen for ice cream!  We then went to a friends’ house for pizza and movies.  (And, being the oh-so-mature college students that we are, we went for Disney’s Mulan.)

This morning, I was all geared up for attending early church.  I got up at eight, did my daily hang out with Jesus, showered, dressed up and then… then I see the note from Katie (who was out late at a video game party) asking if we can go to the later service.  Normally, I’d get annoyed by the sudden change of plans, but not today!  I briefly considered using the two hours I now had to do homework or finish my painting project.  But instead I decided to curl back up and enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

Also, there’s something about being one of the last people to leave church that is extremely gratifying.  I’ve been attending my church here in Morris for four years and always felt like a passer-through.  But I’ve been doing a Bible study with adults from the community on Monday nights, so I’ve actually had the chance to get to know people of my congregation.  Thus, I actually had people aside from my college friends (who like to duck out as fast as they can) to talk with!  I was so deep in conversation with one lady that Katie (who drove with me) ditched me and rode home with our friends.  I didn’t mind–it just meant I could talk longer without feeling guilty!

This evening, in light of the final hurrah of Summer, my friend Neala and I walked to the wind turbines.  You see, that is what we do in Morris.  We have movie marathons and we walk to the two wind turbines that fuel campus.  It’s a long walk–takes about twenty minutes to get to the overlook and a full half hour to get to the turbines.  We didn’t make it all the way, but settled in an arbor in the community gardens to talk and get out of the heat.  We wandered about the gardens, talking about post graduation plans, Neala’s upcoming eleven-month missions trip, what books we’re currently reading, and how much we hate the recent seasons of Doctor Who.  (It’s always refreshing to find someone who loathes Moffat’s story writing as much as I do!)  We then grabbed dinner and parted ways!

It’s been a surprisingly good weekend!

Did you do anything interesting or exciting?

P.S. My friend Neala is fantastic at taking photos…

Photo by my friend, Neala!
Photo by my friend, Neala!

Influential albums I

Trending on Facebook recently have been lists of things that influenced you.  The premise is simple.  You make up a list of books, movies, songs, etc. that have impacted your life, tag a few friends, and there you go.  I’ve been nominated for a couple of these things and, instead of bogging down my Facebook feed, thought I’d make some blog posts out of it!

My friend Kassandra nominated me to share some albums that have influenced me.  So, without further ado, here are the first five!  (In no particular order.)

1. Flogging Molly, Drunken Lullabies (2002)

After I escaped from my country music phase in middle school, this was one of the first albums I got hooked on.  In many ways, it was the introduction to much of the folksy music I listen to now.  I fell in love with Flogging Molly in eighth grade, under the influence of my older brother, and it’s a love that has sustained me through the years.  Choosing a track to feature was incredibly difficult, but I ended up going with “If I Ever Leave this World Alive”, as it’s one of my favorite songs of all time.

2. Classic Disney Vol I & II

In second grade, I purchased this sketchy yellow portable cassette player from a girl at the annual TF Elementary rummage sale.  This enabled me to listen to my Disney tapes anywhere and everywhere I wanted.  And, oh goodness, those songs became imprinted on my childhood.

3. Ministry of Magic, Goodbye Privet Drive (2008)

I will admit, this was a weirder phase of my music listening career.  In high school, I developed a taste for “Wizard Rock”–an underground movement of indie bands themed around (what else?) Harry Potter.  I’ve got hundreds of Potter inspired songs on my iPod to this day.  At the time, I thought they were fantastic.  Looking back, I can see how musically sub par and poorly written most of the songs are.  But, hey, they sure are fun!  Here’s their song “Sonorous Love”.  (Please ignore the poorly made fan video.)

4. Relient K, Mmhmm (2004)

Like Flogging Molly, Relient K was one of the first bands I ever fell in love with.  My older brother (once again) brought them into my life after coming home from camp one year.  He couldn’t stop singing “Sadie Hawkins Dance”, and soon, neither could I.  Relient K was one of my staples in high school, and Mmhmm saw me through all my teenage drama.

5. Top Gun Soundtrack (1999)

Okay, so this one is a bit strange.  I’ve never actually seen the movie Top Gun.  But back in the 1990’s my mom would play this on repeat in the car.  We’d get to the end of the cassette tape, rewind it (’cause that’s what you had to do back in the day) and listen through it again.  So, even though I’ve never seen the actual film, I know the soundtrack by heart.

Stay tuned for the other half of my list!

Friday Favorites VI

This song:

Yes, the Cloud Cult trend continues.  I just can’t get enough of their acoustic album.

These people:

10423935_10203372734150430_1285372876859471232_n

Meet the 2014 Shamineau Program staff!  I’m so thankful for this group of people.  It’s such an honor to be part of such a fantastic group of young men and women.  We spent last night on the island camp owns and the sunset was absolutely stunning!  (Not everyone was present for this, which was sad.)  (Photo courtesy of my friend, Amy.)

This Meme:

tumblr_logciaW8MK1qa2q9to1_500

This Video:

Seriously.  One of my absolute favorite things on YouTube.

 

If I were a villain, this would be my tragic backstory

I.

You know the paper that goes around muffins and cupcakes?  At six years old, I was convinced that they looked like sunflowers.

One day during kindergarten, my mom packed me a muffin.  When I finished eating, I boldly approached Mrs. Hopkins and gave her the paper.  I was filled with the can’t-sit-still anticipation that six-year olds feel when something wonderful is about to happen.  My heart glowed as I watched my teacher inspect my thoughtful gift.  Her expression, though, was not one of pleasure.  Disgusted, she demanded “Why are you giving me garbage?”

I tried to explain that it wasn’t garbage–it was a sunflower!  It was a beautiful, thoughtful gift!

She threw it away.

I was crushed

II.

When I was eight, I desperately wanted a pet fish.  Around this time, it just so happened that my second grade teacher’s classroom goldfish had babies.  Mrs. Anderson told me that I could have one when they got bigger.

Determined to become a fish owner, I went home and did as much research as possible.  I inspected my dad’s old fish tanks that were in our pole barn (all broken) and scoped out the pet section of Wal-Mart for potential bowl accessories  (Castle?  I think, yes.)  My parents were hesitant, but I assured them that I would feed them every day and clean the tank once a week.  Grudgingly, they agreed.

Every day, I pestered Mrs. Anderson about the fish.  She had placed the babies in a separate bowl.  I’d gaze at their tiny bodies swimming about and constantly asked: “Are they big enough?”  “Are they big enough?”  “When can I take mine home?”

One day, Mrs. Anderson combined the fish bowls.

The mom and dad ate the babies.

To this day, I have never owned a fish.

III.

In middle school, I had to take this class called F.A.C.S.–also known as Family and Consumer Science.  Each week, you’re given a partner and assigned to a station.  At these stations, you learn practical life skills like budgeting, marketing, child care, how to properly set a table, cooking, etc.

One week, I was about thirteen at the time, I was assigned the sewing section.  The task was to make a wall hanger with pockets using the sewing machine.  At the end, we attached a wooden rod and string to our creations so we could hang them up at home.

All week, I battled that machine.  It was a long, valiant struggle, but I made the best wall hanger I possibly could.  I even decorated it with permanent markers, spelling my name in colorful block text.  I knew that my project wasn’t anything amazing–nothing like the spectacular wall-hanger that I saw Lisa making the week before.  But I had worked hard, and I was proud of my accomplishment.

At the end of the week, I presented my wall-hanger to my teacher (also named Mrs. Anderson) for my grade.  She was a kind-hearted, soft-spoken woman and I expected a “well done” for my efforts.

That’s not what happened.

Mrs. Anderson looked down at my sewing project…

And she laughed.

I haven’t touched a sewing machine since.

Liebster

A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow blogger, Holly, awarded me the Liebster Award.  It’s an award bloggers give to each other to highlight new and incoming blogs.  The award comes with a series of questions posed by the giver.  Here are the questions I’ve received and my answers to them!  (Also, Holly is an absolutely fantastic blogger and you should all check out her work.)

1. Which book/movie character do you identify with the most?

Ouch.  This one is tough.  I honestly don’t know how much I actually relate to these characters, but I definitely see pieces of myself in them.  Or, I like to think I see pieces of myself in them.  (I realize the question asks for only one character, but I’m going to give three.)

One that comes directly to mind is Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.  I was in high school the first time I read these novels and immediately felt connected with Anne’s big imagination.  She takes simple things like paths and ponds and gives them grand names, seeing all the beauty and all the potential they possess.  In her mind, all the fantastical things she dreams about–the far off places, adventures, passions–they’re all real.  Although we are very different in many ways I like to think Anne and I are, to use her phrase, kindred spirits.

Another character I identify with is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  No, I’ve never been locked up in a castle and I have never fallen in love with a hideous beast.  But, like Belle, there have definitely been times in my life where I’ve felt out-of-place, misunderstood, and unwanted.  Like Belle, there were times growing up where I would sit and dream of far away places and adventures.  Recently, I had the chance to go to those places and live out all the adventures I had spent my whole life dreaming up.  It was wonderful.  Finally, Belle and I are both massive bookworms.  Without shame, I admit to daydreaming about the Beauty and the Beast library.  It’s every English major’s dream.

A third character I see myself in is Jo March from Little Women.  Why?  Although I definitely lack Jo’s fiery temper, she too is a reader and a writer.  She moves to a big city all on her own to pursue a literary career.  I moved to a big city to pursue my literary studies.  Grown up Jo almost has the “I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” attitude, which I love and definitely, to an extent, relate to.

2.  Describe the best day of your life thus far.

Summer 2011.  I was eighteen.  My morning began pulling drip lines in the strawberry patch.  Half an hour into the miserable job, a thunderstorm struck and work was called off for the day.  So I spent the morning baking cookies.  In the afternoon, my coworkers and I went to the cities (St. Paul/Minneapolis) to see the very last Harry Potter movie ever.  It became the third movie to ever make me cry.  Afterwards, we went to a frozen yogurt place in Dinkytown.  My friend and coworker, David, had sugar for the first time in months (his family is anti-sugar, pro home-grown foods) and went absolutely off-the-walls hyper.  To say he was entertaining is a vast understatement.  I don’t know if I have ever laughed as hard as I did during the drive home.

3.  Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert?

I’m definitely an introvert.  I love people and can be very outgoing when the need arises, but being out in public too much is exhausting.  I need solitude to recharge.

4.  What were you like when you were a kid?

Oh gosh, I was annoying.  I was one of those dumb kids who had something to say about absolutely everything.  In our old home videos, I’m always in the corner narrating everything that was going on.

On the positive side, though, I always had a big imagination.  Even as a small kid I loved stories.  I would dream of far away castles and dragons that needed fighting.  I’d go out into the woods and play out these stories, often dragging my brothers or best friend, Erin, to play supporting roles.  Naturally, once I learned my letters, I became an avid reader.  You know those days where you just can’t put a book down and you read the whole thing in a day?  That was me at the tender age of eight.  My imagination and love of stories only grew as I got older, morphing me into the nerdy English major I am today.

5.  What’s one book you think everyone should read?

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.  Unabridged.

6.  What are you afraid of?

Centipedes.  They weird me out.

7.  What makes you laugh?

I love intelligent parodies that don’t take themselves seriously.  For examples, I find the movies  The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail absolutely hilarious.  My not-so-inner lit nerd adores The Reduced Shakespeare Company.  YouTube videos like “Beauty and the Beat” and “Jane Austen is my Homegirl” almost never fail to make me laugh.

8.  What’s your (realistic or unrealistic) dream job?

One of the in-character wizards at Harry Potter world.

Travel writer.  The kind that people pay to see the world and write about it.

Disney animator.

9.  Where would you like to travel?

Europe always and forever will have my heart.

If I had been asked this question six months ago, I would have told you England or France.  Now that I have been to these places, my answer would have to be Italy, Sweden, and Norway.  I am always up for another trip to Austria.  It’s not European, but I would also like to visit Israel before I die.

10.  Why did you decide to start a blog?

Six years ago, I was a young nerdy teenage girl up to my elbows in the Harry Potter fandom.  I met a girl named Cathy on a fan forum.  We became friends and she told me about blogging.  Having a corner of the internet to call my own was incredibly appealing.  So, at the age of fifteen, I began my first blog.

I’ve been writing ever since.

11.  Post the funniest meme you’ve ever seen.  (Okay, that was more of a command than a question.  Sorry.  But still post the meme, please?)

I’m weirdly fascinated with the concept of gangster Lord of the Rings.  I have no idea why.