Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review of Xyron/Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit

My rating: 2/5 stars

This adhesive kit contains six different adhesives by Xyron, and are labeled as "acid free" and "non toxic". The kit comes housed in a pretty, pale pink box with the Teresa Collins logo in black on the front. It is made of sturdy cardboard, is about 7" x 7" and 2" deep, and stays closed with a strong magnetic flap. It contains individual compartments for each piece, but these are just paper inserts and can be removed so that the box can be reused.

The kit contains:

-189 adhesive foam squares. These are 1/4 inch thick, which is frankly too thick for scrapbook use and for most card-making. I cannot fathom why so many were included.

-1 adhesive eraser. I have not used this, so I don't know if it works. There are no instructions included for how best to use it, but I assume it is supposed to be used like a regular eraser, to remove adhesive from paper.

-20 feet of transparent tape, in a sturdy, pink, plastic tape runner. An average roll of transparent tape contains around 37 feet, so I don't expect this would last very long. It is referred to as "disposable", so I am assuming that tape refills are not available.

-29 feet of double-sided tape in a heavy paper dispenser with a metal serrated cutter. Again, when compared to other brands of double sided tape (which contain around 33 feet), I don't expect that this tape would last long for the average paper-crafter.

-10 feet of one-inch sticker tape in a sturdy, pink, plastic container with a metal serrated cutter. This, too, has no directions for use. It is also referred to as "disposable", so again, I assume no refills are available.

-.75 oz bottle of clear-hold adhesive for embellishments. This is half the size of other brands of embellishment glue. I have not used it yet, so I cannot attest to it's hold.

Bottom line: The presentation of the product, in the lovely pink box, is the kit's best feature. At the current price of $25 for this set, it is extremely overpriced (even considering the addition of the reusable box) for the small amount of product it contains.

I received this product from the Amazon Vine program in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looking Back

This past week was spent fighting migraines, so it wasn't extremely eventful.  I did make a buttermilk pie which turned out wonderful, and some cream cheese mints that weren't so great (sort of like eating icing).  I have been cooking so much lately; I am astounded at myself!

I made two bird feeders, to replace the ones that had finally worn out after over a year.  I use plastic gallon water jugs, and just cut out an opening.  (Make sure to leave a good sized lip on the bottom to keep the seeds from spilling out.)  The birds have no trouble using them, and while they might not be the most stylish feeders on the block, I like knowing I've recycled a jug to make them.  This time I added a thin branch through it, just in case a bird would like a perch.  I've not noticed them using it, but it is kind of cute.
There was a fantastic concert held at my church on Thursday night.  It consisted of our local symphony's chamber orchestra and maestro, two retired opera singers, two opera students, a professor of music on the organ, our local chamber choir and my church's parish choir.  The acoustics in my church are fantastic, and the concert was breathtaking.  They performed Haydn's Theresienmesse in B flat and it was so amazing that I was in tears at several points. Mom and I had the best seats, I think, at the rail of the right hand balcony.   Such a lovely evening!   

Photo borrowed from my church's web page.
In more homey news. . . St. John is getting so long!  He still looks like a baby in the face, but boy is he long!

I don't particularly have any plans for this week, as I am still having migraine trouble.  I just plan to keep the house clean, keep us both fed and cross stitch.

I am thankful for:
  • pumpkin pie spice kisses
  • autumn even if it autumn allergies do give me migraines
  • Haydn 
  • it seems we've found a new vet
  • homemade biscuits
  • audio books

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Classics Club: "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Truman Capote

I first read "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in high school, after I saw and fell in love with the movie.  I found the novella a sad disappointment, as it wasn't like the movie, so promptly pushed it out of my mind.

As an adult, I wasn't so impressed with the movie--the horrible portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in particular and pretty much everything else in general--so I began to think maybe I needed to reread the novella and see what Capote really intended.

I'll confess, I'm just as unimpressed as I was some twenty years ago, though not for the same reasons.

Louise Brooks

Frankly, very little.

I did think that Holly looked (not at all like Audrey Hepburn, but) like a blonde Louise Brooks, with even fuller lips.  The description of her resembled Hepburn in no way whatsoever; I can't imagine why she was cast.  Having set it in the present day when they filmed it, the clothing and manners were all wrong in the movie as well; I was glad that I had the knowledge to be able to imagine the right clothing, hair styles and props that were suitable for the story.

I also thought what an unappealing character Holly was.  I had no sympathy for or connection with her at all, nor did I find the plot particularly interesting.

Capote's prose was fine, but not stellar, certainly not captivating enough to make this (to my mind) a classic.

With the exception of the final line, which generated a small bit of emotion due to Capote's obvious attempts to twang the heartstrings, I was unmoved.  Again, I'll say that neither plot nor characters interested me enough to have any feelings for them.

I'm sure Capote had a message or an impression he wanted left with the reader, but I was unable to find it.  I was not a good match for this book.  

To show just how unmemorable "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was to me, I will mention that I forgot it even existed in my literary world.  It was on my list for the Classics Club Spin, and it's number was the one that was spun.  I read it in mid-to-late September, but was so unmoved by it that I didn't add it to my list of books read and didn't think of writing up the notes until now.

My explanation of the Classics Club can be found here
and the Classics Club itself can be found here.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

One Year Later. . .

It's hard to believe, but St. John has been with us a full year!

My  parents' neighbor saw someone dumping out St. John and his sister and brought them home.  They kept Emma and we took St. John.

He was maybe three weeks old,  full of parasites (inside and out!) and still needed milk.  He was so hyperactive that we had to convert our spare room into a kitty nursery and put him in with the door closed so he would go to sleep.

I was seriously battling my personal demons when we first got him, and his activity and the level of care he required nearly drove me over the edge.  I had never had a kitten, and just didn't think I could handle keeping him, didn't think he'd ever grow out of his wildness.

As he matured, and I healed, he has become the most loving--though still active--mama's boy I've ever seen.

I never thought I'd love a cat more than I love our Lizzie, but. .. I'll admit it.  St. John has totally stolen my heart.  There will be no other cats after him!

Looking Back

I started my week off by leaving my phone on top of the car.  This was the result:

Even though it would turn on, I couldn't use it because it was a touch screen.  I was SO mad at myself!  I picked an inexpensive one this time.

There was construction outside our home this week, and I think it was the beginnings of tapping us into the city water.  I am so looking forward to having this finished. 

The best news of the week: I won a drawing for $115 to PayPal!  My husband is adamant that it is to be used only for me.  I see visions of books and crafting items!

  • I did quite a bit of cooking.  I am becoming more adept and less nervous; I even think about wanting to cook, which is totally new.  
  • I used this recipe to make the best gluten free biscuits I have eaten.  They tasted like I remember biscuits tasting, though not as fluffy.  I'll be having them again soon!
  • Cleaned the bathroom; the tub is the bane of my existence, but I found a new foam handled scrub brush that I like and that doesn't hurt my hand which made it so much easier.  Sadly, I threw away the packaging and can't find it online no matter what I Google.  If I ever find out, I'll write a post in it's praise.
  • Finished arranging the dining room/pantry combo.  It still needs a few things done to it, but I'm not ashamed of it now.
  • I brought home a new hermit crab to join our colony.
  • I have taken a photo every day this week, of which I am proud.  I'm trying to get back to daily photos as I find it so enjoyable and life-giving.
  • recycled an old flannel shirt into strips to dry dishes on
  • I reinstalled my favorite game of all time, Zoo Tycoon, and have spent many hours playing it.  My husband bought it for my Christmas gift our first year together, and for the past twelve years I have played it for at least a month each year.  I hated the sequel, but this one has stood the test of time!
  • Completed the first week and second weeks of the Autumn Sampler.

I still feel like I'm at a standstill in most of my organizing and rearranging projects.  I'll get my husband's help with the heavy things when he takes off next month and hopefully that will get me over this hump.

Meanwhile, plans for next week include:
  • Still need to clean out the tiny closet in the "closet room" and see if I can make it usable, but it needs the door taken off first.  
  • still need to measure and plan out what will be needed for the rest of my craft supply shelves
  • Still need to reorganize the two kitchen cabinets that are left; this isn't urgent but I'll be glad to have it done.
  • Begin to sort out the junk drawer, tool drawer and miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen.  Notice I said "begin". I expect it will be a chore!
  • write up my thoughts on Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Maltese Falcon
  • It has stayed way too hot, despite being autumn, so my outside activities have been limited.  If the weather is cooler this coming week, I'd like to get outside and mow and maybe trim some branches.
  • continue working on the Autumn Sampler

I am thankful for:
  • unexpected gifts
  • family
  • leaves changing color
  • Bach
  • gluten free biscuits and gravy

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Book List

Books Read:

  1. In Times Like These (1968) by Emilie Loring
    As I mentioned a month or so ago, I bought a huge box of Loring novels out of nostalgia.  I loved them as an early teen. The first one I read, Keepers of the Faith (1944), was simply terrible.  Not so much the plot (which was typical Loring), but the writing--it was DREADFUL.  This one was more what I remembered her novels to be like; she's no Nabokov, but she (generally) writes a readable, pleasant, if predictable, fluff novel.
  2. The Gatehouse Mystery (1951) by Julie Campbell
    As I've mentioned earlier, I'm rereading this series; it was my favorite as a child and I recently purchased a complete set.  I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying them, even as an adult.  
  3. The Frightened Wife and other murder stories (1953) by Mary Roberts Rinehart
    Some of these stories were particularly good, others just good.  I enjoy sensationalism, and Rinehart did it well.
  4. Great Black Kanba (1944) by Constance and Gwenyth Little
    Another gem by the Little sisters, and my favorite so far.  I love the humor in their books, and the mysteries are generally well-plotted.  Excellent reading!
  5. The Best Man (1914) by Grace Livingston Hill
    A story typical of it's time with a strong hero and delicate heroine, and a gentle and improbable plot.  Hill's novels are part of my nostalgic, return-to-childhood reading, as they were a favorite in my early teens.  
  6. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958; novella) by Truman Capote
    Will write up my thoughts soon, but can say I was disappointed.

Audio Books:
  1. Postern of Fate (1973) by Agatha Christie
    This is the final Tommy and Tuppence novel, as well as the last book Christie penned.  For the first time, I was truly disappointed by one of her mysteries.  It was often repetitive and convoluted and seemed to contradict information about the Beresford's given in earlier novels.  On top of that, Hugh Fraser (my all time favorite audiobook reader) did a barely passable job.  It was often hard to tell who was speaking, which is so unlike his usual talent that I was shocked.
  2. The Two Destinies (1876) by Wilkie Collins
    I am not ashamed to admit that I adore the novels of Wilkie Collins.  While I've yet to become a fan of Dickens (I'll be willing to give him yet another try later in this decade of my life), the sensational (as a genre, not just an adjective) fiction of Collins totally immerses me.  Filled with the supernatural, the inexplicable, with thwarted love, and thoroughly Victorian heroines, this one is typical of his work and I loved every minute of it.  (Samuel West did a sterling job reading it, too.) 
  3. The Colour of Magic (1983) by Terry Pratchett
  4. The Light Fantastic (1986) by Terry Pratchett
    I'm rereading this favorite series through audio book.  The first two are, as fans know, not a true example of his talent, but they are good background for the series and still funny as all get-out (whatever that means).
  5. Murder is Easy (1939) by Agatha Christie
    Despite having read this before, and being fairly certain of the identity of the murderer, I still found myself wavering under the clues.
  6. The Girl in Blue (1970) by P.G. Wodehouse
    A non-Jeeves novel that was light and fun; typical Wodehouse.
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    I think that Doyle is at his best writing short stories, at least as far as Holmes is concerned. 
  8. Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh
    I can not express how much I love this book.  I have read it numerous times; it's one of my top five favorites,.  This isn't typical of his other works (which I still enjoy) but is much more introspective and exquisite.  If you've not read it, you should. 
  9. Equal Rites (1987) by Terry Pratchett
    The Discworld evaluates gender equality and Granny Weatherwax is introduced; love this one!
  10. The Hidden Staircase (1930) by Caroline Keene
    I continue my Nancy Drew refresher course. . .  It's no Christie, but it kept me entertained.
  11. Mort (1987) by Terry Pratchett
    Another reread of the Discworld series--my literary comfort food.  Death takes on an apprentice but, naturally, things don't work out quite the way either planned.
  12. Past Tense (2010) by Catherine Aird
    She writes with a style similar to P.D. James, only a little more on the cozy side.  I had the solution figured out early on, but it was interesting to see the story evolve.
  13. The Case of Jennie Brice (1913) by Mary Roberts Rinehart
    It started off with the solution obvious, and yet took enough twists and turns to make it an interesting tale.
  14. The Seven Dials Mystery (1929) by Agatha Christie
    I'm not usually a fan of international conspiracies, but was pleasantly surprised by both an engaging plot and an unexpected ending.