Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday night film selection: Fracture

Continuing with my guilty pleasure "strictly for entertainment films" here's another fascinating genre: thriller / courtroom drama. I find American courtroom drama shows fascinating. Be it a film or TV series I devour them all. I'm willing to turn a semi blind eye to legal inconsistencies as long as they are sparse and at least plausible.
I'm also a huge fan of anything John Grisham ever wrote. Perfect summer seaside literature.

Fracture fits into the category of thriller / courtroom drama perfectly. The entire story is comfortably within the specified parameter. What gives it the edge over other similar films is the cast.
I've been doing my film reviews for a couple of months now and those of you who read them are well aware by now that the cast and the story feature prominently in what in my opinion separates a movie from good to blah.

As is so often the case in these suspense films of cat and mouse game, the two characters juxtaposed are an older man (usually the bad guy) and a cocky newcomer. The downside being the bad guy is usually played by a charismatic old school actor and no matter how sexy or cute the young actor is he's vastly out of his depth.
Off the top of my head, Seven is a typical example. I mean honesty Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, though both play detectives, Brad Pitt sort of fades out. Another one is Sleuth with Michael Caine and Jude Law.

In this case Ryan Gosling goes up against Anthony Hopkins, Mr. charismatic incarnate and more than holds his own. And what could easily turn into another boring justice prevails lecture turns into a genuinely exciting setting of suspense, mind games and tongue in cheek innuendos.

And one can hardly wait for the other actors to clear the screen and have the two characters go at it again for another round.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The joy of being owned by a cat

I use the term deliberately. Moral issues aside (because pet ownership is something very controversial in my opinion) one can never truly own a cat. They are supreme nonconformists. They shape their environment to fit their standards and needs not vice versa.

But they are also loving and caring and one you gain a cat's affection it can be a miraculous thing. One must simply have the patience.

Rufus is now about 7 years old and his age is slowly starting to show. He's more set in his ways and sticking to daily routine has become paramount to him.
 He's endured 3 relocations. In total that's 4 different apartments in the span of 6 years and the last one took quite a toll on his overall condition.

Due to stress and anxiety he started chewing his fur and it took a good couple of months to realize the problem was psychological. The photos in this post are very indicative of what we were dealing with.

Up to that point I had only vaguely heard or read about feline pheromone treatment and discarded it as a bunch of nonsense designed to pick money out of consumers' pockets...
But desperate circumstances call for drastic measures and Mr. C and me decided to get the darn Feliway and try it out. And to my amazement it truly worked!

Not only did Rufus stop chewing his fur, he's entire disposition has improved dramatically. He's more calm, less needy and even playful. His fur has started growing back and the patches of exposed skin are now almost gone.

I'd like to thank everyone who was so kind to leave a comment back in August. I really needed some perspective on this problem and reading your advice has helped me tremendously.
At that time I was so desperate I actually gave Rufi a lampshade collar to physically prevent the chewing. After reading your feedback I instantly knew that was not the solution, it was only making him more miserable. I removed the collar that very same day and Mr. C actually went to town to get some pheromones.
We're now on third refill and have no intention of cutting him off the happy drug just yet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Road trip: Koper, July 2011

As we enter autumn I find myself tragically en arriere with my summer dues. As is so often the case, life gets in the way ;-) August has been chaotic to say the least and October is breathing down my neck.

And there's still so many things I promised to post about: my road trips, sewing projects as well as current things. I'm running out of time and days of the week... But I suppose it's better to have an abundance of concrete things to write about rather than none and then proceed to bore my readers with how I cleaned out the kitty litter or ironed a pile of clothes today.

These photos were taken way back in July when Mr. C and me hopped to Koper for a day. Koper used to be a heavy industrial city on account of being Slovenia's main (and only) international port.

Things have changed dramatically in the last 7 years. Due to some ingenious architectural and landscape changes Koper is a very clean modern even stylish coastal town. And my favourite.

The mix of old and traditional architecture blends so easily with some ultra modern components like these statues next to the public beach

and parks.

this fellow is Icarus, from Greek mythology

portal detail
And then just some very traditional architecture of stone buildings and granite tiled pavement.

But most of all Koper is very clean, the pedestrian zones have wide pavements giving it a very spacious feel. Also the coffee and ice cream are quite good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bead soup giveaway winners and other news

First and foremost: A HUGE THANKS to everyone who took the time to visit and comment on my blog soup creations. It was just an amazing experience to be able to participate and meet new people.

Rufus says thanks!

As promised, I chose two random winners of the bead soup giveaway using Random numbers generator. And the winner of necklace is Pam Brisse from The blue between.
The earrings go to Kim Hora from Kimmykats.

And now for my big news: I finally gathered the courage and opened my own Etsy store!
Lili and Flor has been long in the making. It's a collaboration store where Mr. C and me are going to sell our unique handmade jewellery and small accessories. This is new and scary and exciting, all at the same time.

I've already added a few items but I will continue to add more as I take pictures of my jewellery. Do check it out and let me know what you think about it.
Of course no grand ;-P store opening is complete without a promotional discount. So I'm offering a 10% discount on all purchases made from today until 3 weeks from today 17th October. Just type this promotion code at checkout to qualify: rufuslovesetsy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Precious things/9 Luxury is expensive?

People have alternatively called me a snob, a poseur even elitist because of my penchant for luxury items. Probably because I have discovered at quite a young age the enticing world of high end products and started building my wardrobe based on classic, durable designer items.
It has been interesting to watch how these loud proclamations of my purportedly extravagant behaviour turned into a whisper as years went by. And I'm still wearing the same pair of shoes.
I've worn my old clutch into rags. It was my constant companion for 4 years.

And my coat, oh my darling coat! Purchased with money given to me by my mum has caused such a furore I was on the brink of tears on more than one occasion.
Nowadays when I wear it, though still good as new it's old news to the people that once scorned me. But it remains the most precious thing in my wardrobe. Call me a sentimental fool, but I consider it a dear friend.

Some people talk to their plants. I talk to my clothes. Certifiable? Probably.

I'd really like to hear what was the first expensive item you ever purchased. It needn't be clothes. Something that  maybe marked a  transition in your life. A new beginning?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday night film selection: V for vendetta

There are some films that need to be seen the moment they air because they represent a reaction to some current events. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the ensuing violent retaliations, this film was very much au courrant. Addressing the complex issue of terrorism as a strategy of fighting an oppressing totalitarian regime.
And before everyone comes down on me like a ton of brick let me just say flat out that I absolutely oppose terrorism. I believe the end never justifies the means.

I also believe in Newton's third law of motion:
To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction; or, the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.
Which means that the more forcefully you fight something all the more violent reaction you can expect. Leading into a downward spiral of  destruction and decay.

But in any proclaimed liberal and democratic society the phenomenon of terrorism is always a sign that there is something very wrong with its government. And that's at the core of this story.

Though gory and with more than a fair share of action sequences, well worth watching.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Checking off my (age) box

Last Saturday I celebrated my 30th birthday. Such a nice round figure was as good excuse as any to get all dressed up and treat a few of my friends to a fancy slow food dining experience.

In one of those great ironies in life, I ended up wearing things that have been in my closet for years, some even a decade. Despite the fact that I've recently been on probably the biggest shopping spree extravaganza of my life.

the cuff was a Christmas gift from Mr. C, I made the earrings myself

Turning 30...what can I say? Not really scary or life altering either. The changes in perception have crept along, slowly over the course of time, almost imperceptible.
I am now more comfortable in my own skin, not only embracing my quirks but proudly putting them on display. Still having a hard time dealing with criticism. I think I'll always have thin skin.

Ljubljana Castle

Which got me thinking on personality traits and how my generation has always been told how unique and extraordinary we are. One of a kind each and every one of us. Which is true. To a point.

Restaurant inside the castle courtyard

And though I may take pleasure in how delightfully eccentric I am with my penchant for wearing pink or my sometimes unusual interests such as collecting tin cans. I do in the end I invariably fall into one of the many categories: daughter, girlfriend, friend, jewellery maker, fashion addict,...making me quite ordinary.


And sometimes to be seen through the eyes of one's friends carries with it a great revelation.

I received two brooches and they are both spot on. I cannot emphasize this enough, because buying jewellery for me is truly difficult because I have a very distinct taste.
It was a humbling experience to see just how well my friends actually know me and to what lengths they went to find the perfect gifts.

silver dragonfly brooch that can also be worn as a pendant

Partially by design and partially by chance, I've become a bonified jewellery collector.
Just another category.

a vintage silver brooch

Thanks again for the unforgettable Saturday :-)

Today I covet...




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's just a label afterall

Today's post was prompted by a comment I've read on one of the blogs I follow, where the commenter said she had never heard of a brand I adore to a point of worship. The brand in question is Sportmax, a love child of Max Mara.
This comment really got me thinking on the whole consumer culture and brand worship. While I certainly don't deny I love brands, I have to question whether I love them because of the quality of craftsmanship or the inovative design that (should) justify the price...or is it just the label and the elitism it brings?

And thereafter came a flurry of questions. Do I define myself through things? Do I wear certain brands because I want to identify with their philosophy? It's inescapable that today every brand on the market positions itself with a quasi story behind the brand, the philosophy or whatever. All this serves one purpose only: to attract a certain profile of customers and tie them to the product, which is the label of course.
And it only gets uglier. Certain fashion giants luring us in with the promise of Eco friendly, labour ethical and other BS. A friend of mine has dubbed it "the blind Tibetan nuns product" strategy.
In the end a label is just a label. I prefer high end brands because the clothes fit better, the materials and the construction are infinitely superior to mass produced fashion, keenly aware that they do charge for the label and that all that money doesn't always go to preserving the environment or to the underprivileged workers from Third World countries.

And a final word about the knit top in the pictures. It's a raglan sleeve Sportmax polo knit that is so ingeniously useless, it's bourgeois. A fine cashmere/silk knit that demands such ridiculous weather conditions, I get to wear it once a year if I'm lucky. Yesterday was one such day with the temperatures plummeting for more than 20 degrees from warm and sunny 30 degrees Celsius to a mere 10 with constant downpour.

Today promises to be sunny. I'm packing the top away.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead soup reveal day and giveaway

Ta-da! The big reveal day is here. The top photo features all the items I've created with the bead soup my wonderful soup partner Eleanor Snare sent me. If you wish to see what she sent me back in August click here.
For a list of all the participants go to Lori's blog Pretty Things.

Eleanor was extremely generous and sent me lots of beads. I was so excited I started designing jewellery the day I received my beads. I made these earrings that same evening and I've worn them a couple of times already. I rarely keep the pieces I make, but I instantly fell in love with these!

Next on the list were the antique gold clasp and the bronze chain. My first attempts of utilizing them were a big fail. I meant to use the chain and one of the charm pendants but I couldn't make it work. As is often the case, it was by pure accident that the necklace came together.

I've set aside the green pearls, because I had no idea how to use them. All I knew is that I wanted a simple design that would best showcase these beautiful pearls. In the end I made a simple necklace where the clasp can be worn at the back of the neck or in the front in which case it assumes the role of a pendant.

The bracelet is another curious mix of planning and chance. The beads were deliberately set aside and I knew I wanted to make a bracelet using the adorable blue ceramic piece as the focal.

In the end I added a helix faceted crystal from my own stash to make the bracelet long enough. I really like the idea of deliberate asymmetry with one rogue bead ;-)

I've left the focals Eleanor sent till last. Mostly because I'm not used to working with such large pendants. So I really wanted to give it time to come up with a design that will best show the focals in all their splendor.

 The tubular beaded bead Eleanor made herself was so stunning I knew immediately I was going to use as a stand alone pendant on a long chain in the style of Joan Holloway from Mad Men. If you haven't already, click here to see what I mean. It's a link to the August post where I show my bead soup.

The biggest challenge was how to anchor the focal. The hole was to big for a head pin and I deliberately didn't want to use any findings to secure the head pin.
 In the end I used silver wire, rolled it up to create a flat swirl, passed it through the focal and secured it with an ordinary wire wrap. Simple and unobtrusive. I really wanted the focal to float from the chain. Minimal hardware visible.

The large iridescent ceramic bead screamed opulence and exuberance to me. I had an idea of making a sumptuous over the top necklace. I went through my stash and dug out all the beads that corresponded to the given colour scheme.

Hours and hours...and hours later this chunky necklace was born.

I love how all the beads of different shapes and sizes collided into this one mass of sparkly beauty.

This necklace is a celebration of beads and jewellery designing :-)

With some green crystals left from my own stash I quickly made another pair of earrings. Though technically not a bead soup item because the components all come from my own supply, they were inspired by the colour scheme of the soup and are part of the bead soup creative process.

This was my first bead soup party and it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. When I enlisted as a participant I had no idea what to expect and hadn't really spent any time pondering what if I don't like the beads or what if I get stuck creatively.

What I have learned is the following:
  1. colour coordination: I have worked with all the colours Eleanor sent me before but never paired together. In the future I'll try to experiment more with mixing different colours together.
  2. large focals: Definitely something new and I was a bit apprehensive at first. The necklaces featuring the focals turned out so incredibly well it was an instant boost to my confidence.
  3. unusual clasps: I always preferred ordinary toggles or hook and eye closures. I didn't want the clasp to distract from the jewellery design. Using the clasp Eleanor sent was great fun but proved to be the most difficult thing. Definitely something I will have to work on in the future.
 And now the giveaway. I'm giving away the necklace featuring the green freshwater pearls and the clasp from the bead soup and the creole earrings with green crystals to two readers. All you have to do is leave a comment  and leave a valid e-mail address or link it to your profile. I will choose two random readers on Monday 26th September.