Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Obsession of the Day: Charlie Chaplin!

     I know I'm supposed to have the weekly obsession on Fridays, but I can't wait that long! My obsession today is all things Charlie Chaplin. You heard of him?

(all photos from Google :)

     Ever since my brother recommended the 1992 film Chaplin, starring (genius) Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, I've been extremely interested and mystified by one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. Watching silent films may seem like a drag, but the minute watched his movies I was hooked. You can find any of Chaplin's films on YouTube in seconds flat, and trust me, they are true art. He definitely paid great attention to his work; every detail is full of weight, emotion, and humor. My favorites so far are The Kid (1921) and Modern Times (1936). There's something about these films that is just so magical; they engage the mind, imagination, and emotions in ways that modern movies rarely do. Charlie Chaplin's work bursts with comic genius one minute, heartbreaking weight the next. He was truly gifted. 
     The aforementioned biopic Chaplin shows how his life affected his work and vice versa. The movie is a definite favorite of mine, except for a few very not so favorite, sketchy scenes that are easily skipped. Otherwise it's a haunting, touching story of a haunting, touching man. 

     My other related obsession is the song "Smile". Below is a video of Josh Groban singing it (the song + the singer = perfection :o). Charlie Chaplin wrote the melody to "Smile" (it is part of the soundtrack in Modern Times), but the lyrics weren't added until about twenty years later. If you've watched the movie Chaplin or know anything about his life, the song is poignantly perfect. 

     So that's it for my obsession! I hope it becomes yours too, because honestly, who doesn't want to be obsessed with silent films? Crazy people, that's who. :) Have a splendid day! And don't forget to SMILE! :)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reflections of a Stranger in Paradise

     Another short season of my life has begun: the break season. I finished this past semester with a few flying colors and a few not-so-flying colors, but I count survival as the most important thing. :o) And now for six weeks I am class and homework free! Whew!

     I've been thinking a lot about life in general. So if I ramble on, bear with me. :) I hate when life speeds on by. I hate when I go from one day to the next just going through the motions of what I have to do: get up, get dressed, drive, work, eat, drive, sleep, drive, check Facebook. I hate not being able to sit down and just think. I'm the kind of person who has to process what's going on. I can't fly from one thing to the next, day by day by day. When I do, I feel like big chunks of my life are missing. Does anyone else feel that way? So that's why this post is a bit more serious and reflective, if you were wondering. I need a breather :)

     Christmas is nine days away, but it doesn't feel like it at all. There's no snow! Pennsylvania weather is weird :o) I took this photo last week, and believe me, it's an unusual sight for a PA December. There's actually sunshine!

     The coming holiday is another reason for my desire to process my thoughts. I hate how Christmas comes and goes in a cacophony of songs, colors, and lights, but the messages it stands for never stick. It's on to the next thing. Our world is funny that way, always on to the next thing. 

     Did you ever realize how much attention the culture pays to Christmas (the holiday where you get things), while completely blowing over Thanksgiving (the holiday where you're thankful for things)? And Christmas was never supposed to be about getting at all. It represents God giving us a great and precious gift. But instead we turn it into the holiday that celebrates materialism. I think that every holiday is meant to be an opportunity for thanks. Too bad society doesn't see it that way. Too bad I don't always see it that way.

     So I guess that my ultimate wish is that I never lose touch with myself and who I need to be. It's so easy to get caught up in how the world thinks things should be - Christmas is an excellent example. I want to always be refusing the identity that the world may give me. I want to instead have the identity I was meant to have - the identity God planned for me to have. The title of this blog is symbolic, I suppose. I'm just a stranger in a beautiful created paradise, trying to figure life out a day at a time. I don't have all the answers, but I know Someone who does :)

     So sorry if this post was rambly and confusing. It's just what's been on my mind. I've decided to be more transparent, even if no one reads or cares. Frankness never hurt anyone; pretension never helped anyone. 

     So have a splendid day and a blessed week! I pray that Christmas doesn't blow over you in an overwhelming commercialized wave, but that you have a chance to stop, savor, and enjoy every taste of it. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Obsession of the Week: Polyvore!

     Sorry I didn't post this yesterday; my obsession yesterday was the fact that my sweetheart decided to pay me a surprise visit back from school! What a merry early Christmas present! :D

     My obsession of the week, however, has been something quite different: Polyvore! I had heard of it before, here and there, but once I signed up there was no going back! It's so sweet! It makes it so easy and fun to put together inspiration for different outfits or events. Here is a peek at some of my creations:

"Coral and Cream"

"Roaring 20s"

"Tea and Marmalade"

Have you tried Polyvore? What do you think? Let me know! I'd love to follow you and explore all the beautiful prettiness that you've created! Follow me (Han-Hanneli) here.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Obsession of the Week: Stitchery

     Holy Cow, it's Friday already? It was just Friday yesterday!

     So my obsession this week has been knitting and crocheting; some friends helped rekindle my joy in stitchery. I'm making some knitted/crocheted goods as Christmas presents, and despite this being the last week of classes (and the week before finals), I'm making quite a bit of progress!

     For example, I finished this beret in 5 days (probably the shortest amount of time it's ever taken me to finish anything. Ever.)

     I've also recently discovered this new yarn called "Sashay", which is a wide pre-woven yarn that yields sumptuous ruffly scarves. It's a little tricky to knit with at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's so fun!

So that's it for my weekly obsession! What are yours? Have you decided to handcraft anything this Christmas season? Have you tried out the Sashay yarn? Let me know!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Pinterest Christmas Crafties: Episode 1

I am so proud of myself! I actually got around to trying out a Pinterest idea, and it worked! This is joyous news indeed :)

This was the inspiration I've showed you before. And this:

...was my rendition. Read on to see how it's done! (sorry about the iffy pictures; I was using my phone and had bad lighting :o)

Step 1: I clicked on the Pinterest photo, which brought me to this blog. I downloaded the letters and printed them off.

Step 2: I took the old book I showed you earlier:

It was hard to bring myself to rip pages out of this. I love old books. The only thing that let me do it was the fact that this book is so darn boring. I know it's a classic and all, but it's really, really, boring. Otherwise I could've never brought myself to use such a beautiful old book. I (carefully, since the elderly thing is quite frail) ripped out nine pages.

Step 3: Punch two holes in the top. I would suggest using a large hole punch or maybe making several punches to make the holes bigger (as I had to do later), because I eventually threaded ribbon through the holes, and the frail paper ripped in places.

Step 4: Make triangular cuts on the bottom of each page to give it a banner look.

Step 5: Cut out the black letters. It's important to be very careful and cut them out nearly perfectly; this will ensure that the project looks finished and pretty-like :)

Step 6: Paste the letters onto the book pages. Don't they look lovely??

Step 7: I used gold organza ribbon to thread through the letters, but you could use satin ribbon or even fabric! Anything vintage and Christmas-ey :o)

And yer done!

This is a super simple project that yields beautiful results. There's such a satisfaction in something looking decent the first time you make it!! This is a rarity for little old OCD me, so I'm enjoying it!! :o)


Sunday, December 2, 2012


As far as weekends go, this one was pretty productive. And to a procrastinator (such as myself), any unexpected productivity is cause for rejoicing!

I got to wash my car after an embarrassing amount of time since it was last washed, and I got to try out an idea I found on Pinterest. Apparently washing headlights with toothpaste clears hazy lights. Well I tried it, and:
Do you see a difference? Please tell me you do!
The results were a bit disappointing, but the difference was there... just easier to see in person :o) I think if I had left the paste on for an hour or so, the results would have been much more dramatic. Pinterest conveniently left that out :)

I also revived my fervor for crocheting after getting a cute beret pattern from a friend. I think I'll make a couple for Christmas presents; pictures to come :)

And remember this?

Well, I got to recreate it today!!! So exciting! I'll post pictures of the process tomorrow or Tuesday. It was super easy and super fun! I've discovered that I love working with old books... the possibilities are endless!

Hope your weekend was splendid! Have a great week!