Thursday, July 28, 2011

For Norway

Today's post is dedicated to the memory of the youth murdered in Utoya, Norway on Friday.

It was a terrible tragedy and I grieve for all of the families and friends of the victims, as well as the people of Norway.

If you haven't heard the details, I recommend this story about a mother and daughter who exchanged text messages while the daughter was trapped on the island. Very gripping and really personalizes the terror and sadness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writer's Groups, Dice and Leprechauns

If you're a writer, I highly encourage you to join some kind of writer's group.

Maybe it's a critique group, maybe it's a support group, maybe it's a practice group, maybe it's just a group of people who like to write who go and see movies together every second tuesday.

Whatever they do, they're your community and nowhere else will you find people who are able to truly understand the solitary, frustrating, but intensely passionate life of a writer.

The Writer's Group that I've been a part of has gone through many evolutions over the years. The current incarnation really is almost nothing like what we started out as... but hey, now we actually write!

I managed to get to a gathering last night. We met at a library (which is a very writerly place to meet, I highly recommend libraries) and because half the group was late, those of us who arrived early decided to critique each other's work. (I will send you those notes tonight Katie, I promise!)

When the other part of the group arrived, they produced a pack of Rory's Story Cubes and divided up the dice, with each of us getting two symbols to jumpstart our writing for the next five minutes. Then we passed our page to the next person, took another person's story, rolled the dice again, and moved their story along with the help of the new symbols.

The point of the exercise wasn't to produce award winning stories, but rather to get us in a writing mode. And you know what? It actually worked. Furthermore a couple of the stories actually were fairly decent. I'd really like to know more about the fountain that could tell the future, the turtle who sued an airline because they wouldn't let him fly, and the Leprechaun Defense Division.

Plus, I now am psyched up about playing with words and want to get back to work on one or the other of my novels...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doctor Who Season 6 --- Part TWO! What's coming?

It's a long story how I never got around to posting my review of the final spring episode... mostly I just got busy with very important stuff.

Short review? I absolutely positively ADORED it. And the revelation of who River actually IS was, in my mind, perfect.

And I am so ready to see what happens next! The trailer came out this weekend, and I highly recommend that you take a look at it!

However if you want something that you can actually study every single pixel... enjoy the picture above!

First of all, I have to say I adore the Doctor's coat. It looks like something he picks up in WWII and I think it's GREAT! I hope he keeps it... (Captain Jack would approve, I'm sure! :) )

Secondly, I love River's costume. I know we saw it before, but seeing it in full length glory... it's great. I totally want to make and cosplay it at some point. I've been wanting to do her for awhile but there hasn't been one of her costumes that I've really adored... well, now I've found it. It's almost steampunk in design which only makes it that much better.

And... pyramid. In everything we've heard about the upcoming series, I've seen NOTHING about pyramids. So... what is going on with THAT?

Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Have you read Weregeek?

Weregeek is one of my top favorite webcomics. It follows the lives of five young adults who are brought together by a love of all things geeky. Humor ensues as they engage in various RPGs and LARPs, discuss numerous fandoms (Star Wars and X-Men make lots of appearances and there is plenty of gentle Twilight bashing), eat sushi and deal with some interesting love triangles that may or may not be requited.

But little do they know that they are being tracked by the mysterious Hunters who will do anything in their power to wipe out every last shred of geekiness. The young people will have to summon their inner weregeek in order to have enough strength to survive...

It's awesome. It's hilarious. It's freakily true and a wonderful celebration of geek culture that isn't afraid to poke a little fun at itself along the way.

Best of all it updates FIVE DAYS A WEEK, so you can find fresh installments Monday-Thursday, and a behind the scenes sketch on Friday!

You'll want to start at the beginning, and do hang with it because the first few panels might throw you... trust me, it all makes sense before long and you'll be glad you stuck with it.

Where can you find it? Go to!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Laundry Day -- a look back in time

It's interesting how, for all the technology we have, there are still some things we do the old fashioned way. Take, for example, washing formal dresses, delicate knits, and some items of ladies underwear. You can't throw these things in the washing machine. So what do you do?

Well, if you're rich, you take them to the dry cleaners. If you're poor (or worried about the chemicals in dry cleaning), you wash them by hand.

Now that's not a big deal when you have a skirt or two and a fancy top. But me? I've got a closet full of costumes, embellished clothing, chunky sweaters, formal dresses and more --- none of which can be put in the machine. That means that every month or so (when I'm keeping up on laundry, that is), I have to turn the bathroom into a washroom. The sink isn't nearly big enough to accommodate anything, so instead I fill up the tub. And boy, when you're washing a Renaissance skirt made of brocade that clothing can get heavy!

Our foremothers were a lot tougher than us, because they did ALL their clothing by hand every. single. week.

Except in Renaissance days they didn't wash brocade skirts often and just wore lots of undergarments to keep body odor away from fancy fabrics. Yuck. I think I'll deal with the handwashing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How many boxes does it take to pack up a room?

A lot. And I don't have enough. Seriously, I've been packing up my books, clothes, kitchen stuff, etc, and I've already got at least a dozen boxes filled and I'm only about half done. I'm a little obsessed with packing, no?

Moving day is less than two weeks away! I am super excited and can't wait to get on campus and start this next phase of my life!

By the way, did you know that textbooks are very expensive? Insanely so. In an effort to help fund them I am selling baby quilts for just $35 each! You can learn more about them here:

Meanwhile I continue life very thankful for air conditioning. It was 90 degrees at 10:00 this morning, I dread to think what 2:00 is going to look like. I'm seriously wondering if I should try the old 'fry an egg on the sidewalk' trick. Hmmm...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thorin Oakenshield revealed

And here is Thorin.

I know some fans are unhappy, but personally? I love it. Thorin looks like a tough warrior of mature years to me, a man of power to lead an important quest.

(and I mean... seriously... it's Richard Armitage! You can't make him ugly, that would be a crime!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


So after yesterday's intense Harry Potter post, I thought I'd do something completely different today.

Sweet, tart, calm, pretty, juicy raspberries.

Raspberry patches multiply every year. This year we have more berries than we can possibly pick.
My mother or I go out nearly every day and fill up this colander with red goodness.
But for every good berry we pick, there are about three more that get wasted. Which saddens me, but I guess it's a treat for the birds and the bugs.
Anyhow, these now have to be washed and frozen for lots of tasty smoothies this winter. I may even try to do a gluten-free raspberry tart...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part two. The Review

Wow. How does one even begin to discuss this film? So many expectations, so many hopes... so many fans waiting to see it.

Okay so non-spoiler stuff first for those still waiting to see it.

It was good. 85% of the really important stuff was in there, which is probably a higher success rate than the average book adaptation. The special effects are phenomenal and well worth watching in the theater.

The acting, as always, was superb, perhaps even more than superb this time, with special nods going to Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter.

And... I think that's just about all I can say without going into spoiler territory. So. If you haven't seen it yet, get thee to a theater now. Otherwise, consider yourself warned.

On the ride to the theater last night I told myself "don't worry about your expectations. Just watch it and enjoy it."

And for the first half that worked fine. I was pretty happy with how they did everything.

Until they got to Hogwarts.

Now let's be really clear. The last third of Deathly Hallows is one of my favorite pieces of literature ever. Seriously. I am so emotionally connected to what is written there and think it was completely perfect. So I am obviously strongly biased. You totally may think differently and that's okay! We can disagree. In fact, I rather hope we do because I'd like you to be more satisfied with the film than I was.

The film gets started right away, there's no time to catch your breath, it's going. I was delighted to see Dobby's grave with the proper inscription. It was awesome to see Fleur and Bill's cottage, but very distressing that we, once again, missed Lupin's visit and any mention of baby Teddy.

Gringotts went down perfectly. Ron looked surprisingly attractive in his long hair and beard, and Helena Bonham Carter was 100% believable as the transformed Hermione. Both of their costumes were pretty awesome too (despite the cleavage, but that's trademark Bellatrix). The sequence in the vault worked pretty well and I think survived the adaptation to screen really well.

Hogsmeade went WAY too fast. Why did we loose all talk of Aberforth, Ariana, Dumbledore and Grindlewald? They could have EASILY given us a bit more information in 90 seconds (which the running time totally would have allowed). But no, suddenly Dumbledore randomly has two siblings we've never heard of in the films before. I don't know how non-book fans could even make sense of that.

The Room of Requirement was pretty awesome. Maybe not exactly how I pictured it, but it works and it was awesome to see all the other students again. Ginny's reunion with Harry was quite awesome.

But then... Harry just walks into the Great Hall and confronts Snape? What? I mean it's not totally implausible it just felt.... very rushed. Again, another three minutes could have included the sneaking up to Ravenclaw's tower. It felt like they were just racing to get to the fight.

From here on out, everything is paced and edited together kind of wierd, with waaaaay too much happening at the same time. In the book we followed Harry's POV and everything happened in a linear order. Here they had the option to mix things up, but I'm not sure it was a wise choice because it made it chaotic and hard to follow and also broke up a lot of the emotional threads that made the book so strong.

Instead we got a lot of fighting and CGI. Which... while cool at first, got to be WAY too much by the time the film was over.

Everything with Snape was pretty brilliant (although I felt the memory was kind of too choppy and didn't show us quite enough). They DID have the doe and "Always" which was my favorite moment of the series so I was glad about that. Moving his death to a random boathouse was weird... but whatever.

Ron and Hermione's kiss... well it worked in the film, and I get that it couldn't have been set up the same way as the book... but there was a point for how it was written in the book. All along Ron has belittled the things that are important to Hermione. In the books when he says to evacuate the House Elves, he is saying that he DOES understand Hermione's passions and values them. THAT's why she kisses him. And I think in cutting that, we loose something really important in their relationship.

I am glad we got to see them actually destroy the cup, though.

Fred's death was heartbreaking, but I'm sad we didn't get to see it actually happen. Same with Lupin and Tonks. It just felt like write offs of these characters and totally unfair resolutions for them.

Into the Forest again, Harry's death, Kings Cross and Narcissa were all done pretty perfectly. So THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT! They're the crux of the whole book and it's fantastic that they were done so well.


Then we get some pretty disappointing changes.

First off, we DON'T get Neville's "We'll join you when Hell Freezes over!" and instead we get a lot of scrabbling after Nagini that doesn't add anything to the film except shots of Hermione and Ron generally failing at killing a snake and a much less awesome moment for Neville. C'mon.

Mrs. Weasley has her totally wicked line! Bellatrix's death leaves a bit of a question mark though because the Avada Kedavra spell doesn't disintegrate people. So... ???

Finally there is the big fight between Harry and Voldemort. I'm sorry, but even after these years of training, I do NOT buy that Harry could stand against Voldemort in a big fight. Even with the Elder Wand not working (which I'm not sure was explained well at all). And it was big and draw out but...

But the end wasn't okay. The whole point of expellairmus was that HARRY DIDN'T KILL VOLDEMORT. Voldemort killed himself. And that did actually happen... but... it wasn't explained or made obvious. If you hadn't read the book you would have thought that Harry killed Voldemort. Also, Harry gave Voldemort a final chance in the book to feel some remorse... not having that in the movie did twist Harry's character. That compassion was essential to Harry's character.

And then Voldemort also exploded (again, WEIRD) and there wasn't a huge audience (which I thought was pretty lame and always liked having in the book).

Then Harry explained the whole wand thing after the fact, and snapped the wand and threw it away rather than fixing his own wand and laying the elder wand in Dumbledore's tomb. WHY?

But the Epilogue? That was perfect. I thought the aging effects were FANTASTIC and it was short, sweet and simple, just as it should be.

Whew. I feel like a bit of a sourpuss now. Which is lame because it wasn't a BAD movie. And as I screenwriter I have a ton of grace and understanding for the profession. Which also maybe makes me think I have a better right to criticize because I DO understand the limitations and the difference between novel and screen.

But this is my personal preference. I know a LOT of people REALLY liked it. Many fans didn't like the talky ending and they'll be made very happy by the film. And I'm sure I will enjoy it more when I can see it with subtitles and understand everything that I couldn't hear without them.

Also, now that I've gotten my complaints out, I hope I can move past them and enjoy the film for what it is. After all, it's the only Deathly Hallows pt 2 we'll ever get and it did get most of my favorite iconic moments right. I'm already looking forwards to seeing them again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who knew that DWARVES could be so attractive?

It was said awhile ago that they were going to be making the 'Hobbit' dwarves quite a bit more physically attractive than Gimli. However the first two released pictures, while artistically very cool and well designed, were not what you'd call 'good looking'.

Then, yesterday, we got to see what the two youngest members of the party, Fili and Kili, are going to be looking like.

This has my stamp of approval! Fili looks like a great prankster, and Kili looks like he's about to give Aragorn a run for his money.

Now, what will Thorin Oakenshield look like? And how long will we have to wait to see his picture?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Amy March is in Europe

Do you remember in Little Women, when Amy got to go to Europe and Jo was absolutely devastated? Well, I spent a lot of time feeling like Jo when my sister announced her plans to go to Europe for six weeks on a mission trip.

However as I've gotten to learn more about the program, I've been able to overcome a lot of my jealousy and replace it with pride for my sister.

First of all she had to raise several thousand dollars to make the trip possible. This meant not only writing dozens of letters, but also making tons of phone calls to ask for donations. Calling anyone other than a close friend can be pretty freaky, and asking for money? Oy! Scary.

Then she had to spend a week in boot camp. It was pretty grueling from what I understand, with days starting at 5:30 in the morning.

Now they're off in Europe, sleeping on the floors of churches or camping out. Showers are rare (once a week I understand) and they're working hard to spread the love and knowledge of Christ.

Today I was able to catch my sister for five minutes when she checked her e-mail in Holland. Seriously! I chatted with my sister in Holland! She says there is tons of Van Gogh stuff everywhere.

I could never do what she's done. I can't feel like Jo, because my sister is not a leisure trip like Amy, she's on a backbreaking, soul-changing adventure of growth.

So, little sister, whenever you read this --- I love you and I'm so proud of you. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Blog is Splitting

I've long been pondering whether the purpose of the Elenatintil Blog really allows for my extensive sewing diaries. However I absolutely love blogging about my projects, and I know many of my readers love following. Since my Apparel and Textiles major this fall is only going to increase the load, I felt now was the time to create a second blog. will continue to host all of my movie and book reviews, my editorials, thoughts on writing, fandoms, and life. is the new home of my seamstress endevors. Here you will find my sewing diaries, my sketches, and my adventures as a fashion design student.

I've even carried the split over to the color scheme, with Elenatintil taking the blues and Confessions of a Seamstress taking the reds. I'm pretty excited about the new designs!

I would love of course to have you all visit both blogs! However I know my readers have many diverse interests, so please do follow what interests you and don't feel obligated to read what you consider 'the boring stuff.'

Either way, thank you so much for being my faithful reader! I hope to welcome you over at Confessions of a Seamstress soon!

Vintage Hats

Last year my great-grandmother passed away, and this year my great-grandfather went into the nursing home. Consequently my great-aunts have been starting to go through the house and sort out all the years of collected belongings.

Somewhere amid the many shelves they found these darling (and very high quality) hats from the 60's or possibly 50's. They immediately thought of me and convinced my mother to bring them over. I was enchanted!

Not only are the hats cute (I'm absolutely in love with the velvet ones) and well made, but they are also of course of great sentimental value.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's kind of like a treasure hunt

My facebook status currently reads "Anyone who says shopping isn't exercise clearly hasn't been to Ikea."

Also, anyone who has never had their own apartment/house WITH KITCHEN does not have any idea of how many things you have to buy to get started. It is seriously insane. But also fun. ;)

So far my mother and/or I have visited Marshalls, Target (three times!), Goodwill, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ikea and many garage sales seeking the best deals on necessary items. Not to mention everything my grandmother and mother handed down to me. And for all that I still need measuring cups... we had a lot of debate over what kind to get and which would be cheapest and... the price ranges greatly. (Don't get them at Target. Seriously.)

I got some fun things too. A new bedspread in an awesome delicate floral print. A pretty round globe table lamp. And a plant. I really am in love with my little plant. It's called a dragon tree so I'm naming it 'Lockheed" after Kitty Pryde's dragon companion in the X-Men comics.

Naming plants was not my idea, btw. My sister started it.

And yes, I promise there will be plenty of pictures after I get everything set up! Look for them in the beginning of August.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Harry Potter, enduring legacy

Harry Potter 8 is a week away and theaters are already selling out. I really shouldn't be surprised... instead I should be ordering my own!

Whether or not you're a Harry fan, you can still probably remember when the books first arrived in the US. Even I, a sheltered little conservative homeschooler was aware of the Harry Potter phenomenon. I still remember asking my father why the books were so big (this was long before I was allowed to read them). He answered with "marketing" and went on to chalk it all up to the marketing gurus who pushed the franchise with cups and backpacks and lunchboxes and movies and whatever.

And to an outsider that may have been what it looked like. It took about seven more years before I picked the books up for myself and learned that Harry Potter became big because it was a magnificent story with fantastic characters. And that shouldn't have surprised me. Kids are actually fairly particular about what they like, and a shiny lunchbox isn't going to convince them to read a five hundred page book.

But Harry is written as an everyman -- a character who represents the most common unifying emotions and characteristics of human nature. We may not all be Harry, but we can empathize with most of his struggles. We understand what it is like to be different from family members and or friends. We understand the hope and joy that comes when someone sees our potential and gives us the chance to shine. We know what it's like to be misunderstood and unable to communicate our worries. We understand Harry's desire to have mentor figures to give him wisdom. We 'get' both his desire to follow the rules, and find him more human and more like us when he fails (because we all do). We know what it is like to fall in that first awkward love. We sympathize with his struggles to be understood and appreciated for who he is and accepted as a mature young man. We also know why he rebels when he's brushed aside, because most of us deal with that as well. And we cheer when he grows into a fine young man and a true hero in every sense of the word, because it fulfills our faith in him and gives us hope for ourselves. If Harry can persevere against death eaters and dementors and horcruxes, surely we can get through test papers, overbearing parents and dating?

There are so many other factors as to what makes the Harry Potter series so enduring. But I strongly believe that it is Harry's accessibility and realism that makes the series so widely appealing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't Mess with Mercury

Don't Mess with Mercury by ~Elenatintil on deviantART

(Find out more about the picture specs and what it was based on at my deviantARt)

This picture turned out so well that I absolutely had to share it here. Being so sick this year has been really hard, but I am so thankful that I was able to use the time to work on my art. I feel that my abilities have improved tremendously and I feel a lot more confident now about heading off to an Apparel Design Major this fall!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

If Doctor Who Went to Hogwarts...

If the Doctor and his companions had gone to school at Hogwarts, which house would the sorting hat have put them in?

The Doctor
It's a tie between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. Brilliant and clever, yet also bold and daring. Which do you think he would choose?

I think Rose is a great example of the good and loyal hearts of the Hufflepuffs. A case could also be made for her in Gryffindor, of course, but I think she really is a sweet Hufflepuff at heart.

Captain Jack
Gryffindor. Nuff said.

Ravenclaw. She's by far the most intellectual of the companions and definitely belongs here.

I don't think there is any doubt that Donna belongs in Gryffindor!

Even without the Weasley-red hair, Amy is obviously in Gryffindor.

Hufflepuff. How could you put him anywhere else? He's like Cedric Diggory's even more awesome brother.

River Song
Gryffindor seems the obvious choice, yet I think Ravenclaw has a hold on our River as well. And who knows what seeds of Slytherin we have yet to discover?

...and don't worry. It's obvious that Slytherin would have been the most populated house, what with the Master and the Daleks and all those Cybermen...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

ReginaCon 2011 -- The Report

The last time I went to camp I was in sixth grade. Let's not even go into how many years ago that was. We'll just use the words "a long time ago."

However, age doesn't negate the fact that we still long for the best parts of summer camp.

Getting away from home. Playing crazy games. Hanging out with like-minded friends 24 hours a day.

Somehow adults (and even older teens) don't seem to get a chance to indulge in such fun very often.

ReginaCon (or as it is sometimes call, "Fairy Tale Novel Fan Festival"... yeah, you see why we go with ReginaCon), fills that need. It's 4 days (or so) of constant interaction with friends both old and new, giving us a chance to do those crazy games, talk geek stuff, play with hair, and dream impossible dreams together.

And of course, it's a wonderful chance to spend time with Regina Doman and her amazing husband Andrew and learn about writing, courtship and life from their fascinating stories. And sometimes (every other year or so), we are just lucky enough to hear a few never-before-released chapters from her latest writing project.

This year the festival was held at a farmhouse in Silver Lake, MN. It was a tight fit (we had about a dozen girls in the small basement), but oh, so much fun. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were not blasted by the heat that is currently roasting the midwest to a crisp. Instead we had cool (and sometimes drizzly) days that were perfect for dressing up in costumes and playing murder mysteries.

Thursday (day 1) we all went on mass exodus to Minneapolis, where we joined many other beautiful ladies and dashing gentlemen to celebrate the premiere of "The Shadow of the Bear." It was amazing to finally see a (almost) finished version of the film in a real movie theater. And it just warmed my heart to see so many smiles and hear so much laughter.

After the premiere, several of the actors and a few crew members and I went out to a local pizza place to celebrate. It was fun and I was exceptionally happy that there was gluten-free pizza for me! Afterwards my friends Paul and Amanda took charges of driving and navigating so I didn't have to worry about that either. Perfect end to an awesome night.

On Friday I gave a brief filmmaking talk and answered tons of questions about the filming of SOTB. Honestly, one of these days I do need to write a book about my experiences as a young independant filmmaker.

Then we all got dressed up and ready for our murder mystery game! I went as Queen Elizabeth I and had a proper entourage with a spy, a military advisor, and a fool (who ended up being a traitor!). We were situated at a space cantina in the future and met many other travellers from various time periods, including Isabella of Spain, Amelia Earhart and Sophie Scholl. Then there were the space pirates, the detective from the future, and a mysterious Mr. Saxon who turned out to be a telepath in the form of a baby...

We had rented an auditorium for Saturday's fun and it turned out to be a very good choice. We started out with a talent show, which was a wonderful chance to share and see all the amazing talents our friends possessed. We had dancers, actors, musicians, comedians and more. I got to participate in the final skit, which was the Doctor Who Parody I posted on the blog a few days ago.

But by far the most fun was the dance that night. We called it the "Fairy Tale Novel Swing Dance" but it really was a celebration of dance and music. We learned (or in my case, taught) swing dancing moves, but we also waltzed, danced the Virginia Reel, and had a blast doing the broom dance which is as much a game as a dance. Several of us girls also acted/danced/sang/lip synced our way through popular musical songs like "Maria," "So Long, Farewell," and "Matchmaker."

It was a fantastically fun time, but more than that it was really a chance to bond and get to know friends that we had formerly only met online.

Friday, July 1, 2011

ReginaCon 2011

While you wait for my descriptive write up, you can view the picture slideshow put together by Teresa D. at the link above.