Friday, May 30, 2008

Checkbook Covers

My latest project has been checkbook covers. I was able to find a very good tutorial on how to make them here . I have made a few modifications to it, such as widening the sides because I can't seem to topstitch close enough to the edge, and I have added the monogramming. 

This is one that I made for my friend Afton: 

And this is the inside: 

And this is the one I made Amishacoe: 

And the inside: 

Birthdays, Hangovers, and Drunk Dialing

My sister's birthday was yesterday. I called her to wish her a happy birthday, and boy did she sound hungover! She said she began drink-calling everyone, including my brother and my mother. At three in the morning. I began to feel left out because she didn't call me, but then she said, "I didn't call you because I knew you had to work." 

Sweet, isn't she? 

Then mom called me a little while later. She told me how Kate had drunk-called her, and Mom didn't know what she was saying. I'm going to hazard a guess that it was made up of a lot of giggling and slurred words, heavy on the giggling. I mentioned that yeah, I had just talked to Kate and said that she didn't call me because I had to work. Sweet, isn't she? 

Mom says, "I had to work, too." 

Whoops. :) I figure it's her fault, as she didn't stop after having one kid. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dark Shadows 1991: 1.1

The Dark Shadows Revival aired for 12 episodes in 1991. Here are extensive recaps from of each episode, beginning with episode 1. 

Dark Shadows 1991, Episode 1.1

The series opens with a passenger train winding its way around a hilly coastline, with the words Dark Shadows appearing in its familiar script. A young girl sits in a train, and the audience hears the following: "My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is just beginning, a journey that I am hoping will somehow reveal the mysteries of my life. It is a journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to a house high atop a stormy cliff at the edge of the sea. To a house called Collinwood. To a world I've never known with people I've never met. People who, tonight, are still only vague shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill all the days and nights of my tomorrows."

At Collinwood the housekeeper prepares a bedroom for a new arrival. The housekeeper and Elizabeth Stoddard talk about the governess from New York, and the maid assures Mrs. Stoddard that she has made the right decision. Carolyn, Elizabeth's daughter, walks in and agrees with the housekeeper. Daphne joins them, saying that everything was ready and she was going to the Blue Whale to look over the books. The housekeeper finds a shoebox under the pillow; inside is a dead animal courtesy of David Collins.

Elizabeth talks to her brother Roger about his son leaving a rat in the governess's bed. Roger tells his sister that they don't need a governess, they need a psychiatrist. Elizabeth has faith in the governess, who Roger points out was hired by their lawyer and was 25 years old. David is highly traumatized, but by what? Roger still insists on boarding school or enrolling him in the town school. Liz says the town school won't take him back "after what happened."

The train arrives at a dark and deserted train depot. Victoria is the only one to depart. No one is there to greet her, and the train rumbles off. She walks to the Blue Whale, where she runs into Daphne. Daphne calls Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson informs Mrs. Stoddard and Roger about the governess' arrival, and all three talk about Willie Loomis, an undependable menial who neglected to pick Vikki up.

Willie Loomis is in his small apartment, reading a poem and drinking. Roger confronts him, telling him to straighten out his act, then sends him to pick up Vikki.

Willie goes to the Blue Whale, where he attempts to buy a drink. Daphne confronts him, telling him to do his job. The barkeep, Sam, tells Willie to leave. He refuses, and Joe Haskell threatens to throw him out. He offers to drive Vikki up to Collinwood, but she leaves with Willie.

Liz meets Vikki at the front door and introduces her to Carolyn. She offers Vikki a cup of tea. Willie goes to see his aunt, Mrs. Johnson. She lectures him about his behavior. He says he's "figured it out" about the jewels. She tells him to give up his crazy ideas, but he is insistent that the jewels are hidden in a secret room in the tomb.

Willie leaves the house and heads for the tomb. He opens the door and walks down into the catacombs. He uncovers the clues and finds a secret door. Bats fly out at him, but he presses on. He finds a chained coffin, certain this is his buried treasure.

Vikki is given a tour of the house and the schedule. Carolyn leads Vikki upstairs.

Willie is able to break the chains on the coffin. He pries open the lid and finds his treasure--a hand pops up out of the box to strangle him.

Vikki unpacks her belongings. She walks into a connecting bathroom, opens the bath curtain, and David Collins pops out to scare her. He tells her he doesn't want her here. She doesn't let him leave, telling him she doesn't want to hurt him. Vikki walks him back to his room and puts him to bed. She tells him she wants to be his friend.

Daphne is at the Blue Whale, going over the books for Sam. She gladly tells him that the government owes him money back, and he is thankful. She leaves and walks back towards her car. A dog howls off in the distance. She walks faster, then begins to run. Shemakes it to her car, closes the door, but the passenger side opens and she is attacked.

The cops arrive, as do Maggie and Sam. Daphne lost a lot of blood and looks as if an animal attacked her. The sheriff wonders where all her blood went.

Elizabeth and Carolyn arrive at the hospital, where the doctors are attempting to pump blood back into her.

Willie comes to on the floor of the tomb. A man in old-fashioned clothing enters and pulls out the jewelry Willie sought. All we see are his hands.

The doctor tells the sheriff he can stop looking for an animal. Traces of human saliva were in the wound. The Sheriff drives to Professor Woodards' home. He asks the professor for his opinion, and they go over the case together. The professor says it could possibly be a vampire.

Mrs. Johnson opens the door. A stranger is at the door asking for Mrs. Stoddard. He says he is Barnbas Collins, a cousin from England. Mrs. Johnson invites him inside. Mr. Collins walks around the front hall, taking in the family portraits. He moves towrds the staircase, where his eyes fall on an old portrait. Mrs. Stoddard sees him and welcomes him to Collinwood. Carolyn says he looks exactly like the man in the portrait. Barnabas says he is fascinated by the resemblance between him and his ancestor. He is in the States for business. Roger asks him if he met the Dunberry's, who lived in Cadogan Square. Barnabas says no. Roger remains suspicious of Barnabas' intimate knowledge of Collinwood. He expresses interest in restoring the Old House, which Roger says is a complete wreck. Elizabeth has no objections. Barnabas meets David and Victoria. David is upset that he can no longer play at the Old House, and Barnabas asks David to tell him the story of Sarah. David shows him a picture of a young girl.

Barnabas walks back to the Old House and says, "Father, I have come home."

Victoria attempts to teach David the state capitals. He is having none of it and scares Victoria with a nasty spider in his desk. The lesson is over. She and Carolyn discuss David’s pranks. Vikki goes horseback riding and meets Willie at the stables. Victoria asks if he had anything to do with Daphne’s attack. She notices a wound on his neck. Willie looks scared. Roger arrives and takes Willie back to Collinwood to talk to the police. At Collinwood Willie claims to have returned home after dropping Vikki off the night of the attack and says he got drunk back at his apartment. He then says he was working. Barnabas arrives to save Willie, saying that Willie was in his employ and was telling the truth.

Collinwood at night. Victoria overhears David talking to a young girl. David is alone is his room and reading a magazine. David says he was talking to Sarah. Vikki asks David where Sarah goes. Vikki suggests that they go over to the Old House the next day. David says Sarah told him Barnabas was evil.

The next day Vikki and David walk over to the Old House. Willie is inside the house and says that Barnabas is in Portland. David wanders around the house. He heads towards the basement but is stopped by Willie. They leave, but the viewer sees a lone coffin sitting a few yards away from where David stood.

Carolyn heads out to a roadhouse that night, where she provokes a fight between a couple when she dances with the man. His girlfriend runs out, only to meet Barnabas in the parking lot. They flirt, he acts charming, then he attacks her. The boyfriend hears her screams and attempts to rescue her, but he is also attacked.

The cops arrive at the scene to discover an accident scene much like that of Daphne’s. The difference is that Barnabas killed the couple. The doctor finds the same traces of human saliva in the wounds. He also mentions that there is a very strange cell in the blood samples that he had never seen it before. The lab in Boston is also clueless. He tells the sheriff he doesn’t know what attacked the people. The professor suggests calling Dr. Julia Hoffman.

Dr. Hoffman arrives at the Collinwood Depot, where she is met by the professor. The next morning she sees Daphne, who has made a miraculous recovery—only she has no memory of her attacker. The Collins are intent on Daphne returning home, and Elizabeth invites Dr. Hoffman to stay at the house. The doctor says Daphne can go home tomorrow.

Dr. Hoffman interrupts an amorous Daphne and Joe in order to give Daphne her injections. Vikki heads back to the Old House and begins to explore on her own. Willie runs up from the basement to greet her and tells her that David is not in the house when she asks. Willie wonders if this is a good time for her to be visiting. Barnabas emerges from his coffin. Vikki asks where Barnabas was busy, and Willie tries to get her to leave. Barnabas arrives upstairs to greet Vikki. Barnabas shows Victoria the bedroom of Josette Dupres, the fiancĂ© of the first Barnabas Collins. On the wall hangs Josette’s portrait, and the young lady has a striking resemblance to Vikki. Barnabas tells the story of Josette, who came from Martinique to marry Barnabas. (Cue music box music.) She died tragically when fell from the nearby Widow’s Hill. Vikki leaves and Barnabas throws Willie down the stairs for warning Vikki away from the Old House. Barnabas returns to Josette’s room, where he tells her portrait that they will be together. Forever.

Another woman’s body is found on the beach below Widow’s Hill. She had the same wounds as the other victims. Daphne is questioned again but remembers nothing. Dr. Hoffman suggests hypnosis. Daphne becomes hysterical, but cannot identify her attacker. All she remembers is his red eyes and teeth.

David and Vikki are studying in the garden. Willie arrives. Vikki asks if he’s okay, as he’s limping and his face is bruised. He says he fell. He hands Vikki an old-fashioned parchment envelope to pull out an old-fashioned parchment envelope with an old-fashioned message, asking her to have dinner with him at the Old House. She accepts the invitation.

Elizabeth oversees the movement of furniture to the Old House. She introduces Barnabas and Dr. Hoffman. Daphne awakens, almost trance-like, and walks downstairs. She sees Barnabas and faints. Dr. Hoffman notices Daphne’s reaction to Barnabas.

At dinner, Barnabas gives Vikki a music box that was once Josette’s. Barnabas talks of Josette as if he knew her first hand. Barnabas walks Vikki home. He comments on the resemblance between him and the original Barnabas, and Vicki with Josette. The ghostly figure of a young girl watches them. Barnabas kisses her on her hand as he leaves her at the Old House. He walks back to the Old House and notices that Vikki has left her bedroom window open. His need for blood grows strong, but he hears a familiar voice calling his name. He sees his sister Sarah in the shadows. She tells him he must stop. He walks towards her, but she turns from him. He yells that he cannot help himself.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mother's Bliss

Another pattern I finished at the end of January was Mirabilia's "Mother's Bliss." One reason I was able to finish it in short order is the big blocks of color that could easily be done in a mindless state. 

The picture doesn't do it justice. The colors just pop out, especially the yellow on the baby's outfit. 

Fall Carousel Horse

A little late in the posting, but better late then never! After three years, I finally finished the Fall Carousel horse, a design by Teresa Wentzler .I finished it over spring break this year.  There are four in the series, and I'm currently working on the Spring horse. My timeline for that is (crossing fingers) less than one year. By the end of summer vacation is too ambitious, so I shall aim for.... 

Beginning of April 2009, one year after I started Spring. 

Mom's Scrapbook

My mom has a few childhood pictures that had been languishing in a drawer. In fact, they were missing for quite some time. She swore that they weren't in the drawer, but after digging through a pile of our K-Mart portraits and yearbook photos, I found her christening photos. Yay! I can put them in a book! 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't scrapbook, and I didn't think that the old black and white photos were good to cut-up. I like the white borders around the edges and thought they would be off-set nicely by one of those old-fashioned photo albums with the black pages. I even had two that were languishing in my own drawer, waiting for the perfect pictures. 

And then my sister came through for me. She bought my mom this beautiful keepsake box: 

My cat has even endorsed it, so much so, that I have to put the box in another box to prevent a clawing disaster. 

And inside the box is a family tree, and a photo album. Pretty! 

And yup, that's my mom, striking a pose on the cover. It's a gorgeous book with cream (not black) pages, but it was too pretty not to use, and that's what Kate intended it be used for. Now, mom had it for a few weeks and didn't do anything with them, so I took the bull by the horns and did it myself. And there are probably a few mistakes, like this one: 

Yeah, it says Katherine Cook. Let's just pretend I did this before last weekend's wedding, shall we? 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Catch a Mate

Catch a Mate by Gena Showalter is a contemporary romance published under Harlequin's HQN imprint in 2007. 

Jillian works as bait for Catch a Mate--her job is to ferret out unfaithful husbands, boyfriends, and fiances and report back to their wives, girlfriends, and fiancees. She enjoys her job until she finds out that her boss has sold the company out from under her to none other than a man

Marcus Brody has his own business back in Texas but expansion into Oklahoma City seems to be the right move for him. He decides right away to expand Catch a Mate's mission to include both the genders in finding out the unfaithful. In Jillian he finds his equal and is quickly infuriated. 

Both of the main characters have trust issues, as is implied by their jobs. Jillian has daddy issues after being caught as a child in the middle of a nasty divorce. Marcus' ex-wife left him for someone else. Both are abrasive and brash and are immediately attracted to each other, though the book lingers in the verbal sparring the two participate in. My biggest qualm with the book is the suddenness of the relationship. I can understand the two of them falling in lust together, but the action in the book covers three days. For my own personal liking, this is too short of a time. The build-up and the constant bickering makes the book feel like it lasts for longer, but on going back I realized that it was only an extended weekend. I also dislike the fact that the first sex scene only uses the protection of her birth control pill. While she seemingly can't trust him, Jillian trusts Marcus enough when he says he's clean. 

Then there's Jillian's mother, who suffers from depression but doesn't take her pills. She's already tried to attempt suicide once, and she's not taking her pills. I wonder if her children are as worried about her as they seem, because to me that seems to be a big red flag. She even went so far as to poison her ex-husband's lover with chocolate-chip cookies. The characterization was cartoonish. 

More to my speed is the relationship between Jillian's brother and her best friend. Georgia had been in love with Brent forever, and he had been in love with her forever, but both had major misconceptions. She thought she was too gawky as a teen, and he thought he was too old for her. Now that she's gorgeous, she's afraid that he only wants her for her beauty. I found myself looking forward to their exchanges more often than Jillian and Marcus's. 

Overall, it was an entertaining read that wasn't too difficult. The writing style was good, and I liked how the chapters were titled with cheesy pick-up lines. Some of them seemed down-right clever to me, but if any of them were tried on me, I'd bust out laughing. I give this book a C+. 


I decided to declutter today and try to organize some of my scrapbook stuff. I have a lot of stuff that I think is important (every single 100 I made in elementary school, report cards, birthday cards) and most of them are in scrapbooks. My 4K-Grade 8 stuff is in one bankers box, my Girl Scout stuff is in another (thanks, Wider Opportunities!), and my high school stuff is in yet another. That's not counting the huge yearbooks, either. 

Most women would probably scrapbook the pictures and items into a neat little book, using zig-zagged scissors, colorful paper, and those 3-D stickers. Not me. If I can't cut a line perfectly, then I have to start over again. I could go out and get one of those blades that make a straight line, but the expense just stops me in my tracks. Then there are all the die-cuts, the stickers, borders, and pens. The possibilities are endless, but they are too endless for me. 

So, I've always used one of those books that have the gray pages that I just paste stuff into. Like this one: 

It's my junior year scrapbook, and I found this in it: 

A pop-up card made by my sister. I'm going to guess that she was 8. Now, one year for Christmas I got one of those Crayola kits to make cards. For years after that, every time we needed a card, I made one. I never did figure out if my parents wanted to encourage my creativity, or if they were cheap and couldn't be bothered to buy one. I eventually got out of that by making some mediocre cards BECAUSE I CAN'T DRAW, but it looks like they roped my sister into doing it. 

She caught on much more quickly than me. This one was made out of wrapping paper. The pop-up feature is genius and the heart is touching. And smudged out next to her signature? My parents names. Maybe they realized that they actually should buy me a card, which they did. 

It's still pasted in that scrapbook. 

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Evil Eye

When my students get out of line, I give them this Look. They call it the Evil Eye, and it really works on a good number of them. 

It runs in the family. My mom tries it out on me, but I'm almost immune to her Look. Last summer, my grandmother gave her the look and almost took me out as collateral damage. I was cowering under the table after that one. 

And here's more proof that it runs in the family. 

That's my sister, Katie, waiting in the courthouse to get married to Will. I don't know why she gave him the Look, but he probably deserved it. 

When my students saw that picture, they said, "Ms. Cook! You know she's your sister because she can give the Look, too!" 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


About two years ago I became really interested in hockey. This meant that I had to pick a team, and I could go with one of the favorites, but that's not how I pick sports teams. No, I'm a girl, so I either pick a sports team for sentimental reasons or because my future husband is on the team (he's just not aware of that fact... yet). 

My team is the Carolina Hurricanes, winner of the 2006 Stanley Cup. My main motivation for picking them as my team is regionality.  A hockey team in North Carolina? Only four hours away from me? Wow! How cool is that? I can't even remember the last time I saw snow, so having a hockey team within a day trip drive was pretty cool. 

And then I found out that Bret Hedican was married to KRISTY FREAKIN' YAMAGUCHI! Once upon a time I wanted to be a ballerina figure skater (I was young, 'k?) until I realized that I lacked that certain something--grace. I fall when I walk. 

So, that little piece of knowledge sealed the deal. And so here's hoping that Kristy Yamaguchi wins the Dancing With The Stars title tonight. 

Thursday, May 15, 2008


As I've mentioned before, it's the end of the year, so I've had to come up with some new "strategery" to keep the sanity.  My Advanced Placement US History class has taken their exam, and as a reward, we are watching movies with a distinct historical bent to them. 

Like Miracle, one of my favorite movies. Now, it doesn't rank up there with Slapshot, the greatest hockey movie I've ever seen, but it is quite better than Mighty Ducks 3. It's vintage Disney in that one scene, the boys are talking to Coach Brooks about adding another player to the team and they say, "But we're family." Is there a Disney movie that doesn't have that as a theme somewhere? 

So, how can I justify watching this movie? Isn't it about sports? Yes, I say, but I can counter that with two things: Sports is a metaphor for war; The struggle between the hockey teams of the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics was yet another facet of the Cold War struggle. 

And so one of my students, I'll call him.... Dave. Dave was watching it, saw the goalie doing his butterfly, and said, "I can do that!" before banging his knee on the floor. But he came up with a wicked awesome dance and lyrics. 

And now he knows what a puck is. I'm so proud. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

End of the Year

There's three weeks left to the school year, and there's a little secret I'm going to let everyone in on: Teachers count down and look forward to the end of the year as much as students. If not more so. 

This year has been a tough one for me. It's Year Five, which is that mythical year that makes you or breaks you. I scoffed at this, thinking that I was beyond that. 

I was not. There were points where I was willing to walk out and never return. Points where I was willing to quit the profession and move back in with my parents. But I got beyond that and have signed up for a Year Six. 

All it takes is one student saying a kind word. Saying how much they appreciate the job I'm doing, or even just saying that I'm cool. 

And so I've embraced the insanity. 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Changing Things Up

I noticed that I haven't posted here for nearly a year. Not because I haven't done any craft projects, because I have. I've finished two more cross-stitches (that carousel horse and Mirabilia's "Mother's Bliss") as well as some other odds and ends. 

So, I've decided to change this blog to reflect the many things that interest me.