Welcome to Things Liz Loves!

Let me apologize in advance: I'm not the regular poster I used to be. I try to keep things interesting around here though, so check back from time to time.

Check the Contests page for info about our current giveaway!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Time Travel Tuesday: Scrooged

In honor of the impending Christmas holiday, I'm doing today's Time Travel Tuesday on one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. Not the old standby's, like It's a Wonderful Life or A Miracle on 34th Street, but the Bill Murray classic Scrooged. This movie is late 80's take on the classic story A Christmas Carol, following Ebenezer Scrooge and his life changing journey through time to find his Christmas spirit. The film is hilarious and complete with all of the glorious 80's decadence and fashion you can stand. I try to watch this movie every year.
Ahh, the eye poke gag. A classic.
This film was packed with hilarious actors. I am a firm believer in Bill Murray's comedic genius, in spite of Ghostbusters 2. With a supporting cast like Bobcat Goldthwaite, David Johansen and Carol Kane, it was a sure bet that this film would have the people in stitches. Here's a few of my favorite things about the movie:

Carol Kane's Ghost of Christmas Present
Carol Kane rocks this movie. Her Ghost of Christmas Present's "tough love" approach to showing Frank Cross the error of his ways is a throwback to the slapstick awesomeness of The Three Stooges. She kicks him, jabs him in the eyes and decks him with a toaster to get her point across. Because sometimes you have to slap them in the face to get their attention.

Ahh, the Christmas Spirit
The funny of this movie is not the focus. After all, it is A Christmas Carol: 80's Style. There's such a wonderful speech at the end of the film that I can't really put into words, so I'll just post the video.

Tell me that doesn't warm your heart.

Watch Scrooged with your family this Christmas and get into the comedic 80's Christmas spirit. Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011


We have a winner for the big random giveaway! Out of 56 entries, the winner was chosen using a random number generator. The random number was 28, which was...Stephanie Fields!!! Stephanie is being notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim her prize. If she does not respond in that time, her entries will be discarded a new winner will be chosen from the remaining entries. Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more giveaways!

Friday, December 2, 2011

If you haven't entered yet...

What are you waiting for! Entries in the current fantabulous giveaway are still pretty low, so everyone has pretty good odds for winning! Hurry and get your entries in here. The winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, so you have the weekend to spread the word and max out your entries!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Turkey Day, Folks!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And for my international bloggy buddies, Happy Thursday! I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Thanksgiving means Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us as well, so if you're in the mood for some shopping, hop over to Things Liz Makes and take advantage of the big 20% off Thanksgiving week sale! "THANKSGIVING20" is the coupon code you use to get 20% off of everything in the shop, including mini-batts, services and custom orders! The code has been extended to be valid through Monday, so go over and get your holiday shop on!

Have a wonderful weekend, guys!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie Review: The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 1

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Breaking Dawn Part 1 has hit theaters this week. As we approach the final stages of the Twilight saga, fans are excited to see how the events of the final book translated into film. How was the Edward and Bella honeymoon? Did Edward really chew through Bella's uterus? Is Renesmee a creepy teeth baby? How did they pull off the wolf telepathy? Get all these questions answered and all the opinion you can stand in my film review! WARNING: This is JAM PACKED with spoilers for the movie and the book, but chances are you already know what's happening anyway. Review after the jump!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Giveaway...

We are officially into the season of giving. It's getting chilly outside, leaves are on the ground, Christmas music is already on the radio...it's time to get into the spirit of the season. Since I haven't been the most active blogger lately, and I haven't done much in the way of giveaways, I figured the beginning of this holiday season is as good a time as any to do a SUPER HUMONGOUS GIVEAWAY!!! *cue the confetti*
Things Liz Loves is doing a giveaway?! YES!
Get excited, because someone is going to get a MONSTER SIZED prize pack just in time for the holidays! You don't even have to be a follower of the blog to have a chance at winning! (Full disclosure, you get extra points for following, but it's not required, and there are plenty of ways to get extra points.) This blog is open to anyone ages 13 and older, even international readers! Want to know what you're going to get if you win? Brace yourselves, folks.

  • TWO Books, courtesy of Pyr Books! Not ARCs, actual finished copies, one a hardcover! The books are: Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire (review pending, hardcover) and Vampire Empire: The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith (review here, paperback). Both books are in brand new, pristine condition and will be a delightful read!
  • One hand crocheted Softy Booky Bag, courtesy of Things Liz Makes, in deep red. This bag is made of 100% acrylic yarn, which is machine washable and will not aggravate allergies. The bag is large enough to carry the two books in this prize pack plus some.
  • Super fun stationary! Brightly colored paisley print thank-you cards with envelopes and a large notepad with green polkadots on the top right and bottom left corners, both new in the packages. Just in time to write thank you notes for all your awesome holiday gifts!
  • One surprise Things Liz Makes sample! You can choose between a spinning/felting fiber sample (1/4+ ounce), handspun yarn (20+ yards) or a Never Lose Your Bookmark (wool or acrylic, your choice).
  • Autographed author swag! One JANE poster, signed by author April Lindner, and one Bloodthirsty bookmark, signed by author Flynn Meaney!

That is one super sized prize pack! Now for the points breakdown. Everyone gets 1 point for entering using the entry form, which I will link to below. Followers of the blog get an extra point just for following, and you can score extra points for sharing and supporting Things Liz Loves!

+1 for completing the entry form
+1 for following the blog
+1 for "liking" Things Liz Loves on Facebook
+1 for "liking" Things Liz Makes on Facebook
+1 for following Liz on Twitter
+1 for joining the Things Liz Makes Ravelry group
+1 for Tweeting the contest
+1 for Facebooking the contest
+1 for Plurking the contest
+1 for blogging about the contest
+3 for signing up for Swagbucks through the referral link (plus you get 30 free Swagbucks for signing up!)
+5 for any purchase made through the Things Liz Loves Amazon store
+5 for any purchase made at the Things Liz Makes Etsy shop or Ravelry Pattern Store

All the links you will need are provided above. That's a total of 23 possible entries per person! So not only am I giving you a super incredible humongous prize pack, I'm making it really easy to have a ton of chances! Just fill out the form below (or follow this link if the embedded form doesn't show up) and I will credit your entries! The winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, December 5th, 2011. Thanks so much for participating, I can't wait to see who wins!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things Liz Loves Halloween Haunted Review

This Halloween season has been an exciting one for me. I've been working extra hard on my shop, adding inventory, doing advertising and expanding my offerings. I've been working on my house, fixing up a few things in preparation for the coming winter. And most of all, I've been getting scared out of my wits. I've been on a visit to at least one haunted attraction per weekend since the beginning of October, visiting some of the most renowned haunts in Utah. While these haunts boast that they are some of the scariest in the US, I needed to know for myself, and I figure maybe some of you want to know too. So here's a review of two of the most well-known haunts in the state of Utah. Keep a lookout for more to come!

Nightmare on 13th
Nightmare on 13th is the most popular haunted attraction in Utah, and thanks to the national exposure it has received from being featured on the Discovery Channel, people from all over visit in hopes of a horrifying good time. The attraction features some of the latest in haunted house technology, a huge venue with three different themed sections and a giant cast of some of the only paid haunted house actors in the state. The lines for this place are insane, so people who buy their tickets online get a free VIP upgrade to skip the line and head straight in (people who pay at the haunt have to spend an extra $10 per ticket to skip the line, but with a 45 minute minimum wait time, it may be worth it). All this information coupled with a steep $20 per person ticket price led me to believe that this would be the most incredible haunted experience of the year.
Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed with my trip to Nightmare on 13th. The long wait times didn't bother me as much as they might bother others, but the fact that we were pushed through the haunt crammed right next to a hundred other people, mostly rude teenagers, basically ruined the whole thing. It is impossible to get scared when you just saw that zombie jump out at the person in front of you. It was like being packed into an 800 degree pressure cooker of teenage snark. It was hot, sticky and not fun. I personally would not have minded a longer wait time if it meant that I could go through with just my group and not be stuck into a steady stream of people. I don't think anyone else that has attended that attraction would have minded spending a few more minutes in line to feel like the $20 wasn't wasted on a crappy experience. In the future, Nightmare on 13th will not be getting my business, at least until they work on their timing.

The Castle of Chaos
The other big name in Utah haunts is Castle of Chaos. Castle of Chaos has been named one of the scariest haunts in the US by the Travel Channel and has three different locations of terror to keep you quaking in fear. They offer a deal where you can get access to all three locations for $25, which saves you about $33 off the price of going to each one individually. I paid a visit to each haunt and even got to chat with the owner of the Castles. He told me that he takes pride in his haunts and wants to scare the pants off of everyone who enters one of his attractions, which is why the people working the doors at each attraction are required to have a 3-5 minute gap between groups. That way, you get to go through the attraction alone and really get lost in the experience. This is the difference that put the Castles ahead of the gargantuan Nightmare on 13th.

The Original Castle of Chaos
The original home of the Castle of Chaos is on 33rd South in Salt Lake City. The haunt has several rooms of terror, including a meat packing plant, a toy factory and a net maze with wandering, hungry zombies. The coolest feature this location offers is the Hands On Terror experience, where you can sign a waiver and wear a glow stick that allows the actors to touch and grab you while you wander through the haunt. The upgrade is absolutely worth the extra couple of dollars, as the actors separate you from your group, snatch you into dark and creepy corners and go all out to scare the crap out of you. This location is moving to Orem next year, but if they keep up with the quality of this year, it will be worth the trip.

The Castle of Chaos Redwood Road
The Redwood Road Castle of Chaos is in what used to be the Nightmare Mansion and has four levels of fear that are guaranteed to terrify. This location has a very similar feel to Nightmare on 13th, only you actually get to go through in small groups and get scared for real. They have a 3D level that tricks your vision, a mental hospital level that puts you into a seemingly dead end padded cell, and the actors are top-notch at this location. I actually screamed when one of the "mental patients" snuck up on me, and I pretty much never scream. The Hands On experience will be added to this location next year, and I will be one of the first in line to get scared.

The Carnival of Chaos
The newest Castle of Chaos location is in Riverdale and is the most family-friendly of the three Castle haunts. The Carnival of Chaos has three sections: the Haunted Midway, which is free to all and has face painting, tarot readings, aerial performers, an all-ages music show and a coffin ride; the Seven Deadly Sins section was a staple at the original location that has new life in Riverdale; the Carnival of Chaos 3D Maze is a trippy visual experience that is totally creepy but still fun for younger visitors. I hit this location twice, once with my kids and once without. Both were a great time and we will be visiting them for years to come. This haunt will get bigger each year, so expect new things to pop up!

Things Liz Loves isn't done with the Utah haunt scene yet! I have plans to pay a visit to at least 2 more haunts this year, so check back for more reviews. Ticket information can be found at the links provided. Happy Haunting!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Brand New Listings at Things Liz Makes

I have finally listed all of my full-sized Hocus Pocus spinning fibers, so hop over to the Things Liz Makes shop to check them out! I also have some Supernatural themed batts and Psych-inspired fiber and yarn listed, all of which are pretty awesome! Take a look at some of the lovelies that are currently for sale!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2) by Clay and Susan Griffith

The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2)The Rift Walker
(Vampire Empire, Book 2)
Written by Clay and Susan Griffith
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Pyr (a division of Prometheus Books)
ARC provided by the publisher for a fair and honest review. THANK YOU!

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Summary (courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance's horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.
As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.
The Rift Walker is the second book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternative history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic politcal themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
I absolutely LOVED The Greyfriar, the first book from this series, and The Rift Walker is an amazing follow-up that doesn't disappoint. Full review after the jump!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Things Liz Makes October Fiber Feature

October is just around the corner, which means it's time to give you all a sneak peak at the awesome fibers I'll be stocking in the Things Liz Makes shop. This is the first month that the shop is contributing to the Phat Fiber Sampler box, so the October fibers go along with the Phat theme for October: The Witching Hour. I plucked my inspiration from the most fabulous witches I know, the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus.

This animated version of the Hocus Pocus sisters is where I got my inspiration.
Have a look at the samples I'm sending to Phat HQ today:
"Amok, Amok, Amok!" - Sarah Sanderson
Sarah Sanderson is a silky little minx, and her fiber is too. The Sarah inspired colorway is a blend of fuscia Targhee wool, maroon Merino and nylon blend, pale yellow Tussah silk and a strip of black Merino wool to tie it all up. The full sized batts have the black blended right in, so it spins up together with pops of color, shine and darkness.
"I Smell Children..." - Mary Sanderson
Mary Sanderson is a soft, simple, no-frills kind of gal. The Mary inspired colorway keeps in line with this by being a no-sparkle workhorse sock blend of maroon Merino and nylon blend, natural chocolate brown BFL wool, streaks of vibrant purple nylon and black Merino to pull it all together. The black will also be blended into the batts for the full sized version of the colorway. This blend is super soft and resilient enough for sock yarn.
"I Put a Spell on You" - Winifred Sanderson
Winifred Sanderson needs no introduction. After all, of all the witches working, she is the worst. The colorway inspired by the black-hearted Winifred is high contrast and sparkly, perfect for an art yarn. The blend includes bright green Targhee wool, soft blue baby alpaca, fiery orange Firestar and a strip of black Merino wool, because you can't have Winifred without some deep dark evil inside. As with the other colorways, the black Merino will be blended right into the full sized batts.

I had a ton of fun making these colorways, and I can't wait to get the full sized batts finished up and posted in the shop. If you love the colors and fibers but don't spin, there will also be a spinning service listing that you can snag at a discount with these batts to have your own custom Hocus Pocus yarn. If you want to get your hands on a sample sized Sanderson Sister, swing by Phat Fiber and get on the list to be emailed with the box drop date. You'll also get your hands on samples from a ton of other awesome fiber artists, all with the fun Witching Hour theme. Full sized batts will be listed in the shop right around the time of the box drop, so look out for them!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shameless Plug - Vote for Me!

Hi guys! Just a quick post to ask you to pop over to Ravelry and cast a vote for my yarn to win the Firefly themed Spin-Along contest in the Dyet Yarns group. My entry is the Earth That Was colorway, which is a lovely deep green with blue and cream accents You have to have a Ravelry account to vote, but accounts are free to sign up and the community is a lot of fun. So hop over to the contest thread and vote for Liz! The voting closes on September 9th, and that's my 6th anniversary, so it would be an injustice for me to not win. I'm just saying. Thanks bloggy friends!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Time Travel Tuesday: Hocus Pocus

What's this? A new Time Travel Tuesday? That's right, we're back, and with some serious awesomeness. This week, we're going to take a look back at one of the most fun, cheesy and entertaining Halloween-themed movies of my childhood, Hocus Pocus.

Hocus Pocus
Released in 1993
Rated PG
Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw

My adoration for this movie was recently revived when I started looking for inspiration for my October contribution to the Phat Fiber Sampler. The theme is "The Witching Hour," and in true Things Liz Loves style, I wanted to pull my inspiration from either a movie, TV show, book or song. Then I remembered this little gem, and it was perfect. The over-the-top colors, the silly dialogue, the family-friendly yet interesting storyline...everything in this movie is an ingredient for awesomesauce. Bette Midler even sings! You can't beat that.

A little bit of "Where are they now" info...Bette Midler retired after her last run in Vegas in 2010 after decades of Hollywood success. Sarah Jessica Parker went on to become wildly successful in Sex and the City. Kathy Najimy does a lot of TV now, including a run on the law comedy Franklin and Bash. Thora Birch went on to star in some film fixtures like American Beauty and Now and Then, and currently has 3 films in production. Vinessa Shaw has been busy since Hocus Pocus, acting in films like The Hills Have Eyes and 3:10 to Yuma. Omri Katz left acting in 2002 to pursue hairdressing in LA, and later moved to Israel with his family. And another character from Hocus Pocus found success later in life as well. Remember the boy turned immortal cat that helped the kids fight the Sanderson Sisters, Thackery Binx? That boy, Sean Murray, currently stars in the successful CBS series NCIS as Special Agent Timothy McGee.

If you're feeling nostalgic or you're looking for a Halloween movie that you can watch with your kids, Hocus Pocus is a good one to pick up. Put it on your Netflix DVD queue or pick it up from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Things Liz Makes: New Phat Fiber Contributor!

Hi guys! Just posting to let you all know that my shop, Things Liz Makes, has been approved to be a contributor to the Phat Fiber Sampler Box! I will be contributing fiber, yarn and patterns for your spinning and knitting pleasure. Check out the Phat Fiber website and look for my samples in the October sampler box!

Friday, August 12, 2011

News from the Vampire Empire Series and Dragon-Con!

Just got an email from the publisher of the Vampire Empire series that was full of awesome! If you remember a few months back, we reviewed the first book in the Vampire Empire series, The Greyfriar. I totally dug that book in a big way, and I'm excited to be reading the second installment for review as we speak.

The publisher of the series, Pyr, has some big things in the works for the Vampire Empire, including a series of audio books narrated by the amazing James Marsters. *insert fangirl squee* You remember James Marsters. The hot piece of man candy that played Spike on the Buffy and Angel TV series.
You are hypnotized by my eyes of awesome blueness.
I adore James Marsters, so I'm ridiculously excited about the next tidbit of news I'll be giving you guys. This year, at Dragon-Con, there will be a special Vampire Empire ticketed event featuring the authors of the series and Mr. Marsters.

Attendees will be able to hear all about the Vampire Empire series from the authors, Clay and Susan Griffith. Then, James Marsters will read from The Greyfriar and women everywhere will melt. The event will be followed up by a book signing, where you can get your copies of both The Greyfriar and it's follow-up, The Rift Walker. Since the event takes place on September 4th, you'll have a chance to get The Rift Walker before it hits shelves on September 6th!

Information about DragonCon and tickets can be found at the convention's official website. There's going to be a whole lot of awesome stuff going on at DragonCon, so if you can get down to Atlanta, do it! Also, look for the review of The Rift Walker to be posted here very soon.

Big thanks to Pyr and Prometheus Books for providing the info and the awesome books to review.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Things Liz Makes Tutorial: Crochet Staghorn Cables

Cables are like a foreign language to many crocheters. Most people think cables = knitting, and that's simply not the case. I've worked out crocheted cables before, and I was presented with a challenge to do a Staghorn Cable pattern in crochet. I did a quick search on Ravelry's pattern database, and there are no crochet patterns that feature Staghorn Cables. Not one! So I looked at photographs of knitted Staghorn Cables and the experimentation that happened over at Knotrune's blog. Armed with this information, I came up with a written Staghorn Cables pattern that can be adjusted to work with pretty much any crocheted project. I'm going to go ahead and link this up to the Ravelry pattern database for free, so you can all feel free to work the technique into your patterns. Of course, I'd appreciate a nod in any pattern that uses the technique. :) Happy Crafting!

Crocheted Staghorn Cables
By Liz Beckwith
Written July 10, 2011

This pattern swatch is written with one set of staghorn cables that is two three-stitch cable sections positioned together. The swatch is 20 stitches wide. This can be altered to include more than one set of staghorns, to make larger or smaller cable sections or to be worked with smaller stitches. Can be used with any yarn weight, hook size and gauge. This sample of the swatch is worked in worsted weight acrylic yarn and with a size H hook.

Crocheted test swatch.

Stitch abbreviations:
fdc: foundation double crochet
ch: chain
dc: double crochet
tc: triple crochet
fpdc: front post double crochet
bpdc: back post double crochet
fptc: front post triple crochet
bptc: back post triple crochet

Row 1: Work 20 fdc. For help with the chainless foundation, see the Crochet Cabana article on them here.
Row 2: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch. 3 dc, 12 fpdc, 4 dc.
Row 3: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch, 3 dc. Skip the next 3 stitches, then work 3 bptc. Cross back and work 1 fptc in each of the skipped stitches. This creates the cables. Skip the next 3 stitches, then work 3 fptc. Cross back and work 1 bptc in each of the skipped stitches, then work 4 dc to end the row.
Row 4: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch, 3 dc, 12 fpdc, 4 dc.
Row 5: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch, 3 dc, 12 bpdc, 4 dc.
Row 6: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch, 3 dc. Skip the next 3 stitches, then work 3 fptc. Cross back and work 1 bptc in each of the skipped stitches. Skip the next 3 stitches, then work 3 bptc. Cross back and work 1 fptc in each of the skipped stitches, then work 4 dc to end the row.
Row 7: Turn, ch 1, dc in first stitch, 3 dc, 12 bpdc, 4 dc.

To continue the pattern, start again at Row 2. Fasten off when the fabric reaches the desired length.

Close-up of the Staghorn Cable detail.
Staghorn Cables are a great adornment for any crochet project. Thank you for checking out this tutorial and check back for more in the future!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Upcoming Reviews...Who Knew?

So I know you guys that still follow this blog are aware that I have been the world's worst blogger over the past couple of months. I had some personal issues that kind of made things fall apart on here, and it's been much harder than I thought it would be to get back into the swing of things with posting. Lucky for me, the great people at some of the publishers I've reviewed for will not let me go quietly into the night. Prometheus Books deserves a public thank-you from me for helping me keep kicking in the blogging world. They've sent me another title to review, so I will be reading and reviewing The Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman very soon. I also have copies of Matched by Ally Condie and Teeth: Tales of Vampires waiting to be read, so there will certainly be more to come from Things Liz Loves.

Another thing that has kept me from being all over the Blogosphere is the extra work I've been putting into my store, Things Liz Makes. I have a supply of handspun yarn for sale for any other crafters, as well as finished objects, both crochet and knit. If you have a minute, head over to Etsy and check it out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hunger Games Movie Casting: Why Everyone Should Just Shut Up About It

I am a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games, like many of you are. I am one of the many people that are eagerly anticipating the film and all of the casting announcements. I, however, am not like many of the series fans that I've seen trolling the Hunger Games Facebook fan page. Many of these fans are insanely critical of every casting decision. I've seen at least six comments on each casting decision that sum up to "the series is ruined because of this actor," especially in response to the casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. This is one of the reasons that people can't stand and make fun of fandoms. Obsessive intolerance.

I am not a casting director, screen writer, movie director or anything related to the movie making process. My guess is that neither are any of the Facebook trolls, blog writers/commenters or general fans of the series. So why, without any prior experience in film casting, would any of us profess to know what is best for the casting of a movie? How can any of us think we know who should be cast in any role when we haven't seen any of the actor's auditions, or even the list of the people who were trying to get the role? Chances are, the actor you envisioned to play Haymitch Abernathy never even expressed interest in the role (this is probably the case with my beloved Robert Downey Jr.), or the actress you wanted to play Katniss could have bombed her audition (I don't know how the fan faves Kaya Scoledario or Malese Jow did on their auditions, but it obviously wasn't good enough to win the roll), or any combination of things.

What really gets me is when fans say things like "Her hair is the wrong color! This movie is going to suck!" Think about it, folks. Do you think that the casting department would pick an actor for a role based on their hair color?! If they did, then the movie would totally suck. Casting is based on the talent of the actors and the chemistry between the characters that interact with each other. Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar nominated actress who obviously has the chops to play Katniss. Woody Harrelson is an awesome actor who has proven himself in several films and is more than capable of playing Haymitch. Even Lenny Kravitz, who has limited acting experience, had to have shown something in his audition that made them think he was the best choice to play Cinna. They don't just cast people in movies willy-nilly and hope it sticks. These things are thought out and planned far more than what 13 year old fan girls do when they make a photo manip.

The point is, none of us are qualified to decide who is the best person to play a roll in a movie. None of us are qualified to decide whether or not the movie is ruined based on any of the casting. News flash: the movie isn't out yet. No one knows if it's good or bad because they aren't even finished making it. How about we let the casting people do their jobs and wait to see what happens? The same thing happened when they were casting Twilight, Harry Potter and all the other book-to-movie adaptations that have a solid fan base. Guess what? Those movies came out just fine, in spite of the fact that people thought the casting would ruin the movie. Remember the Replace Robert Pattinson online campaign? Now look at the Twilight franchise.

Fans of The Hunger Games, do us all a favor. Get over yourselves. You can't have your dream cast in a movie and have it be good. Let the professionals do their job and make your judgments when the film is finished.

I'll step off my soapbox now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pics from the Lamb and Wool Festival!

This Saturday's Lamb and Wool Festival at Thanksgiving Point was so fun! I was there showing off drop spindle spinning for the festival visitors and selling some Things Liz Makes yarns, fibers and crocheted items. There was all kinds of fun stuff for people to see and do, including watching a sheep shearing, checking out all kinds of farm animals, and learning to dye wool with Kool-Aid. I thought it was awesome that they were doing that, since I use Kool-Aid for a lot of my own wool dyeing.

Here's a shot of my table at the festival:
My husband is that blur with the soda.
And here's a shot of me spinning some lace-weight yarn on a drop spindle:

It was a pretty awesome day, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Trial of Blood and Steel Series

Haven (Trial of Blood & Steel, Book 4)Trial of Blood and Steel Series
Written by Joel Shepherd
Book 1: SashaBook 2: PetrodorBook 3: TracatoBook 4: Haven
Publisher: Pyr
Release Dates: Oct. 2009 to Apr. 2011
ARCs provided by publisher for fair and honest review...Thank You!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

A fantasy series that proves hard to get into. Kind of unrelatable main character, inconsistent pacing and tough-to-follow POV changes make this series difficult to swallow. A good read for fans of the genre, but not really our cup of tea here at Things Liz Loves. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Things Liz Makes Shop Update and Blog Update

The Things Liz Makes shop has a new look! Well, really, it's just a new banner. But it's a nice banner with pretty fonts.

There will be a full-blown shop update, complete with new items for sale, next week. I've extended the blog followers coupon code for 20% off (code "TLLBLOGFRIENDS") through June 30th, so hop by the shop and pick up some one-of-a-kind yarn, bags or bookmarks! And for all you spinners out there, I'll be stocking hand-prepped and dyed spinning fibers, which are a joy to work with.

Look forward to some big reviews in the next couple of weeks. Stephanie has been hard at work reading a series for a full four book review, and I've been preparing reviews for some of this year's biggest titles. I will also be dropping more movie and DVD reviews for you guys once I get past this weekend's festival.

See you guys soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things Liz Makes at the Lamb and Wool Festival

Hey everyone! My fiber arts company, Things Liz Makes, is going to be representing at the Lamb and Wool Festival at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT on Saturday May 21st! I'll be displaying yarns, fibers and finished projects, as well as demonstrating crocheting and spindle spinning. Anyone in the area, feel free to stop by and check it out! The festival is going to be full of fun woolly things, including sheep herding and shearing demonstrations, felting and spinning demos and fun projects! I'm personally pretty excited for the festival, but I'm a fiber addict and need exposure to as much wool as possible.

Here's the info about the Lamb and Wool Festival:
Each spring, Farm Country demonstrates the centuries-old tradition of sheep shearing. This process, done by a craftsman called a “shearer” is traditionally done in the spring over several days. The Lamb and Wool Festival is an annual event to entertain and enlighten families. Sheep dog demonstrations, duck herding, wool sheering, waulking, storytelling, wool crafts & activities, entertainment, pony and wagon rides, food, and more.
* Hacky sacks (10 am- 6 pm)
* Wool soap (10 am - 6 pm)
* Solar wool dyeing (10 am- 6 pm)
* Wool bracelets (10 am- 6 pm)
* Spinning & weaving demonstrations (10 am- 6 pm)
* Food Vendors (10 am- 6 pm)
* Pony & wagon rides (10 am- 6 pm)
* Wool shearing (10 am- 2 pm)
* Sheep dog demonstrations (12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, & 3 pm)
* Duck herding demonstrations at (12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, and 2:30 pm)
* Storytelling at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm

The fun all starts at 10am. Admission is $5 per person, ages 3 and up. Thanksgiving Point Club Members and children under 3 are admitted free. For more information and a map to the event, check out the Thanksgiving Point Website and the Utah Valley Weekend Planner.

Hope to see a few of you there!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PLAYING HURT Blog Tour Interview

The big day is here! The Things Liz Loves stop on Holly Schindler's Playing Hurt blog tour! Today we have an interview with Holly all about Playing Hurt, and it's an awesome interview! Check it out after the jump!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Computer issues

Just to keep you guys updated, my laptop is currently out of commission, so forgive my lack of posting at the moment. It will be better soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playing Hurt Blog Tour Date is SET!

It's official! The date is set for our stop on the Playing Hurt Blog Tour! Holly Schindler will be stopping by for some bloggy shenanigans on May 4th, so mark your calendars! I don't have all the info on what's in store, but you can bet it will be awesome! More info to come!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Playing HurtPlaying Hurt
Written by Holly Schindler
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Flux (Llewellyn Worldwide Ldt.)
Travelling ARC provided by author....THANK YOU!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

I really liked this book. The characters seemed so real and the relationships they had were so true to life. The sports terminology was even 100% accurate...score one for Holly! Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Film Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny StoryIt's Kind of a Funny Story
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
Rated PG-13 (Focus Features)
Starring Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis and Zoe Kravitz
An Independent Review by Stephanie

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):
What's a 16-year-old boy doing playing music and table tennis with adult psychiatric patients -- on a school day? It's kind of a funny story...'It's Kind of a Funny Story', adapted from Ned Vizzini's 2006 novel of the same name, is the new comedy-drama from acclaimed writer/directors Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden.

It's 5:00 AM on a Sunday in Brooklyn. Craig Gilner (played by Keir Gilchrist of "United States of Tara") is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents (Lauren Graham [of "Parenthood"] and Jim Gaffigan [of 'Away We Go']) and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth ward is temporarily closed -- so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis of 'The Hangover'), soon becomes both Craig's mentor and protege. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts of the upcoming 'Scream 4'), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoe Kravitz of the upcoming 'Mad Max'). With a minimum five days' stay imposed on him by the adult ward's staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis), Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Checking In...

Hey bloggy buddies! Just checking to let you know I'm still around! I'm going to start picking up on the Thursday's Picks again either this week or next week, and I'll be posting another review by this weekend. TLL is also going to be a stop on Holly Schindler's Playing Hurt Blog Tour in May, which is super exciting for me because I'm a HUGE fan of Holly's! So keep checking in and things are going to pick back up very soon! Love you guys and thanks for sticking around!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful DarknessBeautiful Darkness
Written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
NOT a publisher requested review!

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An exciting follow-up to Beautiful Darkness. Slow to start, but when the story got going, it was impossible to put down. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

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