Friday, 28 June 2013

UFO Landing!

Friday again! How does Thursday slip by so quietly? I made wonderful progress on my WIPs though - the Mirabilia really came along nicely - but it's time to drag out the projects that never seem to get done. This seems to be the best section for me, too! All those 3/4 finished pieces really get finished up with a UFO time slot every week!

I've been finding white everywhere since I finished that Heart. Oh boy.

Right. I've finished two of the three projects I had officially had as part of my UFO roundup. While I haven't touched the third, the great big one with the teddy and sleeping kitten in a wicker chair, I want to put some more pieces in this slot. It's lucky or something! I'm moving the Halloween Carousel Horse to Fridays, instead of a more frequently worked on Wednesday roundup. I like it, really I do, but it just doesn't seem to be getting done. DX The black cats bookmark might be moved, but I really have no idea where I'm going with that one. I might just scrap it. I still haven't located my Larkspurs piece, even after the room overhaul I did - it must be adept at hiding, like all that white thread!! I'll also be adding the Welcome piece I've had for a while to the UFOs. The 'W' and the last loop needs finishing, as well as a twig or limb underneath the birds' claws. Time to get it done!!

The colours are really washed out in this shot. Better next time!
If I can keep three in my UFOs at a time as a break from the more worked-on "Wednesday Works" I should do well, right?
Still debating the Celestial Dragon! If you have any colour schemes to suggest, I'm open! I'm pretty set on changing it. Something a little darker, I think. So even if I preserve the blue theme, it'll be darker and more contrasted with the fabric I have (since it's . . . . white. I'm so unusual. :P).
Also, I passed 800 views on this blog!! While it's nothing massive in the world of blogging, I'm know, this is fabulous! THANK YOU!!! :D This post also marks more posts than that of any other month since I started this blog. It's been the most consistently updated, most fun to write, and easiest to keep up with than any other blog I've ever tried. While it may not ever be hugely popular, I hope you can at least find some great free patterns through here, and maybe get some inspiration to try your hand at some cross stitch yourself. If a rambling, forgetful, procrastinating girl like me can do it, you certainly can! ;)
Over the weekend, I expect to get the finished project page updated with the Valentine Heart and all that good stuff. I have a few more links to add to the freebies list (check it out. Seriously. Down there, to the right. If what you want isn't listed, it will be soon, or you can suggest it so it gets there faster!), and UFOs to work on if the Mirabilia doesn't hog all my time. I don't expect to get a TV Tuesday post written until the end of July at the earliest. Watching two-three episodes a night isn't getting me through these dramas any faster it seems, so getting through one more to write about will take time. I'm mostly watching Substitute Princess, and as I started it over with my sister, I'm only just past where I stopped watching last time. I still need to finish watching ToGetHer. I might write one on City Hunter, since I watched that not so long ago, but still - not until the end of the month, I'm thinking. Hang in there!
Until Wednesday then, and the updated pages, keep stitching! ^.^ ~x~

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

WIPs and Celestial Dragon

Look at what arrived today!

Not mine, but a close up of the finished piece
What the pattern book looks like

I ordered this as a late birthday gift to myself. I was a little disappointed by the face - finally seeing it up close it looks a little too cutesy for my liking as dragons go, but the rest of it is just as captivating as it was the first time I saw it. The pattern itself is  8 pages long, with the back of the booklet serving the detail for the characters in each corner (the upper left meaning 'Happiness,' the upper right meaning 'Longevity,' the lower left meaning 'Virtue,' and the lower right meaning 'Wisdom.') The inside cover and first page are the thread list and general instructions, as per usual with a pattern. It looks as though there are a lot of half stitches, not just in the characters, but around the dragon in the gold circular border where it meets blue.

Nice as it is right? Think again! This gorgeous colour change has me thinking twice about using the same blue scheme! What about that red huh? Just stunning. I think it makes the face look a little fiercer, but that may be just me. I wish the author of the site/stitcher of this piece had posted the colours she was using, because I would love to do it too! I suppose I could try emailing in for a colour list.

Find this work here.

I'll have to think again whether or not I want to keep the original blue! I'm thinking either reds or dark green into blacks. Perhaps for this piece I'll bend a little and put it on the T spot in my A-Z cross stitch list!

On the WIP front this week, I'll have to start working on one today. After finishing the Valentine Heart, I've taken a bit of a break, and nothing's been catching my eye. Hopefully the CD I ordered along with this Dragon will come in tomorrow and I'll have some new songs to stitch to!

Monday, 24 June 2013

A-Z Cross Stitch List and Finished Heart!

A new post outside of the typical WIPs and UFOs I've been doing the past few weeks. If nothing else than to break up the list of WIPs and UFOs on the list of past posts, here it is. XD

In the midst of creating a list of the books I've read or plan to read this summer (when I'm not busy with needles and thread, that is), I wondered if I could do a similar plan for my stitching. A friend of mine once sent me a page that asked readers to see if they could create a list of books that they had read - one for every letter of the alphabet. It was a little more flexible in that the first letter of the title wasn't the only criteria, but the first letter of the author's name could also count, and I was able to come up with everything but X and Z (okay, I had to include a Dutch magazine to get the U. It's harder than you think!). In the midst of attempting to recreate a list with books I've read recently, I realized I could come up with more completed cross stitch than I could books. XD

Along with the list, I finally finished that Valentine's Heart! It's nowhere near perfect - I've pulled a lot of stitches too tight in places, and being left out goodness knows where for two years has made a couple of places less-than-white (though you can't tell on my camera. :DD). There are actually NO MISTAKES in this piece!!! I know, crazy right? But yep, everything was in the right spots on this one for once. I got it started in 2011 when the pattern was first posted - the reason this was on the UFO Friday posts - and it took me a little over a week all said and done to get it finished at last. Lots of procrastination on this one, but finally completed. Hooray!

It almost didn't get done, though - that white I bought to replace the ridiculous amount I already have that keeps going missing was almost thrown away later the same night I bought it! It was left in another bag, not the sketchbook one as I had thought, and the plastic bags were minutes away from being thrown in the trash when I realized I didn't have it and my Mom and I checked the other bags. XD I don't know what sprites or household spirits were hanging out with this piece, but I'd really love the return of my white any day now. Seriously. I had to stitch this one with three strands rather than two, so I actually used up a lot more than I thought I would. Good thing one skein was enough though! Because I'm about to go bankrupt buying white. XD

Could you come up with a list from A to Z of pieces you've stitched? How about only completed pieces? Or only in-progress pieces, for all of us procrastinators out there?? Are you a reader, and maybe have 26 titles to add to your list? I'd love to know! Here's my list of cross stitched pieces. And yes I've read fewer books than that this year. I've actually only read most of two.

C - Carousel Horse, Halloween
HHalloween Motif Pumpkin, Hogwarts Crest (I'm soon going to replace it with this pattern)
I - I'm Late! I'm Late! (White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland)
L - Larkspurs (Flower of the Month for July)
M - Mini Desserts/Dessert of the Month Club
V - Valentine's Heart
W - Welcome

Links for Valentine's Heart, both Hogwarts Crests, and Larkspurs are to the original patterns from which I stitched. All others are to pages on this blog to show you my progress and/or finished pieces. So if you'd like to stitch the same Heart I did, click up there at V for Valentine's Heart and get crafty! There's no colour key, stitch how you please. I chose to do white over red because I wanted to do the inverse of what was shown with the pattern, though I really love the black over white fabric versions I've seen - those are so elegant! Choose whatever fabrics and threads you want or have to hand - it's a really easy stitch, honestly. I started this in 2011, when I wasn't that great of a stitcher, and the pattern was so easy to follow along on, I didn't even need to mark out what I had done (as I always have to do otherwise I get lost and make massive mistakes).

I'll update this list again in the future - you start your own list and see how many you've got done or in-progress! I'm restricting my list to only the titles of the actual pieces, but you could follow the original 'rules' and include the author's/creator's name as a possibility for alphabetizing too (e.g. you have two pieces for 'M' but nothing for 'N' and one of the pieces was designed by Nora Corbett, you could put one under N for her name, and the other for M. The same could work for last names if you wanted, too!).

Well, until Wednesday then. Time to get to work on some more pieces so I can officially add them to my list! ~x~

Friday, 21 June 2013

UFO Fridays - Thread Sprites

Whew, late post! Made it in on Friday nonetheless. :D Spent today out shopping and hadn't the time to go on the computer! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I went out with my sister and grandmother to a mall (quite a drive) to take a look around. Didn't end up buying much, but had a good time!

On another note, the Valentine's Heart that I wanted to have finished by Friday ended up frozen in time, thanks to whatever sprite stole my thread. Guess what happened? I had that baggie of eight or so skeins of white thread on the same chair as that which held all my patterns and cross stitch books. By evening, the threads I'd bought earlier when I couldn't find all that white had gone missing. Not in my bag, not in the car, not on the floor anywhere or with any of my other threads or projects. And then what happened? When I went searching for the white I had had already, it was gone too! Not a thread of white in sight. Argh! So on a last-minute run to Walmart for final goods for the party tomorrow, I picked up another white. It's still in the shopping bag with a new sketchbook, and will remain there until I can physically pick up the needle! The Heart will be a quick stitch should I ever get the chance to finish it, so it may be posted up on the Finished Projects page before my next UFO post gets written.

I've also picked up watching Substitute Princess again, as well as another drama, so perhaps there'll be a TV Tuesday post next week? I'm thinking that won't be a weekly post for obvious reasons - as I can't watch a full drama comfortably in a week however much I may want to! So it'll remain mostly Wednesday and Friday posts as it has been.

Now to get to the stitching before this skein of thread runs away too!! ~x~

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

WIP Wednesdays - Winter's Maiden + White Rabbits + Unpacking = ???

Right then. I got some more work done on Winter's Maiden since lasted I wrote, and I've nearly got an entire section from left to right finished on her. The shading's weird, but I'm going with it anyway.

Late afternoon sunshine is not my friend.

I spent most of yesterday on a final push to get everything tidied away - I've got my room all unpacked and put away at last! I still don't have a dresser or anything similar, so I'm living partially out of a suitcase (one year after moving), but it's a great improvement! I kept two boxes, and I've repacked a bunch of books that weren't fitting on my shelves. I cherry-picked them as best I could so nothing I read frequently or am planning to read got put away, but it isn't as though they're far away - just to the closet!

There was a quick run to the thread store for more white to get my Valentine's Heart completed. I got three more white, came home, did a big clean/organize/pack away on my room and found eight more white!!! Argh!! XD At least I know I have enough now, enough to keep me in stock for several more projects! I hope to be able to add the completed Valentine heart to my new page [Finished Projects, up at the top under the header!] by the weekend. But more on that Friday. (:

As part of my unpacking & organizing, I collected together all my cross stitching projects in one location at last. I had no idea I had that many cross stitch books, either. All stacked together in one chair, they reach from the seat to the top of the back. Whew. All my projects fit nicely in one bag when folded correctly, though I noticed I'm still short of at least one project. It's of the July Larkspurs on the Maurer-Stroh website (also linked in the Free Patterns list to the right), but in black and white, and it's been missing ever since I located the pattern. XD

And look what I found!

I finished this some years back for a friend who was (and still is) really into Alice In Wonderland. Animated, modern live action, you name it, she loves it. So I stitched up this piece, but I never 'finished' it - never made it up into anything. It's just laying there, waiting to be made into something. Like a pillow. I had originally intended for it to be a long decorative pillow for her bed, but it's never happened. Something to do this week!!
I was a little puzzled by the pattern itself. As we all know, the White Rabbit is, well, white. But the book that has the pattern for this well-known rabbit has him in completely different colours. Say hello to The Vanessa-Ann Collection "Holidays In Cross Stitch." If you ever find a stitching/handicrafts section in a book store or library sales, you're more than likely to find one of these knocking about. I've got several years, about five of them, and each of them does different holidays. Sure, each contains the major holidays like a Christmas section and New Year's, but they also have pieces for lesser known 'holidays' such as: The 150th Anniversary of Bowling, Mother Goose Day, pieces for April Fool's Day, one to celebrate peaches (you know, the fruit), the first day of school, Friendship Day, Snow White's 50th anniversary (the Disney film, not the original story itself), National Adopt-A-Cat Month, Wildlife Week, and National Home Decorating Month, to name but a very few. Each and every pattern is marked by the dated colours and patterns chosen, as well as by the items chosen to surround a displayed finished piece. But with a few colour changes in thread, and perhaps cloth in the making up of some works, you get some pretty nice things out of an old book.
My White Rabbit pattern came from the 1990 book, which celebrates Lewis Carroll's birthday on January 27th. Since he's the author of the topsy-turvy Wonderland, he gets the White Rabbit himself. That's where it's weird. There is not a single thing coloured the way the Rabbit appears in the animated film, and since the movie came out in 1951, there's been plenty of time to see and catch on to the image of the rabbit most will be familiar with.
Remember him?
Instead, you get this guy:
See what I mean about dated?
He's brown. The Brown Rabbit. Not only that, he's wearing a blue coat, green pants, white waistcoat, and red necktie, not to mention no glasses in sight. Refer to the picture above, straight from the film. Red coat, blue pants, dark purple necktie, brown/gold waistcoat, and a set of glasses. As well as being decidedly white. He's not being racist, he can't help being an albino bunny. See the pink eyes? Another thing that this pattern decides to overlook.
Luckily, we had the video tape in the house when I decided to stitch this piece, and so I grabbed the case and looked at the ol' rabbit, and picked my colours accordingly. To replace his glasses, though you can't see it well, I outlined his eye in pale blue rather than the proper outline colour, to hint at those little glasses he wears in the film. I also changed the flower colours - not the purple, but the brown leafy bits. I used a paler, brighter green than they did for the vines, and then chose a bright yellow for the leaves themselves. I think it brightens the whole piece, and it definitely makes me think of Wonderland!
Would you like to take a stitch yourself? I'm posting the pattern here, since these books are pretty hard to find yourself, unless, like I said before, you happen to find them one day in a used book store or want to order them online. If there's any problem with this, I'll take them down. Hope you have fun stitching! ~x~

Friday, 14 June 2013

UFO Fridays - V-Day Heart

Well, I suppose I must put down my Mirabilia for the UFOs, at least for Fridays. On the plate for today? My Valentine Heart is begging to get done, and as it's in the same stage of completion as my Halloween project was, it should be an easy finish. What's even better is that it's all one colour!

What is with me and uncompleted Holiday UFOs?

Anyway. My Tuesday post is going to be something completely different from what I was writing - I figured it would be better to review another drama that I had completed watching, and continue to watch the one I had intended to talk about. I think it'll just end up being next Tuesday's post, and continue to stitch some more over the weekend. So this was a short post, but I'll have much more to post about come next week!

P.S. - I've added a new page to the blog! All of my finally finished projects are to be posted there from now on, with information such as how long it took me to complete, what colours and alterations I made, and where I got the patterns. As pieces are finished, more will be added, so keep an eye on it!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

WIP Wednesdays - Winter's Maiden and Horrid Blending

Thanks to limited access to a computer yesterday, I was unable to finish writing and post the TV Tuesday I had planned. Look to see it later today - I'll still have it tagged for a TV Tuesday, but the title will be different.

So much progress!!! I'm so happy with what I've gotten done since I last worked on my Mirabilia! I finally gave in and worked all the blend colours in Autumn's harvest bundle. Some people avoid patterns because of the backstitch, some people avoid patterns because of half or quarter stitches. I avoid patterns with blending. You can't tell in a picture, but you can tell in person that hey - those stitches have two colours in them! They don't look like one single colour, but I'm not going to fuss over them anymore. I did them! I'm missing one colour, #977, so I can't finish the wheat sheaves on the right side of her, but when I do locate it, I'll get it worked in.

Folding over Autumn's side to get to winter results in books holding it down for a picture

Isn't Winter looking good?? As I've said in earlier posts concerning this piece, Winter's Maiden is not going to look like the picture that comes with the pattern. The reason for this is that the Needlepaints Floss, used by the creator of the pattern for Winter's side, are all discontinued. Every single one of them. Autumn is stitched in the original entirely in DMC, so that was no problem, but for Winter's side, you have to either be lucky enough to have all of those colours stashed around your house, or convert them to other flosses such as Anchor or DMC. DMC being what was cheapest around here, that was what I went with. The problem now is choosing the right colours. The conversion chart I used does not replace their threads the best they could have in DMC. I probably could have done better matching by eye than by their chart. Because of this, everything in the original Mirabilia that was purple has now shifted to blue, and the dark greys that are the shading inside her sleeves have shifted to blue-greens. I had really liked the purple in the original pattern so this really bugged me, but I've come to like the colours. They remind me more of winter than the purple does - glaciers, icicles, frozen ponds, and all that nice stuff to do with cold winters. I also love the style that Winter's Maiden is done in - stitching it makes me think of stained glass, with the long stretches of colour sweeping down her gown. Autumn's Maiden only gets this in the second half of her pattern, in her skirt, since her bundle rather breaks it up in the top half.

Original colours of Winter
 When I have more done with Winter, I'll post a better comparison of the two, but for now I've got just up to her arms, so the colour changes won't be as obvious. I also think it's interesting that the sleeves of both Maidens are done in the exact same colours, but look so different!

Alright, so that's all for this post. I'll finish up writing my Tuesday post and have it up later today, and then have the UFO projects post on Friday! Until then, may your stitching be tangle free!


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

TV Tuesdays: ToGetHer

Today's review is on ToGetHer, a drama which many apparently skipped over thanks to the character of one of the main cast. Mars is a falling star, a previously very famous singer/actor, like other Asian singers, but is now on the downslide. He has a few dedicated crazy fans around (and I mean it in that order - dedicated, and crazy), but most people are forgetting him fast thanks to several bad pieces of press that weren't actually accurate. While Mars has a kinder, more average person side, he is usually pretty abrasive - a bit like the arrogant character Arthur was in Merlin on BBC at the start of that show. It seems many people stopped watching the drama because they couldn't stand his character, and while I do find him occasionally too much, it never been to the point of no longer wishing to watch.

The thing I love about some of these Taiwanese dramas, something which I mentioned once before, is that they are like a Jane Austen novel, like real life. The characters change over the course of the show. By the end of the drama, each character has overcome something, has changed in some fashion. Comparing the characters from the first episode to the last, you can tell they are the same people, but they are different. Not so in many other shows I've watched that air in America; not even so much so in Korea! If American characters change, it's somewhere between season 1 and season 9, when the actors themselves are growing tired of the role. XD I know that's a generalization, but it happens in enough of them.

May I say how very creative the name of the drama is? I had never actually realized that those three words were in the one word 'together.' Thanks Taiwan, for teaching me something about my native language. XD

The main characters are played by Rainie Yang and Jiro Wang. I've seen Rainie in a few other dramas, such as Drunken To Love You, though she's most famous for Devil Beside You, the first drama in which she was the lead. Since 2001, she's been in 13 Taiwanese Dramas, as well as releasing 8 studio albums and going on a few musical tours through Asia. 

In ToGetHer she looks very different to the other roles I've seen her in, and I think she pulls off her character excellently.

Rainie is one of those actresses that I'm not exactly fond of. Other people seem to adore her, and I can just never really get it. She is a brilliant actress however, very versatile, and that definitely shows in this drama. I found myself really enjoying her character and that's not at all because I was like her for most of my life. Rainie is the reclusive Momo, a girl who is wrapped up in the world of Prince Kashaba, a manga character. Both of her parents are dead, and her older sister is a materialistic girl who spends every cent that gets into her hands, generally on designer handbags.

Jiro Wang is new to me, as are the rest of the cast save the actor who plays the mentally-retarded swimmer Jia Sen. I saw George Hu in Romantic Princess, who also acted a playful character, though in this show it is more prominent, as his character has 'the intelligence of an 8 year old.' They aren't trying to be harsh; while it's never explained exactly what is wrong with Jia Sen, he is forever stuck as a child, one who has a huge dependency on Momo. Later this grows to be a big problem as he views Mars as a threat, one who'll take Momo's affections away, and he actually harms himself in his frustration with the way he is.

The couple together are really cute, and I loved watching this show. It doesn't tend, as much as other Taiwanese dramas do, to the overdramatic and unrealistic, though it has its moments. The death of Mars' mother had me bawling, and that was a really hard episode to watch. That gives it points in my book for being that good, but also means I'm going to be really hesitant about watching it again! 

Friday, 7 June 2013

UFO Fridays - Halloween Pumpkin Complete!

Since the last Friday post, I was able to get one of my UFOs done!! I don't expect a repeat performance, however. XD

The white fabric is killer on my camera...I can't get it to stop blurring!!

This project has got to be the one most-fudged project I've ever done. When I make mistakes as big as this one on other projects, I always either figure out the mistake and correct it, no matter how bad it was and how much I have to rip out, or quit working on it altogether! This time however, I was so close to finishing, and the mistake didn't really matter here, since they were motifs swirling together rather than something that had to be perfect. The spacing with other motifs still worked out, so I left the mistake as it was. It turned out alright, I think!

Right. Now for a big weekend of stitchery for plenty of progress in the coming week, and lots of updates!

Until then, may your stitching be tangle free! ~x~

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Intro to WIP Wednesdays

The first WIP Wednesday! Yay!

These are the major Works-In-Progress that I will work on most frequently. Others may be regulated to the ranks of Unfinished Objects, and turn into Friday posts rather than Wednesdays, so be forewarned!

~Maidens of the Seasons II: Autumn and Winter by Mirabilia

~Halloween Carousel Horse from Holiday Horses by Linda Gillum

~Dessert of the Month Club by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

~Chinese Couple

~Black Cats bookmark (the cats are free from Lynn B at Happiness Is Cross Stitching)

~Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) Collection

~Oriental Pagoda and Dragon

And basically anything else I feel like getting started between here and next posting time! I'm also reworking a Gingerbread House pattern I have so that it'll be Halloween themed. It's been a little finicky, but otherwise is turning out all right. I haven't picked up a needle on it yet - goodness no, still charting! I want to do a Geisha or set of Oriental fans, but I haven't found a pattern that I really want to do yet. There are a lot of pretty ones out there, but none really capture what I'm looking for.

So, pictures. Here's everything where it is right now, waiting to get going, except for the Hanbok collection and Pagoda and the Dragon

Maidens of the Seasons:

Halloween Carousel Horse:

Chinese Couple:
Whoo! Such progress! XD

Black Cats Bookmark:
There's the beginnings of a hat on this one, but so far it's in white and you can't tell

All of these plus those to work on for UFO Fridays is definitely a list to work on!

And an update on my UFOs - my Halloween Pumpkin is finished! I got it done last Sunday, but debated posting it here or on Friday. The official picture will come on Friday, I think. XD I've thought of a few more UFOs that I have lying about somewhere, but I'll have to locate them first!!

Finally, before I close this post, I've been thinking of finishing up a couple of pieces and giving them away through my blog. If anyone is interested, stake your claim now! I'll be considering which pieces to finish for giveaway, and when I do make a decision and have them completed, I'll make the announcement and guidelines to getting the finished piece(s). Think that's a good idea?? Let me know!

Here's to tangle-free stitching and better-planned updates! Until Friday! ~x~

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

TV Tuesdays - Substitute Princess (Taiwan)

Welcome to the first edition of TV Tuesdays, where you get the scoop on all these lovely Asian Dramas, both new and old. I'm currently watching more Taiwanese dramas than Korean, as I just finished the last KDrama I was watching, and that one broke my heart. DX

My current dramas are Substitute Princess (Taiwan), and ToGetHer (Taiwan). Substitute Princess just aired their final episode, though I haven't quite caught up to it yet. It was instantly on my list of personal favourites the moment I started watching - more on that later. ToGetHer is an older drama, and one I love just as much as Substitute Princess, though the two are VERY different.

I just finished watching City Hunter (S. Korea), and by all that's holy that was a good drama! Absolutely broke my heart at the end though, good grief.

Right. So, Substitute Princess. The story is the typical start of two radically different people, one the rich guy with a perfect life; the other a poor girl working to support her family though two of the three men in the family (father and step brother) both gamble every cent they have away. What makes this one a little different? The girl is not only poor, but supposedly drop-dead ugly. Most poor girls in other dramas seem to be pretty in their own way, though they're usually up against the model-perfect rich girl, competing for the main man's affections. Jin Da Hua is buck-toothed, has a mole, poor skin, and according to all around her has no fashion sense. She's a hard worker though, with a nearly
photographic memory, and runs her mother's grocery store. Enter rich handsome guy, Ouyang Tai, called Terry by most, who has everything - including softspoken, well-educated, beauty Liang Yian as his fiancé. What else is different? Though the two have their lives played out alongside each other on the TV, and occasionally bump into each other eventually, you don't really see how the two are going to meet.

Every drama watcher knows that the two main characters are going to meet and fall irrevocably in love at some point, but unlike other dramas
that have the two meeting in the first episode and getting off on the wrong foot immediately, these two get along amiably the few times they do meet, but there are no ringing bells, no shooting stars, or professions of love. Nor are there chords of doom, dagger glares, or arguments - they just get along, comfortably, as two strangers usually would when meeting each other in the confines of a shop. Neither shows any attraction to the other - in fact, Jin Da Hua has more of a connection with Terry's fiancé, openly admiring the latter's beauty and striking up conversation with her. So it becomes the question of 'is this really the drama I thought it would be? Or is it a story of two people's lives, just to show the differences and similarities of upper class versus lower??'

Somewhat matching other dramas, Jin Da Hua has an unlikely crush on someone who does not notice her: her step-brother Lin Guan Jun. Guan Jun was found by Da Hua's mother when he was a child, and was brought up alongside Da Hua and her brother. Guan Jun looks on them all as family; a little too much in the case of the father, who gambles every penny (and more) away (and mysteriously doesn't appear in the drama until much later). Guan Jun has also fallen into gambling and our introduction to him comes in the form of him running away from a gang of thugs after their money.

Guan Jun's familial friendship with Da Hua isn't enough; she dreams of being his wife someday, while Guan Jun repeatedly tells her he does not like her in that way, and more than once is obviously disgusted by her.

Liang Yian and Terry

The catalyst that finally brings the two main characters together? Surprise, surprise, beautiful, well-mannered, quiet Liang Yian was brought up like a princess, with strict rules on where she could and couldn't go, what she could and couldn't do, and still has a nighttime curfew in place at the time that she celebrates her engagement with Terry! And of course, she's got a wild streak in her. The moment she's freed of her father's clutches, she guilts her future husband into planning a mountaineering trip. Terry was very athletic and quite the risk-taker in the past apparently, and climbed several mountains, while Liang Yian gives the impression of never being allowed in the deep end of a pool without her father's say-so and constant personal supervision. So Liang Yian sets her heart on climbing, even without previous experience, or trying out everyday hiking first. Can anyone hear the creeping doom chords yet?

Tying in nicely with other Taiwanese dramas, Liang Yian manages to make a tiny slope into a massive mistake, and gets injured. According to Qin Mo, Terry's friend, professional mountaineer, and also doctor/plastic surgeon, she's so badly injured her face that she will need a full year to recover - and she's not going to let Terry see her until she's fully recovered, since she's a girl and obviously so worried about her looks right now.

So, like any good Asian drama that doesn't like to take the obvious route and just tell her father what happened, doctor friend Qin Mo and Terry decide that they need to make a perfect substitute out of another girl, both in mannerisms, and in appearances by use of plastic surgery, to stand in for Liang Yian until such time as Liang Yian is healed. They reason that because the woman's father holds so much stock in Terry's company that he'll ruin them for harming his princess daughter, and nullify the engagement in the process, so a stand in is the perfect idea to keep that from happening. Then Liang Yian just returns, replaces the substitute, and the substitute who looks identical to this paragon of beauty and intelligence simply goes back to living her previous life. Nothing could go wrong, right?

In a stroke of midnight genius, Terry realizes that Jin Da Hua, who he has only met two or three times before, is a perfect candidate for remaking into his future bride. Enter Da Hua's father and his gambling problems, an improbable commercial about Australian slaughterhouses paying top dollar for hardworking Taiwanese workers, and an offer from Terry for just the right amount to cover said gambling debts, and boom, you've got the drama you thought you'd would be seeing in episode one.

What I really liked about the drama to this point was the slow buildup. It was perfect. Sure, you're a little shocked by Da Hua's appearance at first, but by the time this plot point turns up, you're pretty used to her, and a little sad to see her character visually disappear (or at least I was). It wouldn't have had such an impact on the viewer, I think, to introduce a 'classically ugly' character, and then twenty minutes later make her into the ideal beauty. Making you feel some sort of connection to this character through a few episodes makes you feel a little of what her family feels when she leaves them, and you as the viewer realize that they are never actually going to 'see' her again, since she has changed her face as to be unrecognizable.

What's left beyond this point in the drama I don't want to reveal too much of, though there are some shocking moments you start guessing at - and perhaps you might see them immediately, and know exactly where it's going. I'm the type to read the description and start watching, and be so totally absorbed as to forget everything I've read before, and be totally surprised by whatever occurs! XD It's a failing and a little bit of a blessing at the same time, because I don't get spoiled easily - I just forget it while watching the show, and then get surprised anyway!

I will say, though, that the drama continues its stellar track beyond the first few episodes. It's different from other dramas I've watched, and it makes it so enjoyable. Even when you're where I am in the show, you're still wondering how the two are going to 'get together' as it were, as it seems so totally normal. Past the weird extreme of plastic surgery-ing a substitute for your future wife, the situations encountered have an element of 'realness' to them that suck you in. They react more like real people would in real situations (not saying totally like real people, this is still a drama!), and there are less of those oh-geez-that-was-obvious moments that other dramas contain and just gloss over like nobody saw that. I'm still wondering how odd it would be for the guy to love one woman, and then fall in love (eventually? Is he really? Still guessing here!) with another woman who is very different in character but is the same in appearance. I suppose it would be like dating one, then the other of identical twins. All I can think is how will anyone know whether or not the guy just has a complex and loves her because she looks the same, or if he actually falls for her and not her face??

So. No other drama has made me wonder and guess and second-guess as much as this one has, and that's very refreshing! I'll definitely continue to watch this drama and wait in great anticipation for how it all plays out!

Next on TV Tuesdays will be a review on ToGetHer and a series on dramas: Which dramas did you like most? Which would you never watch again, and which would you watch repeatedly? and similar questions. It'd be nice to see other fans blogging their favourites, must-watches, and absolutely-hated lists too, so comment some links if you know where to find some or blog your own!

Until then, keep watching those dramas! ^.^