Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things I Like Today

A dose of pretty.

I am working with PDK to decorate our new place, and he got us an awesome couch from Therapy in San Francisco that is a minimalist modernist-inspired couch in grey. But we need something to make it pop! So I ordered throw pillows and covers, and the first just arrived!


via Modern Marvelous Home on etsy
I can't wait until my other pillows, in yellow-and-white and yellow-and-grey, get here. I hope they all look good together.

Other thing that is awesome:  Look at these cool arty creations by Jennifer Khoshbin. I found her at her Etsy shop Rubyslounge, originally, but her own website features a lot more of her adventurous art than is featured just in her shop. Thank you, Jennifer, for letting me share your work with my readers!

A work of art in the Manipulation sequence

A very fishy fellow.  This sculpture is a Transform-ation!
These guys are killer. via jenkhoshbin.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Catch-up

Hello my dear friends,

I know I have been terribly absent. I taught intensive classes this summer, actually got something like a chapter of my dissertation done, and then moved house! I am back in my beloved Bay Area, in Berkeley, a wonderful, wonderful city, and still dissertating away, as well as applying for academic jobs this fall (to begin next fall).

I have reopened my etsy shop, and I made some cool new accessories this summer in a few new designs that I am excited to share soon!

I also was pleased to be asked by a good friend to make her a hair accessory for her wedding earlier this month. I was so flattered that she liked what I sell on etsy! It was my first custom made piece, which was a fun adventure -- we looked at some of my completed designs to find something that worked with her aesthetic and with what I had in stock. I even made her a little muslin "rough draft" so she and her hair-dresser could use that for the trial appointment. In the end, I trolled vintage and thrift stores until I found a great silk scarf with enough white to make a little flower, and then I almost wrecked the scarf by by washing it..... and almost wrecked the first flower I made by applying a stiffener that had worked great on cotton, but left marks on silk. Luckily, I had made a "back up" flower in case something happened to the first one. And my friend liked the second better anyways, thank goodness. She was a total bombshell at the wedding, and I loved how the little silk "flower" looked! Hopefully she'll send me a pic I can post.

If I had been charging her, that little flower would have easily cost her twice as much as I usually charge, considering the time and energy and materials. I can see why bridal items can seem to be so overpriced, but the care and energy that goes into pleasing one customer is a lot extra, it seems to me. I was glad to do it as a gesture of love for my friend, though.

I also was commissioned to do some freelance writing, which was a lot of fun, but also hard work.... I am not used to modifying my style for commercial writing, and I had to tone down my long sentences, tone down the purple prose, and just be much less flowery, generally. Still, it was good money and gave me some confidence that if this academia thing doesn't work out, there may be other ways in which to apply my skills.

This is a text heavy post, but tomorrow will be an image heavy one, so forgive me in the meantime :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dia de los Muertos Decorations

I'm excited about Halloween, and I want to put a cool spin on it this year with some awesome Dia de los Muertos skulls!

How do you like your sugar skulls ...

Black and White?

[Edit: My black and white skulls treasury was featured on the Etsy Treasury Hunter today!]

Or Full of Color?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stitching in Circles featured at Heart Handmade

Mandie of Heart Handmade sweetly featured the upcycled accessories I sell in my etsy shop on her blog!  I am so flattered.

Check out the profile and feature! StitchinginCircles on HeartHandmadeBlog

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I am deep in my dissertation work right now, with deadlines looming, and I have to plan 2 summer classes that are both starting in a month, so I am taking a break from Etsying and Blogging for the near future. But it is only temporary!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Santa Barbara Skies

I've been taking lots of pictures over the last few months, and I thought I would share some of the gorgeous skies we've had in Santa Barbara recently.

I took these pictures on a warm and clear Friday morning when I was walking some Etsy deliveries down to the post office last week. I love the way the clouds slumber on top of the ridge of the Santa Ynez mountains just north of town. I wish I could capture on camera their simultaneous solidity and ethereality.

On my way back from the postoffice, I stopped by Renaud's Patisserie and Bakery and picked up some gorgeous croissants for breakfast: pain au chocolate and one covered in almonds.

A few days later I was walking home and I didn't have my camera with me, but I just grabbed my phone to try to capture some similar clouds piling up on the corner of the ridge, behind the tower of a giant old movie palace called the Arlington Theatre.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rockabilly Street style

Rockabilly Street style
Rockabilly Street style by Tina S featuring a cropped jacket

Saw a gorgeous woman with dyed white hair and a style all her own in a black Rosie the Riveter kerchief, cigarette pants, and the cutest polkadot espadrilles on the street today. I didn't take her picture, but I tried to reconstruct her outfit as best as I could here!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Music for a Busy Day

It's been a busy week, in a good way! Seeing friends, family, doing lots of real work... but it has meant that I have had to neglect all my little side projects. But I do have a plan for some fun posts after I battle my way through this pile of grad school work!

I actually got my dragging body out of bed at 6:30 AM today to continue my project this week of organizing an interdisciplinary conference with grad students from all over California. I hope to have the vast majority of emails that need to be sent out of my drafts file and into my outbox by the end of the day. I managed to get to a yoga class in the morning, and then in the afternoon went to a discussion by a bunch of Santa Barbara writers about their perspectives on writing about place, which was nice for a change of pace. I don't go to half the writing- and art-oriented events that I want to in this town. Now I am home, but the day is far from over!

So, my soundtrack for a busy Santa Barbara day:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Etsy News

Just the headlines!

  • I am delighted to announce that the giveaway I participated in at Fantabulously Frugal has been won by Terecille of New Jersey -- Congratulations Terecille! Her bobby pins went out in the mail earlier this week.
  • new bobby pins are in my shop! 

  • I sold three items this week -- what a rush!  One to a friend, and two to a lovely woman I have not met who runs a letterpress company and makes gorgeous things. In fact, she heard about me solely because I left several very enthusiastic comments on the giveaway she is running right now: $50 in letterpress products or in a gift certificate to Apple, MyFonts.com, or Amazon: go check out Dingbat Press's blog! So there has been lots of packaging and careful final finishing of my little fabric creations before I send them out into the wide world. And another friend, Megan, who modelled these bobby pins and this collage pin, is loving the bobby pin set I gave her as a thank you, and is going to buy more!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bookity Bookity Books

Some people might do a "what's in your purse?" post, but I incline away from bags and towards shelves. Looking over this post, I have concluded that I really need a study, some day. Or at least a home office that is not my bedroom.

If you click on the pictures, you can even read the titles
Books in the hall (some of these are PDK's and Ms. E's)
Living room shelves look better when decorated with books, right?

British fiction section in the living room

Dissertation books within easy reach in the hutch over my desk

For fun books, American poetry, and acquisitions that have no assigned location yet!

Don't even look at this -- this is the pile of library books I can't squeeze onto my shelves.

Library books, Irish books, and literary criticism
I love books, as you all well know!  When I first moved in with PDK, I took the opportunity to organize my books by (in descending order) genre, nation of origin, and alphabetically by author's last name.... since then, though, the organization has gotten a bit crazy as I moved some of the for-fun books out to make room for the dissertation books closer to my desk so they will be right at hand when I need them.

But somehow, I have decided I still have room for more! So, after walking down to the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market on Saturday, PDK took the groceries home while I stayed at The Book Den, a great used and antique bookstore that also does a brisk business online in downtown SB. Borders and Barnes and Noble closed down a couple months ago in town, but I couldn't really give a damn, because I don't think they did much for real readers anyways, other than undervalue books and treat them like a mass commodity, putting small publishers and small booksellers in dire straits. I am hoping that the demise of the big box chains pushes business back toward the independent bookstores in town... and encourages people to open new ones in towns that have been left entirely bereft of books.

My eyes had lighted on a sign in The Book Den's window on Friday night, when I went to the Town Hall meeting on Friday to learn about the potential solutions to California's budget troubles: "Pomes Dolar each -- 571 volumes of Poetry."  So.... I bought twenty-seven books of poetry for a smidgen less than thirty dollars. Oh my, am I now in heaven and in hell, because how am I going to have the time? But, I have a plan: If I get up an hour earlier every day (ugh), I can read a book of poetry with tea before I start the rest of my day. And, I hope it will put me in a readerly and writerly state of mind for the dissertation work ahead of me each day.

So, in celebration of Poetry Month and of books over all,  here is a small smackerel of the beauty and delicious indulgence that comes from small pieces of printed paper, folded and sewn or glued into covers and lined up on shelves (errr... or on the floor):

Books You Can Eat!  The International Edible Book Festival was held a couple weeks back, and I think my favorite was the Fahrenheit 451 submission from 2009! Check out the images in the festival's albums.

The Book Surgeon -- featured on My Modern Met (via The Good. The Bad. And The Internet)

Penguin's redesign of classics
I love this vision of Little Women -- the reference has to be to Jo cutting her hair, right?

Books as Jewelry! (via JunqueTreasures on Etsy)

There is a lot more out there, I am sure, but I am going to leave it at this, since I have reading and writing to do myself, as I am sure you do too! So I will just leave you with this link to an inspiring article in the poetry blog About a WordWho I Read Before I Write

Friday, April 8, 2011

Today in Dissertation Writing, Politics, and Jewelry

PDK got back from his loooong trip to India yesterday -- woohoo! Brought me some lovely presents of the gold and silver kind, too :)  I love the pretty silver earrings he and his sister picked out -- they make the loveliest chiming sound if I shake my head and I've never seen anything like them. I did find some very similar ones on etsy so you guys can see what they look like (since I am too lazy/busy to take pics). Apparently they are called jhumka in North India and jimiki or jitniki in South India, and they are shaped like bells, or you could see them as inverted lotuses.
image via jhumkas on etsy
Instead of hooks, though, mine have posts like these. So beautiful!
image via jhumkas on etsy
So after his three weeks off, he's back at work today, and I am home, planning on doing PhD work.... I am revising and adding to a chapter (well... the chapter, since it's the only one I have written), and I have a plan of how to do it, finally, after rereading and editing and changing the organization of the forty pages I have already written.  I've been thinking about it all day, but have yet to put pen to paper (well, keystrokes to Microsoft Word).

I am also excited about my plan for the evening, which might sound boring to most people: I am going to a meeting with Santa Barbara's representative in California's Assembly, Das Williams, to hear him talk about California's budget, which is in a constant state of crisis. I long wanted to be a lawyer and follow in my civil-rights-defending father's footsteps... until I came to the realization that I was not sure I could emotionally or mentally handle the weight of deciding others' lives with my actions, since any mistakes I made could mean a loss of freedom or loss of life for my clients. Still, I have remained pretty politically engaged, especially with my pet issues: prisoners' rights, women's rights, the environment, and higher education.

I am looking forward to hearing an update on the budget, not least because it directly affects my employment at the University of California. Grad student, undergrads, and faculty at the UC have been fighting and protesting budget cuts, and Jerry Brown, who I voted for, is still proposing an additional $1 billion in cuts to the UCs on top of what has been cut in the last two years, even with his proposals with increased taxes. A sad day for a public university system.

The constant undermining of public support for higher education is one reason that I am thinking strongly of leaving academia when I (finally) finish my PhD. There is no reason to stick around in a system that is making it impossible for me to actually engage with and directly educate students, not just lecture and evaluate them, and yet is still giving them a degree at the end.

If you are interested in reading more about the way that college students are losing out while paying more for a college education in California, you might want to check out the links below. I am just going to put my blinkers on for the next four hours and focus on poetry, and then return to caring deeply about these problems at the town hall meeting this evening.


  • Remaking Higher Education -- a great on-the-ground blog by a UCSB Prof who is involved in the UC administration;
  • "A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education," Parts 1 and 2 in the Chronicle of Higher Education;
  • This activity is a fun and interactive way to try to fix California's budget problems.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Love Winning Giveaways!

Don't you? I am so excited that I won some awesome eye-candy recently!  I hope you win a new treat soon yourself -- have you entered my giveaway on Fantabulously Frugal? Win my handmade bobby pins for yourself or a friend just by choosing a favorite item from my shop, Stitching in Circles on Etsy!

stitching in circles bobby pin

I am so grateful to Beth at Stoney Creek Mercantile for sending me one of her adorable vintage berry baskets with a delicate and lovely antique quilt square as a liner. I won it in a giveaway she hosted at her blog, stoneycreekshops.com. It is perfect for storing all the bobby pins I just made!

stitchingincircles giveaway

stitching in circles

Isn't it pretty? I love that she has found a great way to repurpose beautiful, very loved quilts.

I also won a beautiful set of silver earrings from Rebecca, who designs jewelry and sells it at www.rebeccaanneallen.com.  She also has a great blog... which is where I found the giveaway! Go check it out for yourself: rebeccaaccessories.blogspot.com/

These are my adorable new Rebecca earrings -- which just arrived! I was so excited to win Rebecca's give away.  I have great long earrings, but all my posts are really boring, so these are going to be a wonderful new addition to my small jewelry collection.

stitching in circles bobby pin handmade upcycled
image via rebeccaallen.com

And my most recent win is the biggest! I won $100 gift certificate for some gorgeous, super modern art at www.mod-tots.com. WOW. The cool paintings are supposed to be for kids' rooms.... and I entered the giveaway thinking I would give it to a friend who just had a baby... but I love them! I am kind of tempted to keep it for myself.  I will probably cave and give it to my friend's newborn, though. I love the fox and the raccoon -- their pointy noses are so cute! And I am very interested to see what mystical creatures show up when they develop that section more. I think they could create some really cute modern elves.
Images below via mod-tots.com
I love this foxy fox!
Or should I choose this masked bandit?
I found these mostly through the blog Etsy Giveaways, which is a fantastic aggregate of handmade giveaways. If you are an etsy artisan who is giving away some of your beautiful creations, you should submit the giveaway to them. You might get a lot of people just swinging by for the freebie, but it certainly opens you to a winder audience, some of whom might even spend money later.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Giveaways are Awesome -- Win Mine!

I have discovered giveaways recently and I am actually having one today! I was contacted by Megan from Fantabulously Frugal a while back, and she asked me if if she could do an interview, to which I of course immediately said yes.

My interview and bobbypin giveaway goes live on Fantabulously Frugal TODAY in their Etsy Monday feature! Please visit the site and enter to win: Etsy Monday -- Stitching in Circles Giveaway. I'd love it if one of my followers and friends won these pretty floral bobby pins! The little yoyos are about 1.5 inches wide and are glued and firmly sewn to antiqued brass bobby pins that are about an inch and a half long. Come play in the giveaway -- the winner will be announced on April 11th.

 Exposure like that is great, especially on a site with a wider audience. And I am fantabulously frugal myself, so it is a great match. I hope it will draw lots of views to my shop! I've been busily making lots of bobby pins in anticipation of that. In fact, there is a new set of flowery, bright bobby pins for sale now.
New spring-time bobby pins in my Etsy shop!

I've also been the lucky winner of several giveaways recently, so I know how exciting it is to win them! Good Luck!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

National Poetry Month is Underway!

Celebrate it every way you know how! I will be celebrating it by planning the reading for the summer course I am putting together: "Modernist and Avant-Garde Poetries and their Contexts" .... a bit of a mouthful, but it was the only way to get everything in.

I've also been busy making treasuries to feature some of the wonderful broadsheets and books of poetry available from vintage and handmade sellers on Etsy! I love letterpress, and I am so glad there are other people who have access to presses and can make beautiful editions of poems that I can buy. There is a letterpress machine at UCSB, but I think I'd have to sign up to take a Book Arts course, which would be awesome, but it is such a time commitment! In my last semester of college I took a course in letterpress (to fulfil my arts requirement... when it comes down to it, I really double majored in English in college, I took so many book-based courses). It took me the whole semester to create a broadsheet of the last lines of Joyce's Ulysses and tiny book of quotes about my hometown. I already am spending too little time on my diss as it is.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Capturing the Light

As I mentioned last month, in my post about a new pin I had made, I created a new photography set-up. I am finally getting around to telling you guys about it today.

I am a member of the handemadeology team on etsy, which is a business and promotion oriented team open to all. There is a great blog set up by the founders of the team that you can visit at http://handmadeology.com that  is a wonderful resource for and support for etsy sellers. They have advertising tips and photography tips, and they also promote sellers, which is always appreciated!

I decided to build a cheap little light box based on the instructions provided by handmadeology here.  I didn't want to buy foam board as the tutorial recommends because, as we all know by now, I am CHEAP. Rather,  I currently have several large rolls of lovely artist paper that I bought on sale from a local art supply store, and I figured I could use that instead to line the cardboard box. So, I cut off two sides of a small cardboard box, and measured the bottom and sides of the box against the large roll of lightly-textured white paper.

stitchingincircles handmade upcycled brooch bobby pin
Ta-dahhhh!  This is my wee little lightbox. I didn't do it perfectly, 
obviously, since there is a little area the paper 
doesn't cover in the corner. I need to do something about that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Anatomy of a Soup

OK, so this blog post was supposed to go up over a week ago, and I had all these lovely pics arranged perfectly, but then I started to mess with the html to make everything line up nicely, screwed up my tables, and then accidentally erased everything. A sad emoticon cannot even begin to communicate my frustration and mounting inner rage.

But... I am determined!  I will not let html and blogger combine to defeat me. I will deliver a post with lots of lovely pictures, despite the fact that taking pics is kind of a challenge with my li'l point and shoot and the other fact that writing comes a lot more easily to me than visual aesthetics. To the post!  

farmers market stitching in circles
<< biking home with fronds of fennel from the SB farmer's market >>

(Warning: very non-vegetarian material ahead)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recommendations-- funny, fierce, and friendly.

I want to share with you some of the things that have made me happy today, both of which came from friends I don't see a lot of, but who I stay in touch with on facebook -- people might be skeptical about facebook, but for me, it has allowed me to maintain relationships that I most likely would have lost otherwise.

My old friend Mia Antonelli, who I met in high school when we were in Drama together, has become a gorgeous, talented, professional actress. She has an amazingly funny youtube series called "The Glide." Each episode is just a few minutes long and features Mia as Rebecca and Kamen Edwards as Barrett, and they are two DJs in the Delilah tradition. It's super hilarious and they just put a new episode up!  Highly recommended viewing. A link to their first episode is below, and you really should watch several, as their relationship builds in hilarious ways:

This second recommendation comes via my friend Sean...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Moment of Reflection and Thanks

Everyone who has been following and reading along and commenting -- thank you!  I am so glad my writing and pics are providing some diversion and entertainment to people beyond just my own self.

The Lovely Cait, who blogs at Book Geekery, recently bestowed upon me and several others the title of stylish blogger -- go check her list out, I found some new favorites already!

 I am very flattered and grateful. So when you win this award, it is said that you should: a) Thank the person who awarded you, b) include 7 facts about yourself, c) pass the award on to other bloggers, and d) notify them of winning the award. 

It's a little like chain mail, I guess -- or I could be a wee bit less cynical and see it rather as a generous Pay It Forward that connects bloggers to each other. So, moving forward in all sincerity and earnestness:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Skiing in Tahoe for Spring Break

Tahoe, Skiing, Sugr Bowl 2-11
Found on Flickr --  by Scott Thompson

I am so excited! My friend Kevin, a whip-smart fellow grad student in English, has invited me and some friends to stay with him for a five days at his boyfriend's gorgeous house in Tahoe. Yay Kevin and his retired-at-30-and-bought-a-house-in-Tahoe-because-he-invested-ridiculously-well-in-the-tech-boom boyfriend!

I haven't been skiing since I was like 16, when my mother sweetly took me, my high school boyfriend, and my best friend up to the mountains. My family used to go up to the snow every couple years before that, so I am hoping it's going to be more like riding a bicycle and less like html coding, which I am truly slow and stupid at when I haven't done it for several years. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see if I can stay upright while charging down mountains. I love the thrill of speed on the slopes, and I will just have to not eat much in order to be able to pay for the ski rental and lift tickets for as many days as possible.  Otherwise I'll have to go cross-country skiing, which is cheaper but  no fun at all, as in my opinion it's like walking, but harder, whereas downhill is more like

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Memories of Ireland, part 2

I wrote about my first visit to Ireland last week, and that visit only began a long-term interest in (even fascination with) the place.

In college, one of the first classes I took was on Irish literature. I'd read the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland in high school, and I knew I wanted to know more. That class was one of the best I ever took -- and Eavan Boland even came to read and speak to the class!

The next year I took the same professor's course on Joyce's Ulysses (a great comic book version is online at "Ulysses Seen"), and it was a crazy ride.  I had known before I even went to college that I wanted to spend a year abroad, and reading Joyce's tribute to Dublin cemented in my mind exactly where I wanted to go. His novel is a masterpiece, but I couldn't truly understood it until I lived in Dublin and 1) understood just how walkable it is and 2) really got to know the culture, which, while it is obviously not the same as it was at the turn of the 20th century, still retains echoes and remnants of that time and place.

“For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”

Below are some of my best and most indelible memories of going to Trinity College Dublin for my junior year. Some were entirely cliche, and a lot were entirely unexpected:

Monday, March 14, 2011

First etsy sale and DIY packaging

This weekend was fun -- two of PDK's friends from college visited -- one I had met before and I am quite fond of -- the other I had never met, but we're going to his wedding in Manhattan in May, so I am glad I got the chance to get to know him, too!

The other reason this weekend was so fun is that I had my first sale! It was through a BNR (buy and replace) treasury, so I bought a couple trinkets in order to get my item featured, which means no profit, but I am excited to have the opportunity to practice shipping my little accessories. I decided to make my own packaging as part of my commitment to upcycling when I can, so I created this little waterproof envelope by hand sewing together rectangles I cut from a clean plastic bag and a brown paper bag. I improvised a bit on the instructions from a great Eco Etsy blog post. I am pleased with how it came out and I hope my buyer likes it and what is inside it!
stitching in circles upcycled packaging brown paper

This is the hairpin my lucky customer will soon receive. It is packaged on an adorable vintage playing card, as you can see in the etsy listing here (in the last picture), and then I made a little brown paper envelope to hold the card and pin.
vintage button bobbypin barrette stitchingincircles

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, March 11, 2011

Memories of Ireland, part 1.

With all the mentions of Guinness and Dublin and the wild west coast of Ireland that I've been seeing lately, I am getting more and more nostalgic for my years of living in and travelling around Ireland. Looking back over what I have written, it's gotten very long!  I hope you all don't lose patience with me.

My father's family is mostly Irish, and my grandmother  was entirely Irish (a Holland by birth, her parents both hailing from County Sligo) and fairly fierce about it.  The family never did any of the typically Irish-American stuff though (other than being Catholic), but there was a true connection to Ireland that was a thread running through the family. My grandparents sent clothes to the poor Irish relations for years, and even visited in the 1960s. My father and two of his siblings had also visited our relations in Kilkenny and Sligo in the late 1970s, and Christmas cards were exchanged regularly.  But most importantly, to my young bookworm self, my grandparents had a print of a WB Yeats poem, "The Fiddler of Dooney," illustrated by Jack B Yeats, on their wall, and I knew that poem so well from visiting them and staring at it -- now it hangs in my parents' house, in the room I stay in when I visit. 

"And dance like a wave of the sea."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Creations, Photography Question, and a Recommendation

A new pin in my etsy shop

I built a new photo-taking set-up to help me capture light better and create more neutral backdrops (which I will soon post about in detail), and took some great photos of some of my newest creations. This one is ready to find a new home!

I really like this picture, and I have no idea how I captured the lightness of the layers of the pin. Photography is still kind of magic to me.  Do you all think this is light and bright enough to be attractive to buyers? I lightened the exposure and brightened the colors a little; on my macbook it still looks kind of dim, but I don't want to slam it with everything photoshop offers for fear I might bleach it out entirely or fry it in neon.

The book serving as a prop is a very very awesome issue of McSweeney's Quarterly  that I picked up used on Clement St in San Francisco at Green Apple Books -- aka one of my top ten independent bookstores -- and it has two spines (!) . . . basically, there are two front covers and one back cover, and I love that book design and presentation can be so inventive.

I used to be kind of dismissive of McSweeney's because A) it was started by Dave Eggers, whose memoir title annoyed me, 2) it seemed kind of twee and precious, and iii) because I interned for a different San Francisco publisher and was miffed that Eggers's imprint got what I saw as outsized attention while the publisher I worked for did not (at the time, anyway).  But, McSweeney's Internet Tendency totally changed my attitude, because that shit is funny (especially this one -- warning: a LOT of obscenity deployed hilariously ahead), and mockery such as it dishes out soothed my ruffled feathers. I still am sort of "meh" about Eggers, but his projects have really had staying power and have actually made substantial impacts on his community and on publishing. And McSweeney's Quarterly is a seriously great literary journal, in my opinion.

Fellowship applications are due Friday and my dissertation is begging for attention, so I have had to reduce my time spent on such fun things as blogging and creating. Ah well, so it goes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thrifty Fun: A Clothing Exchange Extravaganza

A couple weekends ago, my friend Emily organized a clothing exchange among a bunch of her girlfriends. She hosted it at Oreana Winery, which she and her husband Christian run here in Santa Barbara, which was great because it meant there was tons of space and plenty of wine. I loved the Chardonnay that Oreana was serving that night, and it felt so cool and special to be in there after it had closed to the public! I had so much fun meeting Emily's other friends, trying on clothes, snacking on all the delicious food the women brought, and of course, drinking the Oreana wine! I took some snaps of the outfits I made with my new clothes each day I wore them, but I'm not much of a model and I am definitely still learning how to take pictures. I had so much fun at the clothing exchange, and felt like I had a whole new wardrobe for free afterward. I really recommend organizing a clothing exchange to any group of friends and acquaintances. It was a great way to meet new people, too.

This was one of my finds: a lovely,  swingy black skirt that is full and flattering and just the right length -- a hard combo for someone barely 5'2" to find! I wore it with dark purple tights and a t-shirt from threadless that I adore

I've been wearing all my finds over the last couple weeks and am totally giddy over all the new shirts, skirts, and shoes I found among the large piles. I put a lot of my clothes up for offer that I was always reluctant to just give to Goodwill (even though I hadn't worn them in five years) because it made me a little happier to give them to friends who clearly really liked the shirts, pants, and shoes that I liked but no longer wore. It was also kind of cool to see just how many different body types there are: shirts that would look great on one person would look unflattering on another, or a pair of strappy sandals that slipped off my heels were perfect on another woman with differently-shaped feet.

More pics after the jump!

Monday, February 28, 2011

An Unconscionable Abuse of the Semicolon

I am a terrible, slow, inaccurate typist, and this passage, composed of only TWO sentences, made me want to die as I was taking notes for my dissertation yesterday.
“To start with some definitions, by ‘avant-garde’ I am referring to historical waves of artists in the twentieth century associated with innovative formal practices and their legacy. Manifestations of avant-garde practice generally are regarded as formal and sociopolitical, and typically involve groups of artists with shared principles who often work in more than one medium or genre; synthesize disparate influences and techniques including ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, deliberately attempt to undermine or contradict formal markers of rigidified artistic structures and ruling ideologies; consider art to be apolitical and aesthetic instrument with direct agency; push art and society forward into new and unfamiliar terrain; employ technical features designed to unsettle and interrogate unitary voices of authority and totalizing narratives; explore formal modes such as open field, performative, and alternative poetics based on extra-semantic properties such as visualization and sound; question the nature and possibility of a nonproblematical speaking subject; animate multiple voices in preference to a centralized stable narrator or persona; transcend boundaries of nationalism, draw on international influences, and maintain dialogue with artist sin other nations and cultures; and frequently use collage, bricolage, fragmentation, and pastiche in order to create palimpsestic or dialogic texts revealing multiple frames of reference and mechanism of interpretation.”
from “Diaspora and the Avant-Garde in Contemporary Black British Poetry” by Lauri Ramey in Noland and Watten's Diasporic Avant-Gardes.

It's not a bad definition of the avant-garde, though. All-encompassing, to say the least.

Better ways to use semicolons:

  • Semicolon Brooch
    $8.50 USD

  • Semicolon Letter Press Necklace
    $29.00 USD

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