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!
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