Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a crafty new arrival!

a prettier picture shall come when my camera's battery charges.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


lots of creating.

lots of working.

& a little getting lost.

there were some presents...

(of the just-because sort)

and a new skirt, inspired by this pattern from BurdaStyle

I skipped the elastic on the posted pattern because a) I can't find any, despite the amazing collection of notions my aunt gave me and b) I like sashes.  I initially made the skirt way way way too big.  It's still a bit largish, but I like how it fits with the sash now.  Maybe I'll take it in, maybe not.  Either way, I'm wearing it to work tomorrow.

I also worked on another bedsheet-to-dress project, but again, it didn't turn out, despite my modifications to the original way I made one.  Thankfully, this one's in good shape to become a very cute skirt.

In the meantime, I've been GRE-prepping.  Three weeks to go!  The algebra, though, oh, the algebra!  I can do the problems and get them right, but it does not make any sense to me at all.  None. Nada.  Oh well. That's why I took dual credit Calculus in high school--it meant I didn't need it in college!

I'm off to linguistics in a few minutes.  I hope you have something fun to look forward to, too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

definitely want to do this #6: market bag makeover

Oma gave me a few random little canvas totes (and I have a few of my own, naturally) that could be enormously adorable if I just adopt this little tutorial...

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » diy project: market bag makeover

I'll update once my sewing machine arrives and I make one!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

etsy faves :: honizukle press

A few weeks ago, a blogger left a nice comment on one of my posts.  I ventured over to her blog and found that she creates some of my favorite things in the world: paper goods!

She introduced a new pattern to her shop called Kimberly, and I adore it.  Check it out on Etsy!

Kimberly Note Card Set by Honizukle on Etsy

Monday, September 20, 2010

hello fall

I wish allergies came with tissues that were actually cute like these and not gross.

But they don't, so I guess I'll stay like this.

The next thirty-six hours will include lots of busy-ness for us, so this alka-seltzer better do its stuff.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

interruptions :: MAT or PhD?

Hello, loves.  Here's a new category for you, which I shall simply call interruptions.  They won't be about crafts, projects, art, or those other visual lovelies that I can't resist.  They'll be about the other side of me, the nerdy academic who actually likes school (or at least college), and my responses to articles, findings, and happenings in the world of academia.

so here you go

interruption #1: MAT or PhD, an article found through

I know what I would like to do in the future--or at least I have a shape of an idea.  Yet sometimes the news from real life is a little bit depressing, like this article.  It's got me thinking about the parts of college that frustrated me to no end, particularly during my freshman year.

In short, I was lucky.  I am lucky.  My mom taught me to read when I was barely four and my parents were both closely invested, financially and personally, in my education.  They sent me to good schools and are paying for my continuing education.  So I know how to compose a sentence, paragraph, thesis, essay, and I can spell pretty well.  I mean, a few years ago (so weird to type that sentence!) my friends at the 'bury did manage to trip me up with the word "obfuscate," but as you can see here, I got over that quickly.  I guess I lived in a little bit of an adept composition bubble, thinking to my bookish self that everyone should be able to spell and write because hey, that's what school is for, isn't it?

Oh, how wrong I was!  I remember that my civil rights movement professor remarked that he was quite pleased with the readability of my papers.  I was complimented, no doubt, but he also remarked that it's rare to come across a well-composed paper.

I am lucky, then.  I had people in my life who were concerned with my future and with my education.

So when I come across an article like this, I feel quite a bit sad.  I love my literature courses--or maybe I should say loved, now that I've finished the undergraduate levels--and I actually found those "irrelevant courses" in Women's/Gender Studies and race studies to be quite interesting and relevant to understanding literature in today's world.  But unlike the future PhD students the author discusses, I don't dream of sitting in that old ivory tower discussing literature all the time.  I dream of sitting down and grading those depressing papers, making comments, talking to those students and helping them see that yes, being able to write is beneficial to your future, regardless of what you want to do with your life.

So, really, Mr. Professor, I get what you're saying, but I'm not going to slip into your pessimism.  I'm determined to be optimistic.  I'm also determined to do something about the problem you lament, because I'm fresh from college, getting started in the field you've been in for a long time, and maybe my generation of your students can start to change things and get them back on track.


Have a lovely Sunday.


Saturday, September 18, 2010


I still want to have an Up-themed party.

refocusing (a manifesto of sorts)

the more to come:

It's mid-September and a lovely season.  I'm a month away from taking my GRE and need to do some serious focusing to be ready for the exam.  I know that many other things will be relevant to getting in and maybe getting a graduate assistantship, but I want to get a good score.  I want to succeed.  Perhaps it's just a bit of competition in me--I married someone with a better GPA than mine four-point-o GPA--and I've just got to get in on the success! Or perhaps it's the simple desire to make a difference in the future.

I love creating.  I love crafting.  But lately, as I've been toying with the idea of trying to start actually producing goods and maybe having a tiny little itty bitty (and any other miniscule adjective you care to insert) business doing so, I've realized that my heart just isn't in it that way.  I remember a girl in my archways (precollege backpacking trip) team talking about how much she loves art, but how she could never do it for a living--that any time she produced art for sale, it wasn't the same experience.

I won't pretend that my little sewing dabblings and papercrafts are art in any high manner, but they serve the same expressive function.  For me, I have decided, that is enough.  Things I made fill our home and sit on my friends' bulletin boards.  They're captured in my wedding photos.  They're set up here.

The work I could do in writing and teaching, however, that's something that is expressive, but in an entirely different way.  I helped a girl with a paper last week.  She's studying to do good in the world in a way I don't think I could.  She'll be taking on challenging and sad cases someday in the future and I know I couldn't do that.  But I can help her write a paper that will help her pass a class that will help her graduate and do something active to change the world--or at least little sections of it in the bluegrass state.

So about that title, refocusing...I don't think much that you see here will change.  I'll keep Etsy open because of the wonderful necklaces for rapha house.  But I guess my reasons for crafting are altered. I want to return to making things for the fun of it and for the pleasure of seeing my loved ones smile when they receive something I've made and something I've made well.  I made a few cards yesterday and instead of photographing them and trying to come up with a design I could reproduce economically, I think I'm going to return to making cards for the sole purpose of sending them.  Perhaps I'll revive a bit of snail mail, if I ever remember to send a thing or two that's sitting on my bookshelf.  Maybe someone will ask me to make something for them sometime.  Maybe not.  Maybe they'll pay me.  Maybe not.

The whole plan, in creating and in my academic life and in my beginning career, is to to do things purposefully.

And that, my friends, is why this is called refocusing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

looking up

Today, for the last two hours I was working at famvid, my coworker and I put on Up.  It's not the first time we've had it on while I was there, but it was the first time I was able to watch any of it.  It's so darling!


It makes me want to have a party.  There would be lots of balloons and paper lanterns and maybe an imaginary waterfall and definitely a talking dog, just not the big mean one with the squeaky voice :).

Since it's time for bed, I think I'll leave you with these happy little shots.



And now I shall float away to sleep.

artsy/crafty  inspiration to come tomorrow afternoon :)

p.s. Both photographers have more good pictures so be sure to click on the images to go to their flickr pages!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

{quick post}

I'm feeling a bit like this little rascal today...


So here's a cute snapshot, courtesy of my mom, for a little smile today.  Enjoy your afternoon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

a before and after.

I spotted this on my way home from work at the university today:

(sad, tired out headboard)

I was lucky.  It's super lightweight and short enough that I could slide it into the trunk of my civic coupe, with the back seats flipped forward, of course, just steadily enough to drive the tenth of a mile (or less?) home.  I cleaned it off and brought it inside.

Yesterday, my family came to visit.  My mom, sister, and I went over to Peddler's Mall just for the fun of it.  I picked up a roll of wallpaper in a nice Waverly print to use for paper crafts.  So when I brought this sorry headboard upstairs, I had a thought and here's what happened...

With that and some bed raisers, we have a new headboard.  It didn't have a way to bolt in--that part had broken off at some point--so I have it wedged into the bed raisers and stuck felt furniture pads on the back so it won't damage the wall.  I need to touch up the paper a little bit, but overall, I think this turned out very well for a roadside trash find, a dollar roll of wallpaper, and twenty minutes this afternoon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We All Married the Wrong Person (via Marriage Gems)

I caught this on the wordpress homepage.

I like it. A lot. I'm saving it.

We All Married the Wrong Person Couples in crisis often reach the point where they decide they are just two poorly matched people. This precedes the decision to leave the relationship and go in search of that “right person.” Unfortunately, the odds of a successful marriage go down for each attempt at a new marriage. Psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happy Families, Scott Haltzman, MD, says i … Read More

via Marriage Gems

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Jojo came down for labor day.

We had fun.  We watched Killers, which is hilarious, slept late, walked down to the lake, and ate at happy days.

She cooked.

She climbed.

She hiked.

We both cleaned (leaving loads of beer cans and foam coolers along a path through the woods is NOT COOL, people!)

And we shared a strawberry lemonade, homemade potato chips, and a pimento cheese sandwich at Happy Days, an old-fashioned Soda Fountain spot in town.  It was delicious.

My whole family (except Dolly) is coming tomorrow.  I'm excited.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

lately :: paper cuts.

Paper cuts are, in the words of my GRE vocab book, ambrosia for the eyes.

During my fairy tales class, my professor posted a few images, a few of which were from Hans Christian Andersen, like this lovely I found:


So I made a little design for fall.  If you're looking for some scrapbooking embellishments, let me know!  I may have found my artistic medium (hehe).  I'm not into anything complex like the one above, not yet, but I'm definitely having fun.  Be forewarned, dear friends and family, Christmas might be an overload of handmades like these...

Ok, so they won't be pumpkins, naturally.  That's not too Christmasy.  But I'm figuring out how to make little bitty notebooks with scrap paper and cardboard and, well, you have been cautioned...or perhaps I should go back to my GRE book and say admonished.  :)

p.s. I'm going to post some little scrapbook sets on Etsy when I get some good pictures!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ventures into the blogosphere: unruly things

When I was planning my wedding, I came across this lovely blog...

unruly things

She has beautiful style, beautiful photographs, and I adore the background of the page, don't you?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

craftster find

A few months ago, I got married.  My dear bridesmaids wore these headbands that I made...

{as worn by my beautiful little sister}

They were simple and very pretty and I wanted to share how I made them, but I think I'm a disaster at writing a tutorial.  I tend to be far too detailed on some steps and not detailed enough on others.  I also get annoyed by saying "then" and "next" a million times because I feel so redundant.

So when I found this tutorial on Craftster, I had to contact its creator and ask if I could share it.  She added a step--burning the edges so that they curl.  I used silk taffeta scraps from the flower girls' dresses that my mom made, so it wouldn't have worked the same as with the polyester in this tutorial, but I really love the effect!

This tutorial is by Connie of ReFabulous.  She's a homeschooling mother of eight--I know!--children and runs a darling etsy shop as well as her blog.  Her creativity is definitely inspiring, no?  So without further ado, here is the tutorial.  Have fun!

Flower hair clips -- with TUTORIAL! - JEWELRY AND TRINKETS.

1. Cut out circles (or whatever shape you like) from the polyester that are slightly larger than your desired finished flower size. We used concentric circles for ours for a fuller, layered look. Be sure to cut a few extra, to allow for experimenting and mess-ups.

2. Light your candle, and place on a sturdy surface, away from flammables, pets and children. Place your jar of water within reach.

3. Using a clothes pin, hold one fabric circle over -- not in -- the flame of the candle.

Quickly rotate the fabric circle above the flame. The fabric will curl and may change colors.

You'll want to experiment with a few extra circles, as different fabrics will act uniquely when held near the flame. Some will curl in one direction, some turn colors, some crinkle. Holding them closer to the flame or longer will also achieve different results. Once you've achieved the look you want, set the circle aside on the foil to cool.

4. Repeat on all the fabric circles. Extinguish your candle when you are finished.

5. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: If you hold the fabric circle still for too long, or too close to the flame, it will scorch and/or catch on fire. If this happens, quickly and carefully place the burning fabric in the jar of water to extinguish the flame. Be very vigilant -- as some fabrics tend to ignite quicker than others!

6. Next, arrange and stack your fabric circles (petals) into flowers.

7. Using your needle and thread, sew a few stitches through all the layers of petals -- just a little "X" will do -- fastening all the petals together. Tie off thread in the back of the flower.

8. Now, attach your flower center. If you are using beads or buttons, stitch them in place, tying off the thread in the back of the flower. If you are using other embellishments, a strong adhesive (such as E6000) may be used to attach them to the flower.

9. Finally, attach your flower to a hair bobby, clip or pin back using your strong adhesive.

10. Set aside on the foil, and allow it to dry thoroughly, according to your adhesive's recommendation.

And that's it! So simple, and so pretty. The possibilities are endless -- imagine these flowers layered with ribbon, mesh, tulle, organza. . . or topped with an antique brooch or cameo! These would make sweet little gifts for teachers, co-workers and friends, or even lovely stockingstuffers. Have fun!


Visit ReFabulous for more photos, a video, and to see a few other projects.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

of style and bibliophiles: the end.

It is, at last, the weekend, and a long one at that!  I will enjoy sleeping in on Monday, since I had an eight o'clock meeting at famvid today.  I'll be hitting the books, prepping my vocab for the GRE next month so that I can be ready for graduate school.  Of course, then I must decide what I want to study--MA in English with a composition focus? a sociology/gender studies focus? a concentration in linguistics with an ESL endorsement?  or an MAT in secondary education? or...well, yeah.  That doesn't even cover the issue of where to go, where Cory and I can both study, or I can study and he can find a job, or vice versa...

The possibilities are rich, are they not?  I'm actually excited, not so much nervous.

I do know this, though: the university where I continue my pursuit of higher education must, but MUST, have a good library.  A good internet database wouldn't hurt, either, but nothing compares to the rich wealth of books found in a university library, full of the printed word.  Every volume is a history unto itself, telling who read a page, marked that one, turned that corner down, who cast that book aside in academically-induced frustration or who read the volume enough to wear the binding.

And so, to finish the week, I'm taking a glimpse at some stunning libraries, courtesy of the Flickr commons.  Each image captures a library in a moment of history, cast in black and white, the classics of both style and of the printed page.  You can click on each image to see more of where they came from.

{New York Public Library}

{Columbia University Library}

{New York Public Library}

This one's a glimpse of my childhood, though not in black and white...

{Wauwatosa Public Library}

I remember walking to the library with my kindergarten class on field trips, and weekly trips with my parents.  I remember searching for the books with rainbow stickers on them--those were the ones that had been on Reading Rainbow.  I checked out nearly every volume of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, excited that the young Laura was also from my home state.  When we moved to Kentucky, we were somewhat let down by the public library near us, because the Tosa Library spoiled us thoroughly.

Libraries are wonderful, happy places.  You can always walk out with something worthwhile.

I'll close this week with a few lines from Virginia Woolf, again found in my copy of The Quotable Book Lover.

"How delightful to stop reading and look out!  How stimulating the scene is, in its unconsciousness, its irrelevance, its perpetual movement--the colts galloping round the field, the woman filling her pail at the well, the donkey throwing back his head and emitting his long, acrid moan.  The greater part of any library is nothing but the record of such fleeting moments in the lives of men, women, and donkeys."

from The Common Reader

Friday, September 3, 2010

ventures into the not-really-blogosphere :: Chronicle Books

Any frequent blog reader has probably come across Chronicle Books on at least a few of their favorite blogs.  I own only a few books from this independent publisher, but I would love to have so many more!  Each volume is well-designed and many of my favorite blogs (see the blogroll on the right sidebar) have published with them or recommend their books.

If you read my wedding blog, you may (but probably won't, since it was about five months ago) remember these curtains...

They were created with a homemade stencil (hooray for fun foam!) of a design from this lovely book:

{for sale here}

They certainly brighten our living room, I think, and filter the light nicely.

Here's a few snapshots of their website with some featured titles.  Don't you love the design?

I love having an excuse to scour the internet for book-related anything.

Hooray for the almost weekend!  I'll have one more bookish post tomorrow and then it'll be back to normal...if I can resist posting about books every single day!

etsy update :: remember when? anniversary cards


I chickened out with Etsy and only left one item up there...

until yesterday!

I designed an anniversary card for Cory last month.  I love how it turned out and decided that perhaps it could be something people enjoy.  It's a card that tells a story, something a bit more personal, you know?

So if you don't mind, go check it out and tell me what you think!  Also, any photography tips would be appreciated.  I'm taking better pictures than I used to, but they're not the quality I'd like quite yet.  I'm having trouble with exposure--they always come out over or under exposed.  Advice?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a flickr field trip

I love vintage books.

Everyone should.

Let's take a trip to see a few.

{by Vintage Pleasure}

{by pisces 229}

{by bits and bobbins}

{by ilmungo}

and finally, a silly little happy memory of mine from the summer before I started college, taken in Heathrow Airport on my way back from Kenya.  Alas, I saw no more of England than the airport and a little bit of the coast from the window of the plane.

(ok, it's not vintage, I know, but I figured I'd post proof of my silliness)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

serendipitous timing

Check out today's DIY on Design*Sponge!  It could hardly be more fitting!

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » diy project: brenna’s secret storage books

the wearable book

Today's post comes courtesy of best-friend-Kat.

Jeremy May creates these rings from many, many sheets of paper all laminated together.  But don't be disenchanted by the word "laminate," for this isn't your average kindergarten-wall-decoration laminating.


{by littlefly}

In fact, I saw the images of the rings before I read how they are made, and was rather shocked that they were laminated.  I love that you can see just snippets of the letters, too, in the midst of the color, capturing both the thought that went into the writing of the book and the creation of the ring.

This lovely was created from Pride and Prejudice. Though I can't deny my own equivocation about cutting up a book--a book!--that I love dearly, I still love the idea of wearing a ring made from a volume of one of my favorite novels.  It would be a wonderful way to make use of an old and tattered volume, wouldn't it?

Head over here to learn more and see where they're sold on the other side of the Atlantic.

Perhaps I was born on the wrong continent.