Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Moving


I've lost my blogging rhythm and style and realized I've outgrown this space.  So I'm starting over, because I needed a blank slate, rather than just changes.  I thought I was done blogging altogether, but I think I'm just done here.

Come visit me in my new virtual home, won't you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Read(ing): The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Caroline Preston

[a page from the book]


Caroline Preston loves vintage ephemera.  According to her bio, she spent hours in the attic of her parents' home with generations of scrapbooks as a girl and worked as an archivist as an adult.  This love of ephemera and archives grew into The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, which is something like a graphic novel--it's a story told through an artful mix of 1920s memorabilia and captions typed on a vintage Corona typewriter and assembled by Preston.  It is also really fun to read.  I'm only two chapters in, but this book is so different and fun that I wanted to share already.  I got a copy at the library, but I might have to buy it for myself if the rest of the book is as fun to read.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your Brain on Fiction

reading

[by Madeline Tosh on Flickr]

Oh, hey there.  I haven't had much to say lately, just other things to do.  I'm not a regular blogger anymore and finally admitted it to myself.  Now I'm admitting it to you.  So hello again.

Here's something I couldn't help sharing: a New York Times article about the brain on fiction.  This morning, Kathrin of Annekata shared this article by Annie Murphy Paul.  The article presents the results from studies of brain activity while reading.

I particularly love the concluding lines of the article:

"Reading great literature, it has long been averred, enlarges and improves us as human beings. Brain science shows this claim is truer than we imagined."

How wonderful is that?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Imagination


My imagination has been slow lately.  Ideas seem to be just on the other side of a gauzy curtain--I can see their shapes but not well enough.  So I've gone searching for inspiration, and found Freya Art.  These words and illustrations, paired together, are stirring those creative thoughts now.  Good words and good art have a way of doing that, no?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Good Words


Sometimes, I need some good words.  Sometimes, they're inside me; other times, they're in a book.  Every now and then, I stumble across them.

Yesterday, I was craving some good words, and found them in my google reader, two posts in a row.  One was a post on Oh, Hello Friend about a marriage retreat Danni attended with her husband.  The other was some poetic prose, musing on how we live in a world like this one, from Elizabeth Lives.  Both resonated with me, with their simple honesty about living and loving, about believing what is true about yourself and your life and your beloved.  So I don't have any more words for you today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weathering the Weather

Snow

Some crazy and some horrible weather ripped through the south and midwest on Friday.
One town, Henryville, is just twenty miles from where I live and was decimated.  A friend of mine grew up there--her family home was south of the tornadoes, but her high school and other places she knows well are shattered. 

My home church has a retreat center/summer camp just outside of town that is still standing and recently got power back.  They are providing shelter and food to those who need it.  You can see what work is being done--and what needs they have--by visiting Country Lake's facebook page.  

Now, we have snow on the ground.  Louisville is quiet and peaceful--and thankfully in the right position to provide help to our neighbors in the state and just over the river.  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Found: Bean Forest (and happy Friday!)


I almost broke my spending freeze (on day two!) to pick up a few of these buttons from Bean Forest on Etsy.  I probably will, later.  For now, I'll just laugh at the humor that perfectly suits an English major.  Check out the art/lit/history/music section if you love books and could use a laugh.  Oh, and have a very happy Friday and weekend!


Sidenote:  Unfortunately, I don't love the whole shop.  Some of the buttons have a mean-spirited social/political bent to them and that is one of my biggest pet peeves .  Actually, it IS my biggest pet peeve.  It doesn't matter if you're partially right--you can still be polite!  And don't generalize about people!  Ugh.  Still, these particular buttons made me laugh so much that I had to share them anyway.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Freeze Two


Spring is approaching, we have unseasonably warm weather, and I am finally going outdoors with fewer than three layers.  We never had a proper winter, but I still enjoy the advent of sixty-degree days.

As the weather warms and freezes become a thing of the past, though, I'm starting a new freeze.  Last year, my spending freeze only lasted a month.  This year, I'm taking on a longer challenge: from today, the beginning of a new month, through the end of April, I will not make any purchases besides groceries, gas, and actual necessities (medicine, soap, and the like).

I might try a freeze or two in other areas of my life, like this really delicious looking orange freeze.  It looks quite simple, too.  The recipe (originally from Parents magazine) is available here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Found: Lovers, by Jarek Puczel




This oil painting by Jarek Puczel has stayed with me since I first found it on Pinterest.  I love everything about it--the tones, the way the lines and faces blur into each other, and the slightly mysterious aura it seems to exude.

The artist's caption reads thus: "When we love, we think constantly about each other."

That is the true difficulty and treasure of love, to think constantly about someone else (and not always consciously, either).  You are somehow fully (or even more fully) yourself and yet it becomes impossible to tell where you end and your beloved begins.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Manipulation

fabric manipulation

Earlier this month, Kathrin of Annekata invited her readers to join in a fabric manipulation challenge.  My craft/sewing/making skills have been largely unused since August, so I happily joined in--I needed a challenge that was doable but still challenged my creativity.

fabric manipulation

I took a half-bleached tank top that is completely unwearable but still made of pretty good fabric and cut a long looped strip from the hem.  I stitched along one side, then pulled the stitches to gather the edge into a circle.  I then stitched along the outside and gathered it on the reverse and stitched it down.  It was simple and not hugely time-consuming, but process-oriented enough that I felt that same mix of calm and hopeful anxiety that draws me to make in the first place.  Plus, I end up with something to use that I made with my own to hands (and a needle and thread), so once I find some felt and stitch on a backing, it can serve as a hair piece or a pin on my coat or a scarf.

A few other bloggers have joined in, too.  Kathrin's lovely blue scarf, good words on process, and links to other entries in the challenge here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Made: a photobook

























































The idea was simple enough: make something for Valentine's Day unlike the things I've made before.  That idea then stretched a little--make something that isn't just for Valentine's Day, but something that can be special every day.  That's a nice tall task.  Still, the idea took on a form.  I would document my day, those little mundane things of my Monday to Friday life, print them, and put them in a book I would make myself.  Then my husband, when he's at work all day for the long hours of busy season, can find a picture of what I'm probably doing at that moment, and in a little way, I am with him.

Supplies:
decorative paper (for the cover), heavy paper (for the pages), masking tape (mine was 1/2 inch wide), printed pictures (mine were printed on regular paper so they wouldn't be too thick)scissors, glue, cardboard or chipboard (for the cover), ribbon, stamps, and embellishments, calligraphy pen

Steps:
Print the pictures.  Glue them to the heavy paper in chronological order.  Use the masking tape to bind the pages to each other.  Cover the chipboard or cardboard with the decorative paper, then use the masking tape to bind it to the pages.  If you want to attach a ribbon to tie the book closed, glue the ends of the ribbon under the decorative paper on the inside of the cover.  Once the book is put together, you can stamp and embellish to your heart's content.  You might want to label the pictures, too.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Sniff Books...


Source: tumblr.com via Katie on Pinterest


...do you?

Finding this made me laugh out loud.  This page might be its origin.  I have one reservation, though: why are there flowers and no books in the background?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winner

*


Congratulations, Holly, you won the My Memories Suite giveaway!  Check your email for the download code!



*Apparently, "winner winner chicken dinner" was once the catchphrase of the Ohio Poultry Lottery Commission.  

Happy Friday


Aren't you glad it's Friday?  What are your weekend plans?  I want some mellow time at home and I'm going to try my very best to clean.  I'll probably read and watch movies with my husband instead, but hey--at least I had good housekeeping intentions, right?

It's not too late to enter the My Memories giveaway--I'll select a winner at noon today and be back to post around three.  

Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Love




"To love--that is to say, to love someone 'for what he is'--always means to find oneself with a 'ridiculous object'...But it also means to continue to see in this object the 'something more'...To love is to perceive this gap or discrepancy, and not so much be able to laugh at it as to have an irresistible urge to laugh at it.  The miracle of love is a funny miracle."  

Alenka Zupancic, "On Love as Comedy"

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Friday (and my first giveaway)!



A week or so ago, I got an email from Picnik that said they're closing in April.  Picnik has been my go-to site for playing with photos and attempting to edit my images since I found the site in high school, so I was fairly disappointed.  How would I then play with my photos, make collages, and add text or effects?

Then I got an email from My Memories, which I'd heard about from a couple of blog and real-life friends, inviting me to try the software myself and host a giveaway.  The software lets me play with layouts, add effects to my photos, and create entire scrapbook pages.  Plenty of extra backgrounds and embellishments are available for free or at little cost online, and it's quite easy to use.  I even put together a new blog header, which I've wanted to do for ages, and made this stand-alone page.

Now someone else gets to try it free!  Here's how to enter:

1. Visit My Memories and look at their products.
2. Leave a comment here about what you would make.  I'm working on a little photo book for a Valentine's Day gift that I'll share next week.  Would you put together a gift, or something different?
3. Share this post on Twitter or Facebook for an extra entry.  Just be sure to leave a link in an additional comment.

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, February 15, at noon.  If you'd like to try the software before then, you can use the code STMMMS97988 (just copy and paste it) for $10 off the software and a $10 coupon for items in the store.

Good luck!

*UPDATE: I didn't have time to finish the photo book or pick a winner, so I'm keeping it open until Friday at noon!*

Disclaimer, which I failed to post originally: My Memories emailed me and offered a free copy of their software for a contest winner and me.  The opinions in the review are all mine.  Is that all you generally need to know?  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Three Things

#1


My aunt gave me the most beautiful journal for Christmas, and I've only filled one page.  I feel as if most of the words that come to me aren't worthy of its pages, then end up not writing at all.  Then I came across this pin today, and decided the beautiful journal will be filled with daily gratitudes and maybe a few collages.  

#2


English doesn't actually have a future tense, but this still made me laugh.

#3


These are some good words.

I have a fun surprise for tomorrow!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Courage




These words get to me every time I read them.  In my sophomore year of high school, To Kill a Mockingbird was our summer reading for English.  I loved the book from the start, but the way my teacher talked about it transformed the story even further, and I fell head over heels with every moment bound in the text.  My teacher quoted the last few lines from the book with regularity: "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."

These words became exponentially more precious to me at the end of that school year.  I just wrote the story of what happened and then erased every word.  The sentences I put together to capture that story and that teacher in writing weren't right.  I'll have to try again.


I found this image and quote on my friend's Pinterest.  Does anyone know where it's from?  I did a google image search and haven't find an original source yet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Until Then


Source: ffffound.com via Katie on Pinterest


My husband is in the middle of busy season and has long days at work for at least another month or two, and rarely knows when he'll get done until early afternoon.  These words seem right for any parting from a loved one, whether it lasts for hours, days, weeks, longer, or even an indeterminate amount of time.

Saying "see you later" or "see you then" makes later and then seem a tiny bit closer, I think, and to imagine you might see them before makes it a little bit more tangible.  But what I really like about these few words, "until then if not before," is that they don't say "until then if not later" or "until then unless it's later."  These are really hopeful words.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Friday!


Source: 9gag.com via Katie on Pinterest


I have a new book to read, some work to do, and surprisingly nice weather this weekend.

What are you up to?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just Read: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

{image from the book trailer, which you should definitely watch here}

I promise, this is the last you'll hear my gush about this book...for today, at least.

If I said that it's rare for a book to entrance me like this, I'd be lying.  Yet at the same time, The Night Circus caught my imagination in a different way than usual.  The book was equal parts thrilling and emotionally intriguing, which is a rare find, I think.  You turn pages curious, excited, and a little bit in love, wondering what could possibly happen, and you are continuously surprised by what comes next.

After reading these pages, I want to write and imagine so much.  It's one of those stories that makes you want to tell a few of your own, and to live adventurously, even in the smallest ways.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading The Night Circus


Source: etsy.com via Katie on Pinterest


ohmygoshthisbookissogoodi'mnotevenusingcapsorspaces...

...which actually takes me longer to type because I hit the spacebar and shift key so very naturally that I don't even notice.

But seriously, this book is brilliant.  I'm even ignoring the comma splices everywhere and the one mistaken homonym I encountered awhile ago.

Also, I originally put "it's" after "ohmygosh" up there, then realized I spelled a swear word.  Oops.

If you're stopping by, you've caught me on a perky kind of cheerful day.  Usually I'm just cheerful, so this post is a rare find.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Shedd

























{Fan Photo from the Shedd Aquarium Facebook page because my camera battery died beforehand}

On our way back from Wisconsin in December, my mom, sister, and I spent the night in Chicago, trying to catch up the on family/girl-time that we missed while my sister was busy getting an education.  We went to the Shedd Aquarium for the first time since I was a little girl, and they had this incredible jellyfish exhibit.  It was one of the most peaceful exhibits I've ever seen--just low-key music, soft and colorful lighting to highlight the jellyfish, and two of my favorite people in the world.

I hope you all have a weekend like that--low-key, with people you love!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The First Quick Trip


Lake Michigan

Back in December, the week before Christmas, my mom and I drove up to Wisconsin to get my little sister and bring her home.  Every trip to Milwaukee is full of childhood nostalgia for me.  I look at things differently now, though.  I see the road on the way to my grandparents' house for the 
beauty in the countryside as well as for the joy of a visit.  I see the difference between the sky over the lake and the sky over the rolling hills in Kentucky.  The cold air bothers me more now than it did as a little girl, most likely because I'm not wearing a snowsuit.  But what I see most differently is that although I will always say I'm from Wisconsin, Louisville is my home.  I tell people I grew up here, because for the most part, I did--I entered young adulthood here.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Three Things




I am rather obsessed with Downton Abbey.  It's so good!  Best part?  PBS has the episodes available online right away.  I'm also rather in love with the music...and the characters, and the suspense, and the time period (1912-1918, so far), and the wardrobe, and everything.  It's so emotional to watch, and the most recent episode had the most joyful scenes, in spite of being set during World War I.  Go watch it.  Now.




Since hearing an interview with Erin Morgenstern on NPR, then reading Brandi's post about The Night Circus a few weeks later, I've been trying to get my hands on a copy.  This week, I stumbled across it at a used bookstore and picked it up immediately.  I've only read a few chapters, but I plan to devote tomorrow to the rest.  It is enchanting thus far.




My hair is still too short for a lot of these styles (it hits the top of my shoulders), but I've been braiding it almost daily.  As soon as it grows a few more inches, I'll try the fishtail and the five-strand braids.  I'm trying to break out of my ponytail habit, especially because I need to look a bit more professional and a bit less college student nowadays.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Friday


Source: etsy.com via Katie on Pinterest


I keep expecting life to slow down, but I should know better by now.  In the last month, in addition to all the holiday celebrations, I've been to Wisconsin and Florida, experienced forty-degree weather in both, listened to tornado sirens in January for the second time in my life, and already been very-nearly-late to my new job because of closed roads and traffic lights with no power along the way.

Oh, yes, did I tell you I have a job?  One I already like, at that?  After some training, I will officially be a tutor for a really fantastic local organization.

Sometimes when you leave one idea for your future, you step right into the thing that you were supposed to be doing in the first place, and you realize that your dream isn't just for the future, it's for right now.  Sometimes, you are already where you need to be.

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Navy and ?


          +


I have a question.  If I wear gray pants or tights, usually a medium to charcoal shade, with a navy top or dress, what color sweater do I wear in winter?  I normally reach for my yellow cardigan, but it seems to pastel and Easter-y for January, though the shot of color is rather nice on these bleaker days.

Thoughts?

dress from here (original source unknown, sigh) and tights from there

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

oops, again



I am a horrible blogger these days.  So many other things are occupying my time--family, friends, books, finding a job--and my time at the computer is seriously reduced.  I miss writing here and have been awful about leaving comments for anyone, but I'm glad to step away from the laptop.  It's healthy.