Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Annoyed Librarian, Redux

I love a woman who can piss me off one day, and then make me do a fist pump the next: Protect Your Children from the Classics!
Annoyed Librarian, I think I'd like to have a martini with you.

In the spirit of the thing, a few of the books I was assigned at my small, conservative high school.  Never mind the Shakespeare; it's too easy:

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: Infidelity (is anyone faithful in this book, except Gatsby?), murder (not just one, but TWO!  And that's those that are explicit...), flagrantly flaunting the articles of the U.S. Constitution (rum running, anyone?), animal abuse, domestic violence, organized crime, sexism

Lord of the Flies, William Golding: What isn't up with this book?

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri: I suppose it's fair to say all of the deadly sins are represented?  I always felt like the way Dante handled Beatrice was also slightly blasphemous, given the contemporary climate.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck: Animal abuse, ableism, murder, lying, classism, sexism, violence, racist language, swearing

Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau: This book is down-right unpatriotic!  All citizens should stand behind their country during a time of war.

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood: Menage a trois, sort of (and Gossip Girl thought they were being all revolutionary), sex slavery, sexism, terrorism, rape, homosexuality (not that I feel this belongs in a class with the former list, but this is the sort of thing conservative parents get all freaked out about), infanticide

Proof positive it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Annoyed Librarian-- Right Back Atcha!

I recently discovered the Annoyed Librarian blog on Library Journal's website, through a link to her post regarding MLS/MLIS programs, and the lack of jobs due to ratio of graduates to available positions.  Not like the AL gives a hoot, but I found several posts very thought provoking, and wanted to respond to some points:

The AL positions herself as being critical of this particular trait in librarians.  Obviously-- she's the Annoyed Librarian.  While I value the position of someone within the field posting critical observations of the profession, like many Americans and the current political culture, don't talk smack if you aren't gonna act.  Of course, the anonymous nature of this blog makes it difficult to know if AL is doing just that.  In the librarians I have known, as an avid library user, and the librarians I am meeting through this program, this chirpiness comes from a genuine passion for the profession and the idea of libraries themselves, revealed in their acts locally and nationally, professionally and personally... of course, the AL also feels that--

I didn't realize once I became a librarian I would have to give up my right as a citizen to speak out on these things, such as the war in Iraq-- and now, the escalation in Afghanistan.  As a professional organization, the ALA should absolutely take a position on such things.  Thinking about my chosen track of children's librarianship, the above two current events and NCLB are three of the most relevant issues shaping the future of my profession.  With the money spent on two concurrent wars, education in all its manifestations (libraries) is again shortlisted, legislatively and financially, and this revelation of priorities devalues my profession and the quality of life for those living in the U.S.  I think the ALA would be negligent in not taking an issue on these things.

This is a reoccurring theme in the AL's posts.  My immediate response probably isn't appropriately chirpy, but wait for it-- I'll get there.  Of course these programs are a racket!  Aren't all forms of higher education?  I know right in the middle of that sick feeling behind my sternum and the stack of statements from Stafford and Sallie Mae how much of racket they are.  Now here's the chirpy part, succinctly expressed in a fluffy cliche-- a racket is what you make of it.  Most of the people I have met in my program are bright, articulate people, and could enter a racket of a program where the resulting income would be quite different from the path they have chosen.  Yet there we are, standing outside the Art Department on campus getting all excited about realia and non-conformity in library programs.  I could go through this program with the minimal effort, but I'm so damn excited about the whole thing I procrastinate writing about libraries by reading about libraries-- and then writing about it here.
Yesterday the department hosted a panel for those of us interested in following the thesis track, and the chair of our department mentioned something that really resonated with me.  The people admitted into this program aren't necessarily the brightest, but those that have a passion for libraries (I knew there had to be a reason there was no mention of my abysmally low GRE Math score).  Not a passion, like "I like to read," but a passion for an institution that provides access to information, takes steps towards an enlightened citizenry, and maintains social ownership of knowledge is more important than the commodification of it.  

Now let me keep this passion in mind while I write page after page for finals week. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Haute (Dog) Couture!

In general, I am against dogs in sweaters-- I mean, they're dogs!  They have fur coats already, right?  But this speshul snowflake (I named the second sweater this in homage to my hypocritical feelings on dogs in sweaters) is too cute to be shivering for the next three months.

This is an exact pattern (Little Black Dress with Pearls) from My Savannah Cottage.  Ms. Abby's momma loves those pearls, so I figured she probably does, too!

This is based on Need for Tweed from Lion Brand Yarn's free pattern database.  I had to adjust the size for Abby, as the smallest size was still too big, but it came up a little short.  By the time I knit her next sweater, I won't need to adjust the size at all-- she's growing like a weed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Big Top, Big Time!

My mom and I bought this red and white striped fabric last weekend when I was home for Jessie's baby shower, because my mom wanted me to sew some valances for Ava's circus-themed nursery.  I haven't used my machine in a few years, doing more knitting than sewing, and I realized my machine's foot was missing!  After visiting several stores, I finally gave up and went to Wal-mart; since they sell the brand of machine I own, I figured they might have spare parts.  The following scene took place, after I walked up to a sales associate:

Me: Excuse me, but do you have any sewing machine feet?
SA: No.
Me: Really?  
SA: Well, we have some over here.

... and she led me over to several sewing machine feet, which all fit my machine.
The final result:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Whose Campus? OUR Campus!

Screw this noise.

And screw the noise of four helicopters hovering in the airspace above UCLA, and police sirens across campus.  Take your para-military tactics and get the hell off our campus.

PO'ed? Take action:

(Sorry about the LA Times link above-- no indy media has posted the fee hike yet.  Here's a link to Democracy Now discussing what this fee hike means)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Knits and Wits...

... at least, I hope for wit!  There ought to be a law against mid-terms extending across more than two weeks.  My first mid-term was in class, on October 30th, and my last mid-term is due next Thursday, on the 19th!  I have to say, though, this paper I just finished, on Paul Otlet and the International Institute of Bibliography, is quite awesome-- toot, toot!  
I've been knitting like a crazy person to take a break (read: procrastinate) from all these mid-terms, but I can't post pictures of any of it, because they're all gifts... except for the lovely Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (you can click through this link if you're a Ravelry member-- and if you're not, get on it!), designed by Natalie Larson (all her patterns are adorable!).  My favorite part of this pattern, aside from the slouchyness, is that star spiral on the top-- of course, I was working on this pattern on the bus, and thought I knew how it should go, and ended up with something totally different.  I still love it, though.

Thanks to the Infamous Lady for posing for this shot-- it's incredibly difficult to take good pictures of yourself in a hat.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Library Pledge: Westwood Public Library

Library: Westwood Public Library
Date: Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I visited this library for a reading by Francesa Lia Block, pesky pixie author of Weetzie Bat.  
I have an author worship problem; whenever I meet a writer whose work I admire I tend to get a little spazzed out... When I met Jonathan Safran Foer way back in... 2006?  I got up to the book signing table, and handed him my book, the Post-it with my name on the title page, and I couldn't even talk.  Couldn't say a word.  I just handed him the book, gave him a wimpy little smile, and walked away.  He kind of looked at me funny... he will be at the Santa Monica Public Library tomorrow talking about Eating Animals.  Maybe I should go and try to not flip out.  But really, has anybody seen Mr. Foer?  I know he's married, but jeez louise.  Can you blame me for going silent? Also, I'm vaguely annoyed about Natalie Portman's recent article on Huffington Post regarding this book; is it really fair for someone to be gorgeous, have kissed Devendra Banhardt, be a genius, and be morally awesome, too?
Anyway, I had the exact opposite effect with Ms. Block when I met her (it was a very small, intimate kind of reading; quite lovely, actually).  I started talking a mile a minute about my niece, my sister, how only the very best boys we dated were Secret Agent Lover Men, a book report my sister did where we chopped all this cheapo doll's hair off so she would have a funky Weetzie-do... ridiculous.  
The library itself is very nice; I have it on good authority that when it rains, because the library has a metal roof, it's quite soothing.  Rainy-day ambiance is very important for libraries, in my mind; this library also has a back window that looks out over a tiny little cemetery.  

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Library List

I have several points to make:
A) You know how when you live in a city, you never go to any of the landmarks in that city?  Like when I lived in San Francisco I never went to Alcatraz or walked across the Golden Gate Bridge or went to the top of the Transamerica Pyramid (though I can't even count the number of times I went to City Lights, which is near the base of the building... sigh.  I've been missing good bookstores... I need to find one here in L.A. Or maybe not.  I might spend the rent check!)  Or when I lived in Big Bear, I never went snowboarding.  And I've never been the Forestiere Underground Gardens.  
B) I love lists.  Don't you love lists?  I love lists because you can check things off of lists.  Sometimes I make lists, and I write "Make To-Do List" at the top so I can cross it off.  
C) People who "do" lists are even more awesome.  Like, people who climb "The Top Seven Tallest Mountains in North America," or who visit every state in the United States, or have acted at least once in every known Shakespeare play.  This kinda stuff kills me.  I feel like it's the epitome of human achievement, even the small stuff, like reading every Jane Austen novel.  There is something so lovely in being complete and comprehensive.
Which brings me to my point.  I have pledged internally, last night, in my Public Libraries class, to visit every City of Los Angeles Public Library in the system.  There are currently 72, two of which I have been to: the Will and Ariel Durant Hollywood Regional Branch, and the Central Library (the cathedral of books...  I want to get married in their atrium...).  This weekend, I will be visiting the Westwood Branch, for a book talk given by three YA authors.  So three down, 69 to go!
I feel so monumental!  So it's not Everest, but I still think it's pretty cool.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harriet M. Welsch, A.K.A., Harriet the Spy

Yesterday I went to the Goodwill on Vine, and, let me tell you, this place is heaven.  I had long ago sort of given up on Goodwill-- their prices are too high, and their selection, not funky enough.  This Goodwill, however, rocked, and while still more than say, a Salvation Army, isn't too bad for the goodness lurking in their racks.  So what did I score?

What!  What is this junk?  What happened to my impeccable thrift store taste!?! (Hee, hee-- yeah, right.  I remember this dress I bought at Mission Thrift-- which will always be the best thrift store in the world-- to wear for a dramatic reading of Virginia Woolf's "Death of the Moth," and after the reading, I cut off the length and the sleeves, but didn't hem them... awesome.  My mom yelled at me every time I wore that dress, and I cringe a little to think about how often I did.)  Anyway, it's hard to see in this picture, but one of the purse straps is ripped, and the lining, which at first I thought was roses, is in fact leopard print, and there is something red and sticky all over the inside, too-- I'm really hoping it's candy.  And there is also a frayed, faded, red hoody, not pictured.  So yeah-- it is junk.  But.... with a little bit of thread and some genius, I present to you...


Wait!  Is that a genuine Harriet the Spy Tool Kit?  You bet your sweet utility belt it is!  The only thing I left off was the knife, because I didn't think it would be such a good idea to go onto campus with such an implement.  I am dressing up as Harriet the Spy for Halloween this year, and even if nobody gets my costume, I don't even care (though I am wearing it to a party hosted by the Young Adult and Children's Services Librarians), because this utility belt is everything awesome in life.  I might just take to wearing this everyday, so I can have everything I need right at my fingertips-- Blackberry's got nothing on this sweet set-up.  I made it by hacking that hideous purse to pieces, sewing them into pockets, and sliding the various pouches onto that fab belt.
Here's a picture for comparison... I'll post one of my in full get-up the day of!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

That Pleasant Sense of Dark Autumn Nights...

I went for a walk this afternoon, and the little girl who lives two houses down from me was "playing" the harmonica.  She would belt out, "Feliz Navidad!"  (wheezy harmonica) "Feliz Navidad!" (wheezy harmonica).  She was really breathing into the harmonica in the same intonation of the phrase she just sang, so the playing was a bit more like a kazoo than a multi-tonal instrument, but the effect was celebratory nevertheless.I love how, this time of year, people leave their windows and doors open, a little for that last bit of warmth, but mostly for the crispness (such a fall word!) that is starting to creep in.  I learn so much about my neighborhood; a block and a half away, there is someone who is quite diligent about their violin scales, and the violin player's neighbor is in the music business and thinks the Sunset Strip is played out.  A young man down the street wants something real, "none of that Gossip Girl crap, you know" and the other morning, a little boy was having a temper tantrum because he didn't want his grandpa to take him to school.  
You know what else kicks butt about fall?  Carbs.  Nobody really wants to eat carby stuff in the summer-- it's too hot and heavy, and besides peach pie, there is nothing worth standing in a kitchen with the stove on in August.  
Best baked goods this week?  Truffle Muffins, adapted from Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie baking mix.  By baking the mix in a muffin tin, the chocolate chips are distributed in proportions to the caky-ness just right for one muffin, modified with a little cinnamon.  Heck yes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DIY Door Headboard

So many projects!  In honor of the ShakeOut on Thursday, I will share a project done this weekend and earlier today, not just for aesthetics, but for safety reasons.
When I was younger, my mother owned a floral shop, and she had this amazing door that she would use to spray paint against.  I have used this door as my headboard for years-- but even in San Francisco, I just screwed it into the wall!  No anchors, no studs, just straight, powdery, flaky drywall.  I can't believe I lived in San Francisco for four years with this wedge of wood just hanging precariously over my head... not to mention the unaware who would bonk their head on the doorknob.  
Once again relocated to an earthquake zone (and to make it pretty, of course), I added legs and thick bolts (with washers) to stabilize the door behind the bed.  It now looks a proper headboard: whaddya think?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The City of West Hollywood Book Fair: Goodness

The first book fair I can remember was in my elementary school library, in third grade.  My mom came to school that day, because she didn't trust me to carry the money to school myself.  The whole library was transformed by red folding shelves, just full of yumminess.  Glitter pencils were all the rage that year, but I spent my $15 book fair allowance on American Girl books-- Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha were the only girls then.  Felicity and Addy (and now, Kit, Josefina, Julie, Rebecca, Kaya, and Julie, and their best friends) were out by the time I was in fifth grade.  My mom volunteered for the book fair that year, and I remember coming home and finding three of the Addy books and a beautiful blue bookmark on my bed.  As I was driving to the book fair today, with the crisp weather and the jumbly clouds overhead, I was so excited I wanted to hug myself... which is a bad idea when driving down Santa Monica.  But the feeling was there, and it was good.
I was stationed to volunteer at the information desk in the Children's Area, next to the Storyopolis booth, and in perfect line of the stage, where ballerinas, rats, and pirates cavorted all day.  Psuednonymous Bosch, who may or may not have written The Name of This Book is a Secret, If You're Reading This, It's Too Late, and This Book is Not Good for You (besides Here Be Monsters, one of the best websites I've seen) may or may not have been at the Storyopolis booth, but he certainly signed my copies of the latter two titles (the former being one of my favorite chapter books I've read in the last year), with some of the best inscriptions ever.  I may not be a librarian yet, but I about cried when I read this one:  

I also picked up a subversive feminist coloring book, by Jacinta Bunnell and Julie Novak, girls are not chicks, and a DVD of the history of KPFA, which I was introduced to at 17 by Ms. Sarah, and is now an addiction, and not to forget, of course, a ton of resources for the future librarian, including a brochure for 826LA, whose theme is time travel, which is at least as cool as 826Valencia, and their pirates and blowfish.
The goods:

Homework, then tea, chocolate, and inky deliciousness!  

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Field Trip: Craft and Folk Art Museum

Last weekend, the Smithsonian sponsored a weekend of free admission to museums nationally; this weekend, several Southern California museums followed suit.  Free?  Sounds like a grad school field trip to me!
I chose the Craft and Folk Art Museum, located on (in?) the Miracle Mile.  I've been thinking a lot about the intersections of theory and practice, which always ties into ideas of beauty and functionality for me; craft museums are an excellent place to examine this.  I was very interested in seeing the Myth and Manpower: Graphics and the California Dream exhibit.  There was also an exhibit of the work of Dora De Larios, Suenos/ Yume: 50 Years of the Art of Dora De Larios.
The museum itself is tiny, and slightly (delightfully) incongruous, brick and plaster amongst the buildings of steel and glass up and down Wilshire.  There are three floors, the top two for the exhibits, and a classroom, welcome desk, and gift shop on the ground floor.  The plaster inside is unevenly patched, and the wood floors are worn down in certain places-- much less sterile than most museums-- I felt like this was perfect for the art, which really, is the art of the people.

Dora De Larios focuses on ceramics and sculpture; the fascination of this exhibit is the range of  her pieces, starting in the 1950's, which reminded me of those heavy earthenware bowls to get excited over in thrift stores, to her contemporary work, which focuses on aspects of the goddess and these marvelous ceramic animals.  My favorite piece by her was a metal and wood sculpture from the 1960's or early 1970's, entitled "Warrior."  The figure has his head thrown far back, guarding his body with a shield, and is standing on one leg with a large foot; the other leg is cut off just above the knee.  The awareness of the strength in body in the piece made me very aware of my own body-- just what it is to stand.
The Myth and Manpower exhibit was very powerful; the whole floor is chunked off in bold citrus colors, with floor-to-ceiling text discussing the forms of graphic art.  Sectioned along the wall are pairings of fruit crate labels, sent East to entice migration to California, and UFW-centric protest posters.  Comparing the fairy-tale world of boosterism to the graphic starkness of the silk-screened posters was the perfect bundling of California, the glamour and the glitter thick over this history of oppression and the activism that rose (rises) from it.  The comparison of a fruit crate label close-up of a rosy-cheeked blonde, smiling through perfect teeth (from eating Sunkist fruit, I guess) next to a stark, simple print in the same pinks and blues of Dolores Huerta was a beautiful place to consider that intersection of beauty and functionality, and where each rises from-- which is the commodity, and which is of worth?
Then, to bring it down a notch, I walked across the street to the La Brea Tar Pits.  Blech.  They have this horrible sculpture of a female mammoth being sucked into the tar pit, while her mate and baby watch, their trunks stretched out to her.  This really upset me; I felt really bad for this mammoth.  I know if I was a kid visiting the tar pits, I would just be heart-broken by this scene.  It's worse than Bambi, because you can see the mom sinking away right in front of your eyes, and it's perpetual-- this whole mammoth family is being frantically pulled apart until someone more sensitive is in charge of the pits.  I didn't even take a picture of them-- it made me too sad.  But here's the pits anyway.

And not only are they heart-wrenching, they stink to high heaven.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So Meta!

When I was an undergrad, there was a group of us going through the literature/creative writing program that were properly surly, generally myopic (judging by the number of thick-rimmed glasses), and of course, snobbily obscure.  One subset of this group even started a salon-type gathering called the Clinamen Society, referring to Harold Bloom's (grr...) theory of creative break in which writers move away from their predecessors.  I felt this name to be vaguely... racy, for no discernible reason. 
This same general group would frequently refer to things as "meta," as in, "metafiction" (fiction about fiction, which was all the rage for a semester with the creative writing kiddos), or "metalanguage" (language used to talk about language).  The former and the latter are proper examples of the use of "meta," but it sort of became a schwa.  "That bar was kinda meta"; "She is a little meta tonight."  I have no idea what these were supposed to mean-- the literal definition of meta, in this context, is of a higher or second order.  A bar to define bars?  That's a damn good bar.
In honor of the re-introduction of "meta" into my paradigm (metadata; meta-science; meta-fields; meta-discipline; meta-structures; I read about all of these this week), I have created a little photo essay in the same loose "meta" sensibility to explain why in the heckers I moved to L.A. anyway.

This is the building where I learn about information science and libraries;
Then I go to the main library to... library science books.

Books about libraries, in the library, read by a library and information science major.  So meta!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Digs!

I have returned, with all kinds of newness and fabulosity!  A new design, a new apartment, a new city, a new school... even some new flats-- but more on those later.  
With all this newness, I have committed myself to this blogging thing, in the sake of being a future "information professional"-- a librarian, that is.  After only three classes, I have been amazed and astounded at the intensity of academic study that goes into blogs, Wikipedia, Google, Bing... you name it, somebody has written a thesis on it!  I imagine I'll talk more about this later, as well.  The really juicy bits I want to share is my new pad.
I've been in my new West Hollywood apartment for one and a half weeks, and my stuff is all moved in. Things are still changing-- and missing.  I need a couch, a nightstand, and a cheese grater, among other things, but in the past I have always jumped into buying what I needed, in addition to what I already had, right away.  The resulting effect was being sick of my apartment decor in two months, which meant taking all the curtains down, re-dying them, sewing new pillows, and spending hours in thrift stores looking for dishes in this particular shade of olive that they have exactly at Restoration Hardware, but who can afford that malarkey?  I want this to be a bit more of a growing process, adding only things I love, one at a time.  
So I may have to lie on the carpet for awhile-- I don't really like chairs anyway-- at least, for sitting in.  I use to rescue chairs from the San Francisco sidewalks, and line them up on the walls all over my apartment, then stack books, plants, or whatever on the seats.  This was incredibly frustrating to my roommates, but I thought it was just adorable.  When I moved all my things out of storage last fall, I had eight mis-matched chairs (two with no seats), and almost nothing else!
So let's see where things stand so far, some areas I'm really digging:

My desk (vitally important, as I already have a ton of homework!), and my coffee cart, which I have some plans for, but is serving its caffeinating purpose just fine for now:

I love my mantel, but I cannot figure out what to do with my empty fireplace: I have a couple ideas, but I would love to hear more!

And, of course, what would my apartment be without a wall of books?  I really need to get a fourth bookcase though; they're starting to spill out!

Today-- the new apartment; tomorrow, the new school!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blech. Scary Photo!

What a laggy blogger I am!  But I've been photo tagged.  I almost thought about pretending I didn't read this post from Sarah Said, but that would be cheating.  Here it is!  Friday, noon, my day off.  I'm sort of sick and was up all night, and am still in my jammies! 

I followed the rules exactly:

  • Take a picture of yourself right now.
  • No primping or preparing.
  • Just snap a picture.
  • Load the picture onto your blog.
  • Tag some people to play along.
Well, except I'm not sure who to tag.  Maybe some of my favorite Ravelry blogs?  But they all blog about yarn.  Maybe I can photo tag their yarn, and some lovely pictures of yarn or projects will make me feel better...  
I think this gross feeling is existential as much as physical.  Working all these hours is killing me!  My room is a mess.  I'm a mess!  There is laundry everywhere... I haven't been to the gym in a month.  Yesterday, I slept through THREE alarms!  I've had no energy, and am feeling vaguely nauseated and achey all the time.  I think I need a good cleanse, and two days off in a row, to clean and exercise, rest, make a good meal.  To blog about yarn.  To knit!  To read!
  I am living off of caffeine, and it is no good.  Yesterday, I had, in order:
  • 2 cups of coffee
  • A bottle of Diet Coke
  • A restaurant-size glass of Diet Coke
  • A grande size cup of coffee
  • Another glass of Diet Coke
My teeth are going to fall out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh, No!

In this time of economic downturn, with blocks of foreclosed homes, vast unemployment, and businesses closing right and left, this may seem very petty, but I am so sad: Domino Magazine is shutting down!  Conde Nast publishers have cited poor advertisement revenue as the reason the magazine will no longer be in print.  

While the magazine has always carried high-end decor ideas and products (even in their "budget friendly" issues), I have always turned to this magazine for inspiration for my home (I've lived in nine different places since the first issue came out); I even bought every issue when I was living out of my car!  I think I have the first issue, and have saved every issue since, even if a few are missing pages I've torn out for collages (their photography is always gorgeous).  While I could never really afford any of the stuff in their spreads, I could always copy it really well.  With spray paint, new fabric, and some touches added from Lowes or Michaels, I could come close to some of their featured pieces.  They have featured an annual green issue, and always promote low-VOC paint, repurposed wood, and recycled flea-market antiques as viable options for decorating your home, and most of the designers and products they interview are independent.  Over the four years the magazine has been in print, many recent and current design and art-school grads have been featured, and the resulting boost to the careers of these designers is surely significant.  While the magazine is basically one big ad, the home set-ups are still inspiring, and fresh and modern, unlike most of the home decor magazines that aren't very relevant to many younger people.
Saving for grad school, and staying home so much more as a result, I am constantly looking for pieces in the magazine to copy.  I have always believed "home" is a place of activism and community, and the pages in Domino, while pretty consumerist, are great for sharing ideas that make that space open to entertaining, cooking, and just being.
Bullcrap, I say.  I'm sad. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Want It!

This may be the very best bracelet ever, next to my Jack Kerouac bracelet.  Same style-- lacquered images set into metal braces, with elastic cord in between, designed by Carolyn Forsman.  Seriously awesome.

It's kind of hard to see, but each one of these images is a cover of a banned book.  There is an adult version, with books like Howl, Go Ask Alice, and The Color Purple, and a children's version with Captain Underpants, King and King, and Blubber.  I found it while I was searching the ALA (American Library Association) website for scholarships.  That's right.  Spending money while I'm trying to earn it.  
Get it here, and support the ALA!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've Got the Wanderin' Blues...

Last year, I had this job that provided room and board... except on the weekends.  And the weekends were glorious.  I lived out of my car.  I had a road atlas, and a campground guide with all the free campgrounds in California dogeared, a tiny little camp stove, a kick-ass Northface backpack, and water-proof boots.  Bottles of wine and bags of puffed brown rice cereal I had to move every week to keep the bears from can-opening my car.  And a lot of yarn and books.  All in the trunk of my car.But now I'm all responsible and stuff, with a normal job, and my own bed (which I hadn't slept on in a year and a half), electricity and continuous hot water (instead of the little bits I would warm up to wash my face).  Which is lovely.  But I'm going to post these pictures and mourn it a little bit.

OK.  I'm gonna mourn it a lot.    

Monday, January 26, 2009


For an English major, my life seems to be more and more ruled by numbers.  I spent today filing my taxes; these are all of my W-2s (five), retirement accounts, student loans, and investment returns from 2008.

I thought my taxes from 2007 were crazy complicated, having worked for several non-profits, but those were nothing compared to this year!  Damn complicated.
There is my student loans; in preparation for grad. school, I consolidated my loans and in return, the federal government sent me a lovely pay schedule, with an estimated pay-off date, if I continue to pay the payment I'm making (which, granted, is tiny): April 31st, 2031!
Then there is grad. school: GRE minimum scores, actual GRE scores, application deadlines, application fees, projected tuition rates, cost of living, fellowship awards, fellowship application deadlines.
Numbers stress me out.  If I were from the Kingdom of Wisdom, I would live in Dictionopolis and very rarely travel.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Something is Very Wrong With Me...

I did it.  I frogged it.  I frogged the damned Frock Camisole.
Allow me to share two comments on this project from my Ravelry Project Page:
9/29/2008: ...This will be the first garment I knit that I won't frog, I swear! (For some reason, I knit tops, then frog them, a habit that stops here)...
10/28/2008: ...I am not sure why I am so darn determined not to frog this thing-- as I mentioned above, I have frogged whole tops just for not liking the drape!  I think it's the symbolic meaning of this top, which makes me feel-- contrary to what I normally feel when I have a mistake in my knitting-- very strong.  I am liking this idea of incorporating a "mistake" into the design of my work, instead of freaking out over one inconsistent stitch in that lovely seed stitch tank I made two years ago, which is now re-balled into a million balls of Lamb's Pride in my stash basket...
I suck.  This top, as these comments hint at, was supposed to be symbolic of starting anew, accepting the mistakes I make, and being at peace with them.  Nope.  No such luck.  It wasn't even just the mistakes with this top (there weren't even that many, just a change in the pattern).  After taking a break for some other knits, including my Christmas knits, I picked this top back up, and was just so frustrated and in such a funk, I decided to be done with it.  And now I am-- and I have a huge ball of 30% acrylic/70% cotton hanging out on top of my dresser, staring at me as I put my pajamas on, being like, "What, fool?  What now?"  
I don't know, yarn.  I just don't know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crafty Me

Oh, how sweet it is-- a day off, with no errands to run, nowhere to be!  
I decided to take a few pictures of the crafts and baking I have been doing over the last month, but haven't had a chance to post!
I made this earring holder in a couple of hours-- and it would have been less if it hadn't been raining, and the spray paint wasn't drying like... well.  Like paint drying.  I love the color-- it's a new color, Paprika-- and having all of my cute earrings out instead of jumbled in a box makes it easier for me to remember what I have.

Earring Holder
Frame, Goodwill: $2.00
Screen, OSH, 2 yrds.: $1.39
Dowels, OSH: $0.39
Spray Paint, OSH: $3.49
Total Cost: $7.27

I baked this cake from scratch, using this recipe from Family Circle.  Seriously-- this cake is one of the most beautiful I have ever made.  I wasn't crazy about the cake itself, though; it was really heavy, almost like a cheese-cake.  Everyone in my family loved it, though-- there wasn't a single piece left!

This rocking chair is one of the first major projects I took on since I moved back to Clovis.  I got the rocking chair from Sarah and John, when they moved out of their old apartment.  It was pretty badly broken at the join between the rocker and the chair, and the dowel keeping them together had snapped off and was stuck in the join.  They were going to through it away, but since I didn't have much to do, I thought I would make it a project.

It's totally fixed, with new woodscrews and a new dowel to reinforce the old broken join, with new foam padding on the seat, and new adorable birdie fabric.  I also had to do a little creative sanding, because some kitties who shall not be named had been nibbling away on the edges. This is the fabric I used; it's so stinkin' cute!  It's called "Bird Seed," and I love it to death.  JoAnn's has suddenly gotten kind of hip with their fabric choices.

Rocking Chair
Chair: Free (Thanks, Sarah and John!)
Woodscrews, Dowels, and Sandpaper: Free (just lying around the craft bin)
Spray Paint, Lowes: $2.50 (with 25% off coupon)
Foam: $8.99, JoAnn's
Fabric, 1 yrd.: $4.99
Total: $16.48

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Milkweed Project

There is a lovely collaborative art project germinating (hee, hee) over at Stitches and Sticks.  Shan is asking knitters and crocheters to make long swatches of knitting in white or off-white to construct a giant milkweed pod that gallery visitors can walk through.  Her concept is beautiful and just the thought of walking through a soft white pod of fluff makes me want to wrap myself in hugs.  If you are a stitcher, head on over to the site to volunteer.  Pass the info along to really get this thing in bloom!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Wanna Be Your Fine and Feathered Friend...

And I want these tights to be it in...
What?  Why are they so adorable? And why are they thirty dollars?  There is no way I could wear these to work, what with all the crawling around on the floor I do.  Somebody take me to the symphony and I'll rock these.

It's the Unraveling...

There is nothing like a Joni Mitchell song for a good knitting quote!
No blogging for awhile.  No apologies either-- this girl got a big promotion, and I really like my job, so I'm OK with working ten-hour days and not blogging while I was making the adjustment.
Mostly because I have been a mad, mad knitting fiend to unwind after hanging out with kiddos all day, resulting in a pile of knitted goods.  In total, from December 15th to today, I have knit:
  • 4 hats
  • 2 cowls
  • 1 pair of fingerless mitts
  • 2 cup cozies
  • 1 bomb-ass ornament
Hm.  Well, now it doesn't seem like that much.  I'll post pictures one day, and maybe even add them to my Ravelry projects page.  If I do the math, that's one object every three days.  Maybe it is a lot.  But the important thing is, I have really knit:
  • 7 hats
  • 3 cowls
  • 4 cup cozies
  • 1 pair of fingerless mitts
  • 1 ornament
because I knit and then unraveled, then knit again.  My name is Britt, and I am an unraveler.
I have always been a sweater unraveler-- there is not a single full-sized garment out there that I have knit, though I have knit several, because every time I do, I pull it all apart.  The tendency has never gone beyond garments to accessories until recently, when I cast on the Frock Camisole, and swore I wouldn't unravel it, even if it was all wonky and full of holes (I had to do some creative math for a pattern mis-read in the beginning), as a lesson in being OK with some slight imperfections.  So now I'm unraveling everything but that.  I guess I haven't learned my lesson very well.
If you look very closely at this picture of a cowl I knit for myself out of some wool yarn I bought on sale for a dollar, you can see about six stitches of stockinette where it should have been garter (I was knitting in the round and missed the switch):

Unraveled that real fast.  But here's the end result:


Oh, knitting.  You are a cruel and beautiful mistress.  To end on an even more fiber-ful note, two lovely pictures of two of my favorite knitting-related things from the holiday:

The first is my cousin, whom I taught to knit on Thanksgiving-- she's sporting a lovely Thick N' Quick scarf we added the fringe to on Christmas (the picture's kind of cruddy because I got a new camera and I suck at using it).
The second is this awesome green tea cup Sarah and John gave to me for Christmas, with some delicious Chai Tea (it has the perfect bit of anise).  Yum nummy.  Isn't it the cutest?