12 November 2010

We become what we behold.

06 November 2010

As a piece of technology, the clock is a machine that produces uniform seconds, minutes, and hours on an assembly-line pattern. Processed in this uniform way, time is separated from the rhythms of human experience. The mechanical clock, in short, helps to create the image of a numerically quantified and mechanically-powered universe ... Time measured not by the uniqueness of private experience but by abstract uniform units gradually pervades all sense life ... Not only work, but also eating and sleeping, came to accommodate themselves to the clock rather than organic needs.

-Marshall McLuhan
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man

Word File

03 November 2010

Insouciance: the state of being carefree or indifferent.

example: "It's all the same to me," she tittered, waving her hand dismissively over the scripts strewn across the dining table. "I've done it all. You choose, dear." Yet her darting eyes and flash-frozen smile belied her insouciance, and I hurriedly grasped the first, smallish packet I saw.

22 September 2010

Writing: the commitment of the word to space.

Walter J. Ong in Orality and Literacy (2002)

Mother Earth's Children

01 September 2010

Might I recommend perusing Mother Earth's Children, a darling and whimsical collection of rhymes about little fruit and vegetable people?

Lady Grey Sew Along

27 August 2010

image from Colette Patterns

One of my goals of this and next year is to sew a coat. Ever since Gertie did her series on her Vogue 8346 coat, I've been eager to learn some fine tailoring techniques--thus when she announced that she was hosting a sew-along for the Lady Grey Coat, replete with tips and tutorials on its construction, I happily joined. Plus, I've always wanted to sew a Colette pattern, not only for Sarai's beautiful designs, but also for their fine drafting and lovely packaging. The Sew-Along begins in September, so those of us who are participating will have ample time to gather our supplies. I'll admit, I'm a bit nervous about the cost of these supplies, but I'm determined to follow Gertie's lead and not skimp out. After all, this will be a valuable experience and, not to mention, a gorgeous coat!

The Onset of Panic and Baguettes

25 August 2010

The school year's arrived, and I'm finally living under a schedule again. I had all three classes yesterday, all on the third floor, and all taught by women. Now I'm trying to tease out a routine from the blob of syllabi I received, setting up my readings and ordering my textbooks and admonishing myself to keep up with the assignments. I am not behind yet.

This afternoon, however, I was floored by an email insisting I reapply for in-state tuition by the 30th, or I risk paying out-of-state for the semester. Now, having already paid this semester's bill and encountering no problems, I was alarmed by this new hurdle and, after the obligatory burst of panic and tears and wretched I'm-going-to-have-to-quit-school-because-I-can't-afford-it mental spasms, I calmly emailed the registrar and asked for clarification.

It was just a general reminder to all UNC students. Crikey.

I decided to make bread. Computer aside, I worked the dough I had made yesterday into two baguettes, slashed them, and slipped them onto hot stones to bake. A few crusty, still-steaming slices and some tomato salad later, I feel restored and am ready to settle down to my research articles and texts.

Simple Tomato Salad:

2 pints grape tomatoes, chopped
A handful of pitted olives, chopped
1-2 tablespoons dried basil, ground
A handful of red onion, diced finely
A couple handfuls of cheese, shredded

Mix ingredients and store in the fridge.

Word File

09 August 2010

Sobriquet: nickname.

example: The apartment grounds hosted hundreds of the little speck-sized pests, so that poor Millie inevitably picked up new ones each time she went outside. Having to scratch constantly earned her the unfortunate, albeit affectionately given, sobriquet of flea-bag.

If ever I were to follow a designer, it would be Anna Allen. She and I could be bosom buddies style-wise.

Her 2010 look-book is online.

21 June 2010

Welcome to the season of summer.

I'm ringing summer in with a month-long course in databases. I enjoy taking condensed courses, for they give me the special privilege of focus--focusing on one set of concepts, one set of due dates, one set of materials, bus schedules, and classmates. Interest is relative, so what I would find unbearably dull beside reference or archives work, I now find almost...tolerable.

So here's to a fresh start in academia and a fresh start in seasons.

26 April 2010

first home inspiration

02 April 2010

I think Angela and Adam Tulliers did a beautiful job renovating their new home. Take a look at their feature on Design Sponge and their flickr photos.

20 March 2010

I was just reading an article about the psychology of collecting* when I came across this little fact: in a study about money sense conducted by W.S. Monroe in 1899, 2,012 Massachusetts school children were asked what they would do with 50 cents a month. Can you guess what they would spend it on?

Clothing: boys-9% girls-11%
Wood, coal, food, or furniture: boys-4% girls-4%
Toys and pictures: boys-3% girls-7%
Candy, riding, etc.: boys-14% girls-9%
Philanthropy: boys-2% girls-3.5%
Christmas presents: boys-4% girls-7%

Wood, coal, food, or furniture? What a sense of responsibility need cultivated in these youngsters!

*Cameron, E.H. (1923, November). The psychology of saving. Annals of the American academy of political and social science (110), p. 156-164.

02 March 2010

Today's rather a neat date, isn't it? Happy 3-2-10!

blouses which take my fancy

26 February 2010

For those times when I'm longing to sew but don't have a suitable block of time (as is the case most days as a grad student), I have to find other ways to placate my urge. My Threads issues are worn through and I've read my pattern drafting books cover to cover; my computer's Sewing Inspirations folder is filled with subfolders marked "sleeves," "details," "necklines," and the like (it may be time to think of crafting a finding aid for these!); my shelves and drawers of fabric entice me again and again to play with various pieces, draping and pleating them.

I also dream up new projects. Currently I am taken with extended-sleeve blouses.

Word File

24 February 2010

assiduity: diligence; persistent application of oneself

example: Really, the canine's assiduity was quite remarkable. No less than two hours had passed since little Bella had wandered off, leaving her sandwich crust upon her plate. Footsteps pattered by, doors opened and shut, laughter sounded from the other room, yet still he sat by the table, patient and alone, the constant grey shadow which haunted her every meal.

Word File

22 February 2010

oneiric: related to or suggesting dreams

example: Now, walking down the hallway--past that porthole window, that door marked 103, 105, 107--she felt peculiarly oneiric...as if perhaps she had come down here before...or maybe dreamed? And suddenly the faded details of an old, old dream came back in startling similarity to the scene now before her. Her only comfort was that in her dream, that door's 7 had swung loose and hung upside down by its stem, so that it looked more like a subscript L. The door here was clearly marked 107. That is--she peered closer at the numbers.

No; it had come off, the 7 now represented only by the discolored smudge left by the missing numeral.

Word File

20 February 2010

appurtenance: something that is subordinate, or added, to another more important thing

example: Some may have considered Nigel Witherington's appurtenance an impertinence, but he really felt his Critical Commentary on THE LAWS OF THE PLANETS elucidated that most renowned yet cryptic of astronomical tomes.


11 February 2010

I have quite the stash of clothes awaiting alterations, either because they no longer fit me correctly or because I bought them specifically for the purpose of refashioning. Much to my storage capacity's chagrin, I tend to see a lot of potential in the dresses, blouses, and suits I encounter in secondhand stores and find it hard to resist plunking down three dollars on an all wool jacket that is only slightly too big or a dollar on a lovely rayon print dress that nevertheless sports ridiculous shoulder pads (alright; you can stop snickering).

My enthusiasm is fed by the alterations I see online. GrosgrainFabulous showcases Kathleen's beautifully clever refashions such as her Cherry Pop Refashion (which also happens to be a giveaway!)

Kristena of Thimbly Things has finished some cute alterations as well, such as her Plum Blouse or her Romantic Shirt.

Before I can commence in earnest, however, I've got to sew a cover for my buxom dressform and squeeze her into my own proportions--nothing a little carving and super-strong seams can't accomplish, I hope. But I am on my way, for last night I finished my first bodice sloper muslin and have only to drape and draft my skirt sloper next (which should be significantly easier!). That should be my next Thursday-night project.

07 February 2010

Sunday's my day for baking, and this week I've made some rather delicious spinach and cheese calzones. It was simple but time-consuming, but then that's what I like about Sunday's slower pace. I made up a recipe for light whole wheat bread dough from one of my favorite bread cookbooks, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Hertzberg and Francois) and then mixed a few things together for the filling:
~a couple handfuls of that wonderful convenience, frozen chopped spinach
~about 8 ounces of ricotta cheese (the rest of the container is going in next week's lasagna)
~one egg
~some onion (I keep chopped red onion in the freezer)
~2 cloves of garlic

I sauteed the onion and garlic before adding them to the spinach-ricotta-egg mixture, and then I stretched out roll-sized handfuls of dough into circles (more or less), filled them with about 1/2 cup filling, and then folded the edges together and crimped them with a fork. I brushed each with an egg wash before baking them for about half an hour at 450 degrees. They smell so good.

The rest of the bread dough is in the freezer--I hope that's okay! I'll probably use it to make pizza at some time or another, so it's not imperative that it rise anymore.

The only other thing I made today is a concentrate for chai. I used this recipe (minus the additional sugar) and quite like it.

06 February 2010

Poor Anastasia has been sneezing all day. I think she's got a cat cold.

bits and pieces

04 February 2010

I am tired; drummer-boy upstairs decided to practice between 1 and 2 last night. Honestly...

Tonight I'm heading back to campus for an introductory meeting for amliss, the UNC art-and-museum-library-&-information-student-society. I'm eager to get involved in these groups (the other one being SCOSAA, the Student-Chapter-of-the-Society-of-American-Archivists) which will hopefully help me develop the habit of participating in professional organizations throughout my career. And career time is fast approaching.

needle ambition

02 February 2010

One project I aspire to sew is the coat—actually sewing a tailored, winter-weight dress coat complete with pad-stitching, cheery lining, and bound buttonholes. That’s quite far down on my list of projects, certainly, but in the mean time, I have enjoyed perusing Gertie’s vlogs on constructing her vintage coat (pictured above) as well as Tany’s detailed post about sewing her gorgeous coat.

snow and home

31 January 2010

North Carolina (at least my part of it) is covered in snow--6-8 inches, I'd say, which is just enough to keep the neighborhood chicos busy running around and pelting each other with frozen missiles. Outside my window are interlaced lines of happy footprints.

Although my roommate is scoffing at the two-day shut down of businesses (she lived last in Rhode Island), there is good reason: the roads are pretty bad, even the main ones. But it's the little connecting roads and parking lots that are especially tricky. I just had to cross my fingers and hope my car could get up enough traction to bump over the mounds of snow surrounding my poor car this morning. It did and I only arrived at church 15 minutes late to join the faithful few who managed to drive in, too (faithful? or optimistic? or daft? Probably the latter).

But now I'm back at home, waiting for my bread to finish its second rise and gearing up to throw my granola ingredients together so that I can bake both simultaneously. My pot is soaking after the macaroni and cheese, and my week's dinner is tucked away in the fridge. I've just finished a hot cup of cocoa from a mix I make regularly, along with two chocolate chip cookies I baked last week. It feels good to know what goes into the food I eat, and it feels good to save money by making things from scratch. But the biggest reason I make these things for myself is to stay connected, really; to keep mindful of the process, perhaps, and not just the product. I suppose it's like the difference between killing a chicken and buying frozen chicken breasts. You'll eat meat either way but one comes with an awareness of the life and death of the chicken and the other does not. You couldn't tell what sort of creature the chicken was just by looking in the Tyson's bag. It's disconnected from the real chicken.

These are the things I think about while puttering around the kitchen.

virtual sewing inspiration

One of my favorite ways to waste time is browsing sewing websites, gleaning inspiration and information for various projects from talented and ceaselessly productive sewers around the world. Honestly, I don't know how these lovely ladies make so much time for sewing, but I am glad they do! Here are my favorite sewing blogs:

Gertie's blog revolves around Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing (1952) and its fourteen projects, including skirts, dresses, blouses, coats, and suits. She posts tutorials detailing the techniques she's learning and has recently started even more helpful vlogs. I greatly admire her sewing and fitting skill and her motivation for starting the project.

Casey is a vibrant blogger who loves vintage clothing and seems to have new projects (sewn and knitted) to show her readers all the time. Her blog is a great source of vintage style inspiration--from dresses to cardigans to hair to lipstick. She tends to post about her projects at their beginnings--the planning stage--and at their ends--wearing stage, although occasionally she details her techniques in tutorials (such as her lovely cardigan refashion tutorial).

Sarai and her team host a lovely and frequently-updated blog about all aspects of sewing--the materials, the design, the techniques, the presentation, and even the business of it. Sarai herself has plenty of experience in each area having launched her own company, Colette Patterns, last year (such darling and well-drafted patterns). One of my favorite things about the blog is the attention Sarai gives to vintage dressmaking details, like the stitched bow, curvy trim, and fagoted seams.

Lauren is a professional seamstress with a love for costume history, particularly of the Regency and early 20th-century periods. Her attention to fine construction shows in the gorgeous gowns and outfits she creates and documents, occasionally throughout their construction. I hardly ever come away without the desire to make a fine vintage-style garment.

Burdastyle, Pattern Review, and Threads Magazine have wonderful websites as well, full of style inspiration, patterns, and techniques.

Use these sources to inspire your own sewing projects!

Word File

29 January 2010

Peculate: to steal or embezzle.

example: This was no movie-smooth peculation; anyone who had the least suspicion might trace the accounting discrepancies back to him, but nevertheless it worked. Actual people are disinclined to suspect someone as readily as they do in film.

the start of the semester

20 January 2010

I have to say that I am quite happy with my classes this semester--finally, I'm on to learning practical skills like cataloging and reference and archival description. My assignments are hands-on projects that will help me to navigate these new areas in a real-life application way. Between those three and my course in cultural institutions (I'm exploring these as work environments in addition to libraries/archives), I'm feeling much more prepared for my career.