Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque

The year is 1893. Artist Piero Piambo paints "corrective" portraits by painting plain society wives and beautifying them on canvas- kind of like yesteryear's photoshop! He struggles with this career choice and wishes to paint truths, not fantasies.

And then something happens.

A blind man approaches him and offers him a job like no other. He is to paint a portrait of the man's employer, Mrs. Charbuque. His compensation will be so great he will never again have to paint another corrective portrait. But there's a catch. Piambo will not be permitted to actually see Mrs. Charbuque. She will sit behind a screen and he will ask her questions. He will then have to divine her likeness from her answers. If he is able to do so, his compensation will triple.

Impossible? Maybe.

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New cuffs

New plaid cuffs for autumn are coming to the shop later today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh, yes, the mailman was good to me today

Would you look at that beauty?! I just received my "Ponder" sign today from Scott at Banished Woodworking. I love it! I got to pick the size (it's only 7 inches long and the lowercase letters are an inch tall- tiny just how I like it!). I also got to pick the font, and the end result is even better than I'd imagined.

I suggest you go order a special word of your own - the price is right, so you can't go wrong! These would make great personalized Christmas gifts, as well. Thank you so much, Scott!

Attempt #1

I'm a little scared to show this picture because I know a lot of people who crochet read this blog! Anyway, this is my first granny square in probably 15 years. It took me way too long, and, yes, there are mistakes! I still have to weave in my loose ends, but you get the idea. I went with a 100% cotton yarn because I liked the crisp look, but the weight I ended up choosing is still thicker than I would have liked. I'm stuck with it now! It's hard to see but the cream color kind of reminds me of vanilla ice cream- it is a natural yarn and has tiny little brown dots reminiscent of the vanilla beans you can sometimes see in ice cream.

I'll be sure to post more progress (as long as it's not too embarrassing!).

Fun "fact" of the day

I think I'll throw out one of these fun "facts" every week or so, just because it's so funny the things we used to believe. And here we go:

"Fruit should be eaten ripe, raw, fresh and perfect. It should be eaten in moderation. It should be eaten not later than 4 o'clock in the aftenoon. No water, or fluid of any description, should be allowed within an hour after eating fruit."

-The Guide Board to Health, Peace and Competence (1869)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gravestone rubbings

I always seem to find something interesting at Victorian Trading Company. I'm not a fan of all of their items, but there are always a couple of things that call out to me. I had really wanted this "Old Stone Rubbing Kit" and had meant to go back and purchase it, but it looks like I waited too long and they no longer carry it. From the item description:

"A romp through ancient burial grounds offers intriguing epitaphs and headstone art. Record fascinating final words and preserve ancestral heritage upon burnished parchment. Includes 60 pg book, wooden brush, 2 blocks rubbing wax, masking tape & paper."

Think of it as an upgrade from the crayon and construction paper rubbings from your childhood. It looks like this kit is still available from Amazon. I've never actually made any gravestone rubbings as an adult, and would love to give it a try. I'm especially drawn to ancient gravestones - graves so old that nobody could possibly still be living who remembers that person or that person's children. I'd like to think of it as further preserving the memory of that soul. He or she walked this earth and breathed this air and laughed and cried and lived, and that deserves a second thought.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Rosy Revolver giveaway!

JJ of Rosy Revolver is beyond amazing and is having an insanely great giveaway! You could win the necklace pictured above. While you're at it, follow her gorgeous blog because she is an inspiration like no other. Love ya, JJ!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I must have this!

Tell me that isn't amazing, not to mention perfect for the voracious reader who loves to make things! Isaac from Book of Art makes these amazing sculptures by folding the pages in books. He'll custom make one with the word of your choice, as well! I'm so getting one of these!

***EDIT: I bought this!

Finally!

I am SO excited to get this book when it is released on September 29th! It's by Audrey Niffenegger, who also wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Time Traveler's Wife. It was the only book (and still is) that made me cry.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of chatting a bit with Audrey via email, and she told me she was writing Her Fearful Symmetry. At the time she had only written about 75 pages, but she told me what it would be about and I was so excited!! I've been waiting patiently ever since, and the time has almost come. I'm dying with anticipation! It's a ghost story set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London-- that is definitely my cup of tea.

I'm on pins and needles waiting for this! Read more about it here.

P.S. I've not yet seen The Time Traveler's Wife movie, because I'm so afraid it will ruin the book...you know, the movies are never as good as the books!

Brilliant.

Watch the amazing video here.

Jarbas Agnelli said:
Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electric wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes (no Photoshop edit). I knew it wasn't the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.

I sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who I Googled on the internet. He told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the very same newspaper.

Here I've posted a short video made with the photo, the music and the score (composed by the birds).

Music made with Logic.
Video made with After Effects.

The newspaper story about my work (O Estado de São Paulo): tinyurl.com/l4qdbg

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today's lunch break thrift store finds


I love them both. The bowl is pretty big at 10 inches across the top. I also really like the square shape of the plate. Click on them for a close-up. Back to work!

I'm getting a ten dollar drawing




Alisha Lynn Carrier will draw any image you request on a 5x7 piece of brown paper bag for $10.00. You get an original piece of art perfect for framing, and the wait for your little masterpiece is so exciting. I just ordered a drawing and requested an old-fashioned lamppost on a dark street. I'll make sure to post a pic of the drawing when I receive it. Now go here and get one of your own!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Favorite childhood books

I absolutely loved to read from a very young age, so I thought I'd make a list of my top five favorite childhood books/series. I'd LOVE it if you would list some of your favorites in the comments!

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I thought Harriet was fascinating. I also think Harriet is one of the cutest names of all time.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. My favorites of the series were probably The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy.
3. Anything Roald Dahl. I can remember sitting there all night reading James and the Giant Peach until I could no longer keep my eyes open. What a magical story.
4. The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder/Rose Wilder Lane. I never ever tired of these stories. I think they might be the reason I grew up so fascinated with the past.
5. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. I guess that isn't the most politically collect title in this day and age, but I was captivated by this book. Tiny toys-turned-people in a magical cupboard unlocked by an old key? Come on!

Now tell me yours. :)

Pretty pic of the day

Thrifted bowl from Mom. Thrifted green doily. My precious rocks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I've been treasure hunting!

Yesterday my mom and I were driving to a shopping mall about 45 minutes away, and on the way we passed an outdoor antique flea market being held at a church. Of course, we turned around immediately to go treasure hunting!

I got this sweet little matchbox holder- I've never seen one on a stand quite like this one and thought it was so cute:

I'm so happy I bought these amazing salt and pepper shakers! I assure you, the pictures don't do them justice. The blue is so pretty in person. The seller was 100% sure she had the missing cap and will be sending it to me when she finds it:

Oh, and these are really big. They are around six inches tall and almost three inches wide.

Of course I couldn't pass up this old pitcher:

I guess I have a thing for salt and pepper shakers. I just had to get these ones because they were so tiny! They are about an inch tall:

I also got ten of these 60's/70's kitchen wall art pieces. I thought they would be really cute hung as a grouping in a retro kitchen. Each has a recipe, and some of them actually look really good! My mom also bought nine of them (though she got the best ones, in my opinion). These were only 25 cents each!!:

I also picked up this great vintage fabric and a handful of vintage buttons at a local antique shop:

Oh! The flea market was held outside the church next to an ancient cemetery! For those of you who have been reading this blog since it started, you know I have a thing for cemeteries. We saw some beautiful gravestones and I only wish I had brought my camera. Yes, Mom, I know you said we should bring our cameras and I said we shouldn't. You win!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It has arrived.

Do you remember this post? I ordered the curio service from Leafcutter Designs and have been eagerly awaiting my mystery package ever since. I had to provide 20 words that meant something to me, and Lea would then find me the perfect item based on those words. It was all such a mystery! These were my words: London, vintage, Dickens, books, dainty florals, tea, treasure chest, aqua, green, tiny, sewing, daguerreotype, dumbwaiter, lantern, passageway, dark, carriage, Victorian, rocks. I received my package today:


I got this adorable little milk glass bird. What is really great is I didn't even tell Lea that I love milk glass! I still didn't quite understand how she decided upon this item with my 20 words until I read the note she enclosed. It reads as follows:

Dear Amy,

Just for you, I have chosen this vintage milk glass Christmas tree bulb in the shape of a bird. Your words "lantern," "passageway," "dark," "rocks," and "dainty" reminded me of the phrase "canary in a coalmine." Early coalmines did not have ventilation systems, so caged canaries were brought down into new seams because canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide. The miners' air supply was safe as long as the canary kept singing; a dead canary would trigger a quick evacuation. This method of detecting poisonous air was used well into the 20th century and your little bird is from around 1930. To bring a canary down into a mine is like carrying a little bit of sunshine and sky into the deep dark depths of dangerous work - a little bit of warm beating breath into an unforgiving hardness. Your little milk glass bird combines a canary and a mining lantern into one. I can see it down there glowing in its little cage - being carried by a large rough hand. I am not sure if it is there by force or its own will. To live like a canary in a coalmine might mean to be heartlessly sacrificed by those that are more powerful, but it could also serve as a warning to others - to see ahead and maybe even sacrifice oneself willingly to save the rest. Or - and perhaps most importantly - it means we should always keep singing in the face of danger, always keep glowing through the inevitable darkness of being. Despite the inescapable cage, we are all capable of flight. It was my delight to choose this for you."

I think my little bird is lovely. Thank you, Lea! Oh, gosh, I'm already itching for another mystery....

Crochet love

Pot holder from Emma Lamb. Her shop is so beautiful it makes me want to cry!

Fingerless gloves from CoquelicotSalon. I just love the little gathered edge and buttons. I want these!

Button cowl from a Cat's Nest. Carolina's work is so lovely and she is so sweet, too!

Amazing crocheted bracelets from Nadene. I'm trying to decide on a color scheme for mine!

Puff earrings from Lindsay Streem Designs. Tell me these aren't adorable and perfect for fall?

I'll take one of each, please. Anyone?

P.S. I'm trying to remember how to crochet granny squares- I could do it when I was young but have completely forgotten. I want to make myself a blanket!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy birthday to me and a WINNER!

Oh, come on- I still look exactly like that! haha

Thank you to everyone who participated in my giveaway! The winner of the cuff is:

Dani! Congratulations! I'll be in touch shortly, dear friend. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Last chance

Tomorrow is my 31st birthday. That means tomorrow is the day one of you will win a free cuff! A name will be randomly chosen tomorrow morning at 8 am central time. If you'd still like to enter, click here! Good luck to all!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vintage item of the day

I don't think I've mentioned it here but I have a small collection of vintage creamers. I just love them! Today a coworker surprised me with the creamer above, as she saw it somewhere and thought I would like it- and she didn't even know I collected creamers! Isn't it lovely? I just love the square shape on the bottom and the arch design on each side. And look at the handle! Pure loveliness. What a nice surprise on a Monday morning!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vintage linens quilt

I have a serious love of vintage linens. I had a whole bunch of pieces of vintage sheets leftover from other projects (and also purchased some vintage fat quarters on Etsy) and decided to make this lovely quilt! Well, I'm not actually a quilter, so this one is really just tied with a little piece of yarn where all the squares meet.

Let me just tell you, it is THE softest throw blanket I've ever had. There is nothing like the feel of soft, vintage sheets! I used a coordinating vintage sheet for the back and there is a layer of cotton batting inside.

Doesn't it just scream sunshine? I plan on making another soon in shades of green and aqua. For the next one I plan on purchasing a walking foot for my sewing machine, which should minimize the kind of twisty look of the edging. I still love it, though, with all its imperfections!

P.S. What is your favorite square in the first pic? I can't decide which one I like best!

Goodies

I sure wish I'd bought more things at Renegade! I got this sweet little ring:

and this AMAZING crocheted cuff- it's almost like a granny square for your arm!:

and some tea! It's full of chocolate chips and shreds of coconut. I can't wait to have some!:

I am seriously contemplating going back today! The train ride is an hour and 15 minutes and the cab is expensive to get there and back, but I want more! We'll see if I actually do it.

P.S. I will actually wear that ring on my right hand but it was impossible to take a good picture with my left hand!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What a day!

Today's Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago was so much fun! There was so much to see and so many goodies I wanted to buy! I only ended up buying a few small things, which I will share tomorrow (when I have some daylight to take some nice photos!).

I did manage to remember to snap some photos for all of you (click on each of them for a close-up)! I couldn't really get a good shot of the actual fair from a distance, but let's just say it was huge!


Some beauties from Courtney Fischer:


Cordial Kitten's table was adorable:


Lunch break. The best lemonade ever:


The best sandwich ever (avocado, smoked gouda, romaine and tomato):


Dessert- lemon and lavender cookies:


We got to shop in the actual Renegade store, and it was so fun!



Colorful pretties from the lovely Sofia Masri:


At the end of the day my mom snapped a pic of me posing by this giant kitty. My hair looks so light (and red?) in the sunshine, but it's just an illusion!:

You know, technically my train ticket lasts all weekend so I COULD go back tomorrow... hmmm...