Thursday, April 29, 2010

New purse

I made a purse. I think it turned out pretty nicely.

I used a bag pattern from tiny happy and a flower pin pattern from wise craft.

Now I can't stop making these flower pins.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tasty spices

This is my favorite spice company. I think it's easy to see why at first glance. Look how full that jar is!

Alchemy Spice Company is run by a young guy here in Chattanooga (it was started by someone else, but he runs it now). I did a story on the company for the magazine, and I learned about how he and a couple of his friends roast and grind their own spices, label the bottles, and then sell them locally.

These spices taste incredible because they are so fresh. I just bought this jar of Indian spices the other day and haven't used it yet, but I know from experience that the Italian spice blend is delicious. I don't think I can ever go back to any other grocery-story brand of Italian spice again.

Does that make me sound pretentious? I certainly don't mean to be. I just love food that tastes good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My latest book

I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Apparently I've been living under a rock because I hadn't heard anything about it until a friend recommended it. I was a bit put off by the title. I shy away from titles like this because to me it feels staged, as though the publishers are trying too hard. "Hey read our book! Look how quirky it is! It's quirky, isn't it? Everyone loves quirky!"

But despite my misgivings, I will always give books a chance regardless of their titles, especially if they come with a strong recommendation.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It's written entirely in letters (epistles, not letters versus numbers or binary code), which is probably difficult to pull off successfully, but this book succeeds. I loved the characters as well as the story, and the book made me want to go to Guernsey, which is an island in the English channel. (I did not know this before. That fact makes me feel uneducated.)

The woman who wrote it, Mary Ann Shaffer, became ill and couldn't finish the book. I think it was her niece who took over the writing so it could be published, and Mary Ann passed away shortly after. The death of the author doesn't necessarily make a book good, but it did make this book feel special, knowing that a woman who had always wanted to write a book finally did before she died.

So now I'm recommending this book highly, and I'm joining the ranks of all the other people who recommend it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crazy Critters: Not so much

I've seen these Crazy Critters things everywhere. They're supposed to be perfect for the dogs who tear up toys and leave stuffing all over the floor. Like my dog.

My carpet is always covered in great gobs of white stuffing, so I looked into these toys. They're touted as "Super strong and durable!"

A fluffy toy that is also strong? I've been dreaming about a dog toy like this!

I haven't bought any, but after looking at them, I can say one thing with certainty: Miles would rip through a Crazy Critter in 10 minutes flat. Sure, there wouldn't be any stuffing. I'll give them that.

Instead, there would be little bits of fur all over the floor. He also eats those little bits of fur.

He is like the Tasmanian devil, a little tornado with teeth. And if there does exist an indestructible toy (some say the Kong fits the bill), he isn't interested. See, the irony is, Miles will only play with toys he can destroy.

This is why I buy him cheap pillows. And give him cardboard boxes. And why my floor is messy 98% of the time.

Books: Quickly disappearing

Remember when I posted about these gorgeous Penguin books designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith?

And when I posted about having gotten my first two?

And when I said my favorite cover was Crime and Punishment?

Amazon has all the books, except for Crime and Punishment and Madame Bovary. Those ones are apparently very difficult to find. Madame Bovary is now up to $55 on eBay (as opposed to $13.60 for the other ones on Amazon). A copy of Crime and Punishment sold on eBay recently for $106.

I am starting to feel desperate.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My favorite album right now

Actor, by St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark).

She's like a grown-up Eisley, a band I used to really love. Both the lyrics and the music have same whimsical, ecclectic quality, but her music isn't cutesy, and it has a dissonant edge. It feels like the musical equivalent of Alice in Wonderland (the book, that is) or The Wizard of Oz -- trippy, but in a good way. 

The song "The Neighbors" sounds so similar to songs on Eisley's first album, Room Noises. I never liked Eisley's second album (I don't even remember what it was called), precisely because it distanced itself from the qualities I loved most to begin with. At the time, reviewers loved it and said the band sounded so much more grown up, but I just thought they sounded less unique. 

I've heard they're coming out with a new album soon, which I will certainly listen to, but no matter what it sounds like, I have found a new favorite artist: St. Vincent.

Here's her song "The Strangers." 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A book-lover's dream tutorial

I posted about this before, but I couldn't remember when or what I titled it (so much for organizing by useless titles), so I had to go through every one of my past posts one by one, starting from the beginning. Fortunately, it was only a couple months after I started my blog so it didn't take long to find it. Lucky me.

Anyway, I love books, especially pretty ones, which I'm sure is no secret. I posted about these gorgeous book purses from Rebound Designs a year ago. (You can find the post here.) At the time, I lamented about how expensive they were ($125, $150, etc). I'm sure they were lots of work to make, but I couldn't afford them, no matter how hard I whined.

Well, let me introduce you to Remodelaholic. She made one of these purses (possibly without even knowing about Rebound Designs, which just goes to show that great minds think alike) and posted a tutorial on her blog with clear, detailed instructions.

It looks super easy and the results are beautiful. It is now going into my mental filing cabinet under Stuff I Will Make As Soon As I Am Able, Which Is Hopefully Soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A fine beginning

My collection has officially begun. I couldn't help starting it. Just the fear that the books could go out of print at any moment has spurred me on.

Jane Austen seemed the perfect place to start, especially considering that I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time about a month ago. I know, I know, Gasp, How could you? etc, etc. And I haven't read Emma (though I did try when I was younger). 

My justification for waiting so long? I wanted to read a version with a cover that would enhance and reflect the beautiful story inside. I just didn't know that at the time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beautiful design

I recently discovered a wonderful shopping experience right in my backyard. Well, not literally, but here in Chattanooga, some great shopping has popped up in one cool place called Warehouse Row. I went there just the other day to shop at a new cosmetics store and it was perfect and I intend to visit again soon.

I probably wouldn't have blogged about this had I not seen some of these photos that I just HAD to share. I love clean, white design and lots of, well, white space and white colors and white textures (though I also enjoy other colors). I'm posting these because they made me swoon. They're from Revival Uncommon Goods and Amanda Pinson Jewelry.

Unfortunately, I can't afford much of anything offered in these boutiques, but the design is inspiring nonetheless. I want to live right there in the store.