Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This was indeed a novel of education, but I feel as though I am the one emerging from naivete to come of age.

Anisha Lakhani's novel, Schooled, concerns the lifestyle of academic dishonesty by those involved with Manhattan's private prep schools. Written by someone who taught in this environment, the book's insider view is similar to that of The Nanny Diaries. Given her priviledged perspective, it's certainly possible that the author's intent was to mock or satire, and I certainly hope so, else it's disturbing.

Although I got wrapped up in the chapters as I read, whenever I put the book down I was reluctant to return. The sickeningly vapid, unethical scenarios and quick-change priorities of the characters bothered me enough to cause related dreams at night. Perhaps that's only because I am an educator.

When I edit for friends or students, I emphasize a need for timelessness. Lakhani has no such concerns. Her references to fashion and pop culture were probably out of date as soon as the book shipped to stores.

Bottom line: this book is interesting in the same way all horrifying atrocities are. Be forewarned; you may feel sickened by the voyeuristic experience this novel affords.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Silly Quizes

I have entirely too much fun taking meaningless quizes online because they're quick, self-affirming time-outs from the real world.
You Are Big Bird
Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Giving Thanks

Inspired by a repeat shopper, I created a coupon tonight. This isn't going to (or meant to) drum up more business. It's merely a way to thank those who choose to buy my creations on more than one occasion.

Happy Earth Day!

By happy coincidence, I managed to pick up more Jiffy pots and seeds yesterday. Soon, these pockets of dirt and flower seeds will look like...
this! These are some of the veggie seeds I started three weeks ago. It's so much more affordable--and rewarding-- to grow plants than to purchase them.

Thanks to the latest issue of Garden Gate (a fantastic, ad-free gardening magazine that comes hole-punched for binder insertion) offered this handy tip: drill holes in the cap of a laundry detergent (or in this case, ketchup) bottle for a handy watering can. How's that for reducing, re-using, and recycling? Click on the link to subscribe or request a sample issue.
In one month I'll be able to plant these babies outside. Ah springtime. I do love to play in the dirt. Hopefully all three hundred thirty plants will survive.
Let's love the earth today and every day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This weekend's showcase on StL Handmade includes a shirt I embellished! Thanks, Tammy, for choosing one of my favorite creations (upper left corner).

Book Review:

The Doctor's Wife is a thriller with complex human entanglements. I was genuinely tense, even fearful, as the relationships among characters tangled and took hold. From the first chapter, this book was difficult to put down, but the climax and resolution were too cinematic (noir) for my taste.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekend Sewing

I've seen this book blogged about everywhere from Sew Mama Sew to Sew Inspired, but I'll add my perspective anyway.

The photography is cheery and crisp, the various patterns are neatly tucked into the front and back covers, and the instructions are clear and direct. As a bonus, the author has included great little stories about her history as a sewist, designer, and pattern-maker.

There's even a Flickr group where enthusiasts share pictures of their completed Weekend Sewing projects.

I rarely buy books these days, preferring to use the library, but this book is well worth the cover price (which totals the cost of two sale patterns). The only thing holding me back is deciding what to make first!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Any Bitter Thing

I nearly quit reading this book near page 180. When I read some of the numerous positive reviews on Amazon and decided to skim through the rest. Instead, I became riveted and enthralled with the turns taken. The style, pace, and events from the beginning of the book made perfect sense once I discovered what it lead up to. I couldn't gulp down the final 140 pages quickly enough for my thirst. Thanks, Monica Wood, for dreaming up this book.

Monday, April 13, 2009

That's My Bag, Baby, Yeah

I gave pattern-making a whirl this weekend.

This bag is modeled after a Life is Good bag that is my all-time favorite factory-made bag. It's not without mistakes, but I'm pleased with the overall shape, weight, and structure.

I'm also happy with my new photo background. I salvaged some corrugated cardboard from the patio set's packaging* and hung it as a background. This may be my salvation for pictures of objects that tend to tint the white background.
*The mega-big boxes have been re-purposed as a "clubhouse" and "bike garage" for my son.

Friday, April 10, 2009

More, Please

At times, I thought I'd give this book five stars. It truly captivated my imagination through setting and mystique.

Although I was able to predict the truths and events that surprised the narrator, I was never inclined to stop reading.

Portions of the book stuttered a bit, with needless repetition. Most of the book was written in a lovely prose.

I liked that the cover represented with total accuracy an event from the book, and I was enamoured with Ellie and Grayson. Anything more would spoil the pleasure for future readers.

I'll be reserving all of her books at the library.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut (all hail!)

One story I love to assign is "Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut. The discussion that ensues is fascinating for me to facilitate and listen to.

This past fall, a former student told me to check out the trailer for the short film 2081. It appears to be a faithful yet visionary interpretation of the story by a quality director and acting ensemble. I can't wait to get my eyes on this piece of celluloid. The 1995 made-for-TV movie was a pale effort that always enrages my students with it's interpretation of the story.

Check out the Wikipedia entry, or sign up for notifications on the web site. This is one person's take on all the buzz surrounding this new film.

Pin with Vonnegut quotation is by Lolabot and available in her Etsy shop.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Etsy Shopkeeping

Today I realized that I'd never finished going through my inventory and re-stocking my Etsy shop after a craft festival last September. Whoops! I knew I'd been neglecting my shop, but didn't realize just how badly. I've got many more t-shirts to photograph and list in the store as well.

Lately, my interest in making bags and purses has resurfaced. I've got a custom order to work on, and plans in mind for all of the gorgeous fabrics I bought while on vacation. It'll be slow progress until summer, but stay tuned.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This Week's Recommended Read

I'm having a hard time deciding what to say about Handle with Care.

It was engrossing, and I walked around in a fog in the gaps of time between reading.

In reliable Picoult fashion, the characters were dynamic and tangible as my own neighbors.

There are the predictable Picoult fiction ingredients: medical and judicial aspects, fierce parental bonds, and twisty plotlines.

In short, depend on this author for a gripping, life-like reading experience and thought-provoking gem. There are only two of her 16 novels that I would hesitate to recommend. (I cannot fathom how she manages to gestate each book in just nine months.)