Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear Nerdy Swimmer

I think you're awesome - seriously. 

My co-worker found your note and it made us smile.  It reminded me of something I would've done (although, I wasn't as dedicated a student in high school and I certainly wasn't any kind of athlete)

I love your attitude, especially the way you want to share the things that make you happy with other people.  You seem like a rad person - I really hope you make it to state this year!

Just wanted you to know that your thoughts didn't go unheard.

Your friend,

**I save a lot of the scraps of paper I find at the library because they're funny or interesting.  But this is probably the best discovery ever.  I love it so much.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Happy!

photo found here

Hope your Christmas have been very merry!  It's been a great holiday - my dad and I made dinner last night, which the fam ate by candlelight (tradition!), and we read Luke 2 and sang Christmas songs.  Christmas Eve is always really lovely.

This morning, I found a sewing machine under the tree!  I'm so excited to have one for my very own (I've been borrowing my mom's for too long) and can't wait to get stitching!  :)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cover Judging: Lord Nightingale's Love Song

The first truly fantastic cover I've seen in these last months:

First Glance: Ah, the Regency romance - fancy estates with extensive gardens, men in jackets and cravats, ladies in empire-waist gowns, horse-drawn carriages, and of course, pet parrots.  All the classics of the genre on one cover.

Another fun aspect of this cover, as pointed out by my co-worker Kat: the proportion of the parrot to the horse.  The parrot is at least the size of the horse's head, if not larger.  That is one killer parrot.  Score: 4 out of 5

Title: Lord Nightingale's Love Song is pretty straightforward for a romance novel; we've none of us any doubt that the couple pictured will fall in love.  It's not terribly creative, but it'll do.  Score: 3 out of 5

Tagline: Hooray!  I haven't found one with a tagline in awhile!
Can a spinster strike the right note with an eligible bachelor?
Pretty great - is hits on the great pun-ery that is the stock-in-trade of taglines.  Will she strike the right note in a book about a love song?  I think she will.  Score: 4 out of 5

Back of the Book: 
A Grumpy Gentleman . . . No one can make the Marquess of Bradford smile - except his favorite horse.
Uh, okay.
He avoids dancing at London balls.  He scowls at the marriageable misses in drawing rooms.
He scoffs at any woman who speaks - he'd rather converse with his dear horse.  At least the horse had interesting things to say.
And his gruffness scares shy Miss Eugenia when she meets him on a dark balcony. . .
Run away, Miss Eugenia!  He hates women!  I've watched Law & Order - it's only a short step from that to serial killer!
. . . before an instant attraction between them lights up the night.
Right.  Maybe she reminds him of his horse?
But she is off to Kent for the summer to care for the irascible Lord Nightingale and her young cousin Delight, and she never expects to see him again.
What?  Is Lord Nightingale another young child?
In fact, Miss Eugenia's London season had been a disaster . . . so she has resigned herself to spinsterhood when the Marquess of Bradford appears on her Kent doorstep - covered in mud and quite enraged.
No seriously, girl.  Run.  No good can come of this dude and his woman-hating anger issues.
Of course she suspects Lord Nightingale is behind Bradford's complaint!
Of course!  The irascible Lord Nightingale that's possibly a small child!  I still have no idea.
But she also believes a secret sadness had made him a curmudgeon.
No, he's probably just a jerk with a long-held grudge and you can't fix him.
His horse knows the truth . . . 
 . . . and so may Lord Nightingale.
What?  How?  Who is Lord Nightingale and why does he know random things?  Can he talk to horses?  Is the horse a talking horse?  Is that why the Marquess of Bradford is so fond of the horse's company?

I was so baffled as to Lord Nightingale's identity that I actually cracked open the book - something I've never done in the course of all my Cover Judgings.  And I can reveal to you that Lord Nightingale is the parrot.  A match-making parrot, to be precise.  Apparently, the incorrectly-named Lord Nightingale brings together couples by eavesdropping on one person and repeating the information he uncovered to the other.  By this method, he becomes the catalyst for four separate love matches over the course of the Lord Nightingale trilogy (plus Christmas special!). Straight-up truth.

I'm simply at a loss.  I already dislike the dude, no matter what his "secret sadness" is, but a match-making parrot?  That's golden.  Score: 5 out of 5

Final Score: 16 out of 20, meaning Silver Deveraux, but I'm giving Lord Nightingale an honorary Golden Fabio for Conceptual Mastery.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A bit of mid-century for your mid-week blues

I'm a big fan of Casey's weekly Flickr favorites posts - she always finds pretty things to look at and be inspired by!  I thought it would be fun to show some of my own favorites that I've found recently:

Early 60s fashion illustrations: these come from a catalog called Rigas Modes and I'm totally in love with them.  I particularly love the lady with the fur-collared coat and awesome black hat!
Mademoiselle winter fashion 1957: of course the red coat is adorable, but check out the blue hooded cape!  Also, I want to hang out on a sleigh.
"The American Kitchen" ad, 1956: my mom is re-doing her kitchen - she's going to have similar creamy yellow cabinets, so I had to include this for her.
Pink record player: because I want one.
Aqua radio: because I love this awesomely mid-century color.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How tu-tu

I made this girly little tutu as a Christmas gift for my girly little 3-year-old cousin.  I'm so excited for her to open it!

There are dozens of tutu tutorials around - I've made the no-sew version before and they're cute.  I wanted to use tulle, but have a similar look to these pettiskirts from Martha.  I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I ended up making up my own pattern.  I thought I'd make a how-to (which I haven't done before) in case anyone wanted to try my way. 
Here's what you need:
about 8-12 yards* of tulle
about 1/2 yard of matching lining
9-12 yards* of ribbon
3/4" - 1" wide elastic
matching thread, scissors, pins, ect.
*The lowest yardage is what I used for a 3-year-old size, but I added the higher yardage for older kids.

 . . . and here's what you do:
1. Take waist measurement and add 1" seam allowance for width; measure for desired length and add 1" seam allowance.  Mark measurements on lining and cut out.  Fabric will be a large rectangle.
2. Place elastic along top of lining & mark 1/4" below.

3.  Fold along marked line and stitch to form elastic casing.
4. Fold fabric in half widthwise and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance to elastic casing.
Finish seam with your preferred method.  Hem bottom of skirt to desired length.  Set skirt aside. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aw, thanks.

The super-nice people at The Experts Agree featured one of my flowers on their blog:
I made these into pins that I gave my co-workers last year.
My Etsy vacation was so long that I'd forgotten how nice it is to have your stuff featured randomly. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An unexpectedly lengthy personal history of winter boots

This was a tourism poster for Germany in 1932.  But who wants to go there? 
So, Utah.  We've been known to brag that we have the "greatest snow on Earth".  Were I into winter sports, I might feel more loyal toward yon powdery peaks.  However, I am no skier and all this sickly slush is messing with my footwear situation.  Despite my 25 years of living in this state, I have no great love for winter boots (though I did once own some kick-a Minnie Mouse snow boots with a Minnie head on the zipper).

Attending Utah State required some kind of winter footwear and I felt an unnatural degree of disgust whenever I saw a girl walking about in a pair of Uggs*. Thus the only boots I own: a pair of super-puffy white moon boots that I wore every day to that wretched campus.  And I looked awesome (until I wore them so much they became less puffy).
Behold: the moon boots. 
My days of trudging along snowy campus sidewalks are far behind me and moon boots would look rather strange on a library employee.  But as I slushed about today in my Top-Siders, I realized I needed to set aside my distaste and sift through the boot category on Zappos.  And amid the gross booties and hardwear-heavy, high-heeled leather, I found a few gems:

Top row: cute white Wellies, pretty gray ankle boots with a cute oversized button, and navy suede chukkas (whatever that means).  Of this row, the grey boots are my favorite, mostly because I love the pearly-gray color.
Middle row: mid-calf leather boots with a cool wraparound zipper, gorgeous Frye riding boots that I'll never be able to afford and wouldn't be very warm anyway, and some cute ankle boots with a sweater cuff (probably the only pair I can see myself wearing on a daily basis).
Bottow row: These white Patagonia boots are basically a grown-up version of my moon boots and not at all practical, but I'm kind of in love.  They're at least three kinds of fabulous.  Next to them are some great Patagonia nature-girl boots.  And just because of brand loyalty, some Top-Sider booties, which claim to be waterproof as well as super-80s preppy.  Lastly, a pair of heeled boots that I like to imagine I would wear if I were a schoolteacher on Prince Edward Island and my name were Anne with an 'e'.

*Uggs aren't even waterproof! They are made for surfers who don't want their feet scorched by the hot sand! Why are you wearing a Muppet on you feet if it's not even keeping them dry?! This is a rant you may have heard from me if you ever met me for lunch in the Hub during winter.