When I was thrift shopping yesterday, I kept coming across things that once held so much sentiment that were just tossed into piles of junk. In addition to the occasional anniversary gifts and monogrammed hand towels, I saw so many sweet things made specifically for other people who didn't appreciate them.
The picture above is of a pillow that a girl named Laura made for her friend Jennifer's birthday. According to this pillow they met on the diving team and even though they had had their differences in the past, they were going to be BFF's forever. The back had some sort of prayer, possibly a song? This really thoughtful and personal gift probably took Laura hours to make. It isn't easy to write legibly in puff paint. So why did Jennifer dispose of it? Are they not friends anymore? Or is Jennifer and ungrateful little witch?
The picture below ir a sketch a child made, possibly for a parent or grandparent? All that it said on the back was "Age 8", there wasn't a name of anything. But again, the child poured their tiny heart and soul into this little drawing and even took the time to make little glitter swirls around the subject. I understand that the child grew up, or maybe the recipient passed away but this picture was important enough to be framed, why wasn't it important enough to keep?
Seeing these sorts of things among torn sweaters and rusted tea kettles felt like a hot knives in the pit of my stomach! As someone who makes things things so often and gives handmade gifts almost exclusively, this was a huge blow to my ego. Have we lost our sentiment? Is a handmade gift really the equal of a used bread machine? Am I over reacting?
How do you feel about giving/receiving handmade gifts? How do you assess the "quality" of a handmade gift? Are people really this heartless?
Today, two friends and I went thrifting in a pretty sketchy part of town. We live just outside of Atlantic City, so you can imagine what a "bad neighborhood" looks like around here.
The 2 stores we went to were attached to/inside of a run down shopping mall, whose anchor stores are the DMV and the Food Bank of New Jersey. It's one of those places where the sales tax is lowered, so people will shop there. Regardless of the creepy depressing area, 2 of us really scored!!!! I got arm loads of treasures (that I'll be sharing in another post), and I spent less than $30!
During our little trip, we met a really cool old guy in vintage Lily Pulitzer pants and the coolest pair of sunglasses I had ever seen. And a shopkeeper almost cried because I commented on the quality of a handmade macrame frog; she was so upset that no one had bought it before me!
All-in-all, it was a good time. (If you ignore the crack house inspired fitting rooms and the meth addicted roofers). Check back to see what I got and to hear me ramble about all the handmade things I didn't buy.
I've been trying to think of a way I could present visual inspiration as I come across it in daily life. I wanted this feature to fit seamlessly into my already existing school inspired posts (works cited, book reports, vocabulary lessons).
So, welcome to the knitxcore a/v club!!!
I find little things here and there that inspire the things I create, and make me feel like what I'm doing is important and relevant.
This is also is a way for me to personally document things that I would like to be able to reference later. No amount of Omega-3's is going to help me remember every single thing that stumble upon.
Today, David and I were watching "The Waltons". (I'm sort a Hallmark Channel junkie). And I got to thinking about how much a television show from my childhood has inspired so many aspects of my adult life. We didn't have cable when I was a kid, so reruns of old seventies shows was just about all that we could tune in with those funny rabbit ear antennae.
As a kid, I probably wanted a house full of inflatable furniture and lava lamps. But as I look around my real life "adult" home I see all sorts of parallels to America's most charming family. I tend to favor really classic, simple furniture and things that seems to have a history behind them. Don't get me wrong, I love a little mid-century personality, but my home has a cozy sort of quality that I think Olivia would have approved of.
I can't help but smile when I look at this picture!!! It makes me wish I could quit my job and move into an 19th century farmhouse, adopt a couple of ginger kids and milk cows into my golden years. (I think I have the wardrobe under control already).
I always get these sort of weird nostalgic feelings towards thing I've never experienced.
I've always really loved Tori Amos, and a lot of people make comparisons between her and Kate Bush. In my first semester of college, I decided to finally "discover" Kate, and I effing love her. She is kinda creepy but kinda magical.
I spent all day learning new photo editing techniques! As you can tell, I'm pretty excited.
I've been trying to come up with a little title for these "what i wore" posts, and this was the best I could think of.
I know Iv'e already rambled on about my feelings concerning men's fashion, and in light of that I'd really like to do more style posts. I think that's men's fashion is a much different animal than women's. Women have a lot more options!
I don't care too much about labels, but I am very cautious of the way things fit. As a smaller dude, there aren't a lot of options. Every time I find good vintage, it's wayyy too big and most "sophisticated" retailers don't carry the sizes I need.
In order to find things that fit properly, you'll see me digging through the racks at decidedly teen retailers to find thing that fit appropriately. This outfit is a perfect example of that.
I had a little trouble figuring out how to finger weave. The directions weren't really that clear about how to start off. After a handful of times, I finally got it.
This little bracelet didn't really take long, about half an hour and it helped use up a little of the growing pile of acrylic yarns in the craft room.
Real Life Updates:
-The kitten is still wild! We are now sleeping on the couches, and letting her stay in our bedroom. It's the only room that seems to keep her quiet, and I'm willing to do anything for a little sleep at this point.
-There were so many good ideas for migraine remedies! I'll have quite the arsenal the next time one strikes. I wanted to thank each of you individually, but blogger seems to "block" everyone's email address in the comments. So, THANK YOU all!!!! I am seriously considering monitoring what I eat. I had no idea!
I barely slept last night. Our kitten is having her first "cycle", which means she is howling through the night. THE ENTIRE NIGHT. We haven't gotten her spayed yet, she's still just a baby. I had to get up like 15 times to give her handfuls of catnip and rub her tummy. So this morning, I'm kinda "on edge". The only thing that's going to center me while I chug coffee and read about ancient Egypt is Sufjan Stevens.
I really love this guy (and he knows how to knit!). His voice is so quiet and gentle. He instantly calms me down. And today, I need that.
I went to Wildwood today for the first time since I was a little guy. All I could remember about it was that we had to leave because hurricane Hugo was coming, and that we left all my He-Man guys there.
I had intended this post to be pictures of our day, and of cute things we saw while we were there.
I am totally robbing you of the experience, but I left my camera in the car and forgot to take pictures of anything! We ate some Polish Water Ice, rode in a "tram car" and laughed at people on the beach. I did take a little toy camera, but I didn't finish the roll of film.
I'm the worst blogger!!!!
Despite getting a pretty wicked sunburn I had a great time, and discovered a certain style of architecture that's almost exclusive to the town. I'm usually not really excited about signs or buildings, but Wildwood had such a kitsch vintage charm that the first thing I did (after spraying bactine all over my arms and legs) was google "Wildwood Architecture".
Apparently, the Style is called "Doo Wop" and it finds it's roots in the 1950's and 60's. The term was coined by the Mid-Atlanic Center for the Arts in the 1990's when the preservation efforts began. These folks aren't playin' around, either. Even the Subway and Pizza Hut have authentic looking Doo Wop signage.
Here's an example of the style of music that inspired the style:
I really enjoyed my little day trip, and I wish that I had documented more of it!!!
It really is an adorable place. If it didn't turn into a freaky ghost town once September rolls in, I would totally want to live there!
I hope to swing by soon, so I can take my own photos to share with you.
One of my best/worst traits is that I have a tendency to be brutally honest and openly critical. This can get a boy into trouble but it also garners the tiniest bit of respect from people who seek out that sort of thing. I'm always the first to be asked an opinion on something because people know that will get my honest opinion and possibly a few suggestions on to make something better.
That being said, I refuse to hold back when discussing things that I have read. I wouldn't say that I'm a literary genius, or that I could write a better book than anyone who has been published but I am rather well read.
If you disagree with my personal opinions, I'd love to hear about it! I'm completely open to new ideas and I will try my hardest to see things from your point of view. When possible, if your opinion on certain book varies from my own I'd like to offer the opportunity for you to provide an antithetical guest post discussing the same piece. I'd love for my readers to have both sides of the story if possible!
"The Life of Pi"
by Yann Martel
I had seen this book on a "Top 100 of all time" list, and wondered why I had never heard of it. I'm usually not a sucker for those sorts of things, but a co-worker egged me on. We intended to read this book together, so we could discuss it while reading it. He finished it in a few days. I did not. We don't ever discuss it and there's a reason.
He loved this book. He read everything at face value. He didn't dig for symbols. He didn't try to make it anymore than it was. I dug and dug for hints or clues. I re-read passages, pages and chapters. I wrote down character names and took copious notes on the life of Pi. I was looking for something, much like the protagonist. I wanted to him to tell me something.
This is what he told me (in no order):
-people can be animals.
-animals aren't always people.
-don't ever eat tiger poop.
The theme of this book actually seems to be about contemplation of "God" and of his existence outside of the stories/fables. The seafaring journey takes us through many of the parables found in the Old Testament of the Bible: Jonah and the Whale, Daniel and the Lion's Den, the list goes on. Still, I had trouble connecting with Pi's journey.
This book has been compared to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Big Fish and even The Old Man and the Sea but none of those books left me feeling as empty as The Life of Pi. I think I actually looked at the story backwards somehow. It left me wondering how such a pious young boy was left on a boat by his "gods" to watch his mother die while he eats feces.
I loved reading about all of the fun places that everyone would like to take Conner, and he is super excited to start seeing the world! We've packed up his tiny stone suitcase; together, of course (how many big pairs of shoes does a clown need?).
I made Dave pick a number between 1 and 4; and he picked four. So Conner is going to visit:
There's nothing like twelfth hour crafting. I was pinning and sewing up until 6:30 today, knowing I had to have this gift ready for 7:00. I was so excited to wrap it and give it to Jaqi of Il Filato Dolce as a going away gift. Jaqi and I have recently developed a pretty close friendship (and at lightning speed) after knowing each other for more than five years. I hope her journey to Portland goes as planned, and that everything is perfect in her new home!
In addition to "the apron that launched a million migraines", I also gave her a copy of David and I's favorite cook book, Apples for Jam. The photography is stunning and the recipes are so simple and rustic that they would make anyone feel like a rock star in the kitchen.
What is your favorite cookbook?
I'm sure you all want the real dirt on this project, so here it goes: