Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just For Pretty


I love capturing the everyday pretty.  Last week, I was getting ready for out of town family and I just walked around, taking pictures of the failed maple fudge, the clean porch, the cat in the sunshine, the dusty piano keys….all of the beautiful, yet boring in my life that isn't enough to make up a real blog post but shouldn't be forgotten.  Here is the recent mundane, yet beautiful from my life:


A bunch of squash, that is now tucked into the
 basement for the winter months.

The knitting project that is going painfully slowly.
I can't write a post these days without adding a cute kitten picture.
Here's Dorcas chasing leaves behind the watering can.

One of a multitude of sunset pictures.
A beautiful wooden bowl that I'm going to put some pretty
little acorns in.

Hetty, short for Mehitabel…the only chicken who has resisted
the coop and, instead, prefers to be free-range.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Meet Dorcas

About a month ago, we got a new stray kitten.  A straggly, skin-and-bones, strangely colored, yet adorable kitten.  She was about 4 weeks old and had just a few teensy weensy teeth that were definitely not ready for grown-up food.  She was named Dorcas, after the small town near where she was found.

Fast forward another 4 weeks and Dorcas is still adorable, but now her little tummy pooches out and she had grown a nice thick, outdoor-kitty coat.  I made fudge and, while it cooled on the porch, I had my (at least 3 times daily) visit with Dorcas.  I snapped pictures while I was there.  I have to say, kittens are not easy to photograph and this kitten is even harder.  She's much more attached to us than previous strays have been, which means that, as soon as she sees a person, she wants to climb all over them and snuggle up for a nap.  Nevertheless, I managed to get a few good-ish pictures.

I keep finding myself making excuses to go out and visit this charming little bundle of fur.

The box that was her shelter when she was littler.  Now it's
just a climbing structure.
This picture is to display Dorcas's tail.  Her ears and her tail
are a striking charcoal against her otherwise black fur.




 The picture above comes with a story.  While I was busy taking pictures of Dorcas, Olive, the plump, elderly cat who has been surprisingly calm about Dorcas joining her in living on the porch, came up to me.  She touched the camera with her nose and then headed over to these plants...




...and posed for me.  And what could I do but take a picture.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Shift from Amazon Affiliates

So remember how about a month ago I used to always have a link to amazon affiliates whenever I posted a book review?  Well, then you might have noticed that the links just disappeared.  I thought I would let you all know why I ended up deciding against it.
Breadsticks I made for supper one night this week.  Yes, they're completely unrelated.
They were delicious, though.  I wish I could pass you one through the computer screen.

1.  I felt bad about posting the new books for a variety of reasons- new books can be ridiculously pricey, and environmental, financial, and human resources are needed make a new book.  There are lots of nice books that are already out there.  It felt silly to be advocating buying new books when so many used books are looking for loving homes.  :)  I know, that sounded like I was talking about puppies from a shelter.  It also seems like a bad idea to buy new books simply for financial reasons.  I don't know who's reading this blog and I didn't like encouraging a financially struggling reader to spend exorbitant prices on a new book.  Of course there are exceptions to this rule-textbooks and books that have just been released, among other things.

2.  I just recently learned that Amazon is not the best of companies, ethically speaking.  I don't know why I was surprised.  They really are just a big-box store in online format.  And it's no new news that big box companies are almost never ethically sound.  I would rather support a smaller business, be it online or a local bookshop.  If that's what I believe, then it's talking out of both sides of my mouth to recommend that you buy something on Amazon that I've linked and then turn around and say that I prefer local businesses.  Of course, like in reason # 1, there are cases where Amazon really is the best, nay, the only, place to get something.  Then, I say go ahead.  But I don't think that it's a good default.

So anyway, that's why you aren't seeing those handy-dandy links from me anymore.  I do wish that places like Powell's and other little books companies like this and this would implement a book-linking service for bloggers.  I would gladly use it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Canning Tomatoes-An Excerpt from The Melendys

Today is the beginning of the canning extravaganza-where every surface is covered in pulp and seeds and we all collapse on random kitchen chairs at 7 pm, wearily watching the last canner.  Every year that I do this, I wonder why I think this is a good idea, but when I see the beautiful ruby red jars full of tomatoes sitting in the basement, I feel completely gratified.  The other thing that always crosses my mind is the story of the Melendys, written by Elizabeth Enright.  The Melendys have all sorts of adventures (see this post, where I wrote about them), but here's an excerpt from their canning adventure, accompanied by pictures of our canning mess.   Enjoy!
Onions in the food processor, for pizza sauce.  (Note the clean kitchen.
It's the last time you're going to see a tomato-less surface for the rest of this post)

So in summary, Cuffy (the kindly housekeeper) has left to take care of her sister-with-a-broken-leg, widower Father is on some vague business trip (he frequently is), and that leaves the four children at home, the oldest of whom is fourteen.  You heard that right, fourteen!  It's August and the garden is, of course, overflowing.  Mona (the 14 year old) is completely enchanted with cooking and proposes that she and Randy (the 12 year old) can the produce-

""We eat tomatoes for every meal except breakfast now," Randy said.  "And the cucumbers are just getting boring."  "Maybe we could sell them," offered Oliver helpfully.  "Nix, small fry.  In a rural community like this it would be coals to Newcastle."  "Canning is the answer," Mona said.  "Oh, if only Cuffy were here!""

"A moment later she looked up, striking the table with her mixing spoon.  "We'll do it ourselves!  We'll surprise Cuffy."  "O-o-oh, no!"  said Rush.  "And have us all dead with bottling bacillus or whatever it is.  No, thank you."  "Botulinus bacillus," corrected Mona.  "Oh, Rush, don't be so stuffy.  I'll get a book about it and do everything just the way it says.  I'll only can safe things like the tomatoes and I'll make pickles of the cucumbers."

"Mona slept an uneasy sleep that night, and her dreams were long dull dreams about tomatoes.  She rose early the next morning, got breakfast with Randy, and studied her canning book.  By the time the boys and Willy began bringing the vegetables, she knew it almost by heart.  She and Rand were enthusiastic about the first bushel-basketful of tomatoes, it seemed a treasure trove: an abundance of sleek vermilion fruit, still beaded with dew.  The second bushel also looked very pretty, the third a little less so, and by the time the fourth one arrived she stared at it with an emotion of horror.  "There can't be that many, Rush!"  "You asked for it, pal.  There's the living evidence.  And in twenty four hours, there'll be this much over again." …."The kitchen was swamped with vegetables."

"It was a long, hot, clumsy business.  Mona dropped sterilized lids on the floor, and they had to be sterilized all over again; Randy cut herself with the paring knife; Mona half-scalded her fingers getting the first jar into the boiler.  Randy skidded and fell on a slippery tomato skin which had somehow landed on the kitchen floor.  They lost two jars of tomatoes from the first batch when they were taking them out of the boiler.  The first was dropped by Mona when she thoughtlessly took hold of it with her bare hands.  The second exploded like a bomb, all by itself.  "I guess there was something the matter with it," said Randy brilliantly.

"Her [Mona's] face was scarlet with exertion.  Her hair was tied up in a dish towel, and her apron was covered with tomato stains.  Randy looked worse if anything.  There were tomato seeds in her hair and an orange smear across one cheek.  She was wearing nothing but a faded old playsuit and an apron.  "Gee whiz," she said.   "You know how I feel?  I feel like an old, old woman about forty years old, with fallen arches."

I hear ya', Randy, I hear ya'.

Still, later…"They look sort of nice.  The tomatoes, I mean, not your arches.  Look, Ran."  They were nice.  Sixteen sealed jars of scarlet fruit, upside down on the kitchen table.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading Habits Tag

I was just recently tagged by Girl With Her Head in a Book to answer a series of questions about reading habits (you can see her answers at the above link).  Fun!  So here goes:


1. Do you have a certain place for reading at home?- Not really.  Well, I read all over the place.  My favorite places are stretched out longways on the sofa with the little lap dog curled up next to me or at the kitchen table in the morning.
2.  Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper?- Random shreds of paper.  The little tear-out ad cards in magazines work beautifully.  Sometimes I feel like I should have real bookmarks (see this post and this post), but for the most part, I use random shreds because I lose the real bookmarks so quickly.  They're like bobby-pins.  So loseable.
3.  Can you just stop reading or does it need to be at the end of a chapter or a certain number of pages?-Definitely at the end of a chapter.  I can never get back into a chapter that I've stopped halfway through with.  You know what else is weird?  People that read the first chapter of a book and then stick a bookmark in and walk away.   I have to read a least 5 chapters into a book before I stick a bookmark in it.
4.  Do you eat or drink while eating?- Well, I read at breakfast and lunch.  At dinner I tend not to because everybody's back from work and it's nice to sit and talk.  I would feel weirdly anti-social reading at dinner.  Sunday afternoons, when I have a huge glut of reading time, I'll often make some little treat to share and eat myself while reading.  My family has a tradition of eating sunflower seeds in the summer while reading novels.  I still carry that on.
5.  Do you read one book at a time or several at once?- Always several at once.  I like having something light, something tome-like, and something pretty to look at.
6.  Do you read out loud or silently in your head?- Huh!  I didn't know there were people who read out loud to themselves.  So yes, I read silently.  I can still remember the first day that I learned to do that in about 2nd grade.  I was so proud.
7.  Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?- *Ahem*.  Well, yes, I do.  I very often skip long, rhapsodizing descriptions of scenery or people.   If I see a whole string of sentences chock full of adjectives, let the skimming begin!  I must say, I am quite a skilled skimmer.  I read ahead if I suspect an author of writing a depressing ending.  If I find out that the outcome is not what I want, I slam the book shut and no harm done because I haven't gotten all invested with the characters.
8.  Breaking the spine or keeping it new?- Argh.  What a question.  I always want to crack the spines, but as soon as I do, I feel bad that the book has lost its newness.  I ask myself which I'm going to do every time I open a new book.
9.  Do you write in your books?- Depends.  Never in fiction, but from all my academic exposure over the years, I do write in nonfiction books.  I do think that writing in some books can have value.  I love finding old family members' books that were written in.  It's like a window into their minds.  So I'm not opposed to writing in books, I just don't do it frequently.
10.  What are you currently reading?- An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, Eat and Make by Paul Lowe, Tea with Jane Austen, and The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen (the Austen books are for Austen in August).

Thanks so much to Girl With Her Head in a book for this fun challenge!  I can't wait to see what others say about these questions.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Old-Fashioned Girl

I have always loved Louisa May Alcott's writing.  Like so many little girls, I was introduced to Little Women by my mother early on.  We read the book together and laughed over the adventures and felt sorry for Laurie and wept over Beth.  After that introduction, I adored everything by Alcott.  I went on to read Little Men and Jo's Boys and all of the lesser-known books, like Under the Lilac Bush and Hospital Sketches.  However, my favorite is An Old-Fashioned Girl.

An Old Fashioned Girl is the story of Polly, a shy, smart, highly spirited girl.  She goes to visit a friend, Fanny, who lives a cosseted life with her wild brother Tom, her whiny, spoiled little sister Maud, her distracted businessman father, her self-absorbed, hypochondriacal mother and her lonely grandmother who disapproves of the whole family.  Into this scene full of ennui and dissipation comes a breath of fresh air in the form of young Polly.  She, a country girl from a countercultural family that reminds me of the Marches,  is shocked by the city life so full of problems and trouble in spite of the wealth.  She is introduced to Polly's shallow friends and she begins to work change in the family and she begins to see the real sides of her hosts.

The book is spread over a time period of about 10 years.  By the end, there is a charming suitor, Mr. Sidney, and Polly has grown in wisdom and maturity and has become an even more well-rounded character.  Polly is living in a little apartment and keeping house for herself and giving music lessons to support her brother in college.  Then the unthinkable happens-Polly and her family lose all of their money in some banking crises.  And…well, you'll have to read this wonderful book to find out what happens!

The domestic descriptions are unbelievable cozy, particularly when Polly moves into her own house.  It's one of the lovely bonuses of this book.  I couldn't find the particular description that I love, so you'll just have to read the book and find it for yourself.
I sat down with a delicious slice of peach upside down cake made with roasted cornmeal,
hot peppermint tea, and An Old Fashioned Girl (rereading for the millionth time).
It was so pretty, I decided to take a picture-yes, I've become one of those bloggers who takes
pictures of her food.

Even though Polly is a Victorianly good character, there is nothing saccharine or fake about her goodness.  She has her struggles, very much like the March sisters of Little Women.  She has troubles and setbacks just like all of us, but she has a loving family base that is helping her along as she sees new, tempting, strange things.  The old-fashioned in the title is from when Fanny and her friends refer to Polly as "old-fashioned" and "little-girl-ish" because she doesn't behave the way Fanny and her friends do.

Polly's family is not portrayed as a demon-family, but simply one that has become distracted by worldly things and in the process has forgotten the family.  Polly is simply there to remind them of the importance of each other.  The books is not explicitly Christian, but there is that undertone, much like the undertone in Little Women.  I think that also has a lot to do with the way that Polly and her family behave.
Finished!  (Does anybody else prop their books against
their tea pot?  It makes the perfect hands-free reading!

Polly reminds me of Meg March is so many ways.  If L.M. Alcott were to write a story just about Meg on her own in a strange city, you would get this book.  I've always identified with Meg in Little Women.  I do not have that willful, passionate Jo March streak, goodness knows I'm not like saintly Beth and I hope to goodness I'm not like the spoiled, vain Amy.   Meg's calm, practical nature, in spite on her own personal temptations resonated with me, which is part of the reason I identified with Polly.  

The ultimate message of this story and the whole story in general are really timeless.  There is nothing archaic or old-fashioned about the writing or the story.  Louisa May Alcott did it again-she wrote another wonderful book about lovable characters that you are sure to remember for years after you read this book.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Great Marshmallow Experiment

Last night, on the spur of the moment, my family and I decided to have a little campfire in the back yard.  Some rummaging was done and graham crackers, chocolate, and a pack of hotdogs were found, but no marshmallows.  I turned to this trusty cookbook, of which I gave such a glowing review, and, sure enough, there was a homemade marshmallow recipe.  It's quite easy, just sugar and corn syrup (I'll talk about that later), vanilla, gelatin, and water.
I made them in squares, but there's no reason you couldn't cut them
into any pretty shape you wanted.


I heated up the sugar and water and went to find a bottle of corn syrup, you know, that white syrupy stuff that most cooks have a bottle of languishing in the back.  It's not that same thing as the demonic high fructose stuff, but as I pulled the bottle off of the shelf, I happened to glance at the back and saw that, sure enough, in regular corn syrup, there is high fructose corn syrup.  Cussing inwardly, I went back to the cupboard and wracked my brains for a suitable alternative.  I knew that honey would have way too strong of a flavor and I wasn't sure that maple syrup was thick enough.  Aha!  My eye fell on a bottle of agave syrup, this strange syrup that is a quite popular in health food stores these days.  I think it's from some kind of cactus in Mexico, but don't quote me on that.  There was a little bottle of it stuffed in the back of a cupboard.  I dumped that in and, surprisingly, it gave the marshmallows the most buttery, rich flavor.

I really recommend that you get Homemade Pantry, but if you refuse, here's how you make marshmallows:

Heat up your 3/4 cup of syrup (whatever you choose), 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water.  Don't touch it, just stick a thermometer in and let the temperature come to 250 Fahrenheit.  Meanwhile, put a package of gelatin in the bottom of a stand mixer and pour another 1/2 cup of water over it and let sit.  when your sugar water has heated up to the right temperature, pour it over your gelatin and turn the mixer to the highest setting until the mixture turns shiny and white.  Pour it into a greased 9x13 pan and let sit until they're marshmallow consistency.  Then cut into squares when you're ready to eat and dust with coconut or powdered sugar.

People, these were so good!  They toast gorgeously and turn into this buttery, toasty pile of goodness on your graham cracker.   I will never buy another marshmallow again.  These are dead easy, the flavor far surpasses anything you could buy, and they have such a gorgeous texture!  So often, if you buy an organic marshmallow, they're weirdly dry and flat and chewy, while the jet-puffed ones taste like chemicals and who knows what's in them.  These are perfect in every way.  You must go make them!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Blog Hiatus

Dear Readers,
I love fall, don't you?  I love the crisp weather, the burst in productiveness that comes with the cooler weather and the lack of canning jars and tomatoes lingering on every surface.  I love sweaters and boots and the leaves and the increase in work, which brings me to my point.  I've decided to take a bit of a bloggy hiatus.  While I love blogging and the act of sitting down every day to write something was rewarding and enjoyable, this fall it's going to become yet another thing to add to my plate.  This year I'm going to be even busier than in previous years, meaning that my posts would either be short (which translates to blurry pictures and no book reviews) or take time that I should be spending working on other projects.

This doesn't mean I'm never going to write here again.  I may eventually shift over to a weekly post on Sunday or something entirely different.  But I wanted to let you all know that my blogging won't be regular, like it has been (because I hate it when bloggers just drop off the face of the internet without a word of warning).

So I'll still be around and in all probability, posts will be added to this blog in the future, but for now I'm letting other things take the front seat and letting the blog slide for a bit.  I'm going to be off on some summer vacation and then before we know it, fall is going to be upon us (yipee!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Post about Young Adult Fiction

This is a post that has been in the works for months, I now realize.  Over these few blogging months, I've occasionally made reference to the fact that I don't exactly love young adult fiction.  I finally decied that it would be a good idea to write a whole post devoted to my thoughts on young adult writing.

So first of all, what is Young Adult writing?  The YA label gets thrown around a lot.  There's a YA section in the library, and YA writers are a huge category, "Young-adult fiction or young adult literature (often termed as "YA"),[1] is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, although recent studies show that 45% of young-adult fiction is purchased by readers under 18 years of age. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen," says Wikipedia.  I found this to be very useful information.  

So there you have the basic explanation.  Here are some of my observations about Young Adult stuff.  First of all, it's a fairly recent invention.  It's been argued that books like Little Women and Tom Sawyer were seen as the YA fiction of their time.  However, I disagree.  Little Women and Tom Sawyer are books for all ages, books that can span all kinds of time and space and have the ability to charm a 7 year old or a 40 year old.  And here's the other thing: They were written about a certain age, they weren't written for a certain viewpoint and age.  In the 80s, books written specifically for an age span of about 6 years started to crop up.  Today you can't spit without hitting a young adult book.

My second problem with the whole young adult fiction category is that a lot of it is really poorly written.  There seem to be two genres:  the entirely too mature romance fiction with ridiculously improbable situations that set girls, particularly, ridiculous expectations.  Then there's the vampire, slashing, killing, also with a side of romance, equally improbable.  Expecting teens to read just these two genres for 6 whole years is quite strange, if you think about it.  Would we ever say, "Ok, the 40-47 year olds should read mysteries.  All novels for 40-47 year olds are going to be mysteries."  Of course not!  There would be a mass rebellion!  

Third, nobody likes to be talked down to.  In the few rare times that I have picked up a young adult book, there is this condescending tone of, "See?  I can write just like you silly little youngsters talk."  Okay, so that's an extreme exaggeration, but there is a definite tone that you get from reading these books that indicates that the author finds his/her audience slightly below him/her.  

And finally, I can see the value of teenagers moving up to adult fiction at some point.  When I was about 13, I remember going to my mom and asking if I could browse in the adult section in the library.  I was thoroughly bored with the children's section and that just felt like the next step.  There was awhile there where she would glance over the books before I checked out.  I discovered a lot of wonderful authors that I still enjoy today.  I think it's a shame to get stuck in this weird middle ground and miss out on some authors that can be enjoyed by younger ages.  

Now this isn't to say that I don't approve of any middle-grade writing.  There has to be something between the adult section and the very earliest of chapter books for early elementary.  That's where good books like Little Women and Tom Sawyer come in-books that are meaningful, well-written, and fun.  

There are also good Young Adult books.  The whole genre is not trash and I don't want to be too quick to throw away the whole thing.  I have picked up Young Adult things on occasion that are well written and meaningful and fun to read and are written in an interesting, non-condescending tone.  I just recently reviewed Code Name Verity, a new-ish young adult book that was very good, although dark. 

I'd love to hear what all of you think about this (and feel free to disagree with me) in the comments.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Katniss Dress, Part 3-Finished!

Part One
Part Two
Yes, my readers, the Katniss Dress is finished!  After cussing and ripping out a zipper 3 (3!) times and measuring and cutting and sewing some more, I finally have it finished.  I am pleased as punch.  I can't explain how gratifying it is to be able to see something you like and produce very similar results.   Here are pictures of how the dress turned out.  Thank you to Aden for taking such nice pictures of both this dress and my draft dress.

The rough drawing I did that started this whole project.




And that's the Katniss dress, everybody!  It was a long journey from a picture to this dress and I'm so pleased with the results.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Musings, Through Photos

Sometimes I get the incredible urge to take my camera with me wherever I go.  After much rigamarole that involved charging mishaps and dying batteries, I finally have a functioning camera that can go with me wherever I want.  This afternoon, after a busy, project-filled morning, I took the camera out with me for a stroll.  I am always amazed at how I notice and appreciate everyday beauty around me when I'm taking pictures.  Here's what I saw:

The wildflowers are still growing along.

I arranged some little jello molds around a big one.  I found
the whole thing quite charming.

A perfect sky with a full wash line in the distance.  Ah...

Congregated around the waterer.

A gorgeous lily.  I wish I could have a scratch-n-sniff thing so
you all could smell it.  It's heavenly.

This might be my favorite picture of the season.  It's so pastoral,
it almost feels fake.
Off to sit on the porch and watch lightning bugs and read Evelina, which I am enjoying very much.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just a Picture

...Nothing much here for you today.  Just a some pictures of my little Yorkshire Terrier.  I was reading through my blog archives just for fun (does anybody else do that?) and I realized that I have cat pictures up the wazoo, but no Andy pictures.  So here are some for you (just to clarify, these were taken in the winter, which explains sleeping on the hearth and the sweater)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Katniss Dress, Pt. 2

(Here's Part 1 of this series of posts)

Well, after much deliberation and backing and forthing, I chose my rough draft fabric: a pretty 1940s reproduction print on some cheap quilting cotton.  I happily reached for the pattern that I had mentioned I was planning to use, but then I stopped.  The dress just wasn't quite right.  It wasn't supposed to blouse at the waist, the shoulders would be dropping off my shoulders, and I didn't want that collar.  I realized that the only design element that I wanted was the gathered shoulders. I realized that the reaping dress that Katniss wears is a 1940s inspired dress, not late 70s, and that was why the dress pattern looked so wrong.  So I went back to google and searched '1940s dresses, ruched shoulders" and came up with tons of dress patterns that looked just like the Katniss reaping dress.  I ran up to the sewing room and did a lot of digging through patterns and came up with two patterns that I decided to combine to make one very Katniss-ey looking dress.

And here are the results!  The fabric I did my practice run in is a floral print, so the shoulder gathers and the way the waist is fitted don't show up very well, but they will in the real fabric, which is solid blue.  It's also quilting cotton, which tends to be stiffer, so it isn't quite as swishy as it will be in the final dress.

I used this bodice and front tie, minus the scalloped edge.  I just drew
a curved line around the scallops on the pattern.

I used this skirt and sleeves.

And here are the pictures of this lovely dress.  Yippee!



*Thanks to Aden for the pictures of the dress!*

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pictures of Today

Instead of being a good blogger and review two finished books, or writing about my first draft of the Katniss dress that is finished (!), I'm doing this:

Just one of the containers that held apples.

Here's the drama that was unfolding in this picture:  I was cutting up apples for applesauce,
when who should drop by, but Tom.  He proceeded to get most infernally in the way.
A while later, I took the cut up apples inside, leaving that box that had held
the apples and now had two knives at the bottom of it.  A gust of wind
blew up, blowing the box and Tom went chasing after it.
At some point, Shadow came and joined in the fun.
That is, I'm making applesauce today.  Yes, folks, canning season is in full swing, which means that writing about interesting things takes the back burner.  

Ps.  These pictures were taken with the camera on the laptop.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  My camera has croaked, leaving me sadly picture-less.  I was extremely surprised by how good these ended up turning out.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Busy Saturday

Dearest Readers,
I have not a word in me for you.  We have dear friends staying, which means that, in a little quiet moment I happened to have, I thought I would blog and post a few pictures taken recently.  Tomorrow, when the hustle and bustle has subsided, I will be back with a review of Fahrenheit 451.



 I hope you all are having a lovely Saturday!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vintage Magazines

I have a deep and abiding love of vintage women's magazines.  They're such a fascinating look into another time period, and they're fun to read to boot.  I've been reading vintage magazines for years and I thought that I should pass on the vintage magazine reading love.  They can be sort of difficult to find, but they're well worth the hunt.  These days, thanks to more accessible vintage stores and the online world, they can be found for prices that are not outrageous.  So here are my reasons for loving vintage magazines.


1.  That lovely smell.  There is nothing like musty paper.  It's so intoxicating!  It's interesting, because the smell is completely different from the scent of old books, but both are among my favorite smells in the world.

2.  The often-hilarious ads.  My favorite is one of a worried 50s mother trying to get her little boy to take his daily laxative.  It's only when one of her friends explains that little Timmy needs a children's laxative, not a big old adult one.  It's no wonder he hates the taste!  There are all kinds of ads from toilet paper to laundry detergent to hand cream.  Ads are another way to get a clear picture of what people were thinking about at another time.

3.  The illustrations and photographs in the stories.  There is something so cheerful and charming about the drawings and photographs that accompany the stories.

4.   The fashion pages.  You all know how much I love vintage fashion.  Most vintage women's magazines have a fashion section, much like today's women's magazines.  However, instead of "5 belts for under $75"(you know that just means that each belt costs $74.99), it's "This fall's coat patterns" or "Make a new apron in an afternoon."

5.  The (sometimes garishly colored) food.  The food almost never looks appetizing, but I still have fun looking at the pictures and laughing at the nasty-looking jelled recipes (chicken with tomatoes jelled in lime jello, anyone?)

6.  The stories.  The stories often have a soap-opera-ey bent to them, but occasionally you'll find something well written by a now-famous author.  The stories are usually divided throughout the magazine, so you'll turn from page 56 to page 75, where the next segment of the story is.  These magazines are worth hunting out just for the fun stories.  It's too bad that women's magazines have lost this charming feature.  Where else could you get 7 different short fictional stories for 25 cents then?

The only complaint I have about vintage magazines is their unwieldy nature.  They tend to be a lot bigger than magazines today (almost newspaper height) and it takes some upper body strength to keep the magazine upright while reading an article.  I've found that the best way to read them is to spread the magazine on the floor and flop down on the floor on your stomach and read, with your chin propped up on your elbows.

So if you should happen to stumble upon a vintage magazine (or, lucky you, magazines), snap it up.  You're in for a treat.