Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Idea: Handmade Gifts

I love everything about this time of year: the turkey, mashed potatoes, hot tea, Christmas music, and present hunting.  Although the trend in scaling back gift giving is mainly due to the back economy, I love the idea of only giving gifts that are really thoughtful and heartfelt.  It encourages people to really think about what their loved ones would like, rather than just buying presents to just have presents.

As for me, I'm trying to do as many handmade gifts this year as possible.  Not only do they say "You're important enough to me that I took the time and effort to make you something," but this way you're giving them a something completely unique.  For example, I'm giving my grandma this knitted "Boneyard Shawl" for her birthday tomorrow.

I used a really beautiful, soft Alpaca yarn from Cascade Yarns, and the pattern I found on Ravelry.  It's such a nice wrap that I'm actually making a second one with the left over yarn, which I also used to make this little knit envelope for the card.

This pattern I came up with myself, and will definitely use again.  Even the card was handmade, using some patterned scrapbook paper and an index card.

See?  This way gift giving is not only creative and personal, but also a lot more fun than fighting over items at a mall.  So, do you have any ideas for handmade gifts this holiday season?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Finals season is upon us, and the last couple weeks have already been so busy that I'm having a heard time imagining it getting much worse.  To help de-stress (and get exercise at the same time!) I've taken up the habit of taking long walks around the neighborhood.  I live right by Mountain Lake Park, which backs up to the Presidio.  So just yesterday, I walked up to Inspiration Point to take in the view.

It was so gorgeous and clear up there that it put me in the perfect frame of mind for Thanksgiving.  It really got me thinking about what I'm grateful for.

For my friends, who accept me for all of my weirdness and keep me laughing and sane.  For my parents, who have always worked so hard to give me the best life possible.  For my brother Trevor, who is one of the best friends I could ever ask for.

For all of the amazing experiences and opportunities that I've had that are so easy to take for granted.

 And for this amazing and beautiful world that is so inspiring.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Tiny Documentary

It's been an incredibly wet weekend here in the city, and thus I've had no excuse to keep me from actually getting some work done.  That being said, surprising productivity during the day has given me plenty of time for a little relaxing at night.  Last night, I watched this very interesting documentary on tiny houses in the U.S. and around the world.  As a petite person myself (and veteran of two years of dorm living), I am fascinated by living in small spaces and cannot believe the ingenious things that some of the featured homeowners came up with to maximize coziness and efficiency!

Enjoy, and stay dry and warm everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wall Wednesday: Seasonal Coin Purse

I meant to share this little creation last week, but it just slipped my mind.  So here it is, my little crochet pumpkin!  It was originally inspired by this lovely "candy pumpkin," but as I've said before, I really don't understand crochet at all, so I ended up fumbling around and making this one up on my own!  The top is attached with a little string, and I'm currently using it to hold all of my spare change.  I like the little festive, seasonal touch it adds to my work space.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.  Are there any seasonal decorations that you're working on?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: A Book of Common Prayer
A Book of Common Prayer
Joan Didion
272 pages

This is another one of the books I read for class and absolutely loved.  It is the story of a shallow, ignorant American woman Charlotte who takes up residence in the Latin American country Boca Grande to escape troubles from home.  What's really interesting is that the novel is narrated by another American woman who married into the ruling family of Boca Grande, and it is as much about her as about her observations of Charlotte.

Didion's prose is simple, understated, and easy to read.  As such, it stands to reason that everything she includes has some meaning.  She does not waste words on extensive or flowery descriptions, and yet you'll be amazed by how much meaning is buried inside her almost minimalistic writing.

What I found interesting about this book is that it really ends up being a sort of critique of the American way of life.  Didion makes it very clear that the American view of the world is very insulated, self-centered, and generally ignorant.  And, when discussing the novel with friends or even just thinking about it on my own, I was extremely surprised to find that this is entirely true.  And yet the novel explores more than just this one subject, but also gender roles, stereotypes and inequalities, and the idea that we are so obsessed with the faults of others that we are blind to our own.

So if you like reading works that will make you actually think about your life and the way you perceive the world, I would highly suggest taking the time to read A Book of Common Prayer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chill in the Air

The days are getting colder, and I'm finding it harder and harder to focus on school work.  All I really want to be doing is knitting and working on other Christmas gifts!

Happy weekend, everyone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fun Finds: Literary Love

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and I can't tell you how glad I am to be able to just relax a little this afternoon.  Which of course means that I'm doing a little online "window shopping."  I wasn't looking for items of a certain theme, and yet all of these items are distinctly literary.  I guess that means I'm studying the right subject!

1. Make Your Own USB Typewriter (Etsy) - I saw a short feature on this USB Typewriter, and immediately fell in love.  I have wanted a typewriter for as long as I can remember, but have never had cause to get one as they become more and more obsolete.  But this is pure brilliance, as it can be used with any computer or iPad.  Talk about up-cycling!

2. The Remains of the Day (Amazon) - Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors, mainly because of the amazing lyrical quality of his writing.  I've read Never Let Me Go about four different times, and have had this next novel recommended to me on multiple occasions. Maybe, as my school work starts to wind down, I'll find time to actually fit it in!

3. A Writer's Ink (Threadless) - I used to submit t-shirt designs to Threadless, but I only learned that they also sell prints of their artist's work recently.  I love this piece because, well, what writer doesn't feel like their ink and writing brings something alive?