Monday, July 28, 2008

August goals

Cause writing things down makes them more concrete. Here's what I'd like to accomplish by the end of August.
1. Go on a picture-taking trip with my husband.
2. Guerilla art of some kind.
3. Go jogging at least 3 times.
4. Commence and finish artsy chandelier project.
5. Get more modeled clothing pictures up in my etsy shop.
6. Have 20 things made for craft show.
7. Cross off three things on my 101 list.
8. Schedule first dance class.
9. Continue prettifying the front of our house.
10. Do some random bit of niceness.

Keep me accountable!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This pretty find at a resale shop will be up on my vintage shop soon. Very very soon.

Wreath in progress

Here's the wreath I've been working on. First I wrapped it in yarn and put it aside for several weeks to ponder. Then I found that lovely bit of embroidery at a yardsale and attached it to the center. Now I'm in need for the perfect bit of ribbon to hang it with.
And that background is the new color for my crafty room. I find it very happy-making.

We're all who we are endlessly.

So my blog is way skewed towards the bookishness lately. The blog is titled Crafty Aspirations and not Bookish Aspirations though so I was trying to come up with more reasons to be crafty.

This newest one just may stick. I thought that it would be interesting to do something artsy after I finished a book now and then - artsiness based on the book. Here's my first stab at it:

That Summer in Sicily was a little bit of a let down. I adore Marlena de Blasi's books. They are so sensual - and no not in a love story kind of way - more wonderful descriptions of Italy and how everything tastes and smells and feels. Well this book is her retelling of a tale she hears in Sicily. So there's a little of Marlena and her Venetian, but more of it is Tosca's tale. And it isn't a bad story - full of romance and intrigue and Sicily. So after my initial let down I did enjoy it. And I wanted to kick off my crafty book project by playing with my pastels. Here's the result:

My drawing skills could obviously use some practice. I'm working on it! Here's the quote from the book:
"She's a woman. Like a chameleon does, a woman quietly blends into all the parts of her life. Sometimes you can hardly tell she's there, she's so quiet going on about her business. Feed the baby. Muck the stables. Make soup from stones. Make a sheet into a dress. She doesn't count on destiny for anything. She knows its her own hands, her own arms, her own thighs and breasts that have to do the work. Destiny is bigger in men's lives. Destiny is a welcome guest in a man's house. She barely knocks and he's there to open the door. "Yes, yes. You do it," he says to destiny and lumbers back to his chair."
Very prettily said and something that I think rings true (to me at least).
The title of this post is also from the book - We're all who we are endlessly. Nice.
So I'm gonna try to up the craft content of this wee blog (but that won't cut back on the reading).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Way behind

Apparently I've let my reviews slack. SO here's a catch-up post.

Chester is a super cute kids book! The author wants to write a book about a mouse but her attention-hogging cat has other ideas. Adorable!

Anne of Ingleside was next up on my L.M. Montgomery reading spree. Pretty cute, but it does lack for enough Anne tales. The kids are cute, but Anne's the reason for the series. Plus I'm starting to have a harder time keeping track of all the past characters who show up now and then. Loved the chapter from the quilting bee that was all the ladies gossiping though. Small town life never changes.

At first I had a hard time getting into the short story collection Birds of America. But I found some of the stories to be pretty haunting. I loved "People Like That Are the Only People Here," "Agnes of Iowa," and "Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People." And my god, that woman can turn a great phrase! Some of my favorite quotes from the collection:

"When she packed up to leave, she knew that she was saying goodbye to something important, which was not that bad, in a way, because it meant that at least you had said hello to it to begin with..."
""The thing to remember about love affairs," says Simone, "is that they are all like having raccoons in your chimney." ... "We have raccoons sometimes in our chimney," explains Simone. "And once we tried to smoke them out. We lit a fire, knowing they were there, but we hoped the smoke would cause them to scurry out the top and never come back. Instead, they caught on fire and came crashing down into our living room, all charred and in flames and running madly around until they dropped dead." Simone swallows some wine. "Love affairs are like that," she says. "They are all like that.""

Black Pearls was filled with dark and creepily retold fairy tales. I have such a weakness for fairy tales, and this one did not disappoint. I liked how the storyies were told from different points of view (Prince Charming tells Cinderella's tale, the magic harp telling Jack & the Beanstalk). My favorite was Cinderella's story, but Gretel's story was wonderfully haunting as well.

Mary Roach's books are fascinating. Science books filled with little known facts, frequent wonderful gross bits, and funny asides. I really enjoyed Bonk.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day helped me get over my intimidation of bread baking. Positives: the bread was yummy and not too hard to make. Negatives: the bowl of dough took up a good bit of room in my fridge. My bread wasn't very pretty (my own fault I'm sure). Also I want to give the whole day-long kneading and punching down dough thing a try. I do like a challenge!

Watched In Bruges the other night. Darker than I expected, but good. I do love Ralph Fiennes in this role.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Overwelmed by loveliness

Dana of Old Red Barn is giving away this a-mazing quilt. Giving it away! Go enter to win at Old Red Barn. Winning something this pretty would make my whole year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mission accomplished

I completed my second daring bakers challenge and I'm still standing. Yippy!

The danish braid recipe was chosen by bakers at Sass & Veracity and What's Cookin'? You can find the recipe at either of their sites. Here's what I learned:

1. When looking for cardamom, it comes ground or in whole pods. The pods still work if you take the time to grind them in a food processer. If you think you can crush the little black seeds, you will be wrong. When you throw the seeds in anyways, the dough will look charmingly flecked with little black dots. However, the flavor will also be restricted to those little zingy black dots as well.

2. When you're filling is way too juicy, you should consider straining out some of those juices. When your what the hell attitude prevails and you spoon in the filling with all that extra liquid, don't be surprised when it leaks all over the place and makes your kitchen look like a crime scene. Raspberry juice will also burn to the bottom of the pastry. Luckily, the burnt jiuice peels off easily.

This is one of the prettiest baked goods I've ever attempted. I took it in to work for coworkers to devour and stunned them with my bravery at attempting this recipe. It was pretty darn delicious.