Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Recap

Happy Leap Day! I thought I'd share a little recap of my favorite things and happenings from February. I took both Simba and Dinah to a long overdue vet appointment. They haven't been in years! They're both doing good and have some fancy new food to eat now.
I made some yummy Sweetheart Cupcakes for Valentine's Day.
I went thrifting with my Mom.
My wonderful friend, Zerrin painted my nails glitter-tastic pink!
I shared a DIY on how to make Love Beads.

Other fun things I did this month:
• I shared my Polly Pocket Collection!
• I painted 2 portraits of inspiring women (1 + 2).
• I took a trip up to Seattle to relax and catch up with friends.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sheroes: Emily Dickinson

SHERO: Emily Dickinson, poet
LIFE: December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886
FAME: Regarded as one of America's greatest poets.

Emily Dickinson was one of the greatest poets in American history. She is famous for dressing in all white and becoming a total recluse by her late twenties. She secretly wrote nearly 1800 poems while locked in her room refusing visitor after visitor. Only a few of her poems were published anonymously during her lifetime. It wasn't until after she died that her younger sister, Vinnie discovered her massive collection of hand bound books of poetry.

Her works challenged the existing definitions of poetry. She experimented with expression. Many of her poems contain short lines, typically lack titles and use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Death and mortality were common themes in her writing. 

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

GROWING UP: Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts into a well-known family, long established in New England. She grew up in a house called "the Homestead," built by her grandfather in 1813. Her father was strict in her upbringing and believed that his children should be well-educated. Emily was a bright student and an original thinker. 

In 1845 Amherst experienced a religious revival in the community. Emily stood out as an eccentric, when as a young girl, she refused to join the church officially or even call herself a Christian.

After primary school, she attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where she was able to study a wide range of subjects including both Latin and English literature. Due to ill health, she returned home after only one year.

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd advertise - you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

LIFE IN SECLUSION: Around 1850, something changed in her life, and much mystery surrounds what exactly what that change was. Because of her discomfort and shyness in social situations, Emily gradually reduced her social contacts, going out less and less. By her late twenties she lived in almost complete seclusion, locking herself in her room for days at a time, refusing all visitors. Her sister explains this wasn't a sudden decision, but a gradual process that happened over a period of time. 

Despite her reclusive lifestyle, Emily was a prolific letter writer and much of what we know about her life has been learned through her correspondences with a select group of people. Emily died at age 56 of Bright's disease. Her first book of poetry was published in 1890, four years after her death.

Resources: sparknotesbiographyonline.netwikipedia.orgpoets.orgRemarkable American Women, Life Magazine, 1976.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Free Spirit Friday

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! I'm heading up to Seattle to visit friends.

Peace, Rachel

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pretty Discoveries

I had originally intended to post my latest Shero today, but for some reason I am struggling to write it. So to allow myself more time to ponder the life of a mysterious woman, I have some Pretty Discoveries to share with you today instead...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mend It Better

Two years ago I contributed to Craft Leftovers, a monthly zine created by Kristin Roach. I shared a tutorial on how to make friendship bracelets as well as did an interview. It was a great experience and a lot of fun to do. A few months later (that same year), Kristin contacted me again asking if I would be interested in contributing to a book she was writing. Of course, I said yes! And went to work to create a bleach-dyed skirt made from an old pair of jeans. I sent the skirt along with my tutorial off to Kristin and eagerly waited two years for the book to be finished. 

About a week ago, I got a package in the mail with Kristen's book, Mend It Better! After quickly flipping to page 204 to see my tutorial in print I turned back to the cover and started at the beginning. 
Mend It Better has everything you need to know about mending. She even included a bit of history about the evolution of sewing. I especially love her 'Mending Toolkit' on page 24. I have a list of things that need mending in my closet. Mostly buttons that need to be sewn back on, but also a few zippers and a wholey sweater. All clothes that I still love (and sometimes still wear) despite their worn flaws. I'm excited to use Mend It Better as my guide for fixing up my most loved clothes. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Spirit Friday

Sources clockwise: judyforeverbornbeforethewindsplinter-eye

Link Love:
• I want to make soup.
• I love these illustrations by Katja Spitzer.
• I'm on the lookout for a new bathing suit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Young At Heart: Polly Pocket

Time for another Young At Heart feature! Last weekend I got out my Polly Pocket collection and had fun playing and taking photos. I love these original Polly Pockets and their tiny little dwellings. My sister and I would play with them for hours when we were little (along with Littlest Pet Shop).

Polly Pocket was first designed in 1983 by Chris Wiggs, for his daughter Kate. He transformed a powder makeup compact into a small house for a tiny doll. Bluebird Toys, a british toy company, licensed the concept and the first Polly Pocket toys appeared in store in 1989. In 1998, it was bought by Mattel and redesigned into a completely different toy.
Polly Pocket boat ring! I just might have to wear this soon...

Monday, February 13, 2012

DIY Love Beads

Ever since I painted my Janis Joplin portrait, I've wanted to do this DIY. No one wore hippie love beads quite like she did. A traditional hippie accessory, Love Beads are long, handmade strings of beads worn by both guys and girls in the 1960's. The trend is thought to have evolved from the generation's fascination to non-Western cultures such as India and Native America. 

What You Need:
• Beading Wire
• Flat-nose Jewelry Plyers
• Crimp Beads
• Jump Ring, Connector Charm, or Clasp
• Lots of Beads!
I made two strands of Love Beads for this project- One I strung beads in a fun pattern and another I used random multicolor beads together. I like the way both turned out. 
To make a strand of Love Beads, I first like to organize my beads in teacups or small bowls. This way I grab the ones I need easily and organize my colors. All the beads you see here I bought second hand.

Here are my tips for finding and collecting beads:
Thrift stores & garage sales- When thrifting I always look for clothes that have beads on them that I can easily cut off and use for jewelry projects. Some thrift stores also have craft supply sections where you can find bags of random beads. If you live in Portland, my favorite place to go is the Knittin' Kitten, a craft supply thrift store on NE Glisan.
Friends & family- Ask around! You never know who might have a box of beads sitting in their closet leftover from their beading phase 10 years ago. 
• Broken/old jewelry- Whenever a necklace or earring breaks or falls apart, I always save the remnants to recreate into something new!

To get started, first cut your beading wire to length. I wanted my necklaces to be super long (just like Janis Joplin), so I cut mine 54 inches long, leaving a few extra inches for tying off the finished strand. 

Next I started stringing on beads. If you want to make a pattern, I like to start in the middle of the necklace and use both ends of the string to add beads in my desired pattern. This method is dangerous though! The more beads you string on, the heavier the necklace gets, and the easier it is to drop your ends and lose your beads!

Creating the random multicolor bead pattern is a bit easier as you can tie off one end of your string. I recommend using tape because it's easy to take off when you're ready to finish your ends and it won't kink or untie itself (which is what happens when you try to tie a knot in beading wire). 

Once you've completed our strand of beads, it's time to finish the ends. I used two crimp beads (which you can find at any craft or bead store) and a small heart connector bead. Crimp beads are small metal cylinders that hold a doubled cord securely when you flatten or crimp them with pliers. You can use anything you like to connect your ends together. Since my necklace was so long, I didn't need to use a clasp. You could also use a simple jump ring if you don't have any connector beads on hand. 
Finishing your Love Beads:
• After you've finished stringing your necklace, place a single crimp bead on the end of the strand and a clasp, connector, or jump ring.
• Slip the wire tail back through the crimp bead and then through the next several beads. Tug the wire so it's taut, with no gaps between beads or at the end.
• Firmly crimp the bead closed using flat-nose pliers. Clip off the end of the wire close to the beads so the end tucks back in and won't scratch your skin.

Wear your love beads with your favorite hippie/retro outfit or give them away to friends!

For your listening enjoyment, Love Beads and Meditation by The Lemon Pipers

Thank you to Lindsay Jewell for her amazing photography skillz. This book has everything you need to know about making jewelry.


I am in love with these images from Eclectic Gipsyland. I wish my entire house could look like this!
Found via Eclectic Gipsyland. Also check out her blog.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Free Spirit Friday

Link Love:
• I want to do this DIY.
• So glad I found RevolutionizeHer.

Have a great weekend! xo Rachel

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Artist Love: Jessica Singh

I recently discovered the amazing work of Jessica Singh via Design Work Life. The bright colors, themes, and patterns she creates in her illustrations are just breath taking!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sheroes: Pearl Buck

SHERO: Pearl Buck, Writer
LIFE: June 26, 1892 – March 6, 1973
FAME: The first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

Pearl Buck was an American writer who lived and wrote about China. Born in 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia, she grew up in Chinkiang, China where her parents were stationed as missionaries. During her time in China (a total of 40 years residency) she experienced life in poor rural areas, and survived the Boxer Rebellion and civil war. 

She began writing in her twenties and published her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, in 1930. In 1931 she published The Good Earth, her best-selling novel about the emergence of modern China. The book won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1938, she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces." (source)

DID YOU KNOW? The second American woman to receive the Nobel Prize was Toni Morrison in 1993 (61 years later!).

In 1934 Pearl Buck returned to America where she focused on humanitarian efforts, campaigning for minority and women's rights. She spoke out against Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and was a target for surveillance by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the FBI. In 1949 she founded Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency in the world. She also helped to open America's mind and attitude toward mental disabilities by writing The Child Who Never Grew Up about her daughter Carol in 1950.

DID YOU KNOW? In her lifetime, Pearl Buck published over 70 books including fiction, nonfiction and children's books. (Why weren't more of her life and works taught in school?)

Remarkable American Women, Life Magazine, 1976.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunny Sunday

It's been bright and sunny here in Portland these last few days. It's such a nice change from our normal grey rain. I am just recovering from food poisoning (I was in bed for 3 days). Dinah and magazines kept me company, but I mostly slept and played a dumb iPhone game, Pocket Potions while I waited for the poison to leave my system so my stomach could heal.

Yesterday was the first day I felt well enough to venture out of my house. I made a trip to my favorite thrift store, Rerun and picked up some goodies...
I've been eyeing this piece of art for a few weeks now and decided to go for it. I just love the retro style of Daniel and the Lions- so adorable! On the back is written 1974 Israel. Now I just need to find a good home on my wall for it to hang.
I found this issue of Wimmen's Comix, an all-female underground comic from 1974.
In the evening, James and I took a walk through the neighborhood as the sun went down. I love walking through the neighborhoods of Portland, seeing all the different houses and people's yards. Makes me dream of having my own house some day. Afterwards we drove to Movie Madness on SE Belmont to find a weird movie to watch. I chose Times Square, which I had read about on Rookie Mag. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it. It's an 1980's movie about two misfit teenage girls who run away together to form a punk band in New York. 

Today I'm enjoying the sunshine from my window, catching up on work and my blog posts for next week. Hope you all are having a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

xo Rachel
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