21 April 2011


It happens every spring: the final weeks of the semester sneak up on me and I find my schedule over-loaded and my to-do list running over. Yet I'm surprised by this. Every. Single. Year. 

Have I learned nothing in my twenty-four years of schooling? Nothing? 

Ah, well.

18 April 2011

Pictures from Luhvul

I giggle a bit whenever I visit Louisville, attempting to pronounce the city's name as the locals do. I still don't have it down, but I'm getting there. Scenes from this weekend's visit to the city, which includes some pretty awesome neon signs:

It seemed like the ice cream shop in this last shot is closed, but I loved the typography. 

17 April 2011

Thrift Breaking: Fiesta and Silverware

I've collected Fiestaware for about a decade now, buying my first pieces in a Mervyn's store in Grand Rapids, Michigan the summer after my sophomore year at university. While my passion for the colorful dinnerware has waxed and waned, I always keep my eyes open for it in thrift stores. Up until Friday afternoon, the closest I had ever gotten to actually finding Fiesta at a thrift store was a mismatched teapot I found at a rummage sale for $5 more years ago than seems proper.

All in all, I found two plates, one dinner-sized and one bread-sized, and four mugs. Grand total: $4.46. Yep. I think that makes these pieces my least expensive Fiesta pieces ever. Granted, the plates, as seen above, are decently scratched. They have been well used but have much more life in them yet to live. They won't stay with me for long. Save for a lone coffee mug, I have plans for these pieces. I am not their forever-owner. 

Rounding out a good hour of thrifting Friday, I came across three more pieces of starburst silverware - including a fork in a pattern I've yet to identify. And spoons. Can you ever have too many spoons? 

On second thought, don't answer that. 

14 April 2011

Thinking in Lists

I know I'm busy when I begin thinking in lists.

To keep with this state of mind, a list of things I've been thinking about in the world of the Internets:

I read this in Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter, but the Smithsonian Magazine goes into the historical background of our social construction of girls in pink, boys in blue.

I find this immensely entertaining:

I cannot tell a lie: I love IKEA. Expedit bookshelves, some day you will be mine. Preferably when I don't have to move. It do find their manufacturing practices here in the US to be interesting, though. "It's ironic that Ikea looks on the U.S. and Danville the way that most people in the U.S. look at Mexico"

Oh, Indiana. Yet another misguided attempt at school improvement. Invest in teachers, invest in students, stop investing in money-gobbling assessments. Please.

I have been slightly entertained by this comparison all week.

Kate, once again, leaves me slightly speechless. I need to stop being grumpy when I get ready to run in the morning. I can run, I need to relish that fact.

So many of my childhood memories are caught up in the mall. In the 90's. Hence my obsession with these photos. If only they were taken during those hilarious Christmas craft fairs... that would be awesome.

RIP, Flip Cam. I still love you.

13 April 2011

In Which I Blather on about a Building

The above snap is from Widow at Windsor Antiques, a beautiful shop in Springfield, Illinois I visited a few months ago and never got around to writing about. It popped into my head today, strangely enough, as I was walking to class. Obviously, it wasn't always an antique store; the building used to serve a car dealership. The the arched windows on the right side of the building aren't windows at all, but garage doors, allowing the dealers to move large pieces in to the showroom. If French and Belgian antiques are your thing, this shop would be paradise. I'm  not particularly drawn to either of those styles, but I did fall instantly in love with the building. The building itself is amazing - literally a block or two from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana-Thomas House - it is filled with amazing woodwork, beautiful tiling, and that amazing feeling of being in a building that had been cared for and aged well. Oh, the interior arches!

But I digress. I was thinking about this building today. It's stood there for decade upon decade and has managed to reinvent itself over and over again and, because of this, it has stayed relevant. That's a good lesson. One I need to keep in mind: reinvention is okay.

Breath in, breath out.

10 April 2011

Sleepy Sunday

I went to an acting conference yesterday and was reminded why I am someone who can run the theatre house but cannot be on stage. The primary workshop was with Javier Cordona, a theatre scholar associated with Theatre of the Oppressed. While not TotO-specific, the workshop totally stretched me, making me uncomfortable at times but giving me insight into performance and the work needed to do acting work. The primary reason for going was to help me think of how to help the kiddos I'm working with in terms of their acting. Insight. Now to think about what to do with it. 

A little linky love before I head off to get work done: 

In the Czech Republic, they've found the remains of a male who was buried surrounded by domestic goods. Of course he must be gay. The oldest gay ever. Bury me with my knitting needles, please... 

... or perhaps just a wool coffin. Can I get this in fair isle, please? 

In preparation for teaching children's literature this summer, I came across this on NPR: children's literature or another genre entirely? 

Distraction, thy name is the Internet. The New Yorker says so

With data collection in full swing, I'm trying to stay focused on the task at hand and not borrow trouble about the job market

Lastly: How to steal like an artist. Brilliant. 

Happy Sunday, y'all. 

08 April 2011

Crochet Color, Exhaustion Version

If PhDs were easy, everyone would have one. At least this is what I am trying to remind myself as I run back and forth from the elementary school, my video camera, tripod, and teaching materials in tow, while trying to balance giving feedback to my undergraduates, prepping for my trade books class this summer, and seeing the Man Friend on a somewhat regular basis. It's a lot and it's left me exhausted, but a good kind of exhausted. My brain is constantly firing and that's a good thing. I'm doing work that is interesting and helpful and I'm just taking it all as part and parcel of wanting to work with pre-service teachers. 

I finished these up last weekend and am just getting around to posting them now. I did break down and buy a skein of Cascade 220 in goldenrod. I know this was a stash-busting exercise, but I needed some brightness of the 70's variety. Also: this is one of my new favorite blogs. A granny a day indeed. 

03 April 2011

I Might Need An Intervention

I need to buy a video camera for my dissertation research. So Friday, I set out to see what was available in the wider world of Bloomington and happened to stop into the Goodwill on the far side (at least from where I live) of town. I was talking with my aunt on the phone when I happened across the silverware section and audibly gasped. 

"What?! What?! Are you okay?! What happened?!" 

I was inaudible for a moment, overcome with the stack of Oneida Twin Star flatware that lay before me. There were spoons, large and small, and knives and - blessed be my heart! - forks! It was one of those finds that you dream about when you are collecting starburst silverware. Twin Star! For 20 cents a piece!

"Um... I just hit the motherlode of starburst silverware. You're going to have to talk louder. This might be a while."  

I started gathering starburst silverware toward the end of the summer. I was in a thrift store in Michigan with the same aunt who was on the phone when I happened upon the silverware and began casually going through it. I had dabbled with the idea of collecting Oneida Twin Star right after college, when the now-defunct Betty Crocker catalog resurrected the pattern for exclusive sale through that particular venue. Within a few weeks, the Betty Crocker catalog was no more and I hadn't thought about the pattern much since. Going through that tray of silverware, I became smitten all over again and not just with Twin Star. It seems there was a wide variety of starburst designs and I quickly found a spot on the floor and began sorting out the silverware. My aunt, she has patience. 

Having gathered about twenty pieces that first outing, a bit of an obsession was born. I began haunting the silverware bins at the local thrift stores, hoping I would find those familiar little stars. Some days, I would find just a piece or two - mostly butter knives and spoons, very rarely forks. Other times, I would find a multitude of pieces, close to thirty pieces - including forks! - of a Mar-Crest starburst pattern at a Goodwill in Springfield, IL. When I was driving home for the holidays, I stopped at Goodwill stores along the way and collected over fifty pieces. That's the thing about flatware: it's cheap and the ideal thing to thrift for when on the road due to it's portability. 

So far, I've collected twenty-eight different designs. For quite a few of them, I only have butter knives, but it sounds impressive, no? I love the idea of setting a table with mixed-and-matched sets, cohesive in the midcentury modern starburst fabulousness. There are still designs out there I would love to stumble upon (like this!), but isn't it all about the thrill of the hunt and the serendipitous finds of the thrift store? 

I took some time last night to identify as many of the patterns as I could. They're noted in the photos over on Flickr, should you be interested.