Sunday, October 28, 2012

I (heart) Autumn

This is a great time to live in Berea, South Carolina. While all my classmates and co-workers complain that nobody really gets excited and goes all-out for Halloween, I am swimming in tackiness. Everyone in the neighborhood has ghosts, spiderwebs, giant plastic jack-o-lanterns, real pumpkins and whatever else they could find around the corner. Luckily for all of us, there is a pumpkin patch and a Wilsons Five and Dime within a quarter mile.

In our living room, we have three huge windows, side by side, like a wall of glass. I can sit on the couch and see the decorations spread out before me across the horizon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My husband is a compulsive writer. I think it's called graphomania or even scribomania. The obsessive impulse to write. He fills notebooks on a weekly basis. Our attic is filled with boxes of notebooks.

Lately, his supervisors at work have noticed how much he writes and have tried to limit it. It's driving him crazy! He has too many ideas. So he has to take "bathroom" break frequently with his notebook hidden in his shirt so he can get everything down. Ideas, songs, stories, fragments, lists, phrases. You name it.

A lot of our friends and relatives have said that James is quiet, but he's not. Not when we are alone. Then, instead of writing like a maniac, he talks to me. It doesn't even matter if I pay attention or respond –or keep up. He goes a mile a minute. If I were to take it all down, I could fill a notebook in an hour. I love this quirk of his and I think that as much as he writes and talks, it's not even the tip of the iceberg of his mental capacity.

I am really excited to see James doing so much research these days, putting his talents to better use than the drudgery of the factory work he does by day. I think that he is the next in line after Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert.

As his wife, I often find notes he's left for me, like a neurotic trail, the only way I can keep up with his rambling mind. To so many people, James is intense, that's what they all say. But to me he is sweet. Distracted at times, but always sweet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Loving Where I Live

As much as I have always wanted to travel and see the world, as much as I have complained over the years about not fitting in in the Bible Belt where I was born and raised, as much as it bothers me to live in the fourth most paved state, I really love where I live! For once, finally, I love where I live.

I live in a part of Greenville, SC called Berea. Greenville has all these different areas and each one has its own defining characteristics. Berea is known for being run down and, I'll just say it, trashy. Much of the population lives below the poverty line. (The median income is $29,137 for males and $21,849 for females.) A year ago when I told folks we were moving deeper into Berea, they made faces, like, are you crazy? Has your family fallen on hard times?

In the past decade or so, there has been a great influx of latinos to this area. I, for one, am thrilled with the resulting bursts of culture. Previously brown, brick, rotting strip malls have been given new life to the tune of orange, teal, pink and yellow paint. Houses have been painted thusly, too! At night, the streets come alive with taco stands and clubs like Caliente and Mexicali. You don't even have to spend money to participate in the night life: folks set up tents and awnings with tables and chairs underneath and just hang out there, in otherwise vacant parking lots.

What I like most about where I live is how friendly people are and how safe I feel. I go to the store late at night and all the faces are familiar. I am starting to know people by name from Harry's Convenience and Liquor Store to the Quick Stop Garden Spot Grocery to Wilson's Five and Dime to, yes, Pizza and Then Some.

Once I get a little more comfortable with photography and people skills, I want to go around the area and photograph locals. I want to show you Wayne, the old man who bags groceries up the street and walks to Harry's after his shift. I want to show you Little Harry who is very proud of his tiny liquor store. I want to show you the divas at Wendy's and the rosy-cheeked boys who make our pizza. There are so many interesting characters! Just you wait.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Occasional Hair Post

You know how every few months I get on here and talk about how tempted I am to cut my hair? Well, that temptation never really goes away. Pinterest doesn't help. :/ Oh, man, I keep wanting to go, like, super short. Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby kind of short. And James encourages this! After all the months I've been growing it and growing and I still can't do an honest-to-God top-knot (I cheat by french braiding it up the back ;). Anyway, I saw this beautiful photograph the other day and can't get it out of my head.

I just have to remind myself of how gawky it would look with my nose/freckles/glasses. This would be the absolute perfect cut for my sister Isobel. Her hair is naturally about this color and texture.

You know, it might not look all bad with glasses. I'd just have to keep the fringe trimmed so it didn't get too busy like a traffic jam above the eyes.

Okay, I probably won't thrill you with another of these rambling hair posts for  a few months.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What He Wore :: Gypsy Prince

It's gotten darn cold around here in just the past few nights. We've been bundling up because the heating system has some kinks we have to work out. Ambrose picked out his own clothes and I added the coat. Even if the skirt offends you, you have to admit that he's pretty adorable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Tall Man at the Circus

Yesterday, I made a pair of trousers using a 1970s McCalls pattern from Twigenberry Vintage on etsy and some fabric from a bolt my mother-in-law gave me for curtains (still gonna make the curtains, Mom!).  I wore them to school today and now I'm going to show them off to you! By the time I got home, there really wasn't that much light, so I squeezed into this little lit section of the living room. That's how come all the images are cropped and there aren't good lengthy views. But you get the general idea:

They are tan and black striped, wide-legged pants with a zipper closure in front and a nice waistband. These are vintage size 12 and I only changed the pattern a tiny bit to get a good fit. I want to experiment with various leg widths, specifically narrower. This pattern is definitely a keeper. I couldn't be happier with the fit!

Current Listening :: The Avett Brothers

Man, I can't get these boys out of my cd player! I love the new album, The Carpenter. I had an older album way back when, but only a few songs resonated with me. A few were so-so. I think I gave it away... But this one? Spot on. There are catchy pop songs, slow-pretty ballads and a few straight up riff rock tracks. Check it out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Printing, Part 3

So now I just want to show you the fruit of my labor. These are the 5 print designs I made:

I got a lot of cuts and puncture wounds making these. Lots of bandaids. But even so, I love printing! The whole process just feels right, pain and all. I love it. I'm going to try to take a printing class next semester. Watch out for more of this:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Syd Likes Dune Too

Hmmm, Halloween ideas right here^

Yesterday, on my way to the post office I noticed I was being followed by a little black sports car. The car pulled in next to mine when I parked. As I got out, the driver, a 50-60 something man, addressed me thusly, "Excuse me, miss."

"Yes?" said I, for around here in broad daylight and in public, I'm not timid of strangers.

"I see you read Herbert."

He had followed me because of my Dune bumper stickers!!!

The man introduced himself as Syd and we ended up geeking out over Dune for a good long while, going beyond Frank Herbert into the additional Dune books written by his son Brian and a co-author who shall go unnamed.

I'm not going to recount the whole conversation, but I will say that Kyle MacLachlan's name came up only once and in passing. We talked more about Duncan Idaho and actress Linda Hunt ("every time I see her, I say to myself, that there is the Shadout Mapes"). Anyway, here's my favorite quote, which I urge you to read in a good ol' Southern drawl:

"Let me put it this way, they are in cahoots with the Face Dancers."

image via

Friday, October 12, 2012

Printing, Part 2

This is the part where the teacher let me do my own thing. I feel so blessed to have this much freedom, encouragement and room for expression in school. I am doing a DVD cover for Fellini's first color movie, Juliet of the Spirits, as I mentioned before. When I get it good and finished, I will surely show it to you. My friend Beth took all these pictures.

First it was a lot of sitting around carving the blocks.
Then I secured the block on the bed and rolled on a thin layer of black ink. 
Even though it's too light, I was super excited!!!

My teacher(almost) always wears that hat, even inside, because he believes the proper way of doing things is an archaic convention that no longer applies. He is a father of two. 
It took a lot of tries, closer to what I wanted with each one. 
You'll see the finished product soon enough. It is due on Tuesday...

LOL, the Giveaway Part: First five people to comment here (other than myownself, of course) will get a print from me! It may not be this design. After all, there are four more!

GIVEAWAY STILL OPEN. Don't be fooled: I've commented and commenters have re-commented. As of right now there are still TWO (2) prints up for grabs.

Please leave a way for me to contact you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Printing, Part I

For the project we are doing right now in Directed Projects, I am making linocut prints. So on Tuesday, our teacher brought in a press, colors, rollers and a bunch of letters. We had fun learning the process and getting our hands dirty. My friend Beth took these pictures.

Do I look like a real grown up or what?!
We made Pantone colors by measuring and blending grams of oil based ink.
Those are just some random thugs.

Stick around for the next installment to see what I've been working on and the chance to win a limited edition print! (of my stuff, not the Star Wars quote)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ambrose is Two

When I got home from work last night, James and I got things ready for Amby's birthday. We blew up balloons and put hung crepe paper from his doorway. He woke up this morning around 7:30 and we all had cupcakes and fruity pebbles (we never have sugar cereal, so it was a real treat). 

Then the kids got dressed and Am got his first present:

 He loves Hobbes! :) I read the kids some stories. We got a few new books this week.

I went over to have coffee with Mama this morning and when I got back home, Am was naked! So we figured it was about time for the next present:

Now the kids are napping (well, not quite, but I'm hopeful that they will quiet down soon so that I can get some school work done!). We are having a little family party later today.

Here is a picture from his birthday last year: