atwitter: november

I’d planned to post monthly on what has me all atwitter, but somehow October slipped by. Which just means more to share for November…

a new camera. Finally. Our camera broke right after I started this blog. I’ve been making do with Lulu’s none-too-fancy point-and-shoot. But when you read blogs with gorgeous photos like Uncommon Grace, SouleMama and sixoneseven, well, you aspire to more.

Chris and I have been debating for days about whether to go for a digital SLR, or whether we need something smaller and more portable. We compromised on a more upscale non-SLR camera with a nice telephoto lens and lots of manual setting options.

I figure I can fiddle around with those manual settings, and if it turns out I have a knack for photography, maybe we’ll buy an SLR down the road. Meanwhile, we’ll have a camera that’s reasonably portable. I just hope the photos I soon post will be more like the ones I picture in my head. 

writers on writing. I love this podcast. Barbara DeMarco-Barrett interviews writers on their craft. She’s been doing it for years, and there’s an abundance of past interviews on her website and on iTunes. The October 23 interview with Billy Collins was especially wonderful. I had to hit replay and listen twice as he described his theory on breaking open moments in poetry.  (Barbara’s book, Pen On Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within is also an inspiration. Lots of bite-sized little exercises to try.)

handmade holidays.  Now, I’m realistic. I’m the Queen of Taking On Too Much; there is no way I’m going to set myself up by taking on an all-handmade Christmas as Prairie Poppins at Handmade Homeschool is. But reading about her family’s challenge is an inspiration.  Surely I can make a few handmade gifts. Follow that link to Prairie’s site and check out the stunning list of handmade gifts ideas that she’s assembled. I dare you not to be inspired too. (Of course, if making handmade yourself is too much, buying handmade is a step in the right direction. Etsy’s got that covered. Check out these hand-carved stamps. I want one!)

blurb. Do you know about this online bookmaking company?  It allows you to make gorgeous, bookstore-quality, coffee table-type books, for reasonable prices. I’m using it to create a homeschool yearbook with a bunch of teens from our homeschool group. And if you’re a blogger, check this out: certain blogging platforms can be “slurped” instantly into a book! Wouldn’t it be cool to have a beautiful book version of your blog? (Apparently they’re having some problems with certain platforms just now; I’m hoping those will get worked out by next July, so I can make an anniversary book of my first blogging year.)

the gentle art of domesticity. Oh, how I love this book! The subtitle is Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & The Comforts Of Home. All the craft bloggers have already sung its praises, but if you’re late to the party as I always seem to be, perhaps you haven’t heard about it.

It’s a book version of Jane Brocket’s very popular blog yarnstorm, with page after page of yummy-as-candy photographs and witty writing. It’s decidedly not a Martha Stewart-like bit of gloss, designed to make us aspire to an unattainably perfect life. Instead, it’s a call to have us look for creative inspiration in the homes where we find ourselves. As Jane writes, “When I started photographing the details of my domestic life, I was quite sure I would run out of material in a matter of weeks. But instead of exhausting all possibilities, I actually found myself unearthing more and more sources of inspiration, all within the confines of a quite ordinary, domestic life.”

Plus, to steal a phrase from Jane, the book is “terribly, terribly English”. So English that it includes a recipe for Chewy Flapjacks, those absolutely addictive oatmeal cookie bars that I fell hard for in London, and have lived without since. Just have to find me some Golden Syrup at the gourmet shop so I can make a batch and I’ll be in heaven. With a cup of tea at my side, of course.

So, what has you all atwitter? Pour a cup of tea, leave a comment and let’s chat.

5 comments… add one
  • susan Nov 11, 2008 @ 10:48

    I love writers on writing, too. But I am dying for the new season of WNYC’s Radiolab to start (sometime this month!). It is my favorite podcast. It is science poetry. I got This American Life’s Radio: An Illustrated Guide, which tells you how to craft a radio essay. My ambition for our homemade gift is a CD of stories told by the kids with music and sound effects. And original cover art. The first one will take a lot of work, but after that. baby, we’re home free…

  • patricia Nov 11, 2008 @ 23:44

    Wow, what an amazing idea for a gift, Susan! The This American Life book sounds intriguing…

  • Alissa Nov 13, 2008 @ 9:31

    Oh my goodness, “the gentle art of domesticity” I think I need that book!

  • patricia Nov 13, 2008 @ 10:40

    Thanks for stopping by, Alissa! Yup, that book is page after page of inspiration. So many photos and lots of text to go with it. It’s a nice one to savor, just reading a page or two at a time.

    P.S. I love the They Might Be Giants quote on your blog!

  • Alissa Nov 13, 2008 @ 12:17

    The quote is a good reminder to me. Sometimes it’s scary to be like yourself in this big ol’ world! 😀

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