Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What I Read: Housekeeping

By far the best part of my Swedish class at Stockholm University is having access to the university library. I only have a couple of weeks left in the course, but I don't know if that means my student account will disappear. I hope not? The university library has quite a few books that are unavailable or that I've had a hard time tracking down in the Stockholm public library. One of those was Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping.

When I finished it, I wasn't sure what I had just read; a couple of weeks later and I'm still not sure.

It's a book that I think deserves quiet and focus. It's very character-driven, and while there's nothing in any of the prose that struck a chord with me, I liked that we spent a lot of time getting to know characters. I had a tough run of luck in the TIME Top 100 list when it came to well-developed characters. It's also a book about outsiders, and specifically about women outsiders.

The plot in a nutshell, if I may quote from GoodReads:

Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt.
I didn't fall in love with the book, but I didn't hate it either. Mostly I'm left wondering if this is Robinson's best work; when it comes to authors with a substantial body of work, sometimes the list picks a very stereotypically representative piece, and other times one that is completely out there and wackadoo. Housekeeping might be a wackadoo pick.

At the end of the day, it wasn't the best I've read on the list, but definitely not the worst. I don't know. I can't give it a glowing recommendation but it's a short and fairly quick read, so why not?

At the end of the day, it's another for the Classics Club Women's Event, which I have only been low-key participating in. I should probably do a wrap-up post on that soon—the year is almost over!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Newly Listed: Daisy Blue Sky Chemistry Bracelet

I've been toying with the idea of blue chemistry jewelry as a nod to Breaking Bad. I have a bracelet inspired by methamphetamine's chemical composition languishing in my prototype drawer, but to be honest I'm not entirely sold on the idea. Representing a three-dimensional thing in a manner that's essentially faux one-dimensional has a lot of constraints and at the end of the day you're stuck with something fairly abstract.

Daisy Blue Sky Chemistry Breaking Bad Bracelet STEM Sciart Chemist Jewelry
Daisy Blue Sky Chemistry Avogadro Bracelet by Kokoba
This bracelet is not that project, though. It's simply Avogadro's number in blue beads. The spacers feature daisies (if it's hard to tell from the image).

Daisy Blue Sky Chemistry Breaking Bad Bracelet STEM Sciart Chemist Jewelry

It's a fun, lightweight little thing you can mix and match with other bracelets. Or if you want to remind yourself to remember What would Walter White do?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday 5: Celluloid Heroes

Image courtesy 99c3a750dbf5f33 on

What movie most recently impressed you with its score or soundtrack?

Hm. I did like all of the Spanish language covers in (don't judge me) True Memoirs of an International Assassin. Otherwise I think the most striking original soundtrack in recent memory would be Interstellar.

What movie most recently impressed you with its costumes or makeup?

I love the costumes in Miss Fisher's Mysteries, but that's not a movie. Prior to that, I'd have to say Argo. They did a remarkable job finding actors who resembled the people they were supposed to play. (Except, of course, Ben Affleck's real-life counterpart was...definitely not Ben Affleck-esque.)

What movie most recently impressed you with its scenic backdrops?

Probably a Bollywood movie. Hard not to have impressive backdrops when you're filming in India.

What movie most recently impressed you with its originality?

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. Vampires! Feminism! Iran!

What movie most recently impressed you with its dialogue?

Hard to say. It's been a while since I watched anything with memorable dialogue, to be honest.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

#TBT Lapis and Glass Pi Bracelet

Today's #tbt feature is one of my old workhorses: a pi memory wire cuff.

Sciart mathart bracelet featuring the digits of pi in glass and lapis lazuli. Perfect gift for math teachers and students.
Lapis and glass pi bracelet from Kokoba
It's not super old—I made it in 2013, if memory serves—but this wearable sciart been sitting with Lawyer Mom for the better part of 3 years, so this is the first it's been available for purchase!

Sciart mathart bracelet featuring the digits of pi in glass and lapis lazuli. Perfect gift for math teachers and students.
Disembodied hand action shot!

It features the digits of pi in Czech glass seed beads and some eye-catching lapis lazuli dogbone beads as spacers between each digit. I don't have any of that lapis left, so this is a really one-of-a-kind mathart bracelet!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Newly Listed: Copper DNA Chainmaille Bracelet

I can't stop playing with this inverted spiral weave. The shape is just such a great way to represent DNA's double helix structure. It's addictive and gorgeous!

DNA sciart chainmaille biologist bracelet biology jewelry
Copper and aluminum DNA chainmaille bracelet by Kokoba
After I put out a few two-tone DNA necklaces and bracelets, I felt comfortable enough with the weave to try a monochrome version. (The nature of things is that this weave can be a little confusing at first, so using two different colors makes i easier to keep track of things.) I had some extra copper rings on hand, so I decided to see what I could make out of them.

DNA sciart chainmaille biologist bracelet biology jewelry

I didn't have enough for a full bracelet, but I had plenty of other rings to finish it off. I actually really like the "focal point" look of the spiral weave and then just a plain, utilitarian one for the rest of the bracelet.

DNA sciart chainmaille biologist bracelet biology jewelry

I think I also like how the spiral weave looks in rings in a slightly heavier gauge. (Or, to be more precise, with a slightly smaller aspect ratio.) The weave is a little tighter and feels a little more solid. I think the lines of the spiral also show up a bit cleaner as well.

DNA sciart chainmaille biologist bracelet biology jewelry

I think I have well and fully mastered this weave. Next on my list is Persian 3-in-1 (I have really exciting ideas about what to do with sheets of it) but it is tricky as hell to pick up and the urge to mindlessly crank out something I know can do is strong. I guess it's also good stress relief; there is something meditative about chainmaille that beading lacks. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday 5: You Too

Image courtesy quicksandala

What are you too short to do?

LITERALLY EVERYTHING?! I'm 5'1"; let me sing you the song of my people:

  • "Do you carry this in petite sizes?"
  • "Could I get these hemmed?"
  • "Can you reach that for me?"
  • "Hey, wait up!"
  • *silent fuming at tall people who use the side-mounted handholds on the subway instead of the ceiling-mounted ones, leaving me NOTHING within reach*

What are you too smart to do?

Get into Facebook arguments? Most of the time...

What are you too fearful to do?

Oh, so many things. Start conversations with people, make phone calls, put down cash for advertising either of my small businesses.

What are you too lazy to do?

At the moment? My homework.

What are you too young to do?


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I Read: The House in Paris

When you have a list of books you want to tackle, sometimes you have to make do. One of the books on the TIME Top 100 Novels list is Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart. I could never find it in any library I visited, so I consoled myself with her The House in Paris.

Image courtesy Knopf

I don't know, man...this list has a flair for the melodramatic, doesn't it? All I could think of while I was reading The House in Paris was a GoodReads comment about The French Lieutenant's Woman: "Heterosexual nonsense."

I would group The House in Paris, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Possession together in one "type" of novel: they all deal with melodramatic failed romances and broken engagements (The House in Paris and Possession even share an illegitimate child in common!). I think I like Possession the best out of all of them, if only because it's such a technical feat. The French Lieutenant's Woman is my least favorite; reflecting on it now I have to say that there isn't really anything interesting about it at all. The House in Paris is square in the middle: it isn't any kind of technical achievement, but it's more interesting than The French Lieutenant's Woman by virtue of having more interesting characters.

Maybe I just didn't have the patience for Bowen's writing style. There are long, complex sentences with multiple dependent clauses; the dialogue doesn't sound the way anyone talks, at least not anymore; there is so much unsaid and implied and hinted at in terms of character and social psychology that I felt like everyone was basically the same and also incredibly boring. (And always, in the sections taking place in the present, having to keep "Mme Fisher" and "Miss Fisher" straight in my mind!) As it was a library book, I had the deadline of returning it hanging over my head; I couldn't exactly read it at my leisure. But maybe that would have made it even more unenjoyable, because then I would have had no incentive to finish it, so every time I picked it up I would have to struggle to remember who was who.

The only parts I did enjoy were some of the scenes with Henrietta. Bowen captures the thinking of children quite well; I would have rather spent the book with Henrietta (and, I suppose, Leopold) than in the past. Ah well.