Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DIY Christmas Bunting

Just before Halloween I kept seeing all these hand made holiday decorations floating around on Pinterest and those pictures inspired me to come up with a few of my own ideas. After mulling it over I finally decided a Christmas bunting would look best and be the easiest project.

I found the string on sale at a boutique on Mackinac Island and bought the holiday paper and stickers at my local Michaels. The first step was picking out the paper and cutting them into strips for the flags. I tried to pick papers that weren't too red so the letters had a chance to stand out and patterns that were small enough not to be distracting.

After cutting the strips I had to cut the flag ends. This ended up being slightly more difficult than I was hoping it would be but Xacto knifes tend to be that way.

Finally I positioned the stickers and taped the flags together over top of the string. I used double stick tape and just positioned it close enough to the top so the flags don't slide around too easily. I'm kind of amazed this project worked and actually got finished for once.



Friday, December 18, 2015

Gift Guide: The Book Lover

- Special bookish mugs. You can find a mug for any kind of book nerd out there. I'd recommend society6, PBS, or any store dedicated to books.

- A signed copy of their favorite book. This obviously depends on what their favorite book and/or author is but a signed copy can make a extra special gift.

- A ticket to a book event with their favorite author. Great for people who love interactive gifts instead of material ones. The National Writers Series holds author events every month or so in Traverse City.  Horizon Books and Brilliant Books (two local bookstores) also hold author events on a regular basis. If you don't live in the area, check out your local bookstores for author events near you.

- A beautiful edition of books they like. Much like the signed book option, there's plenty of beautiful editions of books out there in the world. Check out the absolutely gorgeous editions of these three Bronte novels from Vintage Classics.

- Book related clothing from Out of Print. So they can wear their bookish love with pride.

- Bookish candles.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Christmas Wish List

I wasn't going to make a Christmas list this year since I don't really need anything, but my parents kept asking so I thought I'd make one here.

- Illustrated Harry Potter

- Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

- Letters of Note by Shaun Usher

- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg

- Stove Top Espresso Maker

- This mug

- And/Or this mug

- Tripod for iPhone

- Wood to make my beside table

- Vintage Train Case from Wilson's Antiques (like this one)

- Nashville Skyline by Bob Dylan vinyl record

- Kind of Blue by Miles Davis vinyl record

- Moondance by Van Morrison vinyl record

- A Darling Magazine Subscription

There you have it. I keep telling my parents the only thing I really want is the Illustrated Harry Potter, but if I get nothing that's alright too. Being able to spend a day with my family is always the best part of Christmas anyway.

What's on your Christmas list?


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Recent Read: Americanah

I recently finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which is now one of, if not the best books I have ever read. Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu who grows up in Nigeria and later moves to America to work and study. Ifemelu's life is full of ups and downs, loves and losses, and a dawning realization that Nigeria may not be the same country she grew up in.

The book is engaging, one of the few pieces of literary fiction I've read this year that has truly captured my attention and kept me reading. Americanah told a story that was relevant to the world at this very moment. The realities of life were not glossed over or romanticize like in other books. Adichie gave social commentary and made sociological observations without ever being boring. She makes observations about food, wealth, health, race, psychology, and capitalism around the world.

There is a whole world that most people don't know about, cultures and communities that outsiders will never be a part of. It's wonderful if you are lucky enough to visit other countries and experience other cultures but often a person can't know or understand unless they are able to hear from an insider's perspective. Adichie's observations about race gives people like me (those who grow up white, with white parents and mostly white classmates) a different perspective. In some ways, as a woman I can empathize with the frustrations of fighting a social system that doesn't treat you fairly but I will never know (or pretend to know) the struggle of being black in America. The two are incomparable.

In America race really is the defining factor. Reading Adichie compare countries such as the US, Nigeria, and England and their relationships with race was really interesting. When you're white, it's so easy to brush race under the rug or not want to talk about it because we have the privilege of not talking about it. We like to live in a delusional world where racism existed in the past and believe that race no longer matters but it does. Just look at the news today and you won't be able to deny that fact. 

Both Ifemelu and Obinze believe that leaving Nigeria will make their lives better. They grew up thinking that countries like America or England will help them prosper and give them more opportunities, but their lives in those countries don't happen the way they imagined. Ifemelu soon realize that the America Obinze grew up dreaming of is not the America that really exists. Like Ifemelu puts it,"It's wonderful but it's not heaven." I took a class in college that primarily focused on dismantling the American dream and I found it fascinating. Immigrants seek our country to make their lives better or live in a safer environment and yet we often treat them like they are worthless. We act like immigrants are burdens we must support but we rarely allow them to legally support themselves.

Americanah taught me about a different kind of life while still being relatable and fascinating. Adichie was able to make observations and support arguments by allowing the reader to view the world from different perspectives. While the book may be a work of fiction it reads almost like a memoir, something where lines are blurred between a story and real life. Americanah is a must read for anyone trying to understand the world today.