Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Have you seen this yet?

Facebook is red today.

Today the supreme court begins hearings over Prop 8 and DOMA, to decide (possibly) whether or not gay marriage ought to be constitutional.  It's an exciting and scary time.  As a social work student (and a human being), of course I want gay marriage to be legal.  However, I've read a few articles that hint at scary possible other outcomes to these cases.  Also unfortunately, I've read that we probably won't be hearing any decisions until June.

What this means is that soon facebook will go back to being it's normal color, and most people will forget that they got all excited today about gay marriage.  Until June, LGBTQ rights activists will be waiting with their fingers crossed, hoping for a good outcome.  Or, just possibly, they'll keep fighting just as hard as ever.

This article has a good dissection of what we can expect from individual justices.

The Chicago Tribune sums up both cases nicely, as does this one.

This article makes me nervous.

Same sex marriage and taxes, and business's opinions.

Also, I read an article earlier this week on how the supreme court might use these cases to argue that no one gets social security benefits instead of everyone, but I cannot for the life of me find that article.  It's a terrifying possibility, and if anyone's seen that article, please let me know!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Recap

This week on my other blog I wrote a lot about my time in London, wrote about the discussion and coverage around the new pope, posted some more graffiti, visited some cool museums and a palace,  tried to work out, and got covered in dog hair.  

Hacer clic si quieres ver más!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

More museum finds

I found this sweater in a different wing than the fashion exhibit at the V&A.  According to the label, it's a jacket from the 1600's.  The card said that knitted jackets were common then, although most people don't connect knitting and this time period, since knitted garments were worn daily, and therefore are not depicted in paintings of people wearing their sunday best.  I wish I could have seen the inside, to really examine the construction of this.  Just look at that print!  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trombone Girls

I thought about saving this for next week's Happy Thoughts, but I don't really want to wait that long.  In short, my friends are the best, I miss them, and I am so glad that I got to see them last night/this morning.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

MAC.  Last weekend my school's women's basketball team played in the MAC tournament in Cleveland   If I was home, I would have been there with everyone, cheering and shouting.  Instead, I watched the live stream on my computer, and tried really hard not to yell and disturb unsuspecting folks here.  I didn't realize how much I missed basketball.  It was fun to watch a game, and even more fun to whisper along with the stand cheers  and to hum my lines when the band played.

Getting up early.  I don't remember why this is on my list, but it must have made me happy at some point earlier this week.

Making time to knit.  I've been making an effort to sit online less, and to actually do things that I enjoy, like reading and knitting.  So far I've started a project and ripped it out twice; third time's a charm, right?

Social media.  I am so grateful for how easy it is to keep in touch with people.

Book orders.  I bought a book from everyday feminism, that will be waiting for me when I get home, and another that's being shipped here to use for a class.  I can't wait to dive in!

Warm weather.  I spend 2 hours sitting in the park outside the school building today, without my jacket on.  It was glorious.  By this time next week I'll be on the southern coast of Spain, where it's supposed to be even warmer.  I can't wait!

"My kids".  I never, ever thought that I would like spending time with kids.  I can't even express how much I love tutoring.  I've got such a great group of kids.  Even if every story we make up ends with all the characters dying.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring flowers/gauge knitting/la ropa

There are 12 days left of classes in Segovia.  That is a truly crazy thought.  I have less than a month left of this semester.  I'm both excited to go home and to see people; I also can't imagine not being here, not spending time with my friends here that I've made, not be eating glorious Spanish food anymore.  I'm not ready to go back to speaking English!  

Enough of that; I have a whole month left to not think about it.

It's getting difficult to get dressed in the morning.  There are different standards of cleanliness here, or of what deserves a washing.  Therefore, after I wear clothes, unless they're noticeably dirty they go back in to my closet.  What this means is that I go to get dressed in the morning, and I can't remember what I wore the day before yesterday.  This is the problem of having a limited wardrobe.  I've been wearing the same things for so long that it's getting difficult to remember what's been done already.  A friend and I tried to go shopping, but just because we're sick of our clothes doesn't mean we want to actually spend money on new ones.  Ay...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Artist/artisan: the eternal question

Excuse the blurry quality of this picture- I was so excited to see this in the V&A that I snapped a quick photo and didn't  check how it turned out.  

This question seems to keep popping up lately.  We spent a day discussing the difference in my art history class, and then a month later I participated in a debate over the topic with a few guys in the ceramics shop where I've been working.  

According to my art teacher, the only difference between an artist and an artisan is that an artist can sign their work, while an artisan cannot.  In the debate at the ceramica, the consensus was that an artist is someone who makes something solely to be beautiful, while an artisan makes something practical that happens to also be beautiful.  They added a third dimension to the list: aficionados.  They said that the artisan is able to make his living by his craft, while the aficionado merely does it for fun.

What do you think, fellow crafters?  Can we call ourselves artists, even though our products are practical, and we can't, or don't, sign them?  What degree of skill is needed to call yourself an artisan?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly recap

Wow, time flies!  It's been another two weeks since my last recap of what I've been doing on my other blog.  A lot has happened since then!

I wrote about something that is very important to bring when studying abroad, and I did a vlog before leaving for spring break.  

The first place I spent a significant amount of time in on break was Edinburgh.  I visited some cemeteries, a museum, walked a lot, climbed a monument, and met someone cool!

In Inverness I took a walk and searched for the Loch Ness monster.  

I spent a little time in Aberdeen, where all the cool museums were closed

I'm still working on posting the second half of my vacation, so stay tuned for that!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brit Pop and some thoughts

I've been feeling lately that the weekly "Music Monday" posts are just not as exciting as when I first started posting them.  Therefore, I've decided to stop posting them, and replace it with a playlist when I'm in the mood.  

There's been a lot of posts lately about good blogging, from Gala Darling's series on improving your blog, to Annie's reaction to the claim that regular blogging is necessary to have a "good" blog.  Personally, I kind of like a mix.  I think it's nice to have a regular column, something to fall back on so that your blog doesn't completely die if you have a slow couple of weeks; at the same time, too many daily features can get tired, very quickly.  

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I blog, and thinking that I want to make some changes.  I want this space to be more about crafting, and have less rambling about things that no one really wants to read; however, it's hard to institute that kind of change when I'm in another country, far away from my craft supplies and my darling sewing machine.  

Then the question becomes this: is it better to just not blog, until I'm capable of producing the content that I want, or to blog half-heartedly until then?  

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Secret Scarf

For the past month and a half I've been working on this scarf in secret, hiding it in my drawer so that my host mom wouldn't find it.  I bought the yarn from a street vender at Segovia's weekly outdoor market, and found the pattern on Ravelry, which led me here.  Despite being a very open stitch, it took a surprising amount of time to finish.  This could be due to my yarn choice, which was lighter than what I usually work with, or the fact that I only ever worked on it while on the road.  

I thought that the stitch pattern was really pretty, and I wanted to try it, but I knew that logically I shouldn't be making a lot while studying abroad, since I would have to take things back in my suitcase. So the perfect solution was to make a something for my host mom!  It's an added bonus that it's still pretty cold here.  She was very surprised and seemed to like it.  I hope she uses it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

I can't believe it's Thursday already!  This week has just flown by.  Here's what I've been loving lately:

This piece of artwork.  A flat brass band, hung in between floors of the V&A.  Now I know what flat trombones look like.  (Breathless by Cornelia Parker).

Being back in Spain.  Hot showers!  Reliable food that I don't have to pay for!  My own bed, in my own room!  More clothes than just what I was able to stuff in my suitcase!  It's so nice to be back somewhere stable.  

Trip planning.  As much as I'm loving being here right now, I have three more trips to plan out in the next four weeks.  I'm excited for all of them.  

Lotion.  Since arriving in Spain I've only been using one giant tub of cheap hand cream.  It isn't terrible, but it really isn't anything exciting either.  While in the airport in London I bought an issue of cosmo that came with a free face lotion.  Unfortunately, it's a british brand that I've never seen in the states; I'm generally little doubtful of free samples, but I actually really like this one.  I also bought a sample size tub of Nivea Soft hand cream, and I'm completely loving that one.  

New friends.  The people that I met in London were fantastic.  I had a great time with them.  There's no  better sign of character than the ability to casually slip meaningful discussions of misogyny in to everyday conversation.  Love it.  

Magazines.  I haven't read a magazine in ages.  I know that the content isn't always the best (I'm talking about you, cosmo.  I can taste the sexism in your pages) but I love the glossy fashion editorials, and the excitement that comes from not knowing what to expect from the next page.  

Time to journal.  I'm slowly getting caught back up on what's been going on over the last two weeks.  Hopefully I'll be able to write about today, today!

Knit plans.  I've got a new project in mind.  I'm hoping to get this one on the needles within the week!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This is an outfit post from yesterday.  After being surrounded by well dressed people in London last week it was nice to be able to wear something nice that I hadn't been wearing all week already.  Travel woes...  

Today the weather has been cycling between snowing, raining, being sunny, and hailing.  I have a theory that the weather is only really bad here on the days when I have to walk for half an hour to get to my volunteer job.  I'm going to spend the next three hours trying to convince myself that it's alright not to go because of the weather, and then the sun will come out at the last minute and I'll have to go.  

It's been really nice being back home after non-stop travelling for a week and a half.  So logically, after being back for three days, what do I do?  I buy tickets for another trip in two weeks.  Hopefully this one will be a lot more relaxed, though.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tumblr Loves: Februrary

This is my monthly collection of my favorite images found on tumblr.  Things have been a little hectic so this is up late, but it's still here!

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Victoria and Albert Fashion exhibit

On Friday I spent an afternoon in the V &A museum, which happens to have a very nice fashion exhibit.  I don't know that I've ever spent so much time in one exhibit in a museum before.  To make the experience even better, admission to the museum was free, and taking photos was allowed!  I snapped a ton, to save for future inspiration   This separation from my sewing machine is killing me.  I'm amassing a huge list of things to sew, and was definitely influenced by this exhibit.  Just look at the details on these clothes!  

Just look at those seams!  This whole jacket was hand sewn; still, you would expect some better finishing from a well-preserved museum piece.  

Speaking of seams, just look at all those unfinished edges in this 1950's Dior top.  Come on, I want to see some quality work here!  

This last one is actually from the Iran exhibit; just look at the detailing, though!  Gorgeous. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

ALRIGHT.  Today is Thursday, and despite yesterday's sad-ranting, I'm feeling pretty good about today.  Despite the whole I've-been-in-a-foreign-country-for-2-months thing, I really haven't gotten homesick at all yet.  That's what I'm chalking yesterday up to.  I always thought that I was just one of those people who doesn't get homesick, and I still don't think I do, in the traditional sense of missing home and family.  I miss my family and my friends, but I've never been one to let that get in the way of enjoying where I am.  For me, homesickness is more missing have a place to curl up, where I can sleep and eat and not worry about where I'll go next.  So it only makes sense that I would wait to feel homesick until I'm wandering a strange city by myself while lugging my heavy bags everywhere.  ANYWAY, I just wanted to say that I feel a little better now.  

To remind myself why I should feel even better, let's make a list of things that were great this week!

I went to Scotland!  I've been dreaming about going to Scotland for my whole life.  I went, and it was gorgeous.  Maybe this is something stupid, but Scotland is both the romanticized, beautiful countryside, and a place where people actually live.  I don't think I'd actually want to live in Scotland, but it was beautiful to be there for a while.  

Irene.  While in Edinburgh I met my Grandma's cousin, and she was wonderful.  I'm so glad that it worked out.  

Street-pipers.  So, it's a tourist gimmick.  That doesn't change the fact that we heard a piper playing the starwars theme song every morning on the bagpipes.  

Traveling my way.  This goes back to yesterday's post.  Regardless of what one is supposed to do while traveling, it was really nice to be able to spend a few days my way.  I went in to every museum I could find, got up at 6:30 every morning to wander and see the sunrise, (although the sun apparently doesn't come out from behind the clouds in Scotland), popped in to every store that I took a fancy to and had some rather lovely conversations with shop owners, played dress-up in Primark. (god, it was so hard to not buy things!  Now I know what people are always talking about.  If not for the fact that I can barely zip my suitcase already, I would have broken down for sure. Also, the 2-1 dollar-pound exchange rate.  Yikes.)  I ate what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it, even when that meant bags of fruit and a package of biscuits from the local supermarket.  When I got too cold to keep exploring, I spent hours curled up in the hostel on the internet (which, despite being in the middle of nowhere, was the best internet I've had in months), skyped with someone special, giggled with my german roommate, and read the book that I'd picked up at oxfam.

Looking at all of that, I'm realizing that I really have had a nice break so far.  Even though I'm maybe not doing traveling the way that we're told we should, I'm enjoying myself, and that's what matters!  

Free museums.  All museums in Scotland are free.  How awesome is that?  We saw the National Gallery and the National Museum in Edinburgh, and in Aberdeen I went to the Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum.  

Loch Ness.  Yeah, that was cool.  I'll be posting about this later this week on the travel blog.  The view was breathtaking.  I'm so glad that I took the time to go there.

Friends.  The old ones that I've know for 7 years, that go on random trips to Edinburgh with me and don't complain about how the hostel that i picked smells; The ones that make an effort to keep me in the loop about what's going on at home; the ones that post funny facebook statuses that make me giggle when things seem to be falling apart (hey Ashely); the new ones that I'll never see again, who take time out of their day to show me around the local hangout, who give me food recommendations, and who chat with me for an hour on cold street corners- Amy and Carolina, if by chance you ever see this, thanks for making Inverness more fun!  

My megabus experience.  Taking the megabus is supposed to be a desperate last plan of the truly broke.  Everything I've heard about it was negative.  However, I wasn't going to turn down a cheap night route back to London from Scotland- I got a place to sleep for the night and a travelled 500 miles all in one go!  The first couple of hours weren't too bad- the bus was pretty empty, which meant it was quiet enough to sleep.  Then, we got to Glasgow.  All of a sudden people started pouring on to the bus, including fussy children and noisy teenagers.  I thought my night was going downhill.  I prayed that no one would sit next to me.  So when someone asked if the seat beside me was taken, I said goodbye to my legroom and moved my things, and ended up deep in conversation with a beautiful french boy for the next two hours.  Things could have been much, much worse.  

Blog possibilities.  Even though I love my layout right now, I'm itching for change again.  However, I'm thinking that it's time to really think about what I'm doing on the internet.  My two year-blogiversary is coming up soon, and I've been thinking about what it is that I want to do with this site.  Don't worry, I'm not thinking of disappearing; I just think that some change is in order :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happiness on the road

It seems that there are tons of travel bloggers around these days.  All the cool ladies of the internet are heading off to this or that other city every other weekend; or if they aren't now, they have in the past, or they will later.

Traveling has to be one of the most romanticized activities of this age; the ability to get up and go is something that we treasure; we're told that we can never truly know ourselves until we've travelled solo.

Well, I have to confess something.  I kind of hate travelling.  I don't hate all of it; I love seeing new places, trying new foods, and making new friends.  What I don't like is carting heavy bags around, and the constant worry about missing connections, getting stranded, or lost.  I hate how stressful the physical part of travelling is.

This week is Spring Break of my study abroad semester, which means that this is the official "travel weekend".  My friends are in France, Germany, Prague, and Belgium; we're all expected to come home with stories of the fun things that we've done, of late nights and crazy people.  I've spent my whole week so far wandering around, eating good food and peaking through museums.

I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing something.  If someone were to ask what I did this week, which they will, I won't have a very good answer.  I ate some really good food and made some friends. That's all.  I know that I still have half a week left, but I'm anxious to be home already.  (Although I'm actually very nervous about the return trip; let's not talk about that.)

This is my last day of solo travel.  I'm in Aberdeen, Scotland, and in 3 hours I'm getting on an overnight bus to London to rejoin a friend.  I've seen all the tourist attractions in this city, my computer is dying, and I really just want to take a nap.  I'm a homebody at heart, and the truth is that I can't stomach extended periods of travel.  I need routine to survive, and I feel like that's not an acceptable answer.  I'm supposed to love travel, supposed to be ecstatic about wandering around with my heavy bag, trying to find cheap-yet-delicious food.  I've had fun, yes.  But I still can't help wishing it was over.

In addition, I lost my ipod.  The last few trips I took I purposefully left it at home, since I didn't want to lose it.  Then, the first trip that I take it on I lose it.  I'm pretty sure that it's in the hostel that I stayed in, and I've emailed them, but have yet to get a response.  So I have an 11 hour bus ride tonight without it, plus the flight home.

I suppose I should not be complaining; I have an opportunity that so many people never get.  I'm supposed to be happy.  I just have to ask, though.  Isn't it okay to not be happy?  Or, at least, to be content just sitting in a coffee station across the street from the bus stop?

The Village

Alright folks, I have an announcement.  I've found the coolest store ever.  It's called The Village, and it's part vintage store, part art-collective, with a skate shop, video game store, and bike repair shop inside.  The people who own it are very nice, as are the people who work there.  There are couches and a coffee vending machine, and the store doubles as a hang out place for people interested in the art/diy/skate scene.  I spent a good deal of time chatting people up here, and if I was in Inverness longer I would have stayed longer.  This is such a cool idea, and I wish they had one of these where I live.

If you find yourself in Inverness, Scotland, it's on Union street, hidden behind a bus stop.  Go say hello to Dave!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This week(end)

Gosh, it feels like a weekend, even though it's only Tuesday.  I'm on spring break, so I don't have to worry about class work or real work at all until Sunday.  Lucky me.  Instead, I'm running around Scotland, eating delicious food and talking to interesting people.  After spending the actual weekend in Edinburgh with a friend, I've spent the last two days in Inverness.  Tomorrow I'm on to a new city!

Funny rubbers, haggis, and oxfam finds.

My outfit today, lunch, and the classic fish and chips.

I got the two of these for a pound total at a really cool store in Old Town Inverness.  I cannot wait to try making one of those body suits once I'm home to my machine.  What kind of material would one even use for those?  Really, I think that these were the high point of my time here.