Monday, March 29, 2010

questions and coffee (and thank-you).

Listening To: Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show
Line Obsession: I stare at it in my hands forever, just feeling its weight, looking at the lace where one white-out wing is starting to flake off. Then, once my hands are steadied, I open to the first page. It's a drawing of her face-- yellow hair; blue eyes; small, crooked smile. She's looking straight ahead. Birds fly across the background. She drew them blurry, to show movement, and across the top she wrote, Me on a Sunday Morning. - from p.38 of Hold Still by Nina LaCour, Dutton, 2009

Happy Monday, people! I hope your weekend was full of warm, breezy sunshine. And great music. And coffee. (Coffee is always awesome.) I rode around with my brother on Saturday and there was plenty of coffee and music. I kept hitting repeat on the song "Wagon Wheel" by O.C.M.S.* It was a perfect driving song and a perfect way to kick off spring. I didn't realize how much I missed the sunshine until it came back.

I'd planed to mostly use today's post to solicit your advice. Biscuit isn't thrilled with this idea. She has lodged herself between me and the computer as if to say, "Blog if you must. But I will be napping here too, thanks." Let me pause here to show you a picture. It might help your Monday morning flow more smoothly:

She's snuggling her toy dog, Max. The severe cuteness of this act nearly does me in.

Max is the only stuffed toy I've found that's durable enough to withstand The Biscuit. Weirder still, Max was a Happy Meal toy. Thank you McDonalds for doing what PetSmart and PetCo are unable to do ... provide a stuffed toy my dog can't rip to shreds. Some days Biscuit cuddles with Max. Some days she thrashes him around in her mouth trying to rip his head off. I think that's a pretty accurate picture of love.

Pressing on! I would love your input on some projects I'm sorting out. If you were here, I would make you coffee as a way of saying thanks and then we could go stand on the squishy part of the yard, jump up and down, and laugh about the noise it makes. (I have a life, I promise.) Here goes:

Question 1: What should I put on The Great Wall of Nothing?
I'm on a very tight budget at the moment (who isn't?) and, so, if I have a little bit of fun $ to spend, I usually don't spend it on home decor. I spend it on books or on my ongoing, lifelong goal to find jeans that make it look as though I actually have a rear. Also, I spend it in Starbucks. (Just trying to be honest.) But there's this one wall in my room that drives me crazy. It's too empty and it's the wall I see first thing when I wake up.

On one hand, I really like sparse. I don't want to clutter up the walls ... but the wall is so big it needs something. (Something that doesn't involve paint. Painting does not equal fun in my world). I thought about maybe putting a few shelves on the wall, but I don't know what I would put on those shelves. I already have a bookcase in the room. Though I need another one, I don't want it on that wall. The space between the bed and the wall is limited as it is. I thought about maybe putting a big piece of art there. I saw a cool idea online - where this girl stretched a piece of cool fabric over a canvas and put that on her wall. It looked great (and while I love to support other artists, I don't think I can afford original art at the moment - consider this a placeholder ; ). I'm stumped. Any decorating pros out there? Do you have any ideas? FYI: the walls are a pretty pale green color.

(Note, I wake up and look at this wall first thing in the morning. As I'm usually waking up from some bizarro dream, I would prefer the wall to be anti-crazy.)

Question 2: Do you ever visit author websites (not blogs, but actual sites)? And, when you do, what do you go there hoping to read?
I'm considering working toward the development of an actual website this summer, in addition to just this blog. I've done some research. Meaning: I stalk my favorite authors' websites all the time (don't tell them), so I have a good idea of some things I would want on there. But more than anything, I want to have a site that you would enjoy exploring. What are some of your favorite author sites (and what do you like about them)? Is there anything you find particularly annoying (generalize here - no actual examples necessary ;)? Anything you would like to read more of (like fun "extras")? How many pictures of Biscuit would be too many? ;) This blog will still have the same fodder as always and, for the foreseeable future, I'm pretty sure this blog is all I need. I would love your ideas for the future though.

Question 3: What happened to Amy** on Project Runway?
She was my favorite early on. I thought it was The Year of the Amy. Then she made the Big Bird pants. Remember those? When she sewed all the panels of fabric together in such a way that they brought to mind 1.) Big Bird and 2.) roof shingles? That was unique.

Don't get me wrong: I love a girl who pushes herself, and tries something she knows might not succeed, simply because she's following her heart. (I respect that in any person.) (And sadly, I have extensive experience in this area.) Still. Those pants ... wow. I did not understand the pants. Granted, I'm no fashionista. I would wear jeans everyday of my life if I could. I don't even like wearing shoes (unless they happen to be the hot pink ones pictured above). So sometimes, especially when the designers delve into avant-garde, I just sit there and nod and pretend I know what looks good. I thought maybe the pants were just beyond my scope of understanding.

And yet, even the judges weren't feeling the feather pantaloons. Tim was hopeful, but skeptical. I think he was secretly rooting for Amy too. Amy landed in the bottom two that week, but stayed. And I thought - whew. Moving on to greatness!

Then she made the hair-bowl-dress. Did you see that? Heidi said it was like a cat in a baby sling. (Heidi has some zingers this season, no?)

It was worse than the pants. But still, Amy stayed. I thought - yay! We are past this phase of weird!

Despite all the crazy tangents, I remember Amy at the start of this season. Amy is incredible. My favorite Amy creation never made the top three, but it should have. The week the designers had to get material from the hardware store to make their designs. And Amy made a dress completely out of sandpaper!!

I think it's gorgeous. After that, she hit a stride. It's like every dress she made looked more incredible than the last. Then came the pants. And the hair-bowl-dress.

Then she did the shiny belted bridesmaid dress with leggings. I think it was the least of the past three mishaps, but it wasn't my thing either. And apparently it didn't float the bedazzled boat of the judges. I think it was right for Amy to go, but I'm still sad. I am sad because 1.) my ego is wounded. I've successfully predicted the winner of this show, very early on, for the past two seasons. Streak = broken. And 2.) I think she's way talented and so unique. At least she was trying something different. I especially wish she had been there this past week, when the designers got to create their own textiles. (Rant: how the heck did Emilio's dress win?!) Amy would have excelled at that.

So now I'm for Jonothan, even though I'm pretty sure Seth Aaron will win. Jonothan is sort of an underdog. He over-designs a smidge. He landed in the bottom two last week. Still. I think there's incredible potential there. I like watching people in process. Watching Jonothan figure out the kind of designer he wants to be is more interesting to me than watching Seth tailor snazzy leather jackets every week.

I would like to see Mia in the finale too, but I'm pretty sure it will be Mila. The judges seem to be wackadoodle about Mila. The dress she made from the hardware store? Kind of looked like a Halloween costume to me. Like "Sexy Stormtrooper" or something. So I'm rooting for Jonothan now, especially since Anthony is gone. Anthony was a doll. He made me laugh so much this season.

In closing today, I don't have a question, just a sentimental statement of fact: you're a fabulous group of people. Looking back over some old entries, I realized March 24th was the first anniversary of the day I started this blog. When I started posting here a year ago, I never dreamed this would become such a sweet little community. I had no idea I would look forward to writing here the way I do. I definitely think I would feel like I had honest-to-goodness friends on here. I love reading your comments so much: you make me laugh and you encourage me. You say the smartest things. I so enjoy clicking through to your blogs too, and discovering new books, new music, new people. New stories. Your stories are fantastic. Thanks for making me feel so at home here in Blogworld. Thanks so much for reading along and being part of all the crazy. I hope you always feel welcome here. If you want to see how all this bloggy mess got started, click here for the very first entry. Otherwise, *group hug!*. I can't wait to see what this next year brings with it.

Hope your Monday is manic; in a blue-grassy, sun-shiny, coffee-drinking kind of way.

* Did you know Bob Dylan wrote Wagon Wheel?! I didn't, until this weekend. My brother amazes me with his endless pool of music trivia. And sarcastic remarks.
** Now I have the lyrics of that Switchfoot song stuck in my head. "My thoughts return to Amy/ and the fire she's begun/ she came when we were freezing/ she left us burning up."


  1. I love coffee. And I love the fact that McD's makes indestructable dog toys, that just cracks me up!

    I'm probably not very qualified to speak to how to decorate your walls are so terribly cluttered. But that's how I roll decorating-wise. LOL!!

  2. I visited the home of some missionaries in Kiev who had an entire wall covered in crosses. They were of every size and color and from many different places. Maybe you could get a number of small objects and make a theme wall of some kind.


  3. Happy Blogiversary! I'm the least visually-minded person ever, so author websites are so not my forte. But I think simplicity goes a long way. Also, they should be user-friendly, I think.

    Biscuit is soo adorable. Is it bad that every time you post pictures of him, I turn my head and squint and turn my computer, trying to see *which* way up he is. (Yeah, remember what I said about not being visually-minded?)
    I can't read maps either. ;)

    Have a lovely week! I love seeing that you've posted something new too. Your blog is one of my very favorites. :)

  4. I'm with you on Amy and Mila. Mila is talented but way overrated. Amy was my favorite, but I had a feeling she was going to go the way of Shirin (my favorite last season) and start really strong then get lost in the fold. Next season if there's a short Iranian female designer, she automatically gets my vote. Emilio was good but overrated I think... I just still can't forgive the string bikini. He should have gone home that week. He also should have gone home the week he designed that little girl dress that imbpretty sure I could pull right off the rack at Dillard's right now, but for some reason they loved the adult look (which I think looked like a bad Barbie dress from the Saved By The Bell era). I love the way Jonathan worked so well with cerri's skin tone, and it breaks my heart that he had to drop her. My personal top three: Seth Aaron, Jay, and Maya. My prediction for the top three: Seth Aaron, Emilio, and Mila (possibly Jay instead), with Seth Aaron for the win.

    You should set aside two hours, $50, grab a coupon sheet from the newpaper, and go to Hobby Lobby and just explore. Everytime I walk in the door there my brain nearly explodes with ideas.

  5. I really don't want Seth Aaron to win. I'm rooting for Jonathan and Mia too. Seth Aaron's stuff doesn't impress me and I find him annoying. The outfit he did that was mother/daughter looked like something you could find at Target, yet the judges all said it was original! (Obviously they don't shop at Target!) And Mila only colorblocks and nothing else-I don't know why they keep praising her stuff.

  6. I'm secretly rooting for Emilio, although he definitely lost some love with that hideous pink slinky swim suit. But apparently this week someone's quitting the competition (so says my Entertainment Weekly) and they're bringing someone back from the designer grave! (Which it better be Anthony!)
    But while you're stalking author websites, take a look at my friend's (we live in the same area of Atlanta, thus we are friends :) It's and she just re-designed, and I LOVE it.

  7. I am a dog lover and I must say that I absolutely your dog Biscuit. So feel free to put all the pictures you take of her on your website!

  8. well, I personally would love a website. and I'm a complete sucker for all those little tidbits that no one seems to care about. I don't watch Project Runway (I know, sad really), but I love that dress! as for your wall, fingerpaint! I'm serious, even the worst artist can so something simple with there fingers. paint a canvas, then do a simple design like a flower on top. or you could do what I did, don't mean to sound braggy, but I think it's a little brilliant. I took pics of book covers, pages, etc. then I printed them out 4x6, black and white, bought the cheap simple black frames at walmart and hung them in veritcal lines, my sis did the same with pics of random objects in sepia and made a fancy shape, it's cheap, and SO cool!
    Little Fairy

  9. I think placing a bunch of cool postcards in frames and hanging them on the wall would be cool. You could get cheap frames from a craft store and paint them. At my house, we have a wall with different pictures of various sizes in black frames (similar colored frames make it look cohesive, and I've heard that every room needs a touch of black). If you hang them at different heights, it'll look more artsy. :)


  10. I'm liking Jonathon and Emilio for some reason. Seth Aaron and Mia are kind of tied for second for me. As far as Mila....she annoys me soooo bad. It's like she grabs a bunch of different squares in two colors and glues them on to a dress. And she acts like she's awesome. That irritates me.

    As far as your wall, what size portrait of me do you need? If I knew exact measurements, I could probably overnight something to you. If you had only let me know sooner, I wouldn't have hung the wallsize print of me in the new master bathroom. :) You think I'm kidding....

  11. Ruth, I'm so with you. Decorating is just not my thing. Sometimes what I see in my head looks awful on my walls (that sounded weird but you get what I'm saying :).

    Jessica, you've been on my mind lately (ever since I read your blog entry that sounded like a gorgeous poem :). Thanks for the theme idea! That sounds so pretty!

    Sarah, Biscuit's pictures are sort of like those posters you have to stare at for awhile to understand ... :) She gets twisted around in the funniest ways. I can't read maps either!! Does it all go together? It does, doesn't it? :) Thanks for your comments here. I don't have a hawt assistant like you do ... but I try. ;)

    Ashley ... the string bikini was INSANE! I knew a dress with washers and yarn would never work. But gah. The bikini. He got lucky that time. Love the Hobby Lobby idea ... that place is such a danger zone for me.

    GBTQ, it did look Target! Jonothan really does seem like the most genuine right now and I wonder if it's because everybody else seems confident they have it in the bag. I have the same issue with Mila - it's always black and white colorblocking. Except that bizarro dress last week that looked like a pastry bag.

    Hannah, my friend Hannah (zoink!) is a big Emily Giffin fan! Can you believe I've never read her books? I have one on hold at the library so as soon as it comes in, I'll get it. Thanks so much for linking that site! I love how clean and modern it looks!

    Anon, thanks so much for your comment! I'm glad you're smitten with Biscuit :) I frequently tell her she's too cute & cuddly for her own good. Don't worry - she will have her place on the site.

    Paper bird, your ideas are SO fun. It sounds like you're a much more talented artist than I'll ever be, but I'll defintely ponder this :) I bet your walls are gorgeous!

    Frannie, this will make me sound kind of goth - but I love black. I love to wear it. I love to decorate with it. The furniture I picked for my room is so dark brown it looks black. I've thought of a series of pictures there ... I hadn't thought of doing them all b&w. That could be seriously cool.

    Mel, we agree on Mila. Biscuit agrees with you on Seth Aaron (she barks at him all the time - it's hilarious). The dresses Mila all look the same. Emilio hasn't won me over yet but there's still time. Also, I already have a cardboard cutout of you in my room. If I use a portrait, others will be jealous. Still. I'll do it if you'll have my name written in sea-foam colored tiles across your new bathroom floor. T'would be a thing of beauty.

  12. Author websites...let's see. Besides the usual, like a list of books that have already been written and an "about me" section, it must include a list of some sort of upcoming book releases and current projects. Extras, to me, would include a favorite books list and lots of pictures. I think Biscuit would count. :)

    Isn't it awful how dog owners can buy so many toys from Petsmart and other pet stores that are just ripped to shreds and a McDonald's toy actually stays together? That's hilarious.

  13. I have a bulletin board, filled with advice, pictures of India, verses, quotes and decorative paper and scrapbook decorations. It reminds me of my passions and what I want to do and is really my favorite thing to look at. I need to update it. The bulletin board was five bucks at Wal Mart. Then you just add pretty paper and pictures and everything else.

    Yesterday was a beautiful day( filled with coffee and music actually. ) A Vanilla Mocha and The SLumdog Millionaire soundtrack and Brooke Fraser to be exact.

    Your blogis perfect. I check it out every day and it gives me alot of inspiration for mine. Maybe you could add more pics? Your fave quote of the week? Which I think you already do. I don't know. I love this one!

  14. I don't know that I should give decorating advice, LOL. My walls are pretty much covered in Elvis/Lucy/50's memoribilia, so much that I have to take something down in order to put up anything new. But I agree with what someone said about going to Hobby Lobby. I could spent hours (and thousands of dollars, if I had it, LOL) in that store. And not just the fabric section. My latest inspiration came from some glass containers that were on sale- now I'm planning on making a terrarium. Anyway, I also like the idea of framing unusual pictures and other can get really cool calendars inexpensively, and frame pictures from those (I've done that with gorgeous black and white Elvis pictures).

    And I really don't visit author's websites much, but two that I have been to and enjoyed are Sarah Arthur's ( looks pretty basic, but she has some fun links that are spread throughout, like a book list- and Shannon Hale's ( has a ton of links and info about writing and just a lot of random stuff. In general, I love random stuff, LOL.


  15. Natalie--

    I just wanted to let you know that we finally got around to hosting the book giveaway for Paperdoll. I just posted about it... Thanks again for sending along the book!

    grace & peace,

    P.S. And by the way, I love author websites, particularly when authors recommend other books they like to read...

  16. Jennifer, thanks for those great suggestions! And I agree MCDONALDS. Of all places. Sheesh :)

    Steffanie, I hadn't even considered my bulliten board. I have one (over my desk, in another room) but it might be even cooler on that wall. Thanks for the compliment on the blog. Coming from an awesome blogger like yourself, that means a ton! :) (BTW - this "vanilla mocha" business ... I must try!)

    Kristin, I bet your walls are so funky and awesome. That sounds really pretty :) Also - I heart squeetus! I love random stuff too. I'll click through to Sarah Arthur ... I like her books too, but I've never checked her site!

    Jessina, you are so welcome. I think your magazine is gorgeous. I can't believe you guys have so much quality writing for free!

  17. Put pictures of assorted desserts on your wall of nothing. Trust me.

  18. ^LOL. Then I would wake up every morning wanting to eat them ... and that's just not a good thing ...