The Style Icon (Part 1)

Have you met Millie Perkins? She’s wonderful.


I discovered her while watching The Diary of Anne Frank, which was not a commercial success at the time it was released in 1959. I highly recommend it not only for students learning about Anne Frank, but also for anyone who appreciates great acting, great film-making and awesome period costumes! Costume Design by Charles LeMaire:


I love the button detail and the gathered sleeve cuffs on this dress.

I think I’m drawn to Millie because, like myself, she looked a lot younger than she really was. She portrayed Anne Frank (only 13 when her family went into hiding) when she was 21 years old. Maybe this is why she did not appear in many films until the 1970’s. She also starred in an Elvis movie. 


Richard Beymer and Elvis Presley? Lucky girl. She oozes class, and I love her cropped bangs! She is so graceful, and in my opinion, avoids looking “cute” while still capitalizing on her youthful appearance.


You rock, Millie.



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All Grown Up!


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March 16, 2014 · 9:01 pm

The puppy.

So, I’ve been married for two months and we decided to get a puppy. Neither of us have ever been dog owners, nor have we been puppy owners. Needless to say, we have no idea what we’re getting into. We’re still trying to figure out how to keep him from mouthing fingers and toes ( he might be a sociopath because he doesn’t seem to care about our yelping and ignoring and all the other things people tell us to do), but when he’s sleepy he’s irresistible. We played outside today and normally he just digs for worms, but today he decided to be cute. He rooted around, circled and flopped lazily onto the cool grass in front of the condo. I pulled out my camera.

Maybe he knew this would be his last chance to enjoy the sun before fall begins.

He doesn’t sit still very long.

He has green eyes, I didn’t know dogs could have green eyes.

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I made this in the three days I’ve had since school officially ended.

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

I’ve always loved this ink Block print by Hokusai. It’s part of a series called “36 Views of Mt. Fuji.” Despite the name, Mt. Fuji plays a minor role in this detailed landscape.

"The Great Wave." Acrylic and ink on canvas.

Detail of "The Wave"

I haven’t worked much in ink, but I really enjoyed it. It takes well to the canvas of these otherwise boring Vans.

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The Book Safe Guitar Amp, Part 2

After 4 trips to RadioShack, I now realize why all the nerds on the discussion boards for these electronic projects refer to this so-called electronics retailer as the Rat Shack. While the folks on staff were nice and helpful, the selection was pitiful (and, I’m afraid, exorbitantly priced). The first build went disappointingly awry, and when, at the end of the day I had nothing but a buzzing speaker, I decided to build the whole thing over again. The second attempt took a lot less time, and luckily for me everything at RadioShack is packaged in twos. What a surprise this will be for my fiance!

I tested the sound with my laptop and it came out a bit garbled, but I think I just need to recheck my solders. I owe a great deal of thanks to all the pioneering cardboard-box amp creators who have worked out all the problems inherent in working with this schematic and subsequently posted their modifications to, Flickr, and I am also very appreciative of my uncle and aunt for allowing me to usurp their kitchen table for the duration of this project and their words of encouragement and wisdom!

I love how it turned out! But I think my favorite part is the light. . . (It glows red, but I have a cheap camera which was unable to capture that lovely luminescence)

Lessons learned from this project:

1. There is an art to soldering

2. Brain function is signficantly affected by sleep and caloric intake

3. “Close” only counts with Bocce and best friends (yes, I did just reinvent a popular and annoying epigram)

4. Failed attempts are instructive, but success is incredibly rewarding!

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The Book Safe Guitar Amp

While I have been practice crafting a few things for my wedding, I have not been posting them for the simple reason of not wanting to glut the blogosphere with pictures of my own slightly shabby version of the tissue paper pom (there are so many good ones by Wedzu seller Pomtree!) However, I do want to post some pictures and how-tos for my newest project: the book-safe-turned-guitar-amp.

My man and I had seen cigar box amps at Radish Underground a while back and he mentioned how cool he thought they were. After failing to convince him of how cool it would be if he made one himself, I warmed up to the idea and set about researching the process. All the sites–Make Magazine, Instructables, etc–claimed that the cigar box amp rates low on the difficulty scale, so I have decided to go for it!

First stop: Thrift store, to find some kind of box to put this thing in. I didn’t have any luck finding a cigar box (and wasn’t sure where to find one at a decent price), but I did find this pretty sweet book—>

I’ve never made a book safe before, but I’ve seen the how-tos and it has been on my list of crafts to try. The best directions I was able to find are here, but seeing as how I don’t own a jigsaw I could only hope to accomplish the same results with an Exacto knife.

I first applied Mod Podge to the edges of the pages, and shook the pages apart in order to get as much glue between the pages as I could. Decoupage glue makes paper warp so I quickly put a piece of wax paper between the pages and the front cover and placed the gluey book at the bottom of a stack of heavy books, to keep it from warping as it dried.

The next day, I was pleased to find that the glue actually created a nice coat over the edge of the book, without looking like I’d dropped it in the bath. The process of cutting the square out of the middle took longer than I thought it would. My incisions into the book took an inward angle so that each time I sliced a chunk out I created an uneven edge. This was basically impossible to correct without a power tool (I would have liked to use a Dremel to smooth out the inside edges), but imperfection is the nature of craft (or else it would be called art. . .?).  I wanted to secure the pages yet again, so I applied another layer of glue to the sides of the cavity now inside the book and weighed it down to dry overnight. The finished product:

Note that I glued a few of the front pages to the front cover so that the copyright information would show when the book safe is opened. In case I ever need to cite this book in MLA format.

I printed off a copy of Make Magazine’s instructions for the Cracker Box Amp and went to RadioShack (actually, three) in search of the parts I needed. Thanks to my father and the childhood gift of an Electronic Lab board I’m somewhat familiar with circuit boards, so I feel good about this project. I’m still missing the speaker component, but I’m confident that it will find me. I hope to post pictures of the process and product next week!

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Nosce Te Ipsum

Community is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace, the flowing of personal identity into the world of relationships” (Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, 90).

“Community” is a buzzword today, I hear it everywhere. It is preached by pastors, it is pushed by my professors; trendy restaurants have communal tables. It is an ideal of cultural interaction that, in my opinion, is easier said than done. More often than not, it is done artificially, because if community is the big picture of human interaction than why do violence and intolerance prevail? What I think is missing (and I have to give Mr. Palmer credit for illuminating this for me) is individual self-awareness. And since my generation is most commonly typified as the wandering, wavering, confused, quick-gratification generation, I believe I must ask myself who I am before I level the carbine at anyone else.
To know who I am I must define my values, I must name my motivations, I must investigate my interests to get at the real heart of my passions. Max Morden, the protagonist in Jon Banville’s The Sea, equates knowing oneself to being oneself. To allow one’s quirks and qualities to maturate and inform personality and behavior is to overcome situational hardships and be present in one’s community. Who we are, of course, is not defined by our circumstances or even our predispositions but by our reactions to, choices about and realizations within situations. At least I think.
This last bit is difficult, because many would say we are shaped by our experiences. Certainly this is true to an extent; children who pass through multiple homes in the foster care system begin to feel unloved, while children who grow up with both parents around are more likely to be better readers and students. On the other hand, people like Somaly Mam, who doesn’t even know her real age because her early years were stolen from her in a Cambodian brothel, are inspired by their own tragedies to build a better future for others. Being yourself is a lot easier than explaining why you are that way. Even harder still is liking yourself.
Liking and accepting the traits and personality flaws that I have been given is exceptionally difficult for me (and probably most of the world), but they are pivotal to knowing myself. I know that I am judgmental, and I hate it. Being able to recognize it, though, is part of fixing it or applying it in positive ways. I know that I am fiercely independent, and I know that that must be transformed into interdependence if I am going to have a successful marriage. I used to laugh when people said that they were “working on” this or that aspect of their lives, because I really didn’t there was actually any physical work going on. I’m still not sure how to “work on” turning my faults into assets, but I like the idea of taking time to be mindful of myself, my thoughts and the words I want to use before I use them.

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