1. The Toast gives us hope about famous late bloomers. But not really:
Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and you could definitely write a short story. You tell your friends stories all the time. Emails are kind of like short stories.
2. I’m getting the house re-appraised (it’s been five years!) and the inspector is coming out today. That means I was doing my best version of this last night:
“When he was 15, he was performing at church one night when he received word that his mother had died. He left the church in the middle of the song, one of only two times in his life that he interrupted a performance. The only other time he didn’t finish a concert was his last.”
“Less than three months after his Metropolitan debut, Caruso made some recordings for the Victor Company. At the time, the gramophone was just a curiosity, but Caruso had become a household name, and people all over the country wanted to hear his voice. His records inspired thousands of people to buy their first gramophones, and his were the first records ever to sell more than a million copies. It can therefore be argued that Caruso’s voice was responsible for the beginning of the musical recording industry.”
Was he really such a big deal? I think so. Listen to this:
I found this Chekhov quote recently. I haven’t read much of the Russians but he really nails the feeling of “it’s not really spring but it’s not still winter, either.”
The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart. If you have ever recovered from a serious illness, you will be familiar with the blessed state when you are in a delicious state of anticipation, and are liable to smile without any obvious reason. Evidently that is what nature is experiencing now. The ground is cold, mud and snow squelches under foot, but how cheerful, gentle and inviting everything is! The air is so clear and transparent that if you were to climb to the top of the pigeon loft or the bell tower, you feel you might see the whole universe from end to end. The sun is shining brightly, and its playful, beaming rays are bathing in the puddles along with the sparrows. The river is swelling and darkening; it has already woken up and very soon will begin to roar. The trees are bare, but they are already living and breathing.
Makes me want to listen to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture“.
One of the partners at work is having a baby boy soon and had a work shower last week. We’re not super close but, if I’m being completely honest, I wanted to get more on her good side–plus, I was bored with the second rainbow sock I was working on. So I made a little hat:
No fruit hats or crazy colors here–she wears a lot of black so I thought some classic French stripes would be good.
If I’m still being honest, this isn’t my best work. I started it the Thursday before a Tuesday shower and it took me a while to remember the tricks for changing colors on the stripes. It also turned out a little big, but by the time I realized that it was too late to start over.
But it’s cute and it was well-received. I made sure to package it up to the nines so it looked way more impressive:
Because that’s what advertising is about, right?
It’s going to snow today but the weekend was high 50s and sunny. I had to think of this Hemingway quote all weekend: “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.” Here’s where we were happy:
1. Fast Company has four tips on how to form new habits, including the fact that it takes, on average, about 66 days to become a habit. (So stick with it!)
2. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab released 14 vintage style travel posters–for SPACE. Plus you can download hi-res versions yourself and print them out. I think my office needs this one, about the Voyager missions:
It’s windy and rainy here today–not snowy; it was 55 degrees on Monday; the birds are singing in the morning now; and I think we can say spring is coming.
by Philip Larkin
On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon —
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.
Cue The Supremes, because I finally got pictures of the coat I finished in January (thanks, Mom!) and I’m going to tell you the three-year story of how it came to be.
I bought the fabric back in 2013 thinking I would make a cape. Because it was camels hair–actually spun from the fleece of camels–and it was the most I’d ever paid per yard for something, I was too scared to actually start cutting it.
Then a year later, I realized that what I really needed wasn’t a cape; it was a classic, basic coat and that the fancy fabric would make a basic shape really special. Bonus, I could use a pattern that I knew fit, the Built By Wendy for Simplicity 3966.
I got all the pieces cut out in spring of 2015 and then put it in the closet. I finally started working on it over the holidays and finished it up on my birthday in 2016.
In the interim between cutting out and sewing, an indie pattern designer released a really similar design and did a sewalong, so I was able to use her tutorials for topstitching and bagging a coat lining (and copy her idea for giant snaps).
I had to buy a walking foot for my machine to get through all the fabric, plus weft interfacing and kasha coat lining (both from the now defunct A Fashionable Stitch in SLC) plus fancy snaps and the camels hair itself (from Mood), so in the end it was probably as much as its inspiration from J. Crew.
However, J. Crew coats aren’t made of camels. And aren’t luxuriously soft and drapey and warm and don’t fill me with this level of delight every time.
So you can’t hurry love. But you can sure sew it.
I’ve been forgetting to announce when I have Mondays off lately, but I had a much needed Monday off and a quiet weekend. It was wet and we were feeling lazy, so that meant cookies and sewing instead of hiking.
Plus Valentine’s presents, in which I got Doc a romantic card and a gift certificate to the hair salon and he got me a sighting compass and small unmarked bills. Let’s hear it for not conforming to society’s expectations for gendered holidays!