Sunday, November 11, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Door Wide Open

Have finally finished the volume of Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson's letters to each other. It made him too real, I think.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

After resisting everything Harry Potter related with fierce determination, I finally succumbed and read all seven books in quick succession over the past month.

"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Helena Bonham Carter

I have resolved to watch all of Helena Bonham Carter's movies, as the ones I have seen (in italics here) have impressed me endlessly.

Stand by Love (2008) (pre-production) .... Cat
Eleanor & Colette(2008) (pre-production) .... Colette
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) .... Mrs. Lovett
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) .... Bellatrix Lestrange
Sixty Six (2006) .... Esther Rubens
Magnificent 7 (2005) (TV) .... Maggi
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) (VG) (voice) .... Lady Tottington
Corpse Bride (2005) (voice) .... Corpse Bride
Conversations with Other Women (2005) .... Woman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) .... Mrs. Bucket
Big Fish (2003) .... Younger & Older Jenny/The Witch
Henry VIII (2003) (TV) .... Anne Boleyn
Live from Baghdad (2002) (TV) .... Ingrid Formanek
Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002) .... Ruby
The Heart of Me (2002) .... Dinah
Novocaine (2001) .... Susan Ivey
Planet of the Apes (2001) .... Ari
Football (2001) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... Mum
Carnivale (2000) (voice) .... Milly
The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything (1999) (TV) .... Lily
Women Talking Dirty (1999) .... Cora
Fight Club (1999) .... Marla Singer
The Theory of Flight (1998) .... Jane Hatchard
The Revengers' Comedies (1998) .... Karen Knightly
Merlin (1998/II) (TV) .... Morgan Le Fey
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997) .... Rosemary
The Wings of the Dove (1997) .... Kate Croy
The Petticoat Expeditions (1997) .... Narrator
Portraits chinois (1996) .... Ada
Twelfth Night: Or What You Will (1996) .... Olivia
Mighty Aphrodite (1995) .... Amanda
Margaret's Museum (1995) .... Margaret MacNeil
Frankenstein (1994) .... Elizabeth
Butter (1994) (TV) .... Dorothy
A Dark Adapted Eye (1994) (TV) .... Faith Severn (adult)
Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald (1993) (TV) .... Marina Oswald
Dancing Queen (1993) (TV) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... Pandora/Julie
Howards End (1992) .... Helen Schlegel
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) .... Caroline Abbott
Hamlet (1990/I) .... Ophelia
Getting It Right (1989) .... Lady Minerva Munday
Francesco (1989) .... Chiara
Arms and the Man (1989) (TV) .... Raina
Maschera, La (1988) .... Iris
The Vision (1988) (TV) .... Jo Marriner
Hazard of Hearts (1987) (TV) .... Serena Staverley
Maurice (1987) (uncredited) .... Lady at Cricket Match
Lady Jane (1986) .... Lady Jane Grey
A Room with a View (1985) .... Lucy Honeychurch, Miss Bartlett's cousin and charge
A Pattern of Roses (1983) (TV) .... Netty, The Past (introducing)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

a room with a view

"Suppose we go and hinder those new people opposite for a little."


"They might amuse you."

Freddy, whom his fellow-creatures never amused, suggested that the new people might be feeling a bit busy, and so on, since they had only just moved in.

"I suggested we should hinder them," said Mr. Beebe. "They are worth it." Unlatching the gate, he sauntered over the triangular green to Cissie Villa. "Hullo!" he cried, shouting in at the open door, through which much squalor was visible.

A grave voice replied, "Hullo!"

"I've brought some one to see you."

"I'll be down in a minute."

The passage was blocked by a wardrobe, which the removal men had failed to carry up the stairs. Mr. Beebe edged round it with difficulty. The sitting-room itself was blocked with books.

"Are these people great readers?" Freddy whispered. "Are they that sort?"

"I fancy they know how to read--a rare accomplishment. What have they got? Byron. Exactly. A Shropshire Lad. Never heard of it. The Way of All Flesh. Never heard of it. Gibbon. Hullo! dear George reads German. Um--um--Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and so we go on. Well, I suppose your generation knows its own business, Honeychurch."

"Mr. Beebe, look at that," said Freddy in awestruck tones.

On the cornice of the wardrobe, the hand of an amateur had painted this inscription: "Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes."

"I know. Isn't it jolly? I like that. I'm certain that's the old man's doing."

"How very odd of him!"

"Surely you agree?"

But Freddy was his mother's son and felt that one ought not to go on spoiling the furniture.


also read....

Monday, July 16, 2007


If I weren't in love with Hemingway, I wouldn't bother with his books.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

So we fall in love with ghosts.

I was overwhelmed when I found this on cd in the library. Have devoured it and am seized by the necessity of owning a copy of it, so I can unleash the underlinings I've kept inside myself while listening.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

When I left Mr. Bahri that afternoon, I walked for about forty-five minutes and stopped at my favorite English bookstore. I went in there on a sudden inspiration, fearful that I might not have the opportunity to do so in the near future. And I was right: only a few months later, the Revolutionary Guards raided the bookstore and closed it down. The big iron bolt and chain they installed on a door signified the finality of their action.

I started picking books up with greedy urgency. I went after the paperbacks, collecting almost all the Jameses and all six novels by Austen. I picked up
Howard's End and A Room with a View. Then I went after ones I had not read, four novels by Heinrich Boll, and some I had read a long time ago--Vanity Fair and The Adventures of Roderick Random, Humboldt's Gift and Henderson the Rain King. I picked up a bilingual selection of Rilke's poems and Nabokov's Speak, Memory. I even lingered for a while debating over an unexpurgated copy of Fanny Hill. Then I went after the mysteries. I picked up some Dorothy Sayers and, to my utter delight, found Trent's Last Case, two or three new Agatha Christies, a selection of Ross MacDonalds, all of Raymond Chandler and two Dashiell Hammetts.

I didn't have enough money to pay for them all. I took the few I could afford and refused the bookstore owner's very gallant offer to take the rest on credit. As he placed the books I had put on hold in two large paper bags, he smiled with amusement and told me, Don't worry; no one is going to take these away from you. No one knows who they are anymore. Besides, who wants to read them now, at this time?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Truly landlocked people know they are. Know the occasional Bitter Creek or Powder River that runs through Wyoming; that the large tidy Salt Lake of Utah is all they have of the sea and that they must content themselves with bank, shore, and beach because they cannot claim a coast. They seem to be able to live a long time believing, as coastal people do, that they are at the frontier where final exit and total escape are the only journeys left. But those five Great Lakes which the St. Lawrence feeds with memories of the sea are themselves landlocked, in spite of the wandering river that connects them to the Atlantic. Once the people of the lake region discover this, the longing to leave becomes acute, and a break from the area, therefore, is necessarily dream-bitten, but necessary nonetheless. It might be an appetite for other streets, other slants of light. Or a yearning to hear the solid click of a door behind their backs."

My friend, Emily, brought me this book after she had underlined her favorite bits. I'm reading it whenever I have a moment.


"The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son; and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.

He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him "poor Richard," been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead."

Oh internet, you make sure to amuse me constantly. Today, it was a misquoted line of Whitman's poetry. So fitting, too!

"I celibate and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Esme Raji Codell

I've been reading her books at night to relax. She's so witty!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Anna Karenina

A silence followed. She was still drawing with the chalk on the table. Her eyes were shining with a soft light. Under the influence of her mood he felt in all his being a continually growing tension of happiness.

"Ah! I've scribbled all over the table!" she said, and laying down the chalk, she made a movement as though to get up.

"What! shall I be left alone--without her?" he thought with horror, and he took the chalk. "Wait a minute," he said, sitting down to the table. "I've long wanted to ask you one thing."

He looked straight into her caressing, though frightened eyes.

"Please, ask it."

"Here," he said; and he wrote the initial letters, w, y, t, m, i, c, n, b, d, t, m, n, o, t. These letters meant, "When you told me it could never be, did that mean never, or then?" There seemed no likelihood that she could make out this complicated sentence; but he looked at her as though his life depended on her understanding the words. She glanced at him seriously, then leaned her puckered brow on her hands and began to read. Once or twice she stole a look at him, as though asking him, "Is it what I think?"

"I understand," she said, flushing a little.

"What is this word?" he said, pointing to the n that stood for never.

"It means NEVER," she said; "but that's not true!"

He quickly rubbed out what he had written, gave her the chalk, and stood up. She wrote, t, i, c, n, a, d.

Dolly was completely comforted in the depression caused by her conversation with Alexey Alexandrovitch when she caught sight of the two figures: Kitty with the chalk in her hand, with a shy and happy smile looking upwards at Levin, and his handsome figure bending over the table with glowing eyes fastened one minute on the table and the next on her. He was suddenly radiant: he had understood. It meant, "Then I could not answer differently."

He glanced at her questioningly, timidly.

"Only then?"

"Yes," her smile answered.

"And n...and now?" he asked.

"Well, read this. I'll tell you what I should like--should like so much!" she wrote the initial letters, i, y, c, f, a, f, w, h. This meant, "If you could forget and forgive what happened."

He snatched the chalk with nervous, trembling fingers, and breaking it, wrote the initial letters of the following phrase, "I have nothing to forget and to forgive; I have never ceased to love you."

She glanced at him with a smile that did not waver.

"I understand," she said in a whisper.

He sat down and wrote a long phrase. She understood it all, and without asking him, "Is it this?" took the chalk and at once answered.

For a long while he could not understand what she had written, and often looked into her eyes. He was stupefied with happiness. He could not supply the word she had meant; but in her charming eyes, beaming with happiness, he saw all he needed to know. And he wrote three letters. But he had hardly finished writing when she read them over her arm, and herself finished and wrote the answer, "Yes."

"You're playing secretaire?" said the old prince. "But we must really be getting along if you want to be in time at the theater."

Levin got up and escorted Kitty to the door.

In their conversation everything had been said; it had been said that she loved him, and that she would tell her father and mother that he would come tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

"Our companions are excessively stupid."

-the ridiculous Frank Churchill

Saturday, June 2, 2007

necessary alternative

Since beginning my new job two weeks ago, I've had almost no time to read. I do have quite a commute, so I've taken to listening to audio books instead.

So far, I've finished Jane Eyre

and am nearly finished with Emma.

I've also started watching the movie versions of certain books I've read. Last night, I saw Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, with two of the finest: Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche. Somehow, though, it wasn't as wonderful as I'd anticipated.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

dyeing fabric with emily

The Borrowers

Had a sudden hankering for Arrietty & co.

which is keeping me from beginning

a skirt for my niece

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Here are just a few of the ways to spice up handmade paper.

Flower Petals: Add in flowers during the beating stage, a few seconds before the pulp is thoroughly blended. Stay away from red petals, as they bleed into the surrounding area, white flowers, which will turn brown, and any green bits, as they might tint the whole batch yellow. Marigold petals, tea, and coffee can be turned into natural dyes.

Gold Leaf: Add gold leaf by placing a sheet of it into a sieve, then forcing tiny flakes through with a stiff brush directly into the vat. It looks great with dark pulp. Add several sheets of gold leaf with less pulp than normal, so you can make very thin sheets.

Lamination: Couch at least two sheets directly on top of each other. They will bond together permanently when pressed and dried. To make sure the second sheet will be placed directly on top of the first, place the mold on top of the first sheet, mark the outer edges with pieces of string, and remove the mold. Lay dried flowers, leaves, or feathers on top, then pull a second sheet, placing it exactly on top, using the strings as a guide. Press each laminated sheet separately. Laminating yarn is another option. First, dip a piece of yarn in a different colored pulp, and then lay it down on a newly formed sheet. Feel free to let the pieces of yarn run outside the edges of the paper. Overlap more pieces dipped in pulp, then cover the bottom sheet with another freshly made sheet. Press and dry separately.

Texture: Simply couch paper onto textured surfaces, like tulle, bubble wrap, or textured glass.

Japanese Momogami: Crumple a damp sheet of pressed paper into a tiny ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and, once it has dried overnight, open it up and smooth it out with a bone folder.

Embossing: Place a wire shape on the couching surface, and then deposit a newly pulled paper on top of it. Cover it with a damp cloth, then a towel, and a heavy board or bricks. Another technique is to press an object down onto the new sheet, then cover and weight it so it can air dry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Making Paper from Plants

It is possible to make paper from plants and barks found all over in early spring or summer, when they are tender and easily broken down. Corn husks, cattails, leaves from pineapple, narcissus, iris or daylily plants, wheat straw, and mulberry bark are just a few of the possibilities. Either use them immediately or dry them for later.
Though the supplies for this process are more extensive than the previous technique, they are all available in grocery and home improvement stores. In addition to a mold, vat, couching supplies, and blender, find a stainless steel pot, wooden spoons, a paint straining sock, a few five-gallon buckets, safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask. Soda ash, used to break down the plants, can be found in the pool chemistry section of a home improvement store, and lye, used for clogged drains, is sold in grocery stores. Make sure it is 100% lye with no fillers. Mallets, which are often better than a blender because they do not cut the fibers, are useful. A hotplate is necessary, as the fumes are hazardous and cooking outside is advised.

1. Measure the dry fiber. Implement a 20% cooking solution when using soda ash: 1 lb. of dry fiber to ~ 3 ½ oz. of Soda Ash is the proper ratio. For lye, a 9% cooking solution works: 1 lb. dry fiber to ~ 1 ½ oz. lye

2. Soak the fiber overnight.

3. Cooking: Fill the pot with water THEN add the proper amount of soda ash to the water (never the other way around). Be sure to cook outside, as the fumes are hazardous, and be sure to use rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a mask (when dealing with the alkaline in powder form). Though it depends on the plant, cook for a few hours, stirring occasionally, until the fibers can be pulled apart.

4. Cool the fibers in the cooking water overnight, and in the morning, put a paint straining sock over a five gallon bucket, and then dump out the contents of the pot into the bucket. Pick up the sock, allow it to drain, and then deposit the fibers into a bucket of clean water. Change the water six times, until it runs clear. Keep in mind that some fibers dye the water, so use Ph test strips and get back to a neutral of 7 or 8.

5. Neutralize the alkaline cooking water using a bottle of vinegar—test it until it gets back to a neutral of 7 or 8.

6. Pounding: It is best to pound many fibers by hand using mallets, as a blender would simply cut the fibers short, whereas pounding merely separates them. Flatten out the pulp, and then turn it, pounding with two mallets of the same size for about twenty minutes.
If this technique is impossible, cut fibers into half-inch lengths, add ½ cup to blender full of water, and blend for thirty seconds. In order to mimic the result of hand pounding, use the blender for varying amounts of time for each blender batch, which will keep the fibers from all being the same length. As a result, the fibers will have a stronger bond when they are formed into sheets of paper.

7. Test the consistency by pinching tiny bits of pulp from various areas and dropping them in a glass jar filled with water. Shake the jar and observe what happens. Clumps might be what you want, but if not, moisten the pulp and continue pounding.

8. Neri: Mix the pulp with water in a small container, and then dump just a small amount into the water-filled vat. These sheets should be much thinner than the ones made with recycled fibers. There is a Japanese sheet forming technique that results in an extremely thin, strong sheet of paper. They us a formation aid called a “neri,” which is added to the vat to suspend the fibers in the water. That enables the production of very thin sheets of paper. Either buy synthetic neri from a papermaking supplier, or use these instructions to make a similar concoction.
Soak okra in water for six hours, then strain it, making sure no plant parts remain. Add the liquid to the vat slowly. It will change the water’s sound. When you lift your hand out of the vat, there should be a thread of liquid that comes off of it.

9. Pulling a sheet: Dip the mold into the vat, pull it up, and let it drain for a few moments, then redip it, making sure that the screen enters into the water at a 90% angle. Dip the screen eight times.

10. Couching: After the mold stops dripping, carefully set the screen paper side down, onto the couching station. Use the sponge to press out excess water, and then carefully peel the screen off. Cover the new sheet of paper with a piece of felt. Continue pulling sheets of paper until the couching stack has up to thirty sheets.

11. Pressing: It might be a good idea to move the stack to a bathtub for this step. Place the other baking sheet on top of the stack of newly made paper, then press down as hard as possible, pouring out any water that builds up. Stack the bricks on top of the stack, and wait for the water to stop pouring out. Gently separate the sheets, but keep them with attached to their felt backing.

12. Drying: There are several ways to dry the paper. Either hang it on a clothesline or rack, lay them out to dry on newspaper, or iron the paper on a cutting board covered with a dishcloth. Set the iron to the cotton setting, and do not use steam. Flip the stack after ironing for a minute, and repeat, flipping and ironing until the paper is quite dry, which should take about five minutes.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Making Paper from Recycled Fibers

Homemade paper can be made from anything from junk mail to elephant poop (believe it or not: The materials needed to make paper at home are easy to obtain. A mold, or wooden frame with a screen stretched over it, allows water to drain out, but catches the fiber that forms the paper. Simply stretch a piece of old window screen over a picture frame, then staple it tautly in place. The container used to hold the water and pulp can be referred to as the vat. Make sure the vat is large enough for the mold, which will need to be submerged into the mixture. A sink or bathtub would be ideal, but a large plastic storage bin works just as well. Prepare a couching station next to the vat. Just place one of two baking sheets down, with a stack of newspaper wrapped in a towel on top. Spread a felt rectangle on top, making sure there are no wrinkles to interfere with the process.
An ordinary blender is needed as well, along with a few dozen felt rectangles, a wire whisk, bricks, and a sponge. Liquid starch can be added if the paper is intended for writing.

1. Preparing: First, assemble a variety of scrap paper. Junk mail, toilet paper, construction paper, brown paper bags, newsprint, cards, envelopes, tissue paper, and computer paper will all work. Try to find pieces without type or writing on them, as any ink will dull the color of the new paper. Separate the papers into rough color categories, and feel free to mix types of paper within those categories.

2. Shred or tear the paper up, and allow it to soak in water overnight, if possible. Though that is not necessary, it will make things easier.

3. Reducing to pulp: Fill the blender with warm water, and then add a handful of softened paper. Run the blender in short bursts until the paper is reduced to fine pulp. Repeat this process several times, emptying the blender into the vat, which should be filled half full of warm water. Add two teaspoons of the liquid starch into this mixture. Keep in mind that the amount of pulp will directly influence how thick the finished paper will be. Use the whisk to evenly distribute the pulp and liquid starch in the water.

4. Pulling a sheet: Submerge the mold into the vat, swirling it a bit to make sure the pulp that gathers on the screen will do so evenly. Lift it out slowly, waiting for excess water to drain off, and evaluate the thickness of the new sheet. If it looks too thick, scoop some pulp out of the vat; if too thin, add another blender’s worth.

5. Couching: After the mold stops dripping, carefully set the screen paper side down, onto the couching station. Use the sponge to press out excess water, and then carefully peel the screen off. If the sheet is somehow ruined, just scoop up the pulp and toss it back in the vat, stirring it up again. Cover the new sheet of paper with a piece of felt.

6. Repeat steps 4-5 until there is not enough pulp left in the vat to make a sheet of paper. Either add more of the same color pulp, or transition to a new color. There is no need to drain the water out of the vat—it will just make the first few sheets of the new batch speckled. Continue pulling sheets of paper until the couching stack has up to thirty sheets.

7. Pressing: It might be a good idea to move the stack to a bathtub for this step. Place the other baking sheet on top of the stack of newly made paper, then press down as hard as possible, pouring out any water that builds up. Stack the bricks on top of the stack, and wait for the water to stop pouring out. Gently separate the sheets, but keep them with attached to their felt backing.

8. Drying: There are several ways to dry the paper. Either hang it on a clothesline or rack, lay them out to dry on newspaper, or iron the paper on a cutting board covered with a dishcloth. Set the iron to the cotton setting, and do not use steam. Flip the stack after ironing for a minute, and repeat, flipping and ironing until the paper is quite dry, which should take about five minutes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

library trip

I found two books on bookbinding yesterday in the college library. Though I took a bookmaking course this semester, I want to be absolutely sure I can help Michaela make her journals for her trip to Wales this summer. We've ambitiously planned to even make the paper inside ourselves.

In the mean time, I'm hoping to find a quick alternative to buying a journal. Walt Whitman just pinned a few scraps of paper together, which he always had waiting in his pocket.

I just read an article about someone who creates journals out of recycled, already-printed-on office paper. That could really be interesting.
and here are instructions:

Sunday, April 29, 2007