Category: Books

pyrex book project: do you collect pyrex?

pyrex horizon blue box

I’ve been thinking a long time about writing a book about Pyrex — and becoming a full-time freelance writer and editor last year has given me a lot more time to work on passion projects like this one. I’ve got an agent interested in the project, but I’m still in the early stages of putting together a proposal.

Ever since Jess got me hooked on collecting Pyrex five years ago, I’ve just loved the vintage kitchenware, midcentury colors and gorgeous patterns. I’ve got a pretty decent collection, but I know mine is tiny in comparison to some Pyrexaholics out there!

My book is envisioned as a beautiful, photography-heavy project, with history, patterns, stories of collectors and TONS pictures of Pyrex in action. (Would the title Pyrex Porn be off-putting? Because it’s kind of perfect.) I’m hoping to photograph the best and biggest collections in North America, and if you’d like to possibly take part, please take this short survey! There’s no obligation — it’s a fact-finding mission for now. I will keep y’all updated here on my blog!

new year’s roundup

You’d think, since I wasn’t working on a new book, I would’ve had tons of time to read in 2010, right? Well, I kept plenty busy with a promotion at my day job, organizing two local craft show events and travelling a ton. I kept on making handmade journals and cards, and I also joined a collective and started blogging about my Pyrex addiction. I did still manage to read a respectable 41 books in 2010. Here are some highlights from the last year:

My favorite fiction of 2010*

  1. Siobhan Vivian, “Same Difference”
    I don’t usually read teen fiction, but I met Siobhan in Pittsburgh this summer, and she’s a totally lovely person. I read this book just before going to my 10-year high school reunion, and it made me so grateful for my BFFs back in school.
  2. William Gibson, “Virtual Light”
    Published in 1993, this book is the first in a series of books that includes one of my very favorite novels of Gibson’s — “Idoru.” Even though the internet barely was a blip on the cultural radar in 1993, this book is barely dated. I chalk that up to the fact that Gibson must be able to see the future.
  3. Elna Baker, “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance”
    I read this book at the very beginning of 2010, but its charm has still stuck with me. (And I have to admit I didn’t read a ton of fiction this year.)

My favorite nonfiction of 2010*

  1. Jaron Lanier, “You Are Not A Gadget
    I just finished this book before Christmas, and I’ve been telling everyone I know about it. I don’t think I can do it justice in a three-sentence review. Please, just go get it from your local library or bookstore.
  2. Adrian Nicole Leblanc, “Random Family”
    Another book that I was telling everybody I knew about when I read it.  Read this and watch “The Wire” and you’ve got yourself an education.
  3. Ellen Ruppel Shell, “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture”
    This book combines big-picture thinking with detailed historical examples—Walmart gets mentioned, sure, but they’re just a recent incarnation of an age-old American phenomenon. Even though it’s not about crafters per se, “Cheap” was totally relevant to discussions I’ve had about Etsy and craft pricing.

Favorite places I visited in 2010

  1. Montreal
    I’m in love with this city, and one of my goals for 2011 is to go back. I have no pictures of myself in Montreal — I only have pictures of the food I ate.
  2. Seattle
    I visited Seattle a few years ago and didn’t like it that much (too grungy, no pun intended), but this year I spent two days in Capitol Hill for the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs and LOVED it.
  3. South Bend, IN
    Weird, I know, but spending a summer evening at the Pulaski field watching Yo La Tengo and Wilco was heavenly. Also, there’s AMAZING thrifting in north central Indiana**.

I’ve started off 2011 with good friends and good food, and I started digging into my 2010 finances for tax time and installed Quickbooks on my Mac. I get so into tax time. Every year, I wait anxiously for my W2 to arrive so I can file and get my refund as early as possible. This year I’ve finally got an accountant. Wahey!

All in all, 2010 was a pretty kickass year. I have no doubt that 2011 will be equally awesome (if not moreso). We’ve already set the date for the next Crafty Supermarket—May 7!—and there are a bunch of other craft events I want to go to as well. (San Francisco, Pittsburgh and DC, I am looking at you.) I’ll turn 29 this year, and with 30 edging ever nearer***, I started creating a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. (I don’t know that I’ll make it public; it’s more for my personal recordkeeping and gratification.)

I would like to blog more often this year—this blog will likely shift from book reviews to more craft stuff, and lord knows there will be plenty of that this year. Craft on!

* These books weren’t necessarily published in 2010 — I just read them last year.
** I spent an inordinate amount of time in Indiana in 2010.
*** Holy crap.

notable recent reads

Long time no blog, right? But I’m back with three recently read, utterly awesome books, all written by women with three names:

Adrian Nicole Leblanc, “Random Family”
Leblanc spent a decade hanging out with a random family from the Bronx, then she wrote this book. I’d read an interview with her in New New Journalism but just now read this book, which is just an amazing piece of creative nonfiction. It’s something like 500 pages, but I couldn’t put it down. I read some criticism of the book that took her nonjudgmental approach to reporting the story as her supporting the decisions the protagonists made, which weren’t always the hottest decisions. But I thought the dispassionate approach to writing the story kept it the protagonists’ story — would you let somebody judging you follow you around for 10 years? Probably not.

Ellen Ruppel Shell, “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture”
If you have any interest in sustainability, business ethics or human rights, you have to read this book. It opened my eyes to a lot of the assumptions we make about things we buy, why we react the way we do to low prices, and why handmade is more important than ever.

Esther Pearl Watson, “Unlovable, Vol. 2”
Possibly even better than the first Unlovable comic collection!

Lotsa good books getting read in 2010… with the way I’m hitting the nonfiction so hard, I might not make it to 50, but I’ll keep trying.

books for 2010

i’ve been majorly on a nonfiction kick lately. here’s what i’ve read this year so far! maybe i’ll hit 50 again in 2010.

1. Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food”
Loved it. It’s helping me think about food in a whole new way, in particular to think about foods as the complex organisms they are rather than obsessing over the breakdown of nutrients.

2. Mark Di Vincenzo “Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon”
A quick read, kinda fun, kinda information overload. Basically, it’s like lifehacking, with soundbites from scores of studies. In the health and science area, studies that have historically underrepresented women and minorities. So, lifehacking for white men. Whatev.

3. Elna Baker, “The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance”
Vignettes from the life of a single Mormon woman living in Babylon New York City. Though it reads a little cutesy at times, it’s absolutely hilarious.

4. Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller, “24 Days”
The story of how two reporters from the Wall Street Journal helped bring down Enron. Though some of the business talk is impenetrable at times, the journalistic intrigue is on par with “All the President’s Men.” Though I was 19 when the whole Enron thing went down, I really didn’t understand it at all until I read this.

5. Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, “Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation
Absolute. Must. Read. It’s like Snopes for your snatch. These ladies debunk myths like it’s nobody’s business and shine a long-overdue spotlight on the cultural hangups, sterotypes and rituals surrounding what’s likely the biggest taboo in our world.

wanna order crafty superstar?

You can do just that right here! for just $15 plus shipping, you can get a signed copy of my business book for part-time crafters. It’s flying off the shelves!

Crafty Superstar: Make Crafts on the Side, Earn Extra Cash and Basically Have It All includes advice from movers and shakers in the craft universe such as Jenny Hart, Jessica Manack, Susie Ghahremani, Grace Bonney, Jenny Harada, Cinnamon Cooper and many more! You’ll learn how to boost your sales, sell out at an indie craft show, promote yourself and your crafts, and balance your craft life with your personal life.

get it now!

recently read book blurbs

Scott McCartney, “The Wall Street Guide to Power Travel”
Secrets of the most frequent fliers. Good advice!

Trina Robbins, “From Girls to Grrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines”
As a lover of Betty and Veronica as well as Tammy Pierce, I was all about this book.

David Sedaris, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (reread)
Still funny.

Michel Rabagliatti, “Paul Goes Fishing”
A good way to learn some Quebecois.

Christopher Buckley, “Boomsday”
Super hilarious novel by the guy who wrote “Thank You For Smoking.” Basically: A fed-up blogger comes up with a plan to ease the strain on the social security system, by encouraging boomers to off themselves in exchange for tax credits. It seems ridiculous, but some parts seem practically possible!

Julie Powell, “Julie & Julia”
I was skeptical, because I assume anything Amy Adams is involved with is too cute to stand, but the real Julie is fantastically foul-mouthed. Also, this book makes me want to cook impossible things with massive amounts of butter.