Sunday, April 15, 2007

Books, and epic projects, and, um, books.

I ran down to the outlet mall today, to pick up a large pot type of thing (on the cheap, this is me we're talking about) so that I can do coffee yarn on the back porch with the barbecue grill. (Never again in the house after that puke fest a few weeks ago.)

Did I mention there's a BOOK OUTLET STORE there?

On the top, two more anthropology/history books: YET ANOTHER world civ one (because the other ten just don't cover the topic), and a native/pre-Columbian Americas one. (I have recently discovered my unholy pile of books is lacking on that topic, which is disgraceful considering I LIVE THERE.) On the bottom, three books from the "World's Greatest Art" series (I love this series of books because they've got the same broad idea of what art is as I do. They include everything. Furniture, buildings, statues, textiles, and, yeah, paintings). From the left, folk art (from all over the world), Asian art, and Art Nouveau. I had no business buying the last because Art Nouveau is one of my favorite styles and I've already got half a dozen books on the subject. What in hell posessed me, you ask? Well. I've got this idea. The Epic Design Project.

"Around the World in 80 Knits."

I've been brooding on this idea for twenty years - I had it soon after discovering all the varieties of folk knitting, after I learned to knit. In a nutshell, knitted interpretations of clothing and art from all over the world. Nods to the great designers (Charles Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli), the great fashions (kimono, the suit, lava-lavas), and the great sweaters (gotta do an interpretation of a Bohus). Until the discovery of Etsy this past winter, I had no idea how to do this and sell the patterns. Now I know. The idea is to create a blog with an entry for each pattern, and a link to Etsy for 'where to buy'. I may offer some of the simpler patterns for free, or try to get them published on Knitty (there's a great sock from the Victorian Era that I think I can directly copy). This will be a massive undertaking - at eight new designs a year, it'd take me ten years. But I've wanted to do it, and thanks to the internet, I can. So why not?

Anyway, with that in mind I've been flipping through books and getting ideas and I've realized there are huge and disgraceful holes in my knowledge of history, anthropology, and clothing/fashion. I suppose I can thank my public school education for this (no one should take "Western Civ" in college, every last damn one of us should be taking WORLD CIV - we already know enough Western Civ crap from high school), but there's nothing stopping me from fixing it now. Plus I get to buy books. Never a bad thing.

Another book I picked up today was "The Kitchen User's Manual" by Alton Brown. Basically, if it has Alton's name on it and I don't own it, I buy it.

Alton previosly has won a James Beard Award for "I'm Just Here For The Food" and recently his show, Good Eats, won a Peabody Award. (!!!!)

Anyway. The book. I can see why it didn't sell well, and I think it's a damn shame. There aren't any recipes. Let me say that up front. Oh no. It's full of the information we need to make sense of recipes. There are his famous "Critter Maps", pictures of cows, pigs, lambs, and chickens, showing where the cuts come from. There's a whole section of food additives and what they do and how they work, sort of a 'when to panic' list. There's another section called something like "How to read a food label". What's the diff between 'low fat' and 'reduced fat' on your potato chip bag? The info is right here. Conversion charts galore, not just the usual Imperial/Metric, but baking dishes, oven settings all over the world, and ingredient substitutions. The whole thing is in a loose-leaf binder so you can add in information of your own and have everything in one handy place. Worth every penny of the discount price I paid, and really, I'd have paid full price for it now that I've sat down and read it through. (No, I didn't even look at it in the store. I didn't care. It was Alton Brown.)

If you like to cook, or even more if you HAVE to cook, check out Good Eats. You will love the show and learn lots and lots and lots. (Learning good.)

My child just stuck her foot in the fireplace, through or under a blanket, a wire screen, and a couple towels. (We keep the fireplace blocked most of the year to keep the heat or AC from going literally through the roof.) Now her foot is sooty. I would like to point out she CRAWLED up there. I'm telling you, she managed to get in a lot of trouble without walking.

There's more stuff to babble about, but this is pretty darn long as it is. In the next day or two I'm going to be doing some coding and will probably be adding a links section titled "Local Stuff". I will warn you now: It's not local to where I'm living RIGHT THIS MINUTE, but cool stuff from places I've lived. Y'all need to be able to mail-order milk chocolate buttercremes from Heggy's. The French mints aren't bad either. (I mentioned the web site to the husbeast and he's waxing nostalgic about the Hard Whites and 'Peanut Butter Things'. There's a little store in our home town. We grew up on Heggy's candies. Oh - the cashews are damn good, too.) I'm also going to be adding a 'what I'm reading' section with fiction and non-fiction. I don't know how long that will last, since I rip through books pretty fast and it might be too much bother to keep shifting the titles around. We'll give it a try and see.


amy said...

Are you on the newer version of blogger? It really does make it simple to add links. I've noticed (from hearing other folks complain and not having any problems myself) that if you login with a gmail address, it goes much more smoothly with blogger. corporate synergy or something.

I adore Alton Brown. Kitchen science. I love it.

So since you've lived in Hawaii are you going to include Big Island Candies? My husband came back from a "business" trip to Hawaii with some and now I have a love for something that costs a fortune in shipping, so I don't get them often.

Yes, Cute Baby!!

Bells said...

Awesome idea Julie! Huge undertaking. Good idea linking it to Etsy.

Do you have any idea where you'll start?

Julie said...

Sixteenth century Europe for one design and ancient Egypt for the other. Mwahahah.

Bells said...

oh, just a bit ambitious then! Can't wait!

allicats said...

Fortuny and Vionnet in your trip around the world, perhaps? I've been fantasizing about a Fortuny and a Gallenga at Vintage Textiles ever since you mentioned the site back in Feb.

And I want you to know I hold you directly responsible for the hits my book budget has been taking lately.

Also, if you think soot is bad, wait til she gets into the food coloring for a personal paint session. Don't ask how I thought about that one.

Alwen said...

I read "The Kitchen User's Manual" as "The Kitten User's Manual" and then I read, "There aren't any recipes. Let me say that up front."!

Crivens! And here I was thinking this was a cat-training book!

I'll just, uh, go have my coffee now, shall I?

Julie said...

Oh, Fortuny I love, and Gallenga, and Vionnet, and Patou, and a dozen others... Since it's supposed to be the whole world and not just Europe, it might be tough fitting in ALL the designers.

But I'm gonna try.