25 May 2015

Star-Spangled Heart

I have a card from the Selective Service asking me to confirm whether I am, in fact, a girl, as according to their records, I am.  I tried to register because bellicose big sisters should be able to sign up instead of their artist little brothers.

I remember, working at a summer camp, crawling on my elbows through the tall grass to cross enemy lines during a game of capture the flag.  Or burrowing into a thicket of vines, and under a pile of leaves, as campers searched the campus hoping to gain 150 points by finding "the girl lifeguard."  Or earning the nickname "Baby Seal" after performing after dark maneuvers, in snake-infested waters, to recover the trampoline, which should have been taken in long before.  ("Baby" for forgetting it in the first place, and "Seal" for retrieving it under cover of darkness.)

I tried to enlist in the Navy twice during the recent wars, but was rejected, more or less, for being, in the parlance of my sister, "wimpy."

I have long been proud of the service of family and friends.  And I have made peace with my lot to stay home.  On Memorial Day, as we remember the sacrifices of our countrywomen and countrymen, I can't think of a better memorial than to endeavor to build a nation and a world worthy of their sacrifice, and to guard their children and their children's children from similar sacrifice.  For ultimately, success will not be measured in the hegemony of star-spangled hearts, but in the fellowship of all human hearts, in the breaking of bread, on a Memorial Day in the not too distant future, when we can remember together war as a thing of the past.  Perhaps this is a naive dream, but it is a beautiful dream, which I shall continue to dream.  For home is where the heart is, and my star-spangled heart is at home with humankind.

18 May 2015

ShoLoGlo: Shop Locally... In the Global Neighborhood

So it's not exactly shopping locally, but then it's not furthering most of the ills of globalization either.  It's shopping the local designer, the small designer, in the global neighborhood.  Three of my favorite websites support small scale designers, and I'd like to share them with you, so you can shop the global neighborhood too!

 Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade dealer of products from all over the world.  Included with each product is a description of its provenance, like this necklace from Ecuador.  They deal in mostly in handmade jewelry, apparel, and household goods.

Novica, like Ten Thousand Villages, also retails handmade products from all over the world.  They provide information about the individual artists as well, not simply the origin of the product, making it possible to follow favorite artists.  Neeru Goel's jewelry is a favorite.  I love the embroided shawls too!

Etsy, where I can correspond with designers, sometimes commissioning unique pieces, and often receiving a personalized note with my purchase.  These are a few of my favorite Etsy shops.

Whimsy Whimsical has the cutest woodland creatures on all manner of stationary, including bookplates!  She's based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy is everything bright and uplifting.  Her shop features art prints of her original work, and other products, incorporating her artwork, like floral tape.  Repairs have never been so jovial!  She works out of Bend, Oregon.

My Lavaliere has retro jewelry in the art nouveau/whimsical vein.  It's a great place to look for unique pieces at decent prices.  My Lavaliere ships from Atlanta, Georgia.

For the romantic or steampunk, there's Art Inspired Gifts.  They sell pocket watches, both on chains and as necklaces, with exposed works and filigree covers.  These are beautiful pieces!  The magic happens in Oroville, California.

From reading octopus bookplates to cheery animals on recipe cards and adventurous animal 'fridge magnets, boygirlparty does all things office supplies,  à la San Diego, California, à la cute.

Bookplate Ink is my go-to source for bookplates, especially my beloved gnome plates.  I can't recommend both their products and their service highly enough! 

The Happy Hound, of Charlotte, North Carolina, produces elegant, black and white, monogrammed stationary, featuring animals, in the manner of a coat-of-arms.

You might think that Target has the corner on stylish duct tape, but your ducts have not been properly taped until you've been to The Lovely Desk.  These delectable office supplies will have you performing even the most mundane of office chores with relish.  The Lovely Desk ships from Manchester, United Kingdom.

Etsy shop-owners, from time-to-time, will close up shop while on vacation, or while filling orders.  The Locketfox is away at present, but I would encourage you to check back with her shop again soon.  She makes the loveliest of lockets.

I hope you'll take the time to visit some of my favorite shops in the global neighborhood, and I hope you'll tell me about some of yours!  Also, what do you think about my hypothesis, that shopping small scale designers, globally, is roughly on an ethical par with shopping locally? 

My Library: New Additions

I'm working this summer, and saving money for school, but I'm also allowing for a small trickling in of books.  When I'm feeling very thrifty, I use a stamp in lieu of a bookplate... a tree, or an owl, or a Japanese wave pattern with the words "This book belongs to [my name]."  But lately I've allowed a few new bookplates to trickle in as well.  I'm a fan of animals, especially of mammals.  And as someone who has studied the cost per unit of bookplates from a variety of sources, these wild animal illustration plates from The Lovely Desk, on Etsy, are well-priced.  But by far my favorite bookplate ever is the one above, of a solitary girl, dancing by starlight.  The illustrator is Dorothy Lathrop.

My use of the Amazon Wish List, watching used book prices, might be something akin to an investor watching stock prices.  There are better and worse times to buy books.  And I used to work for an online bookseller, so I can often read between the lines regarding a book's condition.  For instance, I don't buy anything in less than "Very Good" condition, unless the seller lists the condition as "Good" and explicitly states that the pages are clean.  Also "Ex Library" is pretty good indicator of clean pages.

My Amazon Wish List contains about 1800 books, subdivided into approximately 40 sub-wish lists, either by subject or by price.  Some of the subjects are Biography, Literature, Medicine, Philosophy, and Public Policy, all with subdivisions, and then I have, for instance, a $0.01 price list.  It's labor intensive, but since I don't have a large library budget, and since I enjoy watching the prices, I manually shift books around as the prices change, and then, as I'm gearing up to buy, I'll make a narrow down list, and look for opportunities to get the used titles I'm looking for from the same seller.  Amazon has an "Add to Wish List" button you can add to your browser's bookmarks bar, and use it to add items from any website on the internet.  It's a great way to keep track of gift ideas!

I am a Barnes and Noble member.  I am not sure that this was a prudent move for me.  They don't seem to have a wish list feature, although they did just send me coupons.  I was able to get a good deal on my Katie Daisy 2016 "Stay Wild At Heart" Planner, plus free shipping, as I am a member.  I bought her "Live Simply" Planner last year and loved it!  Not only are the calendar pages beautiful, but interspersed throughout is her artwork, with encouraging messages like "You Are So Loved" - a nice thing to turn the page and see after filling the previous page with stressful assignments.  A planner that destresses you?!  That's the kind of planner you want!  Here is a link to Katie Daisy's Etsy shop:  The Wheatfield

So far library building has proven a fun, and relatively inexpensive, hobby.  It gives me something to look forward to in the mail.  I have plenty of great books to read!  It serves as a sort of hope chest for moving in about a year.  I'm looking forward to giving my library a new home!

In the interest of further justifying my book purchases, and improving what may be my weakest area on the verbal portion of the GRE, reading comprehension, I'm going to start reviewing the blog-relevant elements of my library.  Stay tuned!  I like making introductions.  Perhaps you'll meet a book here that you like!