Treasury Philosophy

I make treasuries based on my moods much like probably most people who make treasuries on Etsy. A couple days ago, though, I was in an awful mood. I felt sluggish, it was cloudy, and I didn't want to have anything to do with anyone. And of course, I wanted to make a treasury to reflect that, but I started wondering whether or not sellers would want their items associated with this type of melancholy. As a curator, I suppose that I can sort of use items any way I wish, but I was imagining a pair of my earrings or one of Marcin's photos in a treasury titled "Everyone is an idiot...and I can tell because they buy this stuff." I think I'd be pretty upset. Are treasury curators responsible for the way an item is presented? What do you think?

I ended up toning down the anger in my gray/grey treasury, and I even ended up atoning for my bad mood the next day with a sunnier treasury as if being able to put together sixteen cheerful items could in fact convey that I was in a better mood to the 43 people that had clicked on it so far.

In short, I guess I think a treasury can convey a visual aesthetic goal, but it's difficult to do that without pinpointing the emotion of it, too.


Favorite Albums of 2010

5. Beach House- Teen Dream

I wasn't too crazy about this album at first because I couldn't really keep the songs straight in my head. They still kind of all blend together, but now, I just kind of let it happen. There's something to be said for an ultimately calming 49 minutes that does let you sit and listen to music. I don't mean to mark it as "just for entertainment" or whathever it is people say about art. I mean more that it forces me to turn my brain off, to stop counting and analyzing.

Standout Tracks: "Used to Be", "Norway"

4. Liars- Sisterworld

I have no idea what is happening in any of these songs, but they are loud and angry and unapologetic. The opening track, "Scissor," has something to do with a dead body that turns out to be alive. It's been a while since I heard an album that manages to be haunting throughout.

Standout Tracks: "Proud Evolution", "Scissor"

3. The National- High Violet

I'm surprising myself because before this album came out I had been an adamant non-fan of The National. I remember it had something to do with the fact that I wanted to distance myself from what they were singing about. I didn't want Yuppie Malaise. I also kind of thought the music was flat. There was nothing I could listen into. But I've come around for reasons that I can't quite explain, but I need to credit the album for the conversion coupled with an always wonderful live show (including the stage banter).

Standout Tracks: "Bloodbuzz Ohio", "Afraid of Everyone"

2. Foals- Total Life Forever

If you haven't yet, watch the video for "Spanish Sahara." It is amazing. Still shots of still landscapes. Small movements. As a follow-up to 2008's Antidotes, Total Life Forever is less controlled but more demure. It sounds infinitely sadder and proves that dance rock or math rock (or whatever I'm supposed to call it) cares about what is says and why it says it.

Standout Tracks: "Blue Blood", "Spanish Sahara"

1. Yeasayer- Odd Blood

This album leaked on my birthday in 2009 but wasn't officially released until 2010. Hearing it for the first time, I was disappointed not really knowing how to deal with pop thing (for lack of a better term). But then, I thought a little bit. I love the 80s. I love things that are fun and yet sometimes disturbing. I heard or read an interview with the band (wish I could cite it) that had one of the members saying that they wanted to record songs that they liked, that people could enjoy. They certainly succeeded and without sacrificing that weirdness that I had grown to love on the first album. Saw them in Prague (a show at which they were able to juggle the most disparate elements of their songs). Will be seeing them again on New Years Eve.

Standout Tracks: "Ambling Alp", "Mondegreen"


Treasury Time

I made a treasury for NonTeam Challenge #11.
Sometimes, I have trouble with titles, and this was one of those times, but I love all of the items on this list. Hope you find something you're a fan of.


I've come across a ton of blogposts recently about illness, and I'd like to continue the trend. I am sick. It's just a cold, but I have this awful cough that makes me feel like I've been smoking for years. But today is an inside day, and I have a list of inside chores, most of which have something to do with Etsy.

I've spruced up the photo of my dad's giclee print, but I still haven't been able to find/buy a good frame to photograph it in.

I'm working on helping my step-dad open his own photography shop, which means coming up with exciting titles and shop names and figuring out an appealing format for descriptions. Here is a tiny version of one of the photos we will be posting soon:



Two things:

-There is a bananagrams facebook app. It works better than playing with real bananagrams tiles because you can highlight and drag whole sections, which makes rearranging amazing. I'm afraid I will get hooked, though. Played for an hour this morning.

-Working on a new earring prototype. Only one is finished, but let me know what you think. There's a fabric window on both sides. And I think the stitches would have to be more regular. I came up with the design when I was on the Orange Line, looking out at the desolate strip between the Western and 35th and Archer stops. In part, the earrings are a way to use vintage fabric scraps that I love to buy at thrift stores. But also, we often think of felt and cotton as soft, but I like felt for its sometimes rigidity.



This morning, I was featured in this beautiful treasury:

I love the colors and the arrangement.


Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's new film Black Swan was difficult to watch because I knew how it was going to end, but I didn't know why bad things were happening and whether or not they were real.

This confusion stems from the fact that the film is from Nina's (Natalie Portman's) perspective. We see what she experiences without any indication of whether or not what she's experiencing is real. Then, we start to realize that much of what we had believed to be true is not true (never even happened, really). But as soon as we start to understand this, the film reaches such a level of intensity through great use of music and frantic cutting that we forget we've been tricked by what Nina has seen before. We start believing what we see again. This part (the suspense, the fear) is very well-crafted. And it is oddly triumphant- much like The Wrestler.

What doesn't work so well is the premise itself. In the end, the question becomes "Can an artist immortalize herself through one role (or one work of art)? And can the process destroy the person inside of the artist?" We don't get the critical distance to think about the answers to this question until we start to catch on to what is going on. Throughout, we are too concerned with Nina's physical well-being as her body falls apart to care about why this is happening.

Performances from the actors are all great. Mila Kunis's rough around the edges ballerina was surprisingly believable, and Vincent Cassel was creepy as the director and (at least in part) the only character who was aware of the questions about artists, their bodies, and their legacies.

I'm always impressed but turned off by Aronofsky's films. The most disgusting things are confronted unflinchingly. He is, of course, not the only director who employs this tactic. But he is the only one who clearly (at least by the end) does it in order to make us think about why we're alive and what alive actually is.


Featured, House-sitting, Storm

On Saturday (the morning after my birthday), I found out that I was featured on a blog here: http://craftedbyhands.blogspot.com/
It's a wonderful collection of holiday items that I'm happy to be a part of. Please check it out. There might be something you really like.

I'm house-sitting and watching Arrested Development. IFC has been playing the episodes that I've seen most often, but I don't mind. It's the "musty old claptrap" episode. :)

And, of course, it is snowing all over Chicago, which means that it's difficult for me to motivate myself to go get some supplies and take the dog for a walk. I also haven't found anyone to visit me until tomorrow.

One of the cats (Myla) doesn't like her new treats, but she's managed to lose the bag of old treats that was on the couch. So now, she doesn't have anything to snack, but she thinks it's my fault.

I've got so many posts planned. I promise to write them soon. (2 product reviews and a film review)


Down to [a] wire

Here's a new treasury I made. I don't really know what made me think of scissors, but now I can hardly concentrate on trying to figure it out because I set a goal of two and a half new pages by 11pm, and I, of course, haven't started in part because of this treasury and in part because it is difficult for me to write new immigration stories/anecdotes. I feel like I have exhausted my options.
Actually, this treasury might be related to a song my mom used to sing in Polish. The first lines are "I'll take the scissors and cut up the curtains." And that's all I know, and I think it's about an angry housewife...

'Sharp Edges' by fourelephants

The Collection Num...

M SNIP tshirt on Co...

Sewing Tag - Sewer ...

Antique Vintage Ind...

SALE . . . amazing ...

little scissors

Free Shipping World...

Silver Serving Piec...

Hunting Arrowhead D...

Knives - Adult Smal...

Knife and Fork - Ca...

Small Dish with Blu...

12oz cup scissors (...

The Key with the Hi...

DIY 23mm Wood Natur...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.



Bullet point entry:

- First real snow in Chicago will happen tonight.
- I made a new treasury in anticipation of having my own apartment (eventually):


- I've got new earrings planned out which I will be working on in the car tonight on the way to see The Room in Milwaukee. If you haven't seen The Room, all you need to know about it is that it's the new Rocky Horror Picture Show in terms of how it is watched. Spoons are thrown at the screen, silly things are chanted. But it's a midnight screening, and I won't get home until what is more accurately termed Saturday morning.

- Listen to Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" from their 1982 album "Rio" and on the Greenberg soundtrack.


Earring and Writing Day

I'm on my second pair of earrings today. The first is already listed and can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/63321989/felt-earrings-peach-slices

Peach maybe isn't the best way to describe the color of them, but I liked the idea of having slices of a fruit that doesn't really lend itself to slicing. We'll see.
The second pair will be in the same color, with purple buttons, and of the rectangular variety.

It's a light chore day for my mom. She just asked me to clear out the tupperware cabinet, which takes some time, and I have to find a place to stack all of the containers nicely for her to look over. But this will only take a few minutes.

We might start picking out photos for Maciek's etsy shop. He's intrigued.
And I might look into the feasibility of starting my own shop for jewelry, but I don't think I'll do it.

But my goal is also 750 words. A good chunk of a short I might see making its way into my honors project. I started it on the train yesterday but felt bogged down by all of the details I wanted to include to truly capture my grandma's house. I also started writing this section in present tense, which seemed wrong to me, but it's my default tense for writing now, and I figure I can always go back and switch, which will give me more opportunity to revisit what I had written.

Just to keep my new readers abreast of what is going on: I'm writing a collection of short stories as my honors thesis. Generally, these stories will deal with my immigration and problems associated with it. But in this I want to include some sort of slight formal exploration, dealing with plot, story length, and genre-blurring. Right now, I am asking myself if non-fiction has to be in first person.


127 Hours

Yesterday, I saw 127 Hours at Century.

*Spoiler Alert*

I knew James Franco's character was going to cut his arm off, but I wasn't seriously worried until I was walking up the ramp to theater #7 where I noticed a small white sign taped to the wall. It reminded viewers of the one graphic scene that had caused viewers to feel sick and almost faint. And then I realized what I had actually signed up to see, how every single shot in the film would hint at his entrapment and his eventual escape. I was sweaty and scared during shots at the beginning in which James Franco simply ran his hands across smooth rocks. That is effective filmmaking.
But from now on, I don't think I'll mention the arm thing, which was harrowing, but I think Danny Boyle didn't want to make it the focus of the entire film.

Here's why. There's a framing device used, shots of people on a crowded train platform, fans in a packed stadium, cars on a highway, all emphasizing the multitude of people everywhere else, except for where Aron Ralston was trapped. We get the sense that he wanted to be alone, and while I haven't read the book he wrote, I'm going to assume that this is something he had written about extensively. This is about as much as we get in terms of character development...and really about as much as we can expect, and as a result, a lot of the flashbacks revolve around his experiences with an ex-girlfriend, which allow us to escape the ridiculously claustrophobic conditions in the canyon, and also shows us what would prompt a person to go somewhere so lonely without letting anyone know where he was going.

This makes the people helping Aron in the end seem like they're functioning symoblically as well. He needs people to survive. He has learned his lesson. It's no longer just a factual account, and I respect the desire to incorporate a small arc, or a small emotional change into such a big, terrifying, and life-altering experience.

But did it work? Kind of. It was visceral. It made me at first want to get away from the crowds and the noise, and then it made me want to go right back, to never be alone.

And all of it, really, was pretty. A combination of the colors from Slumdog Millionaire and the movement and effects from 28 Days Later.

Dare we say that Danny Boyle is an auteur? And can we watch anything he makes without thinking of his big smiling face at the Oscars?


How Things Came to Be

I realized today, with the help of a critiquer in the forums, that my bio on Etsy is a little...slim. The fact of the matter is that it's very difficult for me to explain the circumstances of how this shop (FourElephants) came to be.

I'm in my early 20s, and since 4th grade I've wanted to either be a musician, writer, or maker of things. And my parents have been generally supportive, being makers in their own right. My mom for the longest time made her own wreaths (for every holiday imaginable), and my dad drew. My brother, too, has recently been bitten by the creative bug. He started a band and discovered that he wields a pencil very well.
But because we immigrated to the US from Poland when I was five, and because this carries with it a certain amount of "prove to those Americans that you can be worthwhile to their society," nobody in my family had ever considered any sort of artistic profession. The pinnacle of success would have to be something like lawyer or doctor. High-powered, high-earning, useful.
To me, it became pretty clear that this was not the way that I was going to go. And simply enough, I'm not doing it. But for my dad, it hasn't been that simple. He needs to work, and because he works, he doesn't have time to paint. I want him to paint. I want him to be able to do it for a living. It's a dream he has put off for many many years.
And this summer, I said, "Look, Dad. I can manage an Etsy shop to see where things go. For now, I'll put in some of my stuff, and some of Marcin's photos [to get him fired up about making things, too], and we'll wait for your paintings." Slowly, he's getting stuff finished, and slowly, I am becoming familiar with Etsy and its sellers.

This is the long-winded version of our story. This is our version of a collective.


Hold On Tight

In August, I bought a new laptop. My first MacBook. After six years, my old Compaq was slow and sad with about 300mb of RAM, unable to complete even the most basic task of turning itself on in less than fifteen minutes.

What I was most excited for in getting my new laptop was not the speed, or the sleekness, or even the satisfying click of each new key. I really wanted to get a new laptop sleeve. I had held off for a long time, knowing that my fifteen inch laptop was on its way out and that if I bought something ahead of time, I would only lament the fact that I did not own a laptop that would fit into my amazing new laptop protector.

On etsy, where I spend many of my waking hours, I came across Sandra's shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/sandrastju). In it, she had hundreds of sleeves made of heavy-duty felt and upholstery-weight fabric all of which could have cushioned my newest purchase.

But this is why I went with the felt sleeve (pictured above). The traction. I am absolutely clumsy, and whenever I have to walk somewhere holding my computer, the only thing I can think is: "Your hand is slipping. It is sweaty. That laptop will fall to the cement and crack into hundreds of pieces." But the felt that Sandra uses provides me with just the right amount of grip with none of the itchiness I normally associate with wool.

I also bought another case for my boyfriend:

The detailing on both cases is beautiful, and the wooden buttons provide an extra bit of smoothness.

You can find more sleeves just like these two at http://www.etsy.com/shop/sandrastju .


I was asleep again.

I'm on here today for two reasons. One, my term is officially over. No more papers, no more tutoring, no more cafeteria food. Until January 2nd. And Two, I made it to the front page again! I checked out the screenshot on craftcult.com, and I made a widget, and here it is:


Ballin' #2

Another treasury on the front page! I'm really happy with this one, too.


Some hidden writing I never finished.

Dug this up. I don't know what I was getting at. And I don't know when I wrote it. But if it had a resolution already, I would consider editing.

Original post:

This is not a diary, but it is an experiment:

It is four in the afternoon, and it has rained. The roads are not slick; they are steaming, but it is not like a fog. We're walking through this to get to that grocery store across the street from the church where every Sunday two decrepit Pontiacs show up in the parking lot. It is Wednesday, and we need flour for the pie or cake or tort that is made of yeast. You say it is healthy as we walk through the steam, feeling our pores open for the sweat to slide down to the tips of our noses and hang for just one second until the jolt from our bare feet hitting the pavement sends them silently plopping onto the ground only to evaporate.
They will not let us in to the Egg Store without shoes even though we are regulars...


Working on the Etsy thing

I haven't been writing for a number of reasons, but I'm mostly working on trying to familiarize myself with the selling part of Etsy. The buying part is, of course, a lot easier.
But I think that I'm uncomfortable with promoting my own wares. A certain amount of confidence with the work being done has to exist. Not to mention that fact that every hour I spend on Etsy is an hour I haven't spent working on my honors project.
I wish that the summer were longer, so that I woudn't feel so guilty about listing more of these Charles Dickens cards right now.