Sunday
Oct052014

Five Interesting Facts about Textiles

This semester, I’m taking an introductory course on textiles that I find to be fascinating. Considering the monumental role that textiles play in my life, I’m sorry to admit that prior to this course I knew very little on the subject. Though I'm only at the semester's midpoint, I can’t go a day without analyzing someone’s clothing and postulating said clothing’s fiber content and care. Laundry, which previously tied hand-washing dishes as my least favorite chore, has become a delight. I wish I were kidding.  

As I reviewed my class notes this evening, I complied a list of five facts that I found to be both helpful and interesting. Perhaps much of below is common knowledge, but it was all new to me! 

  1. Linen is actually flax. The word linen is derived from linum, which is the latin term for the flax plant. I’ve blended flax seed into my breakfast smoothie concoction every morning for the past two months and had no idea that it was remotely associated with linen last week. Dur. 
  2. If a textile is made from 100% Bamboo, it can’t be organic. Unlike linen and cotton, bamboo must be chemically processed into a fiber. Ditto for Eucalyptus.
  3. White Vinegar is magical and can get rid of almost any stain. 
  4. On most washing machines, the delicate cycle is no more gentle than the normal cycle. It is called “delicate” simply because that particular setting skips a few steps in the washing process (ie, it’s just shorter). Prior to this class, I wrongly assumed that the delicate setting was equivalent to hand-washing garments in the tub. I was shocked when I found out what was really going on in there. For me, it was somewhat like the adult equivalent of discovering that Santa isn’t real. 
  5. Adding more soap than recommended to your laundry load to make it “cleaner” is actually counterproductive. All soaps, including laundry detergent, work because they attract dirt. Though clothing is rinsed clean in the wash, a bit of soap will still remain in the item. If you use more soap than necessary, even more soap will be left in the item and thus the item will become dirtier quicker. Prior to learning this, I was totally guilty of abusing soap..! I've since changed my ways:)  

 (photo via D. Porthault

Friday
Sep122014

mindblowing socks

Earlier this summer, I purchased the perfect pair of high-waisted indigo jeans (if you don’t believe me, try them on!). I cropped them just slightly because I thought the silhouette more flattering on my frame. While I don’t regret the alterations, I’ve come to find that the cold air and my exposed ankles do not get along. The solution, of course, is a few great pairs of pattered socks. And in my quest for socks, I discovered two companies that, in my opinion, make the prettiest footwear textiles on earth: Strathcona Stockins and Antipast. My chosen Strathcona Stockings offerings, images one and three, have a Diana Vreeland essence to them… If DV was alive today, she’d be wearing them in her “Garden from Hell” living room whilst sprawled on her red sofa, cigarette in hand, verbally dictating notes to whomever was in earshot. Antipast's "Edelweiss" pair, center, is sweet, expensive and sold at Barneys (so you know it’s good). While we're here, I also am on a hunt for a pair of red socks (the exact shade TBD) but haven't found them yet. I’m very particular, if you can’t tell : ) 

Question of the hour: who makes your favorite pair of socks? 

Tuesday
Aug262014

une citation

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."

-Russel Baker


(Above: Irving Penn's Summer Sleep, New York, 1949)

Monday
Aug042014

the scrapbooks of anne sexton

I adore Anne Sexton. I discovered her work last Fall and am at the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much I've read (though I will say that The Addict is beautiful, and very much spoke to me). Taking her emotional poetry and early suicide into consideration, I believe that she was a person who felt deeply, perhaps more than most. These pages from her personal scrapbook are signs of happier days. If you look closely, you'll see that the pages are filled with momentos from her elopement. They key to their suite, an newspaper ad for a film they say together, a Western Union telegraph from her parents (who are sick with worry). There's something invaluable and sweet that somewhere in this world, these objects exist on paper. I hope to do the same when I reach a similar point in my life. Though I know myself and will think it somewhat inconvienant at the time, Anne Sexton shows me that it'll be worth the effort. 

(images via

Wednesday
Jul302014

at home

True to my astrological sign - I am a cancer - I love the idea of nesting. I believe that nesting doesn’t have to start with a new relationship or a new baby. I like to think of it as creating a cozy and private alternative universe for myself to live, think, eat, sleep, grow. I’ve lived by myself for the past year with my yorkie, Bella, and find that there’s comfort in running my own household. It’s not always easy. My grandmother’s pretty Portmeirion dinnerware does not get washed unless I put on the gloves and do it. The antique Chinese rugs fast become catastrophes unless I take the time to vacuum. But living alone allows me to paint my living room Queen Anne Pink, to stay up as late as I want knitting and watching PBS. To eat ice cream at midnight and leave the dishes for tomorrow. 

My rent is ridiculously cheap and thus my apartment building is not exactly what you’d call luxurious. I’m pretty sure that the basement is haunted and my next-door neighbors party as if it’s their last day on earth every. damn. night. But as soon as I close the front door, none of that seems to matter. I’m safe because I’m home. 

If all goes as planned and I stay here for two more years, it will be the longest I've lived anywhere since childhood. My big dream is to have it published down the line, though life’s circumstances (school, time, limited funds) have caused roadblocks in the decorating process. We’ll see what happens. 

In the meantime, I find great joy in posting snippets of it when I can. Above are a few photos of my apartment from instagram. My favorite pieces in the space are those that I found in odd, forgotten places, or those that I’ve had for eons. For example, the curtains sat forever in the corner of an antiques store until I adopted them. The tiger-print cork board was a high school graduation present from a family I used to nanny for. I stand by the fact that you can decorate a house in six months, but truly building a home takes years. The fantastic thing is that each year has proven over and over to bring better objects. I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store :) 

(shoddy photos et al. live here)