Ahh, I love not being in school. It means that my reading is not required, and if a book bores me, I don’t have to finish it. Bliss!
The book in question was The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester. It’s a history of the Oxford English Dictionary and the two men who contributed the most to its formation, James Murray and Dr. W. C. Minor. I think those were their names, anyway. Winchester kept focusing on side characters to add life to his narrative, but all it did was make it harder to keep track of the main protagonists. About halfway through, as I questioned for the fiftieth time what his sources might be that he has actual motivations for said side characters and their involvement in the story, I stopped. Maybe it’s some clever style to state things authoritatively that you have no personal contact with, but it’s not one that I read well. So back to the library it went.

On the other hand, I adored Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. I was first exposed to Crutcher through Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, which was a great book about the depths of friendship. Whale Talk was about racism and what it means to overcome people’s perceptions. Man, that’s a shallow description, but it’s the best I can come up with right now. I liked it a lot. There were some heavy swears in it, for those of you who are sensitive to that. On the whole, though, it’s a book I would re-read. And now that I’ve gone through and posted links to these books, I think I need to re-read Staying Fat. It’s, um, been a while *coughliketenyearscough*.

And now that I’ve revealed my completely unsophisticated taste in literature (Breaking Dawn! This August! Squeal!), on to even more mundane things, like the dang coat I want to make and other projects.

So I went on a fabric hunt this past weekend, convinced that corduroy would be perfect for the making of the Cap’n Jack frock coat. I went to SAS fabrics, a discount, mill-ends fabric sort of place. All the pieces are precut, which turned out to be a problem. The one piece of absolutely adorable rose corduroy was just shy of three yards long–I need six and a half for the entire coat, and at least four yards of 45″ wide for the body and sleeves. Dang. I got some dark blue corduroy for contrast, but when I got home I realized I didn’t like it for coat material. I wear enough dark blue that you’d think it was my favorite color. It’s not. So the rose and the dark blue will become fantastic pairs of palazzo pants, and if there’s enough left over, I might make some pants for the girls. Strike that. The girls will be getting dark blue pants. I’m boycotting dark blue!

I also found an interesting brown corduroy with rose and blue flowers on it. I have plenty of it to make the body of the coat, and the more I look at it, the more I think that it would contrast well with some denim. I’m not normally this undecided about a project, but it’s a hard one for me, because I want to make one that will last me for YEARS. Too much pressure, perhaps. I’m thinking, currently, that the brown corduroy/denim combo will be practice, and then I will hunt and hunt for fabric that I absolutely adore, indulge in some Warm ‘n’ Natural batting, and really make a coat that I love.

I’ve finished the Renaissance Festival outfit for me and KidCelt. I’ll post pictures after we go next week, but know that I made myself a hat. A big black felt hat. I’m still tempted to get ostrich plumes from SAS fabrics to decorate it, but that may wait until next year. We’ll see.

In more mundane clothing news, I’ve thought up a new skirt pattern that should be more flattering but still easy to make. More on that later. Also, I want some new dresses for Sunday. I’m going to have to go through my fabric stash and see what I’ve got. And the girls need new dresses, possibly in time for Easter. Maybe.

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