Books I’ve Read Lately: April 2017
Swing Time by Zadie Smith :: Zadie Smith is one of my favorite authors so I’m a little ashamed it took me this long to read her latest. It isn’t my favorite work of hers (that still belongs to White Teeth and the nostalgia I have for the first time I read it), but it is competent and reflects the level of humanity I’ve come to expect from Smith. I struggled a bit through the Aimee sections (with the exception of a drunken bar scene) as they could’ve been more succinct and still gotten the point across, though Smith structures her sentences so beautifully that I almost didn’t mind. I also found the passivity of our main character (unnamed as she has been defined by those around her and is just embarking on her own self-discovery at the end) grating, but this girl/woman exists in the world and therefore her characterization is very real and I can appreciate how Smith brought her to life. In other words, the writing is as gorgeous as expected and the characters are real, so real that I quite thoroughly disliked more than one of them, which is really what I want when reading fiction such as this. You can also tell how Smith thinks about and cares about dance: the pages dedicated to the craft and the visual elements of such dancing are some of the most thoroughly rendered; they pop off the page. (more…)
DIY: MCM Plant Stand
Mid-century modern (MCM) plant stands have been all over design blogs for a while now, and admittedly, I fell for them hard. They’re readily available at stores big and small, but the common theme is that they’re relatively expensive, ranging from $130-250+ (without the pot) for an average size and we needed quite a large one. They were never going to make it into my house at that price point – so we did what we do: we built our own.
This DIY is very, very cheap, relatively simple, and able to be customized for the size of pot or planter you may already own.
What you’ll need:
– 1” wood dowels
– 1”x2” pine board
– miter saw
– Kreg jig
– wood glue
– wood stain (optional)
– wipe-on poly (water-based)
DIY: Living Wall
This might be the easiest DIY we’ve done so far. We wanted something on this big empty wall between the library and the living room, but we already have a gallery behind the sofa and a mirror above the fireplace. I considered some sort of tapestry for texture, but then in walked the living wall with its burly green tendrils and all other ideas fell away. It didn’t hurt that we already had everything we needed, except the plants.
Our planties are still babies so they aren’t showing us the cascade effect we want, but they’ll get there. We also had to place the containers a little higher than we’d like (we want to spread them out a bit, eventually) because we have a chocolate lab who isn’t quite a year old and who sometimes thinks planties are tasty treats when he’s left alone. (more…)