Victoria Finlay’s first book Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox explores the origins of color, or where people obtain the paints, pigments, and dyes used throughout history. I loved her second book, Jewels: A Secret History, and this book is just as fascinating.
I had to learn the color wheel and the lingo associated with it for my quilting. As a visual person, I enjoy reading books that are highly descriptive; it makes the story come to life for me. Apart from being a history of paints, it is also a travelogue, with Finlay travelling all over the world to visit the places where paint is made and talk to the people that make them.
From the blurb:
On her quest to uncover the secrets of colour, Victoria Finlay visited remote Central American villages where women still wear skirts dyed with the purple tears of sea snails; learned how George Washington obsessed about his green dining room while he should have been busy with matters of state; and investigated the mystery of Indian yellow paint, said to have been made from the urine of cows force-fed with mango leaves.
Counted cross-stitch was one of my favorite hobbies. I still have all my supplies and most of my patterns from the early 1990s when I was first hooked on the craft.
I still have several WIPs (works in progress) stashed away. The one I want most to finish is a linen sampler “English Cottage Garden” (below), designed by artist and cross-stitch pattern designer Teresa Wentzler. Her designs are “inspired by things mystical, mythical, and magical.”
My mom sent this from the US as a kit, complete with beads. Beautiful. I jazzed it up with Kreinik gold and pearl thread. I hope to finish it before the decade ends!
Cross-stitch (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):
Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches are used to form a picture. Other stitches are also commonly used in cross-stitch, among them ¼, ½, and ¾ stitches and backstitches. Cross-stitch is usually executed on easily countable evenweave fabric, or more rarely on non-countable fabric, on which a countable fabric is applied that is removed later, by drawing out every thread of it under the embroidery. This fabric is called waste canvas. The stitcher counts the threads in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance.
I confess – I was once a coffee Philistine, but after a change in circumstances, converted to the Church of Caffeine.
I grew up believing that coffee was bad for you. Being petite, as a child I was told not to drink coffee or I’d never grow tall. When I was nine, I endured an entire year of weekly growth hormone shots. At 21, I reached my full height of 4 feet 10 inches never having touched a drop of coffee. The old childhood conditioning stuck, though it obviously failed to add to my height.
Once, in college, I did take a cup of coffee at a student political meeting (I didn’t want to look out of place) – but there was more milk than coffee in my cup, into which I emptied half the contents of the sugar bowl. The waiters were snickering. “Para kang bata,” they said. (“You take your coffee like a child.”)
At 34 I had to go back to work after ten years of being a domestic goddess. As a horseracing sportscaster on cable TV, I had to stay up until midnight four days a week, every other week. I wasn’t used to burning the midnight oil. In the studio, simply everyone was sucking down that brown fluid like it was water. I figured, I’m not going to get any taller. So I took my first sip in years – and was hooked.
Now I can’t work without a java jolt. The more caffeine in my cup, the better. I got over the palpitations and jitters. Now it’s pure mental alertness. Hallelujah!
Composite image from here.