Sunday, July 28, 2019

My Summer Vacation in List Form

By Elizabeth Prata

Most comfy outfit: loose capris and a soft Disney tee shirt

Best TV: The Royal (Netflix)

Movies/TV Enjoyed: The Imitation Game, The Pixar Story, The Commish, Court Justice

Most Enjoyable Drink: Chilled hibiscus tea with fizzy water

Most Enjoyable Meal: Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese, home fries, creamy coffee

Best Books:
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Owens, Delia (novel)
  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Philbrick, Nathaniel (Historical fiction)
  • Internet Inferno: A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth - "The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell" James 3:6 by Michael John Beasley (Theological)
Favorite activity: Naps with kitty

Worst thing that happened: My cat Bert's screaming in pain the night I brought him to the hospital.

Second worst thing that happened: Bert died

Third worst thing that happened: My pneumonia

Best thing that happened: My friend Dorothy's bravery and grace in pain. Not that she fell and broke her hip, but if God ordained such a thing, her response as a new believer was Godly and inspiring. She is 89 years old and fell outside in her yard. She broke her hip. She lay for 4 hours in the sun before being found. She attributed many graces to God during that lonely time, and many more during her hospitalization and rehabilitation looking to Him for strength and direction. Astounding. An inspiration to us all.

Other Best Thing that Happened: My doctor and my nutritionist found a potential treatment for my IBS

Grateful for: Summers off, a job, children in the job, church, elders, cool mornings, air conditioning, sanctification, grace, good books, coffee, chilled hibiscus tea, church family, so much more!

Happy Back To School!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer is still in full force but...

By Elizabeth Prata's winding down. I've got about 10 days left. Have I used it well? Yes and no, I think.

It took me a while to recover from pneumonia I'd had at the start of the summer, and to mourn the death of my 12 year old cat.

Meanwhile, I set myself the task of reading a bunch of books on my Annual Summer Reading Schedule. I've done OK reading them, though there's a few I haven't finished yet with one week to go. I think I could have done better. I did stall out for a week or so in July for an unknown reason. I just did. Notably, I finished the smaller books but I'm still going through the thicker ones. I'm only halfway through Paton's Letters, Story of Autism, and Selina Countess of Huntingdon. I'd begun reading Nathanial Philbrick's book to the mix (Mayflower), which was also a very long book, so that slowed me down a bit.

I bought the above books in hard copy as well as this one: a Kindle version of Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary White Rowlandson. It's just 55 pages. Review here.

The two Rome books were an answer to a frustrating trend I've experienced. I like reading about then writing on my blog about daily life of first century believers. It's hard to learn the context of what their lives were like with the books I have on hand here. My JI Packer Public Life In Bible Times is good but entries are short and scant. So I found these two and they were reviewed highly.

The Spurgeon Ploughman books were a gem to find. They are like a Christian Poor Richard's Almanack by Ben Franklin. They are full of Christian truths, especially wisdom about daily life, written for the man on the street in his language.

The 12 Rules book was a mistake. I accidentally bought the summary and not the actual book. I'm sending it back to Amazon (which in order to do for free I'll have to drive half an hour in the heat, deal with the UPS Store, and drive half an hour back. Not so free...) I don't believe I'll buy the hard copy after all, because...

I reorganized my book shelves to refresh to my memory what I have and also to fold into the mix my new books. Things are getting tight here at Casa Prata in the bookshelf department. I'm running out of room. Time to give away some or lend some. Hence the decision not to buy the 12 Rules after all.

All that said, I thought, hmmm, why not read some books I already have on hand? I plucked Lightman's Einstein's Dreams from the shelf where it's been languishing for 15 years or more, a little book about time I always meant to read. The time is now, lol, see what I did there. I am halfway through.

I had also bought these recently too:

I enjoy re-organizing the book shelves. I put the Puritan Paperback with my others, now I have 3 from the PP series. I put Moses with my other Moses book. Bunyan with Bunyan, etc. If I only have one author I shelve it by subject, Theology, Commentary, Christian Life, or Puritans.

As for streaming entertainment, this summer I got involved watching The Royal, a UK medical drama set in the 1960s. (Amazon Prime). It's a good show. Also Blown Away, a competitive show about glass blowing. (Netflix). Also good. The Waltons, Harrow: A Very British School, (Amazon Prime) Educating Yorkshire, (Youtube), and Monk (Amazon Prime).

Live entertainment or trips? None. No restaurant outings with friends, no concerts, lunches, road trips, or parties. Just church, Kroger, and home. Heaven!!

My friend Kelly managed to snap this real quick of a dragonfly that had briefly landed on a stalk, which she and the tow kids were at the Botanical Garden. Nice job Kelly, snapping a lightning quick insect while managing two lightning quick toddlers! Note the wing pattern, so delicate. God made all the insects in one day, so amazing. Creation beauty!

Photo by Kelly M

50 years ago, we went to another planet

By Elizabeth Prata

If you're old enough to remember, like me, this will surely move you. Even if you're not old enough to remember live when it happened, this short video animation by Google and narrated by Mike Collins, original moonshot astronaut, is uplifting. On July 20, 1969, I was 8 and a half years old and I was thrilled by this climactic event. Scenes of rockets and astronauts had peppered my childhood, with news clip narrations about how the NASA program was progressing, Then, this, the fulfilled challenge President Kennedy had proclaimed in May 1961-

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Mid-century Modern Mania

By Elizabeth Prata

Everything old is new again. I heard that every 40 years or so clothing fashions come back around (coincidentally the length of time of 1 generation). I've seen it in every decade. I'm seeing the 1970s fashions coming back now.

Design that seemed cool during its time was soon reviled as the world moved on from it, charged with being old and clunky. After a while it was revived as vintage, cool, and freshened up again. This cycle applies also to any kind of design, not just fashion.

I am currently in love with mid-century modern design. I, along with millions of others, that is, it's a huge design trend right now. I never said I was ahead of the trend or even cutting I have a few teacups Mid-century modern design, and my kitchen table is one of those Formica topped, chrome typed you see in 1950s diners.

Mid-century design is characterized by
The enduring popularity of the Mid-Century Modern style is based on many factors. It gave us clean lines, gentle organic curves, a love for different materials and designers that are idolized even today.
While there is some disagreement about when the period started, it roughly lasted from the mid-1930s to mid-1960s. The timeless quality of the style, however, continues to appeal to today's homeowners. This style grew in America based on earlier styles such as Bauhaus which began in Germany, and the International style, which grew from the Bauhaus style in America.
I love mid-century so much because these distinguishing features of the design are me in a nutshell.
The distinguishing features of this style consist of a classic, understated look, and clean lines with minimal fuss.
Functionality is important, as form follows function
Uncluttered and sleek lines with both organic and geometric forms
Minimal ornamentation
An exploration of different traditional as well as non-traditional materials
The juxtaposition of different, and sometimes contrasting materials
Here is a contemporary version of the mid-century design style:


Now, when it comes to collecting Mid-century, the items are very expensive. I lucked out getting my table, it was $20 at a yard sale 18 years ago. I knew then it was a bargain, and I bought it. I had no room to put it in the apartment at the time, but I kept it in storage until I did. I love it because of its graceful lines and also its size, perfect for me.

And then I'd obtained a whole dish set including teacups and saucers. The company is Vernonware and the pattern is Raffia, (produced 1953) unearthed and brought to the public's attention again when seen in the famously mid-century fashionable Mad Men tv show (the show spurred the revival of mid-century).

So how can I get my mid-century fix since I can't afford an Eames chair? ($6,000-$9,000?). Book covers.

Do a quick search for mid-century design for books and you get this:

The strong graphics are evident as are the bold colors and geometry, typical of the era. Much of the material in the non-fiction books is outdated now, so since I won't be reading the books, I'd rip the covers off and make a collage, or frame them, or somehow incorporate them into my apartment. It will be fun to keep an eye out for mid-century books at book sales and vintage stores, and having bought them at a low price I will not feel bad about ripping the covers off to upcycle them and bring them back to glorious design life.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite design era you're currently entranced with?


Further Reading

Why the world is obsessed with mid-century design

Pinterest Board of mid-century design on book covers

Wrap your mind around Mid-Century Modern design
The disciplines that first come to mind when hearing the phrase "mid-century modern design" are furniture, architecture, industrial design and fashion. However, Mid-Mod had a massive influence on graphic design and typography. The first examples of these were initially seen through illustrated advertisements, illustrated book covers, and the postcards and signage of the mid-century.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Classic and vintage books!

By Elizabeth Prata

My complete delight in finding some old books, classic books, and quirky books knows no bounds. Unless I find them for 50 cents or a dollar, then the delight increases. These are all from The Special Store, the lone vintage store that I haunt. Because with finds like these, why shop anywhere else?

Books there cost $1 for hardcover or 50 cents for paperback, unless there is a half price sale going on.

The Austen is hardcover with dust jacket. The Stevenson is paperback in mint condition.

I could not resist these next ones because of the titles. I mean, COME ON! "Outdoor Chums on a Houseboat"? you'd have to have a heart of stone to resist that. And "Master Meadow Mouse", how cute! The inside flap is covered with smaller hand colored illustrations. I was pleased to learn of Master Meadow Mouse's author of American children's stories I had not known about.

Arthur Scott Bailey was born in St. Albans, Vermont and was writer of more than forty children's books. The Newark News stated, "Mr. Bailey centered all his plots in the animal, bird and insect worlds, weaving natural history into the stories in a way that won educator's approval without arousing the suspicions of his young readers. He made it a habit to never 'write down' to children and frequently used words beyond the average juvenile vocabulary, believing that youngsters respond to the stimulus of the unfamiliar."

I wasn't familiar with this particular Kipling, so I picked it up. They are supernatural and ghost stories, which I'm not totally excited about. The writing is good, of course, but after having read two of the stories I might not proceed. The stories are unsettling. That is the other good thing about these books, if I dislike them I can happily disregard or even discard without having to mourn a lot of lost investment.

I am a sucker for an adventure sotry too. The great era of exploration yielded some super ones. Jack London comes to mind, of course And with a title like  "Up Among the Ice-Floes" i quickly put it in my basket.

The Nathanael West book, you might know one of the stories inside: Day of the Locust.

The children's book below of Pictures of Stories and Animals has a hand sewn binding. In 1902 travel was difficult and many people had not seen or known about many of the animals in the book such as elephants and camels and giraffes and polar bears.

The field guide to mushrooms is in German. A real mycologist was in the store when I purchased the field guide and he asked me if I could read German. I said no and he looked at me like I was crazy. It's an attractive book and the mushrooms are beautifully rendered. I also like to buy books in other languages to use in crafting. But the mushrooms are so pretty that I haven't had the heart to tear the book up yet.

Guy de Maupassant was a 19th century French author, remembered as a master of the short story form. He is a little depressing though so I may or may not read the book or I might just tear it up for crafting projects. Hey, ditch the pitchforks! It was only $1. And it's not rare.

A complete Sherlock Holmes for $1? Yes please. And the stories, jokes, & anecdotes in the railroad book are great, and there are lots of drawings and pictures.

See? I don't only buy teacups.

What have been some good finds of yours?