13 November 2008

15 pages down, 35 to go.

Well now. I felt accomplished until I tallied up that page count for the title there. All week long I've been holed up in a far corner of the library, or in a far (well not really so far... my house is teeny) corner of my house, just working, and reading, and writing, and working some more.

First on the agenda was a smallish research paper on a topic of my choosing in England during either the Tudor or the Stuart dynasties. I decided to take a look at the Spanish match, specifically the trip that Charles (at the time Prince of Wales, later the headless king), and the Duke of Buckingham took to Madrid, unannounced and in disguise to secure the Spanish Infanta's hand in marriage for Charles. It seemed to me from everything I've learned before that it's a pretty specific event, and that boiling it down to a smallish paper wouldn't be too much of a problem. It's not an often researched or talked about thing, so I figured doing my own research and coming to my own conclusions in the scope of 10-15 pages wouldn't be that big of a deal.

Woah. Was I mistaken.

I was correct in the assumption that there is not a great volume of work done on the subject, and that primary documents (James' and Charles' letters to each other specifically) would be easy to obtain. What I was wrong about was the scope of the topic. What little work is out there is incredibly detailed and massively comprehensive, and the affair itself turned out to far more complex than I had originally though. What followed was a week's worth of distressed pulling of hair as I tried to boil hundreds and hundreds of pages of information down to 10-15 pages, without leaving out anything important, while still utilizing primary sources, and finding something original to say about the matter.

When I returned home from the library at 10 last night, my vision swimming from the constant switches from book to computer screen, my head pounding, hands chapped and stiff from the cold, short a conclusion, and with only 12 hours before it had to be turned in, I was ready to scream. But then, I saw the understated little Amazon.com box sitting in the middle of the kitchen table. Could it be? I dropped my backpack and armful of books, and ran to check.

It was! My name was neatly printed on the address label, so it could only be one thing: Alicia Paulson's (of Posie Gets Cozy fame) brand new book, Stitched in Time. I tore at the box like a kid at Christmas, and couldn't help but grin as I pulled it out. I had pre-ordered it a week ago. My very first craft book that wasn't found in the garage of a family member. The first craft book I went out of my way to pre-order.

Alicia's blog has always been so inspiring, and her skills with color have always left me speechless, so I was eager to have a good page through and see what sort of wonders were contained. But, I still had some paper left to write. So I sat the book right in front of me as visual motivation, dragged my shit out of my bags and got to work. In no time, I was finished and I quickly opened Stitched in Time to soak in all the pretty pictures.

I must say that the book is everything I expected, and then some. Amazing ideas, beautiful photography, and wonderful writing. I already have three or four projects that I've bookmarked to be made as soon as I'm done with the whole... school thing... for the semester. The Memory match game is a brilliant idea, and timely since I have several family friends expecting in the next few months. Also, I'm going to have to keep my eye out in thrift stores for some great sweaters for the felted-sweater bag (though it defeats the memory-keeping part of the project, I don't really wear wool because of the itch factor, so I have no sweaters of my own that could "accidentally" end up felted). And the friend chandelier is a great solution to my problem of picture frames crowding all the flat, usable surface I have in my room. Even though I currently have no time to make anything in it, I get such joy just looking through it thanks to the beautiful photography (there's a photo of her puppy Clover in there that is amazingly squeal-worthy, btw).

For now, it will have to wait, however. I've got two more papers awaiting my attention, including a 15-20 page analysis of why the U.S. got involved in the Korean Conflict, and another 15-20 page cultural history of the Chinese New Culture Movement. But at least one of them is finished and turned in.

And as a bonus, Starbucks is using their holiday cups, and serving Peppermint Mochas again, one of which I briefly enjoyed while proofreading my paper this morning. And we all know how I feel about the holiday cups and Peppermint Mochas. I'm sure in the next few weeks you'll all get to read my annual ode of love to them.

Well, back to the books.


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