Sparkle & Glow

Sparkle & Glow, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Yes, it's a day late, but better late than never. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Merry Merry Merry

Not only is this a Christmas post, it is my first post in a week, it is my 700th post and it is a post about how awesome I am. I recently completed a tutorial about how to make a book because bookbinding is something I'm getting into these days. Well, on the 23rd of December, the Craft Magazine blog linked to my tutorial as part of their post full of ideas for last-minute gifts for boys. Mine was the first one mentioned!!! And, they posted a picture of the journal I recently made for the boy. Yay for Christmas! Yay for 700 posts! Yay for making books! Yay for being linked on a cool blog! Woot!!

My First Book (for Sale)

book for sale, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

I listed my first book for sale over at Etsy. If you want to check out my shop, which mostly contains photos, click here.

I'll never be able to list a lot at a time, but I'll be putting up a few more books up after Christmas break and there are always photos to be purchased. I'm also willing to work with people on custom orders if you have something you'd really like.

Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Sorry I'm so good at giving up on things. I'm working on it.

Start to Finish

Supplies, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Hey friends! I just made a tutorial for making a simple book. If you're up for a little challenge, please try to follow my instructions and let me know if they are sufficient. If you don't want a challenge, just read through the instructions and let me know if you think certain things are unclear.

To see the tutorial, click here. A slideshow will begin. To read the captions which give the instructions, just click on the picture. If it's too fast, you can slow it down using the buttons in the bottom left corner. For a few days, you can also just click here to go to my flickr page and view the photos in non-slideshow format.

My So-Called Life!!!

If you go to and click on the link for full episodes and launch the player, you can actually watch the first episode of My So-Called Life. Blast from the past, no doubt!

Another...and Another

The bookbinding bug lives! I can't stop myself. I see beautiful paper and I want...NO, I need, to make it into a book. Since last Friday, I've made two more pretty things and thought y'all might like to see a few pictures.

A Book for Me

This one I made especially for me. The paper on the front cover called to me from the shelf as I was in Michael's one day. It probably would have made me happy to use it on the back, as well, but some part of me likes to have variety, so I chose a coordinating sheet, which is not visible in this shot, but it provided the green dot visible in the top right corner. Another bit of the J.Crew shoebox was used for the cover board and some green embroidery floss sacrificed itself for the binding. I made the book over 500 pages. Yes, that is a lot, but I like big fat books. Believe me, it's perfect!
Side Detail
This book is my first commissioned job. Jordan's mom wanted to give one of her students a sketchbook/journal for Christmas, so she bought the supplies and I made the book. Basically, she bought a regular sketchbook and I used the thick board on the back and the pages to make a pretty sketchbook. My habit of binding too tightly came into play, so I built in an elastic strip to keep it closed.

These pictures are my favorites, but don't show much detail, so if you want to see more check out my picture set of homemade books.

Laid Bare...Almost

Written two weeks ago...

Most of you, my faithful readers, will not be surprised when I tell you that this has been a tough semester for me. The infrequent, somewhat cryptic posts could have clued you in. Or, if you know me outside the blogosphere, the constant look of confusion may have done it for you. Anyway, it's the hardness of life that's kept me from posting because some things really are too personal. Today, though, I've felt prompted to share a little bit, at least.

Some of you may read the word "semester" and think that I'm struggling academically. But, other than having difficulty finding the motivation to complete the work, school hasn't been much of a problem. I've been learning some things and enjoying my classmates. Preaching has been especially good, which is a huge surprise to me.

My current struggles have been more internal; emotional and spiritual. For the past fifteen years or so, I've believed myself to be a basically stoic person. I've begun learning, though, that I am not so much a stoic as a stuffer. Ever since I can remember I have distanced myself from my emotions and now, suddenly, all of the emotions that I'd stuffed down inside myself have decided it's time to come out. The best illustration I can think of is how the Titans were released from their bonds to wreak havoc on the earth in Hercules. (Yes, I just referenced the Disney version of a Greek myth.)

Of course, in the midst of unexpected and unprecendented mood swings, I haven't been able to explain it quite so succinctly before. It's taken me several months of thinking about and talking about these things to understand what's going on with me. And, I'm sure there's still a lot more to understand...

This new understanding hit me in a fresh way as I was listening to a classmate's sermon on Matthew 11:16-19, which goes like this:
"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."
The constant refrain in Jason's sermon was that the people just didn't get it. But, one thing he said was especially striking to me. I can't quote him directly, but the gist was that weddings and funerals should be two life events to which we are intensely connected emotionally. Yet, the unresponsive children in this passage were able to contemplate both with dispassion. And, then I remembered all the times my friends had shared news with me, news of engagements and illnesses, of exciting opportunities and huge disappointments, to which I responded with a meager "congratulations" or a wan smile, when I should have been crying or rejoicing with them. The joy and pain that I should have shared with my friends was absent because I had learned not to feel.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to not feeling because pain hurts. (Obvious, huh?) But, at the same time, I now realize that not feeling pain and sorrow also deadened my ability to feel joy and happiness and I know that I don't want to go back to that. I want to cry when I need to cry and jump up and down when it's time to do that. If you've ever been disappointed in my reactions to your news in the past, know that I am feeling them now, intensely. And, while I can't promise that I will have the right reaction when you bring me your joys and sorrows in the future, I can promise that I will try to experience them both with you.

I am Elliott and I feel.

Both Sides Now

both sides now, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

I made another book. This one has a pretty obvious mistake, but I think it's beautiful nonetheless. Originally, I was going to keep this one, but I suddenly realized that if I never gave any of these away I would eventually have to stop making them.

Another One

I made another book today. It took me about three hours from start to finish; not too shabby for an amateur. Here are some photos:

It's just a tad bit larger than a quarter sheet of printer paper (4.25"x5.5") and contains 120 leaves or 240 pages. For the covers, I used pieces of cardboard from a J.Crew shoe box that I found in the recycling bin downstairs and paper that I bought from a designer on

For the binding, I used blue DMC embroidery floss that I waxed with my nifty waxing contraption purchased in from Talas in NYC. My first book's binding was a little floppy, so I overcompensated a little, making this one too tight. But, honestly, I'd rather have to use some outside means to keep it closed than have it all sloppy.

The same paper that I used for the covers, I used for the signature wrappers. Signature wrappers seemed like such a silly idea until I put them to use, now I realize that they just make the book that much prettier! This picture shows why I love coptic binding. Journals that lie flat on their own are awesome.

If I weren't such a perfectionist, I would try to sell this one. But, I don't think I could charge someone for the rough corners and raggedy edges and too-tight binding... Anyway, I really love doing this. I think my next binding project will be upcycling on my favorite children's books, Katie the Kitten.

My First Sale!

Friends, I have some exciting news. I made my very first sale on Etsy. Someone bought an 8x10 of the photo to the right. Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was such an awesome feeling for someone to actually be willing to spend money on some of my artwork.

Anyway, if you're looking for Christmas presents and think some of your friends and family might like some of my work, please stop by my Etsy shop and place an order. Any special requests are welcome! Almost all of the non-people pictures on my flickr page are fair game!

Buffet of Color

Buffet of Color, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

So Done

When I get busy and stressed out, my first reaction is to stop doing whatever it is I am supposed to be doing and find something that does not need to be done or, at least, doesn't need to be done until after something else. That's what I'm doing right now. I have a midterm exam tomorrow in my church history class and instead of studying, I am writing a blog entry. Before this, I was looking at Etsy. I can't afford to buy a single thing I want on Etsy, but I constantly torture myself by looking at it.

Anyway, I thought I would take a moment to lament before I got back to doing something that actually needs to be done.

Go! Buy!!

So, I've listed some of my photographs on Etsy. If you love me and you love my photos, please stop by and see if you might like to purchase some. Slap 'em in a cute frame and you've got an instant Christmas gift.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

I Did It...

I love making things and giving them to people, so I took a pledge to either make or buy homemade things for people this Christmas. Maybe you should think about it, too... Go to Etsy. Not everything homemade has to be expensive.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

If you want to, you could even buy some of my photos, which are handmade by me, for Christmas gifts. A link to that action will be forthcoming shortly!

So Not Done

My systematic theology midterm was due today. I sent it to my preceptor several hours ago and wish that I was never going to see it again. You could say it's not good, but that would be an understatement. It's not only not good, it's terrible. I feel sort of ashamed of turning it in. It's not that I didn't try. I tried! I tried so hard. I thought about the questions, I read and reread the material, I spent hours writing, but none of it worked.

With the rest of my week, I get to write my first sermon ever, make a paper proposal, and take an in-class midterm. I'm going to try to make the most of it, but it's all a little overwhelming. Feel free to pray for me.

On a Level

, originally uploaded by kate e. did.


Ancient, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Another Hoop

There is a requirement here at Princeton Theological Seminary that all students complete two field education placements. As of now, the middle of my third semester, I have still not even seriously contemplated how I am going to fulfill this requirement. Recently, in the midst of finding so little motivation to do my schoolwork that it's unbelievable, I've begun to think that a good way to "fulfill" said requirement would be to drop out.

I know I won't actually drop out of school, but it seems a pretty tempting option sometimes.

I Tried...

I sort of liked my new blog template, for a while, but it ended up just being too complicated to add or change anything on it. So I've switched back to my old theme until such a time when I can actually spend 25 hours working on customizing a template that I like better than the one I have.


Change, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Just got back today from a few days in Ithaca, NY, with, Rebecca, one of my two lovely college roommates. While she was volunteering on Friday afternoon, I bummed around the house for several hours and then decided to take some photos of the waterlogged leaves on her deck.

Poetry Is Hard

For my class on the Epistle to the Hebrews, I have to write a paper reflecting on all of or some portion of the first six chapters of the letter. Dr. Wagner encourages creativity, so our reflections can take the form of art, poetry, or music if we would rather not pursue the more traditional formats.

So, because I've been feeling a little more artsy and less smartsy lately, I've chosen to write a little poetry. (My next project will probably take the form of photography.)

Some of you might think I'm taking the easy way out with all this creativity nonsense, but let me tell you, it's mighty difficult to write a poem that isn't complete garbage. Perhaps Dr. Wagner and Amy Peeler don't know good poetry from bad, but I doubt that's the case.

Letting the text guide my words without letting them put me in a strait jacket is tricky. Finding exactly the right words and transitions to express what I want to is like walking on a high wire. I probably could have written a more traditional reflection in less than an hour, but I've been agonizing over this poem for the past two days!

Maybe this is just my way of avoiding the other work that I have to do... Who knows? Whatever it is, it's a good thing it's satisfying because it's taking a freaking long time!

The Weight of the World

The Weight of the World, originally uploaded by kate e. did.


Spiny, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Another view of my precious little book.

Can't wait to go to Talas and buy some cheap little things to make this hobby more enjoyable.


So, I mentioned before that I was interested in taking up bookbinding as a new hobby. Well, folks, I've gone and done it. As of Friday, I completely the binding of my first ever book. It's a tiny baby of a book, and it looks a little rough, but it was 100% handmade by yours truly.

Here's a picture (click on this one to see some other perspectives):


Because I don't have "real" bookbinding supplies, I had to improvise a lot. It was a fun process. The paper I used is standard printer paper in various shades. Each page is the size of 1/8 of a sheet. For the cover papers of the end signatures, I used an award certificate I'd received that was printed on cardstock. The covers are made from davey board that I salvaged from a book Andrea helped me make senior year of college. The beautiful blue thread that I used for the coptic stitch binding is blue embroidery floss, which I waxed using a scented candle.

In all, I spent between 6 and 8 hours working on this little gem. It was a very satisfying endeavor and now I have something useful that didn't cost me anything but some time and a little effort. I was a little worried that the coptic stitch would be beyond me, but it turns out that my sewing talent helped with that part of the project.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in having me make a book for them or for a gift for someone else, let me know...I bet we could work out a good deal. And, the end result would be enjoyment for me and for you.

Taking Care of Business

After classes end today, reading week has begun. It will be a good time to catch up on some work and, for me, a good time to get off campus, too. I'm looking forward to a visit with my lovely, long-lost roommate, Rebecca. I'll be heading up to Ithaca, by way of NYC, on Wednesday and coming back to PTS on Saturday evening. It's hard to believe that I haven't seen her since last Christmas! That's a long time, people.

Over the next week I have a a sermon, an exegesis paper, a reflection paper, a midrash, and a midterm to write. There's also some reading and translating and studying for an in-class midterm thrown into the mix just for kicks. I just take comfort in the fact that the work always gets done.

So, the upcoming week should be good and busy... Yeah, that's all I've got.

Boys and Girls

Boys and Girls, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

I Don't Think They'll Sell This One

When I Grow Up...

Sometimes, while living in Virginia with Emily, she would sometimes ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My most frequent answer was, "I don't really know," or a shrug of my shoulders.

Now that I'm in graduate school, the same question looms every time I prepare for another class, every time I write a paper, every time I sign another student loan document. What do I want to be when I grow up?

Since arriving at seminary, my answer to that query has been "I want to study the Old Testament," or "I want to work in church education," or something along those lines. The problem is, that answer doesn't ring true anymore. Maybe it's the result of being in school almost constantly for twelve of the past thirteen months, but the thought of studying for another five years after the completion of my current degree program sounds, well, awful.

In the past few months, as I've become more interested in photography and, more recently, interested in the art of bookbinding, I've begun to contemplate whether it would be possible for me to pursue such things as a career or, at least, as a hobby that pays. I'd be glad to have a more traditional 9-5 to pay the bills, but my dream is that I wouldn't need to. I could tend a large vegetable garden behind a modest home, make books, sew things, take photos, cook large, delicious, mainly vegetarian meals, indulge in hospitality, and sell beautiful things to people who might appreciate them.

Can I dream such daring things? Or would such a path be a waste of the knowledge and skill I've acquired at college and now graduate school?

To those who ruined my lunch,

Sometimes I like to meet new people. There are days when I become extra perky for a few hours and have fun asking all the same questions I've asked a million times before. Today was not that day.

I wish that you had not been so interested in rescuing me from my solitude. Sometimes I don't mind being alone in public places. Maybe I would like to let my thoughts wander and enjoy the taste of my food without conversation.

It's not that I'm really ungrateful, but as soon as you sat with me I knew that the more would follow. And, after they sat down with us, I knew that conversation would turn into friend-talk. Friend-talk is wonderful, I love doing it myself, but it's exclusive. So, no matter what I do to break in and no matter what you do to include me, it doesn't work.

So, conversation became stilted and ordinary, which made me want to finish my food as quickly as possible and leave. It made me want to leave the table I was sitting at so peacefully, all by myself. Then, when I wanted to leave, I felt it necessary to stay for a few more minutes just to make sure it didn't look like I was trying to get away from y'all, even though I did.

Anyway, the next time you see someone sitting alone, don't assume they want company. Sometimes they don't.

Yours truly,
Cranky McCrankypants

Etsy Your Heart Out!

I have to tell you, I am addicted to a site I recently discovered, called Etsy. It's like eBay or Amazon for all things handmade. You can purchase everything from handmade books to one-of-a-kind sculpture to fine furniture and jewelry. Obviously, there is also plenty of crap and some of the stuff is way overpriced, but there are a lot of great sellers on the site that make some really wonderful items.

I've only purchased two items from Etsy since my poor grad student status automatically negates much frivolous spending, but I still love to snoop around the place thinking of things that I could make, either for myself or as gifts. A particularly fantastic part of the site is that most of the sellers are willing to work with customers to create personalized, one-of-a-kind items, so that you get exactly what you're looking for.

My favorite seller, so far, is Froydis. She uses old, falling apart books and dust jackets to make beautiful hand-bound journals. I can only hope to someday make books that look half as good as hers. The whole site makes me want to give up on school and start making books and selling framed photos...

Anyway, if you like crafty/artsy things or if you need a gift for someone who does, Etsy is a good place to start and finish your search.

Awesome Things That Happen When You Don't Have Money OR Insurance

Several weeks ago, I noticed that one arm of my eyeglasses was beginning to come off. This situation was distressing because I need my glasses to see stuff, y'know? Since I noticed this, I have been extra careful... The problem is that being careful only lasts so long.

This morning, as I was putting my glasses on, the arm that had been threatening to fall off, finally gave way. It's not a tragedy; I have another pair of glasses. It's just that these glasses are blue and plastic and make me look like I'm trying to be a sassy emo chick. Not to mention, the prescription isn't too far wrong, but it's also not completely right.

I guess I'll go talk to the financial aid office and see if I can get a few more dollars in student loans for next semester to cover a new pair. For now, I guess I'll be a sassy emo chick...

From Another Angle

From Another Angle, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

In Case You Didn't Know...

If you are a fan of Radiohead, you can buy a copy of their newest album for the low low cost of however-much-you-feel-like-paying. Just go to their website and pre-order the download. You will have the entire album in a little less than five minutes. Just a warning: the site is moving pretty slowly just because there is a lot of interest in this album and the almost freeness of it.

Coming from someone who hasn't much liked some of the most recent Radiohead albums, I'm digging this one. It's got a more mellow feel than some of their other stuff, especially "Hail to the Thief." Anyway, the most it's gonna cost you is 45 pence, so you might as well check it out.

The Library Hates Me

I went to the Princeton Public Library today in order to get out some books about bookbinding. "Why?" you ask. Well, the answer is simple, I want to learn how to make and repair books. Another why? Just think of the artistic gift-giving potential. I love books, I love paper, I love photos... I'm starting to drool thinking of all the possibilities.

Anyway, I arrived at the library after a fruitful trip to the Lindt store and a fruitless trip to the closed-for-Columbus-Day Post Office, only to find that the books I wanted, which the catalog claimed were on the shelf, were, in fact, missing. Two lovely librarians tried to help by looking through the books yet needing to be reshelved, but alas, there was no finding these books.

I'm sorely tempted to go on and just buy some books, but I know that such a venture would not only be an affront to my nigh on empty wallet, but I also might purchase worthless books that will be of little help in my quest to develop a new skill set.

I guess I should look at the bright side. Even if I got the books I wanted, and started learning fun new things, I wouldn't have the money or time to really pursue this new interest. Perhaps it's providential that I was unable to find much tinder for my new desire.

Woe woe. Alas, alack.


Nibble, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Fall Blooms

Fall Blooms, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

End of Summer

End of Summer, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Sony, How Do I Love Thee?

My phone is dying. I dropped it on the stairs. It worked pretty well for a while, except for the one button that stuck a little. Whatever, it was still taking and making calls. Unfortunately, that stopped yesterday. Now it's delaying to the point that I can't answer calls.

I thought that I would have to buy a new phone, but when I checked the AT&T website last night, I found that, since they are desperate to retain all their Cingular customers, I was able to get a new phone for free. So, even though it's sort of annoying that I have to do the whole new phone thing, it's really nice that I didn't have to pay $180 for it.

So, this is your opportunity. If you desperately want to get on my speed dial, you can email me your number... I probably won't call, but you'll be in there.


Greed, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

This is possibly the best picture I've taken in a month. No editing, not even a crop. I'm very proud of this one, with the perfect asymmetrical framing, the sharp detail in the foreground and the beautiful soft bokeh of the sun through the pine branches. Oooooo...I love it!

And, yes, I did deserve that pat on the back. Thank you very much!

Prayer for Burma (Myanmar)

I don't know if anyone in Princeton reads my blog, but if you do, you should meet the Seminarians for Peace and Justice in front of Mackay at 9 p.m. to pray for the people of Burma (Myanmar)

We have several students on campus from Burma. Join us as we lift them, their families and their nation to God.

Sunning Herself

Sunning Herself, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Look at this flower. This flower looks exactly the opposite of how I feel right now.

How's that for cryptic and maybe a little too revealing?

Back to School

Bell Tower, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

When this semester began, I felt like I didn't have that much work to do, that my class schedule was pretty light. Tonight, I realized that I was completely wrong and that even four classes (plus preaching) at PTS is quite a load. So, I'm already behind on everything. Go me!

Fortunately...for Them

Mid-Life, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

I don't think there are many people who still frequent my blog. It wasn't my intention to drive my very small readership off, but since I don't have much that I feel like saying in this very public forum, it's probably all for the best.

Life is going. I'm not trying to be cryptic or anything; life is just life.

One thing I regret about today: I work at 5 p.m., the dining hall doesn't open until 5:30 p.m., and I didn't take the time at lunch to steal myself any dinner.

One thing I love about today: I got to spend some time with Geila, my one girlfriend at seminary who comes close to getting into the bracket of former-roomie-status friend.

Heads Down

Heads Down, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

I found these flowers as I was wandering around Palmer Square waiting for the Lindt shop to open. You might think that I was waiting for a chocolate shop to open so that I could get some goodies for myself, but it was actually for Jordan. He enjoys their round balls of chocolate-y goodness, especially the dark chocolate, so I got him some as a reward for making it through his first day of field ed. Apparently, it wasn't a very difficult day, just being introduced to the congregation and such, but it was a first day nonetheless.

Sometimes I'm really glad that I'm not doing field ed this year, but at other times I remember that just means I'll have to do it next year...

Close Quarters

Close Quarters, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Petals Up

Petals Up, originally uploaded by kate e. did.


Orange, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Pretty on Pink

Pretty on Pink, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

It be my first day of classes. Arrrrrr! It be also National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Avast!


Understudy, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

A lovely shot from Sarah's garden

White Flower

Windswept, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Perhaps it's cliche to like the blurry one, but this is my favorite photo from my weekend in Pennsburg.

Off for the Weekend

I'm off for a weekend in Pennsburg.

Classes start next Wednesday. I'm looking forward to that, but I think I'll look forward to it even more after a weekend away.

Anyway, everyone have a great weekend.


Upended, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Saw these beauties out of the corner of my eye about a week ago.


Acrobat, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Leaning Grass

Leaning Grass, originally uploaded by kate e. did.


Creepers, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Dying in the Sun

Dying in the Sun, originally uploaded by kate e. did.


Bouquet, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Jersey Eggplant

Jersey Eggplant, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Another shot from the Trenton Farmer's Market. I don't like to eat eggplant, but they are certainly photogenic.


Cornucopia, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

It's almost autumn!!!


Chandeliers, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

The Princeton Public Library is a really beautiful place. I took this shot the other night when I got my library card so that I could take out The Little Prince. The librarian gave me a funny look since I was an adult checking out a kids' book.

A Rose From Another Angle

A Rose From Another Angle, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Busy Bee

Busy Bee, originally uploaded by kate e. did.

Oh Coffee, How Do I Love Thee?

Too Much Coffee

It's been a long time coming, but about two weeks ago I began to genuinely enjoy coffee. One good Americano at Starbucks and an excellent cappuccino at A Small World and I'm a coffee lover. I'm not addicted, I just like to enjoy a cup every few days.

The night I took this picture, I decided to try a large instead of a regular. I drank it happily, but began to feel strange about half an hour after I was finished. My legs were shaking, my head started swimming, and my stomach hurt. The walk home was accomplished in record time and I couldn't fall asleep until at least 1:30 a.m.

Lesson learned: I'm an amateur and I should stick to regular-sized coffees.


I heart Regina Spektor. Another song of hers I like a lot is Fidelity.

Preparing to Fly

Preparing to fly, originally uploaded by kate e. did.