Tag Archives: gifts

fifteen thousand useful phrases.

A good book is a wonderful present. I stopped by Shana’s a couple of days ago, and as I took my coat off she casually said, as if it were no big deal, gesturing toward the couch: there’s a present for you there. And there was this magical book, sitting on the sofa cushion like any other little thing. Only it isn’t any other little thing. It’s the most enchanting book ever. Fifteen thousand useful phrases. You may have noticed that I have a thing for words. I also have a thing for odd reference books. And people who can turn a phrase. So this book? SHAZAM. I spent the next several hours reading word pairings and phrases aloud. I changed my regular Twitter bio to include the phrase “a well-bred mixture of boldness and courtesy.” Then I spent some time this morning setting up a Twitter account so I can tweet the whole entire book, because the world needs to know all about the fifteen thousand useful phrases, subtitled “A practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write and speak English.” By Grenville Kleiser, Funk & Wagnalls, 1917. It’s hilarious and touching and altogether brilliant. SHAZAM.

“The choice word, the correct phrase, are instruments that may reach the heart, and awake the soul if they fall upon the ear in melodious cadence…Language is a temple in which the human soul is enshrined, and…it grows out of life…”

If you’re interested in owning your own copy, it’s available on Project Gutenberg in several digital formats and abebooks.com has lots of hardcopies in various conditions.

i made this.

Last fall I was really enjoying doing some needlework for Christmas gifts. I had big plans to take photographs of everything I did and do a whole blog post on them after the holidays. Needless to say, this did not happen. I took some pictures, which I promptly lost in the thicket of my electronic files. Some things weren’t finished until after Christmas. Other things were never photographed.

I was editing a couple of pictures this morning, and found one of these pieces. This little photo find inspired me, so I did some digging and managed to come up with a few more of the photographs. It’s not the fancy write-up I initially planned, but I had so much fun making these (and then giving them to their intended recipients) that I’m happy to have a small record of it. Such as it is, I present to you Needlefest ’09 (primarily based on inside jokes, but I hope still fun to look at):

I made this for Shana‘s husband, Shawn. The quote is his own. 🙂

This was for Dennice‘s son, who loves both pie & squirrels. Naturally.

This portrait of Archy was made for Leslie, and is a two-part effort. Her boyfriend used an iPhone app to draw a Lennon-esque sketch of Archy, which she loved. I thought the simple lines had possibilities for embroidery, so I made a transfer and stitched it onto a vintage handkerchief.
Art by Chris & fiber interpretation by me.


This piece is also done on a vintage handkerchief, and was made for Skunkboy Creatures‘ craft swap a few months back.