My Weird and Dorky Book Chart

S on SnowdoniaI don’t have a type-A personality even a little bit.

But, there is this one thing that I’m weirdly particular about.

It’s my bookshelves. And my book chart.

I like to read, but, as any good bibliophile knows, the books just pile up and you can’t possibly read as fast as you acquire good books.

Probably the dorkiest thing I’ve ever done is make my book chart. Over the years, I’d acquired all these books in a variety of subject matters. There are the books from my college classes I was too busy to read at the time. The books that were given to me by one person or another. My collection of books about religion. K’s collection of books about the ancient Maya. Interesting-looking nonfiction books picked up at yard sales here and there. It got to be too much. There were books I was dying to read and books I knew I wanted to read eventually, but kept putting off for easier ones. Enter the book chart.

The Chart of DorkinessI made a list in excel of all the books I owned that I hadn’t read yet, but wanted to.  I had a column of titles. I had a column of authors. I had a column of how many pages the actual book is because I once took a big, fat Ayn Rand novel on a trip, only to end up with nothing to read on the long ride home because it was actually a novella with her entire manuscript with her handwritten notes on it printed in the back. Presumably meant for people who don’t find her as repugnant as I do. (Beeteedubs, can we take a second and talk about how much I hate her? What kind of person actually says that altruism is bad? Ugh. All the people these days who practically worship her completely confound me.)

I went to random.org, and got a randomized sequence of the number of books I had (300ish), reorganized my list according to that sequence, and began reading the books in that order. I printed it out, and every time I finish a book, I cross it off and write the date. I also have an account at goodreads.com to write reviews of them. Any new books get added to the end. I first did this almost exactly three years ago, and I finished a page and a half on my chart. But, the new books got too long and too focused on the couple of subjects my interest in books seems to be narrowing on, so I re-randomized. Because I am weird enough to want a properly randomized books-to-read list.

Despite it’s eccentricity, I really like this system. It keeps me from reading all the way through the books that sound the most interesting by their covers and then ending up with shelves full of books I’m avoiding. I also think that reading a lot of books about the same subject in order, which would be my natural tendency, can feel redundant, whereas reading the same books with other things in between can yield surprising insights into both subjects.

The LibraryAnd then there are the bookshelves. It’s both K and me who do it, and both The Artist and The Architect make fun of us for it. That picture above is of our awesome library/reading corner/guest bedroom in the living room. Before I get into the book organization scheme, I thought I’d make an aside about all the cool stuff you can see in our library. On the top left is one of the Architect’s models of a ski loft he designed in school. The small round art was painted by the Architect’s best friend. The Moroccan lantern is one of K’s favorite things. SAM_1713The little white table I like to call the Marshmallow Lilypad after my favorite TV couple, since it is actually a porcelain stool made out of lilypad shapes that looks like a marshmallow. The Architect made the Don Quixote by cutting out the white paper and putting it on a black background. And finally, the Architect ALSO made the Dulcimer for me when we were in high school. Have I mentioned that I have an extremely talented husband?

Finished booksThese days, K and I are trying to limit ourselves to just these two bookshelves. The first is all the books we’ve read before and want to keep around. Our all-time favorites like The Universe StoryThe Little PrinceLooking for Alaska, and American Gods. That shelf is organized by height and spine color. Because it’s pretty.

The other shelf is organized in a way that is more complicated, and is based on our book charts. K has a list, too, but she’s reading her books in alphabetical order to randomize instead of peculiarly using a random number generator like I do. The top shelf is the books on my to-read list, but not hers. Either she’s already read them, or isn’t interested. The second and part of the third shelves are the books still on both of our to-read lists. And the bottom 2.5 shelves are the books on K’s to-read list, but not mine. Bookshelf with notesIt’s much bigger because she’s in grad school and has so many books about the Maya. Each section is shelved in alphabetical order by title to make finding books easier.

The Artist and the Architect make fun of us because of how many times we took all of the  books off the shelves and reorganized to get to this system that works for us. Originally, I wanted to have my books on the shelf in the randomized order, but there was no way to make sense of it with the middle section of shared to-read books. So we ended up with this silly three times alphabetized books.

I dunno. I guess most people probably have one thing they’re way more particular about than most other things. The Architect’s is where the dishes go in the cabinet. K and I don’t ever put dishes away anymore. We will inevitably do it wrong, and then the Architect will actually take the dishes out and put them back where he likes them. What about you guys? Any things you’re weirdly particular about organizing?

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A better wardrobe

K on tree Not like the kind of wardrobe S talked about last week! I was inspired by her post about making old ugly clothes better to post about how I once took the boring white IKEA wardrobe from my bedroom and made it beautiful.

The house we lived in when The Architect moved in with us was a hundred year old row house, and it was not built with closets the way modern people expect closets. They were about six inches deep, and just had two hooks instead of a rod.

So I bought this wardrobe from IKEA. It was fine. Our house was cheap, which was good because we didn’t have any money, being as how we were recent graduates. But a year and a half later, we grew out of that old house–its only bathroom was so small you could sit on the toilet with your feet in the tub and wash your hands at the same time. And only half the door was useful because the sink was in the way. And the basement flooded every time it rained. And there was a room with no air conditioning or heating, which made our bills really high. And S and The Architect were sharing a room that was so small they both had to keep their clothes elsewhere. The house was causing us to fight. So we moved out of that old crappy house and into a BEAUTIFUL loft apartment.

I wanted my bedroom to feel nice, like it deserved to be in this awesome apartment, instead of just looking like it came from IKEA.

So I wallpapered it. I bought two wallpapers I liked, and used one as the border and the other on the main parts. And it turned out looking like a very expensive luxury wardrobe.

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And then I decorated my whole bedroom to go with the wardrobe and its beautiful blues.

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Refashions and more refashions!

S on SnowdoniaSo I’ve been on a refashioning kick lately. I’m not really sure how it all got started. I know that a few months ago, I found Refashionista, and I read a bunch of her posts. I thought it would be something fun to do every now and again. When K and I were kids, we used to play dress up all the time, and our mother taught us how to sew. The other really important thing she taught us was how to make do with what we have.

In college, I worked in the costume shop of the dance and theater department as my work study job, so I learned some new tricks of the trade, if you will. And then I was going through my closet looking to thin out, choosing clothes to donate to the thrift store, and I found this dress and shirt. SAM_1632 SAM_1631The dress was the costume from one of the first dance pieces I was in in college, and so I had a sentimental attachment to it, even though the neckline was definitely worn out from taking off an edging that had been around to make the tops more modest for a girl who didn’t quite fit her dress. And the shirt I always liked the polka dotted neckline, but never the boring t-shirt shape. So I decided to give refashioning a whirl, and I made this dress, which I then wore to dance around the maypole at a mayday event in town:395622_466559073419014_1044015189_n (1)

Then, K and I were going to a fancy event in March, and she was going to wear a cute peplum dress, but didn’t have a coat to wear. I told her I’d make her one out of an ugly coat at the thrift store. We went, and I found the perfect one, but she was quite dubious. But after taking it in and chopping it off, it was very much improved!

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So then, I starting refashioning left and right. I just find it so satisfying to take something ugly and make it cute. And I get the pleasure of wearing clothes I made myself without having to make them from scratch. My sewing skills are definitely NOT good enough to make a whole outfit from scratch, but I can definitely take in and rearrange things.

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My latest project was a little bit of a challenge. I started off with this ill-fitting and terribly colored dress. It was one of those off whites that makes it just look dirty instead of beige.IMG_20130627_201250

So I thought I’d dye it green. Sadly, the green dye didn’t take. I have no real idea why, considering the dress is cotton. My best guess is that I didn’t soak it long enough (I really thought an hour would be sufficient). If anything, it just looked dirtier. Anyway, I decided to put it in a purple bath with another terribly hideous dress I’m planning to refashion, and I left them in for a whole day while I went to work.SAM_2122

The dye took! I meant for it not to be too deep of a purple, so I watered the dye down some. I also wanted to change the shape of the dress. It was too much of an a-line, which was very flat. So I took a chunk out of the middle, gathered the skirt, and reattached it.

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Once it was done, I put on a cute belt to cover up the new seam, and went up to our roof deck to enjoy some homebrew with the Architect. Delicious.

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Welcome!

K on treeHello and welcome to Two 1/2 Eggs! It’s me, K. See that picture over there on the left? That means I’m the one writing. You’ll see it at the top of all of my posts. It was taken just after hurricane Irene knocked over a tree in our neighborhood.  When S is the one writing, you’ll see a different picture there. We’re trying to ward off confusion so that you will all be able to keep track of our twinly ramblings.

S’s picture was taken in Snowdonia, Wales on her honeymoon. She and the Architect climbed all day, and took this photo on top of the world. It looks like this:

S on Snowdonia

Welcome to our new blog, where we will be writing about what is going on in our lives. Our mother taught us to be good storytellers, so we’ll be telling stories as well as writing about craft and home projects we’re working on and interesting books and articles we are reading and thinking about.

I figured I’d start off with a discussion of what’s going on in our lives in general these days.

I’m most of the way done with my MBA program. Only three more weeks! And then I will have so much more free time. These past two years have been pretty stressful while I’ve been working full time and getting an MBA. Pretty soon thereafter I’m going to be moving away from the city I’ve lived in with S and The Architect for the past four years, and then I’ll be living with The Artist! I’m feeling so ready to end five years of long distance. I’m really excited about that!

S has been having fun trying new projects and hobbies lately. She started a worm composting bin, which she is humorously enthusiastic about. I’m sure she’ll post about it eventually, but it’s funny to watch her get excited every time she feeds them. She opens the box and then yells for everyone to come over and see how many worms she has. We know. We’ve seen. They’re wormy. She’s usually at dance rehearsals a lot, but not as much lately. She still dances in the living room all day every day. She’s also, for the time being while I’m so busy, the house cook. And she’s gotten really into taking ugly old clothes and refashioning them into new, cute clothes.

nevada kI went to Reno, Nevada over the weekend to go visit the Artist for the Fourth of July. He’s there for three weeks for work. It was really fun! It was my first time there since S and I went when we were little kids to go visit our brother when he lived there. He’s 12 years older than us, and was living there to be near his father. We were probably four years old when we went, and I mostly just remember going to the Circus, Circus casino and throwing darts at balloons to win stuffed animals.

We went tubing down a river, which was really fun! Other tubers were practically throwing alcohol at us. Someone gave The Artist some Captain Morgan, and someone else tossed me a beer. But during one of the whitewater parts of the river, we almost died. The Artist fell off his tube in such a way that he ended up wearing it like a backpack, face down in the water. I tried to pull him out, but I fell off, too. We ended up just tumbling through the water until some guys from the shore came and pulled us out. Thank goodness! Later, we went to eat all you can eat sushi! Yum! We also went to the Circus, Circus casino and found that old dart game I remember playing. It was still there!

For the Fourth, we went to a little mining town called Virginia City. It was really cute, and we watched the fireworks there. What’s funny about it is that it’s a cute historical town, but prostitution is legal there, so there were actual brothels. Also the fireworks didn’t go higher than the mountain. In the distance, we could see the smoke coming off a mountain, which turned out to be the Bison Fire. I said something about it to a guy who lives there, who said he was probably more used to fires than he should be. The West is so crazily low populated though! The fire has burned 21,000 acres and has only destroyed two unoccupied structures.

943290_10101171070761679_124288331_nWe went mountain climbing on Mt. Rose the next day. It was an 11 mile hike up an 11,000 foot peak. The views were beautiful, but it was a very long hike and was difficult for me because I’m used to living at an altitude of about two feet above sea level.

The day after that, my legs were so sore I could barely walk. We went swimming in Lake Tahoe, which one of the Artist’s friends said was practically like an ice pack for your sore muscles because the water was so cold. The lake is said to have a monster named Tessie living in it. For dinner, we went to a Mexican restaurant where they give you  crayons and paper, and I drew Tessie as a giant crab. And we drank margaritas because electrolytes are good for you.

nevada k and the artistOn my last day in town, we went back to Virginia City, where we went on a tour of the mines. It was weird because the tour guide was very similar to my brother’s dad. Actually, my brother’s dad was present in my mind the whole week. The Artist and all his friends kept saying how cool it was, which is true, but because I’ve always associated Reno with my mom’s ex-husband, these was this weird sense of him the whole time that changed the way I saw the place.

The mining tour was pretty cool. Apparently Virginia City had a huge deposit of silver ore, which was worth millions of back-in-the-day dollars. But the mining was really hard because the ore went down diagonally and got really deep, and the groundwater was 130 degrees. So they kept having to pump out super hot water, but the mines were very hot, and a lot of miners died young because they would snowshoe to work and then work in over a hundred degree heat. It was so hot that when they were working in the deepest part, they had to work for 15 minutes then cool off for 15 minutes. But they made $4.00 per 8 hour shift, which was an unheard of salary at the time.

It was a very fun trip!

And again, welcome to Two 1/2 Eggs! Be sure to come back! We’ll be trying to update weekly.