Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

If it's not evident yet I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm a science dork. Yes yes, it's true but I'm proud of it! And I love to share my dorkiness so I had to let you all in on this book I just read, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. My mom actually gave me the book for my 30th Birthday and I started reading it right away.

Brief Summary: The first immortal cell line made from a human was the byproduct of a woman named Henrietta Lacks. She, nor her family, had any knowledge of the enourmous scientific advances made possible with these cells. This book is a thorough chronicle of the life of Henrietta Lacks and her descendants, and of the history and scientific advances made possible through cell culture and her cells.

Personal Review: Sometime I can find non-fiction a bit dry to read, but that is definitely not the case with this book! Rebecca Skloot did an amazing job of balancing the life drama of the Lacks family and the history of cell culture. I was instantly pulled into the lives of Henrietta and her many descendants, in particular Deborah. Skloot really brings the Lacks's personalities and worries to the forefront. But at the same time, she includes a thorough and engrossing history of not only the HeLa cell line but cell culture as a whole.

Skloot highlights how every person has benefitted from the HeLa cell line. But she also reminds us that advances do not come without a cost. This book is a gentle reminder that science is amazing and helps to better everyone's world but that we also need to have a conscience while conducting that science. It's a gentle balance but well worth the time and effort!

I would highly recommend anyone, scientist or not, to pick up this book!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ribbons, Ribbons, Ribbons

Just a quick entry to share my most recent score! I will randomly run through the listings on craigslist, just to see if there's anything interesting. I saw a listing for a "bag" of ribbons for $25. I had already been considering incorporating ribbon into my jewelry so I contact the seller and asked if they'd sell the ribbons for $20. She agree and I headed out pick up my purchase. Now keep in mind, when I read "bag" I thought maybe gallon size. But oh no! It was a garbage bag full of really really nice ribbon. The seller was a wedding planner and these were her left overs. She almost threw them out! Can you imagine!

I will soon have ribbon jewelry so keep an eye out!

Update: My first piece of jewelry made from this lot! The beads are from a huge estate auction I won in January so the entire necklace is upcycled!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Featured Artist - SassyPack Rat

I came across SassyPackRat on Twitter and fell in love with her "stuff." I'm saying stuff cause there's a lot.

I personally particularly loved her bird stuff, and by birds I mean penguins and owls and so much more.

And featured on her blog is this cute little St. Patrick's Day Bear! All of her creation are so cute and customizable.

Not to mention this girl is all over the web! You can find her on ebay, on twitter, on blogspot, on flick and on etsy. After tweeting with her back and forth for awhile I decided it was time to get to know her even better, so below is my first installation of:

Get to know your artist - SassyPackRat

Where do you live?

I live in Illinois just south of Chicago. I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs not too far from where I live now.

What’s your earliest memory of doing your craft/art?

I grew up in a house where making Christmas ornaments, doing macrame, tie-dyeing t-shirts, sewing and knitting were normal everyday activities. Of course, it was the 70's so lots of people my parents age were very artistic and crafty. It also helped that my father was an artist, a painter, and one of his brothers was a potter so there was always something going on. My mom was also really into craft kits and is still. The majority of my birthday/Christmas presents were usually craft kits and I always had crayons, paints, paper and glue around.

I've made a living out of being creative. I have a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising and worked for many years in Chicago. I started working from home because my kids needed me here and now I just couldn't work for anyone again.

A couple of years ago I found etsy and recently took the plunge to list some of my creative efforts. I started making softies based on my stationery graphics and discovered that sewing was so calming for me. Now I'm addicted and am sewing something almost every night.

What’s your favorite time to work?

My favorite time to work is whenever the creative mood strikes. If I have to force it then it's like pulling teeth and takes forever. My favorite time of the day to work is whenever it's quiet. After the kid's are gone for the day and also weekend evenings.

How often do you do your craft/art?

I work all the time 24/7. The hours I tell clients are 9 to 5 M-F but really I'm doing something all the time. I try to do my stationery, invitation & custom work during my business hours and then all my sewing, etsy and new designs the rest of the time. I used to work 16 hour days but for health reasons I've cut my hours down a bit.

What’s your favorite food?

Oh, I like so many foods! I do adore cupcakes and chocolate, which I guess aren't really food but treats. Probably Chinese or Thai are my favorite types of food.

Number one piece of advice on… well anything?

My advice to anyone is do what makes you happy, what you love. Don't try to fit into a mold of someone else's expectations! I spent too many years stuck in that
and I'm so much happier now.
Thank you so much SassyPackRat! And just as a side note: Cupcakes and chocolate are definitely considered food!

Time to get going!!

Hey everyone! I can't say that I've really fallen in love with this blog yet so I can't expect that you have! So it's time to get going and change that. I'm going to start posting more of my jewelry making processes and more about me and more about other artists I've come across! Hopefully with each new entry I, and you, will like this blog a wee bit more. So here goes!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Scientific observation

You know that issue about scientific observation? The one where people state the mere act of observing something is altering it's behavior and therefore we can never obtain a truly unbiased observation? Well I think things guys might be trying to make that point. And hell, even if they're not they're damn cute!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Giveaway! Thanks Tamara!

I just wanted to send a shout out to Tamara Kenyon for hosting a giveaway with a pair of my earrings! Thanks so much Tamara. And please, everyone take a moment to check out Tamara's amazing photography!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Isn't it Ironic...

No, that is not a reference to Alanis Morissette, but to today's local news! What exactly happened you ask? A plane, monitoring the morning traffic, had to land on the NJ turnpike, effectively causing it's own traffic jam! Only problem is, now that there is traffic, who was there to monitor it?!

Isn't it Ironic?