Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Deliverance of God

Last February I did a 12-part review of Douglas Campbell's book The Deliverance of God. As I said at the time, I was interested in the book because many consider it to be a "game changer" in Pauline studies. For me, I was particularly interested in Campbell's devastating critique of "Justification Theory," the theoretical apparatus most Protestants use to understand Paul's soteriology.

In the end, I only reviewed Parts 1-4 of The Deliverance of God (there is a Part 5) but this does allow you to see the core of the argument, Campbell's critique of Justification Theory and his alternative reading of Romans 1-4. This post exists to pull my review posts together so I can link to the whole series on my sidebar.

My posts/parts are grouped under the four Parts (and their respective headings) from The Deliverance of God:

Part One: Justification Theory and Its Implications
Part 1: Justification Theory
Part 2: The Intrinsic Problems of Justification Theory
Part 3: The Systematic Problems of Justification Theory
Part 4: The Empirical Problems of Justification Theory

Part Two: Some Hermeneutical Clarifications
Part 5: Justification Theory in the Reformation
Part 6: The Unholy Alliance of Justification Theory and Modernity

Part Three: The Conventional Reading and Its Problems
Part 7: Attacking the Citadel of Justification Theory (Romans 1-4)
Part 8: The False Gospel in Romans 1-4
Part 9: The False Gospel, Continued (a note from Douglas Campbell)

Part Four: A Rhetorical and Apocalyptic Rereading
Part 10: The Deliverance of God
Part 11: Father Abraham
Part 12: The Rhetorical Reading of Romans 1-4

There are many other reviews online of The Deliverance of God. I think mine, though from non-specialist, holds up pretty well.

DIY Weekly - Leopard Print Shoulderless Shirt

Introducing DIY Weekly! I have to admit that when I do DIY projects, I always forget to take a before shot and write down exactly what it is that I did, which is no use to you! To remedy this I've decided to aim to upload one DIY tutorial per week. Hopefully this will focus my DIYing, help me remember to take photos of the process, and make sure that you guys get to see inside my DIY obsessed world!

Here's this weeks DIY. I bought a cute leopard print sheer silk shirt from a charity shop during my mid-week lunchtime thrifting (£1.50) and decided that it was time I got some shoulderless shirt action.
Here's how I did it (please don't hate me for lack of photos of the different steps...DIY Weekly needs some fine-tuning...):
1. I put on the shirt, and in the mirror using some chalk (I sometimes use light coloured eyeliner if I'm out of chalk) sketched roughly where I wanted the shoulderless section of the shirt to sit. I chose to go for quite a deep cut out, almost down to the elbows - but you can always angle it less for a more subtle  cut out.
2. I then took the shirt off, lay it flat on a table and cut the marked section of the shoulders out of one side. I then tried the shirt on and checked that the angle was correct. It turned out I had to cut a little bit more out of it to perfect the angle.
3. I then folded the shirt in half down the middle lengthways so the arms were lying flat against each other, I used the chalk to sketch onto the other shoulder the exact cut out I had done. Its good to do this so that you get a symmetrical look. I then cut out the second side and tried it on in the mirror so I knew the cut outs were the same.
4. Then, using some brown thread, I hand sewed the edges of the cut outs. I folded the edge over a tiny bit so any fraying would be underneath and covered. If you have a sewing or selvage machine you can use that instead. I used a long stitch on the underside and a very fine stitch on the outside.


Meet Clive

A few of you pointed out yesterday that my Busman's holiday seemed to be a direct contradiction to my previous post about taking it slowly and relaxing my workaholic grip on things, which is an excellent point. In a funny way, working on two projects is part of trying to let go a little more - usually, when embroiled in a project that needs finishing, I would feel far too guilty taking time out to do anything else, and that critical voice would be sitting on my shoulder lecturing me every step of the way. I have already felt him creeping in with the for-fun project. I can't get away from the little bugger. Luckily, with this one, he finds it a lot harder to get my attention (yes, he's a He) because it is ... well, for fun.

Meet Clive, my critical voice.

Clive is tall and thin, with grey hair and rimless glasses that he perches on the end of his nose. He is always smartly dressed in a bow-tie and waistcoat, and he is fanatical about keeping correct time (he has a fob-watch in his waistcoat pocket for that purpose). He has very clear ideas about Good Taste (his taste) and Bad (other people's). He is a picky eater and has allergies. He only ever wears colours that match. He loves accuracy in all things and demands high typing speed and no errors, even stopping you mid-sentence to correct your grammar or point out a mistake. He does not like to take risks. He carries band-aids, aspirin and smelling salts in his pockets. He keeps his hair combed and parted perfectly down the middle. He wears sock-garters and puts sunscreen on his legs, even though they are covered by trousers all day long. He flosses after every meal. He disapproves of bright colours and loud music and spicy food. In fact, he disapproves of most things.

Clive can be very helpful in the editing process - particularly during line-editing. While I'm in the first throes of creation, however, and producing something of erratic quality at best, Clive is anything but helpful. For that reason, I am trying to learn to jar-train Clive, much as you would crate-train a puppy. When he tells me that this plot point will trip me up later or that sentence is clumsy, I simply pick him up by his ankle and drop him into the Jar of Silence, where he beats his tiny fists against the glass and continues to mouth insults at me.

It has been a good exercise, working on a fun project - it makes me much more aware of what Clive is saying. And that guy really never shuts up. I'm hoping to learn to deal with these thoughts more consciously and productively, rather than just letting them sink in and making me feel discouraged.

Do you have a Clive? What's his/her name?

P.S. I have listed some more gorgeous vintage dresses on Etsy!

DIY Jasper Garvida SS11 Fairyfloss Hair Buns

The only thing I miss about having long hair is rocking a sexy massive bun. These are amazing and could be, should be, DIYed!
Images: Thanks Shini of Park and Cube

LFW Day 2

Recognise these shoes? Hmmm no you probably don't. The lovely Jen of The Style Crusader took a few pics of me at LFW Day 2 and has put them up on her blog here.  Her photography is very beautiful so if you haven't seen her blog, go check it out (she managed to make me look half normal and not like a stunned mullet so she's obviously good!)
Reiss Mesh Heels

There's a description of what I was wearing in my LFW Day 2 post here. A few people have mentioned the red pants, and to be honest, they were in the mountain of things to go on ebay until I got desperate that morning and started re-evaluating the pile...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things of various sorts

Thing One

I am working on something new.

Erk. I feel guilty just saying that.

I know that I am not meant to be working on something new. (Although, where does this 'I'm not meant to' idea come from? There are no rules saying that I can't take a Busman's holiday. And yet there's this guilt.) I am generally a supporter of the theory that you need to ignore the Shiny New Idea until the Painful Current Slog is completed, holding it out in front as a treat for when you have finished. Usually, for me, working on two projects causes nothing but conflicted loyalties and lack of progress on each. At the moment, though, I am working on Current Book in the mornings, getting a fair whack of the rewrites out of the way, and then working on my Young Adult book in the afternoons. The YA book is the same one I started last year during Nanowrimo (and yes, I will be setting up another Nanowrimo group this year - mark your metaphorical calendars if you want to take part).

Here's why I'm finding it helpful to work on another book as well as the main one right now:

1. It silences the voices in my head.

The critical voices, not the ones that tell me to burn things. Those ones are still alive and well (kidding. Maybe). Since I am not necessarily picturing this book as being published, I can tell my inner critic to shut up when it starts helpfully pointing out problems with the language or potential plot holes. And I can ignore it with impunity - this is a side project. I can screw it up completely if I want to, and it doesn't matter. At least, that's what I tell myself.

2. It's a 'just for fun' project.

I can let my imagination do whatever it wants to do, like a happy toddler let loose on the finger paints. Which is nice as a relief from the pressure I've been feeling lately.

3. It doesn't require any research or fact-checking.

The setting and events in this book exist only in my head, which is a nice change from Current Book. No one is going to come and whack me on the hand with a ruler if I get a date wrong or describe something inaccurately, because it is my world and I make the rules.

4. I am still getting my 'real' work done.

Important point! And it's so much fun to be doing something so wholly different from the last two books.

Thing Two

The Austin Teen Book Festival is this Saturday! I love Young Adult literature - in fact, The Cry of the Go-Away Bird crosses over into that category, somewhat, as it is narrated by a teenager. I am particularly excited about seeing Kiersten White, whose wonderful blog and Twitter feed I have been following for a long time now, and whose debut YA novel, Paranormalcy, is on the New York Times bestseller list. Catherine Jinks is also going to be there - have you read Evil Genius? Such a great book, and I am hugely excited about reading the sequels, Genius Squad and Genius Wars. Also, so relieved that the story didn't end with the first book, because it left Cadel in such a depressing place. If anyone here in Austin would like to meet me there, drop me a line in the comments. Be aware, though, that I am going to be hugely embarrassing and get very starstruck by all the authors. Just warning you.

Thing Three

I have listed more items on my Etsy, and more will be coming over the next couple of days (including some great vintage dresses). I am fund-raising for my trip over to London for the book's release in February - I'm going to be traipsing around on public transport and staying in hotels for some of the time, and in an unexpectedly adult and uncharacteristic move, I'm preparing for it now.

Thing Four

This is unrelated to anything important, but our shipment from New Zealand that was meant to arrive next week is now only arriving towards the end of October. Which means that we will be sleeping on a sofa bed and cooking with only one pot for a further three weeks. This is a little frustrating, but comes smack bang under the heading of "Can't Do Anything About It."

Thing Five

Yellow! Yesterday and today. The great thing about vintage is that it really does put you in a storytelling mood - the clothes themselves have stories, and it's really the closest you can get to wearing a narrative without being in full costume.

28 Sep '10
Cardigan - H & M, thrifted
Blouse - Jay Jays, thrifted
Skirt - vintage, thrifted
Shoes - vintage Selby, thrifted
Brooch - vintage, gift from SilviCi

29 Sep '10
Dress - vintage ('50s), thrifted
Belt - vintage, came with another dress
Shoes - Zara

I haven't actually glued Mink to that spot, but it's where he likes to spend most of his time. He can see the outside world and yet remain (so he thinks) completely undetected. He imagines he is a ninja.

P.S. Our home Internet connection is down, so I may be late in responding to comments and emails for the next couple of days.

The Psalm 101 Rule

Praying through the Morning Office this morning (in my backyard with by dog) I was struck by Psalm 101 in light of my post last night about Bob Sutton's Rule. If one doesn't like the name of the Rule it seems you could call it the Psalm 101 Rule.
Psalm 101
I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.

I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.

I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate;
they will not cling to me.

Men of perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with evil.

Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
him will I not endure.

My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he whose walk is blameless
will minister to me.

No one who practices deceit
will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
will stand in my presence.

Every morning I will put to silence
all the wicked in the land;
I will cut off every evildoer
from the city of the LORD.
As a review, the Rule is, at root, a zero tolerance policy for people who oppress, humiliate, and belittle co-workers. One way to spot such a person, according to Dr. Sutton, is to ask the following question: Does the alleged [perpetrator] aim his or her venom at people who are less powerful rather than at those people who are more powerful? Much of the problem here is how people behave in hierarchies. Which is why Psalm 101's words--"whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart"--and its zero tolerance policy toward behavior of this sort struck a chord.

Studded Knitwear

Ummm... YES PLEASE!! These plus a thrifted woolen roll neck jumper = perfection.
Image: TFS

Addicted to DIY

Are you addicted to DIY - or do you just need your daily fashion hit? Lets connect!
Follow me on Google Reader, I'll then go to your page and follow you too! Share the love and DIY.


DIY Christine Centenera's Sheer Train

Completely fell for this sheer train on Christine Centenera! A. This piece (a skirt or a jacket?) that hangs like a half sheer maxi is amazing and I love that we still get to see her legs. It would be a very easy DIY too! Buy some sheer black fabric, cut to desired width and length (just touching the ground when in heels is perfect), hem in you choose, and then tuck into the waistband of a black bodycon skirt. Wear a jacket over the top of create the illusion of a jacket.
Image: Le Fashion

In terms of where to get your fabric - I often buy gorgeous sheer fabric like this from opshops (you may need to rummage in the fabrics bin), and I have recently been going to one in North London that specialises in second hand indian saris and salwar kameez. They have whole room dedicated to indian shawls and scarfs, of every colour and mix of colours under the sun! Perfect for all my DIY projects. Sometimes you have to look in the strangest places for the best finds.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Rule

Back when this blog was young I wrote what might have been one of my most controversial posts (if letters to the ACU administration is our metric). That post recounted my use of Dr. Bob Sutton's New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week bestselling book to make a few observations about 1 Corinthians 13 in my adult Sunday School class. For example, one of the wonderful insights from Dr. Sutton's book is this:
...the difference between how a person treats the powerless versus the powerful is as good a measure of human character as I know.
And what I found interesting is how sentiments like this, sentiments that should resonate strongly with Christians, were making their way into best selling management books. So it seemed natural, to me at least, to think about the book from a Christian angle.

The book is now out in paperback with a new chapter "on the Rule and its surprising impact." In that new chapter I was delighted to find Dr. Sutton write about his reaction upon finding out that his book was discussed in a Sunday School class:
Among the biggest [surprises after the publication of the book] was when this book was read in a bible studies class in a Texas church. Professor Richard Beck, an experimental psychologist at Abilene Christian University, explained on his blog, Experimental Theology:

I thought to myself, "Richard, what are you possibly going to say in class that hasn't been said before about 1 Corinthians 13?" Then it hit me. I started the class by doing a book review and reading selections from Dr. Bob Sutton's new book The No Asshole Rule...

We reflected on all this in my Sunday School class. And after reflection on The No Asshole Rule, I read these famous words: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..."

Basically, don't be an asshole.

In the months following Professor Beck's post, I seemed to be deluged by people who linked their religious beliefs to the ideas here. I had a long phone conversation with a Silicon Valley pastor who wanted tips for a sermon that was inspired by the book. A Jesuit priest emailed me that The No Asshole Rule should be mandatory reading for every Catholic priest. Chrismon, a religious magazine in Germany, published a story on the book (translated as Der Arschloch-Faktor). Editor Nils Husmann explained that 1.5 million copies of Chrismon were printed each month and said, "We are financed by the Evangelical Church in Germany, and therefore very interested in topics that deal with how human beings interact, since that is what religion is all about." A Methodist minister I met on a plane ride told me, "The no asshole rule is just a subset of the golden rule, and even easier to remember."
Dr. Sutton has a new book out entitled Good Boss, Bad Boss. Perhaps I'll use it in a Sunday School class as well...

On slowing down

This is where I worked yesterday. Not IN the open fire, obviously (although perhaps there is some fantastically zen-like author who has mastered working in the flames, like walking over hot coals) but beside it. It was lovely, particularly because yesterday was the first 'cold' day we have experienced in Austin so far. LOML walks to work every day, and he sent me a message when he was about halfway there - "It's cold!"
"Really?" I didn't believe him. "Properly cold?"
"12 degrees!" (Celcius).
Good grief. I actually had to wear wool trousers and a sweater. It was quite gorgeous, though - crisp and sunny, with a cold wind - and made my Pumpkin Spice Latte all the more delicious. I have no idea whether there is actual pumpkin in that drink, but I don't want to know because I hate pumpkins in their natural form (I know. I'm sorry). A proper fall drink for a proper fall. And then, of course, there was the open fire. The perfect spot in which to settle for a day of rewrites.

I have always tried to work as quickly as possible, and be as productive as I can. This furious work has a superstitious intensity; as Anne Lamott suggests in Bird by Bird, part of me is worried I might die mid-first-draft, before I have the chance to finish it or make it any good. I have said before that I sabotaged myself early on with this book by not completing the first draft all at once, with no time off, thus making it a lot harder to let the story unfold organically. I still think that. But I also think that my usual crazed, 2,000-words-a-day strategy doesn't work all that well for me either. It is a fight-or-flight mechanism, something I do when I am scared - of failure, of drying up, of losing momentum. Quick, quick! Finish it as fast as possible or you might die with it unfinished and then your ghost will haunt the Macbook forever. Or something. Hyper-productivity can be a bad habit too. It is easier to work, work, work with no pause than it is to stop and think; to inhabit the story; to give yourself time.

I am starting to learn the difference between working obsessively and working consistently. Writing every day is good. Writing every day until I'm exhausted and hate the sight of Times New Roman and want to become a plumber is bad (for me). My agent tells me to take my time. Wiser and further-down-the-path writer friends tell me to take my time. They know a lot more than I do, and yet there is this part of me that is wildly impatient and insists that I need to push, push, push and speed through everything. I find it easier to set unlikely goals (I am going to finish editing this book by midnight!) and meet them than I do to allow my story the time and space it needs in which to develop properly. For me, that is scarier. Because anything could happen. I race towards being FINISHED because that feels safer than trusting the story and my characters to develop in their own time. I am forcing them to grow unnaturally fast. No wonder they are a little unripe. Letting go and relaxing a little would produce better, more thoughtful results.

The control freak in me rebels against this idea. What do you mean I can be relaxed and take things more slowly and still achieve just as much? Rubbish. It doesn't work that way. There's a part of me that believes that being stressed out and exhausted all the time means that I am working hard enough; a part of me that finds it satisfying to be stretched too thin. Again, I think this is partly superstition (if I'm happy and relaxed, I'm kidding myself - I'm being lazy and the work will be bad).

So, my new resolution is an unusual one for me. I am going to deliberately slow down. I am going to take my time with these rewrites - because, luckily, I have time. I am going to consciously bite off smaller pieces to achieve each day. The control freakish workaholic inside me is already spinning into a panic as I type this. It doesn't sound as impressive as "I am going to finish it by the end of the week," which was the original plan, but I know this is the right thing to do.

What you do away from the page matters too. Of course it does! That's where you find your characters and your stories. It might take years for them to trickle through the complicated filtration system of your brain (it's a scary place in there. Mine has sewers and mutant alligators), but they will surface eventually, if you keep your eyes open and engage with the world in as many different ways as you can. Yesterday, I did my afternoon's work in the sunshine, in the company of Sandhya and Trigger.

Who could possibly be stressed around these two?

I had a Big Scary Article to write yesterday to meet a Big Scary Deadline. I was pretty anxious about it - it just wasn't taking shape. I had tried powering through and writing a complete draft, but it felt clunky and clumsy and just plain awful. After some time spent talking in the sun and playing with Trigger, however, it all fell into place. I finished it in half an hour. I felt a little miffed, to be honest, because all my hours of agonising and intensive rewrites had produced nothing, while a little sunshine and a friendly puppy got the bloody thing written in no time. My inner control freak is having a good old sulk right now.

DIY Ripped Shoulders

For those of you who are too thrifty to even buy scissors - here's a good DIY for you. In place of the cut out shoulders, go for ripped ones!
Image: Tommy Ton for

Guide to Thrifting (for the VERY thrifty) Part Two

You may be asking, what does thrift have to do with DIY? Well, erm, just about everything! Thrifted clothes are the backbone of my DIY projects, as I simply don’t have the money to buy new clothes and then experiment with cutting, sewing and ripping them. I wish I had the cashola to fund the luxirare style ‘DIY’ (“take 17 kilos of chains, glue them to a jacket, done!”), but in the meantime I will have to stick with what I can source cheaply from an opshop. I guess also, my interest in DIY was born out of buying cheap thrifted clothes and wanting to make them my own and on trend, and even though I now have a little bit of extra cash to spend on Topshop and Asos, the sense of satisfaction when I have done it myself is unbeatable. 

Finally, being a bit of a greeny at heart, I love the element of thrift and DIY that promotes recycling and making old things new again. I hate to think of all the clothes that get thrown out and believe it or not, you can often find better quality thrifted clothes than the cheap new stuff out there.

If you haven't seen the original post have a look at Part One - A Guide to Thrift Shopping (for the VERY thrifty). In that post I outlined a number of essential factors to help you find cheap thrifted clothes (some say vintage but maybe its best to be honest and just call them 'old'). I decided it it might be a good idea to drill down a bit more into the concept of ‘Location, location, location’, as there were are a few points  I think could be better expressed (must apologise for my rambling in that post – if you haven’t seen it check it out!).

What I was trying to iterate in my last post was a theory around location, demographics and clientele that dictate finding a good charity shop (yes, I may have thought about it too much...). The last couple of months have provided me with a lot more insights so here goes.

Thrifting potential is definitely something that can be broken down into the what and the where (and the how much?). For me, any success in terms of what I find in charity shops (and how much I paid) is often directly relevant to the area I am looking in. It may sound strange so I have done a little breakdown for you for various areas in your town and their relative thrifting potential (keeping in mind that this is an evolving theory that may be different depending on the characteristics of the place that you live). I have also done a broad map using the London Tube map to illustrate my points (click for whole image). I have only included a section of the map, namely the North, East and West, because I don't have a whole lot of experience in South London.

Locations have been rated as to their thrifting potential using the highly technical OMfuckingG scale (the number of times on average a punter says OMfuckingG when thrifting at this location, brought on by the combination of an items quality and its price).

Affluent Areas
These areas are often characterised by local residents with high income levels, which you can spot in the form of big nice houses and a uniform of white linen and gold sunglasses for the middle aged women (and some very tight looking facial muscles). Charity shops in these areas are often touted as the place to go – due to the likelihood of finding high quality, barely worn items. I agree that the catchment will mean designer, and overall better, items. Also, major chains of charity shops, such as Oxfam, The Salvation Army and others will often send their nicest pieces to these shops. However, for that reason, this quality of merchandise will set you back a pretty penny, locals are happy to pay and shop owners are much better at realistically pricing their items. 20 quid for a jacket isn’t cheap or DIY-ready in my eyes… (I told you this guide was for the VERY thrifty).
Thrifting Potential: Zero OMfuckingGs

Gentrified Areas
Gentrified areas are generally central locations that used to be somewhat rundown, lower income neighbourhoods, that have seen an influx of young professionals and new development. These locations are great for vintage shopping, as there are usually heaps of vintage shops here that sell you nice items (albeit at a serious mark up). However, there are slim pickings in the thrifting department – for the simple factor that there are probably a huge number of people like you,  frequenting thrift shops looking for a bargain, so anything good doesn’t last long. Not the mention those sneaky vintage sellers who swoop down and get everything good before your even out of bed on a Saturday morning.
Thrifting potential: Two OMfuckingGs

Cusp Areas
Areas that are on the fringe of newly gentrified locations are what I like to call cusp areas. Soon they will be completely gentrified, but for now, they can sometimes hold a number of good charity shops that benefit from a close proximity to newly gentrified areas, but still retain a little bit of the down at the heel character that is essential in finding bargains. Although you may find there is still competition for thrifted items, the turn over is generally lower than in gentrified areas which means better bargains.
Thrifting potential: Three OMfuckingGs

Suburban Areas
This is where the thrift gets enticing. Suburban areas are key to snagging the best thrifted bargains. A major factor in this is the clientele. The people who go to thrift shops in suburban locations are much less likely to be trendy, fashion forward bright stars – which makes your thrifting a whole lot easier. If you can find a thrift shop in a suburban location, with a local area that feels a bit like heaven’s waiting room (read: lots of old grannies with cute clothes saying goodbye to this life), I promise you will get your hands on the big time. Capes, pleated skirts, amazing jackets, peg leg trousers aplenty. Generally these type of thrift shops are cheeeap too – 2 pounds for a pair of pants type cheap. You won’t feel bad DIYing those pants believe me.
Thrifting potential: Five OMfuckingGs

Urban Fringe
You wouldn’t think your town's fringe, think warehouses, industrial units, miles of freeway etc, would have good thrift opportunities did you? However, do a bit more research and you could find that there is more hiding inside those titan sheds that you first thought. I’m talking about sorting warehouses or depots. Major charity shops such as Oxfam, The Salvation Army, Marie Curie etc often have a depot where any items donated to a charity bin get sent for sorting and checking. If you are very lucky, your local one will have times when it is open to the public. This is when things get hectic and amazingly thrifty. I have been to a few that do 'bag' or 'kilo' sales, ie fill a bag for 2 quid, or a pound a kilo. When you’ve filled a bin bag to the brim for 5 quid you can definitely afford to DIY some of its contents.
Thrifting potential: Six OMfuckingGs (would have been 8 but you had to spend 12 quid on the train to get there and then walk through an industrial estate didn’t you?).

Small towns
What can I say – small towns are where it’s at for thrifting, low retail rents often mean there are heaps of stores in the one place. Now if only my boyfriend would stop the car when we go somewhere and see one…
Thrifting potential: Six OMfuckingGs

There is obviously going to be a whole range of anomalies to the analysis above. I must admit that complex cities such as London are also harder to predict due to the mixed nature of wealth and demographics (one street will be gorgeous victorian terraces and the next one will be a council tower block). However, the only way to find out is if you explore. If you see an op shop - have a look inside, no matter where you are and what it looks like from the outside. You may be pleasantly surprised. Once you have visited enough you may be able to form your own spatial analysis of thrifting potential....

Do any of you have any other tips for thrift shopping that I haven't mentioned? Would love to hear them!

DIY Bodychain

Make it, then wear it under your top.
Image: Shiny Plastic Hag

DIY Spray Painted Boots

Do. it.
Image: Shiny Plastic Hag

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cut Out Shoulders

These babies aren't going away in a hurry. And they are, like, totes easy. Something to keep in mind when DIYing this, the angle of the cut out is important to the overall look. I like the cut out on the pink shirt (third and sixth images), which goes from underneath the collar to just above the elbow. The more shoulder showing the better.  This also emphasises the collar, and I'm all about the collars. Comprende?

Image: Fashion Clique

Exorcisms are about Economics

Stanley Hauerwas has written that American Christianity has become "too spiritual." That is, the concerns of the church have become other-worldly, with Christians focusing their attention upon the afterlife and the status of their souls.

Such a focus tends to miss the political, social, and economic implications of the Kingdom of God and how the "Kingdom come on earth" might come into conflict with the way Babylon does business.

One way to see this conflict is to note how the biblical writers consistently conflate the spiritual and the political/economic when they speak of "the principalities and powers." As John Howard Yoder describes it:
[The powers are] religious structures (especially the religious undergirdings of stable ancient and primitive societies), intellectual structures ('ologies and 'isms), moral structures (codes and customs), political structures (the tyrant, the market, the school, the courts, race and nation). The totality is overwhelmingly broad.
Given this conflation of the spiritual, political, and economic I was struck last week while reading through the book of Acts how many of the riots associated with the proclamation of the gospel had nothing to do with spiritual issues, with who was going to heaven or hell. Rather, the threat of the gospel was in the area of economics. The scandel of the gospel had to do with its effect on the marketplace.
Acts 16.16-23a
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.

When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison.
What an interesting story. Here exorcism has an economic impact. Demon possession is associated with economic exploitation. Evil spirits at work in the marketplace. God's Kingdom coming affecting the bottomline.

Here's another example:
Acts 19.23-30
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."

When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
This is also an interesting story. Here we see a conflation of idolatry and economics. Worshiping false gods is good for business. So when the Kingdom comes business is affected. The National god is praised ("Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!") but the root motive for this religious devotion is economics. You love the god of your nation because it's good for business. And you defend the god of your nation because that god provides the moral, religious, and traditional warrant for the way your nation does business.

Economics and demon possession. Business and spiritual slavery. National idolatry and the marketplace. It all mingles together.

Exorcisms, it seems, are about economics.

DIY Contrasting Collar

This is the perfect addition of a collar to an outfit, the contrasting colours are perrrfect.
Image: All The Pretty Birds

This one sits flat against the neck, so when you make yours using a thrifted black shirt (choose one with a large collar for this one) - cut the collar off, also removing the interfaced section that makes the collar stand up when it is attached to a shirt (shown roughly below). Cut along the inside seam so that the collar doesn't fall apart.You should be left with the simple outline of the sollar. Finally, attach a hook and eye where the two small X are on the diagram so that it stays on.

DIY bedazzle your brogues

The glitter ones are on my very long list of to dos. yum.
Images: Plastic Shiny Hag

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today I sneaked into Borders with an uncorrected proof of my book under my arm, and used my best ninja skills to slip it onto the shelves for a few photos. I wanted to get a sense of how it would feel to see the spine waving and grinning at me in a bookstore (and I got a few strange looks from some other customers), next to the other 'E's.

I have a horrible premonition that I am going to be one of those authors who used to irritate me hugely when I worked as a book buyer. We had one lady in particular, a local author, who would come in every week and move her books from the shelf (where the spines faced outwards) to the end-caps of the aisles, so that they were more prominent. She would also re-position her books so that the covers were front-on, and then sneak fake 'Staff Pick' reviews underneath them. At the time I thought she was deeply annoying (as I had to rearrange everything after she had gone), but now I sympathise. I felt a bit too self-conscious to be hugely accurate about alphabetising (an employee started following me around in a suspicious manner), but it was totally worth it.

P.S. Thrilled to be only a few letters away from Dave Eggers and What is the What.

The Van Winkle Project

I have a good friend and colleague at ACU who just started what he calls The Van Winkle Project.

My friend, a self-confessed news junkie, will be depriving himself of all news for one entire year. He fell asleep--Van Winkled--on September 11 and won't wake up until September 11, 2011. As the blog relates, this involves the following:
If something happens on this planet, my goal is to not know about it. This includes natural disasters:

* Floods
* Droughts
* Hurricanes
* Tornadoes
* Earthquakes
* Volcanic eruptions
* Famines
* Epidemics and pandemics

I also will not have any inkling if there has been a man-made disaster or tragic happening:

* Airplane crashes
* Train derailments
* Freeway pileups
* Factory explosions
* Fires
* Terrorist attacks
* Shootings, murders and kidnappings
* Riots
* Wars (declared and undeclared)
* Oil spills

My information blackout, of course, precludes my knowing:

* Results of the mid-term elections on Nov. 2
* If the economy slips into a dreaded "double-dip" recession
* How the NFL or NBA seasons progress, who makes the playoffs, who wins the Super Bowl or the NBA championship
* Whether Tiger Woods gets his game back

As far as entertainment goes I will have no idea of:

* What new movies come out
* What new shows become hits on TV
* Who the next pop star or band everyone is buzzing about is
* What noteworthy books have been published

I will also be blind to and ignorant of the introduction of new products and their reception such as:

* iPad v. 2
* Chevy Volt
* Affordable 3D television sets

On a more sobering note, I won’t know about:

* Famous people who are splitsville, enter rehab, or simply die of causes natural or unnatural
What is the Van Winkle Project interested in? Two things:
1 - How I feel while I’m "asleep"

Does a state of not knowing have a calming effect? Do emotions swing the other way so that I start to go crazy with curiosity? In the absence of facts and information, am I able to read clues as to what as to what has happened in people’s behavior or from a subtle but detectable buzz in the air? Do I suddenly have extra time on my hands and, if so, what does one do with it?

2 - What it might feel like to "wake up"

When my wife and son present me with oral evidence as well as textual (newspapers, magazines, web saves) of what has happened during the past year will I be amazed? Appalled? Will I really try to catch up on all or most of the news? Or will it be better to let those months in 2010-2011 rest in peace, the equivalent of a 365-day "lost weekend"?
I encourage you follow The Van Winkle Project over the year. In this world of 24/7 news cycles, the Internet, and mobile devices, I can't imagine a more interesting psycho-spiritual experiment.

DIY Camo Coat Dress

This coat dress screams 'alter a thrifted camo coat, then belt'.
Image: Streetfsn

DIY more shredded knits

Image: Knight Cat

DIY Shredded Knit

Amazing shredded knit. Hit the jumbles (aka charity shops) for a gorgeous thick knit, preferably in this sand colour, and get shredding.
Image: Christeric

DIY Sleeveless Trench

Cut the sleeves off a thrifted trench, glue on lace applique. (look much more happy wearing it than this girl does...)
Image: Studded Hearts

Visit my Ebay!

Have you checked out my ebay? If not, have a look here. Am uploading lots more this week, including this amazing reversible blanket cape. Stay tuned!

LFW Day 2

Day 2. Feet were hurting by that stage... would have been good to have some ski poles to navigate the cobbles at somerset house. Had. to. walk. very. slowly.
Charity shop red high waisted pants (two quid), Topshop leopard print body, Whistles leather jacket (if I had unlimited funds I would happily deck myself out in ONLY whistles, arrrgh), black envelope clutch  from a charity shop - a pound, Reiss mesh heels, necklace bought in paris.
Was trying to channel a bit of kate-moss-isabel-marant-ness but not sure if it worked.... Although I think I did ok reflecting the required amount of side boob. Thanks to Saskia of Not Just Medical for taking the shots (using the autonoflash setting..obv).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

DIY Lace Trimmed Shorts

In keeping with the seasonal confusion I am currently suffering (this whole SS11 thing seems to have started sooner than usual...), I'm uploading a decidedly summery DIY - hope the aussie readers enjoy! I guess I can wear them on my trip to India and Sri Lanka in December...

I recently bought a large pair of pink long shorts from a charity shop (with the caramel pair I wore to LFW day 1) and did another little DIY with them to make them lace trimmed high waisted shorts. This is how I did it:
1. I pinned and then sewed some pleats in the back waistband so that the shorts were highwaisted.
2. I cut some fabric off the bottom of the shorts, then rolled, iron and sewed them up to the desired length. I used a very light hand stitch to secure the hem.
3. Turning them inside out, I pinned and then sewed the lace trim inside the shorts, so that the lace poked down just below the hem.
4. Then I used a light stitch to attach the lace trim. Voila!

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