Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bucolic Plague - Inspired by Reading

After needing to sit out May's installment, I'm back in action for the June edition of the Inspired by Reading Book Club that the very talented Andrew Thornton started up. You can find out more about the group and the reading list for the year over on Andrew's blog HERE.  This month's selection was The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir by Josh Kilmer Purcell.

For me this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.  Josh's writing style was so accessible and funny (no random, undefined French phrases this month!) and I just wanted to keep turning the pages.  I started the book on the Thursday of Memorial Day weekend and finished it on Tuesday night... considering I was traveling for most of that time, I think I set a speed reading record for myself!  I have no particular interest in farming (eating, absolutely...gardening, not so much), no desire to own "land" or a mansion, and am not particullary fond of goats.  But this book is really more about Josh and Brent's relationship and how they came to stumble on and then buy a mansion that ended up chaging thier lives.

Something that really resonated with me was the dangerous ground you tread when you decide to shift a hobby into a business...especially if it will be your livlihood.  I think with my recent reduction of hours at the library, this really struck a chord with me.  Yes, I wouldn't mind making some money off of my jewelry creations, but I don't want pressure to do so diminishing my enjoyment in the making.  It broke my heart a little to see Josh and Brent's relationship unraveling under the pressure of trying to make Beekman 1802 successful.

The other thing that has stuck with me from this book is the idea that perfection is not always the most noble pursuit.  It's ok for things to be imperfect and natural... so often you lose site of what's important and real because you are too concerned with appearances.  I think that this is a good thing for us all to remember.

Ok, enough introspection from me... onto my design!  Before I had even started the book I managed to snatch up this adorable "A Carrot a Day" pendant by Jade Scott.  I took a gamble that it would work for this project... it called to me and I just had to have it!  There was actually quite a bit about establishing and expanding the heirloom vegetable garden at the Beekman, so I went with it.  Just thinking about the scene where Josh makes his big birthday salad is making me hungry for vegetables!

I decided to stick with mostly orange and green to play off the cute little carrot.  On one side I wire wrapped some links with Olivine and Indian Red Swarovski crystals, a shell pearl and a carved orange gemstone bead.  On the opposite side, I did some stringing with a combination of seed beads and other small beads including some rough cut carnelians that I've had in my hoard for way too long.

I ran some Vintaj brass chain around the back of the necklace and finished things off with a hook clasp.  To balance the two sides out a little bit, I added a brass filagree drop and a small Swarovski crystal off of the clasp.  Originally I tried a small brass bird charm instead (thinking of the netting and the fruit tree) but it just didn't sit quite right.

I enjoyed Josh's writing so much that I decided to seek out his first memoir, I'm Not Myself These Days for future reading.  I had to laugh when I looked it up and saw the cover... I actually have a copy on my bookshelf at home that I grabbed at a library conference a million years ago and never read.  Too funny...that alone might move it to the top of the reading pile!

This is a blog hop so please take some time to see what all the other creative participants have cooked up this month!  Enjoy! 

Sarajo Wentling -- You are here!


  1. How adorable! I really love that carrot pendant. I think I'm going to find a copy of his first book, too.

  2. I enjoyed reading your review of the book. I enjoyed it also and want to read the first book. Love your carrot necklace.

  3. What a great piece! The carrot pendant is absolute perfection for this piece! The colors you selected to compliment the pendant are vibrant and are definitely reminiscent of some of the colors that I imagined in the garden. Nicely done! Thank you so much for participating. A lot of what he wrote struck home with me as well.

  4. I really enjoyed your thoughts on the book. A librarian! I'll bet you just love your job! If I had not been lucky enough to be a K teacher, I would have wanted to work in a library or a book store. In fact, my favorite movie is "You've Got Mail!"

    Something I just noticed about your necklace since I first saw it yesterday is the green pearl.....reminds me of a pea! Peas and carrots! Delightful!

    Terri Greenawalt

    1. Terri, you are so right about the pea! I wish I could say that it was intentional...but it's just a happy accident.

  5. Sarajo - I love the carrot pendant! Beautiful necklace! Your thoughts (and Josh's) on perfection are so true. It's something I try to remember whenever I create a piece of jewelry. Usually, if I apologize for imperfections, like lack of symmetry in wire earrings, the customer will tell me that's why they like it.

  6. Love your carrot necklace. Right up my gardening alley!! Your asymmetry and colors are just right!!

  7. Hello again! I agree - I want to read Josh's first book as well. The goldfish bra alone is compelling; but I like his writing style.

    Love the simple charm of this necklace. Your colors are lovely and your asymmetrical composition is perfectly balanced! Really awesome.