The Rosie Project

I finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion the other week. The main character, Don Tillman, is similar to Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory (a brilliant yet socially inept scientist). Don inadvertently finds love through a woman he considers “highly unsuitable” for his Wife Project (he labels all his undertakings “projects.”) And yes, he’s 39 and on a quest for a wife, so he created an elaborate questionnaire to filter all women through, because you know, she can’t smoke, can’t be vegetarian, can’t drink (too much), can’t be too late or too early for appointments, can’t be picky about ice cream flavours because apparently they all taste the same, and on and on and on.

therosieprojectSo along comes Rosie with her thick-soled black boots, spiky hair, cigarettes & penchant for alcohol (she works part-time as a bartender while doing her PhD in psychology at the same school where Don teaches), and she is nothing like his perfect woman. We all know how that story goes . . .

Anyway, Don & Rosie are in contact with each other because he’s helping her with her “Father Project”(identifying her biological father via various DNA experiments) through his expertise as a genetics professor. Ensue adventures of cup-swabbing, napkin-procuring, jersey-bleeding gestures in order to get samples from the men on Rosie’s list of potential fathers.

The novel was surprisingly quite a page-turner as I was curious what Don would do next—how he’d process new experiences outside the range of his vary limited social skills. I would have liked to learn Don’s backstory earlier than 2/3 into the novel, but despite this late start, I still found myself cheering for him. Regarding Rosie, it would have been refreshing if the impulsive, free-spirited woman who awakens Don’s heart to new emotions wasn’t so conventionally unconventional. Surely there are other, less physical ways to portray assumed unsuitability for Don than through her obviously punk appearance. I would have liked to see Simision tease this out a bit more. That being said, it is his first novel, and a pretty good one at that—filled with quirky, humorous, and tender moments. I recommend it if you’re looking for something light and endearing to read over the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I wanted to follow-up from my last post with a shot of my Douglas fir tree, complete with the Christmas star ornament hanging near the top right. Ah, the smell of fresh pine to greet me each morning!


A Starry Night

We’re less than a month away, folks! And nothing helps you get more in the Christmas spirit than doing some Christmas-y crafts (and baking, which is on the agenda for tomorrow!)

Like last year, I’m going to get a real tree for my apartment again. As I anxiously wait for Saturday to come which is when H&M Christmas Tree Farm opens for the season, I thought I would make a new ornament to add to my collection. Hence a trip to my favourite Vancouver art store I’ve mentioned before, Urban Source on Main Street.

I bought this wooden star for a few bucks and let my imagination take over.

IMG_0705I knew I wanted to decorate it with sheet music, so I traced the star on some old piano music of my mom’s that I’m not skilled enough to play, and cut out 2 pieces for 2 points of the star. I’m all about assymetry.

I definitely wanted to keep that red pencil crayon where a teacher had marked the decrescendo. It adds that much more character, don’t you think?

IMG_0707Before gluing the pieces down, I made the star pop with bright red paint.

IMG_0715Then I glued the pieces down and added a button in the middle, referencing my old-school hobby of sewing.

IMG_0720But I wasn’t completely satisfied. My star was missing something. Something to give it that extra sparkle. It needed some gold. So I asked the Artist, of course. He suggested using something called gold leaf instead of gold paint, which he just happened to have in his repertoire of art supplies. And so we had a Christmas crafting date.

IMG_0730If you’re wondering what gold leaf is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I learned that it’s very thin paper that sticks like paint, but it’s not paint. You apply the glue (see photo above) with a paintbrush to the areas you want the gold leaf to stick, and then you let it dry for 10-15 minutes because you want it to be just sticky-enough for the paper to stick, but not overly wet that the paper gets soggy.

Here’s the best part: taking the tissue paper-thin leaf sheets out of the package, being careful not to blow, breathe, sneeze, or do anything that would risk creasing, tearing, or destroying it (and it doesn’t take much!) This is the most fragile material I’ve ever worked with. We placed the paper on top of the glue and used a paintbrush to seal it along the ridge.

IMG_0733Once the glue was all covered, we peeled away the excess paper, again using a paintbrush to sweep the remaining flecks & fragments away.

IMG_0738IMG_0735And voilà! It’s sealed on there like paint. The beauty (and frustration) with gold leaf is that it’s not neat & precise. It has that frayed-edge look, but I actually quite like it. And I think the gold gives it that extra something, wouldn’t you agree?

Now it just needs to a tree to hang from!

IMG_0749IMG_0746What are your favourite DIY Christmas crafts, ones you’ve done or ones you’d like to try?