Mark Twain and Crafty Pursuits

So I’ve been reading Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad,” an early work of his based on letters he wrote during a “pleasure excursion” (the forerunner to cruises) to the Mediterranean. It’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read; I’ve laughed out loud so many times while reading it. Essentially, the whole book is tongue-in-cheek. He’s making fun of travel writing, ignorant Americans abroad, foreigners, and himself. Here are some funny tidbits from the book:

The tourists have an interesting way of dealing with foreign names:

The first time Twain and his companions have a tour guide, they are unable to pronounce his Portuguese name. They decide to call him “Ferguson.” Throughout the rest of the trip, they call every tour guide Ferguson.

“Buon giorno! My name is Guiseppe. I will be showing you the Roman Coliseum.”

“Ok, Ferguson. Where can we find a bathroom?”

They also do this with place names. While touring the Middle East:

“We are camped near Temnin-el-Foka, a name which the boys have simplified a good deal, for the sake of convenience in spelling. They call it Jacksonville.”

Twain’s entertaining observations of camels:

“Camels are not beautiful, and their long under lip gives them an exceedingly gallus (cheeky) expression… They are not particular about their diet. They would eat a tombstone if they could bite it. A thistle grows about here which has needles on it that would pierce through leather, I think: if one touches you, you can find relief in nothing but profanity. The camels eat these. They show by their actions that they enjoy them. I suppose it would be a real treat to a camel to have a keg of nails for supper.”

It’s full of wry humor. I love it.

Also, lately, Carly and I have been feeling crafty. I’m teaching her how to crochet and she’s showing me how to make these cool leather bracelets.

A market bag I crocheted and felted. With local wool. BAM

We both bought yarn at the farmer’s market from Barbara Kling. She and her husband own Grandview Farm and raise sheep for wool and for meat. (She said only the mean ones are for meat)

Some good websites for craft ideas (for gifts or if you are like me, for yourself) are CraftGawker and Ravelry. And of course there’s always Pinterest.

While we’re on the subject of handmade objects… check out Den Creations, the Etsy site for mom’s and Nancy’s jewelry. And just check out Etsy in general. It’s a good way to support artisans and get unique gifts for people. Or yourself. Like me.

Buying yarn from Mrs. Kling

So I guess this blog is about two very important things that everyone needs: a good laugh and a creative outlet. I hope these suggestions come in handy.


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