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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
01/30

Marvelous News

For the past two and a half months, whenever anybody asks me how I’m doing I say “I’m great, apart from this insane political situation!” I am angry and depressed. It feels weird and wrong to promote my work at a time like this. But then, as Mexican refugee poet (and 2016 Writers’ Room of Boston fellow) Ari Belathar remarked last week at Together We Rise, the purpose of an artist in times of oppression is to make art.

 

That said, my marvelous news has to do with art I made five years ago. Remember my children’s novel? Well, my indefatigable agent finally found a home for it. I’m speaking with my new editor at Amberjack Publishing a little less than an hour after I hit “publish” on this post.

Here’s the announcement in Publisher’s Lunch today:

Alex Award winner Camille DeAngelis’s THE BOY FROM TOMORROW, about two twelve-year-olds living in the same house one hundred years apart who form a deep and life-changing friendship using a spirit board, to Kayla Church at Amberjack, by Kate Garrick at The Karpfinger Agency (NA).

You can read more about The Boy from Tomorrow on Nova’s blog, the Main Street Vegan blog, and on its own shiny new book page. (Still trying to figure out how to make the title appear in the drop-down menu up top.) Coming to a bookstore near you on May 8, 2018!

A couple quick clarifications:

  • This book is for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12, approximately), but it is intended for children of all ages, which means you and everyone you know.
  • It is very much in keeping with my earlier novels—a pocket of magic inside the ordinary world, emotionally resonant (I hope!), bittersweet.

Four-plus years on submission, and now I’m hooked up with an indie press who have asked for my birthday so they can mail me a treat. Feeling very, very grateful!

 

01/26

Starry Sorbetto and Retro Apples

Another sewing post!

For Christmas, I sewed my roommate a Sorbetto blouse using the yard-plus I had left over from my starry Darling Ranges dress. She’d oohed over the fabric, and she does seem to like (usually understated) metallics.

 

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This was my second time using this pattern—Sorbetto #1 was a Christmas present for my sister (in 2013, I think? or 2014?) using a fuchsia rayon from Mood. I never did get a picture of her wearing it, but that’s okay—it came out too short so I’m not sure how much she’s actually been able to wear it. I learned my lesson, and added length this time. Other than that, this pattern is great (especially since it’s free!)

 

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P1130119I moved into this lovely old attic apartment at the beginning of summer 2014, and spent the first couple weeks shopping for furniture at Goodwill and Boomerangs. I fell in love with this 1930s-(ish?) folding chair—it was only five bucks!!—so home it came with me. All along the plan was to remove the old vinyl seat covering and recover it with something awesome, but as you can tell by the date stamp on this blog post, it’s taken an inexplicably long time to complete the easiest DIY project ever.

The fabric is an utterly delightful linen upholstery weight from Cotton + Steel, which waited patiently in the drawer while I got myself organized enough to pick up a foam chair pad from Jo-Ann. I cut the pad to size with a box cutter, pulled all the rusty old staples out, and put on the new upholstery using a staple gun left over from my canvas-stretching days.

 

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Believe it or not, it is possible to fall head-over-heels in love with a folding chair. This print puts a big smile on my face every time I look at it.

 

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I’m working on my dress for Kate’s wedding at the moment, so that’ll probably be the next project I blog!

 

12/31

Foxes and Rabbits

‘And carrots, Dad!’ said the smallest of the three small foxes. ‘We must take some of those carrots!’

‘Don’t be a twerp,’ said Mr. Fox. ‘You know we never eat things like that.’

‘It’s not for us, Dad. It’s for the Rabbits. They only eat vegetables.’

‘My goodness me, you’re right!’ cried Mr. Fox. ‘What a thoughtful little fellow you are! Take ten bunches of carrots.’

—Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox

* * *

Just when you thought my home-sewn wardrobe couldn’t get any more twee

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Best of all, they are vegetarian foxes, frolicking most innocently with their bosom bunnies. I saw this fabric at Grey’s last summer (a few months before Sarah decided to pack it in) and could not resist it.

 

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At the Gardner Museum, October 2015. Photo by Elliot.

 

From this unabashedly twee cotton I made my second Hawthorn, this time with short sleeves. I was hurrying to finish this dress in time to wear to Kendall’s Drift & Dagger launch party in September 2015 (I told you I had a backlog of sewing posts!), and in my haste I did not ease the sleeve cap in as smoothly as I could have. But as I have already confessed, if you aren’t going to notice my shortcuts then I am probably not going to get around to fixing them anytime soon!

Matt and I [‘who is Matt?’ Read this] went to the MFA the other day and he (very patiently) took more photos so I could finally publish this post.

 

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VERY earnestly contemplating the symbolism of Barbara Gallucci’s Topia Chairs.

 

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Go see the Terry Winters exhibit!

 

Can you tell this is my favorite dress pattern? It is so flattering and so fun (though I did no twirlies at the museum. I should have.) I finished a third Hawthorn back in September for the Life Without Envy launch, but I still have to get good photos.

 

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I played with some of the Flickr filters on these last two.

 

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Happy New Year, everybody! (God help us all…………)

 

12/27

Christmas Dahlia dress

I may just find my way back into blogging through a backlog of sewing posts.

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Here’s my sister’s Christmas present from last year—her first in her (their) new home in Washington, D.C. It’s a Dahlia from Colette Patterns, suitable for work (even if the cotton is prone to wrinkling). Fitting color choice for an environmental policy analyst, don’t you think?

 

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The fabric is a cotton lawn from Robert Kaufman, which I purchased soon before Grey’s Fabric moved house and turned into Mercer’s. (It’s been almost a year and I still haven’t been to the new store, partly because I don’t want to be tempted when I still have so much of a stash to sew through—I bought more during the moving sale!)

 

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Dahlia is not my favorite Colette pattern, to be honest; this was the first time I’ve had to second-guess anything. I suppose I’m skilled enough now that I can anticipate when and why alterations will be necessary, and in this case I do believe it’s a matter of a less-than-flawless design rather than making alterations to suit one’s own form.

 

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If you sew this pattern, you will most likely want to make the following modifications:

Untitled1. Add shoulder darts at the top of the raglan sleeves so the yoke conforms to the shape of the neck and shoulders. (I followed Lime Scented’s notes and made mine 3″ wide and 3.5″ long. If you need assistance, here’s a tutorial.) If you don’t add shoulder darts—which ought to have been written into the pattern to begin with—you’re going to have a gappy-backed potato sack effect going on up top despite the bodice gather. In the course of my Google research I found someone explaining that it’s just very difficult to tailor raglan styles using woven fabric, so that’s why you don’t see them too often in sewing patterns.

2. Take in the sleeves by at least one inch. As designed they’re fairly baggy-looking, which detracts from the lovely feminine silhouette.

I’m very pleased with how this dress turned out. I was nervous about the fit—I tried it on as I was sewing (since I don’t yet own a dress form) and couldn’t get the zipper up, but my sister’s waist is much narrower than mine is, so it fit her perfectly. Whew!

 

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Kate and Elliot are getting married in February. I’m sewing my dress, which will give me another fun project to blog about.

 

U Street Christmas 2015

Needlepoint by our Aunt Kathy.

 

11/25

Vegan Onion Pie

File0252After I went vegan I looked back through all the recipes I’d posted on the blog, either making a note on vegan substitutions or removing the post until I could veganize it to my satisfaction. My grandmother’s onion pie recipe is one of these. For Thanksgiving I thought I’d try to veganize this simple quiche using VeganEgg from Follow Your Heart.

I was feeling even more sentimental than usual when baking this onion pie; my grandmother is not herself anymore, she hasn’t been for a good few years now. I want to get back into making (vegan versions of) her recipes to remember all the good times, back when she was still cooking and baking and decking the whole house with hundreds of snowmen decorations at Christmas. She doesn’t remember any of that now, so our family will have to remember it for her.

Here’s my vegan update. For the pie filling:

4 cups sliced cubed onions (I used red and white)
1/4 cup Earth Balance butter
2 VeganEggs (4 tbsp. powder whisked with 1 cup cold water)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tsp. arrowroot [see note]
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 pastry shell

[NOTE: to make a liquid as thick as the evaporated milk the original recipe calls for, I took Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s suggestion in The Joy of Vegan Baking, whisking 1 tsp. arrowroot into half a cup of homemade cashew milk. Cornstarch is another thickener option.]

I haven’t made the pastry recipe from A Platter of Figs since I went vegan, but it’s easy enough to tweak, and I added some extra ingredients for a more flavorful “co-starring” crust:

2 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) Earth Balance butter (cut into thin slices)
1 tsp. salt
1 VeganEgg (2 tbsp. powder whisked with 1/2 cup cold water)
fresh and/or dried herbs/spices (I used 1 tbsp. dried chives, 1 tbsp. black sesame seeds, and 2 tsp. coriander)

This recipe yields two 9″ crusts, so freeze the second for later.

Mix the flour, butter, and salt, then add the VeganEgg mixture and herbs. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

Now to the filling instructions:

Sauté onions in Earth Balance butter with salt and pepper until tender, stirring in nutritional yeast toward the end. Pour in pastry shell. Whisk VeganEgg with water, mixing in the thickened milk. Pour mixture over onions. Bake at 425º F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. (I left mine in for 30 minutes and the crust is a little crispy.)

Does it approximate a traditional quiche? Not looks-wise—the baked VeganEgg is dry-looking compared to a quiche made with eggs—but taste-wise it is very good indeed!

 

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Next time I’ll add mushrooms to the filling and fresh herbs in the crust, and maybe some poppy seeds. Fancying up that crust was a very delicious idea; when we had late-night leftovers this was the first dish I reached for.

More scrumptious holiday recipes I used at Thanksgiving this year:

The Best Vegan Stuffing Recipe

Cashew Gravy

Cabernet-Cranberry Sauce with Figs

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Read my post about my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary here.

 

11/13

Thoughts on the Eve of My 36th Birthday

I am grieving for a country that doesn’t exist yet.

I don’t know anyone who voted for that repulsive excuse for a human being, but then I guess that’s just proof of how thoroughly I have insulated myself, both online and in real life. And I’m not alone. No one I know was remotely prepared for this.

My first thought was, I am so, so ashamed to be an American.

And then: Eff that. This is OUR America, too. I’m not going anywhere.

When I do eventually get the chance to ask someone who voted for that hatemongering, predatory narcissist WHY they did it, I will say this: “Did you ever stop to think that voting for the candidate endorsed by the KKK would result in a surge of hate crimes? Did you ever really consider what you were aligning yourself with?” (Because wah, wah, wah. Why is everyone calling us ignorant and racist?)

I am angry and I am scared. This is the first thing I have written about the election, but it won’t be the last. I’m done being complacent.

Here’s a round-up of my favorite analyses, postmortems, and calls to action:

No, we should not wait and see what a Trump administration does. We should organize our resistance right now.  

A Time for Refusal

Autocracy: Rules for Survival

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class

President Trump: How America Got it So Wrong

Alarmism saved my family from Hitler: Why I won’t tell anyone to calm down about Trump

So far I’ve attended a peace rally, set up a recurring donation to the ACLU, signed up to volunteer with HIAS, and joined a bunch of “secret” groups online who are beginning to organize and disseminate information. If anybody has any more suggestions as to how to protest, volunteer, and speak up, I’d love to hear them. (I’ll be making more donations to Planned Parenthood, SURJ, et al.)

It’s absolutely terrifying how quickly the media has rolled over. Check out this bullshit:

 


Okay, I’m done ranting for now. I’ll drink a glass of champagne tomorrow in gratitude for my existence, but apart from that it’s down to business!

 

11/07

What’s News

Here’s another quickie post—I’ve thrown myself into NaNoWriMo, so I won’t be blogging again regularly for at least another month!

 

 

There is now a Youtube channel (with a million thanks to my friend M.A. Barrett for putting together such beautiful videos!) I’m planning to sit down in the next week or two and get a bunch more recorded. Like I said, this is going to be sort of like my video series from 2012, only much shorter—2-3 minutes long, and more generally creative. I’d love to hear your requests for future video topics!

 

Things I have written lately:

Why Success is a Crock (and What to Aim for Instead) on Medium

Bile and Begrudgery: How to Break Free of Your Own Bullshit on Medium

Creating a Life Without Envy (inspired by Hindu concepts of Oneness and Devotion) on Dead Darlings

 

Things that have been written lately about Life Without Envy:

Local Author offers ‘Ego Management for Creative People’, Philly Voice

“A Most Savage Plague”: A Brief Encounter with Literary Envy, Kate Gilbert on Readers Unbound

Novelist Claire Hennessy transforms envy into pure admiration on Girls Heart Books

 

Podcast interviews:
Morning on the Dock #52 with my friend Elizabeth Duvivier of Squam Art Workshops

Tranquility du Jour #381: Life Without Envy with Kimberly Wilson

 

Another exciting thing: I took a six-week illustration class at RISD and now I’ve committed to drawing (or just doodling—no pressure) every day for the next year.

 

First page of my new #sketchbook! #art #drawing #micron #watercolor #watercolorpencil #flowers #sketching

A photo posted by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

 

Thank you to everyone who’s come out to my events over the past month-and-change, thank you for buying the book, and thank you for reading!

 

09/27

Pub Day!

 

Pub day sneaks up on me every time. I’m running around this week getting ready for the launch at Tres Gatos this weekend (special shout-out to Kelly B. for coming all the way from the state of Georgia!), but at some point I’m hoping to settle down to a bit of travel blogging. In the meantime, here are a few LWE-related links:

6 Ways to Manage Your Ego on Quick and Dirty Tips

Here’s to Joy: 7 of the Best Books on Happiness on Signature Reads (thank you, Toby!)

Why Success is a Crock (and What to Aim for Instead) on Medium

Let me also draw your attention to my just-updated news and events page, with the full details on my New York City event at the end of October, and huge thanks to Scott for making this happen. I can’t wait.

Thanks for your support, everyone—as always!

 

09/06

Home Again, and a Bunch of Updates

Home again, after the best trip yet.

 

Diving around the wreck of the USAT Liberty (sunk by the Japanese in 1942) in Tulamben, Bali, August 28th.

 

My friend Joelle and I were texting regularly all through our respective trips to Iceland and Asia, and after she got home she wrote,

I’m in that phase where it kind of feels like my trip didn’t really happen. There’s always a struggle to live just a little differently than I did before.

I’ve been turning those words over ever since. After this trip I am far less of a mystery to myself. I have finally begun to understand why I feel and react the way I do in difficult situations (and in truth, how I tend to create those difficult situations). I know I’m being vague here, but I may be remedying this soon (see next paragraph). For now, I’ll just say that Joe Dispenza’s book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself has more than secured a place on my (not-yet-official) list of the Most Useful and Enlightening Books I Have Ever Read. I’m looking forward to writing about exactly how and why it’s helping me!

Now for Getting Specific: because Life Without Envy is on sale at the end of the month (!!), I’m doing the usual promotional thing, albeit on a scale that makes sense to me. One of LWE’s essential messages is about making oneself useful, and I’ve been pondering how to walk my talk in ways that feel authentic and effective. Admittedly, there is a part of me who would much rather hole up and get back to writing fiction, but how can I write a book like Life Without Envy and then run away from my own advice on community building and becoming as honest as possible about one’s messiest feelings?

You may recall that I posted a virtual writing workshop series on Youtube back in 2012, and I’m thinking about starting up something similar again—only with shorter (2 to 3-minute), more-to-the-point videos with frank advice on practical topics related to the book. That is one immediate way in which I can make myself useful.

I brainstormed topics. I made a list. “Success” Versus Satisfaction. Impostor Syndrome. How to Think Your Way Out of Self Loathing. (The IRONY of Self Loathing.)

Then, of course, my ego piped up. What if you post a bunch of videos and NOBODY RESPONDS, you loser? (I will say this over and over again: I wrote the book I most needed to read.)

Then I remembered something one of my new internet pals Alexis Donkin wrote in a recent newsletter. 

What we say, what we write, how we act—it DOES matter. If I post a video and it turns one person’s day around, then that is mission accomplished. Nobody has to go viral on Youtube in order to make the world a little bit kinder. (I actually have a specific anecdote on this topic—about overhearing a conversation in a restaurant that helped me lift myself out of a frighteningly gloomy mood—and I will share it on video.)

So yeah. I think I’m going to start a new Youtube channel, and if you have any topics you’d like me to cover (or other tips/suggestions), please let me know!

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Now for some newsy things:

The wonderful Jamaica Plain restaurant-cum-bookstore Tres Gatos is hosting the Life Without Envy launch on Sunday, October 2nd starting at 3pm. Come early for brunch (alas, they aren’t the most vegan-friendly place in town, but what options they do have are excellent). And do please RSVP on Facebook!

I’m also giving an hourlong Life Without Envy workshop at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 15th, 2016. We’ll have space for about thirty people. I can’t imagine it’ll be that crowded, but come early just in case!

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And here’s a quick link round-up, ICYMI on social media:

Immaculate Heart write-up in the Improper Bostonian

Life Without Envy in 18 Must-Read Nonfiction Books of September 2016 in Bustle

Why Having My Book Go Out of Print Was a Pretty Great Thing, After All in Publishers Weekly

My Intentional Writer interview with Alexis Donkin

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More soon!

06/30

The Grand Tour of Asia

Oh, HELLO! I almost forgot I even have a blog. Moon Ireland revisions were frantic (I did get them done on time, though, whew!), and now I’m stoked to be working on a follow-up to Life Without Envy. I will get back to blogging someday, I just don’t have any idea when. September! Yeah, September. For sure-ish.

My next adventure is coming up very soon: a two-month backpacking trip with Seanan (and a few more friends, for different portions) around south-east Asia. My sister and the crew went to Indonesia back in February while I was in Ireland…

 

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Yogyakarta photo by Kate.

 

…and when I got home to New Jersey yesterday I was delighted to find a stack of rupiah waiting for me. Thank you, cookiesister!

You can follow me on Instagram for pics from Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Cambodia again, and Indonesia, in that order. We’re plotting a trip to the Banda Islands for a DIY writing holiday towards the end. I am the luckiest person on the planet. (Luckier than Seanan, since he’s got to put up with me.) In all seriousness, though, I have set some powerful intentions for this trip, and I’m insanely excited to see what happens.

A couple notes before I go:

There are three more Goodreads giveaways for Life Without Envy scheduled for the weeks of July 11th, August 8th, and August 30th…though September 27th will be here before we know it!

And ICYMI, read this. I literally cried at my desk.

Happy summer, everybody!  <3

 

Wish you were here, @fionaashleen. #beach #yoga

A photo posted by Camille DeAngelis (@cometparty) on

 

Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.
Photo by Anne Weil