Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Falling faintly through the universe

 The Old Church Park in Helsinki, Finland1 January 2006. By LumijaguaariCC license.

One of my favorite courses at the University of Virginia was with Karen Chase. As all English professors should, she asked us to memorize one of her favorite lines of literature to mark the start of each snowfall. It's just the last line below but here's the whole paragraph in honor of our first snowfall this year:

"A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

From "The Dead," by James Joyce

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

painted pumpkins

This Halloween I have come to realize-I'm a painted pumpkin person. I love the look of a jack-o-lantern and I completely appreciate the artistic endeavors of the ambitious carver, but paint is it for me.
These bat pumpkins are definitely on my list for next year. The white one is just awesome.
Stencil painting makes for more grown-up looking autumn decor (unnecessary in these parts, but still lovely!).
A project I wish I had seen a week ago- these mini pumpkins transformed into black cats....

This is surprisingly one of my favorite... the subtle tones/striking graphics combination is perfect. 
Last year I saw this design somewhere in cyberspace and I have copied it many times. I love it- the clown pumpkin....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

tree ghosts

Ghosts in the trees are an easy way to spook up the yard. We put our ghosts up two weekends ago and they have survived the elements -smiles and boos in tact.
All you need for these particular apparitions is a couple of yards of muslin, Styrofoam balls (in any craft store), twine, fishing line and a sharpie. I am hoping they will last for another Halloween season or two. So far, these ghosts seem to have haunting staying power!

Monday, October 21, 2013

pumpkin welcome

It appears to be a very New England thing to place small pumpkins on the entryway ledge. In an attempt to wow you with how charming this autumn tradition can be, I actually found very limited photography on the subject. In my town alone I can think of a half a dozen great examples (must remember to snap shots of these spots).
Seeing as how I am from New England and that I love it even more than usual in the fall months, I am a big fan of the pumpkin welcome.....


Sunday, October 13, 2013

dying for Halloween die cuts

I've decided this year that we will become Halloween people. Try as I might to diminish it - Christmas and Thanksgiving are stressful. There is too much traveling, too much spending, too much stuff you HAVE to do. Halloween doesn't seem to have all those trappings and family obligations. It also takes place during the best time of year. Plus (hello?) there is nothing better than toddler costumes and free candy. 

What's also fun about Halloween is that we get to begin from scratch. There are no inherited decorations or knickknacks that one feels obligated to bring out very year. We get to pick out our own stuff. So the first thing I started looking for are old school Halloween die cuts (also called "cut outs" or super awesome teacher bulletin board art). Yes, I'm talking about those old school double-sided posters. Corny? No doubt. Expensive? Surprisingly so for used cardboard. Worth it? Totally. Because we are Halloween people and we do Halloween right.

Monday, September 16, 2013

little free library

I recently took a trip to Minneapolis. It was my second time there, but the first time in great, just have to be outside weather. On top of all the wonderful activities this lake filled city has to offer during these glorious weather stretches, the whole place is very walkable.
As I trekked through the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown area, my friend pointed out the Little Free Libraries that have popped up all over. The LittleFreeLibrary concept began in Wisconsin, but is quite popular all over now. The community movement is simple-folks put out tiny decorated boxes that serve as lending libraries for the area. There is a site where you can order your own little library or just read about the movement.
NPR did a piece on these tiny libraries as well - take a listen!

Friday, September 13, 2013

this time of year

 The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.”
 The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into fall- the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change. - E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

Monday, September 2, 2013

Make Do and Mend

WWII campaign poster from a UK educational site.

I've been researching how to repair the thigh-worn bare spots in my husband's corduroy pants. I'm determined that we not replace them without at least trying to patch them--I want to prove my very limited sewing skills and justify the presence of the sewing machine taking up space in our house. I also feel a sort of familial obligation: my grandmothers came of age in different times from ours: one was a survivor of the Depression and the other was a civilian worker on the British homefront during WWII. As they grew up, and then, as the mother of four children each, they would have put patches on over and over again. According to my mom, her mother's generation would also reinforce the high-wear areas of new clothes. A greater generation than ours, to be sure.

Some instructions for mending pants can be found here and here.

Here's a humorous "Make Do and Mend' instructional video from the 1940s British Ministry of Supply (warning: contains a pantsless man in a bowler hat).

And other images from the homefront:

Thursday, August 29, 2013


If anyone asks my five-year-old what she wants to be when she grows up (and, frankly, often when they don't) she will take a dramatic breath and say - "I am going to be a human doctor, an animal doctor, president, a mother and an artist! ". 
My little girl, the middle of our crew, has always been so completely confident, friendly and chatty. I have enjoyed her conversation since she started at 18-months-old and I don't think there has been a single day in that time when she did not make me laugh. Oh sure, she can be stubborn and enthusiastically pick fights with her siblings, but she is nearly always happy and creative and just fun.
This week she starts kindergarten and for the first time in five years she won't be with me all day for most days of the week. She is starting something that she can hardly wait for- learning to read! taking the bus! lunch at school!- and I am filled with anticipation for her, but....I will miss her.
I will miss her singing with the radio on our way to run errands. I will miss how she says " At your service, Mummy!" when I ask her to help with something. I will miss her wholehearted, dramatic participation in story hours.
I know she will thrive in school. I know she will bring home so many stories in the days ahead. I know it is time to send her. But, it still makes me a little sad.
I simply have to remember, if there is ever going to be a physician, veterinarian, commander-in-chief  mom who oil paints.....I just put her on the bus.


Related Posts with Thumbnails