Wednesday, April 30, 2008
While driving home listening to sad music and thinking my sad thoughts I began to muse about Southern writers and soul food. Southern writers seem to have more to say about life, happy or sad than almost any others. Their writing feeds your soul. It is rich with the gravy of life and love.
We know we've come home to where we're known best when we read Lee Smith. We feel part of a genuine community when we read Fannie Flagg. William Faulkner is a visit to the psychiatrist's couch for a look into the psyche (although no Southerner worth her salt would ever let anyone know she needed THAT type of help). We finish a Tennessee Williams' story knowing we are not the most dysfunctional family in the neighborhood. Dorie Sanders writes wise fairy tales of simple dreams come true. Harper Lee teaches us to value and respect all human life. Anne Rice adds the gothic touch that reflects the brutish and macabre in us. Kaye Gibbons writes about confusion and pain and the triumph over both. We are more profound because of Eudora Welty; her vision is so perceptive.
These writers remind us of our heritage, our unique voice, our history, our worst selves and our best selves. Their books are like a meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, greens and cornbread. When we finish reading their words we are satisfied and content.
Do you have a favorite Southern writer or book? How does it feed your soul?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I keep boxes of Green Giant white shoepeg corn in my freezer. It tastes good in a variety of recipes and it cooks in minutes in the microwave.
I made the pico with corn, fresh tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro and Vidalia onions. I'm not known as a neat cook.
I sauted chunks of chicken, onion, and bell pepper seasoned with cumin and Dales sauce and rolled it up in warm flour tortillas. I finished my fajita off by topping it with the Pico de Gallo , salsa and lite sour cream.
I can't break the habit of cooking for a house full even though it is just me now, so I boxed up lunches for 3 days.
It makes a filling meal, but not too heavy.
ps This 2 1/2 ft tall flower has come back each year in my flowerbed since I planted a wildflower mix a few years ago. Does anyone know its name?
- My favorite curse word is "crackers" and if something is really bad I say "crackers and soup."
- I absolutely hate it when the plastic shower curtain blows in and sticks to me when I am in the shower.
- I would be a like to be a high school or college history teacher.
- One of my favorite literary characters when I was a pre-teen was named Candy Kane. I once took art from a woman named London Bridges. We had a customer whose name was Minnie Tartt.
- I like to drive fast with the windows down and the music very loud. (But I don't do this often because I don't want a ticket and I don't want to mess my hair up... : (
- I would like to have a piece of art published in this magazine. ( I actually did have a tiny mail art envelop published in the Oct 2007 issue but I would still like to have something else published one day... reminder to self...make something and send it in!)
- I miss having children at home. ( I don't miss cleaning up after them though)
Monday, April 28, 2008
I don't know what I will use them for but it was fun. While browsing tonight I noted that lookbeyondthepicketfence and I seem to be on the same wavelength. Check her cute bird pins out.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I think I will post a few unrelated pictures.
These toys need to be put away. They were the play companions of my grandchildren the last time they were here.
I have a thing about drawing eyes. Whenever I begin to doodle I inevitably sketch a pair of eyes. I don't know why, I just do.
Does anyone remember Green Stamps? My mother and my grandmother used to collect them. You were given them by participating grocery stores when you made purchases. I still have a teapot my grandmother gave me that she got with her stamps.
About 10 years ago one of my daughter in laws introduced me to my favorite home store. None are located in the state where I live, nevertheless I have managed to visit this store numerous times since my first visit. I love the feeling of delicious discovery that I get just before we arrive. You never know what you might find there but the best thing about it is that it will be affordable. : ) Big Smile!!
I even made and swapped Artist Trading Cards with someone once who loved Ikea also. I know...crazy nuts!
Isn't the rose bush my youngest son gave me last year blooming prettily?
Yesterday I packed up this bag of childhood memories and took them over to my daughter's home. We found these things when we cleaned out recently. They were in want of a good washing and a little TLC.
I have a small collection of jewelry, mostly from the 60s and the 70s. My granddaughters like to model it for me.
And now this little blue fairy sends her very best wishes to each of you for a magical week.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Book on CD-read by Hugh Bonneville
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Speaking of sewing, while I surfed the Internet a few nights ago I found something I think is really remarkable. This woman has a whole gallery of her soft sculptures on Flickr. The name of her blog is Sewn By Blythe.
here to see what I'm talking about.
So what about you? Do you sew? Can't resist buying beautiful fabrics.? Secretly wish you could find the time to make a quilt? Me too!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I finally found a few minutes to browse through my April issue of Traditional Home today. Near the end I found this beautiful home. The magazine calls this style "tradfusion: Trad marries Mod in One Fab Collaboration."
Simply elegant, don't you think?
Tres Chic, non?
But these special design front doors are what made me realize that a movie I love had been floating in the back of my mind almost the whole time I read this article.
("Ahhhhh, this is what I will blog about today" I thought as I got up to walk to the computer.)
As I walked down the hall I realized that I was listening to this CD. With it's mixture of songs and artists it is great French mood music.
Ah now, to the subject of this post....Bon Voyage, directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau in 2003 and starring Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani and Peter Coyote. It is the story of Paris in the 1940s just prior to German occupation. Even though the subject matter sounds serious, the movie is actually quite a funny farce, making fun of movie stars, government officials and the rich socialites of Paris who are perturbed that the Germans are interrupting their carefree lifestyles.
Since it is a foreign film you do need to be prepared to read the subtitles unless you speak French. Here is a link to the movie trailer. If you do see it please let me know what you think. I've seen it a couple of times and it never fails to delight me.
ps I forgot to mention why this magazine article brought the movie to mind. The movie star's French apartment is decorated in the art deco style. I was reminded of the glass doors at the entrance of her building by the front doors of this home. Yes, I do know that my mind works in a convoluted manner...what can I say?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I came to recognize that the things about my finished watercolors that I didn't like had nothing to do with my ability to mix and apply paint effectively. It had little to do with understanding the mechanics of properly using the brushes. The reason my paintings dissatisfied me had nothing to do with my ability to paint and everything to do with the laziness with which I had executed the drawing underneath the painting. If the drawing had the wrong perspective, if the lines were sloppy, if my drawing didn't represent the subject faithfully how could my painting be a faithful representation of my subject matter.
It was at this point that I first realized I had to go back to step one and learn to draw. My technical proficiency is not now, nor probably never will be as accomplished as I would wish for.
All of that said to say, I do try to practice drawing a little every day. I am getting better. I know I'll never be a Leonardo though.
These are a couple of recent pages from my sketch pad.
On this page I am trying to work out some symbolic ideas for the mother earth pictures.
I have been reading Russian Textiles, a book I found at my local library. It has lovely illustrations of old fabric and amazing pictures of central Asian people. I haven't read much of the book because I keep finding things I want to sketch.
I find that I am drawn to faces.
I need the practice but I do think I draw better today than I did 10 years ago.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Just thought you might like to take a listen today....just a short vacation into sublimity.
" the idea for the first Hamish Macbeth novel came to Chesney while she was learning to fly cast for salmon at a fishing school in northern Scotland. Macbeth is the town constable in Lochdubh, a small village in the Scottish Highlands. He keeps a low profile, preferring to have people assume he’s of limited competence and intelligence. But, despite the intervention of more high-powered police officials, he’s able to solve crimes by careful observation of the people involved. Hamish Macbeth’s quiet but steady process of investigation has lead one reviewer to say of a novel in this series, “The pleasures of the book are akin to those of a good gossip session with a perceptive old friend.”
If like me you try these books and enjoy them, you will be pleased to know that M. C. is quite prolific. There is also a British TV series based on the Macbeth character, but I've been told the books are more satisfying.
- Death of a Gossip (1985)
- Death of a Cad (1986)
- Death of an Outsider (1988)
- Death of a Perfect Wife (1989)
- Death of a Hussy (1991)
- Death of a Snob (1992 )
- Death of a Prankster (1992)
- Death of a Glutton (1993)
- Death of a Travelling Man (1993)
- Death of a Charming Man (1994)
- Death of a Nag (1995)
- Death of a Macho Man (1996)
- Death of a Dentist (1997)
- Death of a Scriptwriter (1998)
- Death of an Addict (1999)
- A Highland Christmas (1999)
- Death of a Dustman (2001)
- Death of a Celebrity (2002)
- Death of a Village (2003)
- Death of a Poison Pen (2004)
- Death of a Bore (2005)
- Death of a Dreamer (2006)
- Death of a Maid (2007)
- Death of a Gentle Lady (2008)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
- I don't like hard work.
- I don't enjoy sweating.
- My yard is full of clay soil and rocks.
- The sun seeking plants that I love just die in my yard because I have too much shade.
- My lawn mower is broken.
- Did I mention that I don't like hard work?
But I was drawn out into my rocky, weed infested, leaf strewn back yard this afternoon because it is an absolutely beautiful day here today. In the lieu of "real" flowers I photographed weeds. You know they really are beautiful. Maybe I should just learn to be content with my overgrown weedy yard.
Don't these petals look like fine silk fringe?
And if you squint this could be a ball of gossamer fairy wings.
What do you think? Could this lichen be sheltering some magical creature under it's surfeit of curly gray-green umbrellas?
From an ant's perspective it is easy to imagine this tree might touch the sky.
Alas, one gardener for hire please!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This got me thinking about what the playwright John Guare said:
So I conducted an informal questionnaire this afternoon. I asked each one in the office at that time. Do you know anyone famous? Does anyone you know, know anyone famous?
This is what I learned.
Big D met Hulk Hogan through a former job. He also shook hands with Dennis Rodman in an airport somewhere in the good ole USA. Big D's mother once met Blair Underwood in a restaurant.
New mother K has a picture of herself with Alice Cooper so I assume she met him. (I heard this from someone who has seen the picture in question since New mother is at home presently with New baby).
Shoe loving A once met Barbara Bush and Kitty Carlisle although not on the same met Pete Rose and Mickey Mantle. He also met former AL governor George Wallace. Shoe loving A's mother met Lucy Arnaz. A's brother was BIg AL (mascot at the University of Alabama) and he has met Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler. Her family seems to attract celebrities, don't you agree?
A former employee had a picture of himself shaking hands with Al Gore. (again this information was reported to me second hand).
Back up Singer D not only knows the aforementioned James Ingram but she has also met all of the following: John Legend, Steven Spielberg, Patti Austin, Dave Koz, Phil Perry, Spike Lee, Johnny Carson, Barbra Streisand, Jesse Jackson, Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole, Debbie Allen, Tyler Perry, Berry Gordy, Roberta Flack, Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle and all of Earth, Wind and Fire.
Although, I have never met anyone famous I do have a good friend whose husband writes jokes for Jay Leno. And I was once in a restaurant at the same time as that redheaded girl on "That 70s Show".
Hey, wait a minute, let me see....there is no more than three degrees of separation between me and all of those celebrities named above. COOL BEANS!
Please try this experiment at home and let me know the results.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Quoth the Raven,
-Edgar Allan Poe
-Alexander the Great
- Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
- If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
- Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
- Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in Society. The social ramble ain't restful.
- Avoid running at all times.
- Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
When your life comes to its end maybe you would be interesting in being laid here along side the heart of Robert the Bruce. His heart was taken on crusade as a talisman, but only made it as far as Granada. It was returned to Scotland and laid it to rest here in Melrose Abbey instead.
The cemetery where Samuel Taylor Coleridge is buried is quite beautiful. His remains rest here in Grasmere, England along with those of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
Stop, Christian passer-by:
Stop, child of God,
And read, with gentle breast.
Beneath this sod
A poet lies, or that which once
O, lift one thought in prayer
for S. T. C.--
That he who many a year
with toil of breath
Found death in life, may here
find life in death:
Mercy for praise--to be
forgiven for fame--
He ask'd, and hoped
Do thou the same.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I'll end this somewhat macabre post with this very humble epitaph from the grave of Roy Rogers.
The Cowboy's Prayer
Oh Lord, I reckon I'm not much just by myself.
I fail to do a lot of things I ought to do.
But Lord, when trails are steep and passes high,
Help me to ride it straight the whole way through.
And when in the falling dusk I get the final call,
I do not care how many flowers they send--
Above all else the happiest trail would be
For You to say to me, "Let's ride, My friend."
Monday, April 14, 2008
With that said, I went to my favorite scrapbook store on my lunch hour today. I haven't been there in over 2 months because I can't just go in and look....I HAVE to buy. The store was filled with beautiful patterned paper. And I bought.
Tonight I scanned a few pieces of paper into my computer along with three pen, ink and colored pencil calendar cards that I drew recently. I began to manipulate the images digitally to produce the following pictures. Some are more successful than others, but the outcome is all part of the process of trial and error
This is where I began. Photoshop allows you to work in layers. Each action can be applied in it's own layer and discarded if it doesn't work. There is so much this program can do. I am familiar with only a tiny fraction of it's capabilities.
This is the same image with the colors inverted. I especially like the colors on the chair in this one. Funny how different the colors and patterns are when you see their opposites (on the color wheel).
Here is one with the 3 different cards altered slightly and then a colored pencil filter was used.
In this next one I began to get excited by the alterations. I like the way the whole image is softened and begins to read as a whole instead of it's individual parts.
This is just taking the last image a step further by removing most of the color.
Along the way, I also began to cut out smaller slices of the picture to form new images.
My favorite pictures are these.
I like the relative simplicity of the last three images. I may go back later and add some text to each. Maybe a favorite quotation or word.....