December 11

Liebster Award & 2012 Challenges

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Yesterday, I was delighted to find that What Remains Now was awarded the Liebster award by Declan (aka Deccy) of Declan’s Dog Blog.  You may remember Deccy and his Mum’s 4 Faves in November.  It appears that nepotism may have been involved in Declan’s choice of awardees (Casper and Nikki are related to Declan), but who am I to buck a time honored benefit system like good ole nepotism.  All kidding aside, I was pleased and honored to receive the award.  Here are the rules:

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve.  As with any award, there is a bit of ceremony involved. In order to accept the award, you must do the following:
 
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
 
2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.
 
3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
 
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.
 
Since I had to narrow my picks to only five, I selected blogs I haven’t featured before:
 
 
Shades of Greyhound is the blog of Ambrose, Dog II and the newest member of the pack, Jiggler.  Their exploits are told through intermittent photocomics.  If you love cutting-edge Greyhound humor, Shades of Greyhound is the place to go.
 
 
Winnie is one of our Greyhound friends from across the pond.  Winnie is a little sweetie whose mission is to let everyone know what great pets Greyhound make.  Winnie’s mom also runs Lost and Fond, a pet bereavement website where anyone can add a free online tribute page for any pet they have loved and lost.
 
 
Peaceful Dogs is Kirsten’s blog.  She relates her adventures in rescuing, fostering and training dogs.  I enjoy Kirsten’s blog because you can feel her heart for making the world a better place for the dogs she fosters and trains.  Kirsten doesn’t sugarcoat the work she does.  It isn’t easy, but important things rarely are.  
 
 
Dog Gone Right is the home of Gwyn the Greyhound and her two kittie siblings, Oz and Willow.  Kat is an animal lover, and I love following her kids’ adventures. 
 
 
Penelope (aka Nellie) and Kozmo run things over at The Cat From Hell blog.  They live with their Mommy and Daddy and the Hairy Slobbery Sisters, Bob and Cinnamon.  If you like naughty kitties, you’ll love Nellie and Kozmo.
 
Thank you, Declan, for this lovely award, and “congratulations” to all my awardees.
 
A few upcoming challenges for 2012:
 
I’ve become a huge fan of “challenges” like Art Every Day Month and the Wolf Hall Readalong.  Here’s a few I’m doing in 2012:

The World We Found Readalong is sponsored by one of my favorite book blogs, S. Krishna’s Books.  I’ve never read anything by Thrity Umrigar, so I thought I’d give it a try.  The World We Found releases on January 3, 2012 and the discussion begins on January 10. 

I love the idea of focusing on a particular theme during a year of reading, so Swapna’s year-long South Asian Challenge 2012 appealed to me.  I’ve read very little about South Asia or by South Asian authors, so this challenge seemed perfect. 

There are two ways for a book to qualify for the South Asian Challenge:

1.  A book must be by a South Asian author.  For these purposes, South Asia includes the following countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives.  There are no limitations on what the book can be about. 

2.  A book must be about South Asia or South Asians.  In this case, it can be set in a South Asian country or be about South Asians living abroad.  It can also be a biography or memoir of a South Asian, or of a non-South Asian traveling or working in South Asia.  In this case, the author does not need to be South Asian, as long as the subject matter focuses on the region, peoples, or cultures in some way.

I’m committing to 4 books:

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar & The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghui

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee & The Blue Notebook by James Levine 

I had such a positive experience participating in Art Every Day Month in November, that I want to join in with the Creative Every Day Challenge 2012, sponsored by Leah Piken Kolidas of Creative Every Day.  I won’t post about this on a daily basis as I did during the challenge in November, but it will help keep me motivated.

Please join in if any of these challenges interest you.  You don’t have to have a blog to participate.

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 8 Comments

December 10

She’s Come Undone

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This is the story of Dolores Price who faces almost every terrible issue and situation that a girl/woman can face.  She doesn’t weather the storms unscathed; rather she is molded and greatly affected by them, but her bleak sense of humor keeps you hopeful that she makes it through.  This is a story of survival.  Dolores will touch your heart because she represents a reality that is all around us.

I’m participating in a readalong challenge hosted by Nicole (Linus’s Blanket) and Natalie (Coffee and a Book Chick).  The book we’re reading is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the 2009 Man Booker Prize winner.  Wolf Hall is a fictionalized biography chronicling the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII, and is currently being adapted into a miniseries by HBO and BBC.  This week, we read Parts 3 & 4.

Part 3 covers the Winter of 1529, as Cardinal Wolsey is stripped of power and charged with forty-four violations of the king’s laws, to Christmastide of 1530.  Part 4 begins in 1531 and ends in November 1532.

I am thoroughly enjoying Wolf Hall.  The focus on the the life and rise of Thomas Cromwell and the present tense perspective, gives you a sense of who he was and how he played into the larger history.  By using conversations and private moments, you get a sense of what it must have been like to live during this period of tremendous change…the cultural upheaval of the Protestant Reformation, the mystery of Anne Boleyn’s sway over Henry VIII, and the whim of the court where one minute you’re a rising star and the next you’re imprisoned and facing death.

Wolf Hall assumes a knowledge of the period, but what I’m finding important is not the chronicling of historical people and events, but the emergence of new ideas.  This struggle between old and new is beautifully and artfully played out between Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More.

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and giving you my final thoughts next week.

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books) | 8 Comments

December 9

Arlington Road

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Arlington Road is a riveting thriller that keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very end of the movie.  Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday,  a professor of American History who teaches courses on terrorism.  Michael’s wife, an FBI agent, was killed in a botched raid.  Now, a single father living in the suburbs, he becomes friends with his next door neighbor after saving the man’s son’s life after an accident.  It doesn’t take long before Michael starts noticing things that don’t seem right and his paranoia starts to build.  What follows is a complex movie that keeps you locked in its grip from beginning to end.

Posted by lori . Filed under A Bowl of Popcorn, a Movie and Thou (Movies) | 3 Comments

December 8

Ribbon = Christmas Tree Picture

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Inspiration:

Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications (Do It Yourself – Winter 2010) – Pg 66 (Outside the Box)

 

Supplies:

Acrylic picture frame

Ribbon (I used brown, green and white)

Cardstock

Thread

Needle

Scissors

Glue dots (Tacky Glue is pictured, but I changed my mind and went with glue dots)

Something to wrap the ribbon around (I used a glue stick)

 

1.  Start with the tree trunk ribbon.  Cut a length that wraps around the frame.  Wrap the middle of the ribbon around a round object (I used a glue stick) and stitch to make a loop.

 

2.  Do the same with several lengths of  the tree ribbon. 

 

3.   I made a length with 5 loops, a length with 4 loops, a length with 3 loops, a length with 2 loops and a length with 1 loop.

 

4.  Cut a piece of cardstock and insert it in the frame as the background.  I didn’t want the cardstock to move, so I attached it to the front of the frame with a couple glue dots.  The glue dots will be covered when you attach the ribbon sections.

 

5.  Apply a couple glue dots to the back of the tree trunk ribbon and glue to the front of the frame.  Wrap the ends of the ribbon around the back of the frame and secure with glue dots.

 

6.  Repeat this process with the tree ribbons.  Keep your glue dots close to the looped area.  I applied a few glue dots further out and you can see them through the ribbon.

 

7.  Wrap the ends of the ribbon sections around to the back of the frame and secure with glue dots.  If the back of the frame will be visible, you may want to cut the ribbon more evenly and neatly than I did.

 

8.  Tie a small bow and glue it to the top of the tree as a topper.

 

9.  There you have it, a funky little Christmas tree picture.  Don’t like to sew…try this with a hot glue gun.

 

The {Creative Collective}’s November Project was a handmade decoration swap.  I sent my swap partner the three rick rack cards I made, and I received these three adorable felt stockings.  I can’t wait to see what January’s project is.  This month, the {Creative Collective} is having Bloganza…a month full of guest posts.

Posted by lori . Filed under Look What I Found! Now What Do I Do With It? (Crafts) | 6 Comments

December 7

The Most Famous Greyhound Of All

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What comes to most people’s minds when they hear the word “Greyhound?” I’ll bet it’s “bus.”  Greyhound Lines, Inc. had its humble beginnings in Hibbing, Minnesota.  Carl Eric Wickman was a Swedish immigrant who came to the US in 1905 and worked as a drill operator in the iron ore mines.  In 1914, while laid off, he began a bus service, transporting mine workers for 15¢ a ride from Hibbing to Alice, Minnesota.

 

How did the company come to be known as Greyhound?  Here are three stories:

In 1921, the first intercity buses were introduced.  Manufactured by Fageol for Safety Coach Lines of Muskegon, Michigan, the buses were dubbed “greyhounds” because of their gray paint and sleek appearance.  (Official story – greyhound.com)

In 1926, Wickman’s line was known as “Blue Goose Lines.”  Ed Stone set up a new route between Superior and Wausau, Wisconsin.  During his inaugural run, he passed through a small northern Wisconsin town and saw the reflection of the bus in a store window.  It reminded him of a Greyhound and he adopted that name for the Superior to Wausau run. Later, the entire line became known as Greyhound.  (wikipedia.org)

Clifford Graves, one of the early bus operators, was having lunch in a Duluth restaurant with a friend when they saw a bus speed by, and one of them exclaimed, “Look at that thing. Fast as a Greyhound.” (suite101.com)

Regardless of which story is true, in 1929, the entire system was incorporated as the “Greyhound Corporation.”

 

Interesting Greyhound Bus Facts:

 

In 1934, a Greyhound bus appeared in the movie It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

In 1956, a Greyhound advertising campaign reminded passengers that “It’s such a comfort to travel by bus — and leave the driving to us.”  This later evolved into the company’s signature slogan: “Go Greyhound — and leave the driving to us.”

 

In 1957, Greyhound introduced its goodwill ambassador, “Lady Greyhound,” during its sponsorship of NBC’s “Steve Allen Show.”  Lady Greyhound, attired in a wide rhinestone collar and tiara, made public appearances and even opened a brand new Greyhound terminal in Detroit by biting through a ribbon of dog biscuits.

 

In 1961, a group of civil rights leaders known as the “Freedom Riders” rode Greyhound and Trailways buses into the Deep South to protest state-sponsored segregation in interstate transportation facilities. In Anniston, Alabama a mob of Ku Klux Klansmen, attacked and burned the Greyhound bus.  The violent reaction to the Freedom Riders bolstered the credibility of the Civil Rights Movement and forced the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce the laws that prohibited segregation in all interstate transportation facilities.

 

The Greyhound running dog is one of the most recognized brands in the world.  Greyhound Lines, Inc. is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and the Greyhound Bus continues to be an American icon.

 

Posted by lori . Filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds) | 15 Comments

December 6

4 Faves – Version 33.0

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Shaklee®

I have several Shaklee® products that are favorites, but I particularly like to have a bottle of Basic-H® around because then, I’m never without a cleaning product.  Basic-H® is a cleaning concentrate.  Depending on the ratio you use when mixing it with water, you can make an all-purpose cleaner, a window cleaner or a degreaser…for pennies a bottle.

 

Grammar Girlâ„¢

Whenever I have a grammar question, this is where I head.

 

Velcro Cord Ties

I’m not sure what their “official” name is, but they’re my favorite way to “tame” cords.

 

sparrownestscript

I love Emily’s work.  Each item is hand-calligraphed and captures the romance of the art of handwriting.  This bookmark…I couldn’t not purchase it.  Emily’s shop features stationery, cards, bookmarks and notebooks.

Posted by lori . Filed under 4 Faves (Favorite Things) | 6 Comments

December 5

Creative Time and Space…Week 8

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So far, in reading Creative Time and Space by Ricë Freeman-Zachary, I’ve explored Time: (1) my attitude about what “time” means; (2) how I prioritize the things my time gets used for; (3) how other artists schedule and use their time; (4) what to do when I have time, but no ideas; and (5) what I can do if I’m stuck in a creative rut; and Space: (1) mental space, the space my art and creativity occupy inside my head; and (2) how to nurture that mental space and fill it with excitement and new ideas and endeavors.  This week, I read “Real Space: Where Art Happens,” and now we’re in the physical world and the spaces where we do our work.

The featured artists, without exception, spoke about the importance of having a space that is entirely your own…small or large.  Ricë offers up a fun exercise to help identify what you need and want in your work space.  Pretend you can have everything you want, then plan your perfect studio…your dream studio.  Draw out a floor plan and record everything you can think of with regards to the space.  When you’re finished, circle the most important elements.  I thought this was a great way to identify how you want your space to work, how you want your space to feel and the important elements that must be included.  Another consideration…how neat do you have to be.

This year, I committed myself to reconnecting with my creativity.  In addition to reconnecting with my “creative” side, I’ve been working on sorting out how I want my creativity to manifest itself.  Do I want to focus on writing, or do I want to focus on creating beautiful things.  I’ve also been working on my “creative space” this year.  It has been a slow process but a rewarding one. I found the “dream studio” exercise fun and informative.  I may not be able to have everything I want, but I can make sure all the important elements are there.  Also, I know that I have to keep a neat studio.  I love the look and idea of a full, jumbled, artsy studio, but I know from experience that if I start accumulating too much, I become more interested in “acquiring” than “creating.”  I also see value in forcing myself to use what I have.

I would love to hear about where you create and any words of wisdom.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 4 Comments

December 4

Reindog Holiday Parade

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Yesterday, we walked in the Reindog Holiday Parade in St. Joseph, Michigan, where pets and their owners escort Santa into town and kick-off the holiday season.

There were lots of dogs…

 

A couple of non-dogs showed up to walk in the parade…

The street was cleared…

Casper, Freedom & Nikki were ready to go (Nikki was with me, so she didn’t make it into the picture)…

The parade began…

The Greyhounds wowed the crowd…

And made sure everyone knew they could have one too…

It was a wonderful day…

 

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 15 Comments

December 3

The Glass Castle

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The Glass Castle is a memoir by Jeannette Walls.  It chronicles her life growing up with parents who were nonconformists in the best and worst sense.  Jeannette Walls’ early life is populated by extreme characters and situations.  What fascinates me is her ability to shine a frank, honest, loving and generous light on a life and family with profound flaws and challenges.  We all strive to understand other people, and perhaps by understanding them or at least accepting them, we gain a greater understanding and acceptance of ourselves.  Jeannette Walls triumphant and compassionate story encourages that endeavor.

I’m participating in a readalong challenge hosted by Nicole (Linus’s Blanket) and Natalie (Coffee and a Book Chick).  The book we’re reading is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the 2009 Man Booker Prize winner.  Wolf Hall is a fictionalized biography chronicling the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII, and is currently being adapted into a miniseries by HBO and BBC.  This week, we read Parts 1 & 2.

What I’m enjoying:

* I love British history and all things royal, so I like the subject matter.

* I enjoy a change of perspective and hearing from  “supporting role” characters.  This adds a depth and breadth to my understanding of a period of history and the people who lived during that time.

* Wolf Hall reads easily.  The story moves along through “conversations” as opposed to descriptions of events.

What I’m finding challenging:

* Ms. Mantel liberally uses the pronoun “he,” so I find myself losing track of who is talking or being referred to.

* I’m familiar with this period of history and the main characters.  If I weren’t, I think I would struggle because the backstory and broader view of events isn’t presented in much depth.

It’s far too early for me to make any judgment about the book.  In fact, I really don’t like talking about a book until I’ve read the entire thing because something that annoys me early on will often be the thing that makes the book impactful to me in the end.  For now, I’m enjoying the book and looking forward to where it’s leading.

 

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books) | 9 Comments

December 2

Factory Girl

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Factory Girl is a fictionalized look at the life and times of Edie Sedgwick.  Edie was one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, a group of personalities assembled and promoted by Andy Warhol during the 1960s and 1970s.  The superstars appeared in Warhol’s art and films and accompanied him in his social life.  The title of the movie refers to The Factory which was Andy Warhol’s studio.  The Factory was also the hangout and party place for the superstars.  Factory Girl is a cautionary tale of fragile beauty, youth and a desire to be loved that goes tragically wrong.  Watching it, I was captivated by Edie’s luminous, uneffected personality and was saddened that her life was cut so short…like a beautiful moth that gets too close to a flame.

Posted by lori . Filed under A Bowl of Popcorn, a Movie and Thou (Movies) | 2 Comments