January 31

Love This – Brooches & Lapel Pins

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I’m always tempted by a beautiful piece of jewelry, but pins are a special weakness.  While cleaning out my closet, I realized it’s probably time to do an inventory and perhaps get rid of a few pieces. 

I’m thinking about a nice display box for some of the really pretty ones and a few trays for the pieces I like the wear.  

If you have any good ideas for storing or displaying pins, I’d love to hear them.

Daily Inspiration

 

 A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.

John Keats

Posted by lori . Filed under Love This | 9 Comments

January 30

In My Studio – January 30

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For the next six weeks, my primary focus is the How to Paint a Girl E-course.  This week, I prepared backgrounds.  It was really of fun, and I’m looking forward to getting back into painting.  In the 1990’s, I did alot of folk and decorative painting, but I haven’t painted in 10+ years and never freestyle, so I’m feeling quite adventurous.

I’m still taking photos for my Photo Meditations e-course.  This week was self-portraits.  Ugh! and Yuck!  Like many people, I hate having my picture taken.  I’ve seen e-courses about “discovering” yourself through self-portraiture…maybe I need something like that.

I also worked on my art journal.  My goal is one page a week for 2012.  For all my scrapbooking friends, this may seem like a fun and creative challenge; but I can tell you, this has been tough for me.  Have you been in the scrapbooking section of your local craft store?  It’s enough to send me screaming into the streets.  So, I was delighted when I found this endcap with SMASH* journal supplies.  The journal is a nice size and filled with interesting patterned pages and the SMASH* pieces cost about $2 a pack.  One day I may be able to confidently navigate my way through the paper crafting section, but for this year’s project, I’m going to stick with these supplies, what I already have on-hand and magazine pictures.

 I also worked on my project for the 2012 Creative Color Challenge.  This month’s color was Tangerine Tango.

Daily Inspiration

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

Ben Stein 

Posted by lori . Filed under In My Studio | 11 Comments

January 29

The Kids

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Some folks who read What Remains Now have noticed that I often feature pictures of three lovely Greyhounds with the “Daily Inspiration” quote.  What you may not know is that for most of my life, I wasn’t a “dog” person; I was a “cat” person (still am).  For 18 long years, I  repeatedly ignore the pleas of my daughter (and husband) to add a dog to our family.  Then, my lovely daughter grew up and went off to college.  I promptly got a dog.

I would feel worse about this if I didn’t know it is a fairly common occurence among women dealing with “empty nest” syndrome.  My treachery did NOT sit well with my daughter, but she has since forgiven me (I think).  So, let me introduce you to the “kids.”

Freedom

Freedom is our dominant dog.  She keeps everything in line and in good working order.  She’s confident, a little pushy and my special sweetheart.  Freedom is a brindle dog and has no hair on her neck, chest, stomach or butt.  It’s not real noticeable because her skin is “brindly” looking.  She also has an adorable bent ear.  Whenever anyone meets her, they always try to straighten out her ear.  Her racing name was Free Spitfire and she was a horrible racer.  Freedom is 4 years old.

Casper

Casper is my sweet boy.  He’s a good second to Freedom’s lead.  Casper is playful, sweet and funny.  I call him my bloggin’ buddy because he likes to come in my studio and nap while I type.  Casper is the king of passive-aggressive behavior.  He rarely challenges Freedom head-on, but he always gets what he wants.  One day, I’ll capture his signature moves  on video.  Casper is everyone’s favorite.  His racing name was Try N Ryan and he was a lousy racer too.  Casper is 3 years old.

Nikki

Nikki is the newest addition to our pack.  You couldn’t find a sweeter or better dog than Nikki.  One of my nicknames for her is “Licky Nikki” because she likes to give kisses.  Nikki stays apart from much of the action and hasn’t come into her own yet.  Nikki’s racing name was Silver Nikita and she was a good racer…75 races, 8 wins and 9 seconds.  Funny thing…I never see Nikki run.  Freedom and Casper will race around the backyard, but Nikki just meanders around and grazes on grass.  Nikki is 4 years old.

Twinkie

Twinkie is our grande dame.  She’s 16 years old and, when she’s awake, she’s still a feisty gal and can hold her own in a three dog home.  My favorite “weird” thing about Twinkie…she snores, loudly.  She also doesn’t like to have her picture taken.

All the pictures in this post (with the exception of Twinkie’s picture) were taken at Dewey Beach, DE by Nathaniel of Balance Photography.

Daily Inspiration

 

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.

James Herriot

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 23 Comments

January 28

Books I Read In January

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I’m a slow reader, so this type of post will not be a monthly feature; but this month I read three books, so I decided to do a quick review.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This was the January selection for my book club and a feast for an English major’s heart.  What I loved most was the paradoxical philosophy of the book…we have control of nothing, we have control of everything.  The consensus of the group was that it was a wonderful read; although some members enjoyed it more as an audio book since much of the dialog is written in a dialect.  It is the story of Janie Crawford, and her journey through life and to herself.  In beautiful language, it captures the stuff of life…love, loss, pain, friendship, humor and joy.  It’s all there.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

This was a readalong I participated in at S. Krishna’s Books.  It’s also the first book I read for the South Asian Challenge.  Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta were college student in 1970’s India, but have drifted apart over the years.  When Armaiti, who moved to America, is diagnosed with cancer, the other three friends decide to visit her one last time.  The journey towards the visit is where all the action takes place, as all the women deal with what their lives mean, their regrets and the compromises they made along the way.  The language and writing is so beautiful it took my breath away, and Ms. Umrigar’s eye for relationships strikes right to the heart.  Loved it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The title was the first thing that piqued my interest, then I started hearing positive reviews, so I decided to give it a try.  Set in 1946, this is the story of Juliet Ashton, a writer who gets to know some of the residents of the island of Guernsey.  Through their correspondence, she learns how they endured the German occupation, and how their extraordinary society helped them through.  What I enjoyed most about this novel was it is written entirely in letters between the characters.  Because of this, you learn about the characters the same way you would as if you were corresponding with someone.  The writing is at turns sharp, witty and poignant.  Again, loved it.

If you love beautiful writing and compelling characters, any one of these books would do you well.  If you like action and a complex story line, these may not suit you.

 

Now for a little fun.  I actually won an Advance Reader’s Edition of The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar, and I’d love to pass it along.  Just leave a comment on today’s post by Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST, and I’ll draw a name on Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

Daily Inspiration

Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.

Isola Pribby – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books), Lori's Lists | 7 Comments

January 27

How to Paint a Girl – Week 1

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Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…Juliette Crane’s How to Paint a Girl E-course started on Monday.  I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this class.  This week, Juliette showed us how she creates backgrounds.

The classroom is set-up on a private blog.  Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Juliette posts a new lesson with pictures, inspiration and video demonstrations.  Juliette also loves cooking, so she shares favorite recipes too.  There is a place to upload photos of your work and a “discussion” area where you can ask or answer questions.

Here are the backgrounds I created this week.

 

 

 

 

 

Next week’s subject…Face and Hair.

 

The World We Found Readalong sponsored by S. Krishna’s Books wrapped up this week.  Check out the “Comments” for the Readalong participants’ thoughts.  Here’s the Readalong schedule:

Tuesday, January 10: Characters and Marriages in Chapters 1-9 (pp. 1-91)

Thursday, January 12: Friendships and Relationships in Chapters 1-9 (pp. 1-91)

Tuesday, January 17: Religion in Chapters 1-18 (pp. 1-192)

Thursday, January 19: Repression and Control in Chapters 1-18 (pp. 1-192)

Tuesday, January 24: Money and Power in The World We Found

Thursday, January 26: Other Topics and Discussion Wrap-Up for The World We Found

Here is a link to Swapna’s review of The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar.

Daily Inspiration

Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.

Alexander Pope 

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 12 Comments

January 26

Some Stories

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Every Thursday in 2012, I’m writing about things I want to have taken care of “If I Die Today.”  This month, I started an heirloom album to record some of the information and stories behind things I treasure and want to pass on.  My album is not by any means complete.  I’m still taking pictures and need to gather more information, and I imagine it will always be “a work in progress.”  Several of you have asked me to talk about a few of the items I’ve taken pictures of and featured in the posts this month; so here are a few stories:

 

Raggedy Ann

My mom made this Raggedy Ann for me when I was little.  My mom was an extraordinary artist.  I can’t think of anything she couldn’t do.  I use the past tense only because she doesn’t make things like she used to, but she’s still alive and kickin’.  This is one of many things she made for me.  It is a favorite because I love Raggedy Ann; it’s the first thing I remember her making for me; and it had a special secret message, just for me.

 

Grandma’s Chair

This chair belonged to my Grandma.  I always loved it because the wooden arms are swans.

 

Camel From Bahrain

I purchased this camel during the Persian Gulf War.  We were sent to Bahrain for R&R, and I wanted to bring home something special.  This is beautifully carved from sandalwood and there is a little carved camel inside the hump of the large camel.  I can still catch a whiff of the sandalwood smell, although it has faded over the years.

 

Mosaic From The Vatican

I went into the Army right after high school.  My first duty station was in West Germany (remember when there were two Germanys?)  I took a trip to Italy over Thanksgiving in 1982, and I bought this mosaic for my mom.  It was made by one of Vatican City’s master mosaic artists and it cost 200,000 lire.  That was my favorite part…200,000 lire!  At that time, 200,000 lire was about $120.

 

Daily Inspiration

 

No act of love how ever small is ever wasted.

Aesop

Posted by lori . Filed under If I Die Today | 16 Comments

January 25

Try This – Felted Wool Flower

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This idea came to me when I was cutting up a felted red sweater.  I saw the seam strands and thought, “Those would make a great flower.”

I took the seam strands and cut them into 3-1/2″ lengths.  Stitch the ends together to form petals.

 Attach the petals to a felt circle.  I used a 2″ diameter circle.

 Attach another circle of petals to the center of the felt circle.

Add a flower center…I used a pretty button.

 

Now, I’m just sad that I threw away all the seams from the other felted sweaters I cut up.  Live and learn.

Daily Inspiration

Be obscure clearly.

E. B. White

Posted by lori . Filed under Try This | 12 Comments

January 24

Love This – Bookish Things

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I love books and all things bookish…

Bas Bleu

This is my favorite mail-order bookstore.  They have unique products, interesting books and great reviews.  If you love books, give Bas Bleu a try and request a catalog.  Wondering why the company is called Bas Bleu?  Bas Bleu is French for bluestocking and refers to a literary woman.  Want a little more information, check it out here.

Bookends

Bookends look lovely, are practical and really help express your personal style.  These owls are from Barnes & Noble. 

Bookish Decor

What better way to express your love for books than to add it to your home decor.  This pillow was a gift from a friend that knows me very well.

Daily Inspiration

 

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

Jessamyn West

Posted by lori . Filed under Love This | 6 Comments

January 23

In My Studio – January 23

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It’s funny…every week, as I’m preparing this post, I find myself wanting to start off with, “Well, this week I didn’t accomplish very much.”  What is that?  It made me think about why I wanted to do a post every Monday about what’s going on in my studio.  The reason…to give myself motivation and accountability as I pursue my creative work and play, and to give anyone who likes to “follow along” or “glimpse in” a chance to do that.  So, I’m banishing the “I’m less than” thoughts from my head, and here’s what happened in my studio this week.

I continued learning and taking pictures with  Susannah Conway’s e-course, Photo Meditations.  I still don’t think about taking pictures until I “need” to, but I am carrying my camera in my purse, and I have had a few moments when I thought, “I would like to take a picture of that.”  This is progress for me.

 

I sprayed the brass pieces with primer.  I decided to try white primer and see how I like it.  Usually, I use gray.

I did an art journal page.  My goal is to do one of these a week.  I’m a little behind, but I’ll catch-up quick now that I have the dreaded “first page” done.

I also played around with a knitting bee.  The knitting bee will be part of February’s “Try This” posts.

Next week, the “studio” needs a good cleaning and tidying up.

Daily Inspiration

 

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.
 
Lily Tomlin 

Posted by lori . Filed under In My Studio | 11 Comments

January 22

Through the Back Screen Door

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My daughter wrote this poem several years ago.  A tribute to a dog she loved and who loved her back…her name was AJ.

they said, i remember asking them why, that you

were too big, you’d be too happy to see me,

and you might, accidentally, hurt me.

i was so little, then. but i wanted to know you,

and you wanted to know me.

so we got to know each other

through the back screen door.

 

everyone knew you were my favorite

and i always got so happy when

they said i was yours. it probably took two

thousand milkbones, and i know it took

at least a year, but you made me so happy

at seven, when you’d listened, when you’d sit, and they

said i’d taught you more than any of them and

through the back screen door.

 

that was all we could do for years,

except sometimes when you got to come inside,

and your monster of a tail would knock over all of

aunt hope’s crafts because you were so happy to be there.

but it worked out alright, and we were happy

and it was just good to be able to know

that one another was there

through the back screen door.

 

i know as i got older and i’d come by,

sometimes i wouldn’t want to train so i wouldn’t

say hello or much, but you’d know i was there,

and i’m sorry that those time i didn’t live up to what you

thought of me, knew of me, but thank you, thank you

for still thinking, knowing, anyway.

even when i wasn’t there on the other side

through the back screen door.

 

and then I was older and had gone out to see you,

but you were still so big and liked me so much.

and then they said you’d been bad. i was scared, until i saw

the puppies, you were thirteen weren’t you? how you had them

we don’t know, but i didn’t really care.  i thought you’d done

very good, even if you weren’t the most graceful mother.

and for a while, you were inside, we were inside, instead of

through the back screen door.

 

finally i was old enough that i could go out to see you,

ever since the puppies, and now you behaved a little better so

they’d come out and see you too, though you still only listened

to me, and you learned a few new tricks, and we went through

another few thousand milkbones, and anyone would swear you

were only just two, so full of energy, and i finally got to

hug you, really hug you, which i couldn’t do, not then, not

through the back screen door.

 

i never had to go back through the back screen door again.

i don’t think i have since.

not since they told me you’d been moved inside,

‘cause you couldn’t walk, and you were in pain, and

they were trying to take you to the vet…i remember hearing

someone say, maybe mom or maybe aunt hope,

but they said they were probably

only taking you once.

 

they told me you probably wouldn’t be able to get up.

so i came in, and i smiled, and you looked at me

with your big, brown eyes, and i could see right into you,

and i saw so much joy, and i saw love,

and that monster tail started to wag,

and you pulled yourself up,

and heaved yourself forward, and they left me alone

so i could tell you exactly what you knew

but i wanted to make sure you’d heard.

Daily Inspiration

 

Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.

John Betjeman, Summoned by Bells

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 11 Comments