Friday, November 27, 2015


this is a fabulous movie about an irish immigrant in the 1950's. "brooklyn" is based on the novel by colm toibin and does a remarkable job of showing the main character's gradual coming of age between her life in ireland and new york.

the director did a very good job of letting you feel her tension between countries and family loyalties without giving her ultimate choice away.

beautifully filmed, i highly recommend this movie and am going to add the book to my library list.

french connection

i didn't know...that we get the word "denim" from when the fabric was first manufactured in Nimes; de Nimes (of/from Nimes) and hence the word denim.

i also didn't know that the days of the week in french stood for planets:  lundi (moon), mardi (mars), mercredi (mercury), jeudi (jupiter), vendredi (venus) and samedi (saturn).  dimanche (sunday = Lord's day).

it makes sense when you think about it, but i had never made the french connection before!  i wonder what other historic meanings are beneath common words and phrases.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

fusing glass

with great excitement, i took my first glass fusing class last night! practically having the teacher all to ourselves, it was fun to be on the student side of the art instruction.  i listened to the differences in types of glass and the instructions before diving in to create my own piece.

glass is a fascinating medium; at once brittle and yet strong, able to be molten, opaque or letting the light through in nothing less than dazzling ways.

i learned about frit and temperatures and new ways to design virtually anything!  and i'd like to go back and do it again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


i'm already thinking about the stuffing mom makes for thanksgiving and christmas; that we eat and that she saves for me in a separate container because i rave about it so!

here it is:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 tsp crushed sage leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
7 cups bread cubes
3 cups finely chopped apples
3/4 cup raisins

melt butter in a large skillet.  saute onion and celery until tender.  add seasonings.  add 3 cups of the bread crumbs and toss to coat evenly.  add rest of the bread cubes, chopped apples and raisins.  transfer to large casserole dish and bake for at least 30 minutes at 350.  savory goodness!

i love the art of cooking and trying new recipes.  next up?  mussels with fennel, orange and creme fraiche!

design thinking for your day: focus on what's working

i had the privilege of sharing aspects of "design thinking" at a workshop with our school staff this week.  the basic underlying premise being that creativity is a birthright for everyone, including but not limited to, those with artistic talent and skill.

one tenant of creative problem solving that i've gotten to practice lately is focusing on what's working.  i am naturally a person who sees the glass as half-full and is able to turn most everything into something good, but at the same time, i am human and have to practice (i don't have a big list of pet peeves, for example, but i will admit to being mildly vexed by the following:  lumps of baking soda in muffins, stepping in water after donning warm and fuzzy socks...oh, and when you just get over 300 children quietly settled for an assembly only to have the guest speaker think it'd be cool to get them riled up, "how are you today kids?  i can't hear you! i said how are you doing?!" until all hundreds of them feel suddenly invited to scream at the top of their lungs.  yes, mildly and humorously vexing, all.)

i'm pretty convinced that it's not the big things in life that test our character, it's the little things.  "never was there a philosopher who could patiently endure a toothache," as some have said. 

recently i hurt my knee and my finger.  neither injury too serious, but enough to slow me down.  it was tempting to focus on what i couldn't do because i really missed riding my bike.  the healing came faster, however, when i got more in touch with my body and listened to what was working.  i could, for example, walk UP the stairs.  i could do modified yoga poses.  i could stretch and take gentle walks.  i think because i'm used to everything working perfectly, i run the risk of taking things for granted or being a bad patient because i haven't had to suffer anything truly difficult health-wise.  how we focus on what's working with the little things will be a good indicator about how we face the big things.

(along this note, i know it's fairly popular to bash the health care system right now, but i just have to say how grateful i am for the doctors, nurses and pharmacists who helped me when i needed them.  thank you!)

so from the mild annoyances of the day to global concerns, let's tap into our collective design thinking and find what's working well and seek to make it even better.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

keep on singin'

i was also introduced to two new vocalists this week:  meg hutchinson (folk) and liz vice (gospel/pop).  liz was written up in the most recent edition of oregon's "1859" magazine.  following a kidney transplant in 2005, she sings now in what she calls her "bonus life" with a voice of confidence and clarity, celebrating what is good and elemental about life.

for a sample of meg hutchinson, go to full of light
liz's song "there's a light" can be listened to at portland soundcheck

darling distraction

i love beautiful papers.  i noticed a new local line called "darling distraction" that i thought i would share here.  karina lopez loves paper too, so a year ago she decided to open her own shop in portland.

her ideas grew from her not being able to find the just-right images and messages she wanted to send, so she made them herself!  a resourcefulness that is no less than a lovely addition to modern correspondence.

see more at darling distraction papers

city of light

as a lover of all things french, i'm pausing to honor paris and lift up their citizens...may they have light in the midst of darkness.  paix.

Friday, November 13, 2015

letters as art

so close...i was so close to getting to take a workshop from celebrated calligraphy artist timothy botts!

as it turns out, there was one person ahead of me on the waiting list and i can't imagine anyone canceling on this opportunity.

second to donald jackson, the queen of england's calligrapher, timothy is someone i would like to learn from.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

a man called ove

 here are my two latest reads, both by frederik backman (a swedish blogger).  i don't know, but it seems to me that backman writes with a knowledge beyond his years, as if both books are based on stories from someone he knew.  how else could he create such laugh-out-loud humor and heartbreaking tenderness at once? maybe he's just that talented.

i liked the character ove immediately and, in fact, started to forget that he was fictional in favor of wishing he was real!  i couldn't wait to get back to my bookmark, thinking to myself, "i wonder what ove is up to!", having to remind myself that i couldn't just go round to the neighborhood, knock on his door and ask him myself.   the book gave me several belly laughs and i also shed a few little tears as i turned pages over a cup of tea.

backman's second novel is different, but just as unique in voice and characterization as the first.  he weaves together granny and elsa's secret language and fairy tales with reality in such innovative style...sweet without every being saccharine and realistic while still being hopeful.

i don't want to give too much away here, i think you may enjoy just reading them for yourself!