Faux-grain silk jacket from Alexander McQueen's Spring 2009 Ready to Wear Collection. Price on request.
On Thursday, we end National Poetry Month with Poem in Your Pocket Day. It's simple: select a poem you love, then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 30, 2009.
Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. The Poets.org website has ideas and classroom activities.
I'm giving you a few days notice so you'll have time to select something. I'm also going to suggest that you photocopy the poem. If someone came up to me with a poem, I'd definitely want to take it home and sip on it with a cup of coffee.
by Yehuda Amichai
I was blind to you when you loved me long ago.
I switched you for another, like Isaac,
for a smell, and a taste, and an appetite for meat,
for a fragrance of the field, and a house, and a little heat.
I have forgotten the words
of the only letter I wrote to you.
All that I remember is the taste of the glue of the stamp
on my tongue.
The fate that determined us was not really
but it was as strong and sure as the finger of the violinist
that determines the fate of a note,
though it, too, is as final and as decisive
(Translated, from the Hebrew, by Leon Wieseltier.)
Photo credit: Heidi K. Rettig (2008) From the heart shaped rock collection down on our dock.
I've been in a period of epic boredom since the beginning of 2008. Not the kind of boredom that people talk about when they have nothing to do, more the boredom that comes from too many obligations that give too little joy. Before I was bored I was angry, and I'm just now realizing how closely related those two emotions can be.
It is, sometimes, easier not to care at all. And so I've reduced my feelings to the body-level. I'm a body, not a brain, and my body simply wants:
1) To stretch out in front of a window in the sunshine and fall asleep.
2) To eat cupcakes and drink coffee at Dozen with my friend D.
3) To get in a magic transporter machine and find myself at Ten Thousand Waves.
4) To sit in the grass in strange, new, beautiful parks and watch people.
5) Food that nourishes me, that hasn't been sprayed with Crisco and sealed in plastic for shipping to a chain restaurant location.
6) To read a book, a love story that puts all others to shame.
7) To be back in DC, the closest thing I can identify to the concept of home. Where I know how to wander, and I know all the good, sunny spots a lonely person can go to be soothed.
*The "Exorcist Stairs", Georgetown neighborhood, Washington, DC.
1. Light a white candle. (Or if you are near a candle store, buy a male - if you are seeking to reconnect with a man - or female - if you want to connect to a woman - shaped candle)
2. Face the candle and briefly examine the flame.
3. Close your eyes and imagine the flame burning bright and strong.
4. Think of the person who you wish to connect to and say their name seven times.
5. Then imagine yourself talking to them again.
6. Make a wish that you will see or hear from them again soon.
7. Blow out the candle.
8. Let me know if it works.
via Madam Lichtenstein's Cosmic World.
I get to be part of this wonderful project. Stick with it until the end and you will see my name. I'm Heidi, the "host" of the Missing Piece Treaties and the owner of the log cabin.
We have many squirrels that live on our property, but Roy is special. He loves us. When Roy comes to the window, I can be sure that Spring has arrived in Montana. It's been a long, lonely winter without him.
When we go to town, he's always waiting for us in the driveway when we get home to say hello. He has built two nests in the air conditioning system of my SUV. He fusses at Mike when his pine cones are swept off the deck, and he tortures our pets.
But he's a little bit helpful. When I was working on this project, I was frustrated by the amount of time it was taking to rip the pine cones apart. So I got to thinking.... I left the pine cones on top of "Roy's Rock" and the next morning, a pile of cone petals was there waiting for me.
I tried that same strategy when I wanted to make Christmas ornaments out of walnut shells. Even if it looks that way in Martha's photo, It's not that easy to cut walnut shells perfectly in half. So I left a pile of walnuts on the rock assuming Roy and I would have a similar sort of deal. In the morning - nothing was there. Two years later, I still find the odd shell on the property - some as far down as the beach - and I have to laugh. That I thought Roy was working for ME.
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
by James Wright
We love it here, but when the weather gets gloomy, Mike catches cabin fever. We took off last weekend to find some sunshine on the other side of the mountains. We did a lot of driving in central Montana. You can see all of the places we stopped on this map.
The skies were wide open but the wheat fields were still dry and quiet. Power lines ran alongside the car for miles.
It turns out we are muy simpatico. Like me, she loves felting sweaters, making softies, works in theatre, and went to the high school in the town next to mine - which means we know people in common even though we have 1) never met; and 2) live 1500 miles apart. But I digress.
Check out Recycled Goodness, Becca Jo's Etsy shop, to see some of her other softies!
If you sew your own clothing, chances are you've been wishing for a dress form. They really help fit patterns to your measurements and really improve the look of your finished projects. The problem is they are pretty expensive. It's hard to justify spending hundreds on something if you're not very good, but its hard to get better at sewing clothes without one. When I saw this How To video on Threadbanger, it seemed worth sharing.
This is Michaelangelo's Pieta, installed at St. Peter's in the Vatican in Rome, Italy. It's unfortunate, but the familiarity - maybe even ubiquity - of classical work can dampen its beauty.
I've seen Pieta many times, but there was something different about this photograph that made me come back -more than once- to really look at the work of the great master, Michaelangelo.
It seems to me that the Vatican has changed or improved the lighting, and the lighting is able to bring out the contrast between light and shadow, creating a feeling of visible tension between the two bodies.
Look at the muscle of Christ's right arm and how it gives in to the pressure of Mary's hand. The position of that left leg and the angle of the foot and the head tilting back toward the sky.This is a body that is still soft and warm. You know that His body won't move, but you get the feeling that the folds in her dress could shift and collapse at any moment. The stone is alive.
Pieta is exceptional work, even compared to the other masterpieces of Michaelangelo. It is the only piece of stone sculpture that he worked to completion. It is symbolic that he would create this image - of Christ just down from the cross - in stone.
It was controversial in its day because the artist depicted Mary as a young woman. But to me, it references other classical depictions of the Virgin and Christ Child - how she holds Him in her lap like a baby. The mystery, to me, is how an artist manages to achieve all of this by working "backwards" from a slab.
All this because the Vatican changed a light bulb.
On my blog-a-versary, I posted a collection of some of my favorite posts from the last two years. A favorite project [perpetually] on my worktable was published in the first Blueprint magazine.
It seemed so simple - make yourself a collection of cocktail rings using vintage buttons using either a soldering iron or a little E6000 glue. About $400 in vintage buttons and two years later, I still haven't made any rings. (The original post on Martha.com is gone, but you can print out the directions here.)
I was thrilled when I heard from a blog reader that she had tried the project and it had gone well. She thanked me for the idea and said it helped her, that she had been feeling "kind of dead" lately and wanted to send me a ring as a gift. This is that ring.
Pretty amazing! One of those blog moments that kind of makes you "verklempt." Now, blog reader Lori and I are CPF Forever and we talk every day on Twitter. Thank you Lori, for the really good mail!
I love to send mail by post. Letters are a relic, care packages an archaeological doorstep find. So you can imagine how happy I was to receive this box, all the way from Australia, from my friend J. I had sent him a couple of books a few months ago - two I had finished that I thought he might enjoy. In return, he sent a precious selection:
"I'm sending you this books as a kind of intro to Australian writing. It's hard to know where to start. Should one begin with a 19th century classic? Or with one of the feisty left wing women writers of the 1940s? Or the most recently acclaimed?
In the end, I settled for a Nobel Laureate and the novel of his which I like best: The Aunt's Story. Next comes David Malouf who may well be our next Nobel winner. I chose his very first novel, Johnno, because it is about my home town in the era in which we both grew up. In fact, when it first came out, a friend gave it to me saying simply "It's us." He was right. Finally, Peter Goldworthy's Maestro, which I just enjoy.
After I chose them I realised that they all in their different ways deal with the complex relationship that Australians have with Europe. More then, perhaps, than know. You may recognise some of that in certain generations of Americans.
Both the Brisbane and Darwin described are long gone. Darwin after a Hurricane in 1974. Now rebuilt. Brisbane in the hurricane of development so that is now like Dallas on a river. I hope you enjoy."
And this precious letter begins a new category, and a new week of posts on Good Mail. Stay tuned.
There is no greater gift for a new baby than the customized onesie. Relatively inexpensive to give, but such a wonderful thing for a new mom to receive. My friend D. and her husband P. just welcomed a brand new niece, Barbara Jean, to the family. D. embroidered these custom onesies for Barbara Jean.
These are really special onesies. D. used drawings of animals that were made by Barbara Jean's Great-Great-Grandpa in the 1960's. P. told me,
"Madison "Pop" (pronounced
"Pup") Peterson - was a railroad steel man, a farmer, and an
outdoorsman whose family name goes back in northwestern Pennsylvania to the
Revolutionary War. He was born in the hills outside of Meadville, PA, in
the winter of 1887. When his grandson Ed was a young boy - some time in the
early 1960s - Madison entertained him on more than one occasion by drawing
pictures of animals."
Here are some of the original drawings:
And here is a detail of the fish, embroidered on a onesie:
Amazing work! I'm not sure how D. did it - I'm sure she will tell us in the comment section - but if it were me, I'd probably trace the image on to dissolvable stabilizer sheets (available at the fabric store), tape the sheet to my onesie, and embroider right through the stabilizer. When you wash it, the stabilizer will disappear.