birch

birch
Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness. ---Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, June 12, 2014

ABC’s of Recycling


Are you wondering why you haven’t done this before?
Bits and pieces of your wardrobe scattered on the floor-
C
amouflaged inside an old summer frock,
(Deconstructed) awaits a puzzle to unlock.
E
ach piece reassembled to make something new,
F
ortunately, Pinterest can show you what to do!

 

Old Frock Deconstructed

 
Cut off the bottom of T-shirt, add material strips


Gather old clothing and take a second look.
H
elp yourself to the buttons, ribbons and hooks.
I
n every item there is something to cull,
J
ust make selections that aren’t faded or dull.
K
nit, cotton, corduroy, denim – or whatever you choose.
L
ook at the fabrics; there’s no way you can lose!

Cast Offs
Master the urge to just go out and buy.
N
o one else has your creativity – don’t be shy.
O
riginality is only imagination that you let out!
P
urge your closet and discover a different route.
Q
uit procrastinating!
R
ecycle! Why are you waiting?


Crochet thread & Lace for modest neckline

S
ew something pretty and make something new.
T
reasures are buried right in front of you!
U
nique as you are, it’s bound to be great.
V
ariety is the spice that opens the gate!

 
Shorten maxi skirt & make cap sleeves with the fabric
Wear it with pride, whatever you construct.
Xeroxed fashion is for indiscriminate “others”

Y
ummy one-of-kind, hand-made is my druther.
Z
illion points awarded for being FREE!

 
Left over yarn into a bag
Potholders from childs loom kit into a purse
 

Next time won’t you sew with me?



Winston's Quilt



 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Packing For Mars


Do you have a book you can read again and again without getting bored? What is it that speaks to you about this particular story?

 


I suspect I’m not alone in having such a book, because I know that there are certainly movies out there that people watch over and over again; and movies are really just one person’s version of a story put on film.

I like movies, and I have several favorites that I will gladly watch again, but I like books better than movies!  Why?  With books, the writer may have certain ideas in his head about the plot and the characters when he puts his thoughts on paper, but the reader interprets the story in his own way.  And that's pretty cool.

Movies show us all the visual details. Books force us to create scenes in our mind as the story unfolds.  We paint the characters using the clues left for us by the author, but the portrait is our own.

In books, we linger over elaborate passages where actions and thoughts are ruminated. We gnaw on delicious words that make us think and feel. In movies, everything is condensed. Lofty ideas are distilled into single sentences, and complex topics are gobbled up and reguritated to form swift scenes.

The only part movies spin out are car chases.
 

What would you pick if you were on a spaceship to Mars and they gave you a memory stick for your photos, music, movies and books and you could only pick 5 of each to carry with you? 

Books:

(Of course most of these are all the first books in a series and I’d really want THE WHOLE SET of each.) These are linked to our library's collection - check them out.






 
Movies:






 
Music:

     1.   "May It Be" by Enya

     2.   "Collide" by Howie Day




 

I’m not sure what these lists say about me, and frankly I don’t care.  Everyone has their own lists and the choices are subjective.

 
 

What you might have noticed in my lists, is that all of my favorite books have been made into movies!  That’s a pretty good indication that others like these books too. (Hollywood rarely shells out money to produce a movie from a book that is not a Best Seller.)
 
While I liked the movies they made from the books, I am still glad that I read the books first.  In fact, I probably would not have enjoyed the movies so much had I not read the books first - as my mind was able to fill in the parts that the movies glossed over.

 

Of my favorite movies, only two started out as a book - Last of the Mohicans and A Little Princess. 

LOVE

I read  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was a child after first having read  The Secret GardenI loved them both and have reread them many times – picking up different points as I’ve aged.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for the other book.


HATE

Seriously, I have tried to read The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper several times in my life, each time failing miserably.  For me, the words are so dry and boring that it is hard to imagine that it is telling the same romantic tale as was filmed by Michael Mann!

And, in fact, it isn’t.  In the movie, Hawkeye falls in love with Cora, whose younger sister Alice is killed.  In the book, Hawkeye is so much older than Cora, that he regards her as a daughter and it is she who is killed by Magua - not Alice!


Cora and Hawkeye

I know, for me, if Cooper’s book hadn’t been put on film and turned into a “love story” with the accompanying Irish ballads by Clannad and shot in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of NC – I would not have watched it.  Period.  I concur with Mark Twain , who wrote a famous essay, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses in which he claimed that “Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115.”  

 


SONGS: The Movie it was in - and who sang it


 
 
As for my song choices to put on that memory stick going to Mars, three of them were from movies– Enya's was played in The Lord Of The Rings,Iron and Wine played in Twilight and Goo Goo Dolls played in City of Angels . Kind of strange how my stuff keeps overlapping?  Well, I like what I like.
 
I’ve picked songs that I think I could listen to over and over without getting irked. I mean, I like most music, but I don’t think I could listen forever to Lorde’s "Royals" without developing a twitch…or Pharrell Williams "Happy", without wanting to throw something!
 

 
Are you judging my choices? Go ahead and comment.  Show me YOUR lists!
 
 
 

 




Monday, April 21, 2014

Bird Brained




Paper Collage

My Mother used to wake me up on school mornings by sitting on the edge of my bed and stroking my forehead while she sang "Birdie, birdie with the yellow bill - hopped upon my window sill - cocked his shiny eye and said - get out of bed you sleepy head!"  I later learned that this was from a poem Time to Rise by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Fabric Brooches

I hated that yellow bird! I didn't even appreciate my Mother's gentleness, which was a far cry from my Father's method - which was to (jokingly) mutter threats while dangling a glass of cold water over your head!
Yellow Leaf

My Mother read to us, taught us rhymes, poems and little songs like this one:
"Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye, four and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Now wasn't that a dainty dish to set before a king? The king was in his counting house counting out his money; the queen was in the parlor eating bread and honey. The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes, when along came a blackbird and snipped off her nose!"
Paper Collage

We learned the song easily, but then she ruined the fun by saying, "Did you know that this song is about a evil English King, Henry VIII? The Queen was his first wife Catherine of Aragon, who he divorced. The maid that got her nose snipped off by the birds was really his second wife Anne Boleyn, whose head got chopped off!"  Thereby, what started as a happy little tune became a gruesome lesson.  Then you'd begin to examine the words of that song...how did 24 birds survive being baked in the oven? Grown-ups never made any sense.
Found Object Bird

The only song my Dad ever sang to us was "Jolie Blonde", but he was quite popular with the neighborhood kids because he could do magic tricks. This one about birds was the first one I learned.


Only he said "Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill. One named Jack and one named Jill. Fly away Jack, fly away Jill. Come back Jack, come back Jill." I'd be ashamed to tell you how long it took me to figure out how those little pieces of paper kept reappearing!

Parakeet

When I was in first grade, my sister was given a green parakeet named Chiquita – pronounced CHEE KEE TA - like the banana. It's a Spanish word meaning "little girl". [Alas, the bird was a boy.]  This bird never sang - it screeched.  It never talked, despite years of us mouthing the words "Pretty bird" as it scattered seeds, shed feathers and pecked our fingers.  Once, it escaped its cage and flew outside! My Dad  cheered "FINALLY!"

Fabric Birds
My Uncle Calvin, who lived next door, heard us kids crying and ran outside and threw his jacket high up into the trees. When it came down, the bird was trapped underneath. He had about two seconds to feel like a hero  - with us kids cheering and hugging him - and then he turned around to see my Father's face.  "Calvin, I ought to kill you." my father sighed. 


My Mother was a great fan of Emily Dickenson.  One of the first poems she read to me was:

A Bird Came Down The Walk
A Bird came down the Walk
He did not know I saw
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.
 
And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass.
 
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought.
He stirred his Velvet Head
 
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb.
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home
 
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam.
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.
 
Bird Art
 
You could just picture a little bird hopping around  -like a movie in your head - when you heard the words.  I thought it was beautiful.  Emily Dickenson must have been very fond of birds, for she compared them to "Hope".
Hope is the Thing with Feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm,
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Fabric and Buttons





There are other birds, I am sure, that inspire such thoughts of majesty; but there are just as many that arouse laughter. Chickens, for instance.
Rooster Warhol


Have you ever heard this poem about Chickens? 
     
LAST NIGHT I DREAMED OF CHICKENS 
by Jack Prelutsky
                                                   Last night I dreamed of chickens,
                                                   there were chickens everywhere,
                                                   they were standing on my stomach,
                                                   they were nesting in my hair,
                                                   they were pecking at my pillow,
                                                   they were hopping on my head,
                                                   they were ruffling up their feathers
                                                   as they raced about my bed.
                                                   They were on the chairs and tables,
                                                   they were on the chandeliers,
                                                   they were roostin in the corners,
                                                   they were clucking in my ears.
                                                  There were chickens, chickens, chickens
                                                  for as far as I could see...
                                                  When I woke up today, I noticed
                                                  there were eggs on top of me.

When I first heard that poem, I thought of the chickens my Mother kept after she retired. When my daughter was about 4, she handed her a little fluffy baby chick and asked "What do you think we should name it?"  My daughter answered, "I think I'll call her SERENITY".   This is not a word that immediately comes to most minds when thinking of chickens! No sirree.  [No sirree bob tail.]

For proof of this read   Quite A Year For Plums by Bailey White 
It had a hilarious chapter in it about a woman who painted chickens. (Well, not the chickens themselves, you know, but pictures of chickens!) I think you will like it.

 

 Meanwhile, keep busy turning your flotsome into some pretty birds - or into something useful for the birds!

 

   
 





















Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Repairing My Life Moody Blues





 
NIGHTS are spent by most people in sleep, but maybe we should spend a night occasionally outdoors
 
IN order to look up at stars and think about what we are doing in the daylight. With a sliver of the
 
WHITE moon hanging in the sky, surely our mind would be as comforted as a body sliding between
 
SATIN sheets. The cares of every day could fall into perspective. Life should be more than lists that
 
NEVER end. There are too many tasks to complete, too much chaos to organize. I seek peace found
 
REACHING beyond time allotted to us to attend to the daily demands of home, job, and responsibility.
 
THE time we set aside for reflection should not be squandered with regrets, but used purposely to
 
END negative habits and stop non-productive thinking that gets in the way of the pleasures of life.


LETTERS should be written to friends and family members thanking them for the acts of kindness

I’VE received, and begging their forgiveness for the times I’ve caused them pain. Either type of letter

WRITTEN would help us step outside the daily slog, to a place where serenity floats like a dream.

NEVER deny the appeal of a clean slate when embarking upon a new beginning! To start fresh gives

MEANING to any journey that deliberately sets out to move beyond the routine of daily life.

TO achieve this Nirvana, my next step will be to get rid of physical disorder. To open up space, I’ll

SEND away clutter that is binding me to this place on Earth with the discomforting weight of worry.


BEAUTY, function and love are the only reasons to hold onto objects. Simplicity will set me free.

I’D rather live a spare and simple life. Not austere, not unadorned, not harsh – just uncomplicated.

ALWAYS, I’ve wished I was the type of person who was neat and precise, but I’m not. I may have

MISSED out on opportunities because I am scrappy –outspoken and determined- operating always

WITH the intent to evade rigid ideas of what is acceptable, purposely choosing non-conformity.

THESE behavior traits are not qualities that often merit applause, yet I’m content. I guess my

EYES see things differently when it comes to following orders. I do not trust the obedient person!

BEFORE I leave this Earth, I want to know that I’ve squared away all relationship issues, retained


JUST the physical things I truly need and want, and left myself enough time to do things I want to do.

WHAT time remains, I’d like to design for myself. It would be virtuous if I could say that I wanted

THE extra time to volunteer for a just cause, that I was working on a great invention, or novel. The

TRUTH, however, is that I don’t wish to impress anyone. I just want time to read, garden, and play.

IS it selfish to want to finally be able to travel to all those places I’ve wanted to go, but couldn’t?

I could do this earlier when I was working 40-hours a week and had family responsibilities. . I

CAN’T imagine how we could have afforded it! Now, we’ve got the money – not a lot- but enough to

SAY that we could go to a few places and have fun while we are both still active. Putting it off

ANYMORE just seems foolish! Why wait? Now is the time to do those “someday” things


CAUSE the hourglass sand is running out! Tonight I’ll open the curtains, gaze at the sliver of moon

I see hanging over our deck and I’ll take out a pen to make a list of places I want to go with my

LOVE beside me. For what fun would it be to go alone without my life-long companion? Would

YOU? I think not. I better hurry, though. Time is swift. I hope the days of my future are not past.
 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Space Junk






Someone (who shall remain nameless for their own protection) once asked me in all seriousness why we don’t just send all our garbage into outer space!  Guess what? We have.  Well, not ALL of it…but, a lot.  There’s enough trash out there for scientists to have stuck a name to the [prophetic] scenario wherein the amount of debris orbiting the Earth would prevent us from launching satellites into orbit. It’s called Kessler’s Syndrome.  

And the really bad thing about Kessler's Syndrome is the part where it explains that the impact between two objects would create more debris.  This debris would then hit other objects, creating even more trash.  It just gets worse as the pieces of rubble get smaller and smaller! The more pieces there are out there, the greater the chances of another impact.



NORAD acts as a kind of air traffic controller for everyone by keeping track of all this floating junk so that there are no collisions.  We need to protect our satellites. Without them, we wouldn’t have the Internet or GPS navigation.  We wouldn’t be able to forecast the weather, or watch TV, or spy on our neighbors. Without them, we'd have to forget space travel altogether---forever!
I don't know about you, but I'd like to think that even though we have polluted our own planet, we aren't so irresponsible that we've screwed up our escape plan too! It's the only other alternative if we can't fix Earth.  If the trash orbiting our planet gets any deeper, humanity is well and truly stuck here on this planet for eternity.



Of course, "ETERNITY" - for us - might not be that long.
Scientist are working on ways to clean up this mess.     Clean Up link
Here is a link about the IMAX documentary movie.      SPACE JUNK 3D
---
For myself, I have renewed my efforts to create something from my own stash of trash which I have called The Flotsam Project. [see sidebar]
I can't clean up Outer Space and I can't clean up the Earth, but maybe I can clean up around my house?  Or at the very, very least  - around my desk.



Maybe I could do something like this?

CHECKOUT OUR BOOKS ON RECYCLING














Thursday, February 13, 2014

Junk Drawer Valentines


 




Just how much junk do you have laying around? If you are at work, just take a look in that bottom desk drawer.

 

Yes, the deep one where you removed the old file folders, scanned the contents and stored the info "in the cloud" and now use as a place to hide your secret stash of Little Debbie Cakes.
What else is in there?



 Could you make someone a valentine gift using the contents?

geek love from computer part
 
floppy disc planter


necklace from marker caps




 
 
You couldn’t? Why? Oh, because you are very neat and orderly at work?


Like I believe that, but ...wHaTeVeR!
 
How about at home? I bet you could open up that kitchen cabinet under the sink and come up with something clever?
For Example:

plastic bag wreath


plastic cleaning bottle
 
junk drawer bracelet
 

Your kitchen is TOTALLY organized? You say you’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest and -unlike the rest of us -you haven’t just been pinning, you have actually put those ideas into practice?
Are you, like ...you know...OCD or something?
 
Messy
Organized
 
What about that closet? Got any junk in there that you could get rid of without shedding tears?
 
Before
I bet you could repurpose some stuff into cute little valentines!
 
T-shirt rug
blue jean earrings
 
sweater heart 
Oh, let me guess. You just took a load of stuff to Goodwill and then had Closet Factory come to your home and systemize your entire wardrobe?

After

You know, I'm beginning to like you less and less.
Hey, I know….step out into the garage! I’ll bet your husband/brother/son has a bunk of “man junk” out there you could use to make some pretty UNUSUAL valentines! It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what half that stuff is even used for. I’m betting he won’t even miss it!
hex nut and leather men's braclet
gear heart pendant

wire and burlap wreath
 
 
Say what? Your husband/brother/son is as neat as a pin and there is absolutely nothing in your garage that doesn’t have a purpose.
 
Okay, now I KNOW you're lying!



Unless it has already been REpurposed - that's okay!
 
paint a wood spool pink
 
paint can art   (I love this!)
Well, what about your children’s bedrooms? If you’ve got a small child, I KNOW you have debris! And if you have a TEENAGER [OMG!] you have even more! And if you have a FEMALE teenager…well, you have hit the junk motherlode!
 
 
Nothing there? Okay, well, you must not have children. Or ever had children. Because when they leave the nest, they leave stuff behind. [Stuff that they expect you to hang on to for years and years. And they think that their old room should be kept as it was when they lived there too! Kind of like a shrine.]

 
If you never had kids, or if the kids are long gone and you’ve dismantled the shrine, then I’m guessing that the hobby/craft room that you’ve been dreaming of for years is fully operational now, right?

 
Well, enjoy it while you can, because once the grandchildren arrive it will become a spare bedroom again to accommodate random sleepovers when their parents (your grown kids) need a break.


 
Meanwhile …JACKPOT! I’m sure there is more than enough beads, yarn, fabric, buttons, paper, watercolors, and other odds-n-ends to make some beautiful recycled valentines. You better get busy!
 
 
What? You DO NOT do crafts?

What the hell do you do with your spare time?
READ???

Get a life! Seriously!