January 30, 2009 · Fabulous Friday: Flickr Faves for January

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This is one of my favourite photos ever found on Flickr and it certainly sums up my feelings right now. I didn’t take it. It’s by Bucharest photographer Camil Tulcan. You can find more of his gorgeous work here. And below, a round up of some of my Flickr Faves. I think I’ll do this once a month. It’s a lot of work popping in all those links, man, but I think the original photographers deserve credit for their photos and the inspiration they provided me!

My agenda today: wash my hair, walk my dog and spend the rest of the day painting. And sneaking Hershey’s kisses. I swear the red foil wrapped ones taste better than the silver.

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1) reflections
2) mason
3) detail
4) mum for eating
5) cherry blossoms
6) kimoni
7) kumquat
8) white mushrooms
9) alien flower
10) snowy flake
11) sixth snowflake
12) blizzard
13) Hopeful Winter
14) Pennsylvania snowflake
15) Icing
16) tessella forum reverse
17) sparkly k
18) sparkly k
19) snowflakes
20) When I said
21) A book I’m reading
22) snowflakes
23) snowflakes
24) snowflake curtain
25) cally creates
26) rhododendron on wire
27) howl at the moon
28) matryushka stones
29) window grill
30) 1st of december
31) sky butterfly blue
32) snowy fox
33) juj’s photo
34) sweet/salty
35) generate
36) sweet salty kitchen



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January 28, 2009 · running with scissors: paper snowflakes

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I have become obsessed with paper snowflakes. Actually, I’ve become obsessed with the fine art of paper cutting in general, but am completely intimidated by some of the work I’ve seen so snowflakes seemed to be an ideal way to a) ease myself into the paper cutting scene and b) embrace winterness in general. “Cuz you just can’t fight it. I tried this morning out in the walk, but we’re in the midst of ANOTHER snowstorm and beautiful though it was (total winter wonderland), it was coming down at such a rate that I was afraid that my car was gonna get sunk in a drift and the wolf and I would be stranded in the park forever and ever. Especially as I had forgotten my cellphone. That might not seem like such a bad thing (being stuck in the park forevah and evah) but eventually one of us would get hungry. And there’s nothing in the park to eat aside from rabbit poo and pinecones.

Anyhooo…. there’s some more photos of my paper snowflakes on my flickr site here: Snowflake Set And of course there are a number of Flickr groups devoted to paper snowflakes and some devoted to the real kind too.

Camilla Engman provides a great snowflake cutting tutorial on her Studio Violet site here in case you need a refresher and if you just can’t be bothered with locating paper and scissors, give the virtual kind of snipping a whirl at Make-A-Flake . The bonus with the Make-a-Flake site is that you can save your snowflake as a jpeg (you can also save it as an eps too apparently though I haven’t had any luck with that) and then use your jpeg image to make Photoshop brushes.

How do you turn it into a Photoshop Brush? It’s super easy in Photoshop CS3. All you do is create a layer for your snowflake jpeg, drag it over there, select the snowflake shape (using the magic wand, lasso, or the box selection tool), click on the brush tool in the toolbox… then go to the top menu under “Edit” and scroll down to “Define Brush Set”. And voila! You’ve got yourself a handy dandy snowflake brush and a reason to justify the hours you while away playing Make-a-Flake. ‘Cuz you never know when you are going to need 968 special and unique snowflakes right?

On a sad note, I feel I should make comment on the recent passings of two of my all time idols, John Updike and Andrew Wyeth. There’s a great obit to John Updike here. He made me drunk on words, on New England, on the power of the everyday. I still think that the A&P (read the short story here) is one of the finest short stories ever written. And Andrew Wyeth… I have to say I really didn’t think that much about him until I saw his Helga paintings and then I was enraptured. When we moved here to Southern Ontario and the first Novemeber drew near, I saw his paintings in the landscape all around me and fell in love anew. His father, the great Golden Age illustrator, N.C. Wyeth is also one of my idols, perhaps an even greater influence than his son, and the idea of three generations of incredible American artists (Andrew’s son Jamie is also a painter as you probably know) has always thrilled me.

Two unforgettable New Englanders, American legends, felled within weeks of each other. But their work has changed my world, made it better and deeper and richer and will continue to do so for as long as I live.



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January 26, 2009 · here’s the deal

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okay, so here’s the deal: Maybe you have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a lot recently. There are reasons for that. December was kind of brutal for me emotionally as perhaps was to be expected. First birthday without my mother, first Christmas without my mother. And things started sliding sideways then rapidly downhill with my dad and his health. I’m hoping that things are on the upswing again, but the reality is my brother and I are having to confront some very hard realities and it’s not an easy thing to do in the wake of our mother’s death.

I’m dealing with loss on an hourly basis, trying to keep my wounds sewn up, keep myself whole, keep myself together. The threads binding me together at the moment are tenuous, easily tugged out, easily dissolved with tears. I soldier on. I keep working to mend the split seams, keep weaving that needle in and out, and I will keep doing it as long as I have to because I promised my mother I would not let this wreck me, that I would move forward, that I would live fully. But it’s hard work. It’s exhausting. There are lovely gracious people in my life who thread the needle for me sometimes, who patch me up when they can, as gently as they can, and I am so grateful for them and don’t tell them how much I appreciate it nearly enough. Ultimately, though, I’m the only one who can repair my gutted middles, heal my hurts.

But the thing is, my life, my woe, is not really something I want to share here. Recounting every stitch is not helpful to me right now. I don’t want to become all about my pain. That’s not really my nature. I’m a bit of a Pollyanna at heart. I’m the glass half full type, an optimist albeit a sort of left-handed optimist. At least I used to be. At least that’s how I remember myself. And I liked that about myself. I don’t want to become the antithesis of that. There is so much sad in the world already, so much sorrow.

And so I avoid this space when I’m coming all undone, unravelled. I avoid this space when I am in the process of trying to knit myself whole again. And on those occasions when I feel sufficiently patched up enough to move a little bit forward, to make some headway, I do just that… and only that. And again, this page lays untouched.

And yet I’m not willing to let it go right now. I’m not willing to shut down shop, turn out the lights. In a way this site keeps me in touch with my better self, the self I strive to be. It is my window on the world, the chink of light which falls to reveal that I have not disappeared all together, I have not evaporated into nothing. Not yet, anyway.

So I’ve been in a mild dither about what to do with it. What can I do that says in a friendly way I’m still here, I’m still trying, I’m still breathing in and out every day, I’m still sewing, I’m still hoping… and yet doesn’t tax my sore brain, my strained seams, my flagging energy?

I’ve decided to give this a go: I’m not going to try to write in a personal way any more. For the time being at least. I’m not going to attempt to journal what is going on with me, where I’m at. Instead, I’m going to post here the little things that make me feel a tiny bit better, prop them up here like a bright pot of flowers on my windowsill. And hope that that is enough to encourage the sun to seek me out sometimes.



14 Comments so far
January 10, 2009 · she’s the real deal

On The Radio lyrics

This is how it works
It feels a little worse
Than when we drove our hearse
Right through that screaming crowd
While laughing up a storm
Until we were just bone
Until it got so warm
That none of us could sleep
And all the styrofoam
Began to melt away
We tried to find some words
To aid in the decay
But none of them were home
Inside their catacomb
A million ancient bees
Began to sting our knees
While we were on our knees
Praying that disease
Would leave the ones we love
And never come again

On the radio
We heard November Rain
That solo’s really long
But it’s a pretty song
We listened to it twice
‘Cause the DJ was asleep

This is how it works
You’re young until you’re not
You love until you don’t
You try until you can’t
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumping someone else’s blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again

And on the radio
You hear November Rain
That solo’s awful long
But it’s a good refrain
You listen to it twice
‘Cause the DJ is asleep
On the radio

by Regina Spektor
the kind of artist I want to be when I grow up.

fall in love with her here



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