Saturday, March 18, 2017

National Celebration of Women Month

Thursday night, we went to see Hidden Figures at the Robinson, our local art theater.  Before the show, the YWCA, the Shreveport Mayor's Women's Commission, and the Commission for Women of Bossier City presented a short program highlighting the hidden figures of the Shreveport/Bossier area in honor of National Celebration of Women Month.  The program was informative and interesting.  

And then the movie--what a rewarding experience.  It is truly remarkable that women played such an important role in the early space program with no fanfare and little recognition--not just women, but black women in a state that still had Jim Crow laws!   The film is a fictionalized version based on facts, but I've already ordered the nonfiction book.  We left with smiles on our faces, proud of the women who contributed so much to the space program in spite of all the restrictions they faced. 

I've always admired smart women, especially in the maths and sciences.  Math has always been a stumbling block for me, and women who achieved success in those areas have always had my respect and admiration.  I loved the celebration of these women whose work has been so little acknowledged until Margot Lee Shetterly's book, and I hope that the book and movie will be an inspiration for girls to develop an interest in math and science.  If you haven't seen Hidden Figures, don't miss it!  

Notice the way the women's clothing in the film--even in the late 60's, women wore dresses, skirts, and heels most of the time.  Trousers were not an option for most occasions.

Women wearing trousers is a fairly recent phenomenon.  Time to mention Jean Cameron, the Scottish postie whose request for a new uniform made it possible for women postal workers to wear trousers on their rounds in 1941.

I've seen the video before, but there is some additional information on Wearing the Trousers.

:)  Like many women, my daily life is lived in comfortable pants!  

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tuesday Morning Thoughts

I've worked added more scraps and blocks to the studio shirt while watching Netflix and Amazon shows.  Scrappy additions, and I'm not too concerned about being neat, but adding patches while I watch Grimm and other shows, keeps my hands happily occupied.  It gets even sloppier when I'm watching foreign shows with subtitles!

Adding smaller, approximately 1" squares

  Incoming mail from the last couple of weeks

Used some envelopes I found in my stash
for Connie's and Annie's
 found the pic of the Bronte sisters in a magazine
 tracing paper made this one so sheer,
I had to use a tissue paper wrap for the letter!
 gelli prints on deli paper;
the borage sticker was from Naomi Bulger
 I love the international stamps
I saw this Memorial for Undelivered Mail
Postal workers erected this monument at the Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, Japan.
 It stands in memorial to the spirits of lost and undelivered letters.  

I love the idea that the spirits of lost 
and undelivered letters have a memorial.

It was raining again this morning, but the sun just came out!  I love rain, but you know, only for a couple of days at a time.  Now, I wait for the garden to dry out again.  The rain was a blessing for the shrubs and trees that are in full bloom right now, and who knows what will be next--flooding? drought?  So in the moment, it is best to appreciate the beauty of a nice mix of sun and rain and plan to get back to the garden in a day or so.

Just one more thing--
I love these photos, and thought you would, too!

source:  White Wolf Pack has more pictures of these unusual companions.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Mail Art --

February was a busy month and now there is some catching up to do.

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and I hope everyone at least indulged in a little chocolate.  I made some Valentine letters and postcards.  

Look at that dirty water and that mess!

Postcards, mostly for the grands
I made more Valentine postcards,
but it was too late to send them.
Oh, well--they will work for next year.

 A couple of Valentine letters--

B.E. is in love with Prim Paws, her kitten,
which gives me the excuse to use the little cat-related stamps.

I added more scrap blocks to the studio shirt, made more envelopes, wrote more letters, read more books, and worked in the garden during February.  Worked in the garden?  Yep, temperatures were up and down, but mostly in the 70's with several days at 80+.  There were a few cold days, but even though the temps might rise or fall by 20 degrees from day to day, it was a very warm February!

And now it is March-- hope your March will bring good surprises!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Books and Snail Mail

I've been reading like an addict--which I suppose I am.  Catching up with reviews on my book blog is more difficult than reading the books themselves.  Below are some of my favorites; already reviewed on Goodreads, but the posts for A Garden Carried in the Pocket are scheduled closer to publication.  

Shallow End and The Weight of Night are police procedurals from two authors I enjoy.  The other two are literary fiction--a coming of age story in Grief Cottage (don't think it is a depressing novel--it isn't) and When the English Fall, a dystopian novel about a solar storm that causes an EMP (an unusual novel that imagines how the prayerful and peaceful Amish would react to the ensuing violence).

 OK--just finished this one, and it is excellent.
Haven't reviewed or scheduled it,
but highly recommended--
 a beautiful and uncomfortable book.

   Trying to keep up with snail mail.

 The orange one, middle left, is from Bryce Eleanor.
It didn't have a stamp and the postman left
a note in my box about postage due.
I left attached a stamp to the note,
put it back in the mailbox, and
the next day got my letter from B.E.--
along with a pic of Prim Paws from her little Kodak camera.  :)


Postcards to Max and Mila and several letters.
The lion on Connie's is B.E.'s art--
I cut out one of her drawings and pasted it on the envelope.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I love this "recipe card" by Julie Kirk of Notes on Paper.  "Medication" comes in many ways!

As always, I love Claudia...

Like Claudia, my cardio may consist largely of books and snail mail, but I have
renewed my yoga practice.  The longest I've gone so far is 10 consecutive days before skipping a day.  I started with a 30 min. practice on January 5, but quickly moved back into an hour practice.  For several years my regular home practice was an hour and fifteen minutes, and a longer, slow practice seems to work better for me.

I'm rolling out my yoga mat each morning and setting the timer for an hour which feels about right, although sometimes I go over the hour.  When I finish, I feel relaxed, but energized.  Tai Chi was the same way, providing that unusual combination of physical and mental relaxation with  a sense of energy.

My goal is to manage 30 consecutive days of practice, but in the 19 days since I started, I've only skipped 4 days and that is encouraging.  Maybe I'll make 30 days at some point, but if can keep up a regular practice, I will be happy.

 I just read through 11 Amazing Thank You Notes from Famous People--if you have time check these out; they are funny and heartwarming. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This and That

I've followed Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By for years.  My favorite weekly post is Interesting Things and the following video is a great example of how the narrowness of some laws that can become self-defeating.  
"This is a video about what happened when the U.S. Department of Labor stepped in to enforce their employment regulations against piece workers in a retirement home.
It was produced last year by students in The Academy of Integrated Humanities and New Media (AIM), a two-year film program for juniors and seniors at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, which happens to be my alma mater,"  writes Ronni.

  Amazing the millions of women who marched--peacefully--yesterday!

Friday, January 20, 2017


I finished The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Erlichs's essays about Wyoming.  There are some wonderfully descriptive passages, but I wasn't completely satisfied.  She mentions getting married (doesn't give her husband's name) and getting hit by lightening in a few sentences in the same essay.  No follow up on either.  

There is not much about Erlich's personal life that I could find anywhere, although there is a lot written about her books.  Her recovery from being struck by lightening involved a lot of therapy, and in the process, it seems her marriage disintegrated.  But a couple of sentences on each is all you get in Solace--although she did write A Match to the Heart about her painstaking recovery.   Erlich's love for Wyoming is obvious, as is her adventurous spirit (her many other books cover a wide-range of locales and environmental issues), but her personal essays reveal  little about her inner life.

The following  quote appeared  on Michele's Heart and Hands blog today, and it resonates with me:
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”---L. R. Knost
I particularly like the line:  "Not with time, as they say, but with intention."   

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This and That

The first week in January, we had two days with lows of 18 and 19 degrees and highs in the 30's.  Within the next two days, the temperatures climbed to highs in the upper 70's.  It doesn't look as if we will have a real winter this year.  Spring intermixed with a couple of cold days now and then.  I'm almost as confused as the plants.

A few more letters and postcards went out this week.  I've also been making more envelopes.  Making postcards and envelopes is about all the creativity that has gone on around here, but it is a pastime that keeps me curious and involved.   
click to enlarge
The three postcards to the grands were all done in November, but the envelopes are new.  Naomi sent out a letter template that I've been using this week.  The two letters made from paper bags are using Naomi's template (and one of them is to Naomi!).  I plan to make some more using the template and maybe some more collage postcards.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Saturday Update

Snail Mail:  I've mailed six letters this week as I try to catch up on neglected correspondence.  Have more to go, but at least a start on responses makes me feel better.

Reading:  I read a lot more than usual in 2016.  Keeping up with reviews over at my book blog has been a challenge.  Not that I review all of the books I read, but I make every effort to review books from publishers so I will keep getting free books!  Most are reviewed over at A Garden Carried in the Pocket, but some of my favorites are scheduled for later in the year.  When I receive AR copies from publishers, I schedule books closer to publication dates and there are 17 reviews still scheduled to post in 2017.  

Studio Shirt:  I continue making new in-roads on the shirt.  Especially, when I need peaceful meditation, I add more embroidery and more blocks.  It doesn't matter that these additions aren't planned or careful or neat, they are more like ad libs--just stitching to keep my hands busy.  It is a work in progress since 2014, adding a little at a time.  New additions since September:

At 8:00 this morning, the temperature was 19 degrees.  Almost unheard of in Louisiana and last week was like Spring!  Weather app shows us back in the 70's next week.  

Hope all of you in colder states are surviving the arctic freeze and snow! 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

I've been away for a while because I've had another bout with depression.  A long one.  Holiday stress and anxiety didn't help, and I barely got things done that needed to be done.  Mostly.

I'm recovering now.  Why?  Because on Christmas Eve, my husband came down with a man cold. Sudden onset--3:00 AM on Christmas morning.  Fever, sore throat, achy.  We were down in the country with the kids and grandkids and missed the Santa explosion because  I had to bring him home and begin checking Urgent Care, Quick Care, Velocity Care--none of which were open.

Emergency room.  (He was so sure he was going to die, I was afraid it was the flu.)  Nope, a viral and bacterial infection.  Meds.  Whining. know.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  Oh, how the makers of tissue profit during cold and flu season.  I think he will recover; we're on day 8, and he has been back to work.  With occasional relapses in the afternoon, naturally.  

Our home pharmacy will now have to extend to me.  Because he gave me his cold.  But at least it is not a man cold.  I know I will live.  No need to make immediate additions to the will.  And after five weeks of one of my more serious depressive episodes, the man cold finally forced me out of it.  So all is good.

Well, except that I am behind in everything and overwhelmed with "make-up" work.  And apologies that need to be given many failures during those weeks.  

So...bless the man cold.  And thank heavens, he doesn't read my blog!

  To any other wives dealing with this alarming illness:

I know I owe letters.  Please forgive.  As soon as I recover from my much milder version of the cold,  I promise to reply!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Here We Go Again...

OK, I am a time-waster.  A very proficient time-waster.  Sometimes I regret the time wasted, sometimes I don't.  And sometimes, I feel like maybe you would enjoy some of the places I waste my time.  :)

I watched the latest Sainsbury Christmas ad, which I liked just because it has James Corden doing the voice-over.  But then I got side-tracked with other Sainsbury  adverts, like Waste Less Save More:

And then,  well, just a few more.

What else should I do?  Clean house?

I actually did clean the house!  Everything except mop the floors, and I decided to do that today.  Well, that was the idea anyway.  Doesn't seem as urgent this morning.

Frustrating: When Edgar gets in my lap when I'm trying to work(?) on the computer.  He can not keep his paws to himself!  I like feeling his warmth in my lap and listening to his purring, but his constant reaching for my hand is annoying and causes typos that need correction.  I make enough mistakes without his help.

I finished reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison, a dystopian novel that tackled a lot of problems about power and corruption, before we took another little trip this weekend to Jefferson, TX.  We stayed at The Excelsior Hotel which has provided accommodations since 1858;   famous visitors included Ulysses S. Grant and Oscar Wilde.  We did not see the ghost, but were charmed by the hotel anyway.

Sometimes there are so many things on the "to do" list that I'm overwhelmed and unable to get started.  


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Process and Progress

I always enjoy seeing someone else's process--
creativity is such an individual thing...
but Jody Alexander's process is truly unique.

I do love her work:
altered books, boxed books, etc.


I have not reviewed these yet, but Louise Penny's A Great Reckoning was even better than I hoped.  Of course, I'm always a little surprised at how good her books are, her ability to juxtapose humor and kindness with the worst humanity has to offer.  

And Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson was also a pleasure--maybe it is not realistic to have a real-life character who so resembles the Little Prince, but the book gives a positive and sympathetic look at a boy who does not fit the norm, who is labeled an oddball even by those who love him, and who catches at your heart even as you know how difficult it would be to live with him.

In progress:  The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.  I only read from 2-10 pages at a time, but it is both delightful and informative.  Although I've been familiar with some of Sei Shonagon for at least 20 years, only after a letter from Penne did I decide to order and read the entire book.  Her lists are fun and her comments about the Japanese court during the late 10th c make me realize how much we have in common despite the differences in time and culture.


Read an ebook by Arnold Grummer on paper making and have been experimenting some more.  

Used a couple of blue post it notes for color.
The dark spots are milkweed seeds.
Some left over pansy petals were still in the mix.

 I waited until the pulp was well blended,
then added a few more scraps from envelopes to this one.

The blue in the sheet below is from the inner lining of an envelope
(like the bits in the above piece), but I blended the pulp longer and
did not add any additional scraps.
Set a bottle on the screen before adding pulp to get the circle
and added a small Japanese maple leaf
and a yarrow leaf before pulling this sheet.

Pansy petals and hibiscus petals blended in the pulp.

All of them (and a few others that were still not dry) are under books and weights to flatten them.  These sheets are all thinner than the first ones I made, although I did alter the thickness on these, too, as I experimented.  The one with milkweed seeds is thicker because I didn't want the seeds too rough on the surface.

Now what?  This is one of those activities that is more fun in the process than in the product. I still have several other ideas to try out in "the making" -- then I will have to decide just what to do with them.  

Onward to another mess!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Crafty Week in Review

I kept eyeing my handmade papers and wondering about how I could use them.   I like recycling materials, especially junk mail envelopes, but my handmade paper is not very flexible, and while it wouldn't be expected to be as flexible as regular paper, I wonder if  there a way to decrease the stiffness some.  Definitely need a good book on the subject; there are so many things I'm curious about.

One of my original thoughts was to use the handmade papers as backgrounds for some of the stitched leaves from the last couple of weeks.  Auditioning the leaves on the papers was satisfying, but then I wondered about other options.

 I had a couple of thank you notes to write, so I cut some pages down and folded them into little note cards.  Ended up choosing 3 leaves and adhering them to the folded papers, then wrote short notes inside expressing my gratitude.

Yep, I tried this, but boy, is it easy to tear a leaf!

I cut up some under paper from painting and sewed two little envelopes, adding a few details and marks along the way.  Popped the "thank yous" into the finished envelopes and sent them on their way.  There is one note card left, and I may make some more.

 I also made some tiny gift tags.
These might be good for Christmas gifts
if I add some Christmas-y embellishment.

Collaged postcard 
with a leaf 
and some birch bark
and sent it to Jacque.

I wish...