Archive for December, 2012

Making Beauty and Doing Good to Heal a Heavy Heart

December 20, 2012

With the Newtown, CT tragedy and other recent world events, topics discussed here on my blog seem so trivial and to be honest, they are trivial.  At the end of the day, however, I stand by my mantra, “make beauty, do good,” so I hope you continue to be inspired by what you read here and on other blogs to make beauty in the world and do good.  My other advice during this time is to take our busy lives and press the “pause button”:

  • Pause to think about all you are thankful for;
  • Pause to listen and really engage with those around you – your kids, other family members, friends and neighbors;
  • Pause to make something beautiful – a nourishing soup to share with neighbors, a warm scarf to give to a friend, an ornament to hang on the tree …
  • Pause to give back – volunteer at a local shelter, donate some needed art supplies to a local school, record a favorite children’s story or poem and send to a grandchild or friend faraway, shovel an elderly neighbor’s sidewalks …
  • Pause to reflect on what Mary Oliver says in her poem, “The Summer Day,” “… Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

You just might decide to keep the “pause button” pressed down.

An Inspiring Visit to the Studio Gang Architects Exhibit

December 10, 2012

I had the opportunity to visit the Studio Gang Architects exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago last week for a second time … so very inspiring. The exhibit is on view through February 24, 2013.

These woven seats are incredibly comfortable and the experience of sitting in this “bubble” of sorts and soaking up all the creativity was quite delightful!


Just some of the prototypes on exhibit. (This photo is a bit out of focus but it is still kind of cool in a way.)

IMG_2432 - Studio Gang Prototypes

A peek into some of the inspiration for one project.

IMG_2441-Studio Gang Inspiration

See and learn more about the exhibit here.

Keeping Time with Paper Calendars

December 2, 2012
Letts of London 2013 Calendar

Letts of London 2013 Calendar


A couple of items before I move onto paper calendars: First, I have been a fan of the website Brain Pickings for a long time and was excited to see it profiled today in The New York Times. If you have not checked it out, I encourage you to do so at – it is full of inspiration.

Secondly, in my last post, I mentioned making a shirt for Audrey, our dog, a process I would detail here if it worked out. Well, my daughter and I think it worked out but with the warm weather, Audrey flat out refuses to put on her fleece sweater (or else it is her way of demanding that we make it from the wicking fabric that her old favorite is made from). When the temps plummet, we will try one more time to put it on her and snap a picture, so stay tuned.

I have given over to technology in several areas of my life, but I still prefer a paper calendar when it comes to scheduling. Something about writing a date down as opposed to entering it into an electronic device commits it to my memory better, plus I just like having that written record. I also tend to make little notes in the margin of my calendar like book titles and CDs I hear about on NPR and want to check out later. I was reminded of my minority viewpoint on timekeeping some time ago when I was at a meeting: When it came time to schedule our next get together, I pulled out my paper planner as everyone else whipped out their cell phones. There was a millisecond where everyone looked at the object in front of me with disbelief. As I later described the scene to a friend, it was as if I had pulled out a stone tablet and chisel! If they only knew I usually have two working calendars – the family one to record everyone’s schedules and a personal one to record work stuff – and one just for show that no one is allowed to write on it because it is too beautiful.

Here are some favorite picks for 2013 …

My work calendar is from Letts of London and is pictured above – I love the stamped cover (and the price, $18.50 at my local bookstore, Anderson’s Bookshop).

Charley Harper – This is one of my favorite artists and one that I was familiar with from childhood books, but was reacquainted with many years ago when I stepped into a small shop on Sanibel Island that was primarily dedicated to his works. Take a look at the calendars here but then spend some time browsing at the rest of the shop items.

originalPhoto from Charley Harper website.

Creative Thursday – A charming calendar to add a bit of cheeriness to any corner; it would also make a great addition to a child’s room. The designer behind this calendar, Marisa Anne, also has several great fabric lines.

Rifle Paper Co. – Last year I purchased their fruit calendar which was gorgeous. They have many great ones to choose from this year as well – especially the retro-look “Cities”.


Satsuma Press – I have purchased several beautiful letterpress calendars (and stationary sets) from here, including this 2011 one:


Snow & Graham – They have a number of beautiful calendars – I especially like the “Botanical Calendar” printed on what looks like a dark grey paper.

2013 Botanical Calendar