30 January 2011

Inspiration is Running Away with Me!

First things first:
I want to give a huge THANK YOU to my friend, Dawn, and my SILs Jody and Jackie.  You three have been instrumental in getting me back into the world of creating.  This is where my heart truly lies, and it has been incredibly therapeutic and cathartic to begin creating again.  I feel as if a weight has been lifted, a fog has been cleared, a window as been opened into my soul.  And you three have nudged (or flat-out pushed!) me back into it.

Ok...now for the confession: when it rains, it pours.
I CAN'T STOP!  Now that I've allowed my brain to begin thinking creatively again, it's won't think otherwise.  My organizational skills have gone out the window.  My attention to the passage of time is gone.  There are days in the recent past that I have forgotten to shower (TMI, I know, I know). 

Just since Christmas, I have started 4 quilts, a table runner, V-Day pillows, cooking at home, miniature Illuminated Texts, 2 blogs, 2 Etsy shops, 4 Kuspuks, DIY kuspuk instructions, 2 Graphic Design projects and T-shirt designs for a family business.  What the (bleep) is wrong with me?!?!  (Mom, does this sound familiar?)
My most recent creation: a Valentine's Day (February) table runner.

To tell you the truth, I absolutely love it.  I feel like my life is somehow more complete because of these projects.  I feel that my life once again has direction and purpose.  I feel like ME again.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE being home with my kids, and I LOVE watching them grow and develop and change.  They are wonderful and hilarious and the most perfect thing that has ever happened to me.  But changing the 1247090th poopy diaper of the day and being asked for the 10948th time for a "snack" that then is forgotten and not eaten wears on a person after awhile.  I'm glad to have an outlet so I can focus on the good part of my days with my kiddos.

I am very, very grateful to those people around me who have encouraged me in these pursuits, whether they were aware of it or not.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I only hope that I can pass it on...

28 January 2011


For those of you that don't know, my name means 'butterfly', an incredibly apt snapshot of me.  I flit from idea to idea, project to project, favorite to favorite.  I feel my mind - and my soul - are cluttered with an infinite number of facts, details, inspirations, snipits of memory, smatterings of half-finished novels.  Its feels like an internal warehouse filled haphazardly with stories-high stacks of papers, ready to topple over, and impossible to wade through.  Or a long hallway lined of doors: magnificent in scope, but you never know where one might lead.

For this reason, I love Nonsense work.  Nonsense in the classical sense, not in the modern-dance/hip-hop/Jar-Jar-Binks variety.  George MacDonald brilliantly touches my soul to its depths.  The poetry of Lewis Carroll, e.e. cummings and Odgen Nash fill me with wonder and I feel like a child again.  I cannot help but smile and laugh my way through The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

So, without further ado, here are my top Nonsense favorites (for today!):

1. "r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r" by e.e. cummings (the visual grasshopper poem) (Click here to see it)

2. Scrappy quilts - no rhyme or reason, no color scheme, no predominant shapes.  Sheer beauty.

3. "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." 


"...felt as if your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick." 

- Hitchhiker's Guide

4. Happiness in Perpetuity by Paul Bond:
Is the scene miniaturized on top of pebbles?  Are the rocks enormous?  I love the childlike
questions this one provokes as well as the sense of quiet and calm.
Whether big or small, I want to go there.

Are there works of nonsense that are particularly special to you?  Any that I should stuff into my mental collection?

26 January 2011

The Best Oatmeal Cake Ever

For those of you who are following Moda Bake Shop's Progressive Dinner, this will be a repeat, but I have to share the love!

Sweetwater shared their recipe for The Best Oatmeal Cake Ever, and my good friend, Dawn, was awesome enough to make it for me yesterday!  It certainly lived up to its name.  And since I am impatiently waiting for my own cake to come out of the oven, I will share the it with you!  

Click here for the Recipe!
You'll have to scroll down about 1/3 of the way down the page, but you'll get to look at some really pretty fabrics and quilts along the way.  Here's the author's picture of her finished cake:

And if this has whetted your appetite for amazing confections, check out Gesine's blog at http://confectionsofamasterbaker.blogspot.com/ for some truly gorgeous (edible!) works of art.  (It's a secret, but Gesine is a certain famous Ms. Bullock's sister.  Shhhh.)

Do you have a favorite dessert-ish recipe?  Do you have a flat-out favorite dessert?  Share! Share! Share!  I'd love to try some new recipes!

25 January 2011


Today is simply a poetic day.  So simply, here is one of my favorite poems paired with one of my favorite paintings.  Enjoy.

thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-e.e. cummings

The middle 1/3 of Gutav Klimt's Tree of Life

23 January 2011

Tate Modern Museum, London

I know I've been a little blog happy the past 2 days, but this one I had to share.

For the past 11 years, Unilever has teamed up with the Tate Modern Museum to challenge global artists to individually create a single exhibit to fill an old military turbine warehouse in London.  The space is enormous and the possibilities virtually endless, and each exhibition is unfathomable in scope.  Just looking at photos online humbles me; I cannot imaging how it would feel to experience these in person.  Another reason to travel to Europe!

This year's exhibit is a Chinese creation by artist Ai WeiWei.  Below is a picture of the Turbine Hall with his creation.  Can you tell what he did?

How about now?

Any guesses?  Get ready to be floored...

The third photo is a close-up of the floor.  Ai WeiWei orchestrated a mass-hand-crafting of 100-Million porcelain sunflower seeds by porcelain artisans in Jingdezehn, China.  Poured into the Hall, the seeds cover the floor at a depth of 4 inches, and guests are invited experience the exhibit by walking on, touching and exploring the scope of the seeds.  Ai WeiWei has stated that in doing this project, he hopes that the viewer will contemplate the relationship between individuals and the masses (China is communist, after all).

I highly recommend perusing the previous 10 years' exhibits.  Each are mind-blowing and amazing to look at.  


22 January 2011

My Book of a Thousand Happinesses

Although it sounds like a poorly-translated Japanese title, "My Book of a Thousand Happinesses" is the title of my journal for 2011.

For Christmas this year, my sister gave me a super-cute journal (thanks, sis!) that I have been flipping though, caressing and imagining what would fill the pages, but nothing has seemed right.  Each page of the journal has artwork from Susie Ghaharemani's collection.  The friendly owls, funny trees and wonky lines have impressed upon me that this isn't just any journal, it's a happy journal.  And it should be filled with happy things.

In the spirit of focusing more on the positive things in life, I have decided that this journal will be my constant companion this year.  The goal: to have 1,000 happy things written in it before 2012 comes - about 3 things a day.

If you want to smile today, check out Ms. Ghararemani's website: www.boygirlparty.com.  It's a hoot!


Over the past year, I have given a lot of thought to the idea of Stewardship.  Specifically, stewardship in my own home and life.  Stewardship is taking care of the things given to you as if you were caring for them for someone else, and little by little, I think I'm getting the point.  The most recent reminder of this theme came on FB, where a friend posted a link to an article about a family who lives life for experiences, not consumption.  (Highly recommended, if you have time and energy to read it!)


You know that scene on the movie 28 Days where the hilarious gay guy (Huzzah Alan Tudyk!) is asking when it is appropriate to resume a romantic relationship post-rehab?  The answer was given him that he should get a plant, and if it is still alive after a (long) period of time, to get a dog.  If the dog AND the plant is still alive after another painfully long interval, then he'd be ready for a relationship.  My thought to this: total BS.

I don't have a green thumb, and I care only enough about dogs on their own to say hello and give them back to their owners.  For me, the progression has gone the other way.  Being committed to relationships has made me want to take care of those things that are less important - and less catastrophic should they die.

Putting in the time and effort required of a committed relationship, whether it be to my husband, my children, other family members or close friends, I have learned that the smaller things can make relationships easier.  Keeping the house clean and organized helps keep my brain clean and organized.  And believe me, my poor brain needs all the help it can get these days!  Staying on top of meal planning and grocery shopping alleviates stress around meal times, promoting closer family and friend meals and more nutritious foods.  Using the things we already have instead of buying more. Taking care of the things we have so they last longer.  Taking care of myself so I last longer.  The list goes on...but I have found that my life is more pleasant and "easier" when I implement Stewardship.

Ok, enough of my novel.  Thank you for staying with me, if you have.  Hopefully, I will continue to foster this idea and continually put it into practice in new areas.

Any other ideas or areas in which Stewardship is applicable or necessary?

And for those who stayed with me, a little treat of my favorite jokes:

What is red and smells like blue paint?  Red paint!

A farmer woke up one morning and started to cook breakfast.  He threw a couple sausages into a frying pan. One sausage turned to the other and said, "Hey man, is it getting hot in here?".  To which the other sausage exclaimed, "Whoa!  A talking sausage!".

Have a great weekend, folks!

19 January 2011

Spring in January

This week has been unseasonably warm for this area of the world.  We're talking 50's, not 80's, but still so much warmer than the 5-degree weather we had a few short weeks ago.  The air is clean and cool, and where I'm sitting, rays of sunshine are shining on my face.  Usually, I would close the curtains until the sun moved on, but today, I'm basking in the unusual feeling of Spring in January.

I love the odd seasons: Spring and Fall.  They are transition times, and I'm not usually a fan of change, but during these two times of the year I enjoy the growing/turning of leaves, the opportunity for delicious food, the reminder that change can be a beautiful thing and the fact that I'm neither bloody hot nor freezing cold.

Spring just feels hopeful to me.  It awakens something deep inside me to do, to create, to slough off the weight of the previous year and begin anew.  Spring is heavy with possibility.  So today, I'm enjoying a little taste of what's not truly coming for a couple months yet.  I'm going to take this feeling an run with it today.  What will I do?  I'm not sure yet, but I'll let you know what I come up with.

What makes you feel hopeful?  What stirs in you a desire to create?  What are the possibilities for 2011?

The view from where I'm sitting:

This doesn't seem like a January picture, does it?

18 January 2011

Bargello and Fassett

I have recently dived headfirst into the world of quilting, which is a very different world than I previously thought. Luckily for me, I have found it to be a great creative outlet, an excuse for some time alone and, let's face it, downright fun.  What I love most about it is it forces me into the world of color.  I am a pencil artist at heart, so shading I understand.  My wardrobe is filled with neutrals, which require no thought to mix-and-match.  When I do use color, I stick to mono- or di-chromatic palettes, so quilting is mostly an exercise in flexing my artistic muscle.

Fabric is such a fascinating medium.  Thin as paper, prints in every color and pattern imaginable, it is a veritable wonderland from which to choose the right ones for the job.  It is then transformed, sculpture-like, into a mind-boggling piece of art.

My sister-in-law introduced me to the Bargello technique a few days ago, and let me tell you, these quilts make my brain feel like a pinball machine.  Tiny bits of fabric are mosaic-ed together deliberately to make the viewer's jaw drop.

For example:

And the one I'm most drawn to because it's monochromatic:

Kaffe Fasset is a textile designer who also quilts.  His quilts have been lauded as ground-breaking, visionary and true art.  Like the Bargellos, his quilts make my heart go pitter-pat.  Here's a few examples of his work:

The man himself.

I apologize for the book cover, but I love the quilts pictured here:

I hope these quilts added a splash of color to this winter day.  If you have any favorite quilts, please share!

16 January 2011

Beauty. Freedom. Truth & Love.

Sure, the title of this post is a shameless theft of the central mantra of the bohemian revolutionaries of Moulin Rouge, but it so aptly describes the purpose of this blog.  To focus on that which is inherently beautiful, promotes freedom of expression, furthers fundamental truths, and above all, embodies love.

What follows is a small, ongoing collection of art, poetry, song lyrics, photos and real-life examples of the four central themes above.  Those things which move the soul, feed the imagination and put a bounce in the step.  The small joys in life, if you will.

The collection begins with my all-time absolute favorite poem, as well as the song lyrics which inspired the title of this blog and the background art.

What most inspires you?  What feeds your soul, stirs your imagination and bring simple joys to your life?  Please share!

"i carry your heart with me"
e.e. cummings
from Complete Poems 1904-1962

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                                        i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

Green And Gray
Nickel Creek

I'm in a room full of people, all hanging on one person's breath.
We would all vote him most likely to be loved to death.
I hope he still wants it, but it might remind him of when,
he aimed for the bulls eye and hit it nine times out of ten.
That one time his hand slipped, and I saw the dart sail away.
I don't know where it landed, but I'm guessing between green and gray.
We thought nothing of it, but it still haunts him like a ghost.
With all eyes upon him, except two that matter the most.

He says "Green is the color everyone sees al around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she's just a blur."
The more the corwd cheers, the less I can hear
and they don't really care what I play. It might be for her.
But for now it's between green and gray.

We paid and we cheered. Now we're gone and to us that feels right.
But for him every one of those evenings turns into a night.
With another hotel room where he lays awake to pretend
that he's doing fine with his notebook and discman for friends.

He says "Green is the color everyone sees al around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she's just a blur."
Night after night what I hear, what I write fills the room
and my head starts to sway. It might be for her,
but for now it's between green and gray.

I want you to love me, he whispers, unable to speak.
And he wonders aloud why feelings so strong make the body so weak.
Then he awoke. Now he's scared to death somebody heard.
If it was you, and you know her, please don't say a word.