Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Orphan, The Poet, Ed Sheeran, Rupert Grint, and Lindsay Stirling Have All Invaded My Brain!

And the award for the longest blog post TITLE goes to.....

This post isn't about crafting.
I'm kind of sad to say the crafting, quilting, embroidery bug hasn't bitten me lately.
I've been busy reading, enjoying time at our beautiful library, listening to music and have been drawing again. 

There is a new band I've been listening to.  Or is it musical group?  I don't know what we call them now-a-days.  The group itself isn't new, but they are new to me.  I may be a couple of years late, but better late than never!

The Orphan, The Poet with their song, Sleeping Giants (acoustic)
Also, for some reason, I cannot get Lego House by Ed Sheeran out of my head!  I know it's a couple of years old but it's an excellent tune!  The video stars Rupert Grint, who played Ron in the Harry Potter movies (you can't go wrong there, can you?).  And the video has a great twist near the end (also very cool).
Excellent earworm, Mr. Sheeran. 

And finally I've been listening to a lot of violinist, Lindsay Stirling.  Below is her song Crystallize.  Awesome, imaginative music, great for doing housework or for falling back into a pile of pillows, with a sketchbook and some pencils.

That's all for this cold winter's day.  Until another time, wherever you are, stop and listen to the music.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The New Light Bulbs

The light bulb above my desk fizzled out yesterday.  Actually it didn't fizzle, it popped.  As I flipped on the light, the bulb made a loud popping sound, as light bulbs have been know to do when they die.

I wept, openly over the death of my little light bulb.  (okay, not really, but I wanted to.  What I actually did was mumble something under my breath about the day going straight to hell in a hand basket).  I felt like weeping because I knew there were no longer any unused, incandescent light bulbs in the house, and going to Walmart or Target to buy more is no longer an option.  Sad isn't it?  Instead there are these white, curly-cue, blue-light emitting, fluorescent little monsters that mess with my senses and make me want to go back to kerosene lamps.  

I liked my incandescent bulbs!!  First of all, can we just stop to appreciate the beauty of the word "incandescent" in itself.  The word is an adjective and it means--"emitting light as a result of being heated".  I think it would be a great word to use at a baptism.  Incandescent also means "passionate or brilliant".  I'll never forget watching the end of Pride and Prejudice (2005) when Elizabeth says to her new husband, Mr. Darcy,  “You may only call me "Mrs. Darcy"... when you are completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy.” 
Incandescently happy...what a beautiful state of mind.

Fluorescent, on the other hand, is not a pretty word.  It reminds me of the words "floor" and "scent".  I don't know about any of you my floor doesn't have a nice scent, not that I've checked, but germs live there, and feet walk there, so let's just assume. 
But back to the bulbs.....I liked my incandescent bulbs!!  They had kind of a golden light to them that made everything warm and "homey", like seeing warm lamp light through a curtained window on a very cold night, as you are walking back through the snow from the barn, with a sloshing pail of milk hanging from your gloved hand. 
The little house window in "Norway" at the end of the "Norway ride" at Epcot in Florida.
Incandescent light is that warm, welcoming light that says, "Come on into the kitchen, and have a seat there by the stove and warm yourself.  The biscuits are nearly on the table, and after dinner you can join us as we sit down on the davenport to catch the new episode of Bonanza on the Television."
The new bulbs, however, make me feel like I'm sitting in some 1960's government facility, full of teletype machines and balding men in horned rim glasses, smoking cigarettes and cursing, over numbers being totaled on an adding machines.  The only things missing are the mint green walls and the big old Western Union clock on the wall.  The lighting sucks and gives a person a headache.

I'll take the warmly lit home, thank you very much.

They say these new bulbs are more energy efficient, and that's great.  I'll be honest, I don't know much about them other than the fact that people aren't suppose to throw them in the garbage, or they could be deadly if accidentally broken.  Let's face it, we know some of these toxic bulbs are going to end up in the landfills.  More than some.  What then?  Is it worth the energy saved to have these nasty little mercury packages fouling up our landfills?  We already have too many people flushing prescription drugs down the toilet, and other toxins being washed down drains.  Not only that, humans are clumsy, a few are going to be broken and we'll have to call guys in white suits to come and clean them up. I'm not going to go into a full political or social rant about the darn things, I'm just here to say I don't like the light they produce. 
Maybe I just need to find another brand, I don't know.
Maybe I just need to open the drapes more often.
Maybe I just need to go take a nap.

Until another day, don't forget to shut off the light.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another Wonderful Picture Book--Little Elliot Big City

 Little Elliot Big City, written and illustrated by Mike Curato is such a treat to read.  The story is simple and sweet, as are the illustrations.

The story is about Elliot, a small elephant living in the big city.  Because of Elliot's small size, certain tasks can be a bit difficult, but he still enjoys life.  These difficult tasks include purchasing a delicious cupcake, which he cannot seem to do, no matter how hard he tries.  But soon he meets someone who can not only help him with his goal of purchasing a cupcake, but to help him in another area, as well, friendship.


The illustrations in this book are soft, dark, and have almost a sepia tone to them, but they are not dreary by any means!  There are subdued colors added here and there and the book is really quite beautiful.  The more I look at the book, the more I seem to enjoy it.  I would not be shocked if it won the Caldecott. 

Of course I love the cover art with all of the buildings in the background (I just love illustrated buildings with all of their windows, especially softly lit windows at night).  In fact, I love the illustrations (and story) so much that I just had to purchase it with one of my lovely bookstore gift cards.

The little cupcake shop reminded me of our visit to New York City, and a little cookie shop we visited in Greenwich Village.  We were walking along a quiet street,
with its quiet little brownstones,

when all of a sudden, there was this cheerful window of colorful awesomeness! 

And inside, a bakery full of delectable deliciousness.
Cookies cookies everywhere!
The shop is called Cookies and Milk and what a treat it was to see at the end of our food tour.  It was a neat little shop to visit!
Little Elliot Big City totally brought the memories of this little store flooding back, so thank you to Mr. Curato for that.
That's all for today.  Until another time, don't forget to stop and look at the pictures.  


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Vintage Feedsack Pieces

Another find from my favorite little vintage shop, Vintage City, a cigar box full of little pieces of feed sack fabric! 

The small newspaper pattern doesn't match the shape of the pieces.  Not sure why this pattern was included in the box.
There are many little snippets like these, the ones shown are just a small example.  They are not truly square, more trapezoidal and I think they might have been cut for a wedding ring quilt.  They look like little pieces of fabric candy and I've really enjoyed looking through them.  I am hoping to use a few of the duplicates (some patterns have a dozen or more pieces) in my Dresden quilt, but their shapes are tricky.  They are so small I may have to save them for another project, or just save them because they are old and SO MUCH FUN! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Farmer and The Clown, Henny, Stella's Starliner--Favorite Picture Books of 2014

The Caldecott nominations are right around the corner, and I'm hoping a few of my favorite picture books of 2014 will make the cut.
But, to be realistic, I must say it's not looking good for a couple of my favorites.  They are wonderful books, but I'm not seeing them on anyone's list. 
Even though these books may not make it into the final stack of books to be considered by the Caldecott committee (each committee member is allowed 7 nomination choices), these are the ones I most enjoyed this year. 
Written and Illustrated by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
This book was released in early January 2014.  After nearly peeing myself from laughter, while at the local bookstore, over the illustrations in this book, I just had to purchase it for my collection.  The illustrations are simple, the book isn't dripping with ink, but it doesn't need to be.  It's light and cheerful and I loved that about it.  And who doesn't love a chicken that can point and cross her arms!?

Stella's Starliner
Written and Illustrated by Rosemary Wells
This book found its way into my heart and my collection back in September 2014 and I blogged about it HERE.
I won't go into the lovely details of this book again, but I just want to say I love this book and its illustrations and would really like to see it win the Caldecott.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be getting much attention.  But, we have yet to see the final list of nominations, so keep your fingers crossed.

The Farmer and the Clown
Written and Illustrated by Marla Fazee
The Farmer and the Clown came out this past September.  The first time I looked through it, I did so very quickly and didn't care for it.  I thought it to be dark and gloomy looking.  But, there was something about the illustrations.  I don't know what the correct word would be to describe them,  they have a haunting tone to them...maybe it's the artist's use of grays and browns that made them look old-fashioned.  Whatever it was, something made me flip through the book once more, and more carefully, before leaving the library.  There is something precious about the way the old, bent and bearded farmer took the little baby clown's hand, after seeing him fall from the circus train.  He didn't ASK for this little one to fall into his life.  This was new territory for both of them.  The little one was scarred and I think the farmer was a little apprehensive as well. 
This story kind of reminds me of my late, Great Uncle Artie and his little neighbor girl that used to pester him with questions.  He was an old bachelor and didn't know too much about kids.  She just sort of dropped into his life, and there wasn't much he could do about it.  Through the years that little girl made quite an impression on gruff old Uncle Artie, just as the little clown baby does for this lonely, old farmer.

There are so many emotions in this wordless picture book!  I really had to look at it twice to let it all sink into my brain.  The story is a happy one, with a neat ending and the illustrations have REALLY stuck with me these past few weeks.
If Stella's Starliner doesn't make the list, I would definitely like to see The Farmer and the Clown win the Caldecott.

There were a couple more books I really enjoyed, but these were my top three!
That's all for today, have a Happy New Year everyone!