Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Poem Place

Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people.
~Deb Caletti

Hello, my dears! I am going to try to post a couple of times a week, if possible. Linda Mitchell generously sent me this handmade journal and gave me permission to share it here. I love Linda's mixed media art -- it's so inventive and playful -- and had fun taking outdoor pictures of "A Poem Place."


Next time I'll share the poem that came with it. Linda herself has the Poetry Friday round-up at A Word Edgewise!

Printable zines from earlier in the week


2020 has felt like a six month wall sit.
~Afshon Ostovar

Do you know what a wall sit is? It's this, and I think Afshon's quote is pretty much spot on. A little horology today:

Captive balloon with clock face and bell, floating above the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
by Camille Grávis

Antiquitätenstillleben mit Kaminuhr
by Josef Schuster (1873–1945)

Hourglass in Austria
photo by Krokotraene

Resonance-tourbillon mechanical watch with nested epicyclical gearings with visualization of time by the center of satellites
photo by Sergiy Sheyko

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Printable zines and a template

The older I get, the more I'm conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world.
~Sandra Cisneros

Hi! I made some one-page zines for kids to print, cut, and fold. I wanted to show the different kinds of things that could be put in this little space — info, stuff to help you practice, things purely for entertainment. I am also including a blank one so people can make their own.

* Red Panda zine
* Multiplication Tables zine
* Silly Riddles for You zine
* Blank template for making your own zine

Once you print it and cut off the white spaces around the edges, here's how to construct the zine.

Other zines:
Where is Peace? (poems, printable)
Austin Kleon's zines (so good!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


The human creature is a social animal and will derive companionship of soul from the unlikeliest sources. It will be fed by even the hint of a smile or twinkle of the eye from a passerby where no more vital companionship food is to be had.
~Michael R. Phillips

Being home for the pandemic has made our local community message board very active. Some posts have made me wonder why people are so awful, but there have been plenty of useful and even charming ones. People have enthusiastically embraced the Bear Hunt trend and our Pink Unicorn. Someone requested doing a jigsaw puzzle trade and got lots of takers (we left two on our stoop and received two). The Little Free Library owner down the street is trading homegrown seedlings for donations for our local food pantry.

A post that asked "What have you enjoyed during COVID19?" got dozens of replies: more time with family, improved traffic, baking, and gardening, for instance. One thing that was mentioned by a number of people is now much they liked finding kindness rocks on their daily walks. That prompted me to paint several rocks.

I'm taking a break from being regular with my posts, as you might have noticed :-) My daughter Ariana is starting a new medicine and that is enough scheduled activity for now.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sketchbooks, petticoats, and alpenstocks

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
~William James

Judith Wright
born May 31, 1915

An Australian poet for Poetry Friday. It's past Mother's Day, but Father's Day is coming up and some people have birthdays, and the Year owes us anyway. Judith Wright:

Request to a Year
by Judith Wright

If the year is meditating a suitable gift,
I should like it to be the attitude
of my great-great-grandmother,
legendary devotee of the arts,

who, having eight children
and little opportunity for painting pictures,
sat one day on a high rock
beside a river in Switzerland

and from a difficult distance viewed
her second son, balanced on a small ice-floe,
drift down the current towards a waterfall
that struck rock-bottom eighty feet below,

while her second daughter, impeded,
no doubt, by the petticoats of the day,
stretched out a last-hope alpenstock
(which luckily later caught him on his way).

Nothing, it was evident, could be done;
And with the artist's isolating eye
My great-great-grandmother hastily sketched the scene.
The sketch survives to prove the story by.

Year, if you have no Mother's day present planned,
reach back and bring me the firmness of her hand.


A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!


The hydrangea’s color ranges from white to blue to pink and purple, determined by the acidity level of the soil. (Acidic soils produce blue flowers, neutral soils produce pale cream petals, and alkaline soils result in pink or purple.)

I remember reading somewhere that looking at flowers can lower your blood pressure. They meant in person, but maybe flowers in art can also help.

Hydrangeas today for Art Thursday:

Wren with Hydrangeas
by Watanabe Seitei (Watanabe Shotei), c. 1906, color on silk

Still Life with Irises and Hydrangea
by Richard La Barre Goodwin

Hydrangea and Swallow

Hydrangeas and Other Garden Flowers
by John Ross Key, 1882

Time is The Enemy
by Gerard Byrne, 2014

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pink Unicorn

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine

Hi folks,

Today's post is about something charming that's been happening near me. A runner decided to wear a pink unicorn costume while she takes her near-daily jog and can I tell you how much people love it?? She posts messages on our community messageboard about where she will be running that day and parents bring their kids to see her. So much community affection for the pink unicorn.

photo by Steve Hutt

From a Bethesda Magazine article by Krista Brick:
She’s happy to stop and kick a soccer ball, chat with children and just spread her rainbow-and-sparkle disposition. It’s a demeanor she learned as a Disney employee.

“When you work at Disney, you have to put anything bothering you aside when you are on the park. It’s the same when I put on the unicorn,” she said.

... [Pink Unicorn] knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. She had to hang up her sneakers in 1995, when she was hit by a car, injuring her ankle knee and hip. Perseverance and determination helped her build back her strength and endurance to tackle that first marathon in 2004.

“Being injured gave me patience and endurance. It gave me the knowledge that sometimes you don’t know when the finish line is,” she said. “That’s much like the pandemic. Like you don’t know: Will we get out of this in three months, six months, two years? Being hit taught me patience and that you can control a certain amount of things for yourself, (then) some of it is the luck of the draw.”

Wise words!