Thursday, March 31, 2016

Papier Mâché

Artists aren't really people. I'm actually 40 per cent papier mâché.

If you prefer not to get gooey, playing around with papier mâché might not be for you (I actually like the feel of it squishing in my hands), but you can enjoy this wide variety of papier mâché sculptures and keep your hands clean. Check out this video of a papier mâché artist's studio first, though. Fantastic, isn't it?

Salamandra Ciempiés
photo by David Cabrera

Mardi Gras 2015
by Kevin O'Mara

Figur des Peter Altenberg im Café Central in Wien
photo by Andreas Faessler

India, Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, circa 1800-1850

Herzog Ernst I, wohl Ludwigslust um 1800, Schlossmuseum Gotha
photo by Concord

Armchair in the shape of Cyrillic letter “Д”
photo by Irina Melnikova

Viareggio Tuscany Carnevale 2015
photo by Studios

Lots of papier mâché tutorials here and here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Slow Art Day

Slow Art Day is coming April 9th!

What's Slow Art Day? Slow down and look at some art. Many art museums and galleries are having special "slow art" events. You can also spend time with art on your own. This interesting idea for a meditative slow art day is from the official site:

Host Maria Gil Ulldemolins says
For my very first Slow Art Day, I plan to invite art lovers to be mindful in front of a painting. In a traditional mindfulness meditation, you take your breath as something to rest your mind on. In this case, your mind perches on the artwork, like a bird.

Even for me, observing a painting for a really long time is a challenge. My brain is so addicted to looking for stimulation that simply accepting whatever is in front of you can prove difficult. With this exercise, the observation is guided, and therefore, more relaxed. There is no pressure to keep yourself focused, there is a context. You are walked through the surface as if it was a landscape. You stop to appreciate shapes, textures and colors; and you are not alone in this, but in a group. The emphasis is on letting go of expectations and judgment to really allow ourselves to really see what is right before our eyes.

Here's a painting I've been spending time with (not in person, unfortunately). Click on it to embiggen.

The Last House in Lynmouth
By Helen Allingham, 1848-1926

Friday, March 25, 2016

What you can use

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
~Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

So... I wrote a poem for Michelle and Amy's "write about something small" challenge.

What you can use
by Tabatha Yeatts

She tucks the stack of
small, clear cups into my hand,
along with a packet of saltines
and fun-size M&Ms.
Can you use these? she asks.
Sure, Granny, I say,
leaning over to kiss
her soft, cushiony cheek.

She used to peel tomatoes
before she sliced them
when she had a kitchen of her own.
It shows how much you love
the folks you're feeding
when you take the skin off,
she said.

There's no counter here,
no knives, no tomatoes from the garden,
but there are meals,
regular-like-clockwork meals,
which come with a steady stream
of pill-holding cups she saves
to give.

It's been years
since she passed them to me,
but I keep using the little plastic cups
'til they break.
This morning as I tilted a bottle
to pour medicine for my son,
I thought, yes, Gran,
I can use your gifts.


Heidi has the Poetry Friday round-up at My Juicy Little Universe. Thanks, Heidi!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

There shall she keep her fearless state

It is no use waiting for your ship to come in unless you have sent one out.
~Belgian Proverb

Our spotlight is on Belgium today.

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai, Belgium
photo by Vincent Desjardins

photo by Pedro

Carnaval de Binche 2015
photo by Antonio Ponte

Training his horse
photo by Johan Neven

Beguinage Enclosure, Bruges, Belgium
photo by David Merrett

Pairi Daiza, Brugelette, Belgium
photo by Gaetan Ducatteeuw

photo by Daviddje

Antwerp, Belgium
photo by Willy Verhulst

The title of this post comes from a WWI poem:

By Edith Wharton

La Belgique ne regrette rien

Not with her ruined silver spires,
Not with her cities shamed and rent,
Perish the imperishable fires
That shape the homestead from the tent.

Wherever men are staunch and free,
There shall she keep her fearless state,
And homeless, to great nations be
The home of all that makes them great.

Monday, March 21, 2016

YOU may contribute a verse

Two posts in one day??

Today is also World Poetry Day. Check out the tweets about it here.

Bach's Birthday

Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
~Charles Mingus

Mingus also said, “Stravinsky is nice, but Bach is how buildings got taller. It’s how we got to the moon, through Bach, through that kind of mind that made that music up. That’s the most progressive mind.”

J.S. Bach Stained Glass Window
St. Andrew's Church, Ann Arbor
photo by Alan C.

There must have been a world before
the Trio Sonata in D, a world before the A minor partita,
but what kind of a world?
~Lars Gustafsson

Spending this Music Monday with J.S. Bach, who I have featured before (the poem excerpt above is one I shared already, along with a video of Bach's Cello Suite #1 that I want you to see if you haven't yet. Click on "before").

Here's Jesu, meine Freude:

Happy 331st!

photo by Richard White

Friday, March 18, 2016

Keeping a Cinder

Next project: making a National Poetry Month picture featuring Poetry Monster

I've been working on National Poetry Month stuff for my kids' high school. The school's morning news show sponsor said we could share a daily poem video, so I've been looking for short, not-depressing poem videos with good sound quality on YouTube. At this point, I think I may have assembled enough, but if you know of any, feel free to pass them along. Next year, I'm hoping to work with the Poetry Club (who will probably want to get the Drama Club involved) to get students to make videos.

We will also have oversized, laminated poems in the halls, so I've been finishing that up. I feel like I could use a few more funny poems, so if you have suggestions for those, let me know.

Sharing a poem today by Kathryn Stripling Byer that I read in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. I typed it in and checked it over carefully, which was a more intimate way to spend time with it than cutting and pasting. It made me want to start handwriting poems into a notebook, or maybe even doing calligraphy. I hope to share more from this anthology in future weeks. Thank you, Kathryn, for giving me permission to post your work!

by Kathryn Stripling Byer

This red hair
I braid while she
sits by the cookstove
amazes her. Where
did she get hair the color
of wildfire, she wants to know,
pulling at strands of it
tangled in boar-bristles.
I say from Sister, God knows
where she is, and before
her my grandmother you
can't remember because
she was dead by the time
you were born, though you hear
her whenever I sing,
every song handed down
from those sleepless nights
she liked to sing through
till she had no time
left for lying awake
in the darkness and talking
to none save herself.
And yet, that night
I sat at her deathbed
expecting pure silence,
she talked until dawn
when at last her voice
failed her. She thumbed out
the candle between us
and lifted her hand
to her hair as if what
blazed a lifetime might still
burn her fingers. Yes,
I keep a cinder of it
in my locket I'll show you
as soon as I'm done telling
how she brought up from
the deep of her bedclothes
that hairbrush you're holding
and whispered, You
might as well take it."


Mountain Time
by Kathryn Stripling Byer

News travels slowly up here
in the mountains, our narrow
roads twisting for days, maybe years,
till we get where we’re going,
if we ever do. Even if some lonesome message
should make it through Deep Gap
or the fastness of Thunderhead, we’re not obliged
to believe it’s true, are we? Consider
the famous poet, minding her post
at the Library of Congress, who
shrugged off the question of what we’d be
reading at century’s end: “By the year 2000
nobody will be reading poems.” Thus she
prophesied. End of that
interview! End of the world
as we know it. Yet, how can I fault
her despair, doing time as she was
in a crumbling Capital, sirens
and gunfire the nights long, the Pentagon’s
stockpile of weapons stacked higher
and higher? No wonder the books
stacked around her began to seem relics.
No wonder she dreamed her own bones
dug up years later, tagged in a museum somewhere
in the Midwest: American Poet – Extinct Species.

Read the rest here


Robyn is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up at Life on the Deckle Edge. Thanks, Robyn!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


In this abundant earth no doubt
   Is little room for things worn out :
Disdain them, break them, throw them by!
   And if before the days grew rough
   We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we've fared, my heart and I.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806–1861

This week I challenged myself to use "broken" as my Art Thursday theme. I thought it might be hard, but it actually turned out to be easier than some other themes. There are a lot of strangely compelling broken things in the world!

Broken Umbrella
photo by jon jordan

Broken Traffic Light
photo by Vladimir Yaitskiy

Broken Skateboard
photo by Zack McCarthy

Broken Glass (Metro Jean-Jaurès Toulouse)
Maxime Raphael

Broken In Blue
photo by Jelle Druyts


photo by Thomas Rodenbücher

Broken Pottery
photo by Sweet Tea

photo by Chris Dillon

Monday, March 14, 2016

Not My Day

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help.”
~Bill Watterson

Keith James with a happy song about a bad day:

Hat tip: Bonnie Boo

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Present

Questers of the truth, that’s who dogs are; seekers after the invisible scent of another being’s authentic core.
~Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

The Present on Facebook

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pull of Breath

Today's focus is on Eleanor Roosevelt, who really liked poetry. So much, in fact, that after her death, poetry was found in her purse, in her pockets, on her bedstand.

A poem found inside Eleanor Roosevelt’s wallet after her death (click to embiggen):

He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !
by Edwin Markham


I'm not sure how to attribute this item from an old listserv. A librarian says someone told her that:
In Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, she notes that when Eleanor Roosevelt died in l962, a poem was found on her bedside table. It was a poem by Virginia Moore. It was entitled "Psyche''. Next to the words of the poem, Eleanor Roosevelt had written the date, l918. Evidently this poem helped her work out her hurt and forgiveness for her husband.

The soul that has believed
And is deceived
Thinks nothing for a while,
All thoughts are vile.
And then because the sun
Is mute persuasion,
And hope in Spring and Fall
Most natural,
The soul grows calm and mild,
A little child,
Find the pull of breath
Better than death.
The soul that had believed
And was deceived
Ends by believing more
Than ever before.


Read You Learn By Living for Eleanor Roosevelt by J. Patrick Lewis


Irene has the Poetry Friday round-up at Live Your Poem.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Underwater Artists and Paintings that Save

I made a lot of mistakes and realized I had to let them go. Don't think about your errors or failures, otherwise you'll never do a thing.
~Bill Murray

An unexpected duo today: metal sculptor Harriet Mead and actor Bill Murray.

Harriet Mead
by Drsteveb

Harriet Mead:


The Song of the Lark
by Jules Breton

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A post worth reading

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
~Maya Angelou

I got a big kick out of this post by Elizabeth Ellington:

Kindergarten Meets College: A Celebration of Coloring and Creative Mind Class
I taught the class for the first time last semester and added coloring to the syllabus on a whim. I had been reading many books about creativity to prep for the course, and one of my reads was actually a reread, Lynda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, which details a course she teaches at UW-Madison called “The Unthinkable Mind.” Barry’s class examines the brain on creativity: she introduces her students to research by neuroscientists and asks them to use themselves as guinea pigs for various exercises, writing assignments, and drawing assignments.
(from Tabatha: Sounds like a good book!)

Read the whole post here

Monday, March 7, 2016

'Cause you get lighter the more it gets dark

A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.
~Roald Dahl

Hi folks! Often, I will post things that are not played on the radio that much. Today, however, I'm sharing something that has been played oodles of times. Because the video makes me smile, and this is joyful Monday. (And I guess it goes pretty well with what I posted on Saturday!)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Back from Space

The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time).

I would be remiss if I didn't note Commander Scott Kelly's (and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko's) return from a year in space! With Kelly, NASA was studying the effect of zero gravity on human health. They had a "control group" back on Earth, consisting of Scott's twin brother, Mark (also an astronaut, retired). Among other effects, Scott ended up being two inches taller at the end of the year, but he is expected to lose those inches now that he is back in Earth's gravity.

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly Back in Texas after His Year in Space
photo by NASA

Texas from space
Photo: Scott Kelly, NASA

The Twins Study
Scott Kelly on Twitter (so many amazing pictures from his year in space!)
Mark Kelly on Twitter

Friday, March 4, 2016

Higgledy Piggledy

I first heard about double dactyls (also called Higgledy Piggledies, at least by me) from Julie Larios. They are complicated little buggers. The Poetry Foundation says: "The double dactyl consists of two quatrains, each with three double-dactyl lines followed by a shorter dactyl-spondee pair. The two spondees rhyme. Additionally, the first line must be a nonsense phrase, the second line a proper or place name, and one other line, usually the sixth, a single double-dactylic word that has never been used before in any other double dactyl." I didn't do the last rule ("never been used before in any other double dactyl" -- are you kidding me?).

My double dactyl today is about Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (aka Marguerite Blessington). Marguerite was pretty much a character. A writer and literary salon host, she lived with her step-daughter's ex-husband and spent her funds so swiftly that she was always in debt. She sold gossip-laden stories about her contemporaries, who included Lord Byron. (Thank you, Katherine, for being an amazing reader!)

Marguerite, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849)
by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Marguerite Blessington
by Tabatha Yeatts

Marguerite Blessington --
Beauty who stunned with her
wit and her flair,

Sold stories scandal-y,
Imprudently emptied her
Bank account bare.


Diane Mayr is a good sport, and she did it with me:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
by Diane Mayr

Plinkety plunkety
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Rock and roll's godmother
Came to know fame.

"Down by the Riverside"
She played with great gusto.
Her middle name.


And talk about good sports! Lew Turco gave me permission to share "Emily":

by Wesli Court

Emily Dickinson
Lived in her bedroom and
Seldom came down.

Into the parlor where
Emily kept herself
Far from renown.


Linda has the Poetry Friday round-up at TeacherDance. Thanks, Linda!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


I am all that is, was or ever will be.
~Words of Isis inscribed on the Temple at Sais, Egypt

The only thing I know about these pieces is that they are all said to feature goddesses. I don't know what their abilities/personalities are, but still, they are a sight to behold.

Cast in bronze, her eyes still alive...
photo by Saswata Ray

Make up of Vishnumoorthi Theyyam
photo by Mullookkaaran

photo by Carl Mueller

Wrathful Goddess
photo by Abhinav Asokh

The Goddess Hathor, circa 1350 BC
photo by Roberto Venturini

Fuente de la Fama, Campo Grande de Valladolid
photo by Porquenopuedo

Kannangattu Bhagavathi Theyyam
photo by Rakesh S

Venus and Anchises
by William Blake Richmond

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


photo by Elena Y

Happy Women's History Month!

I'll be sharing poems for women's history month here and there. Today I have a clerihew I originally shared on Today's Little Ditty. Clerihews are four-line biographical poems with AABB rhyme schemes.

Cecilia Helena Payne Gaposchkin (1900-1979)
by Smithsonian Institution

by Tabatha Yeatts

Cecilia Payne
had a wonderfilled brain.
She ascertained the element
hydrogen was prevalent.

In 1925, Cecilia Payne explained in her astronomy Ph.D. thesis how to figure out the chemical composition of stars by decoding the spectra of starlight.

Read more about her here.

A couple of other National Women's History Month posts:
Women's History Quiz