Thursday, November 30, 2017

You're Always Doing Amazing Stuff

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

Some poems by Brian Bilston, Twitter poet, author of You Took The Last Bus Home. (This can't be the first time I've shared a poem with roman numerals, can it?)

by Brian Bilston

you took
the last bus home
don’t know how
you got it through the door

you’re always doing amazing stuff

like the time
when you caught that train


by Brian Bilston

Of that day when we argued,
my memory is VIVID:
I, for one, remained CIVIL
but you ended up LIVID.


by Brian Bilston

Here's an offer
on Romantic poetry
that won't cost you the earth:

if you want
your Wordsworth.



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


A very little key will open a very heavy door.
~Charles Dickens

What's a chatelaine?
a set of short chains attached to a woman's belt, used for carrying keys or other items.
One thing I read said women used these practical, beautiful items because they had no pockets.

Portrait of a Young Girl standing in an interior and holding a bunch of roses. She wears a lace apron and a gold chatelaine hanging from a gold ropework belt.
Early 17th century

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
This cut steel chatelaine was worn by ladies to hold important household items such as keys, scissors and thimbles.

Design for a Chatelaine with Watch
By Alexis Falize (1811 - 1898)

French late 18th century chatelaine

A sewing chatelaine for sale on Etsy
Another chatelaine for sale
Chatelaine for a doll

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The right word at the right time will unlock the door to treasures.
~Rasheed Ogunlaru

Today's hand lettering was inspired by motivational speaker Angela M. Davis:
"You've got to be willing to look at the people in your life and speak to the gift (you see inside them). Life and death is in the power of the tongue. You have the ability to unlock somebody's greatness by your words of encouragement and affirmation. Not only to the people in your life, but to yourself. You are who YOU say you are and you are who YOU think you are. And who is it that you say you are? You have to be very mindful of that conversation that you have with yourself."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tyrannosaurus Chicken

She's got big ribs and candied yams
Oh, sugar cured Virginia hams
Basements full of those berry jams
And that's what I like about the south
~Phil Harris

Need a little Monday morning shake-up/wake-up? Here's Tyrannosaurus Chicken with "That's What I like About the South":

Friday, November 24, 2017

Listening tenderly

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
~Kahlil Gibran

I'll be spending some quality time with the highway this afternoon, but I hope to have time in the morning for a tree or two.

by W.S. Merwin

I am looking at trees
they may be one of the things I will miss
most from the earth
though many of the ones I have seen
already I cannot remember

read the rest here


Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.
~Marianne Williamson

For Thanksgiving, we have cornucopias (or horns of plenty):
The cornucopia is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to the 5th century BC, also referred to as the food of worship and holyness, Horn of Amalthea, and harvest cone
But there are varied types of abundance going on here!

Vertumnus and Pomona from Greek mythology
Juan van der Hamen, 1626

Mosaic "The cornucopia" at a factory building by Villeroy & Boch

Skara kommun

Ex libris Pauli Mariae Cogels
Beskrivning: "Omnia fert aetas", tomtar med ymnighetshorn och böcker

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Check in bringing the mind home.
~Sogyal Rinpoche

this week's hand-lettering

Did you see the yoga videos by Adrienne that I showed a while back? In her videos, Adrienne often mentions checking in with the breath, checking in with the body. I like that idea.

These two "body scan" videos below (which I have used when I have insomnia) lead you through a little relaxing checking-in. They are pretty similar, but one has a man speaking and the other features a woman. Take your pick (or try both).

Monday, November 20, 2017


What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected.
~Dorothy L. Sayers

The other day I received a press release about Hailee Steinfeld's new song. I wasn't familiar with her, but my 16yo had seen her videos, including the one I'm sharing for Music Monday. This upbeat song caught my attention with its supportive message about having things in common even though "no two are the same":

Most Girls (Official Video) by Hailee Steinfeld on VEVO.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sonnets again

A sonnet might look dinky, but it was somehow big enough to accommodate love, war, death, and O.J. Simpson. You could fit the whole world in there if you shoved hard enough.
~Anne Fadiman

Someone who carries a wee copy of Shakespeare's sonnets with him and has your favorite one (nearly) memorized? It's enough to win Kate Winslet's heart:

William Wordsworth in defense of form poems generally, and sonnets specifically:

NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room
William Wordsworth. 1770–1850

NUNS fret not at their convent's narrow room,
And hermits are contented with their cells,
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest peak of Furness fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison unto which we doom
Ourselves no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.


Why did I call this "Sonnets again"? I also posted sonnets by Michelangelo, Shakespeare's sonnets in Chinese and in an app and sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Raincity Librarian has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jane!


I have tried to improve telescopes and practiced continually to see with them. These instruments have play'd me so many tricks that I have at last found them out in many of their humours.
~Sir William Herschel

Spyglasses today, a.k.a. monoculars! ("Monoculars" sounds like a funny word, although "binoculars" is ordinary. Is it like "disgruntled" and "gruntled"? "Rejected" and "jected"? I'm just making stuff up now.)

Priscilla Long writes, "The spyglass was the first scientific instrument to amplify the human senses, to make previously invisible objects visible." Read the whole article (about Galileo and the spyglass) here.

Galilean spyglass, reproduction of one of Galileo's spyglasses, XX.
photo by Alessandro Nassiri, Museo scienza e tecnologia Milano

Nachet collection: two spy glasses made by Dolland, London

Exhibit in the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Zwinger), Dresden, Germany

O catalexo-Looking at the sea. The spyglass.
photo by luscofusco

Opera glasses, exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum
photo by Daderot

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Looking on the bright side

Make every misadventure an adventure.
~Alana Siegel

Today's hand-lettered quote is from a poem suggested by Michelle and written by Anonymous:

The optimist fell ten stories,
and at every window bar
he shouted to his friends,
"all right so far!"

Scientists say you don't need to start out optimistic because it's possible to become an optimist.

A charming talk by an optimist, perhaps especially good for people who think they don't like classical music:

Monday, November 13, 2017


Are we hanging onto something special?
I think so
~Milky Chance

An interesting video by German group Milky Chance with British singer-songwriter Izzy Bizu (If they seem familiar, I did feature them each before, separately):

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Action needed

If one thinks of various ways in which commonplace items, from car seats to medicine bottle tops, have been childproofed, it's clear that society's general desire has been to eliminate as many potential dangers from children as possible, even when the number of those who might be harmed is relatively small. If one child's death is preventable, then the proper question isn't "Why should we do this" but rather "Why shouldn't we?"
~Gary Younge

photo by silvioassuncao

I had something else ready to go for this week, but when I read this, I moved the other post to next week. This has to be said, much as it tears me up.

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild
by Kathy Fish

A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.

A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.

A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.


Some people say there's nothing that can be done. I reject that.

Jama's Alphabet Soup has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Tea Bowl and Fruits

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it as the axis on which the world revolves.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

This painting from 1921 speaks to me. Something about the simple comfort of the composition and the interplay of the colors.

Tea Bowl and Fruits
by Gyoshū Hayami (1894—1935)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Going with the gut

The difficult thing is not to pick up the information but to recognise it - to accept it into our consciousness. Most of us find it difficult to know what we are feeling about anything... This is one of the penalties of being human and having a brain so swarming with interesting suggestions and ideas and self-distrust.
~Ted Hughes

Hi y'all,

So I discovered that making something hand-lettered is every bit as fun as I thought, but more of a time sink than I expected, principally because I have no idea what I'm doing. By the time I figure it out, November will probably be over (so I should keep going into December, right?).

I liked Michelle's idea about what to write and will probably do that next week (if you didn't see the comment, you can be surprised). I thought about the "Just Do It" suggestion, but unfortunately I couldn't "just do it" because it is completely intertwined with Nike in my mind. It did make me think about doing things and what we do, and I ended up with this:

Now, I don't think people should always trust their instincts. If you're, say, a politician, you should research the heck out of a topic before you come to a conclusion. Consider all the facts analytically.

But if you are somebody, even a politician, who is trying to decide who to date, trust your instincts. If there's a red flag, don't ignore it. The same thing with jobs, really, or other situations. A little warning could ding in your head. Have a listen. Sometimes your subconscious picks up on something that your conscious mind doesn't.

5 Gut Instincts You Shouldn't Ignore
Intuition as a form of intelligence
How to make your gut instinct more accurate

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Faint Rumble

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

photo by Eric Heupel

Brenda shared this poem from the Summer Poem Swap a while back and I had the urge to share it again this week.

Crow’s report from the White Witch’s courtyard
by Tabatha Yeatts
for Brenda

[Edmund] saw that there were dozens of statues all about…They all looked so strange standing there perfectly life-like and also perfectly still, in the bright cold moonlight, that it was eerie work crossing the courtyard.
~The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

this wind-follower, tree-singer
shackled in stone
has roused from sleep
to scan the state of the world:

    caw, wish I could squint
against the light
glinting off frozen larch-girls,
twiggy hands hiding their faces,
and round-bellied
beavers, caught in mid step.

    can't look up at the sky
but there's naught I would change
of the flights I risked,
the songs I revealed
that landed me here.

    does anyone seek
    to save us?

    though the snow is soft,
its reflection blinds me
much as the statues,
    and I think of sleep again.

    hear I the faint rumble of the
    wheels of justice     turning
    in the distance?

    in my mind,
    my outstretched wing
        points to a future

where the wand bearer's power
is snapped,
    where the sun's breath
        touches our upturned faces,
            and our colors flame again.


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

Der Hexenmeister and the Sorceresses

And now about the cauldron sing
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.
― William Shakespeare

I'm sharing this late (in terms of the holiday), but I'm making this post before Halloween. How DO people manage to get things posted in a timely fashion? Beats me. Doesn't the post title sound like a 1960s band? Witches for Art Thursday:

Illustration from The Enchanted Forest by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Grenby Outhwaite
by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

The Sorceress
by Bartolomeo Guidobono

The Lady of the Lake illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
by Howard Pyle

Der Hexenmeister (I'm not gonna lie, I decided to share this one because I like "hexenmeister" so much)
by Carl Spitzweg

Sharing a second version because it is so different (in terms of the colors):

L'Envoûteuse (The Sorceress) (She means business, doesn't she?)
by Georges Merle

Jason and Medea
by John William Waterhouse

Vivien bewitches Merlin illustration from the 1903 edition of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
by Howard Pyle

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Come tomorrow, I'll wake up new.
~Chad Sugg

So, November is going to be pretty intense for me. A lot of projects, many kites to keep in the air. Since I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep my blog-kite up along with all the others, I thought I'd try to finish my November posts early (before the month starts). Right now it's Halloween morning and I only have three done and a bunch of drafts started...wish me luck!

My plan for Wellness Wednesday is to make hand-lettered images, which seems more doable than a regular post for some reason. Or maybe it just feels like a nice break from my other work. Here's the first one, which fits with all the thinking I'm doing about mistakes:

It reminds me of the Japanese proverb "Fall seven times and stand up eight."

Do you have any suggestions about sayings I could hand letter?