Letting the days go by

End of the year; end of a decade. Happy New Year!

(via Miss Moss)

(via google)

(via Flickr)


The Birds of Shakespeare

Found here (via LuxLotus).

“Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood.”
[Macbeth – III, 2]
And you have to try this Crow Haiku Generator.


Last Christmas of the War

Good to read and remember to avoid getting caught up in all the consumer frenzy.

Primo Levi from the New York Review of Books, here.

(image via Pinterest.)


Good Yule.

 (via BibliOdyssey)

(and here)

Some good Yule history in this NY Times article.
We plan to light a fire and toast the lunar eclipse (it was too cloudy to see anything here).

Musical accompaniment can be found here.


Dancing the dark away

Amazing dance and costume creations! p.s. This is not the same Nick Cave as in the Bad Seeds.

found via shabd.


Quote of the day

Mark Vernon on Oscar Wilde and individuality:
Wilde’s individuality, then, is a synthesis of his dependency and independence. He called himself an individualist, but that is different from the individualism of more recent times. The individualist does not ride roughshod over others, like a self-sufficient patrician in his carriage who shows callous disregard for the plebs. Rather, the individualist is in the gutter of the age too, only he or she is working with the materials to be found there, and creating a way of life that shines like a star for others.
via The School of Life. Image of November Meteors via here.


Eisenhower's Farewell Address

Close to the 50th anniversary of this speech, a box full of drafts, research, and memos have been found by the son of Eisenhower's speech writer, Malcolm Moos. The New Yorker has a good article on the significance of this find-- this speech was not hastily written but a carefully edited, well-thought-out and crafted speech.

One core idea dominates every version: the first draft described “the conjunction of a large and permanent military establishment and a large and permanent arms industry.” Policing it would require “all the organizing genius we possess” to insure “that liberty and security are both well served.” It added, “We must be especially careful to avoid measures which would enable any segment of this vast military-industrial complex to sharpen the focus of its power.” Through scores of revisions, that idea persisted. As delivered, the speech memorably read, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2010/12/20/101220ta_talk_newton#ixzz17jW4WT9e

See part of the speech here:


Fundraiser for Sister Wolf


Self-explanatory fundraiser for blogger Sister Wolf of Godammit, I'm Mad! Wendy Brandes makes beautiful and fun jewelry and she seems to have a heart of gold as well.


The Last Irascible

 an early self-portrait, circa 1938-40

There's a wonderful story about the artist Hedda Sterne in the New York Review of Books.  She is 100 years old this year. An early Abstract Expressionist, except that she wasn't. Hedda Sterne made art the way she wanted to and watched her then-husband Saul Steinberg become famous. She kept working. The marriage ended without rancor in the 1960s. She kept working. As she aged, her eyesight began to fail. She kept working. In 2004, she had a stroke. She kept working.
When I was young, I tried very hard. I wept every day in the studio because there was such a distance between what I wanted to do and what came out. Now I’m at peace, because of old age. It flows calmly now. I meditate for a long time. I work against ego. I think ego is an obnoxious bother. To a great extent I have lost all interest in this fiction, Hedda Sterne.
Go read this and be inspired. Read another interview from 1992 with Hedda Sterne here. Find out more about her work here.


Happy Birthday, Rainer Maria Rilke

Born in Prague on December 4, 1875.

 via here.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. (as translated by Stephen Mitchell)
from Letter Four (16 July 1903), Letters to a Young Poet

(sorry, couldn't resist.) 

(And a confession: when I was in high school, I thought Rilke was a woman.)


The Sopping Thursday

My god, it's been wet, dreary, and dark, even for Portland.

Definitely Edward Gorey weather.  So I'm hunkering down with some Irish breakfast tea and a piece of homemade Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread (recipe here. Make this, you will thank me).



Traditional, I think.

Bread, and knowing how to make it. If you're the least bit intimidated, read this. (p.s. Laurie Colwin has been one of my favorite writers since I discovered her in the 80s.)

images and more inspiration from King Arthur Flour.


Etsy Finds!

Thought it was time for another one.

First up, landarcht's White Sycamore shop has the most beautiful leather bags I've seen in a long time. They are updated editions of vintage styles.

Here are their versions of the mason's tool bag:

A mailman messenger bag, based on a 1950s version:

Or a classic tote bag:
They have smaller leather goods, too.

I'm really hoping claymates pottery will make more of these hedgehog bowls:

But this jewelry bowl with a little brown bird is nice too (earrings go in the holes, rings and bracelets in the center:

These organic linen large-sized bath towels:

This is an expense that really seems worth it to me. Linen is more absorbent than cotton, gets softer with each washing, and will outlast just about any other towel. These are made from high-quality Lithuanian linen and are 39" x 59".  This shop also sells fabric, clothing, and table linens. Check it out.

MerinoMe's eco-friendly, handmade, machine-washable New Zealand wool leggings:

Kittenpop is a dear friend of mine, and I am enchanted by her photography!
Hard choice between this pink elephant:

or gak. So cute!

My love for anatomical jewelry continues. Exhibit A:

I'll keep on adding more as I get inspired!


Lynda Barry

I'm a huge fan of cult cartoonist Lynda Barry. I was thrilled to stand behind her in line at the credit union in Chicago in the mid-1980s. Matt Groening proposed to her and she dated Ira Glass (who she identifies as her "worst boyfriend"). She! Is! So! Cool!

She was on npr's Talk of the Nation yesterday. I tuned in too late to hear the whole interview, but here's the archived audio. Brilliant and humane as always. I may need to try this to get out of my block.

Find her work at Powell's Books.


More skeletons!

I love Louis Armstrong.
(From the always excellent even*cleveland)

Le Squelette Joyeux

(Via Alison at TeenAngster)
Happy Halloween!


More coffee

Bicerin: layers of thick, not-too-sweet hot chocolate, espresso, and cool cream.
(via here and here).

And I can't resist adding in an excerpt from Bach's Coffee Contata here:


Le Cafe

As the days get longer and darker and rainier here in the Pacific NW, almost everyone starts drinking more and more coffee. It's beginning already.


Big Bird has something to say.

I'm sorry, this just makes me laugh.


Parisian Ghosts

This story has been making the rounds on the blogs, but since I first read about it in the London Telegraph I can't get it out of my head.

A woman abandoned her Parisian apartment at the beginning of World War II, leaving for the south of France. She never returned, but continued to pay the rent until she died recently at the age of 91.

Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris' 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.
"There was a smell of old dust," said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.
A very valuable Boldoni painting was among the discoveries, but that is less interesting to me than the apartment itself. And why did she never return?


How to Have Hummingbirds Feeding Out of Your Hand...

This is amazing. Apparently, hummingbirds will feed together when they are migrating (usually they are very territorial and will engage in aerial combat before they'll share a feeder).
Abigail Alfano of Pine, Louisiana trained these beauties in September 2006. More here.

And, thanks to Zoe Ann Hinds, here are Abigail's instructions on how to do it:

1.The hummingbirds must become used to your yard and the best way to achieve this is to offer them multiple sugar-water feeders.
2.As the number of hummingbirds visiting your feeders increases, you must start spending time outside in order to get the birds used to your presence. This will take some time and in the beginning presence may drive the birds away. You must be patient and persistent. Eventually, the birds will come back.
3.Once the birds are used to your presence there, you can hold a sugar-water feeder in your hand. Over time, the birds should eventually begin feeding from the feeder you are holding.
4.On a day where you have a great deal of hummingbirds visiting your feeders, you will want to remove all but one of your hummingbird feeders. Next, you will want to place a small container filled with sugar-water in the palm of your hand. For example, when Abigail did this she used an old milk jug lid.
5.Now comes the hard part, you must sit outside and wait. This takes time and patience. You will want to choose a day when you have a large number of hummingbirds visiting your yard and you will want to remove all other food sources, because this will improve your chances of success.


Etsy Finds

Haven't done one of these in a while!

Beautiful soft olive green wrap from aykelila.

Made to order silk dress from artlab.

Grey Spy bag from fluxproduction.

"She Does the Seemingly Impossible". I love Lisa Kaser's prints, all of them!

And who couldn't use a lightning rod? From Hindsvik.


10 Human Needs

As defined by Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef:

10 Human Needs

(via Abbey)

Lead Belly and his wife Martha (via teenangster).


Powers of Ten

The perfect day for this:


An appreciation of Orb Weavers

I don't mind spiders, but I tend to enjoy them more from a distance. This fall, the Orb Weavers have built webs all around our house. They're everywhere! So I've decided to think of them as protectors and guardians, and appreciate their beautiful webs and insect diet (they rarely, if ever, come indoors, and they aren't venomous). Plus they make awesome natural Halloween decorations.

(Random orb weaver images from google)