Happy New Year!

Looking forward to a cozy night in with my kids. I am making Mark Bittman's Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables, to serve with a big salad, loaf of crusty multigrain bread, and a bottle of Malbec.  For dessert, Pear Gingerbread with whipped cream. Later, we'll make popcorn, light a big fire in the fireplace and watch some Marx Brothers and Errol Flynn movies. Good times!

The Pear Gingerbread is a recipe based on one of Laurie Colwin's. I love her writing and it's time to re-read her novels and short stories (my favorite is The Lone Pilgrim). Several of the recipes from her book More Home Cooking are staples in my kitchen (the Buttermilk Cocoa Cake is a standout).


Maurice Sendak

Lovely interview. "You have to take the dive. And you do not know what the results will be."

(via boingboing.)


Enjoy! Hope your holidays are good ones.


Shakespeare suzuki method

Brian Cox teaches the Hamlet soliloquy to a toddler. Via Even Cleveland.


Why little bird do you not sing

Gorgeous voice.

You can learn more about Savina Yannatou here, and here.


"Yet the moth has trim, and feistiness, and not a drop
of self pity.

Not in this world."
— Mary Oliver, from “Flare” (via a la recherche)

To do list by Johnny Cash:

What a gorgeous cake!

Beautiful tiny anatomical sculptures by Anne Ricketts:


Philip Glass, Trilogy Sonata, Act III, Conclusion from Satyagraha:


French cows love jazz.

Of course they do. Via swissmiss.


Brian Dettmer

aka "The Book Surgeon". More marvelous book sculpture.

from My Modern Met:
"My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception," he says.
Read a brief interview with Brian Dettmer here.

Link to Brian Dettmer's website here.


Pretties, etc.

Well, you know me, I'm not immune to pretty things!

First up: these mittens, found via Pennyweight.

Next, some French Picardie Tumblers, from Alder & Co.

 Hedgehog boxed note cards from B Designs Letterpress. How cute is that? (I don't care if the post office is cutting their service!)

Source: eloisegrey.com via LB on Pinterest

And last, this gorgeous, gorgeous skirt from Eloise Grey. Just perfect.


Quote of the day

"Your style is a function of your limitations, more so than a function of your skills" - Johnny Cash



The Library Phantom returns. An anonymous sculptor in Edinburgh leaves incredibly detailed, beautiful sculptures made of paper/books/words hidden in various libraries and museums as gifts. I can't tell you how much I love this.

 a complex scene in a paper cinema; punters arrayed on seats watching men and horses coming alive from the screen and charging outwards.
The tag?
For @filmhouse - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas..... and all things *magic*
The tag on this reads:
To @edbookfest 'A gift' This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...... & festivals xx
It includes a teabag filled with cut out letters, on the tag of which are the words "by leaves we live". The cup on the top has a swirl of words which read " Nothing beats a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and a really good BOOK", and on the 'tray' next to the cupcake it says "except maybe a cake as well".

A wonderfully atmospheric street scene with what appears to be a silvery moon with wisps of cloud hanging from it. This tag reads:
"@CuratorEMG A Gift "The stories are in the stones" Ian Rankin In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas ...... and Writers."

Pictures and captions are from here, where you can also see and read a lot more, and find other links. Photos and captions are by Chris Scott at The Central Station Blog.


Edward Gorey book covers for Anchor Books

Done between 1953 and 1960. Found via Ancient Industries.

I think this one's my favorite so far, but you find a whole bunch more here.



A simple and brief essay on ways to choose happiness:
When we default to anger or irritability, we perpetuate the grasp of those destructive sensations in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, feeling the entire cycle of emotions is an essential part of being complete human beings, but getting stuck in the ones that drag us down is a problem. This goes for sadness as well. When something painful happens, feel it fully – go to the depths, but then rise back up. Choose to surface.
Sarah Bakewell on Montaigne:
For Montaigne as for Woolf, human beings do not live immured in our separate perspectives. We live porously and sociably. We can glide out of our own minds, if only for a few moments, in order to occupy another being’s point of view. This ability is the real meaning of Montaigne’s call to ‘be convivial’, one answer to the question of how to live, and the best hope for civilization.

Pablo Casals plays Bach's Suite Number 1 for Cello Part 1. Filmed in 1954 in the Abbaye Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa.

A recipe for Gingersnaps from The Smitten Kitchen here.

Books. Just finished reading Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days and loved it.

Anselm Kiefer, Book with Wings.



Paul Cézanne, April 13 1906 -by Gertrude Osthaus


I can't tell if this is satire or reality (I suspect the latter). Found via the SelfStyldSiren's Twitter feed and her response is:
I have no words for how much I love that. S.J. Perelman would have read it, run out and got blind drunk.
Muffie Potter Aston-- What I Wore.

Here's a picture of S.J. Perelman, just because.


Off to Chicago...

I've been AWOL lately, but my little group show opened last weekend, and soon we are off to Chicago for a family Thanksgiving. I'll be back...

(photo via DK Travel)


Yeah, Happy Halloween.

This article and the accompanying photos are making the rounds of the internets this week:

Such lovely people, those foreclosure lawyers. Wonder what the party theme will be this year?

And the CEO of Bank of America is incensed that regular people are ticked off at his company. Poor thing.

An excellent comment from Daily Kos member mmacdDE (extra points for the Princess Bride reference):

I too, believe in small govt (9+ / 0-)
But I don't think it means what they think it means.
To me, it means that the police don't break down my door because my kid downloaded some music. It means that I don't have to satisfy some religious nut if I want birth control or need an abortion. It means that no govt agency reads my email, wiretaps my phone, or cares who I fall in love with.
I'd like it if govt was streamlined, if duplicate regulations were deleted, if fraud, waste, and abuse were seriously dealt with. But I don't want all regulations thrown out the window.
To me, that's small govt. And doing that would save everybody money.

I'm not sure I even need Halloween this year, things are scary enough. But yes, I have several bags of candy bars (lots of chocolate) to hand out. I loved Halloween as a kid, and I still love a good dose of ghost stories and monster movies.


Richard Brautigan:


New edition of Food Rules, illustrated by Maira Kalman! yay!

Right brain/Left brain: Ian McGilchrist on The Divided Brain (via Chemin Faisant)

Listen up, stud puppets! Judy Tenuta at her best, in 1987, with absolutely perfect timing and delivery:

(HBO special, "Women of the Night")


Happy Monday!

Yes, it's a happy Monday, because Tom Waits has a new album out (his first in 7 years). I just listened to it at NPR's First Listen and it's a doozy.

And the Decemberists have a new song, premiered here.

Working on pieces for a group show next month... 


Lemony Snicket

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance 

1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.

2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.

3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.

4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.

5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.

6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.

7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.

8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.

9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.

10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.

13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.

via Neil Gaiman, here

And now for something completely different.

Thought I'd take a break from politics for a bit and so it's time to lighten up.

This ring from Jeanine Payer is lovely. The quote is from Walt Whitman: "The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.":

Love this marbelized scarf from Ilana Kohn:

A perfectly simple bracelet from brvtvs:

Happy belugas (via Chemin Faisant):


Peace like a river

"You can't outrun the history train."
One of my favorite Paul Simon songs, just felt like posting it today.

Occupy Your Conscience

A terrific essay by Steve Almond at The Rumpus. Read it here, sweet peas.



From the blog Poemas del rio Wang, these beautiful and haunting photographs taken in Japan during WWII. A collector found a camera with the film still in it, had it developed and found these. They have been hidden away for over 65 years and were never seen by the subjects. (Found via For Me, For You)

Here is the original post, in Russian.


Tomas Tranströmer

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 2011.

A nice article about him here: The Beauty of Stillness.

And a poem:

After a Death   by Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robert Bly

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.
 Installation: A Gust of Wind by Paul Cocksedge                    
Source: dezeen.com via LB on Pinterest


Occupy Portland

  photo from @Vanadia at twitter

I went to the march yesterday, it was good. I think I've been to too many marches to become really exhilarated at the prospect of changing things, but glad to be there to show my support. No, I didn't take any pictures (shame!shame! bad Blogger!)-- but everyone else and their aunt Sally was taking them so I figured there'd be plenty floating around. This one (above) I think, is the best. It sums up the general energy around this particular event. A volunteer wrote the phone number of the National Lawyers Guild on my arm with a purple Sharpie pen (just in case the mood changed from the pic above). Lots of good will from bystanders. The march passed a strip joint and even the strippers came out to watch and cheer us on. The weather held, too. News media says 5,000 attended and organizers say 10,000. I'm thinking it's somewhere between those two numbers. There were a lot of us, all ages. We must have taken up six blocks of wide downtown streets and when the march stopped at Pioneer Square, it was jammed and overflowed. My friend and I couldn't get into the square at all. We. Are. The 99 Percent!


... and a few random pretties:

Photo by Luke Stephenson.

Source: bonadrag.com via LB on Pinterest
 Earrings by Lila Rice.

Source: tumblr.com via LB on Pinterest

Ceramics by Norikazu Oe.

Random (again) Monday.

Went to a dinner last night to honor and say farewell to a dear friend who is moving to Seattle. Our conversation ranged from Occupy Wall Street to Lucretius to recipes using kale. Our lovely host served a wonderful meal followed by an extraordinary orange muscat dessert wine. This talented artist also recently published a memoir titled What Doncha Know? About Henry Miller. It sounds fascinating and is next on my to-read list. We should all have such fabulous pasts, and here's to civilized dinners.

First I need to finish this book:

Currently listening to this:

And a quote for the day:

A person who is a master in the art of living
makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both.
— – Zen poet (via whimsicalities)



One of my favorite singers (Lotte Lenya) singing one of my favorite songwriters (Kurt Weill).

(found via Chemin faisant)



The Laughing Hearts

"your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you."

- Charles Bukowski


Quote of the day

"We may have to wait for years - we may have to wait for ever, if we wait until life is safe." HG Wells (link)

(photo by Pat Kavanagh)


Random rainy Saturday.

❧There’s nothing metaphorical about “gut feelings,” for what happens in the gut really does influence what we feel: link

❧New Daniel Pinkwater novel being serialized online: link (via boingboing)

Monoculture and the stories that shape us: link

Epic tea house server (16 cups of tea at one time!): link (via TYWKIWIDBI)

Enjoy your weekend!

(image via workman's tumblr)


Quote of the day

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.-- Winston Churchill.

Source: booooooom.com via LB on Pinterest


...Or sometimes, like this.

found via Neil Gaiman.

(Note for the impatient: They don't start dancing until over a minute into the scene. It's worth the wait.)


Italian design

The Moka pot, developed during the Depression by Alfonso Bialetti (from an invention by Luigi De Ponti) so Italians could save money and make their espresso at home. Classic. And I've posted this before, but here's an excellent way to make good stovetop espresso: Stumptown Brewing guide.

Here's the version I'd get if I had the extra cash:

The Alessi 9090, via Remodelista

The Vespa scooter, created by Enrico Piaggio in a post-war ravaged economy, so Italians could have an affordable and inexpensive way to manoeuver through bombed-out roads.

Source: flickr.com via LB on Pinterest