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Monday, April 30, 2012

Sing! Day of song - Bobby McFerrin - Improvisation

 
 Here is link for the above video.

                                    OK......
So over at Deb's for the last couple days, mentions have been made of Bobby McFerrin.
That sent me on a trip down memory lane!  As I just this weekend got a working VCR hooked up again after many long years, I took time in my day Sunday to delight in watching my children growing through their childhoods, in such random order that my brain was dizzy by the end!  Oh but such good memories, one of which includes my daughter aged 6 singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy"... a true favorite song of hers.  Boy, that whole parenthood piece that feels light years away now.  This was a different viewing than those past because now both of parents have passed on and so I was grateful to see them moving, talking, singing and laughing again.  It was wonderful!  I think I'll consider this an early Mother's Day gift to myself.

But, what also emerged after viewing a few of McFerrin's videos is what I've missed all the years since he sang about happiness.  I remember at the time that song came out it was criticized as fluff.  My theory, at the time, was that there must be some reason it's such a hit!  I thought (think) it is: People need song, every kind of song, for every kind of reason!
This man is a special spirit and musical genius.   Simple as that.

I highly recommend getting lost for a bit to welcome some journeys either old by taking a day trip down memory lane...or new by following a new (or renewed) interest down the trail for a bit.

You may want to check out some of these:
Catching Song  ~ A nice long interview to listen and stitch with
Wizard of Oz    ~ Bobby style!  What a ride :)
Spontaneous Chorus  ~Wouldn't you love to be in this audience (on or off stage)?!
With Anne Marie Hassing  ~All of the Master Class & Aarhus Vocal Festival are a treat!

I'm forcing myself to stop linking.  But do explore for yourself and share your favorites!
*Note- don't miss his son and father as well!

I'll leave you with the closing thought, in the way of a question:
If you watched any of these videos, did you notice that in every one...there was not only song...but there was laughter, hugs and pure joy in their shared experience!
Now that's what this world needs!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Warm & Sunny Sunday

Well, it continues to be warm here.
80 degrees today, so far.
One could easily make this recipe for
Dandelion-Violet-Lemonade!
You can find it here and make some for yourself.
While you're over there, have a peek around for some more treats.
Let me know how you like the lemonade as my patch of lawn is clean
 of both dandelions and violets!
Doesn't it look pretty in the canning jar?!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2012

                                  Poems to Read to the Very Young
Selected by: Josette Frank
Illustrated by: Dagmar Wilson
Copyright 1961, by Random House, Inc.
A book of children's poems with wonderful illustrations, celebrating everyday happenings and special events in a child's world.

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!
You may remember I posted a link to it here.
There is so much information at the link to inspire you!

In honor of April being 'National Poetry Month' and in celebration of this one particular day to carry a poem with you, I decided to post this video to share a couple of poems with you.
This was one of my favorite books as a child.  It is also the book I used when a grade school teacher assigned the task of memorizing 5 poems and then reciting one (or maybe it was all) of them in front of the class.  I can still remember one of them.

Drinking Fountain
When I climb up
To get a drink,
It doesn't work
The way you'd think.

I turn it up.
The water goes 
And hits me right
Upon the nose.

I turn it down
To make it small
And don't get any 
Drink at all.
-by Marchette Chute


 Don't you love that?  Don't you remember the playground drinking fountains?  The water came up so Hot at first!  But after you let it run cold, it would quietly bubble out, falling in a space obviously used by too many, its stale familiar taste just enough to quench your thirst.
Before filming the video, I sat and read aloud all my old favorites.  There were moments where I knew I was the one reading, but felt my mom's voice coming through.  I remember her reading these to me.  Magic.


I walked through the house and picked up the books of poetry I saw.  An odd little assortment, as I don't own a huge library of poetry.   Some of them belonging to my mother, some to the young me, and some to the teacher me.  My mom gave me the copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay, so I could "travel more".  I was 10.5 years old.  I never really fell in love with it though (maybe I was too young at the time).  I loved her book 'Here I Am', as it was the late 1960's-early 1970's and the words were fueled with rebellion, and searching and rage, which every teen understands!  Between my favorites and the ones she used teaching jr. high, I think every other page is dog-eared!!!  Anyway,  I have always said that I am not a huge fan of poetry, but it seems I remember more favorites than I thought I would.  I am not a fan of what I call Hallmark poetry.  This is the overly rhyming, saccharine sweet words you may find held inside a greeting card.  The kind that says it all, so therefore leaves nothing to the imagination.  I think I liked the rhyming text more as a child when I was learning to make sense of this different form of writing.  So, I of course still hold those dear to my heart, they are my youth (like the one above).  I also am not a fan of the very long poem that requires hours of concentration to even begin to understand it!  I like the kind that that speaks to me directly on a heart-deep level. 
Here is the poem in my pocket today.


And in case you can't read my writing, here it is again:




 Grassroots
Suddenly I open up.
Everything settles down,
This blade of grass I call myself
Roots in the sounds
Honking geese, silence
Ticking clock
Incense smoke
Fading light
Wonderfully full.
I am a blade of grass,
Rooted here tonight
Grounded in these moments
Of wild bird flight.
It’s here I claim my origin
And like a blade of grass
I bend and twist and live and die
In all that rushes past
Snow, ice, driving rain
Sun, stars
Pleasure, pain
Darkness, light
And on it goes with all of life.
-Hetty Baiz

I saw this poem online one day, many years ago.  It has been in my memory ever since.  My mother said she didn't like it much, but I don't recall why.  I think it was something about being too cliche. But I do like it and I've decided that's what really matters about poetry.  Does a poem speak to You?  That's all that counts.  She loved Edna St. Vincent Millay, which is probably why she gifted me with this book when I was a young sprout!  I have discovered a few poets online that I seem to really enjoy.  You can find them here, here and here.  These are the first ones that came to mind, there are others I'm sure.  
Do you enjoy poetry?  Which authors do you like?
What poem is in your pocket today?

  Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012



Monday, April 23, 2012

New Book

Do you believe in books, children, and the ability of each of us to jump on the "Make a Difference" train?  Do you have concerns about our current political climate and the upcoming Presidential election?
Well, here is...a new project that supports your interests in all of the above!  All you have to do is click here to find out how you can climb aboard the "MaD Train"!!! 
Come on, it'll be FUN!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Today on Earth Day, I celebrate the beauty of my roses and
delight in the fact that 4 buds have opened on the Mama Rose, 
while 2 more are on their way.

You can see the little bit of brown on the edges.  We've been having some visiting aphids and have tried a couple different solutions.  I'm just really Really happy they've bloomed at all.  This tells me their roots are happy in this new home.

 This is before they opened.
Look how squished
up it is!

I did not know if they would really open, with all that brownish tinge and all.

But they did!!! Yea!!!
This rose has a fairly strong scent...very pleasant.  :)


I remember them being bigger when this bush was planted at my mom's house.
Mmmmmm...  it really doesn't matter, I'll take what I can get!
I'm just very happy that this little well-loved bush survived the transplant.   Isn't she a beauty? 




I also invite you to visit with my yellow rose bush that we planted last year.  Yellow roses are so happy, aren't they?!!

Each day...in different light...they take on a whole new look.
This is one of the best smelling roses ever.  Looking at the bottom photo, my guy and I said at the same time, "You can almost smell it!"
I wish there was a way to share that with all of you!
This last one is called a
 "rock rose".  It has many tiny flowers and a bush like appearance.  It has the scent of my childhood day camp experience.  I could smell it forever! 
Do you see the heart-shaped petals?  I had never noticed that until I took photos today!




Sunny day celebrating the Mama Rose!




----------CHAPTER TWO----------

I can't help myself...did you ever have one of those days where everything looks so beautiful?  Where you keep noticing new and interesting stuff?
So here are a few more photos:
I saw this beautiful bud tucked under a leaf!
Same bush - lighter color
These 2 photos are from the beautiful peach bush nearest the front door.  Notice how the bud is much darker that the fully opened flower, as if the sun has faded it.


This is a tiny flower that came up from the birdseed dropped by the yellow birds last summer.  Don't those look like little stitches around the center?

I accidentally surprised this guy out of the rose bed.  I don't have too much sympathy for grasshoppers, as we've had years where they have eaten the rock rose down to nubs!  Go on now shoo!!!  Do you remember the bright green one from last year?  You can see it here.  The one today is about 2+ inches.


Again. I wonder about the different shading of the California Poppies...could one side be an older plant?










Leaf on neighbor's bush...Ewuuuu!
Wonder why it is like this...
Have a great rest of your Earth Day Sunday!

  Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some Stuff

Birds on a fence - sculpture at the nursery
Random, not necessarily connected stuff...
  • Saw this sculpture on the fence while at a nursery earlier this month.  It made me think of Grace and Mo Crow ... and all of the friends out there who love birds and feathers and the marvels of our natural world.
  • They have been filming a Sears commercial across the street all day long.  There is a small "Kraft Services" truck (food!) and shades to create proper lighting and a giant crane.  Every now and then a deep voice comes a shouting words I can not discern.  But a couple of times, I could tell they were calling for "quiet".  OK, Shhhhh...
  • When I got this post from Gretchen of The Happiness Project, I read and pondered her ideas as I always do.  Then I zipped down to the end where she always posts interesting links.   The link to 1000 Awesome Things proved to be just as fascinating as past links.  I had seen this a long while back, and had forgotten about it.  So, maybe that would be my 1000th thing (if Neil has not already done it!).  Having some little bit of goodness come your way.  Something you've seen before, but forgotten about, but feel refreshed by it all over again!  Do watch his TedX talk here.  It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy - happy inside!   UPDATE: Michelle shared this link for more information on this project.
  • For the Teacher in me and for those of you...or for any of us with the Love of Language...something is coming!  Yep, it's the annual Poem in You Pocket Day: Thursday April 26, 2012.  You can learn all about it here.  Isn't that a lovely idea, to carry a poem in your pocket...to share poems for others to place in their pockets?  What poem would you carry with you?
  • I also had this in my inbox...an update from Kay Angel an orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti.  I have a soft spot for these folks; first because a friend of my sister's is a founder of We Can Build an Orphanage.  That's usually good enough for me..."you're her friend, oh OK, you're my friend too!" But once I started reading Lia's blog posts, once I read about (and met) each child, once I worried about them after the earthquake...well, then i really felt a connection.  Hop on over there and see if you don't feel the same.  Feel free to click on the donation page too.  Every little bit helps.  I have learned so much about perseverance, making do, embracing life, sharing and showing love...generally living the good life, in any circumstance.
  • Something's comin'!  The photos to the right and below are your hints.  More details to follow!

  • A long time back, I posted this about Delaney & Bonnie and many others.  If you saw that post, you may remember their daughter Bekka.  Today I saw this video someone had posted in honor of her birthday today.  I just really love her voice, her heart.  So, Happy Birthday Miss Bekka!!
  • If you happen to be in Bangalore, India, maybe you will be lucky enough to catch the upcoming show of Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel (hint: click the 'play' button right in the middle)  I know their show will be well worth it!  I sure wish I could see them :)
A friend among many!
  •  Same nursery, same day...different critter!  This one reminded me of Jude's drawings and cloth beasts.  Look at that face...love it!  Someone recently said that we (the sewing folks of the Spirit Cloth world) end up thinking of one another throughout our days, being reminded of one another as I have been here and with the birds.  I like that.  I think that is what makes this community a lovely, warm place to be.  If it was you who said this comment, please leave the link in the comments.  As usual, things are tangled in my forgetful mind, but the essence of how I read that has stayed with me.
  • Well, that's all for this day of sharing.  No cloth pictures.  No recent stitching, just mounds of magazines and cloth sorting into give-away piles!  Every time I think I am close, I discover more that I don't really need :)  Oy!
Have a great last part of the day!

Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Out My Window & Updates

I look past the pipes & cinder block!


Looking out is sometimes looking in...
Cleaning out is sometimes looking in too. 
Choosing which magazines to purge.
There are many.
Deciding how to best choose fabrics to stay...or go.
There is a lot.
Enjoying the process.
Enjoying the view, both in & out.

Introducing...Goldie Girl!  You should see when the sunlight shines through her wings!  Look at her eye!

The moon, she has her face!  Two rocks at the bottom.

In case you missed it in the top photo, this is the Mama Rose...doing Great!!!

UPDATE:
So, the invite it still extended.  If you'd like a little gift...
Ya know what they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"
I'm afraid I need to keep it to US addresses only, as the shipping is so costly.
 Take care everyone and have a great weekend!

  Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring

My neighbor has beautiful jasmine blooming by her front door.  While I've nothing against it personally, I'm allergic.  Oh well, it blooms not forever.
On a recent trip to the nursery I saw glorious spring every step I took.  There was only a moment or two of allergies.  Yay!
But, the last few days have been asthma days.  
I don't like asthma days.  
It makes me very tired to not be getting a good oxygen exchange.
However, photographs don't cause this kind of reaction!
These are from the nursery visit some days back.




Look who I saw hiding amongst the shrubs!

Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crazy Growth ~ Announcement!

Growth Swirls

 OK, so here is the announcement:
It seems I'm in a forever stage of cleaning out. 
But, it's working.  A lot of physical items found new homes in March and it feels really good.  I've been deciding on an April plan here it is the 8th already!  But, what I've decided for this month is to work on a couple of larger tasks, which I have been doing this first week.  Here is one of them:
There are things in my studio I just no longer need.  Nothing wrong with them and they will be quite useful to someone else, I'm sure.
I am ready to let go of some fabric and art magazines.
So, I'm offering them to others.  If you're interested, let me know and we can work out the specifics.
Magazines:
  • doll making
  • mixed media
  • quilting (some with patterns) 
  • studio inspirations
 Fabric:   
  • Mostly quilter's cottons, lots of different prints.
 I've yet to completely go through it all, but I've begun to set things aside.  
Sometimes growth happens in swirls, not in one organized ring after another.  What was once interesting and inspiring moves on to mere memory.  Tastes change, focuses change, plans change.  What was once in your mind to do becomes a layer in the process and then shows up in another way.  Make sense?
Anyway, I just want to put the word out...I'll update as needed.

Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

3 Mysteries - Update

UPDATE TO THIS POST: 3 Mysteries


 Here is the moon and the red spot again.  I cropped the photo to make it a bit bigger.  When I went out to see the moon that night I did not see the red spot until I began to take a photo.  As soon as I partially compressed the button, the spot showed up.  I was able to capture it in the first few pictures only.  After that I could see it when I compressed the button...then click...it was gone.  I thought it was probably a planet or star or ?  The really odd thing (besides the disappearing and reappearing part) was this red spot also moved around.  In the photos it showed up on each side and on  the bottom of the moon, all within moments.  I didn't move and I didn't zoom in (until later in the computer).  
The spot did a little dance around the moon!
Mmmm...wonder what that was all about?!


This is the surprise in the mail.  A big surprise!   A very dear friend braided this rug for me.  
I love it!   If you look very closely, the fabric in the middle, the white one...is what holds my favorite part of the story.  Years ago we went to a quilt show with another friend.  There we saw fabric panels printed with sayings and quotes about friendship.  The idea was hatched to get this panel (or maybe it was 3 of them) and cut it apart, sharing the different sayings & quotes amongst ourselves.  If I remember correctly we each ended up with different quotes.  The plan was to do a round robin type friendship quilt, each of us ending up with some blocks that we did and some that our friends did.  It was a charming idea.
It never happened.  
This should be no surprise to all of my quilting readers!  
The best laid plans...
Anyway, years later my friend and I decided that it pretty much wasn't going to happen...the whole quilt idea.  So I tossed out the idea of her braiding the panels, belonging to her & me, into a rug instead.
You see, my friend makes beautiful braided rugs and I knew how I'd love a piece of her art.  It would remind me of not only our friendship, but our shared time in a preschool classroom where she helped four and five year olds make a braided plant mat (about 15 inches across).
Of course, I no longer remember what the sayings and quotes were, but it's not important.  
What is important is our friendship has lasted so long and only grows deeper over the years.  
I love the words woven in and out, showing and hiding, visible and invisible.  To me it speaks to the complexity and depth our relationship has become.  I like that.  I love my friend!


And now the full moon in the trees...
They are a part of some of my latest cloth work.  It's a little something I call a "Memory Keeper".  This latest one was made for my niece and her fiance (for their wedding).
But, let's go back even further to the conception of this idea.  In 2010, when my ex passed away, I spontaneously got the idea to make each of my kids and my brother/sister-in-law an envelope to keep special pictures or other mementos.  It was very last minute, as I had less than two weeks to make the three of them.  Here are some of the finer points:
  • They were made of 3 layers, using 'warm & natural' as the batting.  The first one I tried slipping a piece of cardboard in between the layers to stiffen it up, but I didn't much like that.  For the other two, I stuck with just the batting.
  • I've learned to use light colored fabric for the inside, it makes it easier to see inside!
  • The outside was pieced by machine, using fabrics that represented either my ex or the things he shared with the  recipient of the Memory Keeper.  It was a meaningful time choosing fabrics and reflecting on my loved ones.
  • One side had an old Levi jeans pocket, the other had a clear vinyl pocket where I slipped a photo.
  • I added washer and string closures.
  • The last step is always to sign my initials and the year made!






















It was so healing to work on these...and to give them.
This last time around, I had more time to plan and to work on them.
I decided no on the cardboard inserts, but I kept the warm & natural batting to give some body and strength.  I didn't add the jean pocket for this couple, but I did add a clear vinyl pocket for the wedding invitation.  I like that things can be changed in the pocket.
I still pieced it by machine (just to make sure it got done in time!), but I also added a lot of hand stitching.  Besides wanting to add some of my hand work to the gift, I hoped it would help make it sturdier.  This was a good route to take.


A couple of the special features for the happy couple are:
  • I used woodsy themed fabrics to celebrate their Yosemite engagement and Lake Tahoe wedding.  But, I also used the black & white celebratory dancing fabric, because after all this was for their wedding!!!
  • I have quite a few 'woodsy' fabrics, so I was able to use a nice variety!
  • My guy made the wood buttons for the closures.

This is the other side with their wedding invitation in the clear pocket.  I covered their personal information, but I wanted you to be able to see the tree in the corner & the style in which it was done.
I'm very pleased with these 'Memory Keepers'.  


  Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It doesn't take long
to reach the shore.
A fierce cold wind,
keeps us from staying too long.
The sky opens up,
Sea stretches to forever.
We can hold it in our hearts,
forever. 





Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Celebrate!

In celebration of the one & only me!
5 things I bet you never knew about me:

  1. I am in a photograph in a Beach Boys concert booklet.
  2. I adore the book "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald.
  3. As a young dreamy, romantic teen, I bought many heather plants because of the movie version of Wuthering Heights.  They all died a quick death in the SoCal heat.
  4. When jumping rope, I never seem to get past 3 jumps.  Ever.
  5. I do not like eggs and haven't eaten one since 1980, but I've loved sunflower seeds since I was a kid.

Today is my birthday.  Almost and April's Fool baby!
My mom was great at making me feel important and special everyday, but especially on my birthday.  I was celebrated!  Every year she told me my birth story and I grew to look forward to these moments.  I grew to love, to treasure them.
In a nutshell, I was born in New York city and when she went into the hospital everything was bleak and gray...but low & behold when she came out a week later...everything was blooming and bright...and she had her brand new spring baby girl!
That's a darn good birth story, if you ask me!

So, what makes you your unique self?  What can we celebrate about You?
If you'd like to play along, leave a comment telling of 5 things about you and we'll be sure to celebrate them!  Or share your birth story, if you'd like!

Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

10 Minute Drill # 18 - Did It!

Really quick...
I did it!!  
"What?" you ask.
I set a goal for March to 'remove' at least one thing from the house every day.  It could be thrown away, recycled, passed along to someone else, or dropped off to Good Will.
And so it has been done.  Yippee!
Some days I cleaned out whole drawers or cupboard shelves and 'removed' way more than one thing.
A few days, I forgot and had to jump out of bed to take care of it!
Yet, I met this goal.
My house looks exactly the same!
So, I'm trying to decide what the goal should be for April.
Mmmmm...
Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2012
 
I even clean out some fabric scraps and passed them on to a great group of preschool teachers.  However, I kept this little selection!  They spoke to me :)
Have you done any Spring Cleaning?