Powered by Blogger.

Happy Tasha Tudor Day!

    Hello there! And Happy "Tasha Tudor Day"! Today would have been her 102nd birthday, and Tasha still remains one of my very favorite artists and 'unique person in the world.' She was a master of slowing down and enjoying the simple and sweet things in life--- something that seems to be hard to do these days. We are rushed from almost the moment our eyes open until our head hits the pillow. But with some intention, we can take time....breathe....enjoy...and just BE.

   This morning I'm arranging sunflowers in a little stoneware pitcher and looking forward to a crafty evening with friends. Tasha's birthday seemed like a perfectly good reason to get together, have some tea, and work on some craft projects.
   No matter where you are today, I hope you have a wonderful one. Try to "Take Joy" in this world where the joy may seem to be fleeting. Enjoy this present moment. And know I very much appreciate your visit here today at my blog!
"Take Joy"
Fra Giovanni
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.  There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.  And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.

New Painting: Our Lady of Hope

    The weekend of all the violence in Charlottesville sent me out to the studio. Painting is my refuge, and that's usually how I sort myself out-- even, sometimes, before I realize just what I am sorting out-- and that weekend was no different.
   What came of that time painting was this piece--- Our Lady of Hope. I wanted to give her strength, courage--- she's looking right out at the world with a level gaze; but also compassion, mercy, Hope because she sees much farther than we do, in the heat and emotion of the moment.
  There are people out there who are much more better at articulating in word, in action, in policy, in shaping this world than I. But I felt like it was my job to 'cast a stone and cause many ripples', as Mother Theresa once said. It's my job to make sure we still have some beauty in the chaos, and so this is my latest effort. I hope you like her.


Good Things Collection: Brit Edition

    The world has gone mad-- yet again. I am feeling like one weary mama. But I have been busy painting it out, and I am eager to share that with you; My Madonna of Hope, that you may have seen on FB or Instagram. I am in the process of doing some prints of her, and will have those ASAP. But first....I feel the need....

  I am struggling with keeping my heart open (or heartbeat from rattling in my ears screaming 'what is wrong with us?!??!') and so I am trying my best to keep balance with uplifting media as I try to digest current events. And no one does that better than the Brits. I've decided after getting frequent questions about what Im reading and watching lately, that I will share here with you all from time to time the things I'm enjoying--- my Good Things Collection. Because  if we can soothe ourselves, we can take on the world with dignity, respect and empathy. If we are just a twitching ball of outraged nerves, we just continue the terrible cycle of blame and suspicion.


   There are some GREAT magazines out there with British charm--- The new issue of Victoria Magazine is all about Britain (with photo spreads of amazing landscape and spectacular desserts that will have you scheming up your own celebration for the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee. There's even a story about the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen's death and a tour of her home at Chawton.
   There is also a special "English Cottage" edition put out by Victoria this summer that has been a fun, dreamy read with lots of beautiful homes full of charm.
   And I can never resist picking up British Country Living (as in our American magazine, but 5,000 times better and more interesting...not just a bunch of rich people from New York buying up all the farm houses in Vermont and then painting everything white!) They always have amazing interviews with artists and crafters, are more connected to the land (and you know, living in the country!) and really great quality articles. The photo below is a large spread about a woman who is living off the land in a gorgeous rural landscape and harvests her own dye material, which she uses to dye her own yarn that she spins, knits and weaves with (sorry, that was the sound of my heart exploding in joy)

   And if I find myself with the rare blessing of having the tv all to myself and I want to curl up with some knitting and quality television-- I set my sights across the pond! I just subscribed to Britbox, which is television streaming offered through a joint effort of the BBC and iTV(they are the ones who showed Downton Abbey) and I am just dipping my toe into their catalog, but am really excited. They even have British Soap Operas :O

   My favorite show to stream is the mystery series featuring my favorite priest, Father Brown. He lives in a picturesque village in 1950s Britain and is loosely based on a character created by GK Chesterton. Even though murder is usually the order of the day, things always get tied up and resolved within the half hour ;) these days, I'll take that kind of resolution where ever I can get it! The cast is fantastic and the stories always interesting. You are never quite sure 'who dunnit.'

   I also love the show (now on netflix) called "Escape to the Country" which is essentially a 'looking for a house to buy show' but really well done (oh Brits, you are so good at this stuff!) A variety of hosts take a family through a particular area of the UK to look for that perfect country home; often hundreds of years old, perhaps thatched, but always amazing and chock full of history. You learn a little bit about all the various areas of the country, their unique specialties and bits about their culture. You dont even care that more often than not, you have no idea if the family even bought a house in the area (usually they give a tepid, "oh yes....we might ring to have a second look at the place!") but you DONT EVEN CARE. Lol, if you're like me, you're just happy to have been along to peek into inglenooks and ancient halls without having to pay an admission fee!

 However, my current British obsession is this A-MAZING book by Ruth Hogan called "The Keeper of Lost Things."
   I picked it up at the library because I remembered seeing the cover in my friend Patricia's library stack (thanks, friend!) and was immediately captivated.
   It is, granted, a little hard to explain. So I will put the Amazon description here:

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.
Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.
Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancĂ©e, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.
Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.
Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?
   I am about halfway through, but it is SO good. Something else that appeals to me, but isnt mentioned here, is the little clues and hidden religious meanings Hogan tucks into her prose. The character Anthony lives in a home called Padua (like, you know, St. Anthony of Padua!) and the character Therese has given him her confirmation medal--- St. Therese of Lisieux...and is very fond of roses. Little things like these, which arent overt, but makes someone like me go "Ohhhh, I get it!!!" are lots of fun.
   I can wait to see how it all ends, and I'm praaaaying its good. We need some happy endings and hope in this world right now. 
   I thought I'd pass this on to you though, because you might like it as well, and its fairly new!~

And so.....
This is my Good Things Collection. Do you have any suggestions for ME? Great books you've read, magazines that delight, television or movies that have captured your imagination? I'd love to hear about them! Lets share all the GOOD THINGS!~

Until next time,

Home From New England

    Sigh. Ah. HOME!~
        Lets imagine the scene above is my bedroom, lovely hats and dresses all just unpacked from our stay in New England. It was another glorious trip, my cup of inspiration filled right to the tippy-top rim. All happiness. Very tired (it takes two days straight to drive there and back....) Mountain of laundry and baggage unpacked, school supplies scrambled together, house cleaned up with renewed energy....it is almost time to paint!

    I think if my heart was cracked open, you'd find a great deal of New England there. I dont know what it is about that place of the world, but it is where I am so happy and at home. It was an amazing couple of weeks that we were able to stay with our wonderful friends---- without whom, we honestly wouldnt be able to get out there and bask in all the pastoral-old-timiness. I practically gorged myself on historical home museums. So much so that Audrey, at the end, wearily said "please, no more museums!" ;)
   But by then we had seen and done so much;; visited the homes of Louisa May Alcott, John Adams (all 3!!!), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rebecca Nurse, Paul Revere.... and so many other beautiful historic homes and landscapes.
    One day as we were driving down the Mass Pike, we ambled down to Cape Cod, in search of a genuine lobster roll (we dont have those in Oklahoma, haha) and ended up at the most perfect little beach near the Cape Cod Canal. Audrey swam like a mermaid in the ocean (the OCEAN!!) and Robbie and I collected beautiful shells and rocks and made a sandcastle. We filled up memory banks, and had such a great evening.

   We wandered graveyards and gazed at harbors and sea horizons, we entered doorways once entered by some of our country's most beloved historical figures, and we spent lazy mornings at a friend's kitchen table....just talking and laughing and looking through books.

   And then, at the end of it, we were ready to be home.

    Those days spent 'out east' were just what I needed. I am now so excited to get back to painting. And this year will have some changes that Im anxious to explore. This school year, Audrey goes back to traditional school. It was a change I wasnt expecting, but was what she decided she wanted and after lots of talking---- and a blessing of a school transfer approval--- we are back in the brick-and-mortar school game. And I am....excited! I'll have my littlest still at home, and I am looking forward to having a quiet and creative school year with just we two. And he's big enough now that he can come out to the studio with me while I work. Who knows what painterly things we'll get up to. I cant wait!

   And so....stay tuned, and keep in touch! This fall will make TEN YEARS for me in having a folk art business. I think that calls for celebration, dont you? First things first though--- time to paint!~

Thanks for your visit, and come back soon!~