The jasmine covering the lattice fence in the backyard is blooming it's little heart out and the heady perfume carries on the breeze all the way to the front yard. I can imagine it floating away toward my neighbors noses and I hope they love it as much as I do. The hibiscus, bougainvillea and my orchids are blooming too and it is so pretty outside I just want to be on my bike or walking these days.
I have been working a lot up until recently and am trying to get a lot of old projects finished up while I have the free time. This is a wren that I made using a pattern from Abigail Glassenberg's new book titled The Artful Bird. When I started it several months ago I knew it would be difficult but I was excited about making one since I had been waiting for what seemed like forever for her book to be published. I was doing well with it until I lost the tail section- I laid it down someplace and then couldn't find it. Like, um, it was there one minute and suddenly gone the next! I had set it aside when I answered the phone and then just couldn't remember where it was. I searched for a while and even left a note for the husband to keep his eyes peeled- finally I gave up after Days went by (and then weeks and months!) but I knew that if I started another tail or wing section then I would find the missing pieces!
This past weekend I saw the poor pitiful bird, waiting, blind, wingless and forlorn and decided to just cut out new tail and wings and get it finished! So I did and it was fun and satisfying to finally complete the project. I used a vintage silk scarf that was reversible to construct the bird.
Abigail's book is loaded with different bird patterns and I look forward to making more some day. The directions are clear and easy to follow. I think I will try an owl next or maybe the lark which is quite whimsical. Check out her Blog which has fun projects like daffodils and goldfish made using felt.
Today I was cleaning up my guest bedroom which is also a craft room (for the stamps, paints, yarn and spinning supplies) and I let out a little screech when I found the tail and wing pieces laying on the bed! I couldn't have been more surprised! They were camouflaged in with the crocheted blanket at the foot of the bed and maybe covered a bit with a stack of whatever (yarn, papers or books) that always seems to accumulate around the place. Just goes to show that the little house elf has such a wicked sense of humor! Either that or the early dementia has taken root and doing fine!
Anyway, hope you had a Happy Easter and are enjoying the weather where you are,
I hope to share more projects soon-
thanks for being patient- I have had some major changes in my world lately and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the days to get everything done.
so it goes.
just another calamity,
Do you dream about art?
Do you find a pencil or your favorite pen and start doodling or drawing on every scrap of paper or margin in magazines when you are talking on the phone?
Do you wake up and write down your dreams or after lying sleepless, get up to sketch the ideas swimming in your mind?
Do you communicate through your collage? Work out emotions with scissors and paint? Do you own at least one moleskin? Or are you addicted to them and have a shelf full bearing your journaled experiences and adventures?
Well, if you said yes to any of those questions, I have a challenge for you. As I was reading the current issue of Fiberarts Magazine I came across a call for participants for a Sketchbook Project that sounded interesting. The Art House Co Op has an incredible website (view here) and they are hosting a very cool opportunity to be one of the founding contributors to the Sketchbook Library. (read all about it here) For $25 you may choose the cover color and theme of your sketchbook and have until Oct 31, 2010 to sign up to receive your 5.5 x 8.5" moleskin book and have until January 11, 2011 to mail your book to them to be installed in the Sketchbook Library after it has toured at select galleries in LA, Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta and St Louis. Each sketchbook will be bar-coded and cataloged, allowing visitors to choose what they want to look at via theme, medium, geographic location, name of the artist, etc. Interested? Click on the links above to go find out more and make sure you check out the Art House Flickr Group.
I love books and think that this is a wonderful opportunity to put your stuff out there for other people to admire and appreciate. I have a full plate right now but just as soon as I get a little more time I am adding this to my list of things to do this year and will keep you posted. I started a journal with my friend Sara and we mail it back and forth and she does a little something and when I get it, then I do a little something and it has been going back and forth through the mail for at least a year. I wait until the mood strikes or inspiration hits and grab it and start doodling. I am working on the book cover right now- well, it's sitting on the cutting table in the sewing room. I just need to make the time.
If only I had a way to actually have more time without losing sleep or taking away from anything else...anyway...
xo, calamity kim
When I was a little girl I can remember having bronchitis every winter and my parents would let me have books in my bed. I would slowly read each page, trying not to fall asleep. Happy and miserable at the same time. The year that they put the tiny black & white portable TV set in my room, I knew I must be dying.
That's how I felt last week as I sat in front of my computer, dressed in gown, robe and slippers all day, sipping tea and taking slugs of Dayquil. I discovered my new favorite website/blog. It's full of wonderful and delightful content. The Rag and Bone Bindery Boutique and Blog just blew me away and as I coughed and wheezed and sneezed and fought going back to bed, I read through the book categories on the Blog and fell in love with some new artists and their work. It seemed too good to be true, but as I revisited it all week, I became confident that it wasn't just a figment of my medicated imagination, but a really wonderful new resource for work I had not seen.
Tamar Stone writes books with fabric and embroidery. Corsets become the paper as she writes with needle and thread.
I find her work to be unique and interesting. Like coming upon an old vintage trunk abandoned in the woods, opening the lid and gently lifting out corsets that tell a story full of mystery and sadness.
I love books. I especially love imaginative and unique books that make me think about what a book is. Tamar's work does just that. It challenges me to go one step beyond my preconceived notions of words on paper and move out into the realm of imagination where anything is possible. I love her message and wish I could see these corset books on exhibit. Maybe someday. Hey, Ringling, can you call Tamar?
I also found her mentioned on the Mr X Stitch Blog. Mr X is quite a wonderful embroidery Blog and if you haven't visited his site (Jamie) be aware that it isn't your grannies embroidery, but some contemporary (and sometimes contemptuous) embroidery as social commentary, as an art form, as a form of fabric graffiti, as a rebellion, as a tattoo on the fabric of social awareness...well you get the idea. It's radical embroidery, man! Totally awesome in it's extreme manly maleness. Who let the boys into the stitching room? Ha, ya gotta love the smell of testosterone in the morning. Anyway, they are together at a show across the pond titled Beware of Embroidery and oh, how I wish I could go.
When I wrote Tamar for permission to post her work and photographs on my blog she shared something else that I just have to show you. Her husband, Bob Eckstein, wrote a book about The History of the Snowman. Check it out here at You Tube and Buy one at Amazon. I love snowmen and am sad that I have to go make mine in the sand at the beach. There's something about their fleeting lifespan- here one day, gone the next, that makes me want to say a prayer for more cold weather so they can live another day. Maybe I can do a series of embroidered books on snowmen I have adored and tie all of these themes together in a neat little bundle of blog love.
Maybe I'll just curl back under the quilts and dream of gossamer threads and linen stretch tight, waiting to receive the needle threaded with silky strands of colorful threads... Thank you Rag & Bone, Tamar, Jamie and Bob for sharing your stuff and making my world a better place.
happy dreams of creativity,
When I first began this blog I tried to post everyday.
I hoped that someone was out there reading it, but I really wanted to have a place where I could share my ideas, hopes, daydreams and inspire creativity. I have learned so much in the last three years about the internet, websites and blogging and have slowed my writing down to the point where I only share what I feel is absolutely essential. You see, as I blogged I made friends in the real world and soon my empty calender filled and spilled with lunch dates and crafty get togethers! It seems amazing to me now, how many friends I have, but I used to spend so much time alone, and while that did give me the time to be creative (some would say prolific) I felt as if the only people who understood me were the people that I interacted with online.(Now, my close friends who read this know that I know that they know me. ;) Just a shot of NyQuil and I'm writing like a Nobel Prize winner! Just keep reading, it'll get better).
It's so easy to do a search and find the things you love. It's not as easy in real life when you have to physically go to where the people are and run the risk of being laughed at for your mismatched socks and crazy apron get ups that seem normal and whimsical online. I used to have Blog Fever and I read them non stop. I couldn't help myself. The lure of stunning visuals and intriguing imaginative creations was a pull I couldn't resist. Chocolate and sex paled in comparison! I had to lurk and comment and link and post! It was obsessive.
It has taken me years to "get a life" but it will never be the same as escaping into Blogville with my trusty needle and thread and digital camera. Our lives have changed so much in recent years, the technology that has become commonplace was unthinkable 20 years ago. As we watched the Simpsons 20th Anniversary special last night I realized that I was the age that my son is now when it came out. I remember when it was on the Tracey Ullman show and how the shaky animation was so endearing. Homer has changed a tiny bit, but really he is still an oaf. A donut loving oaf who loves his wife and family even if he can't say or do the right thing all the time.
Kinda like me, I guess. I don't always do what I say, no matter how good my intentions are, I get overwhelmed and stall out when ideas don't work as I envisioned. I guess I am trying to say that I am still working on the 12 days of christmas and while the world has moved on I am still stuck in Christmas Town. I finished the 10th day but it didn't make it out of Flickr. I have 11 & 12 drawn out and have started working on them. Then the husband got sick and now I have it too. Coughing, aching, sneezing, wheezing, can't sleep because he is coughing. yuck. I tried to put a pillow over his head to muffle the noise but that really didn't help. teehee, cough, cough.
Anyway, he is better and now I am dragging. I will finish when I finish.
When I filled the squirrel feeder this morning there was frozen water in the plant saucers on the table out back! I wanted to take a picture but it was so cold I had to get back inside. I know that most of you laugh at that but for us on the Gulf Coast of Florida- there is never any ice in the winter! We are usually at the beach getting tan this time of year. Strange. anyway, where was I?
I'm getting to the above mentioned Patience part. Thank you for yours.
ahh, the wonders of cold medicine.
I was wandering, stumbling, through the internet fog this morning and I saw this wonderful handmade book by Randi Parkhurst, paper artist and bookmaker demonstrates her book creation, “PATIENCE”. Original music provided by Laura Inserra. I just had to share it here with you. It made me feel joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
That's why I blog.
stay well and warm, my blogville friends,
Thanks to my friend Jude I found out about Hand/Eye Online magazine and am so glad I subscribed to it. There is an article about Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Chanin company that I found interesting. Remember I blogged about her book? Well, I am happy to report that she has another book on the way (I am adding it to my wish list) that is titled Alabama Studio Style.
Here is a link to the Alabama Chanin Journal that has wonderful links to books, DIY stuff, green living and interesting info on Alabama Chanin life.
If you don't have time to read it all now then bookmark it for later because it will give you droplets of joy and splashes of happiness once you wade in and swim around in it.
If you are unfamiliar with her style I suggest you beg, borrow or steal a copy of Alabama Stitch Book and read all about it. Designing, cutting and then using stencils to create a design on knit fabric, then stitching down the layers and cutting off a layer to reveal the under fabric is what it is all about. I tried it- only once, due to the amount of time it took. I love reverse applique but the knit fabric handles differently than 100% cotton and I need to revisit this technique again and give it another try.
Wandering back to the sewing room, a pleasantly creative day ahead of me. I will get photos and share if anything new develops.
Love & Stitches,
This is a page from a book I am putting together using watercolor paper for pages with fabrics sewn over them and then collaged. "Alice" is made using Catherine Moore Stamps for her head and torso- the legs are from Alpha Stamps, if I remember correctly.
Ever since I purchased the book Nature Inspired by Tracie Huskamp I have been wanting to make a book like she describes with fabric hinges.
The covers are from old books that have been removed, sanded and stenciled.
Here's the cover from an old Through the Looking Glass without anything done to it. I will use a stencil and some Colorbox chalks to add some design and possible color around the edges with some Ranger Distress Ink pads. The cover is used as a template to make pages from watercolor paper that are slightly smaller.
The end papers inside are gorgeous and colorful.
It is a nice way to use all those tiny bits of treasured laces and burnout velvets in my scrap basket.
I do have rubber stamps with Alice images but these are printed with the ink jet (HP 8250) printer on to commercially prepared Organza sheets and sewn on to the watercolor pages.
Sometimes you can find these at your local art store but definitely online.
The printer ready sheets are mounted on paper that is removed after they print (with a short drying time). They are a delicate yet fine image that allows you to see through to the background. I often sandwich buttons or sequin confetti between the organza and base for a novelty effect.
Using one of Martha Stewart's large punches I made a spider using black paper and mounted him under a leaf skeleton.
This photo shows metal tape (from the hardware store) applied to linen fabric and then run through the Cuttlebug embossing machine to create an
embossed fabric effect.
With a gentle swipe of Distress Ink the embossed fabric becomes 3 dimensional as the raised design is highlighted.
One of the women in our Surface Design Guild had this great idea last Sunday when we were at play day making name tags. I had shown how to emboss the metal tape on paper using the Cuttlebug and she took it one step further by applying the metal tape to fabric.
The teacher always learns from her students, right?
What a nice background for organza Alice and some old embroidered bits.
Sewing on the watercolor paper layered with fabric wasn't difficult at all but next I am going to embroider some on the paper and then sew it or glue it down. Yes! brand glue is my favorite for this but gel medium works well also.
I am still working on this page. She will become the Red Queen I think. Again the Catherine Moore Stamps work wonderfully.
Theses pages are hinged by adding 3"wide fabric strips to the bottom left of each page and then connected together when both sides are finished by sewing the fabric hinge to the right side. It sounds confusing so I will show photos once I am finished. It will be a paper/fabric journal all about Alice.
Is it time for tea?
Actually its a bit cooler out this morning so I think I'm headed out for a walk on the beach.
Tea can wait and so can Alice.
At least until I get back.
Have a happy day out there in Blogville and thanks for stopping by.
All we need is Love,
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~Eartha Kitt
I must admit I do judge books by their covers and sometimes just the mention of Gee's Bend Quilts in a book review will prompt me to add it to my basket and cross my fingers and hope for the best. Yesterday a few books were delivered from Amazon and I was relieved to see that I had made a few good choices.
Jean Wells has written quite a few books (and I have most of them) but this one is different from the rest. It has a freedom from rulers and requires a leap of faith and follow-your-heart use of intuition that can only be described as liberating.
I wanted to get up from the couch and go sew something. In fact, I have been stockpiling Kona Cotton solids to create some quilts with a different look from my usual fabric collage techniques. If I could stop spinning and obsessing about wool long enough I might get to that.
This book is not filled with projects for us to try to recreate but it is more of a how to learn to let go and allow your eye to see what color needs to be next to another for each piece to sing. Looking around your environment and seeing patterns and shapes to convey in fabric and then quilting patterns, texture and even adding 3-D elements is touched on in several chapters. I especially enjoyed the Unconventional Finishing Methods and her off-the-wall quilts that are mounted over box like frames to hang on the wall.
I believe that cutting fabric up into pieces and then putting them back together to create abstract quilts is so spontaneous and liberating that it seems like it wouldn't be taken seriously by those traditional quilters who work from a perspective of perfection. I am attracted to the wonky, colorful, riot of shapes and as my eye wanders from page to page in this book I really am inspired to do this form of quilting. I am under Jean's spell and I truly do think I can make something like this. That in itself is worth the cover price.
Sometimes I read quilt books and feel like I could never make the wonderful quilts depicted and then I feel depressed and begin to doubt my whole reason for doing what I do. It is a welcome feeling then, not to have that outcome after reading another new book by Nancy Crow titled Crossroads.
This catalog of her solo exhibition at the Snyderman Gallery in Philedelphia (Oct 5-Nov 17 2007) is a glimpse of Nancy's studio, journaling process and a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and see the artist at work. I love the piles of fabric in her workshop literally everywhere the eye can see. As I go deeper into the photographs I see the Indian baskets she has collected and the masks and images that inspire her on display to reinforce the patterns and textures she uses in her work.
Again, there is a small voice whispering encouragement and I want to go to my sewing room and create. Nancy has a well developed language of color and her pieces are physically demanding as she climbs a ladder to reach her design wall and coax each fabric to be in harmony or bring out the best in it's neighbor. I am impressed with her vast stash of hand dyed fabrics and the gelatin mono printed fabrics make me want to try that again. This is another quilter who has grown saturated with traditional quilting and taken a journey into modern art through the use of pattern, color and stitches. It made me go back to Amazon and order her most recent book titled Nancy Crow.
My local Barnes & Noble only had one copy and when I went back to get it, of course it was gone. Maybe I can get some sewing done in the time it takes to be delivered. Well, maybe after I look through this last new book, one more time.
Quilting Art by Spike Gillespie is a beautifully executed book with inspiration provided by 20 contemporary quilters who when seen side by side offers a delightful escape from the average how to quilt book. It was like a trip to a gallery where each room is filled with quilts as diverse and imaginative as possible. I reluctantly turn each page, sometimes going back to look again at something my mind was trying to decipher.
Wait, was that painted? Discharged? Quilted, then painted? How did Margot Lovinger create her stunning quilted portraits of women by layering organza, tulle and chiffon?
Now I am feeling intimidated by artistry that seems more like paintings than quilting. I turn back a few pages to Loretta Bennett whose Gees Bend style quilts make me feel simple and comforted again. Turning ahead I savor quilts by Malka Dubrawsky, one of my own personal heroes who says not to worry about colors "going together" and be liberated and it shouldn't be something I have to worry about. OK, why not?
All these women speak of how they got to where they are and I can't help but consider all those other women out there quietly dancing in their own sewing rooms (or kitchens, living rooms or make shift creative spaces) as they put colors together without rulers or patterns.
Allowing the freedom to fill them with possibility.
Having the courage to make mistakes and leave them in, knowing that it will add interest and not detract from the simple beauty of their design abandonment.
How will I grow and change as I soak up this new input?
Will I be a better quilter because of it?
I have a sense of the years spreading out before me, where I spend countless hours cutting, stitching, embellishing and working out the message that I have in fabric.
It isn't something that can be accomplished overnight, no matter how you chose to create your quilts. It all takes time and they are all beautiful, even the most humble quilt, because of the labor of love that is required to create them.
The next time you find yourself sitting crossed legged on the floor beneath the quilt books at your local bookstore, think of me and know that if I were with you, I'd share in the delight of seeing fresh modern quilts and I'd say "try it, you might enjoy it."
After all, you can always go back to the way you have always done it.
What's to lose?
You might Grow.
I think I'll go get my stitch on.
have a happy friday,
xo, calamity kim
i find my inspiration in:
* that first steaming cup of coffee in the morning - the one i get while still in my jammies and the only sound i can hear is the whistle buoy in the bay out back.
* the fog creeping through the mossy spruce trees and around the laundry on the clothesline.
* sharpening my coloured pencils with that little silver hand sharpener and watching the peelings curl up.
* taking a new batch of freshly dyed fabrics out of the dryer and ironing them, and really seeing what has happened on them for the first time.
* you. honest. you were the first blog i ever found, and i read every single post. i'd never heard of blogging. just a few months ago you opened a door for me that has led to so many wonderful places, challenges, things i never thought i'd ever try.
So, Deb Christensen, let me have some info please- the link to your blog didn't work- need your email.
She made me see each sentence in my mind and that's inspirational. I also felt the same way when I first found blogs and couldn't stop reading them and telling anyone who would listen about them!
Everyone else, we all seem to be inspired by alot of the same things- fabrics, nature, other blogs, books and family.
Thank you all for taking the time to comment, I wish I had a book for all of you.
Soon there will be more giveaway fun with Mermaid Week and the Bernina Name contest so make sure you keep checking in with me.
I have been going non-stop since Sunday and this morning as I drank my coffee and contemplated the day, I thought that I felt a chill- it's actually 46 degrees here and as I flip on the heat, I think about winter and how much I used to enjoy it- at least the first snowfall and then I would curse and huddle and shiver.
Trying to stay warm in that icy blast of bone numbing cold that came next,
towards January and Feb and sometimes last as long as May.
Praying for sunshine and the thrill of joy at the first crocus or daffodil pushing up through the melting snow.
Yesterday, two friends and I cruised through a few Thrift Shops that are near Picasso Moon, downtown, after being told by another friend that "there were these little children holding flowers that you might like" and so I did like them and brought them home to live with me for a while.
We have a wonderful Scandinavian Shop here (sign up for their catalog) in Sarasota (on Gulfgate Dr) and I shop there periodically, mostly looking for gnomes (they have the best!) and books and cards by Elsa Beskow and I recently found this place mat that I used as a backdrop for these photos. There is no sunshine today but the light is better than inside where I took these first images .
The yellow light seems warm and comforting, just as the house gets the chill removed by the heat coming through the system, as I sip hot coffee that soothes my throat and radiates heat from my insides out.
To get to wear long sleeves, socks and pants is a novelty that I rarely enjoy and I hope that it stays cool for a few days more days. Then I will welcome back that Florida sunshine while enjoying the flowers that bloom all year and hopefully jump-start myself from this cocoon of immobility that I find myself in. I feel like curling up on the couch and reading...I'm not interested in making anything...I started a new book- The Lace Reader by
Brunonia Barry and I am intrigued with her characters as they pull me in to their world. (check out her website and Blog too)
I lived for a brief time in Beverly, Mass and often made the short trip to Salem and would walk around the Commons and peer in shop windows, imagining the people who had stood on the same cobblestones hundreds of years before me and what their lives must have been like.
Maybe that's why I love old, wooden things...from the living tree, shaped by craftsman's hands into sweet figurines that whisper their stories if you only stop long enough to listen. The history in those old things speaks to me just as the wind is blowing, the rattle of leaves across the patio out back stirs me from my daydream. I was staring off into space, lost in memories of Salem and Asheville and Sarasota...if I were a witch it would be my trinity of homes.
Maybe just one more cup of coffee and I can turn on more lights and begin that artistic dance today, sometimes, just going in my sewing room helps awaken the sleeping muse and I can create...
Stay warm, all of my friends to the North...until your own flowers begin to bloom...
hot cocoa and knitted scarves...
When I sit here and type, my eyes often wander towards the bookcases filled with dreams. Each person that wrote their book, that I have read and saved to be read again, had a dream. On the second shelf, close to the right end are my "Books By Wonderful Women" section.
Mary Jane Butters is next to Amy Sedaris and Rachel Ashwell is snuggled next to Jo Packham author of "Where Women Create" who whispers to Edith Holden's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.
If I were castaway on a deserted island and could have my books, these would be some of the ones I'd want to have with me for the rest of my days.
Now, I must add Where Women Create Magazine to my list, because it gives you the same wonderful sense of making new friends who treasure the same ephemera and baubles as we do and can visualize creating something sweet and wonderful from a handful of buttons, several old doilies and a length of ribbon.
(I picked it up at Barnes & Noble Booksellers this weekend after our adventure to see the new Kohl's, the Mr's retaliation Gun Shop and Best Buy. It's rare that we "go shopping" together and I just wanted his company and sense of direction while searching for the new Kohl's- which didn't impress me at all! Maybe, I am too used to going to Thrift Shops and repurposing my clothes because it all
looked bland and cheap to me.)
So finding this magazine gave me JOY after a rather disappointing day.
I really didn't get to read it until today and once I started, I couldn't stop!
Page after page of lovely and inspiring female Artist's homes and studios on that heavy and hand-happy paper that Stampington's uses for all its glorious publications.
I will be making room for this new publication and keeping it with Artful Blogging and Apronology when it comes out in Feb.
Did I tell you I submitted 2 aprons to be considered?
I did and can hardly wait to see how they present them.
Feb seems a long wait but I have Where Women Create until then to keep me inspired and content.
I think you'll like it too.
Let me know if you get one and we'll chat about Mary Jane Butters and Jenny Doh and Sally Jean.
I am so happy that Jo Packham took this path and am thankful to be along to witness the creative journey she travels with this publication.
It helps tremendously to have inspiration at your fingertips when you aren't sure what to make or don't feel the muse.
She's there, just waiting on your bookshelf...go wake her up and dance!
oh, and just for fun- if you are new to Calamity Kim's Blog maybe you might want to see the creative chaos that I work in- Here is the link to a slideshow of my sewing room in all it's many transitions- please feel free to speed it up or slow it down using the prompts provided by Flickr.
Those of you who read my Blog frequently know that I love to share my fellow craft Bloggers work and over the years since I began this Blog I have mentioned my friend Vicki of Turkeyfeathers more than a few times.
I think that her Blog is a sweet reflection of her life and skills as a Mother, a quilter, an embroiderer and overall creative Artful Life Liver.
No, that doesn't sound right!
Artful Life Living Chick.
She lives an Artful Life.
*please excuse my tired little mind.*
I have been sewing up a storm to get the swap quilts finished and still have much to do before I rest.
Anyway, I was so thrilled to learn that Vicki had been writing a book and then she announced on her Blog that it was ready for purchase so i immediately bought one (last Sat morning- only $19.99 plus shipping!) and within 4 days (not counting Sun) I had it delivered to my door and was holding it in my hot little hands.
It is amazing that she not only wrote it, but conceived it and did all the photography and there are 40+ projects (to delightfully keep any needle worker busy and happy for a while) and used something called Createspace to publish it herself!!
The premise is that she found a blanket at a thrift shop and began making projects with it and now has nothing but a pile of scraps in a basket and a big pile of cuteness ready to be cuddled and cherished by anyone lucky enough to receive one! I really love the baby shoes project
and the little vintage lamb and duck just make me smile!
One of my goals is to make everything in the book!
Vicki has started a Flickr Group (link) for anyone who gets the book and makes any of the projects.
So, how wonderful is that?
A world where you can Blog and share your Art and Style and teach your skills to others and then to make it all seem real- Write and Publish your very own book!
I am so proud of her!
She worked hard and it shows!
This book is delightfully written and each project has a pattern and is laid out step by step and it makes it look easy and fun!
The cover is a glossy shiny slick look and the pages inside are matte and nice to the touch. The pictures are lovely.
I can't wait to get started- maybe I can make a few before the Holidays!
(I have a pink on one side and blue on the other wool blanket that will be wonderful transformed into these projects.)
Thank you Vicki for writing this book.
You ROCK, Sistah!
My life is enhanced by the Bloggers who are in it and I love them, sight unseen with a complete and loving sense of friendship that is rarely found.
There is something about opening up a page into someone else's life and sharing through their words, their photos, their handmade objects, that are stitched with love and patience.
I feel as though I know them better in some ways, than the people I have actually do know in my life. Maybe that's my overactive immagination but that's how I feel.
It seems so real- and it is!
This book in my hands is my friends words, projects, photos-it's her in a book!
How cool is that?
It's a wonderful world.
Love & Stitches,
I was delighted to find A Is For Apron's by Nathalie Mornu at the bookseller's shop last night. It is 144 pages of Apron love! Published by Lark books (from my hometown Asheville) and featuring 25 "fresh and flirty designs".
I love the first section of the book which tells a bit of apron history and then the 6 pages of vintage aprons made me swoon!
I have loved aprons since I was a young girl tagging along after my Grandmother as she went about her daily chores.
Whether she was gardening, hanging out laundry or just on the front porch in her rocking chair waiting for the humming birds to come, she was wearing an apron.
My Great Granny also always had an apron on and her pockets held small peppermints or sometimes a quarter or a button and I would sneak my small hand in and giggle as I chose my prize!
My Mom also wore an apron, quickly put on over her skirt and blouse as she came home from work to fix dinner and wash the dishes.
They all were well worn and slightly faded from use.
They symbolize love to me.
So it was delightful to find a new book devoted to one of my favorite things to make. Happy Mother's Day to me!!!
With fun names like Cakeland, Lemon Meringue, Summertime Blues, Marie Antoinette and Fairy Tale, I flip through the book quickly to give it that first mental review.
Yes, it is a good book.
Then slowly more deliberately, I go back and really read each description.
Will I use this book?
Probably some element, like a pocket or a undulating bottom edge.
I am truthfully sad that I am not in it. Big shot apron lover and creator like me...but I realize that I am a novice and have not yet paid my dues. I need to write articles and submit them and then we shall see if I can get an apron in a book!
I will say to keep an eye out for the July/August Cloth Paper Scissors Issue that will have a little art apron from me (how exciting is that?!!)
Anyway, I do like the patterns and some of the fabrics that they used are charming but they are a little plain for me. You know how I like to gussy everything up! I do think that the patterns used are fun and doable by sewers of every level.
Whether it's your first apron or your tenth you could whip any of these in time for your dinner party tonight. There are some sweet children's size aprons and I love the fairy tale one with embroidered mushrooms and a rabbit and flowers.
All in all it is a great book! I'm putting it on my craft book shelf right beside The Apron Book by EllyAnne Geisel.
So, go get yourself one! Amazon has a good price, but if you can't wait for shipping I found it on one of the tables with the new books at the front of Barnes & Noble. Have fun getting your apron love on!
once, at Goodwill, I found a pile of these and bought them all.
I was charmed by the symbolic meaning of the colors and loved the green especially...now, this is the last one that I have because I gave them all away... I enjoy the meaning behind the gift.
I wish our American Culture had something similar.
I prefer this to a store bought gift.
But I guess I am not like everyone else.
My bling is usually mica sparkling in a river rock or simple, like these glass beads on a pin.
Very humble but full of meaning.
To wear a beaded love letter and shyly say yes, I got it from my love.
Read more about the history and meaning of the Zulu Love Letter here
I Googled it and found a book published by Interweave Press:
Zulu Inspired beadwork.
It mentions the zulu love letter pins.
Need to add it to my wish list...
My obsession with chickens has run afowl...sorry, if I pullet your leg!
I spend way too much time looking for images of chickens and trying to learn their names and how to transform them into fabric.
I purchased a book by Kaffe Fassett and it had some of Janet Bolton's work inside. I feel like I want to explore this simple appliqué style. I need to try it.
There was a copy of her book In A Patchwork Garden and I had to buy it.
So if I get the image of chickens in my brain perhaps I can do this.
I have a list of things to work on and this isn't on it.
I get so obsessed with things- I can't rest until I make it.
I am amazed at just how many varieties of chickens there are. I can make one with black and white toile and it would look just like the fellow above.
Oh, but how about this magnificent fowl?
A patchwork of deeply rich tones, I can see him in silk and satin.
Maybe tweed or iridescent dupioni.
We'll see what happens.
I am still folding and ironing and organizing. We took a break and ordered a white pie from Il Panificio pizza and I ran in the bookstore downtown and got the newest Marie Claire Idees.
I love that magazine so very much, it is always full of the most gorgeous things- IDEES!!! I am going to prescribe to it soon. So that I can just get it in the mailbox and not have to hunt it down every few months. The stress couldn't be good for me- or poor Fred! Just trying to park downtown, sometimes is a major pain in the neck!
Anyway, just thought I'd say hi.
Tomorrow I am going to try to finish the room and work out some sketches of chickens...and finish the things I need to and then begin free range quilting.
So, let me know if you have any Jane Bolton books or have taken any of her classes or seen her work on exhibit. I spotted an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors about her and have been to her website. But, that just isn't enough information. I need more.
I am home.I got here at about 9:30 on Wed night. There was so much construction in Georgia and it was 50 mph most of the way on hwy 75. I walked into a house so clean and sweet smelling and happy and cheerful. Fred was so glad to see me- he even emptied the car for me!
As I walked around and remembered everything about my life here I felt a calmness wash over me. To hurl down the highway at 70mph is not my natural state- I like the adrenaline rush of driving fast but after 10 hours I was exhausted. Wrung out.
Sometimes it is nice to go away and have new experiences that make you feel thankful and grateful for your own home. I love my parents but have been gone for 30 years. I respect their wishes not to be written about, so all I can say is that it was nice to see them and hug their necks and spend time with them again.
Charlie the poodle is delightful and keeps them both busy and entertained- I secretly think that he must have run away from a circus somewhere because he can walk backwards on his back legs and could probably balance a cat and a rat and a ball if you were to start stacking them up on his nose!!
My neighbor is ringing the doorbell- she is 6 and has missed me something fierce! I have to go say hi and fix dinner and then I will be back to add some more to this post....OK, so last night got a little outta hand! It took me longer to cook and play and read the new Quilting Arts magazine and re-watch 4 episodes of LOST with Fred than I thought!
I think that each issue is like a small art book- I always, ALWAYS learn something new! It always seems fresh and exciting! There is also a new Green Challenge- using what you have to create a quilt square.
I finished the Scarlett Felt Blue square yesterday and took the pictures and emailed them to Barbara at CPS- I was so excited/confused/intrigued by this challenge and I kept thinking this can't be right until I finally just went with it and ran the gauntlet and fell out the other side- Layering the fabric, paper and tissue paper with glue and then painting it seemed pointless- I kept thinking that it would only be viable if you could see the paper ephemera under the fabric but it was too thick- and the tissue side was too icky looking! I kept the fabric side up and after I used Amanda's paints and watercolor crayons on it I could see where this was going. But all my issues of Cloth Paper Scissors were at home and unavailable to help me- I went with what I knew and did my best given the circumstances and at least I felt stretched and uncomfortable and that signals growth.
I bought Beryl Taylors book titled Mixed Media Explorations and then I saw! I knew what the finished look might have entailed- oh, well, that is what happens when you work sight unseen- I should have Googled Beryl's work- shoulda woulda coulda- the point was to accept the Challenge and Create! Moth Girl knew that she was happy to see me, she had gotten quite lonely here waiting for me to return. I introduced her to Scarlett, who we all know was feeling blue, too. They are fast becoming friends and I promised them that I wouldn't leave for a long time.
So, Beryl's book is great to help with the artistic expansion of your mixed media collage skills- I like the way that it shows a picture of the technique and then describes how its done. Easy! Or so it seems! I am getting some more Crayola Modeling air dry modeling paste to use for stamping designs and I already have some Shiva paint sticks. We just got new phone books and I told Fred not to throw them out because I could use them for ART.
He just shook his head and a tiny smile appeared at the corner of his mouth.
I really want to kiss that spot and then go get out the glue and fabric and tissue and play but we are gonna go take a walk on the beach- my little friend from across the street is going with us- we are going to gather some shells. I have a project that is in the works for my friend Jude and it needs some little cocquina shells...it is a bright and sunny day and the beach might be crowded but hopefully we will be able to find a spot to park...I can save unpacking for later.what's your wish for today?
Yesterday, as I was walking Charlie, I thought about what I need to be able to create.
You know, the parameters of the environment suitable for creativity.
I brought bins of fabric, rotary cutter, mat, rulers, books, patterns, ideas, buttons, scissors, everything. Everything.
But I feel out of place. Up rooted.
Thrown to the wind. At first I slept late, hard and heavy. Then, I woke this morning at 6am and got up and made coffee. Ready to start a new day. I brought a stack of books with me.
I had begun The Persian Pickle Club in Sarasota and was about halfway through when I lost it.
I mean,the house swallowed it up in one brief moment when I wasn't looking and I have searched everywhere.
I don't remember seeing it since the car dealer where we waited for at least an hour while Mom's car was serviced. Sometimes, I admit, I skip to the last page in an attempt to see if it gives a clue to the resolution.
I know this may be considered cheating, but I could get hit by a train and not ever know how it ended.
In my defense, I don't Always do it.
Thank goodness I skipped ahead and read the last sentence, now, if it is lost forever, I won't mind so much.
I was making friends with all the ladies in the quilt group that gives the book its name, however, and I will miss Queenie Bean. Such a dear friend.
I am borrowing pictures from Flickr to illustrate my Sunday Morning Post, as I haven't taken any new pictures and it is cloudy and gray this morning.
So, I opened up Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and once I met the Waverley Sisters, I couldn't stop reading and finished it night before last at about 3am. I had taken a nap earlier and couldn't sleep once in bed. I was attracted to Garden Spells by the beautiful photograph and silky jacket paper.
I looked on the back fly leaf and saw that the author was from Asheville. That sealed the deal and I recommend it to anyone who likes gardening and believes that flowers and herbs have properties that affect you physically and psychologically.
The first time I ever saw edible flowers was in the butter plate at a restaurant called The Alley Cat Cafe. This was always a unique dining experience and not just a place to go eat.
Sitting under the huge canopies provided by the Fl Live Oak trees with vintage pumps and purses (made into flower pots and spilling ferns and flowers out like lace and gloves), nailed to the trees and providing delight as the thousands of tiny lights strung in those branches gave a cheery glow to the occasion . Does that paint the picture?
I wish I had one.
I have my memories and as I try to clumsily share them with you, I wish you could go there with me.
Sitting outside under those giant oaks, at tables set with mismatched chairs and china and lovely linens and heavy silver, sipping exotic drinks from the bar or sweet tea with lots of ice, because though the breeze lightly lifts the heavy humidity, it is usually hot everywhere in Fl. and tea is so refreshing.
I wish you could walk through the gardens with me after finishing lunch and see the flowers and herbs and bathtubs planted with geraniums and asparagus ferns and then go into one of the cottages to shop for antiques and sweet curiosities displayed on shabby chic furniture.
I first met April Cornell there and sighed at the beautiful fabrics and handbags and dreamed of buying a dress and crocheted gloves and eyelet umbrella, to wear in that garden, ribbons fluttering from my hat. The Alley Cat Cafe was a magical place where I am sure fairies danced in the empty moonlit nights.
Oh,wait, I got blown off course!
Garden Spells is a good read.
I hope Sarah writes a sequel.
want to know what happens to these people.
I can relate to the Sisters and would love to live in an old Victorian with an apple tree that gives the eater visions of the greatest event of their lives. I would love to be a caterer and cook special meals with herbs and flowers and sprinkles of magic.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was loaned to me by my friend Sue Handman. I am enjoying it very much.
It is nice to read about someone else who personifies emotions like Depression and Loneliness, like real people sitting down next to her and smoking and conversing. I think about my friend Melancholy who always hangs out just in the corner of my heart. Sometimes she puts on her party dress and struts around all brash and full of bravado but mostly she lounges on the fainting couch nursing her gin and tonica. Of course, Elizabeth writes way better than me!
This book is about her year after her divorce.
She spent 4 months in Italy, 4 in India and 4 in Indonesia.
It is also a good read. I am on an adventure with her. Sharing her pain.
Anything is better than thinking about what is happening. I can't write about my family. It is just too personal for this forum. Too private. Too Painful. 3 p's.
But I can tell you that I am praying.
As I falter at sewing, I pray.
My sewing is an escape.
A lovely selfish escape.
I can't see anything else, as I narrow my focus like a kid with a magnifying glass trained on an ant, praying for sunshine.
I must put it aside for a moment and pay attention.
God is telling me to pay attention.
Listening and hearing are two different things and I realize I need to listen more.
I hear what I want.
It filters through their experiences stored in their memories and may not come out the same as the speaker intended.
We make it into what we think.
Twisting the words into arrows we are sure were meant to strike our hearts.
Our language doesn't have enough words to describe some of our emotions.
Can someone make up some new ones that really make you feel the emotion in the word that describes despair?
To be void of Hope.
Well, that doesn't quite plummet the depths of despair.
I, I, I.
This isn't about me.
This is about finding the right words to utter to communicate the feelings.
A sad-big-eyed kitten. A tree standing bare and alone.***
So, I am cooking dinners and washing dishes and trying to be a good daughter.
As I live my life I will read until I am blind and then I will listen to books on tape.
Sharing other peoples lives through their word pictures embroidered on the blank pages of my day.
I am thankful to have this laptop with me but it is so different than the computer at home.
I must bang the keys hard with my fingertips and the spacebarsticksoften just to frustrate me and make me go back and re read it.
It is just something else being difficult. It all is. It never seems to be easy.
It doesn't glide.
Checking the words.
is this what I want to say?
Is this the right word?
My friends reading this miss my quilts and dolls and crafty how-to's, but understand. Please know that I will write you and say thanks for the comments.
Time to write.
Time to spend.
Fragile, fragmented time.
***ROSE PETAL SCONES***
rose petal -- encourages love...
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsalted coarsely ground pistachio nuts
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs rose water
Tbs edible rose petals - finely shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter and mix until crumbly.
Stir in the pistachios.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream and the rose water.
Stir in the shredded rose petals.
Add the cream-rose mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
***STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN***
nasturtium -- promotes appetite in men, makes women secretive...
1 pork tenderloin, 1 to 2 pounds
2 ounces goat cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons of nasturtium blossoms, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons chive blossoms, chopped
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper, fresh ground
Split the tenderloin lengthwise down the middle, cutting about 2/3 of the way through. Lay open.
Evenly spread a layer of goat cheese down the center of the tenderloin.
Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of nasturtium and chive blossoms and a single row of rosemary foliage down the center of the tenderloin. Using kitchen twine, close the tenderloin back up and tie it together.
Brush the outside of the meat lightly with olive oil, then roll it in fresh ground salt and pepper and the remaining blossoms and rosemary foliage.
Place into an ungreased cooking pan and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until a meat thermometer reaches 140 degrees.
lavender -- raises spirits and prevents bad decisions resulting from fatigue or depression...
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped culinary lavender
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Heat to a simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt;
stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lavender until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a wooden pick inserted into the crown of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
dandelion -- a stimulant encouraging faithfulness...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9" pie tin or baking dish.
Coat with bread crumbs.
Fill with alternating layers of:
Dandelion greens, precooked until tender
Cheddar cheese, grated
Bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled (optional)
Onion, diced and sauteed till translucent
Beat together: 3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cream or half and half
3 large eggs
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pour over other ingredients.
Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly to set.
-- when used with other edible flowers, it confuses the eater, thus concealing the true nature of what you are doing...
1-1/2 cups fresh mint
2 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
3 oz liquid pectin
Green food coloring
Rinse the mint (stems and leaves).
Place in large pot and crush with a masher.
Add water and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and a couple drops of food coloring and mix.
Add the sugar and mix well.
Put pot back on stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Once it comes to a boil, stir in the pectin and mix.
Boil for 1 additional minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, skim off foam with a metal spoon and quickly pour into hot sterilized jars.
Seal with hot lids.
*** CHIVE BLOSSOM VINEGAR
chive blossom -- ensures you will win an argument...conveniently, also an antidote for hurt feelings...
For every 2 cups packed fresh chive blossoms, you will need 2 cups white vinegar. Bring vinegar just to boil, but do not boil.
Pour over chive blossoms.
Let stand in rock or large glass bowl or bottle in a cool, dark place for one week.
Strain vinegar, discard blossoms.
Transfer to bottles and add sprig of fresh chive blossom to each bottle.
Flavorful and pretty pink color. (recipe from cooks.com)
Olivier's Faded Blue Book: The Little Prince Today "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms" (Muriel Rukeyser)
His hair is still a mass of curls which hug his head like a fluffy golden halo. He is still diminutive and child-like, yet regal in his princely robes of blue and red. However, despite all appearances, the "extraordinary little man" of whom Saint ExupÃ©ry wrote is now 60 years old.
This April 6th marked the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Little Prince which was written in the Bevin House on Eaton's Neck.
To commemorate this event, Harcourt has released a wonderful collector's edition of this beloved classic. Richard Howard's new translation of the book is housed within a deep blue cloth slipcase with embossed gold lettering. A matching blue satin ribbon serves as a bookmark. Inside is a bookplate perfect for a dedication.
As Saint ExupÃ©ry predicted, The Little Prince remains very much alive in our hearts and our collective consciousness. In France, where The Little Prince was recently chosen as the book of the century, many famous places bear the name of Saint ExupÃ©ry, such as the Lyon Saint ExupÃ©ry International Airport, renamed in his honor on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Until recent attempts to standardize currency across Europe with the introduction of the Euro, Saint ExupÃ©ry and the Little Prince's images adorned the colorful 50 franc note. These bills, once omnipresent in France, are now highly collectible. This is especially true of some early notes were produced with an error. The notes were flawed by the inclusion of an accent over the capital E in ExupÃ©ry and now sell for as much as several hundred dollars.
The book continues to sell at a prodigious rate and with the addition of the 60th anniversary edition, Harcourt itself now offers four versions in English. According to the official French website for The Little Prince, the book has already been translated into 230 languages and dialects and awaits further translations.
The Little Prince will one day travel to previously unknown heights when a copy of the book accompanies French astronaut, Philippe Perrin on the space shuttle, the Endeavour. During this historic mission, Perrin will become the first European to spacewalk from the International Space Station.
Last October 2002, Le Petit Prince took on its latest incarnation as a musical "spectacle" produced by Victor Bosch which premiered at the Casino de Paris. Charles de Castelbajac's spectacular costumes capture the magic of the pastel tints of Saint ExupÃ©ry's original watercolors. Daniel Lavoie, a Canadian who previously starred in the highly successful Notre Dame de Paris, plays the aviator and the role of the Little Prince is played by a red-haired 13-year-old known simply as "Jeff." Jeff was perhaps destined to play the role of the Little Prince, having grown up in Lyon opposite the house where Saint ExupÃ©ry was born.
Closer to home, an opera based on The Little Prince will debut at the Houston Grand Opera House this May. It is the work of Rachel Portman, the British composer, known for her Academy award-winning musical scores for the films Chocolat, Emma and The Cider House Rules.
In Japan, where the Little Prince and Saint ExupÃ©ry are deeply loved, one can visit the Museum of Saint ExupÃ©ry and the Little Prince in Hakone. This museum, housed in a building that resembles a French villa, consists of various sections or halls, each devoted to different aspects of Saint ExupÃ©ry's life and the story. For example, in the Display Hall, one can wander through rooms which trace the different epoques of Saint ExupÃ©ry's life, including a room which replicates the one he occupied as a child. Visitors to the museum can also listen to a recording of Saint
ExupÃ©ry's voice and see letters he illustrated. In the Image Hall, the story of The Little Prince is presented at regular intervals in Japanese.
Why has this book remained so popular all these years? What is it about the story that has touched so many lives and made the book so unforgettable? To answer this question, readers from around the world were asked to describe their favorite part of the story and what the book has meant to them.
The book is frequently given as a gift to commemorate rites of passage, such as birthdays, graduations and weddings, and more often than not, there is an inscription. Many people still have their original copy. Part of the magic of this story is that one can read it countless times, and at different times in one's life, and each time discover something new.
One Canadian said he listens to a recording of the book every night before going to sleep. Another man indicated that he feels a wonderful connection with readers around the world by collecting the various foreign editions. A very common thread was that people often turned to the book in times of low morale.
This story, written by Saint ExupÃ©ry when he was desperately sad and far from his beloved France, somehow has had the power to lift people's spirits. Is it the kinship that is felt with someone else who has also known great loss? Saint ExupÃ©ry, in the guise of the fox, wrote poetically about what causes us to become attached to others and of how the work we put into our relationships develops into the most cherished feelings of love and friendship. These are the essential threads that tie one human to another, and they are in fact "invisible to the eye." Saint ExupÃ©ry also wrote of the counterpart to these beautiful feelings: aching loss.
Saint ExupÃ©ry had also known loss intimately. He lost his father at a very early age and his beloved younger brother, FranÃ§ois, died at age 14. Saint ExupÃ©ry was also sadly acquainted with a loss of another kind: the loss of dreams.
Perhaps it was this kind of loss that Saint ExupÃ©ry experienced when he was told, at 44 years of age, that he was too old to continue flying. Perhaps Saint ExupÃ©ry expressed it best when he said, "It is such a secret place, the land of tears."
In The Little Prince, the aviator comes to care deeply for the little man whose stories of his travels around the universe teach the aviator what is truly important in life.
As the Little Prince's life slips away like sand from an hourglass, the aviator cannot stop it. Nothing can assuage the aviator's uncertainty as to what happened to his Little Prince.
There is perhaps no loss that rivals that of not knowing the fate of a loved one.
The following story was selected as one of the best recollections from readers around the world asked to describe their feelings and impressions of The Little Prince:
In the summer of 1946, 9-year-old Olivier Maurel of Toulon, France, the youngest of six children, received a most unforgettable gift. This unexpected offering came from his sister and "marraine" (godmother) whom he both adored and revered. In fact, Micheline, who is 20 years older than Olivier, was a rather mythical figure in the family because she had served in the French Resistance during WW II and actually had been deported to Germany.
Her return to the family in May of 1945 was considered a miracle. Olivier recalls that his father was at work in the garden when he heard a bell at the gate. Seeing an ambulance, he feared the worst, but Micheline, although exhausted, was very much alive! Alerted by a neighbor, Olivier ran home from school as quickly as he did the first day that Toulon was bombed, but this time with his heart full of joy.
The treasure that Micheline bestowed on her youngest brother a year later was a first edition of Le Petit Prince published in France after the war by Gallimard. The dedication read: Lyon, 1946. To my little brother, Olivier, so that he can read it and have it read to both children and grown-ups. Kisses from your old sister-godmother." Olivier remembers being a bit surprised and disconcerted by the story of The Little Prince.
The Little Prince's adventures were quite unlike those of the typical characters of the storybooks that he was accustomed to reading.
He found both the concept of a little person wandering around an almost empty universe, and the ending to be a bit sad. He was amused by the Little Prince's daily task of cleaning the volcanoes and the lamplighter's job. But more importantly, Olivier said it was the first time he had ever heard a writer speak of the difficulty that adults have in understanding children. For Olivier, the isolation and loneliness that the Little Prince experienced is perhaps symbolic of the solitude that is intrinsic to the secret world that is childhood. As Olivier grew into adolescence, he read the book again and other parts of the book, appropriate to what Olivier calls "l'epoque des amitiÃ©s et des amours" (the time of friendship and love), deeply moved him, such as the story of the rose and the taming of the fox.
Today, Olivier is a father of five children and has seven grandchildren. Having retired from his position as a professor of French, he continues to "think clearly with his heart" by writing books advocating non-violence and compassionate discipline of children. His beloved sister is now 86 years old.
The extraordinary and courageous Micheline wrote and published several books during her lifetime. Her award-winning first book, Un Camp TrÃ¨s Ordinaire (A Very Ordinary Camp), told of her life in a prison camp in Germany.
Amazingly, while imprisoned, Micheline wrote poetry about the home and brothers that she missed so much and a collection of her evocative poems were later published. Olivier still has his original copy of Le Petit Prince, published in 1945. In this slim volume, "d'un bleu passÃ©" (of faded blue) here and there, are phrases that Olivier underlined as an adolescent. Saint ExupÃ©ry dedicated the book to LÃ©on Werth, his dear friend who remained in France during the war, reminding us that "all grown-ups were once children â€” although few of them remember it."
Olivier is still moved by this dedication because of the importance and value that Saint ExupÃ©ry attributed to children and their perception of the world. For Olivier, the book remains popular today because of Saint ExupÃ©ry's drawings, which are to him more allusive than descriptive, and because of the real spirit of childhood captured within its pages.
The above excerpt is from a forthcoming book about Saint ExupÃ©ry and The Little Prince by Elise Pearlman.