Friday, February 27

photography : jenny wicks

I have my google account set up to send me daily updates of news articles related to CF.* Today CF intertwined with my favorite form of artistic expression, photography! Jenny Wicks, a photographer from the UK, has done a project entitled "Root Ginger." It explores the social, genetic and geographic aspects of red haired individuals.

| Photograph © Jenny Wicks |

The best part is that the proceeds from the various mediums (book, film, exhibition) all go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (UK's version of our Cystic Fibrosis Foundation). How great is that?! Take a minute to look through some of her photographs, they're quite beautiful.

| Photograph © Jenny Wicks |

It's a rainy Friday here. I'm hoping that just means a really green spring. Well, I better get a move on things, I've got a book waiting for me at the library and a gym that needs some working out (or maybe it's me who needs some working out AT the gym!).

* CF=cystic fibrosis

Tuesday, February 24

Happy Fauschnaut Day!

"According to Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, the tradition of serving fastnachts - hearty, doughnut-like pastries - comes from the tradition of "using up the fat in the kitchen" before Lent."

And so today, in honor of Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Fastnacht Day (spelled many ways) I decided to make some! I told myself that I wasn't going to demand perfection, just the act of having the courage to try it was enough. It's amazing what happens when you give yourself that kind of freedom. It was so enjoyable. I made about 2 dozen little fried up dough squares, sprinkled them with powdered sugar and shared them with the Salon below us. And they were quite yummy to boot!

Monday, February 23

it's the start of something, i can feel it

Rumblings. I feel rumblings. Good ones.

I was recently blessed with a few extra hours in my day and because of that decided to start reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. This was one of the many books I bought in college because it was on the syllabus, but never got around to actually reading. Now, nearly 7 years later, I've picked up with every intention of following through this time.

This morning was my first stab at it. It's basically a 12 week course on "discovering and recovering your creative self." Yes, I know, it sounds a bit hokey. But it's really not. There's a reading for each week, a daily writing assignment as well as a weekly tasks and a required "artist date." Four months of trying to figure out where my creativity went, how to get it back and how to nurture it.

The reading this morning for the week was about "shadow artists." The idea that so many people who truly have the ability to be artists, lack the confidence to actually realize that and so become shadow artists, "unable to recognize that they themselves may possess the creativity they so admire... shadow artists often choose shadow careers - those close to the desired art, even parallel to it, but not the art itself." {pg 27}

Many of the weeks activities at the end of the chapter relate to identifying negative beliefs about yourself and your art and turning them into affirmative statements. I like to think of myself as pretty confident, but when I really started to think about myself in relation to my art I realized that I have a very difficult time coming up with positive thoughts. I'm usually critical of my own work and tend to undermine it without even realizing that's what I'm doing. Even the compliments I do get, I invalidate by saying, "Well, they're not a trained eye. They don't really know what they're looking at. They would think anything looked good. If they knew what they were talking about they would realize this is crappy work." Okay, maybe I DO have somethings I need to fix about my thinking.

So I walked away from this morning's little study session ruminating on these quotes:

"Creative recovery is like marathon training (hey! something I CAN do). We want to be great - immediately great - but that is not how recovery works. It is an awkward, tentative, even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won't look good - to ourselves or to anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do (what? I don't do that... noooo). It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time (whoaaa... revelation)." {pg 29}

"Give yourself permission to be a beginner." (this is hard for me. i want it to be perfect right off the bat) {pg 30}

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

Thursday, February 19

for inspiration | and a general mulling over

{christ and mary from the Corita Art Center catalog of serigraphs}

I just read a fascinating article on a nun who was a graphic designer. And I liked this quote from Sister Corita:
Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
Consider everything an experiment.
Be self disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self disciplined is to follow in a better way.
Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.
Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

Tuesday, February 17

link trails

Tonight, when I should have been researching prices of Herman Miller chairs, I was looking at blogs. And here's what I stumbled upon and how.

Satsuma Press blog > Seeing the Everyday > Seeing the Everyday blog > Take Out Photo blog > which has some great photography and an interview with Brad Slade who took some awesome pictures for the magazine. I want to post them but I'm not sure I'm really allowed. So you'll just have to go check them out for yourself! (My favorite is the one kneading bread)

Saturday, February 14

a very happy saint valentine's to you

We're having a wonderfully relaxing day around here. After being inspired by a belated birthday gift {from a dear friend} I played around with my camera a bit this morning...

and with Lightroom and Photoshop. | Original photographic credits go to Anthropologie |

Friday, February 13

psa (public service annoucement)

Just in case anyone is wondering, dryers and headphones do not mix. See evidence below.

So here's Friday's Friendly Reminder: check pockets before putting clothes in the wash/dryer. (This is actually dryer victim numero duo. Apparently putting one pair of headphones through the wash cycle wasn't reminder enough)

Wednesday, February 11

answered prayers

More from the BBC article.

What a wonderful answer to prayer, as he is released in time to celebrate his 27th birthday tomorrow.

Monday, February 9

off topic : humbling

This past weekend was full of humbling moments. The most recent of which is actually world wide news by this morning. Saturday evening we were on our way back from a party with friends when my friend asked, "Do you remember Egyptian Phil from Wheaton?"

That may seem like a funny way to ask, but so many Wheaties were from other countries or grew up as missionary kids that it was not at all uncommon to link them together with the country that largely contributed to their identity and personality. I will confess I was often intimidated by these students who spoke at least two languages fluently and seemed to understand cultures and politics far better than I. But those of us who grew up in the States could glean so much from their experiences abroad and they helped to shape the ever widening perspective during our years at Wheaton.

Back to Phil. Yes, I remembered Phil, even if he probably had no clue who I was. "He's been detained for protesting." Really? Huh. Many of my former classmates are living in other countries, involved in social justice issues, so I guess these things are bound to happen. What I wasn't ready for was the amount of articles I would find online the next morning and the first hand accounts of what many were saying was "a kidnapping."

Here I am, sipping my tea in my pajamas with little or no threat to my well being, while a family is desperately trying to find out where the secret police have taken their son and why. I'm humbled when these stories that I often gloss over in the news, now hit closer to home. I know that name. I recognize that person. And then I feel a bit helpless. What can I do from the comfort of my own little desk chair? I can't go protest in Egypt for his release as some are doing, I can't call my contacts at the embassy - I have none. So I am left with the realization that while I am a "doer" and would much rather put things into action, I must sit and pray and wait.

{poster from the facebook group in support of him : portrait courtesy of Tod Roeth}

Here are a handful of blogs/articles that I found:
First hand account
BBC News (which is currently a top story on their middle east page)
Daily News Egypt
Tabula Gaza (Phil's own blog)

Friday, February 6

lunch excursions

Typically during the lunchtime hours, one of two things happens for me. 1) I grab a quick bite and continuing working while I eat or 2) I go to the gym to workout, take a quick shower and rush back to keep working. Last evening I decided that I would take an actual lunch today and step out of the apartment for reasons other than the gym. (on a side note... if it weren't for the gym and church, I could go weeks without ever leaving our place, seriously - especially in the winter)

So today I will venture out into the heat wave of 38°F. Above freezing! Rejoice! Here's a list of my preplanned destinations:

1. Geppetto's Toy Box on Lake Street. This has become my favorite toy shop since we moved here. The owners are great and the selection is wonderful. It's full of European toys made from wood, building blocks, games that actually make you think and have a strategy, puzzles, dress up clothes... it's just great. I have my first baby shower on Saturday so I'm using that as an excuse to shop there and make a purchase for once. What do you get someone who is having twins that's not cheesy?

2. Possible stop at the library. I love my public library. On my list (yes, I like lists) of books to read, suggested by friends: a)Life Signs b) The Wisdom of Tenderness c) Each Little Bird that Sings d) Chasing Vermeer e) The Wright 3 note: the last 3 are children's books

3. Swing into Starbucks for a lovely afternoon pick me up of Apple Chai. Imagine apple cider with caffeine. I'm not usually a big fan of caffeine, I so rarely ingest it that when I do I feel like my mind is buzzing and I have a hard time staying in my seat, BUT... this is so delicious that I'm willing to take the chance.

4. Trader Joe's: we need milk.

Maybe I'll take my camera along and share my jaunt around town. We'll see. Either way, lunch time sounds lovely today.

Thursday, February 5


I added some additional functionality to the blog this morning in the hopes of making it easier to navigate to past posts. Not only is there a search option for you to use, but I've also included a lovely "label cloud." Yes, it is as cool as it sounds - or so I like to think. It's basically like Wordle, but for your blog labels. If you're interested in adding one to your blog, instructions can be found here. Don't hold me to the content on the rest of their blog, but that specific post has great, detailed tips for how to implement it into your HTML template code.

Happy navigating!

Wednesday, February 4

today, many years ago

February 3, 1852 : An excerpt from Henry David Thoreau's Journal

The landscape covered with snow, seen by moonlight from these Cliffs, encased in snowy armor two feet thick, gleaming in the moon and of spotless white. Who can believe that this is the habitable globe? The scenery is wholly arctic. Fair Haven Pond is a Baffin’s Bay. Man must have ascertained the limits of the winter before he ventured to withstand it and not migrate with the birds. No cultivated field, no house, no candle. All is as dreary as the shores of the Frozen Ocean. I can tell where there is wood and where open land for many miles in the horizon by the darkness of the former and whiteness of the latter. The trees, especially the young oaks covered with leaves, stand out distinctly in this bright light from contrast with the snow. It looks as if the snow and ice of the arctic world, traveling like a glacier, had crept down southward and overwhelmed and buried New England. And see if a man can think his summer thoughts now. But the evening star is preparing to set, and I will return. Floundering through snow, sometimes up to my middle.

He makes it sound so poetic and peaceful, almost makes winter sound inviting. Winter is hardly that attractive here in Chicago. The snow is instead covered in the grit and grime of salt trucks and city streets, sidewalks are filled with frozen patches created by melting icicles and the wind whips furiously around corners taking you by surprise.


42 days until Spring starts. I'm counting down.

Tuesday, February 3


If any of you wonder where I get my artistic senses, it is no doubt from my mother, who far surpasses my talent. Just see the proof for yourself: she scored a perfect score on the color test from yesterday!

Amazing. (but I already knew that about her)

Monday, February 2


What a busy, fun, traffic filled, full of friends and food weekend it was! Hope yours was just as enjoyable.

Here's a little something to distract you from the "back to work Monday blues." I found this test browsing this blog and thought it was quite fun. You know you want to try it!

The lower the score the better. Your results show you what areas of the color spectrum are the hardest for you to differentiate. It's pretty hard. I had M do it as well and we both scored the same, with our weakness in the same hue.

Go and do it and come back and share!