Sunday, January 31, 2010

january photo-a-day

hmm, january has 31 days, but still, i managed to have 36 pictures in my photo-a-day folder. here they are as a mosaic. i am loving this project so far! tho' thanks to a stomach virus my photo from the 31st was actually taken by husband. he's pretty good when he's turned loose with the camera.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

a very birdy weekend

this is the best batch of birds yet. and there was a big difference between the snow white sunshine world outside and the light inside. we're off to sweden, catch ya tomorrow evening.

Friday, January 29, 2010

a moment of clarity

i had a moment of clarity today. it hit me that despite much of the world i inhabit revolving around blogging and the community surrounding blogging, there are a whole lot of people out there who know nothing about it and have no access to this world that i can only characterize as fantastic, rich, lively and inspiring. they know nothing of the community that it can bring. a community in which someone who only knows you through your blog, can make something truly beautiful and meaningful for you. a symbol of clarity, just for you. and if you're lucky, you then actually meet that person in person, because she happens to live in the same country you do, which is really just a lucky coincidence, because she could live anywhere. but the fact is she lives within blog camping distance and for that, you are grateful. and you are also very grateful for the clarity symbol.

the clarity symbol that elizabeth made for me.
it's a little red heart-shaped pillow with more symbols on it (that i will use later)
and it resides on my side of the bed during the day.
hopefully, infusing my pillow with clarity for when i sleep.

...and a community in which someone who lives halfway around the world from you, sends you a little bag of stones. stones she collected for you as she scattered her mother's ashes on a canadian beach. stones that are worn smooth and shiny by the pacific ocean. and the fact that she actually thought of you and gathered stones for you (because she knows, from your blog, that you love them) on that day that was undoubtedly full of other thoughts and emotions for her, touches you deeply. and you feel really grateful for the blogosphere and the friendships you have found here. friendships and connections which are just are real (if not more so at times) than those you find in the everyday world which you inhabit. 

photo of the stones VEG sent on the sweet tapas plate BB gave me when we met in december.

and here VEG's stones join all of the other wonderful stones that people sent me from all corners of the world over the past year in my little stone bowl.
i so love that stone in trinsch of et lille øjeblik's handwriting. (and how cool is her handwriting?)
and the blue one is one i felted myself.
oh, and check out the little eyeball stone on the top left - that's from lynne.

have i mentioned that i love the blogosphere?

thank you all for connecting my world.

music for all ages

yesterday, husband's cousin, ulrik bencard, who is a musician, released his first solo album. we were invited to attend the release party, where he performed together with a band, a handful of songs from the album. i had heard his previous album, when he was part of a band called sange i stereo. he's long been playing in various jazz bands around denmark and you can hear those jazz roots in some of the songs from alarm alarm, his new album.

the best part of the release party was the wide range of ages that were present. from ulrik's mother, who is getting close to 80 to his little son who is 7-8 months old. he wasn't all that impressed when his dad started to sing and had to be taken off to a quieter place.

but the most delightful sight of all was of three little boys who stood up in the very front and danced their little hearts out with thorough enjoyment (the little blonde one is ulrik's other son). they were pretty far from me, across a dark room and in constant motion, so this is the best shot i was able to get, grainy as it is (3200 ISO). they absolutely loved the music.

the venue was a really neat old theatre, tho' the room we were in was like a downstairs living room, with mismatched chairs and heavy velvet tablecloths with lace coverings, from some old theatre production, no doubt. a very charming room, filled with people of all ages. and a very eclectic beginning of what we hope will be a successful album.

i have spent the better part of an hour, trying to find a player to embed a couple of songs here with this post, but they are all extremely NOT user-friendly or don't let me protect the music from being lifted, so i had to give up sharing some of the actual songs with you. as soon as it's available on iTunes, i'll update with a link!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the soujournal project

ever since the fabulous stacey childs of disco underworld fame wrote "writing is the new praying," to me in an email, i began to spread it through the blogosphere like a sort of life philosophy. the phrase, which resonates with so many of us, seemed to be begging to have a project attached to it. and somehow, behind the scenes (in this case, via email) - which is where so much of the good stuff goes on - an idea was born. it was inspired a little bit by the 1000 journals project, somewhat by this,  a titch by a project at the brooklyn library, but mostly it was inspired by the notion that writing is the new praying. we got together with B from cuttings on a blog and the soujournal project was born.

the idea is this. we would each start a journal - written/art/whatever - and then exchange them amongst ourselves and continue writing/working in them - sending them off once a month. it is wide open what we want to write and how we want to approach it. eventually, the plan is to open it up and people can "apply" to receive one of the journals and be part of it. in so doing, they'll start a new one and put it into circulation with the group. it was a given that there would be a blog where we would share all of this.

originally, it was to be just the three of us. but the strangest thing happened to me as i was working on mine during the week between christmas and new year's. it kept popping into my head that i should pass mine on to polly. i tried to shake the thought, but it kept coming back, so we decided we had to loop polly into the initial phase of the project. you just can't ignore a feeling that strong, so i'm certain that there's some reason that polly needs to be the one i pass my journal along to. thankfully, when she came to blog camp a couple of weeks ago, she agreed and didn't (at least outwardly) find it too strange that i had this strong feeling about this.

we have all made our initial pages and are at the stage of sending our journals to the others. we have created the soujournal blog and we'll be sharing our pages and our thoughts over there. we have lots of plans for this, but we will reveal those as the journey unfolds. i hope you'll check in and see what we're up to. here's my first page as a teaser. it's also up over on soujournal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

snowstorm leads to thoughts of spring

most of today, it was like this outside:

i actually took this shot from safely INSIDE the house, tho' i did have to have the window open wide. but only briefly.  anyway, thanks to this, i stayed inside all day, drinking tea and pursuing all sorts of goodness on flickr. i love to make mosaics and see what it is that's catching my eye. as you can see, i'm a little bit in need of fresh, bright spring colors:

1. Allium Flora journal cover design, 2. Mum's quilt finished!, 3. Whit's Knits: Crocheted Stash Basket, 4. Florida Postcard, 5. Linen, 6. ~Sea Green~, 7. oh ... frost, 8. Garland, 9. Shallow Sea, 10. naturally dyed rug yarn, 11. Blossoms Series. (zoom in), 12. Drawing for tiny wee embroidery, 13. Monsters!, 14. pillowcase stack..., 15. felted rock, 16. favorite yarn supply sources..., 17. crochet trims on pillowcases..., 18. Raspberry Marmalade Quilt - rolled, 19. Eeeee! , 20. Hexagon WIP, 21. IMG_8987, 22. case sheep, 23. beautiful words, 24. 'The Carousel' (detail), 25. Journal

1. Purples and lilacs hand crocheted all natural fibre blanket. Available for order in your colour preferences. Can be couriered., 2. First Three Eggs Of Spring, 3. Almofadinhas pra cadeira, 4. my paint of choice., 5. the sea and herself , 6. new work, 7. night vision (2), 8. Untitled, 9. Babette blanket, 10. Placemats, 11. detail02, 12. Handspun☆Extremity pop V neck sweater!, 13. Nook., 14. embroidered and appliqued felt flowers, 15. Oh 1, 16. square dance, 17. Roundabout Quilt, 18. Robots, 19. handmaiden camelspin, 20. My Rainbow Scarflette, 21. All the colours of the rainbow, 22. robot family pictures, 23. Birds of a Feather, 24. Untitled, 25. 19:365

i also spent quite some time trying to use this tutorial (recommended by spud), to crochet a fancy granny square. my failure to do so is not a reflection of the tutorial. nor is it from a lack of really good yarn that is totally suitable for said granny squares:

but, tomorrow is another day and i shall eventually succeed. or else move on to something else that i actually am able to do. like spend hours and hours looking at beautiful things on flickr.

the simple things - weaving

christina of soul aperture is taking her simple things one step further this time. she and her family will donate $1 to doctors without borders for relief for haiti for every blogger who participates in the simple things today. benefits for all - we remember that it is the simple things in life that are important and in so doing, help people in need all while being part of a worldwide chain of love and good will. i can't really think of anything better than that.

the feel of wool between your fingers.
favorite colors.
learning something new.
an age-old craft.
doing things in the right order.

evening light.
the company of enthusiastic people.
being at ease in oneself.
learning the basics.
a kind and patient teacher.

order emerging from chaos.
tools of the trade.
conversation over coffee.
tying knots.
threads and fibers.
softly falling snow.

what are the simple things you love today?
please do participate and do let christina know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

lego on the brain

i've got lego on the brain. sabin got the lego indiana jones airplanes yesterday and built them already last evening. every time she builds something, i am totally amazed at how ingenius the designs are. lego really pulled themselves out of the slump they were in a few years ago and got back to the basics of what they're good at. they made smart tie-ups with certain films - indiana jones, star wars, harry potter and there are even totally cool lego games for the Wii, where these little lego indy figures go around building things with lego blocks and whipping the heck out of the enemies. lego, as you no doubt know, is a danish company and the word is shortened from lege godt which means play well. and who wouldn't play well with things that are this well-designed:

check out that pirate's expression and his peg leg!

the pirate girl has a voluptuous figure to go with her treasure chest.

indy's shirt is rumpled and he's got a 5 o'clock shadow.

check out the little lego sean connery!
and that little door right below him actually opens and indy can store his suitcase and whip there.

doesn't indy look fetching flying that plane?
what a great expression on his little lego face.

with design that good, it makes it quite ok that the child still wants lego for her birthday, even when she's turning 9. i'm happy to keep buying it for her.

thank you all for your kind wishes for her birthday yesterday! they elicited that little proud snort thing she does when i read them to her.

Monday, January 25, 2010

happy birthday sabin!

summer moments

our pooka turns 9 today. last year, i did a photo retrospective of her year of being 7, but with the iMac in the shop, i don't have my full photo library at my disposal at the moment.  no sense duplicating oneself anyway. i can see that she traveled a bit less at 8 than she did at 7, but that's got to do with my job change, the general global slow-down and our growing concerns about the environment. still, she did get to go to the west coast of denmark a couple of times and she added ireland to her list of places she's been and we did make it to singapore, so it's not as if she didn't get on a plane at all.

running along the beach at the southernmost point of the asian continent.
(probably artificial, it was, after all, singapore)

you could say it was the year of the converse for sabin. she got red hightops, silver lowtops and some with a print. the silver ones are by far the coolest - you can't go wrong with silver leather.

she started riding lessons soon after she turned 8 and they have been a highlight of her year for sure. in fact, they're the catalyst for us changing our entire lifestyle - putting the house up for sale, making plans to move to a farm - all of which will undoubtedly happen while she's 9.

after the jump

it's so strange to think of how little you know when the year starts out. we may think that things don't really change or feel impatience with the pace at which they change sometimes, but they change a great deal all the time. over the past year, sabin's grown like a bad weed, she's become more confident and self-assured. she's definitely a 'tween now, caring a bit more about clothes and what's on television. but in many ways, she's still our little girl and we have to remember to enjoy that while we can, as those teenage years are surely looming on the horizon.

i can't really predict at this moment what her 9th year will hold, but i'm looking forward to watching it unfold.

happy birthday, pooka.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

in which she despairs at the state of the world

i'm in despair once again at the state of society. it's brought on by my reading of susan sontag's on photography. every sentence of this book is packed with meaning. it's thought-provoking and stimulates the intellect in a way that i'll admit i haven't experienced in far too long. the book was written in 1977 when it seems that theory still meant something, before postmodernism got hold of it and stripped meaning of meaning.  don't get me wrong, i'll admit i wholly embraced postmodernism - my shelves are filled with deleuze and guattari, derrida, baudrillard and the like. i am an educational product of the early to mid-90s, what can i say, i rolled around in the postmodernists and adored them, despite the fact that they ultimately deprived the world of any meaning at all.

as i've said before, i write in books. i scribble in the margins, i underline, i make stars and asterisks and draw little pairs of glasses where there's something i want to look up. i scrawl lightbulbs where the text gives me ideas and at times can scarcely decipher my own handwriting, so anxious i apparently was to get a thought down that it's illegible. as you can see in the shot above, sontag's on photography is full of scribblings and underlinings already and i'm only about 40 pages in. i've already got enough fodder and photo titles for my photo-a-day project for the entire month of february. but best of all, my brain is thinking again. i'm not sure when it stopped, but it had stopped. and oddly, i hadn't realized it until i picked up this book.

we were sitting at the breakfast table this morning with our tea and the sunday paper and i came across the illustration above. apparently, young people are so taken with the universe presented in james cameron's avatar that they come away from the film depressed. the blue-skinned girl, in 3D glasses is crying on her mother's knee, saying how sad she is and her mother comforts her, saying she understands, her father was the same after he'd seen all of the episodes of the brewer on DR. they're of course poking fun at this notion, but still. the fact that they've devoted a whole page of the sunday magazine to the notion that young people are depressed because they can't live within a movie, is startling. and is what makes me despair about the state of society. i think everyone should go read something real. i know i'm going to...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

still going on about flickr

i found the coolest greasemonkey flickr script the other day. it's a little widget thingie that reminds me of that linkwithin widget i used to have on my blog (but removed because it was making the loading time really, really slow for some people). when you're looking at a flickr picture, it gives you a visual list of "people who faved this also faved..." and i'm finding the coolest stuff that way! stuff i wouldn't have otherwise found. and expanding my flickr horizons. it's just another of those things that makes me love the big, giant interweb. endless connections, i tell you. and endless goodness.

and around here...endless red velvet cupcakes.

hope your weekend is a good one.

Friday, January 22, 2010

photo a day

on january 1, i decided to formalize my photo-a-day pledge that i pretty much embarked upon since buying my D60 in may 2008, and started the blog camp 365 project on flickr. here we are, not even a month in and i really love what the project is doing for me. in addition to learning a whole lot from the other group members and delighting in their pictures and their feedback, it's given me back a good measure of my photo mojo.

it's gotten me to take a harder look at processing my photos and helped me solidify what i like to do and what i don't. cropping and minor adjustments (like the antique feel i gave these photos) are ok with me, but i still much prefer straight out of the camera (SOOC). i'd rather try to compose the shot as i'm taking it, tho' sometimes, there are things you don't notice until you download the picture onto your computer, so sometimes you just have to crop. i'm finding myself thinking a whole lot more about photography in general. i'm rereading susan sontag's wonderful on photography with new eyes (and perhaps a new brain) that i didn't have when i read it in grad school. in fact, i'm going to build my photo-a-day in february around notions from the book. imagine that, me, planning ahead!

i think it's also significantly eased the pain of this dark time of year. because in looking for that daily photo opportunity, i've found out that the light isn't really as bad as i thought. i've been much more mindful of the qualities the light has and i'm much more aware of how rapidly it's changing at the moment. i've come to appreciate that the winter light can really be great for those SOOC shots i love if i use it at the right time of day. and if i want that yellow tone to my photos, i just use the artificial light in my yellow-walled kitchen after the daylight is gone. it's forced me to do a whole lot more experimenting with the settings on my camera and i've learned a great deal about how to get the shots i want, using the light at hand (since i continue to loathe flash).

but probably the best side effect is the one i'd hoped for the most. and that's noticing the world around me. on a snowy day, i wander through the house, camera in hand, thinking about what i can take a picture of today. yesterday, it was these brass ottoman "pencil cases." they're on a shelf in the dining room and i'd pretty much stopped seeing them. but yesterday, i looked at them. really looked at them. and thought about them and the experience of buying them. how husband and i played good cop-bad cop with the antiques dealer and husband played his bad cop part so well i began to believe myself that he was against my buying them (he wasn't, it was just an oscar-worthy performance). just snapping a few photos, i was transported back to that hot day in bergama, and the ruins we wandered before wandering the street of antique shops, our dinner at a sidewalk restaurant where a man actually tied his goat to a tree before going in to eat. i also appreciated for a moment the little tableau i'd set up with them, arranging them near some beautiful old books with art deco jackets from the teens of the last century and an old tin for turkish-macedonian tobacco that i found in a flea market. there must be value in taking a moment to notice and appreciate your own surroundings.

it's not too late to join the group, you can start your photo-a-day project anytime you want, so do come and join us. when you request the invite, please let us know you arrived there via one of the group member's blogs, as we are trying to keep it to the circle of those we know via our blogs, so it remains a manageable number of photos to keep up with and comment on.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the jewels of 1000 posts

this is it, number 1000. yes, i've posted 1000 times here on moments of perfect clarity, some were admittedly moments of less clarity than others, but there have been a few gems. at least to me. so, at bee's suggestion, here is a rundown of what i - purely from a subjective, personal standpoint and at this particular moment in time - think are most representative of my blogging voice, the jewels, as it were:

~  force of nature - september 24, 2004
~  seriously - february 20, 2008
~  observing or judging? - march 28, 2008
~  the disconnect between chemicals and products - april 24, 2008
~  murakami moment - may 29, 2008
~  italian for beginners - may 10, 2008
~  keeping my vibe down - june 20, 2008
~  a day i'll never have back - august 26, 2008 (if you follow no other link, this is the one)
~  tangobaby for president - october 23, 2008
~  teasing meaning and significance from the chaotic stream of daily contingencies - november 9, 2008
~  a supposedly fun thing... - december 27, 2008
~  i don't look like who i am - january 29, 2009
~  what are you gonna remember? - february 27, 2009
~  i love lucy - february 19, 2009
~  a wtf? wednesday experience - march 11, 2009
~  monday lessons - march 16, 2009
~  on why i'm all about the lower case - april 16, 2009
~  the zone - april 30, 2009 (by popular demand)
~  #700 and advice on getting there - may 28, 2009
~  in which she worries about the future - may 7, 2009
~  blog camp anyone? - may 5, 209
~  secret 8 - ooo, i'm drivin' my life away - july 8, 2009
~  there's something about a shipyard - august 29, 2009
~  documentary photography - november 12, 2009

hmm, noticed a few things here:  all of my funniest posts involve ikea. i can also see that photos became increasingly important to me as the blog developed. most early posts don't even have photos. but i guess it has gotten easier to upload and share photos since 2004.

i've thought a lot about what to do to celebrate but after the total crap day i had yesterday, all the wind went out of my sails and with it all hints of inspired creative thoughts, so i'm afraid the best i can come up with is free shipping on everything in my etsy shop 'til the end of january. so if you've been hesitating because the danish shipping charges are so high, please hesitate no more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

i knew getting up this morning was a very bad idea. i had dreams of looms and tangled yarn and woke up rather exhausted and with a dull headache. it was gonna be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

the sidewalks were covered with snow and needed shoveling. again. and i had just shoveled yesterday.

we were almost late for school because i sat like a lump and didn't make sabin's lunch "packse" 'til the very last minute.

my period came a week early (too much information, i realize) and i discovered that the teenagers had used up every last feminine hygiene product in the house.

it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. i began to think of moving to vanuatu.

the blue room fireplace needed cleaning and i dropped ashes everywhere.

then, i had to take the car down to get new front tires and have an alignment.

on the way there, there was a speed trap that i didn't see. and i was going 68 kilometers per hour in a 50 zone. on my american driver's license, which apparently should have been switched out for a danish one years ago. but i never checked and certainly never did it.

so i wasn't allowed to drive home, since apparently now my american driver's license, despite the fact that it expires in 2027, doesn't count as a valid driver's license since i live here.

so i had to be driven home by the police.

and to get a danish driver's license, i now have to go spend a small fortune on driving lessons and take the test and everything. despite the fact that i've been driving since i was 14.

it's been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

i wonder if you need a driver's license in vanuatu...

how can i find myself if i wasn't lost?

"you can find yourself, sometimes,  in the things that make you most uncomfortable," i read this morning on jude hills' spirit cloth blog. she was talking about winter, but the comment resonated with me. i think because of my ongoing inner difficulties with the slow cloth facebook group. the arrogance evident in the group continues to get to me. i week or so ago i started a discussion thread, asking people to introduce themselves, so we'd know who we were in dialogue with. a few people have, but none of the founders or "big names" in the group have, giving me the impression that they are disdainful of the little people like me. i realize this is a reflection of my own feelings and it's probably more that they haven't noticed or don't care to introduce themselves, thinking they're famous enough that they don't need to. but for some strange reason i let it bother me. and equally strangely, i continue to stay in the group, to see what conversation is taking place, despite how it makes me feel. perhaps i'm trying, as jude says, to find myself in that which makes me most uncomfortable.

undiagnosed OCD

picking up where we left off with the daily art journal - i didn't have time to post it on the weekend as intended due to the fabulousness of blog camp 3.0. and if i'm honest, i wasn't fully caught up on it 'til last night anyway. but i am caught up again now, so here we go:

january 9 - 10
on the 9th, i was inspired by this art journal seen on flickr.
on the 10th, the beautiful story fragment i bought from jude hill.
and i learned not to put on lotion before working with watercolors.

january 11 - 12
on the 11th, we got an offer on the house.
on the 12th, i started my weaving lessons.
this is a great way to help remember these things!

january 13 - 14
i actually did the 13th page on the 16th during the art journaling fest at blog camp.
january 14 was done during my art journal catch-up evening on the 18th.
it's a drawing of the wonderful petra art doll by sophie callaghan that spudballoo gave me at blog camp.
thank you spud (and sophie)!
i know, my stædler fineliners were a little garish, but they write like a dream.

january 15 - 16
january 15 - elizabeth's moment of clarity symbol.
january 16 - clarity birds based on elizabeth's symbol.
they just popped into my head as i was drawing elizabeth's symbol.

january 17 - 18
watching the fountain with hugh jackman.
quite a thought-provoking movie about the tree of life.
i found myself writing down quotes.
and drawing the tattoos he had on his arm.
tho' i did spend a lot of the movie expecting hoping he'd turn into wolverine.

when she came to blog camp, elizabeth looked around the house and suggested that the reason i obsessively write down where i am when i do a page was evident in the maps hanging on the walls (and the ceiling) in our house. i have a need to orient myself in time and space. knowing where i am so i can look towards where i'm going. i really quite like that thought. much better than a mild case of OCD...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

through the eyes of others

when you live in your own house and even in your own life, you stop noticing things and stop putting the pieces together, because you're so in the middle of it, you simply don't see it anymore. it's just how things are. you may see the bits and pieces around you, but you don't actually see the whole.

but then, people come to visit and because it's all new to them, they notice things. and they ask you, "hmm, do you have a thing about drawers?" and you realize there are really a lot of drawers in your house - 21 drawers in the kitchen, 38 in the blue room, 25 in the dining room. three old drawer units or købmandsdisk that once stood in some little country store somewhere. and so you begin to think about why it is you love drawers so much....possibly for their ability to keep things safely tucked away and out of sight. they may be a mess on the inside, but you can't see that from the outside.

and then you begin to think about what was in the drawers in the house where you grew up. the big buffet drawer with the beautiful, old, rather art-deco looking (in your memory at least) pistol  that your great uncle bought after his wife, your great aunt, was kidnapped and ransomed by bank robbers.  and you think of how you used to open the drawer and peek at it, but never dared to touch it. and the drawer full of cards on the china cupboard where you used to get decks of cards from for family games of "tell," which is really called "oh, hell," but your grandma didn't like the swearing. and you realize that drawers are both wonderful and mysterious in your mind.

eventually, you open up all of those drawers in the blue room and share your entire stash of pretty papers and embellishments and ribbons and buttons and stamps. and the energy that comes into the room from all of the creating that results from those beautiful materials being used is really quite overwhelming. but it's also extremely gratifying, to see everyone's head bent over their journals, clipping and gluing and opening up to something inside themselves that they maybe didn't even know they had.

and you think how fortunate you are to have met these people who wanted to come to visit you and spend one of their weekends with you, having this experience. and you shudder a little bit, thinking of the randomness of it, how many blogs are out there and how unlikely it was that they would find yours or you theirs and how so many little things had to fall into exactly the right place to make this thing that feels very big happen.

top and bottom photos are of elizabeth's beautiful soul food project. we got to see it in person, but you can read all about it at landanna.