Every week, I go to the ends of the Internet so you don't have to. Here are the highlights of my wanderings:Read More
We were at Wormsloe Plantation (above), remarking on the flora and fauna along the Skidaway Narrows when I noticed a girl, probably thirteen or so, standing nearby. I screamed at her, "Watch out!" She didn't flinch. Not even her eyelids moved.
"Did it work?" I asked her, referring to her hiccups and my attempt to startle them away.
To which my husband said, "You mean did you convince her you're crazy? Yes. Yes it worked."
She looked at my husband. She looked at me. And then she hiccuped.Read More
You are a tourist when you walk through a museum. You marvel and gawk. Standing in front of a famous statue, you know there is more to the object than its surface. You wonder how the sculptor chiseled away the marble's negative space to reveal the goddess within. Perhaps curators at museums prefer a little intellectual distance between the art and the tourist. Maybe our ignorance intensifies the mystery behind the art.
This gap between art and visitor does not exist when it comes to quilts. We are as familiar with fabric as we are with our own skin. We understand the physics of a needle and thread. We can't see the cotton batting between the front and back of the quilt but there's no mystery to it. Perhaps this is why quilting is called the democratic art.Read More
New Orleans is a colorful city. Not just the buildings. Not just the music. But the people. It is a stewpot jambalaya. Stay away if you can't handle a little spice.
Our trip was short but sweeeet! Our youngest son, George, is a jazz musician and we were fortunate enough to hang out with a couple of his musician friends, longtime natives Wes and Desi Anderson. Wes teaches music at Loyola University, and we loved the bulletin board (photo below) hanging outside his office. Wes and Desi steered us to many of their favorite spots. Their recommendations were so great, I thought they were worth sharing with all of you:Read More
I was out to lunch with someone I hadn't seen in a couple years. I asked her, "How's your nephew? The one who lived with you for a while?"
She made a face. "He's shacking up with a woman of questionable character," she said.
"Drugs?" I asked.
"No, she's an exotic dancer." And then she leaned in and said, "But please don't think I'm judging you."Read More
It was April in Wisconsin, the meanest month of the year when winter jabs a fat finger in your chest and laughs as she slowly backs out the door. Coincidentally, April also happened to be the name of my companion that night.
April and I can't go anywhere without drawing a lot of attention. Maybe because she's what you would call a long tall drink of water. Or a nice piece of wicker. She's one of those lucky dames who never has to contend with the usual midwestern roll of fat that can turn on your laptop if you're not careful. It's just not in her DNA.Read More
I'm leaving on a jet plane. No, not headed to Canada, though it feels good, getting off this planet, even temporarily. The plane ascends rapidly and I let out more breath the higher we climb.
Visibility is excellent today. We are nearing Chicago and there is the distinctive lacy dome of the Baha'i Temple. A moment later, Wrigley Field, which for all its larger-than-life history, looks so small, like Casey's diamond in Mudville. Then, south of the skyscrapers, the large swathe of green in Hyde Park where President Obama will build his library.Read More
The election season has been a pox upon us all. With one more week to go and no sign of relief, how do we inoculate ourselves from this madness? Humor, my friend. Humor.
In that spirit, let's address the question of who among our candidates and their spouses is truly qualified to carry out the heavy responsibility of picking out presidential china.
Before you call me frivolous and click away, give me a moment to make my case.Read More
WARNING: The first two paragraphs are long-form procrastination and not necessary to the story of the dinner party. If you have a short attention span, go directly to paragraph #3.
Do you procrastinate? Ugh, don't you hate yourself when you do? I publish a blog post every Friday morning. But on Thursdays, because I am a compulsive procrastinator, I put off the process of writing the blog post for as long as possible. Today I monkeyed around by looking at color swatches painted on the side of Patrick's house. For hours. It was the perfect procrastination activity because the task was concrete (pick a color), non-urgent (pick a color soon), and challenging enough to be a satisfactory way to procrastinate (pick a good color).Read More
You know that moment when you’re dating someone you really like and you come face-to-face with some bizarre relic from his or her childhood that you never saw coming? And that still holds sway in the present? At this point, you must make a choice. You can reach for the rose-colored glasses and accept Jeff's attendance at seventy-two Grateful Dead concerts as proof of his ability to really commit; you can convince yourself that Ellen’s collection of Virgin Mary candles is not in any way unholy; you can shrug off Chris’s bathtub full of floating Fisher Price Little People as innocent fun.
Or you can run.Read More
Hello! I just overheard a conversation between my son and a friend about this weekend's wedding shindig. He told his pal, "We're all working our asses off but we're turning this house into a party castle."Read More
This week I witnessed the ushering in of grief. A tsunami, a spilled glass of milk, a strike of a match. Cold waves, contents released, heat. It materialized out of nowhere. In a blink, my friend is whisked away to a new country, a land of sorrow, where I cannot follow.
I remain here, shaking, sad, troubled.Read More
Gravy: the liquified essence of a bird's life. A good one has hints of sunshine, rain, corn mash, and even slaughter. Hyperbole, you think? Never!
My grandmother taught me how to make gravy. Hers was a basic recipe, nothing extra added in, other than the sheer effort it took to make a few gallons of the stuff. That's the catch, you see.
A three-gallon batch of gravy takes on a life of its own. But when the family swells the way that ours has, it is a necessity. So now, my job at ThanksgivingRead More
Have you gone back to school as an adult? Do you think that the first day jitters are worse than when you were young?
Last winter I took a class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. On my first day, I was nervously digging out coins for the parking meter when a skateboarder came rolling towards me. “It’s free parking on Saturdays, you know,” he said. “Really? That’s not what the sign says,” I responded. He was already halfway down the block and over his shoulder he hollered, “Guess you’ll have to follow your heart.”Read More
I love politics. But man, do I hate asking for a vote. Today I'm asking for a vote in the Martha Stewart American Made contest. I entered it hoping that someone at that organization would notice my shop. You know, a back door entrance to get on their radar. Now that the contest has progressed, I feel it necessary to see this through and ask for your help. If you are inclined, click here for my page to vote. You do have to give Martha your email. But you can unsubscribe afterwards.Read More
Last week, we took a few days off and flew out to Washington State to visit our son. I brought along my new camera lens, purchased recently for taking product shots in my studio basement. This was my first time using it outside, and its lightweight size made it easy to carry, even on long hikes. The lens is a Nikon AF-S 35mm 1:1.8. It is a fixed lens, also known as a prime lens, which means that it does not have a zoom feature.
Because of the lack of a zoom, I must compose my photo by moving my body, not my camera lens. What I see through the viewfinder is exactly what I get. Which means contortions to get the right shot. But the big advantage to a fixed lens is all the light that pours in. Colors look great. Also note in the photo below of the law books how the background goes nice and blurry while the foreground stays incredibly crisp. At $200, it is very affordable, as far as lenses go. I feel good about this purchase.Read More
This week, I attended a wake. It was the eighth time I attended this particular wake. My friend Ellen holds it on the last day of school. We gather at 1:00 on her patio. Some of us wear funeral black. We mourn the end of school and the beginning of dog days spent in the company of our darling angels. Yes, we are bad moms. But we are bad moms together. Our bad-momishness is enough of a thread to tie us together for an afternoon of grapefruit gimlets.
That's how the best parties happen. You take a common thread and transform it into a luscious party bow that wraps around a bunch of people and ta-da!Read More
Today’s post is about Amy Sedaris. Some of you may ask: who is Amy Sedaris? Well, pardon me as I aerate my lungs so I can scream, “SHE IS A LIVING LEGEND!” If this is the first time you are hearing about her, I am sad at your circumstance but glad to enlighten you.
Anyway, the fabulous Miss Amy Sedaris is a comic. Maybe you know her from Comedy Central’s Strangers with Candy. Maybe you know her big brother, David. He’s almost as funny. But his face isn't quite as elastic as hers. She's got play-doh features and eyebrows wired with fishline that enable her to transform herself into characters we recognize from that one time we went to Ho-Chunk Casino.Read More
I love text as art and so do a lot of people these days. Mottos as fashion statements or design elements are everywhere -- on pillows, t-shirts, phone cases, as tattoos, in wall collages, on babies' onesies. Maybe these cheeky catchphrases resonate because we regularly condense our communication. We put a lot of heart and soul into tweets, texts, snaps, etc. Does this mean that we glorify the shallowness of slogans? Probably. So, to celebrate the glorification of throwaway sentiments, I'm here to show you how to make your own creed to adorn any pretty little thing. It's fun and easy and yes, it peels right off. It's temporary, which I suppose means that it is shallow.Read More