Monday, December 31, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 9 ~ Listening over and over and over

This is a huge difference between Mosaic Woman and myself, I can listen to the same song over and over again, but she does not dig it at all.  So I don't do it when she is around, but old habits are hard to break and so when I am alone in the car...

Today I drove over to the school to check on my plants.  Fiscal cliff was all over NPR, so when I got to the school I ducked into a storage closet where I had placed some of our old CD's a few years back when jazz was taking over our one bedroom two studio row.

I grabbed one because I knew I loved the final track, San Diego Serenade.  The CD was by Nanci Griffith and while I could not find a video of her performing it, I did find one by Tom Waits, the  man who wrote the song.  It is all about how witnessing one thing opens your eyes to something else.

Oh, and yes, all the way home, with all due respects to the folk in DC ... over and over again.  And yes, I am so listening to it one more time  ;')  It soothes my soul and thus I will follow my heart.  

Happy New Years Eve.  I never saw a new year till I celebrated an old one

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 8 ~ Holiday Music

During my nearly 50 years I have listened to many a type of music and it truly shows once a year when I remove the jazz from iPod and fill it with 800 plus holiday tunes. Irish fiddling, shape note singing, Gregorian chanting, rat pack crooning, piano jazz improvising, voices acapella-ing, Bing meeting Bowie, College choirs uniting...

Emmylou, Springsteen, Elvis, Brubeck, Lauper, Enya, Cash, and what about Nat King Cole singing in German and Latin, ....

This year we got three new ones ~ Dave Brubeck, Kenny Burrell, and Tracy Thorn (half of Everything But the Girl).

So, it's not Epiphany yet. What's playing where you are? 

Here is one that floated up several times this season and is now a favorite ~ 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 7 ~ Diners, especially The West Main in Lansdale

There is a running story/joke that Mosaic Woman likes to tell about how I never "even had Chinese food" before I met her.  My family did not eat out that much and when we did it tended to be diners.  Now Mosaic Woman has introduced me to Chinese and Thai and Indian, and Mexican, and ...

However, I introduced Mosaic Woman to diners and ever since the West Main Diner moved into Lansdale, it has become the world  headquarters of Nutmeg Designs.  

Warm colored walls and booths sure did help to draw us back for comfort food.  The friendly staff and usually no need to rush helps us to think through things.

At the beginning of my break, we met to plan out the rest of 2012.   Today as we ate breakfast and lingered over coffee, (essential for brainstorming), we made plans for 2013.  Goals for the year.  Hopes for Nutmeg Designs.

Oh and one more thing, I may be a bit biased by the owner's (well the male of the couple) first name and what greets me at the top of the specials every morning we convene a meeting ~

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 6 ~ why do I do this, some Stratozpheric portraits

I have developed a habit of searching out statues to duck behind, but not before I hand the camera off to Mosaic Woman.  I am not sure if I dig the statues or the hunt to find ones to duck behind ~ 

Stratoz with The Fawn by John B Flannagan
Rochester NY

Atmosphere and Environment XII by Louise Nevelson
Philadelphia, PA

Ceremonial Table of the Bontoc People
Reading, PA

Cloumn of Peace Antoine Pevsner
Washington, DC

John L Surra Landscape II
Olean, NY

Rochester, NY

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 5 ~ simple conversations and pizza

I am fine with  8 days of silence*.  I generally don't enjoy large crowds.  The angst leading up to going to a large gathering of people can find me wondering why I said I would go to a party.  Mosaic Woman and I have this in common.  The other night there were ten of us gathered about a table.  It was a group I knew well for the most part and that was fine.

What I truly dig though is sitting together with one friend and sharing our stories.  

Having a couple over is our kind of party here in our one bedroom two studio row house.  Tonight will be our 22nd pizza event of the year.  Not sure how it came to be, but it started early in 2012 and pushed us to keep a constant flow of invites flowing into the universe.  Many of the 50+ people who have come over were never here before.  What a blessing it has been getting to know friends a bit better.  

Tonight will be a couple whom we have met through being artists.  In fact all four of us are artists, two full-time.  They have never been here before.

Saturday night it will happen again.  It will be special.  The friends are ones we gathered with on a regular basis before they moved to California.  At the beginning of the year, we did not imagine them moving back east, but they have and after a few attempts we finally got them on a free night.  What a way to end this year of pizza.

What a blessing to have acted upon the desire to feed and to get to know so many people a bit better. We have never come close to anything like this before.  The list of folk with get stretched on and on.  Who knows how many people will sit and talk with us?  In the process this house is gaining some good karma.

*One reason I am fine with those days of silence ~ the one hour a day I get to sit 1:1 with a spiritual director.  That is heaven to me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 4 ~ Woodpecker, a Haiku

Photo by Paul Stein

I love birds, but if forced to choose a favorite family, let me say it is the Picidae.

Maybe my next bird mosaic will be from my favorite group.  But for now I must sharpen my writing skills because I will be faced with a Haiku challenge on New Years Eve.

Woven together,
forests need undulating
flight of woodpeckers

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 3 ~ 21 Hopes

collaboration between
Wayne Stratz and Margaret Almon

  1. I hope that when I enter my studio something beautiful will emerge
  2. I hope that after a day of teaching I have the gumption to create something in the kitchen
  3. I hope that my students will experience joy and just maybe realize how cool science is
  4. I hope to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary
  5. I hope to make pizza for 60 people this year or come dang close
  6. I hope to commission art
  7. I hope to watch friends heal when life makes them weary
  8. I hope to learn to really listen to people
  9. I hope to one day love all colors even chartreuse and mauve
  10. I hope to teach others how to make strudel just as my mom-mom taught me
  11. I hope that migrating birds find a safe place to hang out at the other end
  12. I hope to never lose the joy of music touching my heart
  13. I hope that things worth saving are saved
  14. I hope that people experience less hatred
  15. I hope that Mosaic Woman can continue to be a stay at home artist
  16. I hope that I let my life unfold into the mystery and not try to hard to control its path
  17. I hope that my house keeps me warm and dry
  18. I hope to see the Oregon coast again
  19. I hope that I take the time to watch a bird which has allowed me the pleasure to see it
  20. I hope my doubts fade, but never completely
  21. I hope to sing these words on many more Christmas Eves at my current church ~

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of HOPE the weary world rejoices, 
For Yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things 2 ~ color vision

on etsy shop

In church on Sundays the prayers ask us to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives.  Things come and go, but I am often feeling blessed for experiencing colors.

There are those who are born without it and there are diseases that will take it way.  Apparently the latter fall into depression as their world enters a place of grays.

We grow up thinking everything witnesses the world as we see it.  But that is far from the truth.  There are blind cave critters.  Birds and insects stretch out a visual spectrum wider than ours.  But in the world of mammals it is rare to see as much color as we do.  Some distant relative of a primate had a mutation and ran with it.  We are blessed to see this world, even if at times they see horrific things.

I created the above piece to celebrate my neighbors surviving a fire and returning to be our neighbors.  Five family homes, connected by the walls of a row house and the trauma of a fire, became a place for me to create a rainbow.  Thinking about colors reminded me of this piece.  For it is a single piece whether it spread among five families or placed on etsy to raise money for the firefighters that caught my eye.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things Begins

I have not been blogging or reading blogs much for the last ten days.  I was in a food court.  Students roaming about finding a lunch.  Big screen TV telling some breaking news.  That night my spirit group entered into the initial silence.  I thought it would last forever.  I thought that it would be just fine.  let us sit and imagine the horror.  Let us imagine the grief.  Let us imagine the healing.  Let us hope.  Since then I have read stories of men shouting ... if I can't have you none will ... as toddlers lose their mother just feet away from their crib.  I am told that I can only be safe in my classroom if I carry a gun.

and I want to rant. 

instead I tell my pain to Mosaic Woman and imagine blogging about my favorite things over my time off from teaching.  

I am blessed to have someone to share my life and that is my favorite thing for this day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ending the Year

The USPS has declared that tomorrow, Monday the 17th is the last day to ship for Christmas, so things will slowdown here at Nutmeg Designs. So let me say thanks to my faithful readers for all the support you have given us over the years. Once again Mosaic Woman can enter a new year as a full time artist.

Thanks for all that you do. The purchases and shout outs amaze us and surely make us feel blessed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Dig Slime Molds

Slime mould
Photo by Lorraine Phelan
There are a few types of slime molds in this world.  I spoke of one years ago as an undergraduate.  I was discussing entropy at the time ~ how things tend to fall into chaos.  They spend their lives as individual cells but when motivated to reproduce they form into one collective being and work together to make spores.

The other type which I spoke of today can have millions of nuclei in their one celled slimy body, which allows them to do some advance thinking like figuring out the fastest way through a maze.  Think of all those nuclei communicating like all those neurons in your brain.  Cool stuff, which is why ~ I spoke of them today in my bio class and that always makes me happy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cool Show Moments ~ Kepler Poinsot Polyhedra and young super fans

Kepler-Poinsot polyhedra
Photo by fdecomite

The man enters my booth making it clear he was not shopping this year, but also saying how much he loves the three trivets he has purchased at the Kimberton Waldorf Show.  

So I say, "How was your year?"

Fifteen minutes later and after a few google image searches, I have become educated in the realm of the Kepler Poinsot Polyhedra.  He has spent the year constructing models and being drawn into mathematical beauty of them.  He apologizes for"boring me," but I reassure him that I love math, design, science, and history of such things.  Yes, this is the Kepler you hopefully learned about in Earth Science classes.  The man that came up with laws of planetary motion.

Later the very young man I celebrated two years ago came back for the third straight year to buy a suncatcher.  Clearly our youngest super~fan.

and with that our 2012 show season has come to an end.  We have commissions to finish and our etsy shop is open, feel free to browse.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RIP Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck
Photo by Jim Webber
I was waiting for a colleague to end a phone call today when I read the news.  On the day before what would have been his 92nd birthday, Dave Brubeck had died.

I went to my twitter list called 'jazz' and began to read through the 140 character or less tributes to the man.  Many who I follow, had played with the man.  It lifted my spirits to see the love expressed in the sadness of the news and the joy of having experienced the man.

Mosaic Woman and I went into our studios this evening and listened to two friends sharing stories, sharing pianos.  NPR's Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Dave Brubeck.  Read a bio and listen to the episode here.

  Tis the Season, rest in the beauty of his love of piano ~

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Jazz 2012 ~ Now: Aids benefit in Philly & Then: Oscar Peterson

Just went on a search to find myself a holiday jazz concert and found this:

The Church of Saint Luke and the Epiphany in Philly is having a holiday jazz benefit concert featuring w/ vocalist Mary Ellen Desmond, Larry McKenna tenor sax, Tom Lawton piano, Lee Smith bass & Dan Monaghan drums to benefit lives affected by AIDS & HIV.  December 16th at 6:00pm.  

I think I desire to be there.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Which of the Polybus humours are you?

being sanguineous?
My students had the option of doing this or that today in the computer lab.  Those that chose this were met with some questions about the history of biology.  The discussion that emerged as they met the four humours and the personalities associated with them was at times more than I expected.  It also drew some students from the crowd who had chosen to do "that."  The students seemed ready to analyze each other as much as they were open to tackle their own humours.

The humours are part of a long history of humans attempt to classify personalities and this site concludes with matching Myers-Briggs to the humours.  I am ISTP, so the website suggests blood is my humour (better than one of those biles) and I am Sanguineous.  A word that baffled my students, but seems true of some time spent in the glass studio

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mosaic Giveaway Coming To an End

Margaret Almon's Rainbow of Pendants
complimentary pairings
It has been an amazing list of characters that have helped support us for the past 24 months, which was the time we decided Mosaic Woman would end her job search, quit unemployment benefits, and emerge as a full-time artist.

Kerri Farley has been one of those characters.  If her name sounds familiar it could be you are well aware of her blog of nature photographs or my mention of how one of those photographs inspired my Blue Jay mosaic.  

Kerri wrote Mosaic Woman and suggested a giveaway to help build support of our work.  The giveaway ends this Monday, December 3rd, so head over to her post, which happens to feature amazing photos of the pendant Kerri purchased and loved so much she wanted the world to know about it.