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American literature art creativity design happiness health quilts wisdom

Emerson on the human condition

Feeling blah and still aching from the shoulder where I crashed down, quite incorrectly, during a speedy Aikido roll on Monday, I was surprised and encouraged by these lines discovered during my morning reading, and so I share them for you.

“Every man beholds his human condition with a degree of melancholy. As a ship aground is battered by the waves, so man, imprisoned in mortal life, lies open to the mercy of coming events.”

“God enters by a private door into every individual.”

“Our spontaneous action is always the best.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Intellect” in The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Modern Library edition, p. 293-94.

Hang in there. You are not alone.

And some pretty pictures to remind us of what lovely things we can hold and create and appreciate, with our hands and simply by walking outside in nature, despite being shipwrecked in morality!

Featured is Alice in Wonderland Quilt No. 4, photographed yesterday at Green Lake in Seattle, WA.

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join us June 10, creative fun guaranteed! (trust me)

(In memory of a dear friend’s passing and time’s fleeting path. Sorry to see you leave so soon, Matt VE…)

Hello fine people,

Since we’ve all survived thus far, I’d like to invite you to join me in person on June 10, from 5-8 pm, at the “Dreaming in Quilts” show currently on display at West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, in Seattle. It is the June ArtWalk evening; you could make this one stop on a lovely evening promenade around scenic West Seattle. If you come, I promise to welcome you with a smile, answer any questions that may arise about my creations, and enjoy watching people play “Make a Quilt.” At 8pm, Joanie (the wonderful manager of this event) will draw someone’s paper out of the box, and announce who won the “WIN YOUR QUILT!” drawing, for a free quilt of their own design!

There are eight quilts on display: three “Respect” quilts in honor of #BLM and inspired by fascinating Black people I know; one each of the Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland quilts, two one-of-a-kind Japanese Kimono Silk quilts*, and a subdued, blue/grey/green watery-looking quilt inspired by Seattle called “Western Pacific.”

They are perfectly imperfect, each in its own way (being a firm believer in Haruki Murakami’s adage, “a certain type of perfection can only be realized through the limitless accumulation of the imperfect”).

*The Japanese Kimono Silk quilts were made with tiny bits of silk from a long-lost catalogue for kimono makers, placed in a pretty rice cake tin that was found at Hosekibako, a Japanese resale shop. I miss browsing around that elegant store and finding such treasures, but I am happy to see they now sell online!

The Make a Quilt game is free, simple, and accessible to all, the youngest and oldest among us too (no pins, needles, or scissors involved). Participants will find a long table marked with blue tape outlining a 5×3 grid and a pile of 10” sewn quilt squares in various textures and colors and patterns. People will choose 15 squares, lay them out in their own designs, straighten ’em up, take a photo; voilà an e-quilt! With that, they can now join the drawing for a real quilt on the same design: “WIN YOUR QUILT!” (The winner will receive the very quilt they’ve designed, in 6-8 weeks.)

A creative, fun time guaranteed. Particularly recommended for people re-entering the world after a long moment of isolation and possible sadness, whose eyes look downwards and moments of joy seem few. In other words, all of us. Kids too.

If coming to West Seattle is too much of a challenge, not to worry. HGBG quilts are currently on sale via the Honey Girl Books & Gifts etsy site at a fabulous 50% discount (use code LUVWSEA) until June 30, 2021. And if you’d like to host a future “Dreaming in Quilts” show in your neighborhood, why not write to me? (use the contact page on this blog). Who knows what we might do, to spread loving kindness around this sad old world.

Thank you, for all that you do to support the Black Lives Matter movement, appreciation of Asian-Americans, and the rich contributions all make to American culture. Let us usher in trust as the post-pandemic concept of choice, right now, right where we live.

Categories
American literature art creativity English literature friendship happiness humor quilts

day 48, frivolous thoughts

If today’s newspaper were a living creature, it would come wrapped in a terrifying miasma of toxic effects. “Hot Zones Shift, Leaving No Hope for a Speedy End,” moans one headline, “Mystery Illness Linked to Virus Sickens Young,” screams another, and rounding out page one is an in-depth bleeding wound: “Trials of a Pennsylvania Street as Contagion and Fear Sped In.” Yet deep inside the guts of the paper, on page C5, is a heart beating wildly, “spellbound by desire and imagination.” Brought to us from an American poet named Wayne Koestenbaum, who I immediately imagined being friends with–he would be a prickly, intense, hilarious kind of friend, I think.

wayne_koestenbaum_pic

I seized upon the review of Wayne Koestenbaum’s new book, Figure It Out, the way a shipwreck victim might pull herself into a lifeboat, with relief and delight to be on familiar ground again, among the living. I love the whole article, and send out thanks to Parul Sehgal for such a fine interpretation of what must be a hard book to read. But it is the first paragraph that really got me:

“Here’s Something Strange: as babies learn to speak, they don’t merely imitate adult speech. They often produce phonemes—units of sound—not found in any known language: complex vowels, consonants and clicks. The linguist Roman Jakobson called this stage of language acquisition ‘tongue delirium’.”

TONGUE DELIRIUM!  WHAT A DELIGHTFUL THOUGHT!

He goes on to discuss what that means when an adult tries to recapture it in writing, because that is Wayne Koestenbaum’s gift, noting Lewis Carroll among others.

“AHA,” I thought, thinking of my Alice in Wonderland quilts, and the happy moments spent with that book. There’s where we go next. So many choices!

 

There is the delightful song of the Mock Turtle, for example, which begins, “’Will you walk a little faster?’ said a whiting to a snail, / There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail. / See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance! / They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the dance? / Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?’”*

mock turtle

Or there is the impotent rage of the Red Queen, when Alice replies that she does not know the identity of the cards on the ground: “’How should I know?’ said Alice, surprised at her own courage. ‘It’s no business of mine.’ The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, began screaming, ‘Off with her head! Off with—’ ‘Nonsense!’ said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.”

The Mad Hatter’s song is very pleasant, sing it with me now: “’Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! / How I wonder what you’re at!’”

Let us all ponder deeply the Cheshire Cat. As Alice says, “I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’”

Tennel_Cheshire_proof

Of course, no foray into frivolous thoughts is complete without a few lines, at least from  “Jabberwocky,” (from Through the Looking-Glass): “‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: / All mimsy were the borogroves, / And the mome raths outgrabe./ Beware the Jabberwocky, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! / Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun / The frumious Bandersnatch!”

And lastly, “The Walrus and the Carpenter” must be read aloud RIGHT NOW!, so it can stick in your head all day long:

The Walrus and the Carpenter / Walked on a mile or so, / And when they rested on a rock / Conveniently low: / And all the little Oysters stood / And waited in a row. / “The time has come,” the Walrus said, / “To talk of many things: / Of shoes–and ships–and sealing wax–/ Of cabbages–and kings–/ And why the sea is boiling hot–/ And whether pigs have wings…”

(this right before he and the Carpenter ate them all with bread and butter. LOL)

I don’t know about you, but I feel refreshed!  Those funny words created the effect of a “bain de mots” (word-bath, just as mingling with a group is known as prendre un bain de foule). A departure from grim headlines takes us back to a part of our brain that also needs companionship… the universe of unknown, imaginary, frivolous thoughts. Why not go there today?

(P.s. you just did).

___

Fyi, yesterday’s face masks:

Masks produced on May 5 2020

 

*Lewis Carroll, song of the Mock Turtle, p. 102; the Queen’s rage, p. 82; the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, p. 73; the Cheshire Cat, p. 67; “Jabberwocky,” p. 148; “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” p. 185.  From The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, ed. Martin Gardner, illus. John Tenniel (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000).

 

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American literature art children creativity design French literature quilts travel

Literary home décor made in Seattle, vient jusqu’à Paris!

Bonjour!  J’ai le plaisir de vous annoncer la venue imminente de Honey Girl Books and Gifts en France!  Dans ma valise il y aura:

Contactez juliawsea@gmail.com

 

affiche paris .jpg

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art creativity death design dogs quilts travel

sad and happy

Today is the sad day when we commemorate the one-year anniversary of a dear person’s death, but the light outside is so bright and golden, it’s as if she’s telling us, “Get out there and enjoy!” She was always one to tell you to enjoy–enjoy every day, or pretend to until you feel better. She was right.

I’ve been staying busy by making “Alice in Wonderland” quilts for my upcoming trip to Paris! Hoping to find some retail placements there. But Seattle is pretty wonderful today too: just look out that window behind my sewing machine and you’ll see why.

 

 

The day comes to a close, a big loving dog awaits her walk downstairs, dinner smells good, and I cannot think of a thing to complain about.

HG and baby.jpg

Lately it feels like the Universe is smiling upon me: a friend from grad school called me up after a silence of 15 years, and a friend I had as a young professor at Notre Dame just got back in touch–after living all around the world, she now lives less than 2 miles away!

Coincidences are happening.

This is all the more remarkable since I am not on Facebook. (It proves that people can find you, if they really want to.)

Let my quilts bring you good luck too:  there are only three more days to pre-order your quilt for Christmas giving and to benefit from the great offer: 25% off any quilt from Honey Girl Books and Gifts, until 10/31/19:  enter code 19 at checkout.

Off to the dog walk now… the city beckons beautifully as dusk falls.

Categories
art creativity design happiness quilts work

All done. Now what? Make more! and they’re on sale!

Day ten all done.jpg

We work so hard to finish projects, and we forget each time how the end brings a pang of sadness. I’m no longer needed to this creation. Its destiny is already unfolding, as my client mentioned using it as a Christmas gift for his little grandson.

I’ll make other quilts, of course, but none will be as this has been. None will have its own blog! It’s unlikely any of the other quilts will end up in Spain either. And I am all out of those pillow cases embroidered by my mom (“For Him”), though vintage bits of fabric with embroidery can be found at most any Goodwill or antique store.

Since this quilt is already spoken for, I’m going to whip up another “European Childhood” model starting now, so that it can join my repertoire.  The HGBG stock now includes: the “Western Pacific” design and the two Alice in Wonderland quilts, large and small. (Custom designs upon request).

If you want to get in on the good feelings, order your own quilt now! Get a 25% discount with code 09 on the HGBG website until 10/31/19!