December 20, 2013

color & style

Happy Solstice! Here is a collection of my favorite pieces from illustrator RenĂ© Gruau to keep the spirits up, inspire the holiday season and celebrate beauty and design. Enjoy

December 16, 2013

finding light in winter's darkness

After more than a month brake from these Papers I felt an urge to do an update and take a quiet Sunday night at home and turn it into a rambling blog post. These past weeks I've been busy. And lazy. And moody. It's that time of year. Right? I have had the sense that the seasons are crashing into me and time is slipping through my fingers and any and all holiday spirit got lost somewhere in the rush. Somehow I have managed to fill up every day on my calendar with a feisty mix of work, errands, social engagements and holiday celebrations from now until the first weekend in January and I am not really quite sure how I am going to make it through. Though I know I will. Gracefully.

Oh, but do I have my eye on the first Sunday of 2014.

But back to these last six weeks… Spring cleaning is not just for Spring. I love tackling it most of all in the Autumn when the air is crisp and cool and there's a sense of renewal and scholastic fervor that sends me into an organizing frenzy from switching out Summer's wardrobe in favor of structured silhouettes and cozy knits, taking stock of the pantry, rearranging furniture and flanneling the mattress right down to buying new pens and notebooks. As silly as they sometimes seem I know that these chores and projects are exactly what keep me from the inevitable wallowing that threatens to take place once Winter starts its icy dance. Sign me up for the camp of A Clean Home Is A Happy Home.

Halloween found me with neither plans nor work so I donned a wig and some spidery lashes at the last minute to make a minimal effort and went out into the night to catch some of the sport and spirit of it all and possibly a glass of something sparkling.

Within a couple weekends of wigging out, I became a godmother to my little nephew which meant more to me than I expected it would. I even personally took on the roll of this little guys Art Benefactor and started a savings account in his name to bestow on him throughout his life's artistic endeavors.

Which synchronically inspired me to pull out my water colors and start painting again.

Around the same time that the paint and brushes appeared, I purchased a new/old 35mm camera. Its a 1960 Yashica Lynx 1000 I was lucky enough to find through the wacky world of Instagram from Amy Redden of The Vintage Fern. There has yet to be film laced through those pretty little spools but that's on this weeks to-do list. I would love to be snapping away through the holidays and so look forward to getting back into the motions of using, devoloping and collecting film/photographs.

Baking is something that I turn to repeatedly to snap me out of my electronic and social media induced ADD and restore not only focus, but also a serious sense of calm and meditativeness. For Thanksgiving I forwent the custardy cream and spicy pumpkin variety of pie in favor of something bittersweet and chocolaty. This divine confection came directly from blogger and traveling wares caravan shop owner, Kara Rosenlund. I must make full disclosure that her mouthwatering photographs sold me faster than the actual recipe. Until I finally tasted the heavenly finished product of course. This is definitely going into my dessert repertoire.

Just before Thanksgiving I had a delightful diversion when my beau visited me for a few weeks and we spent days traipsing around town like tourists and our evenings dining our way through every available cuisine this fine city has to offer.

Within six weeks time I watched kaleidoscopic colors emerge from the spent summer greenery. That bursting brilliance of Fall was lost all too quickly when a windy rain storm blew in at the end of November letting Winter's fingers be heard tapping at the door.

And then early December brought a first snowfall and soon after, a second. Nothing too unmanageable. A perfectly contained tiny blizzard that seemed to melt away as fast as it fell. It was a pleasant surprise, fun and festive while it lasted. Real winter weather this early in the season has been rare in this neck of the woods for so very long now.

And because this time of year lends itself to firing up the oven and I enjoy baking, it was time for whipping up a batch of cookies. Plus I was having house guests. And my beau was leaving and I needed to put a stash in his carry on. I gathered the left over chocolate from the tart I made and whipped up this batch of chocolate chip walnut cookies based on the recipe I found on the Smitten Kitchen site. It's a winner. These cookies made everybody happy and didn't manage to linger on the serving plate very long. Another keeper for the recipe log.

To kick off the holiday season I went to the 700 Club awards which is really no more than an annual excuse to get dressed up and celebrate a little corner bar and all the strange and sozzled regulars that keep the register ringing. It's always a fun night of friends, dancing and lots of laughs. And that is exactly what I needed right about then.

In my end of year creative flurry that I seem to be having, I started a new endeavor. Lino block cutting and printing is something I've admired since high school but never stopped to try it. I have finally taken a stab at it, if you will, and promise that this new project shall be revealed in short order. Presently though, I can not stop carving out lino blocks.

The film festival was a couple months back and not as impressive as years past. Since then I have been trying to get out to see films on a more regular basis, the last one I caught being the new Bettie Page documentary, Bettie Page Reveals All. I enjoyed it immensely, as I do most docs. With it being narrated in her own voice, her story held more weight and the mystery of where she was after dropping out of public was revealed. I found it to be a telling story of a regular woman looking to simply make a living and make something of her life in an era where female choices were extremely limited. It's fascinating how much of a cultural icon she has become.

Besides spending as much time as possible snuggling up with this fur ball...

I have carved a little holiday card and have been stamping and embellishing my little heart out so that

... I can get out early in this cold early December morning to post them before returning home and getting to work on some last minute Christmas gifts.

Happy Solstice friends!