Last month, Rudi and I made it up to Cleveland Park to catch a rather unusual solo art exhibition for D.C.
Who, you ask? Monet? Judy Chicago? Thomas Kinkade?
Eric Carle, of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame.
This summer the Stanford in Washington Art Gallery brought the work of one of America’s most recognized children’s picture book artists to the District for all to enjoy.
It’s a small gallery — roughly the size of a two-floor townhouse, so it can only house two dozen pieces or so. Part of the downstairs was set up with Carle’s books in kindergarten-style cubbies set at ground level to encourage young readers to enjoy them.
There was a looped video running upstairs with an interview with the artist, who showed how he takes a piece from start to finish. He paints and colors on tissue paper to start and then cuts them into small pieces before rearranging and pasting them onto his canvas. He accents the work with crayons.
The great thing about seeing Carle’s work up close is that you really get a chance to see the detail. I’d urge you to click on some of the smaller images (particularly the cricket up above) to get a better look.
This is what you see in a book:
But when you see the originals, you really notice certain details, like the rhinoceros’ toenails:
I was glad we were able to make it up to see the exhibit. If you live in New England, Carle and his wife run a picture book museum in Amherst that looks like it could be a really fun day trip.
I was wholly inspired after seeing this exhibit. I hope you enjoyed it too!
1. My friend Laura is a semi-finalist for teacher of the year in Connecticut. She is a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners type of teacher (the kind who never would have put up with my B.S. in high school) and I’m glad to see that rigor is sometimes rewarded.
2. Our friend Brian and his wife are expecting an early spring baby. And they’ve bought a house.
3. The final weekend of summer was glorious. Rudi and I spent Saturday together outside eating brunch, gardening, and sitting at a cafe. On Sunday, while Rudi did his usual long ride, I hit the farmers’ market, hung out at the park, and went on a shorter ride that ended at Baked and Wired for a cupcake and cocoa. All in all, you couldn’t have imagined a nicer end to the season.
What beautiful things have cropped up in your life recently?
I have mentioned on more than one occasion that I seem incapable of being an adult and preparing for travel in a normal, daytime manner. Instead, an impending trip usually brings panic and clear eyes about the mess I live amidst on a normal day-to-day basis. Packing must be put off in lieu of dishes, laundry, or general housework. (Yes, I know where this comes from…)
Take tonight: I was home by seven. I could have packed for Salt Lake and been ready to get a somewhat full night’s sleep if I’d been dedicated. Instead, though, a movie took precedence. And dinner. And cuddling with the cats.
Right now? Dealing with the eight pounds of tomatoes I’m not sure will last uncooked in the fridge until Sunday. And tidying the living room. And queuing blog posts. (Don’t forget to stop by while I’m gone…)
Okay, yes, my stuff is pretty much ready to go. I piled shirts on the couch before dinner. And all the clean underwear I own is there, too, making my task merely one of picking several pairs to take with me. I even have a relatively clear idea of what knitting and reading will accompany me. But it’s not in the bag.
There will be no sleep tonight. And that’s no one’s fault but mine.
My eyes are closing, but here are three beautiful things from the past week:
1. Our photo service at work has been down for the last few days and I’m up against a deadline that requires some pictures. The National Park Service comes to the rescue with public domain shots (and buggy code, but stuff that was easily fixable once I realized what they’d done). My new graphic for our work page looks very pretty.
2. We lost PBS and CBS entirely during the digital conversion. Recently, we realized PBS puts Mystery! online for two weeks after airing, so we’re caught up with Inspector Lewis.
3. I haven’t talked to Jason in ages but have a vague recollection of Rudi sharing a Facebook update on him while I was half asleep. I call to offer congratulations, and he picks up the phone with the happiest sounding “Soe!” I’ve heard in a long time. It’s good to catch up with him and Essia and to hear all about the excitement in their world these days. Online updates are fine, but there’s just something about hearing a voice on the line that can really brighten up your whole day.
Mary Travers, one third of the folk music and political activist group Peter, Paul, and Mary, died yesterday of complications related to bone marrow cancer.
I can’t believe how painful it is to write that. We knew she was sick. Peter Yarrow had announced back in August that it was unlikely the trio would perform again together. But, yet, she’d beaten the cancer into remission several years ago when the doctors told her she wouldn’t. We were sure, even if no one said so, that she would vanquish her foe once more. But sometimes the story doesn’t have a happy ending.
If you’re around my age, this might have been one of the first Peter, Paul, and Mary songs you learned:
As you all know, I really like music. I grew up in a household where music played constantly. We listened to the radio. We listened to records, tapes, and cds. I even had a stereo in my bedroom that played 8-tracks. And now we play them on our computers and with our iPods.
So Tuesdays are always exciting for us because it’s new release day. Whom might we discover? Whose sophomore effort equals their first album? Which favorites are releasing box sets or something new?
And thanks to the music-and-book-blogging Largehearted Boy, I now know of two sites where I can check albums out for free before committing my hard-earned cash for them:
Some albums appear on both, but there are unique choices to each. AOL tends to run target a younger audience, but, again, it’s not a hard and fast rule.
This week I’ll be checking out a bunch of new-to-me artists. Can Scarlett Johansson sing? Will I like The Elms, who perform blues-rock? Will I recognize Big Star once I hear them? Does indie signify a genre of music that I want to hear? I’ll listen to .moneen., Cotton Jones, and Stars of Track & Field and find out.
Let me know in the comments if you have other favorite sites that share music in a legal fashion, as well as if you sample anything in this week’s assortment that catches your fancy.
City dwellers know that one of the perks of urban living is the freebie sidewalk find. A lot of what you pass by is junk, but sometimes you come across real gems. For instance, I inherited my breadmaker after it didn’t sell at a tag sale and was left on the curb.
People move with frequency in the city, and inevitably there are things that just won’t fit into the moving van or that you decide you can live without. And dragging them to the sidewalk is a whole lot easier than taking them out to the Goodwill in the surburbs.
Sometimes what they leave behind are books. Yes, books.
Book piles in a city, reflect its character. Usually what you find abandoned on the sidewalk in D.C. are policy wonk books. Want to know how Jimmy Carter dealt with Thailand in 1977? You’re probably in luck; you’ll find such a tome on many a sidewalk around town.
But I am a book nut and have to check, regardless of how many times I’ve been disappointed in what people think I might want to pick up.
However, Sunday my luck changed. As we wandered to Adams Morgan Day, we took a far less direct route than we normally would have. The fates must have guided our feet because a row of books suddenly materialized in front of us.
Rudi and I glanced down — and realized we’d hit a jackpot.
The person who’d discarded their books?
We found so many books we had to run them back home before resuming our trip:
[Confidential to Sarah: Want the bottom book? I picked it up with you in mind...]
Thursday already — time for three beautiful things from my past week:
1. At Sunday afternoon’s Nationals game, we trail into the bottom of the eighth, when Mike Morse ties the game before a stupid baserunning error derails the inning. The Marlins come back to take a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, at which point half the stadium gets up to leave. But the Nats aren’t done yet. Willie Harris hits a solo homer into center field, and Cristian Guzman singles to put the tying run aboard. And then Ryan Zimmerman, the franchise’s star third baseman, strides to the plate and swats a ball into the seats in left center. The stadium erupts with cheers from teammates and fans alike as the Nats rush the field to celebrate our victory.
2. A shiny pated man and a woman with a halo of hair that reaches to her waist stand together to snap a self-portrait.
3. Three teen boys ride past us. Two are on unicycles, one of whom has been riding on the wooden guardrail along the sidewalk. When he gets to a break in the rail, he effortlessly and without stopping hops his unicycle to the street and keeps riding.
A few weeks ago, JessaLu had a contest which offered the winner their choice of any of her homemade project bags. I was the lucky person selected and, after much hemming and hawing (how to choose amongst all the loveliness?), this is what I picked:
Isn’t it fantastic?! The zipper runs the length of the bag, which allows you access to everything inside at once.
Speaking of the inside, check it out:
Yep. It’s fully lined with a contrasting fabric. There are no loose threads that might catch the zipper (with its adorable bee charm). It feels structured and solid. This is not a bag that will be punctured easily by the odd needle poking through.
And it’s a nice size. In the shots, the bag was empty, but it’s not anymore. I have three skeins of DK weight yarn, a set of 7-inch needles, and a work-in-progress, plus some odds and ends. Yet it still fits in my purse or my big knitting bag. Or I can just toss my wallet and cell phone inside and hang the bag from my wrist for the run over for an evening at the coffeeshop.
Jess’ bags can be bought at her Etsy shop. She’s taken her stock down for the next few weeks, while her bags visit a few fiber festivals in person, but you can sign up to hear when her shop re-opens. If you like knitting bags and are looking for one that will delight you with its style and craftmanship, I suggest you do.