You know that pondering tilt of the head a person gives a work of art they’ve just completed? Writing about your life is that exactly. You step back, pick up your paint brush, apply a dab of compassion here, a brush stroke of flair over there. Putting your life on canvas allows you to see what your life looks like through the eyes of others.
Going Granny (actually my grandkids call me Nanny) is my best achievement yet! Here’s a phone message my barely two-year grandgirl left for me on my 58th b-day. I guarantee it; this will make your day.
Look a little closer, and you can see its splendid starry points:
Photo by Okinawa Soba (Rob) via Flickr
Okay, scientifically speaking, these little lovelies aren’t actually sand. They are the tiny, empty shells of ocean protozoa called Baclogypsina sphaerulata.
Say that three times (or even once).
When the micro-creatures die, their exoskeletons are washed ashore amid grains of actual sand on only a handful of beaches on earth, and they’re all in the vicinity of Okinawa, Japan.
According to legend from Okinawa’s Iriomote Island, the “sand” stars are Hoshizuna, the fallen sky children of the North Star and the Southern Cross. Long ago, the tiny stars sprinkled into the sea of Okinawa, where they were killed by a sea serpent and continue to wash ashore as miraculous star-shaped particles of “sand.”
They report that 80 percent of American women have had accidents during, and have expressed anxiety about, their periods …
(you’re nodding, I’m nodding)
… and they set out to change all that.
But not just any underwear.
Thinx “period panties” are truly innovative.
In short, they’re extraordinarily absorbent, antimicrobial (via embedded silver, not chemicals), so low-profile you won’t see them through clothing—and they’re pretty.
These panties are designed to fully replace panty liners, eliminating a lot of waste and discomfort as well as leaks, and they can be used in conjunction with tampons or menstrual cups on heavy flow days.
What’s more, Thinx are helping girls in need of much more than peace of mind while wearing white pants.
According to Thinx, 94 percent of girls in Uganda report having problems at school due to menstruation, and many drop out of school entirely as a result.
“We see a world where no woman is held back by her body,” the Thinx team declares. “We will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves.”
Here’s how they’re doing it:
You buy a pair of “period-proof” THINX undies (and relish the results, even in yoga pants). Meanwhile, Thinx sends funds to their partner organization, AFRIpads, which trains Ugandan women to sew and sell reusable cloth pads, creating entrepreneurs in the process.
Watch this video for the full monty … er … the whole shebang?
I’ve always gotten a kick out of diner lingo and hate to see it go the way of the dodo, ya know?
Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons
Hoping to do my part in preserving this cute ‘n’ cheesy (wink) café chatter,
I created a—you guessed it—QUIZ to test your food slang savvy.
Have fun figuring out these phrases (the answers are posted at the end), then call them out with gusto in your own kitchen. The kids will love it.
1. All hot
2. Battery acid
4. Bubble dancer
5. Cluck and grunt
6. Cow feed
7. Cow paste
8. Eve with a lid on
9. Fish eyes
10. Frog sticks
11. George Eddy
13. Italian perfume
14. Make it moo
15. Mike and Ike
16. Moo juice
17. Nervous pudding
19. Sea dust
20. Shingle with a shimmy and a shake
22. Walk a cow through the garden and pin a rose on it
23. Whistle berries
1. Baked potato
2. Grapefruit juice
3. Breakfast cereal
5. Eggs and bacon
8. Apple pie
9. Tapioca pudding
10. French fries
11. Customer who doesn’t leave tips
12. Banana split
14. Add milk/cream to coffee
15. Salt and pepper shakers
17. Jell-o (or, better yet, Giggle Wiggles—one of my Chillover recipes!)
18. Tuna salad sandwich
20. Buttered toast with jam
21. Maple syrup
22. Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
23. Baked beans
With a brand-spankin’ New Year upon us, it’s the perfect time to explore new creative frontiers while honoring artistic traditions that have led us this far.
What do I have in mind, you wonder?
Well, you may remember how I told you about Zentangle, the addictive art of zany (yet so very Zen) doodling.
Image by Trinity Verlag in der Scorpio Verlag GmbH & Co.KG via Wikimedia Commons
(If this doesn’t ring a bell, hop over to this post.)
True to form, each time I swirl and squiggle lines on paper, I find myself fantasizing about fabric, which inspired me to poke around a bit into the idea of Zentangle quilting, and wouldn’t you know it?
Grannie sits in her oaken chair,
Firelight flits o’er her silvery hair,
The silent children around her sit,
As she pieces her patchwork coverlet …
The Chimney Corner by Joseph Clark via WikiGallery.org
These lyrics from a traditional song called “Patchwork” are among the gems tucked in The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall and Rose Good Kretsinger. Originally published in 1935, this oldie but goodie is the kind of book that sentimental quilters covet.
It’s neither glossy nor glitzy. It doesn’t knock your socks off with colorful photo spreads or tutorials. What it holds are sweet scraps of history.
Some woman sewed these points and squares
Into a pattern like life’s cares.
Here is a velvet that was strong,
The poplin that she wore so long,
A fragment from her daughter’s dress,
Like her, a vanished loveliness;
Old patches of such things as these,
Old garments and old memories.
– Douglas Malloch
Peppered with tidbits of poetry and prose, the book features hundreds of black and white images of full quilts and patches with the name of each pattern, making it a handy guide for modern quilters seeking to identify the patterns of an antique quilt.
“Over a period of years, Mrs. Hall has accumulated a collection of more than 1,000 quilt patches, both antique and modern, showing practically every design and motif of design ever created in America,” the book’s jacket reads. “This collection, which she has entrusted to the Thayer Museum of the University of Kansas, formed the inspiration for her book.”
Who knows? You might even discover a spark of design inspiration from yesteryear.
Although it’s out of print today, you can still pick up a used copy of The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt from many an online bookseller for under $10.
The sun has such a pretty quilt,
Each night he goes to bed,
It’s made of lavender and gold,
With great long stripes of red.
And bordered by the softest tints
Of all the shades of gray,
It’s put together by the sky,
And quilted by the day.
– Laura Coates Reed
While this may sound like some sort of neologism meant to convey, say, surprise or delight, it is actually the pronunciation of:
Oh, gee …
Don’t worry if you’re coming up empty on definitions because duodji isn’t an English word–not even close. It actually hails from a remote group of nomadic people called the Sámi who herd reindeer across the far northern reaches of Scandinavia.
Photo of Sami family at spring (Easter) celebration by Mortsan via Wikimedia Commons
Duodji refers to any number of handcrafted items made by the Sámi that are both aesthetically beautiful and useful (clothing, accessories, household items, and tools). Traditionally, duodji crafts were divided into men’s and women’s work. Men used mostly wood and antlers as well as other bones from reindeer when crafting items like this salt cellar:
Photo by Christopher Forster via Wikimedia Commons
Women incorporated leather and fur in elaborately stitched items like these marvelous mittens:
Photo by Thorguds, SaamiBlog.blogspot.com via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional colors incorporated in duodji are red, green, blue and yellow:
Photo by Duodjiinfo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Christopher Forster via Wikimedia Commons
“Duodji represents cultural continuity with our ancestors,” explains Ellen Marie Jensen, author of We Stopped Forgetting. “There are creative and functional adaptations over time, and the individual duojar has room for individual creative expression. Duodji is both functional and beautiful.”
I’ve been keeping my daily Raising Jane Journal for almost five years now,
so I feel I have some authority to say,
Adolf Hölzel – Dorotheum, via Wikimedia Commons
But don’t just take my word for it.
“University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health,” reports PsychCentral.com. “Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit, and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.”
Good stuff, I tell you. My mother wrote in her journal (several volumes) most every day of her life, some days only a sentence or two. But, what a treasure to leave her children.
The new year is the perfect time to start jotting a journal. Yes, you! It won’t do to hide your head in the sand.
photo by Korall via Wikimedia Commons
Journaling is not another insurmountable task to add to your to-do list. In fact, it’s a wonderful way to tackle life with more merriment and less moping. According to a study published in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, journaling just 15 to 20 minutes on five occasions was enough to help the participants deal with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events.
Liebesglück – der Tagebucheintrag, August Müller, via Wikimedia Commons
So, let’s get down to the basics:
Creativity is not required (unless you crave it). Art journaling may evolve from your writing routine, but that’s another entry …
Eloquent writing skills and proper spelling aren’t necessary, either.
How about reserving a nice notebook for journaling only, something you’re eager to pick up. This year I’m started a Bee Journal as I journey into being a beekeeper.
Try to write a little—or a lot—every day. Whether it’s a single sentence vent (“This day has been CRAZY because …”) or a long meander down memory lane, or like me, I usually write about my fascination with people and things outside my personal world. Just pencil in a time each day to let your thoughts flow on paper.
All proceeds (minus shipping and packing) will benefit www.firstbook.org, a non-profit that provides new books to children from low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada.
MaryJane will post a photo of the prop and its cost here along with a few details as to its condition. The first person to call the farm and talk with Brian, 208-882-6819, becomes the new owner of a little bit of herstory. Shipping will be either USPS or UPS, our choice. No returns.