Thursday Text: John Ruskin

Today is the day. After five years of hard work here at the University of Missouri, Tony is going to defend his doctoral dissertation. I am so proud of him. He is in philosophy, and his dissertation deals with issues surrounding specialization and the division of labor - are people born with abilities to fill specific roles in society? is it better to focus on one thing and become really good at it? or would it be better to have the ability to do many things? and so on...

I know that Tony used John Ruskin in his dissertation, but I'm not sure exactly what he used (because I haven't read all 180 pages of it yet!). Here are three quotes attributed to Ruskin that are probably applicable and may have been included by Tony.

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.

Good luck, Tony! I'm proud of you!



Browsing through the old posts on Do Something Pretty, I came across handscape by Zelda Beauchampet. I find this fascinating. I don't think it would be very practical to wear rings like these, but who could resist a little bunny by an apartment building?


Apple Beer

Yesterday I wasn't feeling well. I went home at lunchtime and didn't leave the couch until bedtime (except to make Tony a baked potato). I've just had an upset stomach, so I'm pretty sure that it's not the swine flu. I'm feeling better today but wishing that I could sip on an Apple Beer. If you haven't had it, it's a wonderful, frothy apple soda from Utah. I could drink it all day. And I probably will when I go home to visit in about a month!


IKEA Spice Jars

We grew some herbs last year, and it ended up being really nice to snip fresh rosemary or basil to use in cooking. For Christmas, Tony bought me a food dehydrator so that I could dry and store some of our bounty. So I recently dried some rosemary and sage. For storage, I had Tony's dad (who lives about a mile from IKEA) pick me up some of these DROPPAR spice jars at IKEA. I am so excited to fill them with interesting things this summer. What's your favorite herb?


Friday Featured Art: Jared Sanders

The other day, I was looking at some of Joe's new pieces at Montgomery Lee Fine Art (the gallery is in Park City). I was reminded of another artist who shows there and does great work. Jared Sanders is another Utah State grad who paints western landscapes and barns. I really love his bright colors and geometric shapes. Isn't the white one fascinating?


Thursday Tunes: Ivan Moravec

Last Friday, Tony and I attended a piano concert at the Folly Theater in Kansas City. The pianist was Ivan Moravec from the Czech Republic, and he was incredible. He played Janacek, Debussy, and Chopin. Here's one of the Chopin Ballades. (He's 79 now and still going strong...)


New in My Shop

I updated my Etsy shop yesterday. This pair of earrings really makes me think of spring flowers. It's getting to be so pretty here.


Vegetarian Recipes

We're not vegetarians, but over the past year or so we've tried to cut back on the amount of meat that we eat. (Really how can you be a vegetarian and live in Missouri when we have the best barbeque around?) Sometimes it's hard to think of meals that will be tasty and filling without incorporating meat. Yesterday I found this section on Martha - 50 vegetarian recipes. These tostadas look delicious. I'll just have to leave the mushrooms off of Tony's...


Watkins Woolen Mill

This weekend as we thought about life and spring and renewal, we attended Spring on the Farm day at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park near Kansas City. Aren't these lambs so sweet?


Thursday Text: In Memoriam

It's Tennyson again this week. One of his best-known poems, from which the text for Ring Out, Wild Bells comes, is In Memoriam. It was written over a period of years following the passing of a good friend from Cambridge who was engaged to Tennyson's sister. I'm just going to include a portion of the text as we have just marked the 10th year since Tony's best friend passed away (car accident) and are approaching the 7th year since my late husband passed away (also car accident). We have learned much in our lives and about life since then.

Could I have said while he was here,
`My love shall now no further range;
There cannot come a mellower change,
For now is love mature in ear'?

Love, then, had hope of richer store:
What end is here to my complaint?
This haunting whisper makes me faint,
'More years had made me love thee more.'

But Death returns an answer sweet:
`My sudden frost was sudden gain,
And gave all ripeness to the grain,
It might have drawn from after-heat.'


Easter Baskets

Did you see Nie's Easter baskets? They are gorgeous. I love that the elements are all so natural-looking and nature-inspired. After being at the grocery store last week, I had almost written off Easter baskets as too tacky - I might have to rethink that...


Lotta Jansdotter

Lotta Jansdotter is selling fabric remnants on her web site. I'd really like to buy a bag of Lotta-designed linen! Then I would make something like the cute door-stopper (below) as seen in the photos of her home tour on Martha. See the tour here.



Now that I've returned to my bagpipe lessons, I've been thinking about all sorts of Scottish things - like tartans. Tartan is the name given to a specific pattern of plaid. Here are some examples from the Tartans of Scotland web site. The top left is the Royal Stewart that is worn by the royal pipers. The top right is the University of Missouri tartan that was licensed two years ago. The bottom right is the classic tartan of my mother's family - the Grants. And the bottom left is a version of the famous Black Watch that was associated with the Grants.

These days you can find just about anything in plaid from a footstool project on Martha to a little hedgehog on Etsy. What do you think? Do you like plaid?


Friday Featured Art: The Lady of Shalott

Tennyson's poem, The Lady of Shalott inspired numerous works of art and references that continue to this day. These first three examples are works by John William Waterhouse - a later Pre-Raphaelite artist. The one with the boat is the classic one that you are probably all familiar with. The last image that I've included is a version by William Holman Hunt - another member of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. I love the pose and the hair and the detail. Which do you like best?


Thursday Text: The Lady of Shalott

The classic poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson has always been one of my favorites.
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott".

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the 'curse' may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;

And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
'The Lady of Shalott.'

And down the river's dim expanse--
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance--
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right--
The leaves upon her falling light--
Thro' the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot;
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
'The Lady of Shalott'

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott".


Easter Candy

With Easter coming up in just a couple of days, I've got to be thinking about Easter candy! Tony loves it, and we've already gone through numerous bags of the Cadbury mini eggs. You always need a chocolate bunny, and we prefer ones that don't taste like wax and don't have tons of packaging. So I think we'll opt for the Lindt gold bunnies again this year. They are delicious, and you can recycle their cute foil wrappers!


Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts

Over the weekend I got my copy of Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts. They did such a great job with this book. The pictures, of course, are wonderful; the instructions are clear; they've included templates and resources; I could go on... It's nice to have so many projects in one place instead of tearing apart magazines and then trying to figure out what to do with all of the loose pages. Some of the projects appear to be beyond my ability, but I'm going to enjoy experimenting with this encyclopedia for years to come!


Jonamac Orchard

I know this isn't the time of year to be thinking about orchards and corn mazes, but Tony just accepted a job teaching college in northern Illinois for next year. He will begin in August, and we'll be moving to the DeKalb area. The little school is actually in Malta - home of Jonamac Orchard. We've been there a number of times to buy apples and eat apple donuts and drink apple cider and get lost in the corn maze. OK - now you can go back to thoughts of spring.


Friday Featured Etsy Seller: Dutch Sisters

Corry and Heleen are two sisters who live in the Netherlands - hence the name, Dutch Sisters. It must be the week for cute Dutch fabrics, but I really like this quilt and tote bag that I spied in their Etsy shop. Now if only I could find a source for that calico...


Thursday Tunes: Loch Lomond

In the past couple of years, I've taken some bagpipe lessons. You start by learning to play a practice chanter (looks like this), and that's where I am. Who knows if I'll ever move on to the actual pipes, but I love to listen to them just the same. A traditional tune that has multiple meanings to me is Loch Lomond. A version of the song by a kind of punk band from Nova Scotia is below followed by the lyrics.

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Oh! Ye'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

'Twas then that we parted, In yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond,
Where, in purple hue, The highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.

The wee birdies sing, And the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens, Nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their greeting.


Winged Victory of Samothrace

After seeing Winged Victory in Frank Lloyd Wright's playroom yesterday, I thought I would look it up. I would go to France just to be able to stand at the foot of this statue. In the meantime, though, I have found museum web sites to be a great source of fascinating information. The Louvre has an incredible feature on their web site that teaches about the statue's drapery and pose and provenance, etc. Check it out here.