Sunday, June 14, 2020


Sometimes the only thing to do during a difficult week is add some beauty to your life.

These are Ellsworth Kelly notecards. I spent about an hour putting them in frames this morning.

Yes, I have a boatload of work to do.
Yes, I'm behind on some important stuff.
But getting this done felt both useful and helpful for my frazzled state of mind.

What beautiful thing do you add to your life when you need a boost?


Luralee said...

Today I am watching Giant Swallowtail caterpillars hatch on a potted citrus tree that I grew from a seed. I don’t know how they found it. It may be the only citrus tree in the county. But I’m thrilled.

Adele said...

Handcrafts, mostly. I bind books and I make bobbin lace. Both crafts date back centuries and haven't changed much, and both take a long time. With books, you do one thing and then wait for it to dry. I live in a damp climate; there are 44 steps to creating a hard-covered book, and that's just in the beginner's manual. I worked full time in hand bookbinding for seven years and I don't think there's any end to the number of steps you could take - every step can always be refined. With the lacemaking, there are easy patterns a 5-year-old can do, or you could choose to replicate something 18th-century royalty pawned a kingdom for. Guess which patterns I choose. It's the only craft I've ever done where I routinely meet astrophysicists and engineers. I love puzzles, I enjoy social history, and there's something so satisfying about making a physical object.

Beth Carpenter said...

Very pretty! I've been stringing beads into bracelets and necklaces for an annual charity craft auction and gardening. Late last summer we had some old trees taken out and raised the loft on others. Now have an open woodland that gets dabbled sun, perfect for a woodland garden, so I've been planting ferns, hostas, bleeding hearts, Jacob's ladder, and Canadian ivy, along with some annual flowers to fill in while they grow. It's coming along nicely.

Claire Bobrow said...

Those are gorgeous notecards - definitely worth framing!

I've been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, photographing butterflies, birds, bees, and blooms. Nature has been a great source of strength and solace.

Craig F said...

Got the pool area finished while it is still Butterfly Orchid season. It not only smells great back there, but is beautiful too.

I am spending too much time chasing down wasp nests. We are the only people on the block with Milkweed. I think the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar is their favorite food.

I am also working on a new fly design for fishing. It is not a rush because my favorite fishing spots are inaccessible at the moment.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Gardening does it for me. This year I planted green beans, peas, kale, one cucumber hill, and one zucchini. All are firsts. I've had good luck with our couple tomatoes and couple of red pepper plants in past years.

To deter rabbits, I planted the peas among the mint. Green beans have no nibbles yet. I think the rabbits prefer the clover growing in the lawn.

Ants and an old rose root sprouted through half a row of kale. And I have many volunteer squash and/or pumpkin plants that I need to transplant currently growing among my peas and beans and zucchini.

Yesterday, my sister invited me to help weed her hobby farm garden. Perfect day, except for the deer fly that bit my ear. Her Barred Rock chickens were excited to eat the grubs we exposed when digging and planting asparagus.

BJ Muntain said...

I take care of my parish's website and Facebook page. I often need images to illustrate items I post or our priest's homily online. I find them at Wikimedia Commons, usually. This means that, in order to illustrate something properly, I get to look through ancient paintings of biblical scenes and events, some by masters, some not. Some icons, some frescoes, some paintings... So much art!

Whenever I get to NYC, I try to go to the Cloisters. Not only is it a calm, quiet place (usually), but you're surrounded by walls and cloisters taken from actual ancient churches and monasteries that have been destroyed or abandoned. All that sacred art among sacred walls - it's one of the most peaceful places I've ever been.

Emma said...

Adele, one of my first jobs was as a bookbinder! I really loved it and I'm happy I learned it. I watched a movie recently where a man was "bookbinding" and my eyeballs almost exploded out of my head. He was just whamming away at the spine in all the wrong ways and places. A real book would have fallen to pieces.

I need nature and some kind of art in my life. I will put aside everything to go for a hike or even a nice walk. I miss museums. Other than that, incense and scented candles, and a good book. I can get through absolutely anything if I have good enough reading material.

I hope next week is a better one for you, Janet.

Best to all.

RosannaM said...

Those are such beautiful cards.

I've been playing old records. I love the scritchy sound the needle makes.

We try to walk amongst the majesty of trees.

I tend to my fledgling garden and pinch herb sprigs, roll them between my fingers and inhale.

I started mixing up weird spice blends sans recipe. It surprises me with an explosion of mouth flavor. I truly haven't done one we didn't like, and it pleases me that each time is a unique experience, never to be quite replicated again.

Lennon Faris said...


Playing a new song on the piano, for me. Or turning something turquoise. Or organizing a messy space into a sparse one.

It helps get the work down afterward, it really does.

KMK said...

Those are amazing notecards...and no time spent with art is wasted time! My soothing beauty thing is the last one that I ever expected: coming up with social media posts, much like BJ and the parish pages. My "look" is vintage postcards, sheet music or other images from the NYPL Digital Collections, and it's like a treasure hunt. Even more fun when I find things that please my (admittedly few) followers/friends!

nightsmusic said...

Working in the yard/garden or reading a book. Either gives me such satisfaction. I could say seeing a clean house, but I hate cleaning so while I'm always happy to see it clean, there's always that thought that it will again have to be cleaned tomorrow.

Yesterday and today, I did rocks around the flowerbeds. And for those of you talking about caterpillars and butterflies, I am jealous and a bit worried. I have a Monarch sanctuary and a Swallowtail garden and I haven't seen ONE Monarch yet this year. I helped a Black Swallowtail who had furled and then fell to the ground, back into the bush they were on, I've seen one Orange Sulphur and one Luna Moth. That's it. I'm bummed and hoping it's just going to be a late year, but also worried that their numbers are falling off even more drastically this year.

AJ Blythe said...

When I am really frazzled, I need nature. Stick me in the bush and I can breathe again. It really is the embodiment of "a sense of calm washed over her".

NLiu said...

I read the Bible because there are so many beautiful things in there and it gives me something better to focus on, something concrete and unchanging. I try to read on my balcony because it's bright and there are flowers and they make my happy, but it's too hot at the moment.

John Davis Frain said...

RosannaM, "scritchy" is such a wonderful word. Well done!

I have a pond in the back with a few fish and I try to attract toads. It's quite the amorous pond. I pipe in a little Barry White music, and the toads are immediately smitten. They react the way any human would, falling in love with the nearest toad. Currently, there are (I'm not exaggerating) about 3,000 tadpoles swimming in this small pond. They won't all survive, of course, but tiny toads are not hopping around the back yard, which means I can no longer idly listen to a writing podcast when I mow the lawn.

(The Barry White section of this post may or may not be an embellishment.)

Panda in Chief said...

As making art is my "day job" I'm afraid it is not especially soothing, except on those rare occasions when it feels effortless. (those are very rare) So, gardening is one of the most mentally relaxing things that I can do. I don't grow vegetables. I'm too much of a Darwinian gardener for that. also, the deer, bunnies, and slugs would devour most of what I'd hoped to grow for myself. Better to support the many small organic farms that populate my island.

What I HAVE discovered is very stress reducing, is needle felting. since I started my felty panda project, I've made over 200. At this point I've lost track, but there is nothing more soothing than putting on some music or listening to a book or podcast, and turning wads of fluff into tiny pandas.

The world needs all the tiny pandas I can make.