Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is it Sunny Yet?

Before I begin my story, I would like to take a moment to thank L over at Sagepatch.  She has posted a delightful interview with me on her blog: Sage Patch.  L has several shops on Etsy, where she sells vintage farmhouse finds and much more.  We have become pals through our mutual love of all things vintage.  So when you get a chance, stop by one or all of her shops and visit her blog where you can read more about me, and see her other tidbits as well!
Here are the links to her shops:

I am so tired of the gloomy weather. The sun just doesn't seem to want to come around very often. I decided to brighten my outlook by viewing all of my favorite, and most colorful pictures around the house.

This one, bought in Paris in 1986, is a poster advertising a show by the Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky.
The first time I saw it, I had to have it --something about the combination of color and black and white. The English translation of Bouches et Grilles is Vents and Grilles--rubbings taken of of the fascinating, ancient manhole covers of France.

A watercolor painted by my mother when she was 21 years old, dreaming of being a children's book illustrator.  

      Another Paris purchase -- same trip, another advertisement for an art exhibit. Georges de La Tour, a 17th century French painter, painted mostly candlelit scenes. This is a snippet from his painting, The Cheat With the Ace of Clubs. 

Esso, formerly Standard Oil, later known as Exxon, used to put out road maps. This is a lovely detailed vintage map, or "A Pictorial Plan of Scotland," which was purchased as a gift prior to a family vacation to Scotland a few years ago.

A portrait of pileated woodpeckers , by John Ruthven, 
a naturalist and wildlife artist, 
who lives about twenty miles from my house. 
There are a lot of woodpeckers in my backyard, 
but none are as grand as these three.

And finally, although not a picture, I decided to include this pastry clock, because it always brings a little joy to my soul.
Now, guess what happened as I wrote this post?
Yep, the sun came out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japanese Fairy Tales

Japan has been on our minds lately, and in our hearts. Looking around at home for something Japanese to write about, I came across this book that I have not read since I was a child. 
Japanese Fairy Tales has remained in my consciousness all of these years, albeit in the back a bit. Originally published in 1918, my copy, which had been in my family forever, is from 1928. 
The author of the first four tales, Lafcadio Hearn, was a Greek-English journalist who wrote about and interpreted Japanese life -- considered a most "exotic" culture in those days -- to America. He emigrated to Cincinnati, lived in New Orleans for a while, and eventually moved to Japan, where he married a Japanese woman and raised a small family.

The story that I remember most vividly is called The Boy Who Drew Cats, a spooky tale about a boy who loved to draw. Sent to study under a priest, because he was not farmer material, he was sent away with some sage advice: "Avoid large places; --keep to small!" Wandering on, he eventually came to an abandoned temple, where he spent the night. All I'll say is that strange things happened in the night.

Like all fairy tales in every culture, these are cautionary tales and, although the culture and times were different, the stories are universal.   

The illustrations are lovely and colorful, although my book is literally falling apart at the seams.

So this is my small but earnest tribute to Japan, a fascinating, colorful, curious country not so different really from our own.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just A Little Green

Winter has gone on entirely too long, I feel. So it is with the greatest pleasure that I present to you some small signs of the coming Spring. 

I only had to go in my backyard to find these bright spots.

Wish I knew exactly what all of these little creatures are called.

These are my favorites, 
with no flowers,
just wonderful large leaves.

So if you are feeling the weight of winter's last dregs upon you, check out your own backyard for some signs of life springing forth.
 Thank you Joni Mitchell for providing the title to this post, one of my most favorite songs ever, Little Green .