Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Pushing Daisies is my new favorite TV show. Inventive and clever, with witty dialogue, heartwarming characters, and luscious settings. Somehow, it makes death seem less morbid. Pleasant, even. In fact, one of the most delightful aspects of this show is the design-- a little quirky, a little retro, always colorful and bright. The backgrounds, sets, wardrobes, and style of Pushing Daisies exudes a fairy tale quality that I just love. The attention to detail by the set designers and stylists is amazing. I loved the retro cowboy sheet used for a ghost in last night's episode, the overly-patterned apartment of Olive Snook, Emerson Cod's jacket and shirt combinations, and the floral painted house of John Joseph Jacob's mom. Oh, and the storyline was good, too! It's a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, sweet, but not overly saccharine. Like a good pie.
I couldn't find photos of all the previously-mentioned cool stuff, but you can watch the first five episodes online at ABC.com.
In other good news, Pushing Daisies has been picked up by ABC for at least the rest of the season. Yay!
brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? (thanks aunt amy!)
baby punkin' feet (thanks great aunt ethel!)
seinfeld should be jealous (thanks grandpa redd!)
*these outfits are sponsored by the generous family members who made it all possible and to the letters G and T. Go Yellow Jackets!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This is something I would love to do someday. Seriously. I'm just anal-retentive enough to try it. How fun to come up with a character for each letter! I suppose it could be done as a series of paintings, too, but the permanence of the wall border is fantanstic.
You can see more pictures and explanations of his process at his blog.
HT: Design Mom
Monday, October 29, 2007
To everyone else, thanks for abiding with the long interruption. We will now continue with our regularly scheduled blogging.
One of the first things to catch my attention were a series of large, whimsical animal portraits by Kay Odell. Her color choices and compositions were amazing! Some of her canvases were round, which added to her playful style. So charming! Wouldn't our little dog-relatives Zoe or Cody or Zeke love to be immortalized like this? The artist will do custom orders for $300-350 from a photograph of your pet. (Although, her art did give me inspiration for
a painting that has been long overdue to be transferred from my head to a canvas... perhaps I will do the honors for our canine friends some day soon!) Still, since you really don't want to wait on me, check out her other artwork at her website. I saw some adorable note cards and 2008 calendars for sale at the festival. Fun stuff!
Another artist's works I found exciting were some large wood pieces from a craftsman named Lee Chesson, including unique cutting boards and lazy susans. I was surprised to learn that the striped sections are all unstained, natural woods from Africa and South America, like paduak and purpleheart. The one I saw at the festival (pictured to the left) was entirely striped, but I think having only two stripes (at right, pictured upside-down) adds a contemporary flair that I find striking. I'd love to have one sitting on our dining room table! The color combinations are richly arranged. Check out more of his work, including chess sets, albums, cutting boards and other, smaller pieces, at his website. Free shipping in the US!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
But today, Tech announced that Choice could possibly be back for the last few games of the season. Guess we'll wait and see.
PS It's obviously a good thing that we beat Army, but cheering against them makes one feel just a little unpatriotic or something.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
By the way, once babies start crawling, why don't they put the snaps on onesies backwards so that you can more easily dress your baby as he is crawling away from you? It would make my life so much easier!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wodehouse is an author that Team Redd has enjoyed over the last few years, although we certainly wish we had discovered him sooner. His fiction is a treat to read and definitely falls into the category of "light reading," though this assessment shouldn't be taken as a detraction by any means. Wodehouse's writing is wonderful, replete with snappy dialogue, amusing prose and memorable characters. His books often feature twisting plotlines that plunge his protagonists into one sticky situation after another. But there's always a happy ending.
Wodehouse wrote almost a hundred books during his career, so diving into his body of work is quite a daunting task. Based on my limited reading, I would heartily recommend the following:
Life With Jeeves, a collection of three books revolving around Bertie Wooster, a bumbling and marriage-phobic member of the idle rich, and Jeeves, his ever-brilliant valet.
The Luck of the Bodkins, a comic tale of complicated romance aboard a transatlantic cruise
Leave it to Psmith, the adventures of the cash-strapped yet resourceful Psmith
Additionally, the television adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster is fantastic. It stars Hugh "House M.D." Laurie as Wooster and Stephen "Harry Potter Audiobook Reader" Fry as Jeeves.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Tashard Choice had a great game, but our only two touchdowns were rushed in by ... Taylor Bennett? Whatever. Points are points. Let's hope this win will give us some momentum for the rest of the season.
Also, way to go Auburn, for eeking out that win over the Razorbacks. I knew you could do it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I'll return next week and continue my series on the Hidden Arts, as well as post highlights from our trip!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Music, says Schaeffer, is to be enjoyed by everyone. Singing, playing instruments, attending live concert performances, and listening to recorded music are all ways to bring a diversity of quality sounds into our lives. The good thing is that most of us already at least listen to music everyday. And that's a start!
I appreciate that she connects music to the Christian life, especially how the Psalms tell us to "sing and make a joyful noise unto the LORD." We are not only encouraged, but commanded to make music to glorify God! One of my favorite quotes from this chapter:
Christian homes should be places where there is the greatest variety of good music, so that natural talent may find the necessary spark to set it on fire.
Some of her suggestions I found intriguing were:
We are a musical family. Gaines (and his two sisters) all have a natural talent for music, so I'm hoping some of that will trickle down to our offspring. We keep Gaines' guitar and banjo in the living room so if the mood or moment strikes, he is ready to play (I think keeping them out in the open, out of their cases, has encouraged him to play more often.) Though I can barely carry a tune, I love to sing -- in the car, at home, to Jacob as he goes to sleep. Gaines is forever making up silly little songs about whatever is going on at the moment and since Jacob's birth, the habit -- to my chagrin -- has rubbed off on me. (I once caught myself singing a ridiculous tune about diapers while changing Jacob in the public restroom at a friend's wedding reception. I wonder what the groom's grandmother thought when she emerged from the stall?!) We also appreciate live music when circumstances permit, and have enjoyed many a concert in our day. Jacob has already been to see our friend Eric Peters perform (though he slept through everything but the encore--he was only 3 months old, after all)!
Here are some ideas of things we do, as well as some things I hope we do in the future:
What to Listen For in Music by Aaron Copeland (A fantastic introduction on how to enjoy music--any music-- intelligently.)
Contemporary Trends in Classical Music by John Wykoff at Comment Magazine
Slugs, Bugs, and Lullabies by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson (for silly kid song inspiration)
Please share any other music resources you use and enjoy! I know I've seen a quality guide to classical music on the web (especially for novices like me), I just can't find it in my bookmarks. Anyone know of such a thing?
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
These are yummy, addictive, just a tad spicy, and only $.99. Good thing I only bought one bag!
To balance their not-good-for-you qualities, I think I'll use them tonight to top off
Edited to add: The crumbled chips were quite good on top of a stir-fry of chicken and asparagus with lite asian sesame dressing! Yum!
Schaeffer defines "Hidden Art" as that which is involved in the everday, rather than as someone's profession or career. She believes that every person has some unfulfilled longing or talent which should be expressed and developed, and that these interests will widen over the course of a lifetime. There is a time and a place for formal art study, but Shaeffer encourages us to live artistically in the present.
To me, this chapter was particularly meaningful even though it is the shortest in the entire book. I must share a confession: I have always been intimidated by artists.
I don't know how it happened. I was a crafty kid and loved to draw-- some of my old elementary teachers still have sketches I did while in their classs. I have memories of my mother taking me to her oil painting classes -- I took a few lessons one summer along with her. There were no art classes in my public school, however, and by the time I reached junior high/high school, I didn't feel it was worth it to take the effort to drive 20 minutes to continue that area of study. I was too busy. I stopped taking piano lessons. I stopped taking time to write.
College reignited my passion for art when I took a watercolor class one January term. I ended up presenting my Senior Seminar on the intersection of Servant Leadership and the arts. Two of my roommates were art majors and I had other good friends who were artists. But walking the halls of the art building, sometimes, I still felt like I just didn't fit in. Yes, I was an art minor, but only becuase I enjoyed the classes and ended up with enough credits (though I should've taken photography!). I think a deep-seated fear of not being "good enough" always kept me from pursuing art professionally. Whatever the reason, I didn't. And here I am, a wife and mother who longs to be creative but only makes the time to paint when I've paid for and scheduled a class.
Thankfully, this book has encouraged me to pursue creativity in my everyday life, NOW, and not just every so often when I get the urge. And now I can incorporate art into everything I do and not just wait until I carve out time to break out the easel or the craft boxes. Yes, I have to make an effort, but it feels easier to do when I can start small -- one blog post at a time.
Some early acknowledgements -- (I feel like I've won some award or published a book when I write this, but I just can't let this gratitude go unspoken.) I'm thankful for all those people who kept me going. For my mom who always inspires me whenever I see something she has painted hanging on a wall. For my friend Christine who got me to take an oil painting class with her a few years back. For Amy and Erin, who practically ooze creativity. For Gaines, for giving me plein air lessons for my birthday and buying me an easel and letting me buy random art and craft supplies and, especially, for encouraging me to continue. I'm also thankful for my friend Kitti who first recommended this book to me. She encouraged me to join both a writer's group and an artist's group a few years ago and helped me see that I, too, have a creative call.
A books that encouraged me along the way:
Creative Call: An Artist's Response to the Way of the Spirit by Janice Elsheimer
Tomorrow's chapter is on music, and begins discussion of the specific "Hidden Arts." More useful ideas and less philosophizing, I promise!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This chapter serves as the foundation for the rest of the book by establishing God as the Creator, the First Artist, and the only one who can create perfect art. Schaeffer uses the Scriptures as well as the glories revealed in Creation as proof of God' creativity and diversity of forms and media. Since humans were created in His image, she explains, we are called to be artists. Schaeffer echoes J.R.R. Tolkien's famous essay "On Fairy-Stories" when she states plainly that "Man was created that he might create."
We do not, however, have God's ability to be infinitely creative and unlimited. She stresses that we must make choices. We are finite human beings who are limited by time, talent, and ability, yet we still are called to create. We must choose wisely how we spend our 24 hours in a day, and she believes (as do I) that it is not only important to use our time to create art, but to respond to and communicate with others' art as well. In our art we are reflecting the image of God. Though that perfect image is often marred by our sin, through common grace we imperfect creatures have "retained fragments of the perfection" originally created by Him, and the history of art through the ages reflects that perfection found only in the First Artist.
But why, you might ask, should we spend time puruing creativity when we also should spend time reading Scripture, spending time in prayer, sharing the gospel, etc.? She acknowledges that these are all important and are indeed priorities that are not "ignored or contradicted by" spending time on what she calls the "Hidden Arts," but concludes by asking a profound series of questions which I think can be applied to all aspects of life:
Is a Christian -- one who communicates daily with the Creator (communication made possibly because of redemption through the blood of Christ) -- to divorce himself from the things God created and intended man to have, and which demonstrates the fact that man has been made in the image of God? In other words are we, who have been made in the image of our Creator, and who acknowledge and understand what that means because we know God exists and experience communication with Him -- are we to be less creative than those who do not know that the Creator made them in his image, and have no contact with him?
Too often I think Christians have been less creative than unbelievers, and it is not only to our detriment, but to the detriment of those with whom we come into contact. As Schaeffer writes, "The Christian should have more vividly expressed creativity in his daily life, and more creative freedom..." because we know God.
The entire time I was reading this chapter I was reminded of Jesus' first miracle, the one he performed at the wedding in Cana. When Jesus turned the water into wine, he was performing an act of creation! What a beautiful picture of the work of Christ! "In Him all things were created..."
This past summer we attended a seminar by T. M. Moore at the JEI conference in Annapolis. He discussed aspects of beauty and whether or not there is a universal standard for beauty and if so, where we might find that in Scripture. He turned to what I at first thought was an unlikely example-- the gospel account of the woman anointing Jesus' feet with expensive perfume. I don't remember all of his points, and I can't find my notes, but there were three that stood out. Take time to glance over the passages from Matthew, Mark, and John amd consider what they have to teach us about beauty.
1. The oil that was poured out was expensive, "more than 300 denarii." This teaches us that beauty is costly. Art requires sacrifices of time and sometimes of resources. Something that is beautiful is not slapped haphazardly on a canvas or written hastily without thought. If those moments of inspiration come it is because someone has taken time to practice writing for days on end, or to learn the chords well enough to play them when they come to mind in a new way, or to mix and experiment with paint colors. And even if one is not a professional artist, the small things we might do for each other still require some thought and care.
2. Art brings pleasure to those who experience it. Though there were some naysayers who were present when she poured out the nard, you can be sure that they did not think the smell unpleasant at the time. In fact, they immediately recognized the fragrance to be costly! Jesus, in direct opposition to the complaints, describes the woman's act as "a beautiful thing." Certainly, it can be said, there is a standard of beauty -- whatever brings joy to our Lord!
3. Art is not pragmatic. Many in the room complained because the money spent to buy the nard could have been used for other, more "useful" purposes, but the woman poured out the fragrance for Jesus because she loved him. We also should create beauty on the lives of others because of our love for Christ and our love for those around us. We should be extravagant. Sharing creativity with others is one way to show love.
Consider how you may spur one another on to love and good deeds in ways that reflect the image of the Creator.
Here are some books to read and websites to visit that encourage Christian participation in and support of the arts. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments, but I will be listing more specific sites as we cover a particular topic.
(I promise I will attempt to post tomorrow's entry much earlier in the day!)
Ch 2: What is Hidden Art?
What to do, what to do.
Monday, October 01, 2007
It's October. A new month, and like someone much wiser once said about a new day, it is "always fresh with no mistakes in it." To inagurate this new month and to put a little life back into our blog (We are so close to 1,000 posts. Too bad it's taken us almost four years...), I am starting a new blog series.
Last week I finished reading Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Perhaps some of you have heard of this book. Maybe many of you have read it. I, however, let it sit on a shelf for about three years before diving in to this treasure trove of wisdom. It's a quick read (I finished it over the course of three days of Jacob's nursing sessions), but her thoughts and ideas will stick with you.
The basic premise is that we, as Christians, who realize that we are created in the image of the Creator and are endowed by Him with gifts and talents, are the ones who best understand why it is important to live creatively. Therefore, we should be the ones bringing beauty and art to every area of our lives and to demonstrate it for those most important to us: our family.
Though she acknowledges that some are called to art as an occupation, most of us only dabble in the arts as hobbies. Even worse, many of us wait for the day when we will "have more time" or "take an organized class" or "join a community theater group" or even, God forbid, "retire," in order to use those passions and talents. In contrast to another book I read recently that sees how Americans focus on our future (sometimes to our detriment), Schaeffer constantly reminds her readers that we should never wait to begin adding beauty and creativity to our lives. She urges us to begin now, today, and that it takes only a small gesture to realize our "Hidden Art" and edify someone else. She also stresses that these Hidden Arts are to be done for those we love-- our family and friends-- rather than waiting for an audience or admiring public to appear. It can be something as simple as buying fresh flowers for the table or reading aloud to each other. What I appreciate most is that this book is not just for wives and mothers-- it is for everyone: single or married, old or young, male or female, those with children and those without. Her ideas and exhortations are timeless and I think greatly benefit the church today.
In order to celebrate this book and share her ideas with those who might not have read it, I am starting a new blog series. Every weekday for the next three weeks (beginning tomorrow, Oct. 2) I plan to create a post on one chapter of her book. There are 14 chapters, and I plan to cover each one by giving a short summary, include some of her ideas I've found inspiring, list ways we have implemented that art in our family (or plan to) and, most importantly, include a list of internet resources with ideas to enrich the lives of your family through these Hidden Arts.
I encourage you to share this series with others and become involved in the coversation through the comments below each post.