Friday, April 29, 2011

the gifts of GIFs

Another neat discovery via my husband. Watch these photos carefully and you'll see just the slightest thing happen: a man turning the pages of his newspaper, a taxi driving by as reflected in a cafe window (click on the images if they aren't "moving" for you). This is what it looks like when animated GIFs are done by artists. To see more work by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, check out their Tumblr: From Me to You.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I found this image on deviantART and bookmarked it. It has been ages since I took the few Art History classes I have under my belt, so I can't speak to the composition, tones, or technique- I've become unfamiliar with the jargon. I will say I find it striking and interesting and since I bookmarked it, I have revisited the photograph a dozen times.

deviantART is like an immense arts festival at your fingertips. It is a collection of millions of works, in all sorts of mediums, from artists around the globe. Every now and then I browse, and on occasion I bookmark an image I want to spend time figuring out. There is no shortage of talented artists out there and this is a place to see the work of many of them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"A Mother’s Prayer for Its Child"

A blogger shared the following awesome "prayer" from Tina Fey's Bossypants. It makes me want to read the book even more now...
"A Mother's Prayer for Its Child" by Tina Fe
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

from "Bossypants" (via Melody Godfred)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Poem in Your Pocket

Though officially celebrated on April 14th, I say celebrate national Poem in Your Pocket Day everyday! The idea is pretty self-explanatory - carry a poem you love with you or share one with those around you. The Academy of American Poets has some handy-dandy poetry books printed on tear-away sheets for just this purpose, but also poem PDFs to print and share.

see full list of poem PDFs here

Right now I wouldn't mind carrying around the poem found under "Moth" in my pocket for a few days. It's one of my favorites.

by Robert Frost

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

Have a lovely weekend (whether it involves an Easter egg hunt or not)!

illustration from "The Egg Tree" (1950) by Katherine Milhous

Thursday, April 21, 2011

my kind of princess

I understand the Disney Princess craze sweeping the nation is troubling to many parents (see the recent success of Peggy Orenstein's book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture). If my daughter was not as enthusiastic about searching for slugs as she is about Belle from "Beauty and the Beast", I may be concerned about the princess effect too, but since I am not immediately distressed.....I really like these ribbon sculpture barrettes of the Disney Princesses.

What I like about them is that they are not so commercial or "girlie-girl". The designs are recognizable, but minimal and simple. They are little pieces of ribbon art really- and I'm charmed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

baby's nook

image by Erin Williamson of Design Crisis via

I'm presently in the midst of doing all the boring but necessary shopping for baby Sweet Pea by picking out the safest of the practical things that consumer reports recommends like the car seat, stroller, and play yard. All this stuff is, of course, important, but I want to spend some time on the unimportant details of gearing up for Sweet Pea like decorating his world. 

And though I'd love to go all out in a baby nursery, the little fella will be sharing a bedroom with his parents for about a year or so until we move into another house. Nevertheless, although he will have more of a nook than a nursery - I'm looking forward to making that space his own. And the spaces that inspire me the most are the ones which not only look bright, airy and simple, but are ones which I would, as a grown up lady, want to live in too. For example, I'm still in love with the look of this baby room, but I'm also a fan of this nursery by Laura Naples of Orange Beautiful, this baby room belonging to Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo, and this one designed by Erin Williamson of Design Crisis. There is so much inspiration to take in - I just have to figure out where to start...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

umbrella installations

I have seen the above photo, from a street in Alicante, Spain, in a few places. It always causes me to stop, examine and appreciate it. There is something magical about it, even though I am aware it is multi-colored umbrellas strung across the street, it seems dream-like.

It turns out, there are quite a few art ventures using umbrellas that have popped up globally. Crookedbrains and environmentalgraffitti put together some umbrella art installation round- ups and I pulled some of the images for you to check out- whether indoors or outside, there is something cool and magical about all of them....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shel Silverstein's art

Isn't it incredible that - for so many of us - to just look at these images is to remember the poems themselves? I think the impact that Shel Silverstein has made on our minds as children is argument enough to feed our children poetry daily (his poems, yes, but there are plenty of others too).

images via:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tom Eckersley's post office

Tom Eckersley was an English poster artist who designed lovely and bright posters for a broad range of advertisements and public service announcements. My favorite posters are part of the series Eckersley made for the General Post Office in the 1940s. Don't they make you want to pack your packages much more carefully?

all images via the University of Arts, London

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Fledgling

When I turned ten, a family friend (who happened to be a school librarian) gave me The Fledgling by Jane Langton. I had not heard of it, but was definitely drawn in by the dreamy-looking cover (hey, I was ten- the cover mattered!).

Some 25 years later, I still consider this book a favorite. It is an incredible mix of fantasy and coming-of-age story - punctuated with humor and suspense, it also manages to be an essay on Thoreau and the transcendentalists. Now, in fourth grade, I certainly would not have described the book this way. I probably would have said it was about a girl who is taught to fly by a Canadian Goose and how her family feels about it...either way, it is a truly interesting, touching story.

Middle grade fiction is riddled with literary mediocrity and endless series. It is a shame because when I think of the army of voracious readers out there in that age group, I think they deserve more books like this one (and that is the preachy librarian in me :) ).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

halfway to Sweet Pea

That picture says it all, doesn't it?

Yep, Popeye and I are having ourselves our own little Sweet Pea! Just wanted to share the news with our readers that my husband and I are 20 weeks in with 20 to go. And that, thus far, this pregnancy has been one incredible, stressful, amazing, and freaky experience (hello Olive Oyl's/Shelley Duvall's face!) that I am both so ready to see end and nervous as to what will happen when it does end and this little person (wow...I am making a person) enters our world. It really is something else and I am absolutely terrified and thrilled at the same time, but that's normal, right? Anyway, I promise not to turn Hiving Out into a complete mommy blog, but please forgive me for the more than occasional Sweet Pea post.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Did you ever read Cookie magazine? I had just started a subscription when they called it quits. It was such a disappointment because I really liked the blend of parenting issues, style features, recipes, and general life/work pointers the magazine offered. It was not too parent-y and not too was just right.

Well, the founding editors of Cookie are still delivering that just right blend of information, but now they can be found (along with some fantastic contributors) on the blog momfilter . In a cyberspace crowded with blogs, this one was a welcome discovery!

Monday, April 11, 2011

"April Rain Song"

The following animated version of the poem, "April Rain Song," read by Langston Hughes and part of the HBO/Poetry Foundation's children's program, "Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show" makes me very happy:  April Rain Song : Classical Baby : Video.

Friday, April 8, 2011

motivation to write the written word

Writing is hard. Whether it's blogging, dissertating, or love-lettering - it's as hard as any art of creating is difficult - it takes real effort and it means the sacrifice of lots of other things that you cherish like time and, in many ways, yourself and your pride. That's why we don't write as many writerly posts as we'd like (though they are my favorite when we do write them) and that's why finishing my dissertation is taking much too long to finish - all of it is hard work, much time, and an expression of vulnerability. So here's some motivation to get more writing done in my life - hopefully one of these will stick...
"I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done."
— Barbara Kingsolver via I Love Reading and Writing!

Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.❞ 
— Susan Sontag via the writer's den

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair; the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page."
— Stephen King ~ "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" 

from More About Time: The Myth of Doing it All by Rice Freeman-Zachery

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
— Sylvia Plath via BrainyQuote

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saul Leiter

I have been watching, or more like engrossed in, the "Mildred Pierce" mini-series on HBO. Even before the first parts aired, I watched "Making of Mildred Pierce", which was honestly nearly as interesting as the series itself , and it was the first time I had heard mention of the photographer/painter Saul Leiter.

Director Todd Haynes credits Production Designer Mark Friedberg with introducing him to the work of Leiter. According to Haynes, the photographer's use of reflection, use of windows or glass, seemed give a truer sense of being in a specific place at a specific time and that was the perfect feel for this period piece.

In a 2005 NYTimes review by Roberta Smith, she writes:

"Unlike such well-known street photographers as Robert Frank and William Klein, Mr. Leiter was a photographer less of people than of perception itself. His painter's instincts served him well in his emphasis on surface, spatial ambiguity and a lush, carefully calibrated palette. But the abstract allure of his work doesn't rely on soft focus, a persistent, often irritating photographic ploy, or the stark isolation of details, in the manner of Aaron Siskind or early Harry Callahan. Instead, Mr. Leiter captured the passing illusions of everyday life with a precision that might almost seem scientific, if it weren't so poetically resonant and visually layered."

I love that last part- poetically resonant and visually layered....When I did ultimately look up Leiter's work, I was moved and I could also see just how much his photographs informed Haynes and inspired his film making.

So if you have the opportunity, try to catch "Mildred Pierce" and if you don't- take in some of Leiter's work...



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