Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘art’

Dashing through the … No, just a Mad Dash

Jack's Snowman


If there was any doubt (and we’re going to pretend my home is routinely clutter-free), a cluttered home makes for a cluttered mind. Or, as Louisa May Alcott once said, “Too many books hath turned her head.”

Or something like that.

I can’t find her quote right now in all the clutter.

I buy books as Christmas gifts. Then I feel compelled to READ each book AND make a bookmark for each book before I get to the wrapping stage. And, of course, madly jotting notes and quotes from each book, not to mention the ‘contemplating hours’ that come during or after reading a book (all the while not being able to discuss the book with its intended recipient).

Russian Doll

Occasionally slipping in a book for myself while purchasing gifts only adds to my December reading frenzy.

You do that, too, right?

Do you also continue your weekly library habit only to discover three ‘writing’ magazines you’ve never read and bring home four back issues of each ‘just because’?

On top of that, I got a yen to make books for Sparks and Raqi this year. I used to produce 8 1/2 x 11″ books. Their software is easy to use; the time-consuming part is the hours Hub and I spent culling, cropping, laughing and crying over all our photos as we tried to whittle our collection of family memories to a reasonable 50 pages for each of their books.

Lift off is … tomorrow! Spark’s birthday weekend. Two books and a snowman bookmark. Check, check, and check.

Which books? Both 5-star; both perfect for 5th or 6th grade boys (or clueless parents/grandparents)!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – This is one of the most touching and funny books I’ve read. Even if you don’t have a 5th grader in your socio-circle, there are lessons here for all of us. The protagonist, Auggie,  is a plucky boy who has craniofacial deformities and is entering 5th grade at a prep school after being home-schooled through many surgeries and therapy. The family, students and teachers – their personalities and relationships unfolding through multiple voices  – are believable with realistic reactions to Auggie’s presence at the school. Auggie’s combination of bravery and vulnerability is staggering. I don’t remember having books like this when I was a preteen.

The Boys Body Book by Kelly Dunham – A respectful, reassuring approach to physical and emotional transitions for preteen boys. The title is somewhat misleading because the book also includes chapters about relationships with parents;  friendships and middle school;  nutrition and sleep habits. Just enough info to facilitate understanding and coping tips, but not so much that it turns into lectures or way too much information.

Kim's Bookmark

Navajo Twisted Tangles

I’ve been practicing lots of tangle patterns and designs – a whole sketchbook’s worth. I keep reminding myself all craft is a work in progress, taking years to become ‘polished’.

The following two, begun earlier this fall, remind me of an old Navajo blanket (rug?) my parents had when I was a child. I remember it lying on a shelf in a closet in our upstairs bathroom. The closet was big enough to walk into with rudimentary, dark wood shelves and a tiny dust-covered upper window that let in filtered light.

The closet was a place of great intrigue – sheltering artifacts I wanted to explore but knew I probably shouldn’t.

Or so I imagined.

You know – the way places loom larger than life or things promise a secret delight for a curious child.

I don’t know where the blanket came from, what we used it for, or if anyone else in my family remembers it. I think it had a diamond and rectangle pattern with earth tones – muted reds, yellows, tan and black.

It was scratchy to the touch.

Was it a real Navajo blanket?

Did we store it in the closet as I remember or did it lie on the floor in the back entry?

Do we even want to learn the truth behind every childhood ‘awe’?


Navajo Tangle 1


Navajo Tangle

Chihuly Spires at the Botanic Gardens

Last week, I attended “Sunrise” morning for the Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Ironically rain was predicted for the sunrise hours this one morning of the week, but fortunately the weather forecasters were wrong. Again.

“Sunrise” mornings are specifically for a limited number of photographers so they can take photos in the early light without the masses “photo-bombing” their efforts. That doesn’t mean amateurs can’t participate, and the tickets were very reasonable. I’m not an accomplished photographer by any stretch, and my camera is a point and shoot. Blogging has given me “some” incentive to add photography to the growing list of subjects I’d like to learn more about, and I might ask Santa for an upgraded camera (although I hardly know what features I need/want that will still be user-friendly enough that I’ll actually use it). I enjoyed watching my two friends, who are avid photographers, plan their shots and set up their equipment.

I don’t know how many tickets were offered for this event, but we were pleasantly surprised at how few people – with or without cameras – were wandering through the gardens from 7-9am. It was worth the ticket price just to have the gardens practically to ourselves.

Chihuly’s work ranges from multiple spire installations to magnificent large pieces. The first time I visited the exhibit, by the time I reached the narrow walkway where many of the spire displays are installed, there were too many people to get any decent photos of the spires. Here are seven installations to give you an idea of the variety that graces that peaceful walkway. None of Chihuly’s pieces move, but the longer I stood at each display, the more I sensed a waving, throbbing, serpentine movement – either because the grasses and plants around them were moving or because the drifting clouds overhead made the tips seem like they were swaying.














A Change Is Comin’

Practice, Never Perfect

Practice, Never Perfect


I can tell there’s a change in the air …


Learning to Shade

Learning to Shade


It happens every spring and fall …


Trois Chats pour l'anniversaire de Coco

Trois Chats pour l’anniversaire de Coco


I’m cleaning out drawers like a madwoman …


Chihuly at Denver Botanic Gardens


The spectacular Chihuly Garden Cycle show has come to Denver Botanic Gardens. Dale Chihuly, world-renowned glass artist, was born in Tacoma, WA in 1941. He studied in Venice, and has incorporated the team approach to glass-blowing in his prolific array of worldwide installations, both indoors and outdoors. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington.

Entrance view

Entrance view

I have been fortunate to view Chihuly’s exquisite art in galleries, museums and outdoor settings. I’m posting only a few of the many works installed at Denver Botanic Gardens, which will be on display through November 30, 2014. I plan to visit each month at different times of the day and evening to see how the viewer’s perspective changes through different lighting and seasons.

The next one is called “Summer Sun”, and all I could think of was Medusa’s hair.




Next is a closeup photo of the most beautiful yucca blooms I’ve seen anywhere (for you, Marci).


We’ve had rain at just the right times this spring, and the entire Gardens is a splendor of colorful blooms and vibrant green leaves of all shapes and sizes, including the usually-sparse xeriscape sections.


You can learn more about this exhibit at or about Chihuly at

I’ll close with two more pieces – actually three because the green plant in front of these gorgeous purple spikes is also a glass piece!



Most surprising to me, these lovely works have survived the frequent, torrential hail and wind storms that have plagued us the last couple of months. At some point, of course, I will have to explore what makes this glass so weather-proof while remaining malleable enough to shape into these curving, flowing structures.

More to come after future visits!


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