A Fond Farewell

December 31, 2012 § 10 Comments

Dear Readers, thank you for sharing our space for the past two years.

We started this blog to curate the art, people, and creativity that inspires us. This started out as a space to share with one another, but has grown to include so many of you. Curating content made us excited to be creators – Pakou as a crafter, Abigail as a photographer, both of us as writers.

After two years, we’ve decided to step away from blogging so we can spend more time creating in other ways. We’ve been grateful for your enthusiasm and your journey with us. You have been our community of inspiration.

Martha Graham once said, “No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

We’re going to continue creating. We hope you do too.

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Love Pakou and Abigail

The Warmth of Winter Sunlight

December 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

This is the last month of my year-long, monthly themed photography project! My word for December was apricity, which means “the warmth of the sun in the winter.” I love that there is a word for such specific warmth. I also love that I got a whole month to photograph light, which I’m drawn to anyway. (And though apricity refers to sunlight, I have a few scenes of winter light (i.e. Christmas lights) because that conveys warmth as well.

I came across the word apricity last winter and decided it would be the word I ended on. I envisioned fresh snowfalls and light glistening from the ground. But much changes in a year. I moved to Chicago, where there are rainy and grey skies, but no snow and no pretty landscapes and certainly no glistening. It wasn’t until the last few days of the year that I found snow. Here are my favorites from the month.

lake at winter

Chicago neighborhood

Chicago downtown

cup in sunlight

winter dinner

winter moonlight

View the rest here.

I’ve loved doing this project as it was over the course of the year that I began to see myself as a photographer. I was even asked by several people to take photos at their events! Thanks to many of you who commented on these posts or encouraged me in person. You gave me confidence to keep snapping away.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

May this season be one where there are lights of hope and love.

Merry Christmas!

winterlights

Love, Abigail & Pakou

The thing to do

December 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

My last round of crafts was more of I need to do this, this is the thing to do, and this I must do.

1. My sister-in-law and brother are having their first baby in February. We celebrated the coming of the new life with a co-ed baby shower in my parent’s home. I used felt, tape, ribbon, and glue to make a celebratory banner in honor of my new nephew.

It's a boy!

It’s a boy!

2. My roommate and I hosted a Christmas party in our home last weekend. We made homemade mulled wine and sweet treats for our friends. To decked the house for this festive Christmas celebration I made a jolly garland by sewing 2-inch circles out of color cardstock and old catalogues with a sewing machine. So easy and so cute!

Here is my 20 feet garland.

Here is my 20 feet garland.

3. At the Christmas party I decided to have friends join in the fun of crafting. Friends made their own photo booth props. Here are the fun ones!

Can you guess who we are?

Can you guess who we are?

Readers, thank you for following along with me as I crafted this year. It’s been challenging but mostly fun. Happy Weekend!

Still Life in Pears

December 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

My break before Christmas means more time to get things done. My roommate and I brainstormed this very tasty concoction months ago. We put it on our kitchen to-do list and it’s been there ever since:

kitchen to-do list

Yesterday, I finally made it. Dubbed “Croissant Goodness” and “Still Life in Pears,” it was worth the wait.  A half-hearted Google search did not reveal this combination anywhere within the cybersphere. So here it is in all its supposed originality.

Pears & Gorgonzola Croissants

To make it, dice two pears into small pieces. Sprinkle with sugar and place in a shallow baking pan in the oven at 350 degrees for about a half hour to soften. In the meantime, slice one onion into long pieces. In olive oil or butter, cook over low heat in a skillet until carmelized/the pears are done. Combine pears and carmelized onions (if we’d had crushed walnuts, those would have been good to add too).

Take two cans of Pillsbury croissants (extra buttery or flaky!) and unravel on a flat surface. Spoon pear/onion mixture down the length of each piece of dough. Generously sprinkle Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese (we had did half of each) over the mixture.

Pears & Bleu Cheese Croissants

Roll croissant as you normally would. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Eat while warm. Share or hog!

Notes on Survival

December 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

After finishing my first semester of grad school, I’m celebrating a few good things:

1.) I’m teaching writing & rhetoric to college freshmen next semester! In preparation I created and submitted a literacy narrative – a story about a moment when composing or reading a text became significant to me – to the Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives. This is a great site with interesting, multimodal compositions, and it’s something I may have my students participate in. My earlier blog post “Twas Brillig and Shook Me to the Core” was a draft. You can listen to the final version here.

2.) I have three poems forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review. I’m so honored as this issue features some of my favorite poets: Rae Armantrout, David Trinidad, Heather Christle, and Kirsten Kaschock.

I’m not sure I could have made it through, though, without plenty viewing of the following:

1.) We posted this in one of our first blog posts, but it still cracks me up and inspires.

2.) I love this music and this video. It makes me so happy. It will get you through your day.

The Handmade

December 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

A couple of months ago I was invited to participate in a craft exchange. Each person was asked to bring at least 6 items of a handmade good to share with others. I decided to make decorative wreaths from a straw-based wreath ring, yarn, and felt. I made one last year, but decided to challenge myself with different flower types and color combinations. Here they are all ready to depart from my home to another, from my hands to another.

Wreathstogo

I arrived to the event with handmade goods spread out across the room. An array of emotions came about inside of me: satisfaction of accomplishing the project, gratefulness for the invitation, insecurity that comes from putting my work out there, and the desire to have my hands do more. The desire to do more, excitement of the evening, and meeting other creative women quickly erased the insecurities that walked in the room with me. Below is what my hands created.

Wreath1

Wreaths3

Wreath2

Readers, keep on doing your good work – the good work from your hands.

Peace in the wilderness

December 7, 2012 § 4 Comments

A few weeks ago I went to a little town in Northern Wisconsin for a personal retreat. For the past few years I have had a practice to take a few days away from the city pattern life to listen, restore, and rejuvenate my soul. The first few hours were a bit frustrating with the silence around me and the noise within me, but the peace from freedom did come.

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The colors reflected in the lake from this autumn sunset was incredible.

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An eight-legged creature making its home in this wispy plant.

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I wonder whose tracks this footprint belongs to. Do you know?

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A camera self-timer is perfect for capturing moments when one is alone in a cabin in the wilderness. Many moments were spent here with a warm drink in hand.

How do you rejuvenate your soul?

Self-Portrait in November

December 3, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’ve been wanting to do a series of self-portraits ever since seeing Vivian Maier’s unique collection, but I’ve also been a bit shy about it. It’s seems somehow egotistical or self-absorbed to post all photos of myself – and more vulnerable too.

I’ve definitely learned more about my body in the process – like my incredibly bad posture (I may finally listen to my mother and stand up straight!), where I need to work on my lines in yoga positions, and how in photos and in life I prefer to glance to the side rather than straight on. But I’ve also been obsessed recently with Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on how our body language shapes our mentality. Her opinion is that standing in postures of power and confidence for a few minutes will change how we think about our role in a situation. It’s been interesting over the month how my postures have oscillated between confidence and vulnerability. Both are positive and needed, I think, but they are each best in different situations. I am working towards both at the right times.

Here are a few highlights from the month.

writing in the kitchen with teahallway self-portrait

silhouette

shoulderafter a long night

hand reaching

You can view the rest here.

Weekend Do: Poetry Edition

November 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

I can’t help it. I’m immersed in poems. Here are all the books I’ve received in the last month from my poet friends – so much to read!

If you don’t like poetry, then start small. Take this sweet, brief poem by Robert Bly, and consider someone’s hands this weekend.

“Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages . . .
Tiny birds are singing
In the secluded prairies
And in the deep valleys of the hand.”

These are the hands of people I love:

And remember that your life is your life. Know it while you have it.

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