Good Maker is running a contest for bloggers trying to make a social impact. Selected by popular vote, the winner will get $1,000 for the cause they support plus a $500 prize. The ‘Blogs for Good’ run the gamut, from blogs that advocate for the positive aspects of pit-bull-like dogs or the virtues of home-grown foods to fashion bloggers who advocate for various social justice issues. We found out about the contest from Dese’Rae L. Stage who is ‘the improvised life’s remarkable new part-time assistant.
Last Fourth of July, Antonia LoPresti sent us an email about the emergency improv she came up with for her daughter Sofia:
After an impromptu dip in the Washington square park fountain, Sofia’s skirt was soaked. A hunt to find a children’s shop yielded no luck SO I took my cardigan sweater out of my bag, buttoned it up and wrapped it around her as a skirt.
It does have a curiously chic Rick Owens-ish look to it. Just for the hell of it, we did a google search to see if we could find any fashionistas who’d tried such daring. It seems that wearing cardigans backwards is as far as things go… read more…
In our wanderings online – always on the lookout for room screens – we stumbled on this intriguing room screen with huge possibilities for improvising and tailoring to your space. Comprised of a series of hinged canvas-covered panels, you can use it as-is for a neutral, minimalist look OR paint or draw designs on it – even cover the panels with fabric or photographs of your own choosing. The screen is, literally, a blank canvas. It comes in a variety of heights from 4“, 6″, and 7“ , and your choice of 3, 4, 5, or 6 panels. A 6-foot six panel screen costs $179 plus shipping, which seems like a bargain; the hard labor done, all that’s left to do is decorate it: with paintings, color blocks, writing…the possibilities are endless.
For inspiration, check out some of our posts about painting and drawing on fabric and furniture: read more…
Our friend Jody Lotito Levine sent us an email filled with images, some of them really wondrous. With them came this message:
…from my former boss and dear friend recovering from pancreatic cancer: he says his ipad has been so healing and connective -
We mention it on the heels of our post about disconnecting from electronic devices – and taking downtime from them – to give our selves a rest. As much as we feel the need for that, we also are heartened daily by what we tap into on the internet, through the extraordinary explorations, exchanges and connections that occur through ‘the improvised life’. For us the gist is, read more…
This recent New Yorker cover by Mark Ulriksen called “Capturing the Memories” is, curiously, the perfect illustration the New York Times article Call Waiting: It’s Me, Your Vacation: Eight Rules for Getting the Most Out of Your Time Off that appeared a week before. Matt Richtel outlines ”Vacation Mental Prep” for people who have a hard time letting go of the devices – phones, ipads, computers – that keep them constantly connected and unable to being PRESENT during their vacation. It’s a subject that seems to be on eveyone’s mind these days. read more…
We view this beauty of a floor as a kind of coloring book for adults: paint a color within the lines of each floor board and look what you get, the ultimate d-i-y, pattern already built-in.
(Practicality: be sure to lightly sand and prime the floor before painting…)
Related posts: zigzag paint floors + the zigzag path of the creative
rug and tile designs as painted floor (or wall) inspiration
more fab (and daring) painted floors (to d-i-y?)
a painted (floor) rug
constantino nivola’s yellow tractor paint floor
We got SO many good ideas from reader’s entering our giveaway of Salads: Beyond the Bowl: Extraordinary Recipes for Everyday Eating that we could put together our own potent little pamphlet of salad ideas. The randomly chosen winner’s idea proved to be an especially charming one:
There is not much I won’t put in a salad, I love to add nasturtiums if I’m having company or the need to eat flowers.
And here are a few more favorites, including an idea we never thought of:
recently discovered the incredible delicousness of grilling heads of Romaine, including melting a little grated parmesan on one side. I would never have thought of grilling salad, but it’s now my favorite!!!!
and a saladic sort of poem: read more…
(Video link here.) A writer we know confessed her method to us: when she was blocked, she just lay down and read something completely unrelated until she fell asleep. It’s like shutting down a computer. When she woke up, she’d usually be able to continue her work.
OMG, we do that too! We were SO happy to hear it, our nap breaks always having come with soupçon of guilt, as essential as we know them to be. When you’re doing creative work, sometimes the answers – or results – just come slowly, and you need to get your focus off them.
This video is another “retreat” we found useful. read more…
One of the images Laura Handler sent us of her Montana Log Cabin was her “shrine”, with these notes:
A Mexican Day of the Dead smoking shrine found in Oaxaca Mexico – note the cigarettes on top.
I have not smoked for eleven years – it’s working!
We know quite a few people who have created personal shrines over the years: arrangements of privately meaningful and sacred objects, quotes, images that remind, give power, hold an intention or a wish…
..like this one of a friend; it changes every once-in-a-while: the placement of elements shift, new pieces are added in. Anything can be a shrine: the configuration and meaning in the eyes – and heart – of the maker. read more…
Over the past few months, we’ve made much of our practice of reading poetry in the morning, rather than jumping to the computer. We especially love haiku, the ancient Japanese form of poetry that follows a rigorous formula: three lines of five syllables, then seven, then five again. Haiku tend to be brief, deceptively simple, and utterly packed with meaning and surprise. Here’s a favorite by Issa:
A sudden shower falls -
and naked I am riding
on a naked horse!
The next best thing to reading poetry in the morning is to die laughing.
Related posts: what happens if you start your day with a poem?
pablo neruda’s poetic houses (+ his ‘ode to the present’)
peep show gif: funny, risqué, slightly x-rated
‘everything is so amazing, but nobody is happy’
Last weekend, we had a friend over for dinner, to hang out in the new space. Toward the end of a long evening of talking and eating, we both happened to look over at the kitchen counter at the same time and said in unison: “Look at that still life!”
It was though someone had snuck in and arranged it while we were busy looking at the sunset. (It has a faint air of an opera.)
But, really, these little miracles happen all over the place — combinations of intention and just living.
We spotted this one on during the renovation of the space, when it was still all torn apart: read more…
The soap dish is one of those inventions that seem destined to NOT fulfill all the requirements we need them too. Designed to keep bar soap from sitting in water, the wet residue from the soap has to end up somewhere, either on the sink/tub surface or in the bottom of the soap dish, requiring cleaning later.
When we moved into our new space recently, finding a well-designed soap dish was not high on our list of endless more-essential things to accomplish. Without thinking, we improvised one: a simple dry sponge we’d had on hand. It absorbed the watery residue from the bar of soap with no mess, and because it barely got wet, there was no issue of mildewing. To clean it, we just wet the sponge and rinse it out. It seems we’d inadvertently found the perfect soap dish.
Today, Tuesday the 17th, is the last day to enter our giveaway contest of Mindy Fox’s Salads: Beyond the Bowl: Extraordinary Recipes for Everyday Eating. It is a book that will be useful all year long. Wondering what to do with quinoa? Check out Mindy’s Red Quinoa, Raw Asparagus and Endive Salad with Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano:
We found this on Marc Johns’ website the recently. His own words tell its story better than we ever could:
I wrote this in my sketchbook the other day, as a reminder/statement/ mantra to myself. I used to spend all day in front of a computer, emailing, photoshopping, designing, layout-ing, etc. I enjoyed being a designer (and making things with pixels and code is great), but personally, I still needed to use my hands, even if it was just to make some marks on paper. That’s why I started drawing on post-it notes. They were small and quick and raw and immediate and I could do them on my lunch break. I craved the spontaneity, the imperfections of ink bleeding on paper, of lines not matching up, of things being not quite centered. No grids. Unpolished. Hand made.
I need to always be making things. Are you a maker?
We love the idea of using post-it notes to draw on, in lieu of nothing at all. We found this one especially to-the-point: read more…