Monday, April 30, 2012

Paper Airplanes

There might be something more gratifying than making a little child laugh really hard but we don't know what that might be. This is really simple. Take some paper, make an airplane (or several) & do what comes naturally. You won't get them to go as high as the ones in the photograph (probably) but if there's a bit of breeze, you never know. (See here to review the physics of flight & good for you. Just don't be a nag about it. This is for fun.)


(photograph by Taesang via Автор)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Evening Star

If you’ve been watching the western sky after sunset, you’ve seen the planet Venus. It looks eerily bright now – brightest in the evening sky for all of 2012! If you haven’t seen it yet, look outside shortly after sunset, and you can’t miss this planet. It’s an eerie light in the western sky. Venus’ brightness will surprise you if you’ve never noticed it before. ~ From EarthSky Tonight

Our Venus fixation continues through June when the last Transit of Venus this century occurs. Until then, especially if surrounded by trees as we are, you can keep up with the brightest evening star on EarthSky. And you can read Louise Glück's poem The Evening Star. And we'll be back tomorrow at some point. Not the best of times.


(photograph by Angélica Vis)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Something Sweet - Strawberry Lemon Tarts

It's really too early for local berries & so guilt sets in about buying them. But just a few, right? And then pop them on to lemon tarts (make the lemon curd, it is so easy). These are on the to-do list this weekend. Back later's that kind of week (month). Cheers. Update - back on the weekend.

(photograph by Melissa Hartfiel)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poetic Picture Wall

GG's editor is re-doing the home office space wall. While we admire the geometry of so many examples, the photograph above is more our style (click through below to see larger format). Tina's Decor link on English Muse provides more inspiration. (Anyone want to paint the wall for us? Clean the chandelier?) And if you'd rather eat peanut butter cookies than have anything to do with decorating, this is the recipe to make. It was a favorite even before Joanna featured it today.


(photograph by Le Portillon)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Change might be good but it is not always easy. When it feels forced,  it can be maddening. If you use Blogger, you know what we mean. Here Blog Guidebook's post on the matter. And here is a favorite poem (having nothing to do with the situation) by Neruda to divert your attention for a few moments.

Deep breathe. Like other changes, this might be a good thing. After all. Maybe.


(photograph by i.Anton)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Will

While we don't know William Shakespeare's actual birth date, he was baptized on the 26th of April (1564). Common practice had baptism at three days after birth, so happy birthday, Will.

For celebration & education:

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC has a wonderful site, including sections for K-12 teachers. If you haven't been, please do visit when you come to Washington.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company should also be on your DC to-do list.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has excellent links for Shakespeare.

Remember Becky's phrases we owe to Shakespeare?

Always, always keep your Shakespeare Insult Kit handy!


(illustration by Jonny Hannah via Design)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Writing in Bed

Writers like Orwell, Proust and Churchill liked doing it. Could it have been because writing in bed can help access the unconscious? ~ The advantages of writing in bed. The Guardian

How convenient to do a search on what afflicts & then fit it to particular, present circumstance. Sold. We'll take it. Back as soon as possible, most likely Sunday.


(photograph by Maria Stigjer via lovely Pia)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Letters of Note

It's a rainy day (we need it!) & a sleepy one, too. Off for coffee & to write some letters. If you already read Letters of Note, you are dismissed. If you don't you might want to explore the archives. Here's a beautiful letter from John Steinbeck to his son, Thom, on the subject of love. It is worth bookmarking.


PS: Last year's Les Parapluies de Cherbourg post

(photograph by L. Weisse via heavens above)

Monday, April 16, 2012

August in April

Running (late), tax prep, all manner of annoyances on a Monday. And yes, we'll add another complaint: it is 87 degrees. Off to run about outside while Giulia hides in a box in a darkened air-conditioned room (she has asthma).

WWF's Climate change links. Iced coffee, anyone? If not, popsicles by Joanna.

ciao-rush-meow/the management

(photograph via English Muse)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Botanical Prints

Free botanical illustrations are available at The Graphics Fairy. There are two sizes, one for framing & another to make cards. It's true that ink/toner is far from free but the price is still right. The tulips are lovely but we are a bit stuck on lilies, as always.


(image detail via The Graphics Fairy)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

You Belong @ Your Library

It's National Library Week. Visit the website to learn about activities surrounding the celebration. Maybe you've moved recently (or not so recently?) & don't have a card yet. The website is user-friendly & will help you find what you need. No matter where you live, visit the Library of Congress website. It's a resource that everyone with internet access can use, which is yet another valuable thing you can find at your library (most likely).

A little table pounding now: the freedom to read what you like is not a certainty. Visit the Banned Books Week link for information on challenges to books in libraries & schools. This is a list of the most frequently challenged books.


PS: A Funny Library Montage

(photograph via Classic Period Dramas)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Earth Day Prep

A gentle, early reminder in case you need materials &/or ideas for Earth Day celebrations. If you have a Flickr account, making NASA Goddard Photo & Video a contact is a good idea - whether you are doing any Earth Day projects or not.


(photograph via NASA Goddard Photo & Video)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


If you happen upon some larvae (or by this late in the spring, tadpoles) don't interrupt the process. (Check your local & state laws.) But if you see some danger to them, you could try to raise them. Giulia's editor raised three tadpoles to froghood some years back. They looked much like the teeny frog in the photo. They also had cute stripey legs that were très chic, honestly. (But that's not why they were adopted...catching all those insects was a total pain: you've been warned.) When they grew up, they were returned to their native area.

Here's a list of frogs & How to Raise Tadpoles. If you have a cat, make sure to fit a lid over the new frog home or tragedy will no doubt ensue.


(photograph by Shannon)

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Fragrant Garden

We have a holiday overload situation. Just caught up with wonderful Adrian Higgins & last week's column about putting more scent into your life. If you don't have a garden, then make your cat work so she can buy you flowers. Preferably of the scented variety. Until tomorrow.


(photograph via Lolita)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Holiday Weekend

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, whatever you celebrate. If it's spring, that's good enough for us. We dye eggs, light candles, make a more elaborate recipe than usual (often baking, not our strongest suit), walk through blooming DC, watch movies. Who knows? Maybe this year we'll add burning sage & chants to the list in the interest of inter-religious pluralism. Have fun!

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

(The charming Sir Hopsalot available from Forest Blue)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Passover Prep (for Guests)

You're thinking, "It's a little late for that. It starts in a few hours." Calm down, this is for Passover guests, who may not have been to a Passover seder before (or it's been awhile). Not a lot of our fellow bloggers even realized it's Passover week. Everyone has (or will) say, "Happy Easter, if you celebrate." Then, while traipsing about town on pre-Easter errands, GG's editor overheard someone worry about going to his first Passover.

This is last-minute but a search brought up 3 good links:

Passover 101

Top 10 Seder Faux Pas via Gourmet

A Very Shiksa Seder by funny Ellen Snortland

Spiff up, be on time, take some flowers. Smile. Have fun. It's not that hard, peeps.


(photograph via Martha Stewart)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo Finish - Edit Your Photos

If you use Picasa & haven't updated lately, you ought to. There are many new features & if you don't have Instagram, these (& Pixlr-o-matic) can prevent you from going crazy until you can have a smartphone like the other cool kids.

If you don't edit your photos at all, GG's editor encourages you to consider it. It's fun & easy & you can make a good photograph out of a less-than-stunning original. We see lots of photos on Facebook & Twitter (& some blogs) that could be so much better with some (free) editing software.

While these photographs aren't terrific, the originals are, in fact, awful. But slap a few effects on & they're presentable. The effects used on Giulia's photograph are Lomo(ish) & a drop shadow. On the human servant: an Orton(ish) effect & drop shadow. Those are 3 of 24 new features, including cinemascope, infra-red, Holga, posterize, & duo-tone.


PS: Here are 9 great photo tools for new & occasional photographers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tea Break

We'll spare everyone about how the world conspires to keep us from posting until late in the day (of late) & even then, just a link or two & a photograph.

Interesting (& brief) travel article on tea: The world in six cups. After that, while you sip your tea, read up on the latest in Google's Art Project. A virtual tour, take it. Then you can laugh yourself silly at this tumblr and this new-to-us "historical" website.

ciao-meow/GG's beleaguered editor

(photograph by i.Anton)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Eggs, Naturally

Poke around the fridge & pantry before you replenish egg dyes this year. You just might have everything you need on hand or you can add items to this week's market list.

Here at GG, we're going to try some new-to-us natural dyes. We do use beets & onion skins but Two Men and a Little Farm have inspired us with their terrific chart of multiple possibilities. (TheKitchn also has a good post with concise instructions & photographs.)

It's always fun to hop over to Martha Stewart's site; no one else has such a round-up for holidays & Easter is no exception, including last-minute ideas.


(photograph via Two Men and a Little Farm)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Faire la moue

Monday is not going so very well (& it is early evening). So GG & her editor are blasting a Françoise Hardy playlist & trying to stop pouting (faire la moue). Do pop over to YouTube & play Noir sur blanc. Lovely. Top tip: Visit Rachel at Black Eiffel for Music Monday (& much more).


(Françoise in Venice by Jean-Marie Périer via Pas Une Autre)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Enchanted April

It's Sunday & that means Mad Men but we watch it on Mondays via iTunes. So what to do? Especially if you're not feeling very well? Watch Enchanted April (1992) on Netflix Instant (or in a pinch, on YouTube). It's a rather leisurely film & there are complaints about that but it feels quite right today. Honestly, we aren't feeling well enough to write much but if you're not sold by Italy + 1920s + amazing cast, read this review.

If there's puff pastry in the freezer, you could make these, as GG's editor did. Serve with cold white wine & begin looking at flat rentals because that's what you'll want to do immediately after it ends. *sigh*


(film still crop via Beauty Dart)