Monday, November 30, 2009

You Sit on a Throne of Lies

Do you share my affinity for Elf culture?

Maybe a little explanation is in order.
We had a remarkably peaceful Thanksgiving holiday thanks to our pesky winter companion Strep Throat. It attacked Sammy's tonsils on Turkey-Day Eve, stomping all over our travel plans to climb both sides of our family tree. What could we do? We stayed home.

We missed seeing our family, but it wasn't all bad. We found a turkey last minute and spent the break eating until we were sleepy and sleeping until we were hungry, all from the comfort of our warm little nest. And we watched movies. Can you guess which movie I fell in love with all over again?

If you need a good dose of innocence and Christmas cheer, allow me to prescribe a trip through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and out the Lincoln Tunnel. It's perfect Christmas fun.

You get to see old friends...

And meet new ones.

Not to mention make snow angels, ice skate, eat plenty of snacks from the four basic groups (candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup,) and chug it all down it with a big mug of the World's Best Coffee. And then snuggle.

You might even see You Know Who!

Just be sure he's the real deal. (Hint: Impostors smell like beef and cheese.)

So, are you as Elf crazy as I am? Don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. Tell me your favorite part. And don't forget, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!

Have a wonder-full Monday.
Love, Becky
PS. You have such a pretty face. You should be on a Christmas card!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, y'all!
Thank you for all that you mean to me. I wish you much happiness and peace--and extra whipped cream on your pumpkin pie.
See you back on Monday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Crazy TP Art of Junior Fritz Jacquet

Photo by Matthieu Gauchet
Now that I've seen the mind blowing creations of French artist, Junior Fritz Jacquet, I will never look at a cardboard toilet paper tube the same way again. Really. How does he do that?

Photo by Dan Marquès and Ted Tabor
I'd ask him, but he seems to be busy right now.

Let's just enjoy more examples of his work. Like these...

Photo by Matthieu Gauchet
And these...

Photo by Matthieu Gauchet
And these...

Photo by Matthieu Gauchet
If these delight you, you may want to hop over to his website to see what other creative things he can do with paper. (A hint: click on the British flag to enter the English version of his site, or the French flag to flex your French muscles.) Prepare to be amazed!

Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wands, Volvos, and Living Inside a Book

Do you ever wish you could live inside a book?
Or bring bits of that world into yours?
You're not alone. The shops at Etsy are full of bookish souvenirs, and people are buying.
And why not?

Photo by
A wand on your coffee table might bring back the magic of first discovering Ollivander's.

I've been thinking about bookish souvenirs ever since two things happened:
1. We took Ben for a college trip to Duke and found out it has a Quidditch team. (Yes, they really do. Though I'm not sure that's worth the price of a Duke education.)
2. I started recreating the outhouse door from this favorite book of my husband's.

You read correctly: an outhouse door.
My husband and his friend Butch LOVE Lonesome Dove and quote it to each other whenever they get together. The door is important in the book because it keeps showing up in different forms: first as an actual outhouse door, then as a sign for the ranch the two main characters run together, then as the casket door when Gus dies. Finally, Call takes it apart and uses it as a cross for Gus's grave.
So when it came time to give Butch a housewarming present for the apartment/airplane hangar he just built, (Butch is sort of a cowboy of the skies, and the building was a dream of his and his wife Alice before she died) Todd came up with the outhouse door idea. Luckily he found a photo of the prop used for the TV miniseries.

It was a really fun project to work on.

I know it's kind of a weird gift, but Butch is crazy about that book.
(I love that Butch's silhouette shows up in that photo.)

Maybe when people invest themselves fully into a book they love, they can't bear for it to end. Having something tangible to hold helps them keep the story alive. When we travel to far off lands, we bring home souvenirs. Aren't props from books the same sort of thing?
What do you think?

Would this treasure from The Da Vinci Code be too geeky for you?

You can buy it at Sky Mall, you know. Along with all sorts of strange things.
I might not put a shiny new cryptex on my Santa list, but I will admit to touring Saint Sulpice the last time I was in Paris. (If you read/saw The Da Vinci Code, you know why.)

Now here's a souvenir I'd love to have.

Photo by
Does that quote sound familiar to you? It's Mr. Darcy's proposal line to Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

If your Christmas is just not complete without Dickens' A Christmas Carol, then you need this ornament. Inside are quotes from the story. Great idea, huh?

Photo by

If Catcher in the Rye is one of your favorites, you might enjoy this painting.

Photo by

Can you guess which book inspired this necklace?
Photo by
It's To Kill a Mockingbird. The artist writes: This necklace depicts Boo with a pair of scissors, a red crystal for a drop of blood, and a clear crystal because it seemed that he could tell the future-- he was there when Scout and Jem needed him.

This is such fun that I just might do book presents for my whole family this year. Here's my only problem: Todd is hinting for an outhouse door to match Butch's. Call me crazy, but I'm not hanging an outhouse door in our living room.
I would let Todd pick out another book gift, but I'm afraid I know what he'd choose. Around this time of year he likes to quote from this book.

Can you guess what souvenir he'd pick?

I like an eclectic style, but be assured that it doesn't include that lamp.

If you could have any keepsake from a book you love, what would it be? I'd love to hear about it!
Have a wonder-full weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

PS. If any of these souvenirs interest you, a click on the photo should zap you over to its Etsy shop.
Or maybe you'd prefer Edward's Volvo instead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Belly Up to the Bar Code

Does the barcode on a can of beans look like art to you?
It might, if you live in Japan.

A few days ago, after I finished rolling on the floor laughing over (and remembering how my own goofs kept the entire French city of Clermont-Ferrand entertained,) I moseyed over to the site's blog for a look-see.
I will never badmouth barcodes ever again. At least I won't if we start using the Japanese ones!

Aren't those great? I found them at's page, here. These geniuses designed them.
Why not enjoy a few more?

How fun!
Of course, the folks at aren't the only ones to make art from barcodes.

That one was discovered on the streets of Copenhagen.

I like this one too, found in London.

Thanks to artist Scott Blake, you can own your very own barcode art. And so can your dog!

Photo by Scott Blake
Click on the dog to zoom over to his etsy store, and be sure to check out his website as well. His barcode portraits are incredible.
See what I mean?

All made from the lowly barcode!

So what do you think? Would you like to see your face in barcodes? Do you wish we could banish the barcode and return to the days of the tiny sticky price tag? Personally, I'd love to find some barcode creativity on my next stop to the Bi-Lo.

Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky

Monday, November 16, 2009

Art for the Heart

Jerri Gray, one of Triune's artists
Last week I attended an art show at Triune Mercy Center, and it super-charged me.
Remember Triune, the non-denominational church with the central mission to help the homeless? I blogged about it back in September, and introduced you to my amazing friend, Pastor Deb Richardson-Moore.

One of the coolest things about Triune is its art room. Karen Lucci, a local artist, came up with the idea, and now it's the hopping place to be every Sunday and Wednesday afternoon. There are no classes--just supplies and open seats at the tables. You can't always tell who is homeless and who isn't, and it doesn't matter.

About a year ago, several art room regulars approached Karen with an idea. They would donate their art for a sale open to the community with the proceeds going back to Triune. After receiving so much from the ministry, they wanted a chance to be the providers.
Last Thursday it happened. And lucky for us, Sam and I were able to attend.

We enjoyed food and conversation with the artists...

as well as some incredible art.
Much of it was religious in nature.
Like this one...

And this lovely piece...

And this folk art...

But other subjects were also explored and expressed.

I like this too.

If all of those pieces weren't enough to warm your heart, there were artfully made scarves and clothing for sale as well.

It was a chilly night, but we left toasty warm and completely inspired.
I hope this kindles your creativity too!
Have a great Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky
PS. Almost forgot! A billion thank you's to Lacey Ruff, a beautiful, talented, generous Furman student I met at the show, who was sweet enough to lend a total stranger her camera when the dodo brain (me) left her memory stick at home. Thanks, Lacey!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speaking Engrish

Photo by
How I love Have you two met? If you've ever struggled with a second language, you must bebop over there and take a look around.
I'm serious. March right over there, young lady. Hop to it, mister.
But be warned: you might want to wear a diaper. Or maybe that's just me.

Oh, how it thrills me to read things like this.

Photo by
That's probably because the signs and posters and advertisements remind me of the millions of times during my French life when I tried to literally translate my words and they came out wonky.
You think I'm kidding? Read my book.
Or read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. I especially recommend the chapter in which he tries to explain Easter in his pitiful French. It makes me weep with happiness.

It's a good thing that when people hear others trying desperately to speak their language, their hearts swell with tenderness. And they look upon them in the same way that one would gaze at a newborn babe. Or a puppy.
And sometimes they see the profound sweetness in the wonky words.

Photo by
Or maybe I'm a sentimental fool.

I'll have some Skal water to go with that apple pie, please.

Photo by
I would so like to be transported to the cow-mooing meadow.

Have a fantastic weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

Oh, and enjoy this favorite video of mine. You might want to get a tissue in advance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Books: A Second Life?

So do you like this headboard, or does it plunge your psyche into torment?
I haven't decided yet.
I found it the other day, over at my pal Linda Crispell's marvelous blog, and at first I was a fool in love, ready to kick to the curb our hundred year old French bed (which I bought in our Clermont life for $35-the tightwad in me is still high fiving myself.) I even scoured the internet and discovered how to make that headboard myself, but then my morning shot of caffeine wore off, and reality set in. Here's what reality said:
You're an author. You want to do that to books? Pull out their guts, paint them like harlots, and then slap them on a piece of MDF board from Home Depot?
It seemed wrong to me.

Then my amazing agent, Nathan Bransford, strolled into my brain, adding his logical, reasonable arguments to my internal debate. Nathan's been spreading Kindle love all over the internet for several months now, but I haven't surrendered to the dark e-reader side as yet. Have you?

I know it's ridiculous and that books don't have feelings, but I still feel sad for all the books out there, bookshelves full, like islands of misfit toys.
But then something wonderful happened. Last night, as I was hiding in the office, hoping a dishwashing fairy might flitter down to my kitchen and clean up after dinner, I started a google search that renewed my hope. I thought I might share it with you. Please don't hate me, book lovers.
Be assured that I'm still in no hurry to trade my musty old books for a plastic piece of technology, (sorry Nathan.) I just love to see upcycling in action.
If you're curious about the things you see, a click on the photo will transport you back to its mother site.

First, a vase by artist Laura Cahill.

I found it on
She does lamps and side tables too.

Yes, that lamppost is made of book pages. (!)

I wonder what Nathan would think of this.

Photo by
One of your favorite books, right Nathan? Does it tug at your heartstrings a little bit?

I love this book-shelf. Though I wouldn't put anything on it.

Photo by

This is also cool.

Photo by

How about book jewelry?

Jamie Keiles makes them over at etsy. I found them at

If a bracelet/wrist cuff isn't your style, how about a purse?

Photo by
I bet they'd make man bags too, if you asked nicely.

I'd love to wear this piece of jewelry around my neck.

It's by the artist Janna Syvanoja, featured at

Enough daydreaming. It's time to get back to writing a new book of my own.
If only I had this desk!

Desk by Richard Hutton
Have a great Wednesday, book lovers out there!
Love, Becky