I only had a chance to photograph one of my Farm Chicks treasures today, so the others will have to trickle onto the blog as the week progresses. But to start things off ...
Farm Chicks Find No. 1: A 48-star American flag for $40.
The stars and stripes are sewn on, by the way, not printed.
Pardon the exposed hardware in the middle there. For now, I just draped the flag on nails already in the wall. And if you live in either Alaska or Hawaii, sorry. Forty-eight stars just looks so much cooler than 50.
I once saw an apartment in Elle Decor or some similar magazine that was completely bedecked in vintage American flags. It was one of the most unique and striking homes I'd ever seen featured in a magazine. The article popped into my head Saturday as I dug through a couple dozen old flags for sale by a vendor at the show.
So, sure, this is supposed to be an "art" statement, I guess. Or a decor statement, anyway. But people are often surprised to find out how patriotic I am. That's right. I usually cry during the National Anthem.
I think most folks assume all journalists are shady, cynical creatures always on the prowl to uncover some government scandal. I would never define myself as cynical, though. Skeptical, yes. Not cynical. And most journalists I know are in the field because they're dedicated to things like honesty, keeping an accurate record of history, and exposing what's wrong in the world so that ignorance is diminished and solutions might be found. No one I know has ever shouted "gotchya!" after uncovering something damaging about another human being.
I believe that journalism is one of the most patriotic professions one can enter, actually. Without the "fourth estate"--the watchdog that sometimes has to play an unpopular role to expose truths that might make us squirm--there can't be democracy.
Maybe Thomas Jefferson said it best:
"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
Ironically, that quote is carved into a wall at the Seattle Post Intelligencer offices--a newspaper that ceased its print publication a few months ago due to financial problems. Journalism jobs are fading and morphing at an alarming rate. In fact, it's probably more accurate to call myself a writer these days than a reporter since most of my work isn't for the editorial pages of the paper lately.
But I love journalism and I love this country, and I don't for a second think that is a contradiction.
OK. Pardon me as I step off my soapbox.
In more crafty news ... I'm still on an apron kick, sewing some up for friends and preschool teachers as time allows. I also have an idea for a new apron design brewing after being inspired by something I saw at the Farm Chicks show. Stay tuned.
Otherwise, please enjoy the brilliance that abounds elsewhere on the Web:
-Amy Karol's greeting cards made from the funny things her kids say. We keep a running list of the goofy observations our girls make, too, so I can't wait to put the hilarity to use like Amy has. For example, Bo said this one day:
"When I was a little girl, my heart got broken. But it got better when sissy hugged me and we got married."
Bo, 3 1/2
-Have I mentioned this little shop yet? I think so, but it's worth repeating for your baking pleasure. Every person must have a stash of red-and-white baker's twine and some brown boxes on hand for packing up treats for friends and neighbors, don't you think?
-The illustrations and captions in the vintage health book that Denise Sharp bought for $1 recently. I want to embroider every page!
-All the great kid-crafty ideas on this Web site I stumbled upon recently, including making ginormous pencils. A lot of the activities will have to wait until they get older, but the girls would get a kick out of making mondo pencils. We did something similar in art class when I was in middle school, but you could pick the object you enlarged. I chose a record album. The Queen is Dead by The Smiths. I was sooo tragic.
-The Parents Journal podcast by Bobbi Conner. You have to get past the cheesy theme music, but the messages are usually very interesting and practical. One topic she likes to address is the benefits of no or very little TV. It's always good to play her program when I'm tempted to drag out the Dora DVDs.
This image reminds me of my original idea for a theme for Bo's nursery before she was born: "vintage swim."
I'd still love to do that one day, but I doubt the girls would be on board with it yet. And soon enough they'll have their own ideas, anyway. How cool would it be to paint the walls aqua, frame some vintage swimsuits in shadow boxes, and display funky old swim caps, though?
I’m pretty good at a lot of those tips, but there are many ideas there that I should be using as guide to life. Some of my favorite suggestions from the list are “fix it even if you didn’t break it,” “bake extra and share,” “sit on your stoop” (my family has been doing this a lot more lately), “know your neighbors,” and “start a tradition.” “Turn off your TV” is easy for me, but if I buy the poster I might have to scratch out the word “TV” and replace it with “Internet” just to really challenge myself.
You can learn where to buy your own copy of the poster here.