Digging In and Awakening Shakti

I've never been in a book club. I've fantasized about doing a woman-centered, lady-mojo, gypsy-soul kind of book club, but never had the right group present itself. But then, BAM! Another like-minded friend got the ball rolling. Elizabeth from Mystic Vixen, got the party started.

She is in the process of reading Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton and thought that there might be others out there in cyber space who might like to join her. My copy arrived in the mail this week and I'm joining her impromptu book club. You're welcome to join us HERE.

Photo via Mystic Vixen

Want to more know about the book? 
Check out THIS interview with Sally Kempton via Origin Magazine! 


Reading List | Steal Like and Artist

Today on my nightstand is a little notebook for creative kleptomanics by Austin Kleon called "Steal Like and Artist." It's chocked full of little insights and curated goodness. It's also a great resource for those of us who are making art in the digital age. If you need a little injection of inspiration - a little "get off your ass and do it!" - than you might want to pick up Klean's book.






Weekend Poetry | "Here" by Wislawa Szymborska

Nobel Prize winner, Wislawa Szymborska



Here

I don’t know about other places,
but here on Earth there’s quite a lot of everything.
Here chairs are made and sadness,
scissors, violins, tenderness, transistors,
water dams, jokes, teacups.

Maybe somewhere else there is more of everything,
only for some reason there are no paintings there,
cathode-ray tubes, dumplings, tissues for tears.
There are plenty of places here with surroundings.
Some you can particularly get to like,
name them your own way
and protect them from evil.

Maybe somewhere else there are similar places,
But no one considers them beautiful.

Maybe like nowhere else, or in few other places,
here you have your own body trunk,
and with it the tools needed,
to add your children to those of others.
Besides that your hands, legs, and the amazed head.

Ignorance here is hard at work,
constantly measuring, comparing, counting,
drawing conclusions and finding square roots.

I know, I know what you’re thinking.
Nothing is permanent here,
for since ever forever in the power of the elements.
But notice—the elements get easily tired
and sometimes they have to take a long rest
before the next time.

And I know what else you’re thinking.
Wars, wars, wars.
But even between them there happen to be breaks.
Attention—people are evil.
At ease—people are good.
At attention we produce wastelands.
At ease by the sweat of our brows we build houses
and quickly live in them.

Life on earth turns out quite cheap.
For dreams for instance you don’t pay a penny.
For illusions—only when they’re lost.
For owning a body—only with the body.

And as if this was not enough,
you spin without a ticket in the carousel of the planets,
and along with it, dodging the fare, in the blizzard of galaxies,
through eras so astounding,
that nothing here on Earth can even twitch on time.

For take a good look:
the table stands where it stood,
on the table the paper, exactly as placed,
through the window ajar just a waft of the air,
and in the walls no terrifying cracks,
through which you could be blown out to nowhere.


Book Review | Charles Dowding's VEG Journal



After placing my order with Seed Saver's Exchange last week, I was thrilled to find Charles Dowdings' VEG Journal: Expert no-dig advice, month by month in my mailbox for review from Frances Lincoln Publishing.

The book uses the seasonal checklists, advice and hard-won experience of the Uk's best-known no-dig gardener to plan a year's veg growing. The information is based on the author's successful Charles Dowding Vegetable Course, updated and arranged in a useful monthly journal so that no activity is overlooked and readers can follow his mantra of 'a little and often'.

The journal, which is filled with lush photos, explains how to plan a veg garden, construct a raised bed, sow seed indoors and outdoors in spring, grow on young crops, protect plants from the weather and from pests through the season until you can celebrate the joy of harvesting. The information is organized monthly from January to December, with key crops, activities and essential reminders.

The book is organized in monthly sections, providing simple steps and seasonal checklists to plan a year of vegetable growing that you’ll want to refer to time and time again. Filled with expert advice and planting tips throughout, the book offers detailed information on growing vegetables, herbs and salad leaves, monthly jobs and key dates for sowing and harvesting, tackling weeds and pests, and making sweet-smelling compost (I'm totally going to be using this info).

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and feel that it will be come an essential gardening companion during the next growing season and beyond. I'll be referring to it again and again. The best part is that the VEG Journal is suitable for the absolute beginner (me) while still illuminating for the experienced veg grower. If you're hoping to get the most out of your vegetable garden, this book should be in your library.





Book Review | Hop, Skip, Jump by Marney Makridakis

If the Google or Lego workplaces are any indication, it's clear that play and productivity go hand in hand. Why is it then that we shy away from playful, goofy, fun when trying to get something done? Best selling author and creator of Artella Land, Marney Makridakis' new book, Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life is the perfect antidote for our over-busy, harried and serious work routines. Makridakis' book is filled with wonderful tools to help us manifest whatever our hearts desire from a place of fun, joy and ease.




Having more fun, means getting more done. Just ask any child who has read The King's Stilts by Dr. Suess and they'll tell you that a playful outlet or attitude can keep an entire society in balance. Makridakis uses Hop, Skip, Jump as a blueprint for melding work and play into your everyday life.

Hop - focuses on exploring new beliefs
Skip - helps us harness spontaneity, wonder and love
Jump - spurs us into inspired action






From Marney:

Studies show that kids play less today than they ever have, and its detrimental to their health and development. As the demands of our achievement-oriented society are weighing on our kids, the pressure seems to be hitting adults even harder. Even family vacations, one of our most special times of play, are at an all-time low. In our fast-paced, results-driven society, when we do in fact have the rare opportunity to step away from the oppressive pressure, we are so exhausted that we tune out or turn to numbing activities on electronic gadgets, rather than meaningful experiences of play that truly bring us joy. Our adrenaline is either charged up or checked out. And play - which exists in the sweet spot in between - is completely overlooked and undervalued.

Play can be much more than filling the open spaces between work and daily responsibilities. Animals and children have a deep instinct to play; nobody needs to show them how to do it! But most adults could use a bit of training to connect to playful activities that intensify joy and reduce stress. 

When it comes to the intersection of play and productivity, the secret is quite simple: what moves us is what moves us, which means that what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action. This is why play helps us be productive. Play is many things, but it is never still, stuck or stagnant; it somehow always moves. So when it comes to manifesting a meaningful life, play works.


Get Marney's book Hop, Skip, Jump
and start playing!

Today, a poem...

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Book Review | Modern Country

Jacqui Small Publishing has a new coffee table book on the shelves called Modern Country – Inspiring interiors for contemporary living, written and compiled by journalist Caroline Clifton-Mogg. This beautiful collection of photos highlights a new shift in our collective idea about what "country" entails.

Caroline examines a mix of contemporary country styles in four chapters: Architectural Styles, Materials and Finishes, Country Locations and Country Living. The book is filled with lush images from the French interiors publication Côté Sud, Côté Est and Côté Ouest. The edgy and often raw country style showcased here is enormously inspiring. I think Modern Country might be my new favorite design book.












Tiffany Gant-Riley from Curate & Display did a video review for her readers.
It is so gorgeous, I had to repost here. Enjoy!

Book Review | The Writer's Garden by Jackie Bennet

The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors, is a beautiful coffee table book by garden writer and historian Jackie Bennet. Gardens have long been a source of inspiration for artists. While the influence is seen directly in the work of painters and photographers, the effect is more subtle and frequently more personal in written work. The Writer's Garden walks us through the beloved gardens of Roald Dahl, Virginia Woolf, Wordsworth, Austen, Robert Burns, Rudyard Kipling and countless others; 20 authors all told.




I am a writer who has only just begun to explore the joys of gardening. Two years ago, I dug up a small plot in my suburban back yard to create a raised bed for veggies. Since then, I've expanded quite a bit. And while my garden isn't the grand meandering English countryside that inspired Winston Churchill, Bennet's book will inspire even the tiniest literary garden.

I found the biographical and historical anecdotes to be the most interesting parts of the book: the family ties, the eccentric landscape designers and the emotional relationship between writer and garden. The photos by Richard Hanson are gorgeous. The sweeping wide shots are juxtaposed with beautiful botanical detail shots. Definitely check out his lovely book, especially if you're a literary geek like me.


Roald Dahl at Gipsy House

Winston Churchill at Chartwell

Henry James at Rye Harbor

John Clare at Helpston

Thomas Hardy at Hardy's Cottage and Max Gate

William Wordsworth at Cockermouth

Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford

Sense & Sensibility | First Dress

Tonight is our first dress for Sense & Sensibility at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I always love seeing the actors in costume for the first time. No matter how much you prepare for a role, it can never really be complete without the costume. And when the story takes place in another era, as does Sense & Sensibility, the transformation is usually even bigger. Tonight, the Regency Era will reign supreme in a parade of beautiful gowns and dapper waist coats. Wish us luck tonight. We rehearse today and again on Friday. This adaptation is a world premier and opens on June 24 - a week from today!











Here's a little bit about our production from director and adaptor, Joe Hanreddy.

Garden Dreams

I am loving my time in Cedar City at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, but I desperately miss my garden in Texas. To fill this void and provide some quiet entertainment during those in between times while waiting outside the rehearsal hall, I picked up a book from the gardening section of the local bookstore.

The book is called Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener by Dominique Browning and I've already finished. If you love good writing, beautifully crafted and slightly meandering prose, then I highly recommend it! Ms. Browning's account of her work in the garden makes me long for wet dirt and a trowel. The edge of my script is littered with notes about planting cycles, seed lists and plans for my own garden.

Here is a little gem of a quote from inside one of the first pages...


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Book Review | The Life Organizer

Remember when you made your New Year's Resolutions 6 weeks ago? Remember when you wrote, "Be more organized"? Remember when you wrote "Make time for self care"?  If you'd like a little boost to help you reconnect with your goals, this book might be for you.

I am usually a pretty organized person, but over the past few weeks, The Life Organizer: A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year by Jennifer Lauden has helped me put some of my expectations in perspective. Unlike some of the more rigid, linear GET ORGANIZED! books I've read, this book is slower, more intuitive and ultimately more effective at putting your real needs in a priority position. There are some portions of the book that didn't necessarily apply to my situation, however, Louden's overall premise and her upbeat take on decision making and mindfulness is refreshing. Her book has lots to offer any woman seeking a clear path towards intentional living.





From the publisher: 

We all yearn to have time for personal needs and creative dreams -- after all, this is our life to make the most of. And we all know how hard it is to remember what really matters. With distractions from jobs, aging parents, and children -- not to mention women's perennial fear of being labeled “selfish” -- following our own desires and dreams can become ever more elusive. The Life Organizer aims to help you shift your focus, augmenting traditional goal setting with the ease that comes from steady inner listening and mindfulness. It will become your trusted companion -- and maybe the most important book you'll ever own.

The book's author Jennifer Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement. She is widely known as The Comfort Queen thanks to her first bestselling book The Woman's Comfort Book, has been interviewed by Oprah, and has written a total of 6 books on well-being and whole living that have inspired women all over the world. She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all. You can visit her online at www.jenniferlouden.com.


Radical Homemaking | Books to Read

You'll notice that I haven't posted any gift guides or extensive Christmas lists this year. Usually I put together a little something, but 2013 has been a good year full of contentment and abundance and somehow I just don't feel right following all that goodness with a list of "wants". What can I say? I'm in a grateful place and the mantra "all I have is all I need" is ringing throughout my home.

Instead, I've posted a list of books I'd like to read in 2014. Some I'll check out from my local library, some I'll borrow from friends and some I may buy outright. The thing they have in common is that they are all geared towards my goal to lessen our household consumption and beef up our handmade production. Remember THIS summer post? It is still very much at the heart of my current efforts around the house.




Here they are in no particular order:

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese

Radical Simplicity: Creating an Authentic Life by Dan Price

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy

I Love Dirt: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Children Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward

The Best of Making Things: A Hand Book of Creative Discovery by Ann Sayre Wiseman

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch

Keeping Chickens by Ashley English

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila



And here are some books that are already in my personal library, but are must reads for anyone on the Radical Homemaking path:

Radical Homemaking: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon hayes

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver



Currently on my nightstand, a funny, tightly written memoir:

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter


Images courtesy the Ghost Town Farm blog, where Novella writes about her urban farm.


Writing Life


Today, in the midst of a busy Monday I plan to carve out a small hour or two for writing.  
My book is calling and I'm ready to sit down and listen with my pen.

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"It is the function of art to renew our perception. 
What we are familiar with we cease to see. 
The writer shakes up the familiar scene and, as if by magic, 
we see a new meaning in it." ~ Anais Nin

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"The role of the writer is not to say what we all can say, 
but to say what we are unable to say."  ~Anais Nin

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Creating Time by Marney Makridakis

Today is the official book launch for Creating Time a new book authored by my friend and creativity guru Marney Makridakis.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy last week and have spent the last few days pouring over this amazing gem of a book.  What is it about?  It's about turning your experience of time from one of lack, tension and stress into one of ease, space and flow. This book will show you how to spin the straw of lost hours into a golden expanse of open space and free time.

Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life (New World Library, April 17, 2012) has good news for those who feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Widely acclaimed creativity expert and author Marney K. Makridakis turns the concept of time management upside-down by presenting exciting new tools for experiencing time in fresh and exciting ways.

 Since today is the official book launch, La Maison Boheme readers can buy up their own copy (today only) and receive an additional goody bag filled with treats from Marney's Artella Land Shop worth 125 dollars! 

Buy the book today HERE!




More about the book...

Creating Time combines creativity with science to inspire readers to re-shape old thoughts and patterns that have been holding them back from being all they can be in this life. It presents, in a gorgeous four-color format, a fascinating adventure where readers not only imagine and create but completely reshape the way they think about their own time, using art and imagination as powerful catalysts for lasting change.

From a Creating Time ARTsignment: by Violette


Creating Time presents 14 powerful concepts for creating time through creativity. Each chapter demonstrates, in a unique way, that we can create time outside of a linear view and welcome a truly new way to experience it. Each concept is illustrated through supportive material such as personal stories and anecdotes, literary and fun pop culture references, and creative interpretations of scientific theory and evidence. The conclusion of each chapter presents an ARTsignment, a short project based on the concepts in the chapter that is designed to activate and expand self-awareness and transformation. Each ARTsignment combines a step-by-step introspective process, interactive journal questions, and a unique, hands-on art project. Inspiring galleries with sample ARTsignments by contributing artists are included.




Don't miss out on your goodie bag from the Artella Land shop.
Get your copy of Creating Time HERE!

Short Stories


I love reading.  Reading is what made me want to be a writer.  I used to read a lot, but since becoming a mama, I've had less and less time to sit down with a big juicy novel.  And even if I had the time, I don't have the focus for a particularly long thought arch.  Isn't that sad?  This is why I've recently started reading short stories again.  I love the short story form and there are so many good ones out there.  Are you looking for some short fiction too?  Here are my picks...



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What is your favorite short story? 
I'm always looking for a new read!

Summer Reading

I got inspired by the book wish list over at Decor8 and thought I'd pull together my own little summer reading list. Here are some books that I would be more than happy to dig into this summer. Happy 4th everybody! I hope you're all enjoying beautiful weather, BBQ and yummy frothy drinks!









Your Personal Library


Isn't this library to die for? I about fainted when I saw it at Greige.


Here are some others that also make me weak in the knees.





Don't have enough books to warrant a full library?
How about creating a book nook?


Only a few to display? Stack them into a beautiful vignette.


No books at all? How about library wallpaper?

Typography

My Dad just sent this to me. We're both writers and word lovers, so this really tickles our fancy. Not only is this, like, a totally fabulous poem, it is also, like, awesomely made and laid out, ya know? Enjoy!

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Poet's Corner

We interrupt this program for a test of the emergency Bohemia Broadcast System. Your regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow.
Until then, Viva la révolution!


"God thinks in the genius, dreams in the poet and sleeps in the rest of humanity." -Peter Altenberg

Charles Baudelaire

"I don't know how to drive, just typewrite." - Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

"If someone tells you to do something - that's a clue not to do it." - Mark Innerst

"In art there is either plagiarism or revolution." - Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

"Good taste is the enemy of creativity." - Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

"The life of the young artist is the easiest, merriest, dirtiest existence possible."
- William Makepeace Thackeray

Stevie Nicks

"I don't think there is any truth, only points of view." - Allen Ginsberg

"Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame