Things to Savor

Every once in a while, I like to do a post of all the fun things I’ve seen or experienced recently.  Today is one of those days.  Lucky you.

My sister Amy informed me of the spectacular artist Nathan Abels.  His blog minutiae is a conglomeration of all the wonderful things he likes.  I’m going to draw your attention to one post in particular, since I’m a avid fan of all kinds of music.  Look at his post “Calming.”  He’s compiled a stream of songs, including his own field recording of his time in Twin Lakes, Colorado.  Turn it up.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Don’t you feel like you’re right there?  Lovely.

For more free online music listening, try the Listening Library of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  So peaceful.

For an upbeat rhythmic beat that’s quickly addicting, check this out.  Three members of the Swedish group Erato sit around a kitchen table and sing “Call Your Girlfriend.”  Thanks to Kate Miss at For Me, For You, for the heads-up.

Brain Pickings highlighted the self-taught artist Matt Kish recently.  Since 2009, he’s illustrated each of the 552 pages of Moby Dick.  Can you imagine how long that would take?  What a great idea!

Austin Kleon calls himself a “writer who draws.”  He’s known for his book Newspaper Blackout, in which he takes a newspaper sheet and a black marker, and blacks out words he doesn’t want, to form a sort of poem or prose piece.  So cool.  I’m including his directions and sample piece from the new-kid-on-the-block Big Kids Magazine (a new Australian-based kids’ magazine).

Darrah Gooden is the artist behind tinyfawn.  Aren’t her animal collages exquisite?  So delicate and sweet.

Mollie Greene’s Make & Do: Paper Fascinations for Every Lovely Occasion is addicting.  Peruse Greene’s blog and Etsy shop.  The butterfly mobile is on my to-do list.

I fell in love with Nikki McClure’s posters and recently bought 6 of them to hang in our foyer.  One word adorns each picture, focusing us (the viewer) on one trait or element or truth.  Goodness behind glass, I’m calling it.

If you’re hankering for some good ol’ cookies for a cold fall day, you might try Orangette’s Salted Peanut Butter Cookies.  They’re to die for.

LOVE 100 Layer Cake’s DIY Fabric Chandelier.  So scrumptious.

Daniel Eatock is a graphic designer who dabbles in discovery and invention in creative and surprising ways.  On Eatock’s first day of graphic design class in college, the teacher assigned a typographic self-portrait.  Eaton claims to only remember one example, a project designed by a fellow friend named Richard Holley.

You might want to try your hand at one of these.  The instructions are from Eaton’s website.  I’ve included some finished samples, too, but if you want to see a fuller array, go to the Holley Portraits on Eaton’s site.

Instructions: Using an ink pad make a print of your thumb in the center of a white page. Enlarge this thumb print on a photocopier to match the approximate size of your face. Place a thin sheet of copy paper over the photocopied enlargement of your thumb print and secure it in place with tape or paperclips. Starting anywhere you wish and using a black ink pen and your natural/everyday handwriting, compose a text about yourself following the contour lines of your thumb print as a guide. Use a light box or window to improve the show-through.

The final result combines your text, your handwriting, and your finger print to form a self portrait.

Here’s a few representations.  Aren’t they exquisite?

This next idea is so creative.  Who knew?  Leese Design came up with a Cross Stitch iPhone case, so you can create your own design on your phone case.  How clever is that?  I decided I didn’t have time right now (to sew), so I bought a pretty life-like one at Uncommon instead (from the artist Magda Sayeg).

Are you stuck in your work?  Do you feel your work will never match your fantastic vision? Take a look at this encouraging word from Ira Glass, cleverly assembled by David Shiyang Liu.

What are you savoring now?  Do share.

[Post image: Liliana eating her first bit of cotton candy in Paris, January 2011]


  1. Nathan Abels
    Nov 03, 2011

    Thank you very much for the kind words.

    • Elissa
      Nov 03, 2011

      You’re welcome! Thank YOU for providing hours of pleasure…and what fun to see one of your recent paintings come together!

  2. Sara
    Nov 04, 2011

    Ok, what fun, fabulous finds. First, the “Call Your Girlfriend,” do you remember doing that same cup game in college? Who knew you could put such a fabulous song to it!
    Nathan Abels site is great–can that be downloaded? Or just let it play on the computer?
    The iPhone covers–clever!! Although I may wait until I upgrade from my old 3G…
    Maybe we could make the butterfly mobile together? Maybe? 🙂

  3. Elissa
    Nov 04, 2011


    Sadly I was not a participant in any cup games. I only remember seeing the street buskers do them. Maybe that’s why I’m fascinated by them. LOL.

    Let me see if Nathan Abels’ recordings are downloadable. Stay tuned…

    And yes, dahling, come over to my house, and we’ll make the butterfly mobile together. That would be grand. I have the book. And I have the materials. We’ll catch up with all the news, AND we’ll have some art to enjoy. 🙂

    • Elissa
      Nov 04, 2011

      Well, there you go, Sara (and other curious readers)! Thanks SO much, Nathan. Thanks for doing all that work… 🙂

  4. Sara
    Nov 09, 2011

    Thanks for all the info on the downloads! Fantastic!

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