Shared posts

05 Aug 00:33

Thesis Defense


Why didn't I think of this?

16 Jul 17:45

Printable Freebie: Gemstone Bookplates

by Maxwell Tielman

:D !!!


One of my favorite online discoveries of the last year was the British Library’s Flickr stream. Not necessarily what you’d expect from a social media page, The British Library’s Flickr functions as a massive, searchable online compendium of scanned imagery, largely in the public domain. In other words, a crafter’s goldmine! Ever since I discovered the Library’s feed, I’ve been poring over it on a regular basis, bookmarking images of planets, gems, geometric shapes, and nature for future use in projects. These bookplates—perfect for all of your summer reading—feature images of gemstones and minerals culled from the British Library’s collection. Just print out the template (below), cut out, and affix to the endpages of your books! Happy reading! —Max  (more…)

14 Jul 19:51

Brambleberry Ridge.

by holly | bijou lovely

WAAAANNNNT (::drools::)

It's been quiet around here lately as I have been trying to balance work, sewing, and photography.  It's the busy season for senior portraits, which is really fun, but that means less time to do other things.  I just finished my last big deadline sewing project for a little while, so now it's time for some fun!  I'm going to cut into Violet Craft's new line, Brambleberry Ridge this week and do some simple sewing.  I wanted to share some photos of the fabric first though, because it's just so pretty!
Coral, Mint, Lilac and Taupe, with lots of metallic gold accents.  I'm sure you all know by now how much I love these colors!
This collection has a good mix of prints, including deer, lace, plaids, dainty florals and triangles.  Plus more of those birds I just can't seem to get enough of.

Here it is all stacked up!  Isn't it gorgeous?
I was lucky enough to get some advanced yardage from Violet and the team at Michael Miller Fabrics.  I'll be sharing more about my project later this week over on their blog.

Brambleberry Ridge is in shops now and can be found at Fat Quarter ShopStash Fabrics and Bobbie Lou Fabric Factory.
12 Jul 17:00

Aimee Wilder’s Bungalow Wallpaper Collection

by Maxwell Tielman

oh man, these are fun!

Over the past several months, we’ve witnessed what appears to be a huge shift in terms of decorative motifs in the design community. Many designers, possibly weary of the abstract and Western-centric motifs that have dominated imagery and ornament in design for the past several years, are instead turning their heads to a different source of inspiration: the tropics. Tropical colors, fruits, and plants have become all the rage, motifs that speak to a warmer, more earnestly jubilant sensibility. Aimee Wilder‘s stunning new Bungalow collection of wallpapers, inspired by a recent trip to Indonesia, expounds upon this aesthetic shift beautifully; the prints are lush with dazzling color and brilliantly, unabashedly joyful in their design. We can’t get enough! Check out more photos of Aimee’s wonderful collection, plus her design notes after the jump! —Max

wallpaper_wildflower_calypso_1024x1024 wallpaper_swell_lima_1024x1024 wallpaper_pina_daiquiri_1024x1024 wallpaper_pina_azul_1024x1024 bungalow_paper_header


10 Jun 17:27

Kickstarter: Qwerkywriter

by The Well-Appointed Desk



Even typewriter lovers among us occasionally have to use a modern-day computer. Why not experience the beauty and feel of a vintage typewriter while you pound out your emails or Twitter missives? That’s where the new Kickstarter Project, the Qwerkywriter comes in. Its a USB keyboard (though there are plans for a Bluetooth adaptation if they exceed funding) that has a 88-key mechanical keyboard with the classic good-looks of a vintage glass-key typewriter. The “paper feed” doubles as a tablet stand for your iPad or Android tablet.

At the $289/$299 funding level, you can receive this unique keyboard. The developer is about a third of the way to his funding goal so if you’d like to see this project come to fruition, support it today. The funding period end July 3.

Qwerkywriter with tablet

07 Jun 18:10

The Dean Hotel in Providence

by Amy Azzarito

My town! I know the people who run the coffee shop in this hotel!

I haven’t spent that much time in Rhode Island, but now that The Dean has officially opened in downtown Providence, it might be my chance to give the city a bit of my undivided attention. Though it was originally built in 1912 by the Episcopal Church to provide social services, the building also had a previous life as a gentlemen’s club. It now houses an ultra-chic, 52-room boutique hotel created by ASH NYC – a Brooklyn-based group of young designers. Inspired by the ever-popular mix of old and new, ASH NYC decided to make each room slightly different, decorating with vintage artwork and custom-designed fixtures and furniture. The overall result is a space that doesn’t feel too much like any one era and has a unique contemporary vibe. Oh, and did I mention that there’s a karaoke bar in the hotel? I’m already looking at my calendar. -Amy


3Dean 4Dean 24Dean 23Dean 22Dean 15Dean 16Dean 17Dean 18Dean 19Dean 20Dean 21Dean 14Dean 13Dean 12Dean 11Dean 10Dean 9Dean 8Dean 6Dean 7Dean 5Dean

Click through for the full tour after the jump!


01 May 00:47

Long Live Libraries!

by Mary Russell


I do not always fully agree with the techniques and sentiments of my literary agent, Ms King, but in one thing we are of a single mind: both of us are filled with adoration for libraries.

Therefore I offer my full support of Ms King’s eminently practical and concrete means of expressing that affection: she is thanking them in their own language, in books.

The 20th Anniversary of the Russell Memoirs will, therefore, see many libraries across America receiving multiple copies of her, and my, books.  Every week, she will choose a name and send books, for the use of patrons and the librarians themselves.

To enter your favourite library go  here.

Long live libraries!

23 Mar 23:45

Finished Aviatrix Medallion Quilt

by Elizabeth


Click here to see more posts about this project.

Aviatrix Medallion Blog1

I'm so happy with the finished Aviatrix Medallion Quilt!

Aviatrix Medallion Blog 3

I made this quilt using 25 Kona Solid fat quarters, plus Kona White for the block details and Essex yarn-dyed Steel for the background. The finished quilt is 80" x 80".

The pattern for this quilt, which will be in my shop at the beginning of April, will describe how to make the quilt with 25 fat quarters, or using scraps. (A scrappy version of the quilt might look something like this quilt, which I'm still working on.)

Aviatrix Medallion Blog 5

I'm also excited to tell you about my new partnership with Robert Kaufman. They will be selling fat quarter bundles and other precut packages of the Kona Solids I used for this project. Yay! (I'll post more about this soon.)

Aviatrix Medallion Blog 4

Because there's so much going on in this quilt top, I kept my quilting and quilt back really simple. The quilting is an allover pattern of meandering boxes that I free-motion quilted on my Janome 1600p QC.

Aviatrix Medallion Blog2

The quilt back is Carolyn Friedlander's Widescreen (108" wide quilt back fabric) in gray. It was a little crazy for me to make a quilt back out of a single piece of fabric, but it certainly made things easy. I'm also happy to have a subtle bit of print on the back of this all-solids quilt.

I'm already working on a related quilt that I hope to be able to show you next week!

19 Mar 17:12

Let’s make the most of this beautiful day

by Fred Clark

They shared a first name, and they were both ordained ministers, but other than that they were polar opposites. They present us with two very different possibilities — two choices, two options we all have. We can think of them as Fred and Anti-Fred.

The Rev. Fred Phelps is dying. And I find … I find that I don’t want to think about the Rev. Fred Phelps.

I’d rather think about the Rev. Fred Rogers — Mister Rogers. I’d rather re-read that old Tom Junod Esquire piece and all those other amazing stories about a kind and loving man who made everyone he encountered want to become kinder and more loving.

Fred Phelps, on the other hand, was a cruel, hateful man who made the world a little bit more cruel and a little bit more hateful every day.

Mister Rogers taught us that we’re all capable of being kind or of being cruel, of being loving or of being hateful:

Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me…
Isn’t it the same for you?

That was sort of Mister Rogers’ version of what Solzhenitsyn said about “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” And I know that’s true. I’m sure that even Fred Rogers was “bad sometimes,” and that even Fred Phelps was “good sometimes.” But it’s also true that habits are habit-forming, and eventually those habits become character and identity. So I’d guess that even Fred Rogers’ “bad sometimes” were better than Fred Phelps “good sometimes.”

If Fred Phelps dies today, or tomorrow, or a few days from now, I will be saddened that he passed away before he was able to recant and repent, before he was able to attempt to atone and to seek absolution from those he has harmed and hated over the years.

But mostly I won’t want to think about him.

So here, instead, is something else to think about. Another option — a different choice of direction leading to much better habits. Much better, I think, to spend our time thinking about Fred Rogers than to spend another moment thinking about Fred Phelps.

This is from Tom Junod’s Esquire profile, “Can You Say Hero?”:

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a boy who didn’t like himself very much. It was not his fault. He was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is something that happens to the brain. It means that you can think but sometimes can’t walk, or even talk. This boy had a very bad case of cerebral palsy, and when he was still a little boy, some of the people entrusted to take care of him took advantage of him instead and did things to him that made him think that he was a very bad little boy, because only a bad little boy would have to live with the things he had to live with. In fact, when the little boy grew up to be a teenager, he would get so mad at himself that he would hit himself, hard, with his own fists and tell his mother, on the computer he used for a mouth, that he didn’t want to live anymore, for he was sure that God didn’t like what was inside him any more than he did. He had always loved Mister Rogers, though, and now, even when he was fourteen years old, he watched the Neighborhood whenever it was on, and the boy’s mother sometimes thought that Mister Rogers was keeping her son alive. She and the boy lived together in a city in California, and although she wanted very much for her son to meet Mister Rogers, she knew that he was far too disabled to travel all the way to Pittsburgh, so she figured he would never meet his hero, until one day she learned through a special foundation designed to help children like her son that Mister Rogers was coming to California and that after he visited the gorilla named Koko, he was coming to meet her son.

At first, the boy was made very nervous by the thought that Mister Rogers was visiting him. He was so nervous, in fact, that when Mister Rogers did visit, he got mad at himself and began hating himself and hitting himself, and his mother had to take him to another room and talk to him. Mister Rogers didn’t leave, though. He wanted something from the boy, and Mister Rogers never leaves when he wants something from somebody. He just waited patiently, and when the boy came back, Mister Rogers talked to him, and then he made his request. He said, “I would like you to do something for me. Would you do something for me?” On his computer, the boy answered yes, of course, he would do anything for Mister Rogers, so then Mister Rogers said, “I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?” And now the boy didn’t know how to respond. He was thunderstruck. Thunderstruck means that you can’t talk, because something has happened that’s as sudden and as miraculous and maybe as scary as a bolt of lightning, and all you can do is listen to the rumble. The boy was thunderstruck because nobody had ever asked him for something like that, ever. The boy had always been prayed for. The boy had always been the object of prayer, and now he was being asked to pray for Mister Rogers, and although at first he didn’t know if he could do it, he said he would, he said he’d try, and ever since then he keeps Mister Rogers in his prayers and doesn’t talk about wanting to die anymore, because he figures Mister Rogers is close to God, and if Mister Rogers likes him, that must mean God likes him, too.

As for Mister Rogers himself…well, he doesn’t look at the story in the same way that the boy did or that I did. In fact, when Mister Rogers first told me the story, I complimented him on being so smart—for knowing that asking the boy for his prayers would make the boy feel better about himself—and Mister Rogers responded by looking at me at first with puzzlement and then with surprise. “Oh, heavens no, Tom! I didn’t ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession.”


18 Mar 15:59

“If I know better, why is it so hard to…do better?”

by katecourageous

For a life coach, personal growth geek like me, this is one of my favorite questions–we’re talking, when a client asks this question, a smile comes over my face because I’m thinking, “YES. Now we’re going to get down to the bones of the matter.”

Figuring out why it is that “knowing better” and “doing better” are not always synonymous is definitely a “revolution from within” moment.

So why is it it that if you “know better,” you don’t “do better”? Because the part that you still don’t “know” yet is not obvious to you.

Knowing & True Knowing

Here’s an example: I can “know better” than to raise my voice when I’m feeling angry with someone. And yet, over and over, I might still do it in moments of anger.

Why? I used to ask myself, fretting and feeling guilty, later. I know better than this!

There’s what I “knew” and then the other things that I had yet to “know.”

I “knew” that raising my voice during a disagreement did nothing good. That it stressed me out. That it amplified conflict. That it created scar tissue in any relationship where that happened. That it only ever made me feel guilty and sad, later.

What I didn’t yet “know”? How to stop myself. How to not react. How to stop believing the voice in my head that said, “Let them have it!” How to stop thinking that when I disagreed with someone, yelling (an attempt to gain control) was what I needed to do, so that I wouldn’t feel like a chump.

There is a vast difference between knowing the behavior changes you want to make, and seeing/knowing/understanding all of the impulses and belief systems that underlie why those behaviors exist, at all.

This is where identity systems come in.

Identity Systems: What are they, how do they work, and what are yours?

We all have what I call “identity systems”–many, operating at once, and they may recede or come forward depending on time, context, person, or circumstance.

The “identity” part refers to the fact that in the moment when it’s being played out, it’s who we think we are.

The “system” part refers to the fact that there is a whole system at work. One level, we can get really reductive and say, “It’s all about my belief systems.” At the same time, the reality is that you are always walking through the matrix of past experiences that replay in your head and inform your decision making process, current experiences and circumstances, projections into the future, how you’re treated by society based on race/class/gender/ethnicity, long-standing dynamics and patterns in relationships with others.

All of this comes together to form an “identity system.” This is one of the first concepts that I talked about with the Courageous Coaching Training Program trainees during our 2014 retreat weekend–that simply coaching from a perspective of, “Change your beliefs, and you change your life” is often not enough for our clients.

This is also what I’m trying to help people to understand with the Courageous Living Program: that an investigation of your patterns and beliefs will reveal to you all the places where you keep yourself stuck. That’s what prompts true change. Not the officious self-help magazine articles that promise that if you only adopt a “clean” diet, go to yoga every day, and meditate.

(Those are all great things to do, but there’s a sense of white-knuckling your way through all of that, until you really look at what you fear, and what we truly fear is a loss of identity any time we opt to change an identity system).

How do identity systems work?

First, understand that they are largely unconscious. Again, this is why you’ve got to find something–a program, a person to work with, a tool, a consciousness practice, something–to see where you’re operating on default, without awareness.

In my experience, whatever the “something” is that you choose to work with, it’s got to be a daily practice. I have not seen it be effective for people to only work on an identity system when the shit really hits the fan. Much like a recovery program for a chemical addiction, we’ve got to assume that the identity system (“addiction” to a certain behavior) is always there, and that we don’t only need to work on it when we “use.” We work on it when we’re not actively using, too.

Identity systems stay entrenched because:

  • We don’t see them clearly or understand that they are operating.
  • We don’t work on them consistently.
  • When we get afraid, we justify keeping them in place.

Example: You know that yelling at someone when you’re angry isn’t what you want to do. If you don’t see the identity system that’s in place (perhaps it’s an identity system we’ll call “Gotta Be In Control,” and the internal Story is: “I’ll feel like a chump if this person insults me, and I don’t respond by yelling”), and if you aren’t working consistently on noticing all of the little ways where “Gotta Be In Control” is at work in your life, and if when you get upset with someone, you justify the old pattern by saying, “Well, I was angry–people yell when they’re angry!” then the entire system doesn’t move.

Example: If you’ve got the identity system at work of “People Pleaser,” and you’re not conscious about the habits and belief systems that underlie that identity system, you’ll just keep on people-pleasing. Without seeing clearly that the system is operating, you won’t work on it and bring consciousness to the people, places, habits, circumstances, etc., that keep the system in place. And, if you do get conscious that the system operates for you, but then you have a moment of fear (“If I don’t do this favor for her, she won’t like me”) and you respond from the place of that fear…the identity system just keeps on, keeping on.

The entire system depends on you not seeing, you not taking action, and you getting afraid so that nothing needs to change. Also, the system is not malicious. It’s wounded. It’s hurting. It’s trying to protect itself from a whole host of uncomfortable or painful experiences that it fears.

It needs compassion, patience, and love.

How Do I Recognize Mine?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a list of all the places in your life where you feel resentment. There’s probably some kind of identity system at work.
  • Make a list of all the places where you keep doing something that you’ve sworn you would stop doing. Ask yourself: What’s the underlying “need” that, while dysfunctional, wants to justify my making this choice, over and over?
  • Work with a program of some kind–a meditation program, an inquiry program, the Courageous Living Program, a life coach, a therapist, a group coaching circle–something that’s ongoing and intended to be used daily and consistently.
  • Ask people you trust this question: “Would you kindly but honestly share with me: What’s a pattern of thinking or behavior at work in my life, that I might not be seeing clearly?”
  • Spend one week emphasizing a desire for change in a very specific area. If an identity system is at work, you’re going to want to ditch it, have resistance towards doing it, start and stop, justify only working it halfway, etc., pretty quickly.

I’ll be writing another piece in the coming weeks on different names for these identity systems. So far, I’ve shared before about the “Smart Person identity system” and the “victim identity system” (though you can really make up whatever name you like for any chronic identity systems that you notice; the names aren’t “set” by me or anyone else).

I’d love to start a conversation about this over at the Your Courageous Life Facebook page. Share with us: What identity systems have you uncovered?

The post “If I know better, why is it so hard to…do better?” appeared first on Your Courageous Life.

18 Mar 15:48

Hire This Woman: Cartoonist Jules Rivera

by Janelle Asselin

Awesome move, Comics Alliance!

In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

You may know cartoonist Jules Rivera from her successfully Kickstarted graphic novel Misfortune High which is about to launch a volume 2 Kickstarter campaign. She also has a webcomic called Valkyrie Squadron and has contributed to the anthologies Princeless: Short Stories for Warrior Women and Oxymoron.

Continue reading…

18 Feb 03:17

Elegant Sophication with lots of DIY in Nashville

by Amy Azzarito

when design sponge shows off people's homes, they ask them to write down what their favorite thing is. I imagine this person cackling maniacally and rubbing her hands together in glee. I think I want to meet her.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek We got this dining set for a steal from an antique shop in our hometown. I recovered the chairs and, without having ever tried it before, cautiously refinished it. It turned out beautifully, and although I've tackled many DIY projects in my day, I may be proudest of this one.
Just six months ago, Michael and Mandy Pellegrin moved to Nashville after eight years in Washington, D.C.  Mandy’s “day job” is in health policy consulting but she spends just as many hours on her many side projects – including her DIY blog Fabric Paper Glue, the DIY tutorials that she does here at Design*Sponge, and she recently launched Craftcourse Nashville which offers DIY workshop parties in Nashville. Somehow, she managed to find time to set up house in this 1935 Tudor Revival in East Nashville. Mandy’s favorite details include the beautifully converted attic master bedroom and the new kitchen that the couple designed. In their last home (a 600-square-foot condo in D.C.), Mandy used bold colors throughout the space – a lime green kitchen, bright yellow living room, royal blue bathroom – and it was a fun look, but after six years, it was apparent that it wasn’t aging well. So in this space, she was aiming for something a little more sophisticated. She wanted base elements that were in neutral colors with classic pieces that would last – and then incorporated playful elements and details in the accessories along with lots of DIY touches.  Thanks, Michael and Mandy! -Amy

Image above: We got this dining set for a steal from an antique shop in our hometown. I recovered the chairs and, without having ever tried it before, cautiously refinished it. It turned out beautifully, and although I’ve tackled many DIY projects in my day, I may be proudest of this one.  White Paint: Ultra White by Valspar

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek We moved into this 3-bedroom house after sharing a 600-square-foot condo in D.C. for six years. That entire time, my craft room was our living room -- complete with straight pins and xacto knives lurking in the carpet every now and then. My sewing table was literally our coffee table. Moving into a full-on house meant that I got my very own workspace, and it's everything I ever dreamt it would/could be --
Image above: We moved into this 3-bedroom house after sharing a 600-square-foot condo in D.C. for six years. That entire time, my craft room was our living room — complete with straight pins and xacto knives lurking in the carpet every now and then. My sewing table was literally our coffee table. Moving into a full-on house meant that I got my very own workspace, and it’s everything I ever dreamt it would/could be — complete with an unhealthy helping of black, white and gold. Gold everywhere, I say! Both the shelves and the clipboards were DIYs that I shared here on Design*Sponge. 

White Paint: Ultra White by Valspar

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

3mandy 4mandy 5mandy 6mandy 12mandy 11mandy 10mandy 8mandy 7mandy 9mandy 15mandy 14mandy 13mandy 16mandy
See more of Mandy’s Nashville home after the jump!


18 Feb 03:15

pixelated catnap rainbow

by ashley



I’m really happy with how this one turned out! It’s nice and simple, though rather than laying it out in a random layout, I had fun playing with the fabric/color placement to create this pixelated rainbow.


I decided to quilt it with a circle in each square (quick tutorial here), as I did with this patchwork quilt. I like the look, even though it takes a bit longer and requires more maneuvering than straight lines.


This cat dream print is one of my favorites from this line, and I think it makes a mighty fine backing, especially when paired with a rainbow of the remaining solids! Binding is a narrow brown and white stripe by Lecien.


And as for the photo location? I just couldn’t resist the ice on Lake Champlain. It’s not often that the lake freezes this solidly (not since 2007, according to google), but with it being so cold this winter, the lake has a very solid covering of ice. When we took these photos a couple weeks ago, the lake at the Burlington waterfront was busy with people and dogs walking, sledding and skating. I find it so fun to be able to walk out there – Morgan, not so much. He was definitely wishing that someone else was the quilt holder this time around!



This quilt uses all the prints from Lizzy House's new Catnap line. I've also included a number of coordinating basics and solids. Catnap is available in many shops, including those of many of my sponsors.

Original post about this quilt can be found here.

30 Jan 22:17

February is InCoWriMo & LetterMo

by Ana Reinert

Oooh! I might do this! Who wants a letter?

InCoWriMo Badge

InCoWriMo, stands for International Correspondence Writing Month, which rhymes with “Ink a Rhino”. The goal is to write one letter, card, note, or postcard everyday for the entire month of February.


A Month of Letters Participant badge

February is also LetterMo, as in A Month of Letters, a concept started by author Mary Robinette Kowal several years ago but whose mantle has been taken up across the blogosphere.The website is facing a few technical glitches this morning but should be ironed out soon. In the meantime, the Facebook page is up and running and will post when the site is working again.

Both collectives’ goals are the same, write a letter everyday for the month of February.

Since I have an enormous pile of letters to reply to, hopefully, February’s letter writing push will help me get caught up.

If you want to participate and need someone to write to, you can drop me a line, show off your favorite ink color or latest pen acquisition:

Ana Reinert
The Well-Appointed Desk
PO Box 411752
Kansas City, MO 64141

Include your return address and I promise to write back.

28 Jan 00:02

News & Notes

by gcpvd

This is exciting! And I don't even live in Boston!


Image from Boston Public Market Facebook page

→ The Boston Globe: Boston public food market set for construction

Executives with the nonprofit organization behind the market said some vendors will begin selling products in an outdoor plaza along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway this spring. Meanwhile, construction will proceed next door on a facility scheduled to open in early 2015.

Once completed, the indoor market will host about 40 vendors selling a wide array of local products, including fish, cheese, meats, produce, flowers, and specialty items. It is designed to function like a daily farmer’s market. But vendors will also offer prepared foods and dry goods such as books, candles, and cooking utensils.

A draft layout also includes space for a demonstration kitchen, where chefs could host cooking classes, as well as a 3,000-square-foot restaurant facing the greenway. Executives with the market are beginning to look for restaurateurs interested in the space.

→ The Boston Globe: Governor Patrick’s down payments on a transit legacy

Governor Deval Patrick isn’t hopping the Red Line to get to work, but that hasn’t stopped the comparisons to Michael Dukakis.

The Duke famously took the Green Line when he was governor, and Patrick’s latest transportation plan, released last week, revealed an infusion of money into rail and transit that represents the biggest commitment since the Dukakis days.

Over five years, Patrick proposes to devote more than 40 percent, or about $6.6 billion, of his transportation capital plan to the MBTA, rail, and other forms of mass transit.

Read the rest of News & Notes (230 words)

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Post tags: Boston, Dublin, Ireland, Massachusetts, MassDOT, MBTA, Millennials, News & Notes, Property Tax, Public Market, Start-Ups, Technology, Transportation, Vacant Land

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14 Jan 22:39

Aviatrix Medallion: Center and Border 1

by Elizabeth

::whimper:: It's so beautiful!


Last Spring, I drafted a medallion quilt design that I never sewed. The sketch has been pinned up on my wall for months, and I decided it would be a great "big project" to start off 2014.


For a variety of reasons, I ended up planning the center of this medallion last. The structure and many of the piecing motifs in the borders are fairly traditional, so I decided to draft a version of the traditional Doves in the Window block for the center. (It's a block that I've had highlighted in my Nancy Cabot index for a while now.)


The center block measures 14" square. Each of these diamonds is 7/8" and constructed with standard machine sewing (no paper). 


The first border is made from 32 quarter square triangle blocks, each 2" x 2". With the subsequent sashing, the quilt now measure 20" x 20". Six more borders to go!

Background fabric is Essex yarn-dyed cotton/linen in Steel. Prints and colorful solids are from all over the place and include low-volume gray and white/black prints and bright solids and monochromatic prints in an analagous color scheme ranging from gold to navy.

16 Dec 02:15

The Paperclip and WWII

by The Well-Appointed Desk

awesome history tidbit!


Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, is credited with inventing the paperclip. It was patented in the US as were several other variations but it wasn’t until the English company GEM streamlined the design to the double oval we know today and an American, William Middlebrook, of Waterbury, Connecticut, patented a machine for making paper clips of the Gem design in 1899. The design for the GEM paperclip was never patented.

During WWII, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any insignia on their clothing with the king’s likeness so they wore paperclips in their lapels as a symbol of resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Alternately, after WWII, the Americans started a project called Operation Paperclip to recruit former-Nazi scientists to work in the US after the war.

Oh, little paper clip, what an intersting life you lead!

10 Dec 16:05

Skewers of Glory

by Ree


skewersI made these addictive little wonders on my Christmas episode over the weekend, along with lots of other quick-and-easy party food. If you missed the show over the weekend, you can catch it again today at 5 eastern/4 central. Hope you enjoy it! There’s lots of good grub, man.

These skewers of glory are in my new holiday cookbook, and in the book I call them—wait for it—Skewers of Glory. And that’s because that’s exactly what they are. Sizzling bacon wrapped around shrimp, pineapple, and brushed in a ginger-spiked teriyaki sauce? Well, ‘glory’ was pretty much the only word I could come up with.

These are perfect for any Christmas or New Year’s (or any other) cocktail party, and these disappear almost instantly.

Here’s how to make them!

Skewers of GloryFirst, start soaking some wooden skewers in a pan of water so they don’t burn up in the oven later. Make sure they soak about an hour or so before you use them!

Skewers of GloryNext, whip up an easy marinade to brush on the skewers: I started with a thick teriyaki sauce, and have you noticed that some teriyaki sauces are thick and some are watery and thin? It’s such a confusing world we live in!

Skewers of GloryAnyway, I doctor up the teriyaki with some good stuff. Minced ginger, for one. One of the most glorious ingredients known to man.

Skewers of GloryThrow that on in there along with some green onion and a little lemon juice.

Skewers of GloryAnd for some heat, some red pepper flakes.

You can leave this out if you don’t like spicy food.

Just please reconsider your position. Spicy food is one of my reasons for living.

Skewers of GloryThis teriyaki sauce wasn’t overly sweet, believe it or not, so I added a little sugar.

Skewers of GloryAnd some minced garlic!

Oh, the flavors.

Skewers of GloryWhisk the sauce together and set it aside, then get started on the other ingredients for the skewers: Lop the top off a pineapple…

Skewers of GloryThen slice off the rind…

Skewers of GloryCut the pineapple into wedges…

Skewers of GlorySlice the hard, center core off of each piece, then slice it into chunks.

Skewers of GloryGrab a (peeled, deveined, no tail) shrimp and lay one of the pineapple chunks on top of it.

Skewers of GloryThen grab half a slice of bacon, wrap it around to cover as much of the surface as possible, then thread a skewer through so that it anchors everything together. This takes a little practice, as the shrimp is slippery and it’s a little tricky getting everything to hold together while you get the skewer in, but it’s things like this that make life exciting.

Skewers of GloryKeep going until they’re all assembled, laying them on a rack set on a baking sheet.

Very Important Note: Do not assemble the skewers ahead of time! The pineapple has an enzyme that completely eats away at the shrimp, and if you allow them to sit for a long time before baking, the shrimp will turn into a weird, pasty substance that might have resembled shrimp once. So while you can make the sauce and prep the pineapple ahead of time, hold off on assembling until they’re ready to go in the oven! They’re fine after baking, as the heat takes care of everything.

Skewers of GloryBrush them generously with the sauce.

Skewers of GloryAnd this is why you definitely want to examine the bottle of teriyaki before you buy it; you want it to be thick and viscous enough to stick! (Note: If you wind up with a thin teriyaki, no sweat: Just add enough honey to thicken it up a bit.)

Skewers of GloryPut them in a 400 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes, then pull them out…

Skewers of GloryBrush a second coating on top, and pop them back in the oven until the bacon is sizzling and the shrimp is totally cooked, about 7 or 8 (or more, if they need it!) minutes.

Skewers of GloryThen arrange them on a platter, sprinkle them with more sliced green onions…

Skewers of GloryAnd serve them hot or at room temperature.

Skewers of GloryThese are absolutely divine! You (and your guests) will love them.

Here’s the handy dandy printable.


Skewers of Glory

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1/2 cup Thick Teriyaki Sauce
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
  • Dash Of Kosher Salt
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced
  • 1 whole Fresh Pineapple, Cut Into Chunks
  • 2 pounds Jumbo Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined, Tails Off
  • 1 pound Thin Bacon, Cut In Half Crosswise.

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Soak 30 wooden skewers in water for 1 hour.

Make the marinade by combining teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt, and green onions. Stir together and set aside.

Place a chunk of pineapple on top of a shrimp, then wrap the whole thing in half a slice of bacon. Thread a skewer through the whole thing to anchor it all together. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp, pineapple, and bacon.

Brush all the skewers with the marinade then bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and brush again, then return them for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the bacon is sizzling and the shrimp is cooked.

Arrange them on a platter and sprinkle them with sliced green onion. Serve warm or at room temperature!

(Note: Assemble the skewers just before putting them in the oven, as they don't do well assembled ahead of time.)

Posted by Ree on December 9 2013

28 Oct 14:28

Countdown Clock

by The Well-Appointed Desk

Oh well now this is lovely.



This awesome clock is not only streamlined and retro but features a fabulous countdown flip section. Countdown to 33 different occasions like She’s Back (or He’s Back), Baby’s Due, School’s Out, Reunion,The Big Night, and many others.  Currently on sale at the MCA Store online for $49.95.

(Via Better Living Through Design)

20 Oct 18:43

Sunday Morning Sermon: Bill Murray Teaches Us to Slow Down

by Donald Miller

Great, another thing to add to the bucket list.

Imagine getting to meet your favorite actor, then asking for his autograph, only instead of him giving you his autographed, he agreed to slowly walk down a hallway with you and your friends so you could film it as though you were in one of his movies.

Bill Murray did just that, and it’s one of the reasons the world loves the guy so much.

Filmed “Wes Anderson” style and set to music, it’s far better than an autograph.

It just goes to show you how great life can be if you’re willing to slow down for people. Of course, none of us are Bill Murray, but slowing down for your spouse, your kids or your friends for just a minute to really give them something that will blow their minds is a magical concoction that makes life great. Way to go, Bill. We’ve a lot to learn from you.

Sunday Morning Sermon: Bill Murray Teaches Us to Slow Down is a post from: Storyline Blog

10 Oct 18:55

Christopher Columbus was awful (but this other guy was not)

by Matthew Inman

In case you haven't all seen it already...

Christopher Columbus was awful (but this other guy was not)

Happy Bartolomé Day.

19 Sep 22:38

Best of Inspiration Boards

by Amy Azzarito


So what with Pinterest and other digital inspiration board tools, you might think that there’s no need for a real-life version. But there’s nothing quite as satisfying as clipping photos out of magazines or collecting cocktail napkins while on vacation to pin to your board at home. If you’re nervous about pinning things to an actual wall, you could take baby steps and start by making a vision board. Happy Collecting! -Amy

Image above: Greenroom creative director Sarah Sherman Samuel uses her bulletin board to keep track of current project. Here it’s full of inspiration for a party she recently designed along with a few fabric swatches from her own line of products that is in the works. See all the photos of this modern Los Angeles loft here.

Image above: This is food stylist Diane Perrin’s door from her childhood bedroom. This is the door from my childhood bedroom. Growing up, she would tape concert ticket stubs, family photos, notes from friends in class, pretty much anything that she felt represented herself. A few years ago, after remodeling the house, her father decided to ship her the door as a Hanukkah present. Now it’s a catch-all for her handbag collection, and whenever she’s feeling down, just looking at it always cheers her up. See all the photos from this creative California home here.

See more inspiration boards after the jump!



14 Aug 14:36

f family | portland family photographer

by gwyneth

My Gwyn made a baby fly!

you may remember houston and christy from a few years back…first they had a retro styled engagement session in galveston (including WW2 planes!), and then they had a lovely southern wedding in houston…complete with southern oak trees.

they came to visit friends in portland, which coincided with their adorable baby’s first anniversary of being born. i’m so glad we got to reunite and explore portland a bit!

19 Jun 16:42

Vintage Trailer Rentals from Goodness Travels

by Maxwell Tielman

My urge to roadtrip is now back. Don't think my little car could handle this guy though...

Clear your calendars, New Yorkers—the weekend road trip just got a heck of a lot cooler. While vintage trailer rentals have been a thing on the west coast for years, one small new company is bringing the joy of trailer camping to adventure-seekers on the east coast starting this summer. Goodness Travels, which currently rents a small “canned ham” trailer by the night, was founded by a husband/wife team hoping to spread their love of “tiny homes-on-wheels.” While their flagship trailer, Honey, is understandably minimal, it packs quite a lot of charm and utility into such a small space. Outfitted with two beds, a retro-style icebox, working kitchen, and an electrical hookup, this little guy is also souped up with fresh paint and some lovely midcentury-appropriate touches. According to the company’s website, Honey sleeps two adults (or “four very close friends”) comfortably, and starts at just $104 a night. For those looking to get away with friends from the city’s hustle, bustle, and sweltering heat this summer, Goodness Travels seems like the perfect option. Check out more photos after the jump! —Max

goodnesstravels1 goodnesstravels2 goodnesstravels3 goodnesstravels4 goodnesstravels5 goodnesstravels6 goodnesstravels7



16 May 12:47

A Question to Ask When Faced With Conflict

by Al Andrews

Wow, Leon Fleischer. Wow.

He started playing the piano at age four. At eight years old, Leon Fleisher made his public debut in music performing with the New York Philharmonic. The director called him “the pianistic find of the century” and soon he was accepted to study with some of the greatest teachers of his time.

His star continued to rise in his twenties as he signed an exclusive contract with Columbia Masterworks. Particularly acclaimed for his interpretations of Bach and Beethoven, in the classical music world, he was becoming known around the globe as the “next big thing.”

And then, when he was in his 30s, at the peak of his career, something happened. Over a brief period of time, he gradually lost the functional use of his right hand. It simply wouldn’t work. Doctor after doctor couldn’t diagnose the problem. Physical therapy didn’t help. Counseling wouldn’t bring it back. Medications failed to make a difference.

Predictably, he sank into a depression and wondered if all was lost. I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine suicide could have been a real option. It appeared his career was over.

• • •
Can you imagine it? What if you lost the very thing that allowed you to do your job, to make a living, or to offer your gift to the world?

A singer loses his voice.
A dancer loses her foot.
An artist loses her eyesight.
An audio engineer loses his hearing.

What would you do? How would your respond?

• • •
After a while, Leon began to slowing find his way through and found that he loved to compose music. Then he discovered his love for conducting, which he dived into as well. While still playing the piano, he developed proficiency playing with his left hand alone.

Soon, his world renown returned, this time for his beautiful and intricate left handed concerts. Take a look a Leon Fleischer performing in his seventies:

So, here’s the rest of the story. When Fleischer was in his seventies, after more than forty years, the cause of his hand disorder was discovered and in time, the use of his right hand returned. In early 2000, Fleischer embarked on yet another world tour to promote his new CD, “Both Hands.”

Before you read any further, I want you to sit with this story for a few minutes.

A man had it all, then lost it all, wandered in the wilderness, found something again, and late in his life, was given even more. It’s a rich story of hope. I have wept over the beauty of it all.

• • •
I wish that I could say that every story ends like this. Sadly they don’t. I know plenty of people for whom tragedy has struck a dissonant chord, and that chord will likely never resolve this side of heaven. There are some things in my own life that I feel that way about. Sometimes life doesn’t take that turn.

So what do we do when tragedy strikes and takes away the equivalent of our right hand – our job, our marriage, our reputations?

I’d like to suggest a prayer that the Benedictine monks pray during times the call “Desolation.” Desolation is when things don’t work – when life, relationships, God – all seem disconnected at best.

When that happens, our natural prayers are usually variations of the word “Why?”

Why me?
Why this?
Why this now?
Why God?

The Benedictines suggest a different question. They ask us to pray this simple prayer, “God, what do you have for me here?”

Do you notice the difference? While honest, the why questions presume we are entitled to something and the current problem has no place in our life or the universe.

“What do you have for me here?” presumes that there is a larger story told by a storyteller who loves us and is far more creative in his telling than I would ever be. It also presumes that if my right hand ceases to function, unknown to me, sixty years later, someone I’ve never met might be writing a blog because my story touched him and gave him hope.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer in one of his prison poems, wrote this in the weeks before he died, “That which is lost will return to us again as life’s most living strain.”

Bonhoeffer died before I was born and thus far, Leon and I have not crossed paths. However, in the mystery and mingling of stories that weave in and out of one another, they are dear friends who have taught me to lean into loss and ask a different question.

A Question to Ask When Faced With Conflict is a post from: Storyline Blog

05 May 16:03

Before & After: Sarah’s Striped Dresser

by Grace Bonney

I suddenly have the urge to strip some furniture. And then stripe it.

Today’s first before & after comes from Sarah of Trevi Vintage Design. After picking up a sad little white dresser at Goodwill and decided to save it from its chipped-paint and missing-knob existence. After sanding down the entire piece (using an orbital sander) to expose the natural wood, Sarah stained the drawer fronts with Minwax Poly Shades in Bombay Mahogany Gloss and primed the rest of the dresser with a shellac-based primer (B-I-N Brand). With the help of some painters tape, she painted the colorful stripes around the entire piece, sanding between each coat. To keep the final look neutral, Sarah used 1.25 Inch Rowland Cabinet Knobs (only 98 cents each at Home Depot!) and stained them with the same Bombay Mahogany Gloss. Last but not least, she added tapered legs (purchased on eBay) and stained them to match the rest of the piece. I love the finished result and think it’s definitely a far cry from the sad little white piece sitting alone at the Goodwill. Great job, Sarah! xo, grace

*P.S.: It turns out Sarah’s talented sister Diana was on D*S back in 2007! This family has some talented women.


27 Mar 16:42

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

by nicole antoinette

Phenomenal field! Also, thank you, Toni for introducing me to this site.


The single biggest lesson I’ve learned from quitting alcohol, putting on my running shoes, and remaking my life is this: Everything you think is true about yourself is only true until it’s not.

You’re awkward on camera. You’re too broke to travel. You’re a bad cook. You’re never going to find love. You’re always late. You’re afraid of commitment. You’re addicted to sugar. Until you’re not.

Our lives are made up of stories, and the most powerful stories are the ones we tell about ourselves, to ourselves. If you tell yourself you don’t deserve to be loved, then that becomes true based on the sheer fact that everything you do and say and think makes it true. If you’re telling yourself you can’t change your eating habits because you don’t have enough willpower, then surprise surprise, that’s your reality.

Changing your life comes down to changing your habits, one small step at a time, but the first and most important step is to change your story.

So, that’s exactly what I’m doing. On January 1, I mentioned that I’d be working on a personal project this year – the Change Your Story Project – and I’ve been spending the past few months trying to identify the self-limiting stories I tell myself that hold me back from being who I want to be and doing what I want to do. Then, as I identify each story, I’m working to re-write it and I’m planning an activity I can tackle to get me moving away from the old story and into the new story.

Take photo shoots, for example. I’m constantly telling myself how un-photogenic I am, how bad I look in photos, and how much I hate having them taken. So guess what? I hardly have any pictures of myself and of the ones I do have, there are maybe five that I actually like. My old story is that I’m horrible at having my picture taken, but I want my new story to be that I’m comfortable in front of the camera and can totally rock a photo shoot.

So I’ve scheduled a photo shoot for March 21. But not just any photo shoot – a BOUDOIR photo shoot. You know, like in my fucking UNDERWEAR. Because I mean, is there anything more uncomfortable for someone who hates having her picture taken than spending an hour and a half posing in the almost-nude? Absolutely not. But that’s the point. If I want my new story to be true, I need to do things that someone living that new story would do, and I know that over time, the combination of telling myself this new story and acting like it’s true will make it true.

(Look at me, Mom! Re-writing my story one naked photo shoot at a time, haha.)

But seriously, I know this works because I’ve done it before. Not the underwear-clad photography, no, that’ll be a first – but the idea of actively changing my story. It’s what I did when I quit drinking, when I ran my first marathon, when I quit sugar, when I switched to a plant-based diet, and when I spoke in front of 1,000+ people at World Domination Summit last year to change my story from “I hate public speaking!” to “Holy shit, I can do this!

The formula works. Identify your old story, write your new story, and then start committing to activities that move you from one to the other. For me, that doesn’t just mean the naked photo shoot, and I’ll be working on this project all year – tackling a different self-limiting story each time. And here’s where you come in, because I want you to join the Change Your Story Project, too. Making a personal change is powerful, but joining up with other people who are making their own changes at the same time is the most powerful of all, and I’d love to get some serious group momentum building as we all change our own stories, together.

So here’s what I want you to do: In the comments, share the old story you’re going to change, as well as anything else you want to tell us about the new story you’re writing and the activity you’re going to commit to to get yourself there. You can grab the badge below to use on your own blog (perfect for sidebars, blog posts, or wherever you like!) and then, as you start to change your story, you can jump back into the comments here and update us on how it’s going. If you need help, ask for help. I’d love to support you! I’d also love to feature a few of you later in the year, and I’ll be giving out some fun prizes for story changers, so definitely keep me up to date on your progress.

Because together, I know that we can prove something incredibly simple, yet incredibly powerful: If we change our stories, we change our lives.