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Archive for inspire

favorite flânerie . Inspiration at Memphis’ Brooks Museum

I love the word flânerie and its meaning. One definition of this curious French word is aimless idleness, the act of strolling or dawdling. What a poetic name given to something that we so often criticize. When I think of the word dawdle, sadly, the first thing that comes to my mind is an impulse to hurry up one of my children in whatever task we’re trying to do. The idea of giving any attention to being aimless, to taking our time, to meandering from one thing to the next – on purpose – is pretty foreign to today’s culture. In a world where we seem to value being “driven”, and learn to focus on productivity at every younger ages, the notion of simply wandering or intentionally spending time with no purpose as become rare. Over the last year, I’ve challenged myself to try and recapture the forgotten art of flânerie, to leave time to go unplanned, to indulge the impulse to pull off the main road, or to ignore the admonition that we don’t have enough time. To see what we see.

A museum is a perfect place to dawdle. On a recent trip to Memphis, we took a few refreshing minutes to wander through the Brooks Museum of Art in Overton Park, and take in some of the collection. We’ve visited Memphis countless times, and always seemed not to have “enough time” to visit Brooks. On the last day of this trip, I credit my mom with saying, “you’ve been wanting to see it; so we should see it.” Decision made.

It was about an hour and a half before closing when we arrived at the museum, and even the docent told us, with a sigh, that the collection normally takes several hours to see. Still, the kids and I decided to wander anyway through Eggleston photographs, the uniquely Southern but sometimes otherworldly paintings of Carroll Cloar, contemporary Memphis-inspired works, and a visiting exhibit of American still life works which includes examples from Andrew Wyeth and Georgia O’Keefe. The museum’s collection is an eclectic combination of styles, mediums, and historical references from contemporary and modern works to decorative arts, internationally renown artists, and uniquely Southern work.

In the Cloar gallery, I jotted down one of his quotes… “There is the joy, in the sense of belonging, of possessing and being possessed, by the land where you were born.” As I was looking through images of artwork taken on our trip, it struck me that there is also a sense of belonging in the places we wander. The places we allow ourselves to absorb uninhibited by what we ought to be seeing, what we ought to be doing, where we ought to be going. These pieces, the emotions they evoke, and the familiarity they call to mind, are entwined in my mind with the look of the galleries as my children wandered them. The light on their faces next to the artwork. The ones they liked. The times they ran on ahead to find their favorites. Which were invariably different from mine. In that sense, these works belong to us. As well as to the Brooks.

Works portrayed in photos from the museum:

“Christina’s Teapot” 1968 — Andrew Wyeth
“Where the Southern Cross the Yellow Dog” 1965 — Carroll Cloar
“Wedding Party” 1971 — Carroll Cloar
“Historic Encounter Between E.H. Crump and W.C. Handy on Beale Street” 1964 — Carroll Cloar
“Study for Homage to the Square: Young Voice” 1957 — Josef Albers
“The Gleaners” 1936 — Burton Callicott
“The Cat Man” 1986 — David Bates
“Memphis On My Mind” 2015 — Red Grooms
“Reading By The Brook” 1879 — Winslow Homer
“Still Life with Red Apples” ca. 1935 — Emil James Bisttram


maker’s dozen . Valentine’s Day Love

Kisses, flowers, hearts, glittery promises, and more! Happy Valentine’s Day from the Pond! I decided V-Day would be a good time to launch a new idea I’ve been noodling on for the Frog Kisser blog. I love surrounding myself with a weird collection of studio vernacular. It’s not so much clutter as an ever-changing hoard of inspiration gleaned from colorful objects, found items, and a trove a vintage papers, magazines and ephemera I tend to collect. I just love the quirky items I happen upon as I look through filing cabinets and cardboard drawers and storage bottles. I think about the stories behind these items, the times they represent, and what kind of new creation I might be able to make with them.

As I set about or store away all these slips of paper and artifacts, in my mind, I’m usually trying to categorize them in some way. I guess there’s an amateur archivist lurking around inside me. That’s where today’s post comes in. I’ve been toying with a new series or “column” called Maker’s Dozen, where I could curate a “baker’s dozen” of studio paraphernalia into a themed collection. Just an image of curiosities and random objects, pulled together for a closer look. Perhaps, in giving these items center stage, I’ll find some new inspiration for artwork or handmade pieces to share and sell in the shop. And, maybe you’ll be inspired too!

Today seemed like a good day to begin, so I’ve shared my Maker’s Dozen inspired by LOVE. I hope you enjoy a glimpse at the objects. It includes an artisan-made princess finger puppet, a Game of Life promissory note, lips band-aids, and a few other oddities. You might like this one in particular… the Everlasting Kiss Card, produced by the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago in 1942 — as best I can tell. This one is the height of do-it-yourself Valentines with a place to put an imprint of your lips (no doubt in ruby-red lipstick) and check the boxes to match the fervor of your love!

If you’re looking for love notes of the more traditional kind, I spent my sketch journaling time this morning lettering one of  my favorite verses from 1 Corinthians 13. You can see the process in my Facebook Live video below!

favorite colors 101415 . Alley


We’re heading to Memphis for a long weekend and some Cinderella fun on Friday, and I was digging through a few photos from past trips. Aside from the ones with my three cuties, I think this may be my favorite Memphis shot! I love the slices of light taller buildings provide on downtown streets — the colors, the shadows, the patterns formed by overlapping window grids. Does every mid-size urban downtown in America have Deco details? This one is so warm, even though I kind of remember the day being cold.  It inspired today’s favorite colors — a mix of warm and cool, blacks and browns, the blend of neutral tones.

inspired by . Mon Premier Dictionnaire


I picked up this French children’s dictionary at our local library book sale not long ago and found a wonderful collection of whimsical illustrations inside. Mon Premier Dictionnaire was published by The World Publishing Company in 1963. It was a French variation of The Rainbow Dictionary originally published in 1947, and the enchanting illustrations by Joseph Low were adapted for both. I just love them and the stories captured by each little vignettes! I think the circus is my favorite.








inspired by . Markers & More Markers


I think we have just about every Crayola and Sharpie product in our house somewhere, a great portion of them scattered around my office. This morning I gathered a few of the numerous containers filled with markers together for some photo staging, and I thought I would share them. I’m really loving the combination of bright pinks, orange and pewter gray right now like what you see in that first photo. I hope you have a colorful Wednesday!

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white . 050714

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This year I’ve planted two “Sara Bernhardt” peonies, and I’m enjoying the first of their blooms. I was expecting more vibrant color, but these first ones are so delicately white and light pink in the morning light!

pink . 050614

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I’ve been keeping up with my fledgling garden through the front and back lawns this spring, and I snapped this brilliant bloom in the rose bushes this morning. I’m finding that gardening is a delightful exercise in anticipation.

favorite color 021314 . Winter’s Peace

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I simply love this photograph. It was an accident, like so many forms of inspiration. I took it at our farm last year in early January in one of those blessedly out of focus moments that capture the simple peace of light and shape and pattern. Happy Thursday to you!

favorite thing . Happy Spring to Me

It’s cold here in Mississippi this week! We are enjoying temps down in the teens, and my children are disappointed that it hasn’t brought snow flurries. I have to admit I’ve fallen prey to a little Spring weather teasing. Last week we had a little bit of warmer, sunny weather — the way winter seems to waffle in the deep South. The days of Spring-like temperatures sprinkled in between these frigid days are just enough to make me wish for new blossoms.


I have another confession. Sometimes if I’m looking for special inspiration or, like lately, wanting a little touch of Spring to brighten a winter day, I browse Etsy for to find a little happy just for myself. I thought I would share the latest sweet inspiration. This lovely hand-crafted linen flower brooch was created by Wild Peace Organics. The crafter is located in Portland, Oregon, and describes this pin as “eco rustic,” a style I’m loving these days. The packaging was wonderfully simply. The delicate petals, not-quite frayed edges and soft blue-green color let me close my eyes and think of Spring. I can’t wait to wear it when the weather is warmer! But for now, I’ll content myself with simply looking at it 🙂



I hope you’re staying warm wherever you are, and finding your own reminders of the Spring to come.


favorite color 092613 . Inspired by Fall

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I’m starting to see that sky — that particular shade of blue that says “fall!” Although we still have warm days, this week I saw the first Bradford Pear leaf change its color and the first sasanqua camellia bud begin to open in my yard. So, I’m taking my color inspiration today from the promise of Fall. Hope you’re getting excited in your part of the pond 🙂

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