Words on my mind

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Seagulls and Lake Michigan’s surf by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers, long time no see. This winter has been busy and I have not been able to be here at Technicolor Lily Pond as often as I’d hoped. In addition to real life demands, I’ve been doing some sewing, some cooking, taking some pictures, reading, and I’ve been busy writing. I’ve also been playing a lot of various tabletop games and exploring that world. In 2017 I have many big, creative plans to keep doing more of all of those things and hopefully I will be able to not only accomplish them but also to share them here at the pond with all of you. Here’s hoping!

Thanks to recent world events, I have a lot of feelings that will probably surface here at the pond. Nevertheless, I still want Technicolor Lily Pond to be a creative, fun space at the end of the day that can inspire as many people as possible in positive ways. In that spirit, I would like to share with you a poem that has been on my mind over the last two weeks. Thanks to my poetry loving mother, I have a few different poems rattling around in my head to turn to for comfort in times of stress (thanks, Mom!), but, this particular poem is one I first encountered at the Milwaukee County Zoo as part of their Language of Conservation Project and it has become a treasured favorite to turn to in times of uncertainty. I found it on the Internet thanks to the Scottish Poetry Library and have linked to their page below. Enjoy!

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

As you face the challenges of your week wherever you are, dear pond readers, I hope that you can take a moment to look on something wild whether it is a creek or a song sparrow or a squirrel, breathe, and find a moment of peace.

What are you hoping to accomplish in 2017, dear pond readers? Any new books you’re hoping to tackle or novels you’re hoping to write or recipes you’re hoping to try? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond today.

Books from my Summer Days


Rocks and water by E.A. Schneider

Rocks and water by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers! I’ve been blazing through my reading list this year and I’ve managed to make a surprising amount of progress. I have already filled the pages of one reader’s journal and have begun a second journal to see me through to 2016.

In rough chronological order, here is my list of 2015 books so far:

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
  3. Ubik by Phillip K. Dick
  4. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  7. The Story of the Treasure-Seekers by Edith Nesbit
  8. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
  9. Moon Over the Back Fence  by Esther Carlson
  10. The Stepsister Scheme  by Jim C. Hines
  11. Nova by Samuel R. Delaney
  12. Star Trek Vanguard #1: Harbinger by David Mack
  13. Around the World in 72 Days and Other Writings by Nellie Bly

    Ferns by E.A. Schneider

    Fiddleheads by E.A. Schneider

  14. Ready Player One  by Ernest Cline
  15. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  16. Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie
  17. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  18. Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
  19. Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
  20. Tuesday Club Murders  by Agatha Christie
  21. The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah and “Agatha Christie”
  22. Cradle in the Grave by Sophie Hannah
  23. Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas
  24. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines
  25. The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
  26. Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers
  27. More Valley Cats: Fun games and new friends by Gretchen Preston
  28. Mangaboom by Charlotte Pomerantz
  29. Something Rich and Strange by Patricia McKillip
  30. Growing Up Lutheran: What does this mean? by Janet Letniss Martin
  31. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  32. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  33. Macbeth by Shakespeare

Hopefully sooner rather than later I will start posting capsule reviews of each of the above. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with all of them. My goal on Goodreads was 40 books this year and I’m hopeful that I’m going to make it. How about you, dear readers? Where are you at in your reading ambitions for the year? Leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!

Feather left behind by E.A. Schneider

Feather left behind by E.A. Schneider

70 Books: My 2014-2015 Reading List

70 Books: My 2014-2015 Reading List

 

Launch! by E.A. Schneider

Launch! by E.A. Schneider

It’s time and past I post my updated 2014-2015 reading list. Last year I had a goal of reading 35 books, which I was able to surpass. This year, my goal is to read 40 books largely from the list below; hopefully I’ll surpass my 40 book goal, and I have no doubt some surprises will come along the way. The list is in no particular order and I am happy to say that I have read 10 books from it already. Woot! I will periodically update this post using purple text. Keep checking back and commenting, dear readers. 

Fox River by E.A. Schneider

Fox River by E.A. Schneider

  1. A Sand County Almanac with other essays on conservation from Round River by Aldo Leopold <–Done! 🙂
  2. Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss<–Done! 🙂
  3. Dune by Frank Herbert
  4. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
  5. Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow<–Done! 🙂
  6. Orison by Daniel Swenson<–Done! 🙂
  7. Moby Dick by Herman Melville<–Done! 🙂
  8. Deerskin by Robin McKinley<–Done! 🙂
  9. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis<–Done! 🙂
  10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  11. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  12. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines<–Done! 🙂
  13. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion<–Done! 🙂
  14. Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling<–Done! 🙂
  15. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  16. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter<–Done! 🙂
  17. The Iron Heel by Jack London<–Done! 🙂
  18. Almanac for the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
  19. Landfill Meditations by Gerald Vizenor
  20. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  21. Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce
  22. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  23. Kwaidon translated by Lafcaido Hearn
  24. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  25. Beastly by Alex Finn<–Done! 🙂
  26. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  27. From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne<–Done! 🙂

    Maple tree buds by E.A. Schneider

    Maple tree buds by E.A. Schneider

  28. Round the Moon by Jules Verne<–Done! 🙂
  29. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  30. Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
  31. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  32. Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  33. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  34. Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
  35. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  36. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
  37. Skin Game by Jim Butcher<–Done! 🙂
  38. These High Green Hills by Jan Karon
  39. The Flamingo’s Smile by Stephen Jay Gould
  40. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
  41. Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
  42. Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip<–Done! 🙂
  43. Bluebeard edited by Heidi Anne Heiner
  44. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  45. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  46. Moon Over the Back Fence by Esther Carlson
  47. 100 selected poems by e.e. Cummings
  48. Bully for Brontosaurus by Stephen Jay Gould
  49. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  50. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  51. The Prelude by William Wordsworth
  52. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  53. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  54. Once On A Time by A.A. Milne
  55. The Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card<–Done! 🙂
  56. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card <–Done! 🙂

    Willow tree buds in the wind by E.A. Schneider

    Willow tree buds in the wind by E.A. Schneider

  57. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins<–Done! 🙂
  58. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins<–Done! 🙂
  59. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins<–Done! 🙂
  60. Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin
  61. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin
  62. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  63. Bonk by Mary Roach
  64. Gulp by Mary Roach
  65. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  66. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  67. Book One of the Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, W.J.F. Jenner (Translator)
  68. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  69. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman<–Done! 🙂
  70. The Story of the Treasure Seekers by Edith Nesbit
  71. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  72. The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris
  73. Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delaney

Some of the above books are re-reads, others are previously abandoned testaments to former ambitions, some are canon members I have put off, and many are recommendations from friends & lists. I am making a conscious effort to read more non-fiction and poetry with this 2014-2015 list. Considering my liberal arts education you would think I would have a stronger background in those areas but, alack, I don’t. That’s the nice thing about books: they are there on library shelves and bookstore tables waiting for me to find myself in their pages.

What do you think, dear readers, do you have your sights set on reading anything in particular over the next two years? Any gaps in your reading knowledge you are hoping to fill in 2014-2015? Thanks for stopping at the pond, dear readers, I hope to be back soon with some reviews on the 10 11 20 23 books I’ve read so far.

Spring Wings by E.A. Schneider

Spring Wings by E.A. Schneider

Hullo, 2013, nice to meet you

Hello again, dear readers! I know it has been a while. The holidays hit me like a truck and I am afraid this blog has been dreadfully neglected as a result.

As January comes to a close soon I thought I had better jump in and say hello again to all of you and this new year. During this holiday season I had my hands full hosting Thanksgiving and then being a crafty Christmas Elf. While I couldn’t recapture the peace of last Christmas’ effortsI did manage by grace and tea and good company to make some homemade holiday magic for some of the people I care about. Without further ado here follows some of the crafty gifts I made for people this fall and Christmas 2012.

My gorgeous Tofurkey roast. Come on, you know you want to try some, all you carnivores out there who are not allergic to soy!

My gorgeous Tofurkey roasts (there are two there). Come on, you know you want to try some, all you carnivores out there who are not allergic to soy!

Front of Bedside Organizer

Front of Bedside Organizer

Back of Bedside Organizer I made

Back of Bedside Organizer I made

I made someone special a bedside organizer as an Un-Birthday present. I got the pattern from the book One Yard Wonders by Patricia Hoskins and Rebecca Yaker. This was the first project I made from that book and it was pretty easy to do. I look forward to making more as the opportunity comes along.

Once again, the centerpiece of my Christmas crafting was the Quillow. I made quillows for several special people.

Quillow fronts all done.

Quillow fronts all done.

Peanuts Quillow

Peanuts Quillow

Elk Quillow

Elk Quillow

Butterfly Quillow

Butterfly Quillow

Canadian geese quillow

Canadian geese quillow

Fisherman Quillow

Fisherman Quillow

I planned the design for these quillows over the course of weeks. I managed to finish them though within 48 hours right before Christmas using store-bought microfiber throws and lots of tea. I have to admit I did feel especially Elf-like working right up to the minute like that.

I also made some small non-quillow crafts. I am, I confess, still working on a hand full that will yet be sent out this winter. After all, nobody knows when Jesus was born and a box of presents is usually a welcome thing.

Front of Christmas hot pad

Front of Christmas hot pad

Back of Christmas hot pad. I think these penguins are so cute.

Back of Christmas hot pad. I think these penguins are so cute.

Hot mitts decorated with yo-yos.

Hot mitts decorated with yo-yos.

Close-up on yo-yos. These hot mitts match a tea cozy I made my mom a while back. Now she can handle hot tea pots in cozy style.

Close-up on yo-yos. These hot mitts match a tea cozy I made my mom a while back. Now she can handle hot tea pots in cozy style.

Bear fabric ornaments.

Bear fabric ornaments in progress.

I also made some quilted Christmas ornaments using the novelty bear fabric you see above. Using a pattern I found in a magazine I basically quilted the bear fabric, batting, and a simple green holly fabric together. Then using pinking shears I cut around each bear square. All I had to do was add a cute holiday ribbon and I got 22 easy quilted ornaments. Of course I neglected to take a picture of the finished ones but hopefully you get the idea.

Finally, there were Christmas cookies that I made with one of my favorite people.

Tower of Christmas cookies. Huzzah!

Tower of Christmas cookies. Huzzah!

All in all it was a fun Christmas. I feel very blessed to have so many special people in my life to care about.

Hopefully the holiday season was a joyful one for all of you, dear readers, and that 2013 is well begun.  I’m not a great one for making New Year’s resolutions per se but I am a list-making junkie with a big list of creative goals for 2013, one of which is posting here more often. I did pretty well at meeting my goal from last year of three posts a month until I got busy with work. This year I’m hoping to do at least one post a month and with any luck I’ll surpass that goal. Did any of you make any creative resolutions for this year? Did you have an especcially great Christmas craft project? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section and stay tuned for some upcoming book discussion.

Au Revoir, Summer, it was fun

Today is September 1st. While it may still feel like summer up here in the Midwest, I can’t really say that it is any longer. I will resist the urge to whine and snivel pathetically about this in favor of geeking out about all of the smashing books I’ve read.

Let’s recap! Here are all of the books I’ve read this summer in no particular order:

  • Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • The 7 Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
  • Big Fish by Daniel Wallace
  • One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
  • The Emily of New Moon Series by L.M. Montgomery ( Emily of New Moon,  Emily Climbs,& Emily’s Quest)
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki translated by Arthur Waley
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
That all adds up to 5,117 pages of text (not including scientific papers, texts, and the odd Agatha Christie) that I’ve read this summer. I read one third of the group reading list my husband and I picked (The Once and Future King & The Tale of Genji).  From my personal summer reading list I managed to finish eight out of 38 creative works or 21% of the list. I was shooting for 25% (10 works) but I’m still pleased with myself. This was gobs of fun. I feel like I’ve been in my own personal time machine hopping from the sixties in America, to the forties, to Victorian England, to medieval England, to ancient Japan, to distant Mars, to Victorian Canada, to alternate realities, and back to contemporary America. It’s been a swell ride. No matter the time or the place or the story or the characters I have  found something worth knowing and cherishing therein. I realize I’ve been neglecting my blogging during August and I have several books on that list which I haven’t written up yet. My bad! In my frantic attempts to finish reading I found I couldn’t blog at the same time. Never fear! I shall be writing up little capsule reviews of my geeky adventures in the coming days as well as posting my revised reading list for Fall. Stay tuned!

Eastern prickly pear cactus in bloom by Ellen Schneider

Pass me my smelling salts, please…

Wow. Getting my geeky summer reading list promoted to Freshly Pressed this week made me feel positively giddy. The outpouring of comments has left me wearing a bewildered grin ever since. Thank you one and all for not only reading my blog post but also taking the time to participate in the book discussion.  I feel blessed and humbled. Now of course I’ve got to keep this party going with some more decent content. But then we all know I like a good challenge.

A Scottish Thistle in bloom by Ellen Schneider

I started reading The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin this week. I am only in the second chapter so all I have are some first impressions. There is a lot more scientific minutiae than I expected. Still, Darwin’s writing is quite readable. I appreciate his expressions of honest wonder and delight as he is first introduced to plants and animals and attempts to describe them for the reader. I can just picture him crawling around on rocky tide pools and getting squirted by angry cuttlefish. I’ve done my own share of crawling through muck in the name of science–I can appreciate both the work and the thrill.  I can recognize some of what he is attempting to describe which I find exciting. I look forward to pottering along with Darwin round the world while I finish The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

Another bloom in the twilight by Ellen Schneider

Yesterday I checked the Tale of Genji by Lady Musaki out of the library. The book is ~1000 pages in length, this copy was originally printed in 1960 ($4.95!?!?!), and judging by the old-school library checkout card pouch it has not seen a lot of the world past its bookshelf. The librarian picked it up to scan the barcode and said, “Wow! This is an undertaking.”

Feeling both scared and highly amused I could only reply, “Well, I’m always an optimist.”

Criminy though it is big! I marvel that a human being wrote every single word of all six volumes using scrolls, brushes, and ink over a millennium ago. And that it survived the interim! Talk about the power of the written word, the force of a dynamic story that the Tale of Genji survived all these many years and is still very relevant to modern Japanese culture. I have only just begun to read–only through page 16 and the introduction to the author. I confess the introduction about Lady Musaki intrigues me more than the start of her novel. She seems like a real character from her diary excerpts–filled with passion and contradictions and rudeness and grace. I suspect that one day I would like to read her diary.  The court life seems singularly dramatic and stressful–I can’t imagine having to produce a poem on the spot that would be both witty and well-written. Heck, I couldn’t produce more than passably decent poems for my high school English class to complete a poetry assignment which we had weeks to finish.

Of the sixteen pages I have little to say other than to reiterate how tragic and awful court life in ancient Japan seems to have been. It would seem the story is going out of its way to set up how deeply tragic Genji’s childhood was.  Still, I have made a beginning on the book  and that is where all good things must start.

Ruminations on Crafts I want to try

So a primary purpose of this blog is to encourage me to try new techniques that I might otherwise not attempt. Being an incorrigible maker of lists I figured it would be good to start with identifying at least 10 crafts/craft techniques I want to try in 2011.
1. Inchies
2. Crazy quilt complete with embroidery
3. Art quilt, specifically one that includes curves and/or sharp angles
4. Doing a cut-away art quilt aka reverse applique aka cut away applique
5. Freezer paper stencil T-shirt
6. Glass etching
7. Knitting an amigurumi kraken
8. Needle turn appliqué
9. The Craftster Poppet and/or plushie Totoro
10. Bead Loom bracelet
11. Collage
12. Mixed media note-cards
13. Resin jewelry
14. Making a dress that fits me from a pattern
15. A Doctor Who Quilt
16. A Star Trek Quilt
17. Hand quilting something
18. Making candles
19. Sewing myself an apron
20. Making a pillowcase

Okay so I came up with a list of twenty things. ^-^ This is just stuff I have not heretofore attempted, I didn’t even include the projects I’m currently working on or the projects I’ve planned to do using familiar techniques. Well this is going to be a stellar year at any rate. Huzzzaah!