Today, I decided to take a break from the usual approach to "Design Friday", and discuss an element of design. Color. This is the most personal of all elements, as it has such a profound and unique effect on each of us. You may have heard people attribute different emotional characteristics to color before, so I thought I'd give a brief list of those connections. Realize that these are not hard and fast rules to be followed as law. It's not that cut and dry. Depending on the hue or shade of each color, the response can be different than listed. Also, some colors would be appropriate as accents, while overbearing as a main color. Our individual life experiences also have an effect on our reaction to color. But, it gives you a general idea, and perhaps something for you to pay attention to. We want our homes to be a haven, so we should definitely be mindful of the colors we are surrounding ourselves with, and that they contribue to that feeling. It is also important to think about how color might effect a room's function. For example, if you want a room to be a lively, conversation area, colors will effect this outcome. This data is from, "Color, Environment, and Human Response" by Frank H. Mahnke.
Red Ceiling: intruding, disturbing, heavy Walls: aggressive, advancing Floor: conscious, alert, perhaps pompous
Pink Ceiling: delicate, comforting Walls: aggression-inhibiting, intimate, too sweet if not grayed down Floor: perhaps too delicate, unfamiliar in this location
Brown Ceiling: oppressive and heavy (if dark) Walls: secure and assuring if wood; much less if paint Floor: steady, stable Yellow Ceiling: light (if toward lemon), luminous, stimulating Walls: warm (if toward orange), exciting to irritating (if highly saturated) Floor: elevating, diverting
Green Ceiling: protective (reflection on skin can be unattractive) Walls: cool, secure, calm, reliable, passive if glaring (electric green), muddy if toward olive Floor: natural (up to a certain saturation point), soft, relaxing, cold (if toward blue-green)
Blue Ceiling: celestial, cool, less tangibly advancing (if light), heavy and oppressive (if dark) Walls: cool and distant (if light), encouraging and space-deepening (if dark) Floor: inspiring feeling of effortless movement (if light), substantial (if dark)
Purple-Violet Seldom used in interior spaces except for accents or special moods. Psychologically, it may appear disconcerting and subduing
Gray Ceiling: shadowy Walls: neutral to boring Floor: neutral
White Ceiling: empty, no design objections- helps to diffuse light sources and reduce shadows Walls: neutral to empty, sterile, without energy Floor: touch-inhibiting (not to be walked upon)
Black Ceiling: hollow to oppressive Walls: ominous, dungeonlike Floor: odd, abstract
Yesterday, my son decided it was time to write his Christmas list for Santa. As he sat at the table writing his list, he excitedly proclaimed, "Santa will get me everything on my list!" Wiping the sweat from my brow, I tried to lower his expectations a tad and explained, "Well, sometimes Santa gives you everything, and sometimes he gives you a few things from your list, and sometimes he gives you surprises too!" To which my son replied, "So... should I write 'Surprises X' at the bottom?" Again, trying to softly steer his expectations, I advised, "Oh, no. You don't want to do that. Surprises are what Santa does best." Without batting an eye, my son happily stated, "I don't want surprises. I want what I want. And that's all!" Which, is made pretty clear at the bottom of his list:
I've decided to let reality be his teacher, rather than be a dream killer.
In a nutshell, he was a Chinese revolutionary leader who established communism in China in 1949. He executed people who opposed or were suspected to be disloyal to his beliefs, an estimated 50-70 million. Citizens of the People's Republic of China were required to own, carry, and read a book of his writings and essays. Students were required to study it, and all writing (including scientific essays) were required to quote the book. Strict loyalty to his regime was demanded. So, should it bother us that the White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, regards him as one of her "favorite political philosophers"? This she admitted in a speech at a high school graduation on June 5th (by the way, her other favorite political philosopher is Mother Teresa... whom I didn't realize was considered a political philosopher). She then states that these are "... the two people that I turn to most."
After receiving criticism for this comment, she dismissed the statement as irony that "fell flat", even though she goes on to describe his ability to defeat the odds and overthrow the nationalist party as an example that we can use as inspiration for our lives: "You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths, OK? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what's right for you."
Mao may have defeated the odds, but if that's the point she wanted to make, why would she choose this example in history? Why not the Revolutionary War, or any other example in history that is not linked to a communist leader? She would have been strung up if she had cited Hitler. To me, Mao is no different.
In an address to students at BYU-Idaho, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (a retired lawyer) spoke about religious freedom in our country being under attack, and our responsibility to defend it. Below are some of my favorite points:
Section I: He discusses the divine origin of our written constitution, and the blessing it is to the world. "...[Today] almost every nation in the world has adopted a written constitution, and the United States Constitution profoundly influenced all of them." Others still fall short on religious freedom.
Section III: One of the great fundamentals of our constitution is the belief of 'popular sovereignty' which is that, "people are the source of government power". This power also implies, "... popular responsibility. Instead of blaming their troubles on a king or tyrant, all citizens are responsible to share the burdens of governing..."(Our freedom gives us accountability).
Section IV: "The prohibition against 'an establishment of religion' was intended to separate churches and government, to prevent a national church of the kind still found in Europe."
"The free 'exercise' of religion obviously involves both the right to choose religious beliefs and affiliations and the right to 'exercise' or practice those beliefs. But in a nation with citizens of many different religious beliefs, the right of some to act upon their religious principles must be qualified by the government’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of all."
"But unless the guarantee of free exercise of religion gives a religious actor greater protection against government prohibitions than are already guaranteed to all actors by other provisions of the constitution (like freedom of speech), what is the special value of religious freedom?"
Section V: "The greatest infringements of religious freedom occur when the exercise of religion collides with other powerful forces in society. Among the most threatening collisions in the United States today are (1) the rising strength of those who seek to silence religious voices in public debates, and (2) perceived conflicts between religious freedom and the popular appeal of newly alleged civil rights." And then he said, "...I invite your careful attention to what I say on these subjects, because I am describing conditions you will face and challenges you must confront."
Atheism is a growing religion. "John A. Howard of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society [noted] these voices '....have developed great skills in demonizing those who disagree with them, turning their opponents into objects of fear, hatred and scorn.'”
“In a democracy that is free and robust, an opinion is no more disqualified for being ‘religious’ than for being atheistic, or psychoanalytic, or Marxist, or just plain dumb.” -Richard John Neuhaus
Referenced “Yogyakarta Principles,” published by an international human rights group. "This apparently proposes that governments require church practices and their doctrines to ignore gender differences. Any such effort to have governments invade religion to override religious doctrines or practices should be resisted by all believers."
Section VI: He gave five points of counsel for us in defending the freedom of religion:
Speak with love and show patience, understanding and compassion to those with differing viewpoints.
Do not be deterred or coerced into silence by intimidation from opponents, insisting that churches and their members be able to speak out on issues without retaliation.("As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.
Insist on the freedom to preach the doctrines of their faith.
Be wise in political participation, remaining respectful of those who do not share their religious beliefs and contributing to reasonable discussion.
Be careful to never support or act on the idea that a person must subscribe to a specific set of religious beliefs in order to qualify for public office
Conclusion: "Religious values and political realities are so interlinked in the origin and perpetuation of this nation that we cannot lose the influence of Christianity in the public square without seriously jeopardizing our freedoms. I maintain that this is a political fact, well qualified for argument in the public square by religious people whose freedom to believe and act must always be protected by what is properly called our 'First Freedom,' the free exercise of religion."
Today I am highlighting the Bertoia Diamond Lounge Chair.
picture from knoll.com
This chair was designed in 1952 by Italian-born sculptor and designer, Harry Bertoia (pronounced: Ber-toy-uh). Bertoia's early career was that of a metal worker, and designed this chair while working for Florence Knoll Bassett and Hans Knoll. With this work, he introduced a new material to furniture design: industrial wire mesh. This chair is an extension of his art, and he approached it as such. He stated, "If you look at the chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes through them." While the chair appears to be quite delicate, it is in fact very strong (much like myself). Apparently, it is also unexpectedly comfortable. This work is one of his most well known, and proved to become an instant modern classic and a design icon.
Some time ago, my husband and I saw "Julie & Julia" in the theater. It is excellent and very enjoyable. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it interweaves the true stories of Julia Child with the life of a young woman who dedicates a year of her life cooking Julia's recipes and blogging about it. What I found inspirational, is that Julia became what she is, not necessarily because she aspired to be famous, but because she took advantage of great opportunities.
One of my favorite quotes comes from a scene where she is giving cooking lessons to some young women. As she puts the finishing touches on the dish she says something to the effect of, "There you go, perfect. And if it's not perfect, don't apologize. No excuses no explanations."This confidence combined with her "what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen" attitude is refreshing.
So... no more apologizing when things aren't perfect. Julia gives us permission!
To begin, I don't deny that global warming is an issue of concern for us. I don't deny that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. That said, I wonder how far we should go in the name of global warming. Is there a 'too far' in this matter, if it means keeping the poles from melting and causing utter destruction? Can man even pretend to have a definite role in its reversal? We can't even completely predict the weather. How far should Congress go to prevent climate change?
Congress has passed an energy law that phases out the incandescent light bulb (Edison's baby) starting in the year 2012. Why? To reduce electricity and greenhouse gases. Earlier this year, the controversial cap and trade bill was passed. Why? For "environmental accountability". I guess we'll see what those do for us.
Andrew C. Revkin, a contributor to the New York Times, is now suggesting that it would be useful to consider population control as a possible solution for saving the earth. Why? Because, "More children equal more carbon dioxide emissions."He even wonders if we'll be seeing carbon credits given to couples who choose not to have children. (As a side note, in 1968 a best selling book, "The Population Boom" was published predicting that mass starvation would occur in the 1970's and 1980's due to over population. Interesting...). Luckily, this is just one man's opinion and we haven't heard the idea entertained politically. Hopefully, it won't.
But, with our global warming concerns, I feel like there is a growing belief that man is a plague to this earth. The description of Revkin's blog states,"By 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life." Doesn't that make our existence here sound like an inconvenience?
Isn't it interesting that in the commandment for us to "multiply and replenish the earth", that 'multiply' is followed by the word 'replenish'?
"... true love 'beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things' (1 Corinthians 13:7). Once again, that is ultimately a description of Christ's love- He is the great example of one who bore and believed and hoped and endured. We are invited to do the same in our courtship and in our marriage to the best of our ability. Bear up and be strong. Be hopeful and believing. Some things in life we have little or no control over. These have to be endured. Some disappointments have to be lived with in love and in marriage. These are not things anyone wants in life, but sometimes they come. And when they come, we have to bear them; we have to believe; we have to hope for an end to such sorrows and difficulty; we have to endure until things come right in the end."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "How Do I Love Thee?", BYU 1999-2000 Speeches
A few days ago, a cold front came through bringing crisp, chilly air with it. Some magic must have blown in with it too, because I found myself actually wanting to clean (which is different then having to clean). I actually wanted to clean, and straighten, and do things I had been procrastinating. And not only did I want to, but get this, I found contentment in doing it! When I was a young girl, I took horseback riding lessons (this was the compromise my parents and I found, when it became clear that they would not buy me a horse, no matter how many classified ads I cut out for them advertising "affordable" horses). As I was replacing the shower curtain in my bathroom, I found myself thinking back on my riding days, and how frisky the horses would get when the weather changed. Instead of lazily grazing or standing in the shade, they would race each other around their paddocks. I would have to be extra alert during lessons to keep my horse in line (like children, they test their limits and can sense fear), and they would canter without a fight. I realized that, like the horses, this new air had put a spring in my step too.
What is it about fall weather that is so invigorating? Is it an instinct we carry to prepare for the winter? Whatever it is, I have to take advantage of this while I can. I know once winter gets here, my hibernating instinct will kick in full gear. And then my energy will be spent resisting eating baked goods... or eating them.
I can't believe it's Friday already. Today, I am highlighting the Wassily Chair.
The Wassily Chair was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1927 while an apprentice at the Bauhaus. It is named after the artist Wassily Kandinsky (fellow Bauhaus instructor). The tubular steel frame was groundbreaking at the time for use with furniture, and was inspired by the handlebars on Breuer's bicycle, which he found to be strong, lightweight, and conducive for mass production. He states, "Mass production... made me interested in polished metal, in shiny and impeccable lines in space, as new components of our interiors. I considered such polished and curved lines not only symbolic of our modern technology but actually to be technology."
The chair is modeled after the traditional club chair, only simplified to its outline. While sitting, your body does not come in contact with the steel framing. Nonetheless, Breuer felt this chair was "my most extreme work . . . the least artistic, the most logical, the least 'cozy' and the most mechanical."
"One especially troubling complaint of our time is there is no commonality among women. Across cultures and countries and even in our own neighborhoods, we women have become so diverse and so separated in our lifestyles, interests, and preoccupations that rarely do we have a friend such as our mothers had over the back fence, a neighbor to visit, to love, and to talk with. But we still need someone to listen when our joints ache, our children squabble, or (perhaps even more urgently) when we wish we had squabbling children or loved ones nearby to nurture. We must not let the modern world isolate, fragment, or distance us from those we can love and serve..." "...To received the fullness God has intended for us, to offset the emptiness of isolation or hurt or sorrow... we are going to have to reach out with our hearts and let down some barriers. Most of us protect ourselves from pain- hurtful experiences and words that come from our friends, or enemies, and sometimes from within us- by building walls, emotional defenses around our hearts." "But the same walls we build to protect ourselves can also isolate us, and that isolation leads to the problems we see so many others struggling with. Can we let down a few walls and find that we are in the embrace of God? Let's receive the spirit of holiness and let our cups be filled with living water. Let us receive in order to give."
With quick thinking and a piece of string. If you don't already know this (or forgot like I did), if you ever need to cut dough that's been rolled into a log, cake rounds in half, etc., you can use string or floss to do the job. Your recipe might not give you that advice, and you might find that a knife mashes the dough or gives you an underwhelming outcome.Just wrap the string around the dough, and pull the ends in opposite directions, and the string gives you a nice clean cut.
(While these are improved, I don't know if I could ever get them to look like the picture in the book. I think those cookies are airbrushed).
The following is a REAL conversation I had with my son one evening, after my husband called to be picked up from work:
Me: "Let's go pick up Daddy!" My Son: "Nooooo. I want Dad to stay at work." Me: "Why? Don't you want Daddy to come home? It's so fun when Daddy comes home!" My Son: "I want dad to keep working and make lots of money." Me: "Why?" My Son: "I want Daddy to make lots of money so we can buy expensive things." Me: [Speechless]
I promise, we have never uttered those words or any attitude like unto them. (And I'm pretty sure, by "expensive things" he means $50 Lego sets).
As my brother put it, my husband's way has been paved to become a career man. This might be the only time a child has wished that his father spend more time at work.
As you may already know, President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize yesterday. I must admit, that at first I was irritated by the whole thing. I mean, he hasn't DONE anything! In fact, he was president for less than two weeks before the nominations deadline! My irritation was solidified by the fact that the Nobel committee based their decision on "... Obama's initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism," all of which have yet to be determined as successful. Apparently, I misunderstood the award- you don't have to DO anything, you just have to have good intentions. In the words of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's, "The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace."
My irritation did not last long. As I pondered the ludicrousness of it all, I soon found my irritation replaced with a new feeling. Hope. You see, the committee has "...expand[ed] the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change." I have come to understand that this expansion means I actually have a shot at this once seemingly unattainable prize!
So... without further ado, I would like to formerly request that I be considered for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. What credentials do I have? Let me start with my "initiatives" or ideas:
Eased tension with the Muslim world.
Going a step beyond just plain initiative, here is my actual day-to-day work that helps to contribute to peace. On a daily basis I... :
Feed the hungry.
Clothe the naked.
Am an advocate for childhood literacy.
Share one car with my husband (which some could argue that at times might not contribute to peace, but it could be considered green, no?)
Don't run a drug cartel.
Am not a member of a gang.
Value other people's lives.
I think I would make a pretty strong nominee! Now... if only I had some good friends with TV networks and newspapers that could really get behind me and give me some serious hype.
Today I decided to highlight a work that is more accessible and familiar to everyone- and holds a special place in my heart. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
photo from travel.nationalgeographic.com
The Gateway Arch was designed by Finnish-born designer, Eero Saarinen, one of the masters of American 20th century architecture (you'll be seeing more of his works in the future). In 1947, he was chosen from 172 applicants in a competition to provide a monument recognizing St. Louis' importance in settling the west. This was his first project as an independent architect. In approaching his design he felt to"... create a monument which would have lasting significance and would be a landmark of our time... Neither an obelisk nor a rectangular box nor a dome seemed right on this site or for this purpose. But here, at the edge of the Mississippi River, a great arch did seem right."
photo from personal archives
The arch stands at 630 feet making it America's tallest monument- and impossible to take a picture of up close. It is a "catenary arch"- the shape a chain takes when held at both ends. The interior of the arch does not require much interior framing, due to Saarinen's use of a stressed metal skin to carry the structural load.
photo from nps.gov
His unique design, required unique construction techniques. The first triangular section was put in place in 1963. The leg bases were built from the ground up, requiring specific measurements and surveying to ensure that the legs would meet at the apex. The margin for error was 1/64th of an inch! Construction began with cranes, and after it spanned taller than a crane could reach, special 100-ton "creeper cranes" that ran on steel tracks mounted to each leg were utilized. As construction progressed, track was added allowing the cranes to continue building. Construction was completed in 1965 without a hitch, which is amazing considering that they did not use computer technology. Sadly, Eero Saarinen died in 1961 before construction began on the arch.
photo from planetware.com
I personally find the arch's immense scale, angles, simplicity, and sculptural form stunning and beautiful- especially, when standing close. It is a monument that we grow up hearing about and seeing pictures of (and perhaps consider a little cheesy), but visiting in person definitely gives you a new respect for it.If you ever get the opportunity, you should definitely see the arch and take a tram ride to the top- unless you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights.
My son began to show a more serious interest in learning how to read at the beginning of the year. I had never pushed the issue, and waited for his lead on when to start the process. By that time, he was familiar with the letters of the alphabet and most of their sounds, but I wasn't sure where to go from there. When I asked around for other moms' advice on a good book to help teach your child to read, this book kept coming up.
So, I checked it out from the library to give it a little test drive. It does not have fancy illustrations (it looks more like a text book), and it takes a little preparation on your part to learn how to conduct the lessons, but my son seemed to enjoy it. It teaches the sounds of the letters, etc. so it's not necessary for your child to have any previous knowledge. I just wanted to throw it out there for you moms whose children might be approaching this new milestone. I had never heard of it before I started asking around.
(I understand after my son becomes more proficient at reading, that I will have the joy of hearing him sound out graffiti and expletives. I can't wait!)
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way With a resolute heart and cheerful? Or hide your face from the light of day With a craven soul and fearful? Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it. And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts, But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that? Come up with a smiling face. It's nothing against you to fall down flat, But to lie there--that's disgrace. The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce; Be proud of your blackened eye! It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts; It's how did you fight and why?
And though you be done to death, what then? If you battled the best you could; If you played your part in the world of men, Why, the Critic will call it good. Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce, And whether he's slow or spry, It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts, But only, how did you die?
I think the tough thing about being a mom, is that it is hard to discern my influence and the difference I make in my child. It is hard to tell what qualities my child possesses because of my efforts versus his own personality traits. Apparently, it is hard for him to discern too...
Me: "Can you say our phone number?" My Son: [Repeats our phone number perfectly] My Husband: "Wow! Has mom been teaching you things?" My Son: "Noooo! I'm just smart."
Tips on how to get help with housework from husband's and children, from "Is There Life After Housework?" by Don Aslett:
1. Refuse to be the janitor for the kids' and husbands' messes. Picking up after them is bad for everyone involved. You teach irresponsibility perfectly by assuming responsibility for someone else, except those who don't know any better or can't help themselves. Insist that everyone clean up his or her own messes and premises. Don't send husband to work or children to school undisciplined. 2. Write down and post needs. When you demand or ask for help, many family members will begin to assist you. Written messages eliminate short memories and the innocent phrase "I didn't know you needed anything done."
The Noguchi Table is our subject for today's Design Friday.
This table was designed by Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi in 1947, and is one of his most well known works. Trained as a sculptor, Noguchi approached all of his works as such- to shape space. He believed, "everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space I consider sculpture."
This particular piece was created for Herman Miller. It is modified from a table he had designed for English designer, Robsjohn-Gibbings, who allegedly slightly changed the design and claimed it as his own.
This happens to be my favorite coffee table of all time. I love itssculptural form, its simplicity, andthe different shapes it takes on from different angles. It is a functional way to introduce art into a room. It's significant to me that something produced 62 years ago is still very much in style. You can see in the picture on the right, that this table is pretty versatile. It's as home here in this rustic/traditional architecture, as it would be in a more minimalist home. (Extra credit if you can name the black chair in the background!).
"The reverence we speak of does not equate with absolute silence. We must be tolerant of little babies, even an occasional outburst from a toddler being ushered out to keep him from disturbing the peace. Unless the father is on the stand, he should do the ushering."