Pottery Class (smock optional)

The Newport Art Museum is now registering students for its summer courses. ¬†This past Christmas, my mom gave me three months of ceramics lessons with Charlene Carpenzano and it was the best gift I’ve ever received! ¬†Photography, you’re still my number one, but sometimes I just need more mess in my life. ¬†Nothing beats leaving the studio exhausted and splattered with the evidence of a creative storm. ¬†While I was in Greece, the fearless and talented women of YRIA CERAMICS inspired me to work harder to build the space around me, so that’s what I’ve set out to do: to leave the marks of my own hands on the objects of my everyday (however wibbly-wobly this may cause them to be). ¬†Thanks to my Wellesley friends for the hand modeling and studio fun.

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ps- I love this video, watching the potter improve with every vase he makes.  I even think the lopsided ones are beautiful once glazed in crisp white.

Design Love / Carpenter Tan Combs

I’m brushing my hair with one of these right now. ¬†Seriously, I can’t stop. ¬†It came in the mail today and I want to wear it around my neck and take it with me everywhere I go. ¬†It’s more of a scalp-massaging lock-stroking spine-tingling gift than a mere hair styling device, although it does that, too. ¬†And it is BEAUTIFUL, handmade of silky smooth carved wood with two rows of contrasting teeth, and only cost $20. ¬†I know what I’m getting everyone for Christmas this year! ¬†The hardest part of visiting their website is choosing a comb because they are all so pretty! ¬†Click here to learn more about Carpenter Tan’s responsible practices as a corporate citizen.

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Kefir Break

Do you drink Kefir? ¬†It took me a while to get used to the taste, but now I love having a cup with a few spoonfuls of almond butter on the side. ¬†I especially like the rich flavor of Kefir made from goat’s milk, and I look forward to my daily helping. ¬†Sometimes it comes as a breakfast hour energy booster and others, a midnight snack to help me fall asleep. ¬†This mismatched cup and saucer duo, found on separate scavenging occasions at yard sales, has become my designated Kefir-ware and a part of the ritual snacking. ¬†I stir in a little bit of regular goat’s milk to thin it to drinking consistency and the vintage teaspoons that my mom gave me, which have a “C” engraved on them, are the perfect size!

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Friday Flowers

This weekend, my apartment will be brightened by these sweet camellias, grown by my aunt and uncle and arranged in an old Italian pharmacy bottle. ¬†Can you believe the plant is in full bloom outdoors in Rhode Island at this time of year? ¬†It’s a cold-hardy variety, which I think is called “Winter’s Peony.” ¬†This particular plant lives in a sunny, protected spot right next to the warm foundation of a greenhouse, where it is going nuts!

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Three Cheers for the RI Senate

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I am so proud of my state.  Yesterday, the RI Senate voted 26-12 to approve same-sex marriage.  The bill will go before the House next week in what is believed to be a likely win.  Rhode Island would become the 1oth state to legalize gay marriage.

This video, especially the speech given by Bill S38’s sponsor, Senator Nesselbush (D. Pawtucket, North Providence), brought tears to my eyes.

I’m also very happy that I unknowingly decorated my kitchen in support of marriage equality two years ago! ¬†These are two old chair backs that my friend was going to toss.

UPDATE: Yesterday, the House passed the bill and Governor Chafee added his affirmation in a ceremonious signing, officially making same-sex marriage legal in the state of RI!  The bill should go into effect by August.

Life’s most important lessons, learned before age 10

When I was in college, I had a lot of tedious reading to do (sound familiar?) and frequently needed some relief from it all. ¬†So, in my sophomore year, I started to reread my favorite novels from childhood during study breaks and before bed. ¬†Their captivating stories required the perfect amount of concentration (of which I had little to spare), made me laugh and even touched on topics relevant to my life at Brown. ¬†I also started to notice that the stories I gravitated to as a child strongly related to my interests as an adult. ¬†Plus, I got tremendous satisfaction out of sitting among college students at my school’s library, a bright yellow copy of Winnie the Pooh propped on one knee.

I still find that I need a reminder of the important things in life from time to time, so I thought I’d share my go-to list, plus this little idea:

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Wouldn’t this make a great gift for a friend who’s been stressed and overworked? ¬†Or if you have kids in boarding school or college, send them their most cherished childhood book around exam time. ¬†(When I was in boarding school, I ALWAYS hoped I would get a care package from home). ¬†And for a person dealing with depression, a good story well told can be a welcome break to the cycle of negative thought rumination (a common symptom), but unlike putting a dumb, mindless movie on, reading a book creates a sense of accomplishment and is in itself an enjoyable act. ¬†So here it is, my list:

Caroline’s Annotated List of Favorite Children’s Books

1) A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The movie is cute, but for me, completely misses the point of this story.  It is above all a book about girls learning to be kind to one another.

2) My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George

May inspire you to run away and live in a tree, too.

3) Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards

Mary Poppins knows how to write!  A little orphan girl finds an abandoned cottage in the woods and makes it her own, and in the process endears herself to the wealthy family on whose estate it sits.

4) Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

It’s like reading a condensed book of philosophy.

5) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi

Charlotte goes from being a proper young lady to a bad ass line-hauling, rigging-climbing deck-scrubbing salty lass of the high seas during her passage from England to Providence (where Avi wrote the book).

6) The Redwall series, by Brian Jacques

I credit these books for fundamentally shaping my interests in gardens, architecture, cooking and otters.  I used to come home from school every day, work on my little plot of flowers and then bake a batch of scones and have a tea party while reading them.  Did you know that the covers were illustrated by a RISD graduate?

7) Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

I cried reading this as a 5 year old with my mom, and I still cry when Charlotte dies.  I also try my best not to kill spiders now, and remember laughing for hours at the photograph of Wilbur jumping off a haystack with a piece of string tied to his tail in his attempt to spin a web.

8) Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Potentially the root of my obsession with the American west.  It reminds me of how simply people used to live, and how superfluous so much of modernity really is.

9) Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren

Just plain ridiculous, plus I loved monkeys when I was little.

10) The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I’m still working through my French copy, but I’m pretty sure this is the most important line: ¬†“On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. ¬†L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

Charlotte’s Web Illustration, by Garth Williams, via¬†

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