Category Archives: Articles

The Llama is the New Unicorn?

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The Llama is the New Unicorn?

That’s what the good people at Etsy would have you believe. But I’m not buying it. (Well, maybe I’ll buy it.)

Llamacorn

See? Llamas wish they could be as cool as unicorns. Llamacorn.

You can have your llama with or without drama.

Drama llama ding dong. No drama llama.

I’ll admit it–I admire a man who is so secure in his masculinity that he will actually wear a llama shirt.

Men's Llama Shirt

Man’s llama shirt.

Some llamas are pretty.

Pretty llama on left. No prob llama.

And some are just silly.

Ask Me About

Ask me about my llama.

Okay, this is my favorite one. Every girl needs her squad.

Llama Squad

Llama squad.

Even little kids need llama shirts. This one is for a child too young to be able to complain about the corny pun.

Como se llama

Como se llama.

And it’s not just the unicorns who are ticked off about the whole llama craze.

Alpacalypse

Alpacalypse.

Click on the link below each picture if you’d like ordering information. I do not receive any remuneration for providing you with fashion options. (You’re welcome.) But if you enjoyed this article, make my day by clicking the “Like” button and sharing on your social media. Thanks!

Guest Post: 8 Poetry Elements That Editors Love To Publish by Writer’s Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

As you read this, editors are eagerly searching for poetry submissions to publish in their literary journals. And at the same time, writers are preparing their strongest poems to submit! So if you want your poems to stand out — and to increase your odds of getting published in a literary magazine — consider the core poetry elements that lit mag editors find irresistible when reading poetry submissions.

Poetry Elements Editors Love To See In Poem Submissions

New perspectives on traditional topics. In the right hands, old subject matter can become startlingly new. Feel free to explore any subject you like — don’t worry about it being overly “familiar.” Just be sure to add your own unique perspective and voice, and your poem will naturally bring something fresh to an ongoing conversation.

Boldness and bravery. Whether a poem explores a moment of unspeakable sacrifice or quiet shock, the spirit of a poem can catch an editor’s eye. Editors love to be engaged (and sometimes surprised) by an emotionally generous poem.

Experimentation. Editors enjoy finding poems that bend the rules, challenge readers’ assumptions, and bring a new sensibility to traditional forms. Discovering new ways of using language and trying new forms are great ways to stand out in a crowd.

Playfulness and humor. Some poets fall into the trap of writing poems that strike only one note or explore only one mood. But sometimes, a little bit of whimsy, humor, self-awareness, and playfulness can bring much-needed levity to an otherwise heavy poem.

Brevity. A few editors accept long poems, but poems that fit on one page are easier to place with today’s editors than longer poems. There are a number of reasons for this. Short poems are easier to lay out on a page; they allow for editors to feature more writers in one issue; and — frankly — they tend to be rigorously precise and concise.

Print-friendly formats. Poems that feature such long lines that they can’t fit the width of a single page tend to be challenging for editors. The same goes for poems that incorporate multimedia elements or that require unusual formatting. Even when editors love such poems, some literary magazines simply don’t have the technology to publish them.

Multiculturalism. Poems that explore various cultures — whether the culture of a specific socioeconomic region or of a single family — tend to claim a special place in literary magazines and journals. The key is writing about multicultural perspectives with authentic insight and sensitivity.

Core human concerns. Poems that explore the questions, issues, and emotions we all have in common are poems that have the potential to reach a wide audience — and touch people’s hearts. Editors are often drawn to poems that delve deep into the fundamental aspects of the human experience.

What Editors Really Don’t Like These Days

In the right hands, poetry concepts that have fallen out of favor can be elevated to something marvelous. But if you’re wondering what kinds of things editors (as a whole) tend not to accept these days, here’s a short list: rhyming poetry, one-word titles like “death” or “promise,” super-long poems, double-spacing, centering, and more. But remember: It’s better to write what feels right than what is trendy.

Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

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Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

This past Saturday marked the 32nd Annual Phoenix Folk Dance Festival.  You missed it? Tsk. Too bad. Make sure you come next year. It will be announced on the ARHtistic License Facebook page (another reason to “like” it). Or better yet, follow the Phoenix International Folk Dancers Facebook page, too.

In the mean time, I’ll give you a small taste of what you missed.

 

I didn’t take my good camera; after sitting out last year because of my pending hip replacement, this year I planned to dance all afternoon (12 noon to 4:30), and I didn’t want to have to babysit my expensive camera. So the photographs I took aren’t all that good; the shutter speed on my Sony Cyber-shot is so slow it didn’t take the picture I’d framed, and it didn’t freeze the action, so they turned out all blurry.

 

We danced folk dances from many countries: Serbia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Albania, Kurdistan, Romania, Israel, Albania, Russia, Turkey, Colombia, United States, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Bolivia, Macedonia, Scotland, Maldova, Armenia, Finland, and Japan were all represented, as were the Roma people.

Two exhibition groups performed. The Tucson International Folk Dancers danced Ukrainian dances.

The Asli Karatas Dancers were two youth groups. The youngest dancers performed Turkish dances:

And the older dancers demonstrated the Charleston and some Rockabilly moves:

And I captured the general participants doing an Israeli dance, Erev Ba.

The festival passed surprisingly quickly. We had guests from all over Arizona. We saw some old friends we haven’t seen in a while. We had a lot of fun, and we hope you will join us next year. Or if you’re ever in the Phoenix area, come dance with us most Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Irish Cultural Center. Bring your dancing shoes.

Wayne Magninie took this panoramic video of most of the attendees. If you look very carefully, you might even find me!

 

Brahms

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Brahms

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 7, 1833, the son of Johann Jakob Brahms, a musician. His father was his first music teacher, instructing him on violin and cello. He studied piano with Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel, who complained that the boy “could be such a good player, but he will not stop his never-ending composing.” At age 10, Brahms made his debut as a performer in a private concert. Brahms’s parents disapproved of his early efforts as a composer, feeling that he had better career prospects as a performer.

From 1845 to 1848 Brahms studied with Cossel’s teacher, the pianist and composer Eduard Marxsen. Marxsen had been a personal acquaintance of Beethoven and Schubert, and admired the compositions of Mozart, Haydn, and J. S. Bach. Marxsen taught Brahms the works of these composers and ensured that Brahms’ own compositions were grounded in their musical traditions.

In 1850 Brahms met with the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi and became his accompanist. Reményi introduced Brahms to “gypsy-style” music such as the czardas, which was later to prove the foundation of his most lucrative and popular compositions, the two sets of Hungarian Dances (1869 and 1880).

Johannes Brahms, composer, Romantic, music

Brahms at age 20

In 1853 Brahms and Reményi went on a concert tour. In late May the two visited the violinist and composer Joseph Joachim at Hanover, who had earlier impressed Brahms with his rendition of Beethoven’s violin concerto. Brahms played some of his own solo piano pieces for Joachim, who recalled fifty years later, “Never in the course of my artist’s life have I been more completely overwhelmed.” Thus began a lifelong friendship.

Brahms visited Düsseldorf in October 1853, and, with a letter of introduction from Joachim, was welcomed by Robert Schumann and his wife Clara. Schumann, greatly impressed and delighted by the 20-year-old’s talent, wrote an article entitled “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”) published in the October 28 issue of the journal Neue Zeitschrift für Musik citing Brahms as one who was “fated to give expression to the times in the highest and most ideal manner.” Schumann’s endorsement led to the first publication of Brahms’ works.

In February, 1854, Schumann attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge. He was rescued, but due to extreme psychiatric impairment, he was committed to a sanatorium near Bonn (where he died of pneumonia in 1856). To be of help to the family (including Robert and Clara’s seven children), Brahms moved to Düsseldorf, where he supported the household and dealt with business matters on Clara’s behalf. The doctors at the sanatorium would not allow Clara to visit Robert until two days before his death (due to his unstable condition), but Brahms was able to visit him and acted as a go-between, carrying notes and messages back and forth. Brahms developed deep feelings for Clara, who to him represented an ideal of womanhood. In June, 1854, Brahms dedicated to Clara his Op. 9, the Variations on a Theme of Schumann. Clara continued to support Brahms’s career by performing his music in her recitals. Their intensely emotional, though platonic, relationship lasted until Clara’s death.

His large choral work A German Requiem is not a setting of the Catholic Mass for the dead. An agnostic and a humanist, Brahms instead selected his text from Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible. An early version of the second movement was first composed in 1854, not long after Robert Schumann’s attempted suicide, and this was later used in his first piano concerto. The majority of the Requiem was composed after his mother’s death in 1865. The complete work successfully premiered in 1868 and went on to receive critical acclaim throughout Germany and elsewhere in Europe and Russia, essentially giving Brahms worldwide recognition.

Brahms’ life was marked by professional and personal drama. For example, the premiere of his First Piano Concerto in Hamburg on January 22, 1859, with the composer as soloist, flopped. Brahms wrote in a letter to Joachim that the performance was “a brilliant and decisive – failure…[I]t forces one to concentrate one’s thoughts and increases one’s courage…But the hissing was too much of a good thing…”  At a second performance, audience reaction was so hostile that Brahms had to be restrained from leaving the stage after the first movement.

In 1860, in the debate on the future of German music, Brahms attacked Liszt’s followers, the so-called “New German School” (although Brahms himself was sympathetic to the music of Richard Wagner, the School’s star). He objected to their rejection of traditional musical forms and to the “rank, miserable weeds growing from Liszt-like fantasias.” The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik ridiculed Brahms and his associates as backward-looking. Brahms henceforth avoided public musical controversy.

In 1859 Brahms asked Agathe von Siebold for her hand in marriage. The engagement was stormy and soon dissolved, but even after Brahms wrote to her of his love and longing for her. Though they never saw one another again, Brahms later confirmed to a friend that Agathe was his “last love.”

In January, 1863, Brahms met Richard Wagner, for whom he played his Handel Variations Op. 24, which he had completed the previous year. Although the meeting was cordial, in later years Wagner made critical, even insulting, comments about Brahms’ music. Brahms still maintained a keen interest in Wagner’s music.

In 1880, the University of Breslau offered Brahms an honorary doctorate in philosophy. Hoping to avoid public fanfare, Brahms responded with a letter of acknowledgement. However, conductor Bernard Scholz, who had nominated him for the degree, informed him that protocol required a grander gesture of gratitude. “Compose a fine symphony for us!” he wrote.

Brahms, a well-known joker, orchestrated a medley of student drinking songs he called the Academic Festival Overture, which, along with Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, is played for graduation ceremonies to this day, as well as in concert.

The commendation of Brahms by Breslau as “the leader in the art of serious music in Germany today” led to a harsh comment from Wagner: “I know of some famous composers who in their concert masquerades don the disguise of a street-singer one day, the hallelujah periwig of Handel the next, the dress of a Jewish Czardas-fiddler another time, and then again the guise of a highly respectable symphony dressed up as Number Ten”.

Brahms held a deep reverence for Beethoven; in his home, a marble bust of Beethoven looked down on the spot where he composed. Brahms’s First Symphony bears a strong resemblance to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The main theme of the finale of the First Symphony is reminiscent of the main theme of the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth, a resemblance Brahms acknowledged. In 1876, when the work was premiered in Vienna, it was hailed as “Beethoven’s Tenth”.

In the summer of 1896 Brahms was diagnosed as having jaundice, but later that year his diagnosis was changed to cancer of the liver. He passed away on April 3, 1897.

JohannesBrahmsJohannes Brahms, both a traditionalist and an innovator, is considered one of the greatest composers of the Romantic period. A confirmed perfectionist, Brahms destroyed many of his works and left others unpublished. He wrote for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, and voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. Brahms wrote settings for piano and voice of 144 German folk songs, and many of his lieder reflect folk themes or depict scenes of rural life. Despite his mastery of large, complex musical structures, some of Brahms’s most popular compositions during his lifetime were small-scale works that were readily playable by amateur musicians at home, such as the Hungarian Dances, the Waltzes for piano duet (Op. 39), and the Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52. He worked with some of the leading performers of his day. Many of his works are staples of the modern concert repertoire.

Information for this article was taken from Wikipedia.

Click here to read about the correspondence between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann.

Creative Juice #131

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Creative Juice #131

Get your artistic on!

  1. Korean artist Aeppol.
  2. An easy way to try out free motion quilting ideas.
  3. I love Zentangle challenges! It’s always interesting to see the unique interpretations. Here’s one recent challenge and the responses.
  4. The things we skip that end up costing us time and productivity.
  5. Too beautiful to eat.
  6. Funny animal photographs. Best viewing strategy: check out each year’s finalists. Click on the first picture to enlarge, and then click the arrow at the right side of the pictures to scroll through.
  7. Some little art works made from found objects.
  8. I love how this artist challenges herself. We could all practice one thing daily for an extended period.
  9. Playlist for air turbulence.
  10. As if you needed an excuse to drink wine, here are some things you can do with corks.
  11. Architectural drawing, including some in-progress videos!
  12. Celebrating Women’s History Month with the Rockettes.

13 Sources for Free Quilt Patterns

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quilting dinh-pham-527665Quilters, you won’t know whether to thank me or curse me for today’s post.

If you’re like me, you have a whole library of quilting books, boxes full of quilting magazines, and sacks of quilt patterns. I’ll never exhaust all the possibilities those resources hold.

But I’m always looking at more ideas. My Pretty Quilts board on Pinterest has nearly 1200 pins; I’ve saved over 40 videos and articles on my Quilt Tutorials board so I can refer to them as necessary.

So I often check out quilt and block designs online. Here are some especially good websites for free patterns:

  1. Quilt Inspiration
  2. All People Quilt
  3. Connecting Threads
  4. American Quilt Society
  5. Bluprint (Craftsy)
  6. The Quilting Company
  7. Free Quilt Patterns
  8. Quilt in a Day
  9. Generations Quilt Patterns
  10. Hoffman Fabrics
  11. Robert Kaufman Fabrics
  12. Andover Fabrics
  13. AGF Fabrics

Now it’s your turn. Do you have favorite sources for free patterns? Or a favorite quilting site in general? Share in the comments below.

And if you found this article helpful, please share it on your social media, and click the “Like” button.

Creative Juice #130

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Creative Juice #130

Beautiful things to admire or make.

  1. Fish made out of junk.
  2. Winter in beautiful Romania.
  3. Oscars fashions from years back.
  4. Beautiful Zentangles.
  5. Quilt tutorial: Teresa Down Under teaches how to make Delectable Mountain blocks and how to arrange them to create different kinds of quilts.
  6. What matters most to an artist?
  7. Like donuts? Wonderful watercolor tutorial.
  8. Your cat needs a ladder.
  9. Mardi Gras, but different.
  10. El Alto’s architecture is over the top.
  11. Free quilt patterns to make for St. Patrick’s Day. (Well, maybe for next Patrick’s Day!)
  12. These beautiful wedding dresses and bridal head dresses almost make me want to get married all over again.