President Obama's inaugural speech inspired me to break my blog silence, and so many phrases from his speech keep going through my head, especially "our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness" and his acknowledgment of what we owe to "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things."
Listening to the speech on a long car trip home, my husband was especially taken with the president's Biblical injunction: "The time has come to set aside childish things." (I thought that was a sly dig at the Bush administration; what do you think?)
My daughter, who is currently working on a project about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the late 1800s, loved the "For us they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West."
I think the speech was so powerful because it has something for everyone, at least one phrase that resonates--mostly positively, but for some, negatively--with every person. That's a true gift.
(Perhaps our expectations were also lowered after the last eight years, and we're all just relieved to have a president who seems to value language and can pronounce "nuclear" correctly. See this satirical post about one of Bush's last acts as president.)
I was struck also by how perfectly in tune President Obama seemed to be with the eco-crafting/DIY community. For him to honor "the makers of things" as on par with our brothers and sisters who serve in the military was very powerful to hear. The "patchwork" reference alluded to today's makers and our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who salvaged scraps of fabric and pieced them together to create warming, useful beauty. The whole speech seemed to be a call to tap into this DIY ethos to get our country back on the right path.
I've included images from some of my favorite "makers of things." Enjoy, and be inspired!
This is my new cat. Her name is Nina, and she is stretched out enjoying the sun in my office. I have found that she is a kindred spirit. She's quiet and serious and loves the sun but has a streak of playfulness about her. She was lovingly crafted by Nicole, the artist known as Astulabee.
Ah, and here is my new rabbit friend Christiane. You can tell she is French, oui? She put up quite a fuss when I was photographing her. She implored me to capture her best side, though I kept assuring her that all her sides were equally beautiful. Still, she had final say as to which photo I posted. I didn't mind, because she has been quite helpful in helping me organize my files in my new/old Steelcase filing cabinet. I can excuse a little bit of vanity in someone so beautiful, charming, and helpful. She was also made by master "maker of things" Nicole.
Oh, and my first Valentine of the year, crazy-beautifully made by Nicole. My poor photo nowhere near captures the gorgeous and funny details in this Valentine. It is a fabulously high quality giclee print made from Nicole's beautiful collage. It reads: "I send my love, my heart, my toes, my hand, my nose, to you." (If you're quick, you may be able to purchase one at her Etsy shop here.) Thank you, Nicole, you made my week!
And here's a very special gift for my recent birthday, from my friend Maya. It's an organic cotton knitting bucket, with natural images growing up the side. It fits three knitting works-in-progress. I love its structure--how it's able to stand up on its own while holding all the needles and yarn I need.
The knitting bucket has an ingenious pocket in the middle of the bucket that holds the knitting needles (don't you love the spindle-topped needles that my son made for me?), as well as scissors and other accessories. The pocket is perfect for keeping the double-sided needles from slipping off the yarn. It also helps keep the yarns organized into two sides of the bucket. I love the wee little slot for a crochet hook to correct my little knitting mistakes! I am oh so lucky to have such a thoughtful and talented friend who gets me! Thanks, Maya!!