Monday, April 21, 2008

St. George's Day

is April 23rd. He is the patron saint of several countries including Catalonia in Spain, England, Portugal, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Macedonia. St. George's Day in Catalonia is especially rich as it celebrates three things: St. George who fought and slayed the dragon and the day of the deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare (April 23, 1616). Boys and men give their girlfriends and wives roses; girls and women give their boyfriends and husbands books.


You'll need two pieces of paper (it's okay if they have writing on one side), a piece of ribbon or yarn (mine was left over from an chocolate Easter bunny package), a glue stick, a piece of scrap paper, and assorted decorative paper scraps for collage. A piece of candy wrapper foil or a bead for the end of the bookmark is an optional extra.

Follow the directions to make two hot dog booklets.

Insert a piece of scrap paper under the first page of one booklet. Cover the entire surface with glue. Place a piece of ribbon on the top of the book along the spine with the ribbon extending up beyond the book. This will be the bookmark.

Place the other booklet on top lining up the spines. Rub your hand over the surface to help the glue adhere.

Glue assorted pieces of cut and torn paper to the front and the back to make covers. Start with a not too small piece and wrap it around the spine.

Continue gluing on pieces until the front and back are covered.

As an extra touch, wrap a piece of foil from candy around the end of the ribbon or tie a bead to the end. It is helpful but not necessary to place the book under a heavy book or other weight for a few hours.


Use a rectangular piece of paper for the rose. I used newspaper (1/4 of a page made by folding the paper in half and tearing it, then tearing the half in half). I used a peppermint tea bag package for the stem. The leaf was cut from a mint medley tea bag package and held in place with a green elastic from vegetables.

Fold the newspaper piece in half to make a long rectangle

Roll it tightly around your index finger once and then more loosely around until the paper is all wrapped

Twist the bottom tightly.

Place the end in the open part of a tea bag package or wrap the bottom of the rose with green paper

Cut a leaf shape with a small stem.

Place the leaf stem on the stem and bind together with a green elastic.

Read the legend of St. George and the Dragon as written by Agnes Grozier Herbertson in London in 1908 here.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Of all the poetry I was required to memorize in school, this short bit from the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is only thing I still remember. I always think of it when April comes especially when rain is falling. You can hear the Middle English being read here and read a translation into contemporary English here.

About the Creative Year

Three things that many of us can say about our lives are:
We consume too much
We create too little
We are losing our connection to the seasons

The Creative Year aims to take a small step toward righting these wrongs by making things with seasonal significance using recycled and reused household materials. I believe that everyone is creative and everyone has a need to create. Creative has become a word with value judgements. If you are creative, you make things that are beautiful or original. I take a more basic view, to be creative is to make things.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary
creative: having the power and quality of creating
create: to cause something to come into being

The Creative Year is not about making art; it is not about making keepers. In my many years as an artist, I have learned that the process is more important the finished product. The true life is in the work itself. Make something, enjoy it, and when its time and purpose in your life has passed, pass it along or recycle it.