All curled-up and cozy this end of February. Betony Coons, a Giants & Pilgrims artist and founder, created these original illustrations to represent peace and rest.
All three pieces are available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/graysparrow?ref=shop_sugg
Original illustrations by Betony Coons
“Curled up” – india ink on watercolor paper.
$50 each – $75 framed.
All images ©Betony Coons 2014
Build an alphabet or word out of found materials, making an original font all your own. Take a photo of it.
Use #almanacalphabet and share
The alphabet was made by Betony and Lucy. We took a lovely walk around the block and gathered sticks as we went.
Follow Betony’s instagram here – http://instagram.com/betonycoons
Follow Tim’s instagram here – http://instagram.com/timcoons
Here are some other neat examples found on the web –
A page from our February Almanac:
So what food best captures the romantic, red, winter-y love of February? I believe the answer is simple: it’s a big plate of wonderful, deeply delicious, chocolate brownies. Obviously.
And going beyond just February, it’s amazing how many meals I’ve made that are begging to be finished with brownies. Not pie or cake or fancy creme’ brûlée, just brownies.
Like most things, it’s often in true simplicity that we find great levels of complexity and compliment. I present to you here, for this cold winter month, warm decadence without bells and whistles or pretension: the best brownie recipe ever. Make them to finish about any meal and taste the rich love for yourself.
Simply Perfect Brownies
Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides, or foil. Butter the parchment or foil or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.
Let cool and cut into desired size.
– Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
So my friends Kelly Cook and Daniel Mothershed aided me this President’s Day, the same day I had set to release the album. Together we wrote a series of false quotes from all sorts of leaders of the free world.
With each statement posted advertising the new album I would giggle to myself and hum “hail to the chief”. I included all of our work below. It just made me laugh too much not to share it.
“This album is cherry! It has real teeth!”
“Better than an extra large bathtub!”
“More legit than I’ll ever be.”
“They’re not as good as The Civil Wars, but who is? I listen to their new album while fighting vampires.”
“If you buy one album this year? Buy Frozen. Two? Giants & Pilgrims: Almanac No. 1!
“Upon hearing this new album I smiled and said aloud, ‘hashtag, thanks Obama'”.
“It sounds like a Cuban Missile Crisis in my soul; the fall of communism in my heart. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for Giants & Pilgrims.”
“Check out song 3, two minutes in. Who’s playing that great sax solo? It ain’t Hillary.”
Here’s the link to the album that all these fantastic leaders are talking about:
Almanac No. 1 is a three part project: a series of 12 paintings, a 12 month publication, and a 12 song album.
After months of writing songs that attempt to strike to the core of life, then months in the studio capturing and arranging and creating moments with those songs, then months of mixing and balancing and bringing out the right and specific feel for each… THE ALBUM IS HERE!
Here is the digital release. Take a listen, buy the album, share the album with friends, family, enemies, and frienimies.
Thanks for your support. We’re very excited to share these great and beautiful songs with you.
Giants & Pilgrims
Giants & Pilgrims are sponsoring an online endeavor to encourage the sending of good words to those we love. We’re calling it the “The Great Texting Campaign”. It will primarily use prompts on Facebook.
Facebook posts will ask people to send out texts of encouragement, congratulations, thanks, apology, empathy, even comic-relief. Right then- the moment you read the post.
When you see the post on Facebook with the official GTC logo, make sure and share it to keep the good words coming. Here’s an example below:
“Stop scrolling! Send a text of encouragement to someone who needs it. Right now. Make their day.
Brought to you by “The Great Texting Campaign”, care of Giants & Pilgrims.”
You can’t say it all. You can’t say it perfectly.
But you can say something.
A love poem for my wife, Betony.
My Love, there is a distance between us
The same found between all of us
Space, void from one to the next
And you know,
You and I have chosen to close the distance
To draw near each other
to know and to be known
lessening the gap between
two such people
It’s within the distance
there is fertile ground
to struggle, dig, anticipate
This space pushes, pulls, quakes
grows, prunes, and grows again
And You and I
have given ourselves over to this endeavor
to let it drive
and nurture us
the rest of our days.
Without it there would be
You and I
the birth of us
without the birth of
And I am thankful,
for You and I
I’m thankful for us
BY CRAIG ARNOLD
Of many reasons I love you here is one
the way you write me from the gate at the airport
so I can tell you everything will be alright
so you can tell me there is a bird
trapped in the terminal all the people
ignoring it because they do not know
what do with it except to leave it alone
until it scares itself to death
it makes you terribly terribly sad
You wish you could take the bird outside
and set it free or (failing that)
call a bird-understander
to come help the bird
All you can do is notice the bird
and feel for the bird and write
to tell me how language feels
but you are wrong
You are a bird-understander
better than I could ever be
who make so many noises
and call them song
These are your own words
your way of noticing
and saying plainly
of not turning away
you have offered them
to me I am only
giving them back
if only I could show you
how very useless
they are not
Arnold, Craig (2009). the bird understander. from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182920
Love songs can be pithy, schmoltzy; full of sentiment and cliche’. We’ve tried to avoid all that with these playlists.
Here are two playlists full of earnest, beautiful, and creative songs that strike to the core of love in such a way that we can believe it.
The first playlist, “Modern/Soul”, is on Betony Coons’ spotify. We’ll post it on her Facebook.
The second playlist is from just throwing the question out there on Facebook, “What song would you/ did you play at your wedding?” The answers were really beautiful to hear! The long playlist called “Our Song” is on spotify too!
Valentine’s Day Playlist “Modern/ Soul”:
Retrograde • James Blake
This Magic Moment • Lou Reed
Suzanne • Leonard Cohen
Here Comes Your Man • Pixies
Daydream Believer • The Monkeys
These Arms of Mine • Otis Redding
Son of a Preacher Man • Dusty Springfield
Falling Slowly • Swell Season
I Want to Hold Your Hand • Across the Universe Soundtrack
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face • Roberta Flack
Unforgettable • Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
When a Man Loves a Woman • Percy Sledge
Skinny Love • Bon Iver
I’ve Been Loving you too Long • Otis Redding
Lay, Lady, Lay • Bob Dylan
Anyone Else but you • Moldy Peaches
Someone to Watch Over me • Ella Fitzgerald
Don’t Cry • Edith Piaf
Valentine’s Day Playlist “Our Song” (Curated by Crowd-Sourcing!):
So are You to Me- Eastmountainsouth
Every Day- Jill Phillips
All My Life- David Wilcox
Stay with You- John Legend
These arms of Mine- Otis Redding
Cheek to Cheek- Fred Astaire
At Last- Etta James
Walking After You- Foo Fighters
Come What May- Moulin Rouge
You Belong to Me- Carla Bruni
What a Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong
You Go to My Head- Louis Armstrong
Signed, Sealed, Delivered- Stevie Wonder
Rainbow Connection- Kermit the Frog
The Luckiest- Ben Folds
The Story- Brandi Carlisle
When You Love Someone- Bryan Adams
Home to Me- Josh Kelley
Just the Way You Look Tonight- Fred Astaire
When You Say Nothing at All- Allison Krauss
Northern Sky – NIck Drake
You are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
You Have Me- Gungor
Ten Thousand Angels- Caedmon’s Call
Shower the People- James Taylor
Love Song- The Cure
She Lit a Fire- Lord Huron
Harvest Moon- Neil Young
Pistol- Dustin Kensrue
Out of the Woods- Nickel Creek
I Can’t Wait- Runner, Runner
Secret Message- Rasputina
God Only Knows- Beach Boys
I Wanna Love You at Ours- Bob Marley
Dream a Little Dream- Momma’s and the Papa’s
Canon in D- Pachebel
First Day of My Life- Bright Eyes
La, la, la, Love You- the PIxies
All I Want is You- U2
Me and You- Kenny Chesney
Both of Us Feel the Blast- Waterdeep
Can’t Help Falling in Love- Ingrid Michelson
Children of Our Time- Jason Upton
Heat Wave- Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
A Thousand Years
Our Love in Christ- Kelly Willard
I Will Always Love You- Whitney Houston
All I Want is You- Tristan Prettyman
Forever- Ben Harper
Look After You- The Fray
Dig Down Dip- Marc Cohn
I’ll Be Your Love Too- Van Morrison
Love of My Life- Jim Brickman
Lean on Me- Bill Withers
I’ll Back You Up – DMB
Somebody- Depeche Mode
We Danced to Blue Sky- Allman Brothers
Sunday Kind of Love- Etta James
Fall in Love at a Coffee Shop- Landon Pigg
Marry Me- Train
No Other Place- 77’s
Blue Skies- Ella Fitzgerald
Turning Page- Sleeping at Last
I Remember – Whitly
Between the Raindrops- Lifehouse
Stolen- Dashboard Confessional
Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Iz
To Make You Feel My Love- Bob Dylan
La Vie En Rose- Louis Armstrong
Gymnopodie- Eric Satie
Fields of Gold- Sting
Come to Me- Goo Goo Dolls
We’ve Only Just Begun- Carpenters