Thank You Notes

My mother has always taken me to task when it
comes to writing thank you notes. I asked her to share her heart on this here in our November almanac.
Betony has also designed a thank you card you can print from home, if you want to let my mom take you to task in her thank you note challenge too.

On Thank You Notes

by Dianne Coons

“When I was a little girl, I have fond memories of my mother writing thank you notes at the kitchen table while drinking coffee with LOTS of cream.  I got to draw pictures for my grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends that were included in her letters.  I thought at the time it was much fun.

However, as I got older and had to write my own notes…it became a drag.  Mother was insistent!!  Today, I know why.

Yes, there is the email and a text, and for practical reasons (like letting them know you received their gift), it works great, but nothing takes the place of a handwritten note.

During this Thanksgiving month when we sit at the table and remember all the things for which we are thankful, take a minute to send a personal note to others and share why you are thankful for them.”
thankyou_printable

Ephemera Download: Bottle Labels

 

 

What better time of year is there to concoct potions? Whether they’re fictional messes you’re mixing together with children or actual brews (like homemade oils, cocktail mixtures, or canning adventures) here are some old-fashioned bottle labels for your creations.

apothocary labels

Branches Online Art Show: Feature # 2

Happy September! We are excited to share the second installation of our “branches” themed art show with you. All last month we asked artists to submit pieces on this theme and we had a really wonderful turnout. Enjoy these lovely interpretations!

tree_up view_betony

Betony Coons

 

Brittany_IMG_20140119_140928

Brittany Schmidt

 

Brittney Maddox

Brittany Maddox

 

Garrett_leonnigIMG_1078

Garrett Leonnig

 

Celtic Table 5

Nancy Lynch

 

Thanks to everyone who submitted! For a peak at the first feature go here.

Branches of Influence

Who are some of the people who have inspired your work most in your life? (this could be in business or art or music or teaching, etc)

Write down three of them.

Now do some research. Who were three people who heavily inspired their work?

Go one step further and find out who inspired them…

What you end up with is a great network of exploration that will help lead you to more inspiration.

(This exercise was taken from “Steal Like an Artist”, a great book by Austin Kleon, www.austinkleon.com)

 

I, Tim Coons of Giants & Pilgrims, have gone ahead and done this above exercise for myself and hope to make a playlist from the musicians I’ve found soon. Let me branch this out.

Three artists who have greatly influenced my song-writing:

Bon Iver  is an American indie folk band founded in 2007 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. Vernon released Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago independently in July 2007. The majority of that album was recorded while Vernon spent three months in a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin.

When I heard Vernon’s first well-known album, I was so excited that he had recorded so much of it himself. The layered voices and instruments gave me a sense of permission to create the basement recording of “Frailty”. That album of mine is found here.


Sufjan Stevens
is 
an American singer-songwriter and musician born in Detroit, Michigan. Stevens first began releasing his music on Asthmatic Kitty, a label co-founded with his stepfather, beginning with the 1999 release, A Sun Came. He is best known for his 2005 album, Illinois, which hit number one in the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart, and for the song “Chicago”.

The beauty and strangeness of Sufjan has also been  permission-giving towards my creativity and how I write. His use of antiquated items and children’s instruments remind me of the kind of things I found in my grandmother’s house- organs and bells and noise-makers that would entertain me for hours. The use of those instruments are instantly nostalgic for me. I thank Sufjan for inspiring their use.


Jeff Buckley
– an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. After a decade as a session guitarist in Los Angeles, Buckley amassed a following in the early 1990s by playing cover songs at venues in Manhattan’s East Village, such as Sin-é, gradually focusing more on his own material. After rebuffing much interest from record labels and his father’s manager Herb Cohen, he signed with Columbia, recruited a band, and recorded what would be his only studio album, Grace, in 1994. Rolling Stone considered him one of the greatest singers of all time.

If there is one source that has inspired how I try to sing, it’s Jeff Buckley. I remember falling in love with the album Grace and heralding the song “Hallelujah” as my favorite of all-time (pre-Shrek explosion of the song’s usage). 

 

So who are artists who inspired Bon Iver?
Steve Reich
Naked City
Richard Buckner
John Prine
Bruce Hornsby
Charlie Mingus

Who are artists who inspired Sufjan Stevens?
Phillip Glass
Daniel Son
Prince
Peter Cetera
Cyndi Lauper
Tiffanny
Dvorak
Stravinksy
Shoenberg.
Baroque
Glen Gould

Who are artists who inspired Jeff Buckley?
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Edith Piaf
Judy Garland
Nina Simone
MC5
Miles Davis
Duke Ellington
Led Zeppelin
Rush
Genesis
Sebadoh
Stevie Wonder

Branches Online Art Show: Feature #1

We are so excited to share with you the first set of artwork from our open online art show “Branches.” Photography, drawing, painting and writing are represented here.

We’d love to hear/see your interpretation of the theme “Branches” and will be accepting submissions through the end of August and be posting new pieces. Perhaps your piece could be/ will be in Feature #2.

IMG_8972

Bill Youmans. He says of the above piece, “notice how the branch from the upper left becomes 3 branches, and then following the stem of the leaf as it spreads into the leaf structure, the 1 into 3 pattern repeats itself over and over, smaller and smaller.”

 

Elaine Furister_The Velvet Tree

Elaine Furister – See more of her work on Facebook

1-branches

 Kelly Cook – To see more of her artwork and purchase this piece

040614152029

Brittany Schmidt

 

Essay by David Shelley:

Grieving Lost Branches

As I write this, two younger, more vigorous men are cleaning up the mess in our backyard. A heavy, wet snow came through one night. It brought much-needed moisture for our trees. But it arrived at the end of October, before the trees had shed their leaves. The heavy snow collected on the leaves, and branches as thick as my waist snapped like fortune cookies. Nature’s pruning took away locust, aspen and maple branches, and half of our old willow. A lot that once looked forested now looks as though a tornado had passed through. One young locust had the pliability to bend all the way, its top touching the ground, before I broomed off the snow, allowing it to spring back. But it straightened only halfway. It now leans like an old man with his walker.

A tire swing once hung from one of those willow branches. My father loved to swing his grandchildren when they were small. He, like that once-mighty branch, is gone now, and his grandchildren have grown and left the house. This was expected, but I dwell on it with mixed feelings, not unlike the mixed feelings I have had when saying good-bye to too many departed friends.

It is natural and good to get snow in October, and natural for mature trees to shed major branches at times. There is a time to break down, and a time to build up, Solomon noticed. But we do not merely notice such seasonal changes. We mourn them. I will miss the massive beauty of the willow, and the welcome shade it brought. It is now in a season for starting new branches–not because it is spring, but because most of the old branches are gone.

The willow itself does not seem melancholy. It will prove hardy. Years from now, it will have great branches again. I am the one who mourns the loss of those branches, because I enjoyed watching that tree spread its green canopy, its shady glory, over our home. I enjoyed watching my father play with his grandchildren. It is the past tense that lingers like a dark cloud.

A friend of mine said that when his father died, he felt as if his covering had been removed and he was exposed to something–I’m not sure what. Looming mortality, perhaps. I think of him as I look at our willow, now looking as ragged as a family name after a scandal. I feel the incongruity of that welcome water, feeding the tree it broke, renewing the process of beautifying and beneficial growth. Will we ever see unlimited growth without pruning, I wonder, or will we gain an eternal appreciation for the necessity of breaking off branches to reinvigorate new growth? Will I someday experience heavenly pruning and exult in it? Or will I never be pruned again? I long for a pure faith in the Vinedresser, a faith that trustingly welcomes either option, because I am tired of grieving the loss of old, familiar branches. – November 2012

 

To hear more from David find him over at Facebook

The Winners of Our #mundania Photo Challenge!

For our June Almanac we did a photo challenge called “mundania”. It was all about finding the majestic in the mundane. The photo prompts included things like laundry, dishes, favorite place to sit, pet, etc. (To see some of the photos we loved and highlighted go here or here. Or look up the hashtag #mundania on Instagram.)

It was tough to choose the winning photo. Below are the runner’s up. They will each receive a FREE limited edition art print from Almanac. Then above is the winner and she will receive 3 FREE limited edition art prints from Almanac and a copy of the album!

Above: Naomi Boyer submitted several great photos for #mundania. We LOVED this picture. It’s composition is beautiful, it gives you a sense of nostalgia, and the subject of “everyday life and play” is strongly captured. It’s a photograph you’d see on Instagram and stop for a moment because you’re arrested over the fact that our normal, everyday life is quite remarkable.

Below: Katrina Steele submitted several beautiful and well composed photos. This one was so clean. She made laundry and everyday chores look beautiful.

clothesline1

Below: We don’t personally know Andrea Mouser from Louisiana, but we know she’s married to a chef. And we know she can take an engaging and joyful photo of just a pile of dishes. What a great picture!

dishes

Many thanks to everyone who participated. What a great thing to get to witness. Enjoy your common (not so common) summer!

Best of the Week Pictures for #mundania

We’re doing a contest where people post photos catching everyday, normal things, but acknowledging those things as beautiful- the uncanny in the common, the noble in the nominal. You can read more about it here.

Here’s some of our favorites so far that people have posting on Instagram and Facebook! These photos are definitely in the running for the BEST OF prize that we’ll choose at the end of the contest, June 30th.

Keep the pictures coming, everyone! It’s quite wonderful to see glimpses into everyone’s everyday life and the true beauty that resides there.

Photo by Wes Sam-Bruce. “Common Things”

weed

 

Photo by Andrea Mouser. “Where I Sleep”

sleep

 

Photo by Matt Sanders. “Favorite Place to Sit”

sit

What is “Almanac No. 1”?

May is coming to a close and I’m taking a moment to pause and reflect on this project. (May’s Almanac theme is “prize” so it seems like a good time to reflect.)

Betony and I had the idea last year. What if we made an Almanac? It would be this antiquated and slightly old-fashioned approach to fields of life and love (instead of agriculture). And we could do paintings and songs that were companions to each other. And we could involve our friends who are amazing artists and writers and thinkers each month with the different almanac themes…

So it happened in 3 parts: an ALBUM, an ART-SERIES, and a MONTHLY PUBLICATION (subscription & online) and we called it Almanac No. 1.

More than an art project, we’ve been hoping this endeavor would be a culture making venture… A bit presumptuous of us I know… But what if helped provide provision & navigation for those fields of life ahead, asking “what IS the good life exactly”? That felt like art worth doing.

Now we’re half a year into the project. We’ve gotten wonderful response to the album and art-series. And Betony and I look forward to each month- preparing recipes and playlists and adventures that go into the month’s theme.

Is it a culture making venture yet? Are we inspiring others and ourselves to live adventurous lives that tell great and noble stories?

I can’t tell yet. But here’s to half-way in and to another 6 months to come… May we be navigating these fields together.

Peace,

Tim
Giants & Pilgrims

 

Giants & Pilgrims “Almanac No. 1” ACOUSTIC is Featured on FRONT PAGE of NoiseTrade!

We’re very excited that NoiseTrade has chosen the acoustic album of “Almanac No. 1” (the guitar and voice tracks) for their NEW AND NOTABLEs feature. We’ll also be the front page all week and highlighted in their email.

We’re honored. Please download a copy for FREE now!

http://noisetrade.com/giantsandpilgrims/almanac-no-1-acoustic

Also, “Almanac No. 1” the full album is available now on itunes! Check it out. And if you already own it leave a review!

Thanks and much love,

Tim Coons

Giants & Pilgrims

Almanac No. 1 ACOUSTIC Album Now FREE on NoiseTrade

We’re offering our album Almanac No. 1, the ACOUSTIC version, as a FREE download at NoiseTrade this month!

This acoustic album is just the guitar and vocals off the actual record, featuring the voice of Tim Coons and his songwriting in a stripped-down, raw fashion.

Please enjoy the FREE gift and spread the word of Giants & Pilgrims!

http://noisetrade.com/giantsandpilgrims/almanac-no-1-acoustic