Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Education is not the filling of a pail,

but the lighting of a fire.
~William Butler Yeats

This past week there were many photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter of students heading off to school.  For example, one of my students has a photography business...No Filter Photography...I featured her in May...but she did some personal photos of her daughters as they faced their first day...and even managed to get the high schooler to pose!  (Her business link is here in case you are local and are interested! )


As a long time English teacher...actually 47 years!...deep breath...that was the first time I have done the math...anyway, I always buy old textbooks for the shop and for me to peruse before I sell them. Many times the books have wonderful covers...
I happened to sit down with the book shown below because of the cover, and I do teach college composition and literature. so I am always fascinated by any language books.
Here is the date at the end of this preface...1891!  125 years ago, and, yes, much can change in a century, but you only have to look at the examples from this book to get a sense of a world long gone!
 I love the work pages...


And, of course, the illustrations in these old books are wonderful...

So much of what is there is charming but outdated, and now for an example of something that will soon be unknown...the infamous cursive writing...

Next time you see an old school book, think of how much has changed...but there is still that excitement of the first day no matter how many centuries have passed!
 It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. 
~Albert Einstein

Saturday, September 3, 2016

"Don't knock the weather;

nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while.
~Kin Hubbard

Weather is definitely the topic for Labor Day weekend here in southern New Jersey with the wandering tropical storm.  It does blend in with my show and tell for the blog this week.  I did do a little research about the "batten down the hatches" phrase since I kept hearing that.  This is actually a nautical term from the early 19th century.  When a ship was headed for rough seas, that was the command, and the crew would close all the hatches or doors on the ship's decks and use lengths of batten or rods to secure the hatches in a closed position.

Batten is also a term used with shutters...board-and-batten shutters...vertical wood slat ones like I have available in the shop...
...which brings me to my topic...shutters...which originated in ancient Greece.  They provided light control, ventilation and protection.  These shutters were made of marble with fixed louvers.  When the concept of shutters spread throughout the Mediterranean, wood replaced marble as a more suitable material for production, and designers started developing movable louver shutters to allow varying amounts of light and air into a room.
On Tudor (1485-1547) and Elizabethan (1558-1603) homes, shutters were used inside also and were made of solid boards and covered only the lower half of the window openings, where no glass was installed (glass was expensive in those days). When open, fresh air came into the room and the shutters folded back to look like decorative wall panels. When closed, usually with a bar across, light still came through the glazed upper half of the window.

By the late seventeenth century, double-hung windows were popular. Shutters were still attached inside and decorative, but they covered the whole window. During the Victorian period (1837-1901) when more houses were constructed from wood, shutters moved outdoors. The former stone and brick homes had such deeply recessed windows that exterior shutters would have been difficult to reach from inside, but wooden walls could be built much thinner and exterior shutters could now be accessed easily from the inside.  Many homes had solid panel shutters on the first floor for privacy and security, and the second floor had louvered shutters (also called blinds) to allow air circulation in the warmer months.  Shutters were not always the same color either.  White on the first floor allowed the candle lit interior to be brighter, and the dark colors on the second floor allowed for better daytime napping.

By the 18th and 19th century, the shutter fad had made it over to America. The south, in particular, adopted the trend and integrated shutters into the large plantation manors, hence the name “plantation shutters”. Southern plantations were known for their elegance and grandeur and shutters were an integral part of their design.
One only has to go to Pinterest to see the shutter being repurposed...from indoor classic design...

 to creative artistic designs...
 I have a stash from a Virginia home ready for whatever ideas you may have...

  So, as we deal with Hermine (who came up with that name?), remember...
                                      You can't calm the storm...
                                          so stop trying.
                                       What you can do is calm yourself.
                                       The storm will pass.
                                          ~Timber Hawkeyel