Top 5 for the Week, April 20, 2012

Twisted Sifter, History of Everything, My Fave, Paper Sculptures, and a McCartney Video

1. Twisted Sifter

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The main goals for Twisted Sifter are straight forward: 1. Provide content that is interesting, creative, or funny 2. Use BIG pictures whenever possible and 3. Keep readers up-to-date with what’s popular online.  It is no wonder this is one of my new favorite sites.  I stumbled across them when I found a link commenting on a post this week regarding illustrated sheet music. (Which by the way is very well done, and a fun idea for possible wall art or projects).  The layout of the website is crisp and inviting.  They provide information and images on a range of topics from animals and nature to art and travel.  The featured Pictures of the Day are outstanding, and the site is also livened up with comic and heartwarming articles. A great way to brighten up your afternoon and gain inspiration, Twisted Sifter is a breath of fresh air in the world of serious design.

2. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

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I have been a fan of Bill Bryson’s writing for several years now.  I was introduced to his books when traveling in the United Kingdom.  Bryson, originally from the states, moved to England where he was a full-time writer and is now the UK’s biggest selling non-fiction author.  I was drawn into his style; quirky, humorous, and highly informative.  Notes from a Small Island was the first of his books that I read. New to the British way of life, it helped me connect to the culture and discover a vast treasury of hidden delights. Bryson’s writing is diverse, also looking into America, Australia, and even Shakespeare.  However, I was absolutely blown away with the content and comprehensive writing in A Short History of Nearly Everything. The name is fitting since it literally starts before the creation of the world and travels through all major advancements until present time. This publication actually won several honors including the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize.  As informative as an entire set of encyclopedias, yet written in a flowing literary style, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the best of both worlds.  Even though it discusses some theories that I personally do not support, Bryson still presents the facts in such staggering detail that one cannot help but stand in awe of human creation and how our solar system has developed.  A great study guide, or a wonderful refresher for those of us having a hard time remembering the basic structures of DNA, I would highly suggest this book for every reader looking to expand his or her knowledge. Bryson has also made this scientific discovery tool available to the younger crowd in the condensed and illustrated version, A Really Short History of Nearly Everything.  These books are great for getting a grasp on our physical universe and would make the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for intellect in your family.

3. You are my Fave

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Event planning, parties, and DIY projects; yes, yes, and YES!  You are my Fave is a fun site for, yep you guessed it, all of my favorites.  It is run by Melanie Blodgett in Denver, Colorado, and just going to her homepage makes me happy.  The picture to the left is one example of her many creative projects.  The site is fun, lighthearted, easy to follow, and simply beautiful.  Blodgett writes in such a conversational style I can completely relate to her interests, passions, and I gain encouragement that I can undertake her projects too.  Looking through the photos in the Party Gallery lights a fire inside me to get all of my friends and family together for any reason to celebrate, whether for just a nice dinner party or a Cinco de Mayo fiesta.  Before you plan your next get together, check out You are my Fave.  You’ll be happy with her ideas, suggestions, and find great instructions for lovely crafts.

 4. Peter Gentenaar

Photo Credit: Peter Gentenaar via

It isn’t everyday that one finds a truly unique artist using a medium in ways never seen before. Peter Gentenaar, however, is one such innovator. Sculpting paper as one would paint with watercolors, he creates massive, aerial suspensions.  A post from Upon a Fold, highlights an installation inside the Abbey church of Saint-Riquier in France.  Ethereal, fluid, and the embodiment of grace and movement, Gentenaar’s work is unsurpassed.  Gaining his respect and inspiration from paper as a printmaker, he began to realize that it was not the images he was placing on the paper but rather the paper itself that truly spoke to him.  He achieves his masterpieces by attaching and stretching wet, hand-made paper over bamboo structures.  As the paper dries, it shrinks and bends the bamboo.  Gentanaar has likened the sculptures to leaves, and is moved by the organic shapes they transform into.  If you are unable to make the viewing in France there are several galleries of photographs on his site.  Gorgeous on film, yet probably even more breath-taking in person, hopefully some day soon an area near you will host one of Gentenaar’s installations.

5. Paul McCartney’s ‘My Valentine’

Photo Credit: Paul McCartney

Always providing great resources and keeping me informed, earlier this week Open Culture (mentioned in a previous Top 5) once again made my life a little better.  One of their stories featured the new self-directed music video for Paul McCartney’s song ‘My Valentine’ starring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp. I love every aspect of this video, from the black and white cinematography captured by the award winning Wally Pfister, to the lyrics being interpreted into sign language, the beloved stars, and beautiful song itself.  This music video is exquisite.

(If you have trouble viewing the video below, ensure flash is enabled and refresh the page.  You can also click on this link to view it directly from YouTube.)

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