helga stenzel: the magic in the mundane

How now, brown cow?

Ever get the feeling you’ve been hung out to dry? Well, this can be a good thing if you’re one of Helga Stenzel’s creations.

Russian-born but London based, Helga is a multi-disclipinary visual artist who transforms familiar household objects into quirky, light-hearted works of art.

Helga and her laundry double.

With her trained eye and playful spirit, Helga uses items of clothing, kitchen utensils, office supplies — and yes, FOOD, to encourage us to reimagine the ordinary. In her world, avocados sing, pecans become weight lifters, and lettuce barks. 🙂

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poetry friday roundup is here!

Please help yourself to a floral cupcake, macarons, chocolates and green tea.

Happy May and Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup.

Mother’s Day is a holiday of mixed emotions. It’s true what they say: you never stop missing your mother. Mine has been gone eight years.

I’m thankful for those little reminders of her abiding presence; especially poignant are snippets of her handwriting in old cookbooks or on recipe cards.

via Adirondack Girl @ Heart

                     Remembering Ida

by Anita Pulier

Breathe in her scent,
thumb through food stained pages,
touch her buttery finger prints.

Remove her little notes
on more garlic or less wine,
place them in your jewelry box

in case they contain
secrets, it's time
to find Mom's clues.

Bow your head to
this unique holiday offer
of sensory overload.

Recall family dinners crowded
around an orange banquette
curving around a Formica table,

kitchen walls
strewn with flowered wallpaper
insisting on cheer.

Allow a moment to grieve
the loss of unconditional love.

Pour a nice cup of tea,
open the Times online,
place the cursor
on the world you live in now.

~ from The Butcher's Diamond (Finishing Line Press, 2018), posted by permission of the author.


“Lina’s Kitchen” by Yelena Mirchevskaya


My mother Ida was born in the back room of her immigrant parents’ Brooklyn grocery store. The family would gather for meals in that same back room, sitting around a barrel that served as a table.

In her own home Mom insisted on family dinners in the dining room and took pride in her cooking. She was a fabulous self taught cook. She collected recipes in a small filing box. On those cards and in her cookbooks (all of which I inherited) are little notes and observations that fill me with memories and longing when I pull one out.


My mother Margaret was also a self taught cook who kept recipes in a small filing box. The poem’s title, “Mother’s Day Memo,” is especially apt, since Margaret worked in an office and often typed memos (and recipe cards) on her slick IBM Selectric. When she sent me some of those recipes after I moved to Virginia, she’d often scribble helpful tips in the margins. She’s still teaching me. 🙂

I have many fond memories of sitting at my grandmother’s red Formica kitchen table (where I helped my aunts wrap hundreds of dumplings). Whether you grew up in New York or Hawaii, food memories, with their “sensory overload,” may just be the most nourishing of all, since they speak of family and friends together, our unique cultural and social histories, happy chatter, spoons and glasses clinking.

What we wouldn’t give for just one more sip of our mothers’ unconditional love. ♥️


Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky (he’s feeling especially peckish today). Enjoy your travels through blogland as you sample the delectable smorgasbord of original poems, reviews, poetry challenges, and commentary being shared by our friends this week.



🌹 Happy Mother’s Day to all, and special thanks to Anita for letting me share her poem today! 🌹


*Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy May! Let’s celebrate this month of flowers with UK artist Lucy Grossmith’s exquisite paintings.

Lucy grew up in the Lincolnshire countryside and now lives and works in Suffolk, England. She’s always been surrounded and inspired by nature and enjoys walking outdoors, where she sketches and makes mental notes of flora, fauna, colors, textures, and weather conditions – all ingredients for her work.

She paints with acrylics on canvas or textured paper, focusing on gardens, wildlife, countryside, and coastal landscapes. 

Love the soft, feminine feel to her pictures and the delicate detail.

For more, visit her Official Website (“heart to art”) where you can purchase original paintings or fine art giclée prints.


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what is your house dreaming of?

More than just wood or plaster, houses are alive with their own feelings and dreams. Each room has a story to tell.

“The Breakfast Table” by William Ratcliffe
by Jackie Kay

The living room remembers Gran dancing to Count Basie.
The kitchen can still hear my aunts fighting on Christmas day.
The hall is worried about the loose banister.
The small room is troubled by the missing hamster.
The toilet particularly dislikes my Grandfather.
The wallpaper covers up for the whole family.

And No. 115 dreams of lovely houses by the sea.
And No. 115 dreams of one night in the country.

The stairs are keeping schtum about the broken window.
The toilet’s sick of the trapped pipes squealing so.
The walls aren’t thick enough for all the screaming.
My parent’s bedroom has a bed in a choppy sea.
My own bedroom loves the bones of me.
My brother’s bedroom needs a different boy.

And No. 115 dreams of yellow light, an attic room.
And No. 115 dreams of a chimney, a new red roof.

And the red roof dreams of robin redbreasts
tap dancing on the red dance floor in the open air.

~ from Red, Cherry Red (Bloomsbury, 2019)
“Attic Room” by William Ratcliffe (1918)
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Eva Armisén: The Artist Who Paints Happiness

I was so happy when I chanced upon this adorable painting recently. A dark-haired girl eating alphabet soup!

Yeah, I kinda felt it was me, since she’s wearing a green dress (my favorite color) and has a blissful expression on her face. Those perky letters (don’t you love the ones dancing in her spoon) would be endlessly nourishing (esp. the letters C-A-K-E). 🙂

Spanish artist Eva Armisén.

Internationally renowned Spanish artist Eva Armisén, who lives and works in Barcelona, painted this delectable piece. She describes her art as, “Sincere. Simple. Emotional.”

Her work, with its whimsical, child-like style, is immediately recognizable: charming portraits of families, friends, and pets doing everyday things together. And of course there’s that ubiquitous young female, often with a flower in her hair, carrying beautiful bouquets, walking, resting, having fun. As the artist’s storyteller, she seems quite content to be on her own.

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