Design

Four Great Things

Jonna Fransson Affordable Artwork

We have a little corner of our apartment that needs art — just something simple. So, I was happy to discover these nature drawings by Swedish artist Jonna Fransson. I went for the Monstera. Bonus: The 50×70 cm size fits perfectly into an IKEA frame.

Frances Ha

The key to being a good listener? Basically, don’t talk as much. “The true luxury is silence,” says Fanny Auger, the founder of the Paris branch of School of Life. “You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as you speak.” As a lifelong Chatty Cathy, I’ve been trying to slow down this week to really soak up Alex, Toby and Anton and their fun stories.

Universal Standard Plus-Size Workwear

This week, Universal Standard launched a 13-piece collection of workwear staples, available in sizes 10 to 28. Loving the mix-and-match colors and structured shapes.

Kids With Terminal Illness on the Meaning of Life

A pediatric palliative care doctor asked some of his young patients with terminal illnesses what they had enjoyed in life and what gave it meaning. The responses were heartbreakingly beautiful.

P.S. More reader questions, and a weird thing about relationships.

(Friends photo from Frances Ha. Ice cream photo by Alex Lau for Bon Appetit. Meaning of life and listener links, via Jocelyn Glei.)

  1. Crying over that Doctor’s tweets. I have a 13 y/o brother battling brain cancer and a mean, selfish, alcoholic father in law approaching his 70th birthday. The only thing that keeps me from losing my head over this disparity is reminding myself that my father-in-law was once a 13 year old boy himself.

  2. Molly says...

    What size ikea frame did you use for these prints?

  3. jen says...

    I’m leery of women being told to ‘listen more.’ I’m pretty sure we already do and remember the days of guys at work hearing you talk on the subject at hand and then one them would say, ‘well anyway.’ Chat away ladies.

  4. Sadie says...

    Shall we take a pole to see when we started crying on that kids thing? My answer would be by the 5th post.

  5. Shirley says...

    Ok I am ugly crying after reading the palliative care children’s responses. So beautiful. I will be giving my kiddos lots of ice cream today! Also, in response to the listening post- I am training to be a psychotherapist/mental health counselor and I remember reading somewhere about how it is such a rare luxury in life to have someone TRULY listen to you. Active listening is so difficult but so, so needed in this hyper-paced world. I hope to be able to give that gift to my future clients, but especially after reading that last post, I will give it to my children. Today.

  6. Dear Joanna,
    I’ve been reading your website for years and I am delighted, and proud, to be featured in this article. (after my Hurry Slowly interview).
    Many thanks !
    Love from Paris under the snow, fondest regards, Fanny

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for the inspiration, fanny!!!! so nice of you to comment.

  7. Marianne says...

    ITs Friday night and after a long and taxing week I snuck away to the bedroom for a break while my husband bathe our kids- only to read the story on the terminal I’ll kids. As I am composing myself after a good cry – I can’t wait to run out to my family and snug them all. Perspective and health is a wonderful thing. Oh – and we will have ice cream as supper tonight

  8. Amber says...

    Gosh, that last link is to some of the last, “heartbreakingly beautiful” words of dying children. Appreciate the love with which it was shared but it was a little jarring for it to be presented as one of “four fun things.” Felt like this post was more three fun things and one profound thing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, you’re right, amber. “fun things” is the name of the series but i’ll change it for this one.

    • Colleen says...

      Yes.

  9. Colleen says...

    Crying…so very wise and honest and hopeful in the face of darkness

  10. JC says...

    I grew up in Italian family where we all talked quickly, loud, a lot and at the same time. My husband’s family are quiet, soft-spoken, slow speaking farm folk. Holy cow! I am afraid I haven’t changed much — I try to be a good listener but it is hard. I really want people to just spit it out :).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha i hear you! my whole family, especially when we’re all together in england, talks ALL the time, very very quickly and kind of over each other. but you’re still listening. it’s really fun and i love the energy of it. now i have to remember to slow down and allow for conversational pauses :)

  11. Cora says...

    I feel like the pallative care tweet could’ve been including the in the reader comments on parenting advice. It’s a good reminder that when we think we’re struggling as parents, at the end of the day the only things that really matter to kids are the day to day goings on of being a family. And ice cream.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      xoxoxoxo

    • Hannah says...

      Yes to this!

  12. I can do little more than eat ice cream, be with my pet and be close to my family. And will share a sandwich. Humbling.

  13. Laura C. says...

    Joanna, you said “Four FUN things” and I’m in tears reading that twitter thread… Thanks for these kind of links though, I believe that despite all our issues and circumstances (and mine are very tough right now), we can’t lose sight of the most important things. Big hugs.

  14. Lana says...

    Oh, those sweet babies and their families. I cannot imagine. My moms best friend’s son died when we were 12 and I still remember how awful it was seeing his name on the marquee when my sister and I were walking home from school. Seeing how his mom and dad dealt with his death (which, ultimately led to their divorce and his father’s breakdown) was heartbreaking. His mom (my moms best friend) is an incredible woman. She’s happy and kind and lives life BIG. When I had children of my own I understood her pain for the first time and called her to tell her how much I admired her strength. Children who die young and their families are amazingly strong and wise.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so nice of you to call her, lana. i’m sure she was so touched.

  15. Rachel Elise Simmons says...

    as a plus sized woman i was thrilled when i saw your post about the new plus sized line…..but then i went to the site. $130 for a jersey knit dress? shocking.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      have you seen the Who What Wear line? they have some great office-friendly pieces at a lower price point, if you’re interested:
      http://bit.ly/2skGENw

    • Rachel Elise Simmons says...

      thanks Jo, I appreciate that! I love their line, two of my favorite pieces are from target!

  16. Beautiful prints! I’m always surprised that you don’t do more posts about affordable original art. I’m concentrating this year on building my art collection. I’m excited about each new addition and so is my son (he’s 4). This is work he’ll grow up with and he’ll have the ones he loves in his home too someday. The surfaces are different and interesting, I just don’t always feel that way about prints. I know it is a personal choice, but I would love to see you post about originals. Disclaimer: I’m a painter (and I have affordable originals). For any artists that read your blog – I’m doing a trading project this year – anyone want to trade artwork?
    https://www.instagram.com/elyceabrams/

    • t says...

      Although $450 for a 12×12 original piece of art is considered affordable original art, to many it is still cost prohibitive (especially relative to the ~$75 Joanna paid for a very large print). As the daughter of a plein air painter I understand your point and I am fortunate to have a house full of original art. In fact I don’t have one print. I find affordable original art in thrift stores and street fairs and commission art from talented friends. I also frame sentimental pieces (such as my great grandmother’s precious silk and hand beaded purse). I believe some people prefer to spend less on wall decor and have the flexibility to change it out (rather than rotate it around the house).

    • Hi T,
      You’re right, it is expensive and more than I would be able to spend. I did a project in 2016 called my 100paintings project for this very reason. I wanted to be able to sell my work at an affordable price directly to those interested (as opposed to the price set by galleries that show my work). I posted the paintings (they were all 12″ x 12″) to Instagram as I finished them, for $200 each. My prices are higher because I sell through galleries, but I know that makes it hard for some people who may like my work to buy it. My prices are still lower if bought directly through me :)

  17. Emily says...

    I’M not crying, YOU’re crying (from that terminally ill kids thread)! Ugh! Gonna go hug everyone now

  18. Ruth says...

    The terminally ill kids are incredible. It really is amazing to see what holds true value. May we all spend more time hugging, laughing, reading, enjoying the beach, and playing with our pets.

  19. Jo says...

    Thanks for sharing the twitter link .
    “No one loves me like my mom loves me” – <3

  20. Bergen says...

    Don’t mind me, crying at my desk, while reading that twitter thread. Kids are so wise!

    • Katie says...

      You’re not alone!

  21. Betina says...

    The real important things are aletas the simple ones and unfortunately we tend to take them from granted. Love from Argentina

    • Julie says...

      *on. On the art of manliness.

    • Robin says...

      Thank you for this! I can be a talker, and I’m grateful for any reminder to sit back and let others do the talking. It’s mortifying to be thinking over a conversation and realize I talked only about myself and didn’t ask the questions I should have (and would have liked to have!). I have two young kids, so my opportunities for long conversations are limited, and people are always asking questions related to the kids, but still I know I could do better. I’m doing a decent job listening to my older son at least, though I’d like to have more uninterrupted time for him. Once my younger one is old enough to be more easily left at home, I want to start planning mom and kid dates! Now that I have two, the one on one time is so precious.

  22. t says...

    The world is so blessed to have a vast variety of amazing professionals but pediatric palliative care doctors and pediatric oncologists and the support staff who work with them I hold in extra high regard. tears and gratitude.

    • Kate says...

      As the mother of a pediatric cancer patient-who is currently in remission- I could not agree more. They hold a special place in my heart!

  23. Meg says...

    Oh wow, that last one just burrows right to the center of your heart doesn’t it? It reminds me of one evening when I was driving home from a long day with my 3 year old in the back seat. He was silently looking out the window and in the quiet car my mind was racing a mile a minute with the worries of today and task lists of tomorrow. Suddenly he shrieked out with delight, laughing and cheering with his arms raised above his head. Scared the crap out of me at first! After a minute I realized we’d just gone through a tunnel on the freeway and he thought it was the most thrilling thing that had ever happened to us. I spent the rest of the evening with gratitude in my heart for that little guy and his precious reminder to find joy in life – it’s the little things that really matter. That was many years ago now and I still think of the moment often – reminding myself to look up once and a while to make sure I’m noticing and feeling my loved ones and all the good there is around us. Freeway tunnels, ice cream cones, hugs and all the rest.
    Thanks for this today. <3

    • Lori says...

      Love this. So sweet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, meg, that makes my heart swell. what a lovely little boy you have there.

  24. Cynthia says...

    The children in the pediatric palliative care unit hit the nail on the head when they talked about favorite things. What mattered were their family and friends. I need to take this to heart.

  25. Lily says...

    That art is beautiful! Thanks for all the affordable art over the years.

  26. becs says...

    Just gotta say I love your description of yourself as a “Chatty Cathy.” I used that very phrase this morning and then realized my kids would never fully catch the reference. I only know it because my own mother tells stories of her doll when she was a child! Funny how cultural markers change, stick around, or evolve. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha yes! such an old-school reference :)