From quilts to embroidery: Creative ways artists memorialize those who've passed away.

Everyone who's lost a loved one has memories and stories of them that they will always treasure.

Talking about those memories and sharing them with others can help people cope with grief and also to celebrate the legacy of their loved one. Something else that's a good healing tool? Art.

Artist Bisa Butler uses quilting to memorialize those who've died.  

"I’ve suffered loss and I know that longing for that person," she said.


For the past 15 years, Butler has turned loss into warmth and comfort through commemorative quilts. She bases her quilts on photographs of loved ones — including her own grandmother as she neared the end of life. Butler works to find ways to pour extra meaning into her quilts; for her grandmother's quilt, for example, she incorporated violets into the pattern because that was also her grandmother's name.

When Butler was tasked with making a quilt to honor the late Howard Fitch, she used parts of a military shirt to commemorate his service and commitment to his country.

"Abundant Blessings" image via Bisa Butler, used with permission.

Butler made the quilt for Dawn Fitch, Howard's daughter, as part of Prudential's "Masterpiece of Love" campaign. The series honors life, love, loss, and the power of the human spirit by bringing together four artists with four survivors of loss to create works that celebrate their loved ones.

Butler's quilt of Fitch was intended not only to celebrate him, but to provide comfort and protection to his family.

"For me, the very nature of looking at fabric stitched is a comfort," she said. "For people to have that tangible piece, it's not only something nice to look at, it's something nice to touch."

Artist Christine DaCruz discovered a different way of interpreting death — through an embroidery project.

During an artist residency that focused on how news is interpreted, DaCruz got an idea to embroider obituaries from The New York Times.

"The shift became to not necessarily talk about their death but to reflect on their life," she said. "I thought the New York Times' obituaries did such a good job at collecting the stories of how these people lived and what was important to them."

Image from "The Obituaries" via Christine DaCruz, used with permission.

In "The Obituaries," a series that can be found on her website, DaCruz takes photographs used in obituaries and hand-stitches colored thread through the paper to embellish the photos. What makes them extra interesting is how she draws outside of the cropped photo images to include what she imagines the rest of the photo to look like.

Image from "The Obituaries" via Christine DaCruz, used with permission.

It's just one way she likes to celebrate life and learn people's histories — even if they may be strangers.

"We are all affected by [death]," DaCruz noted, "but just reflecting on the person's life and all the good they brought into the world and how they affected people positively is a way to embrace and celebrate them."

When DaCruz was asked to memorialize the life of Mickey McNany, she knew just the route to take.

Mickey, the late mother of Ryan McNany, is another of the loved ones featured in Prudential's "Masterpiece of Love" series.

McNany was the founding director of the Theatre School at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Even after losing her fight with late-stage cancer, she continues to touch countless lives; 87% of the kids McNany mentored throughout the years have ended up in a career in theater arts.

"She was a force to be reckoned with," said DaCruz, after learning McNany's story.

Mickey McNany. Image via Prudential, used with permission.

McNany helped so many people realize their dreams, DaCruz thought, so why not give her her own playbill cover?

DaCruz used inspiration for the piece "Show Biz Kid" from a photo of McNany doing what she loved: teaching.

"Showbiz Kid" by Christine DaCruz. Image via Prudential, used with permission.

"She motivated all these kids to get out on stage and break out of their isolated boxes," DaCruz recalled. "She helped them come out of her comfort zone."

Art — whether it’s writing, painting, dancing, observing, or something else — can be a productive outlet to promote healing and expression.

There's a reason art therapy is becoming an increasingly popular method of care. Art, prayer, and healing can help to bring one's thoughts inward, and that journey can be deeply transformative.

"People really connect with art," DaCruz said. "Even if they don’t visit museums on a regular basis, everybody is drawn to something beautiful, especially if it’s about something they recognize."

"What’s more recognizable than somebody they love?"

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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