Tuesday, February 28

wow! + news

I'm on the front page of Design Collective's website! Click here to see.


Also, I have a twin sister. Apparently we were separated at birth and now she lives in Delaware, but all evidence points to us being close kin. Case in point: this selection of objects from the amazing box she sent me this week.

Yes, those are vintage gloves. Yes, they are the color Crayola called 'spring green'--a newly-in-leaf, Nature's-first-green-is-gold hue. Yes, they do have embroidery along the seams. And vintage buttons! In a tiny glass-and-enamel-jar! And an old zipper container full of swallow-shaped confetti! And some beautiful old trim. (And more in the box, but these are my very top favorites.)

So, Kati, thank you! It's rare to have someone pick something out for me that is exactly what I would have chosen for myself--but! Maybe this is what L.M. Montgomery meant when she talked about 'kindred spirits.' Because--presents and joking aside, my dear--you are one! Thank you!!!


And thank all of you for your kind compliments on the shoes and birds. I would be happy--pending finding a new source for shoes larger than size 8--to make custom pairs. I am flattered and excited that the prospect has come up! I'll keep you posted. And--given the success of the tiny birds here (thank you!)--I'll be posting a few more things exclusive to the weblog before they go to (virtual or real) shops.

For now, though, just a photo of one of my favorite things right now (beside soft yellow gloves): the purl side of knitting, and yarn I dyed myself. Hope your evenings (and mornings, and tomorrows all day) are pleasant. Cheers.

Sunday, February 26

bara spring collection: shoes

u.s. size 7; at design collective

u.s. size 7; at design collective

u.s. size 6; at design collective


I have 10 pairs altogether and have plans for shoes featuring birds, strawberries, more pomflowers, printing, knitting, etc. Not sure whether I'll have them in my shop or just in local stores.

There are two fashion shows coming up--one rather major one that I was asked to be in and then a smaller one likewise--and so I made a trip to the Very Frightening Fabric Warehouse. The people there are of very different politics than I, and this can be uncomfortable, but everything is half-off all the time. I got taffetas and satins from the 1950s, some really beautiful Nanette Lepore fabric, a whole bunch of sheer lycra mesh (for camisoles), dupioni silk the color of celery.... I can't wait to get started on the clothes for these shows (which will also, conveniently, be part of my summer line).

In other clothing news, I've finally gotten good at screening onto fabric and have made some patches of the Valentine's Day print to put onto things. I also ordered 10 American Apparel shirts (hurrah for wholesale!) and I've made screens for them. They're candy blue and candy pink and will have printing and embellishments on them. That's on the fire for the next couple of weeks.

Have also been: knitting a basket, working on mixed-media prints, dying yarn (see it on flickr!), reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith, attending master classes with the most excellent David Treuer, finishing my manuscript, selling things left, right, and center, and apparently enjoying these successes to a completely impolitic degree. Oh dear. I'm also, and less selfishly, enjoying Lotte Klaver's sketchlog, Open Yours Too, and Mulysa's plant-a-day blog (as well as all the links in the sidebar, which I visit with impunity). Oh, and go over to pillow vs. pincushion and scroll down and check out the amazing hats I can't stop daydreaming about.

Friday, February 24

public service announcement


--That is all.

when the sun in the morning looks over the hill

and kisses the roses on my windowsill, then my heart beats with gladness
as I hear the trill of the birds in the treetops on mockingbird hill. Tra-la-la,
tweedle-a-dee-dee, it gives me a thrill, to wake up in the morning on mockingbird hill.

la poirette (now at design collective) ++++ la bluette (sold)

la violetera (now at design collective) ++++ la pêche (sold)
(click for larger images)

Thank you again to everyone who emailed & commented with orders. I couldn't be more surprised or pleased! Here are four more bird corsages--this evening they will go to local shops (not to the bara shop). They are USD 22, including shipping, and will come to you via priority mail in their own little nests with tiny surprises tucked inside. Let me know in the comments if you are interested. Thank you!

Thursday, February 23

bara spring collection: biologici

la rosette sold ++++ la primavera

la giallina sold ++++ la princesse sold
(click for larger images!)

These are four of fifteen bird-and-plant corsages, part of the spring collection. They're made of vintage & new millinery items, ribbons from a New York trip a few years ago, and other tiny things I've found and loved (spun-cotton mushrooms, czech glass buttons, tiny paper flowers)

Tomorrow evening this bunch will head over to the shops, but if you'd like one before then, leave a note in the comments & I'll save one out for you. They're USD 22, including priority shipping. International orders, please contact me. They'll arrive in their own special springtime nests, with a few little surprises tucked inside.


Non-sequitor: I am in love with any and all versions of the song "There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem" right now: Aretha Franklin's, the Drifters', Ben E. King's. Know of any others?

AND what a surprise it was to see how quickly you-all snapped those birdies up! I'm considering putting a couple more up tomorrow, so if you're looking for a sweet bird corsage, check back then. And thank you!

Wednesday, February 22

lucky day

lucky day
Originally uploaded by ohbara.
Today I held conferences all morning, then had an advising meeting. As a treat, I decided to go to a thrift store, even though I felt sure there would be nothing good there. Well--I was wrong! I found a whole bag of buttons (including these, my favorites: the blue wooden ones with stars, and the ones on the "luckyday" cards) for only three dollars! And--as if that weren't enough luck--a bag containing 6 skeins of red mohair yarn for three dollars as well! AND (I know, don't I sound greedy?) a bag of Coats & Clark's perlé embroidery thread for three more dollars.

I also bought a large sweater knit in thick think yarn and have frogged and dyed the sleeves. They each were about 25 yards. Fun, but kind of smelly--wet wool, you know.

Well, things are due to the shops this week and next and so I will be revealing secrets soon. I'll also have a few things up for sale for a couple of days before they go to the shops, so any interested parties have a swing at them early.


Sunday, February 19


Originally uploaded by ohbara.
The weekend turned out to be a productive one, with much cleaning, clothes-swapping, and making of pretty things to be had here. Also long conversations and walks and extremely cold air and windburn and negative windchills and hot tea and long skirts and grading. And stories begun and theories debated and witty comebacks made.

And birds, and mushrooms, and ribbon.

And walking around more in my new shoes!

I catalogued all my clothes and I have thirteen new skirts made, and five tops, and about twenty other things as well. I'm working on three more skirts right now, too. I can't wait to post pictures of my spring set--as soon as it goes to the shops.

Wednesday, February 15

all for me?!

What a day for mail! Not only did I receive a Valentine's package (Corazones Dulces & Sour Patch Kids + note) from my mom, my Magnolia shoes arrived--and so did a package of handmade glass from Vachu! I just have to post about these shoes--they are so lovely, and so easy to walk in, and so so so so pretty and THEY HAVE GOLD SOLES!

I know that is pushing tacky, but there you are.

And the glass is so pretty and I'm excited to use the beads. And, er, I already ate half the candy.

Now please excuse me while I go walk about my apartment in my 3.5" heels.

Tuesday, February 14

I spy

I spy
Originally uploaded by ohbara.
Last night I discovered that I actually like taking photos. I always try to set the product photos I take up nicely (because for me advertising does half the trick of getting me to make a purchase) but I rarely take pictures for fun or just-because. This is the top of my shelf thing on my worktable.

I have so many ideas for spring things! And I'm lucky that the woman who owns the shop I sell at really likes my things. So I'll be bringing out a whole collection there in a couple of weeks. My winter one is there now: blues, greys, golds, whites. Some of it may stay. Some I'll be bringing to this other store I discovered a few weeks ago. They are interested in carrying my clothes, too. That store is much more serious and forbidding, so I'm really pushing the quality, making sure everything is perfect.

And I am in love with Jim of The Office, just as I loved Tim of the BBC version. I am doomed to fall helplessly in love with paper merchants' office drones.

But only the sensitive ones, I think. Not so much with the Gareth/Dwight.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12


I went into the studio on Friday after teaching and pulled my whole Valentine's exchange edition, plus 12 for sale/friends. HUZZAH. It took about 2.5 hours total, which is testament to the nature of screen (although I think that, excluding setup I can pull about that many lithos in 3 hours). Felt very good, too. I love being in there when no one else is. I used to work in the printshop every Friday and Saturday night! It was great--I could listen to music, sing, use all the presses, not have to worry about other people's mess.

On the fire are fairytales and folksongs, prints and habitats and things made of wood, ribbon and lace and ladylike graces, picnic and birds and checkered cloth. Spring and all. Even though it is nine degrees here right now.

I walked to the grocery store tonight and brought my ipod. Walking home I was smiling because it feels good to walk and it was a good song and a very tall young man was walking (I feel like the poem "Kore" by R. Creeley right now) and surprise, in my hoity-toity part of the city, he smiled at me, too. It was nice to have communion with a stranger. Especially with five pounds of oranges in my right hand and all sorts of other good things in my left. And the promise of a whole workings night ahead, having finished grading this afternoon.

Much to come in the next week or so.

Thursday, February 9

it's almost like being

...an undergrad again.

Yes, it is 2:30 a.m. CST (or, as the BBC announcer keeps reminding me, "hahhhlf pahhhst eight, GMT" da da da DUN [BBC World Service theme song]).

Yes, I am still awake.

Yes, I was going to bed at 11:30 with the latest Zadie Smith book and no wake-up deadline tomorrow morning. But I'd been working all night on things like this:

and etc., but I somehow was drawn back in--and I've had a Lisa-made bee in my bonnet ever since the first time I saw one of her pillows, so I finally got it together and cut, pieced, and quilted this:

I am not a patient worker. I like things that go right the first time. This is to my advantage in that I rarely make prototypes that aren't up to par--I work out all the mechanics in my head and/or on paper first. But it does mean I miss out on playing sometimes. So this is a bit of play. I'm not careful about cutting quilt pieces, for some reason. Maybe it's the lack of rotary cutter + mat. But these came out nicely, and there's a border, too, and I've figured out how to line it and back it, and I have the insert already, and ribbon for the ties, and needless to say, I'm excited.

So thanks, Lisa, for the prompt. I always admire your sense of color and the meticulous correctness of your piecing--obviously this is no Log Cabin, but I'm grateful for the lesson. Cheers.


On another note, Blair was writing about the strange, time- and energy-sapping powers of the computer. I've been feeling that a lot lately (so much to see! but then I lose the urge to work!), and my solution has been to leave my laptop in my bag after I get home from school (where I have to have it for work, class, etc.). If I don't unpack it, I can't hook it up to the internet, and I'm likely to head into the workroom and come out with a bunch of finished projects (instead of just more hmm-I-like-thats. Same goes for just not turning it on, some mornings. And usually it goes off by itself at midnight (but not tonight; how odd). I've actually been thinking of cancelling internet at home. My brother recently got rid of his computer and it's been good.

What do you do? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 8

blue bunny

Look who is hiding in the cyclamen!

I made this for a friend of my mom, for a fundraiser. I love the shibori in the ears--the one on the left has a blue maple leaf, but it's obscured by the light.

Mostly working on the thesis and big projects that can't be posted--yet--right now. I am working on the secret-project-that- cannot-be-named, as well as several commissions & things for a big show (FFS: more information soon) in April (and I have the honor now of having an assistant for said show! Huzzah!). So busy, as always.

I need a few extra hours to clean my workroom. It is heading down into that level of untidiness that makes it hard to work there, so I spread out to my other room and the mess comes along for the ride. Oh dear. Doesn't help that I have 13 papers still needing grades before Friday.

Lisa, I will send you that article soon. I just copied it today. So--probably tomorrow or Friday.

Monday, February 6

over the garden wall

So all these new girls are cropping up, and I found a piece of wood cut in a circle with a hole in it, and it just came together.

My favorite was putting the bird in its hidey-hole, and the little flowerbuds in with it.

It's about 8" across. Not too big, not too small.

Today I began preparing for an edition of 50 prints for a Valentine print exchange. Intense! I've never done an exchange with more than 15 participants! Luckily, the size is small: only 3.5" by 5.5". I tore down the papers & redrew my screen (oops, too much blockout on the original). I think I'm going to just hand-draw mylars and do it photographically from now on, because it's a bit of a pain to redraw. I'll have a few extras of these prints, so I'll put them in the shop next week--and maybe put a sneak peek here, too.

By the way, Magnolia is having a huge sale on their beautiful shoes! I found a couple pairs over there, and if you have larger feet than I do (i.e., bigger than size 5), you are really in luck. Most pairs are around 30 dollars, down from ±200. !!!


memes (or me-mes, as might be more appropriate) aren't usually my thing, but:

4 jobs:
• college writing instructor
• proofreader & editor for japanese dept.
• writing tutor
• grocery bagger

4 movies:
• the royal tennenbaums
• amelie
• love, actually
• whale rider

4 places i’ve lived:
• 4249
• 325 & 327
• 3101
• 2633

4 TV shows:
• scrubs
• the office

4 vacations:
• walpole, NH (2004, 2005)
• rustad, MN (2001, 2002)
• nara, japan (1999, 2000, 2001)
• london, england, & dublin & galway, ireland (2004)

4 dishes:
• chicken divan (curry with broccoli & cream)
• lamb tikka masala
• baked asparagus & zucchini
• green salad with cranberries, pecans, gorgonzola, & vinegar

4 sites:
• flickr
• work email
• my blog, to visit the links i have listed
• gmail

4 places i'd rather be: (i'm at work)
• the art building
• avec mon meilleur ami en besançon
• in a slightly more comfortable chair
• in front of my sewing machine

4 tags:

Thursday, February 2


Feels like it's taken forever, but the update is finally done. Still have to put the Valentine's Day sets up tomorrow--my brother came over and helped me print tonight, but they were still too wet to package and photograph, so that will keep. But there's a ton of new stuff over there--all you were promised, and more, I suspect. Cheers.