Thursday, March 23


Sometimes I have to remind myself to have fun. Relax. Make mistakes. Play. Draw in pen on scraps of cardboard, grab the white gouache and a pink marker and make those fake candy ads I've been imagining.

Tomorrow I'm having two other makers over. We're going to eat chili and other deliciousness, swoon over fabrics like this, swap from our stashes, sew, maybe make buttons? In all, a good time, I expect.

So today is cleaning, lots of these guys and this group and of course my favorite. I bought a dustpan yesterday, so I don't have to use whatever cardboard is hanging around anymore. And tomorrow morning I'm going to make cookies, so the whole apartment will smell good.

And then it'll be back to the push and shove: school rushing to a close, grading papers, my thesis, etc., ad infinitum. Or for you, I'm sure, ad nauseum, so I'll stop now. Happy weekend! Go see the flower show if you're in town. Otherwise--what are you thinking of doing?

(On deck: something made from fabric from Blair; photos of what happens when your friend goes to Japan and feeds your fabric addiction.)

Monday, March 20

skirts, oh skirts.

All weekend, sewing. Funny what the impending end of a vacation, combined with two fashion shows coming up (within a month) can do to a person. All told, I made ten skirts, six tops, and two trial-run pairs of underwear in orange lycra. (Well, work with what you have when it's just in testing, I say!) Here are five of the skirts on the line; the first and last are my favorites. I'm really partial to the pink/white fabric in them. I used up a bunch of my fabric on these (but really, it's a drop in the bucket), and it was nice--felt resourceful, to confine myself only to what I had on hand. Toni had the idea to spend a whole month making do with what's already in our possessions, and I think it's a great challenge. Not sure whether I'll be able, but it's my Lenten thing anyway so I'll try for April as well. No buying. Use it up! (Use it up, wear it out, make it over, or do without--a 1930s-40s catchphrase I've always liked.)

In the same spirit, remember that bunch of stuff a while back? It was the top of a box full of notions, vintage threads, unusual fabric, ribbons, paper flowers, millinery supplies, fancies, etc. I'm putting together a bunch of them to send out to special someones, and may have one or two up on my shop at some point. My dear friend S.'s mother is an upholsterer at a fancy company, and gave me a big box of old upholstery fabrics--including the one in this skirt--and I thought the gesture sweet enough to want to pass on.

In exciting news, I'll be in the St. Paul Craftstravaganza this summer (July 8th, but I'll keep you posted) along with Megan! This will be right after I get home from my Adventure (heading to Taos, Portland, Seattle, and then via train to points east; if you're in the area & want to have tea, let me know), so I'll be working on things for it especially intently this spring. In other exciting news, I'll be meeting with a publicist sometime soon about my clothes. She's used them in a few photo shoots lately and really likes them. Hurrah! Oh, dear. Unlike spring skirts, self-congratulation doesn't look good on anyone. Erk.

BUT! In final exciting news, this skirt is for Lisa. She saw the other one here before it sold and liked it so much she ordered one. It was a pleasure to make--the cotton is so soft and fine, it was like sewing silk! Happy, lovely.

And last, but not least, if you want in on the aforementioned secret (which is not a huge deal, but is something rather private and special, and, well, secret), please leave a comment on that post, including your email address and I will let you know what & where.

I hope the birds are beginning to flock, wherever you are.

Saturday, March 18

listen (tu-ra-lu)

do you want to know a secret?
(do you promise not to tell, woh-oh-oh-oh?)

leave a comment (with your email address) to come in & see.

Thursday, March 16

hello, starling

mlle. picque-nicque (flown)

la champignette (sold)

l'océanne (sold)

orina (flown)

Continuing with the willful butchering (and frankensteinization) of romance languages: four new birds. All are USD 22, including domestic shipping via Priority Mail. For international orders, please add $4. Paypal to info at ohbara dot com, or email me for more information/with questions. These will come down on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 15

technical difficulty

So the birds will go up later than expected, and apologies to those of you who have let me know you are waiting. I would say "tonight, for sure!" but then you know what would happen. So, either tonight after 8 p.m. CST or tomorrow morning.

Monday, March 13

it's been a long love affair

...between me and transit. I've never had a driving license; I take the bus (or bum rides, errk) wherever I need to go. Or walk. Or bike. Or take the train. I love mass transit, public transportation: what it is, what it means, what it's like. So this summer, an adventure. I'm thinking Greyhound. I'm thinking Amtrak. I'm thinking me, alone, without a computer, back to just the notebook and pen and the wide-open sky as we hurtle westward along another old favorite--the American highway.

Music for the journey--I imagine: Bruce Springsteen (yes, how could I turn down anything about that heady freedom you have at seventeen when you haven't yet realized things can kill people your age, and do?); and probably Josh Ritter (who makes such beautiful music and does the compliment of writing good lyrics); and Iron and Wine for the slow parts, the sad parts; and Natalie Merchant for the waking up and the spooky late-at-night. And Jackson Browne, and Cat Stevens (for crossing the desert, my first time), and Badly Drawn Boy, and now (thanks to Lisa) probably some Neil Young, and I'm sure Ben Folds and Fiona Apple would pop up in there, too--Ben Folds as the stars rise over Nebraska? I can't turn it down! --And always the sounds of other people breathing and the sound of the wheels or the track.

I've looked up prices. Emails have been sent to exotic locales like Portland and Taos and Vancouver. I didn't used to be much of a planner--but I like the way this feels a lot like hope. I like the feeling of thinking to do something and then doing it. I'm getting used to it in my life, these days.

Oh, and since I said I would give a heads-up: There will be four birds up on this weblog on Wednesday morning: a blue, a pink, a yellow, and a teal, all with their very own arrangements of paper flowers, milliner's trims, ribbon, etc. So if that's for you, keep an eye out.

Sunday, March 12

she says, if I leave before you, darlin'

Songs for now: "Naked as We Came," "History of Lovers," and "Love and Some Verses" by Iron & Wine (and Calexico). Also "Look After You" by the Fray (whose bassist I met, walking down the street the other day). Also just about anything by Coldplay, whose music I have only just discovered in earnest.

Above: illustration for a wedding invitation and program.

Thinking a lot about: love, friendship, what's going to happen in the next few months, springtime, the possibility of 10" of snow tonight. Travel, leaving, teaching. Sending out my book, as my advisor says I should. Twenty-three papers to grade. Skirts and shirts and drawings, figuring out how to make sleeves correctly. People who are gone, going to people.

And you?

Sunday, March 5

so much

So far:

Friday: Walk The Line, which has familial resonance for me. Sometimes melodramatic, but Witherspoon was convincing as June Carter and the music was delicious. Have been singing "Cocaine Blues," "Get Rhythm," and "That's All Right, Mama" all weekend.

Saturday: Kiki Smith (oh, swoon, sigh, thank you for coming to Minneapolis and making up for my idiotic neglect of your show in Venice this summer) at the Walker. My favorite piece, "Blue Girl" (1998), is here (click and see!) for now. Breath-taking, completely inspiring. Kiki Smith makes me want to live. Later: Sewing with a pal. New design for a skirt! Dark blue thin denim. Inside hem is vintage kimono fabric in a very open plaid of navy, green, brown, and cream. Then: a movie (again!). Love, Ludlow. Trying to be Amélie, maybe, but still lovely in moments. Made me want to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again, soon. Maybe this week. Embroidered, sashiko-style, all around the hems and seams during the movie. Made 麻の葉 (asanoha: hemp-leaf design that looks like stars) on the skirt, too.

Today: Finished another skirt in same pattern. Orange with celery-colored Dupioni silk waistband. Pleased and surprised by mastery of hidden zipper. (!!) And, at my parents', serged beginnings of four more skirts. Can't wait for break! Sewing all the time!

I also have a few ideas I want to solidify and then talk about--to do with the last post here, to do with sisterhood, and teaching, and (word I hate) sharing--and also I have new birdies and similar good things in the works. I imagine I will put the birds up early next week, and I'll give notice here first, so if you're wanting one, be on the watch.

Now: time for a glass of tea (well, tisane, really), and reading my book for class tomorrow, and continued addiction to the song "Fix You" by Coldplay, which I just discovered this weekend. Why didn't anyone alert me to its demi-miraculous existence? Also: watched the crows all morning, walking around on the next-door roof. They are so smart and beautiful.

Friday, March 3

coming soon + thinking

Many things asimmer right now. Of course new birds (I just got new mushrooms in the mail, so there will be birds with green, brown, and red mushrooms) and other things like that--and the t-shirts, which are all going to be different, sort of monoprint-y--and shoes and skirts (and ships, yes, and sealing wax, cabbages, and kings, as you might expect). But I'm thinking bigger, too.

Thinking collaborative. Thinking about how we share or don't share--how sometimes it feels like a talent show and not like a sisterhood. How that is strange and uncomfortable. How there are weird hierarchies or 'circles,' as I've heard them referred to. How to maybe change that, a little.

Thinking, too, about something special, something full of surprises. A treat for you or for a friend, for a birthday or graduation or any old day. To do with this:

or things like it. Vintage kimono fabric, vintage cottons, ribbon, trim, lace, vintage notions, buttons, upholstery fabric, thread, felting supplies, tiny things I've made, vintage millinery items, paper flowers.

Thinking about the fact that it is spring break in a week and I will have hours and hours of uninterrupted sewing/making time. Thinking about getting to hang out with two women who seem Great on Saturday the 10th. Thinking about having tea soon with the owner/buyer of my favorite shop. Thinking about printing all day one day soon.

Thinking about how I do generally like the world. Happy weekend.