Thursday, August 31

tonight, alberta

No posting: spending time with old friend, meeting new ones, walking around, riding the bus, buying fabric (bad! but so good!), writing, reading, waiting, missing, just loving Portland.

Tonight, Last Thursdays on Alberta. Six to nine p.m. Galleries, makers, etc. I hear. Mulysa and I will be there, probably in front of or near Bolt. Come and see us. Say hi.

Thursday, August 24


Tonight Brian (he of the Jerome Fellowship, newly! Can I announce that here, B?) and I are catching a late bus to Chicago. We'll visit my cousins, go to the museums, walk around. Chicago was my first taste of freedom, as a senior in high school. I went down there to see colleges, but ended up taking the trains all over (both alone and with my cousin). I love public transportation: Greyhound, train, city bus, vaporetto. It makes me feel good to be around other people, going somewhere. (This photo is our point of initial departure.)

Sunday, I head out to Portland to visit my best friend and meet some inspiring blog ladies! So, with all this travel (not to mention the big trip coming up fast), I have had TRAVEL WALLET on the to-do brain for a while now.

Then I saw the afore-mentioned inspiring post over at Shim+Sons and the ideas I had were resolved.
I'm pleased--I needed something big enough for my passport and travel documents, as well as my ID cards, check card, money (folding and coin), cell phone, and pens. I can even put my little notebook into the pocket that holds the travel documents, if I want to.
And it has strawberries. Who could ask for anything more? (Other photos here.)

I'll be in Portland until next Friday. May post from there. May not. Hope all is well, in the interim. Big news, finally, when I get back. And thank you very much for your expressions of kindness towards my brother. I appreciate them.

Tuesday, August 22

worry, worry

The less time I have, the more I find myself trying to do. This is as a rule: it's the reason I came out of graduate school with not one, but three manuscripts. It's the reason I come up with (and execute) new designs, invariably, the week before a show. It's the reason I take on extra jobs, offer help (even when it's not necessary), and push really hard right up to the wire, even though I might have been slacking off a bit beforehand.
Most of the time it produces excellent results, especially in combination with the high expectations I set for myself.

Other times (often in combination with other stresses--you know, the ones I haven't planned for) it produces anxiety, worry, irritability, and general ennui. I overwhelm myself with all the things I want to do.
Right now the list (and for me, lists are stress-reducers mostly; occasionally they do make me more anxious, but then I stop using them for a while, loosen back up) includes a skirt in grey cotton and yellow linen for myself; a cream wool winter coat, also for myself; a cashmere skirt (um, ditto). And then, um, packing all the things I own, or giving them away, or using them up? Oh, and also a slip dress like the one in the spring Marie-Claire Idées (on the page with the painted wardrobe) and a quilt for Brian for when I'm gone, and a little jacket for me (and two or three for the shops?) and a long, many-pleated skirt in dark brown linen (ooh, also for me).
And I keep having more ideas (true to form) and, and, and. This one does not know how to cut herself off.

I did edit this just now to take out the personal bit at the bottom. Still not comfortable with that. I know Bloglines users will still be able to read it, and that's fine, but didn't really want it out here for eternity. Suffice to say a family member's ill and that kind of puts my crafty worries in their place.

Sunday, August 20


Yesterday, my boyfriend, Brian, did his first craft show...and survived.
Of course, I was there too (and barely survived, with an awful migraine by the end from the smoke that was drifting into the building from smokers outside, the super-loud music, and my lack of sleep). But I meant to write about Brian on Friday (something I love, am excited about), and didn't, so now I will.
For Brian, working as an artist is all. I have never known anybody so dedicated to his own education and to developing an understanding of and connection to the world around him. This is a photo of his studio during his last year in grad school. All those prints are his trying to understand the construction and being of a sphere. He is exhaustive and deep in his methods.
And now he is finding a way to support himself beyond the graphic design job he has. I'm so proud that this person, who can be introverted, but who has a wonderful sense of humor, the kindest heart, and who is thoughtful in extremis, is getting his work out into the world using the most populist of print media: relief (in this case, letterpress) printing. What does this mean for him? More time in the studio, a job he enjoys, and most of all, the good that comes from making things with one's hands.

I just think it's neat.

Also, do love having someone who can lift the clothing racks onto the car roof after the show.


Many new things to shop tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17

rainy days and Thursdays

It's perfect conditions for working here: misting rain, good music, food in the fridge, new fabric, lots of ideas, and a visit from a good friend. So--no more talk, back to the sewing machine. Here's what I'm working on:
New bag design in linen and Japanese cotton. Inside pockets, ribbon ties. Two down, one to go. Oh, and look what I found! (I especially love the Eiffel Tower one, even if the counting words are inaccurate.)
Tomorrow: something I love, something exciting.

Wednesday, August 16


I couldn't believe how many of you wanted my old ribbons! --Or how badly I felt that I didn't have 45 packets of them to give away. But, in the end there was only enough for one: Melanie. Thank you all for your well-wishes. I'll have some bundles of scraps and things next week, I think, so more chances then.

To answer some questions that came up:
1/ Yes, I'll keep this blog when I go.
2/ I'll be teaching English in a high school.
3/ The town is in the east, near Dijon.
4/ I'll be there until April, at which point I have to come home. More on this later. I may or may not go back, depending on several things.
5/ I'm "packing" by sending some to my parents' garage, some to thrift stores, and some to you, apparently. I will bring some clothes, some books, teaching materials, my old bear, bed linens, toiletries, and my sewing machine.
6/ The original post was here.

I am getting ready for another crafty thing--information is here, if you're looking for a good time in Minneapolis on Saturday--and then another in two weeks in Portland, and then one more right before I leave. These fabrics are used in my fall collection--part of which I'll have at the Design Fiesta this weekend. Better get back to the grindstone.

Edit: Look at this book! I hadn't seen it before, and the carved stamps (hanko: はんこ) are SO CUTE. I would totally buy it if, well, you know.

Monday, August 14

and now for something completely different

So, I'm moving to France in about six weeks, and that means paring everything down to the essentials. I have a lot of sewing supplies--some of which I plan on taking with me--but above almost any other notion, I love ribbons. Fancy, plain; velvet, grosgrain; rick-rack, satin; doesn't matter. But I have too many, now, so if you would like my extra ribbons (see exhibits 1 & 2), just leave a comment (with some way to get a hold of you--email address or link to your blog where I can find your email address) and on Wednesday I'll pick someone randomly.



I also gave away most of my yarn, but I noticed that what I kept was almost exclusively white. So I'm making a little shawl thing in all the shades of white yarn I have--trying intarsia/fair isle for the first time. I like it! the only thing is knitting on small needles--during a movie last night, I was only able to knit four rows! That's taking some getting used to.

The flowers are from Barrett, for housewarming and congratulations. More about that sometime, I guess. But for now: free ribbons!

Saturday, August 12

what's going on

There's a lot I would like to say but I do censor myself to some degree because I'm not interested in getting into discussions of politics, religion, dogma, or semantics. This is a place where I can pretend that kids aren't dying by bombs and everything is okay with the atmosphere and it's all right to go on making pretty things. It is my tidy place, yes.

tub + rug

Of course I do have a mechanism in place that makes me aware of and responsive to these things: it's called my real life. For me, a weblog is not a true (i.e. complete) representation of myself or my life; it's one section--a tiny one. So I keep it to what is safe and comfortable. We can all agree on a cute rabbit. Not so, necessarily, human rights or pacifism or abortion or whether green olives are indeed the ideal topping for pizza, American-style. I prefer to have discussion about those things with people, in real time, not in print over and inflexible (and often incendiary) medium.


When I started this post I was just going to write briefly about the 17-hour day I put in working on my fall collection on Thursday, about how when I get in the thick of making I get more inspired and then sometimes I get all wannnnnty about fabrics online (I tend not to order online because of shipping costs--I also like to support businesses in my area; it's that whole 'interacting with people I can see in real-time' thing) and spend hours making wishlists of them. And then I got to thinking about people who work on garments for long, long workdays on a daily basis, and not necessarily because it's fun. And that led to responsible consumption, and not wasting, and then on to global warming, and then just a short hop-skip-jump to, well, everything else.

And I said I wouldn't talk about it here. So I won't. But now I feel frivolous posting photos, so I will just add one more, from our work session yesterday. My friend Barrett came over to help serge while I constructed garments, which was a lifesaver.

the sweatshop

There's a glimpse of the chaos that is my living space/workroom, too. Birds, stone, etc. Sorry for such heavy fare on the weekend. Something lighter soon. And I'm still craving these:

(All from Reprodepot.)

Wednesday, August 9

meet mon p'tite lapin


she has a secret....

is she waiting for something?

or going on a trip?

time will tell...!

Friday, August 4


I am for YES. Both. Not binary. Magic and ordinary, mess and work, perfect and broken, able and not able. Maybe it's naïve, but I always assume how I am is how everyone else is: getting by, doing well, making do. I'm amazed and inspired by my peers and their work ethics and their thought processes and their new ideas and their busy lives. I understand these things because I live them, too. So I know that there is laundry to be done, and dishes, and that avocado I was going to eat and now it is just getting overripe and SOMETHING needs to be done with it, and a million scraps of paper and cloth, and lots of filing, and, and, and. That's okay. Your beautiful, clean, perfect lives are okay, too, sisters. I'm glad to see them. All.

Tuesday, August 1


I've had this dress since I was three. It's one of those hangers-on, a thing I can't get rid of. But now that I'm moving so far away, I have to consider what I really need, and what is sentimental but unnecessary. So today it went into the giveaway bag, and hey. It's all right. (The picture above it, on the other hand, is a New Yorker cover from my birthday in 1982. It shows a girl with a present standing at a door. My dad and mom framed it and I've always had it hanging somewhere. It won't be leaving anytime soon.)

Outgoing. Outgoing. I've been thinking a lot about that lately. So much of me is headed off into the wide world and once it's there, that's that.

But no melancholy, now. It's raining, has been raining all day, and after so many days of heat this is just right. I sent off my package for the Vintage Button Swap that Sally is holding, and walked all over campus through the rain. I finally have stopped feeling like a college student--after having been one, or sort of one, for seven years. It's strange.

I want to talk about poetry.

I've been reading a lot lately. Finally paid my dues to the library and brought home many books--junk books, heavy books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry. And four cds of piano concertos, études, nocturnes. Feels a little like the beginning of a hibernation. Beginning of something new. Some ether, to steal from Nick Flynn.

It must be the rain that is doing this to me. I'm as disjointed as it is, just letting things fall where they may.

Also outgoing [exact measurements on request]:

brocade (A piece of Japanese brocade, about 18" x 24"; $8, postage in.)

Email me at ohbara [at] gmail [dot] com if you're interested in a departure with expected arrival at your house.

Now back to the rain, looking at it, etc.