Thursday, December 21

keeping out the cold, darlin'

window snake: the

I love that patchwork takes things I didn't think would work together and magically reconciles them, showing me the liasons between them I didn't see before. Here's my new 'window snake'--thingy full of rice for blocking the draft at my window. Keeping the cold out.

I tend to think (and speak) in non-sequiturs (only they do sequit, just not outside of my head always). Patchwork feels warm to me. Feels...not just homey, but--careful? In the way of someone really caring for you feels. One of the practical things I brought to France was the quilt my mom made for me when I was little. There's warmth, and there's warmth.

window snake looking glamorous

And from now on the days will be getting longer, and eventually there won't be a need for things like window-snakes or tea cosies, but they are good fun to make in the meantime.

tea cosy 2

If you're waiting for a shop update--I'm sorry, I've been working on custom orders, a trade lonnnnnng in the making, and something for the Kim Family Auction. But I'm expecting to do a big update with three or so travel wallets, French flea-market finds, a tea-cosy or two (maybe) and clothing (maybe!), in the second week of January. For now, there are a few mercerie items. You know where to find them, if you're into that sort of thing.

And to all a good night.

Sunday, December 17


I'm finding beautiful things everywhere these days. Beauty in finding my stride here--figuring out what I need to do to keep myself reasonably happy. Learning (every day) to live now, not to sacrifice the present to a suppositious future (to paraphrase John Dewey again).
I just read Sula, by Toni Morrison. It is one of the most beautiful and disturbing books I've read. Her mastery of fiction--it blows me away. I can't even conceive of how you'd go about writing a novel (I joke that I write poems because I don't have the attention span for fiction, but it's kidding on the square, and 'attention span' might be a question of discipline). The characters are complete, they are real. Everything is precise and necessary. I aspire to write so well. If you have the money, buy this book. If not, borrow it from the library.
Yesterday I went to Strasbourg again, and I bought an ungodly number of little, red, spun-cotton mushrooms for mercerie packets. The city is so luminous: it shines with lights, with three or four languages being spoken at once, with whitewash between blackened boards. If I could live in France again, I would choose to live in Strasbourg. Who knows--maybe I will.

Beauty here, too, and here, and here, and here, and here. And here. And here. And here.

And thank you again for your compliments on the poem.

Thursday, December 14

did you know

...that Brian isawesome?
Now you do.

* * *

Thank you for your kind, kind words about St. Lucia yesterday.

Wednesday, December 13


I forgot that the days were getting narrower. It explains so much--in the absence of snow or the very cold temperatures I am used to--about winter when I stop and realize the days have been shortening for a long while now, and we approach the midpoint of the year. And they will lengthen again.

A long time ago, I mentioned my writing, and some of you kindly expressed interest in reading a snippet before the book came out. Well--I've seen a lot of Santa Lucia today, and it reminded me of this poem. It's for my friend L.D., who is also a poet and writes beautifully, amazingly.


(I dreamt you)

(I dreamt you were a little girl in a flannel nightgown shoveling snow)

(I dreamt you were shoveling snow)


(I dreamt you were shoveling snow, the snow falling around you, your white nightgown, your black hair)

On Hmong New Year a little girl waits on the train platform
in a pink pleated skirt with jingles

(I dream)

Crows have been flocking every night for a week to the trees nearby
there is still no sign of you

(I dream

You are passing just outside the window
Your black hair
your white nightgown

Your dream

Finally the days lengthen, at first
such small increments I don't notice (north of here: candles)
In my dream you ride a horse by the window every night

Your black hair the white snow

The white horse, the black horse

(I dreamt you)

(I dream a white gown against white)
(The night rides closer to us

black on snow)

* * *

So there's a taste. Of course, it's not all like this--bony and spare and wintery. But here we are on Santa Lucia's day, and it just occurred to me to post it. The formatting might not show up quite right--it ought to have line-internal spacing in some places--but that's just another reason to buy the book when it's released, right?

And of course, please do credit any reposting or pasting you do. I know photos go astray and how much easier it is, in this ethery online world, to take words and then forget whose they were! But these are my children and I would be very sorry if they were lost.

* * *

Here's to more light, more peace.

Monday, December 11

finding light

Sometimes I get bogged down in what I haven't done, what I should do, what I can't do, that I forget what John Dewey said: "We always live at the time we live, and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future. This is the only preparation which in the long run amounts to anything." Epicure: find the happiness now, even in the difficult moments.
So I go out and walk in the crisp air that has finally arrived in my town. And have a good dinner with a friend, and have a nice long talk with my mom and another with my poet-friend and another with my boyfriend, and read the emails I received.

Seeing the lights, lighting the candles helps me remember that even when it is very dark there is light coming. Feels appropriate for this season, for the last week or so in particular. Even when everything is saying no, you can't, I remind myself, I can. The important thing is to begin. The important thing is to say yes.

* * *

(PS: mercerie here, now.)

Friday, December 8

oh là là

Did you know that the UNIFORM Studio shop is open? And of course everything there is beautiful--Martha makes amazing clothing and accessories. Hats and booties, sweaters, little dresses and skirts, those huge-dot bags (which I love), wrist-cuffs. I feel lucky to know Martha in real life, to live near her (well, back in the States, anyway). She is so smart and funny and gentle and creative. Exactly the kind of person I want to be around. And I remember when she wasn't sure about having a blog or a shop, and I am so glad (and I bet a lot of other people are, too), that she does.
And then there's this lovely necklet, from windowsill's shop. I love the thick-thin yarn and the soft greys, and the contrast of the smooth ribbon to the pebbly knitted surface. There is so much beauty out there. You barely have to look for it.
This painting is one of Brian's. I feel lucky to have someone like him as an example, because he is really about art-making. He isn't that invested in what other people think about his work (I mean the paintings and prints, not the letterpress). He has a project, he has ideas, and he does it. He takes criticism beautifully. He doesn't think about whether it will sell, which is sometimes a sticking point for me when I make clothing. It's nice, too, to be able to teach him about business (he had a really successful day at No-Coast, so thanks to anyone who went!) and it's lovely to watch his business grow. (I think he's planning to have a shop up sometime in the next 2 weeks). It makes me so happy when people can support themselves doing what they love.

All these people are inspiration to work harder, push my ideas further, see what else I can do.

Wednesday, December 6

* * *

Sometimes I just feel like this.

Beauty for the moment:: Atmosphere's Slug singing "Always Coming Back Home to You." The album Lovers Rock by Sade. Chrysanthemums, which always feel solemn to me. Vienna Teng: "Harbor" (makes me feel like late May, 2004). A letter in the mail with a Robert Lowell quotation on the back. Care package with lychee gummies and an Advent wreath. Mysterious, Griffin-and-Sabine-esque postcards. Stars in the sky above my courtyard.

* * *

They found the family who were lost in Oregon, but the dad, James Kim, didn't make it.

Monday, December 4

what there is

[Saturday flea market: lacy, embroidered handkerchiefs, antique dress collars, handmade lace, real dotted swiss, a man's silk handkerchief embroidered 'Josef']

[A tablecloth embroidered with wildflowers and wheat]

[A peaceful evening in my clean apartment, with candles all lit and laundry hung to dry over the heater, dishes done and put away, letters written, and a piece of cardboard to paint and draw on, Jolie Holland in the background singing "The Littlest Birds," which, if you do not know it, you should look up, especially Lisa and Stephanie, seeing as how you have some littlest birds in your lives]

* * *

Thank you for your orders--I was really touched. On the way to visit my friend in another town on Friday night, I was harassed on the train. Coming home, Saturday, I still had some of that uneasiness with me. It shook me out of my 'brown study' to understand how much you like my things (enough to pay! for them. wow!!) It is so kind and so complimentary.

* * *

I hope there is something beautiful for you, wherever you are, and the people you love are happy and safe.

Sunday, December 3

have you seen them?

James and Kati Kim (owners of craft-friendly shop DOE) and their two daughters are missing from San Francisco.

Contact the SFPD:
Missing Persons Unit
Inspector Angela Martin

Operation Center--After Hours

* * *

I don't know them, but other people do.

Saturday, December 2


the shop is open.

[just a few things :: more to come]

[for receipt by christmas, order before 12/8]