A Round of Robins witnessed her first steps…

965-1239015746zJgjWalk! Walk, damn you!

So, yesterday, when my daughter and I came home from lunch with the huzz, the house was surrounded by robins. They were in the trees. They were on the ground gorging on worms. They were hopping on the roof and swooping in all directions.

We came inside, after a bit of rapt observation, and I delicately placed her on the ground, feet first. And just like it was no big deal, she walked three steps. I was like, WHOA, she just walked! We’ve been joking around with her lately, saying “Just walk, why don’t you?” so we’ve been ‘ready’ for it. But nothing really prepares you for the actual moment they lift their little legs, of their own volition and take those awaited steps. And it’s crazy how excited it makes you. It’s an official message that our world has officially changed, from the fast crawl to the new access to higher heights – and the eventual – be still my heart – run! Yikes.

But back to the birds. Birds and dogs are pretty much THE animals of interest around here. We have dogs, and I’m sort of obsessed with birds, so it’s not really that surprising that those are the two specie that my baby girl (no, toddler girl…) has focused on. So in celebration of her first steps, we opened all the living room windows and basked in the sing song of those crazy, partying robins.

Which led me to wonder…what the heck do you call a group of robins? I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen or heard so many robins in one place at a time. So I looked it up. Apparently there was a relatively recent voting on various names for a group of robins, since, you know, they don’t ‘group’ all that often.

Here are the top ten names people voted for in ascending order: Reliant (?), Riot (it DID sound like a riot), Hood, Rash (Ick!), Squabble, Red (um…), Bobbin (really??), Rabble, Blush, Breast (eh), and the winner: A Round. It’s got a nice ring to it, right?

Hearing all those robins, and watching them passionately yank worms from the earth reminded me of a textile pattern I designed a few months ago – or it could be a year now, time is out of my grasp after having a child, but it’s called ‘A Robin’s Guide to Livin” And…I think they sort of have it figured out.

A-Robin's-Guide-to-Livin'Here it is:

1. Admire Beauty (in this case, other Robins)
2. Greet Every Day with Song (Robins are among the first birds that sing at dawn)
3. Eat Well (a la: grubs, worms and caterpillars)
4. Keep it Together (in this case with a fine, muddy glue)
5. Draw from many sources (feathers, sticks, grass, moss, whatever you can find)
6. Recycle (bits of paper, ribbon, and string are fabulous additions to a nest)
7. Love the Color blue (I mean, seriously, why do you think TIffany’s picked Robin’s egg blue for their seminal boxes??)
8. Stay Organized (ok, ok, you caught me, Robin’s don’t keep lists, but there is a chance one of your lost grocery lists made it into a nest!)
and finally,

9. Fly Gracefully (as only a Robin can do).

Ok, thanks for reading and if you like the fabric you can click it to go through to spoonflower and get a better view! And until next time, enjoy the birds, the beginning of Spring and any first steps you or your loved ones are taking! They are the best!!

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Aquarian Dreams: The latest collection

Aquarian Dreams

This is the first collection post birth of our new daughter. It just popped into my head a few weeks ago, and I had a delightful time just letting it flow out and then playing with the shapes to get a variety of patterns.

Maybe it’s because birth teaches you about letting go, or maybe it’s because I don’t want her to experience the same frustration I used to while creating, but for some reason I have a totally new attitude about creating!

I used to toil and torture myself, the internal critic never at bay…but these days I am learning that the best creations are made while your head and heart are at play. Something I ‘knew’ before, but didn’t put into practice.

So, here’s to my latest creation. I thought it only fitting, since it’s seems fishy-esque to begin with, and she was born on January 30th, that I name it Aquarian Dreams. Enjoy! And if you like any of them enough to create something, please show me, I’d love to see it!

Click on the image to purchase:

Fins (in Caramel)

Ordered Bubbles (in Navy)

Fin Formation (in Caramel and Pink)

Flying Fish (in blue)

Fish Paths (in Pink)

Uniform Krill (in Caramel)

Ocean Bits (in Multi)

Fin Sails (in Blue)

Sea Shadows (in Pink and Caramel)

Imprint (in Navy)

Bubbles Up (in Blue)

Aquarian Dreams (in Multi)

Fish Paths (in Navy and Caramel)


Just a quick note: I will try to replace some of these pictures with lighter ones..when I have time (Baah ahahahhahaha :). Also, this last one is shown in silk. I had to order a fat quarter in order to properly display the larger pattern, so I figured, why not see what it looks like on a different fabric. I am thinking of making some infinity scarves with some of these patterns, but I also think they lend themselves really well to upholstery and pillows!

Thanks again!

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Bugs!

The Cutest Infestation

Here are some bugs you might want to invite into your own home….if you like this kind of thing. This is a pattern I did forever ago for one of Spoonflower.com‘s first fabric-of-the-week contests. I didn’t win, but it seems to be a popular pattern, as I get a few people complimenting it every couple months (Thanks, y’all!). I couldn’t be happier to say, that by request, it’s been placed on the ‘for sale’ portion of my spoonflower site. Or you can just click here.

Ok, back to it and happy creating!

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MINE. Capiche?

We all have our ways of responding to things. Some people use their words, some people get emotional, some people use symbols and yet others use a combination of these things (that’s me :)).

With all the insanity that’s been happening on the political front re: women’s health issues, and since I can’t say it better than Soraya Chemaly, I present you with this, my combo of words, art and emotion:

And if it feels too stark for you, there’s always this:

And if you aren’t tired of looking at uteri yet, there’s this:

And just one more, mostly to give a what-what! to the awesomeness of the Uteri (funny that this is a masculine Latin plural ending, but whatever..I guess the ancient Romans wanted a piece of it, too…), there’s this:

Another good idea

Ok, I’ve said my piece (for now)

Thanks for reading.

PS, if any of the above images spoke to you, they can be purchased here.

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Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!

Subtitle: The Most Intense Sewing I’ve Ever Done.

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This is a trillion tiny squares. I sewed them together.

The funny thing being, of course, that I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time. And I was sewing a BABY blanket.

All I knew was that one of my closest friends from our time at Smith College was expecting her baby soon. I was heading to Florida with my mom in a week, and I knew, just KNEW, that she would be having the baby when I was gone. Just to spite me, for doubting whether I could get the darn blanket done in time.

When I look back now, it’s just a blur of square cutting, fabric scrapes, and near misses between my fingers and the needle. Why did I think it was a good idea, with no prior experience, to spontaneously dive into this complicated project? I don’t have a good answer. Sometimes a question like this is best answered with another question: Why not?

These were my basic tools:

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I said 'basic,' didn't I?

Once I finished the squares I was off and sewing…day and night, night a day, a mess of unknown hormones running through me, but pushing on.

ImageSquares turn into rows, rows turn into rectangles…and just by the hairs of my chinny-chin-chin, those rectangles turned into a blanket! I wish I could say it was done by magical elves, but unfortunately I was there every pain-(and love)-staking moment…

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A perfect blanket, by no means, but one made with love and a deadline? YES. Did I also mention that it was my first time sewing with Jersey Cotton? Of course, I wanted it to be soft and nice!! (eyes going crossed)

Some close-ups of the squares:

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I did it! I finished, sent it off, then headed here (whew!):

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Only to discover a few days later, about the same time my friend went into labor, that I was pregnant! Surprise! (a good one)

My friend loved her baby blanket. I had mental plans to make one for my own baby. However, it has taken a year for me to consider the possibility of delving into those squares again!! Don’t hold your breath…but there might be another (perhaps smaller) baby blanket in your future, little Evie…

If you like any of these fabrics, they can be found here.

Thanks for reading!

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I Dream of Traffic Cones…

Ok, so I don’t REALLY dream of traffic cones..usually. But after thinking about this latest Spoonflower.com contest, they made a few appearances. When I first visited the website origin for the contest, at the Textile Center, in Minneapolis, I was immediately drawn to the lightly beat up orange cylinders making their way down a curving staircase:

I don’t know why there is something charming about this picture, but there is. Maybe the cones planned to meet up at the bottom of the stairs, or maybe they just all happened upon each other by accident. Either way, I felt like they belonged together, like they were…friends.

Add in a dash of a never-ending staircase and my bizarre conical friends become fanciful. (Or so I like to think..)

traffic-cones-on-a-neverending-stacase

Whether you enjoy this pattern, or not, you should still come to spoonflower and see the wonderful myriad of designs that the artists there produce. The patterns were due today, and I will post a reminder when they go up for voting!

Thanks for reading!

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Just Wait…

If you don’t feel strong enough right now,

Just Wait.

Space and time ebb and flow

We are the only ones concerned with the order

Right now, things are happening.

In another moment, what now feels like the most unconquerable task

will seem less

or perhaps you won’t even care.

Move towards intention

Let go of expectation

And always

Always,

Breathe.

- me

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Finding Your Words.

The most difficult part of writing for me, at least when it is for purely creative purposes, is just getting started. It isn’t so difficult to sit in front of a blank page. At least if someone comes along you can always pretend that you were just about to start…or you can hope that your screen saver came on before they saw the open document staring back at you. The real challenge is getting the first words out, then continuing to put them down, one after another – especially after moments when the stream temporarily dries up and you feel totally and utterly lost.

In these pages I will include writing exercises that have worked for me, prompts and inspirations to keep you going. Know that in the moments when you feel the most alone and unsure of where to step, those are the moments that you truly join the ranks of all the writers who came before you. Why do you think Homer invoked the Muses? Why did Enheduanna write hymns to the Sumerian Goddess Ianna, and take on part of her name as her own? Because sometimes writing, or having the power to record words and thoughts, to reflect upon our very existence, feels too big for us. But half of the battle is staying there, in that dark moment and having the willful obstinance to not let it defeat you. So invoke whomever you choose, burn incense or pray, but whatever you do, don’t give up.

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Excuse my wandering…the pattern.

Excuse my wandering.

How can one be orderly with this?

It’s like counting leaves in a garden,

along with the song notes of partridges,

and crows. Sometimes organization

and computation become absurd.

-Jalaluddin Rumi (13th ce Sufi Mystic Poet)

It’s that time again, folks: the Spoonflower.com Fabric of the Week Contest. This contest was a particularly fun one. The goal was to create a pattern based on a poem. When I first read about the contest, this poem was the first to pop into my mind. It is so short and sweet and elegant in its capturing of the winding path life usually takes, at least, that’s how MY life usually feels!

I wonder if Rumi could ever have imagined, back in the 13th century, that someone would be making a textile pattern for an online contest inspired by his work? That’s a real mind-bender. But then again, life and history ARE a tapestry unto themselves..so I guess it sort of makes sense to me, in the end.

Anyhow, there are tons of beautiful and awesome interpretations of other poems up on the site now. So, if you have a few minutes and are interested, you should go check them out here.

Thanks for reading and go forth on your winding path!

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Simian Word Tree: This one’s for you, fellow language dorks!

I guess you could say it all started with my 8th grade Latin class…or maybe before that when my dad spoke to me in French as a baby and my mom read me Doctor Seuss books in Spanish, but I have always had a ‘thing’ for language and its origins.

I have gotten off the path of pursuing this passion until recently when I felt the inspiration to look up the actual root meaning of the word ‘peninsula.’ Just on a whim. I learned that ‘penin’ means ‘almost’ in Latin (think also ‘penultimate’) and ‘sula’ means ‘island.’ So, thinking about this origin connects you to that dude who was standing on the shore, looking at some piece of land thinking, “gee, that sort of looks like an island..”

I love this stuff. Getting connected to the actual meaning of the words we use, the words we so often take for granted and use without appreciating their roots, the original human experience that pinned something outside of ourselves to a system of language. The very processes that allow us to communicate in the complex ways that we do.

Since my experience with the word ‘peninsula’ I was inspired to brush up on my Greek and Latin roots…I made flash card! YES! While making these cards I started to become more aware of these beautiful patterns that make up languages, the way they derive from each other and braid together certain elements to create new languages. Like how the letters ‘G’ and ‘U’ are oh-so German, ‘K’ is a major component of Greek and ‘Q’ is very much from Latin..and maybe before that Arabic. But language is like an immense tapestry (warning: metaphor!) of our human history and the way it has woven together…by the way, ‘meta’ means ‘above or between,’ and ‘phor’ means ‘carry or bear’ (think phosphorus aka, ‘light bearer’ elemental phosphorus emits a glow when exposed to oxygen. The name came from Greek mythology of the Morning Star. In Latin the name is Lucifer, but that is another line of metaphor for another post!). So a metaphor literally carries the meaning from an object into our mind.

Which is where my above illustration comes in. The scientific word for the family of apes and monkeys from which we derived is known as Simian, from the Latin ‘Simia’ which literally meant ape or monkey. But in the incredible way that humans grow and abstract meaning, out of our great motivation to communicate, grew many other words that extend the very traits and meanings that allowed us to relate to one another to begin with.

Think of the words ‘mimic,’ ‘similar,’ ‘simulate,’ and even ‘simulacra’ (love you Philip K Dick. He wasn’t the first to use it, but he was a big fan of the word/concept of the simulacra.). All of these bloomed out of the concept that an intrinsic part of being an ape was the ability to relate and imitate (there’s another! and think of mimes! sheesh, I didn’t even think of these two examples until writing this out! They are everywhere!) within the group. So it started with a visual identification of something outside, something observable. The amazing complexity of the human mind is our ability to apply these terms to concepts through abstraction and use them to communicate ever more complex ideas.

I have been thinking of making this illustration for a while, but the recent article in the New York Times about using farming metaphors to describe the economy was all the inspiration I needed to get it done.

These little nuggets of meaning are all around us, we use them everyday. Like I posted on my facebook page the other day: We are all poets, but we take this for granted. Everything we know how to communicate is based somewhere in our natural world. Which is why it is so hard to imagine being able to communicate with an alien life form! What if their sun came up in the South and set in the North, what would happen to the the Orient and the Occident? They would be rendered more or less meaningless without the context of the planet itself and the specific orbit of the star around it.

Language is such a beautiful and integral part of being human. I hope this post gets you inspired to think about all the metaphors we use everyday. And if you like the design, I’m making it available on my zazzle page, you can find it by clicking here! (note it may take up to 24 hours for it to post, so please check back tomorrow if it isn’t working yet!)

Thanks! Hope you enjoyed and get out there and metaphor up!

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