I dyed my hair pink. It makes me so happy.
Category Archives: Life
Yes, you can have too much fabric. When you can’t get the closet door closed, you have a problem. The best solution to this would probably be to clear out the closet, give away the fabric I’m never going to use, throw away the tiny left over scraps I should never have kept in the first place, and fold it all neatly so it fits on the shelves. But that’s not going to happen any time soon. Instead I have a plan to buy less fabric, and even get a few pieces off the shelf and into my closet.
This morning I pulled out all the fabric I’ve bought for particular projects, things that I’m excited about and know what I want to do with, but haven’t had time for. There are ten of them, which is way more than I expected. My plan is not to buy any fabric for myself (fabric for customer’s clothing is ok of course) until I have finished those ten projects. Since things sometimes go wrong and these projects may not all sound like good ideas when I get to them, I’m letting myself switch out any of these projects for something else made from fabric in my stash. But I will finish ten projects from fabric I already have before I buy anymore. Hold me to it!
This has been one of those weeks where you wake up for work and it turns out it’s Saturday already. Which is nice of course, but somehow I went all week without posting anything, even though I spent Sunday afternoon taking pictures. Prima and I went to the zoo, and after spending a while watching the baby otters play, we took pictures of her latest projects.
The zoo is a difficult place to take photos. It is almost all direct sunlight, especially in front of the animals (which were the whole reason Prima wanted to take pictures there). The parasol helped, but I will be insisting on shadier locations in the future. I’d rather worry about what color sets off the dress than how to keep the shadows from hiding all the most interesting parts.
These dresses make up Prima’s summer collection. I don’t know much about how they’re made, but if you have any questions, leave a comment. I’m sure she’ll be happy to tell you all about them.
Isabel’s been watching “Pushing Daisies,” and it inspired her to spend Saturday afternoon baking. I approve.
Thursday was my birthday, and my boyfriend gave me a flash for my camera. I spent Saturday morning playing with it and the different sort of light it makes.
In the afternoon we went to see Balenciaga and Spain, an exhibition at the De Young museum. It was wonderful! If you’re in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend it. Now I want to put bows on everything.
I’m not the only one in my family who likes to sew. I’ve written before about my sister Rosalie’s projects, but our dad also made his own clothes for many years. One of his sewing projects is still in use.
Many years ago, before I was born, my father traveled through Morocco. Along the way he met a trader headed for Timbuktu who lived in a big tent. It was made of coarse fabric that kept out the sand but let the wind blow through, and watching the moon through the roof of the tent, my father decided he wanted to live in a tent like this. When he returned home he bought yards and yards of water-resistant canvas and an industrial sewing machine and got to work. He went out into the woods and found two small straight trees for the main support poles. He made a waterproof lining and an optional floor. After many weeks work, he had an enormous tent.
These days the tent comes out once a year, for our May Day celebration. In rainy years it keeps us dry, and with the front rolled down it’s a warm place to eat a picnic lunch on a cold day. In sunny years like this one it provides shade and a quiet place to take a nap. Our May Day celebration is a large one, with a May Pole dance, singing, a play put on by the children, a potluck lunch, relay races, and an egg toss that just about everyone joins in on, but my favorite part of the day is lying in the tent drinking tea with our friends at the quiet end of the day.
The tent is also a nice place to take pictures out of the harsh mid day light. Like an over sized light box.
I’m wearing one of Prima’s creations, which can be found at Ranunculus Market.
I think I was seven when Neva taught me how to sew. She brought over a basket filled with colorful scraps of fabric from her collection and dragged out the huge heavy sewing box she had made for my mother years before. We cut out two small pieces of pretty purple silk with the sharp sewing scissors and pinned them together. She showed me how to thread the needle and sew the fabric together. My stitches were large and crooked, but they held the fabric together. We turned it inside out, stuffed it, and I had a tiny purple pillow I had made myself. She left me the basket of fabric when she went home. Two weeks later I proudly called her to let her know I had learned how to knot the thread the way she did, wrapping it around her finger and pushing it off.
In high school I began designing my own clothes, but they never came out quite the way I wanted. The hems weren’t straight, the zippers buckled, the sleeves were too tight and strangely pointy and pulled in every direction at once (it took me a long time to sort out sleeves). Whatever went wrong, Neva knew how to fix it. A bit more curve in one sleeve, a smaller armhole for another. And when I made something that came out well she would get so excited. “Oh!” She would say, “Naomi Neva, that is a beautiful dress!”
One summer Neva arranged for me to work for her neighbor, a costume designer. It was a pretty great summer job – I got paid to sew all day and I learned a lot about sewing and about the other work involved in a design job. After work I would go over to Neva’s and we would eat tacos from the truck on the corner and talk about our lives. She would show me a twisty branch she’d found while walking the dog or a letter I’d written her years ago from her archive, and I would tell her about my latest sewing project.
Neva died a bit over a year ago and I miss her very much. Happy birthday, Neva.
Prima and I have celebrated Easter together for most of our lives. Every year she would come over to dye dozens of eggs on Saturday. On Sunday family friends would come with their children and my dad would hide the eggs all over the yard. We would all run around collecting as many eggs as we could, then trading each other for our favorites, the ones we’d spent too long decorating and couldn’t part with. Prima came over yesterday to celebrate with some old traditions and some new. We dyed eggs just like we used to, but we haven’t hidden the eggs in a long time, and this year the two of us made a nice dinner for both our families.
I spent the last week in New York visiting high school friends, eating some excellent food, enjoying the sunshine in Central Park with my sister and cousins, and getting on buses that took me in entirely the wrong direction. It was wonderful to see everyone and those poorly chosen buses brought me to parts of the city I’d never seen before (Like Queens. You know it’s the wrong bus when you start going over unexpected bridges.) Next time I need a bus map.
The weather’s been beautiful and warm here all week. Spring is here and we marked the change in season with a picnic. We went to the field where we used to play soccer, ate pears and cheese, and watched very young children kick around a ball that almost came up to their knees. Welcome, spring!