Monday, August 27, 2012


Every season I seem to pick an anthem song.  Something that reflects the weather, the feeling, and the mood of the months.

Two summers ago it was Miike Snow's "Animal," and now every time I hear that rad opening riff, I am instantly back in my car packed with boys and surfboards, cruising La Jolla Shores.

Late last night I heard this song for the first time.  It was a "sit in the car, turn off the lights, close your eyes" kind of song.  And I knew it would be my autumn anthem.  I hope you like it.

Ben Howard "Old Pine"

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I'm working on a little design project for my sister in law.  For some reason in real life and on this blog I'm always very careful not to portray myself as a designer.  It seems uppity?  Presumptuous?  I actually studied Interior Design/Art History in college for several semesters before switching over to what I felt was a more "cerebral" field.

But you know what?  I always come back to design.  I love it.  I do it for fun.  I would do it for free.  I AM doing it for free.  And I would probably even do it for you FOR FREE right now, just for the joy of seeing a room transformed.  It's kind of a rush.  Email me if you'd like at

So this little project I'm working on is basically a zero-budget makeover, which is pretty much my forté. Paint, an $80 dresser from Craigslist, some vintage thrifted accessories, and these DIY dip dyed, faintly ombré drapes:

They are shown here in my dining room,  not their final destination.  My SIL is young, had requested a beachy vibe, and the room needed a lot of brightening up, so I decided on a totally-out-of-character shade of coral-pink.  And you know what?  I'm super into it now.

The dye color was actually "tulip red."  In my first attempt at dip-dyeing, I found that the dye color needs to be much darker than the color you want to end up with.  So although this had a dark red-fuschia-orange tone in the dye bath, once rinsed the color was more subtle and painterly.

Here you can see how intense the color was before I rinsed and dried the panels.

And if you missed it, here is my first attempt at dip dyeing.  Get the tutorial here!

{After I had worked out how to enlarge photos from Instagram, they went and changed the format.  Maybe to prevent publishing?  I don't know.  I'm working on it and will get these enlarged soon!}

Thursday, August 9, 2012


This past week as we shopped for a Navajo bracelet, my husband explained to me that turquoise is usually filled with stabilizer.  Of course my first thought was that I wanted an original, unadulterated stone.  Cracks and flaws and all.
But I have to accept the true nature of turquoise; that it's beautiful but prone to cracking.  Without stabilizer, maybe it would crumble and be lost.  My mom had some like that.  It disintegrated into beautiful dust, so fine and blue.

Family, if you are lucky enough to have it (and if you're not, then friends are a good substitute), is the spackle that holds the crack-and-crumble prone institution of marriage together.  The filler, the binder. The stone itself is beautiful.  Precious.  But fragile.  And where the cracks form, the binder fills and smooths over and makes whole again.  Maybe not perfect.  Not original.  But sturdier.
It's important not to mistake the binder for the stone, though.  Glue is no substitute for precious stone.

This is what I was thinking as, one day this week, members of both our families converged in Virginia City.  In the blistering, funky Western streets of a ghost town in the mining hills of Nevada we all merged into a giant, amoebic, wild family.  You bought the ice cream of whoever was in line with you. Shepherded with two arms a gaggle of strollers and boys, accidentally pulling in peripheral children who seemed disappointed when plucked out of our happy mob by their lone parent.  Nephews of one family and second cousins of another were just cousins. joined by being of the same height and a strange and strong, instantly recognizable thread of family belonging. A bloodless cord.

Like cells, pieces broke off, joined members across the street, and then rejoined having grown in size; having gained an ice cream cone or a bow and arrow play set.
I set the toddler of my cousin on the back of my tree-like oldest son and he accepted the burden naturally, gracefully. Maybe even thankfully.

Later she ran ahead to walk with me and take my hand, saying, "I just want to be with you." At first I wasn't sure I had heard right.

When my oldest graduated from middle school, this enthusiastic mob showed up.  The older girl-cousins had glittery hand-made signs.  Great grandmas whispered conspiratorially.  The little cousins were held up on shoulders to see.  And when his name was called, our cheers were deafening and prolonged.

My son said later that his friends had asked, wasn't that embarrassing?
What did you say, I wanted to know.
I said that's not embarrassing, that's my family, he told me.

I went to see the foreign film I Am Love a while back.  As we left, a woman who was writing a book approached theatre-goers and asked them, what is love?

When she asked me, I answered immediately, "Showing up."

Showing up, and maybe screaming with all your heart.


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