Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Save Handmade Toys From the CPSIA

A Proposal From the handmadetoyalliance.org:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will likely drive them out of business. And the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007. Toy makers won't be the only ones impacted by the CPSIA, the thousands of US businesses who offer clothing, jewelry and other gifts for children --in essence-- the entire children's industry will be as well.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let's amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!


Slowly, slowly, slowly said the Sloth.
And slowly I make my way with this blog, having just reached my 100th post in my last post. (And not even realizing it until today.)
And so I share:

In bold: Things I've done.
In italics: Things I want to do.
The rest: no thanks.

1. started your own blog (edited, thanks to Nancy's comment... I had some formatting issues last night when I finally got this posted...) :)

2. slept under the stars

3. played in a band

4. visited hawaii

5. watched a meteor shower

6. given more than you can afford to charity

7. been to disneyland/world

8. climbed a mountain

9. held a praying mantis

10. sang a solo

11. bungee jumped

12. visited paris

13. watched a lightning storm at sea

14. taught yourself an art from scratch

15. adopted a child

16. had food poisoning

17. walked to the top of the statue of liberty (huh? Can you even get inside?)

18. grown your own vegetables

19. seen the mona lisa in france

20. slept on an overnight train

21. had a pillow fight

22. hitch hiked

23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. built a snow fort

25. held a lamb

26. gone skinny dipping

27. run a marathon

28. ridden a gondola in venice

29. seen a total eclipse

30. watched a sunrise or sunset

31. hit a home run

32. been on a cruise

33. seen niagara falls in person

34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. seen an amish community

36. taught yourself a new language

37. had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. seen the leaning tower of pisa in person

39. gone rock climbing

40. seen michelangelo's david in person

41. sung karaoke

42. seen old faithful geyser erupt

43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant

44. visited africa

45. walked on a beach by moonlight

46. been transported in an ambulance

47. had your portrait painted

48. gone deep sea fishing

49. seen the sistene chapel in person

50. been to the top of the eiffel tower in paris

51. gone scuba diving or snorkelling

52. kissed in the rain

53. played in the mud

54. gone to a drive-in theatre

55. been in a movie

56. visited the great wall of china

57. started a business

58. taken a martial arts class

59. visited russia

60. served at a soup kitchen

61. sold girl scout cookies.

62. gone whale watching

63. gotten flowers for no reason

64. donated blood

65. gone sky diving

66. visited a nazi concentration camp

67. bounced a cheque

68. flown in a helicopter

69. saved a favorite childhood toy

70. visited the lincoln memorial

71. eaten caviar

72. pieced a quilt

73. stood in times square

74. toured the everglades

75. been fired from a job

76. seen the changing of the guard in london

77. broken a bone

78. been on a speeding motorcycle

79. seen the grand canyon in person

80. published a book

81. visited the vatican

82. bought a brand new car

83. walked in jerusalem

84. had your picture in the newspaper

85. read the entire bible

86. visited the white house

87. killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. had chickenpox

89. saved someone’s life

90. sat on a jury

91. met someone famous

92. joined a book club

93. lost a loved one

94. had a baby

95. seen the alamo in person.

96. swum in the great salt lake.

97. been involved in a law suit

98. owned a cell phone

99. been stung by a bee

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stockings hung by the chimney with care

Finished just in time!
The pattern is my own design that I plan to get all written up. They are lined and have cotton batting as an underlining, which gives them a very soft feel. And they are ready for some loot!

Last minute project

My friend Cecily came over, needing to make a quick project, as in, get-it-in-the-mail-tomorrow quick. Out came the trusty Farmer's Market Tote Bag Pattern and we zipped to the local fabric/craft store for materials. Sadly, they didn't have the webbing that the pattern calls for. So with small adjustments, we made the pattern work with just a yard each of the main fabric and the lining fabric. She had some fusible fleece on hand, so she used that to interface the main body of the bag, using regular interfacing for the bottom (so it wasn't too thick).
And how cute is the small ribbon she added on the side seam?

I love that her bag matches my hallway!

This photo was without the flash and shows the color better. It's the newest Amy Butler, I think.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back in the saddle

For those of you who have been patiently waiting, I'm baaaaack!

I am resuming my private lesson teaching schedule and can book lessons starting November 15th. So call or email now to get the date(s) you want!

Maybe you are stuck on a project and need help getting over the bump? Maybe you have ideas of hand-crafted holiday gifts? Maybe you got a sewing machine LAST year at the holidays and haven't mastered it yet?

Whatever the reason, I'd love to lend a hand!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A labor of love

Some folks asked about my labor sewing project, so here it is. The green cape was the only one that was unfinished when I went into labor. All the capes are for Orion's preschool and I had been asked to make them a few weeks before Soleo was born.
(By the way, his name is pronounced Soul-eee-oh.)

They are a great project and I'm thinking of putting together a tutorial because I finished the neck in a way that makes it easy for a 3-4 year old to put the cape on unassisted. This comes in pretty handy when your hands are full and your superhero needs to get dressed!

The capes have been in use at the school for three weeks now and are getting good reviews from the kids and teachers alike. Orion has announced that he'd sure like to have a red one and a light blue one of his own at home (he only has a dark blue one at home).

Little house for sale

Casey and Liesl are selling their darling little North Portland house!
2 bedrooms
1 bath
over-sized attached garage
beautiful organic garden
large covered deck

Details here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Growing boy

These aren't the best ever photos of Soleo, but they show off the gorgeous, fantastic, most wonderful hand-knit sweater that my friend Katy knit! Many of you know Katy as the friend with whom I traveled (to many, many countries). She lives in Norway now, with a beautiful growing family and she sent this to us right before Soleo was born.

The yarn even has a story, as Katy and I were together in Munich when she bought it, more than 10 years ago! It has traveled across the Atlantic twice, and back and forth across the United States before finally getting to be this sweater! I am so honored to have such a great friend who made such a wonderful gift! (Never mind her comment that the sweater can last through "many more children, at least enough to fill the minivan"...)

And while I was taking pictures of Soleo, Orion asked that I capture this moment as well:
He is propped on a birdhouse that he and Papa made at the Corn Roast on Sunday.

I think he misses his gymnastics class, eh?...
Check out those little ribs sticking out!

Monday, September 01, 2008

He's here!

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of

Soleo Hess

He was born at home on Saturday the 30th,
9 lbs 12 oz, and 22 inches long!

Friday, August 15, 2008

no baby yet

Folks have started asking, so I put a little widget up in the sidebar with my countdown. Although I'm hoping the little one comes earlier rather than later, we're prepared to wait until the 21st of September to meet him (that's 2 weeks past his due date, at which point action will.be.taken if he has not yet arrived!)

Once he arrives, I'll post his picture and the details!

And if you haven't yet offered up any good boy names, we're still taking suggestions! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There went the summer!

Time flies!
I'm about to wrap up the last of my bolt classes until December! This Sunday will be my last day teaching until the little bambino is about 3 months old. Right now I have 24 days to go until my due date!

I'll post again after the baby is born, and I'll keep everyone updated on my return to teaching. There will be a class in December and then we'll take a break for the holidays (which will allow me more time for private lessons, for those who have been asking!) and then the regular class schedule will likely resume in late January.

Enjoy the last of summer! School starts in just three weeks for our preschooler!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Classes at Bolt

I just updated my sidebar with the classes that I'm teaching this summer at Bolt.

There is still space available in the Learn To Sew class, and the other classes are wait list only.

Please, please, please consider being on the wait list for classes that interest you! In the Invisible Zipper class that I just taught, we had three people have to cancel at the last minute. The SIXTH person on the wait list was able to get in! So even if there are a lot of people already on the wait list, I really recommend giving it a try!

Have a great summer and hopefully I'll see you in class!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did you know?

... that Jo-Ann Fabrics is now carrying organic cotton quilting fabric?! On the whole I think the quality of their fabrics is disappointingly low, but I'm willing to give the organics a shot! Especially with my 40% coupon...

Also - if you haven't gotten the bolt newsletter, there are a few classes on the books for July.
Amy Butler Birdy Sling, Jenna Lou's Fiona Handbag, and the Learn to Sew: Farmer's Market Tote. Right now the first two of those classes are full, but there is still some space available in the Learn To Sew class - it is Tuesday nights, July 15th, 22nd, and 29th, 7pm-9pm, $60. Call 503-287-BOLT (2658) to sign up!

Coming in August will be a Jalie t-shirt class and another Cute Skirts class. And then I'll be done with classes until after the bambino is born. Time flies!!! The August classes aren't set in stone, so be watching for the bolt newsletter in your inbox to learn the dates and times.

See you in class!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's your favorite?

It's getting to be time to write up the class list for July and August! What classes do you want to see offered? We're thinking about another bag class or two, maybe a t-shirt class, and of course, more cute skirts!!!

Are there other things that you'd like to see? More challenging? More gifty? More garments? More bags?

Let me know!!!

I'll teach through about mid-August and then will take a break to birth this baby! I think I'll be back to teaching by the end of the year - hopefully in time to whip up some holiday gifts!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Come learn to sew!

I am getting ready to email out the supply list to the students signed up for the Learn To Sew class that we have coming up, and saw that there are still TWO SPOTS open! The class is held at Bolt, on NE Alberta and 22nd -- if you've been thinking that there is someone you know who would love to learn to sew and hasn't made the leap yet, NOW is the time!!!

We will be making the Favorite Things Lunch Bag, which is totally adorable! I made up a sample about 6 weeks ago and we've been using it almost daily. It has just enough padding to protect the apple at the bottom of the bag when my three year old drags the bag through the house. And it fits just the right amount of food, napkins, drinks that the two of us need for an outing.

Class will be held on THREE consecutive Sundays, May 18th, 25th, and June 1st, from 4:30pm-6:30pm, and costs $60.

Call Bolt at 503-287-2658 to sign up! You'll love the class!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

MORE Cute Skirts!

This just in!

We've added two sessions of the Cute Skirts class to the schedule at bolt!

Classes will be held TUESDAYS, 7pm-9pm on May 20th/27th and June 10th/17th. So you can sign up for class in May or you can sign up for class in June. Or you could sign up for both, but that would be a little selfish, don't you think? If you were previously on the waiting list for the class that starts this Sunday, you get first dibs at the new classes. Which is why I say to ALWAYS get on the waiting list!!!

And since the frantic whirl of newly added classes does cause some people to sign up now and cancel later, I still really recommend GETTING ON THE WAITING LIST if you can't get the class you want!

See you in class!
Now you don't have an excuse!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Scissors and things that cut

I have a good sized collection of things that cut and I love them all! By my cutting table, I have the rotary cutters and large scissors and by my machines, I have the small scissors. As you can see by all the blue ribbons, I label my scissors, etc as MINE with the same blue ribbon. That way, when I travel to the super fun Sisters Gig and other places where someone else might have the same tool, I know which one is mine!

The scissors I use are all Ginghers. Back in the day, they were made in Germany and Italy, and were stamped with that information. I've heard that the company has been recently bought by Fiskars and the scissors are now being made in Mexico. Mine are all old enough that I haven't had any experience with "new" ones to know if quality has been compromised. I will say (and I tell this to all my students) that although a pair of Gingher shears cost twice as much as Fiskars, they will last 10 times longer. My 7" shears were a gift when I turned 13, I've never had to have them sharpened, and they still cut fabric like it's butter. My 8" shears were a Christmas gift a few years ago and are noticibily sharper, and can cut through much thicker layers with ease. Since my hands are quite small, I really like owning both pairs. That way I only tire my hands with the big ones when I really need to.

But why tire the hands and induce carpal tunnal when there is the good friend the rotary cutter? I also have an assortment of those - one just for cutting fabric, one for cutting paper, and one with a "pinking" blade. I don't really recommend the pinking blade, because I find it really damages my self-healing mat when I try to cut curves with it. When the blade gets dull on my regular fabric cutter, I switch the blade to the paper cutter, saving on the cost of replacement blades. In addition to my 45mm rotary cutters, I also have the 18mm cutter, which is great for cutting curves. It handles better, twisting and curving around garment patterns (think armholes and neckholes) without marring the mat or skipping over fibers.

In addition to a rotary cutter, you also have to invest in a good self-healing mat and some clear rulers. The biggest issue I find with the mats is storage. Unless you have a cutting table where the mat can always lie flat, I recommend buying a medium size mat (18"x24"). That way it can easily be tucked behind a bookshelf when it isn't being used. If they aren't stored totally flat, they buckle and warp and can't be used.

Happy Sewing!
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Friday, April 04, 2008

One spot left in the Anna Tunic class at Bolt

This just in: We just had a cancellation for the Anna Tunic class, meaning there is ONE SPOT AVAILABLE! This is seriously the cutest top that we'll be offering all summer, so hop to it and call the shop to sign up! Class will be held Sundays, April 13th and 20th, 4:30pm-6:30pm. Call bolt at 503-287-2658.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Marching On

So much for all those posts I had planned for March of The Tools. I may just have to March into April with my tools... Mercifully, our weather has turned from slushly snow and hail to some beautiful blue skies! We're on day two of good weather and I love how it lifts everyone's mood!

Unfortunately, I'm having some odd technical problems getting my photos uploaded to Blogger. And I have such a cute little photo of my "tool" box and of a little wooden box that is labeled "tools". Soon, folks.

Anna Tunic class at Bolt

I just learned that due to a cancellation, there are TWO spots open for the Anna Tunic at Bolt! This is a totally cute tunic with great details and the class will cover all sorts of interesting things - fit: what to do when your bust and hip measurements don't "match", buttons with loop closures, gathering, facings, and more!

Class is for "intermediate" seamsters, meaning you need to have successfully finished a project or two, preferably a garment. So if you've made the Cute Skirt, you are ready to move to the Tunic!

Grab a friend and call Bolt at 503-287-2658 to sign up!

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Classes at Bolt!

The new schedule of classes at bolt is now available! Since the owner just had her baby, the website might not be updated for another day or two, so I'll put all the info here and create the links when the website is up. There are a few new classes, so read on!

As always, call bolt fabric boutique at 503-287-BOLT to sign up.

All classes are held on Sundays, 4:30pm-6:30pm.

April 13th and 20th: Amy Butler Anna Tunic
With it's clean lines and modern style, this tunic will be great for any spring or summer wardrobe. You will learn to properly measure yourself for a good fit and you will learn techniques to modify the tunic if you are between sizes or if your bust measurement doesn't match the hip measurement listed for your size. The tunic has a neck facing and gentle front gathers, two useful skills skills to learn! Intermediate skill level please. $40.

April 27th and May 4th: Cute Skirts
It’s that one–the one we keep offering, since you seem to just love it! We use the Favorite Things “cute skirts” pattern-a paneled skirt with a flat front waist and elastic in back. It’s a great first project if you’ve played around with your machine a bit. You’ll learn how to measure yourself to make the right size and have a skirt that you’ll love to wear. Advanced beginner. $40.

May 18th, 25th, and June 1st: Learn to Sew: Lunch Bag
Have you been looking for a good replacement to that disposable bag you pack your lunch in? This is a "learn to sew" class, which means all you need is a working machine (and the manual if you aren't sure how to thread it and wind the bobbin). We will use the Favorite Things pattern to make this great bag. You will choose fabrics for the outside and the lining and will make a bag that includes two handy pockets. Beginner. $60.

June 8th: Zipper Clinic
Are you ready to learn zipper applications? Come learn easy ways to sew zippers in your garments and craft projects. In this hands-on class, we will cover centered zippers and lapped zippers, making you ready to tackle any project that calls for a zipper, from a throw pillow to a prom dress. Advanced beginner. $27 (includes materials fee)

June 22nd: Zipper 2 Clinic (Invisible Zippers!)
Do invisible zippers seem mysterious to you? Have you wondered about their uses and applications? Come take this one evening class and learn to apply invisible zippers. We will discuss the proper uses of invisible zippers, where they are best used, and how to make them look great! Advanced beginner. $27 (includes materials fee)

I'd love to see you in class!!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Space open in Frenchy Bag class!!!

I just got news that there is an opening in the Frenchy Bag class that is starting THIS SUNDAY, March 9th. If one of you kind folks is interested in the class, call bolt fabric boutique at 503-287-2658. Call early to nab the space! This class was wait list only and we just had a cancellation!

And who doesn't need a bag like this? The one in the photo is the shoulder bag, and there is also a handbag option that is proportionally smaller, with shorter handles. Very cute! There is a magnetic snap closure, and haven't you always wanted to learn how to put one of those in?!

Come join us in class! Class will be held on two consecutive Sundays, 4:30-6:30pm at bolt -- 2136 NE Alberta St.

Monday, March 03, 2008

March of the Tools

Over on Heather Bailey's website, I saw she started a month of talking about tools! As any of my students and friends will tell you, I love good tools! They make sewing easier and WAY more fun!

So I'm going to be posting information on the tools I use. All of them can be had at your local sewing store, and I'll post more details about the really unique or hard to find ones!

To start with, let's talk about "pincushions". There are so many cute ones available to buy, and so many darling patterns to make your own. But I use none of them. They all make me crazy, because you have to stop sewing, glance at your pincushion and carefully stab the pin in before you can resume sewing. Who has time for that? In the crazy rush that I have for my sewing time, I need to sew at full speed with as few pauses as possible (this might explain the embarrassing topstitching on a baby blanket I just made for a friend. Oops.)

So I use two magnetic "pincushions". One is a Grabbit - and I love it! It is just the right size and weight, the magnet inside is well placed, and while I sew, I can just toss the pins in the general direction of the Grabbit and it sucks them on to the top. The pins all lie straight and flat on top, ready for me to use them for my next pining.

Last year I got the Fons and Porter red heart magnetic pincushion. It was so cute, I couldn't resist. But it's such a drag to actually use because the magnet is poorly placed. This causes pins to stick to the bottom of it (if you set it on the table near some pins) and when you causally toss pins at it, they don't lie flat. They stick up. Straight up. Pointy end up. This is a real drag when you reach for the pincushion without looking at it, thinking you can grab a pin to help feed your fabric through the machine. It's also a drag when you are pinning anything. Imagine a tomato pincushion where half the pins where pointy end up.

So for now, I use the red heart to catch pins next to my machine. I use the Grabbit when I need to actually reach for a pin. And I regularly move the pins from the heart to the Grabbit when I run out of pins. It works. But it makes me want another Grabbit. ;)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Strangest thing I've seen yet today

So, it's a cake pan that is segmented to provide different size pieces of cake for each of your picky guests. Would it bake correctly? I would worry that the thick pieces would be undercooked while the thin pieces would dry out. But maybe I'm the one who is picky about her piece of cake?

Friday, February 22, 2008

7 little things about me

I was tagged way back when by sweet Anjie of studio wellspring and for various reasons (none of them very good), I haven't gotten around to writing up my list of the 7 interesting/unique/unknown things about me. I've thought long and hard and can't come up with much that folks don't know about me, so forgive me if you learned this all the first time we ever met...

1. The first time I sewed, I was three and it was in my grandma's sewing room. I have fond memories of that space, and it was the first that I knew of women having an actual room of their own. At the time, my mom had only a back porch that housed all her sewing. I am extremely lucky to get to have a wonderful sewing room of my own now!
2. Said sewing room is a current disaster area. I don't think anything has been produced in the sewing room since before the holidays. But somehow it is the dumping ground for all that has no other space in our house. We could really use some extra storage around here!
3. In college, I traveled a LOT. In '97-98 I lived in Germany and visited Austria, Switzerland, France (for an afternoon layover), Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Hungary. If I missed one in there, my long time friend and travel partner, Katy will hopefully remind me. What makes this a little interesting is that my most recent trip to Hawaii totally terrified me. I didn't know where to park at the airport or really how to take the shuttle into the terminal. I was mystified by security (what the heck that they don't allow WATER?!), and more than a little afraid of the logistics and details of boarding the plane and staying relaxed during take-off.
4. On my first ever date with my husband, I knew I would marry him. Six months after that date we moved in together. Six months after that we were engaged. Six months after that we bought our first house. Six months after that we got married. It took us another year to get a dog, and another year after that to have our son.
5. My husband brought a cat to our relationship that I have always hated. We have a deal that for as many years as I live with her (we're up to 6 1/2 now), I get to decide the cat-status of our household. Just to spite me, I think she'll probably live to be 22. Ironically, our son LOVES her.
6. I love my sleep. One of my (many) issues with the cat is the regularity with which she wakes us up in the middle of the night.
7. I'm 12 weeks pregnant. This contributes greatly to #6. :) So far the pregnancy has gone pretty well, I haven't been too terribly ill, except when I try to brush my teeth. So if I have bad breath, I'm really sorry! But my toothbrush makes me have dry heaves. It's really inconvenient!

So if you haven't ever done one of these, I hereby tag you!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The new class list is available over at bolt!

There are a lot of very interesting classes available including Russian needlepunch, embroidery, pattern making, and the machine sewing classes that I teach. I was out of town when the list first went out, so many of the classes are already full, but it is ALWAYS worth it to be on the waiting list! We had a lovely break from classes in January and it looks like a lot of you are ready to start sewing again!

Also, if there is a class that you're just dying to take, I am still offering private lessons and am now able to give private lessons in Portland on Sundays, prior to teaching at bolt. Generally that means the lesson is 2pm-4pm, depending on how close to the store you live. For rates and other details, go to sewsally.com.

Hope to see you in class!

I'm baaaack!

It's been a long absence for two reasons -- first I got to go on a vacation to Hawaii, while my son played at Grammie's house. And then when we all got home and got settled, we all got a nasty flu that we're still recovering from!

I'd never been to Hawaii, so didn't really understand all the hype until I'd been there for about 10 seconds and decided I could really live there!

We had a beautiful room that opened out to the ocean for gorgeous views and wonderful sunsets. We snorkeled almost every day and saw literally hundreds of different kinds of fish and coral. We took a sea kayaking trip that totally blew my mind. I'd never been on a kayak before and paddling in the warm ocean was amazing and thrilling and only a little terrifying.

Kealakekua Bay. photo by letsgo-hawaii.com

photo by letsgo-hawaii.com

But the highlight for us was snorkeling with the manta ray at night! We boarded the boat at about 5pm and watched the sun set as we motored about 20 minutes to the snorkeling spot. On the way, we saw a mother and calf humpback whale! Imagine the setting sun and two whales 50 yards away. We got to see the tail flip right before they dove down under the water, an image I'll never forget!
photo copyright Rolf Hicker

Once we got to the snorkeling location, we donned wetsuits and jumped into the water. There were four divers with us and they went down to the sandy ocean floor, about 35 feet down. They turned on dive lights to shine up toward us and each of the 10 snorkelers had dive lights as well, that we pointed down. The snorkelers all held onto a communal floating circle, so we stayed together. It created a sea of light, so to speak, that attracted fish and plankton. Mantas only feed on plankton and since the folks in Kona have been doing this for years, the Mantas know that there will be food there at night.
photo by Lisa Christensen for honusports.com

The Manta swim in figure 8s, doing belly rolls and summersaults as they near the waters surface (where we were all floating). In the US, it's against the law to touch them, but they can touch us! And my husband got "blessed" by the manta (what they call it when one touches you) on one of its turns in the water. It about scared the pants off him at the time, but distanced from the moment he thinks it's very cool.
photo by Lisa Christensen for honusports.com

Having transitioned to big black (Nikon D40X) from the slow and dinky little silver (old Cannon powershot) meant that the photos we took were beautiful, but that we were too shy to actually take the camera anywhere that could get wet. Since we were in the water every day, that means not a lot of pictures of the interesting things we did. But we got an underwater camera that we need to get developed and with it, there might actually be a photo of the two of us together. :)

For now, we're still working on getting well from the flu. We've watched a lot of movies. I've read a lot (I can't stand that much TV) and just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It really motivated me to work on eating locally grown food. In Hawaii that meant we got lots of citrus, papaya, mango, and bananas. Here that means apples and winter kale, which aren't quite the same. But we're trying!

edited for grammar, sorry!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peter Callesen paper art

Fall, 2006

I've been watching the blogosphere (re)discover paper cutting and have enjoyed seeing so many of the amazing things that pop up. Someone emailed me some very interesting paper cuttings and after a little research, discovered Peter Callesen's exhibit at the Helene Nyborg Contemporary in Denmark. The exhibit is called Alive, but Dead.

Beauty and decay are closely linked together in Callesen’s imaginary universes where pure sheets of paper stage open-ended stories. Here birds try to escape their drawings, the Tower of Babel is raised in just one piece and Heaven and Hell are bound together by climbing clematis with fat spiders crawling across their surface.

Take a peek!

17.9 cm tall Tower of Babel, 2006

Bird trying to escape its Drawing, 2006

Burnable Snowman, 2006

Holding onto Myself, 2006

The Impossible Meeting between Image and Reality, 2006

The Lost Sheep, 2006

Traces in the Snow, 2006

Water Always Finds its Way, 2006

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The new year

Ahh, Christmas has wound down, the New Year is here, and all is fresh and new, if a bit dreary here in the Northwest! I've always found it hard to consider January the beginning of the year, when so little is alive and happening. By the time my birthday rolls around in February, the first of the Spring crocus and daffodiles have started to bloom and then it really does feel like a new year. Another year older, another year gone by. And usually by then I will have thought of a good resolution for the year.

So for now, I'm still working on clean up from Christmas! I'm one of those folks who like to get the tree on the day after Thanksgiving and leave it up until the 12th day of Christmas! This year it will probably come down in the next day or two, but with all the winter darkness, I cherish the wee lights on the tree.

And in lieu of the more normal Christmas clean up, we spent the last days of our vacation doing massive tile work in our bathroom! We (by which I mean my husband) tiled the vanity countertop and the bathtub surround. It looks beautiful! I've always been inspired by blogs that show a "corner of the house" and once this remodel is finally wrapped up, I'll post some photos!

For now, here is a bag that I made while teaching the Favorite Things Everyday Bag class at Bolt. I forgot to get a photo of it after I put the square wooden button on it that the closure loops around. I gave it to my mom for Christmas, for a knitting bag. It's a great size bag for lightweight things like that. If I used that big of a bag for a purse (as the "Everyday" part of it implies), I'd load it too heavy to carry!
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