creativity nature

day 47, hooray for small things!

Well, we made it to today! Yay us! (But now that we’re here, it feels a lot like yesterday.)

Nevertheless, I take solace in small things, like these pretty forget-me-nots seen on my morning walk, this friendly-looking table which keeps me company as I sew, and our new window sign (week 8 of Shelter-in-Place has now begun! Hooray! One week closer to … something else).
Wishing you a day of small pleasures too.
Until tomorrow,

Fyi, yesterday’s face mask production:

Masks produced on May 4 2020

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day 46: local stuff

I’ve been carrying around an article ripped out of last week’s Seattle Times in my bathrobe for a few days now, and since it’s been useful to me, I’ll share the advice with you too.

fight anxiety by being local

It is a query from a young person wondering how to go on, in this time when perils loom large all around (environmental crisis, public health disaster, financial ruin, dashed hopes of professional work). “Be local” is the advice.
Being local, what does that mean?
The usual stuff you’d expect—volunteering, donating time and energy, connecting with neighbors. But when we’re sort of afraid of being around other people, and the officials tell us to stay inside, it is hard to muster the motivation to do all that.

friendly rock May 4 2020
So today, I just treated myself to the best that my local situation has to offer: a nice brisk solitary walk up and down a couple steep hills to get the heart pumping, some sunshine, and a visit to my favorite rock. I cleaned it off and put some new flowers on. It feels like a secret, though it’s in plain enough sight if people really looked.
Feeling strong and healthy, having a secret that I put out for others to discover, that’s enough to get me smiling again.
Before I get back to work, here’s yesterday’s mask production, for Kelly, and her bag awaiting at the Honey Girl face mask “store” in the early morning light.

Hang in there, until tomorrow at least. Maybe things will be better. One thing’s for sure, they will be just a little different from today…

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day 44: just a bird?

This morning as I was getting ready to step into the shower, I looked through the skylight and saw a most amazing big yellow bird with a red head! It seemed to be calm and powerful, as it gazed through the thick boughs of cedar and hopped from branch to branch. I watched for a while (wishing I had my phone), and he remained present during my shower and afterwards. But when I was dressed and dashed downstairs to get my phone and came back upstairs again, he was gone.

Looking out from the shower at the cedar tree May 2 2020

Now I did take a minute to search “yellow bird with red head” and quickly got the answer: it was a Western Tanager, not uncommon in these parts, apparently.

But more importantly, I now think about him still and the vision makes me feel like something just happened. The dazzling vision—of bright yellow with black and white wings, flashing a red head with black eyes, looking through the graceful green boughs—seems like a sign. It is a sign that a bird feels safe in my cedar tree—the tree of wisdom, according to the native peoples of this region—which means to me that this place is sacred. From there it is but a hop to conclude that my work–in a room looking over this tree–could be sacred too. As a lovely poem by Pascale Petit goes:

“They say we are just embroiderers

but when we are working well, our tower turns

into burnished fire and the mantle flows

from our fingers, tumbling through the air

in loops of delight.”*


So this message goes out to my brothers and sisters, the seamstresses, tailors, sewers, stitchers of all ages and nations: take heart! Your work matters, and you matter too. What we are sewing now will become part of this time’s collective memory, so make it beautiful! Or, as my motto goes:

La vie est trop courte pour se protéger tristement.

(Life is too short to wear a sad mask.)


Also, alongside yesterday’s face mask production, is a picture of our new T-Shirt!

Exclusive!  Honey Girl t-shirts, now available for just $10 each (cash or check)  in West Seattle (on my porch) or by mail order (w/SASE upon request).

Sizes:  Youth Medium; Adult Small; Adult Medium; Adult Large; Adult Extra-Large.  Email quickly to reserve yours, !

(While my face masks take lots of time, these t-shirts are already done, and allow you to spread the good feelings with our winsome puppy logo.)


* from Pascale Petit, “Creation of the Himalayas,” cited in Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted, p. 180. Poem inspired by painting Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle by Remedios Varo (1961, featured below, with thanks to



children memory nature

day 43: May 1, memories of a sweet holiday

When I was a little girl, we used to celebrate May 1 by picking lilies of the valley (sometimes from the neighbors’ own gardens) and putting them on people’s doorsteps, then ringing the bell and running away to hide. From a distant hedge, we would watch the recipients’ reactions. That prank did constitute trespassing, I suppose, and the work occasioned some furious fits of giggles that led to hiccups, and possibly some uprooted plants, but no long-lasting damage. The neighbors smiled, as I remember, and even called out, “Thank you!” knowing full well that we were nearby watching.

Does anyone else remember doing that? Among all the strife, fear, and anger polluting our world today, it is nice to remember a time when wetting our pants out of giggling was the biggest fear on our minds.
Yours in nostalgia,

Photo of Lily of the Valley flower by H. Zell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

For the record, here is yesterday’s face mask production:

Face masks made on April 30 2020

creativity dogs nature T'ai chi

day 42: T’ai chi to the rescue, again

Watching my moods darken over the past week or so, and feeling my shoulders tense and back ache from the constant face mask production, it suddenly (duh) hit me: I had stopped exercising and doing T’ai chi for a few days, and was re-entering my old way of being, focused entirely on work work work, and worries about what other people think or do. Ugh.

So I started again, and yesterday was day two of my once-habitual 90-minute workout (a series of core stretches followed by the Form, now practiced on the deck in my backyard, surrounded by hummingbirds and a friendly big dog who keeps bringing squeaky toys for me to throw, while I stand on one leg and smile).

what a difference!  Now, I hate all that cheerful blather about exercise as much as you do, so I’ll not belabor the point. I’ll just mention one tip from a favorite book: “it is imperative we keep our attention on the feet, legs, and pelvis, and use the force of gravity to source and manipulate our movement.”  (Ralston, Principles of Effortless Power, p. 15).

That’s what doing T’ai chi does for me: lowers the center of gravity, tightens the core, and pushes away non-essential thoughts… what remains is only love, and lots of it.

Here’s wishing you a day of effortless power too!

And here is yesterday’s face mask production, fyi:

Face masks made on April 29 2020


art creativity nature

day 39: a little chill, a little frisky

Walking around the windy streets this morning, I thought with a big smile (in bold), “Il fait frisquet ce matin!”

Always loved that expression in French, meaning that the air is just a bit brisk. As the dictionary says, “petit froid vif et piquant” (a little chill, sharp and energizing). [Etymology: frisquet comes from the Flemish, Frisch, meaning fresh.]*  From there I wondered, “Is frisquet connected to frisky, maybe?

(Always loved that word too, ever since a beloved childhood show called “Frisky Frolics.” Anybody remember that??!  a quick search found nothing but confirmation that it existed, a children’s show at 7am on KVOS, but I found a link to a 1932 cartoon by the same name which is cute too!]

About “frisky,” our friendly Oxford English Dictionary reports**:

frisky, adjective, “given to frisking; lively, playful” and sends you to the main entry frisk

frisk, adjective, verb & noun.  [Etymology: Old French frisque, vigorous, alert, lively, merry, var. of fri(s)che, perh. rel. to Old High German frisc, fresh, lively.]

  1. adjective. Full of life; spirited, lively.
  2. verb intrans. Skip, leap, dance, in a lively playful manner; gambol, frolic.
  3. verb trans. Search (a person or place); esp. feel quickly over (a person) in search of a concealed weapon. Orig. slang.

Wow!  See why words are so interesting! It is strange to see how a light and playful concept has morphed into an action that is widely feared at least among Americans. (Hmm.  There’s another random, sort of interesting topic …)

On that note, here’s the pic of yesterday’s mask production. Back to work!

Maks made on April 26 2020

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day 37: happy / sad money stories, but “Never Grow Old”! (Toots and the Maytals bring happiness again)

view of downtown through the rain April 25 2020


Since the rain is pouring down out here in West Seattle this morning, I’m giving myself a break: no walk. Instead, a couple thoughts on money topics that have been bugging me lately: the problem of using cash and the problem of using electronic money transfer apps.

  1. As mentioned in my day 35 post, earlier this week I was given a 20-dollar bill as payment for face masks, but the bill had a message in red ink on it, and the bank rejected it. (Grrr.  I was NOT happy.)  But the story has a happy ending!  After reading my email about the problem, the person who passed me the bill not only came by and exchanged it for a clean bill, she gave me a $10 tip! (She had done so initially also, since she only owed me $10.)  GOODNESS EXISTS!
  2. For all those who wonder why my face mask business only accepts cash or checks (which clearly bring a certain degree of risk), there is an illuminating article in today’s New York Times about the charges associated with the apps offering instant transfers. Lesson: Beware using Venmo or others as your go-to for purchases, until you know what charges they may be adding on….

The moral of the story is that capitalism poses problems for all of us, buyers and sellers. It is a fascinating topic! not my issue though… I’d rather work with my hands than delve into the tortured reasoning propping up “financial products,” right now…

But let’s remember that goodness exists!  as one of my inspiring neighbors and clients–a nurse–wrote yesterday:  “if we all pass it on we can bring kindness to this challenging time.”


And yesterday’s face mask production, fyi:

Masks made on April 24 2020

I’m changing my routine a little today–got to keep things moving! First up: the Maytals singing, “I’ll Never Grow Old”!


day 36, droopy can be beautiful

Droopy daffodil and bluebells April 24 2020


Another quiet day of sewing lies ahead. Feeling as droopy as this daffodil. A dip into the dictionary brings a smile, though, so here goes–from droopy to daffodilly!  Who knew that daffodils were the national emblem of Wales?! (I bet some of you did.) Or that the Elysians fields are covered with daffodils?! (ditto–I suspect some of you are quite knowledgeable about things poetic).

Random knowledge is fun, isn’t it? I know I’ll be sharing these tidbits over the dinner table!  (See how exciting my life is? haha. Well, it’s better than remaining droopy….)

droopy: adjective. [Etymology: from prec. (preceeding entry, see below) or Old Norse drúpr drooping spirits]

Dejected, gloomy; drooping.

droopy drawersslang an untidy, sloppy, or depressing person.

droop verb. [Etymology: Old Norse drúpa hover, hang the head for sorrow, from Germanic base also of DROP noun]

  1. verb intrans. Hang or sink down, as from weariness; bend or slope downwards; (of the eyes) look downwards; (of the eyelids) fall.
  2. verb intrans. a. Flag in spirit or courage, lose heart. b. Lose energy, flag, languish; become less in size, quantity, value or importance.
  3. verb intrans. Sink; decline, draw to a close.
  4. verb intrans. Sink or crouch out of sight; lie hidden.
  5. verb intrans. Allow to hang or sink down; bend downwards; cast down (the eyes or face)

daffodil noun. [Etymology: alt. of ASFFODILL.]

  1. =ASPHODEL. [p. 130 has several meanings, incl. “An immortal flower, said to cover the Elysian fields.” poet.]
  2. A narcissus, esp. one with yellow flowers; spec. a western European plant, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, native in woods, etc. and widely cultivated, having a bright yellow corona as long as the perianth segments; a flower or flowering stem of such a plant, esp. as the Welsh national emblem.
  3. The color of the daffodil; (bright) yellow.
  4. – daffodilly noun (poet. & dial.) = DAFFODIL

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), vol. 1, pp. 761-762; p. 594.



Yesterday’s face mask production, fyi

Masks made on April 23 2020

art creativity nature work

day 34, drizzle

Today’s walk brought a sense of peace. Drizzle is the word that came to mind (le crachin nantais, they say in Seattle’s sister city in France), and now that I’ve looked up drizzle in my very fine dictionary, I realize drizzle is the perfect concept for today and my work as face mask maker.

Drizzle: noun & verb [Etymology: Prob. from the Old English drēosan to fall = Old Saxon driusan, Gothic driusan: see DREARY.]

  1. noun. 1. Rain that falls in fine spraylike droplets; an example of this.
  2. A tiny trickle.
  3. verb. 1. verb intrans. Rain or fall in fine spraylike droplets. Usu. impers. in it drizzles; it is drizzling, etc.
  4. verb. trans. Shed in fine drops; sprinkle (a liquid), let fall in a thin trickle.
  5. verb trans. & intrans. Sprinkle or wet (esp. food) with liquid in fine drops or a thin trickle.
  6. verb intrans. Pick the gold thread out of discarded tassels, embroideries, etc. into which it was woven.

How poetic a concept it is, drizzle, that takes us from dreary skies to golden silk, plucked carefully from discarded fabric.

My output of face masks is also a tiny trickle, but I offer it in a spirit of love to humanity, that is to you, my readers and new friends in the neighborhood–not one of whom I’ve yet met (or even seen!) during these odd, old-fashioned transactions via the chair in my front yard.  Please know that your  emails and hand-written notes usher in new trickles of joy leading back to my heart…. and hands.

Au boulot!



*The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), vol. 1, pp. 760-761.



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day 33: the infectious spirit of creativity from the UK to the PNW

Hi there,

Today’s walk took me to a specific destination: I set out to capture on film the chicken who lives in our neighborhood. My husband and son had scoffed at the notion that a chicken lives among us out here in tony West Seattle, so I wanted to prove I was right. When I got to the chicken coop on Admiral Way SW, however, there was no fowl in sight. Luckily, a man came running out of the house just then, and sprinted across the quiet street to the bus stop. I shouted over, asking if there were any special noise I could make to draw out the chicken for a photo shoot, and he came sprinting back, stood at the top of the garden stairs, and called in the sweetest, loving voice, “Here girl!” It worked, and I got my chick-pic.

Thanks, Bob!

The desire to see that chicken was hatched (so to speak) by the chance discovery last weekend of “Prospect Cottage” and the story of how a quirky filmmaker, artist and activist, Derek Jarman, brought the humble house and gardens into exuberant life. (It’s a nice article–focused on the famous garden–by New York Times reporter Mary Katharine Tramontana). It turns out that Jarman (1942-1994) was prominent in avant-garde London circles from the 1970s to 1990s, before he became sick with AIDS. When he got sick, he bought Prospect Cottage and moved out there, to a remote spot near Dungeness, where he tended and brought the cottage gardens into gorgeous flowery glory, all the while working as an AIDS activist. The story of how he raised money to keep the cottage and gardens alive is what attracts most attention.


But what I loved the most about reading the article–and learning about Jarman himself–is how creativity can live and grow like a garden. As one friend wrote, “creativity made him happy and kept him sane. His enthusiasm and lust for life was infectious. He was extremely generous with his time and knowledge, always saying, ‘You have to go to work every day as if it were a party.'”

Now, I don’t know if our neighbor Bob, the chicken fancier, shares that world-view, but one look at his contented brood proves that he is doing something right.

More power to the Bobs and Dereks of the world!

Other news from the neighborhood: on a walk past Hiawatha Park yesterday, I saw a third addition to the mysterious street art espied awhile back, the black poster reading, “Trust the Flux.” Now it is covered with a piece of brown paper resembling a face mask, which reads, “GET BEHIND BRAVE AND KIND.”

Hiawatha street art third installation

And speaking of face masks, here is yesterday’s production which features several new styles including French fabrics with vocab words and pics, dogs, and other marvels.