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day 76, same as yesterday, but local connections!

Hey readers,

Guess I missed the tip yesterday, about going blank for a day. Don’t really agree anyway: it is better to sustain, rather than refrain. So today I searched online for ways to buy things I need from black-owned businesses in my local area, Seattle. What a revelation! I found Our Fabric Stash, a shop owned and run by Deborah Boone, a black woman whose vision and work are AWESOME. In consultation with a homeless person of her acquaintance, she created a “Homeless Sleep Care Cushion” kit (see video here) which anyone can buy and sew at home. It makes a warm, waterproof, comforting cushion suitable for use on the street. One can then donate it to a homeless person, or bring the finished product to the Our Fabric Stash shop in the Pike Place Market for distribution to the homeless in Seattle. She also sells fabric on a consignment basis, which is a smart and visionary way to sustain the ecosystem among creators.

I bought a few of these adorable patches for my new “Respect” quilts, and thanks to the owner’s excellent communication, I was able to purchase via email some African fabrics and this nice combo of cottons to honor a friend’s fondness for Bob Marley and reggae music!

Bob Marley colors cotton from Our Fabric Stash

In the meantime, the HGBG offer remains: this week only (til June 7): a personalized Honey Girl quilt can be yours for only $100.  Reserve yours now, by dropping me a line!  Lead time 3-6 months.

Must make more face masks now!

fyi, yesterday’s face mask production:

face masks made on June 2 2020

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day 61, “when you wish to delight yourself…”

“… think of the virtues of those who live with you,” counsels Marcus Aurelius. “For nothing delights so much as the examples of the virtues when they are exhibited in the morals of those who live with us. […] Hence we must keep them before us.”

Meditations, Book VI, 48.

Today is devoted to that: delighting in the virtues of others.  First, I was delighted to discover my favorite nearby island, Vashon, made the news this morning in the New York Times!  It is an article in the Science section about the innovative COVID-19 testing program that some volunteers (including a retired cardiologist) set up on the island, and which is now being offered as a model to tribal communities and other rural areas around the nation.  I love the concept of “inherent trust” that exists among the islanders, and which will doubtless help the contract tracers follow the path of the virus, were there to be an outbreak on Vashon.


(It may sound crazy, but I like to think that all of us people–tailors, sewers, grandmas and teens–all the people who are sewing beautiful face masks for other people around the world, that maybe we too might help foster trust among those who are protected by our creations.)

The stock market rallied yesterday on news of other people making a difference–scientists working on a promising vaccine. Yay for people creating positive changes in their communities and in our country!

Hopeful stock market sign May 19 2020

and fyi, yesterday’s face mask production, alongside our new window sign for Week 10:

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings more positive news! 🙂



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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.


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Kimono silk quilt no. 2 projects yin, healing energy!

I just finished Kimono silk quilt no. 2 in the “Rainbow” series, and all I can say is: what a difference a border makes! Both this blanket and “Rainbow” no. 1 are made of scraps of vintage Kimono silk, but where quilt no. 1 projects a “yang” feeling, with its bright white background and dramatic splashes of purple color, quilt no. 2 represents the “yin” force, with its dark green ginkgo leaf border. The leaves look plump and curvy; they remind you of other living things such as butterflies and deer hooves. A stylish black floral binding ties it all together. A back in pale green tweed with pink hearts completes the look, making a holistic yin message of comfort and coziness.

Yin and yang, rest and activity, nesting and flying: we need all to feel healthy and alive.

Good health to you, wherever you are!

P.S. I hope you noticed the cranes, in the blue fabric above!  As promised in my 2/8/20 posting, each Kimono silk quilt will have a crane/ or some cranes in it, to bring long life and good luck to my clients. Together with the yin / yang design, these quilts are sure to provide comfort and balance, wherever they may go.


yin / yang symbol: a dualism, suggesting how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. In the symbol, Yin–black–is the receptive force and Yang–white–is the active principle; since they are equally present, the circle remains constantly in balance. This complementary dualism exists in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (north-facing shade and south-facing brightness), sexual coupling (female and male), the formation of both women and men as characters, and theories of sociopolitical history (disorder and order).

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materials and inspiration, from far away

“In the presence of good materials, hopes grow and possibilities multiply. And with good reason: some materials are so readily charged and responsive that artists have turned to them for thousands of years, and probably will for thousands more.”*

It was the thought of materials that made me stop and think. So when in Paris in November, I visited rue d’Orsel and stores at the foot of Sacre Coeur Church, where new fabric treasures can be found (in merceries or sewing stores such as Frou-Frou and Sacrés Coupons) , and the friperies of the Marais, where you can buy used clothes by weight (thus the store named Kilo). I found an otherwise ugly black jacket with gorgeous beaded detail that has since become part of the Frankenstein quilt! And in my suitcase, I had brought a tin that once held cookies and now held tiny bits of silk: samples for kimonos. My husband found them in a thrift shop in Japantown here in Seattle and gave them to me one day. (I’m afraid I whined something like, “What am I supposed to do with such small pieces of fabric?!” )  When you look closely at them, it is quite amazing to realize someone took the time to peel these bits of silk out of a catalog and remove the glue.

What more noble material than silk?  Its history is long and distinguished, as the internet encyclopedia reminds us, “The production of silk originates in China in the Neolithic (Yangshao culture, 4th millennium BC). Silk remained confined to China until the Silk Road opened at some point during the later half of the 1st millennium BC.”

The scraps of silk in my box are delicate and pretty, shimmery and perfect, each in its own way. Some have tiny scenes painted on them of birds, or a garden, or children at play, others bear delicate strokes of calligraphy in jet black ink. I carried them to France and back to the US without knowing what to do. I took them out and laid them on tables and beds on both continents, but felt exasperated by their flightiness. They fall or slip or flutter to the floor at the slightest provocation. In the meantime, I made a wonderful wedding quilt for a dear friend out of clothes worn by her family, and Christmas happened.

Then yesterday I suddenly knew! Maybe it was all the family love, or eating so many cookies, or going for a walk, or just letting time pass by, or reading a couple books about quilts, but I suddenly knew exactly what to do with that silk! It is now in the process of turning into a Log Cabin Style quilt, strip by tiny strip.  I’ll follow the precise instructions found in Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift: the authors, Joanne Larsen Line and Nancy Loving Tubesing, are excellent guides and the illustrations by Gail de Marcken are delightful.  Let’s see how long it takes…  Here are some photos to document the way and the amazingly sunny day on which I started it!


Tugboat and barge on Puget Sound Dec 27 2019

Don’t you just love seeing tugboats on the water? They always seem like a moving metaphor to me, of the reliable strength of little ordinary things.

And here’s my favorite square, of a crane at home in the reeds:

My favorite square with crane

*David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear: On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, p. 18-19.  (How innocent that sounds now. Published only 26 years ago, Art and Fear nevertheless captures a hopefulness about our planet’s future, and our place in the world, that is sadly gone today for me. I’ve come to thinking about us as hurtling through space on this beloved earth towards a rapidly changing and uncertain future… but their advice about being creative is spot-on!)