Thursday, April 26, 2012

Outfit of the Week 4/22-4/28

I have a great appreciation for contrasts of all kinds. I wholeheartedly believe that it is the dichotomies in life that make it meaningful and memorable. I also love Holly Hobby. So this Outfit of the Week is a celebration of contrasts with a Holly Hobby-esque slant. 

I think the combination of horizontal stripes with vertical color blocks and large floral prints is super funky and cute, like this Furious Designs Baby Doll Mini Dress.

Throw these sweet, shorty, calico cotton bloomers  by Grateful Beads underneath to cover your "bases".

The pastels of the dress and bloomers contrast nicely against the black of these super silky, bamboo stockings by Heidi the Artist.

And can you get any cuter than these mint green oxfords, hand crafted by Goodbye Folk?

To finish this outfit off, I'm fond of these accessories

These earrings made from slices of upcycled bottle corks by Simply March are unique, simple and adorable.

And I think that a simple long chain necklace, such a this vintage Gypsy spoon necklace from Glow's Shop, is the perfect accompaniment.

Karen Kell's leather works are amazing. I think that her hand tooled bag for sale at her shop, is the one of the sweetest (and I think Holly Hobby would have loved it and used it well).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scrap Leather Earrings and OoaK Dog Styles

I have been keeping quite busy this week. For one, I've been thoroughly enjoying my recent excursion into earring making using scrap leather I recently scored whilst a-thrifting and some other upcycled jewelry parts and found objects. Once I decide which ones I want to keep, I may post a few on Etsy to see how they do.

And I've been working on several new custom orders. One in particular is for a new doggy treat bakery and "barktique" that a Furious customer is opening in Lawrence, Kansas. She also sells canine snacks such as the salmon-sweet potato treats below, on her Etsy Shop, the Lucky Paws Bakery.  

All of this makes me happy! Creativity keeps me sane and orders motivate me to be productive and be creative. For this order, I had to come up with a few dog-oriented appliques to sew on some simple summer skirts, shirts, and dresses. Below are a few of my prototypes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

NaPoWriMo 23/30

Today's write an ekphrastic poem, a poem in response to or about a work of art. I like learning new words, and ekphrastic is particularly fun to say, but I'm not sure I'm in the mood to search out a work of art to be inspired by, and nothing has come to mind. 


When I grow up, 
I'll know the answers 
to all the questions my daughters ask me, 
and I'll be able to speak 
perfectly in all the funny character voices
I've never been able to imitate. 
When I grow up, 
I'll be able to jump through all the hoops 
and never get burnt or trip and fall, 
maybe I'll even Waltz, Fox Trot 
or do the Charleston through rings of fire. 
When I grow up, 
I'll be able to split time, like men split the atom, 
only instead of causing fear and destruction, 
I'll get the laundry done, and catch up on dirty dishes.

NaPoWriMo 22/30

Yesterday was Earth Day and the prompt was to write a poem about a plant. I write about plants all the time, so I thought I'd do something different. This is actually one I've been working on for a while. 

 A Birth of Sorts

The universe was born on a particularly dull,
totally-nothing-to-remember and even cumbersome evening
during which for its entirety, absolutely nothing of note occurred.

This is mostly because humans had yet to emerge to give meaning to anything, 

So it was all quite blah really.

When finally the universe had fully erupted 
from its black hole womb of nothingness incarnate,
no one could even be sure it had made a sound at all,
although for a sound to be perceived, there must be ears,
or some other sort of organ to sense it,
and those things had
yet not become.

So, really, the idea of a big bang is hilarious,
and one could spend innumerable hours musing
at the silliness of it all,
which is just about enough time
for complexity to start to arise.
And when complexity rears its ugly beautiful head,
boys, for anything goes
and when you mix it with infinity
it is bound to get wild.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

NaPoWriMo 21/30

NaPoWriMo's prompt for today is to write a hay(na)ku, a 3-line take on the haiku only without attention to syllabics. The first line has one word, the second line two words, and the third line three words. I love haiku and haiku-esque poetic forms for several reasons. One of the main reasons is I think they are a great form for encapsulating and remembering facts and information, and defining things in an easy to remember way. They are also just fun exercises in concision.

One word
Makes men uncomfortable.

Furious Women
Calculated Bitch Fest.

Political correctness
Self inflicted silence.

Nighttime flowering
Nocturnal pollinators wonderland.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

NaPoWriMo 19/30

On day 18 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt was to write a lullaby. Mine was so good I fell asleep during its creation and didn't wake up until the next morning, where upon no trace existed of said lullaby of such potency. 

The prompt for day 19 is to take an already existing poem and rewrite it in opposite. I think this idea sounds interesting, possibly fun, possibly frustrating; we'll see. 

Nothing Gets Found

Out holes of empty
Out vacant minds
Out pristine deserts
Where everything loses
Nothing sinking through the chaos
Of preserved amnesia

Nothing is discovered
So difficult

In evenly divided piles
And burial mounds
Out of a single burst of nonsense
Climbing inside the undone threads
From an empty pocket

Nothing gets found.

The original (unfinished old poem I wrote) poem is below, neither of them is any good, it goes (though I think I prefer the opposite, now that its written).
Things get lost

In piles of stuff
In stuffed up minds
In waste-filled oceans
Where nothing finds
Everything floating on tides
Of wasted memory

Things get lost
So easily
And forgotten.

In disparate holes
And fox hole ditches
In repetition of words
Falling out the stitches
Of a broken purse.

Things get lost
So easily
And forgotten

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NaPoWriMo 17/30

Today’s prompt was to write an epistolary poem, a poem written in letter form, with the added fun of trying to incorporate at least four of the following six elements: 1) a song lyric, 2) a historical fact, 3) an oddball adjective-noun combination (like red grass or loud silence), 4) a fruit, 5) the name of a street in your neighborhood, 6) a measure of distance. This should be fun.

Dear Chester the Cheetah,

It pains me to see you on the bag,
Cheddar jalapeno, with your spotted cheetah tail curled 
Perfectly around the plump green pepper. 
You're wearing white high tops, and your black sunglasses and cowboy hat make me cringe. 
Oh, Chester! The original mascot for Cheetos was a mouse, 
But that wasn't extreme enough for the cocaine 80's, and thus in 1986 Chester the Cheetah was snatched (from the local zoo on Friendly Ave where he'd been studding in largely unsuccessful cheetah breeding and reproduction programs)
And a new era of crunchy corny chemical goodness was born. 
But Chester, 
I worry for you, and all of wildcat kind. You used to roam miles of expansive plains, from Africa to Asia, keen and swift, 
Once-upon-a-time alpha predator, now the cheetahs days seem numbered, 
Populations dwindling, it may soon be that you will be the only remaining representative of your species, 
Diminished, a cheesy mockery,
A two-dimensional pussy cat, with paw pads stained a queasy neon orange.

Monday, April 16, 2012

NaPoWriMo 16/30

Wow. Just over halfway through the month and I have to say I am so happy I decided to participate in this years NaPoWriMo Challenge. The prompt for today is to write a poem inspired by a picture. 

A Sexy Old Photo of My Grandma Clara

When I knew her
She was old, 
Wrinkled and liver spotted with 
Strict, short curls that had always been gray.
And yet there she is, 
Barefoot glamor girl in a bikini, 
Shiny waves of auburn hair,
A defiant smile and open stance
Arms behind her, welcoming the world, 
So young and on the verge, 
Pulsating with the very freshness I thought I'd invented,   
Head tossed back just so 
Laughing with the trees themselves 
As though they shared a certain knowing, 
Wind blowing through the tall crests of irises she planted, 
Her young pink toes curl firmly around the wet grass
The pale glimpse of her slender thigh
Surprises me every time. 

Outfit of the Week 4/15-4/21

Cute little rompers are a hot fashion trend this spring and summer season. I think this strapless, creamy brocade jumper by The Dandy Lion Shop is super sweet. 
Pair with these simple, black ballet flats made from upcycled scrap leather by The White Ribbon.
This crochet lace choker necklace by Bibocks and these delicate lace earrings by G.Biloba are the icing on this delicious cake of an outfit.

And if you get a bit chilly, throw on this French toile bolero jacket from DelGuidiceStudio.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

NaPoWriMo 15/30

 Prompt 15 of NaPoWriMo is to write a parody of a poem. Instead I wrote a silly rhyming poem about a bad date.

Bad Date

Too much "you" and not enough
Woo makes me weary, 
Tough eyed, bleary, 
Ready to throw the towel in, 
Pick up the dust bin and shake 
Off my broom. A woman like me
Needs more room, to exercise and 
Exorcise my demons.
I've got plenty of reasons, so please understand why 
I don't think it grand. 
Too much about you and not enough woo makes me weary.

NaPoWriMo 14/30

You may or may not have noticed that I failed to post my poem for the 14th day of NaPoWriMo. I just didn't make it home in time, so today I'll post both yesterday's and today's. Here is yesterday's poem. The prompt was to write a sonnet. I was NOT in the mood for any kind of strict form, but I was in the mood for a bit of word play and rhyme. 


Seen it, sawn it
Been there, dun it
Politically punned it
Glitch slapped
Wholly blew
If the worn out shoe fit, 
Sing the blues bit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

NaPoWriMo 13/30

I didn't even look at the NaPoWriMo prompt for today. I've had this poem in my head for years now, and it popped into my the front of my thoughts this morning. 

I've Always Been Fond of Salamanders*

On a particularly frustrating night I found myself sliding 
Open the back door to sneak out for a quiet smoke.
I sat down on the green cooler, my usual resting spot
Along the strip of cement I call backyard. 
I puffed and sat, lamenting life, 
Immersed in the push and pull of breath and idea
And the seemingly infinite night sky, 

Then it was over, a final exhalation, I stood, 
Turned, glanced down at the cooler, 
And saw I'd been sitting on a salamander.

I wanted to cry, bent to gently prod its tacky skin 
To see if it had survived,
And because the salamander was in a groove 
Running along the front of the cooler lid 
Meant for measuring fish, 
It was alive, had somehow managed to escape 
The pressure of being sandwiched
Between the weight of my body and the cooler's coarse plastic.
Shocked, I picked the creature up, 
Wondered how, why it was there. 
My house is nowhere near any real source of water. 
I'd never seen a salamander anywhere in the area. 
It was weird, too synchronistic.

There's no denying it. 
My totem animal paid me a visit 
And I sat on him and smoked a cigarette. 

*This poem is based on a true story, wherein I did sit on a beautiful salamander, possibly an Ensatina. I had never, before or after that time, seen a salamander of that kind (or any else) anywhere around my house, never.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

NaPoWriMo 12/30

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to take a poem written in another language and translate it homophonically. I'll pass, and go on my own here. 

Cleavers--Galium aparine

My daughters used to have cleavers wars
when they were younger, they'd race 
to grab the biggest, longest runners
joyfully flinging them at each other, whoever 
got the most to stick was the winner. 

Cleavers are like that, 
their long stems and whorls of leaves 
covered with Nature's own version of Velcro, 
microscopic curling fingers that cling,
grasping onto shirts and skin,  
rough and scratchy. It used
to remind them of the prickles of their father's beard.

Their father is gone now, 
and they don't have that carefree time
to play with cleavers anymore
and I see how every day they might be slipping
away from me and one day
poof! off like dandelion seeds under a single breath
to college, careers, jobs, and lovers, apartments,
they will fly away on the wind currents of life.

And yet they will remain.
They are sticky, little whorls of Galium 
Wrapped snugly around my tattered patch-work heart.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NaPoWriMo 11/30

Today's prompt is to write a poem incorporating the five senses. This poem does not apply to my life right now and, as I explained to my older daughter earlier today when she asked me if Eminem was singing about things he'd done in real life, narrators and writers are different--we cannot assume that the narrator of a poem (or rap song) is the writer himself. That being said, this is a poem I could and should have written some time ago.

Watershed Blues

The smell of cottonwood buds comes rushing through the open window,  
A sweet vanilla balsam reminder that it is spring now, 
I'm late for work.
Breakfast is a ancient memory. 
Salty bacon and creamy glide of yolk, 
I remember you like old friends who never visit. 
Its all rush rush now, coffee and coffee up and at 'em, 
Shuffle girls off to school, 
Commute, work, unappreciated, commute, cook, clean, etc. 
I want to run away, to the river
To wrap my arms around a cottonwood tree, 
Tickle my tongue across 
The dew on its spade shaped leaves, 
Press my cheek against its bark, memorizing 
Its particular roughness until I can tell it by touch alone,          Listen closely until I hear the rhythmic flow of its xylem and phloem 
Deftly transporting nutrients and water from roots to crown, Look with an eye keen enough to see its cellular divisions,       The inner workings of its chloroplasts, diligently converting starshine into sugars
Absorb its language and intelligence, 
Growing ever steadfast,
My toes deeply submerged in cool Willamette waters.

Populus patchwork--Cottonwood leaves in the Fall

Outfit of the Week 4/8-4/14

Bohemian, hippie, boho, and Gypsy are four words describing a fashion style that has been popular in some form or another since long before I was born. While some may argue that each word indicates some subtle differences, I disagree, and use them more as synonyms for each other. All four words evoke an image of eclectic, bright, patchworks of rich colors and textures with all the added bells and dangles--chandelier earrings, layers of bangles, beads, Balinese silver, silks and more. Today's outfit of the week pays homage to this classically festive style.

This upcycled dress from Rebirth Recycling is a lovely example of bohemian fashion with its mix of paisley, calico and solid block colors! Adorable.  

Throw these sweet little linen bloomers by Sarah Clemens Clothing on underneath, and you're practically ready to go. 

Throw on some vintage Mary Janes like these ones available from ModMarge and its all good! 

Dress up this bohemian montage with a lovely choker like this one by Melissa of SSDJewelry

And perhaps a sweet, chunky bracelet and matching earrings. I love this copper cuff and matching earrings  by My Creative Nature.  
 A perfect mishmash of color, patterns and textures! So sweet! 

All the items I blog about in the "Outfit of the Week" are available on Etsy.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NaPoWriMo 10/30

Today's prompt was to steal a line from another poem and use it for inspiration/fuel. 

This is Not a Love Poem

Please don't compare me 
to a summer's day, that's 
entirely too cliche, and I'd prefer 
you avoid mentioning any gatherings
involving rosebuds.
Stop trying to loosen me with 
your language skills.
Just call me a Dover Bitch and be done
with me, because its all so transparent
and I'm stubborn, and frankly
I want more than comparisons of my beauty
to cloudless, starry nights
the gift of gab is nice, but please
everyone is a poet these days.

This poem is a mean, but fun-spirited bit of a mockery inspired by well-known classic poems written by some, as I call them "old dead white dudes". Throughout my academic career, particularly K-12, it often annoyed me that the majority of everything we ever learned was done by some "old dead white dude." I know it is historical, but care not--there is a noticeable lack of female perspective in the "classics" of almost any genre. The poetic world of yore was no exception, and in high school I had the revelation that in fact half those poems, which we now celebrate in huge anthologies, were merely an egotistical, horny, young man's attempts to get down some lady's pants via use of his glorified vernacular--the prowess of his poetic rhetoric. So, this poem is dedicated to the likes of William Shakespeare, Robert Herrick, Andrew Marvell, and Matthew Arnold.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

NaPoWriMo 9/30

The prompt for today, the first day of the second week of NaPoWriMo, is to write in a persona. I love assuming a persona, and the one below is one of my favorites. And because that is the kind of mood I am in right now, I thought it would be ironic/interesting to write this persona poem in a few haiku.

Salix species are common riparian residents.

Yeah, I'm Mother Nature, Bitch

Rapid climate change
Midst the sixth great extinction
Human induced death

Suck out my entrails 
With oil drills, pipelines, coal mines?
I'll show you who's boss

Sunday, April 8, 2012

NaPoWriMo 8/30


The house was empty all weekend
My girls are grow, growing, almost grown,
(I feel so alone. Its scary.)
They're all legs and breasts now, perfumed and mascara-ed
And fashionable with cell phones and mall
Dates and making their own money.
They think they don't need me anymore and
After years of diapers, scrapes and snotty noses
Monumental firsts of words, and steps, and school 
(I forgot who I am. Its disconcerting.)
After years of being needed
I'm faced with an identity crisis.
Entering a state of flux, a transitioning
(I can be anything. Its okay)
My I is being redefined.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

NaPoWriMo 7/30

The last day of the first week of NaPoWriMo. Prompt for the day: write a poem of color. 

Beetle on Ranunculus uncinatus--the unseen buttercup

Being Five was Yellow

Sweet cream rising, 
luminescent buttercup under my chin, 
afloat in a sea of goldenrod and tansy, 
sun speckled creek banks shining, 
pick mint for the lemonade like mom does, 
rolling in moss watching daylight
melting like butterscotch into the forest, 
glimmering yolk of sun, 
hopscotch all the way home.

Viola species

Mutant Erythroniums?

My front yard with Native Fawn Lilies

I have an amazing front yard. For ten years I have enjoyed amazing blooms of naturally occurring (not planted by anyone) native plants right in my own front yard. The first of these each spring is the lovely and delicate Fawn Lily, Erythronium oregonum. These creamy colored members of the Lily family have two speckled or mottled leaves and send up a single stem from which a single flower blooms. I enjoy every minute of them, until, one morning, the entire yard will be a sea of stems, missing the creamy white flowers, likely being browsed by some urban ungulate.

Close up of Fawn Lily from the side
Looking down
Looking from the ground up

Form character showing 2 basal leaves.

Last year, for the first time, I noticed an individual plant that had not one but two flowers on a single stem that bifurcated near the top. I took pictures and made a mental note of the strange and rare occurrence; I mean I have been loving this plant species for over a decade in it native environments and had never seen this growth form before. 

Well, this year, there are at least 10+ two-headed Erythroniums in my yard, and I can't help but wonder what is going on.** Is some mutant two headed allele increasing in frequency in the Fawn Lily population in my yard? Is there some sort of contamination that is causing mutations to occur during the development of the stem and floral whorls? Is there a pathogen, perhaps a fungus or bacteria effecting the change? These are the things I wonder. It appears that the at least one of not both flowers on the two-headed ones are poorly developed, unhealthy looking, and possibly infertile. 
Example of poorly developed floral structure
Part of me would love to be able to sequence the genetics of a "wild-type" and my hypothetical mutant. Wouldn't it be interesting to discover a mutation in the homeobox genes responsible for directing this growth? I know this doesn't interest everyone, but I personally will continue to puzzle over this two-headed mutant even as I wait for the next round of spring blooms in my yard--Iris tenax and Calochortus....stay tuned!

**Recent input from two local elder botanists suggests that in years or locations where nutrients are not limiting, in other words readily available, it is common to encounter healthy populations of E. oregonum with two headed individuals. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

NaPoWriMo 6/30

Today's prompt is to write an animal poem. Being the Oregonian that I am, I decided to write on coho salmon. Consider this another work in progress! Oh, and the pictures here are all mine (all the pictures I post with the exception of my Outfits of the Week, are my own).

Oncorhynchus kisutch--Coho Salmon

Slick and silver
Time traveler, oceanic wanderer
The smell of your freshwater birthplace is calling you home.

Journey weary, hook-beaked warriors 
Build redds in the riffles 
Spawn on gravelly beds of ripples and current
And die.

Coho and Chinook Fry from Knowles Creek, Siuslaw Watershed

Salmon Smolt, Knowles Creek, Siuslaw Watershed

Spawned out salmon carcasses contribute nitrogen and other nutrients to forest-stream ecosystem
  I had the wonderful opportunity to work two seasons monitoring native fish species in a mid-coastal creek in Oregon where I developed a love of these sacred animals, which were a main source of food and currency for the  indigenous people of the area. Coho are anadromous, and spend part of their life in freshwater and part of their life in salt water. On average, coho spend 1-2 years in the stream of their birth, covered with speckles and parr marks that provides camouflage from predators, helping them hide among the stream detritus. As smolt, they "silver up" before heading out to sea, where being silver protects them from predation in the open ocean. Coho will spend one to three years at sea before they are driven to return home to their natal stream to spawn and die. Oncorhynchus literally means hooked nose, and refers to the fact that spawning male coho develop formidable looking hooked jaws. 

And now, a video I took of a spawning run at Fish Creek in the Siuslaw Watershed, Oregon, November of 2009.