mojave calling

While Hashi put up the tent, K got the fire going

Our beautiful campsite

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

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Hedgehog cactus

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Banshee Canyon

It’s becoming an April tradition, the birthday camping trip. Last year we went to Los Padres National Forest. The year before to Death Valley. This time, we went to Mojave (Mo-hah-vee, for you Australians) National Preserve and camped at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Ah, desert. I love its muted tones and barren vistas and surprising splashes of colour. It whispers ancient secrets that I cannot quite understand, but that I want to slow down and strain to hear. Despite the dust, it leaves me feeling cleansed in some way. It is the opposite of frenetic and riotous, the opposite of Los Angeles. There is no hurrying to be done in the desert.

We had such a lovely time. Except for when the wind got fierce in the night, and our tent became a flapping flailing beast for hours on end, and The Guy resorted to sleeping in the car. THAT part wasn’t fun. But the rest, the hiking and exploring and cooking and staring at the fire. Yep, that was all perfect, and exactly right for a birthday trip. I’m a happy girl.

wherever you go, there you are

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Today I went before a judge along with a dozen others, and changed my name. It was anachronistic to be in court – an environment that’s usually fraught with negative emotions – and be surrounded by happy people. There were no losers in that room; we were all pretty delighted. It reminded me of how the maternity ward is the only one in the hospital that’s full of joy, not sorrow. And in some ways, it felt like a (re)birth.

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Later my buddy Clif sent me this picture, captioned “Wherever you go, there you are.” It made me laugh, and feel doubly glad that I now share initials with my lovely mama. The Guy, witty punster that he is, commented that “Running Water” should now be my native name.

Yeah, I’ll go with that. What’s not to love?

not even the king



Some people so poor all that they got is money.

Love love love.

february makes

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My dear friend Lola loves the smell of lavender, so I made her a set of sachets for her birthday. (Quite a few ladies got these for Christmas, too.) Simple and sweet, with a loop long enough for a clothes hanger if so desired.

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And then Miss Cali Hashi turned two, prompting a trio of jersey dresses and a little Aster Cardigan to go with them all.

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Cali_alien_dress

When I heard she was having an alien/space birthday party, I whipped up a tshirt for her brother Felix to wear at the celebration. But why should he be the only one in alien garb? Cali obviously needed yet another dress, to match the birthday theme.

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Then there was some very utilitarian sewing: blackout curtains and a ‘cozy’ for the electric saw. Projects like this aren’t exactly thrilling, but still provide their own satisfaction.

Coming up in March: Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard on Craftsy. Wish me luck.

morro bay getaway

Morro Bay Morro Rock from the Elfin Forest

Natal bottlebrush (Greyia sutherlandii)

Twisted oak trunks in the Elfin Forest #elfinforest #morrobay #lososos

Azure Bush Germander (Teucrium frutican azureum)

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Just spent a couple of days exploring the back roads of the Central Coast with the Guy + dog. So much green. Wildflowers out early. Horses and bunnies and turkey vultures. We had a beer at Parkfield on the San Andreas Fault. We drove over the Santa Lucia Range from inland to Big Sur, and descended into an ocean of cloud. We visited the Leaning Pine Arboretum and discovered new plants. We earmarked lots of places for future exploration and adventures. I love the way every experience begets more; there is no end to the wonder of this world.

a week of walking quietly

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Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

Growing up, Mum used to tell me I was ‘like a bull at a gate’. As I’ve matured, I’ve definitely slowed down, but I still tend towards the clumsy, noisy end of the spectrum. I stride. I clatter. I stub my toes.

For the past week, I’ve been paying more attention to my physical interactions with the world. I’ve been trying to be very very quiet. Not there’s-a-murderer-in-the-next-room stealthy. More like there’s-a-sick-child-lightly-sleeping-beside-me. I’ve felt just a tiny bit ninja. And it’s been fun.

Being quiet means going slower. It means looking where I’m about to put my hands, my feet. It means focusing on what I’m actually doing, how I’m actually moving. And this act of attention has rippled through to

    ~single tasking (e.g. not reading while eating)
    ~unclenching my teeth
    ~eating more slowly
    ~driving more alertly
    ~talking less
    ~gaining a little core strength, maybe. It takes engaged muscles to walk quietly.

A week is not nearly enough time for this to be engrained as a habit. It’s definitely a practice, one I have to return to many many times a day. I have no desire to be invisible, but I actually like being a little bit ninja. It’s a very gentle thing, to move quietly through the world, instead of clattering and banging. It feels like a kindness, both to myself and those around me.

Maybe you’d like to try it too, and tell me how it goes.

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ~ Mary Oliver

january makes

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It’s been more than a year since my last papercut portrait. They are somewhat time-consuming and hard on the hand, but I absolutely love the result. I swiped a favourite pic off Rhea’s instagram feed and made this as a birthday gift for her. The one I made for the Guy was three colours (not including the background); this one is four. I like the extra detail that the fourth tone allows.

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The Guy and I leave notes to each other daily, as we keep very different circadian cycles. We’ve nearly filled an 80 page sketchbook, so I made another to have ready. Unlike the Christmas journals which were case bound, this one employs coptic stitch. I really enjoy book binding; it combines my loves of paper and sewing, and the finished product is tactile, useful, and beautiful. Can’t wait to start using this.

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And of course, there was sewing. Inspired by this tutorial, I made a chess set for a favourite soon-to-be-9 yr old. I bought the bottle caps on ebay, and drew the icons with an ultra fine sharpie before sealing them with polymer medium. I made small and medium-sized drawstring bags; one for the bottle caps, another to hold the whole shebang, folded up.

There was a lot more gift-making in January, but reveals will have to wait until the recipients open them. And there was a big fat shirt-making fail, but I’ll post those pictures another day, hopefully when I actually have success with garment-fitting.

dan blocker to the pier

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About to be swamped

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My girlfriend A and I took a little break from beach hiking while she went and got married. We were back at it this past weekend, hiking from Dan Blocker Beach to Malibu Pier. The tide was rising, which was not ideal. But we didn’t want to wait another week so we went anyway. It meant a lot of rock scrambling, and some unsuccessful wave dodging.

Some folk who live beachside on the Malibu coast strongly discourage ‘trespassers’. But it’s our legal right to traverse the beach/rocks up to the high tide line, and even higher if it is unsafe closer to the water. Which it kinda was, in a few places.

We happened upon a baby sealion up on the rocks, who we hope was OK. No mama in sight, but it didn’t look injured, as far as we could tell. We clambered on, getting wet up to our crotches. How we laughed.

lap duvet

Lap duvet

Lap Duvet

I finally handed over the last Christmas gift yesterday, a simple whole cloth quilt made of a couple of yards each of soft swiss dot cotton and a linen/cotton blend. Bamboo batting is sandwiched between; quilting is simple bar tacks. It’s just right for covering the lap while knitting and watching tv.

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Or, it seems, for their little Lucy to lie on.

walkabout malibu to mexico

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Untitled Untitled Inspired by this book, my girlfriend and I spent a second day walking the coast, over rocks and tidepools, under soaring bluffs, along empty sandy stretches between point and pier, past stinky seals lounging in the warm winter sun. Counting our blessings with every sandpiper, every anemone.

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