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.

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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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.

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.

i.l.y.

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#signing #asl #signlanguage

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Darlene and Cindy. Photo by Lola.

Retirement party for my Sign Language professors. What an outpouring of adoration for these two women who, for 35 years, ran the best ASL interpreting program in the world. They were honored with words and signs, in song and dance, with hugs and gifts and tears. I was so happy to be part of the celebration.

But man, my ASL is rusty.

euphonious

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The night before L’s last finals. On the way to help her study, I get dinner at Chipotle. I try to Shazam the background music, but there’s too much interference from the ambient noise. I check the app’s Top 100 list, and note that I’ve never heard of most of the acts. I could blame my ignorance on old-fogeyism, but actually I haven’t followed popular music since my early teens. I watch the brown, long-legged girls in their short shorts and white tank tops giggle as they fill their cups with fizzy sugar water. I was never one of them, though at one point, long ago, I wanted to be.

Then a few hours with my own long-legged girl. My red-headed stepchild. We drill vocab. Aesthetic. Ascetic. Prodigious. Ponderous. Desecrate. Elucidate. Depravity. Autonomy. We roll them in our mouths, euphoniously, and find links between word and definition, ways to remember.

This.
This is the girl I was.
This is the girl I still am.

coming home

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Now, instead of turning into the winding canyon as I drive home from work, I climb a small hill above the ocean. I pause at the top of the driveway to check the mail, and breathe in the briny view and the homestead below. This is where I live.

Man and dog greet me happily. He shows me the wall he’s been building, and the hummingbird nest he found. Then I go inside to start dinner while he waters the trees.

birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

what we need is here

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Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

~Wendell Berry

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