thrifted things are people, too.

there’s been magic on the thrifting train of late! proof:

this lovely linen tablecloth would like to say, “come, dearie, sit down for a spell, and have a spot of tea.” so polite and inviting, she is. (she’s got a british accent, in case you were curious.)

… and here are some of her friends. they told me they’d like to take turns having breakfast with me all week. (they’re so relaxed they forgot to inquire about my schedule, which doesn’t include breakfast. they also forgot to inquire about whether i actually eat breakfast, which i do not.)

midcentury. orange. enamel. bowl. four exceptional qualities, indeed. “i love holding fruit,” she says… “go buy some bananas and grapes. organic only.” she’s kind of a snob.

the largest faux-fur pillowcase on earth told me she’d like to entertain some shagging by the fireplace. what a trollop!

the hankies do not like me to use words like trollop, because calling people names is bound to make them cry. they’ve gone to dry the pillowcase’s eyes.

and these three lidded pyrex beauties! the two smallers turned up at an estate sale last week, and the larger today at a thrift store. what luck! they have something to tell you, too… in the form of a song.

have you been out thrifting lately? what do your friendly finds have to say?



the tiniest treasure.

this little hummingbird nest is the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing i’ve seen in quite a spell. i’ve got a major soft spot for tiny houses, and this is the tiniest ever. check the scale out, people:

can you believe that? i couldn’t. it was gifted from my boyfriend. he’s a good giver. lest you think i’m a real fast mover, i’ll tell you that the carpenter is my boyfriend again… one not-so-small detail in my current life. i’ve never been the sort of lady who entertains thoughts of on-again, off-again, tumultuous love as a regular practice. but our love was never off, not really, and we’ve decided to give it another go. we like each other too much not to try rebuilding. we hope we can, & we’ve promised to be honest with ourselves and with each other if we can’t.

there’s a hummingbird in eastern oregon who lost her home. she’s endured some heartbreak, too, i’m sure of it. but hummingbirds have some crazy-strong hearts, so i’ve got good hope she is rebuilding. the nest came down when my man friend was thinning out some old-growth chestnut trees at a job site. he feels pretty terrible about cutting that branch out, but he didn’t see the nest until it was on the ground. which is sometimes how things happen.

hummingbirds make their nests out of soft materials (this one is clearly fabricated from dryer lint) bound together by spider webs for strength! then, to camouflage the structure, they glue bits of bark and sticks to the outside…. and, um, i am pretty sure this one contains some mouse poop, for extra panache. (speaking of panache and birds and homebuilding [and also of impressing one’s mate, i might add], if you’ve never seen footage of bowerbirds, go take a look at this video. you’ll be so glad you did.)

there are lots of hummingbirds who live in my backyard, and we’ve decided to put out strategically-placed piles of dryer lint for them, for karmic balance, for a symbol of rebuilding.


so good you’ll… cry?

has anyone purchased pecans lately? they’re beyond expensive. not thrifty, no (i do have thrifting scores to show you soon). but what else is there to do when your friend invites you to dinner, and you know that their favorite thing in the world is pecan pie? you buy pecans. even if they cost you seventeen dollars a pound.

then you find a recipe. i make pecan pie a couple of times a year. every time i make one, i do a google search and choose randomly, since generally, pecan pies are all the same: easy and basic. they’re hard to mess up. today i opted for this one called “the pie that will make you cry.” i picked it based only on the name, since happy tears are good for the soul, especially when they’re connected to the belly. i like a little extra salt in my pies anyhow. (i always use the joy of baking’s pate brisee recipe for crusts, and employ salted butter even for the sweet stuff.) when a recipe calls for corn syrup, i generally cut it down by half and swap out honey or agave for the remainder. corn syrup is nasty stuff. so, if you want your pie to look just like this one, do that!

you won’t be sorry, nope. at least, i hope not… we haven’t eaten it yet. it’s just sitting there on the counter, calling out, saying hello. it tells me it’s gonna be good. and if it’s not, my tears will not be ones of joy.


ps. we ate it. and then we kept eating more, “for pleasure only,” until our bellies were bursting.

(of note: the recipe i’ve linked to says this pie bakes for 50 minutes, but mine took about 70 to set up.)

round two.

so, folks… i have a bit of most excellent news to share. remember when i tried out for wheel of fortune? that was kind of a long time ago, but i got an email yesterday, calling me back for the final round of auditions. how completely awesome and hilarious is that? especially hilarious, i think, because of what happened during my initial interview. picture me, blushing, nervous, on a stage in front of hundreds of other hopeful contestants. it went something (almost exactly) like this:

hi, i’m emily! i live in portland and am a social worker! i also have a private massage practice! i live with my boyfriend and our cat and dog. the pets are totally rad! we walk the cat around the backyard on a leash! in my free time i go thrift shopping! i also love to knit and sew and bake. all that 1950’s housewifey stuff makes me super happy. it’s true!

ummmm… did you catch that? i told them i walk my cat on a leash. which is totally bizarro because i’ve only done that a couple of times. & who says stuff like that, anyway?! i guess i do. but you know what? the audience loved me. because i made them laugh. i should probably add that i was wearing a cardigan at my first audition… a wonkily misbuttoned cardigan. that might’ve caused the laughter. yep.

so anyway, superfun! on thursday, march 1st, i’ll be heading downtown to a high-rise hotel ballroom, looking sharp (wearing what? what do people wear to game show auditions?) hopefully i’ll have a sharp mind that morning, too. but, you know… not too sharp. this isn’t, like, jeopardy or anything. we’ll see. i’ll let you know.


these days, i am liking:

♥ winter walks in the woods by the river. cold days and sunshine and things blooming.

 downton abbey. i’m a latecomer to the abbey party, but all the better to spend a whole day watching every single episode in a row. yes, liking this bunches.

♥ excellent thrifting wisdom from frecklewonder. part one & part two & part three. yes to every single word.

♥ one little pink crochet hook… getting pretty quick with that sucker. circles… by the hundred.

♥ perusing paint swatches for an upcoming bathroom facelift.

♥ these two, per usual:

♥ airplanes and spring break for teachers: best friend arrival in t-minus 3 days! so ready to see her.

♥ friday night at ground kontrol. coffee and quarters and pinball, and a voodoo donut afterwards. (portland, you’re awesome.)

i hope you’re all liking some things these days, too. follow that stuff, okay? pay attention to what you love, and soak it on up.


the way some things unfold

hi, folks…  it’s been awhile. i’ve been writing quite a lot, actually, writing things that aren’t for sharing, writing things only meant for me. and i do love sharing, i think you know that if you’ve been reading this blog with any regularity. but i will tell you i have never been too good with big transitions, even when they’re necessary, and my little private world is off it’s kilter these days. initiating change is the easy part, but adjusting and learning new ways of being can be a rocky challenge. some days are alright, and others i find myself immobilized at the dramatic, cloudy, self-absorbed intersection of heartbreak and cliché. trust and hope are hanging out on the sidelines, and i remind myself to ponder them, to remind myself that even when i’m not fully feeling their presence, they’re waiting for me to say hello.


many years ago, i think it was seven, my dearest sisterfriend amanda and i, and sweet dogfriend v, drove from oregon to vermont. we were wilder back then in some ways, and more restrained in others, than we are now. it was a great trip, full some strange and wonderful adventures… thunderstorms  and sleeping in places where, i think back now, we really had no business sleeping. we ate canned tomatoes over kraft macaroni dinner, and spent four hours tracking down a hot dog joint in chicago. we visited old friends, saw the corn palace, and yellowstone, and the badlands, and snuck in through an illegal entrance at mt. rushmore so we could get a picture of the dog with the presidents. but we didn’t stop at the abandoned mine in rural eastern washington. i wanted to, and i didn’t ask.

it’s funny how memory works, isn’t it? the way certain, seemingly mundane instances can come flying back to us, every detail embedded? we were on a secondary highway listening to U2, and it was mid-afternoon when i saw it there, beautiful graffiti in the middle of desert country. i remember thinking to myself, i’ll come back here again, someday. i simply knew i would. it seemed important. i still don’t know if i understand why.

and i did find myself there, once again, of course, or it wouldn’t make a story. if i hadn’t, i might still be waiting. ben and i were on a trip, and he was driving, and i’d been napping and woke up and i knew it was the same road. this time, i asked. this time, we stopped. we stretched our legs, and walked the dog around, exploring. i took some pictures, we drank our coffee, he smiled at my enthusiastic adoration for an old mine shaft, and hugged me and told me he loved me. he asked me if i’d gotten what i wanted, and i told him i had. what i got was: this is the moment i get to be here. right now, just like this, it’s happening right now. 


wool and sunshine.

hi, people. we’ve had sunny skies and warm temperatures  in portland, and it it feels alot like spring. february is my favorite winter month… the camellia is starting to bloom, and instead of darkness on morning dogwalks, the sun is rising. but it’s still chilly enough for a lightweight, lacy scarf.

the pattern, named “les miserables”, is free on ravelry. the instructions are excellent. it’s knit with skinny, fuzzy yarn (i used two skeins of cascade alpaca lace), on too-big needles, and then hand felted. this is the sort of project with just enough of a challenge to keep oneself from going crazy-by-repetition, yet simple enough that you can carry it around and work on it while chatting over tea with a friend.  just right. super duper highly recommended.

one of my favorite knitting projects ever, and that’s no small thing.


:: update ::  a lot of people seem to be checking out this post (via ravelry), and i feel sort of guilty that i haven’t added any helpful hints, so i’ll try. advice: if you’re a perfectionist with your knitting (like i am), this project may offer a perfect opportunity to let some of that go. i spent hours and hours unknitting and then reknitting this scarf while i was getting the rhythm down. unnecessary! it won’t matter, in the end, if your dropped stitches show up at irregular intervals. nobody will notice, and it might, in fact, actually make your finished product look more bohemian/ wabi-sabi/ distressed/ bag lady. which is precisely the look you are going for, no? also, this is quite important: follow the felting instructions exactly. be patient with that part. it’s so fun to watch your garment transform, and if you’re careful while you process it, you will be happier with your finished product. lastly, even though this is a relatively simple design, working with teeny yarn on large needles was kind of awkward (for me at least), and the pre-blocked size is pretty long… so be forewarned, this isn’t a quickie-pie little weekender gig. it will take you a good long time. and in the end it will all be worth it, because you will likely wear this scarf  a whole lot. i know i do. enjoy! xo

new skills.

of all the things i’m learning these days, crochet is the easiest.

doing the same thing over and over and over again does have it’s place sometimes.

…and sometimes not. but change is a time when wisdom might visit, if we open the door for its gentle knocking. i do know that much. right now, i find myself wanting to fling the door wide open, and, simultaneously, to deadbolt it. i think that means i’m human. and that’s enough right now, just to sit there in the middle, paying attention.

anyway. i bought myself a heap of yarn and the “sunshine day blanket” pattern, and i’m figuring it out.

thanks for being here.