where we are

(by gerald locklin)

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.


the things we do for love.

miss v turned eleven. i cannot say in words what this girl means to me, so i don’t write about her much, but she is the closest dear one to my heart. every time i think about her when i’m away from home, every time i give her a kiss on top of that scruffy nape of hers, i am a bowl of mush. this is the friend who taught me much of what i know of love. this is the friend who devotes her life to mine, who doesn’t hold mistakes against me, who never judges, whose good cheer and sweetness and pluck are limitless. yes yes yes yes yes, she says to life. this girl is an adventurer and so, i did something pretty nerdy & i got her a bike trailer.

we’ve been riding bikes most evenings & taking long weekend rides in and around the city (currently sweet on the springwater corridor), & thought miss v might enjoy these jaunts as well. thanks to kenny, a redheaded firefighter who listed it on craigslist, & who charged only a tiny fraction of what he paid for it, v is now styled out in a brand new burley tail wagon. kenny, you are awesome!

i was a little bit worried that she’d be scared of it, so i introduced it along with a side of bacon. bacon makes anything not-scary, and the verdict came in fast: the girl adores her new wheels. (here’s a link to our new theme song.)

i hope your week is off to a nice start!


the wind at my back

these weeks have been a flurry, friends, running all day and then, feet up for an hour and flopping into bed. summer things have been accomplished, and big changes are happening, too, career-wise. i was offered a new position at an old job, but this one is salaried, is fulltime, means financial security. i have never been terribly motivated by money, but hand-to-mouth living has been privately getting me down for awhile now, and i’m willing to let go of a certain amount of freedom in exchange for paying my mortgage without experiencing palpitations. i’ll keep my business running on the side, and breathe deeply and work on time management and on letting go of things like estate sales on fridays when the magic happens. (sad face.)

but that is all really okay; it is. because when you let go of things you get lighter, you can feel the currents pushing and you can move with them instead of against. when you let go of what’s extra you can hear your own heart beating. and when you listen, it gets louder and louder and louder. i’m placing my bets on that.




summer sweet.

hi friends, thank you for some sweet words about my last post. i’m glad you want to hear about real life and vaginas. this morning, though, i’m thinking more about how to hang on to the balmy summertime days, how to make these memories last a bit longer. we’ve taken bike rides after dinner all week. the carpenter picked sweet peas and straw in the meadow at the bluffs at sunset, a bouquet for my bike basket. the big tree in the back yard is shaking out some leaves already, crunch crunch crunch. a glass of pink wine and crunching around in the yard go nicely together. there is a feeling to go along with pink wine, a feeling of… i should be wearing a housedress and smoking a virginia slim, letting the ash grow long and spindly, waving goodbye to someone driving off in a chevy nova. something like that. something slightly tinged with sadness and change. something slightly tacky and glamorous, in a lee-press on nail kind of a way. falltime is coming. it’s been awhile since i’ve built a fire.
the hummingbirds are still all summer buzz, though. they wake me every morning, peeping around in the hibiscus tree. they’re so tiny and so loud! everything is full of leaf and bloom and fruit, we are eating what we’ve sown and it tastes sweet and clean, like work and the passage of time. i wish summer would last forever. not forever, but twice as long as it will. it’s supposed to hit 90 this week.

this weekend, i’ve got friends in town. we will eat bacon corn hash, and drink strong coffee, and remember fun/ awkward/ hilarious stories about high school. i finished painting the back porch, & front porch, i’m coming for you. i’m having a yard sale on labor day. how much living i can cram into a weekend is quite a lot. i hope so. have a great weekend, folks! put your feet up some, if you can. dangle your legs into water  someplace. rock on a hammock. i’ll be back next week with pictures of something totally awesome. gypsy caravan, anyone? yes, ’round here we think so.


twelve months, housekeeping.

hi, fine people! i hope you all had a lovely weekend and that your joys have been fulfilled to their utmost reaches in the highest of places you can imagine. (a rather lofty goal from me to you, but there you go.)

you may have noticed i’ve been posting kind of sporadically around here. i’ve been struggling a little bit with this blog. as in, what to write about. as in, i know that a whole lot of people are stumbling upon my blog because they’re trying to find out what to wear to a wheel of fortune audition. a lot of people are interested in my knitting projects. i do get amused/ confused/ disturbed sometimes by the google searches which bring folks my way: “things to do alone in bed” (which i don’t believe i’ve given much advice on, though i suppose i could speak to that…) // “cats in the boiling water” (??) // “jury duty stripper,” yes.

all of that is fine. i write here about thrifting, objects, making, but that is only a scratch on the surface of my life, and, full disclosure: i’d feel like a chump (and a hoarder) posting pictures of all of the embroidered vintage hankies i buy at estate sales. also, i probably only blog about one out of five things i make, because oh, wow, she painted the frame on her mirror. good god, another present for her cat!? ho hum. what could be more interesting could be…so many other things.

this blog has been a decent platform for writing, though, & i don’t make time for writing except when it comes to this space. but really, i want/ need to write more about what it’s like to  advocate for someone with alcoholic dementia from 3000 miles away, how complicated & lonely it can be, all of the feelings it stirs up, slogging through the painful parts of childhood, wanting it to be all over and yet, not.

i want to write more about unfolding into womanhood, about finding one’s power during times of loss. how to care for one’s vagina in the literal and figurative ways that one might. i want to write about how to listen to one’s gut know when the guy you think you’re dating is actually living with someone else and, incidentally, happens to have a shoe fetish, clogs to be specific, in which you have played a role, unsuspecting. also: the challenges of deepening into partnership, even with someone who doesn’t fetishize inanimate objects.

i guess i’d like to write about things my grandmother would find shocking, but which, in actuality, are not shocking, are just a part of being human, how it is.

in my daily life, women tell me their secrets. they pay me for this. they tell me things they maybe have never told anyone else ever. they have never seen me before and they will likely never see me after, but on one day, a hard day, they open up their heart and sit with me, and talk, and i hold their hearts and listen. listening to women’s secrets over time brings out some universal elements of the feminine experience… and yet, nearly universally, women feel alone when it comes to certain aspects of their personhood. it brings me great joy and meaning for my own life, when i tell them they are not alone, and i see their whole posture shift, their eyes widen in disbelief, relief welling its way in to tears. 

these are things i think about and care about. i don’t know why i’m telling you all of this, except sometimes i feel funny about the fact that a full year ago i started this blog and of course i have had an experience with it, lots of learning… and yet, i have not written much about the experience of blogging, directions, intentions, etcetera. i suppose i am still figuring all of that out. i hope to keep writing here, and i hope to write about things that i care about, and that you care about. even if it’s doilies and sweaters one day and then something heavy and strange the next.

anyway. i hope you feel invited to be here, because you are. thanks for sticking it out a whole year. thanks for speaking up when you do, for cheering me along, for caring about my words and who i am.


soft and stone

oh, dear. i’ve found new channel for my obsessive tendencies, and it’s dangerous(ly fun)! the first time i saw margaret oomen’s crochet stones, i fell in love. the other day, i wondered if there was a pattern out in the world somewhere, since i’m not yet skilled enough to crochet intuitively, but really wanted to make some. magically, there is, over at the purl bee, where everything is cute and rainbows and unicorns all of the time! i loved reading margaret’s words about her process and the energy behind the materials she uses (repurposed thread, yeah!). i used her tutorial as a jumping off point, and think these will offer me the chance to learn a lot of new skills/become better at reading patterns in the crochet department. there are a million free doily patterns on ravelry and i’m going to jump in.

these here are a gift for some lovely friends. as you can see, they’re irregular and flawed, but that works. speaking of flawed, it sure looks as though my front porch needs a coat of paint. why? why must i be responsible for things like painting the porch? why can’t i just wade around in rivers all day finding stones and then, at night, make clothes for them? it isn’t fair.


triple digits.

the air is thick, and hazy warm, and mostly staying put… but crossing the river on a bridge on a bicycle you can feel things move, feel the cool mist of the water rise up to say hi. my bike & i are making friends with sweat and quads and what it’s like to be strong, to breathe easy again. summer is what i’ve been up to, summer things, as well as some boring-yet-life-enhancing stuff, and life-enhancing is nothing to scoff at, to be sure.

yesterday i hauled the a/c window unit out of the basement and propped it in the bedroom window. i will say that there was unladylike grunting involved, and perhaps utterance of an unladylike phrase or two, while i jury rigged a support beam & prayed not to self-decapitate (which, i am proud to say, i did not). so now: the house is cool, the outside is hot… & i do like it hot. oh summer, stick around awhile, will you?

because summer, you are the time for dates on bikes in a favorite dress to an outdoors dinner on the other side of town. you mean skate parks/ ice cream for dinner/ an hour every night watering the garden in quiet solitude/ craft beer/ eating what we grow/ pink nail polish/ mountain hikes to snowmelt waterfalls. etcetera. the good life.

this summer has included a whole lot of change, too. and though i’m not the most awesome welcomer of change, i’ve been letting it come, letting it go, and breathing. my little (and i mean little) home is currently home to a motley crew of currently houseless friends, including: one australian reality tv star (waiting for a second gig), one midwife, one child trying to be a grownup, and two street dogs who were recently smuggled out of the galapagos islands by hard core environmental activists. one of the dogs is named maria. oh, the weirdness, the bustle, the line at the bathroom door.

think of your favorite thing about summer. have you done it yet? go and have yourself a lovely weekend, friends. xo


i have been renting a sweet little office for the last several years, and many times over those years i have silently promised myself that someday i would make cushions for the window seat. the cushions, however, have taken a backseat (har, har) to other projects time and time again. but, folks, their time has come. cushions made, and they are worth the wait. the comfort and the pretty’s been achieved, and i am stoked! 

i’ve made bias tape and piping once before, ten years ago when i was living in new mexico, and my landlady and i reupholstered a chair together. (she incorporated me into said project mainly, i am guessing, because piping isn’t the absolute most fun thing in the world to make.) bias tape and piping are time-consuming when you are slowpoke about sewing, i can attest. but, i can also attest they are worth it in the end, when your final item is completely dripping with awesome. (continuous bias tape tutorial here on the collette blog  //  piping tutorial here at sew mama sew.) being a slow sewer has its advantages, though… there are plenty of episodes of toddlers and tiaras to be seen, plenty of inner terror to cultivate while watching and sewing. the yin and the yang, friends… just pretend you’re conducting sociological research and call it good.
you might need to let go of your über-perfectionist tendencies, and learn to be okay with a wonky seam or two. they’ll happen.what else will happen is your seat on this seat, feeling glad. when you’re sitting in a window seat, all is right with the world. it’s true.

xo, emily