I'm living honeycrisp apple to honeycrisp apple and the smell of woodsmoke hangs in the air and there are heaps of pumpkins at the grocery store and talk turns to ghosts and baked things and sweaters and the call of the woods gets so loud and around it all, that ambery light.
Is there a more enchanted month than October? The more I'm around, the more I find out that it's nearly everyone's favorite. And it's mine too.
Tin House* is a quarterly literary magazine, a preserve for written things: wildly imagined things, wryly observed things and unclassifiable things, poems and stories and oddities by beginners and big-timers all bumping elbows. Accessible, fresh & a really pleasing size to hold in your hands, they also have some very beautiful covers. I'm happy to be a part of this issue.
I actually have always thought, since my teenage days working at the defunct suburban music chain, Wherehouse Music, that a "standie" (as we called them) was the pinnacle of achievement. Putting together complicated, instructionless cardboard displays, I thought "Only very important things deserve this rigamarole."
Only people like Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks had standies.
I can't believe that there is a standie to hold the Dream books. Taping the cardboard head back onto Bob Dylan in 2002, I never could've guessed.
This gem is from Babar & His Children. I think it makes it into all-time-favorite children's illustration territory for me.
The text is also great, in a Babar-ish way (it begins "Three seconds in which to act -- and no gun!") but I think it's a such a perfect three panel story all on its own. What cold heart could resist a baby elephant encountering a crocodile while floating in a bowler hat?
I have never had a mailing list before, but I want to be able to let people know when something big is in the works or about to be released. And I get so many emails asking about how/when original work is sold, and though I will always post new work (and when it will be available for sale) here, the mailing list will keep you in the loop:
1. I put almost every kind of rose I have in a jar and brought it to a friend. 2. Jude the Obscure is one of my favorite novels & also the name of a floppy, faded peachy English rose. 3. Josiah called them Power, Corruption & Lies flowers and that made me happy.
(I am working on some new paintings I'll share soon - in the meantime, The Flower Channel!)
June is so gracious. I go out into the garden every day and usually come back with a jar of something. Then I marvel to Josiah (who listens for the hundredth time) about how it all happens, about how it feels like Aladdin's cave out there, about the delicate and temporary riches of flowers.
I can't ever get over it - they're just out there, with almost no help at all, working their magic. Somewhere underground, something says ABRACADABRA and the garden makes things so beautiful and voluptuous and fleeting your eyes turn into hypnotic spirals.
The roses are blooming their hearts out and it's the last of the foxgloves and the beginning of the bellflowers.
Sometimes you will find you need a Thomas Hardy paperback, an old tea tin, some military die-cuts, a piece of sari silk printed with elephants, and cat stickers. Maybe you also need some notecards printed with hundred-year-old images of Multnomah Falls.
If you need these things (or a tin wind-up toy or a 1960's beaded sweater or a book of photobooth photographs or some previously-unknown-to-you perfume from Imaginary Authors) there is only one place I know of to go, my favorite store: Flutter.
There are lots of places I love here, but this place is special, the best-possible version your imagination's dress-up box. I remember the first time I visited, maybe seven or eight years ago. One look & I was done-for (you can watch a video on their website that gives you a tour of the shop, although it is a restless creature & always changing its feathers and colors and finery.)
If you visit Portland, you should wander into this giant jewel-box -- just know you will almost certainly leave with a collection of strange & beautiful clutter.
I had been wishing for a nice celestial globe for a while, and this gem finally came to me.
They are much more scarce than their terrestrial cousins, and the nice ones (the really, really, really nice ones, illustrated in color & centuries old) are hugely rare & cost a corresponding amount of pennies. This one is from the early mid-century, so no very old, but very beautiful & within my reach.
You probably won't be surprised by the constellation highlighted in the picture -- it is my favorite -- but they are all equally beautifully illustrated. And I've learned some new ones, too, like Lacerta, (the lizard).
I've decided to make a tradition out of trying to make a new Summer dress out of Liberty cotton every year. It would be so nice to build a little stockpile over of the years.
This is last year's, and keen eyes will notice that (thrill-a-minute creature that I am) this year's is the same print, Claire Aude, just in the red/pink colorway. I actually sewed it inside-out, because I liked the back of the print a little more (the colors were a little softer).
I drafted the pattern from my favorite dress, a slip dress with a gently gathered waist. I've made so many clones of this dress, I think I could make it in my sleep. For the fabric, I usually order via Purl (but if they don't have a Liberty colorway or print in stock B&J fabrics almost certainly has it)
I've also been ordering a lot from Mood, with their amazing selection of silk & wool & other fabrics it's hard to buy locally. I am sewing so many of my clothes these days and I love it. Even when I botch something (which is often) it was in the pursuit of making something that's exactly like what's in my mind. And like with anything you make: when it isn't botched, and it works just right, and it's exactly like you hoped, it's completely wonderful.