31 December 2008


When not one but Two Friends emailed this New York Times article to me, I supposed I ought to just put it up here so that we can all discuss together what the heck it is about salted caramels that have people so smitten.

I've tasted several others, truth be told, and I have to say that because mine are always fresher than the kind carried by fancy food havens and not so fancy food havens alike, I think they stack up pretty well. Everytime I run out (like right about now) I'm always thinking, "Should I even bother making more? It's so much work and maybe the world will be very much the same without them," and then someone asks for a bag or two. And next, I get several gracious followup messages about people's happiness upon receiving some that I am inevitably convinced that my little candy venture must endure.

I'm not shocked that Barack Obama likes salted caramels because he has pretty reliable judgment. As things go, Fran's of Seattle is one of the top specimens, along with Little Flower Candy Co. of Los Angeles, but I'll say it: I bet he'd prefer mine.

23 December 2008


So, those who know me know that I actually pretty much love christmas cards. I forgot to document the ones I made for everyone this year from old photos and recycled heavy paper. I am now home to the Snowiest Wisconsin I've ever seen and my mom had the best seasonal party invite on her fridge. It makes me smile every time I look at it. This photo is a little weak, I couldn't focus on the words and the picture at once, what with it's festive glossy finish, but you should get the drift:

My mom's friends Joe & Joe host a famous holiday party each year and this is the invitation. The story goes, that Joe asked for a Ken doll year after year for Christmas but would never find one under the tree. Eventually she did buy him one, but only after much resistance. That is a ken doll in the little boy's hand and the name of the party beside it:

Everything You Want For Christmas

In this month of Milk and the passing of Prop 8, this invitation so eloquently breaks my heart.

Happy Day Before The Day Before, you all.

19 December 2008

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Baby's got a brand new...

& she sings, too.

15 December 2008

New Caramels

I updated the labels for my caramels because of a printing issue and in photographing them, I thought it might be nice to showcase some old wallpaper I came by recently and which though too bright for wallpapering my tiny house, is a nice little backdrop for the otherwise simple candy packaging. It's nice to have the smell of sugar wafting through the house again, it had been a while.

14 December 2008

Weather or Not

2 oz. cheap whiskey, one peppermint tea bag, half one lemon's juice from the Meyer Lemon Tree in our Neighbor's Yard, and hot water. To be drunk as needed to protect against the persistent chill.


03 December 2008


Back a couple years ago, when my life was still exciting, I lived in the great red land of yore: the Russia. And I still have plenty of little tokens around that serve well to reminisce of my time there. Colorful, kitshcy and somber, the design that I found during my time in St. Petersburg continues to shade the things I cherish: striped shirts, leather shoes, floral wallpaper, canisters.

Flipping through the dense new issue of Readymade, I came across some things in their holiday gift guide from a funny website devoted to peddling traditional russian garb. One of the magazine's featured designers, Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop in SF, cited two things from the internet store on her own wish list: a pair of wool boots and a telnyashka, a striped wool shirt worn by men in the navy. I brought such a shirt home for John upon my return and he still wears it.

In a funny coincidence, my friend Mary Wegmann sent me some socks recently, which I happen to be wearing today and they have the same seemingly haphazard color combination that I used to find so interesting in Russian handicrafts, specifically knit ones. Here is the note that accompanied my socks:

I brought her socks from Russia which were also knit by ladies on the side of the road, imperfect and chunky. My new ones are the same way. And here are some swatches; note the play between hot pink and ochre beneath burgundy stripes.

Anyway, this time of year I always seem to develop a hankering for more nordic, soviet, woolen components in my wardrobe. The consistency is really pretty nice. It means I don't have to worry about "updating" too often. And apparently I'm still sort of in as my grandma would say...

01 December 2008

Hallway Project

The day after Thanksgiving, for those of us who don't flock to shop, can be somewhat disappointing. Leftovers and movies can be nice in a big cozy house, but this year we stuck around Oakland for the holiday and the day after was spent in our little house all by myself. Don't get me wrong, it had its advantages but I didn't feel like doing normal holiday things, so instead I made caramels, wrote some blogs and decided to do a project. For some reason I only seem able to relax enough to engage in experimental projecture when I'm home alone. I'm not sure what that's all about.

When our friend Lauren visited several weeks ago, we went to the local junk store and sort of wandered around. We both emerged with some treasures: useless bits of things that are mostly good for giving, important to the composition of a thoughtful package but not significant on their own. The sorts of things that you accumulate as a detail oriented person because they are at their core, aesthetically sound, but can easily fall into a box and be forgotten. In our combined brown paper sacks: tiny glass vials, envelopes, labels, rubber stamps, pieces of paper, a sticker. And for me, lots of old photographs. The day we went, the store had amassed many different families' photographs into three boxes, all jumbled together. Picking through them, I managed to find documents of travel by car, new houses, holiday mornings, friends in high school, pilots and dozens and dozens of landscapes. I picked thirty or so of these pictures because on their own, they were so interesting.

Technically, the photos fell into the category of anonymous art. I've been wondering at the relationship between photography as family hobby and as fine art, inspired by the increasing frequency of moms with very expensive SLR cameras slung over their necks taking pictures of their childrens' every move. And then again, here I was pouring over other people's pictures with infinite fascination. On the one hand, to have other people's such emotional records can be creepy, dead people's faces taken out of unknown context. You can't help wondering what tragedy sent these family photos to the junk store in the first place, and how unlikely it then seems that anyone in them is still alive.

But anyway, it all still rather fascinates me, these photos. Much the way of old letters, and I decided to put them in our hallway. Using some long straight, rather sturdy pins, I picked several and put them on our wall and after some thought, added several of my own photos which depict ambiguous subject matter. To these, I filled in the gaps with some small things that I've kept, for lack of an ability to throw them away when the opportunity presented itself, and which make me rather happy to have on display. So here is the photo with a rough legend:

Clockwise, from upper left:
1. Envelope with Ink Drawing by Joel Chartkoff, given me by the artist, a friend, on my birthday.
2. Photo by anonymous, figure on hillside
3. Photo by anonymous, Historic Paramount Theater Benefit Premiere bill
4. Photo by anonymous, Salt Water fish
5. Photo by anonymous, landscape
6. Small plastic astronaut.
7. Photo by anonymous, out a car window of some California roadway, evident by foliage.
8. Photo by anonymous, industrial park
9. Letter & Envelope, sent by best friend July 2005 from Alabama. Typed.
10. Photo by anonymous, from Russia of androgynous ballet dancer.
11. Photo by anonymouse, tree branches
12. Small plastic astronaut
13. Photo by anonymous, four friends presumably in high school or college

1. Dinosaur mobile, my own photo but can't remember from where.
2. Butterfly wings made from free circular in Tucson, AZ. Given by a small boy in a Pep Boys, unprompted as we waited for our car to be fixed en route to Los Angeles.
3. Photo by me, unknown road in Alabama.
4. Drawing by John, of yeti. Now famous in certain circles.

Across from these, I hung a drawing that a homeless man gave me last week upon seeing me unlock my bicycle. I hung it in a frame that had been lying around.

Anyway, it was a rather nice way to spend the day after thanksgiving, I'd say. I love gathering things together and then planning how they fit together; in this case, associated in their diversity rather than by anything shared.

28 November 2008

No turkey for me, but...

My Thanksgiving was dogful! This is Electra wearing one sweet dogbanna.

26 November 2008



I finally tested out Suey's advice and made something from a pattern. Off-season, perhaps, I wore these shorts to a pinups and greasers party last weekend with some tights and they were awesome. I'm particularly proud of the detailing in the pockets and on the little tie ups.



15 November 2008

November Romance

These are some photos I took at the Johanssen Gallery opening last weekend. The entire mood of that place was transfixing; bluegrass music played on 78's atop a homemade, milkcrate turntable floated in and out of the little rooms and the grins in that room meant we were all tangled up in the same romance. For an opening, to create such an intimacy--even an artificial one--is something that gallery should be proud of.

Who knew splotches could be so intoxicating?

08 November 2008


I feel like I'm forever noticing things in my city and always wish I had a pocket in which to place them.

I think I just see the buildings as regular characters, the kind who are very watchful in the plot, all-knowing and nosy. They hint at the ending because they've been part of the same song and dance for years. This one is on 23rd Street between Broadway and Telegraph in Oakland, California.

And would you please get a load of these eggs?

22 October 2008


Miriam bought these little tools at Thriftown a couple months ago and they are such a handsome pair. I thought so, anyway. Somehow I feel like they might be useful in gutting all those persimmons around lately. Not in a vicious way, of course.

17 October 2008

From Miriam's Garden

mr. tomato head

A funny little tomato man, he has quite the nose we decided and snapped a quick one before he turned into salsa. Poor old guy.

16 October 2008


quinoa flora

Oh, welcome to the new blog! I will not aspire to be specific with it, but promise to include the myriad of subjects I seem to cling to, however ephemerally, in one grand curation of words and images. Since now my friends are truly scattered across the countryside, this will help maintain an illusion that we live around the block from one another, yes? A more accessible address than the one on 33rd Street here in Oakland. Now I can say, "you know where to find me," and other such tropes. So. Shall we?