Archive for the 'transformed and traveled' Category


by invitation.

Carol Anderson is not a brand I carry.  I have attended a few home parties and generally like the outfits.  So I was surprised to hold an actual Carol Anderson dress in my hands that a customer had left for me to alter.

this is what her label used to look like

this is what her label used to look like

My customer’s mother had worn this dress ‘back in the day’ and while it is made out of 100% Polyester it was also

made in the USA!

made in the USA!

Since then Carol Anderson has changed directions. She no longer supplies retail outlets but sells exclusively through home sales ‘consultants’ (Carol Anderson by invitation).  On her website, it won’t tell you anything about her story but I found a blog entry that describes it pretty well.  A few years back I was constantly invited to attend a CAbi sales party and went a couple of times. Today, either the market has dried up a little or they just don’t invite me anymore. I haven’t had an invitation in ages.  The whole home party thingy is a bit difficult for me as I always feel like I NEED to be a good guest and buy something. Which I have done at a CAbi show because her clothes are really nice and beautifully detailed.

Linking to my earlier entry about the book Overdressed, I checked the labels of my CAbi clothing:

a jersey dress that I take EVERYWHERE

a jersey dress that I take EVERYWHERE

Carol Anderson also makes her clothing in China.

Jeans from my first CAbi party

Jeans from my first CAbi party

This designer has been around for a long time. With companies bringing back work to the US, I wonder if she will be one of them.


my obsession with water

Where I grew up, there was no water to speak of.  Unless you count the little, piddly river that runs through town.  And while this ‘river’ was close to my school and I did see it every day, it had no big impact on my life. Train tracks played a bigger role back then.

Today, my dream house would sit on a river’s bank, close to the ocean or be overlooking a lake.

Flowing, moving water fascinates me for hours and days. Birds and boats capture my attention.

the Atlantic ocean outside of Cascais, Portugal

Where I live now, we have two wide rivers – one flowing through town, the other carrying big ships to the nearby ocean.

Pacific Ocean, Oregon Coast

I love the noise of the crashing waves, the salty air and the screeching seagulls overhead.

Rocking boats are not only pretty, they also have a calming effect on me.

Walking by the water’s edge, watching the horizon makes me happy.

the view! (Alps in the distance, Zürich, Switzerland)

fishermen’s boats, Cascais harbor

Looking back on my recent trip to Europe, I remember having slept most soundly at my friend E.’s house. I can’t really pinpoint it to the fact that she lives not even 50m from the river, but I like to think that this was the reason – the slow flowing water, the big boats: all your heavy thoughts are just carried downstream.

Cascais, Portugal (on the Atlantic Ocean)

Next up:  my obsession with clouds.







update … and a close call

It is a good thing that squirrels have long, bushy tails. Otherwise that poor critter would have met his demise when he hurled out of the park and onto my bike tire. He scared the hell out of me, too. Lucky for him, the combined weight of me and my bike along with my speed only hit his tail and he wooshed away as fast as he had come.

Which reminded me that I owe you all an update.

Remember the snake that I mistook for a fireworks wrapper and almost killed this summer? He kept us busy for quite a while – I had posted him on Craigslist and M. (the dad)  asked around the neighborhood for a few weeks.  The first improvements to Mr. Slither’s life came in the form of graduating form his temporary cardboard box to a glass terrarium. Then M. and his family took him to be examined. By now, his kids had taken a BIG liking to Mr. Slither. Now a good 5 weeks after finding him, we still had no bites (sic!) on the ad or the neighborhood.  And so they decided to keep him. A happy ending indeed.

The other neighborhood development I was following included the destruction of a ranch home in my street. While I still believe that the house they took down was in decent shape, I understand that sometimes it might be more cost-effective to take down rather than repairing.  However, this place was just demolished and taken to the dump.  In my mind that is careless, unsustainable and a total waste.  I much rather have them dismantle the place and reuse the materials (like they have done next to the shop – that is another blog post, though).

They finished the buildings.  Yes BUILDINGS, plural.

picture taken at the end of July

These houses are large and very high.  For comparison, look at the cottage to the right. I love Portland but I don’t get that they will allow such out-of-scale additions to the neighborhood.

They also have a garage at the end of a long driveway and a picnic table sized yard.

taken October 17. for sale.



using it up

Today, my mother-in-law is celebrating her 96th birthday.  Actually, she is HAVING her birthday, I am not so sure about the celebrating part of the day. Since she is a bit forgetful these days, she may not remember that is IS her birthday today.  Other than that she is in remarkably good health.

For her entire life, my MIL was incredibly organized.  Everything had its place in her house and everything was labeled and carefully put away.  She also kept EVERYTHING, remotely usable from lidded containers to rubber bands, ribbons to wrapping paper.

When she moved to a retirement home in 2000 and cleaned out her house, I inherited – among other things – many yards of lingerie elastics.

There were lots of colors and varying widths.  I did not have a use for most of them, especially because they were at least an inch wide and too ‘lacey’ to use on top of a skirt or pant.  UNTIL I mustered up the courage to try myself at underwear. You see, I am (like probably most) VERY particular how my undies need to fit.  I need them to stay around my butt cheeks – nothing worse than undies riding up. I like them to be low cut to where I don’t even feel them.  And I like them to look good – not pinching little rolls of flesh here and there.

I have all this leftover fabric sitting around and figured that these little odds and ends may just be enough for panties. So this last fall, I took some leftover fabric (mostly bamboo) and the elastic lace to my annual sewing retreat at the coast.

Using well fitting store-bought panties as a pattern, I set out to work.

tracing a pattern, getting to work… and enjoying it!

I took several tries to get the right fit. Some were too tight. Putting elastic around the leg opening did not look pretty. Others were too high on the side and too low in the back.

But finally I got a fit that I like.

the latest batch (cotton jersey)

so pleased with the lace edging!

I am not sure when the GAP store will see me again.


my ‘lil pouch mania

A few days before Christmas, I was SO on a roll.

Sunday, I had gotten a tree and decorated it that night. Monday, I was cleaning house and Tuesday, I did ALL my shopping for the holidays and party. Oh, did I ever feel organized!

And then there was Wednesday, I did not have to go to work – and had NOTHING planned.  Nothing.  Zip.

[About a year back, my good friend and sewing addict (just like me) B. had given me a set of pouches, both boxy and flat, which I had put immediately to good use: two went into my big purse to hold various, otherwise wildly floating things; one was big enough to put CDs in, and the last one goes on airplanes with me, containing earbuds, an eyemask, along with other airplane-necesseties.]

That ‘free’ Wednesday before Christmas?  I was going to MAKE some Christmas presents!

I have tons of leftover fabric scraps.

I have hundreds of zippers in all colors and lengths.

But most of all: I have the TIME and MOTIVATION to get cracking.

Also by B.’s recommendation: there is probably nothing that a youtube video or a blog somewhere can’t explain. So I googled ‘box pouch tutorial’, found this one, got my fabrics, zippers and interfacing, sat down,

fabric and zippers, first finished pouches

moved frequently between sewing machine and computer for directions,

six box pouches, two phone carriers

and had little gifts for the girls that I met for Happy Hour that Wednesday night!

However, I did not stop there.  After sewing and clipping, turning the pouches right side out and seeing the pretty liner fabric inside just made me happy. All the memories the fabrics produced – this one I had gotten in San Francisco, that one on Italy, the silk I purchased together with D.; this one was made into a jacket, the other one made a skirt I never wore, the pants out of that one I still have… a little of my history went into every pouch.

The second batch a few days later... and still not done! Fabric of my sofa and of my chairs are seen here.

I made more pouches between Christmas and the New Year. I gave them to friends and family. One is holding underwear, one a pharmacy kit and a flat one an iPad. (so I hear)

The last batch. For now.

These last three I am keeping.  The Guatemalan fabric with the silk lining is for my phone, the grey plaid (made a skirt of the fabric) is so pretty with its liner that it makes me smile, and the green one (outer fabric – curtain, lining from Japan) is big enough for socks or panties.

Yesterday, I found more fabric in my studio that just calls to be made into a pouch. But I shall reign in my mania for now… I have tons of alterations that need my attention.  But soon, there will be a birthday, an occasion to make more pouches.

Here’s to a CREATIVE 2012!


I move and see

The other day, a friend of mine posted something to the effect of: moving makes you feel better. Actually, I think the article was about ‘exercising’ and how your mood increases, your stress level goes down and you just feel better when being active.

I do not think that I needed to read the article, just the headline alone says it all. The article described a study done with mice and moving, and being chased and how in the end the one that ran around had better brain readings of some sort. I forget.

What I DO know, though, is that if THIS mouse (me) does not move, I get crabby. Big time. I actually do not so much feel this in my body (stiff limbs and such) but IN MY BRAIN. Something does not compute well up there if I just sit or surf the couch. I need to move to feel good, to feel balanced to feel in sync with myself and the world.

So, I have been rather happy and grateful for the pleasant weather as of late. Because that means that I can ride my bike to work. Biking is fast enough to get me there in 20 minutes and slow enough to take in the smells and the sights.

I have mentioned the pretty houses along the way before but lately I have been seeing CARS. As of today, I gathered a handful pictures that I like to share.

I love the bully front and orange color!

either an Oldsmobile or Chevy... and BLUE!

I want that one. In that color - maybe a few years older than this.

The first electric car that actually looks good.

Nissan Leaf. Zero emission car. Goes 90mi on one charge. Now, if we only discover how to make electricity without polluting the earth.

 And this is what I see at the store:

This one makes my heart move.


biking… (one more time)

One more bike entry before I need to stop writing about this… unless I can live with more traffic jams (stopping in the middle of the road to get the ‘right’ angle for a picture) or falling off the bike and causing serious injury to myself trying to take the picture ‘in motion’.

Here I wanted to take a picture of my average speed, which turns out to be 19km/h (12 mi/h) up considerably from my previous commute to lower Fremont. Must mean I’m getting in better shape. Also means that I hurry to get to the shop on time! As you can see, the odometer reads 17 km/h – I scared myself to death looking through the lens and checking traffic at the same time. (Promise – no more of these!)

Ignore the cute Mazda in front – another building atrocity in my neighborhood. One of these days, I have to volunteer at the building commission in order to understand this nonsense.

With all the rain we had, the size of this Peony is unbelievable. Or maybe its size is just because.

Arriving at the shop and enjoying everything that you can see here!

Flickr Photos


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