Monday, December 20

winter kitchen, winter reading

Tonight's photo shoot is courtesy of my kitchen. When we first installed our Joe Strummer lightswitch my friend Jeff leaned toward it, squinted, and said "Yes, that's good, you want to have it where you can see it every day."  He was right.

I bought myself some books. I just gave away my copy of Art and Fear but not before replacing it with a new copy plus another for another artist friend. It's the best book ever. I read parts of it every day. It's hard to explain why - it's so basic that it's difficult to describe. Not self help-y, but very helpful. It's simple and direct and puts everything in the right place.

I also chose The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World as it's written by one of the writers of Art and Fear. And then I went berserk and got Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit (darn you Amazon and your free shipping) on the the premise that I just might be mature enough now to learn from someone so disciplined. I know, I'm laughing too. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, December 15

hold my calls.

Zena in last week's snowstorm.
The never-ending stupid anxieties of self-employment are partially tempered by my ability to declare a snow day before it even starts. Tomorrow is already canceled.

Actually it will be a work from home day.  Mr. Lentil took a bunch of pictures of my newest work, so I already measured everything and have a whole heap of new clothes and handwarmers to list on my website, as well as all the ingredients for apple crisp.  I'll be wearing my slippers and drinking too much coffee, and after everything is listed, working on some new designs. Take that, snow. Now all I have to do is get home in it tonight.

Wednesday, November 17

"Uh-Oh, I've lost a button-hole." - Steven Wright

Okay, so here I am with Nancy Schindler of RoundRabbit last month at the Salt City Urban Arts & Crafts Market. She's curly, I'm fat. But enough about us - what you want to know about is the buttons.  I got all worked up a while back because she was making some special  earthenware, exclusively Nancy-style large chunky buttons just for me to use ... and she brought them to the show ... drumroll please:
I know, I know. I'm excited too.  Plus in the last wave of moving my studio I found the bin with the vintage mens' suits ... some of them match these and as soon as I'm past my holiday push I'll commence to chopping them up and rebuilding them into some vest-jackets and coats featuring these highly coveted buttons.

I swear, each one is lickable. But I have not licked them.

Sunday, November 14

Just call me Tom Sawyer ...

It's Sunday, I have great friends, some leftover wine, a lifetime supply of rubber-stamped pricetags and an awesome heap of hand-painted and stenciled bags.
I put an offer up on facebook to see if anyone wanted to come in and get messy in my studio. It was a full house and a raucous fun time.
My friends are nice people and very earnest workers. Please admire the concentration. Margaret, Norm.
 Sue, Phil, Colleen.
I hope I shelved my control issues well enough and that we're still buddies. I think I did. Norm, Sara, Sue, Phil.
Lisa shows off the finished product. Her stenciling prowess is now known and revered by all. Ta-da!

Monday, October 11

Dear 221, No one will ever love you as much as I do ...

So I'm moving to a new studio. Just down the hall from mine. I've been on a list for a while, and it turns out that the space I'm getting is better than I imagined, both for creativity (nice shape, nice light, good colors) and for practicality (better heat and AC options, more windows that open, near nicer bathrooms!)

Well I'm not good at waiting.  This morning as I got dressed I realized I was already picturing arriving at the new studio. You should see how neat and organized it was! But sadly there are still other people working in there. The nerve.  So I swept by and took a quick picture. It's blurry because I'm not a very good stalker. At the end of the month 221 is all mine.

 Beams in the hall. I love this old warehouse.

Friday, October 8

self portrait of the artist thinking real hard-like.

Here is me a few days ago. I'm working on a super avant gardey black sculpted vest that has about, oh, 8 gazillion pieces and at this point they were all trying to fit together gracefully on my dress form. Apparently when I need to concentrate I clamp my hand over my mouth! Coincidence? I think not.

I'm wearing my bracelet from Michelle Darin that I just got to match my newish morel mushroom necklace from Kirsten Skiles. AND my scarf, which was a gift from Carina at feydesigns. Hurray for great handmade stuff and the people who make it.

Today I turn 46.

Monday, October 4

"'Love → Building on Fire' is sometimes represented on the internet using the title 'Love Goes To Building on Fire.'"

I'm not one of those perpetually slender design / architecture people with inexplicably overpriced eyeglasses who knows about buildings. A cornice might be a small chicken.  I nod when people refer to soffits while I am frantically building a vague formless concept that they are some ... thing ... that might be up in a corner. That's about all I've got. I may know the names of three architects. No wait - four, since a new friend is the grand-daughter of one. I made note of his name in case I get to pretend I know about him in future conversations.

But I was compelled to watch Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman because I secretly wanted it to help me figure out why I like those modern houses. You know the ones. The concrete slabs, floor-to-vaulted-ceiling windows, gaping spaces, the vague formless owners, always off camera, who seem to survive on a great view and little more - people who somehow have so much money that they don't seem to need anything.  I want to mock them but also I am sucked in, maybe by the myth of a neat simple life or mind or as someone in the movie said, by the idea of a "private utopia."  I could fall for that for a long time. 

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"  Well yes, a few times a day, but I'm sort of used to it. I just don't trust vague formless desires that I coincidentally share with so many other people I don't know. Heck, I don't even like some of them. I don't believe there is magic behind it. I don't think we share collective unconscious desires as much as we all grew up looking at the same pictures in the same magazines at the dentist's office and as it turns out Julius Shulman probably took those pictures. So maybe what we really liked was the photography of Julius Shulman. And I do. But those houses ...

There were a few other simple clues that helped me piece this together. The movie talked about how these architects worked. They used existing landscapes and incorporated the houses into the hills, the rocks, the desert, so that they were a part of their surroundings. They used readily available affordable materials and worked with them in inventive ways. Hey, I do that too! Okay, so that connection makes sense. Also, I am easily overwhelmed. I like things that are neat and simple because they help calm my brain. I like details to have a purpose. Ornament wears me out.  So add that to the list.

It's not that I feel like I have to pick desire apart until it bends to my logic and begs for mercy. But I do think that as someone raised in an unprecedented land of consumer whoredom I can be served by tracing my desires back to basics. Or at least I can try. There is value in peeling through the layers of memories and magazines to the simple act of naming what it is I like and why I like it.

Right now this liking is part of a bigger thing I'm working on. I can only sum it up as:  I like spaces and I think about them a lot. I could draw you a map of the street fair I went to yesterday, or the machine shop my father owned when I was a kid, with its paneling and secretaries' desks, drafting tables and Royal Palm soda machine in back of the loud floor full of machinists and their machines. Are you like that too? I don't think everyone is. (And at this moment I'm trying not to mention that my spouse can't find his way out of the mall.) Thinking about spaces helps me locate myself in the world and hold my self together at the same time it connects me to the larger scheme of things. It helps me move forward to create new things, even when those things are dresses and sweaters instead of houses. It's one of the ways I make order out of chaos.  Well okay then! Mystery solved. On with my day.

Friday, October 1

“Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali.” - Salvador Dali

I haven't yet awakened as Salvador Dali but if I do you'll be the first to know.

Actually I haven't looked in the mirror yet, so who knows?

Sometimes I wish it could be morning all day long. No, maybe that would get creepy. But anyway, I like it. This morning I'm working from home - hot mug of chai, dogs sleeping at my feet - listening to new Neil Young songs quietly farting through my little Mac speakers while I post new hand warmers on my etsy shop. It's gray and rainy out and everything seems perfect.

Sunday, September 26

"Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark." - Annie Dillard

Sorry Annie. Not only do I already have an attractive studio, I am also coveting a better one. Okay, obsessing may be more like it. It's just down the hall and actually smaller than my current space. But it's a more appealing shape, it has funky lights, it's sort of industrialsexywarm, and I don't know, I just want it to be mine.

And supposedly it is mine for the taking, but I'll believe it when we're wheeling carts of stuff down there and building a new dressing room. Also did I mention that it's closer to the boiler room and has windows that will hold an air conditioner? For someone who is only comfortable between, oh, say 64 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit, this is crucial. It's not easy being a fragile flower.  I do the best I can.

Friday, September 24


I wrote a poem.


antlers on your wall
used to mean you had pulled on your boots in the dark before dawn
day after day and trudged,
snow crunching under them.

and at the very right moment held your very cold hands
and shoulder
and breath and eye steady
then not only shot but also gutted - the steam and the blood of it -
and dragged
that animal with the antlers
back to your house.

now it means
you got to the flea market on the train after brunch,
your cash ready, your coffee hot.
and them, waiting on a folding table,
resigned to hang on your wall and wink:
a life is a life.

Monday, September 20

who will be you?

"Is Charlie Parker one of a kind, or can we produce another Charlie Parker at will?
Answer: Yes, Charlie Parker is one of a kind.
Answer:  No we cannot produce another Charlie Parker.
We also cannot produce another you. If you spend your life trying to be Charlie Parker, who will be you?"

- William Parker, from Who Owns Music

Saturday, September 11

morning poem

I wrote a poem.

My soap exists to wash me
just as I am here to feed the dogs.
Everything is easy in the morning.

And if I cry at eight pm - I often do -
tired and full of pity,
(mystery achievement, my ass)

I'll try to remember morning
when it's sweet and soapy, simple
and the dogs say:
hurry, feed us, we need to get back to sleep.

Thursday, September 2

it's okay, some of them adjust more quickly than others

Release of the Bear Cubs. This dress is named after a dream I had years ago. I know, yawn, who wants to hear about my dream?

There were two bear cubs who had been kept safe while they hibernated in glass cases on either side of my brick fireplace. Then they were released from the back of a white van into a large lush green field. One cub instantly surveyed the area, perked up on its back legs, sniffing, then took off running for the forest in the distance.

The other seemed to be drugged, dazed, stumbled out of the van and just meandered. Once it fell over, and just as I began to worry about him (or rather me, since this is how I feel much of the time as I see other bears galloping off confidently) the narrator (British of course) came on to let us know "It's okay, some of them adjust more quickly than others." It's okay! Phew.

So this dress has one cuff that is expansive, bold, and galloping, and the other is a folded bud of a bear cub that will get there in its own good time.

Sunday, August 29

gotta get in to get out.

Today in the studio.

The plan is, get in, sew, get out before I melt.

Listening to the Charlie Parker birthday broadcast on wkcr.

Making mountains of hand warmers from recycled wool.
In real life they are in focus.

I had a movie dream last night about a man who was preparing to die. All his family was with him, he was quite calm, and it wasn't sad - it was his time and he was calmly preparing his loved ones for his demise.  There were three household / grooming items laid out on his bed that formed a check mark, that's how neat and clean it was, he'd been checked off of the great list of life!  That's what I get for drinking beer and eating sushi late at night on a friend's porch.

Friday, August 27

I got a magic chrysalis

from Lavinia Hanachiuc of almapottery.
It's a pirate moth.
It's hanging from my neck right now.
Gosh I love her work.

It looks like this:
I stare at her work a lot. 
I'm hip to her plight.
In my dream world my house is clean and neat, 
painted bright white and sunny and full of her work,
which never gets dusty.

Wednesday, August 18

keeping it real, small, and mildly surreal.

I was eyeing my bamboo scarf this morning. It's waiting on the coat rack for me and for the proper Fall morning. I get such a thrill from the handful of things that other people have knit for me.  That gratitude helps me remember why people are so excited (okay, sometimes a little stampedey) about my work. It helps me hold onto what is special and good, not about what I make per se, but how I go about it. Because there is always something exhilarating but also terrifying about relaxing into the smallness of what I do. I'm not trying to fill someone else's retail store, not trying to get discovered and hit the big time, not trying to hire people to do my work for me ... so what am I doing?

Well, today I am:  sewing a heap of gray and black clothes for an out of town customer who'll be visiting the studio this weekend. I know what she likes! High sculpted collars, lots of gray, and even more black. So I'll have a fine pile of stuff for her to try on when she arrives. It's one of the joys of working small and knowing my people. It's so much the opposite of trying to please everyone ... it's just this: me sitting at my machine thinking of what I know of L. - which is only what she has already bought from me, and some details from a few email chats. It's not exclusive, exactly - it's not even fancy. But it's enough to work from. It's just me making stuff for you. It's simple and direct and nice. I'll do it for you if you want. It is my honor.
Two of my sisters and a niece brought lunch to me today at the studio. A favorite moment: when we swiftly decided that the pie-shaped and square-shaped contingents could each have the cornbread they desired. Now that's diplomacy.
Fuzzy self portrait of me today. 

Tuesday, August 17

pssst I'm over here, behind the boxes.

My normal scenic vista of ... well, okay, I admit it, the utility sink ... has been replaced with a mountain of boxes.

Yes, it's fabric.

Yes I usually rail against the evils of hoarding.

But I know just where all of this is going! I'll, umm, I'll feed it every day and clean its cage ... I promise.

It's my Fall stash for making layering husks, bloomers, ruffle shrugs and vests, etc - any of my limited run stuff that is not reconstructed.  And it's really nice ... designer samples of some really lovely fabrics - linen, cotton, wool suiting from Japan and Italy, all great quality. Most are just large enough to cut out one or two items, so there will be much variety. I'm making bloomers out of some amazing patterns! I can't wait to share them with you. Especially the mod striped red white and blue pair.

My excuse is: my local fabric store is moving and they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Three unwieldy cartloads up the freight elevator later and my Fall is laid out before me ... literally. At least it's not too hard to figure out what to do every day.

So between that, getting my website all fancified (did I mention that you can shop directly from it now? cough cough?) there's a lot of change in the wind ... and if I'm lucky it will be a crisp cool sunny Autumnal wind ...

Friday, August 6

I Am What I Am: a cautionary tale

Imagine my surprise when I clicked on a favorite blog this morning and saw MY ARM. It's on Worn Through: Apparel from an academic perspective. The sewing machine tattoo on my forearm is the first picture you'll see.

The post shows sewing tattoos but mostly it's about the blog author teaching a course on "personal and professional appearance" and it reads as a mildly cautionary tale. I don't flinch at that, but it is funny if you know me and know how much I ruminate over such decisions.

I got my tattoos when I was forty. When I ran one of my runner-up ideas past a very non-tattooed friend ("Matt, do you think I'll regret it if I get a ***** tattoo?") He immediately said "Helen, we're already the age when you would regret it." That cleared things right up.

I also got them after being self-employed for a few years. They are a reminder that I am who I am - and I have not ever felt so purely myself (in all the fantastic and tragic ways) since I left the world of working for others. It's basically been one long Zen retreat - and not the kind where someone serves you miso soup in a raku bowl and you suddenly see everything clearly. I'm talking about the part where you stare at the white wall and every demon you've ever built comes to visit and taunt you, and while they are chanting all your fears (Failure! Loser Failure! Loser!) you try to function, and create beautiful things, and keep your books - oh, and make enough money to eat.

My personality is enmeshed with my business. Like my tattoos, my business is me. But I was always taught that being professional included hiding your self. So I'm interested in redefining what it means for me to be professional based on this lack of traditional boundaries. For me professionalism is a direct extension of what it means to be moral. I make my business decisions in a humane way and I seek to strike a balance of fairness with everyone, myself included. But I'm also an artist, and a passionate fool with very specific quirks. In my perfect world I'm asking professionalism to becomes specific, flexible, and human - inclusive and not reductive. And I'm trusting that there isn't too much about me that needs to be hidden!

By design I am part of a very direct process: the things I've made with my hands - things that are part of my soul and are built based on every experience I've ever had - are traded directly for other people's hard-earned money. But they are also traded with admiration on both sides, and I know the people I sell to and they send me pictures of themselves wearing what I've made and they tell me stories about what my work means to them. They show me things they made with their hands, they share their lives with me. Over and over, we're building a world together where we are connected. I don't sell to stores, I don't hire other people to sew for me - I want to be part of this direct connection, even when it's hard. And it often is.

Yes, I may have to work for someone else some day, and yes, maybe I've doomed myself to working in long-sleeved shirts. But I can't believe that people who work in the straight world don't make choices that affect them permanently. I know they do. And while they aren't engraved in their flesh those choices are often written on their faces. I've seen it and it's not for me. I'm going to keep taking my chances on the choppy high seas of self employment and art-making for as long as I can. And if it fails I'll probably end up working for some youngster covered with octopus and knitting tattoos. It's all good.

p.s. here's the other one, equally as nice, though it lives in the shadow of the colorful one which gets paraded around books and the internet ...

Thursday, July 8

"Be obscure clearly." E. B. White

Managing my brain's energy is a full time job - but I do try to fit a bit of sewing into my days too - you know, so I can pay my bills. Every once in a while I pull these disparate goals together and do some work that keeps all neurons tidy and focused ... at least for a time.

Such is the case, currently, with knee-length skirts. I'm in love with making them. Each one has its own rhythm and shape that wants to emerge - the design unfolds nicely before me as I cut - a problem emerges and I solve it, an idea wants to come through and I sew this way and that, stitching those panels back together and yes - there is the idea, expressed with economy, like a tidy E.B. White paragraph. I wish it was always this way, this murky art ~ craft ~ brain ~ life work that I do.

In honor of riding the current energy stream I'm doing some custom skirts for people. Well, they're sort of custom-ish. I get to pick the colors, so I don't know who will be adventurous enough to let me play/work for them. My plan is to make these for a short time, until the curiosity is gone and the mojo fades and I feel like skirts are stupid and I should never make one again! Which could be any day now. So if you want one, take the leap.

Friday, June 11

tag team alchemy

Resourcefulness is its own reward. Mr. Lentil just worked his magical playfort technology on our giant studio windows. see below. On the left, a paper blind, circa 1994, Portland Or. – originally purchased to be a wall in our shared studio apartment (now that's love). Okay, so that part was easy – unless you've ever seen our attic.

On the right, he made curtains from a canvas drop cloth. Not only is it a dropcloth, but it was free – we found it in the give-away pile in our warehouse. Then he removed the one window panel that opens. It used to hang sort of open from the bottom with two little chains, like a castle bridge over a moat, effectively stopping any air from getting to us. But he flipped it over so it hinges at the top, then installed a pully system so we can open and close it. There's nothing more fun than battening the rope to the big wooden shelf with knots I learned as a Camp Fire Girl.

The chains that used to suspend the window now tie back the curtains. And of course, my favorite detail: he harvested the cord that holds the window open by gutting and fileting a broken extension cord.

Voila! We have more fresh air, muted sunshine, quirkily mismatched windows and the lasting satisfaction of having made something out of almost nothing.

Friday, June 4

getting away with it.

I heard two women talking about me in the store the other day. Trust me, I couldn't avoid it - and one announced that - "well, she can get away with that because she's tall."

Okay, first of all, don't speak loudly about someone as if they aren't there when they're standing right there and can see you. That's number one.

But also, why that phrase? Why do we use "get away with it" only for outfits and murder? Of course I get it, some clothes look better than others. But if something looks good on you, what exactly are you getting away with?

Because I make women's clothes - and honestly, I think, because I'm fat, women tell me a lot about their bodies. And almost always, they tell me what is wrong. Women call certain body parts "their problem."  I hear a lot about hiding things: hiding upper arms, hiding thighs, hiding necks, hiding knees - and I learned early on that there is no arguing with these ideas because no logic applies.

Usually I feel like honored, a trusted confidante, and I feel strong enough to act as some sort of keeper of sacred body faults, but sometimes it just saddens me and tires me out. Maybe if we didn't feel like looking good was "getting away with something" it would be a start toward moving through the world in a new way - a way that is more about showing who we are more than what we hope to keep hidden.

Wednesday, June 2


Any day that includes coining a new word is a good day for me.  (Can you coin a word or just a phrase?) Well anyway, in this case Mr. Lentil gets credit for naming my new design: The Haoredux Shrug. Look, it's not even in Google yet.  The name is ... sort of Japano-French? The shrug is a ruffly cropped jacket, with boxy haori-like sleeves that are elbow length, and of course, also ruffly.

If Ikea can make up words why can't Secret Lentil?

Sunday, March 28

i like Spring but

i still want to make things out of wool.

Thursday, February 25

"You've got to BE there ..." - William S. Burroughs

There just aren't enough knitting action shots in the world.

But Carina just sent some. Here she is knitting in her very green back yard of which I am eternally jealous. She's wearing her Secret Lentil hand warmers and holding the glompod clutch which is stuffed full of yarn.

Over on my side of the country we're getting a big wet nonstop dump of snow today. Schools are closed, the trees are covered. I'm inside sipping hot chai but thinking about boots and shovels and getting to the studio.

I spent so many years trying to get out of things I didn't want to do - going to school, to other jobs - and just waiting waiting for a snow day or even a sick day to get out of the drudgery.  But this morning I saw my niece's post on facebook - she was looking forward to talking about a novel in class and working on an art project but she's snowed in. Oh! I guess not everyone hated that, ha ha.

It's still new to me to like what I'm doing. To like it in the real deep way where I'm not even secretly hoping for the day off. Where I'm not showing up every day but inside the I Want To Quit clock is ticking and I know this gig won't last long.  I think I'd like a snow day but then I sit here for a few minutes and my brain gets engaged with what needs to happen today - shipping, listing some new pieces, re-arranging the studio, maybe even sewing a bit - and I'm surprised that I'd rather find some socks and see if I can dig out and get there.

I'm building a theory about how the moment we have an imaginary endgame - pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, winning lottery ticket, prince on white horse, hoping someone pulls the fire alarm so we can stand out in the parking lot instead of working for 20 minutes, etc. - that as soon as we have switched to wishing we were somewhere else we lessen our ability to be engaged with what needs to happen right in front of us. We begin to wait for life instead of living it. No i didn't invent this idea. But the more I think about it the more I think those imaginary fairy tale distractions hurt us. They cause real immediate harm. I'd love to ramble about it more but I have to go to work. Want to go to work.

Monday, February 8

deterioration, rot, rejection, heartbreak and other creature comforts

I do fine with failure, tragedy, general deterioration and rot, but when things go well I get tense. I've tried to talk to people about my fears of success and the conversation always dies an awkward death. I think I'm not alone, yet no one will talk about this. Things are going really well for me over here, people, and I need some help! Okay, that does sound a bit pathetic.

So I was relieved to come across a Joshua Wolf Shenk article in The Atlantic, about a man who studied happiness, that puts words to what I've been trying to say:
But why, he asked, do people tell psychologists they’d cross the street to avoid someone who had given them a compliment the previous day?

In fact, Vaillant went on, positive emotions make us more vulnerable than negative ones. One reason is that they’re future-oriented. Fear and sadness have immediate payoffs—protecting us from attack or attracting resources at times of distress. Gratitude and joy, over time, will yield better health and deeper connections—but in the short term actually put us at risk. That’s because, while negative emotions tend to be insulating, positive emotions expose us to the common elements of rejection and heartbreak.

Was that so hard to admit? Success makes us feel vulnerable. Am I not allowed to say this out loud?

Last month I made some clothes for Rosie O'Donnell. She almost wore something of mine on Oprah. She did wear one of my sweaters on Good Morning America.

I'll spare you the details of the freak-out I put myself through getting things made and delivered to her, then stalking whorish news-faux-tainment sites trying to get a glimpse of her. "Lift your arm! I can't see the sleeves! Lift your damn arm!"

But here's what came of it. First, even a brief stalking of one person online to see what they are or are not wearing gave me a lot of empathy for famous people. I wouldn't wish that much success on anyone.

And it gave me a fresh appreciation, as if I needed one, for how many times we can gawk at something to confirm that it did not happen. That is not my sweater on Oprah *clicks play* that is not my sweater on Oprah *clicks play* that is not my sweater on Oprah *clicks play* ... oh the sweet comfort of having dodged success ... by the time someone told me they saw her on Good Morning America, in my sweater, I didn't even flinch.

So really the biggest change in my life is that people have squealed at me more than my comfort level will allow.  And hopefully I have one more happy customer who feels better moving through the world dressed in my clothes. That's really all I want for anyone who chooses my work.

Sunday, January 3

All I really need to knowI learned from David Lynch.

old iron, foam heads
I'm not calling them resolutions, but I did tear a large unruly sheet of kraft paper off my roll and spread it out on the table to do some sprawling, rambling dreaming about the coming year.  Anything that physically resembles a kindergarten craft project is a great way to get my brain focused. I'm taping tabs of paper with subjects or thoughts written on them, then moving them around, unsticking and sticking them, and just trying to think through all the things I'm holding in my head about my frendly little Secret Lentil empire.

It's an awesome thing to build something from nothing, but then even more of - well I guess - more of a responsibility to nourish and grow it.

Some of the ideas are banal, things that slip through the cracks because, well, because I'm sewing everything I sell by hand, one at a time, and I'm trying to stay alive!  Like gift certificates.  Hello Helen, why don't you sell those online?

Others are more big and dreamy, like: I want to write a book. I have a folder on my computer that already has an outline and notes I've scrawled from time to time. Yes, I'd like to make that happen. I would publish it myself, heck I may even build each one out of kraft paper and packing tape.

But mostly I'm trying to figure out how to embrace every day, keep my work enjoyable, and stay on a path I respect. Go ahead and laugh, I'm laughing.  Oh! That's it, I'll just embrace every day! Like I've never tried that before.  But really, I think I'm getting there. The truth is that I'm getting used to worrying about starving, not paying my bills, never retiring, and the fear that suddenly, all on the same day of course, everyone on earth will decide they don't like my work. Those fears get boring after a while. That's right, I said it, they bore me.

I just watched a documentary about David Lynch and I'm smitten with the way he works - on movies but also on painting, on ceramics, on tinkering around with just about anything. He just states plainly that you really need to enjoy doing the work itself. And that if you don't enjoy it "you should do something else." Okay. That sounds good.

Also, I want to learn how to say "Hello" the same way he answers the phone. Hel-LO!