Monday, June 17, 2013

a summer feast of the senses


the weekend was spent in great company of friends and animals. the road took me southeast of portland to a beautiful setting among farms and vineyards.  the fresh smell of grass, the warm sun on my skin, the epic landscape, the call of owls at sunrise, and abundant fresh produce was a feast of all my senses. a reset and reminder to all i love about life. thank you, thank you, thank you

artist Kristin Longbill of Moontea Studios is so lucky to live on this lusious land. she hand prints by either using her century old printing press or silk screens onto fabric in her studio among the cats and llamas. her work is beautiful! check it out at

gracious hospitality, a stunning setting, great food and drinks, and good company left me energized, grateful, and ready to start the week. happy monday folks, make the most of every moment and find even the smallest joys in all you do  


Sunday, June 16, 2013

happy fathers day dad

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

~Arthur O'Shaughnessy, "Ode," 1874 

here's a shout out to my dad, another great influence in my life. he gave me my love of the desert, adventure, and an optimistic outlook. i wish i could have gotton that picture of him in his elvis pants, but that'll have to be for another time, a surprise post in the future! happy father's day dad!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

fall inspiration

its hard to think about fall when summer has just arrived, but its what i'm doing. yesterday in the park i sketched, spent some time working on the inspiration board, ideas are starting to come together. texture, layers, tactile fabrics, location and setting, rich colors - this is what stands out so far, the designs will find me from there and are brewing in my mind

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

mid-week inspiration

i took the two photos of the coney island windows in seattle back in march and have been waiting for the right time to use them. i had intended to create a sunny summer inspirational post, but when i saw this picture below with the dramatic sky, it rang true to what's been happening with our pre-summer weather. it was also fitting with my daughter moving back from brooklyn this week, yay! ok, now lets have some summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

mid-week inspiration

tell me what has you inspired at the moment

 a strange litle blossom found on a neighborhood walk

two beautiful companion fabrics a friend picked up for me in an indian market

Monday, May 20, 2013

Open Season Fashion Show - Part 3

pendleton's portland collection was shown wednesday night at rontoms. sorry, more bad photos, i swear i'll get better at this! but if you click on that link above, their website has really good photos of the pieces.

everything came together to make this the best show yet. the collection was absolutely gorgeous, i never would have thought i would love this type of northwest style, and it wasn't just wool as most of us associate with pendleton. the venue worked really well for the show too, i had a good seat, good company, and the band lovers played and is definitely a new favorite

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Open Season Fashion Show - Part 2

day two of the mercury's fashion show - tuesday's show featured designers reif and brady lange

sheer panels on tops, skirts, and dresses made reif's clothing both romantic and edgy. lange's tailored looks included lots of colorful jackets with shorts for both men and women. this wide legged jump suit was phenomenal!


brady lange

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Open Season Fashion Show - Part 1

portland's fashion week started last night with a show with designers holly stalder, emily ryan and liza rietz. the beautiful designs worked so well together, i'm sorry i don't know who's dresses are pictured below. i didn't get any photos of stalders designs somehow, but i did of ryan and rietz, so sorry ladies. i know i'm a terrible photographer. tonight i'll bring my actual camera and take notes! 

Monday, May 13, 2013


my mom once told me she thought she thought she was born to gypsies, she had a wanderlust.  when the counterculture and social revolution came around, she was married and starting a family. now in her retirement, she's finally getting to stretch out of her conventional life, just a little bit. i'll get her to burning man one of these years. this is one of my favorite photos, i laugh out loud everytime i see it. here's her a few years back in quartsite when she and my dad began trekking down to arizona for the winters.  oh, and that's not my dad.  i'll find one of those photos of him in the elvis pants. father's day is coming soon! what would they think if they knew i'm blasting the world with embarrassing photos?!

i have my mom to thank for my wanderlust, i swear i inherited it, i felt it as a young child.  i'm also so grateful for the patient sewing lessons that led me down this path. so what to do with the energy to move and the patience to stay put and see something thru? its a constant battle i tell you. but in really listening to my heart, i find there is no other choice but to do it all, but more on that later.  

thank you mom for gifting me my work, being my friend, making me laugh, and inspiring me, i love you, and you're getting a tattoo next!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the newest boutique on alberta street, amelia

super cool owner/designer amelia blakeman carries local designers in her shop, as well as her own line of beautiful dresses, amelia

a fun grand opening with raffel prizes, food and drink, amelia is off to a great start and i wish her the best of business! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

i had a great weekend showing the spring line to an old and new retailer, and am so excited to add another location that will be selling Estate! HARP in sellwood will have some of the pieces in a few weeks, so if you are in southeast, stop by! 

HARP (healing arts resource project)is an amazing place that offers different healing practices, an herbal pharmacy, an amazing vegetarian cafe, and retail space. let me tell you, the food is not only healthy but SO delicious too!    

Sunday, March 24, 2013

cherry blossoms and hope

my street is lined with beautiful blossoming cherry trees. walking beneath them with my furry pal fran is pure bliss, i have hope that spring is coming, the thundering hail storms prove it too. the blossoms have always reminded me of petticoated dresses. happy sunday! enjoy the sometimes turbulent transition to spring.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Animal Traffic

My favorite vintage store, Animal Traffic, celebrated its one year anniversary on Friday. This location in SW is a little more masculine and sophisticated than his sister store on Mississippi. Cool packs and bags from Janzen, vintage Pendleton apparel, locally made jewelry and scents, and great boots and moccasins. It all left me wishing to be a man for a moment, ok done.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Anna Karenina Costumes

ok, i think i have a slight obsession with anna karenina, ive been listening to the book as i sew too. i found these sketches that relate to the costumes, they're all so beautiful and i wanted to share them. this is an aspect of apparel design that isn't seen often. in my process i start with a swatch of fabric, it has spoken to me, i love it in some way i may not yet understand. i look  at it and touch it and ask of it, "what are you? who are you meant to be?" it answers me in my sketches. i'm not that adept at sketching, i can make it presentable if i have time, and maybe i'll share them here someday, but for me the process is about drawing out what is hidden in that swatch. i think in pictures more than words (which is another reason i started this blog, to practice using my words!)but in sketching, i can record my thoughts and ideas wordlessly, they may not be this pretty, but i know what they mean

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fabric show

a trip to seattle for a fabric show. blue skies and sunshine greeted me in pike place market, a big difference from last year.

the show was disappointingly small, half of it was quilting fabric, hey local people, wouldn't you like to get fabric closer to home? one of the reps told me the best show for smaller manufacturers is in new york twice a year, oh darn, i'll have to go back to new york! see you in august! although it was small, my usual organic fabric supplier was there with new fabrics, and i found a new rep with really beautiful fabrics from italy and france.  

i also met a portland designer that i really admire. i felt a little stalkerish as i fumbled an introduction. it seems  intrusive to know so much about people only from reading their blog. but she was gracious and open, as i had imagined.

a lot of walking, sunshine and fabric made for a beautiful day in seattle, a much needed change of scenery. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

i watched the oscars for the first time in years, only for the dresses. i hate to admit it, but i haven't seen even one of those films, i've got some catching up to do.

my top two picks for gorgeous oscar gowns - alexander mcqueen of course, always my favorite designer, and sandra bullock wearing elie saab. did you have a favorite?

photos from 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

London Fashion Week

the london fashion week just wrapped up, showing autumn/winter 2013, more here. at this site you can see slide shows of all the designers over the 5 day show. one designer i didn't know, thornton bregazzi of preen stood out for me. the clean classic silhouettes with a sexy twist and interesting details was a nice contrast to orla kiely, a favorite among many, but had a mad men influence that i'm a little tired of seeing, cute but done.

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

Orla Kiely

Friday, February 22, 2013

it hit me friday morning about 4am, massive headache, body aches, and chills, ugh! i don't need this! on the bright side, between naps i can catch up on blog posts and working on my website. what website you say? yes! there will finally be a website! coming this spring...  
christina ricci by mert alas and marcus piggott for w magazine september 2006.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Estate samples

we're just about to the sampling stage of the spring collection.  i like to use old scrap fabric, curtains, sheets, whatever is no longer wanted or useful. i'm the type that likes to use my fabric stash, i don't understand the hoarding types, i just don't have the space for that kind luxury.  since i'm out of larger pieces of knit fabric, i stopped by scrap today. have you been? its a hoarders wet dream, oops, did i just type that?! i found just what i was looking for, put my blinders on to all the plastic caps, foam pieces and more random stuff and headed off to yoga.  it'll be one more late night of patterning before the sampling begins... 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Rosa Parks!

celebrating a courageous woman today. i found out she was also a seamstress. democracy now devoted the hour to her story, check it out, i think you'll learn some new things about Parks.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

sweat shop clothing

a friend recently asked me if i thought of the people across the world working in sweat shops as i worked, the answer was yes. today as i heard just a brief news story of yet another fire in a clothing factory in bangladesh, those women, men and children were in the forefront of my mind. i've worked what i thought were pretty bad jobs, and had some awful employers, but i've never felt my safety was at risk and have never been locked in the building.

talking with a woman about a local boutique, she said to me i should sell my dresses there, and i could sell them for much cheaper than the dresses in the store. it gave me a great opportunity to explain to her why those american made clothes were more expensive than what you find in chain stores, and that my dresses would not be cheaper, in fact more expensive if i truly paid myself a living wage and didn't try to compete with the bigger labels.

i think as a society we need to take a mindful look at how we consume and at what cost? this weekend we lost seven beautiful women to a factory fire all in the name of cheap clothing. my heart and body pays tribute to them as i sew in a safe, clean well-lit environment

A crowd watches as firefighters and volunteers attempt to extinguish a blaze at a garment factory in Dhaka on Saturday.
photo from

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

there's no place like home...

sewing for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week leaves your mind a long leash on which to wander if not engaged. when repeating the same task all day long, muscle memory takes over and leaves the brain unoccupied. i try to keep it busy by listening to podcasts, the news, npr, music, language and philosophy courses...the alternative is to ruminate over the minutiae of every conversation and interaction i've ever had, analyze my childhood, past failures, you get the idea, you know that chattering monkey that never shuts up. i was recently turned on to a new source of distraction, librivox. the site offers free audio books from the public domain, read by volunteers. i've been listening to the wonderful wizard of oz lately, did you know there are 14 oz books?! my earliest memories of watching tv include the wizard of oz (the monkeys scared me) and the funeral of elvis presley (my mom loved him)remember that dress glinda the good witch wore? gorgeous! my mother made my prom dress that rivals glindas! hmm, and my dad had a pair of white bell bottoms with blue satin godets, ha ha! i'll have to ask her if she made those too.'s some fashion photos inspired by the wizard of oz, one of my favorite movies. 

photo from

photo from

Monday, January 14, 2013

with the light falling snow today, spring was all i could think of. i've recently put together some images of colors, textures and design that i like to help me conjure the spring collection out of the fabric i bought on my recent trip to new york. it seems to be working, i'll give you a peek as soon as i can. meanwhile, bundle up and know that spring WILL come, the ice will thaw, and we'll be wearing sandals again.