Investing in Quality

linen-pillows1Good morning! I’ve always appreciated the finer things in life — some might call it “expensive taste” (“some” is actually my husband). But I also have a cheapskate side, or maybe it’s this sense that I don’t actually deserve certain high quality items yet.

One of those someday-when-I-feel-deserving items is linen bedding. We have a small closet at the edge of our upstairs landing where I keep all our sheets and pillowcases, but most of them are from Target. I’m pretty sure that the fiber content is indestructible synthetic that will float out into the galaxies completely unscathed should our planet ever combust. I’ve salivated over the thought of drifting off to dreamland nestled upon 100% flax linen sheets and pillowcases since I was a little girl. I was an odd kid, what can I say?

linen-pillows3

So, today is my birthday and I thought it was high time I treated myself to some linen bedding. I’ve had a linen duvet cover for a while now, but I finally bit the bullet and ordered this linen sheet set last week. Once it arrived, it was a beautiful expanse of white on my bed, but I felt an urge to add a little extra…grey.

linen-pillows4

Using the instructions for the most basic pillowcase from this tutorial, I whipped up a couple of grey linen versions and it was so fast and so easy and so satisfying, I couldn’t believe I’d never made simple pillowcases for my bed before. The only modification I made to the tutorial was to fold the pillow edge 3″ instead of 4″ since I wanted the insert to be completely covered. The French seams are tres luxe. I’d like to try this Purl Soho tutorial with the envelope edge next. I’m already starting to iron other neutral-toned linen. Highly addictive and beautiful to boot. Love.

The gorgeous peonies were a birthday gift from a friend. My adoration of pink flowers is well-documented on Instagram and these make me so very happy.

linen-pillows5

I’ve been thinking a lot about investing in quality. I’m no stranger to bargain-hunting and a good deal is always worthy of celebration, because cost doesn’t necessarily dictate quality. Yet sometimes paying top dollar is totally worth it. After reading this book and a slew of other minimalism books, I’ve been reevaluating how I approach everything in my home and my notions of taste and style and quality. I’ve been guilty of wanting pricey, brand-name stuff in the past because of course it’s a way to impress others and it was an easy way to feel better about myself even if it wasn’t altogether healthy. There’s also a kind of safety in established brands. A particular logo may say: “Look, I have good taste.” And though I’m well aware that filling life with expensive things isn’t all that meaningful in the end, it wasn’t until I stopped buying clothes four years ago that I started to examine what was meaningful. I discovered that without the crutch of trends and my go-to stores, I didn’t know what my style was at all, and this wasn’t limited to apparel.

I’m still exploring what “investing in quality” looks like for me. I guess there are certain elements like my love of linen and neutrals that have been unchanging over the years, but I’m still forging my own style and learning what my personal tastes are (and yes, they will continue to evolve). You would think that after living over 40 years, it would be a no-brainer, but no. Maybe I’ll never know for sure, but it helps to shrug off the little voices in my head that blather on saying things like, “you should look like this at this age,” or “you should own these things because ‘successful’ people have them,” or…anything with “should”.

linen-pillows2

Hm. I’m almost always surprised at what I start typing when I create these blog posts. My plan was just to mention the linen pillows, but I suppose I’m feeling contemplative on this 13th day of June, now that I’m 45. It feels like a significant age somehow, and I’m excited to see what will unfold.

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Dora, congrats!

Happy Friday + Randomness

 

sh-outtakes2

I’m craving stillness
to think thoughts, read books, to sew
and sow and slow down

These images are outtakes from the book (the top one was styled by Rachel, the one below by Allie; both were shot by me) — you may be seeing a lot more outtakes since there were so many images I wanted to include that didn’t make the cut.

Anyway, wishing you all a slower-paced weekend (unless you want a faster-paced, exciting one, of course)!

sh-outtakes1

P.S. I’m getting a serious case of wanderlust reading all the comments from the giveaway. Thank you for the inspiration!

P.P.S. I’ve actually been reading a bit more lately and just finished this book — hilarious and thought-provoking! I’ve now moved onto this one and and am loving it so far! Makes me want to move to Paris.

Totally Teepee

teepee1

Good morning, friends! I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around making plans for the long Memorial Day weekend, but by last Thursday evening, my projects were starting to look somewhat manageable so it seemed only fair that I try to add at least a little bit of fun. Luckily, K’s got initiative, and she had invited a friend for a Friday sleepover. I was able to get even more work done while K played with her buddy and on a whim, I booked a short Saturday/Sunday getaway for my family.

teepee2

As you can see, we stayed in a teepee! The second image shows the one we actually slept in — it was called the hummingbird. There were four teepees total as well as cabins and a general camping area. The best part is that it was only a short 20-minute ferry ride away on Vashon Island, and though barebones (which is to be expected with a tee pee), it came with a fire pit and wooden risers on which to sleep. A flap at top can be widened to release the campfire smoke. I had only my iphone with me, so these shots aren’t awesome, but I like including the reference images. The widest riser even had a mattress (exhibit A below), and I appreciated how the conical structure had a very organic look.

teepee8 teepee4

The nearby “barn” had restrooms and a fully-functioning shower, as well as a kitchen and lounge area complete with a pool table and a Native American Indian statue next to a sparsely stocked vending machine. Everything was nicely maintained and the other campers/guests were very friendly yet respectful. Bonus: a jovial dog befriended K.

teepee5 teepee7 teepee3We excel at the hastily-planned-micro-vacation, and this was perfect. I booked the teepee and rental car Friday evening, and by early Saturday afternoon, we were unloading our sleeping bags and pillows onto the wooden risers (M refused to bring a pillow, citing his extremely rugged manliness).

Of course, our trips wouldn’t be complete without some sort of incident. M had spent some time in the barn chatting it up with another teepee renter and at about midnight, he tumbled into our sleeping quarters in a panic. I was already deeply asleep but the conversation between M and K woke me up with their barely contained whisper-shouts:

M: Something huge is out there!

K: Is it a moose?

M: …Maybe. I heard snorting. It could possibly be a bear.

K: Really?? I’m scared!!

M frantically tied the cords to close up and secure the small opening at the base of the teepee, though how that would prevent a gigantic moose or bear was beyond me. I had to finally hoarsely and groggily voice my opinion that it was probably one of the many deer that’s been roaming the area.

Though not entirely convinced, I must have sounded confident enough that they took my word for it, and we all went to bed. K announced the next morning that she had a dream about trudging up to the barn to go to the bathroom, and when she opened the door, a moose was sitting on the toilet. “It was a nightmare, Mama,” she explained when M and I couldn’t stop laughing (sorry honey).

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. She-who-adores-s’mores even roasted marshmallows over the small fire pit. M loved it so much he’s making calculations on how much moolah and time it would take to construct a teepee in our backyard…

teepee6

Hope you’re enjoying your Memorial Day weekend to all the US folks — I’m taking Wednesday off to finalize a few things and will be back with a giveaway on Friday!

Speaking of giveaways, the winner of last week’s is Sherry, congrats!

 

Freshly Laundered Linen

freshly-washed-linen1

There’s something about freshly washed linen that’s a mood booster. I’m talking about plain fabric here, and not fitted sheets or shams. Rumpled and textured and oh-so-soft, when I look at these, I pretend I live in the French countryside in a charming villa painted a dusty bleu-grey, overlooking fields of lavender. I can practically hear a baby goat bleating nearby.

freshly-washed-linen2

I have plans for these beauties. But because I’ve noticed that I categorically avoid making the things I declare as part of my plans (rather, it seems to take me longer to execute when I declare anything on the blog), I’m going to keep mum until I have something to show. But isn’t it nice just to look at the luscious linen? Doesn’t it make you want to toss the pile into a handwoven laundry basket and head outside to clip them to a clothesline (wooden pegs, of course) and watch them gently flap in the wind? No? Is it, in fact, making you shake your head that I obviously have nothing to say and am filling up the space with nonsense?

Deadlines, people. I’m currently translating a Japanese craft book and I have to have it completed by next Tuesday. Whenever I’m in deadline mode, I need to let off some steam by adding something here. Makes me feel productive. More soon. Promise.

In the meantime, I am dying to get my hands on these metallic linens from Purl Soho. Anyone sewn with these yet? I want every color, but so pricey!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the white and indigo linens are from District Fabric – at $8 per yard for 100% linen, it was a very good deal. The yarn-dyed pink cotton linen lawn (I know!) was from Miss Matatabi. I can’t remember where I got the other ones (here, probably), but they’re gorgeous.

Happy Friday + Randomness

mama-art

Happy Friday! Whenever my mom visits, she’s a little wistful that she’s unable to paint in Seattle. I get it — she doesn’t have her usual supplies, her routine is completely disrupted and most of all, she says she doesn’t feel like she has a space of her own, mentally or physically. Still, she’s an artist through and through so when a watercolor set happens to be lying around, she’ll whip up a painting like the one above while chatting to K. This kind of painting doesn’t count for her though; it’s just distracted doodling and not the sort of focused art-making she does in her own home.

She’s been back in Los Angeles for a month now happily painting away, but I’ve been thinking about that sense of space, the need for routine and grounding to make things. My daily habits are completely out of whack these days and the house is in need of yet another purging. For someone who relishes minimalism and is always trying to tidy up, why is it that my house is perpetually in a state of mayhem? I’m almost done reading this book (love it), and I sometimes wonder if I’m just destined to read one decluttering book after another while I watch piles grow like weeds in my house. Maybe the very nature of crafting is incompatible with keeping an orderly home. Or maybe I’m just making excuses.

Anyway, these are my thoughts as I head into another weekend. M has been on an epic solo journey on his bike (his idea of fun), so I’ve been single mothering it for the week and that might also explain the mess. He’s supposed to be back in a day or two, and I’m looking forward to that. It’s quiet without him. He’s our main source of jokes and liveliness, and though K and I have a lovely time together, we miss him.

2016-mmm-week3

These were the outfits
for week three of Me-Made-May
Handmade every day!

 

Here’s a rough sketch I drew in my notebook today, trying to recollect all the outfits from the week.

Day 13: Romper

Day 14: Striped Renfrew + Black Gingers

Day 15: Blue and Silver Gingham Tova

Day 16: Black knit top +Black Gingers

Day 17: Nani Iro Free Way Top

Day 18: Indigo French Sailor Top

Day 19: Stripey Batwing Knit Top + Indigo Gingers

My Ginger jeans are getting a whole lotta wear, and it’s obvious that I need to make more because the pockets refuse to lay flat with the current two pairs I have and this limits the number of tops I can wear with them. But first, some more purging/cleaning….

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friends!