Quick update

Inspired by a sunny afternoon in Berkeley

Our dear friend Tina is staying with us for a few days, so I won’t spend too much time on this entry. But I’ve got a few things to share, including some incredible books I found today at the library.

Friday was mostly taken up by preparations for that evening’s fête: a crêpes party for a dozen people (including us). Julia Child didn’t fail me, and I made mountains of lacy, elastic crêpes (both savory and sweet) to be topped with our guests’ filling contributions. Delicious. We’re going to use the last of the sweet crêpe batter tonight for dessert.

I did make a fun doodle that morning — see the image at right. On Thursday afternoon I’d been driving through Berkeley after my singing lesson, windows down, watching the students enjoy the sunny afternoon. I wanted to park myself on a street corner, turn up my music, and dance as if no one was watching. But I didn’t, so I drew it out instead. 🙂

Bead storage

Oh, and over the weekend I reorganized my beads. They’d been sitting in a very old paper box, a box which has housed my bead collection since I first began it in sixth grade. It’s  good box for storage, but not for regular riffling and use. So I migrated the collection to this nifty vintage seven-compartmented circular Tupperware container that I bought last year at an estate sale. It had contained sewing supplies and notions, but isn’t really the appropriate place for those, so I moved those into a different box. I find that crafting supplies need constant reorganization, because their quantity and use are changing all the time with my habits.

Today I returned to doing a weekly review after neglecting it for several weeks, so it felt good to get back to that routine. In the afternoon, Tina and I went for a walk: first to the library, then to two neighborhood thrift stores. We returned with giant bags of books, both bought and borrowed. I am over the moon about some of these books. First, there is Megan Avery’s Bag Bazaar, which gives designs and instructions for 25 bags from clutches to yoga totes. I don’t know how good this book is, but at any rate working my way through her designs will give me more ideas for my own. I first encountered this book last year before the FabMo show, when I wasn’t a good enough sewist to cope with most of these bags. Now I think they should all be doable.

Another how-to book I’m really thrilled to have discovered is Kristin Nicholas’s Colorful Stitchery. I almost didn’t check it out at first, because it’s all about household items (tea towels, cushions, pot holders) and I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into those — but really the book is a testament to the versatility and beauty of embroidery. Nicholas doesn’t just list her projects, but she gives instructions for preparing fabric, transferring original stitch designs to the cloth, washing and care, and so forth. I’ve only skimmed the book so far, but I think I’m going to learn a lot from it. Prepare to see some gorgeous embroidery in the future!


Finally, the book that has me climbing the walls in excitement is IndiaColor, a gorgeous coffee-table tome by Melba Levick, Mitchell Crites, and Ameeta Nanji. You know I’ve been enamored of Indian textiles ever since Anjali gave me hers, but this book takes it a step further. It’s a love song to all things colorful and Indian, from body-painted elephants to produce markets to royal palaces. There’s an entire chapter devoted to textiles — and then another to saris — and another to turbans! I sat on the floor after dinner and paged through the book, exclaiming at practically every photo. It was a total eye-gasm, and I really don’t know how else to describe it, it’s just that stunning. I look forward to luxuriating in these photos over the next couple of weeks, and I suspect I’m going to have to buy the book after the library wants it back, just for close-at-hand inspiration and delight. I want to immerse myself in its pages and see if everything I make and draw and write takes on greater vibrancy as a result! Let’s find out!

And now, I’m off to the kitchen to fry up some sweet crêpes! If you haven’t been keeping up, check out my Hong Kong travelogue entries over on my LiveJournal!