sometime in the fall of 2006, i saw some picture that changed everything. it was from a gallery show in japan. the theme of the show was the art of fashion. i spent a lot of time looking at those photos. something about them had sparked my interest. i'd been doing mixed media art for a few years and had been successful but i was feeling bored. i needed something new. those pictures were on my mind but i couldn't figure out why. i had recently brushed up my sewing skills, thanks to my friend teena, but i wasn't ready to sew clothes. so what was it? so, one day i sat and stared determined to figure this out. there were fancing fabric folding and dying techniques. there were garments made from unconventional materials. it was all so beautiful. then it hit me. they were hiding in plain sight. yoyos. everywhere. those tiny fabric circles normally associated with grannies, creepy clown dolls and quilts were stitched to skirts like flowers, stitched together to form scarves. there were entire garments made of yoyos. it was breathtaking.
i remembered learning how to make them when i was wee but hadn't made one in years. i looked for a tutorial, pulled out some fabric scraps and a needle and thread and made one. then another. and another. before i knew it, i had a tiny pile and no idea what to do with them. that pile sat for a few days. a few days later i stitch some to a pair of wristwarners i made for a friend for chanukah. she loved them. then, i made a necklace for another friend's birthday. she also loved it. i was onto something. cookoorikoo was born.
on new years day, i made things - necklaces and button rings, bobbypins. the following day, i took and edited some terrible photos. january 3, 2007, i opened up my new etsy shop. things have never really been the same since. there have been ups and downs but six years later, i still really love yoyos. i still daydream about everything i can do with them and get excited whenever i see someone doing something new and awesome with them. they are so simple, so beautiful and so full of possiblity. 2013 is going to be a big year for yoyos in my world. stay tuned.
in the meantime, i'm celebrating six years of cookoorikoo with a sale. everything in the shop is 50% off through sunday. go ahead, buy yourself something pretty. you know you need more yoyos in your life.
as long as i can remember, i've disliked sunday nights. i feel restless, a little anxious. i don't like going out on sunday nights but i always stay up too late. i think it started when i was having a difficult time in junior high. sunday nights meant the end of my respite and i'd have to face the horrors of eighth grade on monday morning. so, i tried to stretch the evening out as far as i could. i noticed this again when i was working at the synagogue. i got mad at shawn once for buying tickets to see BR-549 on a sunday night. it was, i will admit now, a fantastic show but i'm pretty sure i tried to pout through it. i was reluctant to give up any of my time on sunday nights because who knew what the next five days would hold.
sometimes sunday nights still bug me. its silly since all my time is mine now but it happens. i think the many years of loathing sunday nights left a mark. i'm sure it'll eventually go away.
over the last few months i've spent more than a few sunday nights writing letters. that seems to combat any itchy feelings and seems to be the perfect way to start my week. that's what i did tonight. i wrote a few thank you notes, a couple of responses to more recent letters and wrote one very long overdue letter. it was great. i'm going to try to make it a weekly thing. maybe then i can actually stay on top of my mail.
so, when you stop blogging for almost a month because you're writing a book and that's taking all your brain power and then you blog very little for the following month because you are brain dead from writing that book and its also your busy season, its hard to get back to it. i had every intention of blogging last week. i did. but i started the week with a cold and then was too busy trying to get back into the swing of all the other things to even think about the blog.
but i want to. i need to. this blog is a nice place and has been with me for 10 years. although somehow in the move from blogger to typepad to here, i lost three years worth of posts. but i digress, i love my blog; i love the people i've met because of my blog; i love that old friends and family read my blog to stay caught up with what's happening; i just like writing here. that whole doing better in 2013 thing? it most definitely includes my blog. i have about 6 posts started in my head - including a new recipe and a new synagogue story. so, tomorrow i'll start posting regularly. i swear i will. and putting it in writing here will help make me do it.
but for now, here's a quick rundown of what i've been up to:
kateri moved! she's staying with us until she finds a place, which can be challenging in portland. its been fantastic having her here. we've been doing portlandy things that i've been super excited about doing with her. we've been to the bagdad twice to see a movie in three weeks. we even got to have a regular saturday night last night, complete with sparkle production, wine and a bad movie. i don't know that i'd actually realized just how much i missed that, and her, until now.
i've been reading a lot. recent books include: breed by chase novak (this book made me MAD), i am a strange loop by douglas hofstader (also annoying but interesting), what we talk about when we talk about anne frank by nathan englander (outstanding), moranthology by caitlin moran (awesome. her love of ghostbusters makes me love her even more) and i'm about to start busy monsters by william giraldi. things are piling up on the tivo since i've been reading so much but whatever. i'll need tv to marathon while working.
i've started working again. i've got a lot of fun ideas in the works for spring and am really enjoying making new things again. december can suck a litle bit of the fun out of a crafty business. but december is 11 months away and i get to just play with fabric and sparkles for a little while.
i've started a tap dancing class. i'm actually shocked at how much i remember. heel heel toe toe shuffle kick ball change ball change ball change... make no mistake, that doesn't mean its easy. i had a brief moment of panic when class started and the teacher cheerfully said, "let's warm up! just follow me!" and then put on music and had us dance for three songs without any real instruction. that was when i realized it was a bit like riding a bike and that muscle memory is a funny thing. it was a blast and i'm really happy i decided to do it. even if my ass really hurt for a couple of days after the first class.
that's it for now. i leave you with this bit of awesomeness:
in september of 2000, i received a call at work from a board member who had been helping me with my job. he explained that the minutes of the last board meeting needed to be sent with a reminder and agenda for the next meeting. the board member told me the bylaws had recently been changed to allow for emailed correspondence and i needed to send it to all board members. so i did.
a week or so later, i received a letter from a founding member of the synagogue, the husband of a past president. he called me an idiot, prejudiced again luddites who have no interest in email. he could not believe i hadn't sent any communication to his wife, a former synagogue president. he found it insulting to the synagogue and would make sure that everyone knew how awful i was.
i had been at the synagogue for 9 months. i had next to no training for the job. i was doing the best i could, the last thing i wanted to do was insult anyone and honestly, i had no idea. i was mortified.
i came clean. i needed to know if i'd actually fucked up. so, i told the board member who had been helping me out and he rolled his eyes and laughed. when i told the rabbi, he also laughed and said that the letter writer was a pussycat.
the letter writer and i eventually found our way to an uneasy peace. his wife, the past president, and i eventually became friends. they've both passed away. i'd be lying if i said i didn't miss them a little.
in my desk there was a file of letters. there were letters of complaint my predecessor had received from members, nasty memos from board members and the rabbi. i didn't find it right when i'd taken over the job. it took awhile. when i did find it, i felt a little better. so i put my nasty letter in the file and added a few more over the next decade. when i left, i buried the file in my filing cabinet. i wonder if its been unearthed yet. i hope that when its found, it makes someone feel a little better about the hits they've taken.
i listened to this album twice on today's run. note to self: sometimes music can be so perfect for running that if the sun is shining and you're feeling good, you may push yourself harder than you normally would. just sayin'.
kateri & i have been enjoying working together again. we've been able to make new color friends while sitting next to one another. we've also been able to hold things up and say "YES? NO? Does this work?" not being forced to rely on sometimes questionable cell phone pictures has been excellent. really. and the new color friends? they're kinda awesome.
i've had this idea rattling around in my head for months and months. i drew it out a few times and would daydream about how lovely it would be. wouldn't it be great if i could make yoyos like beads? wouldn't it be so pretty if i could use the yoyo "beads" with actual beads and make a whole necklace?
i was certain i could make it work and that it would indeed be beautiful but i felt like my wire wrapping skills were not up to par. i know how to do it but it never looks as good as kateri's. (i've actually talked to a few people who make jewelry who agree - her wire wrapped beads are the best.) i told her this and asked her if she'd give me a lesson. she did (because she's awesome like that) and i was off and running. i spent an entire day making the yoyos, wrapping the beads, assembling the necklace, checking the balance, taking it apart and putting it back together again. it was worth it, i think.
this first one is mine, all mine. but i did make a bracelet using the same technique and i'm betting there will be more pieces like this in the shop in the weeks to come. because you know what's fun? making something new!
last night, i took kateri to back fence PDX. it was actually one of the best ones i've been to. there was a story that i'm pretty sure is going to haunt me for a bit. at intermission, i once again put my name in the pitcher for the audience lightning round. i was feeling pretty good about it - unlike last time. the theme was "breaking the rules" and i have a number of good stories i could tell. this is the one i would have told if i'd been picked:
"i cut a lot of class in high school. i mean a lot. i had a grown-up sounding voice and could easily call the attendance office and pretend to be my mom. then i'd call back and pretend to be my friends' moms. yeah. thank god caller id wasn't a thing. i once arrived at school, realized that no, that wasn't how i wanted to spend my day, and called myself out from the pay phone in front of the principal's office. my last report card came and i had straight A's and i had ended up graduating toward the top of my class. she was pleased but then looked at the attendance record. i had missed 33 days. 33. that's almost seven weeks. the school year is about 36 weeks long. so, yeah. how about that, mom? must have been a typo. yeah, yeah! a typo! a few years later she asked about it again. yeah, mom, no. not a typo."
shana is a wearer of knee socks, lover of pie, horror movies and shiny things. she writes about horror and other things, makes pie and shiny things in portland, oregon, where she lives with her husband, shawn (aka shampton). she is the vintage jewelry and yoyo obsessed woman behind the cookoorikoo curtain. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.