Like, whoa.

This spring was hard work. I was sick for six weeks. I was practicing for my first dance recital in years. I had to get the garden underway. I had more ideas for embroidery than hours in the day. I got some news that I'm still trying to process but caused some serious writer's block. Shawn's gig schedule shifted from laid back winter/early spring mode to ALL THE GIGS, ALL THE TIME. There have been out of town visitors and things have just felt nuts. I hustled a lot. I forced myself to sit down and write when really, it was the last thing I wanted to do. I embroidered any time there wasn't something else to do. Yeah, this spring was hard work.

Last weekend, we got out of dodge. We went to the Redwoods with friends and while I wasn't feeling great part of the weekend (Hello, horrible hangover. Thanks for reminding me how old I really am.), it was definitely helping.

Then, Monday night, our last night there, we came back into range after being in the woods and near the ocean without a signal most of the day. My phone went nuts. There were 14 orders and so many convos and emails. I looked at Shawn and said, "What the fuck?" We figured it out quick enough, while the orders kept coming in. Three of my items had been featured on this list on Buzzfeed

Whoa.

I've had some nice press in the past but nothing like this. I freaked out a little. I am one person who makes everything I sell by hand. I pack every single order myself. I am acutely aware of how much I can do in a day without further damaging my right arm. I also needed supplies that were strangely hard to find locally. I had a lot of things scheduled for when I returned, and oh right, I was leaving town again the following week.

I need to say I am incredibly grateful for the Buzzfeed post. I don't want anyone to think I'm not. The orders were great. Also great? The reminder that I know amazingly supportive people. So many people said so many nice things. It felt like the work I'd done this spring paid off in the best possible way.

But, I've worked a lot since the moment we got back from the Redwoods. I haven't made anything new. I also didn't cancel any of my plans. After the first 48 hours, I felt on top of it and I know that when I'm feeling stressed, my friends are what I need. 

My birthday was yesterday. A few days ago, I asked Shawn if we could go to Voicebox for my birthday, reserve a room and invite some people. I am not really a karaoke girl but it sounded like exactly the right kind of stupid fun I needed, knowing that everything was going to ship today. I was shocked that I was able to assemble a group of friends, last minute, on a school night, for karaoke. It was fantastic. I was right - it was exactly what I needed.

This morning, as I put the packages on the porch for my mail carrier to pick up, all I could think about was this Kurt Vonnegut quote, part of which I recently embroidered:

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

Thank you all. Seriously. Because If this isn't nice, I don't know what is. Thirty-nine is looking pretty great so far.

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this must be the place

a new piece of embroidery inspired by my favorite song: 

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beautifully human

i had been listening to jill scott's beautifully human last week and wrote the words "beautifully human" on my to-stitch list. yesterday morning i was wondering how hard it would be to do a gradual color change throughout a word and decided this was the perfect project. i quickly got to work and loved how it came out. 

i was excited and posted it to the interwebs. people were liking it and commenting really positively. shawn saw it and loved it.

here's the thing: beautifully is misspelled. dammit. 

we went out to dinner and when we returned, a couple hours later, i sat down on the couch to watch walking dead and finishing that night's stitching pile. i took a quick look at this piece sitting there and died a little. "beatifully!" wtf?!  i then scurried about the internet, deleting it from all the places i'd posted it. i was mortified.

about fifteen minutes later, i wasn't. at all. i started laughing and couldn't stop. and i couldn't believe that i'd flipped the way i had.

i could write a novel length blog post about this. about how typos were the bane of my existence in my old life and how i had people lining up to point them out. about the "need" to control one's online image. about my new ability to embrace imperfection. but i'm not going to. because this isn't my old life. no one cheerfully called me to point out my mistake. no one seemed to notice it. and i don't actually care about my online image all that much except that i'd like it to be authentically me, typos and all. also, whatever. no big deal. i am human. i make mistakes. i can laugh about them now and even love them a little. 

i ignored the rest of my pile for a little while and remade it, smiling through each and every single stitch. beautifully human. 

this morning, i asked shawn how he hadn't noticed the mistake. he just laughed and said, "i can't read cursive. all i see is fancy letters and pretty colors." then he very sweetly asked if he could keep "beatifully human." he said the mistake just made it more awesome, more beautiful. 

      

and now, because its monday, a song from beautifully human:

 

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#yearofmaking

like so many of my friends, i found myself contemplating a 365 project toward the end of december. a lot of CRAZY ideas crossed my mind - a letter a day, an embroidered word a day.  but ultimately nothing felt right. i couldn't mentally commit without the feeling that i would need to be committed. 

part of my reluctance was that i already do a lot. i do and make things every single day. so i actually considered "make something every day" as a 365 project, knowing that its something i already do.

but i am self-aware enough to know i tend to lose steam with long term projects. life gets crazy and things get forgotten. i know this about myself. working on the books is the only long term project i really can commit to and that's ok. what would not be ok is having making things become a chore. 

so, i when i read the lovely and wise kim werker's post on a year of making it struck a chord. i was obviously already thinking about all the ways in which i make things, not just the crafty things. making dinner counts. the weird hair tonic i make counts. bread. stuff for the shop. jam. a two hour skirt. it all counts. as kateri said on twitter this morning while pondering kim's post:

so, i guess i was already in before i was calling it a year of making but now i'm definitely in. follow along on instagram or flickr.

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community day!

community starts again tonight. i may have been late to that particular party but i love it. i'm looking forward to seeing what those wacky weirdos are up to (and getting ideas for new birds and maybe a dino or two!)

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got plans sunday?


if not, you should come see me at the siren nation art & craft sale. its a great chance to support local artists and get a head start on holiday shopping!

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true story

there's some rad new birds in the shop.

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its like the hamptons...

it all started with this one. its one of the very best moments of the entire first season and it was pretty pivotal (for me.) in that scene, piper lays her cards on the table in an attempt to scare the young woman in a wheelchair "straight." we get a look at how far piper has come since she entered litchfield and she becomes instantly less annoying. plus, her delivery of the line is golden. perfectly timed, like it ain't no thang. it seemed like the obvious choice for my first orange is the new black bird.

bitches gots to learn.

then, this happened. obviously. because suzanne (aka crazyeyes) is my favorite and well, she threw her pie.

i threw my pie for you.

then, i went insane and made a bunch more. its a treasure trove of great lines. i'll rewatch it again soon and will probably make another set. 

by all means, attribute my legitimate feelings of sadness to menses.

i don't mess with heroin but i love me some candy.

i'm not crazy. i'm chosen.

there is always hope tomorrow'll be taco night.

i also made a totally NSFW, totally inappropriate one featuring one of mendez's (aka pornstache) best lines, as suggested by a friend of a friend. you can find it here along with the rest of the birds.

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it's beginning to look alot like christmas

when i was growing up, my mom was totally one of those on top of it holiday shoppers. she'd have her shopping done by the end of summer, never setting foot in a mall in november or december. she laughed at the hordes shopping on black friday and adored a good christmas in july sale.

etsy's annual community run christmas in july sale is happening july 11-21. you get to save money while checking as many people off your holiday shopping list as you can long before the actual holiday shopping madness begins. my mom would be proud.

i'm offering 25% off most items in my shop and 50% off summer sale items. (piperikoo and brand new items will not be discounted. sorry!) everything is already discounted so no need to remember any coupon codes. easy peasy.

once you're finished visiting cookoorikoo for the sparkle lovers in your life, be sure to check out what other shops have on sale. just search "CIJ" or "christmasinjuly" along with your keywords.

don't forget to buy yourself a present!

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for your information

i've gotten a bunch of emails and comments about these three things:

book & pie club

we get together, eat pie and talk about books. amy & i had the idea last summer when i was talking about how desperate i was to talk about gone girl. we were eating cake and discussing pie and books at a party and it just happened. book & pie club was formed. books we've read so far: gone girl, deathless, mink river, cloud atlas, and right now we're reading if walls could talk. we meet every 2-3 months; everyone brings pie, a savory snack or possibly an adult beverage; we rotate hosts and we pick the next book at each meeting. we really do try to talk about both the books assigned and books we're currently reading or have just read - sometimes more successfully than others. there is always pie though. 

grandma club

grandma club was started by donovan & kathy in chicago to "explore traditions from scratch." they've made all sorts of awesome stuff and played mah jongg, put together jigsaw puzzles and indulged in a few cocktails. kateri & i joked that once she moved here we'd be starting the west coast chapter because we plan to spend our summer canning. but, it seems some friends in california are interested in starting their own chapter so we will no longer be the only grandma club on the west coast. kateri & i are meeting as things appear at the farmer's market; i think kathy & donovan meet on a more regular schedule. so far this summer we've made two kinds of strawberry jam and raspberry jam. there is peach jam, boozy cherries, canned tomatoes and lots of pickles in our future. 

tap dancing

    

i get a lot of questions about tap dancing from people who really want to learn but are scared to death of walking into a dance class. start with your local park district. those classes will more than likely be geared toward beginners and will have students from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill levels. when i went to my first class back in january, i was talking with a woman before class who, like me, hadn't tapped since she was a child. there was also a woman who had take this particular class for a year and a half and said she still sucked but it was too much fun to quit. i've now taken classes with three different teachers and each class was really different. if you don't love the class you're taking, try a different teacher. everyone's style is different and it might make a world of difference for you. wear comfortable clothes, be prepared to sweat and look like a jack ass (at first.) after her first class, my friend phoebe said "i've never been so happy doing somthing i am so terrible at!" its totally true. its a great cardio workout and has the same brain benefits. i am happy and totally chilled out when i leave class. i don't even care that i am also completely gross and sweaty. if you're in portland, i can't say enough good things about sue's class on wednesday nights at 6:30 PM at jack london bar. don't want to commit and buy a pair of shoes? sue's got you covered - she brings a suitcase full of shoes. she picks fun songs -  last week we danced to the go-go's vacation. all kind of awesome.

if you start your own grandma club or book & pie club OR start taking tap, i want to know! 

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