November 13, 2013
I made a list. It attempts to answer the question “ok, what do I do?” Whatever it is, I want to be sure to do it.
What do I do? In Santa Cruz it was obvious. I was there to make the Riverside property something to be proud of. That meant a lot of physical labor and a lot of driving Kevin here and there fetching materials so that others could labor. Out small collective muscled our way through it.
Now I am back in Portland. I don’t have silent partners helping to finance this house’s much needed repairs. It is a single parent kid, big for her age wearing tattered clothes she outgrew years ago. I feel singularly responsible and singularly overwhelmed. Ok, so that’s something I do here… I write it on the list- House. House. I go over it again to make sure I really get it.
Next up… Designing. I write Filly on the page. I feel good about this one. There is always a lot to work but it’s work I know and understand and feel satisfied by.
I am also designing two additional projects which I am not at liberty to write about yet. They go on the list as incubatorial thoughts. New and fun and harmless and indulgent. I write “make stuff” under the header. Cool, I will.
I teach again in January at OCAC. The class is about meeting your creative self and designing a collection. It’s part fashion, part therapy and it’s awesome. I write OCAC on the page. I also write “keep it in mind” which means I will never be able to cross this one off the list.
And lastly, there’s me. My body, my social needs, my temperamental mind. I’m sick. And it sucks. I feel unattractive, for every good reason, and frustrated at not being able to hike or swim or go dancing. I hover over a hot tea jar and provide dating advice to those in need. I’ve been wearing the same outfit for four days. All black.
I write on the list- Body/Mind/Sprit. Because I do this too. And I treasure this entry because it makes everything above not only possible but more enjoyable.
The list is complete, my tea jar needs to be refilled, it’s time to do the work. Goodbye for now.
November 11, 2013
November 8, 2013
It’s a grey day, let me establish that right off the bat. Still, a hot toddy at 3:30 is unusual for me at any hour let alone the middle of the day. The cafe has vintage Tom Petty playing- Here Comes My Girl, sigh. I’ve got the beginnings of a collection before me. Heat, either from the whiskey, the Petty or the color cards and remedial sketches has my cheeks flushed. My heart has a crush on this moment.
November 8, 2013
Hello again old friend. I can now call you that because I have left and returned and you are still here. So now you have become a steady, with your muted cloud and industrious neighbors and ramshackle house holding five lives. You are Portland. A town made big, a place to live as good as any other. Here I am, doing just that. Just living.
August 23, 2013
July 28, 2013
July 28, 2013
July 6, 2013
When I bought my house in Portland I had romantic fantasies about becoming one of those old men living in the mountains who steadily, over the years, at night with an aluminum work light,
silent, odd, meticulous, fixes his old house little by little until he is surrounded by a masterpiece.
But I was too afraid of fucking up to even start.
Now I have a second chance at the fantasy and I’m giving it a real go. I’m not silent and I’m certainly not odd by Santa Cruz standards, but I am “working on my house” except that my house is multiple houses and now, with the start of a demo job, two more.
One three bedroom turn-of-the-century house
Two two bedroom stuccos
One longhouse (community kitchen and bath)
One A-frame cabin
One square-frame cabin
The demolition of an old barn and house built with square nails and sided in vertical 1×12 redwood boards.
My hands are so sore at the end of the day that I let them dangle off the chair arms like rubber gloves.
July 4, 2013
June 14, 2013
I got these pants at an antique faire.
They are my go-to. Ample and billowy, elastic waist, subtly gathered cuff, floral and soft.
At the end of a work day I unlatch my overalls and let them fall, unimpeded, down to the floor. I step out carefully. They are stiff and coated in toxic dust, patches of paint, oil and sunscreen.
I like to stand naked in my work boots and spin around. An air shower.
I then reach for my go-to: the pants paired with a transparent yellow tank. I ride away in my civilian disguise.
June 12, 2013
June 11, 2013
The last time I noticed this was when I dropped out of law school and became a bike messenger. “I’m happy” I wrote in my journal with a star at the top of the page and a reference guide inside the front cover “You are happy, 6-15-99″
On that day, it says, “I rode all day”,
When I left law school I ceased to worry about returning an email or writing a paper or standing (sitting most likely) helplessly by as my body spread and softened. I ceased to worry about deadlines and pleasing people and making money. I have never been a good employee- too opinionated, too concerned with my own pleasurable experience. I am a better boss. And ideally I am a boss of no one but myself. No one above, no one below, just my body and a task.
How similar these days feel. Richly physical, mentally challenging, creative,
practical- important. My famous to-do list contains one word: work. At night I lay down with tight muscles and a slack mind. I deserve to rest and sleep soundly.
I love moving my body. The more I move the happier I am.
Star this page.
I was happy on 6-11-13.
I sanded the floors all day.
June 7, 2013
Pull up the carpet. Remove the carpet strips, little rusty nails and industrial staples. Chisel free the old tiles. Scrap, scratch and pry off the fossilized black glue. Rent a sander so heavy that only a body builder from the fifties could comfortably wield it. Sand until your lower back seizes up.
Sand some more. Keep sanding.
Now stop. Now stare.
2×6 redwood tongue and groove flooring so rich and straight and proud it makes your heart break. Welcome back to the light dear trees.
June 5, 2013
What is a Parachute Party?
Let’s go back to the beginning. Before I was a designer I was a scrappy, golden-hued, Mohawk-ed, pissed off bike messenger. I rode a bike for a living, I fought the good fight against cars and the ill effects car culture has on our daily lives and national politics, I ate stirfries with Braggs and didn’t wear underwear. I had a great life.
But no money.
No one had any money.
So when I returned to Santa Cruz after attending fashion school in San Francisco (thank you most generous father on this earth), I realized that in order to make Filly sustainable, I had to price my designs well above my own income level. I still can’t afford my own clothes and neither can a majority of the women I know. So I began hosting a Friends of Filly party twice a year where I sell previous season items at reduced prices. These parties are famous for their joy and chaos. Oh man! They can be crazy.
About six months ago I realized these parties could happen without me. And that would allow gatherings to occur in places too far for me to travel. And more often than just twice a year. I named these gatherings Parachute Parties to signify that I will not be present, as I am at a Friends of Filly, but the clothes will! Dropped from the sky in boxes too heavy to carry.
If you sign up to be a host you will receive three large boxes of Filly styles to lay out in your living room or hang up along the fence in your backyard… You invite your community of ladyfolk to come over and eat snacks and drink wine and share stories and try on clothes. You, the host, pick out a free item to thank you for your efforts.
It’s simple and streamlined and is going really well! There are boxes circulating in the Portland area and the Bay Area. Openings are available this month. Just let me know and I’ll get you signed up!
June 1, 2013
May 31, 2013
Word from on high is to rest until Monday. Gramma’s orders. I’m trying. No twelve hour painting marathons. But I did go pick up cedar and redwood planks from Scotts Valley. An acquaintance from high school saw my Needs post and wrote that her dad just replaced his fence and I was welcome to the old boards. God I love old boards. Have I already mentioned that?
And now it’s 2:30 and the sun is in full bloom. It’s bright on the patio. I don’t want to be done with lunch. But the post-meal cup of coffee sitting by my right foot tells me my time is almost up. Break’s over missy.
I have been drinking coffee with coconut milk. It’s oily but delicious.
What’s on the agenda? This, a Friday. This, a supposed day of rest. This day, half over and quiet.
May 31, 2013
May 30, 2013
Sarah has been in town for two weeks. Two weeks of heaven! In between family engagements she comes down to Riverside and puts in time. Some days she just scrubs, anywhere. It all needs a good scrubbing. Other days she takes up a brush and joins me in my seemingly endless quest to paint the stuccos. Last night she bought and hung Xmas lights, turning our patio hang into a twinkly party.
People keep asking me why she’s helping or what I am paying her.
But see that’s the thing. Sarah is the one to see that I need help and jump in to assist. As I would for her. She is yin to my yang. And vice versa. We dance around the room in a seamless symbiotic union of love and respect. Plus we just really like each other.
I don’t want her to leave. I really don’t. Don’t. Really. Leave.
May 29, 2013
May 19, 2013
I have a dilemma. I’m asking for help.
There are three rentable houses on the Riverside property. After a bit of work they will be ready to be lived in. The income from these three units pays the rent on the property.
There are three additional units that are not livable but once they are, the income from those spaces will fund needed improvements to the property. The only way I can make Riverside beautiful is by fixing up and renting the three outbuildings.
This is my dilemma. A viscous circle. How do I fix them up when I need their income to be able to fix them up?
I need to gather materials for free and learn how to build. I’m reaching out to household across the land- if you have any spare resources please let me know! Doors, windows, flooring, framing lumber, insulation, counter tops, wall paneling… old fence coming down? Shed, shelves, deck being replaced? I will work- I’m strong! Let my muscles be my money. Enough with this viscous circle, lets create a loving circle instead! I’ll help you, you help me, we’ll help Riverside and dance in the courtyard this summer.
May 18, 2013
May 17, 2013
Oh this week! I have not had the opportunity to work at Riverside since Monday. It pains me. My sense of accomplishment rests solely on the back of that slice of land. Everything else is distraction.
And then there’s Filly. Like the women who wear her, she is a loving friend. She knows that I love her, knows that I will call as soon as I have a moment. I need to be careful not to take her for granted.
Yesterday Kevin and I made a day long trip to Oakland. I picked up fabric to be used for the next round of the Foundation Collection. The fabric had been per-washed and needed to be transported to the cutters. Hopefully production will begin next week. Styles will be in the shop mid July.
I’m really excited about the next round of Foundation. The Wonderful Dress will be available in linen and a jersey option. The Flute Pant will come in Stretch Twill (that great exercise-bra-like material from back in the day) and denim. The Salt Blouse, Flirting Dress and Safi Skirt will all make an appearance in new colors and fabrics. They’re good styles and deserve an extended life.
There’s something morally sound about looking at what you have and feeling content. Feeling satisfied.
We have it all.
May 15, 2013
Now accepting Parachute Party hosts in Portland and the Bay Area for June! Email me to sign up. firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two sets of Parachute boxes in rotation so multiple parties can happen at the same time. And what has been nice is one host passing the boxes off to the next host without them coming back to me. What a great opportunity to meet another cool lady. Because, believe me, you wearers of Filly could all be best friends. You’re down to earth, unpretentious, warm and kind. You’re naturally beautiful and active and comfortable in your body. You laugh easily. You eat well. You live your life in these clothes and improve them with grass stains and kid handprints and dirt smears. On you Filly fades and ages and becomes better and more beautiful, more rich, more loved.
If you haven’t hosted but want to try, I encourage you, with all the supportive mama energy I have, to give it a shot. Join our community.
May 15, 2013
Yesterday was a wash in many regards.
It was an odd, missed day.
In the early morning I rolled with Kevin out to the dump on Dimeo Lane where tractors create dirt ramps up and down the mounds of buried garbage. I was struck by how similar it was to the truck and sand world I created and played with as a child. Dudes must love working there.
And that’s where the day essentially ended. I had Filly orders to ship and spent the remainder of the day waiting for FedEx to drop off inventory. I ate. Cleaned. Read. Paced. Drew flag ideas for Riverside. Checked and rechecked every possible interactive option on my phone a hundred times over. Slept. Until finally, at the end of the day they arrived and I flew into action in order to make the 6pm drop-off. Easy enough except that one order involved riding my slow creaking 3-speed over to the Westside to drop off and pick up a pair of Greta Pants.
To make a long story short, if you order Filly and you live in Santa Cruz I’ll pull up to your house on a bicycle, like an old fashioned French postmaster. I ring the bell on my bars upon arrival.
May 13, 2013
I’m calling a hauler today. Charlie I believe his name is. There’s a humpback whale sized pile of trash in the courtyard looking for a new home. I’m tempted to ride with Charlie out to the dump. I’ve heard one can now sign a waiver and dig trough the wood pile. They also have free paint.
One thing, perhaps the only thing, not destined for the dump are the two photographs I found among the debris. I was shocked to discover how fully the digital age has crushed the old fashion photograph. And what a shame that is. There is nothing like a found photograph. Often of the worst variety-camera askew, one large hairline obscuring most of the view with two small waving kids behind, blurry. They can’t be beat. And whether or not it is warranted, found photographs instantly sum up the scene. They give you the idea that this is what mattered to the people that came before.
Thai food, cars, nostalgia.