Thursday, December 31, 2009

year of the fox?

i think partially because i drank coffee (which i rarely do) at around 4:00 yesterday, i couldn't fall asleep last night. so i lay awake thinking about how fabulous
general store is. general store is a lovely shop across town from me, right by the ocean. it is next to the aptly named trouble coffee shop. a tiny strip of awesomeness has opened in the outer sunset, which as far as i know, is relatively devoid of awesome stores. jen and bob and i went to general store for the first time yesterday.

i couldn't totally focus on the wares in the store because i was completely enamored with the store owner's dog, macie! part dog, part fox. look at her bushy fox tail. i have mentioned before which dogs i am particularly a sucker for. well add to the top of the list: very soft part dog, part fox dogs.

in addition to the macie distraction, i was also distracted/lulled by the cozy atmosphere and unintimidating vibe of the place. i kind of just wanted to live there.
the freshly cut wood scent had its aromatherapy effect on me. (smelled a bit like my dad's garage where he did/does carpentry projects.) the store feels scandinavian to me, with the white walls and light wood. it is clean and spare, though there are many treasures to be found in various boxes. the store design also seems to have some other influences as well—a skater/surfer/california one, a modern art/design one, a DIY crafter/reuse one, a 70's one.

serena, the very nice co-owner, who was at the store, is an SF artist who has a gorgeous blog as well. you can see much better, non-blurry photos of the store there.

even though getting to general store is quite a commute for me, i know i will go out there again in 2010 to visit that foxy macie, to get a better look at the goodies being sold and to see the greenhouse they plan to open in the back yard!

Monday, December 28, 2009

back in SF

i need more orchard in my life.

more fruit trees at my parents'

their dog rolf is the sweetest and goofiest, but unfortunately he eats their other dog's (and his own) poo, which makes it very hard to snuggle with him. talk about bad breath.

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy holidays!

happy holidays!

god jul o gott nytt år!
from me and pinky leon
(more glittery version)

Friday, December 18, 2009

on lexington street

two little white dogs

sweet nothings
paulo's portrait (i don't know this guy, but his portrait looks strangely accurate.)
from fine tuning
from madchen

ängeln i rummet (video), a 1989 swedish classic

Thursday, December 17, 2009

reindeer + pirak

postcard of the painting, samla renar (herd reindeer), by lars pirak of jokkmokk, sweden.

i was just reading online that he was one of the first
sami to revitalize/bring attention to sami handicraft/art. he sculpted, painted, made jewelry and sang sami songs, joiks.

this photo reminded me of the pirak postcard.

reindeer migration with a sami family (video collage) looks beautiful and COLD.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

emmanuele's quilt

emmanuele's quilt
emmanuele's quilt

contratulations to oona and tomas!
above is the baby quilt i sent their way. it's machine pieced and hand quilted.

a closer view
a polka dotted back view

Saturday, December 05, 2009

nu är det jul igen

decorated our flat last night, and this morning i went for a quick visit to the annual swedish holiday fair here in sf. now i feel quite festive and cozy. sometimes the whole camera thing gets annoying though. these little kids are all processing down the aisle to the stage singing lucia songs, and flashes are going off like a lightening storm. parents videotaping in the aisle. not that i didn't also take pictures, but sometimes i miss the old days when we weren't all paparazzi. lucia is all about the candles in saint lucia's hair lighting the dark winter night and about the singing (and the cookies). so it kind of ruins the mood when flashes go off every other second. so much for darkness and ambiance. still, it was nice to hear the swedish holiday songs and have a splash of glögg.

Friday, December 04, 2009

flower power

the 5-week botanical illustration class i was taking is over. here are a few paintings from it. now that the class is over, i may not continue to paint flowers quite so persnickety-ly. it is relaxing and satisfying to try to paint "scientifically" (and i actually wanted to learn more about flower parts, identification and pollination), but i usually prefer to look at paintings that are more loose/interpretive/expressive. though i noticed in class that even though people were trying to paint/draw the flowers realistically, everyone still had distinct ways of painting/drawing. reality is shifty. and everyone's hands move differently.

our class went to the botanical garden in golden gate park one day. the garden's sf public library branch had beautiful botanical illustrations by kristin jakob on display. her work is precise and delicate and much more beautiful in person. i was struck by her compositions which i imagine she must carefully determine because there is both tension and balance in them and to such a pleasing result. (my favorite from the exhibit—fern fronds in various stages of life/decay—is not on her site.)

i saw where the wild things are finally last night and liked it so much more than i expected i would. really liked it. it was both more and less sad then i thought it would be.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


sunrise in los padres national forest, just south of big sur.

some flickrs
funny dog
mountain spirit
street sheeps
normally i'm not much for red, white and blue quilts, but i really like this one
kitchen by david giles (nice)


Monday, November 23, 2009

morfar kammar håret

morfar brushing my hair (ca. 1978?) i have a feeling he did not brush his daughters' hair. some things skip a generation. (not sure where this is, but i see i brought my dolls with me.)

it's been a while since i've posted many links. i've saved some up. don't recall on which blogs i found them.


katja spitzer
the wingtipper
emmi's illustration blog


yu yasutake
katharina trudzinski

and mav's beautiful new site.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

saturday morning

golden delicious at the alemany farmers' market

elephants and little girls saw these guys thursday. so good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

commitment issues

Cross-posted on Sew Green

I’ve been reading a lot of Wendell Berry's books lately, and one of the main themes throughout his essays and fiction (haven’t gotten to the poetry yet, but i’m sure it’s there as well), is that of committing to a place—working to protect and improve that place, the land and one’s community. While I am all for that in theory, I have had a very hard time putting that idea to practice in my own life.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for over ten years now, and at various points I’ve tried to commit myself to this city, but have never really succeeded. Part of this for me has to do with having grown up in two places, Sweden and California, and usually missing where I am not. Another part is my wondering if I’m really a city person. I long for more green and quiet. I also wonder if there is a place where it’s easier to build community. Often SF feels like it’s a city for (mostly hipster) 20–30 year olds and/or the wealthy.

I could go on and on about what makes me think about moving away. But one of the things that is really exciting about and makes me want to stay in the Bay Area right now is the food movement. There seems to be so much interest in making connections with surrounding area farmers. (We here are lucky to live in an area that has a lot of biodiverse, eco-conscious, farms.) Restaurants that use all locally produced or gathered food are cropping up left and right. People are raising chickens and bees in their backyards. They’re gleaning fruit and meeting their neighbors in the process. They’re building gardens and joining CSAs. Check out how this wonderful woman collects farmers’ market leftovers and distributes it to local food pantries.

I am trying to figure out what I can do to enter this movement more, to commit more to this place I call home. I do subscribe to a CSA and go to the Alemany Farmers’ market every Saturday with two lovely friends. And I sometimes write about agriculture related books here and there. But I want to do something more. Maybe join Slow Food San Francisco, attend some of the Kitchen Table Talks, go to Garden for the Environment events or volunteer at a local farm. I wouldn’t mind hanging out with some sheep. (Would love that in fact.) It would be fun to start a little group of people who go and visit different Bay Area farms on the weekends.

Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is something I’m considering, though the farm I’ve been thinking about contacting is in Sweden, so there goes the rooting myself here idea.

Starting a backyard garden (for real!) in 2010 will be a growing (oh geez) and rooting (oh geez again) experience.

Or there’s this group, amyitis, that sets up a garden with you.

What are you all doing to involve yourselves in your place more actively?

Some links about new farmers/farming methods
Redefining farming (with video)

A new family farmer (video)

The Greenhorns (trailer)

Wes Jackson is the co-founder of The Land Institute and writes about farming using nature as a model.

{Flowers and leaves all found (mostly on the ground) around this glorious place.}

Sunday, November 08, 2009

lexington street

that squirrel is out there

i think you have to see these hairy hunks in person, but they are really good and funny. click on the thumbs.

tulip diagram

we were supposed to diagram a flower as homework for class.
i bought five tulips at the farmers' market, and i figured they would be fairly easy to diagram as they don't have many petals, like a rose or a dahlia has. but of course of the bunch, i managed to choose the misfit tulip to diagram. it had seven tepals (a word one can use for sepals and petals when the sepals and petals look almost the same), instead of the six tepals its friends had. and it had seven stamen instead of six.

the misfit tulip did make me look more closely. the sepals and petals of this tulip are slightly different. the sepals have tiny pointy tips, while the petals' tips seem to be inverted in a v.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

stamens and pistils everywhere!

looking down at our table of four on the first night of botanical illustration class. as my classmate said when we observed the mess of our dissections, flower carnage. she was glad her plants at home weren't there to witness it. the peeling off of sepals, petals, stamens and pistils and the cutting open of the ovary to locate the ovule. it was fun. we learned about complete and incomplete flowers; perfect, aka bisexual flowers (i like that the bisexuals are perfect); imperfect, aka unisexual flowers; superior and inferior ovaries and more.

anu tuominen (wow) found via camilla.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

textile + book inspiration

in progress

today: fika with amanda and a walk in gorgeous weather, a delicious cheese purchase to be enjoyed shortly, sewing at home with pinky leon, and tonight botanical illustration class. a good day.

feeling inspired by
these three women who opened their own green fabric screenprinting biz.

also by wonder wonder wares

and ah-yi's wood block printing

also enjoying wendell berry's novels. i imagine that most folks in the food/agriculture movement are familiar with berry's foundational essays, or at least with his oft quoted words that eating is an agricultural act. reading his essays, i wondered how berry would integrate his ideas into stories. i read jayber crow first. such a heartbreaking and heart filling story. the ending is powerful and painful and beautiful. it was comforting to know while reading jayber's story that (i think) all of berry's novels are about the people of/near port william, because i knew i'd want to visit port william again. so far jayber crow is my favorite, but a world lost is also wonderful. berry's ideas and beliefs about community and farming and spirituality are certainly evident in all of the novels i've read so far, but they are communicated through the characters in a thoroughly believable way. impressive that someone can write such clear and complicated essays and also be a masterful storyteller. now of course i'm curious about his poetry...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


breakfast bigger over here

with fall here, darker mornings and thoughts of winter stirring, i seem to be drawn to soft wintery whites (and greys) of late.

like these
ride your bikes!
john and i, barely
balloons and treetop
we're open!!!!!
scarlet begonias.
finally (a gorgeous photostream)

but also enjoying fall leafy photos

Friday, October 16, 2009


a stanza from may swenson's green red brown and white:

Bit an apple on its red
side Smelled like snow
Between white halves broken open
brown winks slept in sockets green

cute lamb story

Monday, October 12, 2009

how did i miss this?!

i often wander over to the contemporary jewish museum on my lunch break because i like the architecture and landscaped courtyard there. i can't believe i have walked past a swiss chocolatier, schoggi, and not noticed it right there next to the museum!

today was the perfect day (grey with impending rain) for a hot chocolate. i was actually looking for a new hot chocolate place today, and lo and behold!

i like how the chocolates match the buildings outside—sculpted shapes and similar colors.

i have never been that big on downtown sf, but working downtown, it is growing on me. i like hearing the different languages of the tourists and looking up at the windows scaling the sky (flashing clouds around like disco balls) it's crazy that buildings can be so tall. it really is.

should have posted yesterday's radical chocolate link today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

oh, pretty books

last week's this american life about books changing people's lives was wonderful. did you hear it? stories 1, 3 and 4 are so sweet.

some random links

my parents were awesome
radical chocolate

Friday, September 25, 2009

blue + blue + blue


for over five months now, i've been doing contract work three days a week, not knowing quite when the job will end. it's sounding like the job, which originally was going to last a few weeks, may last through spring. now that the job is potentially more set, i am planning on moving forward with a book project that has been brewing in the back of my head for a while now. it will be a collection of (other authors' and artists') stories and images. that's all i'm going to say now, but i'm very excited about it, and i plan to have it done by april! can't wait to share more about the focus/themes later...but it will be a while.

in praise of elderberries

and check out the chickeny goodness at sew green.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


some flickr-y goodness

this picture does not cease to make me grin: morran and loppan (the flea)
tree admiring
from iliveinoctober
2 garden ladies (the details! incredible.)
i want socks like these

been very flower focused lately, which is probably good since i'm starting a botanical illustration class soon. i have about 15 library books right now on seeds, flowers and pollination. i've started three of them and can't decide which to read first.

one book i checked out just for the illustrations. it's by henry david thoreau on seeds, and i really wasn't planning on reading it. figured the writing might be too old fashioned and boring. i did read walden at some point, and i think i enjoyed it. i can't recall. i had forgotten how beautifully the guy wrote. i find myself not even paying that much attention to the content sometimes, but just riding along with the words because they sound so nice. listen to this description of the pitch pine cone (which in itself has a nice ring to it) from faith in a seed:

Within this strong, prickly, and pitchy chest are contained about a hundred dark brown seeds in pairs, each pair occupying a separate apartment behind its prickly shield. A very thin membrane or wing about three-fourths of an inch long extends from one end of each seed, which it clasps in its divided extremity like a caged bird holding the seed in its bill and waiting till it shall be released that it may fly away with and plant it.

For already some rumor of the wind has penetrated to this cell, and preparation has been made to meet and use it...

just reading half of the first chapter, i am struck by his acute level of observation and understanding of connections in nature. he sees the tiniest details and bigger ecological pictures. reminds me how removed most of us are from nature. even if we go for hikes and pay close attention to and appreciate the sounds, smells, plants and critters around us, it's probably nothing like this kind of patience/involvement.

i like it when scientists write beautifully—makes science more accessible.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

hungry for books?

considering that almost all of my posts on sew green have been about books related to food and sustainable agriculture, you can imagine my excitement when i found omnivore books on food, an sf bookstore owned and run by book collector celia sack. celia sells new and antique/collectible books on cooking, baking, food + agriculture politics and food history. the very small store is packed (beautifully and carefully so) with gorgeous, shiny new cookbooks like these, alongside often smaller, more faded, but somehow even more alluring rare and collectible books like the (golden pig) one at the top of this post. out on the shelves are many victorian-era books with fanciful and strange illustrations of things like sugar spinning (done on tip toe on a chair if i recall correctly, in a full-length gown, strands of sugar hanging almost to the floor like so much rapunzel hair—this illustration can be found in celia's favorite oldie, a book from 1894 called fancy ices).

i was lucky enough to sit down with celia and talk with her about her store. below is a bit about what i learned, and it is also what makes this bookstore a true gem.

celia on left

celia knows her books. inside and out. especially the collectible ones. i mentioned a recipe from a book my housemate had bought at omnivore, and celia knew right away which book i was referring to (this one)! she made numerous such connections throughout the interview (talking with me and with customers). the store is organized by subject, but without signage. i didn't ask, but i am pretty sure the lack of signs is on purpose, and it certainly makes things more interesting. as soon as you ask celia where to find something or how the books are organized, she springs to action. she can determine exactly what you might like (even if you would normally be shy and not prone to divulging all your food and agricultural passions to strangers). if she doesn't have the book you're looking for, she'll offer one (or seven) others that might be just as good, and more likely better, than what you had in mind.

the events! intimate author readings and pie contests, for example. i attended a pie contest there last week. i don't think anyone expected 48 pies!! to show up. the place was brimming with pies. just when there was no more room for pies, another pie would arrive—blackberry, ginger peach, strawberry cream, banana cream, blueberry and on and on. luckily, there were also plenty of pie eaters. see more photos from this fun event here. (i made a lemon cream pie with a walnut, homemade graham cracker crust.) the winning pie was the banana cream.

paula helps organize pie tables

the many connections. the store is connected to sf's food history. around the turn of the century, the store used to be a butcher shop, and the freezer door, meat hanging rack and scale remain intact. it's also connected to sf's (and beyond) food past through the books celia collects. many of the collectible books were printed in sf or california. celia worked at the sf book auction house for years and knows all those antiquarian book fair folks (or antiquarian hair fair folks as a friend of hers calls them—apparently there are a lot of large beards and intricate mustaches at the fairs.)

celia and her partner paula have owned the pet store next door for eleven years, and celia herself is an sf native, so omnivore books has some deep roots. celia also supports the business of an older lady farmer by buying the woman's free range eggs and selling ten dozen or so a week of them at the bookstore. and of course the in-store events lead to community connections as well. day-to-day customers include neighborhood folks, pet owners (wandering over from next door), local chefs, and people specifically seeking out the store for books (old and new) on food (the ultimate connector).

sidenote per celia regarding events: "the people who are into baking are the nicest." she told me that like bluegrass musicians, bakers let everyone have a turn. they happily share their skills and recipes (and treats). they have a the more the merrier attitude. (this tidbit is not that surprising, right? it's not often that someone who bakes cookies for people is a meanie.) so, baking events=always good events to attend.

here are some of the fantastic upcoming events at omnivore books.

if you're interested in reading a transcript of the interview, leave a comment with your email address and i'll send it to you. (it's five pages long!)

thanks so much to generous celia for a delightful interview! and to diana who loaned me her tape recorder.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

lena sjöberg

got my how to get an idea book by lena in the mail. you can see more pictures in her shop.
i love her handwriting style and funny drawings. i like how these drawings are simple, with just enough detail to make them so recognizable and funny—like that extra roll of tp on the floor is just perfect. i also like how both the man and his dog on the bus seem to be sleepy/quiet.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


i have
two! pie contests i could go to tomorrow. what madness. i've never been to a pie contest in my life, and now all of the sudden two fall on the same day. shucks. i am making a lemon cream pie that my friend laurel made this weekend. she made the crust with graham crackers and pecans, but i'm making mine with grahams and walnuts. and i'm making the graham crackers from scratch, like a crazy person! needless to say, this is a slow pie-making process. i don't normally like citrus-flavored desserts (aside from key lime pie), but laurel's pie converted me. it was one of the best pies i've ever tasted, citrus or no.

above are the graham crackers i made. they don't taste that much like graham crackers, and they were a pain in the butt to grind down because they didn't come out light and crispy like a normal graham, but kind of chewy instead. (that, and i'm in the stone age over here using a mortar and pestle instead of a food processor to do the grinding.) they're not bad, but i can tell they won't make as tasty of a crust as the traditional graham (despite the traditional one's corn syrup and preservatives).

anyhow, i have chosen which of the two pie contests to attend. i'm going to the one where i can win money. ha! just kidding. (one can win money though at the one i'm going to.) can't tell you any more about it until september 17, when i'm writing about it and more over on sew green.

so check back on september 17th if you are curious...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

painted garden

my friend oona's childhood house is one of the first that was built in bolinas, and the building itself is full of character. her mom also has beautiful art/furniture throughout the house. it's a storybook house. and the garden is amazing!

after passing through a wooden gate and beneath pale pink rose bushes, you come to parallel hedges that make a square shape around the front porch. you can walk through the narrow path the hedges create, to the sides/back of the house where you are released into the outstanding garden that bursts forth in all colors and directions. oona's mom, a., is a masterful gardener and horticulturist. (she studies and teaches about native grasses, and she remembers all those latin names for plants.) she plans her garden carefully, but it does not have contained, prim sections; it's the kind of garden that you feel might envelope you. it encourages dreaming. i think a. plans her garden to look like a painting. dabs of vermilion are actually bobbing poppies, and strokes of blue are delphinium (?) bending toward you. it's no wonder oona is a painter. (paintings above are by oona, from years ago.)

Friday, September 04, 2009


so excited to be bolinas bound and celebration bound.

some flickr lovlies
034 (oh, sverige
from abby

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

gravel & gold

not sure why i haven't been to the new store gravel & gold yet. it's right in my neighborhood, and i've walked by it about 15 times since it opened. and it's clearly awesome! next time. (clever that they are also a site for a csa pickup.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

blueberries and bluebells

so pretty. see how the blueberry lady's dress matches her berries?
bigger over here.

(so hot over here. the clothes i washed this morning are drying {or have already dried} hanging inside the house, not even in the light. foof!)

here's one of the blueberry pages from a story i wrote/painted many years ago.

since bluebells are also on that page, i thought i'd quote a passage about bluebells that i just read in wendell berry's the art of the commonplace: the agrarian essays. the first essay, "a native hill," is, among other things, a poetic tribute to berry's home. here just part of the blueberry passage.

One early morning last spring, I came and found the woods floor strewn with bluebells. In the cool sunlight and the lacy shadows of the spring woods the blueness of those flowers, their elegant shape, their delicate fresh scent kept me standing and looking. I found a delight in them that I cannot describe and that I will never forget. Though I had been familiar for years with most of the spring woods flowers, I had never seen these and had not known they were here. Looking at them, I felt a strange loss and sorrow that I had never seen them before. But I was also exultant that I saw them now—that they were here.

For me, in the thought of them will always be the sense of the joyful surprise with which I found them—the sense that came suddenly to me then that the world is blessed beyond my understanding, more abundantly than I will ever know.

his essays make me reread and think. they are written beautifully and are often somehow both complex and simple. (this particular quote doesn't really reflect the complexity, but i liked the description of his bluebell delight.)