wild geese

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
–Mary Oliver, Dream Work

sometimes a handful of words arrange themselves into a perfect pattern and echo the sounds your heart needs to hear.


hanoi/sapa 2013hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013

Oh. Be still my heart. I never wanted to do the trekking thing again, but I’m secretly glad I let sam drag me out on a grueling journey over the mountains and through the terraces. Never mind how your legs begin to tremble at the 3 hour mark. I could stare at these valleys forever.


hanoi/sapa 2013

Visiting a city the second time around means you get to cut to the chase. No more obligatory tourist areas, long lines, museum fees. Our agenda was simple:-

hanoi/sapa 2013

1. barbecued beef & pork patties (bun cha). this famous establishment on hang da was literally a minute away from our accomodation. perfectly salty, sour and sweet, wrapped in a cloud of barbecue smoke. how is it that i typed that out and just tasted it in my mouth?!

hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013

2. learning just how far to go on bargaining for fabric (i still need lessons on this front..)
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013

3. learning how far we’d go just to feast our eyes on more bolts of cottons, linen, silks and denim than we could ever imagine. took a ridiculously long cab ride out of the city and got greeted with more fabric stalls stretching out as far as the eye could see (and then some!)
hanoi/sapa 2013
hanoi/sapa 2013

4. learn to love in this city for the second time around. we did good.

who needs coherence

the scared is scared: i come back to this special short once in while, when i need a little wisdom. tonight is one of those nights / just as i was about to forget the feeling of being exhausted, of having your heart hurt from bruises, of a fully formed tear making its way down your face. we nearly made it. just shy of a winning streak / i am studying for a test tomorrow. in assessing and evaluating levels of ability, there is norm-referencing and there is criterion-referencing. the former says you’re not the best, but compared to the other 90% of the population, you’re a star. don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. but the latter dares to tell the ugly truth: that a defect is a deficit, no matter what shape it sits in / so, my darling, reflect or deflect?

vintage cheongsam patterns

vintage cheongsam pattern

vintage cheongsam pattern 2

tomorrow is the start of another week. i have the most ridiculously packed five days ahead but cheongsams are all i can think about, all i want to wear to work. last week i wore my first one that dips slightly below the knee and suddenly i am smitten with that perfect length, dreaming dresses up in colours and prints. i don’t know why i spent twenty years rejecting cheongsams for being uncomfortable and scratchy when they are really just sheath dresses with pencil skirts, with delicate collars that go no higher than a regular button-down. sensible but sensual — what’s not to love?

(sorry — i’ve forgotten the links to the original images. saved them a while ago from etsy/ebay sale posts.)

what keeps me going

sunset sew

my day job is lovely. but as a bonus, i spend a few hours sewing and drafting every week and it’s when i am happiest. and then, if i’m lucky, sam is waiting outside when i’m done, and what a feeling — to know that your heart still skips a beat.

it’s been a long time since i’ve filled up this little white box. i’ve been good. in four words: very tired, very blessed. have a happy weekend x

one teaspoon of stars

i wandered around/and finally found/somebody who could make me be true/and could make me be blue

on our first proper day in the city we sat in the planetarium at the museum of natural history, staring upward at a domed imax ceiling for a show about the stars, and it was the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen. every time the sky swirled around and we danced across galaxies, i flinched from the vertigo, but also because i kept my eyes wide open to take it all in. the push and pull of magnetic waves, a star burning bright, slow and fierce, leaving a legacy of light that travels millions of miles even after it ceases to exist. did you know that by some evolutionary marvel, we each have one teaspoon’s worth of star-matter in us?

last day in the city and i can't believe I still haven't seen everything. oversize city + unyielding appetite for adventure

my first time in new york was selfish, all about firsts, thrills and broadway dreams coming true. it’s the kind of place that puts you on top of the world and in the centre of the universe.

a recurring theme this week: how big and beautiful our world is, and how we are made small in comparison

this time though, i loved the city because it made me feel tiny too. you are: one light in the distance, one more set of ears for the underground platform jazz to wrap itself around, one-fiftieth the size of a tree. we are humble and small, but only because our world is so big, and so unbelievably beautiful. a tradeoff in our favour, really.
so flinch, be overwhelmed, but take your place and take it all!

a subdued statement

b/w crystals
bronze cast crystal

These are little bronze stud earrings, but I love the way they look so symmetrical and spectacular up close. Delicate and rough all at once. These are straight from the designer, Andy Lifschutz, but there’s a great behind-the-scenes story of how he made the rose-silver versions for Of A Kind, with a picture of the original crystal the pieces were cast from. Isn’t nature beautiful? Happy belated christmas, self.

psst: if you like them, i’d suggest joining the mailing list and waiting for a sale — the designer seems to have quarterly 25% discounts!

(thanks dil for getting them to me safely :)

back to basics

dress forms

skirt blueprint

I’ve been trying to think of ways to tell you how I feel about this, but there’s really only one word: HAPPY, in big, shiny letters, with lots of exclamation points at the end!!! i am an excited kindergartener, rosy-cheeked and baggy-uniformed, ready to whip out my colour pencils and draw up a storm!