Archive | friends + loved ones.

People I love that are near and dear to me, people who you might want to learn more about.

The Art on Their Walls Told a Different Story (from Kirsten Moore)

I met the lovely Kirsten Moore in late 2014 when I was in Portland on a book tour with Leanne Prain and Kim Werker. She posted a link to this post, which was originally on her blog, and after I read it, it stuck with me. Therefore, I asked Kirsten if I could share this here as an example of craftivism and she agreed.

Thanks, Kirsten!

“Scene from Camp” traditional Japanese embroidery by Hatsune Kawashima made during WWII

In light of everything that is happening here in the United States, I felt compelled to track down the artwork of my Bachan (my maternal great-grandmother) Hatsune Kawashima. She made some pieces while imprisoned by the United States government at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during WWII. The piece I had in mind, isn’t the one pictured above, but a simple embroidery of a barbed wire fence on a stark white background. I spent many hours of my childhood looking at it; first at her house, then at my great-aunt’s house, and I have thought about it a lot over the years. It seems even more pertinent right now that I find it. This is the person who, with my mom taught me how to sew when I was 3 (their photo is on my about page). She died at age 100 about 14 years ago. I cannot understate the influence she had on me; even though we didn’t speak the same language.

From my mother: “Some memories of our conversations…there was never anger in her voice, but acceptance, humility. Those who actually served, like Grandpa, served as a patriotic obedience, they were proud.”

You can go read about the “internment” of the Japanese. Go read George Takei or Yoshiko Uchida or the veritable plethora of first person accounts. I wasn’t there. This happened to my grandparents generation. They rarely talked about it, but the art hanging on their walls told another story. I am haunted by this bit of American history. I’m reminded when people ask me where I’m from, and I say “here.” And then they say, “before that.” Or simply told to “go home.” I am home. Home in a country that constantly reminds me that I am an other. I am not. I am an American. Both of my parents and all my grandparents were born here. I can trace my ancestry on my dad’s side to our founding fathers.

So when I see the internment of the Japanese to be used as “precedent” to marginalize another group of people, I want you to remember this: Race is a cultural construct. There is no biological basis for the separation of people by colour or nationality. And yet here it creeps in again. This isn’t a disagreement about policy or politics. My personhood is threatened, along with anyone who simply doesn’t agree. This leaves no room for discourse. Dehumanizing others always leads to violence; it is happening here. Right in front of you. Fascism. This is not who we are. This is no time to “wait and see” or “give him a chance.” Please call your congresspeople, make your voice be heard, volunteer in your community, donate to organizations who protect our rights, be nice to your neighbours and fight to keep the rights that the law and the constitution guarantees us. All of us.

UPDATE: found!


See Yourself Happy.

So it all started when I posted this photo on Instagram last week. And I posted it because I was happy with it. And because I was super happy to be happy about a photo of me. It felt like a success (perhaps a somewhat pathetic success, but still a success).*

However, my mind kept going back to an #effyourbeautystandards photo (NSFW-ish) I saw last week by the Instagram user _redlipsandliner_. How happy she looked. How fully and completely joyful. I even saved it on my phone, because it hit me so hard how I don’t equate happy photos with beautiful photos of me. Ever. Happy me is not beautiful me in my mind. So I wrote this.


And looked at other people’s #selfies on Twitter. Not a lot of people using #selfie seemed to think their smiles were worth showing either.



And so I put on some Taylor Swift and took happy photos of me to see what I looked like. In succession vs. just one photo in isolation. Dorkily, it’s kind of the first time I have ever seen myself happy over a period of several minutes.

This is what happened.


You can read it a bit more concisely here, because I couldn’t decide which version was better. Revealing the photo of me, not revealing it? Making a longer post or a shorter one?

And I feel like a total dork for being happy about the happy photos, like really, honestly, practically-bone-shattering happy. Then I checked Facebook and a friend posted this and my whole mood changed. It triggered the living crap out of me. (My experiences were different from hers, but still, whoa.)

And I started cowing in my own house. My shoulders crumpled. My heart constricted. My head bowed. My throat felt like it was closing up. I was holding back tears suddenly after a day post-happy photos of awesomeness. Because a long long time ago, some people took the happy from me, sucked it out like marrow. (Again, it wasn’t the same, so please don’t feel sad, okay?)

And then liking, loving the pretty, happy me suddenly became a rebellion. A celebration. Standing tall instead of trying to be tiny and unseen. And I probably won’t remember what day this happened a year from now, ten years from now, but this video is proof. Proof that a happy me is a pretty me.

So, I’m wondering, when was the last time YOU saw yourself happy? (And liked it!)

You, too, deserve to take back your happiness. Go find it, now. Maybe it’s just me that has this problem. But maybe, maybe not.

*For anyone wondering what this has to do with craftivism… A happy craftivist is a better craftivist.

Cozy and Comfy


I took this photo of Bobbin the other week and to me it pretty much embodies what, to me, is essential for “home,” a furry one and some handmade items. Every time I see her curled up with this pillow it reminds me how much I love my grandmother, who made it. As she gets older she likes to give away her things, and once when I was visiting her at her retirement home, she tucked this under my arm without warning and said, “I want you to have this.”

Store-bought pillows just don’t hold the same resonance, depth, and warmth. As lovers of things handmade, I think we are lucky to appreciate the work that goes into them, as they hold traces not just of the hands that made them, but of the people themselves.

JP Flintoff’s TEDx Talk, Conversations That Change Everything

While I’m putting together some longer posts on the three parts of craftivism, donation, beautification, and notification, I wanted to share with you a very lovely talk with the very lovely JP Flintoff, called Conversations That Change Everything.

In the words of JP himself, the talk is about “what great things we can all achieve just by talking, and listening, better.”

So, grab yourself a cup of tea and do yourself a favor and watch this video up above. Because we all can achieve great things, together.


Sometimes I am lucky enough to be asked to do some wicked cool projects with some wicked cool people. Such is the case in being asked to participate in the first issue of OOMK zine. (In case you’re wondering, OOMK stands for One Of My Kind.) The issue below is about Fabric, and I was well chuffed to be asked to participate in such a lovely project.

Want more OOMK?

Go find them on Twitter at @oomkzine. Or go find them IRL at these stockists or buy this issue online here over at Magpile.

There’s also an excellent review (although you’ll see why I’m biased!) over on the New Statesman here.

P.S. Yes! We changed back to the old design! (Because it just makes me happy.)

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