Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Flowers, Bioengineering, and Bow Wow


Today, Vanna White Dog (whom most of you know is really a boy named Riley) has invited Clover to help display our Flowers de la Semaine.  That’s Riley on the right.  You can see the whole flower arrangement below. 

Along the way, we’re going to learn a little about blue flowers—the real and the not-so-real.   

Florigene “blue” rose. Click on photo to go to website.

Okay, here are the doggies and the flower bunch.  I put these together with delphiniums from the farmer’s market, and lilies and hydrangea from the grocery store.  I also added a little Queen Anne’s Lace from my yard.  Total cost was about the same as a movie ticket and a Diet Coke.   Well, and maybe a bag of Reese’s Pieces.  In Montana, that’s about twelve dollars.


“Clover, stop sniffing and look at the studio audience.” 


“She’s so fickle.  I can’t count on anyone.”  

I love these flowers.  My inspiration was the blue in the  the outer petals on the delphiniums, and the  hydrangea. 



Real blue flowers are rare.  I couldn’t resist! 

Have you ever noticed that much of what we call blue is actually purple?  

Here are a few “true blues” (with links to their sources):     

The corydalis…

the bugloss, or forget me not…

Anchusa capensis 'Blue Angel' BUGLOSS 'BLUE ANGEL'  FORGET ME NOT from Sooner Plant Farm

…and this Rocky Mountain native, the blue columbine. 

Columbine Blue Star

In 2004, a company called Florigene produced a genetically engineered bluish-purple rose using blue genes from pansies.  The photo at the top of the post is that flower. 

Although roses have been cultivated for over 5,000 years, the blue rose has eluded breeders until very recently.  This is because roses lack the gene necessary to produce the blue pigment—called delphinidin. 

The Florigene blue rose does not appear to be commercially available yet.  I read in one source that this company is trying to refine the color, shooting for a sky blue shade.

Florigene does market a line of genetically engineered “blue” carnations (which are really closer to purple), including this one called “Moonvista:” 

Okay.  I generally avoid political issues.  But.  Even if I could get okay with tampered-with crops to lessen world hunger, it is okay to engineer flowers as a marketing scheme?   

These flowers would be exciting to design with, but I’m not sure I could use them with a clear conscience. 

I like the “true blues” better... 

Blue Flower

  …morning glory... 







…and these, which are now sitting on my kitchen table.     


“Enough about the dang flowers already.  Can we go to bed now?”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Doing the Next Right Thing

1930s - Woman Walking on Sidewalk by Walfred Moisio by straatis.

Tonight I had the privilege of being there for a new friend whose life is falling apart.  Or so it seems.  This lovely young woman with the beautiful smile and laughing eyes is facing an unexpected and devastating divorce—one brought on by what appears to her to be unfathomable betrayal.   

She is devastated, terrified, and nearly without hope.  Yet she reached out to me and another new friend for support.  This is both a privilege and a humbling prospect.  She doesn’t even know our last names. 

The Buddha said that suffering is the first noble truth of human existence.  What is the measure of this suffering?   And what do I have that could encourage S. tonight?  Nothing, except shared human experience.   

So I wrote her a long letter as she prepares to return to her home in another state to face this situation.  I kept coming back to the idea of doing the next right thing.  Reducing the days and weeks small manageable pieces.   An idea I learned from my 12-step friends. 

In S’s case, it might be enough tomorrow to get on the airplane and fly home.  And to let that be enough for one day.  Or maybe she’ll need to break it down further.  Get up.  Brush teeth.  Get dressed.  Now, eat.  Now get in the car and drive.   Etc.  Try, knowing it will impossible to succeed completely, to put off worrying about other things until they truly need to be faced. 


I have been in places when I was as fearful as S. is today.  I wish I’d known then about this doing-the-next-thing idea.  Sometimes still, I’m in such a fog, and there seem so many urgent things to be done, that I overwhelm myself and do nothing.

In other words, the next indicated thing itself eludes me.

For times like this, I have a mental cheat sheet of things that are always a right thing to do.  I don’t always use it, but I have it.        

One is to go for a walk.  Or bike ride, or other exercise.  Preferably outside.  Another is to read something that feeds my spirit.  Another is to do stream-of-consciousness writing for three or more pages.  Or meditate:  just counting my breaths to ten and starting over.  Or go to a 12-step meeting. 

I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these things and later thought, Damn.  Was THAT a mistake.   I usually calm down, having made at least one good decision in a day.     

If I am hungry or tired, I need to eat or rest before doing anything else, unless it’s literally crucial to do something else first.  My ability to do anything successfully if I’m hungry or tired is compromised.    

I use this stuff every day.  It helps me navigate the multitude of moments that add up to a life.  And I need all the help I can get.  What more do we have but this very moment?  Yesterday really is gone, and tomorrow really isn’t here yet.  That I spend hours remembering the past or fearing the future doesn’t make them any more real.    

Woman walking by dhammza.

Tonight I hope S. and any other hurting person will find the courage to do the next right thing, and then rest, knowing that’s all there is for now.    


top photo: Walfred Moisio, “Woman Walking on Sidewalk.” http://ffffound.com/home/bkaczmarek/found/?offset=125&  second photo:  A woman walking down steps in the old city of Jerusalem, November 18, 2007. Photo by Michal Fattal/Flash90.http://religionandterror.com/haunting-images/2007/12/16/flash-90/third photo:  dhammza, http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/3429957344/

text copyright The Blue Kimono 2009.  Please do not use or copy without permission.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Day at the Market

2009-06-27 # 095This is a dahlia that sallymandy bought at the farmer’s market. 

First of all,I would like to start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I am my mom’s guest blogger today, and my name is SeeSpotRun. (Well, that’s just my user name. My mom won’t let me tell you my real name, but I’ll give you a hint. It starts with an H). Anyways, I’m 12 years old and I live with my parents and two Westies, Clover and Riley. (Riley has posed as a Vanna White dog before on this blog.) I love to do track, play soccer, play tennis, (I’m not very good at tennis though), play around with computers, read, play violin, and cook. I hope you enjoy this post! 

Today, my mom, my friend, her parents, her sisters, her grandma and I all went down to the Farmer’s Market in beautiful downtown Missoula, Montana. I love the markets on Saturday mornings in the summer because I just bike downtown because we live so close! And another thing I love, the vegetables and fruit are local and fresh, and grown by fellow farmers. We also went to the People’s Market which is just like the Farmer’s market but instead of selling food; they sell jewelry, photography, (which I was very pleased about because I love photography. I took all of the pictures on this post, actually). :). They also sell food from local restaurants. I love the markets!!!                            ♥ ♥ ♥

2009-06-27 # 098

This is Sallymandy with her Dahlia at the People’s Market. (She is very happy and will try not to kill the Dahlia.) :)

♥ ♥ ♥

2009-06-27 # 099 

This is a traditional Australian instrument called a Didjeridu. I tried playing one in 3rd grade, and it was very cool. It’s amazing how these things are made. These were first made by the Aboriginal people.

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2009-06-27 # 106

This is a little Dachshund puppy that we met at the People’s Market. Isn’t he cute?!?!?!?! I was honored to hold him. We weren’t told what his name is, so I just call him Milo. (That’s not me in the picture, it’s the owner of the dog, I think.)

♥ ♥ ♥

2009-06-27 # 109

This is in a really awesome restaurant called Butterfly Herbs. We got the bumper sticker that SM is holding there. I love that bumper sticker, and Butterfly Herbs! (This restaurant is in downtown Missoula.)

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2009-06-27 # 110

Give up guessing what that thing is??? Well, it’s a dragon model that’s hanging on the wall in Butterfly Herbs. I think it’s pretty cool.

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2009-06-27 # 112

I couldn’t have thought of a better saying.

By: Benjamin Franklin

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2009-06-27 # 117

Jars, jars, and more jars! All in my favorite restaurant: Butterfly Herbs! Where else?

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2009-06-27 # 115

Sallymandy took this picture. It’s the saying on one of my personal favorite T-shirts. I got it at Old Navy for about $5, I think.

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2009-06-27 # 116

Isn’t this a cool bag? I love it! If you don’t know what it is, it’s a fish. :)

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2009-06-27 # 139

Personally, this is one of my favorite stores EVER!!! It has such cool stuff! And it’s all about the way people express themselves-through art. They sell decorative toys with wacky designs and all sorts of interesting stuff like that.

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2009-06-27 # 147

This is a farting skunk toy inside Tsunami. His name is Pooty. It’s hard to believe what some artists will make.

♥ ♥ ♥


Thank you for

reading this post.

I hope you enjoyed it

as much as I did

making it for you!



All rights reserved, SeeSpotRun, 2009.

May not be copied or used without permission.

Dove that Ventured Outside, by Rainer Maria Rilke


Dove that ventured outside, 

flying far from the dovecote:
housed and protected again,

one with the day, the night,
knows what serenity is,  

for she has felt her wings
pass through all distance and fear

in the course of her wanderings.

The doves that remained at home,

never exposed to loss,
innocent and secure, 

cannot know tenderness;
only the won-back heart 

can ever be satisfied: free,
through all it has given up,  

to rejoice in its mastery. 

Being arches itself

over the vast abyss.
Ah the ball that we dared,

that we hurled into infinite space,
Doesn’t it fill our hands

differently with its return:
heavier by the weight

of where it has been.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Ahead of All Parting:  The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, June 26, 2009

He Said, She Said: Has This Ever Happened to You?


She:  $%&#@!!!

He:  …?…?…?…

Who has the funniest expression—the annoyed wife, or the bewildered husband?  This really made me laugh. 

Have a great weekend, and may your summer not have too many of these moments.  ♥  ♥  ♥

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mixing It Up. Impressions, Please?

I’m fascinated by the idea of context in fashion: that is, that what looks great or even just okay in one city or locale might be badly out of context elsewhere. 

This first outfit would go over pretty well where I live, on a young woman like this one.  What I like about this one:  the mix of textures, especially the leather patchwork with the lacy shorts.  However, I don’t think the shorts are long enough.  Something seems off about the proportion. 

And I would not wear this exact combination, but the mix itself inspires me to put different textures or colors together.   

What do you think? 

How about this one? 

I’m not sure.  It’s a little baggy, but she sure looks comfortable. 

And this one?  I happen to like this a lot, for the natural colors and probably natural fabrics.  She looks cool on The Sartorialist, with her ciggie and leather bag.  Would she look cool in your town? 

If I was wearing this outfit, I’d want to make sure my hair was very tidy to avoid any suggestion of frowsiness.  Maybe I’m just sensitive to that because I have naturally frowsy hair.  But also, as I get older I seem to feel more frowsy in general.

Here’s the same woman.  I like this.  You can’t go wrong with a white shirt. 

How about this one?  Does it need more color, or is the mix of light natural shades refreshing?  Would a little more contrast in the outfit bring our her natural color contrast?  I tend to think so.

Could you wear this in your town? 

This woman’s coloring is so classy and striking that in a way her overalls look out of character.  She’s photographed in Paris.  Maybe the overall doesn’t have the folksy associations there? 

It’s always great fun! to hear what you think of these street fashion photos.  Of course, we all agree that people should wear whatever the heck they want.  But strictly from a design point of view:  what are your thoughts? 

photos used with permission from www.thesartorialist.com


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Staycations for One: Restoring Body and Soul

efbfeed8.jpg Glacier National Park image by waynede

Duchesse at Passage des Perles recently wrote about contrasts in the pace of life at different times in history.  This made me think about slowing down the pace, and the restorative quality of unstructured time. 

Since I posted a couple weeks ago about the causes of depression, I’ve been even more aware of my need for rest.  For me, nothing feeds emotional and mental distress like doing too much with too little rest.  I need “white space” around the bursts of activity in my life.  Is it that way for you?     

Last year I had the good fortune to take three “staycations”—trips within a few hours’ driving distance—all by myself.  One was a two-day, two-night adventure to Glacier National Park in northern Montana.  That’s a picture of the park, above. 

At Apgar Village, inside the park, you can rent a tiny cabin for less than a hundred dollars a night.  There’s one below.  They’re spotlessly clean and have kitchens and everything you need.  No televisions or phones.  Internet?  No way, Jose. 


I got to my cabin on a Friday night.  It was already dark.  After I unpacked, I cast around feeling lost without my computer.  Pretty soon, though, I put on pajamas and crashed into the blissful bed.  I woke up around midnight and read books and played around with a new set of pastels and some mandalas.  Then went back to bed.   

In the morning I had oatmeal from home and coffee from my little kitchen.  Then I went on a hike to the place below:  Avalanche Lake.  I can’t describe the beauty, so I won’t try.  There were quite a few people hiking there, which was good, because I’m not keen on walking alone in grizzly bear country. 


When I got down from my hike, thrilled at the beauty I’d experienced and worn out from the exercise, I was ravenous.  I went to the Lake McDonald Lodge and got a huge, juicy hamburger to go.  With fries.  Here’s the inside of the lodge. 


I toyed with the idea of going on a boat tour of Lake McDonald, but was feeling anti-social.  I bought a book on women in western American history from the gift shop, and then went back to my little cabin at the end of the lake.  I took a shower, and then a nap. 

Later that evening, I went out for a bike ride, had dinner from my little refrigerator, and fell asleep reading my new book.  The next morning, it was time to go home.  

This was a fondly remembered stay-cation.  I’ve learned that these elements help me have a good and restorative trip:  Nature.  Opportunity for vigorous exercise.  Quiet.  Opportunity for lots of sleep.  Comfort.  Good food—either brought by me, or not.  No phones, TV or Internet.    

I’d like to encourage all of us to do what we need for rest, in whatever quantity we need it.  Even though my trip to Glacier was not expensive, I need to spend less money this year.  With the right attitude, I could even do one in my house.    

Have you taken a restorative trip by yourself, either near home or far away?  What did you do?  Would you do it again? 

photos from www.photobucket.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion Update


It’s been almost two months since I signed a two-month contract at Wardrobe Refashion.  Since my contract is almost up, here’s an update. 

First I wanted a work space.  I have a small house, and I didn’t want to spend money, or very much time.  Here’s what I came up with using stuff I already had and a corner of another room. 



If I want to hide the nook, I can pull the screen.  Given my budget of $0.00, I’m pretty happy.  The window looks out on the back yard, and I’m close to the coffee pot. 

Now about my “refashions.”  My goal is to make my clothes more wearable.  Using what I’ve learned from people like Imogen at Inside Out Style, my approach has evolved around


…which make the most difference in whether I like my clothing.     

Here are some results.  I’ve forgotten some ‘before’ shots.  Sorry.



This is a favorite.  The “before” shot didn’t turn out.  Waah.   

This thrifted sweater was too big and had patch pockets at the hip.  Plus, it’s a brand that I normally don’t shop.  But the color flatters me, and it’s nicely made.  I took off the pockets and took in the whole thing, putting in a curve in for shape.  I also shortened the sleeves.  

Then, I replaced the plastic buttons with hand-made ceramic ones I bought when I was—get this—ten years old!  I had just enough, and they fit.  





With this one, I forgot to take a “before” shot.

I bought this thrifted blouse because it’s very well made and I love linen in the summer.  But it was a beige-y-taupe that’s unflattering on me. 

My plan was to remove the color and dye it blue.  But even after hours and hours of Rit color remover, the blouse ended up yellow. 

Because I couldn’t decide what to do with the yellow, I wore it this way and got lots of compliments.  I decided this is a good color for me.   

I shortened the blouse because it hit right at my widest point.  Here’s a close-up of the embroidery—which I didn’t originally like, but have now come to appreciate. 


Lesson:  refashioning forces me to think outside my preconceived notions of what works, and I get more variety in my closet!


And now, because it’s late, I’m going to show a two-in-one that I accomplished today. 


This top was kind of cheap to begin with, so I used it to experiment with dyes.  I was aiming for something like the color of the sweater above. 

In addition, it was too wide and long to flatter, so I took it in, and cut off the bottom. 




100_1540Here’s my current dye collection.  For this top, I used a watered down solution of Rit “Wine” and “Dark Brown.” 



100_1544Now, Before I show you the “after” of this top, here’s the second part of the two-in-one. 

I like the print of this blouse, but the blouse doesn’t fit.  I decided to make a summer scarf out of the ties. 





When I finished the scarf and top I wore them together.  Here’s a blurry photo.  You can see the print of the scarf, where it was sitting on my shoulder in front of the camera.   I don’t feel like putting up a non-blurry photo of myself today—but you get the idea.

I think the top color came out pretty well.  Five years ago I would never have worn this color, but today it makes me feel good. 


moral of the story:

I’ve had a great time with my wardrobe refashioning, and I’ll definitely do the contract again.  More later this week.

♥   ♥   ♥             

All rights reserved, The Blue Kimono.  All photos were taken by me and may not be used or reproduced without permission.