Monday, August 9, 2010

Thought for the Day August 9, 2010

great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart
"Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
— Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE


photo:  me and my grandmother, Placid Lake, Montana, 1965.  please do not reproduce. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vintage Shoes on Etsy. It’s That Time Again.

vintage patent leather slides

Orange patent leather slides, vintage, $45, HazeyJaneVintage

Every few months I do a post on vintage shoes on Etsy—because it’s so fun and because we all seem to love shoes.  Last week I posted about second-hand shoes I’ve bought recently.  Here are some others you might like, all from Etsy

I love the variety, style, and originality in these designs.  


Above:  Vintage El Dante leather platforms, $288, IKAHN

vintage shoes on etsy

Above:  70s tribute to Daisy Duke, $28, Star1312’s shop

  vintage green John Fluevogs on Etsy

Above:  Vintage John Fluevogs, $58, from photographicamy

Vintage sandals on Etsy

Above:  White leather gladiator sandals from the 1980s, $42, from Atticgoods.

1930s vintage suede shoes

Above:  Vintage purple/blue suede shoes from 1930s or 1940s, $125, JustSmashingDarling

vintage Italian leather flats on Etsy

Above:  Vintage, never-worn Italian slip-ons, $100, LauroRighi

vintage nautical deck shoes

Above:  1950s nautical deck shoes, $44, Thrush

  vintage Joseph La Rose snakeskin flats

Above:  Vintage orange –toe 1960s Joseph La Rose snakeskin flats, $60, whitedovenycvintage

vintage leather ankle boots

Above:  Vintage brown leather ankle boots with straps, $159, santokivintage


Above:  Vintage patchwork wedge heels, $50, 2palmsvintage

vintage leather loafers

Above:  Vintage 1970s tan leather loafers with wedge heel, $32, TheRubyKitten.  

vintage floral go go boots

Above:  Vintage floral go go boots from 1960s, $200, Retrothreadz

vintage suede stilettos

Above:  Olive green suede stilettos, $45, SkinnyandBernie.

Which are your favorites?  Have you found any second-hand shoe treasures lately? 



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The privilege of a lifetime….

Grimaces by Diane Ducruet

…is being who you are.

Joseph Campbell

art by Diane Ducruet.  Link here



Friday, July 23, 2010

Thought for the Day July 23, 2010

Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality

"Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can do it." Walt Disney


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ultimate DIY. Crochet-Covered Car

Found this morning in Ready Made Magazine

I just love this.  I’d never want to drive it.  How would you clean the dead bugs off?  What about when it rains?  Would you just get this cover out for an occasional, slow drive around the block on a sunny day?

crochet covered car

Whatever.  It’s gorgeous and incredible and makes me smile.  People and their ideas never cease to amaze.  


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Living in Time: Past, Present, or Future?


Found a link to this photograph on Twitter—what a popular science magazine predicted a city of 1950 to look like (in 1925). 

It would be like us looking ahead to 2035. 

I’ve always found it fascinating how some people look ahead and some people look behind.  I fall into the latter group—often reminiscing and thinking about what’s already been in my life more than looking ahead to what might be. 

What a lesson it is to learn how to stay right in this moment and live it.  Tomorrow never ever comes, and yesterday is gone. 

Source here



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Marketing in a Recession


My father sent me this recently and I had to share it. 

Happy Monday!



Poetikat’s New Book of Poems

Finally!  Poetry that’s accessible, fun, clever and real. 

Many of my followers are also followers and friends of Poetikat’s Invisible Keepsakes. Kat has published a book of poetry titled Shadowstalking, and it’s now available to the public. 


Here’s what Kat says about  her book:

“My poetry is written for both catharsis (on my part) and entertainment (on yours). There's something for everyone in this collection—a bit of nature, a bit of memoir, some classical forms of poetry, and some more freestyle pieces.

I write with humour generally, but sometimes sadness can creep in too. This book should appeal in some way to anyone who picks it up.”

I just ordered my copy and I can’t wait to receive it.  If you know Kat’s poetry from her blog, you know her writing is authentic and honest and leaves you feeling good.  

I invite you to visit her website or blog to check it out.   



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recycled Tee Shirt Skirt, Custom Made for a Blue Kimono Reader!

I made this skirt for one of my lovely Canadian readers.  It’s a custom knee skirt made from my original design.  Thank you, dear bloggie friend!

katsskirtfixed for blog

I used pieces from nine or ten different cotton knit garments for this original design.  The waistband is made from a pair of Tommy Hilfiger sweat pants. 


Everything is post-consumer, recycled material that I’ve cleaned to within an inch of its life and put together carefully on my thirty-year-old sewing machine. 


I made another skirt very much like this—same colors and styling—for a second customer who liked it and ordered on it her size. 

My online shop is here:

Happy Week! 



Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Finished Refashion from Sunday

Needlework is so therapeutic.  I put some swirly embroidery around the edges and cuffs of the sweater I refashioned earlier this week.  It was more for my benefit than for the sweater’s.  But I think the sweater’s better, too.

april 28 078











And finally, Midge gets to stop being a hussy and wear a few more clothes.   

It turns out that the sweater’s made of acrylic, not wool as I originally thought.  I normally don’t buy synthetics.  Still, as the sweater doesn’t fit me, I like how it turned out well enough to put it up for sale in my Etsy shop.  

I’m driving over the Rocky Mountains into Idaho tomorrow for a weekend-long, middle-school soccer tournament.  May not be posting for a few days, as I’ll probably play dead for a while upon returning. 

Have a lovely weekend! 


photos by B. Behan.  All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blogger’s Confession….??


After sixteen months of blogging, I don’t know what DH means, or DD or DS. 

I get Husband, Daughter and Son.  But what’s D? 

Dear?  Dog-face? 

Inquiring minds want to know. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Walt Whitman for Earth Day

Montana sunset Missoula Clark Fork River

EARTH! My likeness!

Though you look so impassive, ample and spheric there,
I now suspect that is not all;
I now suspect there is something fierce in you, eligible to burst
For an athlete is enamour'd of me--and I of him;
But toward him there is something fierce and terrible in me, eligible
to burst forth,
I dare not tell it in words--not even in these songs.

Give me solitude—give me Nature—give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities!



Walt Whitman

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shaggy Pooch Philosophy

  Adorable West Highland Terrier

Clover’s reminder for Wednesday: 

Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul. 

Mark Twain

photo by B. Behan.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Please Bear with Me…

…while I take one of my periodic blogging breaks to re-think, re-strategize and refresh my ideas for The Blue Kimono.

Since starting my blog over a year ago, the creative process it’s fostered me has nudged me into new places.  I’ve resigned from my “day job” raising money for an environmental non profit organization, and I’ve started a business creating clothing from recycled fabrics. 

I can easily see the progression of these changes back to the beginning of my blog.

I could not have done any of this important mid-life growth without the support of my blogging friends, and I’m so very grateful to all of you.

The original purpose for the blog isn’t really relevant any more and I’m now considering whether to change the focus to more closely match what I’m doing with my “work.”

Thanks, all you dear readers.  More to follow.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Everything You Need to Know About Cashmere

2223312651 26A0F003Dd

photo, Craftzine, here. 

Have you ever bought a cashmere sweater, only to have it pill up impossibly on the very first day? 

Have you ever wondered how manufacturers can sell $69 cashmere sweaters, when such products used to run in the hundreds of dollars? 

Cashmere—the coat of the cashmere goat--has been a luxury fiber for almost three hundred years.  The last ten years have seen an influx of cheap cashmere into world clothing markets. 

Cashmere Goat

isn’t she cuuute?  Link, here

The good news is, cashmere is more accessible to many of us.  It’s even showing up in thrift stores. 

The bad news is, unless we know what we’re paying for, it’s possible to be very disappointed in a cashmere purchase. 

Here are some facts about cashmere that can help us make informed buying decisions (see my sources at the bottom of post).   

  • Whereas cashmere production originated in India in the 1700s and had spread to France and Scotland,  
  • Today, China has become the world’s largest producer of cashmere.
  • Quality varies according to width and length of fibers.  Width determines softness, while length determines strength.  Long, thin fibers are the best quality and will get softer over time. 

Photo from Lookchina, here. 

Test for Quality

  • Rub the surface with your fingers.  Poor quality cashmere will pill almost immediately. 
  • Crush the fabric in your hand.  Fewer wrinkles=better quality. 
  • Gently pull the garment; good quality springs back to its original shape. 
  • Look for pure fibers or wool blends only.  Blends with synthetics can indicate that poorer quality cashmere was used.   


“Pashmina” is not a fiber separate from cashmere and is used to mislead consumers into thinking they’re getting cashmere.  The word comes from the Persian word for wool—Pashm.  A garment whose fiber is labeled as “pashmina” in the U.S. is breaking federal regulations that state the exact content of cashmere must be disclosed. 

Care of Cashmere

Knit cashmere should be hand-washed. 

If you should buy less-than-great quality cashmere, and it pills up, try an inexpensive battery-powered fabric shaver or a sweater comb. 

Recent Problems with Cashmere Production

Mislabeling is a growing problem for U.S. retailers. 

In the early 2000s, when luxury items were at a premium globally, cashmere was “democratized” and manufacturers creating all sorts of new, accessible products. 

However, increased demand for fiber has resulted in mislabeling and items being sold as cashmere when they may actually be blended with other, inferior fibers.  These stocks are being sold to Chinese sweater mills as well to Western buyers. As a result, more mislabeled garments are expected to be found in retail stores.

The quality of cashmere from China is a growing concern.  In the mid 2000s it was reported that cashmere coming out of China was not regulated well and there were many reports of crossbreeding the cashmere goats with other goats, and mixing cashmere with wool. 

The Bottom Line

Before you drop hard-earned money in any amount on a cashmere garment, know as much as you can about what you’re getting.  There’s nothing wrong with a lower-priced, lower-quality garment as long as consumers aren’t misled about what they’re buying. 

From:  Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers’ Institute FAQ’s and U.S. Better Business Bureau article on Federal Trade Commission Regulations on Cashmere Labeling.  Albany Times Union, Dec, 25, 2004; “Italy Faces Mounting Threats to Cashmere,” Women’s Wear Daily Dec. 6, 2005. 



Sunday, January 31, 2010

“If Hope Had a Scent, It Would Be the Smell of the Air on a Warm February Day.”

january 31 001

More than any other holiday, Groundhog Day is the "looking-ahead" holiday, a holiday of transition.

“We're not so much celebrating the day at hand, February 2, as we are a day that is on our horizon, the spring equinox. The spring equinox is simply being celebrated ahead of time, as Groundhog Day, on February 2. Asking us to bottle up our hopes until three weeks in March have passed would be unreasonable, don't you think?”

“…Let's explore the origin of Groundhog Day by taking a look at Imbolc, Saint Brigid's Day and Candlemas Day.

“In its earliest incarnation, Groundhog Day was Imbolc, a pagan celebration associated with fertility and weather divination.

“The word, Imbolc is Gaelic, the language of the Celts. There is a strong association between Imbolc and Brigid, a Celtic fertility goddess. When the pagan holidays were transformed into Catholic equivalents, two new holidays emerged from Imbolc. One, Saint Brigid's Day (a.k.a. Saint Bridget's Day), was celebrated on February 1. Saint Brigid's Day honored an Irish saint, named after the Celtic goddess, who was a contemporary of Saint Patrick's.

“The second holiday deriving from Imbolc was Candlemas Day and was celebrated on February 2 (Groundhog Day). Candlemas was the feast of Mary's purification and was marked by a candle procession.

“But how did a groundhog become the symbol for a holiday that was marked by a candle procession?

“Well, the Romans, for instance, had celebrated a rough equivalent to our Groundhog Day in early February -- only a hedgehog was in charge of the weather divination, not a groundhog. And such beliefs survived the Christianization of Europe (going "underground," if you will), attaching themselves to Candlemas Day as folklore. European settlers in North America kept the pagan tradition alive, but substituted the native groundhog for the European hedgehog. Clearly, Imbolc and the older traditions have won out: today in North America, almost everyone in the general public has heard of "Groundhog Day," while mention of "Candlemas Day" would generally draw expressions of puzzlement!

“Most people have now distanced themselves from fertility rites, purification rituals and weather divination (well, except for meteorologists, perhaps!). Nonetheless, on some level, don't we still intuitively associate fertility and purification with spring? Nor can we help but spend our winters speculating on spring's arrival.”

“If hope had a scent, it would be the smell in the air on a warm February day.

this post was excerpted from an article by David Beaulieu on Groundhog Day on, here



Friday, January 22, 2010

New Photography by Jean Albus

Dark Before Dawn by Jean Albus

Dark Before Dawn, Jean Albus, 2010

If you were visiting my blog last year, you might remember when I posted some work by Montana artist/photographer Jean Albus.  Click here to see those posts. 

And now here’s more wonderment from Jean.  The next images are from her 2009 collection “What Else is There to Say About Land.”   

Hot Dirt by Jean Albus.

In The Grass by Jean Albus.

Into the Storm by Jean Albus.

Hay Bales by Jean Albus.

Jean’s work combines images that speak to me:  the often harsh landscape of Montana, where four generations of my family have lived; images of women; the feminine and flowing lines of beautiful fabrics and clothing. 

Somehow, these are related.    

Even I, not given to conscious stereotyping about my home state, can conjure a cowboys-and-tumbleweed image of Montana in my mind. 

But Jean’s work shows a woman here; finding her place in this land….touching, feeling, literally immersing herself in place.  In a part of the earth where geography so clearly dominates human movement, I have needed to do the same.  I have spent hours and days making my peace with the land:  leaving my footprints, ski tracks, tire marks in deep recesses of mountains where I might not be found for days if I got lost.  I have needed to lie down, dive in, dig my hands deep into the elements of the earth. 

Nowadays this urge is not so strong.  I have reached some kind of equilibrium—unconscious, mostly—with these external forms.  Always aware of them, always knowing on the edges of my consciousness that they’re there, the mountains and the forests hold me like primeval mothers’ arms.  Knowing this, I spend more time indoors, exploring the inner wilderness of line, form, and color. 

Jean Albus’ work reminds me of who I am in this place where I came into the world.


You can see more of Jean’s art, and contact her, at her gallery on Flickr.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Use Your Cell Phone to Help in Haiti.

As of sixteen hours ago, Americans with cell phones had raised $11 million for relief in Haiti through sending text messages to relief phone numbers. 

If you haven’t seen these numbers yet, here are several easy ways to donate small amounts of money.  Your donation is added into your cell phone bill.

Relief organizers are reminding people—like me—who are tweeting and blogging about this--to actually make the calls themselves.  That’s a good point.  In my effort to round up numbers for my post, I initially forgot to make the calls myself. 

I chose Yele Haiti, which is working with Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean to mobilize their effort.  You can $5 donations up to six times to Yele Haiti. 

Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti, which is working with Wyclef Jean.  

Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross

Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee

Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada

Text RELIEF to 30644 to get automatically connected to Catholic Relief Services and donate money with your credit card

Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way

Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation

Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Non Resolution about Beginnings

winter1.jpg image by findstuff22

I love New Year’s.  I mean, I love January and the deep breath of forward-looking-ness that comes at the end of the holidays. 

I love it, love it, love it.   

Many blog friends have been writing about the new year.  Blissfully absent have been resolutions and promises to do better or be better.  Instead I’m finding thoughtful introspections about what it means to go look ahead, to see possibility, and to use the past as a launching pad.   

I’d like to share a couple of quotes I found today about new beginnings.

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.”  Buddha. 

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” Roman philosopher Seneca.

“There is a woman at the beginning of all great things.” French poet Alphonse de Lamartine. 


What are you beginning in 2010? 



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Favorite Etsy Sweaters and My Own New Designs


Amelie Sweater in Cashmere and Felted Merino, Size M, Blue Kimono Studio

Is it warm yet? 

Two hours after taking the dogs for a morning walk, my legs are still thawing out.  There’s a blanket of ice in my yard, and the doors on my Subaru are frozen shut.   

The stores are stocking bathing suits, but I still need sweaters—wool sweaters!  

And I’m still making sweaters for my recycled clothing shop, Blue Kimono Studio. 

Here are a few of my favorites sweaters.  Some are my own, and some are from other Etsy sellers.   

I’m proud of the one at the top of my post.  It was featured on Etsy’s Front Page on December 28.   

burgundy heather  pullover

Burgundy Heather Pullover, Size M-L, $75 USD, RagaissanceWear. 

Ella pullover sweater with recycled cashmere and wool in red and plum

Ella Pullover Sweater with Recycled Cashmere, Size L, $168, Foundry Designs

january 5 number 2 002 

Sara Sweater in Felted Wool and Stripes, Size M, $118 USD, Blue Kimono Studio

Wow     Orange Merino

Orange Merino Felted Pullover, Size S-M, $90 USD, RagaissanceWear.

Ella pullover sweater in felted cream, taupe and cocoa wool, made from recycled knits, with red creek jasper cabochon

Ella Pullover in Felted Cream, Taupe and Cocoa Wool, Size S, $168, Foundry Designs. 

january 7 014

Amory Sweater in Wool and Felted Merino, $118, Size L, Blue Kimono Studio

How about you?  Are you ready for spring yet, or are you still pulling out your woolens? 

Have a warm and colorful weekend…love,