vendredi 29 mai 2009

The Wonderful and The Wired

Excuse me for the week-long absence, but over here in the southwest, I'm still wrist-deep in my sandy, alkaline soil.

It's late spring, and the second patch of garden I started this year is sprouting pesky couch grass all over. I spend hours and hours pulling them out! One of the reasons I garden is that it teaches my usually impatient spirit to calm down. Right now, there really is nothing to be done but wait. Hopefully, by next spring, I would have eliminated all the invasive roots and the Frankenia laevis I installed as ground cover would have taken over.

For the moment, taking these photos makes it worth all the trouble. Well, almost. My knees care nothing for photography and are still complaining...

A pink rose from a shrub that reaches just past my mid-calf.

My potted alliums.

The tiny flower of a genet bush.

One of the poppies that sprout wild all over the property and that we
take care not to mow. "Coquelicot" is still one of my
favorite French C words.
The giddiness and gaudiness of the sound
suit the flower perfectly!


Meanwhile, e-mail from one of my favorite Etsy artists, Claire Rougerie of De Beaux Souvenirs, informed me that her website is up.

I find that there's something magical about Claire's creations, which are made from wire and found vintage objects. Something rough but at the same time quite dainty there. I am enamored with the unexpected mix! One of my favorites is this little owl, La Reine des Bois:

Photo by De Beaux Souvenirs

Very pretty, isn't she?

To see the real thing: If you'll be finding yourself taking a little vacation in the west of France any time from June to September, her atelier will be open in Curçay Sur Dive.

samedi 23 mai 2009

La Pomme Stories Update

Calling all zine lovers! There are two new reads in my book shop that you might like.

One is Pocket Fairytales for Girls and Women, featuring five of my stories with interesting female protagonists. The cover is made from vintage book illustrations that I saved from a half-mangled old book I found at a flea market. It was a shame to think it would soon end up in the trash!

The other is Your Favorite Pocket Fairytales , where you'll find seven of my, well, favorite pocket fairytales :) My doilies and keys obsessions continue here.
See you at the shop!

vendredi 22 mai 2009

Turning Japanese

Oh, this is exciting! A while ago, Etsy sent me a message saying that the Japanese magazine MONO was thinking to feature one of the items from my book shop in their pages. MONO, from what I have read, is a magazine that was founded in 1982, and which has been recently making the transition to featuring more "design" products.

I was also informed by Etsy that if the feature ever happened, it would be unlikely that the magazine would get back telling them about it. That has been my experience, too. Publishing people are very busy folk, I figure. So I was pleasantly surprised when Takeshi from MONO actually sent me images from the issue where my handmade book, The Key, is coming out in.

And -- ta-daahh! -- here it is. The cover is a visual feast.
And, somewhere on the inside, is my book.

Can't find it? Here's a detail.
I have no idea what they're saying, just crossing my fingers that it's not something like, "Look how crappy this is!" Whatever it does say, I'd love a real copy, so if you're in Japan and you happen upon a magazine kiosk, see this, and are feeling nice, send me one, please?

mardi 19 mai 2009

This and That

So I had promised myself not to get too narcissistic and post too many photos of me, myself, and I on this blog, but this time I just cannot help myself: I love my bump!

Oh, yeah, I think this is the first time I'm saying anything here about being pregnant, but I am, for the first time, at the ripe old age of xx (you really think I'd tell?), and it took forevvvverrr for my tummy to show. For the longest time it just looked like I had eaten too much bread -- or rice, given that I am Asian and I do like my steamed fluffy grains. Anyway, at six months the bump finally made a definite appearance -- boom! in one week she expanded -- and I already love her to bits.


In other news: I am now on Cosa Verde, a new online market dedicated to environmentally friendly goods. My Cosa Verde shop can be found here.

While you're at it, you have to go check out their blog, where I keep finding stuff that makes me want to click on the Buy button. They also have a gift guide, where I found this item called a Noonie that I never thought I needed, but now I have a suspicion it will make its way into my shopping cart very soon:

And: In my seemingly never-ending attempt to make La Pomme more cohesive, as I have confessed many times my tendency to lose focus, I've decided to take my more quirky items like the Boxed Universes and Magic Terrariums out of the online shop. I'll still be making them, but will be showing them in other venues instead. Meanwhile, they're on a farewell sale for a limited period. Get them while you can!

mardi 12 mai 2009

Opening Locks

I got so excited over the weekend's vintage finds that I just had to make a new book from one of the locks. It's my fairytale "The Key," and you can find it in my book shop.

To keep it company, I made another book, this time the tragic "Pale Berries." I found this malformed ceramic doll a year ago, and didn't quite know what to do with until last week when I realized that it would be perfect to illustrate the unfortunate death of a 13-year-old girl. The book can be found here.

lundi 11 mai 2009

Images from My Weekend

Husband and I took a long trip on Saturday to collect the cedar we're going to use to rebuild our terrace. It was to a village called Fournes-Cabardès in the Aude. At one of our stops on the way, he picked this fragrant little bouquet for me:
I thought it very sweet, then took a closer look at one of the leaves and found a bonus. Sorry for the insect now obliged to fly about with one wing less, I was at the same time delighted to happen upon this visual treasure:

Sunday it was a quick morning trip to the market in Aimargues, to pick up the rib steaks that we had ordered from the butcher we heard sells some very fine meat. In the cotton-candy-and-crêpe stand, I found breakfast. It makes me smile how this is called here, pomme d'amour, "apple of love." Sexy, huh?
At the far end of the market, we discovered a little brocantes or vintage fair going on. From a soft-spoken old man, I bought these:
Your turn now. How was your weekend?

jeudi 7 mai 2009

Making Toys with Manikako

Manikako dolls.

Among my fondest childhood memories were the times my sisters and I would spend sewing stuffed toys to give as gifts to relatives during the holidays. I remember there was a totally ugly pig made of rolled-up and tied-up foam, but I don't remember who the unfortunate relative was who received it; and a snake made from an old necktie that got my boy cousin crying when he opened his gift box and found the thing coiled up inside! Great times.

A lot of what makes me happy and productive now that I'm all grown up can be traced directly to those experiences, I think. Although I have given up on making people cry when I give them presents :)
At an arts workshop.

That's why when I heard about the project Manikako, in the Philippines, I knew that I wanted to be part of it. Manikako comes from the Filipino phrase, "manika ko," meaning "my doll. What they do is they organize arts workshops for children in disadvantaged situations, for example from areas hit by natural calamities such as typhoons, or living in urban slums. In these workshops, each child is given a blank doll, thread, buttons, and fabric scraps -- all recycled material that the organization collects -- and then helped to create his own personal doll. The thinking behind it all being that exploring his creativity will help the child develop in a more complete manner; and also that these art workshops are just plain fun!

My Super Good Luck dolls made with Manikako.

I'm far away from Asia, otherwise I would gladly be volunteering at their workshops, so for now what I'm doing to support the project is using the Manikako blank dolls to make my popular Super Good Luck dolls. Part of the sale from each of my Super Good Luck dolls now goes to funding a Manikako arts workshop. The dolls I have available are here, here, and here. There'll be more to come.

If you live in the Philippines, there are more opportunities for you to get involved, if you feel like it. Just check out the Manikako website.

Wow, biiiig!

lundi 4 mai 2009

One Sunday in the South of France

Spring is in full swing, so my husband and I decided to pack an icebox with food and drinks, and head off to do a bit of driving in our battered old Peugeot.
Can you see me?

On the road from our village to Arles, we were slowed down by the occasional trailer and a few cars overloaded with either bikes or kayaks -- a sure sign that the tourist season is about to begin here in the south -- but we were soon enough at Fontvieille, where there was a big vintage market going on. (Picture me here, jumping around with delight.)
"Where's the lace?" was my question.

I picked up a few lengths of lace and a dozen vintage crocheted ribbons that I can't wait to sew on to my pillows. My husband went for an enormous fruit bowl handcarved from cork, which I found nice, and a war helmet, which I found ugly, but which he assured me we weren't going to keep around the house. It was going to be a gift for his friend, Coq, bartender at Perroquet, a café at our main village square. The man might just be crazy enough to wear the thing as he putt-putts around on his little moped.

Late in the afternoon we drove to Barrage de Peiroou at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where we had a picnic of bread, cheese, stuffed peppers, and various charcuteries.
Bits of bread floating around my husband's
glass of rose wine . He's messy like that.

We spent the rest of our time watching an old woman talk to her brown boxer like it was her own baby. "Nice dogs, but ugly," husband pronounced. "They look like they all decided one day to run into traffic and ram their noses into a truck."

With that thought, we got back into the car to drive home. Part of the way, we were under an umbrella of plane trees, which I know I could have taken a better picture of, except I was afraid that with my hand extended out the window like that, the wind would snatch the camera right out of my hand.
Direction: home.