Category Archives: knitting

interview series moving forward and some reflective thoughts

unicorn portland

Last year was one full of great changes for me.

David and I left Phoenix to move to Portland at the very end of February. I had lived in Phoenix my entire life. My original plan was to move after college, but it took a little over ten years.

We went from owning a large home to renting a small (725 sq ft!) house! We learned and are still learning to pare down what we have. It helps that we don’t live close to any big box stores full of inexpensive and tempting things. There’s a sense of accomplishment to let go of things we’ve been holding on to both physically and emotionally.

After finally getting my health under control in 2012 and moving at the beginning of 2013, I was finally able to get a job in a new career. I am so grateful for those who saw my potential and ignored my lack of experience. I am grateful for the teammates who help me with the steep learning curve everyday and make my job a fun place to work. I am full of joy to move forward and learn new skills and grow. Thank you: Jarnigan, Jesse, Wael, Jordan, John, Kenny, Mike, Ian, Robert, Lucas, Matt, Will, Grant, Raul, Charlie, Mel and Alison.

I am thankful for my friends and family who have visited me here in Portland bringing pieces of home. I love showing my new city to you. I still have so much to discover each day about this magical place full of artists, trees, and quirky shops. Oh and the food. Thank you Tom, Sarah, Jill, John, Stacy, Erica, James, Tim, Anke, Judy, Chanelle, Gabe, Susan, and Bree. (Am I forgetting anyone?)

And speaking of food, what a perfect city for me! Restaurants that label their menu with gluten free indicators (GF)! Chefs who understand special diets and embrace the diversity of their patrons! Hooray!

Just under the gun, Stephanie slid into Portland. She left Phoenix before I did, but overshot and landed in Seattle. She just moved to the neighborhood last month! I am thrilled to have one of my best friends back again.

We visited Phoenix in May for my little brother’s wedding. It was originally going to be a destination wedding, but they changed their plans. It ended up being just perfect for them: full of friends and family. Dancing, eating, toasting, drinking…so full of emotion and celebration.

I rode my bike to and from work about 10-11 miles round trip along the river on a bike path from the beginning of October to the end of November. So maybe about 460 miles? I suppose that isn’t much for you regular cyclists, but quite a lot for me. I am excited for the mornings to warm up a tad (50 degrees please!) and the sun to extend it’s daylight hours so I can ride again.

In some sense, my blog has suffered because of my new life. I feel compelled to be outside so often. I love exploring and when I am at home, I like to unwind with my knitting. I have met so many wonderful people here though, so I want to continue my interview series and increase the frequency. I can’t believe I only interviewed three people in 2013!

2013 Interviews




2012 Interviews:






2011 Interviews:












2010 Interviews:






knitting: driftwood

So I FINALLY finished this sweater. I have been working on it since September of last year. Not that I knit that slowly, but I was also working on another lace weight sweater at the same time. And the holidays, and then packing, and moving, oh and a beaded shawl

striped driftwood

It’s a gorgeous pattern called Driftwood by a designer I admire named Isabell Kraemer. She has a blog here. I knit mine up with Rowan’s Creative Linen which is a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen that I purchased from Wildfiber in Los Angeles. It’s kind of my spring sweater, really comfy and casual. I originally sewed on some mother of pearl shell buttons, but decided with some turquoise plastic buttons so I could throw this thing in the washer and dryer.

So yay! It’s finally done!!!

interview series: chanelle!

I first knew of Chanelle through twitter. She was doing what she does-taking photos, talking about food, having a good time…to be honest I was jealous. She then showed up at a the first Ignite Phoenix I went to, and she presented on The Art of Enjoying Food (I just watched the video again.) We began following each other on twitter, talking back and forth, and we first met at her house! She invited me and Rachel (also who I had never yet met), over for chocolate, knitting, and pajamas! Some time after that, I asked her to be part of my group reading through The Artist’s Way. Along the way, we became friends in real life. 



Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.


i am a mother to two super rad spawn, caleb and arie, who will undoubtedly change the world…. and wife to one wonderful husband, gabe, who has changed my life and the world already.  we all love anthony bourdain, macaroni and cheese, pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

i love food. and drink. reading about it, photographing it, writing about it, preparing it and also eating it. especially the eating part. i have worked in and around kitchens my whole life, i collect cookbooks, and usually think about what i want for dinner before i’ve even had my first bite of breakfast.

i am also a musician.  music is life to me…i can find harmony in everything.  i’ve been told it’s like a superpower.  🙂
we have a music room in our home with everything from a rhodes to a vintage drum kit to an accordion to a kazoo. i have even used a lemon-pepper mill as a shaker while jamming with friends.  it sounded really good but tasted better.
i create and perform music with my husband gabe as “the bear and the bird” and nothing makes me happier.   we have performed in a singer-songwriter showcase and at a couple local venues, and we are currently writing new music to share soon.

aaaand i am a photographer.  mostly food [surprise!], but i venture out into portraits, music photography and powerlines too.  i see and hear the world a little differently, and i like to share that with anyone who cares to see the world through my heart.  once upon a time, i was in the top five best flickr photographer finalists in mashable’s open web awards.  and i have had my photos displayed in a children’s art museum too. that felt pretty good.

i don’t like: capitalization, mushrooms or pants.


Jamie: I’m trying to imagine your expression if you had to compose an instagram with proper capitalization of yourself eating mushrooms while wearing pants. Does that make me a bad person? But I suppose my real question is what has your journey as a musician looked like?



first of all, jamie – i love you.  second, i will never properly capitalize an instagram of myself eating mushrooms while wearing pants with anything but the most ridiculous expression on my face.  imagine bitter beer face combined with the wicked witch of the west and add some indigestion.  whatever visual that gives you is probably pretty accurate.

as for my journey into music, i feel like i have just begun, honestly.  i am finding my voice, my sound, myself….more and more every day.  i always sing, always play, always listen…and always learn something new about music, myself, others through every note.
i grew up listening to my dad play the most beautiful renditions of classic 70’s rock songs [cream, yes, led zeppelin, ah yeah!!] on his acoustic guitar, and i finally found the self-discipline to teach myself guitar when i was 15.  i mostly softly played songs to myself in the quiet of my own room through my teens and early twenties.  [side note: i am old.]  i am horribly self-conscious, and being on stage or recording in the studio [or just being around people ever, haha!] – well, it’s frightening.  i was not ready for that for a long, long time.  i still don’t feel ready. 😉
a couple years ago i started reading this wonderful book called The Artist’s Way [you may recall, since you invited me to be a part of a book club for that very purpose] [have i told you how grateful i am for you lately?] ANYWAY, i was so encouraged and inspired to break out of my crippling internal fears and finally express the art inside me, so i decided to get crazy and go perform at a local open mic night. *gasp* i was nervous as hell, had only my two spawn there to root me on and you know what?  i was terrified.  AND I LOVED IT. in an ALL CAPS KIND OF LOVE.  i began practicing every day, sometimes several times a day, recording rough covers on my laptop and with fear and courage, posted those recordings online.  i cannot say that a major record company discovered me and offered me a gazillion dollar record deal, i have never been asked to play live on conan, nor has jack white phoned me to jam [my ultimate dream of dreams] BUT, it gave me the strength to do many, many other things i needed to do to be true to my heart of hearts and i cannot even think about all i have been through since without many grateful tears.  i started and performed in a band with a dear friend of mine, bryan mok, for about a year, moved forward from an oppressive marriage and then unexpectedly found the love of my life, recorded an album with another dear friend Kymberlee, and have now started a musical project with my husband that has good, good things in store.  just to name a very few.


i have finally learned to follow my heart with my voice, and it has only become stronger, better, happier every day, thanks to the lovely supportive souls i have encountered along the way.  freedom is a beautiful anthem, and i am grateful to sing it.



Jamie: You and I are very much into The Enneagram. What has learning about your number done for you in your life?


the enneagram is an incredibly enlightening personality guide… it has educated me on the healthy and not-so-healthy aspects of the way i view myself, others, and the world around me.   when i first learned about the enneagram, and more importantly, that i am a four [introspective, sensitive, brooding], i felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my soul.  i no longer felt crazy for processing life in the unique way that i do…and i felt like i could finally begin to understand and appreciate myself and others just as we all are, and learn to be the best version of myself moving forward every day.  i truly encourage everyone to use the enneagram to learn more about themselves, to become better, more enlightened.  socrates once said: “know thyself”… and therein lies the first and most important lesson.  only after you learn who you truly are can you begin to know others, and how to truly love them.


Jamie: I think I experienced that same lightening of the soul when I discovered all that entailed being a one [principled, purposeful, perfectionistic], and that I could could let myself and others grow. The thing I like best about the Enneagram is that it gives a direction for healthy integration of self. For example, for someone like me, I’m supposed to try to relax! Hahaha! What?! So, uh, what are you supposed to do?

well, fours are naturally creative and intuitive and feeling…but that can go dark very quickly. i experience such a depth of emotion over *everything*, and i have to be careful to remember that my feelings are not always a reality, and therefore do not need to define my total experience.  i am supposed to be confident in who i am, purposefully creative, and not jealous of my perception of the peace and calm and self confidence EVERYONE else seems to have.  a healthy me means a joyful, creative, inspired and inspiring heart…. using my intuition to love and learn and move forward and enrich the lives of others.  also, i am supposed to be more like ones, haha!  so let’s just trade.


(photo credit: chanelle sinclair)


Jamie: Are you more auditory or visual?



(photo credit: chanelle sinclair)

Jamie: Would you like to share some internet links?


daily dose of inspiration and love:

my two favouritest food blogs in all the land:

know thyself:

for your ears:


 Jamie: I just want to thank Chanelle for participating in my series! As always, your questions are always welcome in the comments of this post.


chunky swirl scarf


1 skein noro kogarashi or 165 yards of an equivalent chunky weight yarn

1 set of 10.5 circulars 24″ or longer

yarn needle

cast on 101 stitches

row 1: knit

row 2: *k19, kfb. repeat from * to end.

repeat rows 1 & 2 until width desired or 19 more rows.

bind off using the picot bind off: * cast on two, bind off four

continue from * to end. weave in ends.

grande seda


i finally finished the grande seda project by mirasol.

it’s a lovely horizontal cabled shrug/vest.

i used the recommended yarn called wach’i made of cotton and silk.

the pattern suggested a frog closure but i will probably stick with a shawl pin.

mirasol is a fantastic company in peru doing community projects.

they create beautiful yarn and write lovely patterns.

check out more about mirasol yarns and the community centers they build here.