It’s not often I wear yellow, but I’ve been trying to find ways to style this 1960s skirt for a while now. I picked it up at a great little vintage shop in Amsterdam back in May. It’s easier for me to style a knee-length skirt if it’s either really full or really slinky, but this one only has a very slight a-line. I decided to take a collegiate approach, going for an all-black leg with my Naturalizer oxfords, my favorite schoolboy blazer, and a simple black tank top. Under the jacket is a red belt that came with a late-1930s dress of mine. I wear that belt with lots of outfits, since it’s so sturdy for its age and adds just a little bit of extra color.

I think this skirt will be great to wear this Fall once it starts getting colder. If it gets colder, considering this drought we have.

I’m pretty stoked for my upcoming haircut, because looking at this photo really reminds me how much I need it. It will feel so good to chop this poofy mop of mine down a size…or three…

Grain Moon

low, whispered


where the soil holds the sun to its heart

a cloud quilt

for your gentleness

curled like foxes

I am beginning to feel like a shade no more

carefully rising, the northern spy tree

or three sisters gardens

Ruth St. Denis at Yosemite Valley.

Thank you all so much for checking out the eleventh poem I wrote for my Full Moon Poems series. I can’t believe it’s almost over, or that I’ve been publishing these monthly poems for almost a full year!

Besides the Grain Moon, August’s full moon is sometimes called the Sturgeon Moon, the Corn Moon, or the Red Moon (among many other names).

Tune in next month on the full moon for the final installment of this series. I’m so glad people have been reading and enjoying it. Many, many thanks to you all.

Fair July


As some of you have probably heard (if you follow me on social media) I just started a new job last week! It’s a great content/operations position at a tech company. I’m really enjoying it so far! I’m commuting to San Francisco now, which has actually been not as stressful as I thought it might be, since I get to commute by ferry. I spotted a dolphin on my way to work on Friday morning. Can’t beat a commute that involves cool wildlife sightings!

I ordered myself this Mata Traders dress as a reward for getting the job, and it arrived just in time for me to wear it on my first day. I love that it has a similar shape to some of the vintage 1950s dresses I own. I’ve always loved a good boat neck dress!

I also love this little chaquira bead bracelet from Mitla Moda, an up-and-coming fair trade company that sells gorgeous traditional Mexican handicrafts. Each item is purchased through fair, direct trade, and 100% of the profits are given back to the indigenous communities where these items come from.




Dog Days




Dress: Thrifted
Shoes: ModCloth
Necklace: Vintage, 1950s
Earrings: Saturn earrings from a vendor at Pike’s Place Market like 8 years ago.

A little-known fact: Sometimes I have Odo sit in front of the camera so I can focus and meter. I get these photos as a result:


What a handsome little chap!

Buck Moon

my friend spent her summer visiting
a deer’s carcass

the creek was shallow,
full of weeds,
water limping through its wounds

climbing down ancient knots
rooted into steep banks,
paying respects to blackberry brambles
and fallen tanoak,
she said

the skeleton is showing now
and what strength it has
still, even in bare bones and
fading flesh

Caribou Shed Their Antlers Annually; They Can Be Found Almost Anywhere on the North Slope, Or Here, in the Atigun Valley the Site of Pump Station #4 Appears on the Skyline of the Hill in the Background 08/1973

Thank you for reading the tenth poem I wrote for my Full Moon Poems series! I can’t believe I only have two more of these to write to finish this series. It feels like I just started it yesterday! Time flies when you’re writing dark nature poetry, right?




Last week I found out that I won a dress from my favorite fair trade clothing company, Mata Traders! I entered a giveaway for their Foreign Exchange Dress a few weeks ago, and I was totally floored to find out that I was one of the two winners!

This dress is really adorable. It has an alpine feel that I love, great fabric quality, a beautiful print…oh, and pockets of course! I can tell this will be a closet staple year-round, especially in the Fall when I can layer it with sweaters and blazers (or maybe even a cute collared shirt underneath). But for now, it’s the perfect Summer dress—bright, breezy, and beautiful.

It’s also red, white, and blue, if you’re into dressing festively for the Fourth of July. No doubt this would be a great dress to wear to a Summer barbecue. Or a trip to Austria. Salzburg sounds quite nice right about now…

Thank you for the beautiful dress, Mata Traders!

Let’s have a picnic


With the Fourth of July coming this week, people are making plans to host or attend picnics and barbecues. I have no idea what we’ll be doing on this holiday (aside from making sure Odo doesn’t get stressed out by fireworks), but I felt like putting together this little picnic-ready rockabilly outfit for the season.

It’s a bit of a throwback to how I dressed when I was 19 or 20 years old. My style was definitely more theatrical and flashy back then, mostly because I was listening to rockabilly in those days. I’ve actually had this red gingham crop top since my rockabilly era, and while it’s a little hard to style with my current wardrobe, I’m really glad I kept it, because I have a few plain black skirts (like this one) that it looks great with. Plus, it’s kind of nice to revisit some of my past styles and see how they look on me now!

Top: Heartbreaker
Skirt: ModCloth
Shoes: ModCloth

Summer Solstice



I hope you all had a good Summer Solstice. I’m not one for hot weather, but I do like the outfits I get to wear when the weather heats up. And I love giving Odo playdates with his buddy Boltzmann.



Top: H&M
Skirt: Anthropologie
Shoes: H&M
Necklace: Mata Traders

Strawberry Moon

sweet season,
sleep’s fear of heights

a canal’s cold morning
tangible in steam

your houses’ cranes
gently lifting tongues

for pears
and bitter citrus

green palms offering
citadel rose, moonlight blue

on the eve of the thunder moon

[Canal and Belfry, Bruges, Belgium] (LOC)

Thanks for reading the ninth poem I wrote for my Full Moon Poems series! The moon will be at it’s fullest around midnight tonight. Also, it just so happens that strawberries are in season in California right now, and they are really good, so go out to the farmers’ market and get a basket…or ten…

Basic T-Shirt Cutting, Punk Style


As some of you may know, I have ties to the punk and metal scenes. Of course the metal ties come from being with my husband, Arthur, for the past 8 years. But from my teens to very early twenties, I listened to mostly punk music…and dressed the part! As evidenced in photos of me from 2008:

Amber Nelson

Crazy to think I ever had hair that long!

Anyway, back then, my wardrobe consisted of mostly band t-shirts. And as any woman who loves underground music knows, women often get short-changed in the merch department. Because printing companies charge bands more to print women’s shirts, a lot of bands just forgo printing women’s shirts altogether. That leaves us with having to buy men’s cut shirts, which aren’t always the most flattering. I think that’s why a lot of women take to cutting their shirts up.

I used to cut up most of my men’s-cut shirts, and recently I’ve taken to it again. For me, it’s a nostalgic practice. It reminds me of my punk years. And it always amazes me how just a few snips can completely change the way a shirt drapes.

I’d like to show you how I recently cut two band shirts. I don’t do fancy braids or elaborate cutouts, mostly because I want to stay true to a more gritty, punk-style t-shirt cutting method. And also because I don’t like having weird tanlines. Today I’ll show you how I made a boat neck tee out of a two-year-old Cormorant shirt and a tank top out of a brand-spankin’-new Rome shirt. No sewing skills necessary!

First Cut: Boat Neck Tee

This is the simpler of the two designs. No need to get it completely symmetrical. We’re talking punk t-shirt cutting here!

A word of advice before we start: Always cut off less than you think you need to. You can always cut off more as needed, but once the fabric is cut, you can’t add more fabric on. Also, make sure to wash your shirt before you cut it, especially if it’s brand-new. Fabrics change a little bit in the wash, so to preserve the shape you cut your shirt into, wash a new shirt before getting the scissors out.


First, lay your shirt flat and smooth on your work surface. Cut the sleeves (both sides of the shirt at once—the front and the back) about halfway between the hem and the armpit. Make sure to cut parallel to the existing hem. Try to keep the two sides of the sleeve flat as you cut. You may end up with a few jagged-looking, uneven edges from your cut. Not to worry! Just carefully cut those away for a smoother line.

Next, cut the neckline. For a manageable boat neck, cut about halfway (give or take) between the existing neckline and the shoulder seam. Unless you want your shirt to be off-the-shoulder on both sides, I don’t recommend cutting all the way to the shoulder seam. I usually prefer necklines that don’t fall off my shoulders, so I cut slightly over the mid-point for this one.

Also, if you’re cutting a band shirt, I’ve found that the placement of the band’s logo can be a helpful guide for how deep to make the neckline. I pretty much never cut into the logo, so I always cut a little bit above the top of the logo.

If you want the back of the neckline to have a different depth than the front (deeper or shallower), cut each side separately. If not, cut them both at the same time like you did with the sleeves.

Your cuts should look like this:


Now try it on! Alter it as needed. If you want to cut a little more off the sleeves or neckline, go ahead and do it now, but do it a little bit at a time. You can even cut the length if you want. Sometimes taking off the bottom hem helps give the shirt a nicer shape. I usually leave the bottom hem on, but feel free to lop it off if you don’t like how it looks. You can even make a crop top if you like!

Here’s what mine ended up looking like:



You may be wondering who the corgi on the right is. That’s my brother’s corgi, Boltzmann, also known as Odo’s cousin. He and Odo were playing while I was taking photos, and I invited them over for treats.

Second Cut: T-Shirt to Tank Top

With our 90-degree weather this weekend, this newly-cut shirt was a godsend. It’s breezy and open and really customizable. You can open the armholes really wide and wear a bandeau underneath, or you can cut it like I did and wear a matching bra or tank top underneath (or a contrasting one if you’re feeling festive).


As usual, lay the shirt out flat on your work surface. Then cut off the sleeves, making sure to cut off the sleeve seam in the process. Cut along the shape of the seam, like this:


This is your basic sleeve cut. Before you adjust strap thickness, you’ll want to cut the neckline. Cut both the front and the back at the same time, but don’t cut it quite as wide as you did with the boat neck shirt. After you cut the neckline, adjust the sleeves as shown. I tapered the cut so the armholes wouldn’t open too wide. The shirt does open a bit on the side, but it’s not muscle-shirt style.


Try the shirt on now. Adjust the neckline or sleeves as you like, taking off small bits at a time until you get it to how you like it. This is how mine turned out:


I might even hem the cuts I made on this shirt…we’ll see!

One thing to remember about cutting shirts without hemming is that the raw edges will roll a little bit after you wash them. This is all part of the charm! So if your edges roll a bit, don’t worry, it looks great, I promise.

I’ll close this post with a few outtakes. I wore my rad Yellowstone map bandana at one point.


Also, this picture I took while focusing. Odo is going turbo-derp right here. And Boltzmann is hiding behind flowers.