California Stormin'/Lesley’s Quilts/Firewood/Running/Wetsuits/Life Perking Up

Hello from the new Year in drenched/flooded/muddy Northern California. It’s been a couple weeks of pouring rain, huge surf, power outages, road closures, businesses ruined (our friend and associate Stuart Kenter had 5 feet of water in his office in nearby San Anselmo on New Year’s eve. (A house had floated into the creekbed and dammed it up so that all the town’s businesses were pretty well totalled.) We ran the office (and freezer) on a low-noise Honday generator on and off for two days. Cooking and eating by candlelight was like going back to the middle ages. Silence. Not even what my friend Paul Wingate used to refer to as ”the 60-cycle hum” (that’s there even when appliances are off, such as when you escape to an isolated cabin in the woods). People all over Marin County were out in mud-spattered boots with shovels, hoses, and sandbags. Spontaneous neighbor-organized volunteer work, clearing roads, unclogging culverts, cleaning up inundated houses and stores. Nice to see. People knew what to do. No ”officials” necessary.

Yesterday it cleared, skies were blue. A wonderful thing about California, blue skies the norm, unlike say Europe or the midwest where it’ll be grey and overcast all winter. So things are, in this endless cycle of life on the Pacific Coast, perking up right now.

Here is something I’ve been meaning to do for some time: show people my wife Lesley’s quilts. Lesley has been making quilts for some 20 years. I’ve watched in wonder and delight as she’s created them slowly, one after the other. What I love about them, in addition to the colors and patterns (which you can see here) and the hand-stitched texture (which you can’t see here), is the informality within the formality. Within an overall geometric pattern, there’s a randomness that’s — well, look at the first quilt below.

We (us guys in the office) are helping her launch a website, to be called Within a month or two she’ll have greeting cards made from the 6 quilts shown here. Eventually she’ll have her jewelry and other occasional creations on the site. (Lately she’s been spinning and dying fine wool and making scarves, shawls, and hats — right now I’m wearing a black Merino wool watch cap that’s warm and soft).

Lesley’s Quilts

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Copyright © 2006 by Lesley Creed

Back to Biz

We’re working on the yurt book, I’ve just built a new layout table where I can spread a lot of stuff out and am starting to put together some preliminary material for what will be next summer’s production of BUILDERS OF THE NORTHWEST COAST. I’m going back to Vancouver island in late February, to shoot more photos of the area’s unique builders.

Other Fragments

I just got my chain saw tuned up and am going out to cart home some oak firewood from trees that have conveniently fallen on roadsides. Am also going to start training for this year’s Dipsea race with the help of running guru Jeff Galloway (I just had to look up this fact to make sure it was true: Jeff ran a 2:16 marathon at age 35!) I have run very little in the last 3-4 weeks, so pretty much have to start over,

My son Will just scored me a new O’Neill (6/4) wetsuit with hood and new stretchy (no stitching) seams. The worst part of surfing in cold water is the struggle in and out of a suit, and these new suits seem like a big improvement (if the seams hold up).


I just ran across this in a detective novel:

“The size and quickness of New York always excited me. It always made me think of the way Lewis Mumford defined a city, something like ‘the most options in the least space.’”

Melancholy Baby

–Robert Parker

Cheers from beaten and battered California (OK, so we’re fair weather wimps!). Right now it feels like life rejuvenating. Days getting slightly longer. Seems like a lot of options in a lot of places here right now. I’m goin’ out in the woods this afternoon to take a run and look for chantrelles…

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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