Mushroom Kitty and 26 dresses

Mushroom Kitty by Marita Albers
I had a stall at the Happy Yess Market last Sunday, where I fell in love with Mushroom Kitty, a plump, placid, and gentle-looking softie made by the always-amazing painter Marita Albers. Kitty’s face—with Marita’s signature dark, sleepy eyes and brilliant colors—is handpainted canvas, appliquéd onto an oh-so-squeezable fabric body.

Two-kitty Household
I’ve wanted a creation of Marita’s for ages…she makes so many beautiful things, and is one of Darwin’s favorite artists; when I saw the kitty, I knew I had to have her. Amazingly, Marita wanted one of the journals I was selling, so we did a trade. Wohoo! One of those wonderful exchanges where both sides are thrilled with their lot, and each maker feels that she has gotten the better end of the deal. Win-win!

So now SonOfAGun is a two-cat houeshold…though Dude isn’t thrilled about that, and seems determined to snub the new sibling. Which is a good thing: he won’t cover her in cat hair.

Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish dress book

Yesterday was something of a shitty day for me. It was unbearably hot in the kitchen where I work, and everyone was grumpy or depressed. There was news on the radio of a grisly collision between a fire truck and a car…the truck driver in critical condition, the couple in the car were dead…and later we learned that we sort of knew them, they used to work in the same arcade at the mall, and buy fresh juices from us once in a while. It cast a sadness over everyone.

Manic Monday: customers were sullen and rude…car drivers were arrogant…even the check-out guy at Woolworth’s was being a sour-faced, sarcastic arsehole. Shortly after I’d knocked off from work my brother rang—family news, never wonderful these days, about our parents’ failing health and rising expenses—and while it wasn’t very bad, it made me feel pressured and impotent. I think I hated the world yesterday.

As I talked on the phone, I wandered aimlessly around the Smith Street Mall; when I hung up I was inside The Bookstore, staring blindly at a shelf full of craft books. Yoshiko Tsukiori’s Stylish dress book: wear with freedom was there, looking muted, elegant, and ethereal among all the candy-loud sewing books. I had seen reviews of the book online, and meant to buy it one of these days. So I took it home with me.
Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish dress book

I’m not such a cotton-head that I will now say “buying that book cheered me up right away, and I floated out of the mall and down the hill, dreaming of cute dresses” because it didn’t. I bought it because it gave me something to do with my hands, somewhere to put my feelings. I was going to get a copy anyway, so it made sense to do it then. I bought it, and forgot about it. I went tired home.

Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish dress book

In the light of a beautiful morning, surrounded by water and the sound of wind through mangrove boughs, I remembered the book, and can better appreciate it, now that my heart and I have had some rest. I like most of the dresses, though they wouldn’t look as lovely on me as they do on these doll-faced, delicate Japanese models, of course.

They’re simple, almost plain, dresses—almost as though they were made of flat pieces of paper—but look so comfortable and cool, seem easy to make (well, we shall see!), and I love to wear things like this at home, while I paint, read, clean, or stitch, though I can’t see myself going out in one of these, worn as a dress. I might wear some of them over jeans. I do not rock the frock. Never did. Even as a 6-year-old, I was a jeans (bell-bottoms, actually) person. Still am, in my heart of hearts. The tomboy who never grew up. 🙂

The clothes themselves are so basic that they could easily transcend fashion and fads, though the photographs have ‘hipster,’ written in crocheted-doily-ink, all over them—especially the recipe for cookies in the middle of the book. Luckily, I don’t like cookies, and I’m too fat to be a hipster *laugh* so I am safe from the slippery slopes of that sticky-sweet pit…

cookie recipe in Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish dress book


9 thoughts on “Mushroom Kitty and 26 dresses

  1. Somehow you put into words the exact feeling around my house today with the grumpies. I am hiding in my bed and reading your blog instead of facing the world. Your candor and swear words have oddly cheered me up. Love the cats.


    1. Ah *nods sympathetically* you live with The Grumpies. I’m so lucky I live with a happy man…who is away, at the mo, anyway, so I live alone these days. If I had to put up with it at work, on the street, AND at home, I think I would change my name, move to Wagga Wagga, and take up that career in chicken sexing that I mentioned a post ago. 🙂 Thanks for the visit!


  2. I can completely relate re: family news. Hang in there, Nat! Things will look up soon enough. 🙂

    Btw, love the clothes and the Dude shot. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Nina! Crossing my fingers I will actually work up the get-up-and-go to try and make something from out of this book. I have soooo many patterns, already, did you know? I just…hoard them…for when I miraculously sculpt down to a size 8. LOL Yeah, right. ;D


      1. Hey, the size 8 thing is always possible naman! Ako nga working on trying to sculpt down to a 10 man lang, haha. It’s going to take a bit of work, but hope springs eternal and all that. Hee hee. 😀

        I’m so looking forward to seeing what you make from that book! 🙂


  3. mushroom kitty is such a character. *grin*
    i remember collecting so many old editions of japanese DIY fashion mags. used to be a bit obsessed about that and pretty patterns on paper, or fabric. now I’m more up for collecting stuff I’ll need for the end of the world. hehehe.. need to find a swiss-army knife replacement. hmm.. do you ever get high on pants that are heat and cold resistant, fasty drying, indestructible material, light as a feather and folds into the size of a hanky? I’ve had one for years and its probably my favorite luxury item. hehe


    1. Opinel is a classic knife, but it hasn’t got a corkscrew, clock, reflector, saw, drill, screwdriver, cappuccino-froth thermometer… 🙂
      No, Eunoia, I’m afraid I’ve never been high on any sort of clothing…especially not something that sounds like parachute material! LOL. I don’t do shoes, either. But put me in an art or fabric store…
      I have no desire to outlast the end of the world…if it came to that, I’d do away with myself voluntarily!


      1. haha.. I’ll admit, I am a bit gay inside – passion fer fasshion! lets hit the thrift store! and i’ve always dreamt of backpacking around the world, carrying only the stuff i need on my back and throwing everything else, piss and hopes, to the wind. so yes, the parachute pants, if its the only thing i’ll ever wear, will do me good. lol (Opinel knife noted)


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