Reading in My Backyard

This summer, after the removal of a vinyl pool and redwood deck that pretty much encompassed my backyard for the last 23 years, I’ve been able to plant flowers and vegetables.  I purchased tomato plants and bell pepper plants from the nursery, and the zucchini, sunflowers and zinnias were planted by seed.  It’s been a challenge keeping the birds, squirrels, raccoons and skunks from either eating the seeds or digging the plants up looking for grubs.  As of today, I’ve been quite successful in my quest…

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Zinnia and Butterfly

I enjoy the process of regeneration beginning with the planting, stages of growth and the blooming of nature.  I try to focus on flowers that attract birds, bees and butterflies.

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Orange Bell Pepper

With all the physical work that goes along with planting and maintaining a garden, I decided to reap the benefits by reading a book surrounded by the ever-changing daily beauty of my garden.

Recently, in a knitting class at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA I overheard a conversation about slow fashion in comparison to cheap fashion.  A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post discussing a book written by Elizabeth L. Cline, entitled “Over-Dressed The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.”

Elizabeth L. Cline

I immediately ordered the book online because I wanted to know what was going on.  So far, I’ve read the first three chapters where Cline discusses the effects of global trade agreements on the garment industry beginning in the 1990s.  In today’s world it’s chic, practical and democratic to buy cheap fashion.  Cheap fashion fashionistas post their “shopping hauls” on YouTube and have thousands of followers.  It’s a quantity versus quality culture…a garment expected to only last a couple of times through the wash becomes “disposable.”  Cline mentions, “The wastefulness encouraged by buying cheap and chasing trends is obvious, but the hidden costs are even more galling. Disposable clothing is damaging the environment, the economy, and even our souls.”

I respect Elizabeth Cline’s non-judgmental discussion on the attraction of cheap fashion and its consumer, and she even admits to owning 354 pieces of cheap fashion clothing. After publishing the book in 2012, Cline owned 90 pieces of clothing.

As I progress through the book, I’m reminded why I began to sew again.  I grew impatient with the lack of quality fabric, zippers and buttons along with shoddy garment construction used in ready to wear garments.  At the time, I became increasingly aware of the relationship between ethical fashion, and the culture of “slow fashion” (which refers to sewing your own clothes with sustainable fabrics like wool and cotton).

I look forward to the reading the remaining chapters of this interesting book, while I enjoy communing with the many bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that visit my backyard.

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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall


Collecting Inspiration

This year for my birthday, I celebrated at the beach.  Two days of listening to the pounding surf, as I hiked through sand brought in from the storms of 2017, while hunting for sea glass. The first day was windy and cold.


The second day on the sand was gorgeous, but there was not an abundance of sea glass.  I decided to focus on rocks with holes, lines and texture as my found objects.  (I always check for signage regarding removing objects from the beach).

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Rock Beads ©2017 Mary Lou Fall
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Lines, Intersections and Texture ©2017 Mary Lou Fall

My birthday celebration would not be complete without reservations at Cafe Rio in Rio Del Mar.

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Photo Credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Mango Salsa atop Swordfish resting on shaved Brussel Sprouts and Rice was delicious, but of course, I saved room for dessert.

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Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Words cannot express the intense flavor of this dessert.  As Tess Flanders expressed in 1911, “Use a picture.  It’s worth a thousand words.”

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Photo credit: ©2017 Mary Lou Fall

The end to a perfect evening and birthday.





I log in at least 20 miles a week walking and jogging on my local trails.  There are times when I can’t get myself motivated to put on sunscreen, plug in to my i-pod and go. Yesterday, I decided to change up the routine and bring my digital camera.  Here’s what I saw…

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.