March 16, 2014

Au Revoir Mami et Salut Cameroon...

It's funny how you can know someone so little but love them big all the same. Because no stretch of land or sea can sever blood...

RIP my grande mere...I wish I could have visited sooner and more often so we could have taken more pictures smiling together. When I first met you, it might have been unclear to that 6 year old who you are and how special you are to me...but it was clear to me 7 years ago when I last saw you and it is even clearer to me now. 

I'm sad for all the years that I wasn't able to get to know you better...but happy for the times I was able to see you, and looking forward to le voyage...of visiting Cameroon again to celebrate your life.

RIP Josephine "Mami" Zombou

March 10, 2014

Performing Live at The Ark, Ann Arbor with Dick Siegel

This signature on the wall means I've officially played at the Ark in Ann Arbor. I was super excited when Dick Siegel -- a previous songwriting teacher of mine at the University of Michigan -- asked me to open for him at his performance this weekend along with two other songwriters from his class. I would have (seriously) never thought I'd ever play at a venue like the was very nerve wracking but very fun and I very much enjoyed hearing my former classmates play their songs (which I love...) again. And it was also great hearing Dick play as well. He's a great songwriter and also just a great performer in general. There's a lot to learn from him...

Singer/songwriter (and friend...) Katy signing the wall!

Hanging out backstage with Katy (singer/songwriter and friend...) while Dan (classmate and singer/songwriter) and Dick rehearsed.

Katy is an amazing and beautiful and truly beautiful. So I strongly encourage any one who has stumbled upon this post to check out her YouTube channel here or listen to this studio recording of "Jackpines and Lillies" -- the song that she performed on stage at the Ark. 

I especially needed this encouragement...
The moral support...aka bf.
Photo credit:

I don't have any pictures of us on stage. But it's nice to have just lived on stage in the moment...rather than worrying about capturing any of it on film. I'm hoping there will be more performances in the future to come...

March 2, 2014

When Life Gives You Cancer, Make Hats: DIY Turban Beanie

My mom has been recently diagnosed with cancer. But, to keep things on the bright side, my (amazing) aunt invited me to a day of dinner + hat making, so my mom will have funky hats to wear for if/when she looses her hair.

We decided to go with a turban style hat because they'll require the least amount of work (no tying...just putting it on) and they cover the whole head, really, so you don't need hair to pull it off :)

We followed this Turban Hat DIY Printable Pattern by Rags To Couture  -- it looks a bit confusing in this picture, but it is very simple! The printable pattern calls for A4 paper...which we think is a British thing? We just printed it out on standard letter size 8 1/2x11 and cut the pattern out about a quarter inch larger. I suggest using felt or a knit fabric so it has a bit of stretch. long as you can both sew a straight line on a sewing machine and hand sew, you are good to go. And will be wearing fab turbans in no time...

The pattern:

To accent + feminize when the hats were done, we pinned on DIY fabric flowers. There's a million ways to make these. We chose what I think may be the simplest:

1. Cut a strip of fabric (the longer the strip, the bigger your flower. We used about 1 foot long strip of fabrics around 2" wide. 

2. Baste stitch across the length of the fabric about a 1/2 to a 1/4 inch in from the length.

3. Gather the fabric by pulling one of the loose strings, then wrap the gathered strip loosely around itself until you're satisfied with the flower you've made -- and sew down in the middle.

4. Cover the center with a button (sew it or glue it down) and then you're good to go!