February 2015

February has seen the return of Lady V_Jay Jay in her pink outfit, as a greeter and fundraising for the Oakland 2015 readings of The Vagina Monologues.  Here is a photo of this year’s amazing cast:


Thank you to all of our sponsors and to the people who helped us sell out the two evening shows, and fill the hall at the matinee, held at the Humanist Hall. All proceeds went to Bay Area Women Against Rape. 


AdvanceHealth Chiropractic & Rehabilitation

Ais Q. Harvey

Bacheesos restaurant

Bibliomania book shop

Cemora Vanetino-Devine

Chelsea Hill

Daryl Rodillas

Dr. Clo Lau

Ericka Schneider

Eva Salyer

Follies & Dollies

Get Goes Mobile Coffee

Greta Joseph & La Sagata

GwendOline PouchOulin

Howard Bloom

Jessica Opitz

Juan Romero

Kin Folkz

Liba Falafel

Lisa Marie Arens Insurance Agency

Liz Burden and Serenitea Handmade Soaps

Marcelina Verarde

Micha Bennett-Cauchon

Mystic Hands Massage & Body Work

Neena at Feelmore 510

Perch Cafe

Princess/Merlin Monroe/Chris Hughes


Splendid Colors

Suzette Davidson

Sweet Bar Bakery

Tanaya Hurst and Rogue Making

Tech Liminal

The Creativity Stimulus Package

The White Horse

Viscera Studio



Welcome to London! (inside the Cow Palace, Daly City, CA)


Hello, hello. It’s that time of year when theater, dance and literature enthusiasts from all over the greater San Francisco Bay Area congregate to prepare the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, to go on beginning November 22, 2014, 10 AM – 7 PM– we are open for five weekends, including the Friday after Thanksgiving, through December 21, 2014.  Check out this Map of London!


On behalf of the Emporium, Miss Charlotte Badger would like to Cordially Invite You to help us celebrate the holidays in the tradition of Charles Dickens! Miss Badger has agreed to step in to the hubbub of the Fair on behalf of the Emporium proprietor; she’s  been helping out at Dickens workshops by hemming pants, finding suitable hats, locating lace and caps and helping our friend Jacqueline with her hand-sewn bonnet commissions.   In just a few short weeks, Miss Badger will be singing with the Coventry Carolers  and working at the Green Man Publick House at the Great Dickens Fair.




Would you or your loved ones would like to come see the spectacle, eat delicious foods, greet Father   Christmas, encounter various characters from the works of Charles Dickens, see Her Majesty Queen Victoria and her retinue, or dance at Fezziwigs? Yes?! Then please contact the Emporium so we may assist Miss Badger with preparing the appropriate amount of discounted tickets for you on the day you wish to attend.


london-shop_2722857k hairstylesbk1

From our friends over at Shear Madness

From the Stuff We Love files, here is another “competition” for the most crafty, beautiful, clever and creative entries we’ve seen in costuming – this is focused on Embellishment of costumes. This from Shear Madness, The Joy of Impractical Costuming

“The Shear Madness Mascot is heavily embellished.  Embroidery and trim on her boots.  Embroidery, beadwork, trim and chain on her skirt.  A faux-mechanical fronts-piece with findings, gears, copper strapping and copper vent-covers.  Embroidered lapels.  Hand-beaded silk sleeves.  Bloomers covered with lace, trim, beads and cording.  A copper beaded ruff with copper mesh.  A beaded crown on her knit and crocheted wig.  I don’t think there is a single piece on this that isn’t embellished, other than the pre-made gloves.”

And here is the Malvena Pearl’s Emporium Proprietor dressed as the First Doctor (can you spot her hiding between Glynnis and Nell?) in this group of Doctor Who(s) plus Cindy Lou Who:


All the Whos in Whoville




Many things to Do and Tell about

So, do tell! Our proprietor went to her 20th Mills College Reunion yesterday and she saw lots of long-lost pals and even met some new ones whom she had only known in her volunteer capacity as Class Agent from 1994 to 2007 or so.  She even did some (gasp) Networking for her day job status, as she has only recently been offered a Temporary Full Time Job at her old stomping grounds, UC Berkeley. Aherm. What does the Queen of England have to say about this? Let’s find out:

COSCon MN 2013 Queenie 1 Queenie from the rear endQueenie in stocks 2013


We were So Pleased to see our buddy and pal Jane Cudlip King, from the class of 1942, at the lunch on Toyon Meadow! We also saw Redwood Mary and hung out with her for most of the day, meeting friends and classmates of hers, getting caught up, getting our photo taken and hearing part of a dramatic reading of Letters  written to Mills College President Aurelia Henry Reinhardt, during the Japanese internment period of American History (talk about infamy, holy cats, why did the government force people to live at race tracks?!) that was being read at Danforth Hall. Our proprietor could only stay for an hour and a half of that before she had to go to her Class Dinner at a classmate’s home, which was also awesome in many 21st century ways, unlike walking back into the past when seeing all the wonderful alumnae and staff who were Kind to her. That is what we take away from the day at Mills.

Also? The lunch didn’t suck and she got to give out information about her latest volunteer organizations, the East Bay Children’s Book Project and the Next Step Learning Center for adult literacy in Oakland.

Speaking of life during World War II, Here are some Photos of the Fires of Wisdom: Mills College Alumnae Oral History Project at a few of the annual Tea outings, which keep the Mills Tradition of Having Tea and Schmoozing up a storm. CAN YOU TELL WE LIKE HATS? Yes. Yes we do. Old hats. And outfits that recall the Tea Parties of Yesteryear. We keep this Fire alive to Stay Connected and share Experience, Strength and Hope.  To share our activies and triumphs, stories of our travels and job huts. And to give scoop on what vintage clothing stores and thrift shops are still in business or what flea markets for charity had the best deals on gloves. (not really a huge topic but sometimes…)

The first photo is of the Fires of Wisdom group at a performance of our Dramatic Reading at Alumnae Reunion at Mills A note from our proprietor:  HI JANE! I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU ARE STILL CONDUCTING THE CAMPUS TOURS! We LOVE YOU and WE HAVE MISSED YOU SO MUCH! I almost burst into tears when I hugged you, yesterday! SEE YOU SOON!

Fires of Wisdom 2006

Fires of Wisdom 2006



Fires of Wisdom 2011 Tea at Lovejoy's in San Francisco

Fires of Wisdom 2011 Tea at Lovejoy’s in San Francisco




Cecille, Kathleen, Moya, Betsy, Jane, Beth, Erika and our own Malvena Pearl’s Emporium Proprietor

Bagpuss, a UK television show that parallels the life of Malvena Pearl’s Emporium

Bagpuss is a UK children’s TV show that our proprietor found out about on her 2008 trip to England with our dear pal Beth Woolbright. Wikipedia tells us, “UK children’s television series, made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate. The series of 13 episodes was first broadcast from 12 February 1974 to 7 May 1974 through their company Smallfilms. The title character was “an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams”. Although only 13 episodes were made, it remains fondly remembered, and was frequently repeated in the UK for 13 years. In 1999 Bagpuss topped a BBC poll for the UK’s favourite children’s TV programme.’

Beth and I had gone into Hamleys of London, an incredible toy shop that’s been open since 1981.  We went in to look for Doctor Who toys but stopped first at the aisle of  stuffed animals to find Paddington Bear. That’s where we first saw Bagpuss and several smaller dolls that were singing mice. This show is about a young girl named Emily, her stuffed cat named Bagpuss and their stuffed animal friends who help Emily repair old and broken items for her “shop” which doesn’t sell anything. In summary, it is a parallel life to that of the proprietor of Malvena Pearl’s Emporium. We haven’t sold much and we opened the place with a live Bagpuss-like cat named Roo.

In addition, we’ve recently heard of a shop in Oakland, CA that Doesn’t Sell Anything, either. Bravo!

Here’s Zasu, Roo and some other Emporium animals, assisting the Proprietor in testing the merchandise, supervising the projects and generally being helpful:

stuffed animals on dog bed

stuffed animals test a newly made dog bed


Zasu holds down the skirt of the White Queen Dress for the Beeper Egg Hunt ALICE IN WONDERLAND Tea Party

Roo tries on the finished bustle

Roo tries on the finished bustle

July 23, 2014

Garnier Palace d'Opera

Things are quiet at the Emporium as our proprietor is in a new role in support of her household. Her recent work assignment involves database management. This temporary post is in an old Victorian building for a wonderful, small arts and cultural organization. The other offices in the building are rented by lawyers. Each office is tiny, so the place is a rabbit’s warren of independent attorneys going about their work, quietly, with an occasional visit by couriers who bring boxes of files in and out.

She likes to think of database management work as following in the footsteps of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, who each worked at the Customs House in Boston. These posts inspired their work, clearly, and made it possible for them to support themselves. She especially thinks of the characters at their tasks in Melville’s story Bartleby, the Scrivener.  (download a copy of this wonderful story here.) However, in the twenty-first century, our proprietor is not required to use a quill pen to copy names and addresses into the tomes and correspondence files.  All the same, those names inspire stories in one’s mind, as one works through the changes and confirms zip codes and street addresses. Another phenomenon she has noticed is that after doing this kind of list maintenance in various forms, for multiple employers for 27+ years, the same names seem to come up, which is good. Or at least, they look Familiar. But there are always new ones, in many languages. It isn’t boring and it’s a great cause.

We’d also like to let readers know about another great cause: The East Bay Children’s Book Project, created by Anne Katz, our dear friend. The proprietor has also been volunteering there. They give away donated books to children, teachers, classrooms and anyone who needs children’s books. They have a new home. Go over to their site and see the goings-on! It is quite inspiring.



July, 2014

Yesterday was July 14, Bastille Day and we acknowledge this with our annual singing of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem. We also acknowledge that there has been little activity on our site for some time.

We thank you, dear reader, for your patience as the proprietor of the Emporium has made many transitions throughout the last year.

We have been renovating the studio and find that we have some stock left that readers may be interested in, namely the Tarot of the Tailors, a divination deck of cards, shown below.  If anyone you know collects tarot cards or is a seamstress, this is a fine gift. Please contact the proprietor if you have questions about this wonderful, unique deck of cards.  We offer them  on discount, now at just $8.00 each plus shipping.

Please be in touch with us. We want to hear from you.  Thank you for your support!



April 2014

Dear gracious readers,

We know the keepers of the Emporium told you that we had relocated. Well, we are moving the entire kit and kaboodle back to Oaklandia, in the land of California. We’ll be returning to the Golden State in the month of May.

Please be in touch with our proprietor for more details.

Thank you for your patience.

The House Elves of Malvena Pearl’s Emporium

We also invite anyone who is already in the Bay Area to support the 2014 Oakland performance of The Vagina Monologues.  Funds raised by this production will benefit the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (womenprisoners.org). Lady V-Jay Jay will be on sabbatical for this performance, so that means that you, dear readers, need to show up! It’s a great show and the proceeds all go to a great cause. Tickets may be purchased here.

This message was sponsored by the creature that sheds its skin, the snake

2013 Spirit of Christmas in East Vassalboro Maine

Thank you for your patience over the last few months, friends. It’s been quiet as our Emporium has been relocated and adjusting to a new time zone.

We’d like to promote an event that will feature local crafters, musicians and friends

Spirit of Christmans Holiday Craft and Music Celebration, this Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 9 am to 2 pm at the East Vassalboro Grange Hall located at 357 Main Street, East Vassalboro, ME. The Grange is just north of the center of town on ME-Route 32, East Vassalboro.

Come hear some live music and see the handiwork of local craft makers and bakers. Celebrate the season with music from:

  • The Phelps Family
  • Charlie Hartman
  • Suzette Davidson
  • Chris Farris
  • Annie Nixon
  • Ben Clark
  • Remillard Family
  • Christine Little
  • Mena Han Lalime

Hemphill’s Horse Rides 11-1 Pam & Dusty Haskell

11- 2 pm Vassalboro Public Library right across the way: Hot cider, Stories of Christmas Read Aloud, and a stocking stuffer sale! (Library is open from 11-6!)


  • Cates Pottery
  • Charlie Hartman
  • Full Circle Farm
  • Cheryl Black
  • Quaker Luncheon & Crafts
  • 3 Level Farm
  • Mena Han Lalime
  • Jewelry & paper arts from Kate Pestana & Kate Westervelt
  • Christmas wreaths for sale on the porch

Update: Malvena Pearl’s Emporium has moved!

Good day to you, adoring fans. Our proprietor would like to make the official announcement that we have had a major transition. The Emporium is now set up in a house in the lovely village of China, Maine.  Some of the House Elves are calling it “the future Command Central” of the Emporium. In fact, ur new location is just a few doors down from The Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China, Maine.

What’s that you say? You don’t see a link describing the namesake of said library? Or anything about it? That’s because the Emporium’s Wikipedia House Elves need to get their butts in gear and research that and update Wikipedia with that vital, missing information. WOOT!!

In other news, Please note that our committee was only able to bring four bags with us on our journey here. We only had room for basics because we stopped off to join the lovely and talented hi-jinks ringleader, Laura Ulak, along with Renaissance Seamstress Arte Moltabocca, Saharazara, and The Cheap Chick in Edina, Minnesota, for CONvergence 2013. For more details about that now-lost weekend and all of our preparations, please see Arte’s blog, Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress, entry here. For another version of our Costume Sorority week at Chez Ulak, please see Laura’s blog, Rocking the Frock.

So, as we return to the topic at hand, let me remind you that we do not yet have access to our paper library, which was amassed previously by our proprietor. Aherm.  We currently only have the digital resources, which while they are very helpful are not what we are Accustomed To. Nor do we have — ulp — our major tool, the sewing machine handed down to our proprietor by the proprietor’s mother, that once belonged to Grammie Robbins, aka Malvena Pearl herself. We are also in need of a real ironing board and iron. But that will come with time. We do have a functioning washer, dryer and internet access. And our phone number has not changed!

Please bear with us as we complete our set up of our new diggs. We are available for design, hand-sewing, repair and other consultations.

Our new address is:  Malvena Pearl’s Emporium, 809 Lakeview Drive, China, Maine, 04358

For driving directions, please email the proprietor as the exact location is just down the road from the mailing address.

SIDE NOTE: Our friends and allies from BIBLIOMANIA Bookshop in Oakland, California have given us an Ephemera mission, to aid them with their collection of postcards – only of LIBRARIES. So that will be one assignment that our Ephemera Elves (a sub-set of the House Elf Committee) will be taking on this month. Dear readers, if you find any inexpensive vintage postcards of libraries in your area, do please drop us a line! The folks at Bibliomania want old postcards in good condition – no matter if they have already gone through the mails – that is usually a bonus.