A Year in Japan

When my man went off to Miami for a conference, he brought me back this great book -
"A Year in Japan" by Kate T. Williamson. It's a journal of Willamson's year in Japan, accompanied by beautiful watercolour sketches. Japanophile that I am, I can't believe that I had never heard of this book - I absolutely love it! Not only are the drawings lovely, but she shares so many wonderful and quirky observations about Japan. She really reminded me of things I admire about Japanese culture, their attention to detail, and how the little things count. She talks about how there are shops devoted to beautiful patterned washcloths. I like the idea that something as simple as a washcloth can bring joy and beauty into your everyday life.

Highly recommended!


In My Life

After gushing about the In My Life group over on flickr, Ellia invited me to join. I posted my first photos about my day today. A pretty routine Sunday around the house, but I guess that's the whole idea of the group, a little window on everyday life. The photo above is my "afternoon" shot - lounging in the back yard.

Other things happening in my life - I went to the movies the other night and saw "Scoop." I really liked it, just a enjoyable fun movie. It's getting some bad reviews, but I think it's acheiving what it's aiming for, a funny little movie. But, I'm a sucker for corny jokes, and I enjoyed Hugh Jackman's....umm, performance. Yeah, that's right, he's got a really nice performance.


Flea Market Porch

Finally - we've pretty much finished decorating our porch! Our summers are so short that we want to get out there and enjoy, and having the porch done will definitely help with that! I decorated the porch using mainly flea market and cheap finds, and although it's not perfect, I think that it's got a nice feel about it. The bench is an old baby crib we got at a junk shop and painted white. We had the seat cushions lying around the house, and I made the pillows using some napkins that I got super cheap at La Cache. I just sewed two together and stuffed a pillow form in. I love their old-fashionedy barkcloth look. And, believe it or not, this thing is super comfy. It's got springs on the bottom and you just kind of sink down into them...sigh.

Another flea market element that I couldn't get a good shot of is a chandelier that I picked up this afternoon for five bucks. It's has electrical wiring and is meant to go inside the house, but I just stuffed candles where the lightbulbs should be and hung it up. It looks pretty cool - but the candles won't stay lit! Maybe I'll just have to use it on very calm days.

I came home after work keen to set this up and sit outside, but by the time everything was put together, it was getting dark and kind of breezy - so I spent a very short time out there with my magazines and ginger ale before going in. But, I am going to make a point of spending a few hours out there this weekend - mint julep anyone?


I made some books...

That's pretty much what I did tonight - finish off some books for an order tomorrow. Got some new Chiyogami papers, I love the combo of blue floral paper and brown ribbon in the one above. Also, I made a book with some of the paper I was raving about recently...
I like the way it's come out. It seems crazy, but I've made hundreds of books, and haven't taken many photos. I am thinking of either starting a website, or opening an etsy shop to sell my books - and realized that I have hardly any photos of them! So, I have resolved to take many more photos of all that I make.

In other news, I am mesmerized by the "In my life" group on flickr. The deal is that you take some photos, and then post four that best represent your day. I watched all the photos as a slideshow, and it was wonderful to see all that happened in people's days...dogs, children, food, home...just lovely.

Oh, and following on from yesterday's post - Tom and Katie are doing OK. Well, except that Katie has converted to Scientology, and her Catholic parents are refusing to attend her wedding! Don't even get me started on Vince and Jen...



I spent the weekend with my Mom and Nanna in Truro. Had a nice and relaxing time, went to the Farmer's Market and saw all the beautiful piles of summer vegetables, like the carrots above, did some shopping and ate lots of yummy food. Although I love it there, for some reason I never seem to sleep properly while I'm there. So, I'm home now, it's 8pm on Sunday night, and I'm contemplating whether I should walk down to the shops and rent a video or just go to bed and crash with the trashy magazines that I bought today. I think that crashing with the trashy mags is winning out. So, goodnight - I'll let you know how things are going with Tom and Katie tomorrow.


Recent Events

Summer is finally here! We finished planting the flowers in our garden, and all the sun we've had lately has brought them out in bloom. We've been enjoying sitting out there under the trees on our Adirondak chairs, the only downer is the mosquitos. Ugh - I'm scratching as I type!
I finished up my job on Friday, not sure if I mentioned this, but I'm moving off to another department at the University - bit of a promotion - yay! I have been working a couple of days a week at my new job, and a couple of days a week at my old job for the last little bit. It's been really exhausting, but today, I started my new job full time. I really like it in the new department, but will miss all my old workmates. They gave me this beautiful necklace as a parting gift. I absolutely love it! It's an old bit of Chinese porcelain made into a pendant, with some beautiful beads. I think it's made by a local artist, I am going to go back to the shop where they got it and try to find out more. I love this so much that I would like to get more of her work.
A lovely thing that I did this weekend was go to a baby shower for a friend. I didn't end up giving her the booties I was working on - they are a bit tragic, but did give her a handmade book and card, along with a teeny tiny denim jacket and some onesies. The shower was really nice, such wonderful people and feelings of warmth and well wishes for my friend.



My husband is going to Miami for work next week, and since I can't go, I think that I at least deserve some loot! Does anyone out there know of some good craft supply/paper shops in the central Miami area?


From the archives...

I was cleaning up my studio tonight, and I came across an old journal. I am not a very good journal keeper, and I have to admit that this journal was no exception. It's got about a dozen or so entries in it, but I haven't written in it for some time. The image at top is a collage from the first page.

I started the journal as part of a project to go to art college, and I think that's possibly part of the reason I didn't keep it up. I think I imagined an audience of art college professors looking at my work, and I couldn't really open up with it. Also, I can be a bit of a perfectionist - not saying that I'm at all perfect, but I tend to put unrealistic demands on myself in some ways. I wanted all the pages to be "perfect" in their own way, so at times I even ripped out pages because I didn't like them, and that is definitely not the point of a journal.

Still, I look at these and think they're not all bad. I was taking a portrait drawing class at the time of doing these, and I used to go to a cafe every night after work and have dinner and draw before I had to go to my class. Hence, the salt and pepper shakers. So, these drawings bring back memories.

I think I was a bit depressed the day I did this one.

I would like to start a journal again, it would give me a break from
doing my books and a bit of an outlet. But, if I start it again, I have to make sure that it's a true reflection of what's going on every day, and not let ideas of perfection get in the way.


Friday Night Fever

Had kind of a mixed week - work, mostly bad and totally crazy busy, little crafty business, mostly good. Sold a few books and made a few new contacts. I have even been invited to teach some paper crafting classes. The whole teaching idea intrigues me, even though I'm someone who hates public speaking of any kind. I guess I am just passionate about the things I make, and I want to share that with people. Anyhow, bad and good, the week was exhausting. My house is a shambles around me, but I can't be bothered to clean up. I am sitting here drinking wine out of a mug because all the glasses are in the dishwasher. But, instead of cleaning up, I am going to attempt a pair of booties for a shower I am going to next week from this pattern. I can only hope they turn out as cute as these ones that Veronica made.

So, I am off for a night of wine drinking, trashy tv and bootie sewing. Woo hoo! I am quite the party animal. Oh, and I almost forgot, another good thing this week is some new Japanese paper. I think that the pattern above is exquisite - the nicest one I've found in a long time.


Holidays Confirmed!

We have finally confirmed our holiday for this year. We are heading off to Cape Breton Island for a few days, with some friends who will be visiting from Australia. After emailing what seemed like a zillion places and getting lots of rejection notices, we finally confirmed a place today. Now, I can finally relax and look forward to a wonderful holiday with some good friends.

Oh, and by the way, this photo is not me. Cycling is way too enegetic for my type of holiday - did you see all those hills in the photo? You will find me in a hammock with a glass of wine, a good book, and quite possibly, a bowl of ice cream. Mmmm...ice cream.


Painting and Peonies

It was Canada Day yesterday, and to celebrate...we painted our new porch railing. Martin made this railing with his own two hands, and I'm very proud of him. I helped in the design by insisting that the spindles be about two inches apart. I came to regret this imput into the design process while we were painting - it was a real pain doing all those spindles! And, this is only the undercoat, we still have to put a top coat on! But, I think that it will be worth it in the end, and this style of spindle is in keeping with our 1920's house.
So, I am now covered in paint. It's oil paint, and it's impossible to get off. But, at least I discovered something that's a little bit whiter than my pasty legs. Just slightly whiter, mind you.
Although I'm not a big fan of painting, at least we were out of doors on a beautiful, sunny day. The peony plant we have in our front garden is in bloom, and it was lovely watching it open from between the hellish porch spindles as the day went on.
Today was windy and rainy, so I decided to work on making some more books. I also attempted one of the tissue paper flowers from last month's issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. I'll admit, it's a little bit wonky, but hopefully not too bad for a first effort. I love making fake flower arrangements, so I'm looking forward to getting some time to create a whole bunch more of these. Practice makes perfect.