Canadian Home and Country

I am really liking Canadian Home and Country these days. I normally buy it from time to time, but last month it caught my eye with it's redesign (including the groovy new typeface, above) and the stories were great as well - the homes felt real and inspirational. This month is great too - I love every single home featured, and there is a shopping story on the Brooklyn Flea - which looks amazing. I see a subscription in my future...


Catherine Martin Wallpaper

I stumbled on the wonderful blog ish and chi, and fell in love with the Catherine Martin wallpaper she posted about. All the patterns are beautiful, but I especially adore the sparrow print. A bit of background (just realized that's a pun - background, wallpaper...) - Catherine Martin is a production and costume designer, who often collaborates with her husband, director Baz Luhrmann. She creates such amazing worlds in film, it's not surprising that her wallpaper designs are so dramatic and lovely. Not sure if they're available in North America, but I'm going to find out!


To list, or not to list...

I recently read an article on Etsy about changes in how items appear on the "recently listed" section of the front page, and on the category pages. Basically, the article says that Etsy has changed the way that listing works, and renewing items may not be as helpful as it has been in the past. I'm a bit confused - I don't know if I should continue to renew my items as a promotional tool, or if this is a waste of 20 cents? I do know that I haven't been relisting and my shop has been fairly quiet - but is this just a post-christmas lull? Does anyone have any thoughts on this, and what have you done in your shop?

By the way, this is another album that I recently listed in my Etsy shop.


Pretty Hammer

When I was in Toronto, I made an addition to my arsenal of tools - it's this pretty hammer from the Victoria and Albert Museum Collection. The hammer is printed with a William Morris print called "Cray."

But, the best thing about it is you unscrew the handle, and you have 4 little screwdrivers inside (I didn't photograph the 4th one, but it's there). This is perfect for creating my postbound albums, and it's so nice to use something so beautiful. Acutally, it was William Morris who said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" - and this little hammer is both.


Jenn Grant

As a special present for my recent birthday (thanks Denise!) I went to Jenn Grant's CD release show on Sunday night. It was really great - I love Jenn's music, and her stage banter is pretty kooky and endearing. Also, there were home baked cookies at intermission - how nice is that?!!? All really like all the songs from her new album, but I think that Dreamer (above) from her last release is still my favorite. Enjoy!


New Bookie Wookies in the Shoppy Bloppy

Just felt like having a silly title...not sure why. I've uploaded a couple of new books in my etsy shop - I'm particularly fond of the one above.

On another totally unrelated note, I've just signed up to Twitter. I have a feeling that's going to be really addictive...


Lotte Reiniger

I discovered the work of German artist and animator Lotte Reiniger while reading the Guardian newspaper this morning. She worked using paper cutouts with stop motion animation. In 1926, she created the first full length animated feature film "Prince Achmed", which was based on the Arabian Nights stories. I love the intricacy of her paper cutting in the scene from the film above.

After fleeing Nazi Germany, she settled in London where she continued to make films, including public service announcements like "Mary's Birthday" which promotes basic hygiene -

This film uses lots of colour, but I think I like the simplicity of her black silouettes the best. This video is 10 minutes long, but worth a look - my favorite bits happen about 6 minutes in when Mary thwarts the evil bluebottle flies and sends her auntie packing from her birthday party because she sneezes into a hanky! Hygiene is all well and good, but I think Mary may have been taking things a bit far...

I am so glad I discovered this work - which combines my love of children's stories and papercutting - and plan to watch more of her films. Many have been uploaded to You Tube, and can also be purchased from Amazon or the British Film Institute.



Did you know that Gwyneth Paltrow is a blogger? I read in the Globe and Mail this morning that she publishes a weekly newsletter called GOOP, all about her life, fashion, art, clothing, etc. I googled it, prepared to scoff - but I actually really like it. My favorite bit is where she talks about her "uniform" - the clothes she wears everyday. Nevermind that I have a good 40 pounds and 10 sizes up on Ms. Paltrow - I love her uniform! These are the type of clothes that I like to wear. I actually have an outfit very similar to the one above, but the jeans are from Suzy Shier and the jacket is Joe Fresh. To her credit though, she does mix expensive designer clothing with cheaper items from Uniqlo and Topshop.

The article in the Globe and Mail also talked about a rival newsletter started by Canadian MTV host Dan Levy (he is famous for hosting "the Hills" aftershow - I must be really old, because I don't get "the Hills" at all. What is that show all about - can someone fill me in? Is it real, fake, why should we care? Sorry to digress...) called DOOP, which he describes as "Goop's less-rich, super-cool, uber-hip, totally selfish little brother!" It's also a fun read.

Maybe I should start calling this blog "TOOP"....



If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love books - I love making them, and I love reading them. I go through ups and downs with my reading - sometimes I hardly read at all, or just read magazines - but I've been reading a lot lately, and have been fortunate to find some really great books. Martin bought me "Annie Leibovitz: At Work" - which was fantastic. I never would have thought of buying this for myself, but I so enjoyed it. Annie talks about her life, her process as a photographer, and all the people she has met through her work. And, the book itself is beautiful - it's covered in beige linen with embossed lettering. The picture above shows the book with the dust jacket, which covers just the bottom quarter and is a landscape-type photo of Annie on set. Very cool.

A friend lent me "Water for Elephants" and I thought it was great. In some ways I can't say that I enjoyed reading this book - I don't want to say too much and spoil things in case you are going to read it - but there are episodes of cruelty to animals in this book that I found a bit difficult to read. Still, it's a very good book with an intense storyline that I found hard to put down.

Loving Frank was another recent read. It's a historical novel, based on the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, the wife of one of his clients. The book is written from Mamah's point of view, and it's about much more than her affair with the famous architect. I read it as a book about a woman trying to find her place in the world at a time when women had little independence and few rights.

And - just a follow up of the books I got for Christmas - the Sookie Stackhouse novels were really fun, and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was as good as everyone said.


Hunter Boots

I had a boot dilemma this week. I have a couple of old pairs of Hush Puppies winter boots, and they both quit on me at the same time - one pair has holes in the seams, and the zippers broke on the others. With all the miserable snow and slush about, I needed a new pair of boots pronto! I was lucky to find a pair of these Hunter Festival Boots at Winners for an awesome price. They are not lined, and don't look the best with my work skirts, but I don't care. Add a pair of thick socks, and I will be toasty, warm and dry on my daily commute.



Tax Day
Tax Day - by doublehappiness on Polyvore.com
I've spent the last couple of days entering receipts for my end of year taxes. The same thing happens every year - I let the receipts pile up until they become almost insurmountable, and then I spend a few days sorting them out. I know that I have to start doing this weekly (or even daily) - but does anyone have hints on how to keep all this stuff organized? The only thing I've done so far is pick out a fun "accountant" type outfit to wear.


Accordion Workshop Debrief

I had lots of fun teaching a mini accordion workshop at Love, Me Boutique last week. In fact, I had so much fun that I forgot to take photos - darn! But, this is the settee that a couple of the attendees sat on, and we all crowded around a slightly larger table. There were only 4 students in the class, but it was a good number for teaching my first time. Everyone did really well with making the book, I was very impressed! If you are in the Halifax area and get a chance to do a class here, I would encourage it - it's a just a wonderful relaxed atmosphere and there are lots of neat classes coming up.


Mini Break in T.Dot

We had a great weekend in Toronto. It was freezing cold (like -30, with windchill), but we had a lot of fun.

We stayed at Le Germain, which is a lovely boutique hotel in a central location. On Friday night when I arrived in after an afternoon of shopping on Queen Street West (and Queen Street West West), there was a personal note welcoming us to the hotel, and these lovely goodies displayed on a slate tile. Very nice.

On Saturday, we went to the newly redesigned AGO. I really enjoyed it, especially the "Gallery Italia" - a vast glass atrium with huge fir beams. I loved the use of wood throughout the space - very modern, but very Canadian all at the same time.
There was a repetitive serpentine theme running through the galleries as well. The collection was also amazing. The redesign was prompted by the donation of the Thomson Collection - most notably many works by the Group of Seven - and I also liked the European Collections.

No trip would be complete without eating, and we had a lovely meal at Lil' Baci. Great pizza, in a relaxed atmosphere. The dessert was also great - the torta della nonna is highly recommended. For an added thrill - we passed DeGrassi street in the cab on the way to the restaurant. (:

Although we had fun, it's great to be back home in our little house, with our little dog. I have the week off of work, and I'm planning to organize my studio, and get loads done - including catching up on my blogging. As they would say at Lil' Baci - "Ciao for now." Actually, they would probably not say that - but I would!