Happy Holidays

Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy holiday season. Thanks to all who read and comment on the blog - it's so appreciated! I have been busy getting ready for Christmas, and haven't really had a chance to do many posts lately, and I've needed a bit of a break after a busy season. So, I've decided to take some time to try and recharge. I hope to be back in this space by the New Year with some new ideas and work.

So again, all the best for a wonderful holiday season. May you enjoy many celebrations with family and friends!


Flying Away

I've been away from the blog for a little bit, but it's not for lack of news. I've been super busy with double happiness - which is great - and also just getting ready for the holiday season. I guess my big news is that in February, I will be "flying away" for a holiday in Sydney, Australia. My husband is from there, and I lived there for eight years, so it is like a bit of a homecoming. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, and also going to some of my old haunts - gelato at Bar Italia, pizza at Moretti, checking out the Paddington and Balmain markets, swimming in warm water, browsing around Newtown, drinking really nice coffee...it's going to be really nice. I'm also hoping to do some shopping for paper and book supplies, and I'm wondering if anyone out there reading might have any recommendations in this regard? I know a few places, but it's been a while since I've been back, so I'm wondering if there is anything new and exciting I should check out?

Right now, it's really hard to imagine going away. It's been snowing lightly all week, and we are due to get another storm starting Sunday afternoon. So, right now I've got some red wine and magazines, ready to hunker down for a long winter evening...


Glitz Gallery

My books are now available at Glitz Gallery in Winnipeg! Glitz is owned by Jennifer, who wanted to create a space for Canadian artists and makers to showcase and sell their work - she calls it a "gallery gift store". She carries a wide variety of work including ceramics, jewellery, wall art and now - books! If you're in Winnipeg, drop by and have a look - I wish that I could hop on a plane and have a visit. I think the gallery gift store is a great concept, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.


The Great Wave

I'm slowly listing more items in my Etsy shop. This "Great Wave" album is available in both blue and red. They're the biggest albums that I make, at 10 x 14, and because they're so big, they really show off the prints on the Japanese paper. I'm hoping to list a few more things this weekend, slowly - but surely....


1, 2, 3, 4...

We went to see Feist on Friday night, and she was absolutely amazing! I can't emphasize enough how much I love Feist's music - and respect her as an artist. This is the second time that I've seen her, and each time she reinterprets the songs from her albums so that it's a totally unique experience. The last time I saw her, she was at a small club venue. This time she was in a large "multipurpose" room - it was actually the place where the craft market I participated in was held a couple of weeks ago. She kept making jokes about the space being a "multipurpose" room, and I think I chuckled a bit too hard and long. The bigger venue meant that she could have "special effects", which I loved. They were so delightfully low-tech - finger painting and cut paper shadow puppets that illustrated the songs. I can't pinpoint one particular favorite song or moment, it was all just great. Amazing music, amazing rapport with the audience, amazing special effects - amazing, amazing, amazing....



I have just opened an Etsy shop! Right now, I just have my Hummingbird and Sakura Bird cards listed, but I am hoping to have books, prints, and perhaps even some originals there in the near future. I have even had my first sale - Lyndsay of LouLouBell bought one of my Hummingbird cards. Even if I don't have another sale - it's just nice being part of the Etsy community. And, I think that Etsy is going to be huge this holiday season - the Globe and Mail even did an article this weekend in their "Style" section.


A New Roost

My humming bird and sakura bird collages are now on display at Henhouse. They couldn't have a better home, but it's bittersweet - I worked really hard on these little guys, and sort of became attached to them. Does everyone who creates artwork feel this way? I hope that they sell, but feel like I might need to interview the buyer to make sure they're going to a good place and that I'll have visitation rights. I plan on making lots more, so I hope it will get easier with time!


Back from the Market

I spent this weekend at the NSDCC Christmas Craft Market. The prep was hard work - but I had a great time. The weekend started on Thursday afternoon, when we loaded in our booth. Because of my crazy perfectionism - it took us about six hours to set up, but I was happy with the results.

I really wanted the booth to feel cozy and homey - like an extension of my studio - and I hope that I acheived that. All the furnishings either came from my studio, my nana's house, or were bought on a (very tight) budget. Lanterns and fairy lights always make a space look warm. (: So many wonderful things happened, I don't know where to start. I met lots of Nova Scotian artisans, and had such supportive feedback and comments. I met Austen of Stripey Pebble who bought a photo album from me, and is as lovely in person as she is on her blog.
The market took place in a renovated cargo warehouse on the waterfront. It was nice to be in a market space close to the water, with floor to ceiling windows. I love these industrial views. I also had my first Oscar nominated customer - Emily Watson - who is in town shooting a film and stopped by the market and bought some of my work. But, everyone who came by, said hello and had a chat is a star in my eyes. Thanks to everyone for their help, support and kindness. I couldn't have done it without you! I've taken tonight to sit back and reflect with a glass (oops! nearly a bottle!) of red wine, but tomorrow I'll be back at work for the holiday season.

A few more photos on my flickr.


Happiness is...

...a warm puppy. It's been a while since I posted. In that time, I've made lots of books, Milo has turned 1 and got a sweater (don't judge me - it's really cold here!), and I've been reading a lot about Charles Schultz.

Now, it's back to making more books. I might not post again until after my show. So long for now...


Double Happiness is now Online!

Well, I'm already online, but now even more so - I have a website! You can find it here. I absolutely love my website. I have been working with a local artist/designer - his name's Matthew - and he's been really great. We met, and he totally understood my obsession with everything Japanese and built the website around it. There are a couple of finishing touches to be completed - but it's 99.9% done - so I'm just going ahead an announcing it now. Oh, and did I mention that I love it? I hope you love it too. ( :

Thanks Matthew!



I recently picked up this cute little pouch from etsy seller LouLouBell - and I love it! LouLouBell is Lyndsay - one of Martin's workmates - and I had no idea that she was making these lovely things and selling them on etsy. And, it really is lovely, so many great details from the denim lining, to the gorgeous Amy Butler fabric, to the cute little ribbon tab on the side seam. It's amazing that there are so many talented people out there - sometimes right under your nose. Thanks LouLouBell - can't wait to use my new pouch! ( :


More books...

Another busy weekend making books. I ordered some new papers that are a bit of a departure for me - a bit more modern. I like them a lot, especially these little bunnies...
...I love pink and green together.....
...and here we have a more modern take on the traditional cherry blossom....
....in lots of different colours.


Japanese Paper Handbag

Each year since starting Double Happiness, I buy myself a little present to reward myself for working so hard during the holiday season. This year, I've decided that I'd like a new colourful handbag. Whilst shopping over lunch hour today, I came across these great bags from Mat and Nat. They are a Canadian company with a great philosophy, and their products are completely vegan. Best of all, the handbag above is from the Japanese paper collection. I'm not sure if the bags are actually made of Japanese paper, or if they are just inspired by it, but I don't care - I love them! My obsession with Japanese paper is well documented - so I am thinking that I must have one of these.
The hard part will be deciding what style/colour....


Getting all my ducks in a row...

Production for the upcoming season is in full force. Everywhere you look in my studio is filled with books and collages in production, and these fellows are lined up on top of a cabinet in the living room. I took my collages off to a printer, they were scanned and this is the result - some greeting cards! I'm really happy with the way they turned out. They're not really ducks, but birds just didn't have the same ring. Anyhow, these are samples printed on a number of different cardstocks - I've decided which one I like and will be having them printed up very soon. I'm really excited about this - making the books and collages is so labour intensive that I can never seem to keep up. Having the cards (and possibly some prints?) will hopefully allow me to get my work out there in an affordable, accessible way. I'm kind of excited about this - I'm really hoping this card idea will fly. Sorry, couldn't resist another corny pun...



I finished another paper on canvas piece the other day. I was inspired by all the hummingbirds out in our garden, feasting on the bee balm. Hummingbirds are one of my favorite creatures, I think they are so amazing. I hope that I have managed to capture at least a little bit of the sense of movement - and the extreme cuteness - that the hummingbird embodies.

I even gave my hummingbird a little friend, peeking around the corner. And now, back to work on all my other books and pieces for the show.

Also - an update on La Moustache. I thought that I was going to be viewing a lighthearted French comedy - but it was actually an existential-type thriller. The fact that no one noticed his moustache was gone - in fact, they insisted that he had never worn one - leads the character, and the audience to question the notion of existence and reality. It was very good - I'm still not sure what it all meant - but maybe that's why it was good?


Mini Milo

This is Mini Milo - a little fuzzy poodle doorstop that I bought this summer while visiting my friend in the country. He was at a little farmer's market - and I just had to have him. I took a lot of heat for this purchase - it's incredibly kitchsy - but I like it!

I have been absent from this space recently - just super busy filling orders, and getting ready for the Christmas markets - but I have lots of things to report. I will try to post when I can - but I might be more sporadic than normal in the lead up to Christmas.

Must go - a movie is starting called "La Moustache" - the description says it's about a man who shaves his moustache off, but no one notices. I find this type of film irresistable.


Leg Work

I've spent the last couple of days doing what I guess you'd call legwork - searching for supplies, suppliers, etc. It's been tough and exhausting work, and it's much more a part of having a business than I'd ever imagined. Products get discontinued, prices change, shipments are incorrect and it just throws everything off. Sometimes it's fun - getting new paper patterns, finding a great coloured bookcloth - and other times, it's just darn frustrating. I have to say though, I did find something that I've been searching for while I was on holiday - a printing press! Well, at least I think it's a printing press. Sadly, I don't think this is the one for me - although the green paint is pretty, something tells me it's not in working order. And, I couldn't bear to displace the family of spiders living in it. ( :


Taking the good with the bad...

This week, it’s been all about balancing the good with the bad. I think I’ll do the bad first – Milo was sick and I had to take him off to the vet where he stayed for a whole day. It was traumatic for both of us! He was up all night on Tuesday crying and doing this weird gulping thing – he was really in distress. The short of it is – he swallowed something that he shouldn’t have and it scratched his throat. Luckily – whatever it was didn’t create a blockage or puncture his insides and need to be removed surgically. Thank goodness for pet insurance!

The good – there are a couple of things. Really good things. I submitted my work to the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council to be juried, and they have accepted me as a member! This means that I can participate in their markets and events (hopefully more on this later), and it will give me a lot of great exposure. But, probably the best part of it is that I got some fantastic feedback from people who are intimately involved with the craft scene and see different work all the time - so this is a huge boost for me! I also want to say that all of the people working in the NSDCC office are both amazingly sweet and professional at the same time. I am very happy to be a (small) part of this organization.

One more good bit – my beloved Feist is coming to Halifax! I just found out today, and I literally squealed with delight when I heard the news. I saw her last show here about a year and a half ago and it was fantastic! She is becoming so famous that I was afraid she wouldn’t visit this little part of the world anymore – but she is coming! I guess she loves Nova Scotia as much as we love her though – her song “Mushaboom” is about a place that’s on the Eastern Shore of the province, about half an hour from where I live. I will be first in line when the tickets go on sale – wish me luck!

PS - this photo is one I took on our holidays at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. Worth a visit if you're in the area and like plants. If you don't like plants, they have a german bakery there with lots of yummy pastries. They actually brush extra sugar glaze on top of whatever you order - yum!


Holiday by the Sea

As promised, a bit more on the holiday. First, the cottage - cute as a button on the outside, and also gorgeous within. I love the book "Found Style" by Amy Butler - and the decor of this cottage reminded me of something from it's pages. I thought that it also had a definite Swedish influence, while still being very Nova Scotian - lots of nautical influences.
The table in the dining area was made from a sheet of glass balanced atop three large pieces of driftwood. The effect was amazing, and so ingenious. There were so many great ideas in the cottage using found materials. We actually had the pleasure of meeting the person who decorated the cottage. We were on a little antiquing/exploring trip along the coast, and visited the sweetest antique shop set amongst gorgeous gardens - my photo doesn't do it justice. The shop was called Lavender Cottage, and it's owned by Mary Bell. She was the previous owner of the cottage we were staying in, and did all the decorating and restoration. She was lovely, and spent ages talking to us about her gardens and her shop. When I told her I was inspired by her decorating and wanted to use some of her ideas in my home, she said "You just have to wait 'til a good tide comes in." Probably the most down to earth decorating advice I've ever heard! I am not the only one who's noticed how great Mary's style is - she was featured in Country Living a while back.
I couldn't stop snapping photos on this trip. The little village and surrounding coastline were so beautiful and we had such a relaxed trip. Best of all for me, there were also loads of antique/junk shops all over the place. I would probably say it's the best antiquing/junking region in Nova Scotia. We will definitely be going back. I could probably do a couple more posts about the trip, but I'm not sure if I want to bore you with my ramblings (although that's what I've been doing with this blog all along!). I will start putting a few more photos on my Flickr though.


On Haddock Alley

We got back from our holidays yesterday. We had such a nice time, that I'm having trouble getting back into the swing of things - but I guess that means I'm relaxed, which is a good thing! I'll write a bit more about the trip soon, but I just wanted to share this photo of the little cottage we stayed in. It was in the middle of a tiny fishing village on the Nova Scotia coast, and the street was called "Haddock Alley." Although Nova Scotia is small and I've spent a good part of my life here, I am always discovering new things and places. Wherever I travel in this province, I meet the most lovely people - it's just a lovely place, really. It's late and I'm too tired to put it all into words right now, but I'll be back tomorrow with more photos and writing and you'll see what I mean. Goodnight!


Feet Week - Catching Up

I know that feet week is officially over, but I kind of missed the tail end of it - so I'm posting one last foot photo. As you can see, I've come full circle and am wearing the same flats as in the first photo. I managed to get most of the flour off. I'm off work this week, and we are off on a little holiday! Revisiting some of our favorite places in Nova Scotia, and hopefully also discovering some new ones. But first, I have to deliver a big project I've been working on (more on that later, hopefully) and I'm starting off the holiday but catching up with a lovely friend for a lovely lunch.

Bye for now - back next week with lots of photos - and probably five pounds heavier from all the yummy seaside food!


Feet Week - Thursday

Fall is here. Red Shoes and tweed pants. Another pair of oldies but goodies - notice the scruffing on the toes.

And, although this link has made the rounds on the web, I just had to share it again - the papercuts of Mister Rob Ryan. I love his work, and it looks like he has a book coming out.


Feet Week - Tuesday and Wednesday

and casual. The shoes at the top are pretty old, and they might be tragically out of fashion, but I don't care. I still really like them. Ditto for the sneakers. I say you can't go wrong with black and white.
PS - I am glad that I'm the only one who can see my legs from this angle. Freakishly unflattering!


Feet Week - Monday

Since I love taking photos of my feet, I've decided to participate in Feet Week (I found out about it from Shona). I just happened to be wearing the most horrible outfit after working all day in my studio, and then making a pizza. Track pants, and basic black flats dusted with flour. I get flour everywhere when I'm making pizza. Milo usually ends up covered with it.

Speaking of Milo, here he is in the studio, getting curious about the camera.

This weekend really feels like the end of summer. It's a bit sad in a way, but I do love fall, especially the new fashions. ( :


Cheers - Part Two - It all ends in tears...

Well, not exactly tears, but my gocco print session didn't end as sucessfully as I'd hoped. The prints I was getting just weren't as even and crisp as I would have liked. I think the reason for this is the design that I chose is one that went over the edge of the card. I think that one of the limitations of gocco is that your design has to fit perfectly on the little pad provided. If it goes just one bit off the pad, it will print splotchily. I know that my problem wasn't the ink - because I inked the crap out of that screen!The prints don't look too bad in the photo, but they really weren't very good. Nothing I would be happy to sell. I might be able to cut them up and make some little tags or something out of them - so not a total loss. Anyhow, now that I know more about how the gocco works and what it can do, I'm going to produce another design that doesn't flow over the edge of the page. With Christmas coming up though, I think that I will have to focus on producing lots of books and canvases to meet upcoming orders, and leave the cards for next year.


Cheers - Part One

About four months after receiving my print gocco, I am finally preparing to break it out tomorrow and print some cards with it. This is a mock up of the card I'm planning to print - I just need to photocopy the design, and I'm ready to go. I made the design using cut paper, and the greeting is hand stamped. I used the word "Cheers" because it can apply to a lot of different occasions - birthdays, congrats, holidays, thank you, etc. - and it's something that I say all the time.
Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow - the actual printing. I think I'm ready - wish me luck!


On perfection...

I am a perfectionist. I'm not saying that I'm perfect, or what I do is perfect, but I am always striving for perfection. This is a horrible affliction. It's stopped me from doing things my whole life for fear of not doing them perfectly. When I was in school, I loved art class but I rarely finished my projects - I'd agonize over them for ages and then discard them when I deemed them imperfect. The little canvas above, I worked on for days and days - moving things slightly, fiddling with the paint, making the papercuts. I have decided that I really have to loosen up and follow the Japanese concept of wabi sabi - beauty in imperfection. Because, perfection is absolutely impossible to acheive - I don't think it even exists. I'm getting better though - I've made huge steps in recent years by starting this blog, getting out there, and showing my work to everyone.

Having said all that, I'm planning to do a series of these little bird canvases - 8x8 square and 4 inches deep - so they'll look really cool on a bookshelf or mantle. We've had loads of hummingbirds in our backyard lately, feasting on bee balm - so I might do one of those next.

If it's a long weekend in your area - hope you have a happy one!


I love Ice Cream

Another unintended blog break. I think that this week, my mantra was - if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I just had a bit of a bad week - felt a bit blocked with making things, and had lots of electrical problems with our house. No hot water, oven, dishwasher for a couple of days and the prospect of a large bill to fix it all permanently. I know I shouldn't whinge because I am lucky to have these things in the first place, but it just all combined to put me in a foul mood. But, it seems that when I am in these states, something really nice happens to cheer me up. My friend Denise, who is here in NS for the summer, dropped by and gave me this amazing piece of fibre art. She runs a little business with a friend called Waterside Fibre Art, and they make these lovely pieces.
The detail is absolutely amazing. Literally zillons (okay, maybe not zillions, but you get the idea) of little pieces of fabric formed into an image with freehand stitching. I was really touched that she gave me a piece of her artwork. I love it so much, and I am so happy to have such a good friend who knows me so well - she knows that I really appreciate all sorts of ice cream. ( ; Thanks Denise!


Paper, Rock, Scissors

Actually, the title of this post is a bit misleading. There is no rock included in this post, just paper and scissors - and a blade. I just thought that paper, rock, scissors sounded a bit...catchier. Anyhow - I've been doing loads of papercutting lately, and relying pretty heavily on these three tools, so I thought I'd talk a bit about them. First off is the blade - I broke down and got the Martha Stewart Crafts blade, because it's rubberized and has a kind of ergonomic shape - a lot easier on the hands. Also, it has it's own pretty brown storage box. Next up are these little scissors that I use for really fine cutting. They are super sharp, and are shaped like a tweezer. I love these - they are so handy.

Finally, my scissors - another fine Martha Stewart product. These are really nice and sharp, and also came in a very pretty brown box. Now, back to the cutting at hand....


More Scenes from the Studio...

I've now got a couple of employees in my sweatshop...I mean studio. One helps with the cutting...
...and the other one is here just to boost morale. Ok guys, back to work!