This Christmas...

...I've got three shows lined up! First, there's the Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council (NSDCC) Christmas Craft Market on November 19 - 21, down on the waterfront (I feel like Marlon Brando - sorry, bad joke), then - the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market on the following weekend, November 26 - 28, and last (but not least!) Halifax Crafters on December 4-5.  It promises to be a busy, and fun, few weeks.  If you come by any of these shows, please drop by to say "hi."


Sufjan Stevens New Album

Sufjan Stevens is releasing a new album on Tuesday called "The Age of the Adz" and you can listen to the whole thing on NPR right now!  Which is what I just started doing...


Adventures in Cooking

I've been cooking up a storm the last little bit - I seem to go through phases with my cooking - sometimes I can't be bothered and will eat grilled cheese sandwiches for weeks, and others I will spend hours in the kitchen making everything from scratch.  Since I'm in the latter phase, many yummy things have come out of my kitchen (if I do say so myself!) in the last little bit including zucchini carpacchio (simple, but so delicious), flourless chocolate cake (from Sophie Dahl's book), home made hummus (from Ottolenghi) - and I'm hoping many more delicious meals will be made from my new cookbook aquisition - Donna Hay's Seasons.  Her Off the Shelf is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and highly recommended.

Our lovely neighbors are coming over for dinner tonight, and we are having bbq pizza - it's become a bit of a speciality around here - home made gelato (not sure about this - I will let you know how it goes), and the above mentioned carpacchio and cake.  Maybe there will be some photos - or maybe we will pig it all down before I get a chance to take them!


Yes, I'm still here...

I know, I haven't posted for ages. Time just gets away, you know. Anyhow, this video has cured my blog malaise and inspired me to post again. Two of my favorite things - Schwartzman and the New Yorker. Thanks Shona!


What I did this summer....

...I also saw some movies I liked (Scott Pilgrim, Inception, Exit Through the Gift Shop), got addicted to a TV Show, worked on some new products (more on this soon, I hope!), lazed on the back deck reading books and ate lots of yummy food on our new charcoal BBQ. The best news is, there is still more to come - next week is our annual Valley holiday, and we are really looking forward to it!


Portland, ME

Off to Portland, Maine this weekend.  Driving from here, stopping to check out Saint John, and then heading down the coast.  I've read the Design Sponge guide to Portland, but if anyone has any tips, they'd be much appreciated!


New Albums

I recently received some new Japanese paper, and decided to make some new albums.  I think my favorite pattern is the Bohemian Tie Dye (above)...
But, I am also quite partial to these pretty Dots and Lines...
And I love a good floral too, like this Summer Garden.  All in my Etsy Shop.


In the garden this morning.  Enhanced with Picnik's "Ortonish" effect.


The New Vegetarian

I recently discovered "The New Vegetarian" column on the Guardian UK website.  Written by Yotam Ottolenghi, who owns a few restaurants in London, it highlights delicious, modern vegetarian dishes that have a middle eastern twist.  I am planning to make the pearl barley risotto (above) for dinner tomorrow night - yum!  He has also published two cookbooks - I have been wanting his first book for ages, but it was a (very expensive) UK edition, but I noticed that it's now been released in the US - hurrah!  Amazon shopping cart, here I come!

UPDATE - This recipe was just as yummy as anticipated!  A hint - make double, because it was only about 3 servings, and you might want (a lot) more.  I grilled zuchini and marinated with lemon zest and olive oil to have on the side.  I have now purchased both of his books - looking forward to a lot more yumminess.


Just Finished....The Children's Book

I just finished reading A.S. Byatt's "The Children's Book" and would recommend it.  It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked.  The book is set in the early 1900's and centres on children's book author Olive Wellwood and her large bohemian family and extended group of  friends.  The book has a rich cast of characters, many of whom are involved in the Arts & Crafts movement (which I have a soft spot for) and moves between the narrative and fairy tale stories that Olive is writing for each of her children.  At first glance, life seems idyllic - midsummer picnics, children roaming the English country side, beautiful pottery, fairy stories - but lurking beneath is a darker reality and the looming spectre of the First World War.  And, not that books should be judged by their covers, but it does have a really nice cover. 


Red Spruce

Congratulations to local rug company Red Spruce, who are debuting their collection with NYC's Odegard, and will be having their work sold in outlets throughout the US.  I saw their work recently at a gallery here in Halifax, and loved it.  After perusing their website and learning more about this exceptional company, I love it even more.  Contemporary artists, many local, create the designs (above is the Sand Dollar) and they are then made by traditional rug-hookers in Nova Scotia.  It's just fantastic to know that Nova Scotian artists and makers are being supported in this way.  Kudos Red Spruce!


Blogging Mojo

Regular readers may have noticed a loss of "blogging mojo" over the past few months, perhaps even years.  I can't really explain it - just somewhere along the way it all started to seem too hard - days would fly by, and posting anything just seemed impossible.  When I first started blogging, every comment on a post was thrilling - but that thrill just kind of disippated.  Even the joy I would get from reading blogs seemed to diminish.  But now, I feel as though the "mojo" might be coming back a little bit, and maybe this blog will change direction slightly.  You would never know by reading this blog, but I love fashion, cooking, decorating, and watching my husband garden.  I think that I have to incorporate more of my loves into this blog - just capture all those little moments while they are happening.  Baby steps though - not sure if I will be posting every day, or even every second day - but I will try.   Today, I leave you with an archive photo of some tulips - photo, courtesy me - hard yakka in garden - courtesy, Martin.


King of all he surveys...

...Milo on our new backyard deck.  Hope it's sunny this long weekend so that we can use it a little bit!


Letterpress Class

I have been taking a letterpress class for the last few weeks, and I'm really enjoying it.  Letterpress printing is pretty labour intensive, but I can see how it's also pretty addictive.  We were partnered up in class, and I am lucky to have Crystal as my partner - she is a great graphic designer and knows all about layouts, kerning, type, illustrator - all those things I am hopeless at!  One of our classmates Daniel took some great photos (see more here) and I thought I'd share them with you.  Above, Crystal and I looking, quite seriously, at one of our projects.
Us next to the letterpress with our instructor Paul, getting ready to print.  This is my typical pose when printing - looking confused and wringing my hands!  This week will be our last class - I feel as though I've just got a taste of letterpress and I want to learn more.  One fun option to play with at home could be the L Letterpress with custom polymer plates - a great review of this tool can be found on the Boxcar Press website.



Dream Job

I think that my new dream job is to be the drummer for Vampire Weekend - just love these guys. Oxford Comma is my favorite - always listen to it in the car. Cousins is a very close second - I'd really get to show off my drumming skills in that one.


Amy Butler Wallpaper

 I was searching the Graham and Brown website, looking for wallpaper for the kitchen backsplash, and I was pleasantly surprised to find new wallpapers designed by Amy Butler.  I am quite partial to the pattern "Momento" shown above in both colourways.  I am leaning toward the dark grey but have ordered samples of both, and a few others, to try out.  I am happy to say that the kitchen is nearing completion.  It's now freshly painted, and after a few hiccups, the countertops will be arriving soon - photos to follow!


Halifax Crafters and a Spring Thing

Just popping in to say that Halifax Crafters was awesome!  I had such a great time meeting customers and my fellow local crafters- it was truly fantastic!  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera both days.  Martin brought it in to me with half an hour to go on Sunday, and I took a few crappy snaps that totally do not convey the fabulosity of the actual event!  Everything at the show was great, but I took a special shine to the jewellery of Vanessa Neily, the dolls of Third Street Crafters, the cute pouches by LouLouBell, screen printed goods by bespoke uprising, merit badges by Lee Meszaros...I am probably leaving loads out - it was all so good and I barely had any time to shop!

Before I go, I just wanted to mention another special event that's taking place this Friday night at Love, Me.  It's called "A Spring Thing" and some local artists and crafters (including me) are coming out to meet their customers.  It promises to be a great event - I'm so looking forward to meeting the people who buy my books and fellow local artisans.  And, did I mention there will be refreshments?  Hope to see you there!


It's Halifax Crafter's Spring Fling Eve!

Tomorrow is the big day - Halifax Crafters Spring Fling will be taking place this Saturday and Sunday at the Olympic Centre.  I'm nearly ready - just tying up a few loose ends.  Look forward to seeing lots of you there, and seeing the amazing work of all our local crafters! 


More Kitchen Inspiration

The mini kitchen makeover I mentioned a while back is slowly coming together.  We have redone the floors in "faux" slate tile - which is a huge improvement on the yellowing white vinyl we had previously, and in a couple of weeks, we are having new countertops installed - yay!  Again, they are a "faux" slate, but this is a budget makeover, remember?  Above I've done a little collage of other finishes and things I'd like to have.  I'm planning to paint the walls Spring Melt (top left, a Martha Stewart colour from Home Depot), I've already bought the Price Pfister faucet featured (on clearance - woo hoo!), the Red Kitchen Aid was a housewarming gift (and is one of my favorite things), the kitchen island is from Ikea (not available for delivery on their site - I'd like to find something similar locally), the wallpaper - which I'm planning to use as a backsplash is from the Countour series from Graham and Brown (it's made for kitchens and bathrooms and can be wiped down), finally - the lightfixture is from Schoolhouse Electric.  The other picture is just an inspirational photo that I love - and I am planning on incorporating a chalkboard wall, as well as giving the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint.

Phew, I get tired just thinking about it!  But, I'm really excited for it to all come together, and to have a kitchen that's more functional, and more "us."  Stay tuned for some photos...


rosa mosa

While indulging in one of my favorite hobbies - shopping for shoes on ebay - I discovered an amazing shoe company called rosa mosa.  Based in Austria (with one designer from Japan - explains why I like them so much - two of my favorite countries combined!), they use local materials and workers, and like to explore traditional design and methods.  Some of their shoes are available here in Canada at Gravity Pope (another place where I like to drool over shoes online).  I wish I had known about these when I was in Austria, for now, I will save up and dream!


Feathered Friends in the Shop!

Around Christmastime, I had a bunch of the collages I had made printed up into cards. I finally uploaded them to my Etsy shop today - so, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the "Feathered Friends Card Set."

Each set has five cards for $20, and will come wrapped in parchment paper and tied with some lovely striped string that I bought in Austria. Austrian string - you don't see that every day! Unless you live in Austria of course, then you would probably see Austrian string on a regular basis.

But, I digress - the sets sell for $20, which is a five dollar saving over buying the cards individually. They are perfect for gifting, or for framing as art. Enjoy!


Gritty Dartmouth

Some photos of a recent walk along the Dartmouth waterfront trail using the "gritty" effect in Picnik. That effect just seemed appropriate...


Halifax Crafters Spring Show

I just found out that I've been accepted to the Halifax Crafters Spring Show, taking place on April 17th and 18 right here in Halifax, of course! I've been wanting to be a part of this show for a while, so I'm really looking forward to it. Mark your calendars and come out and see me in April. That's about six weeks away - better get to work!


Japanese Paper Curtains

Saw this awesome project on the paper place blog for making curtains from Japanese tissue papers. I love the way it filters the light, and alll the different textures and patterns. This stuff also comes in a wide variety of colours - I think it would look beautiful in pink. Now, I just have to get over my fear of the sewing machine. (Photo from paper place blog)


Domo Arigato, Style at Home!

My origami books are appearing in the April 2010 "Style News" section of Style at Home magazine (available on news stands right now!) The photography and copy are just great, and I'd like to thank the folks at Style at Home who made it all possible - a hearty domo arigato to all!


Keep Calm...

I've now joined the zillions of people who have a "Keep Calm" poster. What can I say? I just really like the sentiment, and I'm in love with that pink colour. I am embracing my love of pink! I got the poster from SFgirlbybay, and she has lots of other cool colours to choose from. Speaking of things I love in my house, my pom-pom fringe patchwork pillow is way up there. I got that one from ruby + stella home a few months back, and I'm as pleased as punch with it.

I got tulips yesterday too. I love tulips.

And, while I'm professing my love for everything on my mantle, I can't forget this little guy. I got him as a Christmas gift while I was in Austria, and I think he's just great. You can put incense inside him and watch the smoke come out of his pipe, but I like him just the way he is - standing there playing his violin, cute as a button!


Illustration by Gosia

I mentioned a bit back that I found lots of amazing vendors at the One of a Kind Show. One of them was Illustration by Gosia. She does amazing paintings and sculptures, and I was lucky enough to score the painting above - I just love it!

The photos I have taken don't really do it justice. It's so sweet - just like Gosia. It was a pleasure meeting and chatting with her. I hope that this painting is the first of many of her works that I will own. Check out her Etsy shop for even more goodies!

Origami Books

Just finished listing a bunch of origami books in the shop. I love when I find a new angle to photograph a product from, like the photo above. Nearly done the back-log of listings - promise some more interesting posts soon!


Mini Kitchen Makeover

Sigh...it all started with a leaky tap. Okay - so we replace the washer. Oh - the taps don't come apart? Hmm, well, lets just get new taps - these ones are really old and ugly anyhow. What's that you say, the taps are so old and corroded that they are stuck to the sink. Well, lets get a new sink too - this one would look pretty gross with the shiny new taps. What - the sink is actually glued to the countertop???!!!! What were these people thinking??? Okay, well I guess we'll get fitted for new countertops too. And that is the story of our upcoming mini kitchen makeover.

Someday, we are planning to rip out the very old kitchen and start afresh with a design that acutally works - but for now, we'll just be refreshing the sinks, countertops and adding a fresh coat of paint to everything. Martin has requested a chalkboard wall (as in the image from Apartment Therapy, above), and I would love to do a budget revamp of the peeling vinyl floors in smart, stripy black and white (as in the photo from Design Sponge, above).

Basically, my kitchen inspirations are all white and vintage-y, with a touch of country rustic. I especially love the one above - imagine cooking in there!
A peek in at a very sweet little kitchen - love the contrast of modern metal legs with old fashioned bead board cabinets.

This one is great too - lots of storage in those tall cabinets, and who wouldn't love to have an Aga? (The final three images are all from Living Etc.) I am going this afternoon to pick out all the bits and pieces from our local hardware place, and hope to have everything in place within the next couple of weeks. I'll post some before and afters when it's all done. And to think, it all started with a leaky tap...


Eating Animals

Martin and I both read the book "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer over the holidays. It's a non-ficton book about the author's switch to vegetarianism after researching where meat actually comes from. I'm not sure if it's Safran Foer's fiction background that makes the book so convincing, but he really manages to bring home the horrors of factory farming in a way that makes it real. As he points out in the book, most of us on some level know what is happening at factory farms - but manage not to think about it too much. I'm not going to go into the specifics of the book here - but would encourage everyone to read it.

Martin and I have been vegetarian (with a few lapses, mainly on my part) for many years - but this book has inspired us to try to eat even fewer animal based foods (eggs, milk, etc.) and if we do eat those foods, to learn more about where they have come from and how they are produced. I have been cooking lots of vegan dishes lately, and have purchased a few cookbooks - Vegan Yum Yum (both the book and the blog) are great. I have made some delicious bananna bread from the Vegan Yum Yum book two times now - and Martin reckons it's the best he's had. I also made some choc chip cookies from Babycakes - those were not quite as successful, but I think that's my fault, not the book's! Adding a bit to the challenge of cooking vegan is that I am trying to cut back on gluten as well. Tonight, we will be having Smitten Kitchen's Mushroom Bourguignon - I'm really looking forward to it!

If anyone out there has any suggestions on great vegan/gluten free recipes and/or cookbooks - please send them my way! Now, to the bourguignon....


Tegan and Sara

Saw Tegan and Sara last night and they were really great. Lots of material from their new album "Sainthood" (which I am not that familiar with - yet) and lots of old faves. I love the photo of them and their band from their blog. If you aren't familiar with Tegan and Sara, I would highly recommend checking them out - they are one of my favorites!



I have been working the last week or so on photographing and uploading my stock to Etsy, and I have been using Picnik as my photo editing software. It's a free online program (but I upgraded to premium service which allows more uploads and a few more effects for $24.95 per year) and I really like it. I have taken a Photoshop course, but could never seem to get the hang of it. I find Picnik really intuitive, and they have all kinds of cool effects - I can do polaroids, cross process, sepia, etc. - all in the click of a button. Something that (for a novice like me) would take many, many button clicks in Photoshop. Picnik also seamlessly links up with photo sharing sites like Flickr - but I haven't really explored that feature yet.

Back to listing!