Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Weekend!

 Some Wee Tweets to make your Saturday morning coffee a bit sweeter!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Can A Vintage VW Get Any Cooler? Oh Yeah... Waaaaaaaay Cool!

What do Croatian metalsmiths who make fences and gates do when they get bored? Ask the guys at Vrbanus.

I have always wanted a vintage VW bug. This last photo I have had in my "Cool" folder for ages. I always thought it was a black bug painted with silver, and that was cool enough for me. They Dylan pointed out that it looked like it had been intricately chopped up. You can see right through the car! What??? So then I had to google it, but googling chopped up VW bug wasn't doing it so I gave up. Today it occurred to me to try the letters on the license plate... voila! Of course, now I want one :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

...How Does My Garden Grow?

I spent today challenging the clouds to actually do what they were promising and throw down the rain in torrents. I dressed in my winter coat and scarf so that I could get my stolen booty of plants into the ground before they dried up. Just as I figured, it never happened beyond a few drops. Silly clouds.

Possibly a quince? Maybe?

I am determined to get my forest into a usable space before my Garden Party Extraordinaire. I spent my Easter pillaging plants from the natural landscape around my mother's property. I found some gorgeous tree like things that fought back gallantly when I tried digging them up but they have wee buds on them and I think they are the babies of the gorgeous tree I spied on a walk last summer. Mwahahaaa... I don't need no stinkin' garden center!

I also found some wild strawberries (I hope) and some other things that came out of the ground by accident and I felt bad so I took them home and found them a place too. Should be interesting to see what happens. At least it is no longer just a maple forest. Dylan doesn't know it yet, but this weekend he will be building me stone steps and small walls with all the rocks I found at the back of the property. I love me a manicured forest... now, to find myself a cello player.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Bunny Day!

from Vagabond Creations

Most happiest of Easter weekends to you all :) May much fair trade and super delish chocolate be included in your time with family and friends!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Egg O Gram

ADORABLE eggy goodness going on over at Poppytalk! A really sweet DIY that is simple enough for a quick little something to give a special someone on the last minute. I love the pictorial too, way cute :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh, Is It Earth Day?

Apparently it is Earth Day today. I say that off-handedly because I don't really have a purpose for Earth Day. I know there is a point: we are trying to get those on board who don't already think in conscious terms. If we show people that using less water or electricity or whichever actually made a difference on April 22 then perhaps those who turned the lights off in the rooms they were not using will feel empowered to do more. To do "their part". Unfortunately for the masses (and maybe for the tone of this blog) I think we should be past that. I think perhaps we should have already figured this whole thing out. It could be argued that today is a day to celebrate the advances we have made, or the fights we have won... I could get behind that... but really, the bottom line is, we are smart enough (or should be) to realize that we only have one planet and we are killing it. Period. We drive too much, even though we know we shouldn't. We drink coffee every day that is grown in bad ways by people who are abused by the companies that own them. Some of us (according to a lot of the design blogs that I read,) even celebrate our Starbucks addiction. I just ate birthday cake two nights ago off of a paper plate and didn't say anything because I know that these people (who are family) just dig their heels in and close their ears. The arrogance of our day to day is astounding and in the end (which we seem to be rapidly heading towards) whoever is left, or the aliens that find the planet, or the civilization that exists in a few hundred or thousand years... when they study us, they will wonder how it is that we, armed with the knowledge that we had the power to fix things, the capacity to understand that it was up to us, why we still broke our only home.

On that note, I feel that now I owe it to you guys to throw something pretty on here and say a few words that represent the hope that we will get it before it's too late.

Right... so here are some pretty pictures, and they actually do represent a few things that happened to wrestle their way past my cynical side this morning. Firstly, I am inspired by the fact that I can look outside my window and see the wonders of the birds nesting, the flowers pushing out of the ground and life continuing to live. The birds and flowers have not given up and we shouldn't either. The mere fact that they are there to celebrate and inspire us should be enough to get us to pay attention. The earth has given us so much beauty, sustenance and more, it would be impolite of us to not return the favour. My kids and I are sprouting tiny seedlings of native plants and berry bushes on the windowsill to plant out in the garden with the idea that perhaps they will help to feed the birds and squirrels when they are grown. Ours are in eggshells but I am thinking they may have to be transferred to a lovely terrarium to protect them from Thing 1 and Thing 2.

The butterfly mobile from Babyjives, apart from the symbolism of the butterfly for metamorphosis and all, is from their shop on Etsy. I feel very strongly that Etsy has been hugely influential in supporting and sustaining the handmade movement that is encouraging artists, stay at home moms, small and local businesses, people who use vintage and reLoved pieces and society as a whole to think about how and what they consume. The online shop is a way for us to create a local marketplace with a global education and PR. It's a system that works and could really change one of the biggest BADS of the global crisis we are in. THINK about what you are purchasing and why and how. Vote with your dollar.

The garden is from my crafty inspiration file... to remind me to make crafts with my kids and spend time with them, to be out in the garden as much as possible, to make art and in this case to make it out of scraps and found bits. I just love how happy this piece is.

The gorgeous bedding is from Amy Butler. Her line of bedding includes Bamboo and Organic Cotton and even though she doesn't have to do this to make money... her products will sell regardless... she is both running a company that is doing a bit towards making a difference as well as a company that shows that our demands for greener business practices have been heard. Buying and consuming less is not just a choice we should be making, but it soon will be the only choice. By being conscious of who we are purchasing from and supporting those that run ethical businesses we are doing a major part towards making life better for all of us. Buy LESS and make sure that what you do buy is BETTER in every way possible.

 Weigh in! What are your thoughts? Tell me something good you have seen or are happy about for Earth Day... what does it mean to you? Do you do anything special today? Do you do anything these days that you didn't used to do that makes you a "better" earthling? LOL... Leave a comment!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Pillow Book.


Favourite book. This is my task. In four hours I am meant to publish a post on my favourite book for the Blog O Sphere project. How... HOW does one choose ONE favourite book? I have sat down to write this post umpteen times, and failed miserably to write even one sentence, let alone paragraph. Not only that, but I have to follow it up with WHY it is my favourite! I mean, it is easy enough to go on about why you like a certain book, but explaining WHY that one is better than ALL the other books? Sheesh! Hmmm...

OK, so I am going to go with movie. Technically, that was an option, but I thought that since the reason I am doing this project is because it challenges me to write about things on a deadline and I don't just get to write about what is hurtling through my brain towards the keyboard automatically. It is harder than you think! For me, movie was easy... book was a challenge. But it is five thirty in the morning and it is getting lighter outside and I want to go back to sleep. Movie it is.

It goes without saying that my favourite movie is The Pillow Book, a 1996 film by UK director Peter Greenaway based around the ancient book of observations of Sei Shonagon. Vivian Wu takes us into the pillow book (diary) of Japanese model Nagiko; a view into the life of a woman literally obsessed with the written word which follows her childhood watching her father's tumultuous life as an aspiring writer. Her fetish is calligraphy, and she is determined to document all that makes the world more beautiful, tangible and most passionate.

What is most appealing to me is that the story is told as if Vivian's character, Nagiko, isn't even aware that she is a drama seeker but has the perspective of the naive girl who begins the pillow book as a child. She is simultaneously treading dark waters and exploring new, uncomfortable territory, but she is so wrapped up in being a princess that she is unaware that she is doing so. By the time the movie wraps, she has destroyed more than one life and never wavers from her quest of both revenge and discovery.

I find every aspect of the story worth watching and never tire of it. From the sets and design, to the layered screenshots, even how the scenes of Nagiko's husband setting her beloved library on fire evoke a protective fury in the viewer that keeps up with the love/hate relationship you develop with her character. Absolutely stunning visually, the addition of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor made this a multi-cultural piece before the cameras were even rolling. I think his talent comes out in off base films.

The Pillow Book is one of those pieces of art that says something about the viewer. If somebody brings it up in conversation, you immediately know something about them. How you relate to a story such as this one is revealing of more than your taste in movies. Your tolerances are challenged and if you can see through the drama to the beauty, it speaks to who you are. I cannot say it is perfection, but what is? Brilliant though, it is that. And it's about a book... so maybe that counts towards my original task too? LOL

(Sidebar: I crashed my computer this morning. Apparently downloading images from the movie is frowned upon because two of them did nasty things and Kaspersky couldn't handle it... sorry it's late.)

As this is a post supporting the Blog O Sphere project, an ongoing (and rather awesome) project to challenge and support bloggers, please take a mo to visit the other writers involved at the following links!

Andes Cruz:
Kathleen Krucoff:
Brad Severtson;
Beth Cyr:
stephanie clark:
Wendy Kelly:
Barbara Donovan:
Shaun Young:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

To Easter...Or Not To Easter

Via Style at Home mag and Mrs. Honey


I have this thing that I do. I plan, plan, plan till everyone around me is sick to death of whatever I am planning (why do people not care about whether there is a colour scheme? How is that?...) but then I pick something teeny weeny, such as rain or, say not having any money, to creep in and wreak havoc with all my ideals. I mean, I could have had my Marie Antoinette party last year. I did stay up for two nights icing teeny little petit fours and there were a bunch of people in costume waiting in the wings (although I didn't actually think more than four people would show up)... and I went and let a small torrential downpour ruin plans for a good garden party. Now I am doing it again. I don't have the coin to throw the party that I want, and so I am working at letting go of my full inspiration folder of ideas and doing what everyone else does instead. Blah.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Fabulous Lovelies For Easter

Easter is almost upon us and I have been out raking leaves and planting stuff in hopes that I am able to pull together an Easter brunch. I wish I had the type of house where just simply changing up the decor on the mantle would be preparation enough to have people come through the door. Alas, the three men (big and small, four if you count the wee terror, and he should be counted) in my life will not allow that. I have been busy for three days stitching a super rush order quilt for a photo shoot and the fact that I have only done dishes once per day, NOT picked up the dirty socks that get left on the stairs (they think that the stairwell is the laundry shute, because... well... the dirty clothes somehow end up in the washer if they throw their stuff there at night... go figure) and only grabbed whatever off the floor during my few visits downstairs that are necessary have yielded a surprisingly nasty experience.

I am making myself feel better (yes, I could be tidying up at five in the morning, but I am thinking that I am only a wee bit insane, not completely so) by pulling out an old inspiration file that has been waiting for just this moment... LOVE all of these!

Stunning ceramics from White Earth Studio

Gorgeous bunny art from Naked Carley

Carly Swenson is moving from England to Portugal, so you can't purchase anything at the mo, or even browse apparently... which is sad because she is one of my favourite studios to peruse, but she will be back I'm sure... and with more amazing work. The only things better than the Alice vibes in her artwork is that she calls her shop NakedCarlyArt and she lists one of her favourite mediums as glue. If she lived closer we would be friends.

My favourite wee bunny maker, Julie Blanchette

From Almost Sunday

Anyone who really can't help themselves and simply must get me a gift for Easter, or even that birthday party that was postponed till May brings me a garden, this would be delightful... I covet this necklace. For a year now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brilliant Modern Garden Wall

Loving these super slick, affordable, DIY planter walls from Apartment Therapy.

Find instructions here.
Not only do they make sense, but they would be relatively easy to find found materials for. It seems to me that there are always a few of these cinder blocks hanging around yards and sheds someplace. Let your neighbours know that you are on the lookout and you just might end up with a wall full!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Amy Stuart Strikes Again... With BUGS... eeeeewwwww!

I love this wee film Amy Stuart is using to promote her new book (due out in May) called Wicked Bugs! My kids are divided... Liam already has creepy crawly issues and I have inadvertently just created more months years of  having to remove every single teeny bug out of his presence. Rowan loves it. I got a good laugh and thought I would share it with you all :)

I loved her book on Wicked Plants, but I think I will personally have to leave the reading of this one to Rowan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recycled Glass Gorgeousness

Serene Sol dishes from Viva Terra

I know, I don't think gorgeousness is an actual word either... but I'm gonna use it anyway, because that is what these dishes from Viva Terra are. I love recycled glass anything. I love glass and I love recycled, and I also really love dishes, which anyone who has hosted a party with me can attest to. These are the first dishes I have seen though, made from recycled glass, that have that light and airy look but with the sturdy build that everyday dishes need. The cost is beyond reasonable and they are dishwasher safe. With a ribbed outside, they have a texture and softness of seaglass.

Serene Sol explains, when glass is recycled, it is broken into small pieces called cullet. The broken pieces are crushed, sorted, cleaned, and mixed with other raw materials in the glass-making process. When glass is made from scratch, high temperatures are needed to melt all the ingredients. Since cullet melts at a lower temperature, the more of it you add to the process, the less energy required to melt it.

Recycling glass is not only energy-efficient; it benefits the environment in other ways. Glass produced from recycled glass instead of raw materials reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. And, recycling glass keeps used bottles and jars out of landfills, thereby decreasing the need for them. So in short, they are a great deal for your table, and the planet it sits on! Oh, and wait... they are gorgeous.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Live / Work Space of Textile Queen Dana Barnes

Textile artist Dana Barnes in her studio at home. Inspiration lines the walls in the form of examples of traditional styles, ethnic pieces and textile samples.
 I posted this past weekend on the gorgeous work of Dana Barnes, a New York textile artist who lives with her work in an authentic SoHo loft. It just so happens that her living space is also a prime example of one of my favourite styles: Organic Glam maybe. I know there is probably a term, the design industry loves labels. I think for the Glam bit there needs to be a chandelier though. Either way, the photos of her rugs are mostly in her loft and I didn't post them all for the sake of brevity. Now I am trying to clean up my picture files, and I can't bring myself to delete such a gorgeous space without showing you the rest of these.

My favourite rug made by molding the felt over inverted bowls.

The gorgeous curtain was woven by a Japanese artist. Many of Dana's travels result in new pieces for the loft.
Gorgeous lamp and LOVE that egg stool. The rugs are pieces of her Souled Objects collection.

And a swing! I have lived with an indoor swing, and yes... it DOES get used! Probably her two daughters get some use out of it also :)
More rugs.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Felted Gorgeousness From Dana Barnes

Last night I was catching up on some blog perusal and one of my mainstays, Fiona at Cafe Cartolina, had posted these rather brilliant stools from Claire-Anne O'Brien.

 I love huge chunky knit things, and it reminded me of these rugs I found awhile ago, probably via a post on Facebook, I can't remember now. Either way, thought I would dig up that bookmark and post 'em.

The rugs in Dana's SoHo loft.

These photos are a few of the rugs that were conceived by Dana Barnes in her SoHo loft as a way to lessen the noise that having such a wide open space can create. With her two young girls living in the loft with her and her husband, she needed some underfoot padding, and with a background in textile design, the obvious choice was ginormous granny squares crocheted out of merino roving. Her collection is called Souled Objects and features felted contemporary versions of traditional crafting styles such as crochet and macrame. I am completely enamored with both the round crocheted bubble type ones and the flat felted one that has small dome shapes (below, in her bed/bathroom).

Dana is on to her fourth front loading washer, as she uses the machines' hot cycle to felt the large squares after they have been crocheted by hand and they seem to be less than thrilled to be her workhorses... a bag of wet wool roving is pretty hefty. It would seem that Dana is infatuated with felting. Indeed, her home is filled with her work, and she uses a wide variety of techniques to create a number of different styles and functions. Her technical skill is evident, an obvious trait from years working with designers such as Elie Tahari in the New York fashion mecca.

What is perhaps less evident, but more relevant, is her connection to indigenous craft. She has spent a great deal of time in developing countries to be close to the hands that felt, weave and manipulate textiles in a quest to fully relate utilitarian function with the beauty of the handmade. She also credits her upbringing, in the Southeastern US watching a community of crafters and artisans that relied on local sources.

She has help, in the form of a group of young artists and crafters, one of whom is Megan Novak. Megan enjoys the time she spends at the loft, out on the terrace crocheting huge squares with a dowel and her hands in the sun.
Ms. Novak wears an organdy apron to keep the fibers where they belong. Not only do I love the image of giant crochet stitches, but her hair is darling!
Dana has shown at the International Furniture Fair, and her pieces (ranging from $95 to $200 per square foot) are sold at BDDW in New York.

Designer Dana Barnes
Photos from Souled Objects site, and from this wonderful NYTimes article.