Thursday, December 19, 2013

A successful first craft show!

Saturday's Craft Show was a big success! I am blown away by the positive response I got from everyone who stopped by my table. Urban Craft really knows how to put on one heck of a show, and I am honoured to have been included alongside so many incredibly talented craftspeople. And the people who came to the show: what an incredibly supportive, art-loving community, my goodness! I had so many lovely conversations, it felt more like a party than me trying to hawk my wares! (I didn't even get a chance to try out the excellent sales techniques I witnessed in South East Asia ;). What an awesome city I live in!

A huge thank you to all my friends who braved the bitterly cold day to come by to visit and support me: you're the best! xo

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Adorable children's drawings turned into adorable, custom fabric

When I was out west this summer I got together with a good friend who I used to work with at a studio in Toronto. She moved out west when she was pregnant, and I finally got to see my friend again, and meet her daughter, who's now six! It was so great to meet her, and experience her incredible personality. A little bit shy at first, by the end of the night she was chatting up a storm and showing me her art projects. It is so inspiring to see young people so unhindered, drawing because they enjoy it, not criticizing themselves, just enjoying the process of putting pencil/pen/marker/highlighter/paint/etc to paper/etc. And it's incredible to see their translation and resulting unique expression of what they see in the world or their imagination.

So, to honour this young artists incredible talent and joy of art-making, I took the drawing she gave me, and turned it into her very own fabric!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Urban Craft Market: tomorrow!

I've been busily preparing for tomorrow's craft show, and am looking forward to showing my wares! I'll have all the houses that are in my shop, as well as some new designs, and new items too, including some hand puppets, embroidered notecards, and even a few scrunchies from some lovely fabric I bought in Japan. (If fashion in Japan is anything to indicate, scrunchies are back, in a big way!)

So if you're in the Ottawa area, come in from the cold, and check out all the talented vendors! It's all happening at the Glebe Community Centre, from 10am to 3pm, and entry is free! Hope to see you there!

Gingerbread Houses!

Each Gingerbread House comes with a Gingerbread Man.
(I think he's the one that made the snow angel in the front yard.)

Nordic A-Frame Cabin

Puppets, bashful and exuberant!

Notecards featuring my own embroidery (foreground) and upcycled embroidery (background)

The House in the Night

The Cottage by the Lake

Interior of The House in the Night

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free shipping AND $5 off!

From now until midnight this Sunday, December 8, receive FREE SHIPPING worldwide, AND $5 off each of the prints in my Society6 shop! So if there's one you've had your eye on, now is the perfect time to order! And if there's another photo from my blog that you love, let me know, and I will make it available in the shop. Thanks for your support!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Introducing: Kitty, Bunny, and Owl!

If you've been keeping an eye on my instagram recently, you'll have noticed some new characters on the scene. I've captured their growth in various states, tracking their journey from pencil-on-paper into puppet-hood, and they are now ready to introduce themselves properly! Meet: Kitty, Bunny, and Owl. Kitty is sporting a poppy-red pinafore and shiny Mary-Janes, while Bunny is ready to work in his scruffy-patched overalls, and Owl is prepared for punctuality with his pocket watch (precisely synced to Greenwich Mean Time, of course) tucked in his Bilbo-esque vest.

I will be posting them in the shop after my show, next Saturday, December 14th at the Glebe Community Centre in Ottawa. Come and see them there!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Montréal

At the end of October I went to Montréal for an intensive 4-day Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Janice Clarfield. It was a truly inspiring weekend of yoga with a wonderful group of women, and I am newly amazed at the incredible power of women, and the innate wisdom of the body to undergo such a profound transformation.

I am so inspired to work with pregnant women, to help them find empowerment through mindful movements and breathwork; discover their immense strength and body wisdom; connect with themselves and their babies during this incredibly transformative time, and most importantly, to help them discover their own way, as there is no one way to birth a baby.

And of course, it was wonderful to be in Montréal again. The apartment I rented was literally a few doors away from the yoga studio in a lively area between Mile End and Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. I fall in love with Montreal every time. It happens every time I'm there. The beautiful boulevards, vibrant murals, alleyways with spiral staircases, gorgeous mansions with the imposing Mont rising up behind them, and those exterior stairs so unique to Montreal, and of course, incredible food. Mark came up and stayed with me for part of the weekend, and we went out for Tibetan one night, and Cambodian the next, with bagels for lunches, and the best vegan food (no wonder there's a line-up all the time) at Aux Vivres and The Green Panther. Mmmm.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A year ago today: we set off on an adventure

Aw, look, we were just pups!

I remember barely sleeping the night before (or really, the night of) our flight. Waking up with my heart in my throat: excited, anxious, nervous, jittery... Eyes wide as we took one last look around the house, so quiet and empty without the cats and most of our stuff packed away... Hoisted our stiff, pristine packs, full of our carefully thought-out things we thought we would need... Locked the door, to be opened in a few days by our tenant who would be moving in... Leaving the known, and setting off into the unknown in the pre-dawn darkness... Tears of excitement and disbelief pouring down my cheeks on the cab ride to the airport... The day had finally arrived! Mind racing through all the possible scenarios that awaited us... Flying west-ward and passing the edge of Canada, the farthest west I'd ever been in my life.

And then being thrust into the intensity of Bangkok. Eyes wide at everything... trying to navigate our way around... Getting suckered at every turn (and oh, we were suckers...). Our first tuk-tuk ride... Our first dish that was too spicy to eat, and we didn't know how to ask for it any other way... Seeing more Buddhas in one day than possibly my entire life up until that point... So many colours, and sights, and sounds, and scents! And oh, the heat! I remember being so overwhelmed... everything was so new and unexpected and in-your-face... It was incredible, and I would do it all again, but I'm still happy to be home, and excited for the first good snowfall to arrive.

I haven't had a good snow for over a year and a half...

Leaving O'Hare after appropriately dosing up on Gravol as I failed to do for the first leg. (Lesson learned.)

The only way to get around! Ottawa could use some tuk-tuks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quilt update: a sea of colour

While visiting with a good friend recently for a few days, I took advantage of her cat-free, king-sized bed, and her incredible colour sense, to lay out the hexagons for the second half of The Quilt. I laid out the first half when we were in Massachussetts last May, back when I only had two rows finished. And now I have twelve! (Plus, I had a bit of a break in there, so really, I'm making good progress!)

It was actually quite an exciting process to lay out all the rows, trying to distribute each fabric evenly to avoid ending up with only one pattern in the end. As it was, I did, but after some eye-squinting and re-jigging, we managed to get everything looking balanced without too many attention-heavy "holes." And now that all the rows are planned out, I can just work row at a time, and I'll be finished all thirty before I know it, right? ...Right?

Monday, November 18, 2013

The carless have caved

I pass this epically awesome antique barn so often, and finally stopped to grab a pic of it.

Turns out I'm a fair weather carless person... As long as I can bike, not having a car is not a problem. But now that the cold November rains and early snows are upon us, bringing bitter winds and slippery roads, it is entirely unpleasant, uncomfortable, and inconvenient to not have a set of wheels in the driveway.

My parents have very kindly offered to rent/lend their car to us for the next few months, mostly to help us, but also to see how they fare with just one car. It might be basic, without power windows, power locks, power mirrors, a CD player, iPod hookup or all the new-fangled gadgetry, but it is 4-wheeled freedom, and we are very grateful and appreciative to have a car once again. Plus, it's standard, which I love driving, and the very best part of all, is the tape (yes, tape) of vintage Janet, circa 1989, in the cassette player. Turns out I still remember all the words.

Another view along the drive to my parents that I've been meaning to photograph.

I am quite ashamed to say how glad I am to have a car again. It feels like a certain sense of freedom and opportunity has returned, because let's face it, for the months we didn't have a car, we hiked less, ran out of groceries more frequently, didn't bother going to movies as much, and so on. But we did end up doing a lot more things nearby, and we saved money, and saved the earth a little bit too. I don't regret the decision in the slightest, and I would do it again... during the fair weather months from April to October.

Here is a run-down with commentary, of the car-alternatives we used:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fab fabric finds

This past weekend I attended an event I am very ashamed to say I didn't even know existed. How it hasn't been on my radar is mind-boggling, because it is totally my kind of thing: The Original Fabric Flea Market. People from all over the Ottawa area bring their unwanted fabric and sewing related notions and sell it to raise funds for a local public school. We're talking new/used/vintage unused and upcycled fabric, textiles, buttons, lace, yarn... the works. One table even had millinery supplies. Another had gorgeous, fancy beaded appliqués. And one of my favourite local groups was there, Eco-Equitable, featuring their amazing fill-a-bag-for-$10 sale, but I didn't even make it that far, I had my head stuck in the fill-a-bag-for-$5 bins... 

It was busy and crowded and kind of intense, but I scored some beautiful and cozy flannels, wools, and cottons, and left with my bike basket and paniers loaded to the gills. As I was scouring the bins and tables, colour schemes started developing and have inspired ideas for a few new houses. I think I have enough fabric now to create several villages of wee fabric houses... Not a bad problem to have.

Now it's head-down-and-get-to-work in preparation for my show on December 14th!

Deliciously soft wools and flannels... so in love.

Now I see patterns and think "ooh, that would make neat wallpaper."

Laura Ashley swatch samples — I think that's a theme for a new house right there. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Perhaps the roof for another cottage-style house?

Have no idea how I'll use this piece, but it was just too funky to leave behind.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Urban Craft Market: December 14, 2013

Great news! I've just been selected as a vendor for the Holiday Edition of Ottawa's Urban Craft Market. I've been to their past shows (never as a vendor though, so this is very exciting), and it's a fantastic show, featuring some incredibly talented artisans and makers. I am so thrilled and tickled-pink to be a part of this next edition!

So come on out, Saturday, December 14, from 10am to 3pm at the Glebe Community Centre and support local, independent artists. I'll have my wee fabric houses, plus some new little hand-puppets, embroidered note-cards, and other hand-made goodies!

Spread the word! And I hope to see you there!

Buy hand-made this Christmas! (And all-year-round!)
Graphic from Little Things Studio

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Friendsgiving, local meat, and my 300th post!

Now the green conifers stand out in a sea of gold

And suddenly, it was fall. Full-on. Trees are aflame with vibrant colours, fluttering to the ground, painting trails with rusty gold. It seems that the trees were green just yesterday, with only a tinge of the colours to come, but now they're suddenly scarlet orange.

To celebrate this (sadly) brief, but oh-so-wonderful time of year, we had some good friends over for a potluck feast of epic proportions, but not before a lovely hike in Gatineau Park together to fully soak in the delicious colours and that unmistakable scent of fall — what is that? Is it the fallen leaves? The earth readying itself for its winter slumber? Anyway, it's an incredible smell, that makes you happy and content with each deep breath.

What's more glorious than walking through a sunny forest in Autumn?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

And we have grapes!

Since Mark planted the seed when we moved in four years ago, our little grape plant has grown and flourished (taking over the trellis and fence entirely, and starting to encroach upon the neighbouring tomatoes... ahem...), and this year for the very first time, it produced grapes. Four little bunches of beautiful concord grapes. Perfect little orbs of divine, juicy deliciousness. It's entirely true that things grown in your own yard taste so much better, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happiness is: hiking

arm in arm, exploring
early fall forest
leaves just beginning to turn
gentle forest streams, babbling softly
sun-dappled light dancing on moss-covered rocks
can't decide if it's mitten weather yet or not
acorns, with and without their hats
stitch-like marks etched in birch bark
that point where I decide to tuck my pants into my socks to keep critters out (ridiculous. I know this.)
so good to be in the forest again

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blueberry-basil-tahini smoothie

I find I'm eagerly awaiting my perfect yellow bananas to turn spotty and brown so I can throw them in the freezer in preparation for this incredibly tasty smoothie! Yay for brown bananas! And throughout the summer I used fresh basil, but now, with early frost setting in, my basil is nearly picked clean, so dried basil it is!

Blueberry-basil-tahini smoothie
Recipe by Sarah Britton, My New Roots

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 frozen banana
5–7 large basil leaves (fresh is best, but I tried dried, and it was fine)
1 tbsp tahini
1–3 tsp bee pollen (depending on how often you use it)
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1 handful of greens (spinach and kale are good choices)
water or milk of choice to thin, as needed

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy immediately.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free shipping!

From now until this Sunday, September 22 at 12pm, receive FREE SHIPPING on all orders of my photographic prints from Society6! So if there's one you've had your eye on, now is the perfect time to order! And if there's another photo from my blog that you love, let me know, and I will make it available in the shop.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

6 years

To the adventures we've had, and the adventures yet to come.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Today is the day.

Tomorrow will mark exactly three months since I returned from my life-changing trip around Asia, and began making some direction shifts in my life and career. It had become clear over the course of the trip—being away from what we get immersed in; thrust into places and situations that shake you and challenge you and force you to redefine what you think you know—that life would be different when I got home.

I couldn't see myself returning to life as a graphic designer. Instead, I completed a month-long intensive training in India and became a certified yoga instructor. In addition to this, an idea started percolating in my mind about the possibility of setting up an Etsy shop. See, I have this need to create. It's not just a hobby or a pastime to draw, paint, sew, and make things. It is something I have to do. And I had so many ideas that were just aching to be made real. I finally realized, I just have to give this a try.

So for the last three months, I've been busily and happily working away, and today I am thrilled to announce that my Etsy store is now open!

Head on over, have a look around, and let me know what you think! I'm eager to hear from you. And a huge thank you to all of you for your support and encouragement with this endeavour! It sure is a super feeling when you can tell that others believe in you. I can't thank you enough for that.

Japanese Teahouse

Japanese Teahouse — opens to reveal a tatami-mat room overlooking a zen garden.

Wee Hobbit House

All Pinked Out

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Look closer

A new destination offers so many new sights for the eyes to delight in. Unsurprisingly, the west coast of Canada is no different, and has stunningly beautiful landscapes in all directions: soaring trees dripping with moss, imposing granite peaks, and vast stretches of ocean extending off into the horizon (or entirely obscured in fog), and if you look a little bit closer, there are so many incredible textures and colours to get lost in...

Fossilized rocks.

Golden ochre sea weeds and cream barnacles.

Some sort of ewwy, awesome, slimy sea worts on a rock. Anyone know what these are? 

Burrows etched through layers of tree rings.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Off again. This time to the West.

Barely two months home, and we were off again. But this time, we weren't gone nearly as long—it was still the same season when we got home!—and we stayed in the same country. What could possibly make us pack up our backpacks to hit the road again? Two very, very good reasons: Mark's best man getting hitched, and Mark's ultimate frisbee team playing at Nationals; both of which very conveniently happened to be in Vancouver, and only a week apart. In between all that good stuff, we had a couple of fun road trips in our stellar Rent-A-Wrecks* exploring beautiful British Columbia, and long overdue visits with friends and family.

Radiating out from Vancouver in spurts, we visited Tofino on Vancouver Island, taking in the magnificent splendour of vast stretches of beach (often enshrouded in impenetrable fog), towering cedars, mossy rainforests, and bogs full of lichen and stunted, gnarled trees. Then on to the mainland where we did a loop to take in Whistler (and happy relive our engagement there, 10 years ago this winter!) and through the mountains and glorious landscapes that changed with every mountain pass and curve in the road, to the arid Okanagan Valley where we tasted our way through the orchards and vineyards while ospreys soared overhead. Then back to Vancouver via Canada's desert (who knew?!) for all the wonderful wedding festivities befitting the most perfect pair, and happy reunions with old high school mates. Good times, I can assure you. There just may have been some jumps to the left and other such dancing-related shenanigans.

*A note about our car rental experience in Vancouver: Apparently August is a very busy and popular time for renting cars, so fleets sell out quickly, and for the remaining cars the rates are extortionate (like $149 per day; this is five times the rate for renting in Ottawa). But fear not! For a more respectable rate of about $40 per day, you can Rent-A-Wreck, which just means the car has a few more km on it than regular rentals, or has some other fun quirks that you will grow to love. For instance, our second rental, a Malibu with almost 200,000 km, was a bit bi-polar and prone to random freak outs (the car alarm would go off if the car was unlocked for too long, very embarrasing), with non-functioning A/C, and had a bit of trouble maintaining speed to get up those steep mountain roads. We lovingly called her Ursula, The Little Car that Couldn't. Well, she did, but barely.

First glimpse of the Pacific through the trees.

I love this quote seen on an interpretive sign in the forest:
There are themes everywhere... tender youthfulness laughing at gnarled oldness. Mosses and ferns, leaves and twigs, light and air, depth and colour chattering, dancing a mad-joy dance... only apparently tied up in stillness and silence. You must be still in order to see and hear.  —Emily Carr