December 31st 2009

HAPPY LAST DAY OF 2009!





We've been out of town for over a week now, and it's so nice to be home. I was a little disappointed that I had to spend my first ever green Christmas this year, but it's nice that it's been mild out.


We were up in Muskoka for a few days and there was a ton of snow! They had gotten a few feet a couple of weeks before Christmas, so there was still a nice blanket over everything by the time we got up there.





Chris' sister got me a book that I'm really excited to get in to. It's by Tove Jansson, (who I've mentioned before), only it's not a book for children. It's called The True Deceiver, and has one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen. I started reading it and I love it so far. Her books are often set in wintertime and have a sort of haunting, still, cold feeling to them.


Chris also made me on of the most amazing presents I've ever gotten. He tried carving wood for the first time and made this,



Scout Finch's ham costume from one of my favorite books / movies, To Kill A Mockingbird. It's so beautiful. It's made of basswood and balances perfectly on those tiny wooden legs. I absolutely love it.


Because I was sick for the whole holiday, it gave me time to finish up another pair of roving mittens, (this time made for Celine). They turned out really well. They're traditional red and white ones, with the softest roving in the world inside. They make me want to make a new pair for myself!


I don't plan on making New Year's resolutions this year, but I'd like to make some goals for myself. In the forefront, get going on a few projects and read more. (And that means actual books, not audiobooks). There are lots of classics that I've still never read. I guess these are sort of "resolutions", but if I call them that, they won't get done...


Well, I'll have to leave the rest of my catching up for another post. I've got to make some lunch and get figuring out New Year's Eve plans!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 16th 2009



I watched the Rankin / Bass version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer a couple of nights ago, and realized that Santa is incredibly dapper in that movie. I never realized it as a child, but check out this outfit: red plaid deerstalker, toggled pea-coat, red plaid pants, (which makes him a tiny bit punk-rock), and shiny black boots! I would love an outfit like that!


I also downloaded the new Obijou Christmas song, (their cover of Wham's "Last Christmas"), and it's my new favorite Christmas song. Here's a link to their free download. I'm sure you'll love it too!

December 15th 2009





The other day, when Chris brought home the Parcheesi game from the thrift store, he also picked up a puzzle to work on. It's of a winter scene, and to me, looks like a cross between Dutch scenery and Americana. It was painted by Charles Wysocki, who is known for his folky, scenic Americana paintings.


While I was sitting beside Chris working on more Christmas presents, he started pulling single pieces out to show me. They were so cute! Even though the puzzle is very busy, each puzzle piece is like a tiny piece of artwork in itself. The figures look over simplified, but that's only because they're only one one-thousandth of a larger picture. I like them on their own.

December 14th 2009

I decided to take a break from the last little bit of Christmas-present-making to make myself something to wear over the holidays. I was recently in the workroom and spotted the prettiest red and white fabric. I thought it was part of the French General collection, (one of my favorites!), but it was actually from Aster Manor by Moda. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I made a special trip down yesterday afternoon and picked up enough to make another tunic, (in the same pattern as the first one I made from Stylish Dress book a year and a half ago).


It takes no time to make, and I'm really happy with it! I also grabbed another fabric from the same collection made up of a tiny red gingham pattern. It's the exact same red as the other fabric, so it looks very sweet when put together. I was out for a coffee with Anthony a couple of days ago, and noticed that the placket of his shirt was made of a different fabric, which gave me the idea.


I finished the shirt this afternoon. It's very festive looking. And maybe a bit picnic-ish too. Now I have something to wear over the holidays!




nikki showed up on our doorstep the other day with a treat! A bottle of some of the tastiest egg nog there is. I love Harmony milk. It's a little pricey, so I only get it once in a while for a treat. It comes in the sweetest glass bottles. I noticed when I went to pour a glass for myself that the date on the top was "DE 25"! (Yay! Best bottle of nog ever!) Thank you nikki! You're the best!





December 10th 2009





My fingers are still pretty numb while I type this. I've been walking around in the cold for hours today; running errands and picking up things to make presents with. It was so pretty out today. We've gotten our first bit of snow and it was sunny for the most part. I think my face is wind burnt now, though.


On my way around, I dropped off the mittens I knit for Kristin. Perfect timing, since it's so chilly! She and the staff at Magic Pony / Narwhal Art Projects were busy getting ready for their show at Narwhal tomorrow night. I mentioned it in a previous post, but here's a link to the event : Little Crowns, Holiday Group Exhibition.


Also above are some of the shortbread I've been baking. Over the years I've accumulated lots of sweetly-shaped cookie cutters, both from friends and from Polka Dot Kids; one of my favorite shops in the city. These acorns are one of my favorites!


Time to go warm up with a bowl of leftover homemade chili! Mmm...

December 8th 2009



I just found out that my good friend, Carly Waito, is featured today on Design Sponge! Yay Carly! I'm so glad to see that her work is getting out there for everyone to see. Her oil paintings are gorgeous, and will be featured in Narwhal Art Project's holiday exhibition, Little Crowns. The exhibition opens this Friday, December 11th here in Toronto and runs until January 5th. I can't wait to see these paintings in person.


Congratulations again, Carly!

December 6th 2009




We decorated our tree yesterday! After picking it up, I wanted to get decorating it straight away, but Chris had to work that night. So instead I dragged Chris out to the living room first thing yesterday morning, unpacked the ornaments and we got to work. It looks so pretty, and smells so fresh and lovely. I love having a tree in the house. I've been making ornaments, but we also had some pretty ones from Chris' family. (I especially love the one in the above photo! His grandma made that one when he was young).


I'm making presents today, so I can't post any photos! I've got so much on the go, but I can't say a word or I may give away surprises! After the holidays, I'll post about all of the things I've been working on.




I met up with Celine and Charlyn for brunch at Le Sélect Bistro yesterday morning. I hadn't been there in ages, and had almost forgotten how delicious it is there. I had a the best sweet pea and ham soup I've ever had. Charlyn brought the best cookies for us from the St. Lawrence Famer's Market. She said that there was a man there every week who baked and brought these cookies, and was always sold out first thing in the morning! I can see why... mmm. It was so nice to visit with those two! Hopefully we'll have another fun girl-brunch soon!


Time to get back to work on surprises!

December 4th 2009



Christmas came early this year!


I was running errands last night down Queen Street in Toronto and while walking past Urban Outfitters, noticed something truly wonderful; they have Polaroid film! I know I'm always posting "Polaroids" on my blog, but they're actually digital photos that I've reformatted using Poladroid, a program you can download from the internet. It makes a nice effect, but there's nothing like the real thing.


My Mom won a Polaroid camera in a contest when I was younger, and I marveled at it. I thought it was amazing how quickly the photos processed, and now that I'm older I love the nostalgic look of them. In 2008, Polaroid ceased production of instant film. I own my Mom's old camera now, and when I found out that the film wouldn't be available much longer, I began looking for some of the last of the film before it disappeared forever. I recently found out about something called the "Impossible Project", an organization that bought old Polaroid equipment and a factory in the Netherlands. As of the beginning of next year, they will reproduce instant film! I'm so excited!


The Impossible Project collaborated with Urban Outfitters to distribute the last packages of instant film, and that's how I got my hands on some.


In other festive news, Chris picked a tree up for us today! I'm so excited to decorate, but promised to wait until tomorrow because he has to work tonight. I can't wait! Maybe I'll take a Polaroid of the finished tree.

Варежка

This has become one of my favorite Christmas movies over the last few years. I found out about "Mitten" (Варежка) while working at Magic Pony, and fell in love!


December 3rd 2009




I woke up to the pouring rain this morning. Where is our snow? We haven't had a flake yet! I'm starting to crave wearing my big wool jacket and clompy winter boots, but it's too warm!


I'm still getting into the holiday spirit by making lots of ornaments for our tree. We're picking one up tomorrow, but have to wait until Saturday to decorate because Chris will be at work tomorrow night.




Above is the Muji Christmas Catalog that nikki picked up for me in HK last week. It's amazing! It's really tiny, and bound so beautifully that it feels like a picture book rather than a catalog. I LOVE YOU MUJI! Now we just need one in Toronto...


I'm going to go make myself a hot chocolate and pretend that it's cold outside.

December 1st 2009

It's the first day of December! Yay!


I've been starting to get in to the Christmas spirit a little early this year, (which is surprising since it's been warm with not a sign of a snowflake to be seen). I started making presents as early as August. Ridiculous. But I wanted to make as many presents as I could this year. There's no harm in getting a bit of a head start on things, right?


Chris and I started doing reference image research for our Christmas card design a couple of nights ago and noticed a startling trend...







Loads of vintage Santa smoking ads! Funny, but a bit disturbing.


For the record, we didn't end up going with Chris' (amazing) idea to draw Santa as a vampire for our Christmas card this year... maybe next year? I'm sure everyone's all vampired-out.


Once they're all sent out, I'll post a picture of our card design. I don't want to spoil any surprises!

November 27th 2009



Oh my, it's been ages since I wrote anything.


I got busy writing and preparing work for a couple of grant proposals, and forgot everything else that was on my plate for a couple of weeks. Now they're sent off, and I'm working on a few new things.


The project I've been working on the last couple of days is actually a really fun one. It's a Christmas card design for the interior design firm that my sister works for. I love designing our own Christmas cards, and Cara's boss had seen last year's and wanted something similar. If you're a client of Khachi Design Group, you may just get one in the mail!


At the top of this post is a photo of a gift that my friend Pam dropped off yesterday. It's called an Apple Geranium, and smells exactly like apples! She found it at a local farm's market last year, and it's been growing like wild. She made clippings and they're going crazy too. I can't wait to pot this sweet little plant. It's so pretty.





This morning Karyn posted some photos of her desk on her blog, Make Something. I love seeing what other people's work spaces look like, and it's always fun to see old photos of what my desk looked like a year or two ago, (because it's always changing), so I took some of my own! Luckily it's fairly clean today. A couple of days ago it was a complete disaster!




I've started making some new Christmas ornaments for the tree this year, as well as to put on people's gifts. I absolutely love these sweet little knit acorns. I found the pattern online, and they only take about a half hour to make. I love the look of homemade ornaments. Last year, Chris' Mom gave us a bunch of ornaments that they used to put on their tree when Chris was younger. Most of them were made by his Grandma, and have people's names embroidered into them. I want to try to make some like that for family this year.

November 15th 2009




Oh man, does it ever feel great to get back to sewing and knitting again. I haven't sewn anything in ages, and decided that it was time for a new pair of slippers. I made some last year but they've been slowly deteriorating because I wear them constantly. { Even outside! So bad! }


These particular slippers are from this book. It's called "My Own Homemade Roomshoes" (ISBN 978-4-43077-7). It's the same book I used for reference for the last pair. Making this slippers is so satisfying. It's not a super hard pattern to follow, even in Japanese, doesn't use a lot of fabric, and the finished product is so sweet! I'm thinking about making some out of my own fabrics, (and there may be some new designs soon), to sell. I think they're a fun project, and hopefully others will think so too.


I've also been working on these mittens.





They're the ones that I'm making from the pattern that I found at the Royal Winter Fair last week, and I love them! They're so wooly and instantly warming when you put your hand in them. They'll be my warmest winter mitts.



November 11th 2009

Magic Pony put photos on their Flickr photostream from the opening this weekend. You can view them here.








We went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair yesterday, and I took lots of photos. We've only gone a couple of times, but I always really enjoy it. One of the best things about going is the vendors selling homespun wools. I got the makings for a pair of roving mittens, and I got so excited to make them that I knit half a mitt last night!






November 9th 2009



A friend recently made the homemade Chai Tea recipe from
Joy of Cooking for a brunch we were having, and it was amazing. I haven't been crazy about chai tea in the past, because I've only had cafe-style Chai Tea Lattes and the like, but from scratch, it's amazing!
It'll definitely be a favorite recipe over the holidays.
Here's the recipe for anyone that wants to give it a try.


{ Joy of Cooking Chai Tea Recipe }
makes 4 to 5 servings, (or two, if you're Chris and I)

Bring just to a boil in a medium saucepan:
3 cups water
1½ cups milk
¾ cup sugar, or to taste (I used far less, and either brown or raw sugar, and it tasted much better)
2 cinnamon sticks
16 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp whole cloves
½-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
½ tsp whole white or black peppercorns (I want to give pink a try next time)
Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes. Return to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in:
2 tbsp black tea leaves (I used "Earl Grey Cream" from Tealish and it was so delicious!)
Cover and let stand 2 minutes. Strain and serve at once, or let cool and serve over ice.

November 8th 2009



I want to thank everyone who made it out to the book signing yesterday afternoon. It was so much fun!




As promised, I did a draw for the winner of a free copy of the book, and the winner was number 4, Heather from Asheville, NC. Congratulations, Heather, and I'll send you an email to gather your information.


I also wanted to let everyone know, especially those that aren't able to make it to Toronto in the next couple of weeks to see the show up, all of the work is on display in the "Children's Book" section of my portfolio website.


Time to go have a nice relaxing Sunday!

November 7th 2009

Well, today's the day!


In a couple of hours I'll be heading down to the gallery to set up for the book launch this afternoon. I'll be there between 2 and 5pm today, so please come down for a visit! There will be cookies and hot apple cider, (perfect for a cool autumn day!).


Hope to see you all there!

November 3rd 2009





A while back I had
Celine over to make jam, and she took some really beautiful photos. She posted a few on her blog, but sent them all to me last night. They're so lovely! I absolutely love her photos. Here are a couple that she didn't include on her post, but that I think are really pretty.


Things are really coming together for the book launch this weekend at Magic Pony. Chris and I have been building the frames from scratch, (and there are a lot of them!). They look great with the work, and it's really satisfying to know that the work's been made from start to finish completely by hand.


I really hope everyone can make it!
{ If you can't make it out this weekend, the work will be up in the gallery until November 22nd }

October 31st 2009




HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!


cake recipe care of Martha Stewart

We had our annual pumpkin carving party a couple of nights ago, and I wanted to make some fun treats, (as an excuse to bake, because I haven't been able to lately!). I used a recipe from Martha Stewart with cute marshmallow ghosts on top. It was so tasty!




The pumpkins turned out really well, too. The skull one was Cara and Rob's, the "Chris" one was Katherine's, (although she wanted to include a cigarette in his mouth? haha! He got a toothpick instead), and the "Naomi" one was by Anthony. I've never seen a pumpkin with bangs before! Cute!
The owl was mine, the cat was Naomi's, and the one with the giant mouth was Nikki's. Chris' didn't end up in this set of photos, but it was a clock! With clockwork! It was so cute. They've all been getting a lot of attention from the neighbourhood kids on the way to school.



I went to Stephen's show at Narwhal last night. It was pretty incredible. His paintings are really beautiful. He has an Artist Profile on NOW Magazine's weekly feature that's well worth a read.


Finally, Celine wrote a really sweet blog post on our day of jam making last weekend. Her photos are so soft and sweet! Dre looks so handsome! Thanks for a fun day, Celine!