March 25th 2010

I love baking treats in the kitchen. I always look forward to finding a fun recipe for special occasions, but Chris' birthday is always my favorite.

These are the cupcakes I ended up making for last night. They're from a Martha Stewart recipe, which is usually my fail-safe. I love her recipes, but she may go just a little over the top with the crazy details sometimes. (I never thought I'd say that!).

Anyway, they turned out really tasty; especially the marshmallow icing. It was the perfect excuse to use my favorite copper bowl. I don't remember where I read it, but copper bowls are the best thing to use to whip eggs. There is some sort of mystery chemical reaction that happens between copper and egg whites that makes them extra frothy.

Now that I've had my fun in the kitchen, I think it's time for me to get back to work!

March 24th 2010

This is my 100th post!

It just so happens that it's Chris' birthday today, too!

I was away over the weekend, but am back into the full swing of things again. I've been painting lots, and can't wait until I'm at a point when I can photograph the painting I'm working on and upload it. I'm pretty excited about this project I've been working on.

I also did a small pencil drawing for Chris. I love an excuse to draw with pencil. It happens so rarely.

Now it's time for me to start making special top-secret birthday treats!

March 18th 2010

I'm exhausted. I've been walking everywhere today, and even had a very impromptu spin class because Chris was teaching it tonight.

I may be tired, but I also had a fantastic day. I was out in the sun, and heat! It was 17℃ here in Toronto today. It was beautiful. I've really needed a little vitamin D lately.

It was made better when, out running errands, I had the very good fortune to stop in to local illustrator Alanna Cavanagh's studio to pick up a silkscreen print that I'd won off her blog last week! I was thrilled when I found out, but was even happier when I saw it in person! It's such a sweet print, (called "t is for tap dance"). We talked about silkscreening for a while, and about the class she had taken, while in New York, with Lotta Jansdotter! Amazing!

It's always exciting to see people's personal workspace, but Alanna's studio/apartment was especially cute! She recently posted photos of the space, so you can see for yourself!

I would love to write more about what I'm working on, but instead I think it's time for me to go collapse!

March 16th 2010

I got a wonderful package in the mail this morning. It was the issue of New York Magazine's Weddings Spring and Summer issue with the set of six illustrations I'd done for them inside. I've been eagerly anticipating this issue since I worked on it, and it was such a nice treat!

March 15th 2010, pt. 2

I doubt I'm exaggerating when I say that Stig Lindberg's "Bersa" design for Gustavsberg, Sweden is quite possibly the most sought-after pattern in modern day ceramics. It's simple and beautiful, and always printed on the most equally simple and beautiful forms. Stig Lindberg was one of the most important post-war designers, not just of porcelain, but also illustration and industrial design.

For some reason, I always find myself drawn to design on porcelain. Some, (maybe even most?), of my favorite designers of all time work in porcelain, (Stig Lindberg, Russel & Mary Wright, etc.). For a very long time I've admired Stig Lindberg's work, and hope that one day I'll own a piece of his. (Maybe that tea pot below??)

And is it just me, or does he look remarkably like the guy on the cover of The Smiths Best Of album??

March 15th 2010

I decided recently to experiment with oils again. It's been years since I last used them.

One day I went down to the art store in our neighbourhood and picked out a tube of black paint and a tube of white paint, a couple of brushes and some stretchers, and came home to make some frames. I dug out some beautiful white linen that I've been saving to make tea towels out of and cut two pieces to size for the two new stretchers I'd made. I gessoed them and left them to dry over night. The next day I found an old photo that I thought would make a simple sketch and set to work. I've gone back to it a couple of times when the layers were dry. It's been floating around my desk for a couple of weeks now, and I finally decided to leave it and move on to the next.

This is a small painting, (only 8" x 10"), and the other will be 12" x 16". I'll be setting to work on a project really soon and wanted to make sure that I feel comfortable working with this medium again. It's very different from what I'm used to working in, but I love to give myself a good challenge!

March 14th 2010


Tomorrow morning is the first day of the Poppytalk Handmade Spring and Easter Market, and I've got some work available in my shop. Please click through the image above to check it out tomorrow!

Also, I'd like to thank all of those who have been making orders over the last few weeks! It's been very encouraging, and so nice to meet so many people from around the world. Chris and I are saving for our wedding next spring, and every bit helps, so again, thank you all so much.

March 13th 2010

I finished my newest print , Dutch Quilt, late last night. I mentioned it yesterday, and the fact that it deserved a little explanation.

So here it is; I recently started doing a little research into the folk art of the Pennsylvania Dutch, namely "hexes". I've always associated the "hex" with witchcraft and curses, but the hex originated as a symbol for positive things, ie, strength, good luck, etc. They all mean different things, but they're all positive. For example the oak leaf, (pictured above), symbolizes strength and is often associated with "masculine strength". The star, which is pictured in a number of different shapes, as well as wheat sheaves usually symbolize abundance and goodwill.

The Pennsylvania Dutch are also very well known for their intricately hand-stitched quilts, so I wanted to include that in the design, (in the geometric grey floral shapes).

I found learning a little bit about the history of these signs really interesting, and I'm always drawn to the traditional folk art from different places.

Oh! And I nearly forgot! As of Monday morning, I'll have a posting on the Poppytalk Handmade Spring and Easter Market. I'll post a link when all of my work is online!

March 12th 2010

I have a few things to post about today.

Firstly, I finally got around to making a business card! I should have had one ages ago, but hadn't gotten around to it. So here it is!

I was planning on getting it printed somewhere, then thought the other day that I'd been doing my own silkscreening a lot lately and that that gold ink of mine looks great on cream-coloured stock, so voila! I cut them out, printed two at a time, then cut them to size. It took lots of printing, and lots of cutting, but I'm really happy with the result.

The second thing I've been working on today is a new print. I'm in the middle of printing it, but when the ink is dry I'll post photos and an explanation. I believe this particular design deserves a little bit of explanation.

The last thing was brought to my attention yesterday; which was a post on design blog But Does It Float, featuring my dear friend Carly's newest oil paintings of minerals. I was familiar with all of the pieces except for the very first, which may now be my very favorite. Carly, if you read this, what is the mineral in that piece? Citrine? It's so pretty. They keep getting better and better. The thing that really amazed me when I first saw them in person was their size! They look, in photos, like they could be very large paintings, but they're actually quite small. And incredible.

March 11th 2010

I've wanted to get really good at making bread, (which I find a real challenge), so as a sort of unofficial New Year's resolution I've decided to keep trying until I can make it well.

Yesterday, it was a full day, (from 9am til 8pm), of brioche dough, but it was well worth it! (The day previous, I tried a raisin bread from The River Cottage Family Cookbook and it didn't rise properly. It was heavy). This brioche recipe was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2, and it was light and flakey and really tasty with strawberry jam this morning.

While waiting for things to proof in the kitchen, I also worked on a new print design. I've finished it, but haven't decided yet whether I want to make it into a card or small print. I'll post photos when I've printed it.

Oh yeah, and I changed the appearance of my website a little! I'm really happy with the way it looks now. Here it is! I'm adding new work to it all the time, so please check back.

Time for second breakfast?

March 9th 2010

I made a couple of new fabric patterns the other night that I've ordered to use in the upcoming Spring Trunk Show at the workroom! I hope they arrive soon! I can't wait to see how they turn out. I'll post some photos of the actual fabric when it arrives.

I've been working on a new painting, but It's beautiful out today so I'm taking a short break to go enjoy the sun!

March 5th 2010

This is the newest video by sweet lullaby duo Lullatone. I love watching this video! I love kaleidoscopes! So pretty.

March 4th 2010

I made two new prints to add to the collection of spring prints I've been working on. They are both of two of my favorite things, and two of the things I miss most when it's winter.

I decided to try printing on the watercolour stock that I've been using for the past few years, and I love the way they printed up.

The clover print is called Field, and the mushrooms, Woodland.

Oh yeah, and thanks again to Celine, who posted about the prints she'd already gotten the other day, on her blog yesterday!

March 3rd 2010

I'm working on two new prints today! They could be a set, or separate, but they both look like spring. I'll post them first thing tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, here's a sweet music video to hold you over. It's by Swedish band Hold Your Horses!.

March 2nd 2010

I've been collecting children's books for quite a while now. I have a great collection of some of my favorite Little Golden Books from when I was very young on our bookshelf at home. I also found a couple of these Junior Deluxe Editions, printed in the 1950's, at a local thrift store a while back. But a couple of days ago I stumbled on a Flickr photo set posted by Scott Lindberg, (who's also admin for a Flickr group featuring their favorite covers from the classic book series), full of some of the most beautiful book covers I've ever seen.

I can't seem to find any information on the designer of the covers of the books; only the inside illustrations are attributed. If anyone has any information regarding the cover design, email me! I'd love to hear about it.

Here are some of my favorites.

March 1st 2010

I've been a little AWOL the last week. I've had a few things on the go, including a new print design and possibly a new spring fabric design.

I got an email from Celine a couple of days ago to tell me that she'd spotted a post on the ReadyMade blog of a photo she'd taken of herself in the thrummed mittens I made for her! These particular ones are made from scratch, but they give a tutorial showing how to make "after-thought" thrummed mittens by stringing roving through an already knit pair of mittens in alternating stitches. Neat idea! I may have to try this with some of my older, not-so-warm mittens!

I'll have some illustrations that I worked on a while ago to post here in the next week or so. They're the set of six illustrations that I did for New York Magazine's Weddings Spring/Summer 2010 issue. It'll be on newsstands shortly!