Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thinking about 2010

The whole tribe is still in town, which is both nice and exhausting.  I'd like to sleep for, say, 14 hours.  That should do the trick.  In the meantime, I've been mulling over what I want 2010 to look like.

A few years ago I realized that the new year doesn't necessarily represent a time to change but a time to be more of who I already am.  That might mean changes in habits or tendencies so therefore changes are actually tweaks. Think of it like a revision on a piece of writing - it's like tuning a drum; you keep tightening different screws on the drumhead until you get the sound you want; those are the kinds of changes I'm talking about.  Luckily for me, I'm the kind of person who likes to learn and try new things so if I include some of those in my "list," it's still authentic to who I am.

One thing I've already decided to do is to have an Everyday-for-a-Month activity.  I'm not so linear that it's going to be for the whole year; just until I'm done with it.  For example, one month will require that I write a letter or postcard everyday.  Another month will see a lot of hats, and yet another will get me reading more books.  For me it's both about engaging in something that I enjoy but often feel like I can't fit into my everyday life as well as putting an artificial external construct on my actions (something I perversely enjoy).

So, not looking at resolutions, but revisions.  What about you?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It Ain't Over til It's Over

This year we're celebrating Christmas on the 28th.  It was our work-around for all the people who work retail and can't get away.  So I've been crafting and cooking and what-not like crazy.

One thing my partner and I realized is that not celebrating Christmas on the 25th makes you feel like you decided to go to an entirely different party than the one everyone else is attending.  It was a little weird.  We went to the movies and saw "It's Complicated."  Perfect holiday movie.

Soon I'll be able to talk about all the things I made without telling any of the recipients about their gifts!  Maybe I'll even be able to take a picture of our tree as well - an ode to maximalism.

Happy, happy to everyone out there!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I always go to Ikea thinking there will be things I want.  I get a little wrapped up in the catalog and some kind of idealized Scandinavian life.  What am I thinking?   That life doesn't contain the same tediums in Swedish as it does in English?

Anyway, went to Ikea today to help a friend continue redecorating her apartment.  Despite not needing or really wanting anything, my partner and I ended up spending some $80+ on 'stuff.'  Tedium or not - impulse purchases are the same in any language!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Second Thoughts

After looking into the whole Persian lamb thing, I'm having second thoughts.  I was a bit too quick to justify my purchase, and although I can't return the coat, I'm going to have to either reconcile myself to it (it is vintage) or give it up.  I'll keep you posted.

Holiday Outfits, or How I Succumbed to an E-bay Shopping Spree

While not quite the frothy confections that were dancing in my head, I did manage to find a couple of cute dresses to wear for the holidays.

For Christmas...

I'm going with a red silk, with silk lining and covered buttons, 50's style dress.  I think it'll be a winner - this holiday season and into the next year.

For New Year's...

A beaded light blue silk number.  Kind of mod and kind of regal.

I also must cop to an impulse purchase (!) - a 60s grey Persian Lamb coat.  As a lamb eater and knitter, I feel like it helps me embrace a 'whole animal' philosophy (okay, and it helps me justify my purchase of a fur coat).

The total for all three items, including shipping?  Just a touch over $100.  Whoo-hoo!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Folk Art Coat (or Mrs. Claus for the limited)

Firstly let me say that I'm a little dismayed that I'm putting a) a photo of myself up but mostly b) a photo of myself without makeup.  My partner says I'm too hard on myself, but I have standards, which seem to be slipping during the holiday season...

Anyway, this is one of the warmest coats I own.  I found it at Value Village, and it fit me perfectly from the get-go.  It's definitely an attention-grabber (I find the whole Mrs. Claus/Merry Christmas comments really lack imagination), and now I've found it to be a point of connection.

I wore it last night to the Art Crawl in Hamilton because it was brutally cold.  Stopping in at Mixed Media I ran into a woman who had on a similar coat, and we ended up chatting about them.  I have no idea of the provenance of mine (there's no label), but I've seen variations of them around. The woman with whom I spoke believes they're a type of coat crafted by First Nations' people because she got a comment about hers at the recent Canadian Aboriginal Festival.  If anyone has any information about my coat, I'd be really interested.

Here are some photos of the details:

It's trimmed with some kind of white fur.  I'm generally not a fur-wearing gal (oh, and please don't lecture me here - thanks!), but I loved this coat in all its felt-applique, fur-trimmed coziness.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I wandered around Toronto yesterday, popping in and out of shops, mostly just considering items.  Of course I managed to pick up a few holiday gifts as well as some yarn for myself (hey, I need a top to go with a recently-hemmed pair of pants - what do you expect me to do?).

But what really occurred to me as I meandered about was that I want a frothy colourful 50s-style cocktail dress for the holidays.  Absolutely no black - I swear!  I'm leaning toward red.  I'm on the hunt now (in between my grading responsibilities) and briefly toyed with the idea of sewing my own.  But who am I kidding?!  I barely have time for the projects lined up in the craftory as it is!  I'm just hoping that I can find a dress that fits my proportions (it seems that the girls in the 50s were stacked with tiny waists!).  I'm ever hopeful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Today I'm feeling just that - lackluster.  Is it because:

a) my cat sleeps all over me at night?
b) I awoke painfully early this morning (6:30am) and got out of bed at 7:30?
c) I expected snow, but just got cold rain?
d) post-last-day-of-classness and the massive amounts of papers I need to grade?
e) hitting the holiday wall?
f) trying to get my son a flight out here for the holidays?

Regardless, I'm trying to combat it with some knitting (making my way through the second sock) although I'd planned on going to the studio to do some serious sewing (which really needs to be done).  Even the sock is kind of uninspiring.  Then my friend at granoland sends me a link to this blog written by a 13-year old with a Comme des Garcons obsession and I find myself experiencing some confusing feelings...

I'm going to mull them over while working on an entirely non-holiday related project - freehand embroidering & embellishing a sweater with some permanent stains.  Maybe I'll have something to show for myself later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Red Letter Day!

Let me start by saying that I have what is becoming a more and more unusual relationship with the mail.  I love it when the mail comes.  For me, there is always the possibility that something good will come - a story acceptance, a letter (quite rare), a magazine, or sometimes money.  One of my sorrows in Canada is that there is no Saturday delivery.

So when my new issue of Selvedge came today, I was elated!

Selvedge is one of those magazines that always makes me happy - it's hard to describe why it's so thrilling to me.  Maybe it's because it takes textiles seriously and always has interesting articles and beautiful photography.  Maybe it's because it fuels my imagination and gives me glimpses of lives perhaps different than mine, but ones that share my interests.  All I know is that once it arrives, it often consumes all my attention.  Of course I keep all my back issues.

To make it an even greater pleasure, they have an article about one of my favourite individuals:  J. Morgan Puett.

J. Morgan Puett made clothes for a number of years.  I own a number of her pieces - they were generally marked by their craftsmanship and Puett's vision of interesting clothing.  What I continue to admire about her is that she really has made her own life - she's an artist, a designer, and an independent thinker and spirit.  There was a great article about her in the NYTimes awhile back, and her website also bears evidence of this.

I wish she still made clothes.  Now I've resorted to copying a favourite pair of pants and trawling e-bay for old pieces.

Another great thing is that I signed up to participate in The Fiction Project.  Their description works best here:  "Sign up and receive a 5.5 by 8.5 inch Moleskine Cahier notebook and a randomly selected theme. Create your narrative using words and images and send it back to be a part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Art Library."  I can't wait to receive my notebook and find out what my theme is.

And finally (for now, at least), the first flurries of the season came today.  The weather forecast calls for more sustained snow in a few days.  Ah winter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


progress -

(might finish the first sock tonight!)

me happy -
(Rangers win 2-1, and we were there! )

 (photo courtesy of Joy the Baker)

(hoping I can make them without eating them all.)

me laugh -

Saturday Night Live's Vagisil Ladies's Bowling Tournament skit last night (which you can only watch online if you're in the States) featured our own Copp's Coliseum in the opening set-up.  Yes, that's right - Hamilton, Ontario's Copp's Coliseum was the stock footage used by SNL.  That and the skit itself were pretty much the funniest things on the show in its entirety.

Happy St. Nikolaus Day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Silken objects of desire

Darling Dexter blogged about a wonderful silk petticoat for sale on etsy by It's Okay My Dear.  Of course I had to check it out because it was simply beautiful and transcendent (and then I saw that it transcended my price range).  However, look what else I found by the same maker!

I feel like I must have this!  It's crazy gorgeous. The Pink Souffle Hair Piece has style and grace, and for some reason, I like the pink (although she'll make it up in any colour).

However, I cannot shop for myself right now.  I've been resisting the urge to buy those shoes, and I'm going to be good and wait until the holidays finish.  Maybe this will end up under our tree.  If not, maybe it'll be there in January...

Back at it

This applies to many things.  Firstly, I'm back at my blog, which I seemed to have abandoned last week.  But happily last week was my last full week of classes for the term.  This, I hope, will mean that I can actually blog when I think about it and maybe even establish some kind of regularity to it (I hate the word routine, and it's not quite a ritual yet).

Back at it also refers to my knitting.  Below you'll see the sock I had to rip out because hey, I noticed that it was going to be way too big for my intended recipient.  My partner said it would be good for someone with "cankles" - those calf/ankle combos.  Definitely not my intended recipient.

Thankfully, our cat Max consoled me as I began the sock anew (smaller needle size and a new plan).


Finally, I just have to say how sweet the comment exchange for the last post was.  I love that two of my friends, who have never met, are engaged in conversation here.  It feels like a blog success!