It’s been a little quiet on this blog of late, partly due to the usual ongoing careful management of health-related things but also, mostly, due to the percolation of a few projects. The first one being my NEW WEBSITE, which I am so excited about! It should be launching sometime within the next month (vague? Yep, but as a designer I have learned to grin and bear the persnickety, fickle nature of deadlines) and my integrator is currently working his magic on it. I can’t wait – long, LONG overdue.
The other project is one that I’ve been sitting on for quite some time. I loved the idea, and wanted to do something about it, but having a chronic illness that requires thoughtful diligence makes you hesitate. A lot. That being said, the thing about life (brace yourself, this is something you’ve only heard five zillion times) is that you kind of have to heed all those quote clichés once in a while and carpe the day, seize the damn diem, or what have you. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’m throwing a craft fair, here in Hudson, at the end of the summer. It’s called Bohème, and you are all invited – all eight of you who read my blog that is, and if you’re feeling kind, anybody with whom you share this information with.
Am I afraid I’m going to blow it? Yes, yes I am. I can think of so many junctures at which I could screw this up. But it could also be wonderful – fun, and festive, and community-building, and fun, and indie-celebrating, and tasty, oh and also FUN. p.s. fun doesn’t look like fun once you’ve written it more than a few times.
Luckily for me, I have a very good friend and colleague who is helping me navigate the process. The growing pains are tough and the hours are long, but things are coming together and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m currently working on finalizing a venue, the application forms are up (makers, designers, food artisans, take note! The deadline is July 10th!), and I’m gathering up an accomplished jury to curate the heck out of this thing. In the immortal words of Wham! : If you’re gonna do it, do it right.
Summertime in Hudson is the best – our weekends are packed with visitors, barbecues, trips to Finnegan’s, shopping at 2 Barn Owls, snacks at Mikko’s, walks on the beach, and on it goes. People love coming here, and I want to share that love with as many as possible. I can’t think of a better way to accomplish this than by organizing a festive day of shopping, snacking and celebrating the talent of our independent Canadian makers and designers. I hope you join us :)
I can’t believe it’s June! After a pretty unforgiving winter, the warm breezes and blanket of green sure feel good. Finnegan’s has been going strong since May, but I got flattened by a tummy bug for almost a month so I had some catching up to do. Luckily this past Saturday was sunny and beautiful so we packed up Panda and headed out. Panda got some delicious salmon skin from the lovely kind folks who run the smoked fish/meat stall, and I found a pretty pair of earrings – sparkly, fresh tear drops to brighten up any day. Four bucks.
This project is even closer to my heart than usual because it’s for my sweet husband Christian. Christian is an accomplished lighting technician who has worked in the film industry for years; he’s also a very talented handyman who has helped us transform every place we’ve ever lived in together. Put together his home improvement know-how with the predictable down-times of the cinema world, and it was only a matter of time before he started up a second business for himself. He’s currently completing his studies to obtain his RBQ number and has been working with local construction companies for the past year to sharpen his skills – so naturally I had to help out with a logo and a website.
Since we’ve got bilingual ground rules here in our Belle Province, he went with a friendly name that everybody understands and that emphasizes his approachability. Renovations are messy and patience-testing – yes indeedy, ask me all about it – but they don’t have to be scary and the process doesn’t have to be murky. We’ve encountered challenges with every single contractor we’ve ever hired and I’m sure that many people can relate, so hopefully Christian’s approach may present a refreshing change from the norm.
Christian just recently finished his first project for our friends Marie-Eve and Mike – Marie-Eve wrote a lovely blog post about it here – I love this project! Marie-Eve has impeccable taste as you probably already know. As usual, she’s inspired me to tackle more than a few of the neglected corners in our own abode. Congratulations honey, on your new business! Oh, and I have a kitchen for you to look at… it just happens to be very nearby. And a bathroom… and… xo
If you live anywhere on the Eastern seaboard, right now your social media feeds are full of snow. IT SNOWED, people. In a big way. While I will always envy my city friends for various spontaneities and conveniences, the quiet beauty after a snowfall around our place is second to none. Also, it doesn’t take a week for snow removal to come. But I digress.
It’s also Panda’s moment. Her very favouritest. When your dog is the Scarface of snow, you go for walks. Many, many walks! This morning’s was particularly beautiful… Keep warm, keep safe, and enjoy the pretty.
Photos by me and my hubby Christian.
Incredibly, last year’s fun little project wasn’t just a one-time thing. The evidence is right here in my office, in a box that arrived over the weekend. I’m so excited that Panda calendars have made it back for another year! The tradition continues: all profit will be donated to the shelter that saved Panda’s life. Without the tireless work of the Frontier Animal Society, our beloved Panda and hundreds of other sweet, furry little souls simply would not be here today. Their dedication and genuine concern for all those in their charge is truly heart-warming and very special.
If you have a pet lover on your holiday gift list, this will provide them with a year’s worth of smiles and the knowledge that you have also contributed to a very fine organization. Or, if you’re in the mood to treat yo self, this is a fabulous opportunity to do so and give to a good cause to boot.
Panda would like to reassure you that many carrots were harmed in the production of this calendar. A special thank-you to my sweet Christian for taking these shop photos! Please help us sell out, which we almost did last year! You can purchase your very own Panda calendar here. Happy 2015!
The lovely Marisa from the washi tape heaven that is Omiyage kindly invited me to contribute my pick to the Oh My! Handmade Goodness gift guide for the holidays. Lucky for me, I was given the animal-themed category which was right up my alley. See my pick here and be sure to peruse the other categories for beautiful handmade ideas, they post a new one every week! Panda even gets a special mention – thank-you, Marisa :)
Speaking of Panda, a very special calendar is in production right now… expect an update soon!
I don’t talk about it often around these parts, but I have a chronic illness. It’s a pretty crummy chronic illness, as far as chronic illnesses go. The compromises are frequent and endless, and my patience and determination are taxed on a daily basis.
One of the huge compromises I face daily is reflected in my relationship with food. For the past two years, I’ve had to limit my diet to a handful of ingredients in order to help my body manage a massive and punishing flare. I’ve been able to stabilize somewhat but I haven’t had the freedom to expand on my diet very much – I’m still walking a very tight rope.
I had originally planned a very rose-coloured series where as I got healthier, I would illustrate the foods I was welcoming back into my life with open arms; but as the months went by I realized that this wasn’t happening freely or even regularly, as I had hoped. Putting that project on the back burner was yet another reminder that chronic illness can throw a wrench into the best laid of plans. So when my friend Anisa suggested that I just flip it around and illustrate the foods I COULDN’T eat (thanks Anisa!), I thought – why the tarnation not? And then my friend Belinda encouraged me to post about it (thanks Belinda!). p.s. Wow, I have a lot of friends with pretty names.
So anyway, here is my first entry in what I hope will become a fun and cathartic series. I’m starting small.
Two Saturdays ago was our last Finnegan‘s outing of the year. It was bittersweet – half the vendors were already gone, there was a chill in the air, the skies were dark. People were giving each other hugs and wishing each other a good winter – it felt a bit like the end of camp. I bought a bag of beautiful deep red Empire apples from the Verger Hudson stall and we made our way into the barn, where a box full of silvery goodies awaited us.
Christian had been eyeing a silverware set for about three years – yup, three years, that’s how we shop. I love pretty silverware and was willing to wait for just the right set; that is to say, affordable on top of all the other requirements I had in my head. Call me a weirdo, but there’s so much to be particular about when it comes to just about anything, and for me that includes silverware (although, being particular does not lend itself well to shopping on a budget – which is why it often takes us years to buy stuff). The proportions, the weight, the length of the fork tines, the spoons – oh my gosh, the SPOONS. Perfectly round soup spoons, please. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but it is. This set included the best dessert spoons I’ve ever seen – perfectly proportioned, with a matte gold bowl. So pretty.
Salvatore’s stall is a fixture in the barn: beautiful serving pieces, silverware and accessories, and always a sweet little dog (one of their several) taking a nap in the chair at the back. We negotiated a special end-of-the-season price and he was kind enough to polish and sharpen all the knives for us – although now we’re afraid to use them. Thank-you to Salvatore and his wife for making our last purchase of the season so memorable. Until next spring, Finny’s.
It’s a big deal when one of your clients celebrates their tenth anniversary; it becomes that much more significant when you realize that you’ve been with them right from the start. When my sister Sonja first told me about the Ten Oaks Project, Holly and Julia Wagg weren’t married yet and were hatching a dream – a dream that became reality thanks to the hard work, dedication and love of many caring folks.
Last Saturday, I hopped on a bus to Ottawa to join them in celebrating ten years of love, diversity and inclusiveness. It was a very touching event, filled with beautiful testimonials and heartfelt appreciation – not to mention glitter, crafts and cake. The Ten Oaks Project has transformed the lives of so many – if you haven’t heard of them, do take a look at all the good that they do. Over the past decade, as I shifted between agency and freelance work, I collaborated with them to create their Camp Ten Oaks logo, Bowl-a-Thon posters, their first website, their annual reports; Christian and I visited Camp Ten Oaks and photographed their very first summer. Whenever I could, I donated my services. I’ve watched them grow, thrive, and develop even further – notably, Project Acorn which my awesome sister Sonja dedicated so many years to.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of designing their tenth anniversary logo, badge and invitation. It was my first time designing a badge and I am so hooked – must design more badges. So much fun.
Dear Holly, Julia, Sonja, Mark, Lee, Hannah and the entire Ten Oaks team and family – congratulations on your ten years, and here’s to many more life-changing decades ahead of you. I’m so pleased and honoured to have been able to contribute in some small way, and I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Happy, happy anniversary :) xo
(thank-you for the photo, Holly!! xo)
Last Saturday’s torrential downpour put a damper on our weekly Finnegan’s outing so we decided to tackle my art wall project. There’s a big blank wall in my office that I had destined to become a mini art gallery – three years after moving in, I’d finally collected a sufficient amount of pieces to at least fill a good part of it. I started by arranging everything on the floor in our living room. Christian measured the wall I wanted to cover and marked out the width and height with tape on the floor, and we noted where the light switch, dog food (not shown ;) and filing cabinet were positioned along that wall.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out – it’s a fun collection of artwork, prints and photographs. There’s a lot more wall left to fill so I have years of satisfying flea market foraging ahead of me…
I’m so lucky to have original artwork and prints by both friends and family, and some antique pieces handed down to us from Christian’s lovely mom – they do a nice job of balancing the more random items that had caught my eye at Finnegan’s. Looking forward to filling in the gaps over the next few years. Thank-you to Christian for the photographs! <3