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)