31 October 2011

59 - shop updates!

i finally updated the shop this weekend! i have been working on a new series of repurposed antique & vintage plate clocks, some of which are now available here. they're so lovely!

top: death by chocolate repurposed vintage plate clock
left: atlas riverstone globe & vintage tassel necklace
right: evergreen antique staffordshire plate clock

i've also released some seasonal, festive pieces from the nova lily 2011 Christmas/Winter collection:

left: isosceles triangle merino wool felt layered necklace - in red and olive green (Christmas edition)

21 October 2011

58 - still life

things have been pretty quiet and still around here as i've been devoting ALL my time to preparing for my comprehensive exams, giving it one last push to complete and submit my annotated bibliography so that i can write the exam in November. what better time, then, to share this animated Still Life (2001) by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood, a silent film work in which a painterly bowl of fruit decays at an accelerated place. engaging the seventeenth-century art historical traditions of vanitas and memento mori, it is perfectly visceral in the way it distorts time and captures the banality of the everyday. 

i particular like the way Taylor-Wood's work actively but subtly engages historical conventions and constructions. as i have been reading about the invention and representation of hysteria in the nineteenth century as part of my study of intersections between art, medicine, and the body, i am naturally drawn to another of her video works, Hysteria (1997), in which a woman performs the emotional states of laughing and crying in the absence of sound, blurring the distinctions between them.

03 October 2011

57 - happy october!

i cannot believe that it is already October! while fall is truly my favourite season, it's arrival happened so quickly and i have been so busy with my research i feel like i almost missed it. like the opening lyrics to this song by the Avett Brothers, which are actually part of another song. missing the seasons... the world outside just goes and goes...

but good thing for artists who capture the spirit of the seasons to live on and inspire me from my computer's desktop. i love the richness and warmth of Christiane Engel's new October desktop calendar. the deep red is perfect in so many ways! visit Christiane's lovely blog to download.

26 September 2011

56 - still hard at work

i have decided to extend my work(ing) getaway in the old stone house to focus on studying for my comps, which means that i am also extending the sale in the shop until the weekend. simply enter the coupon code FREEFALLSHIP during checkout to receive free shipping (domestic & international) on your order.

this Polaroid-inspired illustration by artist Amy Blackwell perfectly captures my surroundings as i am "hard at work," accompanied by either a cup of coffee or warm cup of tea and various other delicacies. i try to stay inspired by the little things to counter what often seems like the heaviness of my work, and Amy's work always inspires in a light-hearted way. i especially love her charming animal portraits, which are available along with the "Polaroid - Hard at Work" print in her lovely shop

images Copyright © Amy Blackwell

23 September 2011

55 - music mix: waiting for you (to come home)

while i am waiting for andrew to arrive, i put together my first music mix. each song was carefully selected to reflect how much our hearts long for each other, or because they either remind me of him, or him of me. together they have the feeling of nestling in on a fall evening waiting for your love to come home. i can't wait to be home together for good. enjoy.

  1. Between Atoms - Krista Muir
  2. Her Eyes Dart Around - The Felice Brothers
  3. If I Were a Sailor - Nicole Reynolds 
  4. Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
  5. To Build a Home - Cinematic Orchestra
  6. Who by Fire - Leonard Cohen
  7. So Everyone - Bonnie Prince Billy
  8. I'm in the Mood - John Lee Hooker
  9. Yegelle Tezeta - Mulatu Astatke
  10. Green Grass - Agathe & Fine
  11. I See a Darkness - Johnny Cash
  12. Unknown Legend - Neil Young
  13. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
  14. Skinny Love - Bon Iver
  15. Left on Laura, Left on Lisa - The Avett Brothers
  16. Comptine d'un autre été - Amélie Soundtrack
  17. Woody - Hayden

54 - friday favourites: soft & feminine Etsy notes

for this week's friday favourites, i am essentially recycling an Etsy treasury i recently curated featuring a number of my favourite Etsyians and independent designers (a handful of which are also local & Canadian!). i have been so focused on my studies this week that i have not spent much time browsing the interweb, although i always manage to find time to participate in the Etsy community (while it obviously serves as a distraction in ways that are both productive and unproductive, i also think it helps to ground me). i can't seem to stop looking at this collection of lovelies, i think because it plays to the girl in me, which often emerges in surprising and unpredictable ways. while i have traditionally been drawn to earthy, warm, and neutral tones, i am opening myself up more and more to a range of pastels that i find to be a certain kind of feminine, mostly nudes and roses and blushes with soft undertones. they seem to strike a chord deep inside me that i am unable to resist! so instead, i have been embracing these softer notes...

and as always, have a lovely weekend! i'm taking a break from studying to spend mine with andrew.


22 September 2011

53 - blooming leopold

Lauren Winter of blooming leopold recently released the lookbook for her fall/winter 2012 handmade collection, and it is gorgeous! featuring brown wool tweed, black velvet, floral corduroy, and ivory & black organdy in loose, boyishly feminine fits, the new designs are elegant, laid back, and perfectly rustic. shot at the Historic Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee, the photos have a dreamy, nostalgic charm that captures the lure of fall. while i might be drawn to the stone house in the background because i am currently staying in one (not to mention that historical stone houses have a particular place in my heart!), i find its inclusion in the photos to be wonderfully inviting, making we want to nestle in for the season—in brown wool tweed and black velvet....

view the full lookbook here and visit the blooming leopold shop (where all items are made to order) for more details.

19 September 2011

52 - hard at work

i am out of town on something of a work(ing) holiday, nestled in a quiet old stone house in a small town along the St. Lawrence River, where i will be spending the week studying for my upcoming PhD comprehensive exams. inspired by this lovely silkscreen print by Erin Dollar, which i am posting as both an illustration of the week ahead of me and as an artful reminder of the work i need to accomplish this week, my goal is to remain focused and "work hard." while i am always hard at work, steadily working days & nights and weekends, i am also constantly distracted at home by any number of things: nova lily and other art-making projects, playing house, wedding planning, blogging/reading blogs, snuggling with my kitty.... as September is quickly passing by and deadlines are fast approaching, i need to stay focused on my academic work so that i can get through this phase of my degree, return to my life with andrew, carry on with my research, and devote more time to my art.

so, it is time to crank out some serious work. and there is no other placed i'd rather be....

visit Erin's etsy shop for more artful goods. you can also find Erin on her blog.

16 September 2011

51 - happy weekend // music video

ever since i followed a link to this music video for Gotye's "Somebody that I Used to Know" (feat. Kimbra) via andrew + carissa, i can't stop watching it. it's so infectious! i love how the animated painting envelopes their bodies. perhaps it's the art historian in me that's naturally drawn to it (i study contemporary body art), but i just can't seem to get it out of my mind. i'm sure i'll be re-playing it all weekend....

have a lovely weekend, friends!

i am leaving tomorrow for a rendezvous with andrew and a week-long "work(ing) vacation," but i will be posting throughout the week. hopefully.


50 - friday favourites: cozy into fall fashion

temperatures are starting to cool down and autumn is in the air! it's making me want to dress in warm, comfortable layers, snuggle up under blankets, and sip hot cups of tea. the textures and earthy neturals of fall are my favourite... so cozy.

15 September 2011

49 - what two things go together: felines and fieldguided

this photo of a cat in glasses by Toronto photographer and cat-lover Robin Sharp of instantt just made my day! the sophisticated feline pairs perfectly with this handprinted tote bag that i recently purchased from Fieldguided, which is becoming something of a collective sign among fans who carry the unmistakable lyric totes around the world. also based in Toronto, the lovely Anabela Carneiro of Fieldguided (which she runs together with her partner Geoff) is a self-professed cat lady in the best kind of way. in addition to occasionally writing about cats on her ever-inspiring blog, she also co-curates a collection of dreamy cat photos together with Erin Gilkes of Atlantic Treefox, called Dream Cats, and has a feature in this playful cat zine produced by Little Burgundy. the magazine also features wonderful illustrations by (and an interview with) Canadian artist Melinda Josie, another one of Canada's leading cat ladies. so much cat love!

naturally, when i unwrapped my lovingly packaged tote, my cat hunter inspected it for approval (i think the photo shows that it definitely met his standards!). i'm waiting to find him curled up on it one day so that i can snag more dreamy photos....

14 September 2011

48 - a love letter to fortnight

after a morning meeting and an afternoon of running school and research-related errands, i opted to relieve my stress by going on a hunt to a local department store for Canadian designed and made Fortnight Lingerie, whose sophisticated, luxurious, and vintage-inspired undergarments recently stole my heart. much to my surprise, i found a small collection from last season's line (dramatically reduced to sale prices!) casually hidden amongst the new fall displays. even from a distance, the clean lines, soft hues, and touch of vintage glamour were unmistakable! i nearly gasped out loud with satisifaction and delight at my discovery -- actually, i think i  might have. with the kind of luck you want to safekeep for moments like this one, i found a good selection of items in my size. trying them on was like sliding on a glass slipper. all the reviews and feedback i had read online were absolutely correct: Fortnight is made for real women, fitting your body in all the right places; their bras are the most comfortable you were ever wear; and the fabrics and cuts make you feel incredibly sexy while still providing hard looked-for support. feeling like a vintage princess (a term i use selectively, as i am hard-pressed to call myself a princess), i came home with the Elizabeth partial bra and satin/mesh high waist knickers, the Rita low rise lace knickers in both black and white, and the Rita lace long line bralette in white (somehow i don't mind sharing these intimate details...).

founded in January of 2010 by head designer Christina Remenyi, Fortnight is a Toronto-based company that designs and hand makes sophisticated, vintage-inspired intimates from lace, mesh, and satin in a wide range of sizes that actually fit. combining glamour, comfort, and versatility, their designs are seductive and timeless, with the kind of quality that makes you want to fill your drawers with them to wear every day.
the collection is available in exclusive boutiques across Canada and the US, as well as in the Fortnight etsy shop (where a small selection of lovelies are currently on sale!). they are more than helpful and accomodating with sizing, and the risk of buying such gorgeous intimates without being able to try them on is definitely worth it (having been properly sized in a boutique, i found the bras to be "true to size," but had to size up in all styles of the knickers, fitting best in a medium where i usually where a small).

click here for the 2012 collection teaser.

all photos Copyright © Fortnight Lingerie Inc.

19 August 2011

46 - wishing you well // friday favourites

i love this imaginative wishing well made with bricks, acrylic paint, and dura-lar and installed directly onto a gallery floor by artist Michelle Blade. it even includes coins contributed by viewers, presumably tossed in as they each cast their own "wish." in the spirit of wishing wells, real or imaginative, i wish you a warm and wonderful weekend.... i am leaving tomorrow morning for a two-week visit (less a vacation or getaway than a much-needed reunion) with andrew, who completed his year-long, condensed forestry technician program today, received his Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) silver ring, and is now officially a forester! i am so proud of him and i can't wait to celebrate with snuggles as we continue to build our lives together.

i leave you with some favourites, new and old and mostly forestry-inspired:

this song. it melts my heart and reminds me of my love with andrew.
this forester-architect's tree house, built soild using whole trees.
this dreamy woodland cottage. yes, please.
all this green.
this reclaimed wood table, made from an old hatch.
this worker-styled shirt. rugged, down-to-earth & pretty all-in-one.
and these canadian poplar trousers. named after the tree?


18 August 2011

45 - nova lily: naturally autumn

cotton lace and merino wool are two of my favourite and most cherised materials. it's not surprising that they are taking centre stage in the new nova lily fall collection, available in the shop.

left to right:

44 - keyword: breathe

sometimes we need to remember to just breathe.

left to right:

lungs illustration by darren booth // kara akciger print by amylin loglisci
lungs intaglio print by meg clarke // breathe (artist's hair on cotton) by liyen chong
just breathe sterling silver lungs necklace by markhed designs // porcelain scultpure by kate macdowell
lungs from lisa solomon's body doily series // untitled (heart lungs) by helen pynor (knitted human hair) // 
embroidered botanical study: lung by sarah maloney

17 August 2011

43 - kitty love

so hunter has been extremely sick and has been hospitalized since Monday. when we brought him to the vet Monday evening, there was a high risk that he was facing kidney failure, in which case there would be very little that could be done to save him. i have never been so stressed out and sick with worry - i came so close to accidentally killing my cat because i brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers into the house, which included lilies, and he ate its leaves. LILIES, it turns out, ARE EXTREMELY TOXIC TO CATS. if the toxins are fully absorbed into the system, it often results in kidney damage, acute renal faliure, and in many cases death. it is virtually a miracle that hunter did not suffer kidney failure given the length of time that passed from when he first ingested the plant leaves until we sought veterinary care. while it is possible that something other than the lilies made him sick, i have learned a valuable life-saving lesson and am actively informing cat owners and lovers of the toxicity of lilies. if you have a cat, never bring lilies into the house!

the little survivor is pulling through and he's coming home tonight! i can't wait to snuggle and baby him. i am so thankful and relieved. his warm, gentle, and loving presence in our lives is irreplaceable. i know i am biased, but he is the most amazing feline i have ever known and anyone who meets him immediately falls in love with him. we figure he has already been through 3 of his 9 lives (he was incredibly sick when we first saved him as a kitten, and he was just sick with a urinary tract infection this winter) and only has 6 remaining. he's such a little heartbreaker, i love him to death - or in his case, a strong, healthy life.

15 August 2011

42 - monday morning delights

i had nothing substantial in the house for breakfast this morning, so i magically scraped together just enough ingredients to make a batch of raspberry white chocolate scones! i love being inspired and motivated to cook or bake out of necessity. i am always delightfully surpised at what i can put together out of what seems like nothing, an acquired skill that i have learned from andrew, who is a well-seasoned cook and my personal chef. as he always insists, the best cooking comes from poverty, which forces you to be creative and use every last scrap of food around. nothing goes to waste. 

i first fell madly in love with raspberry white chocolate scones when i was living in Edmonton, Alberta. they were a regular feature at a local bakery and cafe around the corner from my house, where i would wander in the morning or as an afternoon break from writing my master's thesis specifically to indulge in this delicous treat. while the cafe was undergoing renovations and expansion, the quality of the scones became inconsistent and i suddenly realized that i was paying far too much for something i could easily make for myself. after searching long and hard and trying various recipes, which inevitably came with failures, this one is consistently the best i have tried and has become a classic in my kitchen:


2 cups flour
1/3 cup fine raw sugar, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp. baking poweder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
6 tbsp. cold butter
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 - 1/2 cup white chcolate chunks
3/4 - 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup vanilla (or plain) yogourt, plus extra for wash
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg

1. preheat oven to 375 F.
2. combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix in lemon zest then cut in cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
3. stir in white chocolate chunks and fresh raspberries. if you are using frozen berries, avoid adding them until after you mix the dough or they will thaw and make a big fuscia mess.
4. mix together yogourt, vanilla extract, and egg. add to dry ingredients and mix to combine as best as you can. be as gentle as possible so that the raspberries don't break apart. don't be afraid of getting dirty! i use my hands because the dough is so delicate. it will seem like it is not going to work and like you have done something wrong, but if you trust that it will turn out you will end up with beautiful scones!
5. scoop rounds of dough and shape, placing them on abaking sheet. brush lightly with remaining yogourt combined with a little bit of milk, or an egg wash. dust with sugar (like to use a rougher sugar for this).
6. bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden, fluffy, and a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.
7. transfer to wire rack to cool.

makes 8 medium-sized scones or 6 large scones.

what inspires you to get creative in the kitchen?

12 August 2011

41 - friday favourites // happy weekend

what are you doing this weekend? i have SO much work to catch up on before i head to visit andrew next week, and given that i have a minor injury to my foot (which, it turns out, might be tendonitis), i will be staying in for a quiet weekend filled with research and reading. my kitty is also sick from eating the leaves from the beautiful bouquet of flowers i bought last weekend, so i want to stay home to keep a close eye on him. i just realized that i have yet to properly introduce him - his full name is dr. hunter s. thomcat, although we typically call him hunter or any one of the following nicknames: stinkles, sir meows-a-lot, count scratchula, superbad, professor pukaface, mr. snuggle-up-with-us, general good boy, and simply, the kitten. he is a true sweetheart and is the best animal personality i have ever known. the above series of photos was taken on our balcony this summer as he was eyeing his backyard friend, squirrely. he is an endless source of snuggles, love, and happiness.

here are a few of my favourites from this week:

this photo from this portfolio. it makes me feel so grounded.
this organic cotton dress in olive green. comfy & chic.
this sweet birch wood decor for the future baby bear.
this classic 1959 song. always a favourite.
this nightwood bedroom makeover video
this inspiring photo blog.
these small stumps.

have a wonderful weekend! xo

40 - nova lily: first fall

here's a peak at a few new vintage-inspired items in the shop for fall.

left: empress vintage red wine agate necklace
top right: white sparrow vintage porcelain bauble necklace
bottom right: terra vintage agate sticks and stones dangle earrings

09 August 2011

39 - montreal spice station

last weekend i finally checked out the new Spice Station in Montreal's mile end neighbourhood, right next door to one of my favourite local shops, Arterie Boutique & Friperie (how can i not love it? we do, afterall, share the same artful name!). the gourmet shop, which originated in Silver Lake, California, offers a stunning array of carefully selected and blended herbs, spices, chiles, salts, sugars, and teas from around the world, displayed in large apothecary jars on floor-to-ceiling shelves made from relcaimed wood. warm and inviting, the mix of colours, textures, and aromas tantalizes the senses and opens up a world of possibilities.

i came home with only a small selection based primarily on what we were preparing for dinner: whole pink peppercorns, first friday fish blend (a fish seasoning made with organic dill pollen), cinnamon sugar, and sherwood forest herbal tea.

but i am eager to try some of their chiles (there were so many to choose from!), whole black lime, harissa blend, himalayan pink salt, bali coconut lime salt, french lavender, sassafras leaves (used to make root beer), cinnamon saigon, raspberry sugar, and bourbon vanilla rooibos bush tea, among so many others.

or how about this cooking with Julia quintessential french spice and herb set? it would make a wonderful gift, but is also a great way to get your Julia on!

sigh, i think i'm in culinary heaven. and if i've wet your appetite, you can order almost any of these and other delights from the Spice Station website.

08 August 2011

38 - watercolour-esque

i have been wanting a watercolour-esque printed dress or skirt for awhile now. with only a vague idea of what i wanted in my head, i happily stumbled upon one in a local Montreal thrift store this weekend! not only are the muted green & dusty rose, thick cotton, and pleats gorgeous, but it's a perfect fit.

here's a collection of watercoloury goodness inspired by my new find: 

beachcombing and seaweed botanical watercolour prints by studio tuesday

watercolour petals dinnerware by artist Shelley Hesse for Anthropologie

watercolour save the date collaboration between love jenna and swiss cottage designs

Anthropologie Artist's Rendering Dress

watercolour note cards by rifle paper co.

hand painted silk inkblot coral tee by rachel rose

Louche Mollie watercolour dress from Joy

watercolour wedding invitations from the movements collection by artist Kristy Rice of Momental Designs
Rose lady fine art print of an original watercolour & gouach collage by Luci Everett (available in her print shop: paper soup).

05 August 2011

37 - happy weekend: celebrating sisterhood

this weekend my older sister's childhood best friend, who is like a second sister to me, is coming to visit us in Montreal! we have so many fun things planned: dinner tonight at a sweet little thai restaurant; a morning excursion to the famous Jean Talon market, where we will gather local, seasonal foods for a Saturday evening home-cooked meal, wine, and martinis, followed by a girls' night out (there will be lots of dancing!); Tam Tams in the park Sunday morning; and of course, sunny daytime adventures and shopping at local shops in le plateau and mile end neighbourhoods, as well as a visit to Old Montreal. i think we might be a little ambititous in trying to squeeze TOO much in, but what matters is that we are spending long overdue girl time together.i can't wait!

the above photo of the three of us together was taken in September 2005 at an outdoor Jack Johnson concert in Toronto. so much has happened in our lives since then and we have all grown in different ways, but no matter what, we maintain a close and honest friendship.

to celelbrate our sisterhood, i hand-selected a bouquet of fresh flowers at the market this afternoon. it's waiting in the front entrance to greet our guest when she arrives this evening....

what are your weekend plans? what, if anything, are you celebrating this weekend? whatever your plans or whatever you end up doing, may your hearts be filled with love. 

36 - friday favourites: lazy lakeside summer days

fieldguided's new unbleached cotton 43rd parallel tote // linen shorts by Tsumori Chisato
MinxShop english lace shirt // circular loch ness photo by Marco Suarez
crochet necklace by kove // hand knit merino wool sweater from good night, day 
100% silk crepe de chine cedar dress from dace // day at camp original screen print by yellowlion
Scout & Catalogue cream lace and leather clutch // bows and braid lace tank from Dove Tree