Tuesday, September 25

thrifted finds

i had such a busy weekend that i didn't get a chance to do much thrifting, and if you noticed the photo of my very sad, stark, and empty white hutch in the post below, you'll understand why this is a priority. so when i had a bit of an afternoon lull yesterday, i snuck out to the two closest charity shops. i didn't find anything for my bare cabinet, but i did find the balls of yarn pictured above. there are two alpaca-mohair blends, and I think the camel brown yarn is linen with some alpaca. they're so soft and they coordinate so well together that i started another little rabbit. you can see its head and ears and the beginning of its body above.

despite the busy weekend, i did manage to make it to the 21st century flea market on sunday. it was so cram packed full of people (and random collectibles) that i couldn't really pull my camera out without either getting trampled or shoved. there were loads of knick-knacky collectible sort of things i suppose i could have bought, but the prices just weren't great. i like a good deal, and there just weren't many to be found. i did find a really cool, old boomerang for hans though. he's scared to use it because this one looks like it's killed a few kangaroos in its time, and he's already almost scalped one person this year with his little kids boomerang. i didn't want to leave without a little something for myself, so i picked up a small paperweight for $4. i'm sure i can find some loose paper to stack on my desk, so it will be put to use even if only decoratively.

Friday, September 21

ceci n'est pas une souris

i just finished another dachshund, and have added her to my etsy shop if you're interested. her name is mouse and for a little grey dachshund, she looks an awful lot like my black whippet-mix, bowie. bowie looks just like a fruit bat when her ears pop up greyhound-style.

i was reading gracia louise's blog the other day and found a polaroid she'd posted of a strange, but beautiful flower called blushing brides. i had never seen them, or heard of them before, and i'm sure you can imagine that googling "blushing bride" and "flowers" did not yield the results i was hoping for. does anyone have any idea if they're known by another name? i'm usually really good with knowing my plants, but this one has me stumped. i might have to go hunting for them this weekend.

i've been working from home all summer, and while mostly everything about it is great, i've been suffering a bit from cabin fever lately. so yesterday morning i had a meeting with a client at the local coffee shop. i was pretty happy to be out of the house, and got there a little early - just in time to witness a huge fist fight! it was actually more of a clumsy cat fight between 2 slurring drunks. i think that being staggeringly drunk by 9am shows a great deal of commitment. or something... tables were knocked over, faces were scratched, and i retreated into the kitchen to stay out of the way, until finally one guy agreed to give the other guy back the $5 he'd stolen. i didn't think it was possible, but it looks like gastown is taking a turn for the worse(r).

Wednesday, September 19

fly away peter, fly away paul

i am just finishing up another little dachshund, and will post photos tomorrow. i plan to finish this one while watching the first episode of america's next top model, cycle 18. it's very exciting and something that will be made all the more enjoyable by a nice glass of red wine. since each of of these little creatures take so long to make, it's always exciting when they're done. that said, sometimes i wish that i could just whip one off really quickly as inspiration strikes.

i've seen ashley's little fern animals featured on decor8 before, but today's post was a nice reminder, especially since she has an etsy shop up and running now. you should definitely go check out her creations, which include funny little lions with crazy manes, and like so many other crafters this year, she has made some very sweet wire legged birdies. pictured above are fern animals, little birds, and ann wood.

i just looked at my ical and realized that the 21st century flea market is this sunday! i honestly didn't even know about it until a few months ago when i was looking at the flea market links over at sfgirlbybay, and i have been waiting for this weekend ever since. the timing couldn't be better, as evidenced by my very bare buffet and hutch pictured in the post below.

Tuesday, September 18

make work projects

poppy posted about an ironing board that got powdercoated a shiny new red finish. my first reaction was "oh my god, i wish i had a band that i played keys for so i could use that as a stand." and my second reaction was to look around the loft to try to find something i could powdercoat. sadly, i don't have a thing. but we've recently inherited a secretary desk that i think needs an airy and light wire or metal share, or maybe brightly painted bentwood number, and after seeing the pretty red ironing board i'm thinking metal.

we also recently inherited the white lacquered cabinet in the photo on the left. it was my boyfriend's mother's and i think she bought it back in the late '60s. the trouble with the cabinet is two-fold... 1. i don't yet have enough to fill it so it looks rather bare. this isn't really a problem because it gives me a pretty good excuse to shop. 2. all of our dishes are white, and almost all of our glasses are, well... glass, and so it looks pretty severe and uninspired. i'm debating papering or canvasing the back in a bright colour like the gorgeous teal shown in the cabinet on the right that was featured over at design sponge. i'm not sure what to do... thoughts?

a couple of months ago i was visiting with my mum on vancouver island, and we ran into the local thrift shop where i spotted this mirror and wanted it immediately. that said, they wanted $40 for it, and i am never willing to buy something unless it's a good deal, and i just didn't think that was a deal. a month later it still hadn't sold so the shop dropped the price to $8 and my mum scooped it up for me! i love the embroidery, but the frame itself is just hideous. so what do you think -- shall i paint it a dark burnt orange pulled from the embroidery thread colours, or should it be black? i'd do super dark chocolate brown, but brown and orange are way too A&W root bear for my liking. i'm not so sure straight up black is the best way to go, but maybe i'm wrong. what do i do?

Monday, September 17

do you know one girl?

leslie keating and her creations have been a huge inspiration for me. under the name one girl she combines colours beautifully, using all natural materials and mostly vintage finds, to create some of the sweetest toys i've ever seen. i love this new windsee named phoebe she just posted in her etsy shop the other day. the colours and corduroy remind me of back to school clothing so much they make me want to bust out a pair of knee socks!

i read leslie's beautiful blog regularly, and today she was sweet enough to feature my work! leslie has been so supportive and helpful and i can't say how much i appreciate it. i only wish we'd known each other when she was living in vancouver!

Sunday, September 16

a long story, long

when i was a little girl my maternal grandmother tried to teach me to knit by giving me her scraps to knit squares from. knitting squares is not so fun for a 7 year old, and i decided that knitting was tedious and added it to the list of reasons for hating visits to grandma's. that said, the thing that i learned from visits with my grandparents is how to make things. this grandma married a wonderful man who came from kenya, by way of kashmir. he grew up fairly poor and any toys he and his siblings played with, they'd learned to make themselves. he once bought me an old, red and chrome, non-functioning tape recorder at a garage sale for 10 cents, and fixed it in under a minute. so i believed him when he told me he knew how to make a helicopter from a tin can that would actually fly. now that he's not around any longer i wish that i'd asked him to teach me how to make one of those helicopters! i also wish that i'd let my grandma teach me how to knit more than squares, because to this day my knitting repertoire begins and ends with the scarf.

on my dad's side of the family i have around 33 cousins. i think... you get to lose track after 20! you'd think that with all these grandchildren running around my grandparents would have had some toys kicking about to keep us busy, but they didn't. nevertheless, the house was always full of noisy, but happy kids and that's where i learned to pluck out songs on the piano, play ping pong and darts, and how to make crepe paper flowers, but most importantly how to sew. my grandma had a closet full of scrap fabric and jars of buttons and other things that she'd collected from decades of mending the jackets and darning the socks of her 9 children. this is where i learned how to make sock puppets, and how to sew rag dolls from the old burp cloths left behind by my many, many baby cousins. this is also the house where my uncles would cleverly get me to wrap all their christmas and birthday gifts. gift wrapping appealed to the obsessive compulsiveness that was starting to take shape in my 8 year old soul.

my dad died when i was 8, but before he did he taught me how to draw. all the rainy weekends when he'd stay at home with me and my brothers while my mum worked, he taught me how to use shapes to make people and animals. drawing, gardening, and a love of this old house, star trek, aquariums, and the smell of lumberyards are all things i have my father to thank for. it's amazing how much he was able to influence me in the few short years we had together!

so, fast forward 2 decades later... when i finally decided i could no longer watch bad television without feeling the guilt that i'd also learned from that gigantic catholic paternal side of the family, i decided that rather than cancel my cable subscription i would do something while watching TV. i tried doing jumping jacks, but you can't do those through an entire hour of america's next top model without developing serious charlie horses in both calves. you just can't do it! so inspired by the intense guilt i felt as a result of watching ANTM, i decided to teach myself to crochet so i could start making things like my grandmothers taught me, but in a new way.

and that dear reader, is the long story behind my new etsy shop.