Friday, December 21

more homemade for the holidays

a butterfly for my sister, originally uploaded by squirrel_of_snooze.
the past two days have been spent frantically baking, wrapping, organizing, cleaning, running errands... it's been busy! i'm sure it's like that for everyone, and i'm sure everyone is wondering when the holiday part of this season will actually begin!

this is a little watercolour mounted butterfly i made for my little sister for christmas. i'm going to wrap it right now, but thought i'd take a photo first! she's 13 so she generally hates everything, so keep your fingers crossed that she hates this less than most things. and keep your fingers crossed that she doesn't know i have a blog, too okay?!

i got the most beautiful painting in the mail today from hadley hutton and i will take a photo of it when i get home and have decided where to hang it. now i'm off to do laundry, wrap some more, and pull my hair out. in that order.

here's what i baked yesterday:

clockwise from top left: les punitions / pine nut rosemary shortbread / chocolate shortbread with cocoa nibs and sea salt / buckwheat butter cookies with cocoa nibs / true spice cookies / world peace cookies

the spice cookies and the world peace cookies are my absolute favourites and i'll definitely make them again next year. and those little puniments, the punitions sablé, are the perfect simple cookie. i baked apricot-pistachio bars over the weekend too, and just pulled them out of the freezer.

Tuesday, December 18

i can haz new hooman?

now i know this post is a little mean, and i don't like to be mean, but didn't someone once say "if we don't speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, who will?" it was probably bob barker. now that i've justified mocking someone, here goes... there's someone out there who's taken crazy cat lady to a whole new level. she likes to dress her cat up in wigs and hopes you do too. and all for the low price of $50? what a steal! for a cat wig... why should you pay $50 for a wig for your cat? here's why!

"Pink makes your kitty feel elegant, modern and quintessentially feline."
no, i'm pretty sure it doesn't.

"Blonde sets off your kitty’s eyes and makes your kitty look tan."
this begs the question, how a cat look tanned?

"Silver makes your kitty feel sexy and smart, like a cougar on the prowl."
oh, well that makes sense. that's how silver makes me feel anyway... how about you?

"Blue gives your kitty a sharp look -- jazzy and totally copacetic."
okay, this coupled with the use of the word "biznazz" on the home page makes me concerned that a certain someone might be eaten alive by a certain wig-wearing cat.

and now more lolcatz for your enjoyment:

Thursday, December 13

handmade for the holidays

1. porcelain dishes and trays by kg+ab
2. pattern gift tags by elfrida
3. matchbook jotters by freshly blended

the weather outside is frightful. grey, dark and nothing but sleet, it's days like today that make me awfully grateful to have a home office! so i got myself a cup of tea and started going through my bloglines, hard worker that i am.

it seems like every blog i read has been doing holiday gift guides the past couple of weeks, and i've been pretty pleased to see that many of the things i've bought have made those lists. i like to think that means i have good taste and made wise choices, rather than that i'm just unoriginal.

nicole from freshly blended was kind enough to feature my softies in her list today, along with some other beautiful gift ideas. yay! i completely fell in love with the work of another artist nicole profiled: kg+ab, maker of hand painted, handmade glazed porcelain pieces. i have added some of her work to my wishlist, and even if it's too late for christmas maybe i'll get one of her trays for my birthday next month. or maybe i'll just get one for myself!

nicole also featured some spirograph-patterned gift tags from elfrida, and if they can make it here in time i'm getting the multicoloured ones. they'll beat the neon post-it notes pictured in my post below!

now back to work!

Wednesday, December 12

doh! tannenbaum

i left to visit my family for a few days on thursday morning, and so hans thought it would be nice to spend wednesday evening together decorating a tree. we'd agreed to get a small tree this year for many reasons, but i was still looking forward to going to pick out a nice noble fir together. hans decided to surprise me with a potted tree - a spruce! first off, i'm allergic to spruce. and then that it's potted...

i haven't gotten gift tags yet, please excuse the neon post-its!
1. our little tree / 2. tree close up / 3. alpaca soft trees / 4. pine gnomes

in my experience, potted trees kind of... die. they never really seem to recover from being ripped out of the ground and stuck in a pot, nevermind the trauma of spending a good fortnight in a warm, dry home covered in decorations. even if the tree makes it through its life indoors it then has to sit outside in a pot until the ground thaws enough so we can dig it a hole. poor little potted tree... hans of course said "poor potted tree? at least it's still alive. you think the one we'd have cut down would have had it better?" good thing trees aren't cognoscente.

so anyway, i am allergic to spruce. this was a problem in my dendrology classes at university where i was often laughed at while i'd sniffle and itch my way through tree identification labs. poor hans, how was he to know? needless to say, we did not spend wednesday night decorating said tree. what a bitch i am!

i went away for the weekend and made some crochet soft trees, and whittled myself some pine gnomes (not allergic to pine) pictured above and inspired by a swedish blog, but which i can't remember. then yesterday morning i broke down and tried to put lights on our little tree. the sad little thing couldn't support the weight of them though, but by the time i finally accepted our tree would have no lights i was covered from elbows to wrists in hives. i called my mum: "I HATE THIS TREE!" she was unsympathetic. they got a noble fir.

so no lights, no twinkle... why had hans gotten us this tree? he knows that i'm a control freak. i added the red wooden beaded garland, and the tinfoil chains a brother and i made years ago while spending christmas in york. i then discovered that 90% of our ornaments were too large and/or heavy for this sad little, hyper allergenic tree to support. i added some of the smallest vintage kugels we have, along with the eggs i bought at a market in prague a few years ago. but it was lacking, and the angel i'd purchased at an oxfam store in york looked ridiculous as a topper. don't even get me started on the god awful, black plastic pot this thing came in...

i used some left over cotton cinched with red rickrack to pretty up the pot, but it was still lacking. then i remembered how pretty i thought a tree i'd seen in domino looked and i knew exactly what to do. i used the turquoise satin ribbon i'd intended for gift wrapping to save our little, spindly, hive-inducing, lightless tree. and now i can't stop looking at it. it's still a bit of a "pathetic" charlie brown tree but i love it anyway.

it's so easy to get into the habit of picking out the same tree, and decorating it with the same ornaments year in and year out. it took a tree that had me yelling "I HATE IT! I HATE IT!" to break me out of that nostalgic comfort zone, and now that the rashy hives have gone i can honestly say that i love this awful little tree. so in the end everything worked out, but we will never again have a spruce in our home.

Monday, December 3

arctic front meet pineapple express

alba and lavender

this past weekend it snowed and snowed, and since we still haven't managed to have our snow tires put on i stayed in. i ventured out on saturday afternoon to drag the dog around the park. she's not a fan of the cold, and i actually had to get behind her and shove her along for part of the walk. there were footprints everywhere, but my favourite tracks were the ones left by the long haired miniature dachshunds: two sets of two paws followed by a dash left where their little tails drag behind as they hop along. dachshund tracks look like morse code in the snow.


the rest of the weekend was spent stitching and stuffing. i finished this little rabbit as part of a swap with hadley hutton. she's stuffed with soft roving and is made of merino, and hand dyed icelandic wool. i spun lavender and cream yarns together to create the mottled detailing on her smock.

it seems like hadley's been adding new work to her etsy shop everyday lately, and i love, love, love the spotted owls below:

new pieces from hadley hutton:
spotted owl // two blue // butterfly, did you take my spots, asked little bird

i also finished a camel for my mum over the snowy weekend. she collects camels. she collects a lot of things actually: baskets, kohl pots, opium pots, shadow puppets... mostly though, she collects camels. this one is made of super soft alpaca, and its little ruff collar is beaded. i'm thinking about adding little white or red french knots to make it look like a christmas wreath, but i'm still mulling over that one...

christmas camel

so i pretty well spent the entire weekend making stuff and staring out the window. i think that birds are always great to watch in the snow. there were a couple dozen crows on the railroad tracks pecking at things they found the the snow. i wonder if grain, jarred loose by the trains breaking and shunting, falls from the freight cars.

and then there were the pigeons, which took to the sky flying in formation like schools of fish every time the snow stopped.

pigeon flight

pigeon flight

i am randomly closing this post with the video to a terence trent d'arby song i was briefly obsessed with as a child, before i moved on to the more important task of memorizing every word of paul simon's rhythm of the saints. please note the shoulder pads, and wicked dance moves.