Monday, March 31

wrong: duvets without covers

suggestions for your sad, bare duvets (from left):
plover organic / anthropologie cirrus / west elm organic cotton

i waste a good hour (conservatively) every day reading design, cooking, and music blogs. not a week goes by that i don't find myself borderline enraged after stumbling upon a sneak peak on apartment therapy or design sponge featuring what has become a huge pet peeve of mine: duvets with no covers. for people to invite strangers into their homes like this suggests that they are very proud of their homes, and care about design. you never see unfinished projects, or dirty dishes in the sink in these well thought out, and perfectly staged slide shows, and yet here are these duvets screaming out to be covered. it's puzzling.

before i launch into why i am so bothered by bare duvets, let me provide you with a sneak peak into my mind: i have this problem with hotel rooms. i can't walk barefoot, or even sock-footed in carpeted rooms. remember when you'd go to the community pool as a kid in the summer and inevitably get planters warts? if you can get warts from bare surfaces covered in chlorine, what can you get from these filthy, stain-concealing carpets? i'm the same way with the blankets and disgusting coverlets; those things don't get washed you know. don't get me started on stray hairs in the bathrooms, or the cups next to sinks... see, i grew up in a very clean home. my mother should probably be medicated for her OCD, but thank god she wasn't because our house was clean. really clean! don't walk on the carpets and disturb the vacuum lines clean.

so it should come as no surprise that the reason i hate uncovered duvets is because i think it's filthy and vile. how often do you suppose these people launder their fluffy feathered bedding? put a cover on that duvet, and you can wash it weekly, or if you're rich like oprah every other day! you wouldn't not put pillowcases on your pillows would you? that would be dirty and gross. besides, duvet covers are pretty and would finish off these otherwise thoughtfully put together abodes so nicely.

i implore you design sponge and apartment therapy, for the love of god please stop featuring the homes of duvet coverless people. it's giving me a twitch.

ps. my mum now has terracotta, hardwood and wool berber to contend with and no longer yells at us to not disturb the lines in the carpet. we got her a shark steam mop for christmas and she was really disappointed that it didn't seem to pick any dirt up. this isn't a slight against the product, but a testament to her floors being so clean you can eat off them.

Saturday, March 29

cat meet bird, spring meet snow

olly and pip, the latest additions to my shop

the weather outside is frightful. i feel so badly for the parsley i planted on thursday, only to have it snow on friday. the weather man said not to worry, because it would be sunny all weekend. not so! it slushed a bit and then hailed and then slushed a bit more today. bowie and i have no interest in going out in this weather, so i finished up a little kitten i was working on, and named him olly. i also made my first bird (a budgie named pip) and am so happy with how he turned out. i like budgies a lot, and like pigeons i think they're under appreciated, but at least they don't have as bad a rap. so hermitting my saturday away, i am doing laundry, and working on a web site for one of my absolute favourite clients (cough cough destroyer) and am going to try to get my new sewing machine going. i love my little crocheted animals, but they take so long to make and i feel like such an ass charging so much for such small creations. if i can translate their cuteness in fabric it would save me a lot of time, and then i could feel good about the prices i charge.

dammit toronto, stop laughing at me

in other news, i'm thinking about trying to blog once a day every day in april, and am kicking myself for not doing it in february instead.

Monday, March 24

my afternoon expedition to hell and back

clockwise from left:
tourists hanging around the gastown steamclock (my nemesis)
coal harbour: largely vacant investment properties of rich foreigners
no jaywalking on commercial drive. weird.

a few hours ago i decided to take a lazy sunny afternoon walk to coal harbour to pickup groceries. we live on the edge of chinatown and gastown in a part of town that's pretty awful (the poorest neighbourhood in the country in fact), but we're safely tucked away on a little oasis of a street inhabited by photographers and architects and the stars of locally filmed sci-fi television programs.

the least seedy route to coal harbour (the rich mans ghetto on the edge of stanley park) is water street, the heart of gastown. wow, i hate the heart of gastown! by the time i got to my final destination, got some nice goat cheeses and made it home i was actually twitching. my left hand is tremoring as i type. at first i thought to myself "good lord, am i showing symptoms of the early stages of MS? my pinky finger was numb earlier, wasn't it?" but then i realized i was just wound up by the following:

1. slow walking tourists. i know you have them where you live too. they're everywhere and they can't be avoided. they come to gastown for the "history" that vancouver boasts about that is really nothing to be proud of at all. they get let off in giant tour busses so they can mill around a fraud of a steam clock that's actually powered by electricity, so that they can get their camcorders out to record it tunelessly ring in the quarter-hour. i hate the damned clock, but mostly i hate that i just want to get somewhere but i can't because the sidewalks are all jammed up by gawkers wearing visors, fannypacks and gortex. when i say "excuse me" it means move.

2. quebecois street urchins. vancouver is a lot like san francisco in that we have vibrant gay communities and good seafood. but we're most alike in that our respective countries seem to have been turned on their sides and shaken until all the mentally ill and drug addicted from every state, province and territory fell loose and landed here. okay so maybe the continent wasn't literally turned on end. the marginalized are just gravitated by the mild climate and cheap heroin. vancouver is to junkies what arizona is to seniors in RVs. just to the east of gastown there's a place called commercial drive. the italian coffee shops that mark every street corner are broken up by shops selling ponchos and vibrators. this street is inhabited by a large number of obnoxiously loud and sadly homeless quebecois teenagers who look like early '80s punks, panhandling to feed their meth addictions and unneutered pit bulls. after braving the slow walking tourists of water street, i made it back to my oasis only to hear the loud drawl of joual of a group of french teens smoking crack on the sidewalk, and once again IN MY WAY. please quebecois street urchins, go back to the drive (or preferably to la belle province) and don't smoke crack in front of my building.

3. pee. being as the chinatown-gastown area is the poorest neighbourhood in all of canada, the toilet to person ratio is not very high. i hate that i can't walk anywhere without smelling urine. i hate it. but then, i have a toilet so who am i to complain?

know why i'm looking forward to the olympics? i love hockey, and skiing and yes, i even love curling... but the thing i'm hoping for a lot more than medals, is that maybe if the rest of the world sees that vancouver's not all pretty mountains and ridiculously overpriced 400 square foot condos, the city, province and country will actually be motivated to do something about the drug addiction and homelessness that's blighted this place for over 30 years. i'm sure the slow walking tourists who stumble off the beaten path will appreciate it.

i know that was a downer, but i really had to get it out. my hand has stopped twitching.

time to move, huh?

Tuesday, March 18

doing as the islanders do

i've spent the past few days at my parents home on vancouver island enjoying the sunshine and quiet. the only downside of the peace and quiet is that it's hard to sleep when it's completely silent and you're used to falling asleep to the sound of trains slamming together. what a thing to complain about!

i've been trying to get hans to help me move the old clipper canoe down to the water because i'm not confident i could portage it down several flights of stairs without killing myself. i just want to go for a quick paddle, but he doesn't want me to go out alone. he doesn't care how good i am in the canoe, he just knows i am an awful swimmer. i'm one of those people who can't just sit and enjoy the sunshine though. i have to be doing something. so with no canoe or kayak, and not wanting to walk through the woods where i wouldn't be able to enjoy the sun, i tried to find something to busy myself with. so i dug a hole. i recommend you try it sometime, because it's really satisfying. it's crazy wild here on the island.

and when i'm not digging holes, i like to make homemade granola. i know, i'm out of control. clearly the reason i didn't go to sxsw this year is because i've turned into an old person. but this granola is so damn good that i'm glad i put down my crochet hook and got my bifocals out long enough to make it. it's much better than digging holes, so you should make it too.

best granola ever
6 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole almonds
1 1/2 cups shredded or flaked coconut
3/4 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds (i used black)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons honey
2 cups pitted dates, each cut crosswise into quarters
3/4 cup dried cranberries

preheat oven to 300°F. mix first 12 ingredients in large bowl. melt honey into the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat, then pour it over the granola mixture and stir well. spread out mixture over 2 large baking sheets. bake about 20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times. stir in the dried fruit and then continue baking until golden brown. this can take between 15 and 40 minutes depending on how deep the pans are and how often you stir the mix. cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

you can really use any dried fruit, i just happened to have dates and cranberries.

Thursday, March 13

sxsw... le sigh...

sxsw 2007: last night at 4am on the way to the airport for my very long and painful flight home

sxsw, the hajj of indie rock, is going on right now and i am not there. instead i am sitting at home working on web-related indie rock things while visions of texas-sized margaritas and driskill's gingerbread pancakes dance through my head. friend frank is in austin and spent the better part of the morning lining up for VIP wrist bands to get into day parties. meanwhile in vancouver, i've been hitting refresh repeatedly on the "official not at sxsw" beggars live blog. beggars adam posted the following video. i love hillary and think she should be president, but it's never going to happen with supporters like these: