Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Warm wishes to everyone this holiday season...

For those of you that are celebrating today, Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones (near, far and in your hearts). xo

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Q: What do you call a cow with no legs?

A: Ground beef.

This is dedicated to all of the favorite aunts out there from your respective fan club, cohort and cult following.

Thank you so much for all that you do!!! xo

[Joke courtesy of tonight's dinner guest]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A community for people who have a passion for the postal system


I keep hearing about Postal Pop. Time to investigate.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

OCAD Book Arts Fair

Every year in December, book artists, printmakers, papermakers, and private press printers gather at OCAD to show their work and demonstrate their skills in OCAD's Central Hall and Printmaking studios. The university community and general public are welcome to come and watch artists at work making paper, printing from litho stones, screen printing, hand typesetting, book binding, wood engraving, etching and much more. Many items are available for sale, providing unique ideas for holiday gift giving. Admission is pay-what-you-can.

I took the little person with me and we had a wonderful time. We visited each and every table to admire the beautiful craftmanship and even purchased a few little items. We were fortunate enough to be treated to our own private little demo of a lithograph being printed in the Printmaking studio. It was a great experience for us both!

[I think in another life, I was meant to be a printmaker]

The talented and lovely Akemi of Kozo Studio was there peddling her wares - pins, magnets, gorgeous prints & handmade books, Christmas cards and printing blocks. Also on display was a copy of, "The Anthology of Printmakers Coloring Book" which is a fundraising project she organized in support of OCAD's printmaking dept., as well as a health cooperative for artists which I mentioned in a previous post. Very nice...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

City of Craft

I went to City of Craft yesterday. WOW! What a great event! It was so much more than a regular craft fair as it featured craft-based installations, demos, and free workshops, alongside a curated craft fair filled with contemporary, stylish, and offbeat handmade goodies. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about great local classes, studios, resources, and craft based projects and at the same time, provide inspiration.

Everyone was incredibly friendly and dare I say, stylish. It was a great venue for people-watching and meeting the people behind all of those lovely Etsy stores I'd been admiring! The Toronto Zine Library was there with a little tent set up where you could peruse all of the zine goodness they house. They also had little zine mystery packages for sale which had a number of zines enclosed. There was a screen printing demo set up in one corner of the event and an amazing house made entirely of donated hand-knit items was on display courtesy of StreetKnit (an inventive endeavor to bring awareness to issues of homelessness in the city).

This was City of Craft's first event and what a success! I can't wait until they host another venue...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Special delivery

When I called my husband from work to see if I had received any mail today, he said that a big envelope had arrived! (Joy!) I was so excited to get home and see what goodness had been delivered. (Little did I know what kind of glorious treat I was in for!)

The package was AMAZING! It was for the Super Quick Swap I had signed up for through Swap-Bot. There were beautiful pieces of vintage fabric, oodles of ephemera (including lovely clippings, a black and white photograph & other darling antiquities), envelopes with adorable food characters, a recipe for chickpea cutlets that sounds delicious, and a gorgeous Taschen book of Pin-Ups (I've wanted this for ages! How did you know?!)! There was also a lovely handwritten letter enclosed telling me about my wonderful and cool partner.

If you are reading this, dear swap partner, a million thank yous for your amazing package! If I never swap again, I will be satisfied having received your superb melange of ephemeral goodness... (Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to staring at all of my wonderful treasures...Ohhhh... Ahhhh...)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Coptic Binding

Last Saturday, I went to an all-day workshop on Coptic Binding offered by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild. It was such a great experience! I didn't realize that it would be so labour-intensive!

We began from scratch and started with two pieces of wood, three huge sheets of paper, binding thread and an apron full of bookbinding supplies. Louise Granahan taught the workshop and took us through all of the intracacies of coptic binding. We began by shaping the wood through grating and sanding it. We then learned how to make signatures with the sheets of paper. This involved folding the papers, splitting them carefully and then, keeping them together in folded groups known as signatures. From there, there was drilling (we needed to put holes through the wood to accomodate the stitching), puncturing (we needed to create a template and then, puncture holes into the signatures) and lots and lots of sewing. Louise provided a tutorial for each stitch to get us on our way.

Of course, there were many more steps in-between that I haven't touched on. Luckily, Louise provided us with handouts at the end of class to guide us through the process once we got home. In the end, we all came away with beautiful little books!

Below are some pictures taken at the workshop:

And here is my little creation:

Ta da! Not too shabby - if I do say so myself! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guess who's seeing Stevland Judkins tonight?

J & I are taking the little person to see Stevie Wonder tonight!!! (J thought it was important for the little person to see the legend at least once in this lifetime). I can't believe we're going! Tonight is the only Canadian stop on his tour!

In honor of the festivities tonight, I'll leave you with this amazing footage of Stevie live on Sesame Street:

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kozo Studio

Recently, I've started an apprenticeship at Kozo Studio with the very talented, Akemi Nishidera. Akemi is an artist who graduated from Printmaking at OCAD and apprenticed with artist Richard Flavin in Japan for three years. She also teaches in the community and is in the process of creating a beautiful coloring book to raise money for the Printmaking Department at OCAD and for the Artists' Health Centre Foundation. She has a lovely studio on Broadview where various workshops on letterpress, printmaking, Japanese paper marbling (to name a few!) are offered. The space will also function as a gallery, retail space and a place where artists can meet. I feel very fortunate to be able to learn from such an amazing artist!

Here are some pictures I took during my last visit.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

6 more days 'til Halloween

I just want to pinch someone's cheeks right now! This costume is so dang adorable - I can't stand it!

And I just had to add these two because they made me smile... (Check out the pooch!! Madness, I say!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


All day, I've been craving a piece of delicious cake or a nice cupcake. Don't these look just luscious?!

I love these! Aren't they adorable? I think they would be perfect for a Tiny Tots birthday party or for a work retreat after a session on team building! This is from a recipe called, "Building Blocks Cake" courtesy of Bettty Crocker. Here is the url for the recipe:


Guess what?! These little gems are VEGAN and the lovely knitting is made from marzipan! (Don't you just love marzipan? It's a beautiful thing, isn't it?) There's a tutorial available on Vegan Yum Yum at:


Gosh, I don't know if I could actually eat Totoro but he sure does look sweet on top of this cupcake! I found this cool cupcake and photo from the blog, Scent of Green Bananas. They are matcha cupcakes with pistachio cream and Totoro truffles. (Can you speak?!) The recipe is available at:


Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Paper Show

Last weekend, the three of us drove to Kingston to visit with J's parents. We always have a nice visit with them and enjoy exploring the little town of Kingston and surrounding area. On our way there, we stopped in Milford to visit with one of J's old friends for dinner. N happens to be interested in bookbinding so she enlightened me with her experiences while I marvelled at her beautiful creations. N told us about an exhibit that would be taking place in Kingston that very weekend called, The Paper Show. (What a coincidence!)

We had a chance to visit the exhibit which was much smaller than I expected but still, very interesting. There was letterpress printing, bookbinding, mask making, printmaking... just to name a few.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mail goodness!

I love receiving mail and look forward to a visit from the mail carrier - each and every day! (Is it nutty to notice when his car arrives on our street or feel worried when it's not there at the regular time?) In any case, I anticipate his arrival and feel elated when there is something special waiting for me in the mailbox!

Last week was no exception. I felt spoiled when I received the following packages:

This was the package I received for the Vintage Ephemera Swap on Swap-Bot! It was jam-packed with all kinds of little treasures from the past - stickers, photographs, stamps, a tiny booklet, papers, labels... and much more!

This was such a fantastic surprise from one of the people I swapped with. There were all kinds of interesting images and bits of paper. The best part of all was CC's letter with the beautiful handwriting! Thanks so much, CC!

If you aren't familiar with Swap-Bot, it's a wonderful little community which facilitates snail mail and online swaps. There are different swap categories ranging from Accessories to Zines. (My favorite is the Letters amd Writing category.) Each swap has a theme, a brief description, the number of people you send to, a date to sign up by and a date when the swaps should be sent out. Once the sign up date has passed, you will receive an email telling you that it's time to swap. You then get the addresses of the swap partners and can click on their profile name to find out more details about them.

It's quite interesting to find out other people's stories - a real cross-section of humanity. I love how candid the letters can be and appreciate people's willingness to share such intimate details about their lives. Often times, people will include little goodies like bits of paper or stickers or postcards. (This can earn you extra hearts when you provide feedback.) It's fun and if you enjoy mail, it really delivers! :)

Check it out: http://www.swap-bot.com/

This is dedicated to my Aussie crew

During one late night of Facebook-ing (is this a word yet?), I noticed that a dear old friend was online and began bantering with her. Jodie and I were classmates in Winnipeg during elementary school. Her family was from Australia and always had a jar of Vegemite kicking around in the fridge. She was fun and smart and always had interesting things to share with us. My favorite (and most memorable) item shared was us was the book called, "Where Did I Come From?". I can still see all those smiling little guys swimming for their lives. (I don't think I truly understood what was going on in the book at the time but do remember hearing things like, "Ewww" and "Awww, look at those cute little guys with black top hats" during the book unveiling).

Moving on... Jodie and I discovered that we were both on Skype and were soon talking and chatting "face-to-face". It was sooo great to hear her voice again and see my dear old (beautiful!) friend! I also met a couple of her employees who are apparently fans of this blog! (Imagine that?!)

Jodie started the company, Iceberg Events, in 1996 and has been going on strong since! They provide valued clients with successful, well – managed conferences and events by making the planning process fun and enjoyable, providing comprehensive advice and instruction, giving service beyond a client's expectations, and delivering an event which is truly memorable and within budget.

Please check out their website at http://icebergevents.com.au/ for more information.

(Aren't they gorgeous?!)

"Hi Lisa!!! Hi Amanda!!! It was nice to meet you both!! I miss you, Jodie!" xoxo

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Elsa Beskow

I love looking at Elsa Beskow's illustrations. She draws teeny, tiny, little mushroom-capped people who roam and busy themselves in the forest. She includes imagery from Scandinavian folklore (depending on the book, of course) such as trolls and nymphs. There is something quite magical about her drawings...

Elsa Beskow (February 11, 1874 – June 30, 1953) was a Swedish author and illustrator of children's books.

"Born Elsa Maartman in Stockholm, she started to draw at an early age, deciding to become an artist. Especially important person for her was her grandmother, Johanna Wilhelmina, who told her fairy tales. At home her favorite writer was Zacharias Topelius. Johanna Wilhelmina died when Beskow was 13. This ended according to Beskow her "happy childhood."

In her books Beskow used her own childhood experiences as a source for ideas. Her own six children also inspired her work. Central themes were the relationships between children and adults and children's independent initiative. The pictures were large, with carefully studied details of nature and bourgeois small town life. Often Beskow combined reality with elements from the fairy tale world - ordinary children meet elves or goblins, ugly witches sulk on the street corners, and farm animals talk with people. The texts were written in verse or in prose. Sometimes Beskow satirized manners, as in the poem about the foreign Mr. Tomato, who is envied by a local cucumber, admired by Miss Parsley, and imitated by small radishes.

Much of her books emphasized the importance of honest work and showed the influence of National Romanticism - a style that inspired many Nordic artists from the 1890s. In the 1960s and 1970s Beskow's work was considered by many critics old-fashioned. Her idyllic pictures, full of good-natured children, animals, brownies, and flowers, were seen to present false ideals. Also her gender roles were seen too narrow: "the father is strong and brave, and the mother is obedient and loving" (from Tomtebobarnen). According to Gunvor H�kansson, Beskow "satisfies authoritative ideals in upbringing a children, but Astrid Lindgren represents more democratic principles."

Beskow published some twenty books. Her works have been translated in many languages."

My favorite book is, Children of the Forest.