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:

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 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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Did you see my lips move?

I love vintage photographs and ventriloquism. Yesterday, for about an hour, I obsessively searched the web for items related to these two subjects. Here are some of my favorite finds:


On Sunday, Word on the Street was held in Queen's Park here in Toronto. If you're not familiar with it, it's a festival which showcases authors, publishers, poets, storytellers and various vendors selling literary goodness. In addition to this, there are workshops for the aspiring writer and a variety of performers for all ages.

My little person and I had a great time. It's a very child-friendly event (as it should be!) and there were many stations catering to the young (and the young at heart). There was even a stage for the TVO gang, nestled in the trees, with performances going on throughout the day. We brought a little picnic with us and refueled after a few hours. It was nice to sit back and watch the crowds make their way through the festival. I would love to see the festival make its way to Winnipeg one of these days... It's a wonderful celebration of the written word!

One of the highlights of the festival was meeting the lovely Kim of Kim's Suitcase fame ( I told her I enjoyed her blog and bought one of her cute little calendars!