Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year filled with only good things and sweet surprises. See you in 2009! xo

Sylvia Sweets

[Photo courtesty of Library of Congress Flickr collection]

Our new toy

I can't believe J & I are still up. If we didn't need sleep to survive, we could probably spend all of our waking hours tinkering on our computers (and of course, taking care of the little person).

J got a new scanner for Christmas which just arrived this afternoon. It's quite fancy in that it can scan negatives and slides to produce high res jpeg files.

While we were in Kingston on the weekend, J fished out hundreds (and hundreds) of negatives that he had saved over the years of photos he had taken. In addition to this, he had a lifetime of negatives that belonged to his grandfather which he began scanning earlier today. As a precursor to the gift, I bought him a stack of color slides of different people (strangers) from the 50's & 60's online. We also told my parents to dig out any negatives they had which I know for a fact includes the entire collection of our family photos.

I can't wait to do my own scanning...of ephemera (vintage photographs, handwritten letters, magazine ads and other little treasures). And I'm sure the little person will also have her things to scan, too.

For now, I leave you with this picture from J's family treasures. Hope you're all tucked in and sound asleep. Sweet dreams. xo

[Please note: This is not one of the high res scans I spoke of. The program I use to round photo corners is incapable of using large files.]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I ♥ Toronto

I took this shot from my sister-in-law's (and her husband's) new place, recently. I really love the way it turned out. They have an amazing view and a beautiful new place to hang their hats.

Road trip

The day before my parents and sister left, we took them on a little road trip to Buffalo which is only an hour and a half away from Toronto. The purpose of the trip was to bring them to one of the many outlet malls so they could get their fill of shopping while visiting us. J & I had other plans...we wanted to explore the city.

For an economically depressed city, Buffalo's downtown had remnants of a more prosperous time where people must have filled the handsome buildings and quaint streets when things were bustling and the money was flowing. We drove around the ghost town and admired the architecture of the buildings. Many were pristine with their brick facades and stately premises while others displayed the beauty of art deco design including some elegant statues crowning them. Delaware and Elmwood were our favorites with the latter being a more hip and fun drag lined with little shops, cafes, restaurants and bookstores. It was a nice little escape from both family and our little neck of the woods that afternoon. Here are some of the shots I took while we were driving around.

Paper Planes

A special friend posted M.I.A.'s video and now it's in my head. I love this song. It reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire (which I love even more). If you haven't seen the movie yet, please do. It is amazing.

Reduced visibility

These pictures were taken on the way home from Kingston the other day. The weather made driving absolutely crazy but great for taking photos.

As for our stay in Kingston, it was lovely. We took J's grandma for lunch with my family. It was warm and cozy inside but horrible outdoors. In the evening, we ordered Chinese Food and watched some of BBC's Blue Planet. As always, there was a lot of laughter. We like to joke around. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Airy Christmas

For those of you celebrating Christmas today, hope you're having a wonderful day!

The little person woke me up really early this morning so we could see what goodies Santa had left for us. We were very fortunate to receive such lovely gifts and wanted to share them with the rest of the family so we decided to wake them up, too!

We gathered around the tree and exchanged presents. There were so many nice surprises and of course, a lot of great laughs. One of the gifts that generated a lot of attention was the Air-O-Sage, Air Drive Leg Massager. Hilarious!

The back story to receiving this item is that while we were in Japan, the woman that we were renting the house in Osaka from was an aromatherapist who ran a spa out of one of her homes with the most amazing leg massager. While you were lying on the massage bed (face up), your legs would be placed in this device that would squeeze your thighs and calves intermittently with the most pleasing pressure. It was amazing but sadly, much too expensive for just personal use. I often wished there was something similar for a more reasonable price and often joked with my husband that someone should create a massager similar to a blood pressure cuff that you could wear on your legs and feet. Well, guess what people?! There is! Introducing the Air-O-Sage...

Of course, it's nothing like the leg massager from Japan but dang, it looks pretty snazzy and futuristic! At one point, I thought it was going to pop as it kept pumping around my legs. Once the blood rushed back to my legs and feet, I got my sister to try them on. Needless to say, we all had bellyaches from the laughing (which we quickly filled with too much food!).

Merry Christmas

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


My parents' and sister's flight wasn't pleasant - it was delayed by three hours (most of which was spent in the plane in Wpg.!). They're here now, safe and sound with our bellies bursting at the seams! The turkey arrived (though, it wasn't the huge Butterball kind I had envisioned but still) and pulled pork (for the carnivores in the house) along with garlic portabella veggie balls, faux chicken, three dozen Pyrizhky and all kinds of snacks and treats. Chocolate truffles that my sister made and some yummy purple rice cake rounded out the two boxes my Mom had filled. And the meatless cabbage rolls I had been longing for have also arrived (though, I don't suspect they'll last long around here!). Yes, gluttony at its finest!

Now, we're all cozy and relaxing. I've just finished opening a nice envelope from a penpal in New Zealand who has the loveliest penmanship. She enclosed some of her favorite pieces of stationery which was a nice surprise! I think I might write a couple of letters now.

Hope you're having a wonderful day wherever you are! Talk soon. xo

Christmas Packages

Yesterday, we came home to a number of wonderful Christmas packages in all shapes and sizes. My favorite was a box that contained items decorated in Asian newsprint and jute string. The contents - an awesome book and a tin of the same hot chocolate we had in NYC! (How thoughtful was that?!) To top it all off, a really sweet card made by Kate Sutton with some lovely penmanship to adorn it. There were other goodies that arrived that will have to remain a secret until tomorrow. ;)

We're off to pick up my sister and parents from the airport. They're spending the next five days with us to celebrate the holidays. Apparently, my Mom is bringing a turkey with her (along with some meatless cabbage rolls, perogies and Pyrizhky!). the meatless cabbage rolls and Pyrizhky!

[Can you believe it's Christmas Eve?!]

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No shirt, no shoes, no dice

I'll never get sick of watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I'm watching it right now and loving every minute of it (especially, the soundtrack!). I remember wishing I was as cute as Phoebe Cates and thinking Spicoli was such a goof (it's hard to believe that was Sean Penn - especially after seeing him in Milk recently, which he was absolutely amazing in!). Oh yeah, I couldn't stand Demone.

Today, I love Sean Penn and still think Phoebe Cates is really adorable. I love hearing the music from the movie and still get embarrassed when I see some of the scenes from the movie. I'm not even sure how many times I've seen Fast Times. It's been a few years but I love it all the same. ♥

"Live it, learn it, love it."

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Remember this song?

Friday, December 19, 2008


Since discovering Diary of a Times Square Thief last week, I've been obsessing about handwritten journals, diaries, letters and books (not that I don't always obsess over handwriting but I've been actively looking at and searching for examples, as of late). Some of my favorite sources of this include Lynda Barry's, What It Is, The 1000 Journals Project, Candy Jernigan's, Evidence, Treats & Treasures and Flickr Group Pools such as Handwritten Meme and My Moleskine. Another place I like to look is on Ebay and Etsy. I especially love reading about auctions of people's vintage diaries and letters from the 1800's or the early 40's & 50's in New York.

Whenever I see beautiful handwriting, it just makes me want to spend the day writing in my journal.

Holiday craftin'

This year, I made all of my holiday cards with the help of the little person. We brewed some gingerbread tea and had a plate of assorted cookies to fuel us. It was such a nice way to spend an evening. These are moments that I really cherish.

I love being able to share my passion for paper (and all things crafty) with the little person and encourage her to explore her own creativity. One of the ways I like to do this is by taking her to the many craft fairs/shows that happen during this time of year. It's a great way to get inspiration for projects and admire all of the lovely wares. I'll often ask people about the things they've made and a little bit about themselves (I know, how nosy).

Last week, at the mother of all craft fairs - The City of Craft - we had a chance to meet Tara Bursey, an artist who currently has an installation comprised of hundreds of origami shoes made of jasmine and green tea sleeves called Dirge II at League of Lovers and Theives (1156 Queen Street West). We bought a pair of her lovely little shoes along with a grab bag of her zines which I absolutely loved! The event was jam-packed with people and things to do and see. There were workshops being offered, beautiful things to buy and many people supporting local artisans. It was awesome!

And a couple of weeks ago, I went to a the Book Arts Fair at OCAD which featured items by book artists, printmakers, papermakers, and private press printers available for purchase. Talk about inspiring! I left with plenty of ideas, gifts and some paper goodness for myself. ♥

Family, good food, photo ops and junk stores

A few weeks ago, we spent the weekend in Kingston to celebrate an early Christmas with my in-laws. It was (yet again) another lovely and cozy weekend filled with family, good food (lots of it!) and many photo ops! We also took a short drive to Gananoque where one of my favorite junk stores is situated. Mmm...junk stores! ♥

Friday, December 12, 2008


"If I am remembered today, it is because you, the reader, see something in me that I never saw in myself." (Betty Page)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rainbow Connection

This is dedicated to my little star gazers, J + H. xoxoxo


This little clip makes me laugh.

Tom Cruise Kills Oprah from Norway gonzo on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Diary of a Times Square Thief

I really want to see this film:

'Diary of a Times Square Thief documents a journey of discovery: the search for the writer of a mysterious diary that the filmmaker found on Ebay. This manuscript describes the adventures of a young man who, in the late eighties, left the Midwest of the United States to go to New York to realize his big dream: to find a publisher for his work and become a writer. He fails, and the diary gives a frank and confronting account of the author's subsequent downfall. This is where the diary ends; its last pages have been cut out with a knife.

Diary of a Times Square Thief consists of small, intimate portraits of some of the colourful characters described in the diary, who could have known its writer. Through these encounters clarity gradually emerges about the fate of the talented but failed author, and about the value of chasing dreams. In addition, the film paints a vivid picture of the world-famous Times Square area when it was still a dramatically brutal urban jungle'.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Here's a quick look at what your handwriting might be saying about you (source: Wikipedia):

A forward slant indicates high emotional expressiveness.
Vertical handwriting indicates moderate, restrained emotional expression.
A left slant indicates emotional withdrawal.

General shape of the strokes
Circular handwriting indicates an agreeable, easygoing nature.
Angular handwriting with sharp points indicates aggressiveness, directness, and high energy.
Square handwriting indicates a real world, practical based approach.
Squiggles and irregular strokes indicate an artistic and non standard approach.

Individual letters
The letter "t" has the largest number of interpretations. For example where the horizontal "bar" of the t is placed on the vertical "stem" indicates where one places their goals, while the height of the t stem indicates the potential to accomplish those goals.
A low t bar indicates goals or self esteem set lower than what can be accomplished.
A t bar high on the stem indicates goals set high and a high self esteem.
A t bar that is above the stem indicates setting goals higher than can be accomplished.
A cursive y that has been crossed back over ornately or several times can indicate a perverted state of mind.

The emotional intensity behind a person's behavior
The heavier the pressure, the more intense the emotions of that person.
The pressure on the paper can also indicate the level of stress that the person is experiencing. (The more pressure applied, the more stress the person is under.)

And now, some random samples of handwriting analysis found on the web (click on image for larger view):

Gotta go! Time to practice my 't'! ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I just found the coolest application on the web called Poladroid. It's a free download which enables you to take existing images and turn them into high res Polaroids! It's so easy!

First, you download Poladroid which produces a little Polaroid camera icon on your desktop. Then, you simply drag your image onto it and out pops a little white Polaroid. You wait for it to develop like a real Polaroid picture! (I think you can speed up the process by shaking it.) Once it's done developing, a 'ding' will sound. If you double click on your Polaroid image, it will ask if you want to save it. If you do, it will automatically save it to your Pictures folder. It's only available for Macs (sorry, PC people!) and it's so much fun!

The image that results has such interesting colors! I can't wait to show the little person. I know she's going to love it, too!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Washi Art Sale

Photo: "Rolls of Washi" by Alex Watson

Today, H & I went down to the Japanese Paper Place on Brock Avenue to check out the 'Amazing, Dazzling, Unforgettable Washi Sale'. Talented artists were showcasing their works of art on washi. There were coin purses made from konnyaku paper, original prints, various ornaments, handmade books and of course, gorgeous papers that the Japanese Paper Place are famous for. During our visit, there was a musical interlude performed by a couple from Spain with tambourine and mandolin in tow. The sale was smaller than I expected but it was nice to see how people use washi in their art.

[I think the best entertainment of all was provided by the cast of characters H & I saw roaming the streets where we were!]

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Toronto was covered with a blanket of snow last night. I think it's pretty. Have a happy day. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Synecdoche New York

My fascination with NYC led me to the cinema yesterday to watch Synecdoche New York. I'm still not sure I really enjoyed it, though, I did appreciate the creativity of the script. I'm not going to get into the details about the movie and be a spoiler (and, to tell the truth, the last hour had me asking myself, "What on earth?") but if you're a Charlie Kauffman fan, you might enjoy it (whatever that means). It has an all-star cast with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis and Michelle Williams (to name a few).

My latest obsession: Watching movies by myself at the theatre. It's so relaxing and also liberating somehow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Envelope Book

Tonight, I made a really lovely envelope book for a swap I joined recently. I used three different colors for the envelopes (there were 25 in total) and throughout, I added handmade papers in similar tones. I then wrapped the book in a larger sheet of handmade paper for the cover and fastened it with a pretty green and olive lace ribbon. As an added touch, I affixed smaller envelopes onto the larger ones. (If you can visualize it, the bottoms of the envelopes are flush with the spine.) I thought of decorating it further with bits of ephemera such as black and white photographs and book pages or advertising but I wanted my partner to be able to add her own touch to the book if she wanted. Anyway, I hope she likes it. Maybe, I'll make a smaller one with fewer envelopes and more paper.

I also made a mini-folder to hold a little stack of photographs that I was planning to carry in my purse (the other day). I used a beautiful piece of handmade paper in ivory which had a sheen to it and which was highly textured. I then placed a smaller piece of colorful Chiyogami paper to brighten it up a little.

I love making things and being creative. It makes me happy. :)

He ain't heavy, he's my...

Within the last few days, I watched two very intense films - Running With Scissors and Rachel Getting Married.

I'm not here to review either one of them (I'll leave that to the experts, right my Love?) but suffice it to say that both of them are worth watching. I especially loved Running With Scissors. What a bizarre and wonderful movie. The actors were just superb in it, especially Annette Benning. I can't believe it's based on Augusten Burroughs' real life...fascinating.

As for Rachel Getting Married - it was quite an intense movie with lots of crying, screaming and hugging. I'm normally not fond of Anne Hathaway but she was so amazing in this that I've changed my mind about her. She was so good at playing the recovering-drug-addicted-sister. I haven't teared up (okay, a few actually fell from my eyes) like that for quite some time over a movie. Having said that, I did get annoyed by the father - I wasn't sure if it was the actor who was hamming it up or if the character was supposed to be like that - and also the sister - her performance seemed too contrived, at times, and I just didn't think certain parts were believable (in the sense that I didn't really connect with the character). Speaking of making sense, I hope I haven't lost you.

Anyway, just had to share my thoughts with you on those two flicks.

Don't judge a book by its...

One of the things that I'm really grateful for in having my regular feature on blogTO is the opportunity to approach people that I would have never met otherwise. How many times have you been people-watching and were just dying to know what a person's story was or wondered what they were all about? What's Your Story has given me the chance (and the confidence) to approach complete strangers and learn about them - what they do, where they're 'from', their likes and dislikes and sometimes, intimate little secrets. I love hearing their stories and it definitely confirms the old adage - don't judge a book by its cover. Everyone has a story.

My latest interview is with Adrienne - a lovely young woman who broke her back four years ago. I saw her at the Yonge & Bloor subway station and wanted to know her story...that is, if she was willing to share it with me. She enthusiastically agreed and we settled into a lively conversation about nightclubs, Wheel-Trans, being bitch-slapped and her scholastic endeavors. She also shared her story with me and a crazy secret - both of which I was grateful to be privy to. Adrienne's energy was infectious and her zest for life was inspiring. She was so much fun to talk to!

To read her interview, please visit the latest post at What's Your Story?