a nursery for baby luca

On July 14, we welcomed our little baby Luca into the world. He’s the best guy ever and the past six weeks have flown by as we’ve been getting to know him. He’s currently sleeping in his bassinet next to me and I keep pausing to stare at his tiny body, with his arms up near his head and his legs curled like a frog’s. For weeks now I’ve been meaning to share photos of his nursery!

We didn’t have a specific plan for this room, as is usually the case for us when it comes to home decor; we just picked things we liked and hoped it all worked out. There is definitely a lot of white happening but it makes for such a calm, soothing room. It’s my favourite room in the apartment and even though it’s not currently being used (the baby sleeps in our room for now), I love taking him in there for diaper changes or spending a few moments in there organizing his tiny clothing. This room is one of the warmest in the apartment, but should be okay in the fall or winter (and who knows if we’ll still be here next summer). Oreo, that weird cat, loves it. She spends all her time in there no matter how high the temperature gets.

I found the round black decals on Etsy and applied them at random on one wall. At first I wasn’t sure if I loved the look, but I really like it now, and besides, they would be so easy to remove if I wanted to. The crib is from Babyletto.

I wanted to make my own star and moon mobile, but found this one on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.

These are little spice racks from Ikea! I got the idea from Erin.

This dresser was Geoff’s dad’s childhood dresser. He dug it up from the basement and repainted it a glossy white.

Hare silkscreened print by Melinda Josie.

Indigo pillow by Scout & Catalogue.

This is both a mobile and a working kite by Haptic Lab! I can’t wait to take it outside with our boy and fly it with him.

And here he is, our little Luca, on a Haptic Lab northern hemisphere quilt I spent many evenings working on. Each French knot (representing the Milky Way) and each stitch was a prayer that he would arrive healthy and happy.


portraits by erin klassen (& a giveaway)

Tomorrow, June 15, my brilliant friend Erin Klassen will be releasing her first book of short fiction, Portraits, and I am so excited to share it with you! This collection of “micro-fiction” is the result of interviews with 34 different women that Erin interviewed over the course of 10 months, learning about their unresolved feelings about love. This book is so wonderful to me because I am such a sucker for stories about exes. I can’t help it. There’s something so voyeuristic and fascinating about it all, and they can help one get through one’s own lingering feelings.

I’m giving away a copy over on Instagram, so be sure to check it out.

Love, lust and loss are universal experiences and Portraits reveals the vulnerability, anger, doubt, depression, introspection, desire, sadness, jealousy and regret that women experience while trying to come to terms with or let go of a past lover. Each short story is paired with art produced specifically for the text.

Broke up with me for a girl named Talulah.

From these conversations with a diverse group of women, Erin began weaving these themes into fictional vignettes about unresolved feelings. Portraits aims to shed light on the process of moving on from complicated relationships, a process which often includes obsessively analyzing our feelings or re-imagining difficult experiences as a way of coping with them. The goal of this collection is to share stories that will resonate with many women who feel big feelings, regardless of ethnicity, sexual identity or social status.

The book includes accompanying artwork by Melanie LambrickErin McPheeKathryn Bondy, Anna Denise Floor, and Alex Begin.

Portraits will be available online and in select shops in Toronto, including Likely General and Souvenir. $25 CAD. If you’re in Toronto, be sure to stop by the launch party tomorrow evening at Milk Glass!


introducing: wild hill botanicals

Today I am so happy to introduce a natural skincare line that is new to me, and relatively new to the natural beauty market (six months old!), Wild Hill Botanicals. Wild Hill is a husband and wife team, Teague and Sarah, based on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. They grow and harvest all the ingredients for the products themselves, which is such a wonderful labour of love and care. I’ve been testing out the products for a few weeks now, and I am totally in love. As I’ve mentioned over the past few years, I’ve made a tremendous effort to cut back on beauty, cleaning, and skin care products that contain ingredients I don’t feel good about. It took some effort to educate myself and to change my habits, and I am constantly learning, but I haven’t gone back. I am always thrilled to discover a new line that really gets it and that can help me in this journey! And look at that packaging: it is perfect.

I was particularly fascinated by the fact that Teague and Sarah are involved in every step of the production, so I decided to post a Q&A with Sarah. I almost wish I had asked more questions because this is so interesting to me! I hope you will also enjoy reading them.

My personal favourite of the Wild Hill products so far are the Nootka Rose Cleansing Clay, which is gently exfoliating, and the Rose Geranium Toner. You can read what Sarah has to say about hydrosols below, but I too love them, particularly in summer. We recently went through a bit of a heatwave, which was early for May/June, and carrying the toner in my bag and spritzing my face and neck was so refreshing. It smells incredible and if it has a tightening effect, all the better! Plus Geoff has been really into collecting scented geraniums lately, so it makes me think of him, which is nice.

“Begin to realize that beauty is a ritual of self-care, and that skincare is a form of self-love.”

What made you decide to start a natural skincare line?

I have always had a keen interest in herbalism, and after "retiring" from the world of baking and pastry, I worked in health food stores for several years, which furthered this interest. I was, and remain, fascinated by plant therapy vs pharmaceuticals, and what herbalists call the entourage effect. Plant therapy works differently from pharmaceuticals in that rather than isolating different molecules and compounds, plant medicine in herbalist traditions trusts nature putting all these tiny bits of compounds together, and tries to deliver the plant in the most whole form they can. A few years ago I took a workshop with Portland Apothecary in Washington State, and there the amongst the oil extracts and herb vinegars, I encountered my first botanical distillation. After that my husband Teague and I both knew what we wanted to do on our property, and we began building up the farm and studying natural skincare. I traveled to San Francisco and spent some time with an ethnobotanist who is well known for producing excellent hydrosols and advising natural skincare lines, and from this education the line developed into what it is. Locally I am very grateful to Dr. Ryan Drum for both his writings and personal advice on the use of local seaweeds and herbs for skincare and health.

Tell us about your farm. 

Wild Hill Farm is 5 acres on hilly terrain set on the side of East Sooke Park, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This 3000 acre park borders our farm on two sides, so things really do feel very wild here. We raise a small flock of heritage ducks and chickens for pastured eggs, have a small orchard of mostly apples and pears, and grow rose geranium, lemon verbena, thyme, sage, rosemary, comfrey and calendula for skincare. Most of the herbs thrive here with nothing more than compost, lama manure, fresh seaweed mulch, and a bit of lime in winter. We do have a 40 foot greenhouse for the verbena and geranium, heat lovers that they are. On a wet and cold spring day, the greenhouse is my favorite place to be. The smell of the herbs and earth in there is so enlivening. By growing our herbs organically and producing skincare with them, we hope to both bring people a relationship to these wonderful plant allies.

What do you feel sets Wild Hill Botanicals apart from other natural beauty brands (I find the natural beauty market to be quite supportive! I hope that's been your experience)? 

Absolutely supported. There is currently lots of growth in this industry and room to move at the moment. Basically we are taking back an industry that has been polluted. We all know someone who has battled cancer, and it doesn't take much time on google to educate yourself on endocrine disruptors, bio-accumulation, and persistent contaminants. We all stand to benefit by simplifying our lives of these things. The Canadian government has a hot-list of banned ingredients in cosmetics, but sadly it does not match the standards of the EU, and many more ingredients should be banned than are at the moment. So small companies are bringing this needed change to Canada, and we are very excited to be a part of this group of entrepreneurs. Many large companies advertise the botanicals in their products. Yet I was surprised to learn that the majority of ingredients, especially herbal extracts that are available from suppliers being used for "natural" skincare are highly refined. Thus a brand might advertise their use of plant extracts, yet the reality is unless you have control over this step of production, whatever might have been a plant ingredient at the outset has been boiled, bleached, and clarified to the point of being unrecognizable. Here at Wild Hill, our goal is to deliver as whole a plant therapy as possible to people, and their skin. Whole means we grow and process almost all of the herbs we use ourselves, and make all our extracts ourselves. From wild rose glycerite to nettle tincture to hydrosols and double-infused oil infusions, we do it all because it's the best way we know to deliver potent herbal skincare, and also because we just love doing it.

What are your personal favourite products from your line? 

They're all my favourites! The products I use most would be the Rose Geranium Toner and our Blackberry Serum and Wild Rose Neroli cream. Really, I'm a hydrosol nut. They uplift the spirit. They're plant medicine. They regulate skin pH, helping skin stay a little on the acidic side. They tone and tighten. Mist, and mist often, I like to say. I keep a bottle on me wherever I go, and when I need a little a pick-me up I close my eyes, mist, and breathe deeply. It feels amazing. When it comes to moisturizers, I go back and forth between the serum and the cream. It kind of depends on the day. Our serum absorbs very quickly, that was important to me. It also has a really interesting blend of oils that I fell in love with while formulating- they're all either healing, anti-microbial or anti-aging, and the arnica extract is a huge boost. I love our cream for the rose hydrosol and rosemary hydrosols, the cocktail of precious oils, the honey and wild rose extract, and of course rose and neroli essential oils which are so helpful to sensitive, drier skin. It feels so luxurious and also like a throwback—your mother's mother's cream, something like that.

What is your best piece of skin care advice? 

Begin to realize that beauty is a ritual of self-care, and that skincare is a form of self-love. Be cautious of sunscreens, even the titanium/zinc ones. Minimize makeup. Hydrate yourself, buy the best food you can afford, be sparing with soap, eat lots of greens that are as fresh as possible, and if skin is overly dry or breaking out, use organic honey on the skin and do some gut healing/dietary adjustments to mend it up. Vitality and health are quickly and easily read by humans, no amount of makeup can fake it (sorry!). Your skin is your body's largest organ. It breathes and absorbs what is placed on it. In your skincare, look to support your skin's functions- namely breath-ability, detoxing, and retaining moisture. Yes, it comes down to more than looks, but the more we support the primary functions of our skin, the more beautiful it will look.

Check out Wild Hill Botanicals here. Stockists here.


debbie carlos: poster party + promo code

I’ve been a big fan of the work of photographer Debbie Carlos for a long time (I got her giant ice cream poster five years ago!) and recently had the pleasure of meeting her and her husband in Toronto while they were visiting. And a lovely meeting it was!

She recently redesigned her shop website, and with it included a new lookbook. The lookbook was shot by the very cool photographic team Ola~Onda. Since we seem to be in the middle of a heat wave right now, I am feeling the waviness/meltiness of the styling.

Debbie has generously created a coupon code for those of you who want to check out her shop and pick up one of her amazing prints (or phone cases! Geoff has this one and loves it): THUNDERINOURHEARTS for 20% off your purchase of $40 or more! Good until June 25th. Happy summer!


a baby shower!

This past weekend my sweet sister-in-law Rosalyn threw a baby shower for me. For us! I never had a bridal shower and I felt a little funny about having a baby shower, but thought it would be a wonderful way to see all my friends together and to celebrate this babe who is 6.5 weeks away with cake and prosecco (and, ahem, mineral water in some cases). So, not for me after all!

When we started planning it a few months ago, we thought mid-May would be the perfect time to have a casual park picnic. The park in our neighbourhood has fire pits that can be rented for free, which is a really lovely thing that makes the street smell so nice in the summer. Unfortunately, the weather on Sunday was shockingly horrible and unseasonal—cold with periods of hard rain and even hail, although luckily it was quite sunny. We ended up having the shower in our apartment, which made for a cozy atmosphere. It was perfect. I loved having so many dear friends in our home! Of course, it was also quite chaotic, and I didn’t get the chance to take any pictures. I did take some shortly before our guests started to arrive.

I got the paper puffballs above in 2012 for our wedding—I barely remember if we used them—and had saved them thinking they would be perfect for a baby shower. They ended up waiting a few years longer than anticipated, but I was glad I got to use them after all (there would have been no way to hang them in the park!). The room they’re in in this photo is the baby room, which is still in progress. It’s my favourite room in our whole apartment.

I made the invitations using a template from Vistaprint (I cannot resist a mailed invitation!). There are so many beautiful paper invitations out there, but these were the most affordable that I found, and I was able to customize the template quite a lot. I didn’t think there was a need to go overboard with invitations since an email invite would have been just fine! I was really happy with these and think they’re pretty adorable. I put a note on them that partners were welcome.

The beautiful flowers came from Lauren of Timberlost. These roses smelled like candy! I loved the chamomile.

I wore a beautiful dress from HATCH, the Lina caftan. I can’t remember the last time I got so many compliments on a dress! I haven’t been feeling too amazing about my weight gain (even though I know it is for the best reason), but I felt really good in this dress. It’s such a pretty colour, it has lovely details like the tassel cord, the fabric is light and airy, and I will be able to wear it for years to come. If only it were caftan season all year long. Yes, I did wear my Moroccan slippers at the party, ha. Oh and yes I feel very awkward putting my hands on my belly!

I’ve been admiring cookies by Lindsey Bakes for years, and while I’ve purchased her special edition holiday ones in a few local shops and coffee shops, I never had an excuse to order custom ones for myself... until now (I wasn’t hosting the shower but I went rogue). I gave her some suggestions, although I left it pretty open, and was thrilled when I saw these sleepy animals and sleepy cloud cookies. These are made with the cloud cookie cutter from Herriott Grace! They were a huge hit.

Delicious chocolate “bambino” cake and cupcakes by my friend Lynlea! I forgot to cut the cake until almost everyone had left, so ummm just lots of leftover cake for me.

Since the party had been planned as a picnic, I had purchased disposable paper plates, cups, etc. (although I of course do not own enough dinnerware for 35–40 people!). The last time Geoff and I were in the US we bought the cups and plates from the line designed by designlovefest for Target. I’m not a huge fan of disposables, but this is such a cute line! The Target we visited didn’t have the full range with all the black and white options, but it was fun to have colour on the table.

My brother barbecued a few different types of burgers (thanks, Victor!) and we had a variety of snacks such as cheese, olives, antipasto, and, of course, chip salad (ETA: a mix of 4 or 5 different chips, always a huge crowd pleaser!).

Thank you so much to everyone who came! I love you all.


packing a hospital bag

Lately I think I have been feeling a bit of a calm before the storm. Things have been quiet. When I come home in the evenings, I usually settle in for some knitting or sewing, and funnily enough, baseball games. This is a new phenomenon! I have really loved watching baseball games since they started in April. I find the sounds of baseball comforting, which came as a surprise. I haven’t felt particularly creative or active, but my mind has been going non-stop. Now that I have eight weeks of pregnancy left (ahh!), and since I got a very helpful list from my prenatal class, I’ve started to think about what I will pack in my hospital bag. I’ve asked a few pros for their opinions and the first thing everyone says is that they didn’t use most of what they packed since hospital stays can be so short— which is funny to me because on the two visits I’ve made to the labour and delivery floor, I’ve seen women arriving with giant suitcases! I definitely understand the urge to feel (over-)prepared, and so here are some of my thoughts about some of what I will pack. I know things don’t always go according to plan but I know that having my bag packed will help me feel at ease in the last few weeks.

Fjällräven was kind enough to send me a Kånken No. 2, which I thought would make the perfect bag to bring. I know it doesn’t look very large, but it fits quite a lot! Plus it’s cute, and as I have seen with a Fjällräven bag I bought years ago, super durable. I’ll probably pack a few additional tote bags for the things the hospital gives you upon discharge.

Breastfeeding pillow (I sewed one), and a pillow from home, since those hospital pillows can be a little flat (and I imagine it would be nice to have something familiar). This pillow by Auggie is so sweet and the cover is machine washable. Perfect.

Massage oil. I love this Kahina argan oil: it absorbs so quickly, and the smell is delicate. We’ve been learning some massage techniques in our prenatal class, which has come in handy since the only issue I’ve had this pregnancy is back pain.

Comfortable clothing for the hospital stay. I spent about a week in the hospital a couple of years ago and my favourite things to have with me were slouchy socks. I padded around the whole floor in them. This kit from Hatch, the Hatch to Hospital box, contains so many soft items that would be perfect for the period after the delivery, including slouchy cashmere socks! What a treat. The airy Tulla top would make a wonderful piece to go home in, since it will be July.

Nursing bras, extra underwear, water shoes in case we get a tub room, toiletries. I think it will be important to bring my own hand soap (I really like the Live Clean brand) because I cannot stand the soap at the hospital, which is very harsh.

I like the idea of having a notebook with me. I often forget to write things down but this feels like an important time to jot things down so as not to forget.

For Geoff: a watch with a second hand (he can borrow my Cluse watch), and pyjamas for his night of very uncomfortable sleep in the chair next to the bed, if he can get any sleep! Plus phone chargers, cameras, snacks, etc.

For baby, star of the show: a cotton hat, some onesies, and a cute outfit for going home. I like this knit set even though it looks warm. We’ll be going from an air conditioned hospital to an air conditioned car, and I don’t know much about babies but I know they like to be warm! Plus a sweet cotton blanket.

Diapers. While I love the idea of cloth diapers, the reality is that it isn’t practical for us since we don’t have laundry at home. I’d like to use diapers that are as eco-friendly as possible, and luckily we live in a city that recycles them.

Of course, we can’t leave the hospital without a car seat. We recently purchased the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio and will install it soon.

 I love lists, so if you have any that helped you or if you have any suggestions, please share!


wall tapestries with society 6

I recently wrote about wall tapestries for Society 6. You can read the post on their blog here. I also created a collection with some of my favourites! There are so many incredible designs available that it was hard to narrow down my selections. I particularly love the Clouds print by Debbie Carlos. I’m looking forward to summertime visits to the park with these in tow!

Thanks to our pals Melinda Josie for letting us borrow her apartment for some photos, and Lynlea Combot for modelling again! You can see more photos from Melinda’s cute space on Apartment Therapy here.


moon + flower by lauren wilson

I thought this would be an appropriate thing to post on a the day of a new moon!

From March 10 to April 1, Lauren Wilson of Timberlost Designs and Wild Altar had an exhibition of her watercolour moons up at Souvenir Studios (one of my favourite new shops in the city), along with a few of her floral arrangements. It was a beautiful show with one of the loveliest openings I have had the pleasure of attending. I am a huge fan of Lauren’s work (and also of Lauren!), as everything she touches is so stunning; her floral arrangements can be so wild and almost dark when she’s creating work to accompany her own projects. Unfortunately I don’t have an image of the arrangements from the opening, as these photos were taken a few days later.

About the show and paintings:

The universe takes what it wants, folds it back into its deep dark matter. Its clandestine face shines as brightly as its undisguised one. My two subjects in this show, Moons + Flowers, are part of this mysterious cycle. The beginning of the universe and the first time a plant species evolved into becoming a flower still baffles us.

And yet we keep searching. We are inherently fascinated by the unknown, the dark spaces between ourselves and the cosmos. My moons, my many moons originated from a period of looking to the universe for answers. As I painted them, as I let the whirlpools of light and tones collide, I felt closer to the matter that once consumed me, to the one I loved and lost.

My flowers are my living ghosts, clasped between my hands, transient beauty. With an emphasis on their individual structure and stems, my arrangements aim to reconcile the tension between nostalgia and the present, between life and death.

Both my Moons + Flowers are a result of my sacred wonderment. Mediums which, through interpretation, allowed me to accept the mystery, immortalize the past and make the future my own.

Dedicated to my beloved father, Alan Wilson, 1946–2015.

Some of the flowers used in her show were dyed with natural inks made by Jason Logan of The Toronto Ink Company. Inks derived from: black walnuts, turmeric, sumac, iris root, rust and shells.

Just a few photos from around Souvenir, because it is full of treasures.