two months' notice

After two years spent complaining about our neighbourhood, Geoff and I are finally handing in our notice & embarking on a new apartment search. We love the apartment, we love the ravines nearby and all the trees... but then we'll take a walk in another neighbourhood and bump into at least two of our friends. When we head down the subway stairs, we have heavy hearts.

So, and I know this is a longshot, if you happen to live in Toronto and hear anything about a one bedroom apartment somewhere within the parameters of Dupont-Queen, Spadina-Brock, pretty please let me know! It's for May 1.

I am dreaming of being able to ride my bike all over my new neighbourhood, without having to get off and walk my heavy, one-speed, ancient bike up that dang hill on Avenue Road.

A yard with room for a teepee would be heaven! Image from The Selby.



I wonder if this could be accomplished by drawing on a pair of tights with a fine point marker. I'll have to ask my in-house illustrator.

From here.


double raincoat day

Around here, we have about three whole weeks' worth of light jacket weather; it seems to go from freezing cold to blistering hot in a short period of time. It doesn't rain particularly often. This hasn't stopped me from amassing a small quantity of thrifted raincoats over time. I do love them. I think I have two hanging in my closet at the moment, and I think I've sent at least four others to the thrift shops over the past year. Today I acquired two more, like a greedy hoarder.

This is a pale pink trapeze-style coat I found earlier today for $15. It doesn't look like much on the hanger, but it's super cute! It has a scalloped collar and is really swingy and light. It needs new buttons, though.

This is a raincoat whose arrival I have been anticipating for about two weeks. I ordered it from Etsy and was so excited about it that I didn't want to talk about it -- I felt superstitious, as though if I talked about it it would definitely get lost in the mail. This seller -- who I recognize from eBay -- has the same one in black (she had the name "ce petit coeur" there, and I never forget a Françoise Hardy reference!). It was waiting for me today and I am thrilled. Ruffles! Lavender! Gathered sleeves! Oh my goodness.

I tried to take some pictures of myself in these coats, but since this apartment is mostly all windows, I was unsuccessful. The top picture is all I got. I like it, though: it looks like I'm standing in a puddle of sunshine.


dear summer

I miss you. Let's hang out. It'll be fun -- we'll grab some popsicles and stuff.


Image from Cacharel's Liberty collection, via styleserver.



This was on sale for a measly $5 at Urban Outfitters, so I bought one. I don't have anywhere to put it for now, but the colour makes me feel happy. I could have bought a bottle of vitamin D pills and swallowed them all with my morning Americano, but instead I think I will peek into the bag and look at the hook from time to time.

Pantone was certainly right about yellow.


new lula

Personally, I LOVE it.

small magazine

I came upon this spread from Small magazine via Simple Lovely, and thought "oh oh oh." Usually I feel a bit anxious when looking at children's things because I have this deep fear that I will never be able to afford children of my own (tick tock, tick tock). Or at least that I won't be able to dress them in the sweetest little outfits and send them to good schools and to ballet lessons. This is very upper-middle class of me, maybe. But I cannot resist things in minature sizes, especially little girl things.

The above cape reminded me so much of my own Blair capelet that I did a double-take and leaned in closer to the screen. I wish I had kept one for myself, but I ran out of that lovely wool/rayon fabric and couldn't find anything like it anymore. Next fall, maybe.


pale blue

As much as I am loving lavender right now, I am also loving pale blue. Robin's egg blue, bluebell blue, sky blue, beach house blue. I am trying not to let Easter bunnies and plastic Easter baskets crowd my imagination, although Easter decorations do make me feel happy and remind me of being a tiny Catholic schoolgirl. Pale blue has always been a favourite, though. I have to admit that I was so thankful to Erin Fetherston when I first started hearing her name. Her clothing reassured me it okay for me to wear pastel dresses with black tights, which I had been doing anyhow.

I adore Emily's pretty blue bag over at Some Girls Wander (over the last few weeks her blog has been consistently amazing), and I think it influenced a few recent purchases from Etsy, as well as a number of fruitless searches for kisslock purses.

This blouse from seller leoluca was waiting for me in my mailbox today and I am absolutely smitten. Not only is the colour perfect, but it has ruffles. It's quite flattering, too, I think. Oh ruffles, you work wonders. The seller drew a little bird with "Hello from Berlin!" on the package and it made me smile. I cut it out and put it on the fridge -- it's the little things, folks.

The Etienne Aigner flats from vintagerevolver arrived yesterday, and while it snowed today, I can't wait to wear them out in a few weeks' time. They are darling, and in perfect condition.

Today I discovered my face on a Ffffound post, and it made me blush a little bit. I am also thrilled that Alyson at Unruly Things liked my post on the Book Cover Archive. Books are beautiful things, although this is what I have done to my books. No longer can my shelf brag that I own really important books, which is for the best as I have hardly read most of them.

the book cover archive

This morning Geoff pointed me in the direction of The Book Cover Archive, which is a truly lovely thing. I am not ashamed to admit that I have picked up books because I loved the covers.

I am not in any way a design snob, but I do love how you can browse by typeface. Here are some book covers that feature a favourite typeface of mine.

The above is a personal favourite, both from the archive and from, well, the canon of English literature.


roller ghosts

roller ghosts, originally uploaded by P E T S.

This makes me think of Caitlin.


florals & a collaboration

I've noticed that a lot of photos of leather motorcycle jackets and biker boots are finding their way from New York Fashion Week (yes! This kind of thing does not escape me -- sometimes). Meanwhile, I am still firmly rooted in fields of flowers. I do think floral dresses and biker boots look lovely together. Or a motorcycle jacket with the Sessùn Piou bag, which I am a little bit obsessed with at the moment.

I found this floral print cotton lawn recently and decided to make some needlebooks out of it. I should have a small stack of them ready for Etsy soon. I decided not to use flannel for the pages this time. While I love how soft flannel is, this time I went with felt, specifically felt that is made out of recycled plastic bottles. It's not the softest material, but at least it is virtuous and works very well.

This embroidery is something that I am very excited about. Last summer Geoff and I worked an embroidery of La collectioneuse, and I really enjoyed it. I had made it with the intention of making more, of making a series -- I just never followed through with it. When I found these vintage linens, I thought they were the perfect canvas, so to speak. I told Geoff what I had in mind and he drew it, although it took a few tries and a few weeks to get right. You'll note I had him leave off the face. I love collaborating with Geoff. Sometimes I have to push him and sometimes he has to resist, but it works out nicely overall.

She's very simply rendered (I love the back stitch, yes I do). I've called her La brodeuse because I have that (pretentious?) penchant for naming things in French.

mini date

New dress on the left, new shirt on the right. Geoff is wearing his cross stitch monogram badge from treefox (I forgot to transfer mine to this coat). We stopped at Lettieri in Yorkville on Valentine's; when we first started dating, I worked at a bookstore in the area. Geoff used to meet me before my shift and we would have coffee. I always thought it was the sweetest thing, especially since I started early on Saturdays.

I decided a few weeks ago that I would do a few new things: wear more bright colours, and take more pictures. This was an early attempt, although the coat is covering my peach dress. There's a little ruffle peeking out, though.


peachy keen

Your comments yesterday made me very happy, pals! I almost wish I hadn't shown you my tattoo, because, wow, your imaginations might have come up with something way more hilarious than what it actually is (hey Sarah, Hello Kitty!). I will add to the "reveal" by sharing this tidbit with you: the illustration came from a book on magic. That's right. Magic! How Stevie Nicks of me!

It's amazing what a leisurely day can do, particularly when it's sunny outside. In the evening Geoff and I went out for groceries (TGIF, y'all) and on the way stopped at the thrift shop. Since I had bought him the gingham shirt, he wanted to buy me a present. I let him buy me the peachy, frothy, ruffled number above. I love it, especially now that it's all fresh and clean.

Geoff also drew on this pretty little milk glass mug for me this morning after blueberry pancakes. It has flowers and berries and a "G hearts A" on it. How did I get so lucky?

Now we are going to make sandwiches (prosciutto, fig spread, arugula, and pecorino cheese -- you should try it, unless you're a vegetarian!) and head down to see a movie.

Happy Valentimes!


the many moods of anabela

Hooray! I took the day off from the bookdealer's. Instead of going in to catalogue ancient literary criticism texts, I went to see my jetsetting parents off to the airport for their all-inclusive resort trip to Aruba. Then I went to the mall. Oh the mall, how I love the mall. Instead of making a little bit of money, I decided to spend a whole bunch of it! It is these irresponsible decisions that ensure that I will stay firmly rooted in adolescence, even if I am 30 years old (I keep reminding you of this -- it still fills me with wonder that I am 30!).

I bought Geoff this green gingham shirt at the mall. A slim fit, extra small. Oh my little darling. I hope he likes it because I can't return it. Yikes!

The lovely young man in large glasses and a bowtie who helped me dig out the one extra small from amongst the many larges and extra larges asked me if I was a university or college student, because I would get a discount. I said that I wasn't, and he said I looked like one. I wanted to hug him.

Then I went to H&M where I bought these ridiculous lavender (lavender again!) sunnies. This is the trashiest photo I will ever post -- I am feeling brave today! Me in my underwear showing you the tattoo I got when I was a teenager. I know, I know, 'tis a beaut! In any case, there is a certain young lady arriving in Toronto soon; when you arrive I promise to spirit you away for the occasional ridiculous accessory binge at H&M. Sometimes a pair of $4.90 lavender tights does wonders for the poor soul who is writing papers on metadata retrieval & whatnot.

I can testify! Here are my new lavender tights, worn with my Frye t-straps. Oh, you noticed my mismatched ankles? Yes! One of the perils of living in the hinterland is ice. Sometimes one falls and breaks one's ankles and they never heal in a pretty way again.

Now I am at home, Geoff has come through the door, I have fresh coffee, and Belle & Sebastian playing. I am also admiring the recipe cards I got for my friend Kate for her birthday. They arrived today: custom letterpress cards from The Petite Press. I am in awe of these cards! Inexpensive ($18 for 20), beautiful, and the packaging was so lovely! I know Kate will like them. She has the prettiest name!

I hope you are all enjoying this glorious day wherever you are. xo


treats from tinywarbler

In November I wrote about how I bought two bottles of Sephora by Opi in "Metro Chic," and after an email exchange, I sent my extra bottle to Kate, maker of the most wondrous whales and enticing elephants. In return she sent me this incredible package filled with lavender-filled, gently scented hearts as well as all these lovely notions! I wish I had a better picture of the twill tape -- it has a pretty lacey pattern on it.

So sweet! Thank you, Kate.


I used to dislike the colour purple. Lately I have been loving pale variations of it, particularly when they have hints of grey in them. Lavender, lilac, mauve, plum, violet. I am not alone in this and am probably picking up on trends in a subsconscious way. One of my all-time favourite vintage dresses is a lovely pale lavender number made of that polyester chiffon I mentioned in my last post. I changed the colour of my blog header a while ago to reflect my newfound appreciation of lavender. I can't get enough of it.

I have added the "dull mauve" ribbon tie ballerina shoes from Toast to my basket about six times since I first saw them, removing them once I had typed the resulting charge into xe.com. Now that they are at a price I could almost justify with the shipping cost, they are sold out of my size. Which is fine, as I'm sure they would look funny on me.

Since I also can't get enough of headbands these days, I made a variation of the Françoise headband with lavender velvet ribbon ties. These headbands are the kind of thing that I don't need everyone to love, because I love them so much myself. It doesn't matter that I have yet to wear one in public. In the summer I wore a braided suede one that I had made to see a friends' band and another friend told me he thought the "Pocahontas thing" was hot. So there you go. Hot.

(The one thousand embroidery hoops in the background are a hint of the project I have been working on lately! I hope you will like it.)



I love this Etsy vintage shop.  I love this blouse.  This girl is so pretty and she wears it so well.   To be honest, I kind of love this material, this polyester chiffon-y type of material that so many vintage blouses are made out of.  Polyester!  Yes!  I turn my nose up at it at the fabric store but I wear it all the time.


how to begin

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments and messages about my last post. The second I started to receive them I felt so embarrassed and humbled by your generosity and loveliness. The amount of thought and time you put into them makes me profoundly grateful, and you have given me a lot to think about -- a gift! It is difficult to make oneself vulnerable.
Oh well. At least I can't be accused of lacking in passion. This is real! (As Tracy Jordan would say.)

I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent most of the day crying yesterday, not so much from feeling sorry for myself (that abated once I hit "post," to be replaced with shame), but because of the small flood of emails I received. And then Geoff wrote a comment... well, it was an emotional day. I think things took a wrong turn at the post office in the morning, which lead to a lot of brooding, some self-doubt, and a touch of my unique brand of self-loathing. To think we started the day off walking down to work together in the sunshine, with me wearing moccasins and no hat, stopping for a hand-drip coffee at one of our favourite coffee shops!

My instinctive reaction, when I read comments that said that if I felt I had to stop, I should stop, was no, I want to keep doing it. It is worthwhile, and I am one of the most stubborn people I know. I do enjoy having things to make, and an email from someone who received something from me and who is happy with it fills me with gratitude and love. And I certainly am not complaining one way or the other about the number of orders we get for the shop -- I hope I didn't come across that way. At the moment, it is a comfortable, manageable, modest amount, and it is fine. I know that it is possible for other people to admire what we make even if they cannot justify a purchase. I certainly understand that.

I have always loved selling things. The thing is, I've never been good at taking people's money. When I was a kid I used to buy teenybopper magazines, rip out the individual posters, and sell them to other girls. I didn't make much of a profit, but I loved the exchange. I forgot about the money I had invested because I had money in my pocket! Money for candy and scented-ink pens.

Everything that makes me unhappy is within myself. I'm out of ideas and out of perspective. I finished my master's degree, my last resort, my back-up plan, just in time to wake up every morning to the phrase "these hard economic times" every ten minutes on the radio. I try not to dwell on the money I have spent on supplies for projects that went nowhere. I have questioned my abilities, over and over and over. I have questioned my originality, because I do believe there are only so many ways to do things and sometimes one ends up being derivative without meaning to be. I am self-conscious about the fact that I have only been sewing for a little while (although I would argue that my childhood incredible story-telling skills, resourcefulness in turning the cotton from a band-aid into a pillow for a miniature doll, and unparalleled excellence at dressup were creative exercises too) and about the fact that I have a degree in dorky medieval studies, not fashion or merchandizing. And sometimes, I get overwhelmed by jealousy. Usually I feel that I have nothing in the world to feel jealous of, because I am loved and happy even if I am not rich. But it happens. It is insidious and I hate it.

I know that we've only had the shop open since November. We've had great success in a short period of time, and it benefits no one to dwell on the greater success others have had in shorter periods of time. I know. I know that I don't know everyone's story; I know that everyone struggles. Not everyone has the luxury of financial support, not everyone can spend the day leisurely stitching away in a studio without a care in the word. I am bitter against people who do not exist. Bitterness brings on premature ageing, no? And who wants fine lines and wrinkles? Not me.

Har har.

Anyhow, I'll be back to posting about inconsequential petits riens soon enough. I've known for a while that I need to come up with ideas for things that are not so labour-intensive. Or if they are labour-intensive, I need to make a profit at it. I have told myself a million times that people would not bother to buy things if they didn't want them. I have forced no one to buy anything! And now I need to believe it.

Thank you. xoxo.


laugh out loud

I get my hair cut at the Aveda Academy. I've been doing this for years. It's only $35 and since the stylists are students, they are rarely there for more than two haircuts (they have three-month terms, I believe, then they move to colouring). I don't have to feel bad if I just sit there daydreaming and not chit-chatting about this & that, because I probably won't see the person again. They're always really nice, though.

For a while I was going to a "real" stylist who charged twice that. She chopped many layers into my hair which I have been trying to grow out -- I want my hair to be one length. The Academy stylists don't touch the layers and just trim the bottom; in the meantime, and because it's winter, the tips have become damaged. But my part-hippie heart isn't too bothered. The damage will get cut off eventually, and it's not that noticeable, really (see photo). Unless you're a stylist.

Today I went in for a haircut, and after inspecting my hair, the stylist turned my chair around and looked at me sternly. She said my hair was so damaged that I was going to "lose it" if I didn't take better care of it. She told me she was worried about it, and that I had to really keep on top of the home care. I promised to buy the Smooth Infusion because I was so impressed with how much she cared about the heat from the flat iron I use once a week.

Anyhow, the point of this whole long post is that while she was blow-drying my hair, I was sitting there thinking about how I was going to tell Geoff about the lecture and how he was going to react, and I laughed out loud.

My hair smells so good right now, and it's so soft. I love it.

please hurry

Today it was so cold on my walk to work that at one point I had tears in my eyes. It was fine for the first ten minutes, but by the thirty-five minute mark, I had had enough. I am actually eagerly anticipating spring showers, particularly once I have a pretty little umbrella to go with them...