hooray for totes

A little while ago I posted about some totes that I liked, but last Thursday I ordered a different one. Geoff sent me a link to one from the Collected by Tas-ka shop, this sweetly patterned tote by Millimeter Milligram. Only 4 Euros, y'all!

I had some trouble with the checkout but I wrote a quick email to Jantien and Hester and they helped me with it. The tote was in my mailbox this afternoon. Who knew shipping from the Netherlands was quick as a flash?

happy cloud

I have wanted one of Caitlin's lace lampshades since she first introduced them. When Geoff and I moved into our current apartment one of the first things we did was replace most of the light fixtures. I thought back to Caitlin's shades, and then I got a lovely email from lovely Claire saying that she had seen the Happy Cloud shade and that it had made her think of me. That sealed the deal, and now it's mine. Beautiful.


weird summer

Wearing my new Built By Wendy jacket (see below), which is difficult to photograph

Things have been pretty weird in Toronto this summer. It's been cold, and rainy, and we're one month into a city workers' strike; there is garbage everywhere. All this cold and damp is making me feel extra tired. I was yawning in the first picture above.

A lot of really amazing things have happened recently, though. On Friday I had lunch and a quick thrift stop with Laura Jane, who writes for the excellent blog nogoodforme.com! I adore everything LJ writes -- my favourite post of all time was her guide to astrological perfumery. She was just as hilarious and sweet and lovely in person, and look, we agree that you should go see Sonja's window at Magic Pony.

I also picked up this Built By Wendy mini canvas anorak this weekend at Robber. It was heavily discounted and I am looking forward to wearing it in the fall (although really, I could probably get away with wearing it this summer, this weird, weird summer!).

I think my style is starting to change yet again and I'm definitely veering away from ruffles and towards things that are more masculine. Built By Wendy is the perfect brand for achieving that balance, I think -- girly and boyish all at once. I love this jacket. I feel as though I should be wearing it while standing on rocks near breaking waves. Moody. Like this summer.

(Oh and thank you so much for your comments on my last post -- I tried to respond to each of you!)


faux-liberty x anabela

A few months ago, I lost all confidence in my ability to sew. I had always been a little self-conscious about the fact that I was self-taught, but suddenly I became unhappy with everything I made. I was getting better at stitching neckties since they are mostly hand-stitched, but I would feel discouraged making even a basic tote. Everything was all wrong, I thought. I had no new ideas, and when I did, everything stalled. I thought that having a dedicated sewing room would increase my productivity, and I looked into buying a new machine. Of course, it wasn't that simple.

On top of this, I wanted to make a skirt for a friend as a Christmas present. Christmas 2008. I still haven't finished the skirt. I always had an excuse: my serger needs to be tuned up, the automatic buttonholer on my machine is unreliable, etc. I couldn't make any garments for myself because I would feel too guilty. Of course, it didn't matter, because I thought that everything I made was garbage anyhow. I would start things and never finish them (cf. here and here). I would look at the perfect things that other people had made and focus on the perfect stitches holding the perfect bias binding perfectly in place. I felt like a fraud.

Earlier this week I decided that barring myself from making any new garments for myself was the wrong approach. I needed to get my confidence back somehow. I pulled out the Stylish Dress Book and chose pattern 'K' for a new blouse. It was the perfect project to remind me that, oh, yes! I might not be an expert, but I can still make things with my hands.

I like my little blouse. It has a nice loose fit (I especially like the dropped shoulders), and even if Cacharel or A.P.C. X Liberty or even authentic Liberty fabric is beyond my means at the moment, at least I can have a floral cotton lawn blouse of my own.

(I still have to put on a few more buttons -- that automatic buttonholer excuse is valid! I had to turn the knob by hand to get the second buttonhole made.)


sweet summer totes

There really isn't anything better than a simple canvas tote in the summer. Here are a few that I enjoy. Please tell me about your favourite totes -- I can never resist them.


guest post by geoff: the sylvan apartments

(These pictures were taken a few days after the ones below were taken)

I am happy to announce that today's post is written by my other half, Geoff. He recently took some beautiful pictures of the seriously spooky building that is located across the street from where we live. We live in a city where the buildings are never more than a century old, and any vacant building is a fascinating mystery for us. We are so curious about these places!

I would love to learn more about this vacant, L-shaped, dilapidated townhouse-style apartment building across from us. The 'Sylvan Apartments' were built in 1910, and expanded in 1927. We've heard some rumours from neighbours that a developer currently owns the property and would like to tear it down to build condos, so perhaps the fact that it's a registered heritage property is the only thing saving the place from destruction so far. None of the windows seem to be broken, and many of the blinds and curtains on the upper level are still in place. The main floor doors and windows are all covered with plywood, some with painted, stenciled graffiti.

With my dad's 1970s Pentax SLR camera, I took some photographs recently while on a walk with Anabela. We ignored some 'No Trespassing' signs to explore the back of the building. A tiny driveway and tiny garages are the first thing you notice, and around the corner are at least a dozen different rose bushes, scattered around the back yard and up close against the building. It's a beautiful contrast to the crumbling roof and drooping wood porches.

While I was photographing some roses, Anabela wandered over to the corner of the 'L' and moments later came running over to me, shouting with fear and excitement. I knew from the change in bricks on the street side that the building was constructed in two stages but I wasn't expecting the strange view on the other side. It's as though the builders forgot about the back when they added on to the building, resulting in a light-shaft closed in on three sides by bay windows, with a very narrow space in between. There are steps down to a door that leads into the basement of the building. Stepping on broken glass, Anabela shifted the plywood boards to reveal cobwebs and a deep darkness. I took a few more photos before we returned home, feeling a little freaked out but also wondering what it would be like to go through that doorway.

I'm glad we haven't tried to go inside, though. A few nights ago Anabela was standing on our tiny Juliet balcony when she saw a racoon emerge from one of the abandoned building's chimneys, hang out for a bit, then disappear back inside a few moments later. I may be curious about the inside of this place but not curious enough to deal with angry wildlife!


hello sunshine giveaway winner

Thank you all so much for your comments on the giveaway! Once again I was completely amazed at your kindness, and Geoff & I are so glad you like the mug! The winner is Kelsey, who I believe is a first-time commenter. Kelsey, please email me with your address -- there is a link on my profile page.

I really enjoy hosting giveaways, and I hope that one day I will be able to send each of you something!

(Now that I see it here, this particular picture seems rather neo-Narcissus, when really I just thought it was cute to see my blog in tiny-size)

This past Friday I acquired one of these little gadgets. Oh dear. I renewed my phone contract and since I don't have a landline, I was able to justify the purchase of a data phone to myself (they have come down in price so much, though). So now I am completely tethered to the internet, which is kind of crazy and quite possibly the last thing I need. I have checked my email more often this weekend that one person ever needs to check email, and I have been distracted and obnoxious with it. Please feel free to laugh at me.


hello sunshine giveaway

I'm just sorry it's not a kitten mug! Here is one of Geoff's printer's device mugs with a yellow "hello sunshine" written out by me. We're giving it away! It is the perfect mug for your coffee and whatnot.

Leave a comment (as usual) and I will pick a winner at random (as usual) on Sunday evening.

Good luck!


check & stripe floral

I have a confession to make: lately I have not been feeling the lace. No, not so much. I think about it and "Falling Out of Love (With You)" by The 6ths plays in my head. I'm not sure when it happened, but it happened. I have a couple of lace dresses that I have yet to wear, in fact, although I try to get excited about them by thinking thoughts of Lula spreads.

It's okay; we're just on a break. I still adore the piles and piles of it that I have accumulated, that some of you have been so kind as to send me.

What I have been gravitating towards lately is the sort of thing found in the book above: Check & Stripe Floral. This has been the only sewing book I have been flipping through for the past few months, savouring it. It is still intensely girly, although a little less so than lace; I can make one of these dresses and climb a tree if I wanted. I can wear my Top-Siders with it! It's all about balance, folks.

From what I can tell, Check and Stripe is a shop, and there have been two previous books (Check and Stripe and Check and Stripe Standard). I got this one from Megumi, as usual. The ISBN is 978-4418094035.

I bought this madras check cotton at a wonderful place in Port Dover called Len's Mill Store. I think it will be perfect for the tomboyish sundress of my dreams.

bliss in a cardboard box

If you've ever thought it's not worth entering giveaways on blogs, I have proof that it is! I have won two in the recent past. Some luck, hey?

I won a sweet writing slate and spring blossom earrings from blissinateacup, a shop run by the lovely Rebekah and Richard (the pictures are from their listings, because they are better than any I could take). They filled the package with all sorts of delights. So wonderful!

I also won the little book "Melancholic Creatures" from MonPetitFantome. I am almost sad that it was such a limited edition because this is so, so beautiful! You may recall the doily mobile that Chad sent me completely out of the blue a while ago...

... he wasn't the only one to do so! I recently received an email from Anna of Coco and Luna offering to send me this pretty ballerina painting, which matched the little, baffling one I already had.

Look at you lovely people, filling my life with beautiful things.

Geoff & I are going to have another giveaway of our own soon -- look for it!


minnow bathers

Thanks to the generosity of Julie and Erin, Geoff and I had a lovely weekend by Lake Erie. It was too cold for a dip in the water but it did make me wish I had the perfect swimsuit -- which immediately made me think of Toronto-based Minnow Bathers. Even the name is perfect! I love how fun these suits are, and the peachy floral print (below) is just too sweet.

Available exclusively at Penny Arcade Vintage.

(Addendum: they have an Etsy shop now!)