to receive without guilt

A few of you have posted a picture from each month of 2009, which I thought was a nice idea.






May, again








I loved 2009. I will love 2010. I hope you will too.

Thank you to all of you for reading. Thank you for your sweet comments and thoughts. Thank you to those who have become dear to me in "real life." Thank you to those who have always been my friend and who didn't think it was so unusual that I had this little blog.

Thank you to those of you who made a purchase from my sadly neglected Etsy shop, and to those of you who encouraged me to continue with it. I will be more diligent about things in 2010, I promise.

Thank you to those of you who have blogs and who share your lives with the rest of us so openly, exposing us to the beauty you find.

Thank you most of all to Geoff, the greatest partner in crime I could have ever hoped to find.

I do not usually make resolutions, but this year, I will resolve to "receive without guilt." According to a silly astrology book I have, to receive makes one feel vulnerable, "but to create luck one must be fluid, spontaneous, vulnerable, and above all, willing to gratefully accept help when it is offered." It might be from an astrology book but I think this is rather solid psychological advice.

The winner of the Hudson's Bay scarf is Lexie. Congratulations, Lexie.

Happy new year! xo

christmas haul

(Geoff drew this for me)

I'm posting this a week late because I hesitated about posting it at all! Sometimes when I write about things that I have received or that I have purchased I feel a little showy. Even though my life is modest and certainly not filled with luxury, I do know what it's like to have no money at all. Possibly I am just too sensitive about these things. I enjoyed seeing what other people got!

I wanted to share what I got for Geoff, because I was happy with what I picked out for him. This year it was more important than ever for me to purchase things locally. Toronto is not New York or Paris or London, but we still have access to many wonderful things. I am happy to spend a little extra, when I can, to help ensure that we will continue to have this access to many wonderful things. It means something to me.

I got this hat by Fjällräven at Jonathan & Olivia. The little fox on the back sealed the deal!

I also bought him this shirt from Shared. Shared is a local company that makes t-shirts and some button-down shirts. I visited the shop on Bathurst and was glad I did because the fellow working there was so helpful and kind. This shirt fits Geoff perfectly and is so well made, with perfect details.

I got this Species by the Thousands ring from Geoff. I have wanted it for so long! We jokingly call it the "Alexa Chung" ring because when she visited Robber this summer, she bought the same one (I had admired it before she bought it, though, honest). Geoff also put some delicious vanilla black tea in my stocking.

The Sorel boots were an early Christmas present from Geoff. My brother bought me a copy of the Babycakes cookbook so I could return my copy to the library (yes!). I also got a little bit of money which I proceeded to spend on a pair of Hansel from Basel kneepad socks at Fawn Boutique, and on the Anna-lena dress from Permanent Vacation at the Robber Boxing Day sale.

I gave away many prints by Sonja Ahlers this year, because I love them so much! They're available at Magic Pony.

Yesterday my lovely friend Annie gave me this super fancy gift before she headed back to New York (sad!). Thank you, pal. My friends are the luxury in my life!


annabelle & a giveaway

The Annabelle dress by Dace, a most perfect birthday gift. Thank you, E., R, and C., you darling girls! It is the prettiest dress I own.

I am not usually one of those people who demands a lot of attention on my birthday, but I did mention that it was my birthday yesterday on Twitter (more than once, I hate to admit). I was completely overwhelmed by all the sweet wishes I received, though! It was so kind.

In my haze of good feelings, I decided to pick up this Hudson's Bay Company scarf (it matches my hat). As a small thank you, I would like to give it away. I wish I had a hundred of them! It is 100% cotton, about 60" long, and, I think, lovely. Please leave a comment and I will select a winner at random on Thursday afternoon, the last day of the year!


new knits

It probably seems as though I have knitwear fever at the moment, but you know, I kind of do! I live in an exceptionally drafty apartment. Since I can't live in the southern hemisphere this winter, I have to pile on sweaters and deal with having a very cold nose.

Thrifted stag head sweater (which makes me think of this post on the Cowichan sweater of Vancouver Island)

I posted a photo of the vest from Granted, and since I couldn't have the vest, I ordered the deer purse. It won't keep me warm, but it is so sweet.

Tara-Lynn, who is an absolute sweetheart, sent me one of her Meaford cowls as an early birthday present. I adore it! I have quite a few knits from Tara-Lynn and I am firmly on her team. They're the best. (Please disregard my ragged fingernails; I need a manicure.)

It would seem that Rhiannon also has knitwear fever! And I think she's right; the girl from this post is probably just wearing a really big scarf. Still, my new cowl produces the same effect.

I probably won't write another post in the next little while, and I send you all very warm holiday wishes! xo


magic on the shelf

Geoff hung this picture rail above the couch yesterday. We have so many small framed things and pretty books that we'd like to display, and this is an effective way of changing things continuously. I was getting a little tired of the torn "What We Get From Trees" poster, which will find a new home on another wall. We own many books that are lovely to look at, but they are lost on the shelves.

And do I ever have beautiful things to display at the moment: a print from Sonja (I like the glare on the glass, actually, because this picture was taken at my favourite time of day); The Photo Album from Frankie magazine, which I ordered by impulsive "accident" one day, although I'm glad I did; an Ontario embroidery that Erin sent me in exchange for an Ontario stocking. I think I made out best in that trade! Thank you, Erin. I love it.


handmade ornaments

On Friday Melinda and I met for coffee at The Common, and, as part of a trade, she gave me these ornaments that she had made. I love that they have the little heart shapes from the thrummed mittens we both have (the ones that I bought, and the ones that she made)! They are so very special, and demonstrates in small part how thoughtful she is; as with all her work, it's all about the details! I think it would not be so bad if I had these little paws up all year long. Thank you, Melinda!

I may try to whip up some ornaments reminiscent of Jenny's, using motifs from a cross-stitch pattern I got from Superbuzzy last year. Here is a surprise: I don't even like Christmas that much! I don't have any extended family nearby, and so the merriment quotient is quite low. If I ever have a child of my own, however, it will be nice to feel that Christmas excitement again, vicariously. And then I will be so happy that I have the sweetest handmade ornaments for our tree.


the perfect winter boots

When winter comes, I am most sad about the fact that I can't ride my bike to work, and that I have to walk. Rather, trudge. Winter where I live does not look pretty and bucolic, as in the J. Crew catalogue picture below. Last week we had a rain-snow combination, and while walking the 4 kilometers to work, stepping through half-foot-deep slush puddles, my feet got completely soaked. I was miserable, and I cursed winter weather.

Luckily for me, Geoff works from home, and is a sweetheart besides. He took a break, picked up a pair of Sorel Caribou boots in buff, and brought them to me on the streetcar. I have been wearing them almost every day, and have never again had cold feet.

I have often thought that these boots would look perfect with a wardrobe full of Built By Wendy, and I am sure that Wendy Mullin is often inspired by Canadiana. Sorel was created in the 1950s by A. R. Kaufman in Kitchener, Ontario, making these boots as traditionally Canadian as they come (although they are no longer actually manufactured in Canada). I love them!

my robber wishlist

I have my Robber wishlist over on their blog! Click here to take a peek (and psst! Sale!).


a basket from madeira

In the 1960s and 70s, the beautiful Jane Birkin became famous for carrying her basket around Paris. People would recognize her and Serge Gainsbourg from behind because of her basket and his ears. I prefer the basket to the purse that Hermès would go on to name after her.

Today when Sonia posted this link with a picture of Tommy from Notes from Naive with her basket from Madeira & gorgeous Agnès B. coat, I was so happy. What a lovely sight!

Now, where can I get one of these baskets for myself, other than on a pretty island in the Atlantic?

Addendum: Sweet Alice has offered to send me one from an artisan in Portugal! Hooray!


canadiana stockings

Because we have a mantle in our apartment, I decided to make Geoff and I stockings this year. I waited until inspiration struck. I came close to hanging some fair isle socks or mittens, which I still think is a good idea.

I was at Fabricland this weekend when I came across a display of Canadian provincial tartans in cotton on sale. I had seen these fabrics before and thought they were funny, but this weekend, I decided that they were actually amazing! Maybe I was influenced by the trip I had made to the Drake General Store the night before; the General Store is full of flannel and Hudson's Bay point blankets and even Mountie cocktail napkins.

The stocking on the left is the Ontario tartan, and the stocking on the right is the Alberta tartan. The Ontario is mine, because I was born here, and because Geoff was born in Calgary, his stocking is the Alberta.

These are just the "rough drafts." I made these in a hurry in the midst of completing a flurry of necktie orders. I'm going to re-make them because they're not well made at the moment (there is no lining, and the faux fur is poorly stitched in place) -- I want them to be family heirlooms!

(Some fur fluff on the toes -- that stuff goes everywhere!)


nice-list (abbreviated)

I didn't post any Christmas gift guides this year, mostly because there are so many of them floating around (and at all times of the year, frankly). I didn't have anything to add! Still, I thought I would post a small list of things that I think are nice.

The theme of this mini gift guide is "For the Anabela in your life." Har, har.

Set of three cards, Hanna Konola (sold out, unfortunately)

Anything by Hansel from Basel

Cannabis Rose eau de parfum, Fresh

Light wood drops necklace, dores

Classic deer vest, Granted

Vintage Dooney & Bourke satchel, lolalolalola

But really all I would want is an unlimited three month class pass from Tula West, my faaaaaavourite hot spot (literally!).


in a wintery week

I had wonderful dinner dates this Tuesday: Nikole and Celine. It was my first time meeting Nikole, and I have to admit that I was a little slower to respond to her tea or coffee suggestion (made in the summer!) than I should have been because I was intimidated and shy! So silly. I feel as though I have known both of them for a very long time. It's nice when that happens.

We ate delicious food (at Swan; they let us sit in our booth for close to four hours!) & we chatted the evening away. I was completely fascinated by the stories they told me. I'm at a point in my life where I want nothing more than to surround myself with positive and inspiring girls: I am lucky enough that, essentially, I am doing just that these days. I often think about how much I love where I live. There is so much beauty here, and I usually find it in the people I know.

They were both sweet to bring thoughtful little presents: the bangle was from Nikole, from the Herriott Grace line, and the pretty golden garland was from Celine.

Thank you, Nikole, thank you, Celine. The evening was a highlight of my wintery week.


cosmic latte

I'm excited about this year's City of Craft. It's going to be two days long for the first time ever! A real rager. So many incredible people will be there. I blew threw last year's City of Craft a bit shyly -- this year will be different.

I am looking forward to seeing the debut of Caitlyn Murphy and Rosalyn Faustino's new line, Cosmic Latte. The two of them combined will create some real magic. I am going to have to snag one of those tote bags!

("Cosmic latte" is the name given to the average colour of the universe. So, okay C., sometimes science can be a bit rad.)


amethyst slice

Today I am wearing my amethyst geode necklace by chainchainchained: "Amethyst fosters healing and selflessness, and is associated with increased nobility, spiritual awareness, meditation, balance and psychic abilities, inner peace, and positive transformation. Amethyst is also a good stone for protection, because it repels more than it attracts. The stone is especially powerful when worn over the heart." I dig it. When I wear it, it feels warm to the touch, which is nice.

I wish I still had my tiny mineral collection from when I was 14 or so. I used to look up what each one meant, and I didn't really know what to do beyond that. I kept them in my bedroom and hoped for the best.

I also loved these mineral soaps that Kate posted. So pretty.

Oh, and since some of you asked about the things in my Christmas decoration post: I posted about the tiny white tree & colourful glass balls last year, when I bought them. The little birch tree made of paper-wrapped wire is actually from Wal-Mart, where I also got the curtain lights that hang in my front window, and cost about $4. They had a wide variety of tiny trees, perfect for building tiny forests (yeah yeah Wal-Mart, etc.). The lion ornament is a Jonathan Adler ornament that I found for $10, unboxed, at Winners, which is a Canadian discount retailer. It seems that Jonathan Adler ornaments are different every year (how cute is this whale?), but you can still find the lion at Unica Home. The pendant in the last picture is my Tord Boontje Midsummer Lamp, which is quite possibly one of the best decor investments Geoff and I have ever made. It has a summer name but a winter look.

little crowns

December is a month filled with events, but this is one I've been excited about for quite a while.

The season of mystic ritual for the Western world happens each December. Darkness comes early in these arcane times and tradition reigns high as humans congregate around decorative firs and twinkling lights to celebrate magic. Metaphysical folk tales are shared, candles are lit, bread is broken, and concealed treasures are bestowed upon significant others. For suspended moments, belief in the unknown is possible. It is here that nine artists approach, bearing little crowns. Manipulating the earthly substances of clay, metal, mineral, wood and pigment, each artist conjures personal imagery of alchemy and enchantment. Please join Narwhal Art Projects this holiday season as we unveil magical markings for the celebratory spell. Featuring work by Carly Waito, Cody Cochrane, Irana Douer, Katy Horan, Matthew Feyld, Naomi Yasui, Noel Middleton, PowerHaus and Selena Wong. Little Crowns runs from December 11-January 10. An opening reception will take place on December 11 from 7-10pm. Selected artists will be in attendance.


making christmas

I tend to prefer simple, pretty decorations that I wouldn't mind having on display all year long. I also like it when I can fit it all into a $25 budget -- which does mean there won't be any tree but last year's tiny white tree, but that's okay. Our apartment sparkles!