so hot right now

(I can't stop using that expression, but only in the most facetious way possible.)

It never fails: every single year, I am sure I have nothing to wear in the summer and spend the months of June, July and August feeling like a slob in old, ratty t-shirts or whatever I find lying around. I recently bought some tie dyed cotton and since tie dye is so hot right now, I decided to make myself a quick(-ish) new skirt the other night. I used a pattern for a paperbag waist skirt (the red Minimarket skirt I got last year at Robber is a favourite of mine, and this pattern is similar). It was easy enough to make once I started completely ignoring the pattern instructions. I made it with a matching sash but I prefer it with a belt.

I also hemmed the skirt by hand and deliberately made the little stitches from my "blindstitch" visible. Why? I don't know. I always like those tiny little stitches that are sometimes unnoticeable. Everything seems to be topstitched these days and so I like the evidence of handstitching.

I wouldn't say that it's a flattering cut, but my Mociun dresses aren't flattering either and I get tons of compliments on them. The material and the cut of this skirt are so comfortable (it has pockets! What's better than a skirt with pockets?) -- I don't really care if they emphasize my hips. I'm over it.

In fact, I'm going to make a couple more using some of this African print fabric I picked up the other day for pennies.

I had had African textiles on the brain since our trip to Chicago; when we had brunch at Lula one of the hostesses was wearing a cute pencil skirt in an African wax print. So hot right now. I'm not even one for bold prints but I adore these, especially for summer.

Which reminds me, have you seen the new Norwegian Wood collection? Amazing.


"cats are the new floral"

A few days ago Aprile told me that "cats are the new floral," and I believe it.

I recently ordered a yard of Melinda's beautiful cat print fabric in pink (I love the Delft blue, but the pink matches our quilt so nicely, as you can see above). I chose the organic cotton sateen because sateen has the best feel. It's so soft.

When I received the fabric I was so anxious to make it into pillows that I basically made the most poorly-constructed pillows in the world. No zippers here. I'll regret that eventually. I wanted to get as many pillows out of the fabric as I could, so I backed them with some honeycomb textured cotton (seen here as a tablecloth).

We had friends over the other day and after a few hours of sitting on the sofa they said, "Oh! Those are CATS!" From far way they really look like flowerbuds. My favourite is the little tabby caught in mid-meow.

Melinda is amazing, as those of you who follow her blog surely know already.


lomo summer

It took me a long time to get around to ordering a LC-A+ camera. The price was prohibitive, and since so many bloggers have them I felt funny about copying them. This post by Francesca compelled me to get one, though, and that little camera has since become my favourite. Since it has practically no settings, it is so easy to use. I have it with me at all times.

Thursday was one of those nights that felt like summer in spring so when I got home, Geoff and I went for a bike ride. Our first stop was Mokuba, the Japanese ribbon store.

Our visit wasn't a success. The striped grosgrain was amazing, but $30/yard for polyester is a bit much. Still, I love looking at all the pretty ribbons.

We saw so many cats on this outing! I can't resist a sweet windowcat. There are actually two cats in this picture. Can you see them both?

We went to the newly renovated/expanded Big Chill for ice cream for the first time this year. Everyone seemed to be outdoors, and it took a while to find a place to lock up our bikes.

They make their own waffle cones at The Big Chill. You can imagine how incredible it smells.

We ate our ice cream (I had caribou tracks with strawberry, Geoff had Bordeaux cherry and cappuccino) on a little green bench. We wound up at Henhouse for some Mill Street Organic and nachos. It was a perfect little evening.



A few results from first roll in the Canon A-1, mostly taken on fully auto, all of them taken in my apartment. I'm signed up for this online photography course in June, and I'm hopeful that I will learn the basics (I never took photography in high school -- I'm not even sure that my high school had a dark room?).

I think I bought this mostly because the little archer makes me think of Henry Darger illustrations

A few things we brought home from Chicago and a few things that were waiting in the mail when we got back: Antoine Doinel tote (and yes, I have too many tote bags, but Antoine Doinel is one of my favourite movie characters of all time), pretty Liberty for Target journal from Diana (thank you!), Gemma Correll's Everybody's Book of Kittens, Japanese notebook from Tara, MMMG notebook from Penelope's

Herbs in need of repotting

An embroidery I started working on over a year ago (!!) and have yet to finish. The rectangle is guarding the area where a bowtie will go, once I'm done the fluff.


camera strap diy

Yesterday Geoff and I went to a camera fair put on by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada. We both enjoy looking at vintage and collectible cameras, even though my knowledge on the subject is pretty limited. We've been talking about the fair for a few years, especially around the time that Geoff was on the hunt for a TLR, but always miss it (Celine went last year). It was the perfect day for an outing. I bought a couple of small things, including a few stereographic cards and a cat postcard from 1906.

I also bought a whole bunch of camera straps, 5 for $2. I had always admired Karyn's re-covered camera straps, here and here, and I wanted to make one using some floral tapestry ribbon trim I had found at the Designer Fabric Outlet (Mokuba has some beautiful tapestry ribbon on clearance, but the DFO ribbon is so cheap at 99 cents a yard). The only problem was that I couldn't find the hardware for a strap, and to be honest, I have no idea what the hardware is even called. D-rings and snap hooks and split rings and so on. It seemed much easier to take existing straps apart, and I wanted this to be a quick project I could work on guilt-free in the face of my to-do list. No sewing of little leather bits, no rivets.

Two of the straps I bought were made of black cotton webbing that had started to look a bit dingy. I took the hardware off, sewed two pieces of trim together so that it would be reversible, and a few minutes later, I had my very own camera strap. So easy and so satisfying.

The nice thing about the hardware on the original straps is that the hooks swivel. There will be no twisted strap.

This is a Canon A-1 that I got on eBay a little while ago off someone who was clearing out his personal collection. I had become obsessed with finding a Canon SLR for myself, and had settled on this model. I like that it has auto features, since I am just learning about how to take a proper picture. Kate has the same one, which makes me feel good about my choice, although I had no idea she had it when I bought it. The camera came with a generic black nylon strap; I think mine is much prettier.

Cat tail outtake:


the windy city 2

More from Chicago, this time taken with the digital camera. Sometimes I put the Diana lens on it, because I really like that funny lil' thing. I used it at the Art Institute because I am certain that modern art looks pretty great through the Diana lens.

I was so happy that our visit coincided with a William Eggleston exhibition. He happens to be my favourite photographer (I also love the fact that he seems to be a bit of a curmudgeon). I had a dream about his dye imbibition printing process last night, so that's weird. After traipsing through this exhibition, we really only had time to wander through the contemporary galleries, which was fine by me.

Allison met us at the museum and we went out for drinks at the Rainbo Club in the Ukranian Village. I am always happy to go somewhere that has cheap drinks, and Chicago is full of these sorts of places. Luckily our "guides" knew of a lot of them, too.

We drank Fin du Monde, because sometimes you have to stick with the familiar. We did try more local-ish beers later, such as Two Brothers. I even tried something called Gumball Head. (Pssst, all beer pretty much tastes the same to me.)

Saying goodnight to Allison in the Division El.

Wishing this jacket fit, wishing I had the $250 for it at Penelope's.

Lovely Bake Shop
I forgot to mention this place in my post yesterday. I have to mention it because this is where we met up with Caitlin and because I think Erica has to go there when she visits Chicago this summer. This was on our second day and by this time I was a little sick of sugar (shocking!). It's a very cute place! That's the "Lil Lower" nylon tote I got at Marc by Marc Jacobs on the table (I got sucked into a conversation about sales tax at that store, incidentally, which was funny. Tread lightly, my friends. I'm Canadian. You don't even want to know, especially if what Chicagoans pay in sales tax is shocking to you.)

Mia kicked Geoff's butt at Tetris at Club Foot.

Amazing wall art at Perez, which I mentioned in my last post. What is this? Harlequin romance novel art, Aztec-style? Sensational.

Skylark. I really liked this place, but by this time we were so tired that Geoff was nearly nodding off at the table. We did take pictures in this booth, though: six people to eight shots. They're hilarious! But for our eyes only! Black and white photobooths are a novelty to us because I don't think we have any working ones in Toronto any more (does anyone know if the Drake's is out of commission or not?). There was also one at Quimby's.

Beard Papa's
World's best cream puffs! This is a Japanese chain that has yet to reach Toronto. I kind of hope we never get it because maybe these things should be vacation food ONLY. They are too good!

Oh, The Green Mill. It's a nice place, really charming. It's just too bad about the shushing. And the scat singing. I guess I should be happy it wasn't live poetry night! I like chatting with my friends!

So we went up the street and had these pitchers of Long Island iced tea, while laughing about The Green Mill. Some of you probably think I have a drinking problem by now. Spring break!

A few more pictures with the Diana lens (and the Diana Mini -- we haven't finished that roll yet) at Millennium Park.

I have been thinking about one of the places that we completely missed, which was The Post Family. I think that would have been a pretty cool place to visit! Also, Geoff bought an issue Proximity magazine at Myopic Books, both of which are recommended. I read a few articles from the magazine and it's pretty great.

I hope you don't mind that I shared so many of my vacation photos with you!