beach day

Today was a beautiful day.

I enlisted the help of my buddy Caitlyn and my "assistant" Geoff and we went down to Ward's Island Beach. I had wanted to take some pictures of Summer Water bags by the shores of Lake Ontario (I thought it would be pretty nice to have one Caitlyn around since I can't have the other Caitlin around).  It was so much fun. Of course, I am no professional, but I didn't even feel embarrassed about toting around a plastic bin full of bags and cameras and a tripod! No one really cared anyway. Island life, you know?

We're calling this one the Shore Pack. Cotton canvas, cotton twill, leather bits. It will be part of the update this Monday (it should be live at 2PM, Eastern).

Those are Geoff's footprints. He kept his tennis shoes on. Also, I am so glad we kept this camera and learned how to use it -- I love it. The 669 film had been sitting in the fridge for about three years.

We met a cat that had come down for some beachtime.

Oh hey super adorable APC Madras sandals that I wish were mine, 'sup?

Aboard the ferry Ongiara. This song, from the Great Lakes Swimmers' album Ongiara, was in my head for most of the day (incidentally, the first time I heard that song I was so moved that I cried. True story).


summer water: the river pack, & prizes

Two more Summer Water bags: little backpacks for summer adventures. The blue fabric was tentatively called "Bunny Craze" by Caitlin, which I love. The pink was 1990s inspired and has hidden secrets in it. These aren't lined but they are sturdy! Gold toned hardware, cotton rope. $28 each.

Yesterday dearest Sonja left for the west leaving behind a trail of treasures for us and part of her life stored away in boxes in her storage facility (that is, Geoff's and my basement). A few pieces of Coe & Waito ceramics to add to my beautiful collection: a broken piece of an owl lamp (I love it on its own) and a plate, a few teeny tiny zines by Selena Wong, and a vintage book called Treasury of Kittens. Amazing. One should always have talented artists in one's life -- they give the best (and most unexpected) presents.

Geoff has already used the book for inspiration for a drawing.


you've got to climb mount everest to reach the valley of the dolls

The book I mentioned yesterday: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. A summer favourite. I suppose it could be classified as a guilty pleasure, but I don't believe in guilty pleasures. I have no guilty feelings about it -- I enjoy it too much. If you like Mad Men, you'll probably like this book. It is authentic mid-century America and doesn't offer any cultural history "lessons." Things as they just were, if you happened to be newly arrived in New York in 1945, seeking your fortune.

Speaking of other girly things, Sonja treated me to my first-ever pedicure as well as a manicure. I had always been so intimidated of salon pedicures! It was amazing, though. I chose OPI's "Passion," a peachy pink (pinky peach?). I got lavender on my fingernails and every time I look at them I feel as though my fingers are tipped in jellybeans. So nice.


summer water: the lake tote

Yesterday I tried to pull together some of my favourite beach and summertime items for a mini Summer Water photoshoot. I am re-reading an old favourite that kept me up until late last night.

When we first received the Summer Water fabrics, this one was my favourite (after I started working with the fabrics, a different one became my favourite, but I still love it). Caitlin was inspired by 1960s large florals for this one. I made it into a bucket tote with cotton rope straps so that it can be worn as a backpack.  It has a magnetic snap under the flap, and it is lined with cotton canvas. It can also be carried in your hand as there is a carrying strap. As with the other bags, this is the only one of its kind. $48.


a good week

I hadn't intended to write a post today because I have to get to work finishing up Summer Water things, but I just wanted to write a quick thank you to all of you for being so enthusiastic and supportive this week.  I feel as though July has been a great month for me, one in which I finally put ideas into action, from Summer Water to a slight blog redesign (and beautiful new header!) to my home series.  I suppose Susan Miller was right after all: the eclipse was good to us late-December Capricorns. Ha.

Incidentally, I have changed the name of the home series to "This is where I live." I was unaware of the fact that the name "Homebodies" was already in use as the name of another blog.  I hope that I will be able to keep the series going on a regular basis -- but I only know so many people! Jane and Kate wrote such sweet things about it today.

For now, I wish you a wonderful weekend.  I am off to think of the beach as I sew.

I am in love with these fabrics. Please tell Caitlin what a beautiful job she did. I could never have done it without her.

Oh, and happy birthday, Erin!


this is where i live: melinda josie

I am happy to introduce a new series I have dreamed up for this blog: This is where I live. Personally, I rarely read home decor blogs and find myself drawn towards the homes of my friends for inspiration. I also love Apartamento magazine and the Paumes series on Stockholm apartments because, to me, they represent something beautiful that is attainable for those of us who will most likely never own our houses. Sometimes when I read home decor blogs, I feel ashamed of my home, my home which is filled with sunshine! I know that is not the intent. I often need reminders that there is no need for this sort of self-torture and self-pity: there is no shame in living modestly. A cozy home filled with personality can be ours with a good eye and good instinct, with some creativity, with careful collecting, and sometimes, with the occasional lucky hand-me-down from a family member or friend.

The series is not about the homes themselves, but rather is an extension of the sorts of pictures I take in my own home. I would like to capture the feel and character, and I hope I have been successful in this so far.

I was thrilled when Melinda allowed me to take photographs of her apartment and to be the first in this series. I know that she has photos of her home on her Flickr account, but I wanted to take my own (so she could see how I look at her apartment). I had visited her a while ago when I picked up my first batch of kitty buds fabric, and was struck by how comfortable and beautiful her apartment was. Everywhere I looked there was something interesting to look at, and when I would point at something, there was always a story to go with the object. The apartment just glows with warmth and happiness. Oh, and we are neighbours!

Melinda, an artist, lives with her fiancé Chris (also an artist, with Team Macho) and their cat Dre in a main floor apartment in a house. The apartment also has a studio space that they both share. I went over on Tuesday morning; she made me an iced coffee and served it with a delicious croissant. We chit-chatted so much that I almost forgot to take pictures. She had the cutest braids in her hair that day, and I didn't even take a picture of her! I still feel nervous and unsure with a camera, I suppose.

Some of the pictures turned out a little blurry but I hope you will enjoy them.

I love the shape of this fabric pendant that hangs off to the side of the kitchen.

Chris made this sweet letterbox with a laser cutter.

Melinda told me that this antique nurses photograph is one of her most prized possessions. There are so many incredible art works on display in their home.

Her side of the studio. This is my favourite part of the apartment. Incidentally, she is making her own wedding dress! She is also working on oil paintings for an upcoming show at Narwhal, which Carly Waito will also be in. They're pretty astonishing.

I love peeking at other people's trinkets. I spy a card that Melinda made, a Sophie, and a Coe & Waito ceramic bird.

The famous kitty buds! The needles on top came from her grandmother's house.

Cute shoes!

This vintage ornament also came from a grandparent.

This is my favourite object in their home: Scout Finch's ham costume from To Kill a Mockingbird. Chris carved it himself as a Christmas present for her. Isn't that amazing? It's perfectly balanced on those little legs.

This is Dre! He's a dreamcat, isn't he?

Melinda wrote a sweet post about the visit! Thank you, Melinda.


new acquisitions

Sometimes I really miss thrifting, but then I'll go and find next to nothing in a sea of polyester and second-hand fast fashion items. I visited three suburban thrift stores (large ones!) on Saturday and only found a few things. A peach silk blouse, because I feel obligated to snap up silk clothing when I see it as it seems to be so rare in thrift stores around here, a piece of Limoges porcelain, and some pretty scalloped heels.

I like this French proverb. (I don't smoke.)

This wasn't thrifted but it was inexpensive: my cat tapestry purse came yesterday!  After Siri posted about cat tapestry bags I realized that this purse would bring me much happiness, so I ordered one.  It took a while to arrive but it's here and it's amazing. I could care less that the materials are cheap and that it's actually kind of a tacky purse. While I was waiting for it to come, I saw this post by Mademoiselle Robot and got even more excited about it (I like the duffel she got -- it has a greater catface ratio -- but I wanted a shoulder strap). Thanks for the tip, Siri!


from clever nettle

I have wanted one of Anja's frock paintings since she first started posting about them. I missed out on the originals, but she has prints on Etsy. I only let myself get one for now, and it was hard to choose! I went with Frock No. 6, and it arrived on Friday. It is beautiful.  I'm always amazed when I get a print that looks like it could be the original.

The day before, though, I came home to a surprise she had sent me in the mail: a Japanese magazine about cats! (Despite the fact that she mailed it weeks before I ordered the print, they came one right after the other -- the mail is so baffling sometimes).

This thing is bonkers! It is amazing! I've flipped through it so many times and every time I find something new. A section with pictures of cats in repose, under the heading "Sexy?" A section on famous YouTube cats (including Maru).  I learned all about Tama, a cat who is a station master at Tama train station (well, I didn't learn about her in the magazine, but I was able to pick out enough words to perform a search online). A true delight.  I hope to visit Tama station one day.

These two spreads are from a section called Lovely Cat Festival. Look at all these kitten eyes staring out! Have you ever tried to hug a magazine?

There's a section about shop cats! Look at the guy in the middle in a bow tie. A true businessman.

Cat profiles! I think.

Cats and fish! There is an action shot in the middle of a fisherman giving out fish with a whole bunch of cats in mid-leap. So good.

I'm not sure what this is but I hope it's something like a social networking page for your cat. There are tons of these.

There is nothing better than other people's thoughtfulness. Thanks, buddy!  You're the best.