chicago in black and white

Geoff and I took so many cameras with us on our trip to Chicago in May that we wound up with about six or seven rolls of film to develop. Sometimes I take film in to be processed within the hour, but I also enjoy holding back on a roll or two and having them processed a few months later. We had loaded the Diana Mini with some Ilford HP5 film (which, come to think of it, was the first roll of black and white film I ever shot in my whole life, not having taken photography in school). I finally dropped the roll off a few weeks ago. They were ready in mid-August, and I was so happy with them -- they have a dreamy, timeless quality. I am aching to go back.

I was reminded today of the opening credits to the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which also make me nostalgic for Chicago in black and white.

I also wanted to mention that I am now accepting sponsors for my blog. If you are interested, please contact me and I will provide you with the relevant information. Thank you.


a bed for pony

Even though I quickly discovered that Pony loves sleeping right on the floor, I wanted her to have her own bed. I couldn't find one that I liked that was in my price range, though. Maybe I'm picky, but I never like the materials used for pet beds. Also, as we learned with Oreo, sometimes cats ignore the pretty things you buy for them, because cats are funny. I decided to make my own.

I happened to have some materials in my sewing room that would be suitable: Italian faux fur that I had left over from my stole-making days, water-repellant and highly durable sailboat canvas that I had picked up once on sale (?!), and a large bag of polyfill. I bought this Simplicity pattern for $4, and I chose the simple, flower-like drawstring bed. I worked on it over a couple of nights, for a total of less than four hours. The construction was really simple (I changed it a bit, though, and reversed the top and bottom pieces) and soon enough Pony had a new bed. I felt so useful! If only she would actually sleep in it!

This weekend while out thrifting I managed to find a few more of these milk glass bowls that I love. We have a few that we use as Oreo's food bowls, so I was pretty happy to find four more to bring home. I also cut up some peach-coloured vinyl to use as placemats: one for Pony, and one for Oreo. It's probably pretty obvious that I'm not doing much these days besides hanging out with cats.


cloak & dagger

Thanks to a certain little Ponygirl, I probably won't be adding to my wardrobe this fall (unless I make things myself). I can't stop kicking myself, however, for not getting a cloak that I saw at Zara last year, one that closely resembled Chloé Fall 2009. It would have been even less expensive to buy than if I bought the wool to make one myself. I am not exaggerating when I say that every time the weather dips below 25°C, I think about that tan cloak.

I've said it before, but I can't help but love Zara. I am pretty excited to see what they have on offer for fall and winter. From what I've seen so far, it's a wilderness of girl-pretty and monochrome. Maybe they'll have a blanket-like cloak in there.

I wish it were me in this picture! Even The Cherry Blossom Girl has a similar cloak (apparently hers is Lacoste). Via The Sartorialist.


pony & ponytail & polaroid

I don't really have much to write about these days. Looking after this tiny little kitty is most of my life right now.  Sorry, pals I had plans to see!

Oreo seems to be a bit oblivious and indifferent as yet, not even more needy than usual. Theresa recommended this device, which we got, and maybe it's working.

I've slowly been sewing her a little cat bed because I have the materials for one, so why not?   I hope it looks okay in the end.



introducing: pony!

Well, we're keeping her! We brought this tiny kitten inside and have named her Pony (I don't know why -- it just popped into my head and I liked it). She came bounding over to me through the wildflowers when I called out to her yesterday, so I scooped her up and brought her in. Geoff built a pen for her in the spare room. We found a vet with more reasonable fees and she's off for her first shots and check-up later today (also the fees weren't explained well when I first went in to the other vet for an estimate -- they're spread out over time, not all at once).

It wasn't easy for me to rip her away from her family, and she cried loudly all night long, but I think that ultimately it will be best for her. The feral cat problem in Toronto seems to be worse than ever these days (also, we seem to hear some vicious cat fights every night, and between the abandoned building across the street and the park, there are so many passing raccoons and other beasts). Luckily she's sweet and snuggles right up to us so maybe she'll adjust quickly. She's sleeping at my feet right now.

I just hope that Oreo grows to love her!


cottage life

I had the opportunity to spend some time at a cottage on a rocky island on Georgian Bay this weekend. Given the choice, I would take the city over the country. This is considered blasphemous amongst many of my friends, but I can't help it. I rarely feel the urge to escape the city (when I do, my preference tends to run towards the slightly tropical or Mediterranean: old walls covered in bougainvillea, salt air, little stands on dirt roads serving fish sandwiches and prawns). Still, it was nice to spend a bit of time communing with the rock and moss and wind-whipped pine trees and to see the sun set over the water, and I was grateful for the chance.

I spent my two days feeling guilty that I wasn't doing anything in particular, reading Just Kids by Patti Smith while daydreaming about a visit to New York, searching in vain for wildflowers (colour!), collecting bits of quartz, and wandering around taking a lot of photographs. These were taken with my Superheadz ultra wide slim camera. I used the same crummy film from the photofinishing place that I always use, ISO 200.


yes we cat

I am currently nursing a bad case of heartbreak because we have just discovered four tiny feral kittens living in our yard and in the yard of one of our neighbours. Here is a video that I made of them yesterday. This morning I went to feed them and the calico kitten let me pick her up and pet her (the others are very skittish). I am now desperate to bring her home, but when I stopped by the vet this morning for an estimate on FIV/leukemia testing, de-worming, first vaccines, etc., it was $300. For one kitten! I took Oreo in for an emergency visit and medication on the weekend and flattened my bank account to do so. It's ripping me up! I could cry just thinking about those sweet kittens who got caught in the rain yesterday. I don't know if I'll be able to catch the calico again. I want to, though. So, just saying, if you were interested in a print from the Summer Water shop, this could be a good time to snap one up.

I seem to have an unending supply of cat-related items to post.

This shirt from ASOS arrived last week. I purchased it when it went on clearance and I really love it. It's slouchy, all cotton, and it gets me compliments from older ladies. It's also available through the ASOS Curve range.

I truly don't mind having a "crazy cat lady" reputation because sometimes it means that I get cat-gifts sent to me in the mail from fellow cat-loving spirits. Chad of Mon Petit Fantome sent me this beeeeauuutiful jointed papercut recently. It is so, so sweet. Look at the eyelashes!

I finally finished this kitten embroidery. It was meant as a trade with April for some pretty things she sent me in the mail last spring. It is so embarrassing to me how long it's taken!

A few other things:
my post about Melinda's house was mentioned on the Herman Miller blog, which is pretty cool
dreamcats was mentioned in the Frankie magazine email newsletter (I've always thought that dreamcats & Frankie were kindred)
this post on the Little Paper Planes blog is utterly lovely, and includes Caitlyn's sequins on a string


this is where i live: caitlyn of lemonade

After a full day of modeling ("modeling") for Summer Water, Caitlyn (who keeps a blog called Lemonade) was gracious enough to let me come over to take pictures of her apartment. I had been over once before and was really impressed. Caitlyn is ten years younger than I am, and this is her first apartment (besides shared student accommodations and furnished, short-term sublets). It is unbelievable to me! My first apartment was only a few blocks away from Caitlyn's; it was the basement of a beautiful Victorian-era house on Euclid Avenue, but the basement had none of the pretty features of the rest of the house. My walls were decorated with photographs in clip frames and a picture of Bill Murray that I had ripped out of the New York Times magazine. Caitlyn's apartment is cozy and sweet, and I know it will get so much better over time.

You might know Caitlyn if you've been into Robber (she drew the little Robber ad in my sidebar), or you might know her as one half of Cosmic Latte if you attended City of Craft last year. I first encountered her through Flickr a few years ago, before she had moved to Toronto.

I love this vintage Canadian National blanket. The embroidery is so pretty!

Sometimes Geoff and I treat Caitlyn as though she's our little sister and give her things and let her try out some of our cameras (she has a wall that we jokingly call the "Fieldguided wall" since it features one of my embroideries of Haydée Politoff on it and a cat print by Geoff). She took these two pictures with one of our SX-70 Polaroid cameras one day when Geoff stopped by Robber. Cute!

This necklace is by her dear friend and all around lovely lady, Rosalyn Faustino. Rosalyn made these necklaces as part of Cosmic Latte and they are just amazing. Absolutely unique and pretty.

I spy a copy of Valley of the Dolls! That makes me so happy.

Apparently people tease her for her sequins on a string but I think they are so great. I like how here they look as though they're floating in the sky.

Thanks, Caitlyn!


thank you, prints, & a mix

The Summer Water shop opening went so well yesterday -- thank you to everyone who bought a bag! We only have one River Pack left, the pink. It means a lot to me that people would support this endeavour because, to me, it represents the best of collaboration, trust, and friendship. Thanks too to those who mentioned Summer Water: Julia, Chelsea, Melinda, Jan, Mallory, and Becka.

I love this blog post by Caitlin. I can't stop laughing about it.

After a few queries and a few suggestions, we've decided to sell a couple of my half-frame pictures as 8x10" glossy prints in the shop. I had a few printed this weekend and I am so happy with how they turned out. I will be listing them in the Summer Water shop later today.

Finally, here is a late summer music mix I made for you this morning (forever puttering). Some of these songs are songs I've been listening to for years, but all of them have a distinctive late summer quality to me. A little melancholy looking towards autumn. A lot of the songs mention water. Late summer is all about accepting ice cream as a daily part of your life rather than as a fun treat, not even caring what you're wearing any more, cicadas, all-nighters, dark green leaves, hazy August light flickering on water, and realizing that you never met your summer goals but that it's okay.

Oh, and tomorrow I should have a new installment of "This is where I live" up!


polaroid 360

The Polaroid 360 that we've had for few years came with us to the island. Geoff found this camera at the since-closed Newmarket Antiques Mall for $15. We were excited about it at the time (bellows! Peel-apart film!) but it was also winter. 669 film is so temperature sensitive that even with the cold clip we were intimidated to use it. We never got around to trying it out and in the meantime the pack of 669 film that we had expired. Geoff finally pulled it out this spring and we fell in love with it, blue toned pictures and all. As is often the case with Polaroids, the scans are a pale imitation of the actual prints.

Apparently this camera (or a similar one?) showed up on Mad Men last night. It definitely feels anachronistic to use.

Geoff took these two pictures of Caitlyn's feet, mostly just to show her how to use the camera, and we've been joking about how they look like ads for Robber. This was accidental, but Caitlyn works there and I had told her to wear whatever was comfortable ("no prints!" was my only rule). She went with her Dace Ethan chambray pants, APC Madras sandals, and Alternative Apparel silk modal tank in "fleur." She also wore her grandmother's sand dollar gold necklace, and I lent her my For Me, For You necklace.

The top two are taken from Geoff's Flickr account. I took the skyline shot while waiting for the ferry.

I have finally accepted the fact that my 365 photo project is dead. Since I'm taking more pictures now than I ever have in my whole life, the task of taking one picture a day felt so empty and joyless to me! I am sure that no one is upset about this news.

Summer Water opens soon! And yes, we will definitely be shipping internationally, but we will also be shipping from Canada -- please keep this in mind if you're interested in a bag.


half-frames, shop update

I took my Diana Mini with me to the beach, set to the half-frame option. I'm so thrilled with the results. I've had the Diana Mini since January, but I was almost surprised by these pictures. I think this camera really sparkles with the half-frame setting, especially when a specific diptych works well. I recently found out that Lomography has just released a Diana Mini clone in all white, and even though I can't have it (owning two versions of the same thing is a bit excessive!), I want it desperately.

The full set is here. The ultimate summertime camera.

Caitlin had posted a link to this incredibly amazing and ridiculous swan pool toy on Twitter, which reminded me of the swan boats ride at Centreville. We made a quick stop and Caitlyn and I rode one. Geoff gave up his seat on the swan (that's him waiting for us on the bridge) because only two adults can ride at once. It was pretty fun, though! Then we shared a funnel cake with the works! Yum.

I also wanted to mention that the Summer Water shop is up and ready for browsing. The shop will be live at 2PM EDT tomorrow, August 2. Since we're testing Big Cartel we're using the free option which only allows for one product shot, but there are more detailed pictures in the Summer Water set on Flickr.