Danica tagged me to post my five daily essentials, which I was happy to do as I always get a bit of a voyeuristic thrill out of these things, and maybe you do too.

I'm not very good at writing things down usually, but Geoff bought me this journal for Christmas, and I've been diligent about writing in it for the past month. This one is from the Korean company O-Check, which he bought for me at the Drake General Store (I think it was about $12 or so). I usually keep track of dates and appointments using Google Calendar, but I've been using this one to write down nice thoughts about the day. Maybe that sounds silly, but it helps me focus on the good -- and I will try anything in winter. Even if what I write down for the day is "quiet evening, productive" or "package in the mail," I like going back and reading past entries. I hope I can keep it up.

It might not be this particular camera (this one is the Superheadz Wide & Slim, available here or here, if you're local), but I always have some kind of camera in my bag at all times, even if I go a whole day without using it. I have a few lightweight little cameras like this, such as the LC-A+ and the Shironeko Holga and the Diana Mini, and they are just the thing for a quick snap. (I do have an iPhone but I don't like the camera feature on it.)

Moisturizer. This one happens to be a Vichy moisturizer but I probably won't replace it when it runs out, mostly because it doesn't have SPF. It promised glowing skin within 15 days but I haven't noticed anything different! My skin is pretty tolerant of any product I put on it, luckily. I would be happy to hear about any favourites!

Glasses. Like Danica, I need them to see! These are from Mod Vintage

I know that I am inordinately enthusiastic about OLO Fragrance, but I can't help it -- if ever there were a frangrance made just for me, it would be one of these. In the months since I brought home my first bottle from Portland, I haven't been able to wear any other perfumes, including my "designer" perfumes, which now smell sickly sweet or insipid to me. I crave the depth and masculine edge of Violet/Leather, Victory Wolf, and Nationale 6/7 (my personal favourites). The words "limited edition batches" actually make me feel a little panicked.

I know they're strong scents, and maybe a little too much for people who are sensitive. I wear one of them everyday, and once in a while Geoff will lean over and tell me I smell good. He picked up Violet/Leather for me yesterday from Robber (I recently heard that Bird in New York is also carrying OLO now -- a pretty good endorsement, I'd say).

So there are my five essentials. And if you will endulge me a little further, here are a few things I've been enjoying lately.

-Dolfin dark chocolate with verbena (I also like the violet blend)
-charcoal soap -- I got this one and I really like it. I wash my face with it and follow that up with some rose water toner from Roberts and my skin is pretty happy
-this post and this post from Hannah of Hello Mr Fox -- such beautiful pictures with our Thunder tote!
-still pretty crazy about that yogurt maker of ours


ghost cat, etc.

Pony likes to play a game we call "Ghost Cat" (not a terribly inventive name, but you get the idea). She likes to hide behind the curtains and then leap out at our waiting fingers, which she grips between her paws and gnaws on gently, always through the curtains. I think she really thinks we can't see her. She is a ferocious beast, a mighty feral hunter (who also happens to enjoy snuggling up on my chest as I continue to hit the snooze button in the morning).

We got a roll of film back yesterday, finally. I find that January in Toronto is a most uninspiring time for photos. Everything is dull and grey and I just can't seem to make that work for me.

A new location of Urban Herbivore opened near our apartment so we went out for sandwiches one afternoon. Beautiful flowers make my heart do somersaults. These ones were locally grown, which makes me think of someone tenderly caring for them in a greenhouse. It's a really nice image.

This pretty ad from 1940 came from Sofia's French Corner of her Etsy shop.

I think we have four or five different calendars for 2011 at this point. This is the astrological one from Prismatic.

Little photo albums from Korea for my Instax pictures, frivolous cat face index stickers. I have a serious weakness for Korean stationery.

Speaking of hearts doing somersaults, last week I came home to the most beautiful package of prints from Caitlin Shearer. The giclée ones (Cat Clock on the bottom right, and Golden Age in the bottom front) are just stunning and so perfectly printed. I can't wait to get these framed and displayed. She also sent a sweet mixed CD -- I am so happy that the young people still do that. Thanks, lady!


quiet nights

Near my desk at work there are shelves filled with hundreds of books waiting to be sorted and sold at a used book room in the library. The other day I walked past an astrology book by Teri King called Love, Sex, and Astrology. I immediately flipped to the section on Ms Capricorn and Mr Taurus (me & Geoff -- apparently we don't have new astrology signs, you guys!). The text stated that this was a "happy union," with much energy put into the domestic environment, although there exists a danger of becoming "so comfortable at home and so happy in each other's company that they unwittingly cut off the outside world." I had to laugh when I read that, because it's so true, especially in winter, when our apartment is at its most cozy. We rarely leave it, and we are rarely more than five feet away from each other, working on things that make us happiest, talking about our new ideas.

(I worked it out in Latin, our little family motto: carpe tranquillam noctem.)

Dearest friends, I miss you, but I still love you. Remember me. Please keep inviting us to things even though we are utter flakes.

I finished up a limited edition of silk ties that are available exclusively at Robber. I am also getting to know our local print shop better (the little one just north of the Y on Dovercourt -- recommended!).

Working with a new medium, listening to a favourite album. Valentines on our minds.

A driftwood heart from Hearblack arrived in the mail this weekend. I've been having a run of good luck lately when it comes to winning giveaways -- maybe it's because I've been collecting my cats' whiskers when I find them in the rug. I'm certain their whiskers are lucky.

I love driftwood, I love this heart, I love Hearblack.

When I was little I had fresh yogurt on a farm, sweetened with a bit of sugar, and it was one of my favourite food experiences of all time. This weekend I dashed out for a quick thrifting trip and came upon an unused yogurt maker by Moulinex for $10. I was thrilled! Yogurt tastes so much better when it comes in a glass jar (European & Asian friends: we don't have yogurt in glass jars). Our first batch tasted fantastic. It didn't have that Proustian quality I was looking for, so until I'm back on a farm with fresh milk, I will forever be trying to recreate that pot of yogurt from years ago.

If you love yogurt as I do, there is information about making your own here.

I've been collecting old Crown mason jars -- I love the glass lids and the dates stamped at the bottom.  I recently asked on Twitter if anyone local knew where I could get some vintage locker baskets, and sweet Hollie & Jane of White Elephant were kind enough to part with two from their dwindling collection. I just love them (Hollie & Jane AND the baskets).


snowy weekend

A snowy weekend, perfect for staying indoors with a pot of crème brulée tea (my latest favourite) and working away. We did manage to go out for a nice long walk, but sometimes it's best to watch the snow fall from the comfort of a heated apartment.

I wanted to share more details from my cork board, as featured on the little "studio" tour. I've accumulated so many business cards over the years (and misplaced just as many) but these are recent favourites. Portland is pretty well represented! Clockwise from top left: [not a business card, but a fabric tag from Menchi Tessuti], Wood & Faulk product tag, Forest Bound, Summerland, Hetterson, Libris Lunaria, current Fieldguided, Little winter edition Fieldguided custom printed by Mossière (my very last one!).

Mossière, Libris Lunaria, Coe & Waito, Leilanni, Dores, The Vamoose, Scout & Catalogue.

Because Geoff & I handprint all our totes, and because the twill weave is incredibly fussy, we end up with a lot of misprints that we would never sell. Cotton canvas is truly one of my favourite materials and I hate to waste it, so I'm forever coming up with things to make with it (as seen here, with the draft dodgers). I decided to make a little vessel to hold a mason jar, and I really like how it looks. I may make some of these for Love & Rummage. I put a candle in this one. Very romantique.

We couldn't find Pony -- it turns out that she has decided the bathtub is her new hangout. She is so fascinated by the drain and the tap and can stare at them for hours. And hey, the secret is out: I use St Ives apricot scrub on my face.

Geoff once made me a little flipbook of a cat with a box and it was really sweet. He recently discovered Napa Books from Helsinki, a independent book publisher that puts out, amongst other things, flipbooks (our favourite is Pyjama Infinity). A few blank ones arrived on Friday -- there are other cat stories to animate, I think.

I covered a shift at Robber yesterday and took the opportunity to borrow Erin's beautiful white wood floors. I also pulled out the OLO fragrance samples from under the counter (Robber is going to carry the line, and I am crazy excited) and doused myself in Violet/Leather. I smelled so good all day long, you guys.

I have an extra issue of this Lula, guest-edited by Rodarte, that I would like to give away. Since I just created a Fieldguided Facebook page I thought that I could bribe you into liking us by running a giveaway over there. It's a pretty spectacular issue that contains some truly wonderful things: visible panty lines on the cover, pictures of Big Sur, and fodder for your ballerina obsession!

Just FYI: I edited out at least three instances of the word "favourite" in this post and yet four remain.


studio tour oh oh, hello friend

Today Danni of Oh, Hello Friend has a studio tour of my mini sewing room up! It almost seems funny to call it a "studio" because the room is teeny tiny and these days I don't really have the opportunity to spend much time there. The post is here -- I hope you enjoy it.

My little space isn't much, but I'm happy to have it.


swan song

Last week Geoff noticed that our Yashica Electro camera still had some film in it, so we decided to go for a walk and finish off the roll. I'm trying to get over my reluctance to take portraits, and luckily Geoff isn't as camera shy as I am. I'm happy with this one, even if I cut off his head -- it almost has that "standing in front of a blue screen" look that portrait lenses create (but without actually using a portrait lens).

Geoff's bag is from Wood & Faulk; it was his Christmas present from me. It feels good to give someone a present that is so wonderful.

As much as I love this camera, which has taken some really nice pictures, we've decided to offer it (and a few others including a brown SX-70) for sale at the Love & Rummage show at The Workroom on February 6. Our camera collection has gotten out of hand.


blogs i loved in 2010

I read a lot of blogs, but I've started becoming more selective about what I will read on a regular basis. I stopped reading quite a few blogs last year, for various reasons. I had to -- there is just so much to do! My little "fear of missing out" problem lead me to subscribe to more blogs than I could handle. Besides, the internet seems to affect our brains in weird ways and blogs can be particularly insidious, making it seem as though everyone else's life is so much more beautiful or successful than our own (I am cheating and using the word "our" when really I mean "my"). I generally look for that "je ne sais quoi" made up of intelligence, passion, humour, humility, talent, style, the ability to teach me something new, etc., all the while aware that my own blog may or may not demonstrate these qualities! I have come across quite a few of these, happily. So many of them are written by Australians or New Zealanders, I've noticed.

Here are a few blogs that I started reading in 2010 that I have particularly enjoyed (is it too late for end-of-year types of posts? This one took me a while to compile). Some of them have been around longer, but were new to me. I was inspired to do this after reading end-of-year blog posts by Amanda and Moorea (who was sweet enough to include me in her list -- thank you). I hope you might find a new favourite or two in here as well, presuming you don't already read them.

I found some of these through comments left on this blog, incidentally. I sheepishly have to admit that I am unable to read and comment on as many blogs as I would like to, but I do love coming across something new through comments.

le project d'amour
When Hila posts, I have to bookmark to remind myself to go back and read her words properly. Many days, I scroll quite quickly through my blog reader; I would hate to miss her tenderly beautiful observations. Her response to a question on what sorts of blogs she reads has stayed with me, and occasionally informs my decision to stop reading certain blogs. The truth of it is that I'm a little intimidated by Hila, and filled with admiration for her.

oh, hello there
Danica is a contributor to The Fox is Black, which means that her focus is sharp and her taste is exceptional.  I love the fact that her writing is nearly academic in tone (I wasn't surprised when I discovered that Hila and Danica are friends); for example, her simple, elegant post on Little Winter was thought-provoking rather than simply gushing (n.b. gushing is also good).

one sleepless night
Speaking of thought-provoking, this post on short hair (which references a fantastic Joan Juliet Buck piece) made me think about cutting my hair in a way that I never have before! A thoroughly lovely blog, maintained by Stephanie, who lives in Toronto. She takes pretty pictures, as well. One to watch. So to speak. (I just thought it would be funny to write that about someone who is working towards a degree in cinema studies).

Diana Mini Love
The Diana Mini has become one of my favourite cameras, and Elle created this blog as a love letter to it. She regularly posts some of her favourite Diana Mini photos that she finds on Flickr. This blog isn't completely limited to one subject, however; Elle recently acquired a Canon A-1 (the SLR I have), and has been taking really incredible pictures with it.

Dirty Hems
I love Katy's vibe, her DIY projects and her fearlessness. Her post on McQueen's last collection, Medieval McQueen, took my breath away: she combined art & fashion & history in a way that we so rarely see. Plus, since I have a degree in medieval studies, I was happy to see the Middle Ages look cool for once. Of course, that was just one excellent post among many excellent posts.

This is probably a no-brainer. Alison's aesthetic includes the strange & bizarre alongside the delicate & sweet. She's one in the small minority of bloggers who is able to show me something new, something I haven't seen before. Kudos!

Fancy Fine
Personal style blogs are tricky; I only read about a dozen of them regularly. I love Ashley's! She is based in San Francisco, and I love that occasionally Francesca makes an appearance. I always appreciate a style blog that doesn't merely follow trends, that lacks the tendency to namedrop, that features fun photographs, and that incorporates a mix of vintage and new that makes for a timeless look. She also has my dream head of hair, a fondness for cats, and a great sense of humour.

So Much to Tell You
This one is just a major no-brainer. Perfection.

A particularly lovely photo blog with quiet observations. It was a joy to watch the seasons change through Maggie's photos.

thank you, ok
Katie's blog is one of the most recent additions to my reader. I always love reading a good local blog -- now that she is back in Canada, maybe she will do for Toronto what she did for Seoul. Cute, cute, cute.


secrets are the things we grow

We finally got around to making another style of tote, this one based on one of my all-time favourite songs, "Some Velvet Morning" by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood. It is the dreamiest of songs, the sweetest of fairy tales, the most nonsensical Greek myth-referencing pop song that I have ever heard. Whenever it comes on I find myself singing along & sounding quite out of my mind.  I associate the song with these sorts of images (for the source, click on the image).

It has been added to the shop.

I couldn't be more happy with the response to our simple totes; I basically wanted something for myself that didn't exist. So we made them.  I love seeing pictures of people using them.  I created a gallery for the ones I have seen so far on Flickr.

The very last of this Dream tote is available at Tomorrow Never Knows, but once that one is gone, that's it (and this post made me cackle out loud).