introducing n. historiae & giveaway (now closed)

Today I am happy to introduce a new line of jewellery, N. Historiae, created by my friend Flora, based here in Toronto.

Founded by Flora Lam, N. Historiaes collections are objects made to endure and unconfined by seasons. Guided by instinct and intuition, our creations are inspired by beauty from the natural world, marked by the stories of extraordinary lives lived.

Each piece is beautifully hand-carved using gold and accented with Japanese ribbon. I was drawn immediately to the two collections, The Dweller and the Fly-Fisherman’s Wife, because they reminded me of being 12 and signing out every book on Greek mythology that I could find, and of learning to translate Ovid in university. There is something so Classical, in the literal sense, about the imagery used.

I had the chance to examine the pieces and they are so stunning, so well-crafted. I kept thinking that they look like pieces that could be found in the ancient Mediterranean collection in a museum (always my favourite section of a museum).

Together with N. Historiae, I will be giving away one Wheat necklace. To enter, please visit the N. Historiae shop and leave a comment below telling me which piece is your favourite (please be sure to leave me a form of contact, either an email or a website link; also note that I have turned on comment moderation to combat spam and your comment will not appear immediately). For an added entry, please follow N. Historiae on Twitter and leave a comment below letting me know that you have done so. I will close the giveaway on April 24 at noon EDT, and choose a winner at random. This giveaway is open internationally.

Good luck!

ETA: This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Stephanie!


underwater pony

I took these pictures of the Magic Pony window last month, when this was the current installation and when we were still deep into the gloom of winter. The window was done by Diana Vandermeulen and to me, it looks like a beautiful deep sea kingdom. I loved walking by it.


gnd patterns

I took these black and white photos a few weeks ago, when I had started learning how to knit. It took me a long time to get to this point, but I can say now that I can read simple patterns and make simple pieces, and it’s exciting to me! I never realized that I could enjoy knitting until I started looking into the beautiful, luxurious types of yarn available, and knitting has really become a source of pleasure and calm.

Because I have enjoyed Good Night, Day knits for years and years now, it made sense that I would start with Tara-Lynn’s patterns. Incidentally, have you seen her latest lookbook, shot by Arden Wray (of Boots & Pine)? They made magic together.

I got the Good Night, Day pattern book, a few instructional books from the library, looked up some video tutorials, spent a few hours in yarn stores, and eventually, with quite a lot of practice, it clicked. Some long-remembered hand-mechanics kicked in after that, it seemed.

The first piece I made was the Elora toque. I used a heavy yarn for it, Blue Sky bulky alpaca in fawn, and it made the hat rather large but I love it that way. I love this yarn.

I was so excited when I finished the brim that I wrote to Tara-Lynn and gushed about how I couldn’t believe that I had actually knit something that wasn’t just a scarf with irregular edges. She very sweetly offered to send me some of her DIY kits to try, which was even more exciting because she uses the loveliest yarn, which is carefully sourced.

After I finished the Elora toque I also made the cowl from the pattern book—I took a couple of winters off cowls but I like them again. I made this one with Cozy Wool from Michael’s but I’m going to re-do it in the Blue Sky alpaca for maximum coziness and with, I hope, fewer mistakes.

DIY knitting kits! The Elora toque in white merino and the Windsor turban in camel, in the softest silk, merino, and alpaca blend. I carted mine around for a few days and they got a bit crinkled.

I am the type of person who loves to wear hats and things on my head so I could not be happier about this new development in my life. Hats forever!

Thanks, T-L!


new york, pt. 3: the floral district and ps1

This post contains pictures that I find disappointing, because they capture only the tiniest fraction of the beauty we saw that day as we visited the flower markets and MoMA PS1 (with a pizza lunch in between, and a walk through Soho & Chinatown after). I share them here, though, because both of these places are excellent ones to visit.

We got a map from the hotel upon check in and while looking at it in our room, I noticed something that said FLORAL DISTRICT. I pointed and gasped, “What’s that!” I knew florists got their flowers somewhere, obviously, I had just never really thought about it. I had always pictured a huge warehouse, closed to the public, something like the food terminal where grocers and chefs get their produce in the night (eg. act one of this episode of TAL), but florists are one step removed from that process. When we were having coffee with Amy I asked her about it. This Floral District is made up of a number of shops that sell wholesale but that are open to the public. Amy advised us to go to Stumptown at the nearby Ace, get a coffee, and wander around the flower shops, but to get there before 10. Geoff & I are utterly hopeless in the morning, and compounded with hotel mishaps on that sunny Friday (a pipe burst above the elevator, leading to no water and no elevator service to our 38th floor room, and to Geoff helping another guest with her heavy suitcase all the way down all those stairs...), we got there just before 10. We took the 1 to 28th Street and wove our way in and out of the shops with flowers piled up on metal shelving and bursting out of buckets. Cut flowers, potted plants, blossoming branches. I wished I could take all the flowers home with me! I didn’t want to be intrusive and take too many pictures while people were going about their business of unloading and loading flowers, making deals, and wrapping bundles in kraft paper. But that hour surrounded by flowers was a highlight of the trip. We even made a couple of cat friends! Recommended.

Instagram photos here, here, and here.

After lunch we took the G train to Queens (it was pretty quick!) and visited MoMA PS1. We caught CONFETTISYSTEM’s 100 Arrangements on one of its last days, which was lucky. I was also pleased to see that they have a long-term James Turrell exhibition at PS1 (the Turrell piece at the Albright-Knox in Buffalo is one of my favourite things ever). If we make it back, I would like to eat at the M. Wells Dinette. It looked seriously top-notch, especially if you love meat, but we were still full of pizza and got coffee to go.

I have to admit that I think my pictures of 100 Arrangements stink (!!) but that's what you get with no natural lighting and ISO 160 film. Similar views posted to Instagram here and here. Gimme those peaches.


new york, pt. 2: the met

The Met! I hadn’t been to the Met before and was glad we managed to spend about four hours there on our trip. What a wonder. We caught the current show on Impressionism and fashion and met Kaitlin there (loveliest!), so it was truly the best day. These pictures are from a few of the rooms that had brilliant natural lighting.

I posted this detail on Instagram but I just love it! This is a (relatively modern) statue of Sappho. My heart!


new york pt. 1

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that Geoff & I were in New York last week. We were ambitious before we left: we’ll spend a whole day at The Cloisters! Nope. We’ll hang out in Central Park a lot! Nope. We’ll make it to MoMA PS1 on Tuesday! No, Wednesday! No, make that Friday! We ordered a box of film from B&H and had it sent to our friend Annie in Brooklyn thinking that we would use it all up; we finished a mere two rolls of film that we had brought from home, and mostly took pictures with our phones (my favourite ones, in fact). We didn’t contact too many people to set up lunches or coffee because it seemed an overwhelming proposition, but luckily we did manage to coordinate plans with a few lovely people while we were there (not enough, but we will be back!). We ate like the most gluttonous of kings and walked for miles and miles and bled money as though we had an endless supply of it.

I think this is crucial information so I am posting it immediately: a few good eats below! I wish we had been able to get through more of the recommendations we had, but that would have taken about a year.

Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell Street. Recommended by a friend. We went there the day we arrived and ate a late lunch that was so filling we didn’t need dinner. $22 for both of us and every bite was delicious.

Roberta’s. Yum. This was our biggest splurge (bottle of wine and appetizers along with our pizzas) but worth it. Afterwards we went to the Tiki Bar in the back for micheladas. Thanks, Annie! I think they filmed a scene here on Girls (lolololol).

Caracas Arepa Bar. We went to the location on the east side. Delicious, but trying to get a table there was a bit of a bloodsport. I’ll never forget you, dude (a patron! Not staff) who was astonishingly rude to my friend for no good reason except maybe that he was in desperate need of chilling out. I had the La del Gato.

Momofuku Milk Bar. We ate so many cookies last week. The birthday cake shake was so good, as was the chocolate swirl bread (and the kimchi-bacon croissant, says Geoff). I hope we never get a Milk Bar in Toronto.

Motorino. We had lunch here with Natalie and HENRY (cutest)!! Amazing Neapolitan style pizza (think Libretto in Toronto).

The Smile / Smile to Go. Yum. Good cookies & coffee at To Go, great lunches at the restaurant. Thanks, Derrick!

Xi’an Famous Foods. So cheap, and the best, freshest spicy noodles. We went to the location in Chinatown because it had more seating. I had noodles with vegetables and a side of soft tofu and I am getting so hungry just thinking about it. Thanks, Trevor!

Doughnut Plant. I think I read about this place on a blog or Instagram? Overwhelming menu. I had a pistachio... something (a yeast doughnut? A cake? I don’t remember), and one with a rose petal on it. Geoff had a Meyer lemon thing and a matcha thing and it was all so good. Pretty good pour over coffees too.

Wythe Hotel. We didn’t eat here but had some drinks and the rooftop has the best view of the city.

Iris Cafe. Our last meal was at this lovely spot in Brooklyn Heights. This would be a nice place to take your mom and I mean that in a very loving way!

One Girl Cookies. I waited outside with Annie’s brother’s dog while Annie went in and got me an Americano and a whoopie pie from this place (Dumbo location). Love that Annie.

El Beit. This is just a coffee shop but it’s where we met Amy while we were with Kaitlin (we met Kaitlin at the Met; more on that later) so it will always be special to me. Aw.

I wore my Samantha Pleet cloak (from Robber) all week because the weather was just right for it; I am a closeted (?) Doors fan so I loved the staircase at Opening Ceremony.

Geoff at Creatures of Comfort with his favourite plant ever.

Remember when Toronto actually had real bookstores? I loved Rizzoli.

We went to the opening for a painting show in Hell’s Kitchen (-ish) and had a nice view walking back to the subway.

We had to visit the J. Crew Liquor Store and Geoff found something there within seconds (a Penfield jacket).