Tuesday, April 29, 2008

hemming and hocking.

1) i clearly need a new cover for my ironing board.

2) on an unrelated note, i'd like to encourage everyone in the world to come to the two shows i am doing this weekend - the clothing show at the better living centre (exhibition grounds) and the spring thing trunk show put on by city of craft and the workroom at the workroom on sunday. holey moley am i ever excited for that!

3) now back to fixing my clothes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

monday, monday.

in spite of the restful looking photos, today was full of sweetie pie activity. on top of talking to my cat and digressing into piecing fabrics together, i finally went back to the paper place to show them the new artists series. i am happy to say that they bought me out of jesjit's buttons and sampled a few of the security envelopes, emma's cowboy life set and tara's cheap dates. so if you are looking for some sets in toronto, go see them. but watch out, that place is full of tempting stuff. i almost got entirely sucked in to a very nice shelf there shared by dujoo, bookhoo design and le petit pig.

also, i got my hair cut, so act like you noticed.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

weekend craft explosion.

among other less interesting activities, i spent my sunday afternoon at the workroom for their monthly quilt sunday open jam of piecing and cutting and sewing in community. that's jen up there working on some new hankie sets for the toronto craft alert. i was working further on my endless hexagonal quilt project.

sara from pin pals was also in town from montreal and toiling in the back of the room. she spent most of the day chained to the laser cutter and working through this giant stack of paper dolls. it can become so overwhelming when our crafty projects grow in popularity, hence sara's recent shift from scissors to lasers. i am happy to leak the news that sara is also in the midst of designing a new commissioned artist set for the sweetie pie press. hopefully that will be ready in time for some upcoming fairs. not that it won't be totally rad whenever it gets made.

as if all this quilting and chatting wasn't enough craft-related stimulus, jen and i also headed over to the m.a.d.e. (modern art design exhibit) at the gladstone. it's always such an inspiring/overwhelming show. organizers sarah and hoi-an do such a good job of curating and positioning the show as a fine craft show with strong elements of art, design and skill. i love it. i became most enamored of the ceramics i saw - stuff my xenia taler, lesley-anne green, and of course julie moon. whenever i see miss moon's work at any show, i can't stop circling back to look again and again. these are the moments when my perpetual brokeness really stings. the moments when i wish i just had a day job and filled my life with nice things. mostly, these acquisitory moods are of little merit. but when i see great art i feel unrepentant. well, mostly unrepentant.

i went home with one of her poppy pins (below) but of course, she had to go and make all these malformed busts (even more below) and totally blow my mind/heart. after the car gets new tires, and i get new glasses and buy the inhalers i need for spring, i know what i will be saving my pennies for.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

on a day pass.

today the reverend and i took a little trip to the nearby town of grimsby, ontario, to go to the 30th annual wayzgoose book arts fair for the first time. we also wanted to have a bit of time away from our home and away from the city.

grimsby is a nice little place, but i wouldn't want to live there. i'm sure this is due no small part to the fact that the only other time we "visited" grimsby was when the muffler fell off our car and we spun through three lanes of traffic on the q.e.w. and had to get towed away by a gruff man named al. i didn't like al much and he didn't like us. i would have been unsurprised if he had killed or otherwise tortured us. instead he did a bad job on the bottom of the car, charged us lots of money and let us leave with our lives.

this visit was much nicer. we went to some thrift shops (the kind where some things are still a quarter), walked around a bit and soaked in all manner of bookish things at the fair. the images pictured are the work of shannon bray (if my notes are correct). the one pictured above is an amazing multileveled paper diorama of saintliness in the wild west (or so i have decided). i don't know why, but i stopped taking pictures early on. oh yes, the light was a bit dim for my camera. but i also went home with some of shannon gerard's newer stuff and a letterpress plate that really spoke to me. maybe i'll post a picture of that when the mood strikes me. until then, stay prepared, dear reader...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

daryl's package.

getting reacquainted with sewing on a machine has been overwhelming me. well, it has been in theory as i haven't actually been doing much of it. so i made a resolution to practice my french seams (this puppy only straight stitches) by making a few simple simple pouches.

daryl gets one with his button order as a special gift. i think the cowboy motif goes well with his manly (or boyly?) themes. and also because i think the order is for his opening on thursday. openings deserve gifts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

another day on the factory floor.

today i churned out a bunch of custom orders, packaged things, shipped things - you know, the glamorous work involved in running one's own business.

among my recent orders were these buttons by toronto artist, daryl vocat. daryl is pretty cool. you should check out all his work and buy it all. daryl is also most of the readership of this blog where he comments under the pseudonym "anonymous."

i've had the scouts kissing button on my winter coat for a few years now. it's very good at reminding me of winter and not very good at repelling moths. just saying.

on the carnivorous plants front (did you even know we had one of those here?), the bladderwort that aitor acquired at the orchid show in februrary has pushed up its first bloom under his care. it looks like that wardian case really paid off. we're all very proud. we might even take down a ceiling light fixture and sprinkle the ensuing gnat graveyard on it to celebrate. ensuing is not the right word, but i can't think of the right word.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

rubber band ball.

the more i look at the things i do and consider the objects around my home, the more i think that obsessive isn't just a word i throw around.

Monday, April 21, 2008

wasp's nest.

today is my first day without my day job. i miss my coworkers but am so happy to have the time to catch up on business stuff that has gone awry. note to canada post: seriously? where do my packages go when they don't get to their destinations?

with all this new found freedom, i don't know exactly where to start. i have generated a pile of 'to do' lists for all my various projects; the evidence of my household neglect is strewn all around me; my office needs to finally be established after a year of living out of boxes; and then there are my calming, soothing hobby projects (see obsessive quilting above).

so far my game plan has been to start everything, finish the most important things and leave everything else in piles on top of the household neglect. this shit clearly won't fly and the reverend is starting to get annoyed that he can't sit, stand or lie anywhere in the apartment.

hopefully this spring mania will subside and i will have the sense to sit down with my lists and make a schedule. but until then, it's all honeycombs, button bits and dust bunnies for me.

of course, i had to go and see something like this yesterday and start feeling like the biggest slob ever. maybe my shame will be motivating.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

dusty vs. rusty.

do you have one of those friends who is good at all the things everyone needs? in my experience, these people generally know how to fix bikes and fix computers along with a couple other assorted useful skills. but bikes and computers go together. my friend dusty is one of those people. and his 'assorted' skill set includes photography. he's done almost all the promo shots for my comedy duo and has yet to ask us to stand on train tracks or under power lines, so we've been pretty impressed. dusty even fixed my printer once. my printer! nobody fixes printers.

with a public transit strike looming, dusty came over for a few hours yesterday to help me get my dilapidated bike operating again. i have to admit, i left it out all winter and had been riding without brakes for most of the fall. he never makes me feel bad about how irresponsible i am when it comes to green lightning (my bike's name that has never quite stuck). so, thank you, dusty.

it's also impossible to repay favours to these multi-talented people. there's only so much beer he can drink (it is an impressive amount, though, in dusty's case). the closest i've come to repayment is posing for him as he tries to generate a portrait portfolio. so far i've stood around on a blistering hot tarmac and in a swamp. i guess that feels like work but it doesn't take skill. although, standing still for five minutes for pinhole camera pictures was a challenge. by the way, why does someone as talented as dusty have the time to hang out with me? smarten up, big photographers of toronto; hire dusty to assist you. and it wouldn't hurt if a few of you magazines gave him photo spreads, either.

in other news, i went to a vintage sale yesterday and bought a ripped up dress from the 30's because i fell in love with the fabric and wanted to use it for something. as it turns out, the fabric is as brittle as tissue paper and now i'm scared to put it into my quilt for fear that it will deteriorate. does anyone have any clever ideas as to what i could do with it? i don't want to feel like i've been had by my own aesthetic impulses. the best idea i've come up with so far is to make some assemblage that will end up under glass. what else? could i lacquer it? you guys are smart; let me know.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

polaroid dismay.

i found out recently of the discontinuation of polaroid films. actually, i was told right as i was using up the last of what aitor and i had tucked away to photograph vendors at the valentine's trunk show. my heart sank a bit. i'm no fancy photographer who still proofs with polaroids or anything special. i'm just a lady who likes getting pictures in the mail when my sweetie is away and who also dislikes the disappearance of good things.

it is really is enough to make a lady want to go on her classic rant about how cell phones still don't work as well and land lines after fifteen years. video still doesn't look like film. my friend, the dude, and i were even talking about how flat panel monitors don't work as well as crts - phased out after a few years of existence. how can i sound like an old lady talking about four year old hardware?

for you, dear reader, i'll try to choke back my ire and stroll down memory lane instead. the above polaroid, in all its ill-exposed glory, was taken by aitor in a motel room in carlisle, arkansas, some time in the fall of 2006. we were on our way from somewhere to somewhere and little rock was on the way. since we were on a mission to just plain see as many american places as possible (hence a later visit to toledo), we decided to head for the captial city. it was already dark out and we hadn't even made it to the city yet. aitor was hungry (and maybe i was, too, although i had almost given up on finding nourishing vegetarian food in the middle of the country) so when we saw signs for a barbecue restaurant (nick's bbq & catfish), we decided to pull off the highway. we had recently realized that when you're not in your own big city, you shouldn't assume that you can be served a hot meal in the middle of the night like a couple of vampires and had tried to adjust our eating habits accordingly. it was after sundown so nick's was our place.

carlsile, arkansas, is a small place as far as outsiders would be concerned. only one little strip of out-of-towner relevant businesses. but on the two blocks between the off ramp and nick's we saw a sign advertising a motel for $19.99 a night - the cheapest price we had seen yet. however, the sign seemed to point to a gas station. over dinner, we discussed our options, which really were limitless at the time, since we had nowhere in particular to be for a few days. but options don't feel so limitless when one is sleepy and cold and presumably in need of a shower. we consulted our waitress who told us not to sleep at the gas station and that there was a better (albeit pricer) motel in town that she could endorse.

we were poor so we ignored her and tried our luck at the cheapest motel ever. it really was part of the gas station - a series of trailers (like the "portables" we had in school) arranged in a u-shape out back. to our surprise, there were no bugs or blood stains, the sheets were clean and soft, there was heat, we had cable and we even picked up a free wireless signal from somewhere. it was amazing. we stayed for an extra night and relaxed.

on our second day in arkansas - our free day - we took the back roads to neighbouring lonoke and ate at our frist sonic drive-in (every subsequent visit would pale in comparison). it was unseasonably warm and totally beautiful out. sometimes, when you are clearly from elsewhere and you are visiting a place that doesn't get a lot of visitors, people can be exceptionally nice to be around. they can also be exceptionally xenophobic, but this wasn't the case for us in lonoke. the manager at the sonic talked to us for quite a while about our home and our travels. it was much better than our previous trip through the south of the state where we blew a fuse in the car and aitor was swarmed by rats at the rest stop. this time, it was nice.

i didn't remember the name of the barbeque restaurant or the neighbouring town in recalling this story. i used the internet for that. see? sometimes, we create useful technologies. i understand this. but i still don't feel as misty looking at that comic sans filled website for nick's bbq as i do this little picture i doodled all over.

oh, and the pig nose i'm wearing is some arkansas thing - sports related, i assume. we bought it because we thought it was cool but aitor kept getting squealed at when he put it on. if anyone cares to explain this phenomenon, we're all ears.

and if you like, you can try to save polaroid here. or here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

oh great, a new obsessive craft.

last night i was fortunate enough to attend the english paper piecing class at the workroom (here in toronto). i highly recommend the experience, if you have the chance. english paper (or foundation) piecing is a method of hand-sewing quilt tops out of very precise geometrical shapes using paper templates. it's a fairly easy skill with great rewards and endless design possibilities. the instructor, johanna masko, is full of the kind of tips, attention and minutiae that i love to consume when beginning a new technique. i found the class deeply gratifying and left with my head all buzzing with shapes and patterns of things to come.

i was so excited, in fact, that as soon as i got home i put down the diamond shapes we had been working with in favour of the yellow and brown hexagons i have been dreaming of (and collecting scraps for) for months now. it's totally addictive. each new piece comes out differently and choosing each new addition is mesmerizing.

it kind of makes me embarrassed to admit it, but i am going to try to make an entire full sized quilt top out in this way. i found an old pattern that requires 2,277 hexagons to complete. sure, it may seem crazy as a first project, but even big quilts made in this way can be broken down into manageable modules. it will probably take me years to complete. but it doesn't feel like finished parts will take up too much room in the process.

i currently have 40 hexagons made and an old cookie tin in which to amass if endlessly crocheting hyperbolic planes wasn't an adequately infinite project.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

i will soon abate.

hyperbolics have taken over once again. these teaching stints at the knit cafe have really rekindled my destructive addiction to hyperbolic crochet. i had to cut myself off for a while back in the fall so that i could sober up and focus more attentions on my potentially money-making projects. after the financial battering my play gave me, this was a pretty important move.

it's not like i'm any richer now. but spring is in the air and a young lady's fancy can so easily turn back to the corpulent frills of these wooly figures. needless to say, i'm back to my old tricks - crocheting on the streetcar and rebuffing the advances of chatty strangers. i mean, if they really wanted to know what i was doing, they'd find my blog, right?

to the end of furthering the cause (and as an aid to students of hyperbolic crochet everywhere), i have created a new hyprbolic crochet taxonomic gallery on flickr. there is another hyperbolic crochet group there but the administrator seems to have lost interest and, unhindered, the pool is filling with pictures of hats, amigurumi bunnies and other off topic flotsam. the aim of this new group is to both share pictures of hyperbolic models and to share their increase rates/materials/guages/whathaveyous. hopefully, this will prove helpful to those continuing on in their own arguable useless addictions. we at the sweetie pie press are nothing if not enablers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

this hyperbolic life.

photos by belphoebe

today was spent in the most delightful manners. an early morning trip to st. lawrence market to goof around with the reverend (i bought i really nice dress that was not part of the plan), an afternoon class on hyperbolic crochet at the knit cafe and a nerve-wracking performance of an excerpt from my play at the summerworks festival launch party. the latter activity was only nerve-wracking because i made it that way. i just haven't been in the swing of scripted performance lately. but the crowd was exceptionally warm (read: wine drunk). thank you for that. and thank you, michael, for inviting me out of my rut.

the crochet class, on the other hand, was much less stressful - although i always feel a self-imposed pressure/fear when teaching anything to anyone. regardless of my neuroses, an afternoon spent in simple crochet and complex mathematical thought is always restorative. like a knob, i didn't bring my camera so i've stolen some pictures for this posting. that also means you will get to see a picture of me explaining excesses of surface by flapping my hands about.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

backblog (or how i learned to make the internet more quantum).

pictured here is a photo of some collected works of a miss saddle kobayashi. this picture was taken almost a year ago, when saddle was here from japan on a one year visa. not long after this picture was taken, i purchased the shrinky dink/polyfill/glitter creation pictured most prominently. it has been on my wall ever since. you see i have an affinity for successful art involving glitter. the fact that shrinky dinks and polyfill are also used make this piece mind-boggling to me. but i'm getting off my intended tracks.

track #1:
saddle misses toronto. as a result, she is taking the reigns on toronto vs. nagoya: round 1 - a civilized "art fight" between artists of toronto and artists of nayoga. in round 1, all artists/crafters are being asked to create work 4" square and no more than 1" thick. this is a co-presentation with city of craft and you can find more info on our website, if you like. the call is open until april 20 with art having to be in the mail by may 10.

track # 2:
it occurs to me in looking through all my past pictures, that i don't want to forget the stories that go with them. basically, i should have let faythe convince me to start blogging a few years ago. but i didn't. so now i have to blog backwards. although this little project started being undertaken at the end of january 2008, it will now begin moving both forward and backward and in between. look around! see if you can find the past reminding me of itself. i will let everyone know if i figure out how to generate pictures and stories of the future.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

sweets buttons and other news.

okay, so the new sweets buttons by missy kulik are done and up in the etsy shop here. they will also be making live appearances with me as i do craft fairs in the spring and summer and fall. speaking of which, the city of craft/workroom spring thing trunk show is just around the corner and you should probably check it out if you're in toronto.

shannon gerard will be there. she also happened to get written about on reuters today (regarding her boobs and dinks early detection kits) and they happened to use some of my photos.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

back in the straddle.

hey, wondering what's up with button operations at the sweetie pie press? me too.

with a day job and the festival i was running and some illness thrown in to boot, the button factory has slowed somewhat over the past couple of months. but we're currently working to rectify that situation and get the wheels rolling again.

pictured above is a sneak peek of two exciting new commissioned artist button sets - sweets by my favorite southern belle/zine queen, missy kulik, and the as-yet-unnamed set of microscopic exploration by toronto-based visual artist/indie magazine magnate, mark laliberte. despite her diminutive size, missy is a pretty big fan of sweets herself. she names everything after them - her cat, her band, her other band, her home. in a visual landscape where cuteness can seem saccharine-plastered everywhere, missy keeps it simple and comes by it honestly. and as for mark, aside from being the everything behind locally-made art & design magazine carousel, he is also responsible for the 1" buttons project that i give the most props to, pop noire. and this coming from a real button snob. you should probably check out the massive outputs of both these guys. it should keep you occupied for a while. when you're done with that, you can come back here where i will hopefully have the finished sets ready for your perusal.

Friday, April 4, 2008

sock monkeys and boobs and dinks.

above is pictured a recent custom order i did for operation sock monkey, an initiative launched by local lady, lindsey hodgson, late last year to both send sock monkeys and other support to aids affected children in africa. you can read much more about the project on her website. also, i think the buttons turned out pretty cute. we had to rush to get them done in time for this saturday's sock-monk-a-thon (on facebook here, and open to anyone who wants to lend a hand/needle). these sock monkey making parties give you a nice tutorial on sock-monkey creation in exchange for your first born monkey - it either gets sold to raise funds or get sponsored to go to africa.

speaking of precocious animals, look at this guy i saw on the streetcar today on my way to work:

somehow when an elephant with a belly full of mice gives you the finger, you just know everything's going to be okay. thanks for providing me with my daily omen, anonymous artist. (and thanks for making it auspicious. i'm totally maxed out on foreboding omens lately!)

after work (where we watch this owl all day), i also got to go on a hot group date with a bunch of my friends. we went to the opening of shannon gerard's playing doctor installation at open studio.

shannon's work is really interesting to me because it straddles art and craft (and in this case, education) with ease. this merging of art and craft is a big hot topic in local indie craft circles (i can't speak to whether or not the art community wants to foster more "low-craft" fusion). and shannon just flips back and forth between both worlds so effortlessly. she's also got mad crochet skills, which i always respect. these skills are not shown off nearly as much in her boobs and dinks as they are in her upcoming series which i have had the honour to preview. and that's saying a lot. her dinks and boobs are no slouches. the whole project is quite impressive in concept, design, quantity and display.

congratulations on your opening, shannon! here are a bunch more pictures to celebrate you:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

frozen mitten # 2

frozen mitten

found april 2, 2008
christie & ashworth
this frozen mitten was being angrily tossed into the middle of the street along with the business end of a broom today as i travelled up christie street. i guess the lady doing the tossing had become tired of mittens and broom parts accumulating on her property (or possibly just a property she admires). regardless, her timing was good as i am a newly established mitten rescuer.

as a side note, i was on my way to drop off a small button order for this. if you are a youth who makes art, you might want to check them out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

supply swap two: the craftening.

photo of the last supply swap by the workroom
there is another city of craft/workroom collaborative supply swap happening this weekend. on sunday. in toronto. maybe you'd like to come.

to quote myself from the city of craft website:

Sunday, April 6th
1:30pm - 3:00pm
the workroom
1340 queen street west

You get a free lunch bag to fill if you bring a contribution of craft supplies to swap.
Subsequent bags are $5.
All proceeds go to support City of Craft 2008.
now also available in facebook.

note: becky connoisseurs amongst you will notice the witchery karyn's panorama software has performed on my legs. that makes this week's black art photography (sorry, letterpress; you've had your day).