Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a year in rear view.

this is not going to be a very good year in review, i can tell you that right now. everything is a bit of a blur and 2009 was not the easiest periods of my life. the highs were high, don't get me wrong, and our summer travels across the continent will stay with me forever. but i leave 2009 feeling kind of melancholic and feeling hopeful about the fresh start to come (even though i think that 2010 sounds like a fake year).

that picture up there is actually from 2008. it is the amazing tin ceiling of one of my favourite places to eat in athens, georgia. i have been thinking of athens lately because of singer/songwriter vic chesnutt's death there on christmas day. he was someone i had said hello to once but whose music has stuck with me through over a decade of moving around. it is strange how the deaths of some strangers can affect me. it feel uncomfortable but real. if you are not familiar with his work, you should check it out. 'new town' was the soundtrack to all the small places in northern california to me.

speaking of northern california and the passing of time, i just read this account garth & claire's kitchen wallpaper and found it fascinating. there is something both sad as exhilarating about discovering something beautiful that is also pretty much gone. i will try my best to focus on the excitement for 2010.

why does this bottom point of the year always make me feel so down? whatever, it will all turn around friday.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

sappy holidays.

hey everyone, happy holidays.

i know i am a weird jewish girl to like trimming trees and making stockings but i am not particularly afeared of assimilation. i also think that these decidedly pagan trappings and rituals make about as much sense as anything. plus, it's fun.

i try to add a new ornament to our collection every year. usually i end up buying something weird at a craft fair but i failed at actually shopping at city of craft so i had to make one the old fashioned way this time.

while trying to do some winter sorting and cleaning, i came upon the supplies for reva quam's felted ornament workshop for last year's city of craft and decided to figure one out for myself. i went a bit nuts with the beading so it ended up taking around five hours to make (maybe i bead slowly). it's nice to think i added something to our tree that i could not buy. we also got to watch movies on the couch while i worked on it. are these holidays setting in?

either way, i hope you are all well. happy winter!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


a few years ago, under my father's 'care', the christmas stocking that my mother made me as a child was partially eaten by mice. well, mama stepped up and offered to make some repairs this year. she even took it on her travels to europe and worked on it while travelling the countryside (with a little help from carol, i hear).

now it is back in my care just in time for the holidays, and newly tricked out. it has even more bling than before and fresh new hand stitched velvet trim to cover up the nibbled piping (note: mice seem to like eating piping, thread and felt the most).

thank you, mama!

now it can hang on the mantle with the stocking i made for aitor last year in hope that santa likes to award gifts to athiests.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the junk in my trunk.

okay, so the holiday craft fair season is not over yet. how could it be? the christmas shopping frenzy is just hitting a fever pitch.

i am happy to be rounding out my annual vending season by doing one last trunk show. tomorrow night i will be set up for four hours at the heartbeat960 winter trunk show, in the middle of queen west west.

i have to say, i am very excited about this show. all i have to do is show up with a trunk full of goodies, set it up and then kick back and indulge in free sips and snacks for a few hours (you can have free sips and snacks, too). i know miss leah b from the coldsnap bindery will be there and am expecting a few more familiar faces in the mix.

as for me, i will have a fresh batch of neck warmers out for perusal, including a bunch of test runs i did to try out new yarns. turns out, most of the fibres are too expensive to keep making retail crochet out of, so lucky you if you scoop one of these luxe models up!

see you there.

winter trunk show
sunday, december 20
4:00pm - 8:00pm
960 queen street west

Monday, December 14, 2009


city of craft is over and it all seemed to just fly by. so much so, that i did not do the shopping and swapping that i was so looking forward to. well, i didn't get to do all of it. i did, however, end up with a wonderful new mushroom terrarium from holly procktor, some handspun yarn from pleasurecraft fibre studio and the entire wordly pamphlet series from the coldsnap bindery (pictured above). i also got to go home with one of leah's hand-embroidered spore buttons as payment for the use of my machine (and buttonary expertise). i have yet to muster the gall to take it off its lovely backing card but it will soon find a suitable sweater, i am sure.

i was particularly happy to curl up and convalesce from the rigours of the fair with these pamphlets. i found the tips on travelling while book buying to be luxuriously obsessive but most enjoyed the manifesto of warring matryoshkas. "the nest is not the mother; the mother is the nest." this stuff is serious.

i am not sure if/where these gems may be available online (i have been urging leah to open a shop with the blue house) but heartily hope that the pamphlets series grows into a huge catalogue of wordly wonder. you would do well to pick some up if you ever come across them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

what possible excuse could you have?

poster by the brilliant amy borkwood.

c'mon down!

witchy hands and outdated papers.

hey! things have been quiet around this blog. but that is only because life is screaming at me in the real world. i am happy to report that minnie, the newest member of my electronic family has been with me a week and a half now and is working out great. what better way, i ask you, to celebrate the entrance of a new computer into my life than to crawl right into the internet and wrap a gift in front of you?

yup, that is my i-just-drove-stright-from-detroit mug and signature knobbly craft hands turning my grampa's old accounting supplies into an impenetrable fortress of gift wrap.

big thanks to chantal braganza at the toronto star for pitching and making this piece (and thinking of me).

of course, it all flows towards city of craft, the megalopolis of toronto indie craft fairs that i have a hand in running, which is happening tomorrow and sunday at the theatre centre on queen west west. holy crow, there is still so much to do! did i mention my life is screaming at me? come down tomorrow to witness the results of all that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

spore of me to love.

leah never thinks her projects are going to work out but they all turn out brilliant. i am starting to think she is sharking me, but to what end?

these little emborideries were turned into little spore buttons. look out for them at the coldsnap bindery table at city of craft along with their accompanying pamphlet on the subject of spores, monks and hallucinations.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

saving for a brighter tomorrow.

...this is my retirement fund.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the first cut is the deepest.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a loom with a view.


cheese castle

today i left milwaukee for my beloved chicago. sometimes a packed suitcase is like a work of art.

Friday, November 27, 2009

like taking a vacation into another life i sometimes live.

poster by little friends of printmaking

one province, four states and three great lakes later, i am in milwaukee for this. please do come down tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rage about the machine.

seeking computer to change my shoes. please. in truth, this is just a note to say that my computerlesness persists. i miss you, world wide web. soon we shall be together again. soon.

thank you leah, for letting me borrow your computer for a bit. sorry if your blog languishes as a result. oh yeah, i should get back to using this computer for official city of craft business. it's going to be amazing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


i recommend le faux pulled porc. ici.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

generally speaking...

pictured above are some tiny jars i have crammed full of shredded canadian currency. why, you ask? well, there could be many answers but the most tactile and promotional of the options is that city of craft is presenting a general store-themed art room at tomorrow's hotel canzine and that when i think 'general store', i think 'tiny jars of shredded money'. it seems like every curio cabinet should have at least one.

i am very happy that this one-day shop is part of canzine, and not just because my ongoing connectivity issues have made me a useless heap when it comes to getting work done and producing events. nope, more than just a piggy back ride, canzine is a very special beast...a crammed downtown hotel filled with an uncomfortable amount of creativity. i love it. it is like the perfect antidote to the stark and unattainable ideals of modern craft culture. a million tiny things just waiting to contaminate your white walls and concrete lofts.

for our part, the city of craft room will try tempting your senses with such unavoidable acquisitions as hundreds of plaster fingers, hand-printed fat quarters, birch bark jewellery, stones covered in crochet, hand-bound books, buttons that look like teeth and...tiny jars of shredded money.

and you can bet i am going to use that extra hour of sleep to desperately attempt to get more done.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ghost in the machine.

well, the unthinkable has happened; my trusty laptop computer has failed me. how horrifying, how ghoulish.

i don't entirely know how to cope with this, the loss of my greatest technological component and most useful tool of human connection (oh, the irony).

but this note should serve to inform you all that i continue to survive - robot parts or no - in spite of my seeming disappearance. actually, in a way, i have become more real.

in completely unrelated news, my non-craft life saw me interviewed for a local arts weekly. newspapers: now available on internet. well, it can fill the void this blog hiatus has left in the noise of the universe, anyway. enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

hyperbolic frolic.

just a few images from last night's hyperbolic reef growing stitch-along at hart house. it was a near record-breaking turn-out that yielded some great new models for the reef and lots of chatting.

hyperbolic craft night (16)b

hyperbolic craft night (13)b

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

building the hyperbolic reef.

just a reminder, toronto, that tonight is the big free hyperbolic crochet installation/workshop at hart house.

check out the hart house craft night site or the toronto church of craft page for more information.

off to pack up my hooks!

oh, up there are the two new models i have to contribute.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

mending the rules.

today i had a couple friends over to help me with a project. after we were done, dusty (to whom i owe a million favours) presented me with one of his favorite sweaters complete with new moth bites for 2009. among this city's many recent insect scourges (bed bugs, fruit flies, wasps...), moths figure pretty heavily so i figure these pictures of my darning might be of greater general use.

of course, i am too tired to explain these images or write up a proper tutorial on sweater repair but the clever among you will be able to do some shrewd figuring-out.

dusty helped me with the pictures as we goofed around with some of the camera equipment i inherited from my pop. the macro extensions were particularly fun to play with. i am able to photograph single buttons with the shortest extension. i am sure i will find other applications now that i am over thinking i don't know how to use them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

time and space capsule.

this is what this was all about. it was done for this. here it is bigger.

thank you to aitor, serena and anahi for illustration and companionship.

Monday, October 12, 2009

deep thoughts.

as the nights get longer and colder, we are happy to be introducing two new commissioned artist button sets from the mysterious depths of both sea and forest.

they are the murky progeny of milwaukee-based artist, and craft show pal, matt "matty 8080" cipov. matt is a prolific artist, an incredibly astute illustrator and a meticulous cutter-outer. his healthy use of office supplies, paper stocks and rubber stamps doesn't hurt his esteem in our book, either.

the images for these buttons come from a reportedly "ill-fated" art show matty had in seattle called 'creatures of the deep', although details are hard to come by. mystery! for the sweetie pie press, matt agreed to divide his illustrations into two distinct sylvan and marine sets (respectively) - just to make sure we were all adequately scared of specific depths.

having worked for years on boats, i find the shark particularly terrifying, although the owl does tap into all the formative twin peaks viewing i did in my youth. those things are not what they seem!

get ready to shock your friends senseless with these specters of the (mostly) natural world.

both sets are now listed in the etsy shop. enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

sneak peek from the deep.

here is a little sneak peek from the next two commissioned artist button sets due out next week. the picture's a bit hazy, but i hope this adds to the dense and murky themes of the sets.

by the way, i am being pointedly evasive about the name of the artist. that's because this is a test. the first person to name the artist responsible for this work, gets a set from each collection.

ready, set, go!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

what a difference six months make.

accoridng to my sources, this comforting neighbourhood sight the handiwork of anna pantchev.

it doesn't hurt that today's shoot was on a gloomier day. forgive me, but i don't mind all this cloud and drizzle.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

adventures in babysitting.

this guy's the best even though he almost lost his marbles entirely at the price chopper.

ps - my apartment's a mess. see?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

funny people.

here is a new custom button order i have been working on. i only sometimes manage to write about the custom work i do, but these buttons were extra fun for me.

they are being made for rapid fire theatre, an improv outfit in edmonton, alberta. one of their new upstarts happens to be deaf and in order for his comic genius to be understood by a non-signing audience, the theatre needs to supply a translator for all the shows he is in. while not massively expensive, this service is also not free (or in their budget) so they approached me to help with a small fundraising campaign.

starting from the one 'deaf people are funny too' design, we came up with a whole 48 types of people (from fat to glib) who were also funny. coming up with adjectives was especially enjoyable for me. personally, i would like to see the company use these buttons as character suggestions for some improvised scenework, but maybe that's only because i'd like to see a scene between a dead person and a bland person. instant comedy!

if you'd like to purchase some buttons and support the cause, they will be available at rapid fire shows in edmonton as soon as the package gets to them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

montreal sojourn.

today serena and i went out for some classic art girl montreal sightseeing - drawn & quarterly, general 54.

it was leisurely.

i wish i could stay here longer. i always wish that when i visit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

puces pop.

that composite picture up there can be seen in larger format by clicking on it.

as exhausted as we are after day one, puces pop has been amazing. there's a level to which the laissez-faire of montreal always stresses me out (classic toronto), but these shows are always fantastic - even if the guy next to me shows up two hours late.

it's packed, the people are nice and, more importantly, they understand this art and craft stuff. sure, there is less wealth here, but there is an interest and knowledgeability about design and expression that i don't take for granted anymore after our travels far afield. merci, guys.

oh yeah, i also get to sound a like a blathering idiot all day as i stumble back through my french. at least people are forgiving.

french phrase of the day: "je m'excuse; je suis un peu stupide."

Friday, October 2, 2009

la belle provence.

toronto to montreal with a bunch of letters.

...i'll tell you why later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


puces pop artwork by sara guindon

with all the mania and exhaustion going on around sweetie pie hq, i entirely forgot to mention our weekend trip to montreal. it is true, we will have a table of handmade goodies at the city's annual puces pop craft show. for those who don't know, this is a big two-day craft fair that operates in conjunction with pop montreal.

so roll out of bed before the evening, drunk rock stars, and come visit us. we'll have buttons and envelopes and art and crochet for you to puke on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


what i have been helping do for the past two days. i am too exhausted to write much.

this is cathy.

this is nuit blanche.

put them together. giant cake!