Monday, August 31, 2009

security blanket.

today i took a break from city of craft, shipping and endless sorting to put together a little dream project of mine...well, the beginnings of one, anyway.

i have joined the beta testing team for the spoonflower textile marketplace. this allows me to goof around with some fabric designs and offer some choice selections up for sale to you, the people of the internet.

i am starting with a few designs including a series based on the security envelope project. offered up here is the first in the group, a tiling collection of scanned circles.

finally, we can all sleep under the security of quilted patterns that can obscure our presence to the outside world.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

zine on me.

pictured above is a little sampling of the amazing wares on offer at today's zine dream. i came home with alarmingly little - i was at my table most of the day and then chatting up city of craft to the screen printing youth of toronto.

i did mange to go home with some great comic/art zines from my table mate, mark connery, and a new zine by tara bursey. i know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the limited edition of punk rockers on creative survival & the survival of creativity sports a jaunty cover by nicholas kennedy of the trip print press. it's flashy and i like it.

the book itself is fascinating. some of the interviews make me irritated with their contradictions and/or sanctimony and some are quietly inspiring. this is the general range of feelings i have in relation to punk rock culture in general so i think tara's project has done its job. and discussion of diy ethos is always reassuring to read.

the zine fair in general made me feel like i was transported back in time to before craft shows were about big displays and slickness. i felt old and young all at once and it was not unpleasant.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

books and marks.

jen knows of my constant quest for the perfect bookmark. i am very picky and dissatisfied with the vast majority of bookmarks out there. so i thank her very much for bringing this vintage bridge score card home for me from gibsons.

this seems an appropriate new acquisition given that tomorrow i will be attending my first zine fair in a long while, zine dream 2. i am really thankful that jesjit and laura are doing this annually. squashed zine fairs used to happen constantly in toronto but over the past few years, it feels like canzine is the only show in town (a good show, but the only show).

so, thanks, guys!

i have dusted off all my zines for the occasion and relisted them in the etsy shop, too, for those of you who can't make it down.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


i have been away from making my own stuff and away from this blog for a few days. this isn't anything new. i've found myself generally over-busy since the spring. i live in the middle of a dynamic city and mostly spend my time sitting on the computer thinking longingly of the days years ago when i first lived here, inhabited a basement suite, had roommates and spent evenings with nothing better to do than bike around and stencil things. wait...i would never do that. that's against the law. it must have been some other girl.

but back to my excuses...this week brings an end to city of craft's vendor and installation applications. aside from the growing numbers of submissions to sort and process, i am also charged with all the technical aspects of the website. i apologize right now for any glitches. i am able but no website genius. if only the internet could be more...crocheted.

this also mean the jury date is coming near. so far, i have been on the jury every year. make no mistake about how grueling, time consuming and labour intensive this process is. not to mention heart wrenching; we never have room for all the amazing things being made in the city - not even close - not even close to close. and how could we, toronto? we'd need ten football fields (canadian football, but still...)

in spite of the generally gloomy tone of this post (which, i know, should be cheery and keen), i still encourage everyone to apply. whether space is found for you or not, i have learned in my crafty experiences that it is never a bad idea to put your work in front of people from your community. you never know, it could plant a seed for a future project (this has happened to me). and until we smarten up and start charging an application fee, you have nothing to lose!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

hanging on the telephone.

today was spent at the second telephone city art and craft show in brantford, ontario. first, i should explain why brantford (a seeming ghost town in many respects) is calling itself the telephone city. apparently the city lays some sort of claim to alexander graham bell (similar to the way lincoln is claimed by states ad cities all over the united states). aitor seemed to feel that tuberculosis was the only reason bell lived in (actually, near) brantford. this isn't so. it really was his canadian homestead. but most of his telephone inventing was done in boston. in brantford, he did come up with a transliteration system for the mohawk language, though. i find this more fascinating but it probably wouldn't fit as nicely onto a sign.

but back to the show...i have to admit, it was slow. unexpected torrents kept erupting from the sky. there were even reports of hail. it's a shame, too, because the ladies who put the show on really hustled their butts off - newspaper ads, radio spots, blogs. what gives, brantford? is there a better way to reach you? are you just not down?

as an upshot, i did get one of lee meszaros' amazing merit badges to go home with (mine is 'for getting back on the horse' - i hope it is prophetic). actually, lee has updated her designs so we each got one of her old ones. it was really sweet to drive home with amy and aitor, each of us sporting our badges (amy's, another horse, and aitor's 'for being a dirtbag').

i really liked the venue, too. the ford plant is a semi-dilapidated space downtown that usually serves as an open music venue. it is decaying in a beautiful way, even though a few patrons didn't appreciated the loveliness. things overheard: "it's so bad, it's good" & "there's no way they made cars here." apparently one vendor called it a hole and refused to set up. so much for craft cross-over. i guess spaces like this are reserved for people with at least a drop of punk rock in them. i loved it.

i was also obsessed with this building across the street that i was convinced was smiling at me crookedly all day:

aitor was more into the heaps of meat from admiral's around the corner:

so much for taming our road guts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

epiphetical happenings.

the one things that generated the most communication from our subletters on this past trip were the bathroom orchids. count 'em - twelve blooms on one plants, and another plant pushing out buds.

yup, things are pretty exciting around here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

nature table.

i never do this. well, rarely. i guess talking about my home makes me feel hyper aware of how lucky i am to have a home and stuff to fill it with and this leads to a guilty conscience. but i do have a nice apartment. and i have possessions that i care about so here goes...

the 'nature table' (pictured above) was inspired by our visits with shannah and bruce in southern illinois. they keep a seasonal nature table for their youngest son so that he can collect and possibly ponder the things they find on walks. i loved this idea. of course, my nature table contains more articles that straddle the gap between organic and fabricated, but i had to put my own spin on things, right? that said, i think max did include the 3" button i made him on his nature table, so maybe he is heading in the same direction as me.

in the back, there are two terraria that i put together in the winter. they were heavily overgrown when i got home. i had told the subletters that they could just be left alone, but didn't anticipate the amount of grass seeds that might be lurking within. grass explosion! it has calmed down now.

there is also a log candle holder that i bought for a dollar at a garage sale in edmonton. everyone made fun of me for buying a log but i had a vision. it was also made by the father of the garage saler, which always sweetens the deal for me.

in front of that is a glass filled with alder cones i collected on pender island in january and a silk worm cocoon i found in with my dad's stuff.

up here are some acquisitions from this trip and the past year - a 'pasture slice' that i got from small stump at renegade san francisco (small stump was the highlight of the fair for me), a covered stone from margie at resurrection fern, a plaster cast of tara bursey's finger by...well...tara, a buckeye that bruce gave me and a porcelaine hand figure from the museum of jurassic technology.

at the end of the table is a fig plant that leah gave me when she thought she had killed our gardenia. the truth is, she was just witness to its death. we were never able to give that gardenia what it required. but the fig is a toughy!

hopefully, this little display will continue to grow - i have never been much for minimalism. but for now i can add it to my short list of calming places in the apartment while we tear every other corner apart and/or fill everything with craft-making detritus.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


our place never looks this tidy except when the bulk of our stuff has been hidden for subletting purposes.

we got in late last night and stayed up well into the wee hours unpacking, sorting, cleaning and finding places for the thrift, craft and art scores we made on this last trip. hopefully, i will be able to keep up with updates here as things find their places.

i am really excited about this feedsack/flour sack quilt we got in wisconsin for $10. it's pretty tattered but that just makes me feel less uptight about it so it can actually be used. it is a light summer weight quilt that only consists of a top and a back with a thriftily used chenille sheet for the batting.

i also quickly found a spot for the tatted hoop i got from the all citizens shop in bruno, saskatchewan. it's up in the bedroom next to the shrimp lace and tea bag paper shoes i got from tara bursey at last year's city of craft. sorry, tara, your shrine has been expanded to include others. tyler tells me that the tatting was done by bernadette greule who also composes cowboy poetry and sometimes performs at the shop.

of course, this influx of new things is making us go through old things we had been hiding from ourselves. there is much to get rid of in order to properly clear up all of our working space and i am in the mood to get tough with my possessions. who knows? maybe there is a yard sale in our near future. or a rummage show? your ideas are heartily encouraged.

Monday, August 17, 2009

telephone city.

it feels, at times, that even when i get back home the touring never stops. a few days after our homecoming, the sweetie pie press is making the little jaunt t nearby brantford, ontario, for the second installment of the telephone city art and craft fair. we will be piling into the pontiac with amy, krystal and aitor to bring some joy and crafts to this neighbouring place to which i have never been. do you live in the area? nearby? come visit!

telephone city arts and craft show
saturday, august 22, 2009
11:00am - 5:00pm
the ford plant
1 king street
brantford, on

Sunday, August 16, 2009

zine dream, too.

poster by jesjit gill & laure mccoy

just a message to let all you torontonians know that i will be pulling the cobwebs off my zine catalogue (including the trampoline hall comic zine and some other stuff) to table at zine dream 2.

a lot of the usual suspects will be there. for me, this is going to feel like a compound reunion - arty zinesters, toronto friends at should come. the venue has a bar. we can pretend it is 1995 - only better!

zine dream 2
sunday, august 30th, 2009
noon - 6:00pm
the tranzac
292 brunswick street

Saturday, August 15, 2009

window shopping.

today aitor and i are spending our day skirting another store window in chicago. the store, in this instance, is renegade handmade and we are installed together (unlike our separate installations a few months back at uncle fun). we are also less in the window than last time. but you can probably peer around some handmade wares to spy on aitor if you like.

this, the first of renegade's in-store events has been going so well that we have committed to coming back tomorrow. watch me make buttons, buy them off the table and/or get a portrait from aitor! not to mention all the other marvels to see here (my favourite place is the print pocket in the back).

thanks, renegade (especially sue and kate). this is perfect. i makes me feel like i have a real job, too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

a last re-sort.

this image of my suitcase may not be as sublimely satisfying to you but for me it represents a good investment of time and thought and is the most organized my travelling wardrobe has been in a long time.

sure, the car still smells like sweat all the time and we are basically filthy but this makes me feel like i might have some secret dignity.

it will last a day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

twin cities maniacs.

on the way out of minneapolis (or mipples, as we now almost exclusively call it), we managed to slip into i like you before closing. aside from the obvious awesomeness of wall-to-wall astroturf carpeting and an indoor swing, this is the most indie craft packed shop i have come across in the twin cities (crafty planet excelling in craft materials and resources, of course). i am so glad we made the effort to find the shop. angela and sarah were so great to hang out with and i am happy to say that they now stock a good selection of buttons and artist sets. go check 'em out!

we finally got on the road late and didn't drive for long. i got tired and pulled off the highway at eau claire. it was a good thing we did, too, because as soon as we settled into the motel, the television was buzzing with flash flood warnings on all stations. my pictures don't do the chaos justice - it's was an incredible storm. suffice it to say we are happy to be safely tucked into our motel room.

Monday, August 10, 2009

prairie tales.

i made these special buttons today as gifts for my friends lee and steve who had aitor and i on their weekly radio show here in winnipeg. these buttons (made on the new 3" machine) represent some great technological leaps for me - ribbons, duotones (although you can't tell), etc.

we had a great time on the show. the boys are very fun and attentive hosts. we also got to field call-ins from folks like janet and another fellow who liked to spread gossip about her. thank, you 'peggers! we always enjoy ourselves in your breezy folds.

the crumbs show is every monday at 5:00pm on umfm in winnipeg (but also streaming live on the internet).