Monday, January 30, 2012

bags bags bags

I never did post all the pictures of my last project from last semester. My bag collection! I made these bags with cotton canvas and naturally dyed them with a range of lovely natural dyes.  I'm learning a whole lot about natural dyes lately, and I feel like I'm getting a better handle on them now, especially after all the experimenting I did with this project.  All the leather and hardware is from the amazing folks at Tundra Leather which is located here in Hamilton.  Seriously, even if you don't want/need leather, you should just go to that store anyways.  Hands down the best customer service I have ever experienced.  And they know everything about leather! 
Without further ado, this is "The Essential Bag Collection" by yours truly. 

I was asked to put some of my bags in the Sheridan Crafts and Design booth at the Interior Design Show this past weekend.   After our wonderful, lovely, relaxing and fun weekend at Blue Mountain with Eric's family, we managed to sneak out to the show and look around.  I must admit, it felt pretty cool to have my bags displayed at the same show as all the super high-end designers that were represented there.  IDS was also pretty interesting, but it really just made Eric and I both want to be rich enough to afford a fancy well-designed bathtub.  Someday. 

Here's a picture of the Sheridan booth. Skills. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

home improvements!

We really like our apartment.  But I always thought that the one thing wrong with it were it's super ugly floors.  In our studio/homework room we have a super adorable fireplace, big bay windows and huge beautiful old trim around everything.  The only bummer was this stained, burnt, ugly grey office carpet. Gross, right?  I took pictures with the flash on just to show you how ugly it is . 

The building we live in is really old and beautiful.  In fact, it used to be the house of the mayor of Hamilton.  I know zero information about that fact and haven't found anything out on the internet, but I still think it's pretty cool.  Anyways, we had an idea that underneath this ugly carpet there might be some super old original hardwood floors.  We pulled it up in a few corners and sure enough, we discovered hardwood.  An exciting realization!

We didn't really think our landlord would go for us demolishing the carpet, but we decided to ask anyways.  Her exact words were "Sure! Don't even ask. Do whatever you want."  

Ripping up carpet just might be my new favourite thing.  I love surprises!

 Admittedly, it's not in the greatest condition.  The people who put down the carpet must have painted first and didn't really care if they got paint on the floor, so there is paint splatters all over the place.  It's pretty rough and scratched and creaky and uneven and there is a bit of water damage near some of the windows.

Just add an exposed brick wall and that room has almost all of my favourite architectural elements; hardwood floors, bay windows, fireplace high ceilings. Amazing!

When our landlord said we could do whatever we want, my immediate though was to paint stripes. On something.  On anything.  I just really love stripes.  Tada! Bedroom with stripes! 

As long as you don't look closely, you can't tell that the stripes are the only level thing in this room.  Beware of painting stripes in really old buildings.  At first it was upsetting, but now it just makes me laugh.  I still like them. 

I often feel a bit guilty/silly about putting so much time and effort into a rental apartment that realistically, we probably won't live in for more than 1-2 years.  I guess if you own a house putting work into it is a good investment that will pay off in the long run. But hey, what's wrong with leaving a place a bit more beautiful than when you got there? 

In other news, our turtles are getting smarter. I think they're forming alliances and planning an escape. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have a difficult time committing to sort of trivial things in life. For example: I have been searching for a perfect sugar bowl (and cream container) for about 5 months. Today in Value Village I found a little ceramic pumpkin-shaped pot painted with delft blue flowers and gold edges. It was pretty fabulous, but it just wasn't PERFECT. And even though it was only 3 dollars and would have been a perfectly good sugar bowl, I just couldn't commit.

It took me way too long time to decide on a day planner for 2012, and I still feel like it's just not quite right.

Objects that I use everyday are just a big deal to me. And it's not like I don't find anything I like, I just always think there might be something better somewhere out there.
I have a serious love for objects. I used to think this was a bad thing, and that it meant that I was some sort of mindless consumerist shopoholic, but I've learned that that isn't the case. Objects are just amazing. The more I learn about making and creating and designing objects the more excited about them I get. Especially practical, useful AND beautiful objects. And when I, with my clumsy hands, can make an object that is practical and beautiful and that someone will love, it just blows my mind. I think I'm in love with craft.

Given my inability to commit to things, I was also on a search to find kitchen canisters to put sugar, baking things, etc. in. We searched in a couple thrift stores but didn't find anything amazing. I found these ones at Ikea (for super on sale!)

I liked the simplicity of them, but it's pretty much programmed in my brain to think of ways of manipulating plain white surfaces. So I got myself some enamel paints from good old Martha Stewart. I have no shame in admitting that Martha Stewart (or the people who work for Martha Stewart) have good taste. It was hard to choose only a few of the plethora of lovely colours of paint that were there.

I've been really loving super simple hand-drawn repeating patterns lately, the kind you doodle in your school notebooks during lectures and that sort of thing. I also really like painterly/drawn things on simple ceramics. So this is what I did:

I think I like them. I like how simple they are, and I also like how it looks like a three year old probably could have drawn them. Paint and brushes are not my forte. But I like simple messy drawing, so I think it works.

Martha says I have to let them cure for 21 days before I can use them. Hopefully the paint stays on. I feel a little skeptical of the whole enamel paint thing, but only because I've never used it before. I just hope it doesn't all chip off!

In other news, school has begun again! It doesn't quite feel like it yet because I've only got class 3 days a week and so far there aren't any looming deadlines. I've got lots of ideas brewing in my brain for my grad project and I'm excited for what I'm going to challenge myself to do this semester. BRING IT.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I'm feeling a little guilty that I'm still having my christmas holidays. Three weeks is a pretty long time to have a break! I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish over the break and I've done a few of them, but to be honest, I can't even remember most of the things I was going to do. But you know what? I'm okay with that. Last semester I was pretty burned out by the end and now I can say in all seriousness that I'm ready for the craziness to begin again!

The last three weeks have been pretty delightful. Sleeping in way too late, drinking tons of coffee, eating so much delicious food, spending time with friends and family, watching movies and episodes of mad men and spending a great deal of time on Pinterest and Tastespotting.

Also my husband is a compulsive organizer so I semi-willingly helped him organize things like our big ikea expedit shelf. He organized all of our wires/tv/music/computer stuff so now it all plays wireless-ly off his Xbox and we no longer have a million wires and monitors cluttering up our living room. He actually enjoys doing this. He rewires things for fun. I am glad I married that dude. Plus, the remote control is an Xbox controller, so when I put music on it feels like I'm playing a video game. awesome!

My Mom let me know that Terra was having a big boxing week sale on plants and pots so our apartment now has greenery in it! Now I have to learn how to take care of plants. I legitimately made a macrame pot hanger. This little spiky guy isn't from Terra, I just like him a lot, so I took a picture.

The one thing I did remember to accomplish over christmas break was to learn to knit a sock heel. Isn't it pretty? I'm a pretty fast knitter, and this sock has been sitting here unfinished for about 2 and a half weeks now. That is how lazy I am right now. Plus I should probably made another one since the whole point of socks is to have a pair of them. Oh well.

The End. I think I'll have a more interesting blog when my life goes back to being a bit more interesting as opposed to being lazy, lazy, lazy. (I am 100% not complaining)