Sunday, May 24
Ann Patchett, "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage".
The big library close to our house has four racks of books near the entrance, to tempt you, or encourage you to explore. I give them a glance to see what I'm missing. What's this? Shouldn't I know Ann Patchett? Ombre - and look at the back cover! Who poses for a cover photo swamped by a thousand books?! I think I've found my new favorite person!
The second short story in the book, "The Getaway Car, A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life" is the best thing I've read this year. I had to hurry up and finish so I could push it onto three* people I know who have to read it too (three is a lot - I really don't know that many people). She tells you how she accomplished success as a writer (spoiler: hard work). She talks about the doubt involved in taking an idea out of her head and turning it into words. She explains why she doesn't believe in writers' block. Plus, she clears this up for me: why books from our teen years stay with us, and now, books that are equally impressive, are forgotten a month later. "I think that what influences us in literature comes less from what we love and more from what we happen to pick up in moments when we are especially open."
Read this if you want to write, if you want to create, or nourish any hobby outside of your day job. Consider it an assignment, one I know you'll enjoy!
ps. Bel Canto next
pps. I can't find a decent link to the essay. It was published standalone in 2011, but is no longer available on Amazon, you might have to get the book.
ppps. if you ever day dreamed about writing a novel, this essay is for YOU! YOU! YOU!
The Getaway Car Quotes: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/17455290-the-getaway-car
*make that four
Saturday, April 25
My first win from MaxSold - a cheap thrill!!
I love the red figure print by J.Joel. I know his work from artinteriors.ca, and this is his best! I like the implied youth, androgyny and the colour mix. The silver tee sparkles, and the same sheen is present in the mat.
The water colour landscape was a bonus. I can't make out the artist's name, which is something like Celia d. There's a white rectangular sticker on the back with "$12.00" and "243" written in a shaky hand, perhaps this owner bought it second hand themselves? The frame backing is old, and has been opened and re-taped with masking tape that lost its stick. I peeked inside and at the bottom corner on the back of the water colour is another price, $2.85. It's like finding an old treasure. I think, for now, I will place it on the living room bookshelves.
Have you used MaxSold before? There was beautiful art listed this week out of Hamilton - but we already had the day planned out and couldn't sneak away from the city.
ps. I should be cooking right now! I want to make a tofu and black bean scramble this morning. ttfn!
Tuesday, April 14
Here's what I bought at a church rummage sale last weekend:
- potato masher
- two cutting boards
- Kensuke Wakeshima* print "Sunrise Valley"
- (Russian?) countryside painting
*Kensuke Wakeshima's art was part of the summer 2014 exhibition, titled: “Artists from Postwar Japan Days of Struggle in New York, 1960s–1970” I came across very little biographical information online.
ps. to the people in line, the ones who jeered at the CHURCH VOLUNTEERS when they didn't open the doors on time, I am judging you.
Friday, April 10
Are you kidding, this is my favorite question of all time/these days.
Yesterday, I started reading two books, James Baldwin's "Go tell it on the Mountain" and Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals".
I am working my way through Kurt Vonnegut's works. I wanted to read them all back-to-back-to-back, until I realized he published three billion books. I've read twelve:
Breakfast of Champions
The Sirens of Titan
Welcome to the Monkey House
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Slapstick or Lonesome No More!
I rated "Slaughthouse Five" (one of my favorite novels of all time), "Welcome to the Monkey House" and "Mother Night" five out of five stars (on Goodreads). The only book I didn't get into was "God Bless You, Mr Rosewater" (It was ok). I appreciate Vonnegut's wit. He sees through society's bull crap. Watch him express his opinions on Youtube - you will be hooked! BUT, I needed to step away for a while when his stories started to tangle together (overlapping characters and themes), and I developed my very own old-man-chip-on-my-shoulder. He is part of the reason I dropped the Internet. (Kids these days, jeesh!) So, I read Douglas Adam's "Watership Down" to cleanse my palate - who doesn't love little bunny stories (five stars, fantastic book!).
After her Celine Ad came out, I read a few Joan Didion books. I started with "Blue Nights" (not for me), then "A Year of Magical Thinking" (Who is this b*tch?). Then I wanted to see for myself how she earned legend status and checked "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" out of the library. Ah, ok, I gave it four stars. I fell in love with her essay, "Goodbye to all that", and I am not surprised to hear they are making it into a movie. I read the "White Album" too, and then had my fill.
Instead of reading Didion, I switched to her list of recommended books. I gave Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" a second reading (loved it again), and two days ago finished Orwell's "Down and Out in London and Paris". The James Baldwin I am currently reading is on that list.
Otherwise, you will find me reading about food, catching up on Time's List of Top 150 English Language novels of the Twentieth Century (I've read 76/150), reading books I should have read by now (Sherlock Holmes, for example), and reading what friends have recommended: "Paradise Elsewhere" by Kathy Page was haunting, and I put "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty on hold at the library, I bought a used copy of "Rebecca's Tale" I am excited to read.
You can find me on Goodreads. I don't write up reviews of the books I've read, I only rate them.
Thanks for asking "Betty" (is that you, mom?!)
Monday, April 6
Moose blanket, $19.97 from Walmart.ca I love it! The moose silhouette is very Charles Patcher, no?
We are waiting for the contractor to let us know when they can start the cottage reno. The guys plan to stay for a week and do everything at once. They say maybe this spring, but I think the fall is more likely. We are ready when they are!
In the meantime, I loaded up the place with new things and vintage things and old things from home. I want it stuffed with blankets, art, beach towels, baskets, books and rugs. Originally, I dug a minimalist decor, since there would be less to take care of and clean. A year later, things are settling in boho and twee.
Sunday, March 29
When we transferred the furniture into the new room, we placed our existing dresser on this wall. It looked too small. I was nervous to try twin tall dressers because I couldn't find examples online. Well, here you go, Pinterest*. It works! Maybe I will pin this to kick things off.
*now worth $11billion? What!?
ps. I IG'd the dressers ages and ages ago, wanted to get it up on the blog
pps. My big idea over the bed is done! but I just can't share it online. I don't have a thick enough skin. I might change my mind.
Wednesday, March 25
I bought two new prints from "...Of Things Past" consignment store. I bought the tiny tree first, and went back for the fish. I had to have the fish.
"Pasaje" (?), numbered 45/50, by Elizabeth Schippert (the tiny tree).
What I love? The itty bitty tree (4cm high) and the pen strokes. The minty colour is very Blogger 2014 (or was that 2013*?). I hung it high on the closet door in the office, leaving space for more.
"Shipwreck Dreaming/Approach", numbered 12/20, by Wendy Cain (the fish).
Wendy Cain is a teacher of printmaking and papermaking at OCAD university. You can find her work for sale at Open Studio in Toronto. I love the layered black on grey; the texture of the grey net; the thick creamy paper; the fine, evenly spaced lines of the comb shape at the bottom; the fish going up. I like the wacky creativity. I hung it in the hallway for now.
*I haven't been online over the last few months, I wanted to put the time into reading books and drawing. Everything is well! I am feeling out of touch with the trends (are there still trends? If you don't know about them, do they still matter?)
Saturday, December 20
We tried hotwheels, squinkies, those disney cars drifter things and trash wheels. Marbles or squinkie balls work the best (of course).
*I like to google image search for cardboard box race track to keep up with the latest!
Tuesday, December 9
Far & Wide Collective sent me this beautiful Limited Edition Miniature print by Tamim Sahib Zader.
I love the rich inky blue, the movement, the crispy delicate lines and the shape against the white background. The print is numbered 72/100.
**Keep reading to learn about a great company**
Far & Wide Collective is a Canadian company that connects artisans from developing economies with consumers in North America. In a short video on the Far & Wide Collective website, the founder, Hedvig Alexander, says "As a development person, I think people should feel much more comfortable buying from us, than investing in charity; I think it is more efficient." This is a strong statement, one that they stand proudly behind. They believe that supporting artisans through trade is the most sustainable way to improve people's lives.
We believe that supporting individual craft producers and small businesses through trade is the most effective and sustainable way of improving people’s lives - See more at: http://www.farandwidecollective.com/pages/our-story#sthash.oMcQRjvQ.dpuf
The company pays the going market rate to craftspeople for their goods. In most cases, about 30% of the retail price goes to the artisans. The markup reflects shipping, logistics, and developing the market costs. Far & Wide Collective is currently reinvesting profits back into the business, to the benefit of more small businesses. They provide artisans with support, including help to get ready for the market. Currently, they are raising funds to empower Afghan artists, the "Afghan Small Business Fund"
What I love about Far & Wide Collective: Hand crafted, fair-trade, authentic, free shipping over $100, Canadian, beautiful, traditional, feeling good about spending, every item has a story.
**See who else is talking about Far & Wide**
- Lainey Gossip (Sasha's Into it) -"a stunted gift givers dream"
- Toronto Life - Get the Eyeball clutch, "you’ll be able to prove you’re not a fast-fashion follower. $199" (SOLD OUT! Others, here)
- Toronto Star "What she has done with this noble commercial experiment is to connect the dots between the makers, who need a way to sell their creations more than they need well-intentioned yet ultimately unsustainable aid dollars."
- Macleans - "she decided to go after the buyers interested in museum-quality pieces rather than souvenir trinkets"
- ...and more, here
ps. First sponsored post in some time. They provided me with a gift card of $100, and I was immediately drawn to the Tamim Sahib Zader print. It is beautiful! Subsequently, after becoming familiar with their goals, I donated $100 to their Afghan Small Business Fund.
pss. Note that most of their artisans would not be able to sell on Etsy. Whether it's the ability to upload the content (literacy/English), having paypal or a credit card, or shipping products off one at a time. These conditions would leave many artisans in the developing world out
psss. Thanks for reading, guys. and check out the baskets from Kenya!!!
Tamim Sahib Zader
Thursday, November 27
The sconces are vintage from France (via Ebay). The chrome plates on the back (back plates?) are a duller finish than the fixture because the original slim boxes that came with the sconces would not cover the giant holes in the mirror. I am happy that the lights are installed and I figure future generations might come up with a prettier solution. A problem for another day. (No one is gonna notice.)
The vanity pulls are from Dayvan in Toronto. I insisted on this style. Everyday, I lay down with my youngest son at nap time until he falls asleep...one day, I heard my contractor on his cell talking to the cabinet maker about pulls. I was in a bit of a dream state when I heard this....you know, when you aren't fully conscious and snuggled into a warm bundle of little boy. Well, I ran out all bushy eyed and yelled: "STOP! NO HANDLES! NO HOLES! DON'T MAKE ANY HOLES!" How the hell does anyone renovate a house when they go to a real job*? Anyways, I think these pulls are 80's? (Yes, I'm making that up)... I don't know where I saw them before, or where the idea came from (online, of course). If it's not a thing, I would like to make it a thing. The handles were in the $5-$8 range, with contractor discount.
The hooks are from Restoration Hardware. No towel bar. I hate sharing towels. His and her hooks. Solved.
We need a shower curtain. The shower bar is one of those adjustable/tension bars, so it can be moved a smidgen higher. I need to get the height straight before curtains.
The wall between the vanity/toilet and the three way mirrors make my life. Who doesn't want to see the back of their head sometimes (all the time? never enough mirrors!!)
*This brings up the topic of how contractors decide when to make the call themselves, and when to ask the client. Whatever logic they use is beyond me. Also, when you 've waited months for something, and then they need a decision within 24hrs - that gets me too. Ahhh good old renos...definitely worth the trouble.