July 2011

Fields of Gold

Hillside started last night. This is usually my favourite weekend of the entire year so I’m quite sad to be missing so much of it, especially when there are so many good bands this year.

However, I guess a bike trip is a pretty good consolation.

Anyway, we were there last night and I couldn’t resist this incredible wall hanging from Katie McLellan.

I see her stuff at the festival every year and just love it, but have always been short on cash. This year, I saw the below beauty and was psyched to find the price within my budget!

What is UP, prairies? Can you even look away from this? Check out the grain elevators in the distance!

And the textures are soooooo great. I’m hugely into touching everything (art and otherwise), to the point where I was tailed through this exhibition by a docent after I walked in and buried my hands in the fun fur landscape of a massive, tactile piece at the entrance to the show.¬† So I thrill to be able to run my hands over these fuzzy fields.

Please feast your eyes upon my favourite – made of a small swatch of vintage fabric.

Go buy her things. Ok, now we’re really gone. For good. Out the door, this second. Take it easy while I’m away doing the same.


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On Your Mark…

My bike is tuned. It has a new chain, brake pads and a heavy-duty kick stand, designed to stay upright even under loads of 100 lbs.

It’s hanging out in the kitchen, gathering its strength.

Still waiting for Sean to rally bike tools and his own clothes, but so far I’ve packed…

– Two sets of utensils

– Two bowls

– Griswold pot and lid

– Wagner cast iron skillet(lightweight touring at is finest)

– Pot grabber

– Multi-spice jar

– Mini axe

– Camp stove and two fuel canisters

– Hard-sided egg holder

– Bear spray

– French press

– One tent

– Two sleeping bags

– Two thermarests

– Camp soap

– One notebook

– Three pens

– Three books, all by Louise Erdrich (I recently finished Tracks – something I should have done in order to graduate university seven years ago, but just got around to last weekend. My loss! This book is so great. Why didn’t I finish it in English class? What else do I have to go back and re-read? Heart of Darkness? Naaaaawwwww, I’m pretty sure my initial thoughts about that one were bang-on).

– One camera

– Two bus tickets

– Two passports for stateside return

– Two toothbrushes

– One tube of toothpaste

– Dental floss

– Two mini-flashlights

– Chapstick with 30 SPF sunscreen

– One bottle 60 SPF sunscreen (I don’t mess around)

– Wool hoodie (please let this be necessary)

– Merino wool long-sleeved shirt and tank top (this stuff really is as good as they say)

– Rain coat

– Rain pants

– Wool socks

– Three pairs underoos and other unmentionables (this is so Kieran doesn’t blush while reading)

– One pair of long johns

– Two flasks (whisky is lighter than a box of wine)

– One lightweight long-sleeved quick-dry shirt

– One t-shirt

– One sun hat

– One toque

– One bikini

– One towel

– One belt (to hold the below shorts up)

– One pair of jean shorts (to match the below shirt)

– One plaid shirt (to wear in case we spend time in a city)

– Two pairs of shorts – one of the gray gym variety and one of the hacked-off chino variety

A quick stop at Bulk Barn and No Frills for snacks and foodstuffs (including peanut butter, TVP, minute rice, falafal mix, pitas, Lipton Sidekicks to mix with TVP in order to create budget MEC meals-in-bags, granola bars, apples, trail mix, etc.) and we are on our way.

See you in a couple weeks, Internet!



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Soooooo, as long as the fires in Northern Ontario remain relatively under control (and what an awful thing for the forests and the firefighters up there – roughly 300, 000 hectares of land are affected right now compared to the 15, 000 hectares affected all year last year), we’re slated¬† to head off on our trip this Sunday.

On the off chance we can’t go north, I’m accepting suggestions for alternate routes. Right now we’re thinking Newfoundland or Gaspe. Any more ideas?

Before that however, is Hillside! I’m only going to be there Friday night and won’t have a booth, but Peep Design will be selling a sampling of my goods including…

New old stock wallets and cuffs at deep discount. The wallets are down from $68 to $50 and the cuffs are down from $24/36 to $18.

New old stock headbands down from $24/36 to $18.

Brand-new Warrior Princess Earrings at a minimal debut discount of $27 instead of $29.

Stop by and pick something up. Or just say hi!



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The Relaxation Depot (Lakes)

If you’ve never visited the Depot Lakes managed by Quinte Conservation, you need to.

This past weekend, Sean, Jane, Doug and I pitched tents on one of the larger islands at Second Depot Lake – about four hours from Hamilton, north of Napanee.

Believe it or not, we were the only campers on the island’s three campsites, so we had the entire place to ourselves from Friday through Monday.

Another bonus of this particular site? We were feeling ready for relaxation, with optional (rather than mandatory, a la paddling and portaging Algonquin) adventure. Quinte offers all the hiking, paddling and swimming you might be after on a backcountry camping trip, but because you can have your gear shuttled to the island, you’re able to pack like it’s car camping.

This means we were able to take Pepper, who went wild over such activities as rolling in a dead squirrel’s carcass, ripping circles around the shore, guarding our site against small animals and passing out.

We were also able to bring all the fixings for gourmet meals.

Just our Sunday roast, NO BIGGIE.

Had to resort to this after my hours of fishing proved fruitless…

I’m told there’s great fishing on this lake and even though I didn’t catch anything big enough to gut and grill, I believe it.

My reasoning? Exhibits A and B, below…

A) Many bites eventually led to the little guy on the left (I threw him back).

B) One of those bites was (he swears) suffered by Doug, who insists a fish nibbled his side here, where it’s red.

Also biting? Horseflies.

No matter! Break out the drinks and swimsuits and we’ll forget all about bugs!

Bust forth ye books and sharkboat!

Light fires and lick smores off your fingers!

Quaff coffee to your heart’s content!

And oh-too-soon we had to head back.

Please take note of Pepper’s hilarious lifejacket. After succeeding on the trip to the island and making it through the weekend without drowning, three minutes after this photo was taken (and three minutes before we packed her in the car and drove off), Pepper tried to climb from the dock onto a paddleboat and fell in the water.

Panic! Thank goodness for Outward Hound water safety gear.

Anywhooooo, highly recommend this campground if you’re looking for a less ram-jammed place to spend some weekends this summer. It was a great time and good prep for our fast-approaching bike trip!

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Sign Up

Two things today. First off, here’s my piece on Hamilton’s vintage signs. Do have a look at the similar stories on all the other OpenFile city sites because there are interesting reads across the country. Or maybe I’m biassed by my love of old signs?

Secondly, one of the secret projects I was working on last week – a custom handlebar/rear rack bag for Courtney of The Beehive. Her sneaky Dad commissioned this for her birthday.

I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve been meaning to put together a couple larger bar bags with a removable purse strap for ages now so it was good to have the chance with this one.

Specs? This guy is 10 (tall) x 8 (wide) x 4.5 (deep) inches. Done in a veg-tanned leather that I hand-stained black. Hand-tooled design was painted with three coats of resist to achieve the lighter colouring on the letters and leaves.

Solid silver hardware includes roller buckles on the rear straps (to reduce friction over the life of the leather) and swivel snaps on the removable shoulder strap so you don’t get any twisting.

Silver swing lock. Hundreds of hand-stitches done with waxed linen thread.

I’m putting a deposit listing for custom bar bags in the shop right now.

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