July 2012


I finally got into this oh-so-popular class at Needlework a couple weeks ago and made a Wiksten dress.

I’ve barely been able to contain my excitement over this thing. Have you ever made a piece of your own clothing? I haven’t (and the reasons why are well-documented here) so this was huuuuuuuuuge. It feels amazing to have that skill, however unpolished mine is right now, and I owe Needlework for the lesson. Their Wiksten class is so easy, Kate guided me through the dress-making in a cool, casual fashion that made it very unintimidating, the pattern is straightforward and the finished product is something you’ll want to wear every single summer day. Simple as a flour sack, stylish as anything you’d buy on Etsy.

Plus, Needlework has so many great fabrics to choose from including this one:

Throw a little bit of class at that bolt and voila!

I just dropped in there the other day to buy more, more, more fabric for another dress and a tank top version of this outfit. It’s easy and addictive and I believe both Liz and Kate (who have superhero-style closets full of Wikstens) will attest to that!

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Check it Twice

I signed up for Pinterest a few months ago with the plan that I would use it to make a comprehensive visual list of the things I want to save up for. Sadly, I was immediately turned off by the fact that you have to go through the rigamarole of requesting an invite and waiting for them to accept you like it’s some sort of line-up at a bar with a velvet rope. NO THANKS – you are confusing me with someone who has a degree of patience.

Instead I’m going to share that visual list here.

#1) I recently interviewed Hamilton artist Laura Marotta for an arts series I’m working on at the Spec. She told me about this book from Pantone and I’m crazy for want of it. I love love love colour and this book documents the roles different colours played throughout history – their parts in various trends, movements, politics, etc.

#2) I’m also desperate for a good book that illustrates the feathers of Canadian birds. I don’t want to see the birds themselves. Just the feathers. If you know of one, please tip (don’t flip) me off.

#3) I definitely need to know What Fish Don’t Want You to Know and where all of them are in Central Ontario.

#4) Since taking Needlework‘s Wiksten tank class (photos to come), that’s all I want to wear in many summery fabrics. Fortunately, Liz and Kate carry tonnes including new ones from…Ty Pennington? The construction guy with the hair? YES. And they are beautiful. I can’t find images of the ones I want online but for visual interest’s sake, here’s a shot that will make your mom swoon.

Oh Ty! Did you stitch that quilt yourself? Why, yes I did Mrs. Robinson. With fabrics I designed myself. Some soft florals mixed with brighter abstracts and masculine hues like navy. The contrast speaks to my complex personality and diverse skill set. I will build you a house and then snuggle up under this blanket with you to drink chamomile tea and watch The Notebook. Oh Ty!

Barf. But his fabrics are boss. Moving on!

#5, #6) On every bike trip I bring two completely unnecessary things that are so awesome to have on hand. Track pants and a dress. Nothing feels better than track pants at the end of a long day of riding and it’s so nice to have a dress that can be stashed in your bag all week and pulled out in the event that you end up having a shower and feeling clean enough to eat at a bar or restaurant that doesn’t sell food through a window.

This year I want these Roots pants and this Columbia dress.

And while we’re outdoors, I want #7) these shoes from North Face.

#8) Finally, I need some knowledge. Learning to work with metals is something I’ve tried to ignore for so long because I know it’s a pricey hobby to have and I know that when I got into leatherwork, I fell for it hard and spent a ton of money amassing tools and materials and eventually having to rent studio space to house all the crap I was working with.

But it’s a pretty persistent nagging now. I have too many ideas I think metal would be the ideal vehicle for and I find myself staring at images of stones online, so I’m really hoping DVSA runs their jewellery course this fall (while we’re at it I’d like to learn a little about oil paint as well. I’ve never worked with it but I think I’d like to).

Don’t you want to lick those? They look like candy!

What are you saving up for?





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This is old news now, but the Supercrawl fundraiser was a few weeks ago and it was quite the night. Bill Curran of TCA was kind enough to host in his amazing office space on the third floor at 118 James North.

My pictures don’t begin to give a complete picture of the place (or the artists who exhibited work – I completely forgot I had my camera until the sun was setting and was less than optimal), but Hollie’s do.

We had tasty snacks from all kinds of James Street businesses including Acclamation, Mex-I-Can, Nabil’s, Jack and Lois and the newest addition – the Green Smoothie Bar.

Oh, we also had Mill Street at the bar-bar.

Like I said, not enough pictures of the incredible artists we’re going to feature at Supercrawl 2012, but Matt Walker, John Haney, Carey Jernigan, Svava Thordis Juliusson and the Beehive Craft Collective were all there with previews of the pieces they’re making just for Supercrawl. That’s right. Premier showings at Supercrawl = exciting!

I did get shots of Meg and Hollie because they were right under a light.

Teaching people how to paper-piece the fabric hexagons that are going to make up their quilted installation this September.

You can help out with this community project by picking up templates and fabric at any one of a number of downtown Hamilton and Toronto businesses that are keeping boxes of supplies in-shop/on-hand. Comprehensive list here. A little over two months to get piecing!

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Some stuff I was working on before July slammed me in the face with summer and writing demands kept me out of the studio.

I made a pair of custom straps and rack protectors for a DBH customer’s basket and rear rack. Actually she’s more than a DBH customer. Turns out we went to the same high school in St. Thomas! She was in grade nine when I was graduating but her class photo is right beside my editor’s note in the high school yearbook.¬†Wild.

I also started on a lady’s slipper necklace. This guy is waiting to be painted.

And I was busy stitching up a pair of snakeskin earrings.

I’m sadly not going to have time to work on any of this stuff for a few weeks, but we’ll see. Maybe I can squeeze in a night or two here and there.

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We relax on guard for thee

What did you do over the long weekend? We went to Quinte Conservation Area for the second time and it was a-amazing. Once again.

By the time we got there on Saturday Jane and Doug had been there for a few days already. Pepper, ever the adventurer in the beginning, was exhausted by then.

The island wears her out.

Jess and I immediately got down to the business of taking pictures and fishing in the 60’s duck boat Sean bought me for Christmas.

Again this year, no dice in terms of delivering dinner. But I did have many bites and I saw a looooooooaaad of fish. This is the summer of honing my fishing chops. I’m dedicating a chunk of time to learning, thinking, dare I say living like a fish. And then they had better watch out.

Fortunately no one was counting on me reeling in pounds and pounds of fish so we had plenty of gourmet meals including a roast, quesedillas with gouda and chicken, and shish kebab with baked potatoes and corn. Of course, you have to have some budget camp food too, so there were also some weenies and marshmallows…

Oh, and wine.  Budget boxed wine. To drink out of plastic cups. In the sun. And in AhhQua Bar.

This thing is amazing. I don’t think the pictures do it justice, but it’s a floating bar with enough drink holders for 12 drinks and a cooling station in the middle so you can carry out some extra cold ones.

Only down side is there are only four chairs (and no expansion packs I know of), but we improvised with water woggles and life jackets.

Next up, patriotism! Happy Canada Day! Jane, get that hood off your head while singing the anthem!

Hmmmm…what else? There was cliff jumping (park sanctioned and totally deep enough)…

And there was naked cliff jumping (not necessarily park sanctioned) and napping…

More fishing…

Reading like a bunch of eggheads…

Sparkling like a bunch of kids…

And, sadly, leaving…

Sean and I opted for the long road home, stopping in Picton to look around, grabbing lunch in Wellington at the Tall Poppy, visiting the Farmers Dell in Campbellcroft (where we got to gorge ourselves on strawberries and take home a bundle of freshly harvested veggies thanks to Rocky!), dinner in Toronto, and…what else? Oh yeah! Seeing this incredible bird and his huge-ass nest near Picton…


All in all, a success. Again. And a good camping kickoff in preparation for this summer’s bike trip up around Manitoulin Island.

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