I did a reading fast: not as in quickly, as in abstain. It was difficult because reading comforts me more than I realized. It was like I had no security blanket. So many lessons learned. But, now I'm back. This book found me yesterday at Pages so I bought it as a reward for surviving the fast. It's well-designed, thoughtful and inspiring. Three things I strive to be everyday.

You should get it, too. May it make you as happy as it makes me. It's Drawing From Life: The Art of the Journal by Jennifer New.



Me gusto esto

Me too.

Nabbed this from DesignPorn's article on Herman Lee. Me likey.


hap (encircled)

A sister from another mister's birthday is today! Happy Birthday little one.


I heart handmade

The five people who read this regularly will know that I'm currently ripping through journals like toilet paper. Crude, yet very true. I also happen to generate an insane amount of fine paper waste. I figured I'd solve the two problems with one solution: a journal made of reused paper. I stitched the paper together with bright green embroidery thread and bought fabric from The Workroom to cover the jacket. I'm proud to say that even the jacket is reclaimed: I used chipboard from an old clipboard.

Confession: I subconsciously cut the fabric very poorly in front of one of my friends who is skilled with her sewing machine knowing that she would promptly sew the cover for the jacket for me. I'm lucky to have friends who indulge my bratty side every once in awhile.

Now, I have a handmade, Frankenstein's-monsterish journal that I adore writing in every morning simply because I made it (mostly) myself.


An Organic Affair

A good friend participated in The Otesha Project last summer and invited me to a fundraising event called The Organic Affair a few weekends ago. Looking back on the photos from the day reminded me how inspired I was, witnessing these unique individuals walk the talk. The project is all about making small and large changes in your life to affect the environment positively. Groups of young people cycle across Canada for 3 months, making presentations to communities about environmental issues and change. Rather than jumping on the guilt bandwagon, Otesha's approach is to appeal to making these changes as personal choice. Really, I see it as encouraging the general public to grow and question why we live the way we live.

This may seem to veer off the purposeful track of this space, which is to document stuff I'm working on. But, while at the event, I stumbled on a recycled book some Otesha volunteers put together. It inpsired me to make my own, which I'll post here soon. I suspect making these books will soon become a new obsession.



I want this, now.

Beautiful Losers film trailer from beautifullosersfilm on Vimeo.

Carpe diem

Martha Brown's lovely pole sleeve has warmed more than a few hearts since it first appeared last winter in Parkdale. It continues to evolve as it looks like someone has added the Carpe diem advice and people continue to add their positive responses to seeing a dreary telephone pole brought into the spotlight with a cheerful, hand-knit suprise.

Seeing acts like this make me realize that the differentiation between art and craft is one that in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter. It's a thought provoking piece that is part of a larger movement and illicits response from the public. It certainly made me stop, pay attention and smile. Carpe diem.

Five people I'll never meet

Serving as dingy backdrops for drunken, sweaty nights are various establishments throughout my city. Bars are by their very nature, ephemeral. I was curious about one that had closed it's doors a few years and reopened with a predictable name and ambiance. The place I fondly remember had amazing, textured wood floors covered in candle wax, candy and old carpets thinned from various kinds of debauchery. Now it's just sticky with spilled beer. Stripped of it's rich character and depth, the new incarnation only served to deepen my nostalgia for the old place.

The saving grace of being forced to remember what a great place the bar was, was the company I was with and the fact that, inexplicably, there was karaoke in the middle of a legion hall-style bar. The names of singers were called out by a guy who clearly hated his job and just wanted to practice his bass in his basement apartment. I stole a few of the sign-up cards.

Here's who I imagine wrote these:

Michelle/"Sunday Morning"/No Doubt > Clearly a girlie girl who is also a bit edgy. She's the only one of the lot who detailed the band as artist, which I thought cute. She probably listened to No Doubt when she was in middle school and now dresses to emulate Gwen Stefani though would never admit it because Gwen is too mainstream.

Jimmy/"New Orleans is Sinking"/Tragically Hip > Went to Queen's, was in a frat and is from small town Ontario. Has travelled at least once to see the Hip in another city. Jimmy was deliriously drunk as that's the only way he'd allow himself to be vulnerable and semi-artistic as singing in front of his guy friends.

Nick/"Wanted Dead or Alive"/Bon Jovi > Had to have been wearing plaid of some sort, though not in an updated 90s manner. I'll bet when he sang this, he grabbed a few girls to bring up with him. Falls into the "he's so nice" category.

Drew/"Life During Wartime"/Talking Heads > Drew wrote down the band as "Talking Head!!!" and underlined it. This guy has decent taste in music and probably draws everyday. He was wearing a vintage T-shirt that was a Value Village find – he'd look down his nose at vintage not bought in a proper second-hand store.

Rudder & Shayne/"Master of Puppets"/Metallica > These two are best friends who have known each other for at least 5 years, which they claim is forever. The call each other "brothers from another mother". Shayne gave Rudder (Ryan) his nickname after a camping trip in Algonquin park a few years ago when Ryan got drunk and fell out of the canoe after drinking too many Wildcat Strongs from the can.


Take me there

I found this wicked tag on the street on the weekend. Not only would I like a one way ticket to Happy Town, I'd particularly like to be sent to their wardrobe office. Doesn't it sound like the fabled Vogue closets with rows upon rows of fabulous shoes and labels galore? I'll happily skip my way there and out of the gray, rainy and snowy city with which I'm currently surrounded. Curiouser and curiouser are the things literally landing in my path these days.


et maintenant


Much worse than a hangover are the days after an event, especially one with which I'm intimately involved. The organized chaos that once was, now feels merely like a mess. Yet, purging myself of the remains feels amazing.

Unable to stomach cramming more stuff into my closet, I sold about one hundred books at BMV today. The whole experience of watching five years of my life in books zoom before me was eye-opening to say the least. I'm reminded of George Carlin's brilliant and timely monologue on consumer culture:
So when you get right down to it, your house is nothing more than a place to keep your stuff...while you go out and get more stuff. 'Cause that's what this country is all about. Tryin' to get more stuff. Stuff you don't want, stuff you don't need, stuff that's poorly made, stuff that's overpriced. Even stuff you can't afford! Gotta keep on gettin' more stuff. Otherwise someone else might wind up with more stuff. Can't let that happen. Gotta have the most stuff.
It always shocks me that few people my age know G. Carlin. He was so great. I wonder where he is now that he's gone? I digress.

I'm working on clearing phyical and figurative space for my next projects. In the meantime, I'll keep walking along.


Making a list

I won't say it. Okay, I will: checking it twice. Cringe if you must, it's alright. I'm getting ready for the SpeakEasy tomorrow and am running on little sleep, adrenalin and probably too much food. I forgot how much I love preparing for events. Something about making organized chaos and trusting that everything will turn out the way it should is exciting, scary and fun all at once.