Wednesday, July 27, 2011

back (for a while now) from charm city

i'm a terrible blogger these days.  my only excuse is that it's summer, and that summer is short and i try to spend as much of it as possible away from the computer, and if possible, away from internet access all together.  i think it's a pretty good excuse.

been back from baltimore for a couple of weeks, it was a good trip - my first wholesale show and i learned so so much about that particular world.  and have a bunch of new stores for the hats too.....

baltimore was an interesting city - i joked before i left that all i knew of it was john waters and the wire.  and it turns out that there are definitely parts of the city that actually reflect those two very different realities.  the downtown seems a bit struggling, seems like one of those cities where a lot of people have made a run for the suburbs, and the downtown is left a bit barren and not taken care of.

but the best thing about baltimore was learning why it's called 'charm city'.  and it's because the people are the friendliest, most outgoing of anywhere i've ever been.  we canadians have a reputation of being friendly, but i think what we are is polite, or nice even.  we're actually quite reserved.  the time i spent in france i thought the same thing of the french - everyone is all 'mademoiselle' this and 'je vous en prie' that.  polite to the point of formal even.

but baltimore?  in baltimore they're friendly.  it's different.  i have never had so many strangers speak to me on the street, in a store, in the elevator, everywhere.  everyone is talking to each other all the time.  the amount of times i got called 'hon' in one day?  quite something.  when i returned home i was definitely happy to be back in toronto, but it did make me a little sad to be back on a silent streetcar, everyone staring into their phones, ignoring each other.

a highlight of the trip was a visit to the american vistionary art museum.  an incredible place.  out front you're greeted by trees covered in mirrors

and an entire bus covered in mosaics and flowery creatures like this little bunny:

and all sorts of other weird and wonderful.  can you imagine having this bird's nest balcony for your apartment?:

the exhibit that was on was called "what makes us smile" and it was incredible.  at the risk of exposing my juvenile sense of humour, i'm going to go ahead and admit that my favorite thing there was this:

a bench covered in whoopee cushions!  it was in a room called the 'toot suite', which was, well, a room dedicated to.....fart humour.  which is hilarious.  and the bench was too much - someone would sit on it, it would make it's noise, and you couldn't help but to laugh.  i saw people trying not to laugh.  but they couldn't.  they all eventually broke down.  who can help it? farts are funny.

on that note, i'll leave you with this......

Thursday, July 7, 2011

a rainbow in the shop

over the long weekend, my very very helpful super duper mom and aunt helped me skein up a bunch of the wool that i've been dyeing here and there over the spring.  i spent this afternoon photographing everything, and now it's all available in my shop.

all of the yarn is 100% superwash merino wool and dyed with either plant or insect dyes.  it's a beautifully soft yarn, and the perfect gauge for a variety of projects.

unknowingly, i had dyed up a real rainbow of colours, so i couldn't help taking a bunch of shots of the wool arranged as such.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

tips for charm city?

i keep meaning and keep forgetting to put a call out to you all.  i'm heading to baltimore this weekend for the buyer's market of american craft, and though i have apparently been there once when i was ten years old (for a blue jays vs. orioles game, back in the days the sindens used to bop all over the states for the blue jays???), i don't have much memory of itmy current picture of baltimore is a mix of john waters and the wire, which is obviously not very balanced.  a quick perusal of the design sponge guide and the city paper online has shown that there seems to be a lot of great stuff going on in baltimore, and i'm super stoked to go check some of it out.

anyone know baltimore well? anything i really should see/buy/eat/do?  a great neighbourhood to hit?  neighbourhoods to avoid?  any advice is much appreciated.  thanks team!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

dining before and after

my husband and i bought our first home a year ago january, and this summer is the first that we've had a chance to really do anything at all to the backyard.  we really wanted to make it a little oasis in the city, somewhere that we could linger over late summertime dinners or spend a saturday afternoon in the hammock with the paper.

i wanted to have a really great table out there, for said dinners (we live in a house full of great cooks, so the kitchen and the table really are the heart of our home), but i was also on a budget, so i ended up revamping a table that was a curbside score (toronto is an amazing city for this), along with some chairs that the previous owners of our house had left behind.

here is the before shot.  my supervisor is clearly not impressed.

a few coats of paint, some great fabric and an umbrella, and voila:

i used nani iro oilcloth that i got at the workroom for the seats.  i adore this fabric. karyn just got a bunch more of the line in cotton gauze - her photos always make me want to rush in and fabric horde.

 our backyard is even more magical right now, since the mock orange is blooming.  the entire tree is covered in white blossoms that smell amazing.
 and when the wind blows, the petals fall and it feels like it's snowing.  snowing beautiful, fragrant petals.  it's lovely.