Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I'm currently busy, but happy. I think that's the best way to describe all that is going on. I saw this wonderful print by Jocelyn Bernard and thought it sums things up nicely.

Photo from Jocelyn Bernard

I'm working on a few custom orders right now as well as making some more new items for my shop. It's been a while since I've been this busy, but it's definitely a great feeling. I've said it before, but I'm always excited when new people find things I make and more importantly love them enough to include my work in their wedding or some other special occasion. I'm just as excited when I receive a message from a customer, saying they loved what they purchased from me, whether it's for a wedding or for every day use. I feel really lucky to have so many wonderful customers!

I need to get back to the crafting desk, I have 50+ envelopes that await assembling.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little cabinet DIY

I've talked about this idea before. It's been on my to-do list for a long while, but I never got around to it. So, finally I got a move on... (Sorry for the photos, the lighting is awful in our downstairs bathroom)

This is my (formerly) awful bathroom cabinet. All the stuff you don't really need everyday, but should be easily accessible. I'm a little embarassed about how it looks in this photo. Let's be honest now, it's a disaster.

I cleaned out the cabinet, took out the shelves and brought out the tools I need for the DIY. Really simple; scissors, double-sided tape and paper.

The paper I used is this cool vintage looking drawer liner I found a little while ago. It even has a slight flowery scent. All I did was measure the paper and stuck double-sided tape to where the top of the paper was to go and did the same to the sides. It's really not very hard, you just have to peel off the tape a little at a time, don't just stick the entire sheet at one go. At least my hands aren't steady enough to get the whole sheet on straight on one try.

The paper I used was wide enough to cover the inside of the cabinet, but not high enough, so I used two sheets and overlapped them in the middle. Just add more double-sided tape, it's not necessarily pretty but it works.

Lining up the patterns was the hardest part, but after a few tries it worked out nicely. This part is why I was saying not to un-peel all of the tape at one go, get this one crooked and you have to start over. (Unless you don't mind the pattern being slightly off, or were smart enough not to use patterned paper. In that case just move on)

Once you finish the entire back of the cabinet, put the shelves back on and you're done. I'm actually thinking about covering the front of the shelves too.

Here's the final cabinet. It was really very easy and again, one of those projects I can't believe I didn't do before. I think it took me about half hour to finish. I think it's totally worth it and I am now considering this for other cabinets in our home as well.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lovely Sunday

This has been an amazing week. The biggest news is that I finally reached 200 Etsy sales this morning! I'm doing a little happy dance right now!

I have also come up with new items for my product line. It was definitely one of those "why didn't I think of this before" moments! So, I spent about two days making new things and experimenting with the new items. I am so happy with how they turned out! I've been making small favour bags our of old book pages. I'm using the maps from an old encyclopedia as well as pages from children's books. I think these would be absolutely amazing for wedding favours, bridal and baby showers or even a birthday party.

I've also been in contact with some absolutely wonderful customers, making special orders for them. It's definitely getting close to the wedding season... I just love doing custom orders, they are a blast!

It's been a good week outside of the business as well! I've spent time with friends, went bowling (again!) and had a nice dinner both on Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday I went to a South American restaurant where I had a great dinner with guacamole (guacamole makes everything so much better) and Saturday I went for Chinese food with my in-laws.

I'm already excited for next week! I have a lot of things to make for a few weddings and I have some really cool new ideas I want to try out! I'll keep you posted on what I'm making next!

So, how has your week been?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Materials - Little Bear

Little Bear and Little Bear's Friend. Written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Little Bear is copyrighted for 1957 and Little Bear's Friend for 1960. No separate printing year is mentioned.

Condition: These two books were in rather good condition. There are some rips and tears and one of them has some pencil doodles on a few pages. The rips weren't too bad, so most of the pages are still usable. The second book, Little Bear's Friend was coming off the binding a bit form the top of the book.

The illustrations are just adorable. The feeling of them is serene which is largely due to the colouring, only three colours are used. Black for the outlines and shading and two colours for the colouring. Little Bear's friend is using green and brown and Little Bear brown and blue. These book's are called "I can read" books and meant for kids who are learning to read. There are several short stories about Little Bear, such as "Little Bear goes to the moon", "Little Bear and Emily" and "A party at Owl's house".

I loved the illustrations the second I found the books. They are incredibly cute. The paper has a wonderful texture to them. The size of the books is relatively small, so my usual work, such as stationery is out of the question. These will become party supplies for a kids birthday or maybe a baby shower.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What's up Montreal - Vintage Mart

This weekend it's time for Vintage Mart's sale. The studio's address is 5445 De Gaspe, suite 600, right here in Montreal.

Photo from HERE

There will be a lot of vintage awesomeness, clothes, shoes and the like with some trinkets thrown in. There's apparently also a sample sale. They feature Montreal talents like Norwegian wood, Supayana, Elaine Ho, Tyson Bodnarchuk and Broundoor. Definitely sounds like it'll be worth a visit. Open this weekend only, 5 to 8pm on Friday and noon to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday!


Friday Inspiration

Even though I've been a blogger-fail this week, the inspiration doesn't stop. There are so many wonderful things out there that the creativity just overflows at times.

Clearly I spend time on Etsy every single day. It's, of course, because of my two shops, but also to just enjoy the wonderful things everyone else is making and reading the sellers interviews. Just look at the front page at this moment I'm writing this post

How can you not feel inspired looking at this?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Road Tripping

My apologies for the silence! I spent a whole lot of time in the car yesterday. I actually spent the weekend in Burlington, which is the suburb of Toronto. It was such a fun time, we had a long overdue girl's weekend. We had a goal of finding bridesmaids dresses for the upcoming wedding later this year, but the real agenda was to spend time with some wonderful girls. Both goals achieved. I'll leave the dresses we found as a secret, but I can tell that we did spend some fun times at a bowling alley, out to dinner and just generally hanging out.

Yes, we actually all wore pink bowling shoes! Photo from HERE

So, needless to say, it was an amazing end for a great week! There's some action shots from bowling in my camera, so I'll see IF there is anything I can publish with a clear conscience...

Thank you ladies, it was such a fun weekend!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What to do with old magazines?

I have to confess: I'm a magazine-junkie. I love magazines! As much as I browse the web for inspiration and ideas, you still can't beat a good ol' paper magazine. So, needless to say, I have a ton of them. After a while, you start running out of places to keep them and it's time to get rid of some.

I have a few ways to get rid of them. There's of course the option to donate them to a charity shop for example, (Please check first that your local shop actually sells them, you don't want to bring them things they can't use) but there's only so many you can donate. I have so many and I often keep them because there's something in it I like. I subscribe to a few, buy some and get some from my mother in law. This all adds up. I keep some intact, mainly my favourites from interior decorating and fashion magazines. Then there's still a ton more...

So, I do a few things. First, I go through the magazine for ideas and pictures I like. I cut them out and add them to my scrapbooks. I have one for fashion, one for decorating and one random one (DIY, beautiful pictures, nice quotes and sometimes short articles that for whatever reason resonated with me). This is a lot of cutting and gluing, but I really enjoy doing that.

After I've picked the things I really like there's still quite a lot of paper left. So, the latest thing I started was to use some of the pages for mail art. I know I've talked about this quite a bit recently, but it's a lot of fun and helps me try out different types of craftiness.

I gave myself a challenge: decorate envelopes from a magazine or a few. This way I go through them and use a lot more of the pages. Not to mention add some extra flair to things I mail out. It's been a lot of fun! I feel like it's a win-win-win situation, use more paper, prettify my outgoing mail and get rid of magazines I've accumulated (recycle of course).

Any other ideas for old magazines? What do you do with them?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Inspiration

Today's inspiration is something a little different than usually. Instead of pretty things, I'll talk about volunteering. I've been interested in volunteering for a long time. I'd prefer to do something than just donate money. So, I found a good site to do just that, Sparked.

Sparked is a "micro-volunteering" site for professionals, where you can help out non-profit organizations around the world. The whole idea is that you contribute your time and professional skills, not cash. The other added benefit is that you don't need hours to help someone. You can do it when you have a few minutes to spare.

Photo from Blogunteer

The site works so, that organizations sign up and list challenges, things they are having problems with and Sparked users contribute to their dilemma by offering professional advice and skills. There are organizations that need a new logo, tagline, poster for a charity event or just help in writing a grant or a letter. Others are looking for ideas for fundraising, blogging, tweeting or how to make the most of their social media initiatives. No one will ask for a cash donation, just ideas and creative input.

Even if you don't find something that sparks an interest in you, you can always read other people's replies and rate the good ones. That adds valuable opinions available to the organizations. Say, there's a challenge for fundraising with 10 new ways to raise money, you read them through and think 3 of them are great. You can give a thumbs up for those 3 comments. That'll help the organization find the comments that more people think is a good idea.

I've already participated in a few challenges. Try it out HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chocolaty goodness

I just had to share, since I'm pretty proud of myself. I made chocolates yesterday. Clearly I couldn't share them yesterday, as they were a part of a Valentine's day present for Chris and I didn't want to ruin the surprise. (I'm assuming he reads my blog. Hi there!)

Anyhow, I made different types of treats with 4 different types of chocolate and 2 different fillings. They are relatively simple to do, but just take a while and will create quite a bit of clean up...

So, I got two different types of chocolate, 70% cacao dark and dark chocolate with orange. I also made sea salt and chilli chocolates out of the plain dark. My fillings were marshmallows and Rice Crispy treats. I think they turned out pretty good (I clearly had to make test pieces so I could ensure they were of good quality).

The jar for the chocolates worked out pretty nicely too. The photo's pretty bad, since the light was less than spectacular. The label says "chocolate".

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To my friends

In North America today is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it. But in Finland today is "friendship day". Although there's romance in the air, it's mainly a day to tell your friends how much they mean to you. So, that's what I'm going to do today.

This is for you:
- who has been there all my life (well, minus 3 years)
- who has been there for almost half of my life
- who is like a sister
- who actually is my sister
- who I spent time with around various kitchen tables, talking for hours
- who I spent time around my kitchen table, making things
- who is a craft nerd, just like me
- who I've always told everything
- who was supporting of my own business
- who came to support me at my first public display of my work
- who I made coffee dates with and had that coffee for hours
- who I talk about sewing or knitting with
- who came to see me when I moved away
- who travelled a long way to be there on my wedding day
- who I played an entire round of golf with (badly)
- who was someone from work, but became a friend
- who I know is missing someone far away right now
- who are far away right now
- who is my best friend

I love you all!

Monday, February 13, 2012


As you might know or have guessed by now, I tend to collect all sorts of things. I have a lot of old books, obviously, as well as an assortment of crafts supplies. I try to be organized, but it is pretty hard. So, every now and then I'll go through everything I have and try to get rid of a ton of stuff I don't have time to use.

The good stuff, like old game pieces and really nice paper is something I list in Brinner Supplies. It's a place for me to release some of the really great stuff back into the wild, a.k.a to other crafters that can use these items. The rest, I just need to get rid of. I recycle everything I can, but even after that there's a lot that needs to go. I've tried to be very objective of the things, the space I have for my business and crafts is limited, so it's valuable real estate.

Recently, I've been doing a massive overhaul of everything. As business is picking up, I need to be sure I have only the things I truly need to run my business and make new items, nothing else. Only items that I can use right now or have a specific plan, and a schedule for, are staying.

Did I mention already it's hard? I used to make jewelry and have loads and loads of beads and other materials for jewelry making. Right now my focus is on paper goods, so those need to go as well. Needless to say, there will be plenty of new items in Brinner Supplies.

I'm also writing about this because it is clearly on the forefront of my mind right now. Also, I feel that I will keep at it, when I've publicly stated my plans. I'm finalizing the craft space now, I've worked on it whenever I had a spare moment. You know, I'll go through this box of paper today and maybe the other one tomorrow. That way it didn't get too much at one go, however, the progress was slow. This Saturday though, was really an extremely productive day. I revamped some things in the master bathroom as well as did the bulk of the remaining sorting with my craft supplies.

Finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic again, but it has been a long project.

Got any tricks to keep things organized? Any ideas would be welcome!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lovely Sunday

(They all are lovely, not joking) It's time for the weekly recap. Positivity and all that...

The whole week got off to a good start with an interesting meeting on Monday. I took 4 buses to get there and back, but it was worth it. I saw some new parts of the city and some interesting shops I'll need to go back to.

I made some new items for the shop and listed new materials. And, I made some more good sales, which always puts me in such a good mood. I've worked with a few more brides and made them some envelope seals and embellishments for their invites. I love making custom orders, not to mention my regular sales.

I did go walk around downtown on Friday, where I was able to replenish my makeup stores and got some really neat stuff on top of the ones I bought. (My purchases above)

These are the items from the free gift you get with your purchase, I wrote about it here. Besides these I also got a blush (the makeup item, not the somewhat embarrassing redness of the face) and a lipgloss from Amy. I told you she's awesome. Seriously, go see her!

Chris and I also went to Chinatown for dinner, which is always great! There's so much food you get another meal in leftovers. I really, really enjoy Chinese food. We also dropped by a Chinese bakery, which means we've had stuffed pastries for lunch on Saturday and today.

I also started planning a trip to Toronto soon, talked at length about blogging, send a lot of mail and fixed the curtains. Let's not forget my culinary genius with cilantro pesto and my first DIY tutorial. I did a lot of cleaning and organizing on Saturday, which means I'm almost done going through all of my crafts supplies. I have a few photos and another easy DIY lined up for next week.

How's that for a great week?!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

DIY Envelope Stamp

I use some stamps while crafting. Most of mine are letters and numbers that I use in my packaging or post cards. I don't really have a lot of picture stamps and I rarely have a need for them either. Now and then, though, I could use one. Just a little something funky to add to an envelope. So, I figured I'll just try to make one. How hard can it be?

Turns out, not very hard. In fact, it was really easy. It took me about 15 minutes, including taking photos of what I was doing. I should've tried this a long time ago. This is what I did.

You need an eraser, pencil and a paper knife. (A cutting mat might also be a good idea)

Draw the design on the eraser. I went with something pretty straight forward, only straight lines.

Then start cutting around the design with the knife. The pencil lines are what you want your stamp to show.

Once the outline is cut, carefully slip the blade of the knife under the parts you want to remove. 

Continue doing this until all the blank spaces are lower that the pencil lines. (Mine doesn't look particularly pretty, but that doesn't matter. As long at there's nothing that might get ink on it, you're good)

Then make sure there's no eraser shavings inside your stamp (turns out tiny pieces of eraser are a drag to get out of the ink pad). And ta-daa! You're done! Now stamp away!

Lost in fashion

I've seen some work from the Chinese artist Liu Bolin before, but his shoot for the latest Harper's Bazaar is just incredible. I was so excited when I got the magazine in the mail. Liu Bolin is known as the disappearing man. In his work he makes himself disappear into the background. This time he worked with big names in fashion and made them disappear into their work.

Photo by Liu Bolin, through Harper's Bazaar

My favourite is this one of Alber Elbaz. The others are great too, who better to disappear into pattern than Jean Paul Gaultier or Angela Missoni. Check the entire story HERE or click the photo.

Friday, February 10, 2012

More mail love

I just came from the post office and I have to say it's another good mail day over here. Please note the kick ass envelope stamp featured on the mail. I made it myself (totally proud of myself right now). The tutorial as to how you can make an awesome stamp as well is coming tomorrow!

Happy Friday everyone!

What's up Montreal - Old Skool Crafts fair

Starting tomorrow Old Skool Crafts is organizing a Valentine's craft fair. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take part this time as a vendor, but I will be there for sure as a customer. The fair is open on February 11 and 12 from 11am to 6pm. You can find the fair in the basement of St. Michael's church (105 St. Viateur West, corner of St. Urbain)

The list of vendors looks very impressive and I'm sure there are plenty of treasures to be found! Drop by to support your local indie artist community!

We have privacy again

It looks much better now.

I really liked the old curtains because of the pattern, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find it again. It's been over two years since I made the original ones, so I guess that was to be expected. The new material is more sheer, hopefully not too much so. I think I need to be the weirdo again, and go stand outside our place when it gets dark and try to peek in. (it's less weird because I'm only trying to look into my own place, right?)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Watching the world go by

Looks like there was something really, really interesting outside. Thanks cat!

Well, I was thinking about getting back into sewing anyway...

Materials - 50s household plants

Hyötykasvit Värikuvina (Finnish). Household Plants in Colour. This small volume was printed in 1956. The original (in Swedish) was produced by Tore Linnell and Nils Hylander, illustrations by Edgar Hahnewald. Translated to Finnish by Toivo Rautavaara.

Condition: This little guy is absolutely falling a part. Looks like the pages are all there, but most of them are falling away from the binding. Some pages have a few rips and tears. Most pages, however, are still intact without much damage apart from coming off from the spine.

How could you not love the pictures? They are just spectacular. The pages show illustrations of different household plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs among a few other useful plants. Each book plate shows the plate number on the top corner as well as the Finnish and Latin names at the bottom.

This book is rather small, so I need to be careful what I want to make with this. I do think some of the bookplates would be gorgeous framed. Add some vintage flare to the kitchen wall perhaps... Some of the more damaged pages will most likely become notebook covers. No matter what will come out of this one, the items are bound to be wonderful.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's up Montreal - Clinique deal at the Bay

I've been using Clinique makeup for a while now. I'm very pale and my skin tends to get red easily, so I use the Redness solution creams and foundation. If you shop at the Clinique counter at the Bay, starting today, you'll get a 7 piece set if you spend $28.50. (clikc HERE or the photo to see the details)

I've participated in a similar deal before and even though the makeup you get in the free set are smaller sizes, they are usually good colours (not the leftovers you sometimes get).

I also love the great service I get every time I go. I'm sure everyone there is wonderful, but I always go see Amy. So, if you want to take advantage of this offer and great service, go to the Bay in downtown Montreal, head to the Clinique counter and ask for Amy. She's awesome! (You can tell her I sent you :D)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cilantro Pesto

Hello boys and girls and welcome to the HipsterCurious kitchen. Today we learn how to make pesto without basil or arugula (the option to replace basil if you don't have any).

First, let me tell you about my style of cooking, something I like to call the "ish" cooking. It's called that because every measurement ends with "ish". How much salt should I put in? I dunno, tablespoon-ish? How much flour? Umm, cup-ish? How much cheese? Always double-ish what the recipe says. See the pattern there?

Anyhow, I promised Chris I would make gnocchi with portobello mushrooms and home made pesto. (sounds so much fancier and harder to make than it actually is). So, off I go to the grocery store. Not a sight of basil. Ok, I can use arugula instead. Oh! What? No arugula either? Ok... What now?

Answer: well those plants kinda look basil-ish. I'll just buy some of those. Let's get two different kinds and claim it's intentional. Awesome! I'm a culinary genius!

So, this is what you need:

Basil is for wimps, use cilantro and spinach instead
Olive Oil (we were running low so I bought some. Never tried Argentinian olive oil before, but it says it's for salads and pesto. Perfect)
Parmesan cheese

Instead of being all fancy and spending all day mashing it up in a mortar, use a mixer instead. Start by putting in a clove of garlic and some olive oil. Mix. Add some cilantro. Mix again. Dump in some spinach. Mix. Add olive oil and salt. Mix some more. Taste a little and then add more salt/olive oil/garlic/greens depending what you think might be missing and mix. Finally add the parmesan cheese. Mix a tad.


And if you're curious as to the rest of what I made, here's how:

chop up some mushrooms and put them in a pan with some olive oil. Fry on medium heat until they release some water and keep frying while the water evaporates. While that's happening put some water to boil, once it does, dump in gnocchi. Once the gnocchi floats to the surface of the water, drain the water. In the same pot you boiled the gnocchi in, combine gnocchi and pesto. Mix. Then add fried mushrooms. Put on a plate and if you have some extra herbs left over from pesto, put a couple of leaves on top to make it look fancy-ish.


Mail-tastic day

I'm feeling better today, although still a little tired. Despite a slight tiredness it's been a busy day, especially when it comes to mail.

I had several orders to ship put today. (I love these kinds of days! This many people liking what I make enough to purchase something from me. It's incredibly gratifying.) I use handmade envelopes for the smaller orders, there's 4 of them on top and bubble mailers for the larger ones. I have to figure out how I can make these kinds of mailers myself too. I also find it really exciting to see my items off to all over the world. Today's shipments left for New Zealand, Australia (x2), USA (x3), Finland and the Netherlands. I always include at least a handwritten note in each, just to show how much I appreciate the business.

I also got new stamps today and started sorting them out. Going through over 2000 stamps does take a while... I have to make a confession at this point. I actually really like sorting them out. I like things colour coordinated, so that's how I sort all the stamps when I get new ones. In fact, I like colour coordinating so much that I actually organize my bookshelves that way too. Not alphabetical, topical or even by size. Nope. They are colour coordinated. That's the only way to organize a bookshelf!

I've also worked on my "side project" whenever I have a few minutes... That's the mail art I mentioned a few days ago. Now, I wouldn't really call this art. Perhaps a "creative outlet in postal form"... or something like that. I've done a few, but as I am actually mailing them out, I won't put the finished mailers here, not yet at least. When I get a bit better at this, then I might start posting some photos. We'll see.

Have you gotten anything good in the mail recently?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tea and honey

That's the plan for today, I'm getting a cold. It's been coming on for a few days, but I'm really starting to feel the effects today. So, right now it's gallons for blackcurrant and ginseng tea with honey and lemon. I will return soon with something more interesting to say. Until then, it's nap time!

Picture from here

A friend of mine swears by Siberian ginseng to help with a cold. I have been taking some myself hoping that it'll help.

Do you have any tried and tested cold remedies?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lovely Sunday

Another great week has gone by. It was the first one in a while where I missed a daily post, but I felt it was for a good reason. I never actually thought I would write daily, nor did I ever make that decision consciously. It just seems like I have a lot to say (or write, but you get the point).

The most time consuming activity this week was revamping the materials store. Once the idea came to me, I packaged practically everything and re-shot most of the photos. I'm still very excited about how the shop looks like now (click HERE to see it if you're curious). I also kept busy making new things, which is always so much fun!

This week I also celebrated my 2 years on Etsy! The time has gone by so fast. I still remember how nervous I was at first! I started my first Etsy sale to celebrate the occasion. Additionally, I made some sales which still makes me happy every time.

In other news... (man, this feels like I'm reporting my weekly activities. Which, I guess, I sort of am) I was contacted by some awesome people bringing some rather interesting suggestions and proposals. Twice! In one week! Those contacts made me excited and looking forward to next week.

I also reconnected with someone I haven't spoken to in a while and kept in contact with those I do talk to more often. I bumped into people I like and made plans to meet up soon. I've also kept up with eating healthier and exercising more. I don't believe in diets, but I realized this week I've lost a few pounds in the last month. I can feel how my clothes fit differently.

Speaking of clothes, I went shopping this week too. I haven't done that in a long while (unless you count the snow pants, which, I've decided, you don't. Snow pants aren't really clothes). I've been proud of my self-constraint in this regard. However, I made some really great finds!

How has your week been?