Sunday, September 30, 2012

More book talk for Sunday

Once I got onto the topic, I have a hard time stop talking about it. I'll try to limit the amount of book-related posts...

Since the original book-post a few days ago I've already added a few friends as reading pals (it's not called that, I just felt it would be appropriate) and had a nice exchange about a great book. I also now have some book lists to review and compare to mine. So exciting! However, one can never have too many books (in this case I mean to read, but it applies as a general rule). I think I'll start a new notebook list of books.

Do you have recommendations? What's your favourite book? Any genre will work, I do have my favourites, but will happily try out others too!

I am a sucker for historical fiction. I know I've mentioned my history nerdiness before, but there's nothing better than a well written book where the story is part fiction but the premise hugely accurate. I've also noticed that often I unintentionally start reading more about a specific period of time in history or specific people. When I realize what I'm doing, I start collecting whatever I can and (yes! I told you, I'm a huge nerd) end up studying so much that I could probably write a pretty decent paper and give a lesson on the topic. I obviously don't base this all on fiction, but once I get fascinated about a period, I start adding nonfiction in the mix as well. (This is not how I read all the time, but end up doing it maybe once or twice a year)

I do read a whole lot of other genres as well, I just get the most excited about history. To me the genre is not as important as the fluent writing and the logic behind a story. Not sure if that makes sense, so let me try to explain... The story doesn't have to be realistic (it can be fantasy, have magic or hobbits or whathaveyou) but it has to be logical in it's own world. Nothing deters me more from enjoying a book than completely illogical plot turns. I'm fine if the characters make unexpected choices (in fact that can be great) but not when things don't make sense logically.

Also, editing is key! There are so many books that could be great if they would've lost that extra 100 pages that were totally unnecessary to the story. Take a look at Laura's A+ quick analysis of Wild Swans in the comment section of the book-post.

I realize I just said editing is key and here I am, rambling away... What I really wanted to share with you guys is the video below my sister showed me:

Send me your recommendations (of books mainly, unless you have a kick as reading position you'd like to share)! Please?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I might have mentioned already that I'm huge fan of tattoos. I have a few myself and what they say is true; once you get one, you keep wanting more.

I just recently had a discussion about tattoos with my awesome sister and since then I haven't really been able to stop thinking about them. Not that I *don't* think about them a lot as it is.

I have a few already planned out and I can't wait to get started. I've also realized that as the first one I got was a fairly small, black and grey tattoo on my ankle (drawn originally by said awesome sister), I've since progressed to more noticeable, colorful tattoos. Now, as I disclaimer I need to tell you that due to my choice of career, I am cautious of my tattoos and am still able to cover them up with ease as my work might sometimes require.

I can't help myself though. I am dreaming if bigger and better things. Right now, I need to find a tattoo artist here in Montreal. I don't yet have a tattoo taken here at home. Mine are collected from around the world, from Helsinki, from Honolulu, Hawaii and Las Vegas.

What's your take on tattoos? Do you have any?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Inspiration

I love fall. Did I ever tell you that? It's my favourite season. Don't get me wrong, I love summer too, but the fall still comes up on top. I guess the only negative with autumn is that it precedes winter which I'm not a huge fan of. However, in my decision to keep thinking positive and not to worry over things I have no influence on, I am planning on taking this winter on differently. More positive attitude and find cool things about winter too (pun totally intended).

For now, however, let's talk about fall. Even though I'm admittedly a city-kid at heart this is the one time of the year I can truly say I enjoy nature. You know, trees and plants and whathaveyou.

I absolutely love dressing up for fall. The colours are always great, warm reds, browns, earthy colours and muted tones. Yup, right up my alley.

Oh, the food! I (like most people, I assume) eat much lighter in the summer. But when fall finally comes around even I, and that's saying quite a bit, start thinking about cooking. And often things that require more work than mad knife skills (a.k.a chopping) and assembly and possibly even more than three ingredients. I've learned how to make soup. No joke! I made french onion soup the other day. (if you want the recipe, please let me know.)

Source: via Blanc on Pinterest

To top it all off, I go on overdrive with tea consumption. I hardly function without coffee on any given day, yet in the fall tea seems so very appropriate. Obviously while writing letters. Or reading a book. While wearing a monocle. And discussing the high price of scones (right Laura?)

This is a slightly different Friday inspiration post that I usually write, but I am a hopeless fall-romantic. Too much gushing over the bestest season? Too bad, I've only started. I didn't even mention Halloween!

Just wait, I have a few fall-specific craft ideas and will probably go on hipster-drive by spamming your retinas with instagram photos of yellow leaves and some pseudo-intellectual quotes by dramatic sounding authors. (I am nothing if not honest with myself)

Note to self: stop while you're ahead.

Other fall-thusiasts out there?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reminder! Want letters?

Hey guys! Just a quick reminder that the sign up for lovely letters project ends today!

If you didn't sign up yet, go do it right now! The organizers are in Australia, so keeping the time difference in mind, sign up will be done very soon.

Quick recap: this is a letter writing project where you commit to writing 4 letters in 8 weeks on given topics and you will receive 4 letters back. There's also an optional package exchange if you're interested.

I already signed up, did you?

(no, seriously? did you? I'm curious to who of you signed up!)

Don't miss today's "real" post below!

We need to talk about books!

I read. All. The. Time.  I keep a list of books I want to read. That list is a notebook*.

Then something happened. The list is running out. How can I keep up my grammar if I don't read?

Help! sentences... are... making... less... sen pANCAKES!

GOOD READS! You should join! I want to see your lists and recommendations and feelings about books!

Treasure hunting

Sorry for all the exclamation points. I'm trying to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. Also, I'll happily take any recommendations you have as a comment. (or e-mail. or pigeon post. Your choice) Tell me what you think I should read!

Ok, onwards to the less frantic, yell-y, crazy part of this post:

Good reads is a website where you can track books you've read, list books you want to read and find new ones based on your previous likes and dislikes. You create an account and pick genres you're interested in. This doesn't really limit you in any way, but will start building recommendations for you in those categories. Then you start rating books you've read and based on those you'll slowly start getting more recommendations.

You can also (presumably) check your friends lists and see what they liked. I added the word 'presumably' there because, as of right now, I have no friends on good reads. Sounds pretty sad and pathetic, right? Well, how about helping me out by making me look less sad and pathetic? You can find my profile HERE

Also, I might actually need to search some IRL buddies. I can think of a few who are there for sure. And if they aren't I will use some sort of bribery/extortion/blackmail to get them there. Or say please.

*was a notebook. I lost it. Kinda bums me out. I doubt I would be in this conundrum** if I knew where it was. Actually, I have a pretty good idea where it was last and I'm not getting it back. Casualties of the everyday life.

**Can one be *IN* a conundrum?***

*** I should learn when to stop, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Threat or opportunity? Discuss.

Shooting zombies

 One day, when I grow up, I will have one of the Time Crisis arcade machines at home. (OK, maybe not at home, but maybe one day I'll end up working at one of those cool offices with other games than foozball (nothing wrong with foozball, except I suck at it. I'm pretty good at some classic arcade games, so that would be much more impressive)) like arcade game number 1, Time Crisis (any one of them will do, but I'm really good at Time Crisis 3).

That's the dream. Until then I will make do with shooting zombies and whathaveyou. At least I get my very own plastic gun while doing so.

(Too much sugar for one night? I think not! Yet on a completely unrelated note we're running low on cookies)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I love those extra goopy, chewy cookies. I will always have a special place in my belly for oatmeal cookies. They are not like the ones I had when I was growing up, but buttery soft. It's been a really, really long time since I've actually baked any kinds of cookies. Years, I think. Then one day after all that all-out health food shopping spree I realized not only do I have all the ingredients at home, but also a definite cookie-fitting gap in my diet.

Oatmeal raisin cookies

I don't have a family recipe for the perfect cookie. Not the north American kind at least. So, what is a girl to do? Steal Google someone else's. Obviously getting thousands of hits, picking the right one is not only hard, but crucial. I'm not doing all this measuring and whatnot again. But I can tell you a surefire way to pick a recipe off the interwebs. There are really only two rules*; either it A) only needs ingredients you already have at home or, and this is really the important one, B) it's from Smitten Kitchen. When you get A and B... well... that's magic, baby!

Oatmeal raisin cookies

All of this really only lead to one thing: amazing oatmeal cookies

Naturally, I must stay true to myself and tweak this recipe going forward. I'll keep you in the loop with what I come up with. This of course means I need to bake and therefore eat a lot more cookies. I'll call it... research. For the blog. You know, journalistic integrity.

*) third optional rule is to know a diligent Pinterest user who does all the research for you and then just go to her recipe board and pick whatever it is you feel like having. Thanks Ali!

I really recommend following this board, especially if you have some vegetarian tendencies or are openly vegan-curious. I often try to cook vegetarian during the week, but will openly admit I've de-veganized a few recipes that sounded good. (I love cheese, what can I say)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lovely letters

I've been talking a lot about snail mail and letters recently since I've really got back into sending traditional mail. If you've been thinking about it as well, here's a great opportunity. And you'll also get some mail love back!

Lovely letters is a mail exchange project anyone can take a part of. You'll commit to writing 4 letters and will receive 4 back. There's also an optional package swap at the end of the exchange. Who knows, maybe you'll make a new friend along the way. It's open to the entire world, so it doesn't matter where you are located.

Check the details HERE

Mail Monday

Happy Monday everybody! How has your week started?

Last week was a good mail week again. So, without further ado;


Mail Love - outgoing
I did go a tad overboard with this one. I started writing a letter, which ended being a whole lot longer than I thought it would. There was a point I was thinking of just wrapping it up, but got into something else and went on for four more pages. This is how I write, I start with a topic in mind, but then remember something else or go completely off topic. My letter are quite rambly.

I tried a new technique on the envelope and added a few little things I thought the recipient would like. All in all, this was quite something. I can sigh a relief once it gets to it's destination...

(Oh, sorry for the weird editing of the address. I usually try to just cover it up, but this time I have so much trouble with Picasa. I redid this photo a number of times and then gave up when it still didn't work)


Mail Love - incoming
I got a lovely letter from Laura of "Please deliver to". She answered a rather random question I posed a little while ago. Much appreciated Laura!

Mail Love - incoming
I also got this Instagram-ish postcard from Susanne. It has a Helsinki tram on it. Man, I really liked taking the tram, we don't have those here in Montreal.

There were obviously some orders as well, but I didn't come up with anything you haven't seen before with them, so you can just use your imagination.

So, did the mailman/woman mailperson bring you anything good last week?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gift wrapping with maps and masking tape

Combining two of my favourite things, vintage maps and washi tape.

washi tape and vintage maps

These are gifts for my brother-in-law, his birthday was two weeks ago but due to some scheduling trouble we only celebrated yesterday. He also really likes old maps, so I try to use them whenever I'm packing something for him. (To be honest, he also gets to be my test subject when I'm trying out new crafts)

I have to confess that I enjoy wrapping presents... I can't wait until Christmas!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's up Montreal - Puces Pop is back!

Puces Pop started today! Go! Support your local artisans, they rock!

As before, it's at St. Michael's Church Saturday and Sunday!

I'm not participating to this one due to time constraints, but I'm hoping to be back next time. This time I'll just go visit. You should too!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Inspiration

It is Friday, right? I didn't sleep very well last night, so I'm a little out of it today.

Which is exactly why I need something a little over the top today to keep me focused. I don't dress in color very often, I'm more comfortable in muted colors (I'm working on it, but it's slow going). However, I've been recently drawn towards totally blinged out, OMG-what-were-you-thinking -type jewelry.

How awesome is this necklace from Fenton? I pinned it in my "DIY potential" board,... Ambitious? Sure. Possible? Perhaps...

I think this would look amazing with very basic clothes, like jeans, t-shirt and a blazer maybe.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pink and teal

The paper snippets are slowly, almost painfully, taking shape in a collage. I'm going through what I wrote about before, I can see the end result; where I need to get to. I know how I want the colors to balance, but can't seem to make them fit quite right.

collage in pink and teal

If you hit a creative wall, how do you get over (or, preferably bust through) it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crazy colors and even crazier cats

The second Chris leaves on a business trip, that's when the major (crafts) projects come out. Right now the entire dining room table is covered in paper scraps. I have torn apart some magazines and kept the pictures that inspire me by topic, arrangements or sometimes just by their colors. As you can see, the snippets are in rough piles by colors and I started working on the pink and retro blue ones.

A start of a collages
I'm trying out a few different things with these papers. I'm working on some collages (still) as well as working on some color combinations. I find this is the easiest with magazine clippings. Since the 'what to do with old magazines' post is super popular, I'm thinking about doing a follow up with some newer projects. 

Stalking cats

Besides all the color coordinated paper, the cats are bonkers. They are stalking each other and running around like crazy. Until they just flop over where they stand and go blissfully to sleep, like nothing ever happened. Sounds like a pretty awesome life. George is still not at 100% health, but if he has the energy to go nuts, then he's doing much, much better. 

So, how's your day going?

P.S. Oh, look what I found yesterday!

Ready for Halloween

Pumpkin carving kit! I insist carving one every year. Do you carve pumpkins?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Glitter and collages

I'm still having a hard time finishing some of the new prototypes. Somehow though, they are starting to take shape. I feel like I'm missing one piece of the puzzle but at least I have an idea what I'm looking for.

I know this puzzle is made out of paper scraps and collages and green glitter.

I'm just wondering what the missing piece will be.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mail Monday

Last week was a great mail week, even though the week sucked a bit otherwise. I received some really great mail, which, I must say, couldn't have come at a better time! I was feeling crappy, so the mail really helped!


Incoming mail I got two letters from Susanne! That was really awesome! They were great, thank you!

Incoming mail
I also got a letter from Lynn, who gave me all those library books a while ago. While I was shifting through all those treasures, we got to talking and discovered we had a lot of similar interests, like books and snail mail.


Outgoing mail
Outgoing mail
My outgoing week was a little slower than usually. I mailed out a few orders like I usually do. I'm not going to add them all here, but I'll show you one as an example. This time the envelope is made from flowery vintage wallpaper and I added a funky vintage postcard to the order.

Outgoing mailThe only recreational mail I sent out this week was a few postcards from the Star Wars exhibit. I'm cheating a bit here, since the actual cards are already in the mail, these are the few I kept myself. A lot of the cards were already sold out, so unfortunately there were no Darth Vader ones. These were pretty cool too, though.

I have a bit of catching up to do with my mail this week. Like I mentioned, I wasn't in the happiest of moods, so letter writing was not the top priority. Things are brighter now, so I will get to some snail mailing soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Star Wars Identities

I went to see the Star Wars Identities exhibit last Thursday. Even if you aren't a huge Star Wars fan, this was a whole lot of fun. The exhibit isn't so much about the movies themselves but it concentrates on the characters (as the name might suggest). There were a ton of movie props from the original movies, not reproductions. They had the original R2D2 and C3PO among a ton of costumes, helmets and models as well as a dozens of sketches from when they were building the storyboard and the characters.

Star Wars Identities
The exhibit allowed the visitors to walk around freely, but still following the designated order of things. This was important especially since every visitor would create their own character.

Star Wars Identities At the beginning of the tour, we were given audio guides and bracelets for creating our characters. Once you walked up to a display, your audio guide would start playing the blurb of that particular section. Each of the section would talk about either the different aspects of the characters, say their childhood or the events that shaped their lives or optionally discuss the development of each character in the movie, say how Yoda came to be what he is in the movies.

Star Wars Identities Each section that discussed the specifics of events and traits that shaped the characters, mainly Luke and Anakin, each visitor could make a choice or react to a situation, then record that action to their bracelet. These actions would then build your character further.

Star Wars Identities Without revealing too much, I can say that there were 10 different answers required to build your character. They range from a simple selection from a number of options, to reacting to a situation to answering more specific questions about your character.

Star Wars Identities
At the very end of the exhibit, you had the option to see your character on a large screen. Naturally we all geeked out and had to make sure we timed it right and got a photo with the 4 of us who went there together.

A bit more under the cut, don't read if you don't want spoilers!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The patient is back

And he's still a little pathetic right now.

George the cat

So, George had to spend some time at the vet's for a few days. I don't want to get into too much detail, so it'll suffice to say he just wasn't feeling well. (If you have a cat, you might have an idea what that means, if you don't, then you don't need to know. Trust me, it's better that way)

Anyhow, we got him back home last night and are monitoring him. He got quite dramatic at the vet's and refused to eat. I got him to eat a bit yesterday, so hopefully he's getting better. He's on medication, so hopefully that'll help soon too. (Oh, have you tried to give a pill to a cat? Fun, isn't it?)

Now that this crisis has been averted, I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with my neck. It still hurts, but at least I have some movement back.

I have funner ("funner" - totally a word) topics planned, like more about Star Wars!

How has your weekend started?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday (lack of) inspiration

I've been posting these inspiration posts every Friday since I started my blog. Today is the first one when I'm not feeling all that inspired. I'm a bit concerned as George the cat is at the vet since yesterday afternoon. Also, I hurt my neck a few days ago and if I want to look right, I need to completely turn to that direction, instead of just turning my head.

Needless to say I'm a tad grumpy.

But, I am trying hard to not make this a Friday whine post, so here's a picture of me and Darth Vader

Darth Vader and I

I'll come back later if I feel more inspired.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bon Voyage, madame!

I made an amazing find yesterday at one of my regular thrift stores! I've been on the hunt for a vintage suitcase ever since my first craft fair last December. (Ok, I might have been wanting one before then, but after the show I had a 'real' reason to want one) I borrowed my friend's suitcase for that show.

vintage suitcase Montreal

I needed one to be used at my table display at the shows. Now, there's quite a number of old suitcases out there and they are relatively easy to find, however, finding a good one is hard. I needed a very specific kind. Not too big, but big enough to display items in. It had to be a hardcover one, the soft ones are not sturdy enough. Even when you find one that meets these qualifications, there's this the color (both outside and in) and condition to think about. I'm not buying one to be ket close, so the insides need to be in good shape too.

After all this time, here it is:

vintage suitcase Montreal

I'm so excited! (Unlike Chris who did not seem quite so impressed when I showed it to him. Oh well, he knew who he married) Ok, I need to properly clean and sanitize it first, then I'll be excited!

So, what do you think? Yay or nay for my new, old suitcase?

P.S. The manager of the store wished me "Bon Voyage, madame" after I purchased the suitcase. "Madame". In French it sounds kinda old, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Unfinished business

I've been working on some new ideas recently. I feel like my head is filled with all of these fantastic ideas just waiting to get out. But I just can't seem to produce anything completely finished. I feel like the ideas are almost complete.

Stationery made from Upcycled maps I feel similar as to when I went to art school. I started when I was pretty young, around 8, and went there until I was about 16. I learned so many things, tried all these different techniques from oil paints to sculptures and, yes, I did a year dedicated to the art of comic books. But, I often ran into the same problem, I could visualize exactly what the end result is, but I don't know how to get it out. I know all these techniques on how to use all these wonderful tools and materials. I'm pretty good at the technical details, like I can easily visualize how the light hits different objects and how the shadows would appear or how to prepare clay to make sure you'll get the optimal results with your sculptures. I can execute it all technically without a problem, but I'm missing a step somewhere between the preparation, the technical details and the end result.


This seems to be happening again. I have a clear idea in my head of several new products, but am having trouble translating it to reality. I think this is once again point 3 on my new years resolutions list. (Ha! I didn't forget I made one!)

Stationery sets made from Upcycled maps and vintage stamps I'm trying to figure out how to apply my techniques from work (the 9 to 5 type work) to my creative life as well. I used to have a similar issue earlier in my career. (All potential new employers, please note the words used to, then I became awesome once I figured out how to handle it all) I have always been a bit of a perfectionist at heart, the type to do things perfectly and not accept anything less. In my line of work there's no 'down time', you have to think on your feet and get everything done. The fact that I deal with customers who expect near perfection every time, doesn't exactly ease the stress.

So, what did I do? Came to a very simple realization; you can only do one thing at a time. You can of course think about 15 million things while you do that one thing, but you can only do. one. thing. at. a. time. Simple. Take every massive project at hand and start breaking it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then start working on those pieces one at a time.

That is the very simple rule that I live by, so I can handle working with such complex projects efficiently and tend to finish on time, all the time.

Envelopes upcycled from vintage maps Now, all I need to do is to apply this to my creative work as well... How do you prioritize things that are just as important and you want to work on all of them at the same time?

Do you have similar problems? How do you handle them?

P.S. the photos are of stationery sets made out of vintage maps. Click HERE to see more

Monday, September 10, 2012

A cup of tea and some mail

I haven't had seasonal allergies in a long time. I assume I went through enough when I was a kid. However, for some reason I'm feeling pretty stuffy right now. It's either allergies or I'm getting a cold. Neither option sounds too appealing. I've been trying to drink a lot of tea, enough to make my friend Anna proud of me.

I generally live on coffee, but tea has it's place. I've recently discovered a brand called Stash Tea and I've possibly found my new favourite flavor. Licorice Spice! It's even caffeine free, which is a shock to me, but it's amazing. If you get a chance, try it out!

Do you have a favourite tea?

On to some mail...


mail Love, incoming

I had quite a surprie waiting for me in the mail... My friend Nina sent me a surprise from the UK. I forgot to take a photo of what she sent me, sorry about that. She sent me a Cath Kidson Sticker booklet with labels (if you're getting mail from me, just wait and see) and a cute dish towel. She even wrapped them in paper with the London underground map. Thanks Nina!


Mail love - outgoing
I sent a letter to Massachusetts in a handmade envelope made of a page from a French cookbook

Mail love - outgoing

And I sent out a package to NYC decorated with a handmade hot air balloon stamp.

So how was your weekend?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oatmeal raisin cookies

I don't bake very often. It's kind of a shame, since I used to all the time. Anyhow, I decided to bake yesterday (mainly because I was craving sugar) and chose oatmeal raisin cookies (mainly because we had all the ingredients at home.

Oatmeal raisin cookies

They turned out great. I used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and made the half batter. I got 12 large cookies out of it. I recommend trying this.

Do you have a super simple cookie recipe to recommend? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Inspiration

Guys, I don't know how to break it to you... This Friday inspiration post has always been the place where I honestly share the things that are inspiring me at that time or what I've been looking at that week... So, I feel like I need to be honest this time too...

christmas is coming
Photo from Flickr

I'm sorry to say, and this might puzzle and even scare some of you, I I have been looking at... dare I say it... Christmas photos. I tried to even find the least scary photo... This is the time for me to really get down to business when it comes to the holiday season. For us crafters, the time is just around the corner. I need to get my designs done and prototypes figured out.

So, I this is really what's been on my mind... You can even see that with the stamps I've been making...

So, how early is too early?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Name is Chilly Willy

It's been a slow day... I think I'm still exhausted from the long weekend of painting and organizing.


So, I started some new designs. I have a head full of new ideas but it seems to take a while to get them out. Slowly but surely (I hope)

Today I truly feel like a scatterbrain.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The other F word

Let me tell you guys, 'The Other F Word' is such an awesome documentary! I enjoyed it so much I'll watch it again.

I have 90% of the songs on the soundtrack which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable watching experience. Not to mention how awesome these guys are.

Makes me look at my favourite bands a little differently, and ultimately, love them even more!

Punk rock dads, watch it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Then I found Etsy - 365 magazine

Super exciting news guys!

365 magazine just came out with their special issue about Etsy. What's really exciting is that I'm in it!

Brinner on 365 Magazine

Go ahead and take a look! You can find the website HERE or just go to the online magazine HERE My bit starts on page 58.

Let me know what you think!