46 - wishing you well // friday favourites

19 August 2011

i love this imaginative wishing well made with bricks, acrylic paint, and dura-lar and installed directly onto a gallery floor by artist Michelle Blade. it even includes coins contributed by viewers, presumably tossed in as they each cast their own "wish." in the spirit of wishing wells, real or imaginative, i wish you a warm and wonderful weekend.... i am leaving tomorrow morning for a two-week visit (less a vacation or getaway than a much-needed reunion) with andrew, who completed his year-long, condensed forestry technician program today, received his Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) silver ring, and is now officially a forester! i am so proud of him and i can't wait to celebrate with snuggles as we continue to build our lives together.

i leave you with some favourites, new and old and mostly forestry-inspired:

this song. it melts my heart and reminds me of my love with andrew.
this forester-architect's tree house, built soild using whole trees.
this dreamy woodland cottage. yes, please.
all this green.
this reclaimed wood table, made from an old hatch.
this worker-styled shirt. rugged, down-to-earth & pretty all-in-one.
and these canadian poplar trousers. named after the tree?


45 - nova lily: naturally autumn

18 August 2011

cotton lace and merino wool are two of my favourite and most cherised materials. it's not surprising that they are taking centre stage in the new nova lily fall collection, available in the shop.

left to right:

44 - keyword: breathe

sometimes we need to remember to just breathe.

left to right:

lungs illustration by darren booth // kara akciger print by amylin loglisci
lungs intaglio print by meg clarke // breathe (artist's hair on cotton) by liyen chong
just breathe sterling silver lungs necklace by markhed designs // porcelain scultpure by kate macdowell
lungs from lisa solomon's body doily series // untitled (heart lungs) by helen pynor (knitted human hair) // 
embroidered botanical study: lung by sarah maloney

43 - kitty love

17 August 2011

so hunter has been extremely sick and has been hospitalized since Monday. when we brought him to the vet Monday evening, there was a high risk that he was facing kidney failure, in which case there would be very little that could be done to save him. i have never been so stressed out and sick with worry - i came so close to accidentally killing my cat because i brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers into the house, which included lilies, and he ate its leaves. LILIES, it turns out, ARE EXTREMELY TOXIC TO CATS. if the toxins are fully absorbed into the system, it often results in kidney damage, acute renal faliure, and in many cases death. it is virtually a miracle that hunter did not suffer kidney failure given the length of time that passed from when he first ingested the plant leaves until we sought veterinary care. while it is possible that something other than the lilies made him sick, i have learned a valuable life-saving lesson and am actively informing cat owners and lovers of the toxicity of lilies. if you have a cat, never bring lilies into the house!

the little survivor is pulling through and he's coming home tonight! i can't wait to snuggle and baby him. i am so thankful and relieved. his warm, gentle, and loving presence in our lives is irreplaceable. i know i am biased, but he is the most amazing feline i have ever known and anyone who meets him immediately falls in love with him. we figure he has already been through 3 of his 9 lives (he was incredibly sick when we first saved him as a kitten, and he was just sick with a urinary tract infection this winter) and only has 6 remaining. he's such a little heartbreaker, i love him to death - or in his case, a strong, healthy life.

42 - monday morning delights

15 August 2011

i had nothing substantial in the house for breakfast this morning, so i magically scraped together just enough ingredients to make a batch of raspberry white chocolate scones! i love being inspired and motivated to cook or bake out of necessity. i am always delightfully surpised at what i can put together out of what seems like nothing, an acquired skill that i have learned from andrew, who is a well-seasoned cook and my personal chef. as he always insists, the best cooking comes from poverty, which forces you to be creative and use every last scrap of food around. nothing goes to waste. 

i first fell madly in love with raspberry white chocolate scones when i was living in Edmonton, Alberta. they were a regular feature at a local bakery and cafe around the corner from my house, where i would wander in the morning or as an afternoon break from writing my master's thesis specifically to indulge in this delicous treat. while the cafe was undergoing renovations and expansion, the quality of the scones became inconsistent and i suddenly realized that i was paying far too much for something i could easily make for myself. after searching long and hard and trying various recipes, which inevitably came with failures, this one is consistently the best i have tried and has become a classic in my kitchen:


2 cups flour
1/3 cup fine raw sugar, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp. baking poweder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
6 tbsp. cold butter
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 - 1/2 cup white chcolate chunks
3/4 - 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup vanilla (or plain) yogourt, plus extra for wash
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg

1. preheat oven to 375 F.
2. combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix in lemon zest then cut in cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
3. stir in white chocolate chunks and fresh raspberries. if you are using frozen berries, avoid adding them until after you mix the dough or they will thaw and make a big fuscia mess.
4. mix together yogourt, vanilla extract, and egg. add to dry ingredients and mix to combine as best as you can. be as gentle as possible so that the raspberries don't break apart. don't be afraid of getting dirty! i use my hands because the dough is so delicate. it will seem like it is not going to work and like you have done something wrong, but if you trust that it will turn out you will end up with beautiful scones!
5. scoop rounds of dough and shape, placing them on abaking sheet. brush lightly with remaining yogourt combined with a little bit of milk, or an egg wash. dust with sugar (like to use a rougher sugar for this).
6. bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden, fluffy, and a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.
7. transfer to wire rack to cool.

makes 8 medium-sized scones or 6 large scones.

what inspires you to get creative in the kitchen?

41 - friday favourites // happy weekend

12 August 2011

what are you doing this weekend? i have SO much work to catch up on before i head to visit andrew next week, and given that i have a minor injury to my foot (which, it turns out, might be tendonitis), i will be staying in for a quiet weekend filled with research and reading. my kitty is also sick from eating the leaves from the beautiful bouquet of flowers i bought last weekend, so i want to stay home to keep a close eye on him. i just realized that i have yet to properly introduce him - his full name is dr. hunter s. thomcat, although we typically call him hunter or any one of the following nicknames: stinkles, sir meows-a-lot, count scratchula, superbad, professor pukaface, mr. snuggle-up-with-us, general good boy, and simply, the kitten. he is a true sweetheart and is the best animal personality i have ever known. the above series of photos was taken on our balcony this summer as he was eyeing his backyard friend, squirrely. he is an endless source of snuggles, love, and happiness.

here are a few of my favourites from this week:

this photo from this portfolio. it makes me feel so grounded.
this organic cotton dress in olive green. comfy & chic.
this sweet birch wood decor for the future baby bear.
this classic 1959 song. always a favourite.
this nightwood bedroom makeover video
this inspiring photo blog.
these small stumps.

have a wonderful weekend! xo

40 - nova lily: first fall

here's a peak at a few new vintage-inspired items in the shop for fall.

left: empress vintage red wine agate necklace
top right: white sparrow vintage porcelain bauble necklace
bottom right: terra vintage agate sticks and stones dangle earrings

39 - montreal spice station

09 August 2011

last weekend i finally checked out the new Spice Station in Montreal's mile end neighbourhood, right next door to one of my favourite local shops, Arterie Boutique & Friperie (how can i not love it? we do, afterall, share the same artful name!). the gourmet shop, which originated in Silver Lake, California, offers a stunning array of carefully selected and blended herbs, spices, chiles, salts, sugars, and teas from around the world, displayed in large apothecary jars on floor-to-ceiling shelves made from relcaimed wood. warm and inviting, the mix of colours, textures, and aromas tantalizes the senses and opens up a world of possibilities.

i came home with only a small selection based primarily on what we were preparing for dinner: whole pink peppercorns, first friday fish blend (a fish seasoning made with organic dill pollen), cinnamon sugar, and sherwood forest herbal tea.

but i am eager to try some of their chiles (there were so many to choose from!), whole black lime, harissa blend, himalayan pink salt, bali coconut lime salt, french lavender, sassafras leaves (used to make root beer), cinnamon saigon, raspberry sugar, and bourbon vanilla rooibos bush tea, among so many others.

or how about this cooking with Julia quintessential french spice and herb set? it would make a wonderful gift, but is also a great way to get your Julia on!

sigh, i think i'm in culinary heaven. and if i've wet your appetite, you can order almost any of these and other delights from the Spice Station website.

38 - watercolour-esque

08 August 2011

i have been wanting a watercolour-esque printed dress or skirt for awhile now. with only a vague idea of what i wanted in my head, i happily stumbled upon one in a local Montreal thrift store this weekend! not only are the muted green & dusty rose, thick cotton, and pleats gorgeous, but it's a perfect fit.

here's a collection of watercoloury goodness inspired by my new find: 

beachcombing and seaweed botanical watercolour prints by studio tuesday

watercolour petals dinnerware by artist Shelley Hesse for Anthropologie

watercolour save the date collaboration between love jenna and swiss cottage designs

Anthropologie Artist's Rendering Dress

watercolour note cards by rifle paper co.

hand painted silk inkblot coral tee by rachel rose

Louche Mollie watercolour dress from Joy

watercolour wedding invitations from the movements collection by artist Kristy Rice of Momental Designs
Rose lady fine art print of an original watercolour & gouach collage by Luci Everett (available in her print shop: paper soup).

37 - happy weekend: celebrating sisterhood

05 August 2011

this weekend my older sister's childhood best friend, who is like a second sister to me, is coming to visit us in Montreal! we have so many fun things planned: dinner tonight at a sweet little thai restaurant; a morning excursion to the famous Jean Talon market, where we will gather local, seasonal foods for a Saturday evening home-cooked meal, wine, and martinis, followed by a girls' night out (there will be lots of dancing!); Tam Tams in the park Sunday morning; and of course, sunny daytime adventures and shopping at local shops in le plateau and mile end neighbourhoods, as well as a visit to Old Montreal. i think we might be a little ambititous in trying to squeeze TOO much in, but what matters is that we are spending long overdue girl time together.i can't wait!

the above photo of the three of us together was taken in September 2005 at an outdoor Jack Johnson concert in Toronto. so much has happened in our lives since then and we have all grown in different ways, but no matter what, we maintain a close and honest friendship.

to celelbrate our sisterhood, i hand-selected a bouquet of fresh flowers at the market this afternoon. it's waiting in the front entrance to greet our guest when she arrives this evening....

what are your weekend plans? what, if anything, are you celebrating this weekend? whatever your plans or whatever you end up doing, may your hearts be filled with love. 

36 - friday favourites: lazy lakeside summer days

fieldguided's new unbleached cotton 43rd parallel tote // linen shorts by Tsumori Chisato
MinxShop english lace shirt // circular loch ness photo by Marco Suarez
crochet necklace by kove // hand knit merino wool sweater from good night, day 
100% silk crepe de chine cedar dress from dace // day at camp original screen print by yellowlion
Scout & Catalogue cream lace and leather clutch // bows and braid lace tank from Dove Tree

35 - love at first sight: rosemary milner

04 August 2011

after catching a glimpse of her work on I go by Katie, i immediately fell in love with Rosemary Milner, a delightful printed textile designer and recent graduate of Leeds College of Art in England. taking inspiration from historical narratives and naturalistic imagery, she employs traditional methods of printing and production such as hand-etching, hand-stitching, lino illustration, and silk-screening to produce the most wonderful designs for interior papers and textiles. her collection of wallpaper, fabric, books, and embroidery abound with charming images of woodland creatures and British flora & fauna in muted colours and subtle textures. 

i particularly love her embroidery and wallpaper collections, where her quintessential style combining hand-stitched motifs, vintage notions, and found artefacts together with her love of tradition and craft is most apparent. they remind me of classic children's books, nineteenth century botanical illustrations, museum collections, rural countrysides, and nature walks....

whimsical, nostalgic, traditional, playful, deeply imaginative, lighthearted, and inspired by nature -- what better way to compose a subtle but charming interior?

(via I go by Katie, as seen on decor8).

images: Rosemary Milner

34 - it really is august

03 August 2011

i am still in disbelief that it is August. where did the summer go? not to worry my friends, it isn't over yet! and what a better reminder that warm sunny skies and refreshing summer days are still upon us than this gorgeous desktop calendar from London-based illustrator Christiane Engel. it makes me endlessly happy....

August is quite possibly my favourite month.
both my mom's and andrew's birthdays are in August.
andrew and i are planning our wedding for the long weekend in August 2012.
August is a good month for celebrations and end of summer relaxation!

visit Christine's blog to download her lovely August calendar. 

33 - featured artist: kate macdowell

American artist Kate MacDowell combines human, animal, and plant forms with art historical and mythological references to explore our increasingly fraught relationship with the natural world. at once strangely beautiful and deeply disturbing, her meticulously hand-sculpted works in porcelain evoke the uneasy tension between our romantic ideal of being united with nature, and the impossibility of ever fully doing so, in part because of our devastating impact on the environment. decaying animal carcasses reveal inner structures comprised of anthropomorphic anatomical forms; an outstretched arm reminiscent of Michelangelo's iconic image of the hand of God giving live to Adam seemingly longs for a union with nature; luminous human organs radiate with an uncanny juxtaposition of human and plant or animal life; animals equipped with safety gear attempt to protect themselves from man-made environmental threats, while for others it is already too late. 

intricately preserved in porcelain, these part human/part natural specimens attest to our intimately bound relationships with one another. at the same time, the inherent fragility of the porcelain gestures to the impermanence and vulnerability not only of endangered animals and ecosystems, but also of our own existence. with an acute sensitivity and awareness, the artist brings this disquieting relationship to life.

i love everything about Kate's work: her vision, craftsmanship, aesthetic, thoughtfulness, astuteness, and of course, her choice and use of material. i couldn't think of a better artist to start off a new featured artist series.

all images copyright Kate MacDowell.

32 - glimpses from my long weekend

02 August 2011

top to bottom: my new vicki blouse from Canadian dace, which arrived just in time for me to take with me on my weekend getaway to visit andrew (p.s. dace, you're amazing!); vintage silver owl necklace, discovered in a vintage shop in Ottawa; a collection of some of my favourite shots from heather's oh-so-beautiful garden (this is what the garden looks like in August, which is when andrew and i plan to get married next year!); andrew proudly holding his big smallmouth bass, a nice catch from the St. Lawrence river. he truly is a fisherman.

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