a few good things no. 4

17 February 2012

i am writing to end this long week with a few good things.
i need this slight repose, as i will be working all through the weekend.
andrew is going ice-fishing with the boys tomorrow,
so after a lazy morning filled with good coffee
and our regular Saturday morning waffles
drenched in real local butter & pure Canadian maple syrup,
i will cozy in for what i hope will be a mellow
but productive afternoon of writing.
of course, i still need to get through today's long day of writing,
but there are some lovely things
and a nice big gin & tonic (or several!) waiting at the end
to get me through it.

1. i am loving these pants from the Canadian-line Thieves. they are even on sale in my size! i feel like i could live in them, though i suspect they might be too short on my long legs.
2. hand-crafted camano coffee mill from Old Faithful
3. i have been wanting to check out this Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the National Gallery in Ottawa, but it is almost coming to an end. it's been on for almost a year (!), but every time we pass through the city it is so rushed. this tiny little installation view from the Personages series and Forêt (Night Garden) is not at all satisfying me! must try to go.
4. also must have this wood table and brush set from Toronto-based Mjolk. i will be buying one very soon!

5. i have long loved ceramic artist Vanessa Villarreal's work and i was so happy to see her as Etsy's featured seller this week. these black spruce porcelain tumblers have always been my favourite. there is something so romantic and dreamy (but also at times sad and haunting) about spruce trees, and of course, i love anything porcelain.
6. Cold Spring Apothecary has been on my list of things to try for awhile now. i love their philosophy and branding, and their products sound perfectly divine: like this juniper wood soap. actually, i need new shampoo, so it might just be the perfect time to try something from their hair care collection.
7. how lovely are these compostable bowls from Cachette? they're made in Japan from recycled sugar cane and reeds fibre. yup, lovely.
8. if i hadn't already bought one almost exactly like this from Scout & Catalogue (handmade in all cream wool), i would have pounced on this gorgeous vintage wool cape from Dear Golden as soon as i saw it. oh, and it's on sale along with all other coats in the shop too! i am so SO tempted but i am trying very responsibly to listen to my voice of reason.

9. oh-so pretty and elegant ivory lace-trimmed silk-chiffon slip from Rosamosario. this is one timeless beauty....
10. i'm pretty sure these are the perfect nude leather ballet flats. a "wise" investment? good thing a girl can dream!
11. i find myself returning over and over again to this simple but richly layered work by artist Matthew Jensen. it is available as a set of four prints from Little Paper Planes. i share in and have a deep appreciation for his humble, "unassuming methods..." and attention to detail., and love the stories these prints have to tell. i would be more than happy to add them to my collection.

happy weekend; hope it's a good one!

xo, sara

these days

16 February 2012

i've been fully immersed in writing my comps for almost two weeks now, and i am already exhausted. i try to find or create little bits of brightness in the mornings to kickstart my consistently long days and to help keep me going. this morning, i happily watched three blue jays flutter around in the trees in the backyard; other mornings, it's just orange juice and vanilla yogourt with strawberries.

i always look forward to my daily afternoon walks with glasgow; the only real thing that gets me out of the house. it's been fairly warm this week and we've even had a couple sunny days, which make me want to stay outside forever. yesterday, the snow was starting to melt and things were softening up, making it perfect to collect lichen and other forest bits preserved in the snow. i can't think of a better, more relaxing and fulfilling break from writing. 

my evenings have been fairly mellow and follow a general routine. if am really stressed or in the writing zone, andrew cooks me dinner. otherwise, we prepare dinner together and sit down to watch The X-Files while we eat. i usually unwind after long days of writing with a glass of wine or a beer, without which i honestly don't think i could get through this kind of intensive writing (or grad school, period). the thing that i truly cherish most, though, is spending time with my little family in our cozy little space together. none of this would be worth it if it weren't for their love and companionship.

love poems

14 February 2012

i have never been one to celebrate Valentine's day. i don't fully boycott or denounce it, but i don't willingly embrace it either. ever the romantics, andrew and i regularly make gestures to show our love in both subtle and bold ways. i much prefer to be surprised by unexpected love notes, "love you" gifts, and other small but thoughtful acts of love than to be unnecessarily showered with gifts and sentiments on one designated day. when the mood strikes, however, i do sometimes spoil andrew or my close friends with a little Valentine's love. i have a soft spot for paper goods and hand-written love letters.

so to celebrate love in the tradition of the written word rather than in images or material goods, i thought i would share two of my favourite love poems from two entirely different traditions, although both are equally charged with sensuality and earthly passion. the first poem is by Naubel Laureate Pablo Neruda, translated from its original Spanish by Donald. D. Walsh. the second is the twelfth and final chapter from Sanskrit poet Jayadeva's twelfth-century lyrical poem, the Gita Govinda, which tells of the divine love of the Hindu deity Krishna and Radha, his favourite gopi or cowherd girl. this excerpt is from Barbara Stoler Miller's 1977 translation, Love Song of the Dark Lord: Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.


When your hands go out,
love, toward mine
what do they bring me flying?
Why did they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
dove wings,
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
The wood suddennly
brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.


Ecstatic Krishna 

When her friends had gone,
Smiles spread on Radha's lips
While love's deep fantasies
Struggled with her modesty.
Seeing the mood in Radha's heart,
Hari spoke to his love;
Her eyes were fixed
On his bed of buds and tender shoots.             

The Twenty-third Song, sung with Raga '"Vibhasa"

Leave lotus footprints on my bed of tender shoots, loving Radha! Let my place be ravaged by your tender feet!
    Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!                     

I stroke your foot with my lotus hand—You have come far.
Set your golden anklet on my bed like the sun.
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!              

Consent to my love; let elixir pour from your face!
To end our separation I bare my chest of the silk that bars your breast.
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!                  

Throbbing breasts aching for loving embrace are hard to touch.
Rest these vessels on my chest! Quench love's burning fire!
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!            

Offer your lips' nectar to revive a dying slave, Radha!
His obsessed mind and listless body burn in love's d/desolation.
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!                      

Radha, make your jeweled girdle cords echo the tone of your voice!
Soothe the long torture my ears have suffered from cuckoo's shrill cries!
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!                      

Your eyes are ashamed now to see me tortured by baseless anger;
Glance at me and end my passion's despair!
     Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!                   

Each verse of Jayadeva's song echoes the delight of Madhu's foe.
Let emotion rise to a joyful mood of love in sensitive men!
      Narayana is faithful now. Love me, Radhika!  

Displaying her passion
In loveplay as the battle began,
She launched a bold offensive
Above him
And triumphed over her lover.
Her hips were still,
Her vine-like arm was slack,
Her chest was heaving,
Her eyes were closed.
Why does a mood of manly force
Succeed for women in love ?

The Twenty-fourth Song, sung with Raga "Ramakari”

Yadava hero, your hand is cooler than sandalbalm on my breast;
Paint a leaf design with deer musk here on Love's ritual vessel!
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.    

Lover, draw kohl glossier than a swarm of black bees on my eyes!
Your lips kissed away the lampblack bow that shoots arrows of Love.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.      

My ears reflect the restless gleam of doe eyes, graceful Lord.
Hang earrings on their magic circles to form snares for love.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.      

Pin back the teasing lock of hair on my smooth lotus face!
It fell before me to mime a gleaming line of black bees.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.      

Make a mark with liquid deer musk on my moonlit brow!
Make a moon shadow, Krishna! The sweat drops are dried.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.       

Fix flowers in shining hair loosened by loveplay, Krishna!
Make a flywhisk outshining peacock plumage to be the banner of Love.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.        

My beautiful loins are a deep cavern to take the thrusts of love—
Cover them with jeweled girdles, cloths, and ornaments, Krishna!
She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.     

Make your heart sympathetic to Jayadeva's splendid speech!
Recalling Hari's feet is elixir against fevers of this dark time.
     She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her heart.     

"Paint a leaf on my breasts!
Put color on my cheeks!
Lay a girdle on my hips!
Twine my heavy braid with flowers!
Fix rows of bangles on my hands
And jeweled anklets on my feet!"
Her yellow-robed lover
Did what Radha said.                                           

His musical skill, his meditation on Vishnu,
His vision of reality in the erotic mood,
His graceful play in these poems,
All show that master-poet Jayadeva's soul
Is in perfect tune with Krishna—
Let blissful men of wisdom purify the world
By singing his Gitagovinda.    


rennes: late winter 2012

10 February 2012

julia of rennes just released her new collection: pale white, named after this song by Yann Tiersen and Shannon Wright. the collection is as supple and textured as the song, with just the right mood and layers of complexity. i have always loved julia's designs, craftsmanship, and simple aesthetic, but this late winter collection truly hits a new note. it captures late winter perfectly, when the seasons are about to turn and you can sense spring in the air. the combination of earthy tones and pale pastels is perfectly enchanting.

i also love how lately it seems that artists and designers aren't afraid to break out of the conventional F/W, S/S seasonal collections and are embracing the in-between. not only does it relieve expectations and pressure, but it also makes for an extra touch of magic. even if not fully appreciated, late winter is one of the best times of the year, and julia hits it right on.

visit the rennes shop to view the entire collection, and to celebrate the turning of seasons.

photos from rennes

flowers of instagram

09 February 2012

credits: anabela (fieldguided) // jane (ill seen, ill said)

lately, my instagram feed has been coloured with photos of flowers: snapshots, still lifes, close-ups, and artful photos of bouquets. i have been reluctant to bring flowers into the house ever since i poisoned my cat with lilies last year, and i have always been the kind to spontaneously treat myself with a bouquet or even a single flower while walking through the city streets and running errands, which country living makes somewhat difficult. i am looking forward to Spring and Summer when all the neighbhourhood and nearby gardens, parks, and wildflowers will be in full bloom, but until then i was inspired to put together a few of my favourites in celebration of the soft, subtle, and sometimes vibrant beauty of flowers and the lovely ladies who so willingly and lovingly share these glimpses from their everday lives.

credits: teresa (stone & honey) // melinda josie
amy merrick // noemie (as ink remains)

credits: jane (ill seen, ill said) // sarah (saipua)
melinda josie // jen (honey kennedy)

credits: anntorian // anabela (fieldguided)
 jane (ill seen, ill said) // noemie (as ink remains)

credits: sandra juto // chelsae (frolic!)
amy merrick // sarah (saipua)

credits: emma (emmadime) // hannah (another feather)
bri (designlovefest) // kate (for me, for you)

Bri of designlovefest put it best when she shared the above photo: "six dollar afternoon happiness." her sentiment shows how easily it is to create bursts of happiness throughout what otherwise might be a mundane, exhausting, or evern stressful day. i feel aspects of that happiness simply by browsing through my instagram feed and sharing in these deligthful moments, so THANK YOU to all the wonderful bloggers, designers, and artists whose photos i have featured here for adding bursts of happiness to my long, work-filled winter days.


the dress

08 February 2012

i have been sitting on this with ever-increasing excitement for awhile now, from the moment it first stole my heart to taking the plunge and ordering it, to anxiously awaiting its arrival, and finally to trying it on and deciding whether or not it was actually the 'one.' to be honest, my heart is still fluttering and i still need some second opnions, but i think with a little bit of work (slight alterations and a good cleaning) it can be everything that i want it to be: classic, simple, understated, elegant, and even down-to-earth. 

i would like to introduce my vintage 1960s wedding dress:

it is white cotton pique with the loveliest floral embossed pattern, providing a perfectly subtle texture for a late summer wedding. the cut is just gorgeous, with a contour waist, semi-full voluminous skirt, and deep princess seaming that runs the length of the dress. i am tall and willowly, so the dress complements and even gives shape to my body, falling at about tea length. i am thinking of removing the beaded detailing on the collar and matching 'corsage' to keep it simple and uncluttered and to update its look, but also because i will be wearing my Nana's vintage pearls and i want them to stand out. i think the subtle details are the most important and are where all the fun and magic are.

both the dress and photos are from the ever-lovely vintage shop dear golden. Lauren's finds always seem to capture my heart, i couldn't imagine a better place to have found my dress. thank you so much Lauren, xo!

weekend delights

06 February 2012

reading for my train ride // friday night snowstorm on our drive into Ottawa
glimpse of some goodies from the forthcoming nova lily porcelain series // mimosas at Sunday brunch
view of the winter landscape through the train window (somewhere in Quebec) // new Kamik rubber boots (made in Canada and 100% recyclable!) that andrew got me for spring
lovely little vintage short-sleeved sweater find in Montreal // maple pear crepe with ricotta and a side of fresh fruit, also at Sunday brunch

we're back from our weekend run into the city (me to Montreal; andrew & glasgow to Ottawa, where i met up with them again on Sunday afternoon). it went SO fast. a little too fast, but it's nice to be back in Laurentian Valley where life is cozier and much slower. i've grown so used to small-town, country living that going back to the city is somehwhat jarring. not only do i feel out of place even as i blend in, adapting to the movement and attitude of the city (which also saddens me, how immediately the city changes your state of mind and way of being), but i have become extremely sensitive to the smells! the city really does stink. the air is thick and heavy and so much harder to breathe. that being said, i also love so much of what the city has to offer: art, culture, food, shopping, education, etc. it's a love/hate relationship, i suppose. and i definitely feel myself changing as i am getting older and embracing small-town life. i didn't take too many photos over the weekend, but the few that i did seem to capture slowness rather than speed.

i won't be too active here on the blog this week as i dive into writing my comps, although i'm sure i will make some brief appearances for a breath of fresh air or change of pace. in the meantime, you can always find me on twitter and please do have a wonderful week!

february blues SALE

03 February 2012

in light of my recent post on the February blues and given that i will be hard at work writing my PhD comprehensive exams all month, i decided to host a corresponding sale in the nova lily shop that will run for the ENTIRE month. the idea is to make room for the S/S 2012 collection, which i plan on releasing some time in March. please visit the shop for details and simply enter the coupon code: FEBRUARYBLUES at checkout to receive 20% off your order.

happy February!



weekend in the city

i am making a quick jaunt to Montreal this weekend, primarily to gather library books that i need to write my comps. andrew is taking me to Ottawa this evening so that i can catch the train, where he will spend the weekend catching up with old friends. although it will be a quick in and out, i am hoping to find time to visit some of my favourite shops and stock up on a few of the delightful things the city has to offer.

i love this colourful and quirky map of the city from Issue 6 of Pure Green Magazine, illustrated by Bess Callard of the English Muffin. my apartment is pretty much between the Mile End cup of coffee and the Petite Italie flag at the top right of the map, in what i would argue is one of the city's best neighbourhoods.

have a wonderful weekend, friends!

a print version of the Illustrated Map of Montréal is available here.

wearable porcelain: blessbless

02 February 2012

i just discovered this recently launched Etsy shop and i couldn't resist featuring it in a new wearable porcelain post. Emily Douglas, the designer behind Portland-based blessbless, hand sculpts porcelain clay into delightfully-shaped earrings, which she offers in a series of soft and subtle glazes, ranging from natural oatmeal to mint green. the whole collection is irresistably sweet and light-hearted.

she also offers a small selection of complementary porcelain dishes so you that can coordinate your collection and display your earrings. the simple packaging is equally lovely, making just the right finishing touch.

view the complete collection here.

february blues

01 February 2012

my February blues came a little early this year, rearing their head throughout the month of January. i wavered more than a few times, feeling stagnant and vulnerable, losing my usual confidence, having trouble sleeping and keeping regular hours, and becoming far too affected and upset by even the littlest of things. i'm hoping that because my blues already erupted full force, i can silently tuck them away and start this month fresh. although i admit, it's going to be a BIG month for me. i bit the bullet and decided to resume my comprehensive exams so that i can continue with my research. i will be receiving my exam questions by the end of the week and will be basically chained to my desk for the next four weeks, writing, day & night. oddly, i think this kind of pressure is exactly what i need.

so to bid my blues farewell, i put together a selection of good and delightfully blue things. i should probably preface this collection by saying that i've always had an on again/off again relationship with the colour blue. as a young girl, defiant that i was not in the least bit girly and in attempt to dissociate myself from all things "pink," i embraced and declared blue as my favourite colour. when my dad asked what colours my sister and i wanted him to paint our bedrooms, she chose a peach tone and i proudly opted for a soft, soothing blue. as a i grew older, i developed a love for earth tones, forest greens, and deep reds, but early in high school i reverted to my childhood love of blue, composing outfits almost entirely of coordinating blue tones and even dying my short hair the most amazing shade of midnight indigo blue. now, i am mostly drawn to and surround myself with earthy, neutral, and soft tones, but i suppose i have a special place in my heart for the blues:

2. ornate blue porcelain bear pendant (and one of my favourites; i have this beauty in moss green) by poodlebreath.
3. i recently ordered this foil-stamped blue composition book by Girls of All Work.
4. i instantly fell in love when i saw this photograph by doswell & mclean as part of project on natural dyes for Bloom Magazine (via trendland). how could i not? i basically grew up in the land of blueberries!
5. Pablo Picasso's Blue Nude (1902) from his "blue period."
6. turquoise blue "Jeanne" high waisted bamboo knickers from Hopeless. i have developed a true love affair with highwaist knickers ever since i first encountered Fortnight in the flesh back in September. i want now to wear nothing else, ever.
7. Marble & Milkweed's rose & chamomile cleansing nectar. this gentle facial cleanser is literally like spreading nectar on your skin. made with natural ingredients, it smells divine and the texture is thick and smooth, making it gentle enough for winter worn skin and perfect to defeat the February blues. Marble & Milkweed has become a staple in my own collection of skincare products. i am all about analogue beauty. 
8. arrowhead feather earrings by the lovely Montreal-based Noemiah.

background image: Blue Coral Print by Elise Mahan.

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