Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ready for 2009 calendar

When I went to Los Angeles this past fall I picked myself up a Sukie Perpetual Calendar. It now sits on my desk at the office and everyone who visits always points it out and asks me where I got it. I love it because it sits upright and has moveable dials for the day, date, month and weather, not to mention it has cute owl and bird illustrations on it too. Also love it, since it saves me from purchasing a calendar every new year! Check out some of Sukie's other lovely wares here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

collage: girl and birds

I hate working weekdays leading up to a holiday... it feels like time goes by extra slow, and every time I look at the clock, only minutes have gone by. I end up procrastinating more than half the time... usually surfing the net or daydreaming. I'm not as focused as the girl in this collage... she seems to be able to concentrate despite the loud and constant talk from her pet bird.

Monday, December 29, 2008

collage: bird chasing a deer

I am still on holiday mode, so I thought I would post one of my winter-themed collages. I love vintage imagery of deer, so when I came across this one I had to turn it into a collage. I figure any deer with branches for antlers is sure to gain many birdie friends.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

snow days

Over the holidays we received over 2 feet of snow, making it a very white Christmas indeed! In some ways, Vancouver pretty much ceases to function once the white stuff hits the ground - traffic is a mess, local transit is always running late, parking is impossible and flights get cancelled left and right. Despite all the chaos, I actually like going out for walks when there is a lot of snow and hearing the crunching beneath my boots. Since all the smaller roads around our neighborhood are still buried (and people avoid driving on them) it actually makes for quite a peaceful and relaxing walk. I guess the secret to enjoying a snow day is to get out of your car.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

my shiny new bike

Hope everyone had a good Christmas! I am so excited by one of my gifts from Santa this year (aka my husband Roger), I had to share. Under the tree this year (well, more like beside it) was a brand new orange Raleigh Chopper bicycle. It is a reproduction of the classic British design from the 1970s and its styling is based on the look of a chopper motorcycle. I was so sad a couple of years ago when my old BMX got stolen... but this new bicycle has got me really excited about biking again. This is the first time I am actualy wishing all this snow in Vancouver would melt away... I want to ride my bike so bad!

Friday, December 26, 2008

boxing week sale!

It is Boxing Day here in Canada... which means all the post-holiday sales have officially started! From December 26th - January 9th I will be having a Boxing Week Sale in my etsy shop. Select items will be on sale from 25 - 50% off... and the great news is that there are no long line-ups, annoying crowds or aggressive fighting shoppers. Grab a cup of coffee and shop in your pajamas and not get funny looks! Pictured above is one of the sale items (25% off of a $20 tote... now only $15!). Stop by and check out the other deals!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas... or should I say "Merrie Roast of Beef"?! I thought I'd break away from the norm and post up a non-traditional Christmas greeting. This is an image I found from one of my old vintage cookbooks (which I use for crafting purposes btw and not actually for cooking - so no need to worry about retro technicolor food being served at our house). Have a Happy Holiday! :) 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

collage: baking cookies for the birds

It is Christmas eve, so perfect day to just kick back and relax... perhaps nibble on some treats here and there and poke and shake the gift boxes under the tree. I find every year during the holidays, I don't actually do any holiday baking, but end up ingesting my fair share of baked treats regardless (so many baked goodies at parties and get-togethers!). Its the only time of year where I actually enjoy eating shortbread (as long as it doesn't have the day-glo cherries on it), an odd rum ball, or peppermint bark. I do draw the line at fruit cake though... that, I would definitely feed to the birds.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

mink chocolates

I opened one of my Christmas gifts early, since we did our office gift exchange yesterday. One of the gifts was a lovely designer chocolate bar from Mink Cafe in Vancouver... yay! After ingesting the bar pretty much that same day (they are soooo good!), I figured I should spread the word of this to-go-to place for chocoholics. At the café, everything is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate - one can have personal chocolate fondue, chocolate dipped belgian waffles (served on silver trays no less), or get any assortment of fine bonbons from the chocolate bar. I could sure go for a mug of hot chocolate now... I am drooling just thinking about it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

charlie brown christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and we have finally finished decorating the house! The stockings are hung up, the wreath is on our door, and our Charlie Brown holiday figurines are dusted off and displayed too. My favorite part from the set is the little puny tree with the red ornament (runner-up is PigPen's dirty snowman). Hmmmm... okay, now I just have to finish getting all the gifts... the countdown begins!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

collage: girl + bird jumping rope

Jumping rope is probably one of the best and grueling exercises. I had forgotten how tiring it was until I had to do it as part of circuit training class I took awhile back, where you had to skip rope boxer style. Argh!... how can a childhood toy be so cruel? Well this collage neglects the gruel factor and focuses on the idealized childhood memory of skipping rope... when it was more nonchalant and carefree. So carefree in fact, I had to add a birdie friend in there to join her.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

festival of light

Weirdly enough, I think I am more prepared this holiday season than previous years. Even though I haven't finished getting all the gifts, panic hasn't struck me yet. This past week, we even had time to head down to Van Dusen Botanical Garden to check out the Festival of Lights. The picture doesn't do it justice, but imagine one of those crazily decorated Christmas houses on your street but multiplied by 100x in size. I love the new LED lights, but I noticed they mixed them in with the regular lights this year... perhaps the trippy effect of too many of them together last year caused too many people to stumble in the flower bushes. You can check out the Dancing Lights show here, but be forewarned the rock-ballad Yanni-esque Christmas music is a tad scary.

Friday, December 19, 2008

collage: face off

I wonder what small dogs must think when they encounter giant cats, or vice versa - what big cats must think when they see teeny dogs (especially teeny dogs wearing clothes). Would there be instant camaraderie or would they be deadlocked in a face off? Either way, it was fun to make a collage where the cat and dog are giving each other the stink eye.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

kraft + vintage paper notebooks

I love kraft paper and can't seem to get enough of it. This past month, I decided to make kraft notebooks featuring random images from vintage books on the covers – yet another way to salvage all those unwanted used books! Each image is sewn on to the cover with colourful thread, and each book is made out of 100% post-consumer recycled paper. I had initially made four dozen, which then ended up being snapped up very quickly at the local craft fairs. Luckily I made an extra batch and will be posting new ones up in the shop every couple of days!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

our noble friend

My parents used to have the type of artificial tree where you would have to plug in each branch into a broom handle-like pole. They have since upgraded to a white number with fiber optic lights to keep up with the times. Perhaps I am rebelling as an adult from all those years of plastic – Roger and I always opt for a real tree each year. We revisited our favorite tree lot this week and got ourselves a 5.5' Noble Fir. While I like the look of colour-coordinated designer trees, we have attachments to our old ornaments and like to have our tree kick it old school. The majority of the ornaments aren't actually valuable heirlooms, but inexpensive plastic baubles and kitschy decorations from the 70s and 80s we acquired from both our families. Every year some of the glitter comes off of one, or an eye will fall off one of the characters, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

poppytalk handmade: december market

This week is the launch of Poppytalk Handmade's Holiday Madness & Boxing Sale Marketplace! From December 15th to January 9th the online street market will showcase over 100 online vendors from around the world (including myself!). Come by and visit and shop crowd-free - there are some great deals on handmade and vintage items by many talented artists and crafters! Above is just a small selection of a few of my favorite vendors at the marketplace.

Monday, December 15, 2008

we have snow!

There is snow in Vancouver! I am quite used to the seasonal rainfall, so when it does snow here, it is a real big treat. Yesterday, Roger and I decided to get a little outdoorsy and Canadiana, so we went snowshoeing up at one of the local mountains. The hike up the Dog Mountain Trail at Mount Seymour is about 2.5 hours round trip, but you're then rewarded with this spectacular view of the local mountain range at the top... it's enough to make you cry, although I don't recommend it, since the tears might freeze to your face. Looking at our pic makes me want to go get some hot chocolate now!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

collage: dreaming

It's Sunday today! Perfect day to stay under the warm blankets in bed and catch up on some zzz's. I must admit I am a very heavy sleeper and have in the past fallen asleep while watching TV, reading, working at the computer, during a movie, during a school lecture and yes, even once or twice, talking on the phone mid-conversation. Even one of my favorite childhood photos shows me slumped over asleep in a high chair with my hand still in a bowl of food... I guess some things stick with you through adulthood.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

new wall plaques

One of my favorite crafty things to make are woodburnings... our house smells like campfire every time I make a batch.We have a gas fireplace, so I guess the smell just lets us pretend its a real traditional fire. New this season, I have started burning woodland inspired plaques. There are two styles of the medium sized plaques - the stag head and the wise owl, and two styles of the smaller plaques - the swooping swallow and the cute fawn. I decided to paint the sides and add some fancy colour coordinated ribbon as well for easy hanging. Check them out in the shop!

Friday, December 12, 2008

collage: scaredy cat

Last weekend, one of my friend's cats hissed at me. It wasn't a full-on arched back hiss, only a mini-hiss in passing. Perhaps it sensed that I am allergic to cats and already knew that I wouldn't be able to pet it, in which case I will interpret its greeting as a scoff and not a hiss. I named this collage scaredy cat - not sure which one is the scaredy cat though - the actual cat or the girl.

i live here

"I Live Here" is a visual narrative consisting of four smaller books exploring the lives of refugees and displaced people from areas of four corners of the world – Chechnya, Burma, Mexico and Malawi. Written by actress Mia Kirshner (of the L Word) and J.B. McKinnon (author of the 100-mile diet), and art directed by Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons, the books are a collection of journals, stories, images and graphic novellas that all combine to share the voices and intimate journeys of human crisis. I was commissioned awhile back to do a challenging illustration for the book, and to my surprise, my hand embroidered heart now graces the cover of one of the them – Ciudad Juárez. Click here to see more excerpts from the book.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

lykke li

So do you ever have a song track or album that you find yourself listening to in constant rotation? This is different from having a song stuck in your head (which is usually an annoying song one doesn't want to hear). In this case, I mean voluntary repetitive listening. For me right now it's Lykke Li's new album "Youth Novels". On recommendation from my Californian cousin, I went to the Lykke Li show here this past fall when she came to Richard's on Richards in Vancouver... and ever since I have been hooked! I listen to the album on headphones here at work, so I don't drive my office mates batty and make any enemies. Listen to some of her songs here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

100 ideas for creative reuse

I am putting together my submission for Extreme's "1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse" book. If you haven't already heard, there is a call for submissions by Rockport Publishers/Quarry Books for unique 21st century craft and design made with recycled, upcycled, and repurposed items. Item categories they are accepting include art, paper, jewelry and much much more. The deadline is coming up soon! Click here for more submission details.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

collage: girl and umbrella

It's another gloomy rainy day here in Vancouver... sigh. If only rain clouds were another colour instead of grey... like maybe cotton candy pink? It would make me want to put on my gum boots and go puddle jumping rather than staring out the window and longing for the sunshine.

Monday, December 8, 2008

santa claus parade

Yesterday was the Rogers Santa Claus parade in Vancouver, where we volunteered to hand out promotional stickers for the upcoming Beauty and the Beast show at the Arts Club Theatre Company. Basically it was a mad sprint beside the Beauty and the Beast float handing out stickers to little kids along the sides of the street. It always looks like parades move slow on TV, but we were literally running and trying to avoid the onslaught of cart-wheeling gymnasts gaining ground behind us the whole time. Here are some behind the scene pics of the floats and paraders in waiting (unfortunately my camera died before I could take a pic of the float we ran beside). Usually I find mascots a bit creepy, but had to post this one since it looked funny... doesn't it look like a naked hedgehog wearing an apron? 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

collage: girl and bird

As you can probably tell, I love bird imagery... I can't seem to get enough. This is one of my earlier wood collages where I started pairing kids and birds together. Why is she crying? – perhaps she has lost her pet owl, perhaps her parents won't buy her an owl, or perhaps she is terrified of owls and they bring back traumatic memories. Either way... I couldn't resist collaging the two elements together.

Friday, December 5, 2008

toque at the western front

Come visit me and several other talented artists and crafters at this year's Toque at the Western Front Gallery in Vancouver (303 East 8th Avenue). The event will be tonight, December 5th 6pm - 9pm and Saturday, December 6th 11am-5pm. I will be sharing a table with two of my favorite artist/crafters Crooked Walker (who also happens to be my hubby Roger) and Track and Field Designs. Partial proceeds of all sales goes towards funding for the Western Front Gallery, an artist run centre. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

new cards

Ok... so I have finally taken photos of the new cards I made a couple weeks ago. After hours of punching circles out of my vintage books, I decided to turn them into little mini cards. I found these cute manila coin envelopes at the local stationary store... and they seem to match well. Feels good to be able to give new life to old unwanted books! They are turning out to be a real hit at the craft fairs too, so I think I will make more and try listing them in the shop soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

trip planning

It is confirmed... we have bought our plane tickets for our next upcoming vacation! We'll be heading to Vietnam in February for two and a half weeks... I am so excited (and a tad nervous) I am dancing on the spot. I have never been there, but have heard nothing but great things. It is so cloudy and grey here in Vancouver now, the thought of awaiting tropical sunshine is bliss. Now comes the actual trip planning part... if anyone has any suggestions, let us know!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

collage: constant bird talk

Another collage to share with you today. I always love how little kids can talk for hours and hours on one topic, especially when it comes to subjects like animals or dinosaurs. And it's usually the case that they will have an insane amount of knowledge on that one topic as well, thus leaving us adults little to add to the conversation.

shared vision

Some exciting news today! Shared Vision Magazine has featured me as one of their design visionaries for their December "Intelligent Design" issue! I am so excited to be included with such talented people and be able to share some thoughts on socially conscious graphic design. Click here to read the full article. (I also want to thank my friend Jaime Kowal for photographing me and making me look normal, and not like a nervous deer-in-the-headlights – which is how i totally felt!). 

Monday, December 1, 2008

crooked walker notebooks

I thought I would share with you some of my husband Roger's new screen printed notebooks today. He has got into the print gocco fever as well and created these colorful notebooks featuring images of cassette tapes on the covers. We still have boxes of random mixed tapes in our house... all from our elementary and junior high days. Its funny and embarrassing to see all of the different types of music I painstakingly tried to record back then – EMF and Boyz II Men on the same tape?...yikes. Check out the books at