back in the saddle

holy hannah! are we done yet?!

so... seriously now. i'm getting tired. today was supposed to be one of my many planned uber-productive days but no dice - it never really happened. not sure why. (well, i'm sure why - it's because i felt the urge to get this laptop thing wrapped up once and for all and i wanted to visit best buy onemoretime just to make sure that i got the one that's the absolute right one for me).

holy indecisive, batman.

i'm looking at a super cool one who's screen rotates around and turns into a tablet. i'm not going to geek out here with the deets, but trust me when i say that it's fantastic. we'll see. after that, we did some driving around and errands, and now it's most definitely too late to pull out my awesome prismacolour pencils (mishmish gift) and tabletop easel (ditto) and get rockin.

off i go.


363 days to go til next christmas

stuffed to the brim twice over now, i'm in the process of digesting and squeezing myself back into my jeans.

great christmas. big love to all my family and friends. thanks for the gifts, the love, the food & memories.

what new memories have you made?


it's that time again

i've been buying like crazy on etsy - i dont know whether it's the time of year or the fantastic items that i've been coming across lately - or a combination of both - but it's darn near impossible to swing by there for a quick visit to leave some feedback without stumbling across something else that i absolutely need to buy.

today's purchase: susyjack's deluxe 2009 wall calendar. mm. it's my second year of getting these calendars.. i love how vibrant they are, yet not overwhelming. i hang them in my office wall, three months at a time, as a way to brighten up the dull beige of the cubicle - they're among one of the most frequently complimented items that i have in there.
i can't wait for the 2009 round!


all holed up with plenty to do

how stinkin cute are these felted magnets and letters from MiChiMa?! They're quite possibly my new favourite things.

today: last day of work before the university closes down for the holidays and i'm on vacation for 3 weeks! awesomeness abounds. i'll be holed up in my house, scratching that creative itch for the next lil bit. it's gonna be creative output city; just you wait and see. we're expecting a snowstorm extraordinaire tomorrow (they're talkin 27cm of snow.. which is about 14", give or take...) so i've got full intentions to spend the entire day inside; while everyone else is at work, i'll be cleaning and then creating and then quite possibly having a nap.

what a fantastic start to a vacation!


hello finish line!

holy delivery, postman!

i've a sneaky suspicion that the post office might have been holding a bunch of my incoming purchases hostage and has decided to deliver them to me all in one giant batch.

{sweet - at least they're delivering them to me, right?}

i'm suuuuper happy that i've received all but one of the gifts that i've ordered online. everything looks spectacular and just the way i'd expected it to. i'm almost done my shopping - just three more presents to go! i'm really excited for a few gifts in particular to get to their recipients this year.. i love it when i know i've got something that's a combination of meaningful and awesome at the same time - too bad i can't share what it is here. yet.

what are you most excited to give this year?
photo via alan chao


food for thought

hm. from last month's new york times. what do you think?

Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly.

This approach is a deliberate smack at the popular group blogs like Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, Valleywag and boingboing, which can crank out as many as 50 items a day. On those sites, readers flood in and advertisers sign on. Spin and snark abound. Earnest descriptions of the first frost of the season are nowhere to be found.

In between the slow bloggers and the rapid-fire ones, there is a vast middle, hundreds of thousands of writers who are not trying to attract advertising or buzz but do want to reach like-minded colleagues and friends. These people have been the bedrock of the genre since its start, yet recently there has been a sea change in their output: They are increasingly turning to slow blogging, in practice if not in name.

“I’m definitely noticing a drop-off in posting — I’m talking about among the more visible bloggers, the ones with 100 to 200 readers or more,” said Danah Boyd, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies popular culture and technology. “I think that those people who were writing long, thought-out posts are continuing, but those who were writing, ‘Hey, check this out’ posts are going to other forums. It’s a dynamic shift.”

Technology is partly to blame. Two years ago, if a writer wanted to share a link or a video with friends or tell them about an upcoming event, he or she would post the information on a blog. Now it’s much faster to type 140 characters in a Twitter update (also known as a tweet), share pictures on Flickr, or use the news feed on
Facebook. By comparison, a traditional blogging program like WordPress can feel downright glacial.


la vie en bleu

{some of my most recent flickr faves... it appears that i've been on a bit of a blue kick.}

laptop - still the victim of an amnesiac hissy fit.
christmas shopping - almost done. just a few more things to go.
stockings - not done in the least.
creativity - peaking. it seems that the fact that my laptop is busted means that i have no other choice but to get a-creatin'. sweet.

how was your weekend?

1. light blue stairwell, 2. Memories of Morocco, 3. north beach, 4. Blue Shutters, Hanoi, Vietnam, 5. Garden of Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech, Morocco, 6. Summer Lovers :: Oia, Santorini, Greece, 7. Tangier, Morocco, 8. Morocco, 9. Morocco - Pensando in blu!, 10. Hellenic blue... locked and sealed, 11. blue..., 12. oh so blue, 13. dandelion blue, 14. My Blue Eyes, 15. The Light Blue Pencil, 16. Orange & Blue with N95, 17. Greek blue, 18. Blue Christmas!, 19. blue on concrete, 20. green & blue, 21. dandy drop, 22. Bury your pride and say goodbye, 23. Heaven, 24. Blue ice cave at the Jostedalsbreen glacier, 25. purple sea snails



my laptop seems to be rebelling against me again. first it was freaking out and had amnesia, now it wont boot up. i've been doing some investigating on the nerd forums and i think i know what's wrong with it, but it's gonna require a reformat and reinstall - and after that, i have to hope it's not a hardware problem otherwise my anticipated laptop purchase may come sooner than i was originally planning it.

does anyone have any recommendations?

my only stipulation are that it's gotta have good processing power so that i can run photoshop and a few other programs at once, it's gotta be fairly affordable (i'm talkin under $1000 cdn), and portable, since the current one is kind of heavy. finally, i'm not looking for a mac. (sorry, mac people. nothing personal - just that they're outside my price range and all of my existing software is meant for windows.)

i've been really eyeing the dell inspiron mini 12 or more recently, an hp one that i met in best buy... i currently have an acer and am incredibly dissatisfied with it; i started having problems with it two months after the warrantee was up. so... what do you have? do you like it? would you buy that brand again?

{in the meanwhile, posting is gonna be more sporadic. i'm going to try to keep to as much of a regular schedule as possible, but can't guarantee every day posts until i can figure out my computer situation.}

a little ray of sunshine, though...

mike had his first sale at his etsy shop today! woohoo for him!


over to you, lloyd...

reporting updates from the toronto OOAK show...

too-cute bags by becky caulford of the honeybea design hive (those oversized buttons are what drew me in!) the bags are super soft and such high quality, i'd highly recommend it to someone who's looking for a new one!

i was
thisclose to buying some work by award-winning potter Marie-Joël Tréma, but because of all the money i've spent on kal barteski's art this month i figured i couldn't budget it. but seriously, keep an eye out for her stuff - it's absolutely gorgeous and i need it on my walls.

{it's kind of difficult to tell from her gallery, but her pieces are individually crafted ceramic tiles with various textures, patterns and colours, mounted on a thick polished wood frame.)

finally, the above photos are pieces from gisele theriault of the barber's daughter. what gorgeous, gorgeous work. i love it.


almost as good as christmas. almost.

it's finally here. today - it's my visit to the toronto one of a kind show. am taking the afternoon off work to get there early before the weekend crowds. cannot wait to see all of the incredible talent and creations that abound. i've been preparing for months now. shopping takes stamina... and i'm up for the challenge.

six hours of unbridled OOAK. what better kick off to a weekend?


where the sidewalk ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes - we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark; and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

- Shel Silverstein

photo by mjmatt


merry merry!

holy hannah, i can't believe it's almost thursday!

some merry and bright ideas for christmas:

handmade gift card boxes by heather bailey
super-cute monogrammed
gift tags from martha stewart
a hanging
wall organizer by lotta jansdotter at living creatively
oreo truffles in an origami gift box - how perfect for a coworker?
customizeable & printable chocolate bar wrappers from rachael ray {ok, so it's not technically a gift, but it's
just so cool!}
shel silverstein books. any of 'em.
cookie mix in a jar {check out the photo up there. seriously. how can you say no?}

has anyone started their shopping yet? i feel terribly, terribly behind on mine.

road trippin kinda weekend

my little car clocked a few kilometres this weekend on our latest road trip; saturday, we headed down to the niagara wine region for a tasting and tour at hillebrand estates winery, a walk around the falls, and a drive through the countryside.

on sunday, we decided to head up north to my late great aunt and uncle's farm, the stables of which have been recently converted into a super cute antiques shop by their two sons. before fleeing back down south from our first winter storm, i managed to convince everyone that a stop at the mariposa market in orillia was in order. as luck would have it, we had unwittingly stumbled upon their customer appreciation day and were the proud recipients of all of their free samples of baking and mulled apple cider. mm.

toasty, full and tired from all the fresh air, we headed back home for a roast beef dinner and weathered the storm with a great bottle of wine.

fantastique. what'd you get up to?


featured artist: Amy Abshier-Reyes

i was running behind schedule on my weekly featured artist, but have decided to post them now on saturdays instead of mondays. i know that i miss blog updates from my favourite blogs on the weekend, and having something longer that i can come back to and visit is always helpful.

{yeah, i know it - i'm hooked.}

anyhow, i stumbled across this week's featured artist while i was searching through listings and listings and listings of talented painters, and amy's work jumped out and bit me. for some reason, her style reminds me a bit of julia from red otter - classic, simple, almost victorian, elegant. like a fairy tale!

i've just started painting with watercolour again, but i hope that eventually i can make it look as easy as amy does; and as good!

- enjoy. xo

Name: Amy Abshier-Reyes
Location: Kansas City, MO

01. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a painter/illustrator and a whole lot of other things besides. I grew up in a rural community in Texas, graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute, and moved around a lot before deciding to move back to Kansas City. I show paintings at various galleries in the US and sell small paintings and prints on Etsy.

02. What first made you want to become an artist?

I've been making art since I was a little thing--always drawing, painting, making up stories--you should hear my mom go on and on about it!

03. Tell us a bit about how you first discovered painting - what were some challenges that you encountered and how did you overcome them?

I've always loved painting, and I painted with whatever materials were at hand: finger paint, watercolors, acrylics. I didn't properly learn how to paint with oils until college, though, and that opened some huge doors for me. It's my favorite medium now. I still encounter challenges, though! Feet are some of the hardest things to paint and make them appear believable.

04. Where do you draw your inspiration & motivation from?

I love old illustrations from the 1800's up to the 1960's, old snapshots of ordinary people, dreams (I have crazy, vivid dreams). Sometimes it's just a word or phrase that conjures up images, or something I saw from the corner of my eye. I'm always alert and open to inspiration--it comes from all over and can hit at any moment.

05. Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I'm a mom and a wife and, for a regular paycheck, I work in an auction house. I love to read. I love music and I collect records (my husband and I met working together at a record shop).

06. What's your favourite item in your shop?

It's hard to say--some of my favorite things sold long ago. I'd have to say my oil paintings--I list a new one every so often and they're so different stylistically from my watercolor pieces, that they make a nice contrast. Hmmm, now you're making me think...

07. Can you name a few undiscovered artists that you'd recommend to the world?

My friend Rachel Stuart-Haas is incredible--I love her paintings. And Amy Earles' illustrations and paper dolls are amazing. And I love Elsa Mora's work: she makes beautiful cut-paper pieces, jewelry, illustrations--so many things! There's so many talented people I've discovered through Etsy--it's really wonderful and inspiring.

08. What's something unique/interesting about you that you've always wanted to mention in an interview but never found a way to work it in?

I have a tendency to get easily obsessed with little things, whether it's collecting, or painting, or books. I find something that just *sparks* and I have to learn everything I can about that thing or idea; explore it fully, talk about it at length. Thankfully the obsession never lasts too long!

09. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Ooooh, so much. But here's one of the best:
I'm afraid of a LOT of pretty mundane things--I just get anxious very easily. And years ago a good friend said to me,"What are you so afraid of? What are they gonna do---take away your birthday?" That idea is so silly it makes me less anxious and able to deal with things that I might normally shy away from.

{check out more of amy's work at kansas city's blue gallery, her blog, on flickr, and of course, on etsy.}


quelle surprise!

what a great way to finish off a productive & busy week... thanks to lambert for including my electric bluegaloo clips in his treasury - please feel free to visit it and leave a comment.

here's wishing a belated happy thanksgiving and productive black friday to all of my american readers - now get out there and kick-start that economy again!

{what kind of goodies did you find?}



november essentials

some days, you know, you just need to get yourself somewhere warm and cozy to relax and unwind with a glass of wine and a good book. you need a place that hints of lavender and sandalwood incense, warm and musky and relaxing. especially on cold grey days like today, you need things like this.

images from sandbox studio


share the love

my favourite outfits are all determined by the accessories that go with it. shopping for new finds on etsy is difficult becase there's so many gorgeous listings and styles!

however - in the spirit of being decisive, here are two of my top favourite christmas wishlist combinations for today.


01) wine red shrug by larimeloom
02) stacker rings by indiayluna
03) burgundy indian silk top by retroreprohandmade
04) petite nouveau earrings by artemisia designs


hello weekend

so along with trying to build a database in MS access today {UGH}, i've been doing some a-shopping online. kal barteski put up a gift guide for people, and i think that i'ma do the same... particularly since i've been inspired by many things tonight - both for me and for others.

does anyone have any recommendations? what are you most excited to give someone this christmas?


manicotti faux-pas

I've possibly just eaten the blandest manicotti in the world. There was no party in my mouth, and even if there was... nobody would want to come. The ricotta tasted like nothing, the tomato sauce was apparently just for moisture purposes, and the whole manicotti experience was just disappointing.

If my manicotti were a house party, it would be one of those parties where nobody is really talking, and Low Rider is playing softly in the background. Disco lights are on and spinning, but people are quietly eating chips and drinking non-alcoholic beer, just looking at each other from across the room. There's no manicotti lovin', no manicotti joking... nothing.

Just Low Rider, disco ball, and bland, bored people.

That's my lunch in a nutshell.


a note from the author of the book i'm currently reading...

Dear Mr. President-Elect,

It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food. Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration — the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda. But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.

Complicating matters is the fact that the price and abundance of food are not the only problems we face; if they were, you could simply follow Nixon’s example, appoint a latter-day Earl Butz as your secretary of agriculture and instruct him or her to do whatever it takes to boost production. But there are reasons to think that the old approach won’t work this time around; for one thing, it depends on cheap energy that we can no longer count on. For another, expanding production of industrial agriculture today would require you to sacrifice important values on which you did campaign. Which brings me to the deeper reason you will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change. Unlike food, these are issues you did campaign on — but as you try to address them you will quickly discover that the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America goes to the heart of all three problems and will have to change if we hope to solve them. Let me explain.

After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study. Whenever farmers clear land for crops and till the soil, large quantities of carbon are released into the air. But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases. This state of affairs appears all the more absurd when you recall that every calorie we eat is ultimately the product of photosynthesis — a process based on making food energy from sunshine. There is hope and possibility in that simple fact...

for the rest, check out Michael Pollan's Open Letter to the next Farmer-In-Chief from the New York Times. after that, you can see Obama's response here.

could it really be true? hope for change?


luh-luh-lovin it

just came across these prints by jess gonacha and i'm in LOVE with them. i want a gocco machine. (are they machines? presses?) all the cool people certainly seem to have them so, by default, i should get one too. i want in the gocco club!

in other awesome news, the toronto one of a kind show is quickly approaching. have bought my tickets and am now just looking at which day i'd like to book off work to go.

you know you're ready for the OOAK show when you have:
- comfy (yet stylin) shoes for a day full of shopping? check.
- scoured the OOAK gift guide? check.
mapped out locations of all my favourite artists? ... well, sorta. i'll see 'em when i see 'em.

in the meanwhile, you can see their super cool felted stuff here, gorgeous photographic lanterns here, super-delicious wine jellies here and gorgeous/unconventional/work of art candles here)

good times. let the countdown begin!


what a view

hello alberta. you and your mountains and countryside are awesome. i'll most definitely be back for more.


jet set

am in calgary for a conference until sunday. will try to post, but no guarantees.
...am enjoying the rockies (from a distance!)


(photo by Randall Quon)


featured artist: jared may

this week's featured artist is another oldie-but-goodie. if i could singlehandedly pick out one photo to showcase as representative of all of an artist's work, the below picture would be, without a doubt, the one i would choose for jared may. it's as if it's his brand photo ... the one that everyone can recognize him by. his own little (prettier) nike swoosh.

i had first found his shop on etsy last year when this photo was featured on the front page treasury - and fell in love instantly. from there, i'd go and look in his shop on a regular basis to see what new photos he'd recently posted; the style, richness and warmth of all of his work is so characteristic of the feelings it emotes. rich and saturated, jared's work always elicits a tangible physical reaction that can vary from calming to brooding to hopeful. (for proof, see here, here, or here.)

{not to mention, he's got a series on dandelions - and i love dandelions!}

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm Jared. I teach math at an alternative high school and use photography as my primary means of artistic expression. I also draw and paint a little bit, and I like to pretend that someday I'll write and record a really cool record. I suppose I'd also like to write.

I'm fickle.

02. What first made you want to become an artist?

Honestly, I think I'm just trying to add my own bit of beauty within the much larger world of beauty I see around me. I suppose artistic expression is essentially just one person sharing their own viewpoint with others. I feel fortunate that I see so much beauty all around me, and I just love that others enjoy seeing what I have to offer.

03. Tell us a bit about how you first discovered photography - what were some challenges that you encountered and how did you overcome them?

My mom put a camera in my hand when I was eight. I don't know that I've encountered too many challenges. I've taken thousands of bad photographs, if that counts. When I used to shoot film, I had a couple of photo shoots where I returned home to find that there was absolutely no film in the camera. That was heartbreaking. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

04. Where do you draw your inspiration & motivation from?

I am constantly inspired by beauty all around me. Sometimes I forget to look, but honestly there is beauty everywhere, if you learn how to look. I am inspired by other artists, by wonderful books, by people, by nature, everything.

05. Apart from creating things, what do you do?

As I mentioned above, I teach math. I'm almost done with my schooling that will allow me to be a principal if I choose. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do with my career, but I love teaching.

The most important thing in my life is my family. My wonderful wife helps me out with my Etsy shop, handling most of the shipping duties. She also works in education. We have three boys, and the four of them are the joy of my life.

{bet you didn't know that this isn't jared's first appearance on wunderbug!}

06. What's your favorite photo that you've taken? Why?

My favorite photo changes all the time. One that I come back to a lot is Windblown Grass. I keep it in my Etsy shop even though it almost never sells, just because I like it so much. It captures everything I love about Kansas - a powerful thunderstorm, wild grass, and the energy brought through by the wind. Every time I look at that photograph, I feel like I'm standing in the breeze right before the storm hits, which is one of my favorite things about living in the midwest.

07. What undiscovered artists would you recommend to the world?

My mom just opened an Etsy shop, as a matter of fact. She takes photographs of pets and creates beautiful works of digital art. Check her out at http://CherylMayPhoto.etsy.com

08. Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

Right now I'm re-reading
Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which is even better than I remembered. Off the top of my head, I love the Lao Tzu, the Dhammapada, and any book that helps me prepare for my next national park trip. I'll use up my fifth book slot by mentioning that I'm planning to pick out a Dickens work for my next novel, once I finish On the Road.

My favorite films include
It's a Wonderful Life, Harvey, A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer, and just about any Hitchcock film. Musically, lately I'm obsessed with Alison Krauss. Before that, it was Coldplay, then Jack Johnson, the Shins, and Medeski, Martin and Wood. I look forward to whatever's next.

I don't have five web site suggestions. I spend a fair amount of time (and money) at Amazon. I'm a sucker for going through and rating everything I've ever seen, heard, or read. I'm also fairly well addicted to
Flickr, but nothing tops Etsy for me.

09. What's something unique/interesting about you that you've always wanted to mention in an interview but never found a way to work it in?

This one stumps me. I lived in Seattle for a little while, and I don't think I've ever mentioned that before. Not sure how interesting that is, but there you go. I missed the thunderstorms. A lot.

10. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Enjoy all things now while you can. Life moves quickly and this too shall pass.


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