Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Compare and contrast

I’m a control freak! It doesn’t show that much, I’m pretty easy going, but every little detail of my life is carefully planned! It can be draining but I have this weird satisfaction about writing “compare and contrast” lists to make sure that I take the right decision! When I got interested in yoga, 5 years ago, I made this elaborate list of all the yoga studios that I knew in Montreal. I categorized them by distance, type of yoga, price, schedule flexibility and how pretty the studio looked on its web page (I don’t like “sterile” rooms with no sense of style! I can’t do downward dog in a school gym!). That is basically how I’m dealing with my insecurities! However, it seems that things changed since the beginning of the year because I became slightly compulsive. Sorry to disappoint but I didn’t get a body piercing (I did that in high school), a didn’t quit my dull 9-5 job to start my own flower shop (I would love that) and I didn’t even get a new haircut (but I should take an appointment). I simply registered for a felting class. The thing is, I have no idea what a felting class is! I wrote my name spontaniously because I remembered a bunch of cute little felt acorns on shining egg flickr page thinking that I would like to have a bowl full of acorns! Well…this is just how crazy my life is right now ;) Since my felting class starts in three weeks, for visual interest, I will post photos of my finished mobile.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Center of gravity...where are you?

How difficult could it be? I mean, it is just a little mobile! Big mistake! How naive! The mobile swap organized by Elsie Marley is such a lovely idea. However, the last time I saw a mobile was at a baby shower, over a years ago, and I sadly did not take the time to analyze the technical aspects of its construction. Too bad! After I received my swap partner information, I decided to go for something "contemporary" but with a feminine touch. Looking for inspiration, I came across the birds drawing on the last page of Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing. It became my pattern. There is just one problem and when I say problem I mean wasting an entire Friday evening trying to figure out where the center of gravity of my damn birds was! This morning, when I woke up, I had a vision that will probably help me solve that problem but I will work on it later because right now, I'm going shopping with my husband. Normally I'm not crazy about shopping, I have this bad relationship with money, but for my birthday (who's approaching too fast!) I can get pretty much anything that I want but it has to be done in a two hours time frame. That's the tradition! Got to go :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

And they reproduced!

I don’t remember being a very crafty person. I tackled a few projects once in a while, mostly interior design related, but nothing major. To my great surprise, in less than 6 months, I started to knit, sew, felt, paint (by numbers but still), blog (about crafts) and snap a picture everyday (yep…project 365). I also started to bake on a regular basis but that is not craft related. Although it works with the following theory: I believe that I lack stimulation in a specific sphere of my life (a.k.a. work). To compensate, I craft! Basically, softies, cupcakes, tacky paintings, wool legwarmers and origami bunnies keep me sane and depression free! I don’t know what your initial motivation for crafting was but I know that, for me, it was a lot better than a trip to the psychologist! And now that I’m hooked, I just love the fact that I can create pretty hand-made objects…now that’s gratification!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

No more sweets

I changed my mind. My initial plan was to bake something new every week. I never believed that I would say that but I think that I have an overdose of desserts! For the past 3 weeks I made: Chai Latte cupcakes, Rosewater & pistachio cupcakes and Green tea cupcakes. They all tasted wonderful and they were very easy to make. Each week, out of 12 cupcakes, I always give 2 to a friend that lives next door. That means that my husband and I have been eating cupcakes 15 days out of 21! Next week, I will make a fruits salad! And by the way, almond paste flowers are very difficult to make!!!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Hi, my name is George...

and I’m an elephant king! My green gingham outfit is made out of an old shirt and my...um... bones/fat/muscles...you get it...are made of stuffing from an old pillow. Therefore I'm an eco-friendly elephant!

I love crafting but I have a tendency to fall in love with material: fabric, buttons, rubons, you name it!. Material that I might not need at the moment but that I will certainly use in the future. When exactly, a mystery! Recently, I started to feel guilty to buy, lets see, another meter of gray tweed or a pretty pair of wooden leaf buttons or the thickest red wool that I have ever seen. I'm normally a pretty responsible consumer but it seems that it doesn't apply to craft material. For the sake of the minimal storage in my loft (and for the environment!) I should try to figure out what I can create with material that I already have or that I can recycle. Afterall, my husband has a lot of shirts (I see a pretty quilt) and sweaters (I see felted wool accessories) that will eventually have to be replace!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

You don’t even know her

There is one thing that I find very unusual about the craft blogging community: the popularity of swapping or sending parcels to complete strangers that you only know by their Flickr name! When you think about it, why on earth would I send something to a blogger across the world? Why would I prepare a lovely package with as much care and interest as if it was meant to be for my best friend? The answer: I don’t know but I love it! I just sent a nice (in my opinion) little birthday parcel to a member of the FAA, Fabric Addicts Anonymous. The package contains some prettry fabric, a sheet of wool felt, a ribbon and two bee buttons that I used to decorate the gift tag. Everything is obviously color coordinated! Then, I found via Domesticali a photo swap. The theme is “simplicity”, I decided to sign up and I’m happy about it!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Take it easy!

Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually worth it. I could just take my credit card, type http://www.etsy.com and buy a beautiful object made by a very talented craft maker. That would save me some time. Sometimes I consider myself to be nothing else than a little drop in an ocean of crafty people. In a society were perfection is often required, it is difficult not to compare ourselves and feel inadequate. For many individuals in the craft blogosphere, creating is a living…it pays the rent, it gets food on the table. For others, like me, crafts are a hobby, a way of escaping from our 9 to 5 job at an office downtown. I have to learn to accept my limits and understand that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence! A full time painter, seamstress, illustrator, etc. has, I’m sure, her moments of doubt about her ability to fulfill her life. In moments of uncertainty we should always take a minute and find encouragement in people who believe in us: a husband, a friend, a parent, a co-worker or a perfect stranger who left a nice little comment on Flickr. It is even better when that stranger, commenting on my little softy dog, is the author of the book Softies!

My next project: George the Elephant King!

Friday, 11 January 2008

Lumberjack chic

I’m an event planner. Basically my job is to organize fancy pants events where people drink too much, eat too much and talk too much. In March I will be in charge of an annual fund-raising gala for a non profit organisation. Each ticket is a few hundred dollars and it’s obviously back tie. I know that every woman should have a little back dress since it's classy and can easily be accessorized. However, there is a problem with the little black dress: every woman has one!!! At each event, I stand in the middle of a sea of black fabric and, though it’s impressive at first, it gets a little boring after a while. So I decided to go crazy! This morning I ordered a cocktail dress from J.Crew (yes, it’s my favorite store) that will certainly differentiate me from…you know…over there…those girls with the black dresses. Since I always go for “cute” and not “sexy”, I will pair it with a nice black cardigan and black kitten hill shoes. If somebody is looking for me that evening, I will be…you know…over there…the girl with the lumberjack silk dress!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Going across the pond

At the end of the day, there is nothing that I want more than to go home and spend some quality time with my hysband and my mini-zoo. I might even say that we are adepts of cocooning (individuals socializing less and retreating into their home). We also have our little habits: we walk the dog and feed our pets at the same time everyday, we go to the restaurant on Friday evening, we have feta omelets at the same iranian restaurant on Saturday for breakfast and we have pancakes on Sunday (I have nutella & bananas in winter and nutella & straberries in summer…with a glass of milk)! However, once a year, we pack our stuff, bring the pets to my mother’s house and go on vacation.

We could go to "sunny" destinations. Sandy beach, cocktails, palm trees… but it’s just not our thing. We love nordic countries. We were in Sweden last summer and we had such a good time. After some thought, we decided to go to Iceland and stopover in London for a few nights (No additional fee. Thank you Icelandair!). Now, how many pair of shoes sould I bring? I have 6 months to figure it out!!!

Monday, 7 January 2008

A Chai Latte…to eat!

I will bake something new each week in 2008. It is not a New Year resolution. It is simply an attempt at making delicious desserts for my husband and I. Believe me, you can have an overdose of store-bought oatmeal cookies! Some people take part of the A month of softies and other enrol in the 365 Days Challenge. That is very impressive and I would love, one day, to sign in. In the mean time, I will keep it simple: eat something sweet, homemade and different every week...with a cup of tea!

I'm pleased to say that my quest started very well! Yesterday, I made amazing Chai Latte cupcakes from the book Vegan cupcakes take over the world by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. The word vegan might be scary but it is not that bad. The book use very basic ingredients that you can find at any grocery store. However, nothing stops you from using cow milk instead of soy milk. You are Queen in your kitchen! It won’t be dramatic unless you are vegan or lactose intollerent! The book is full of fabulous pictures and mouth-watering recipes that are extremely easy to follow. If I can do it…everybody can! Next week, Green Tea or Pistachio Rosewater cupcakes? Zen or girly?

Friday, 4 January 2008

High as a ...dog!?!

I completed my very first softy and it is...um...special but I just love it! My little creature is a “vintage inspired-yet contemporary doggy-on some illegal substance-ready to give you a seisure if you look at it in the eyes for too long”! Nice! It is made with a pattern from the book Softies by Therese Laskey. According to the book's introduction, softies can be a political statement about the value of handmade over the mass production of objects. It is indeed a very noble idea in a world where goods travel thousands of milles before they find their way to our shopping bag. However, I guess that my approach was more naive. I just wanted a cute cracked-out puppy dog on display in my office area!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

UPS standard

It was back to reality this morning! Walking the dog at 7:00 am, getting properly dress for -19 C (-28 C with the wind), taking public transportation with other lucky workers, ordering breakfast at a coffee shop next to the office and finally finding myself alone at work since my co-workers decided to take extra days off.

I certainly would have much rather stayed at home with a warm cup of tea and read my latest girly book: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. However, I was highly motivated to go to work. I was looking forward the 3rd of January for the past few days…ever since I ordered two beautiful summer skirts, on sale, from J.Crew that will be delivered, for practical reasons, at the office today. We each have our reasons to get up, leave our cozy nook and work until sundown (or a little after since the sun goes down today at exactly 4:23 pm). Today, my reason was to get a little summer preview on a freezing winter day!