I am always amazed by the way an artist can convey a certain feeling so clearly, just through the use of colour and shape. The way that they can capture movement, emotion, and even bring to mind particular sounds and smells is truly amazing. One such talented artist is Shelagh Duffett, better known as Alice in Paris. The moment that I saw her bold and energetic prints, I was immediately drawn in and transported into the seaside world that she creates.
Many of Shelagh’s prints celebrate her Nova Scotia home, and there is often a friendly feline or two making an appearance as well. They strike a perfect balance, managing to be both youthful and vibrant without being childish.
I love the strong colours, and the composition of her work. Each one can send you into a new set of daydreams, losing yourself into a whole different world full of possibilities and adventure. Even a few flowers in a vase have an element of lighthearted fun:
To get a taste of what Alice in Paris is all about, you won’t want to miss her great Blog. Then grab a cup of tea (yes, this is a requirement!) and cruise through the Etsy shop to check out all the wonderful prints. Once you’ve done all that, come on over and join the conversation on Twitter!
Daydream believer…Oui oui!
It may feel that April Showers and May Flowers are still light years away, but the truth is that Easter (and all it’s Spring-y goodness) will be here in just a few short weeks. So I can’t hold out any longer, I just have to tell you about So Jeo and her stunning Pysanky. I discovered her gorgeous traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs last summer, and wanted to share them with you at just the right time. Folks, that time is now… Feast your eyes on the fabulous colours and intricate patterns, all designed and created by hand using traditional techniques.
The images are built up by using alternating layers of carefully applied hot beeswax and dipping the egg in various shades of dyes. Then the wax is melted away, leaving only the lovely designs to be admired and treasured for generations.
So Jeo even works with teeny tiny delicate finch eggs to create lovely Pysanky jewelry pieces as well. Once they are sealed and covered with a clear polymer finish, they are durable and strong enough to wear without fear of damaging them.
So Jeo is a self-taught Pysanky artist, who imagines the egg as her canvas, and is inspired by the natural elements around her Nova Scotia home. She even welcomes commissions, so if you have a vision for something you would like to see, she will do her best to make it a reality. You can see what she has to offer on her Etsy shop, or visit her website for a stunning gallery and to learn more about the traditional art of Pysanky. You can also join her on Facebook or Twitter.
How Egg-ceptional! (ouch… sorry!)
As many of you know, I have recently returned to my “outside-the-home” job after maternity leave with my little munchkin. This also means, among other things, a return to planning and packing lunches. So far I have managed to get something together every day and avoid starvation (or a desperate McDonalds’ run). However, usually my lunch has ended up thrown into a big ugly shopping bag. So what’s the big deal with that? Nothing really, but picture this: Me, attempting to look “professional” and “put together” (ha!), carrying my purse, baby’s daycare bag, and a grocery bag lunch, while balancing the baby on my hip and fishing my keys out of a pocket. Yeah, that’s what I thought.
So, while it might not be a huge deal to have a stylish and pretty bag to carry my lunch, I think it will make a difference in how I feel about myself each day as I dash off to work. Enter: Urban Harmonie Designs. I think these eco-friendly, reusable, and super-chic lunch and snack bags are fantastic!
These bags are made with laminated cotton, and are free of all the nasty stuff that normally accompany most plastic items. Even better: you can just wipe them clean with warm soapy water! Vicki (aka Urban Harmonie) has a love for all things vintage, so her fabric choices often have a retro feel. Her bags are all handmade in her Vancouver studio.
Now if only I could be as inspired about what to put *in* the lunch bag!
It is supposed to be relatively warm-ish in Ontario this week. Everyone I know is pretty excited by the prospect of maybe seeing those temperatures climb into some positive digits, (so much so that my dear husband is already planning to dig the bbq out of the snow to have some steaks on Friday!).
Maybe it’s a bit of pessimism due to a long sleepless weekend with the toddler, but I can’t help reminding myself that we are not out of the wintery woods quite yet. I expect that once this little warm spell passes, we will still have a few blasts of frigid arctic air to contend with before the *real* warm-up starts to happen. So, instead of being sad, I have decided to celebrate our Canadian wintery-ness by sharing some sweet and pretty cold weather gear from Knittles.
Calgarians Mavis and Olga create these cozy and cute pieces, along with an occasional “guest designer” named Marcy.
What’s that you say? Adult sized ears have been known to get chilly as well? Don’t worry, the Knittles crew have you covered (literally).
Even if the weather is chilly outside, all Cupid needs is one of those precious little aviator hats!
Here’s hoping that your heart is warm with love on this Valentine’s Day.
Here at my house we are in the midst of a not-so-fun baby milestone. My little girl is getting her first molar(s) and it is turning out to be a pretty difficult experience for all involved. The poor kiddo is either whimpering in her sleep, sobbing in pain, or clinging on for soothing snuggles and cuddles. We are doing our best using all the standard teething tips and tricks, and hopefully soon those sneaky teeth will come through and all will be well again. In the meantime, anything that offers comfort to my little girl is golden in my books! I think these adorable hug-able fleece pillow monsters from LemonPie are just the ticket.
These pillow pals would be perfect for a kids bedroom, or playroom, or the living room for a fun-loving family! I believe that every day should have smiles and snuggles, and these LemonPie monster creations supply plenty of both. The pillows come in regular size (about 7″ x 7″) or large (about 9″ x 9″) if you want more squeezable fun. Visit the Cargoh store or the Etsy shop to meet the rest of the LemonPie monster family. Head to the blog , facebook, or twitter, and get to know Klaudea and Lawrence (aka: the LemonPie team). There is even a giggle-worthy Monster’s Day Out video on YouTube!
Because everyone deserves the comfort of a warm, friendly hug… even if you aren’t busy growing molars!
A dear friend of mine is expecting her first baby in just a few weeks. Everyone is understandably very, very excited, and hotly anticipating the big arrival. But there is one problem: they don’t really know what to do with the nursery. You see, baby’s gender is remaining a mystery, and Mommy and Daddy-to-be prefer a modern style. Cheesy over-the-top teddy bears or overtly “babyish” cartoony animals just won’t cut it. So, being the good friend that I am, I have used my “expert googling internet-thingy” skills to hunt up some pretty, gender neutral, and 100% cheese-free wall decor that would be perfect for any nursery.
Leo Little Lion is based in Montreal, and they create unique, original wall decals and work with you to make sure that your decal is exactly the way you envisioned it. To top it all off, every purchase you make from Leo Little Lion is a purchase that makes a difference. A percentage of all Etsy sales is constantly reinvested at Kiva.org to support micro-loans that change lives all around the world. That’s something that can make you feel as good as your newly decorated walls look!
There are also decals that can go anywhere in your home, so baby doesn’t get to have all the fun. I particularly like this bouquet of tall roses:
You can find Leo Little Lion on their website, the Etsy shop, Cargoh shop, Facebook, and Twitter. What a fun and easy way to add some style to any room, and simple to change whenever the mood strikes!
Lately Sarah and I have both been feeling the need for a little “me time”, some quiet space within our busy days that is just for us. A peaceful moment filled with things that inspire us and make us happy. Since lovely jewelry always makes me smile, I knew that I wanted to share some with you today. Billy Would Designs are made with reclaimed hardwood, and feature smooth, elegant, organic shapes and designs. The moment I saw Adea’s work, it was as though a wave of calm washed over me, and it was just what I needed during an otherwise hectic morning!
Of course we believe that men should accessorize too, and Billy Would has a whole selection of items made from used and broken skateboard decks that would be perfect for any gender! I know that Sarah’s husband received a fantastic pair of cuff links for Christmas, and I am tempted to play follow the leader* and get a pair for my dear husband! I also really love the belt buckles and the vintage feel… so cool.
You can find Billy Would products in her Cargoh store, or click here for a list of retail locations, maybe there’s one near you! You also won’t want to miss her website to see an even bigger assortment of her beautiful work. If you tweet, then follow along on Twitter, or join the party on Facebook!
*hey, I am the little sister, and while I heartily deny ever “copying” Sarah, I will admit that from time to time she has been known to get to a good idea first! At which point it’s not so much copying as it is a vote of agreement. :-p
A few weeks ago, I sent my brother and his fiance on a mission. There was a craft show in another town that I wanted to attend, (but couldn’t) and they were conveniently going to be in that very town, on that very day. So they happily became our C+H street team and off they went with instructions to “gather information on anything that you think is cool”. They had a great time, and soon reported back that they had found some really neat stuff. One of their favorites were these beautiful pieces from Sculpted Light. When I went online to see what they were talking about, I was pretty impressed too!
Joanne begins by making her own tissue-thin paper using unique fibers from plants like forsythia and hollyhocks. This gives her paper beautiful texture and depth. Then she shapes them into stunning free-form sculptures using reeds, and finishes them off by attaching a light inside. The result: gorgeous sculptural pieces that glow warmly from the inside out.
A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Joanne uses organic materials and found objects like leaves and feathers in her work. My favorite piece (called “Orchestra”) looks like this when sitting on a table or shelf:
Or it can be mounted on the wall and look a little something like this:
Awesome, right? And if you are looking for something to make your holiday greetings stand out from the crowd, look no further! Sculpted Light has these fantastic holiday lantern cards that will definitely *not* end up in the recycling on boxing day:
These pieces combine the best of art and functionality, and give a warm, earthy glow that is truly unique.
You can see more from Sculpted Light on Joanne’s Cargoh store, her Etsy shop, Facebook, Twitter, or the Sculpted Light website.
Let there be light!
Winter has definitely arrived, with cold temperatures, and some snow (ok, in some places a LOT of snow). That means it’s time to snuggle up with cozy blankets in front of a fire, or stay just a few extra minutes tucked into your warm bed before facing the day. I love the feeling of a nice soft, comfortable blanket tucked around me just right. So when the weather dips into those dreaded negative numbers, out comes my stockpile of fleecy or knitted delights. If you want to wrap your little one in something a little more personal than a generic pink or blue blankey, you won’t want to miss Baby Magoo. I have seen them at shows over the years, and always end up coo-ing over their lovely designs!
If you have a baby shower coming up, or your kids are a bit older, you can choose one of the other styles without the custom work. They are just as soft and beautiful, and you can easily find one to go with any room decor too!
They also have the most adorable hooded towels in fun animal prints:
The weather outside may be frightful, but staying cuddled up and warm is delightful!
Keeping our kids safe is definitely a full time job. We baby-proof, we supervise, and we continually drill safety lessons. Amidst all that, we hope that our kids get to have fun, be free, and be… well… kids! Yes, protecting our children to the best of our abilities is incredibly important, but who says it has to be boring? Not us! and definitely not the fine folks over at Tail Wags. They have found a way to make protecting our little one’s noggins an entertaining and creative experience.
Their adorable line of helmet covers encourages kids to wear their helmets by letting them express themselves during their active play. In the summer they can be used while riding bikes, skateboarding, rollerblading, or horseback riding. In the winter helmets are a great idea for those little skiers, snowboarders, or for extreme sledders. Just ask my brother Philip about our game with our G.T. Snowracers – we called it “Ambulance”, and to this day I am shocked that we never needed one to pick up any pieces!
Having a unique cover on your child’s helmet can also help you pick them out of a crowd. Trying to ski down a hill while keeping an eye on your completely fearless, snowsuit-clad torpedo among all the other little fearless, snowsuit-clad torpedoes? No problem, just look for the one whose helmet looks like a bumble bee!
Helmet covers are available in two sizes (Adult and Child), and fit all models of approved helmets. You can find them on the Tail Wags website, follow along on twitter, or be a facebook friend (and get a 10% discount!). I even hear rumours that they will be attending the upcoming One Of A Kind show in Toronto, so if you are in the area you can pick one up in person.
Here’s to keeping our loved ones safe all year through, and having some fun at the same time!