Friday, June 25, 2010

Haircut reveal

Bangs take one. Please excuse the mirror face, I simply can't help it!

I've had pretty much the same haircut for quite awhile now. It's been longer and shorter but always ends up the same shape (like a triangle, I have that it gets really weighed down on the ends), so I decided to be brave this week and get some bangs (or a fringe as I would normally call it) rather than just asking for my usual 'oh, I was thinking of this know....maybe.....just a trim'. It was a bit of a shock at first, and I'm thinking I need to go back and get them made a little heavier, but overall I think I like it! Today was the moment of truth as I was finally forced to wash it and see what it was going to do when left to it's own devices. Let me tell you, I hate blow drying my hair so I never do it. Nor do I use any product in my hair because I really don't like the feel of it, but I think I may have to embrace a little bit of both of these to make this haircut (or at least the bangs!) work. We shall see. Anyone have any tips on some good, frizz taming product that doesn't feel gunky and is maybe organic-ish?

Bangs take two. So much bigger!

Anyway, that first photo was taken earlier today when I was about to rush out the door after only having time to do a quick dry of the bangs and this second one was taken about an hour or so later. Haha, the growth!

Alrighty, I'm off to get popsicles! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I create to live: Sandra Juto

I was really excited when Sandra Juto agreed to do an interview as she is hands down one of my most favourite artists and bloggers. I visit her blog daily as her eye for detail and photography is both impeccable and inspiring, and she is also super clever and witty. If you're not already following her I'd recommend you get to it! Thank you Sandra for sharing your thoughts with us here today!

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? The journey you took to be where you are and what you're doing at the moment?

As a child I wanted to become a fashion designer, I was crazy about watching fashion shows on TV. I made skirts out of old sheets for my sister and cousin. My mother taught me how to crochet and my grandmother taught me how to knit. I didn't like to be outdoors playing, I preferred to be at home making things. And it has always been like that. For a few years I stopped being creative because I didn't know I could actually work with it, to earn my living that way, so I studied many languages and thought of becoming a translator. Then one day I discovered Photoshop and started making websites - a couple of months later I started working as a web designer, this was in the late 1990's and it was easy to get jobs. The web made me bored and I wanted to learn more about graphic design so I studied that for several years and at the same time I started drawing again and discovered how fun illustration was, so I thought I should try freelancing as an illustrator and that's what I've been doing for a few years now. It's fun and at the moment I'm doing some freelance illustration and I crochet a lot, I cannot get enough.

Why do you create? What is it about being creative (in whatever sense) that makes it something important for you to do?

Why do I breathe? To live. I create to live and because I don't know what else I would do if I didn't do it. It's what keeps me going.

Where do you look for inspiration? Who or what inspires you?

In the city, in the forest, by the sea. I more and more search for inspiration in my surroundings rather than looking at other people's work.

I'm sure on the outside, creativity often seems like it always flows easily but I imagine this isn't always the case! Are there ever times when being expected to be creative for work or on demand feels overwhelming? How do you work through those feelings?

There is always a certain moment when I panic, when I think I'm not going to make it. For every job I do, this moment gets shorter. It helps to zoom out of myself look at myself and my situation from the distance where everything looks so smaller and easier.

What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your work as an artist and your creative life in general?

Most rewarding: When I'm feeling satisfied with the result and have had fun on my way there. Even better if my client is satisfied too. Most difficult: To believe in myself all the way, there is always a time of doubt.

If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you like to be doing?

I would like to run a café with my husband, but he says he wouldn't let me because if I'm pissed everyone sees it. So I'd better hide in my studio and just visit cafés instead ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hold On To More

I really love this video of artist Josephine Chime talking about her 'Hold On To More' series and show, especially when she talks about celebrating imperfection and coming to terms with her own self image.

Hat tip to Anabela who recently posted a fantastic quote from Josephine recently that caused me to look her up!

Three (plus) Positve Messages

One of the things that I really noticed in the response to my post about battling insecurities, was that all of you who commented either on the blog, facebook, etc represented a real range of body types (those of you I know, anyway) and yet unsurprisingly we all struggle with the same body issues.

Like I mentioned in that post, I've been familiarising myself with the fat acceptance movement* over the past year or so. As a feminist I was pretty well aware of things like The Beauty Myth and general body positivity, but the idea of fat acceptance seemed so contrary to every message and everything we're taught about fashion, health and who is (or isn't) beautiful. I'll be honest and say that it was a real paradigm shift for me at first, (and in terms of my own self image something I still struggle with, there are days I just want to be skinny and to be able to shop at 'regular' stores) as while I guess I could academically say 'This is who I am, it is ok to look this way', the idea that I shouldn't still want to diet and lose weight was totally foreign to me. The reality is though, I have never really been happy with my weight or how I look. Not when I was 60kg, 80kg or whatever. Which is crazy, because I'll look at photos of myself as a 15yr old and get nostalgic for being that slim, when the reality is I wasn't happy with my body then anyway. I still thought I was fat.

I think the reason that I've been drawn to the fat acceptance movement is because that is how I and most other people would view my body. Not everyone would though, and I realise that I am still privileged enough to be able to by some clothing from straight sized stores and the way my body seems to hold its weight is in such a way that I might not look as big as the scales would say. Like most people, my weight, body size and shape also fluctuate and so where some might consider me fat, others would see me as curvy** or in between, or whatever. So while I think the fat acceptance movement is vitally important on a personal level, and on a broader level because the way fat folks are viewed and treated by society, the realisation that my own body size and shape represents different things to different people (including myself) and seeing the range of people (representing a range of bodies) on my last post, reinforced the idea that it is not our bodies that are the problem but the messages that we're given.

Awhile back I came across the results of this experiment on Plus Eyes that was really eye opening (and depressing) for me. I mean, I guess I always knew it to some extent but I honestly didn't expect things to be that bad. Of a total 1061 messages in the media about her body each week, she found that only 3 were positive. While she was looking specifically at plus size or 'overweight' bodies, I'm pretty sure we could apply the same or a similar message to all of us. Especially in light of the idea that what constitutes fat seems to be so subjective. 1058 negative messages. And that was just in the mainstream everyday media, not dieting sites or get fit for summer type magazine articles. Is it any wonder we're not happy with our bodies? How do you compete with that?

Well, like Plus Eyes mentions in her post, one way is counter attack. Providing more and more positive messages and images of varied bodies. One of the things I've noticed most when reading fat fashion and body acceptance blogs, is how empowering it is to see women who have bodies that look like mine in positive, fashionable and sexy lights. I enjoy fashion, but have often felt a little strange about blogging about it when there is very little room for anyone over a size 6. Im hoping that this can become a space where the images and messages I post about represent a range of bodies, challenge what is usually accepted as beautiful and empowers us all to see ourselves in a whole new light.

*Definatalie just posted a really great Fat Acceptance 101 if you're looking for more info or clarification on this, with some great links too.

**I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this word as I find it is often used as a euphemism for fat, a more sanitised and sexy version if you will. I also really dislike the oft quoted 'real women have curves' that comes with it because, what is a real woman anyway? I understand wanting to build up and deem fat, curvy, plus size women sexy, but to say that women without curves are somehow not just defeats the overall purpose.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good stuff for Monday

Hello! Thank you all for your book recommendations on that last post, it looks like things may be slowing down a bit soon so I can wait to check them all out. After a lovely sleep in and lazy start to the morning I decided to jot down a bit of a to-do list and realised that it's about exactly the same length as it was a the beginning of last week, haha. Oh well, a lot of it is fun stuff and I really do count myself pretty lucky to be doing so much stuff that I love and find fulfilling.

We had lots of fun at the Blim Market yesterday, and I even remembered to take some photos! I'm terrible at remembering to do so whenever we sell at markets, but when I found myself taking photos of some little bugs that came to visit I figured I should probably actually take some of the table, too! Car Free day is always great, even with the abundance of utilikilts and witch hats, I love the community feel and that pedestrians get to take over 15 or so blocks with market stalls, food carts and roller derby demonstrations.

Alrighty, back to my list I go. But first, here's some links to get your week started off right!

- There are many reasons I take issue with American Apparel, and this post on My Unnacceptable Body about their refusal to carry plus sizes because it is 'not their demographic' provides an excellent take down of this maddening company.

-  Thanks to Rhiannon for pointing out that Modcloth also has some super cute swim suits in a variety of sizes!

- Kenzie has had me drooling over her blog lately with her mango popsicles and rhubarb soda. Rhubarb soda?? Basically my dream come true.

- Jezebel has a poll going on what is going to be the next 'it' sweet. V. important (also v. funny).

- A new mix! At last, I have a monday mixtape for you that is all about the cover. After listening to one of my all time favourite covers of the Neil Young song 'Birds' by Paul Weller (my secret boyfriend, despite the crazy hair and in my head he still looks like he did from when he was in The Jam. Seriously, that voice. Don't judge), I was inspired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping busy.

Hello! Just a quick message to say thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my last post, I really enjoyed hearing from you and it has motivated me both in my quest to be more body positive in my own life but also to bring lots of it here to the blog. I actually want to respond to each of you individually and hope to get to that really son, which brings me to my next point of why things have been a little thin here this week. We have a number of wholesale orders that need our attention, and a market coming up on Sunday, plus I've recently started a new job with working as an editorial assistant and researcher this week so I've been wrapping my head around all that comes with that. I promise to be back next week when I can come up for air a bit with much more regular posts, that is the goal!

Do you ever find yourself so busy that all you want to do is escape it? I must admit that I'm feeling a little like that at the moment. The idea of curling up with a book is so appealing when there is html to be figured out or bookmarks to be sanded!

Hope you're well friends! Reading anything good?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer & battling insecurities.

It felt like summer was officially here this weekend, hooray! Perhaps all our moaning and groaning about the rain (which really, is pretty much to be expected in Vancouver. The rain, that is) has done the trick and we're now going to be able to enjoy some sunshine. Man, it feels so good. On the way over to the beach (I was visiting a client post-partum who is lucky enough to live just steps away from this) and heading up a packed 4th Ave I couldn't even feel annoyed at how slow everything was going as everyone just seemed so happy! There were sandals, smells of sunscreen, straw hats and beach bags and everyone had giant grins on their faces. Ha, obviously we've been waiting for this! We grabbed some food from the concession stand and headed down to stare out at the ocean before walking our way back along the water front to find a bus. The vitamin d was good to us and I can't wait to get back out there today once I make some kind of dent in my to-do list!

I'm usually more of a spring and autumn girl, but I've definitely been at that stage where spring is ending and I'm craving the sun over the past wee while. Summer fashion starts coming out and I get excited about breezy dresses and sandals. That is, until summer actually hits and I remember how uncomfortable I often feel in those clothes. In my head I think I'm going to wear all these cute shorts and swimsuits, until my inner fat girl monologue gets the better of me and I either end up trying to cover up or just not putting myself in situations where seasonally appropriate dress would be expected (the beach, a barbecue, trip to the pools and the like) for fear of being swallowed by self consciousness. There was once a summer (or two, wince) as a way more insecure teen where I wore jeans no matter what the weather because I had such a loathing of my legs. I don't know if it's me getting older, or having become more familiar and involved in the fat and body acceptance movement or saving money so having a limited amount of clothing choices available to me, but this year I've said screw it. I am no longer going to swelter and actually be more uncomfortable because I'm not the right shape. Bring on the short skirts, rompers and hopefully one of these swimsuits. What I can't find, I'm going to try and make and I plan to enjoy all of summer this year!

ha, so yes you can't actually see my seasonally appropriate wear in this photo but I didn't realise it was just a shot of my top half until we got home!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Five Senses Friday

Happy weekend, friends! It's meant to be a sunny one here so I'm crossing my fingers that we'll be able to head down to the beach and hang out on a patio or two!


First Aid Kit's 'Heavy Storm' on repeat (there often seems to be something on repeat with me).


A new babe born.


Relaxed and enriched after hanging out with lovely people and visiting lovely shops.


Salty chocolate


New books and cedar incense.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mail Bag #1

I really love getting mail. Who doesn't? Even when I'm not expecting something I'm still always a little hopeful when I go to check the letterbox. Just in case! I recently did a swap with Sarah of Watersounds (although I am slack and took much longer to send my half of the swap, sorry Sarah!) and was so thrilled with all the sweet stuff I found in my package from her. So lucky! I'd been eyeing up her little leaf pins ever since I first saw them in her shop and I have the motivation note card tacked up in my room so that I see it and get inspired every day. Thanks so much, Sarah!

Got any good mail lately?

Staying Nourished and Alive: Lisa Congdon

Next up in the artist interview series is the lovely Lisa Congdon. I've been following Lisa's work for awhile now and have fallen in love with pretty much every new piece that I see by her! She's also a twitter pal, and I've come to not only love her artwork but also really respect her as a genuine and compassionate person. I absolutely love her use of bold shape and colour, but my favourite might just be her beautifully emotive animal portraits. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? The journey you took to be where you are and what you're doing at the moment?

I started out waaaay back in the 1990's as a school teacher. I taught elementary school for about seven years, and I loved it, but I was really dismayed with the state of public education in the inner city where I worked. Inevitably I went to work for a non-profit educational change organization in the San Francisco Bay Area where I stayed for a decade. I worked with teacher leaders and principals to improve what they did for kids. I also wrote and did some research and program development. Simultaneously, about 10 years ago, to feed the more creative part of myself, I started taking painting classes and began making art in my free time. Five years ago I began showing and selling my work in shops and galleries. Almost three years ago, I left my job to live a more full time creative life. I opened the store Rare Device in San Francisco with my friend Rena and more recently I signed with the illustration agency, Lilla Rogers Studio. My time right now is split between my studio where I paint and draw (both for my illustration work and for fine art shows), my home where I do some digital illustration work on the computer, and Rare Device where I keep shop.

2. Why do you create? What is it about being creative (in whatever sense) that makes it something important for you to do?

I've only been painting and making collage for about 10 years, but I've always been a maker--since I was a little kid. Now being creative is such an integral part of my life, that even thinking about how or why it is important feels weird. It's like eating or sleeping. It's part of what I do to stay nourished and alive. That said, other parts of my life feel equally as important as being creative--my relationships are important, and physical activity is important (I am very athletic and swam competitively most of my life until four years ago and am currently training for a triathlon). It's important to me to have a balance of all those things and being creative (making stuff, thinking of new stuff to make, day dreaming, scheming, collaborating with others, etc), is part of that balance for me.

3. Where do you look for inspiration? Who or what inspires you?

I live in San Francisco and this city is a constant source of inspiration. There are amazing cultures here, color everywhere, interesting people, delicious food, writers, fashion, art and music everywhere. I am never bored. It's impossible. So I just take it all in. And then right outside the city is the gorgeous natural landscape of Northern California--trees, hills, mountains, ocean, lakes, birds, animals. My work is very inspired by nature, and the California landscape.

4. I'm sure on the outside, creativity often seems like it always flows easily but I imagine this isn't always the case! Are there ever times when being expected to be creative for work or on demand feels overwhelming? How do you work through those feelings?

I don't necessarily have a problem with being creative. I have no shortage of ideas. My problem comes in executing them in the way that they exist in my imagination. Sometimes I get some ideas and I try to draw, paint or make them and I have to scrap them, either because I don't have the technical skill (I never went to art school so sometimes I feel like my lack of technical art skills hold me back) or the money or time or space to execute them. That is the frustrating part for me. Sometimes things are just prettier or grander in your imagination than they are when you try to make them real.

When I do experience frustration, I work through it by trying to see what I can learn, even when things get messy or don't turn out the way I planned. I think part of the reason I have been able to make art with very little training is that I use my experience as my guide, and that includes taking stock of what didn't go well or what I wasn't able to execute. I either decide to figure out how to learn what I don't know or to give up and move on to something else. I don't allow myself to stay in a place of frustration for long.

5. What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your work as an artist and your creative life in general?

The most difficult part for me is the constant need to "pimp" my work so I can make a living. It gets exhausting. Self promotion is a necessary part of self employment and I do what I can so that I can make a living, but for me it feels hard and most of the time I'd rather just crawl into my hobbit hole and have some tea by the fire.

The most rewarding part of what I do is when people let me know that they love my work or that they are inspired by what I make. I get emails a lot from people letting me know this, or people come into my store and tell me. That makes all the work and effort worthwhile.

6. If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you like to be doing?

I cannot imagine anything else, except maybe to be a world traveler. I'd like to do what I do now AND travel the world.

Thanks so much, Lisa! Be sure to check out Lisa's awesome Collections Project and also her store if you'd like to snap up one of her prints for yourself!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bits and pieces.

Oh, hi! I can't believe it's already Wednesday, this week is just flying by! I had a bunch of things I wanted to write about but was laid up sick at the beginning of the week and then attended a birth until the early hours of this morning so I'm playing catch up a bit now. Anyway, here's some photos of what we got up to this weekend. The weather was beautiful so we got tons of walking in, went to the fantastic Spool of Thread grand opening (more on that soon), ate a gigantic plate of nachos, picked out houses that we'd like to live in, bought new jeans that are about two miles too long for me (story of my short-legged life) and then crashed on the couch for a drink at Rhizome at the end of a long day. It was so good to forget about housework and the like to spend the weekend hanging out with friends and enjoying the sunshine!
Everything should be back to normal on the blog tomorrow, including the next artist interview with the lovely Lisa Congdon! Hope you're all having a fantastic week!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Five Senses Friday

It's Friday! What's more, I see blue sky (but still someone walking around under an umbrella?)! I feel like this week has flown by, which is great because fun times come quickly but also a little scary because I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that it is already June. June! Here's some reflections for the end of the week.


Torn about selling this floral lawn like Italian scarf. It was originally photographed for the shop but in a fit of whimsy I tied up in my hair last night and quite liked it.


Fresh raspberries and So Delicious coconut milk cookie dough ice cream. That ice cream is ridiculous.


This empty lot in Strathcona acting like the boundary between old and new. This morning I read an article that Richard had brought home for me, it was all about the gentrification of our neighbourhood and how a few of the older and more 'colourful' folks who have lived here for decades have recently passed away. They all bought their homes for a song when it was still considered a slum and now houses are going for over a million. Not only that, but these stunning old homes are being pulled down to build....pretend stunning old homes? Makes my heart heavy.


Hilarious dramatic pauses that were used quite liberally in Mad Love. Highly recommend.


Coffee being brewed as I work in my new 'office'. I'm going to start coming down to the local Bean Around the World in the mornings to get my computer work out of the way while Richard sleeps. It smells so good, I kind of wish I loved the taste as much as the smell!

Have a good weekend friends! If you're in Vancouver, you should probably come out to the Spool of Thread grand opening. Don't know what Spool of Thread is? It's an extremely cute sewing lounge and fabric store recently opened by some of our besties in East Van. An amazing selection of fabrics and patterns, sewing machines that you can rent by the hour and fun classes!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Darwin in Orange

Hello friends! This is just a quick little plug for my very clever husband who has his t-shirt design up for scoring on Threadless. It's taken from an original lino cut that he did awhile back and it took a bit of nudging from me for him to put it forward, but I think it would make a really great shirt! If you think so too, it would be so great if you could pop over here and score the design. The more people who score it and comment, the more likely they'll want to print it. Thanks so much in advance for your help!


N.E.E.T Magazine is a fantastic online publication based in the UK that features 'grassroots creativity', and I really, really love it. It's run by editor Stephanie J and consistently features really diverse and beautiful fashion, photography, design and styling. Some of the things I really like about N.E.E.T is that they include a lot of vintage clothing along with new stuff, and that they also work with a lot of bloggers and newer photographer and designers. It gives it a really eclectic and collaborative feel, and there is truly something for everyone!

Ha, I'm obviously a fan so I was really thrilled to find out that we were going to be one of the four eco-friendly designers to be interviewed by (the lovely) Adele from Moderne Motive. I must admit it caused a slight meltdown on my part, as we had to take a photo of the two of us (our laptop was out of order with all our images on it) and you know when you have an idea in your head that does just not want to translate into reality? Yep, that was basically how things were going. Oh, plus there was next to no light in our apartment and for some absurd reason by attempts to look cool, calm and collected instead made me look smug. I may have flounced onto the couch in despair.

I am really happy with how it all turned out though, and totally honoured to be featured in such a great publication! The interviews start on page 110, but I'd definitely recommend putting aside some time to take a look through the whole thing, as always there are many, many lovely things.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Morning light

I'm not even going to pretend that I'm a morning person. Never have been, most likely never really will be. But I want to be! You know how in movies and on tv shows they always have all this magical time before school or work to sit down for breakfast, read the paper, chat, etc. Where does this time come from! I don't really understand how that all works, aside from the fact that of course a) it's not real and b) if it was real (and you know there are people out there who for this is totally normal) of course it is just because they actually get up earlier than just 20 minutes before they have to get out the door. I have to admit, the times I do get up early, once I'm up I really love it. I enjoy the quiet, not feeling like I have to rush and sitting in the morning light. So I'm going to try and make this a bit more of a habit. Which will mean not staying up past midnight, ahem. Also, this is starting tomorrow as today I couldn't bear to drag myself out of bed due to this incessant rain! So how about you? Morning person or night owl?

Here's some link love for your perusal today, especially if it's anything like here and you're planning on hibernating all day;
- I'm in love with these cross stitch pendants by the very clever Heather of Dahlhaus.
- I really enjoyed this piece on Native appropriation, heritage capitalism and Antiques Roadshow.
- I've decided that I must have this tent for summer camping, and if not then at least this adorable sleeping bag. Or this one! Swoon. (via frolic)!
- Totally floored by this diorama that Julianna made.
- Stunning shots of New York (one of the worlds most beautiful cities, in my opinion) by my friend Alex.