Saturday, July 31, 2010

Farewell July!

It has been pretty sweltering in our apartment this week and the idea of working on my hot little laptop has been the last thing I've wanted to do. So, mostly I've been wearing my new swimsuit (I got it in black and I love it) around the house and making/eating popsicles. These ones are strawberry peach, which were ridiculously delicious. B.C. seriously has the best fruit! I just peeled the peaches and blended them together before pouring them into the molds. I think next time I will put a little extra liquid to make them a bit more thirst quenching, but either way they were still pretty amazing. Such a great flavour combo!

It's a long weekend here in B.C. and there is a ton of things on, so I'm looking forward to having Richard at home and welcoming in August with the Pride Parade & Festival, the Powell Street Festival (just around the corner from us, hooray!), beach trips and some swimming. Thanks to some inspiration here, I did up my nails all festive like for the weekend and am rather pleased with the easter egg like results. Well, for this hand anyway, my right hand isn't anywhere near as good. I also realised while attempting this how completely impatient I am. The fact that I couldn't get myself a cookie immediately after applying the final coat made me a little antsy. Not so good at the waiting! I think I just forget too, when my friends treated me to a mani pedi before I got married, the poor women had to fix it twice before I even left the store!

Ok friends, I'm going to put some motivating music on and do all the boring house chores so that I can enjoy the rest of this weekend!

Hope yours is a good one!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oil Spill Response Market

The opening of Poppytalk's current Oil Spill Response market fell right when I was taking my media break, and I feel terrible that I consequently completely forgot to post about this! If you haven't yet seen it, a bunch of artists have gotten together just like their regular markets but this time we've each set aside one item of while the full proceeds will go to Oxfam and their oil spill relief efforts. Poppytalk are also donating a portion of the table fees, and every bit helps so please consider some of these fantastic items if you're looking for a gift or just want to support Oxfam and the Gulf!

The market ends this Friday, and our donation item is still up for grabs. We're also going to donate 50% of all other items purchased through the market, just add 'oil spill response' in the message to seller so we know that's where you came from!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Film trials and tribulations.

Both Richard and I are pretty terrible about checking our phone messages, so over this weekend I found one reminding me to pick up a couple of films from May that I had completely forgotten about! One was from our Portland trip which I'll upload soon, and the other is full of shots from around our neighbourhood and walks I've taken. I'm still trying to figure this little camera out, next time I really need to take a notebook with me to note down what I'm doing on each shot because things are a little all over the place. The light meter only works sometimes (I think) and on both these films I got a number of prints that were entirely blue! I'm not sure if it is the camera or the film I used that caused this, but I actually like some of the 'bad' shots. Just have to keep trying, I guess!

I initially felt like this film was a bit of a dud, but I'm definitely starting to like some of the photos more and more. You can see the rest over here, if you like!

A couple of things;
- I made you a mixtape inspired by the lazy summer days we've been having.
- I love these little otchipotchi wall vases, found via Abby.
- This post over at All Buttoned Up has inspired me to make my own t-shirts. I have a hard time finding ones that fit me the way I like and are long enough (never long enough!) and I love the look of that last one!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mail Bag #2 and some sentimentality to boot.

I got so many treats in the mail this week, including this dried flowers print from Erin which is just so beautiful. I remember seeing it for the on her website when I first got to know her and often coming back to look at it. Those colours! I'm going to look for a frame for it this weekend, along with a few others for some other prints I've been meaning to hang. Like this lovely Lizzy Stewart print I snapped up during the ML4U Gulf Fundraiser that also arrived today. I'm completely smitten with it, and all of her work actually. Aside from some of the bigger pieces that went quickly/I couldn't afford, this was the one piece I really wanted to get from the sale but when I first put it in my cart it let me know that someone else was in the process of buying it! Argh, so I just waited it out in case they changed their mind and eventually after about an hour or so of waiting it was mine.

It is so stunning in person, although unfortunately my postie is apparently unfamiliar with the 'do not bend: art print inside' concept. Nothing too bad though, and it should definitely smooth out when I frame it. She also sent note with the print on the back of this card to which Richard and I both exclaimed 'There's us!' when we saw it.

I think I mentioned that one of the things I found the hardest about taking a media break was the feeling of 'I! Am! Missing! Out!', which I did not like one bit. Of course though, the very task of trying to not ever miss out is exactly why the internet can become so totally overwhelming in the first place. This week being back online has made me realise that what I really truly missed was my friends. So much more so than the new hilarious cat video (speaking of, I've watched this and died laughing way too many times this week), political scandal or new fashion must have is the joy of virtually squealing, sighing or laughing about it with friends. It's both amazing and somehow totally normal to me that I would plan to meet up for drinks with or stay at the house of someone I've cultivated a friendship with online, and I actually consider myself really lucky to have that. I absolutely did not see the point of Twitter when I first heard of it, but now it has become a way of surrounding myself with all the people I love and who inspire me. Working from home means it's like having all these fantastic hand-picked co-workers right at your fingertips. I love it. As great and as valuable as unplugging was, so much so that I will most definitely do it again, I am very grateful that plugging in has brought me amazing friends who send me lovely things (of course not the only reason Erin is a favourite, that she is an all around lovely gal and makes me laugh a lot is pretty high up there, too), the opportunity to take part in meaningful collaborative efforts, the chance to be exposed to amazing art and creativity and just generally opened up all sorts of wonderful connections.

Haha, I just realised how sentimental I am sounding, and also like I've just discovered the wonderful world wide web. But, I'm sure you all understand what I'm saying! As always, thank you for reading this little blog 'o mine, I am so grateful to be able to get to know each and every one of you!

Happy Weekend, friends!

Darling Heart Shop Update

I added a few things to the vintage shop while I was away and earlier this week. A couple of beautiful guitars that it is killing me to part with, a radio or two and a few other things for around your home. Oh, plus that lovely Southwestern patterned tote which is nice and big. Perfect for the beach or picnic!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Childlike Wonder & Fantasy: Ebony Bizys of Hello Sandwhich

If you're not already familiar with the lovely Ebony Bizys of Hello Sandwhich, I highly recommend you head on over there quick smart for your fill of colour, Japanese micro-pop, cuteness and glitter! I started reading Hello Sandwhich awhile ago and it is a constant breath of fresh air in my Google Reader. Not only does Ebony collect and document all things adorable and Japanese, but she is also an extremely talented artist and designer (see some of her Vogue Living spreads over here) as well as being a super lovely gal. I can't wait to go visit her in Tokyo next year!

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?

When I finished school I studied Fine Arts at university majoring in painting and drawing. Actually I am still finishing off my Masters of Fine Arts. Once you enter that school you can never leave! It’s COFA’s (College of Fine Arts UNSW) dirty little secret! At the same time I was at university I began working part time at VOGUE magazine and eventually found myself working full time as Deputy Art Director for VOGUE Living magazine. I adored my job so resigning was a tough decision to make, but last month I made the move over to Tokyo where I now live. I absolutely ADORE it here! I am happier than ever!



Tokyo Guide Zine - photos by Justine of Upon a Fold 
(I got mine in the mail this week and it is perfect!)

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

Creating is a part of everyday life for me. Whether it’s drawing, painting, designing, blogging, crafting, making zines, making installations, making animations or even arranging colourful Japanese foods in a bento box, anything creative is just a very normal daily part of life. I feel happiest when I am doing something creative. It’s the main drive that keeps me going.


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

Everywhere! I find inspiration in anything from a tiny pastel coloured scrap of paper to an entire Tokyo suburb! I am always searching books, magazines, websites, blogs, art galleries and design studios for inspiration. All creative people who are following their dreams make my heart beat a little faster!

Do you find that there are overarching themes that come through in your work, ideas, etc that you keep coming back to or want to express?

For many years my artmaking has been informed by Japanese culture and Japanese ‘micropop’ art. I aim to explore ‘micropop’ ideas such as childlike wonder, fantasy and dreamlike elements in most of my art works.


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 guess I am pretty lucky as there are only rare cases when it doesn’t flow as easily but it’s generally nothing a short screen break or a cup of green tea can’t fix!

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

The most rewarding part is being able to do what you love all day with the added bonus of being paid! It’s a dream to stay inspired and nourished through my work. Being able to work creatively enriches my life immensely. I can’t really think of any difficult parts.

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

Professional Latin American Dancer, hosting a craft show on TV, being Hiroshi Sugito’s artists assistant or opening a Hello Sandwich Shop / Gallery / Creative Space!

Thank you, Ebony!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mrs Robinson

Trying to tame my bangs has given me reason to look a little more closely in the mirror each morning, in doing so I've noticed a few stray greys have appeared. Of course it isn't the first time I've found a grey hair or two, but they all seem to be growing on the left side in little clusters which is totally fascinating to me. I pointed it out to Richard and his response was something along the lines of noticing I'd had grey hairs aaages ago. Thanks, buddy. I've actually always said I'd like to just go grey gracefully, I haven't dyed my hair in the longest time (mostly due to laziness, I don't have any problem with doing it) and I'm secretly hoping this growth pattern will give me something like this. Time will tell, both in the Anne Bancroft hair wish department, and how much grace I really do have. 

Some nice things;
- Summer Water, the new collaboration of Anabela and Caitlin is so perfect.
- No raw eggs makes me happy, I will definitely be making this ceasar salad with veggie bacon!
- Rejecting the notion of the flattering outfit has been something I've wanted to write on, and perhaps still will, but for now please read this excellent take on it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

What I did on my holidays.

Hello! So good to be back after such a refreshing two weeks. I'll admit that pulling myself away from here was a little tricky at first, I had a hard time feeling like I was missing out on stuff! I read an article the other day about a recent tv appearance of Fidel Castro who mentioned something about the US attacking Iran (hypothetically) and I freaked out that we really had missed the beginning of the end of the world by turning off the internet. Dooms day worries aside, it was such a great time. I listened to records, went on picnics, lay in the sun, sketched, read (actual books, man it's been too long), ate outdoors a lot, attended a marathon labour, wore summer clothes, cleared our patio and ate pizza with herbs from our garden. Pretty perfect really. I started this post with the intent of filling you in on all that I got up to, but I think when it comes down to it what I really did was step back from the business that I'd let take over and take stock of how I'd really like to be living. To be inspired, take naps, eat breakfast and fruit, remember the vitamins, etc.

Thank you so much to all the lovely people who helped me out by guest posting here over the past couple of weeks. It was such a treat for me to not only have the break, but also to host all your wonderful stories and pictures here. And hello to those of you who found this blog during the break, I can't wait to get to know you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Parts of Summer

Hello Bliss in a Teacup readers!

I am Abby of Abby Try Again. I am so pleased to be here today, sharing a bit of my summer favorites with you. Thank you, Becka.

As some of you may know, I recently moved from the rainy and cool Pacific Northwest to the hot and humid land of Texas. So far it has definitely been an interesting adjustment, but I am trying to remind myself of the best parts of here they are; my summertime favorites in no particular order.

I love eating outdoors in the summer. Cooking outdoors is almost just as fun!

Summertime is the perfect season for long evening bike rides with friends.

Fruit trees are bursting with goodies right about this time of year.

Barefoot weather is quite nice.

Outdoors games are a must this time of year.

Summertime is the best time to explore the woods.

What's your favorite summer activity?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sand Dunes & Lakes

Next up, a post from my lovely friend Erin of Atlantic Treefox. Erin is ridiculously talented, I have both her needlwork and her beautiful film photos on my walls (you can pick up one of your own here) and can't wait to see what more she comes up with now that she's back in her homeland and getting ready to head off to art school. Thanks for sharing a bit of Ontario summer with us, Erin!

Since I've been back home in Southern Ontario I've been making a point to soak in as much as I can before I move off to Nova Scotia in September.

Nick & I went up to Lake Muskoka to stay at a cottage for a few days & it was so beautiful. Looking right out onto the lake, huge granite with lichen all over it & all the pine trees, it was such an amazing place. The sounds & smells really make it. We took a canoe out, saw a little inukshuk, sat out talking on a party boat & got amazing ice cream in town.

This past week we went out to The Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron. It is a little bit of paradise out there let me tell you! Some of the only sand dunes like it in Canada are there. The white sand & the aqua blue water, you'd think it was the Bahamas! We enjoyed a huge campsite with hugely tall trees all around, beautiful trails & wavy waters. The beach is so long & isn’t crowded at all. My favourite part is that the water has a couple good sand bars so you can really swim out far!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wild Things

Tiny Happy was also one of the first blogs I started reading, and is still a daily read for me. It is one of the most beautiful and calming spaces on the craziness that is the internet, and Melissa never fails to inspire. I am so thrilled to have you posting here today, thanks Melissa!

Hello, lovely readers. My name is Melissa, and I'm honoured to be guest-posting here at Bliss in a Teacup.

One of my favourite things about summer are wildflowers. In 2008 and 2009, my partner, two kids and I lived in Norway and I think that's where I really fell in love with weeds and other plants growing along the motorways. Here in New Zealand, our seasons are less extreme, so quite a few plants are flowering during the winter months. I never quite appreciated the bold and rebellious nature of wildflowers until I'd driven through the Swedish countryside one summer, taking photos out of the window from my passenger seat. When I got home, I made embroideries and drawings of the plants I'd found.

Here are some of the wildflowers I gathered over my last three summers- in Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.

Looking through these has me longing for summertime- we are currently deep in winter here at the bottom of the world.

Hope you get to gather some wildflowers this summer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Projects and Tanned Skin


Emma's blog, Small Town Stories was one of the very first I started reading and it continues to be one of my favourites. I love seeing what she's up to back in New Zealand, very near to where we hope to settle, watching her and her husband Tom carve a little life out for themselves in Featherston. She is also a very talented maker of pretty bags, brooches and beautiful prints (I hope to have one of my own one day!), to see more take a look over here! Thanks, Emma.

Summer in New Zealand falls at the end of the year, beginning in December and wrapping around the last month to begin the year in warm weather, tanned skin and swimming holes. As the working year ends, as a parting gift we’re all given a boost of serotonin, peppered with a touch of Christmas and some New Year resolutions.

Summer for me has always also meant projects. I don’t really lie on beaches. I’m pale for a start but I’m also always thinking – what can I built next, what print should I create, is there something I can sew that I haven’t thought of yet?

When I was younger, my brothers and I spent our school holiday summers building BMX tracks in the bush (forest) out the back of our house. We constructed jumps from ashes collected throughout the year, cut and hacked through branches and raked and dug and cleared pathways before spending afternoons with friends who we dared to go faster and jump higher than we knew how.

These summers I like to plant flowers and vegetables in the garden, when growing seems easiest. I like to nap in the afternoons to avoid the heat. And I like to set myself summer projects so that when I return to work I can look down at my tanned arms and know I have achieved something greater and more tactile than a few shades of darker skin.

A couple of years ago, my husband Tom and I spent two weeks clearing neck-high weeds, raking over earth and sewing grass for our back section. The summer before last I built a gate in the middle of a fence that blocked me from a great blackberry patch and painted the kitchen floor. And although this summer is still five months away for me, I know that I’ll make an edition of prints and paint the little bedroom that we hope will one day be our baby’s.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A New Zealand Summer

I am so happy to introduce to you my dear friend Tilly, for the first of this weeks guest posts. I am so happy that Tilly has started blogging, as she is one of the most inspiring people I know! She's right though, the perils of having friends from back home post is a pretty strong pang of homesickness. I miss all those faces, sights and New Zealand beaches! Thanks for stopping by, Tilly!

First of all, may I just say that it is such a treat to be guest posting on this lovely blog. I just love the space Becka has created here. Bliss in a Teacup was one of the first blogs I ever read and has been the inspiration for starting my own.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Tilly. I live in Auckland, New Zealand and  have just recently started my own little blog called A Marvellous Victory.

As Evie mentioned in a previous post, it is a bit painful to be writing about summer from all the way down here, at the bottom of the world, where winter is just settling in. Today it is cold, wet and grey and I have the fire roaring.

Living on an island means that the beach figures most prominently in all of  my summer memories. Here is my list of what makes a New Zealand summer particularly special (be prepared to miss home, Becka!): New Zealand summer means long days at the beach, surfing, bicycle rides for ice cream, sandy feet, road trips, salty hair, sun burnt toes, sand castles, rope swings, picnics, bare feet, bonfires, bush walks, Christmas, camping, canned tomatoe sauce, jandels, exaggerated freckles, beer in the sun, strawberries, frujus, coconut smelling sunblock, pre-cooked sausages, river swims, snorkeling, outdoor movies, floppy hats, boats, BBQ's and sun.

Here are a few holga images that remind me of summer. A few (marked with an +) were taken by my beautiful and  talented friend Coralee on our most recent summer holiday.  Enjoy xx