Wednesday, March 31, 2010

animal crackers

The wonderful folks at Etsy published this fun interview with Sharon Montrose, an LA-based photographer who specializes in unique animal portraits. 

Wouldn't an arrangement of these look fantastic in a nursery? The prints, which are pretty affordable too, are available here.  You can also see more of her work over at her blog.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MixTape Tuesday - 11 Years On

Peace, joy, to be loved, to have hope.
This is a list of things
 my future will bring
if I'm content to be who I am.

Recently I was cleaning out boxes and found a copy of a cassette I made for my friend Lori 11 years ago, the "Go-Girl" mix.   Over the years I've made her better mixes music-wise but this was the very first one and probably no other so perfectly captured where we were at the moment.  (Admittedly not every song stood the test of time - did you remember there was a group called Prozzäk? Because I did not.)

A lot has happened in those 11 years.  Lori lives here now.  It's been too long since our last coffee date and too long before our next one but the other day I recreated the entire "Go Girl" mix online and sent her the link.  And on opposite sides of the globe, on Monday morning (for her) and Sunday night (for me) we were both cranking up the tunes, dancing in our houses and celebrating wide open spaces, rays of light and feelin' groovy. 

Here are 11 tracks 11 years later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Merry Unbirthday, Luke

The thing about owning a toystore and having a birthday in December is that there's never any time to celebrate.  It's kind of like being Santa Claus. So we don't often get to fete Luke until much later, like, say, today.  We trotted off to the Palate for a delicious unbirthday lunch.

The unbirthday boy blows out the candle on his unbirthday dollop of whipped cream.  Although he kind of looks as if he is cooing soothingly at it.  Or possibly doing his dead-on Jonathan Goldstein impersonation...

This is Denis. Isn't he adorable?  About 30 seconds later he informs me that he doesn't read my blog.  Boo. ("I read the headlines!!")

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Moving Pictures: A Summer Place

"If anybody asks just tell them about the end. That's the part everybody remembers."
Warded off the chilly weather this morning and finally got around to watching the 1959 film A Summer Place.  (More after the jump)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mid-Morning Break

It's the last morning "coffee" break of a long but productive week.  

Fuelling up for a final push with Dominique Browning's lovely photos and thoughtful musings over at slow love life

(photos: slow love life)
Along with Patty Griffin's pretty songs:

And washing it down with Tea Forte's crimson nectar.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Doggy in the Window

No matter what manner of lunacy comes at me during the morning, seeing this face waiting to greet me at lunch makes it all go away. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MixTape Tuesday - Printemps

Music is a huge part of my life.  I am rarely without it.   And I love sharing it.   So Grooveshark appeals to my inner mixtape maker. 

Here are seven songs for the start of spring...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

I love the idea of wearing fascinators.  It's in the name "fascinator"... It's beguiling and old-fashioned. If I find I have occasion to plunk a large concoction of flowers, pearls or fabric on my head (and with me you never know), I'm turning to whichgoose

This one is called Stuff and Nonsense. (Which is another great term in itself.)

You can find this and other pretty, pretty handmade things over at Paper*Cakes Finds


Love Design*Sponge's Sneak Peeks and today's is particularly delicious.  If I were ever to move "to a seaside town in New Hampshire" this is exactly the house I would wish for.  Actually I kind of wish for it now...

(Photos: Design*Sponge)

Oh, and emersonmade's blog itself fills me with glee.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Work in Progress

It's been a busy weekend.  I decided awhile back that I wanted to turn one of the extra upstairs bedrooms into little guestroom for any of the kids in my life who might come for an overnight visit.  I have a guestroom already and it's lovely but it's also on the first floor.  So I'm creating a kid-friendly space on the second floor, just across the hall from my room (and a safe distance from the creepy cellar door). The other reason I wanted to tackle this room is that I've discovered that, like people, rooms without a purpose become unruly and disruptive.

This was the scene on Friday night.  Bleak.

This is the room now.  Walls are painted, carpet gone and some accesories added.  There's still work to be done - have to finish pulling up the carpet staples, need to add a light fixture and, of course, furniture but I'm quite pleased with the result so far.

I'd been wanting to do a room in turquoise and red for awhile now but it felt a little to bold and intense for a room where I spend a lot of time or where I need to unwind.  But I for this room I absolutely love it.  So bright, so happy.

There had been sliding doors on that closet that never worked right so I ripped them down and just added simple broad-cloth drapes. 

This big blank wall needed something and I've always hated packing away the drawings or letters the kids send me. So with an old mirror frame, some white cotton string and and a staple gun, I created a large piece of ever-changing art.  Problem solved + junk re-purposed = double satisfaction.

For as long as I remember, I have loved window seats; a little nook where you could curl up with a book in the sunshine.  Here I added 1" foam pads to an old steamer trunk of my mom's and topped it with a tailored cover and some throw pillows.  So happy with this spot.

It's been a fun project but an exhausting one.  Think we'll kick back, relax and enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It is Spring

It is spring. I plan to try to control myself this year, to watch the progress of the season in a calm and orderly fashion.  In spring I am prone to wretched excess. I abandon myself to flights and compulsions; I veer into various states of physical disarray.

Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Friday, March 19, 2010

I want a brand new pair of roller skates...

Two women’s league roller derby skaters leap over two who have fallen, 10 March 1950. From Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs division.

A friend just posted this story on Facebook:  CBC News - New Brunswick - Roller derby starts in Saint John . Now I need to point out that I've never really been into full-contact anything but when I read this, I thought: "I want to do that."

I hope this comes to Fredericton.  But even if it doesn't, I think I might go out and buy a pair of roller skates.  I love roller skates.  When I was 11, my best friend had a pair and when I'd stay over at her house roller skating was always on the itinerary.  Except she only had one pair.  And rather than taking turns using both, we'd each take one.   And since we lived in the country and there was not a lot of pavement around, we'd skate on the concrete floor in her basement.  Now there was a real art to building up any kind of speed in a small basement while wearing only one roller skate.  The key was to start at the top of the little ramp leading in from the cellar door and give yourself a good push. (It was important to keep your balance, going sideways off the ramp could land you in the sump pit.)  One good push and you'd gather speed as you glided on one foot.  Just when you thought you'd go headlong into a tool bench you'd reach for the support pole, spin yourself around and head in a different direction being careful to clear the basement stairs.    Once you'd mastered this technique, you could mix it up with various leg extensions, additional turns around the pole and what not.  All of this was done to music.  We'd pop her mom's Crystal Gayle cassette into a little pink tape player or if we were feeling particularly artistic we'd opt for piano instrumentals.  Looking back the whole thing seems rather absurd but we committed to it with the whole-hearted earnestness peculiar to 11-year-old girls (which I secretly wish I could have bottled and stored up for my grown-up self).

Now I know spinning around one-skated to the strains of "Don't It Make My Brown-Eyes Blue" has little in common with the rough and tumble world of roller derby but the conclusion remains: 

I want a brand new pair of roller skates.

Which I imagine will turn out something like this:
(at 2:50 LB demonstrates the above-mentioned pole turn)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday in the Park with Henry

Today started out dark and drizzly but it turned around.  Mom and I took Henry for a little walk in Wilmot before she headed back to Grand Manan for the weekend.  Everyone should live in the neighbourhood of at least one good park.

Can't wait for this path to be lined with cherry trees in blossom.

Mom and Henry are bonding.  Clearly.

Signs of spring and cartoon clouds.

A break at the bandstand.

Just. Wow.

(AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Dominic Favre)
My friend Josh (who manages to find all the cool stuff on the interwebs) just tweeted about an amazing gallery of Paralympic shots over at Any time you feel lazy or unmotivated or discouraged, scroll through these. Just. Wow.
2010 Winter Paralympics - The Big Picture -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For Sentimental Reasons

Nat King Cole was one of the first singing voices I remember being able to recognize as a kid (along with Luciano Pavarotti, Kenny Rogers and Neil Diamond.  It was an interesting house...).  Like most people, I thought of him as a crooner but later as I learned a little more about jazz, I realized that he was much more than a singer of pretty and romantic songs.   As NPR reminded me this week:

He was the originator of the guitar/bass/piano trio format, played an extremely influential role as a pianist, broke down barriers between jazz and popular music and became a true multimedia superstar. He was also the first African-American to host a nationally broadcast television series.

And, yes, as a singer he was unforgettable.

In looking for the right song to share on what would have been his 91st birthday (For Sentimental Reasons? Orange-Coloured Sky? L-O-V-E?), I found this recording that I had not heard before.  I think it's kind of perfect...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Plates

I love books, quirky vintage design and organization so you can bet I'll be printing some of these downloadable bookplates from  Design*Sponge...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Edit, Revise, Repeat

Dug out a writing project tonight that I'd been ignoring for several months. I'd like to say that setting it aside was the result of careful planning but it was really just procrastination.  Turns out, however, that the distance was precisely what I needed.   I was able to attack it with the ruthless red pen of revision.  I love my lap-top but nothing beats a good old red pen for revising, revising and revising again.  

(Please note how enthusiastic Henry aka "The Muse" looks.)

Tonight was satisfying. There were, of course, a couple of moments of "Wow. Did I actually think that sounded good? Yeesh." But there was also an encouraging moment or two when a solution to a particularly troublesome spot somewhat magically presented itself.

Here are some tulips on my kitchen table.

(They have nothing to do with writing whatsoever but they are tulips, they are yellow & pink and they make me smile.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walk in the Park

Took a long walk in Odell Park this morning.  I used to be the sort of person who took long walks regularly.  I'm not sure why I stopped.  But I am fairly certain it's time to take it up again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010