Wednesday, March 30, 2011

what I'm reading

I'm daydreaming big these days (and laying low, craft-wise). The best news ever: I'm moving in with my sweetheart! June 1. And, as I know my fellow crafters will sympathize, my secret fabric, button and notion stashes really do have to be addressed. So I'm packing up the projects for a while; spending my time filling boxes ... in lieu of stuffing mushrooms! I'm reading, too. Inspired by blogland, and the Beehive Craft Collective's recent post on vegetable dyeing, I'm diving deep into research mode. Imagine vegetable-dyed mushrooms! I love the idea of mimicing nature, and experimenting with true-to-life hues and subjects.

P.S. The move into Guy's house means I'll get a wee room of my very own - my first studio (that isn't my living room table). I am beside myself with happiness. I think I'll be so much more productive when I'm not trying to balance my workspace with dinner plates :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

woodgrain wonder

Here's another wee friend, with the norwegian forest baby set (autumnal flowers bib and soft branch rattle). Babies + branches = a perfect combination.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

magic mushrooms

I've long been told that my mushroom rattles hold a certain je ne sais quois for babies (French and otherwise!) But here's the proof:

It doesn't get better than this! These bib and rattle sets are craft sale best-sellers - any more babies (mums/dads) out there with pictures to share? Baby happiness totally makes my day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


A few months ago, a friend at work told me if I made mushrooms she could "hang", she'd buy some - she had run out of shelf space at home. Like all apartment dwellers (yours truly, included) it's wall space that need filling, not mantels (sigh - still waiting for my fireplace). ANYWAY, I stumbled upon some fun 1970s wooden plaques at the reuse center - 25 cents a piece, and started playing. Here's my first result:

(Big thanks to my best-ever Dad, who got out the belt-sander and drill to help me with this project).

There's one detail that doesn't feel quite right- can you guess? -yep, it's that moss. A teensy bit too decorative. What do you think? In my usual end of day, head on pillow juggling of ideas, I brainstormed some other options. So stay tuned, as the kids used to say, because I think I've got it! In the meantime, this little plaque is on its way to Winnipeg, for MAWA's (7th) annual Over the Top Art Auction and Cupcake Party.

Are there are any prairie pals reading this post? I miss you! (nevermind the cupcakes!)Here's to another successful fundraiser - I'm sending all my best thoughts. Much love, HP xo

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

upcoming exhibition

Hi all! Each year, my staff and volunteer colleagues at the Art Gallery of Ontario come together for a group show "Artists of the Gallery" (that's a nice little spin, AOG/ AGO - in case you missed it). If you're in Toronto, stop by the Hangman Gallery (East End) to see one of my bell jar terrariums (running through to the end of March).

Monday, March 7, 2011

new project

A few weekends ago, I found these simple tree-limb discs, with pre-cut holes, at the Reuse Center. Here's a tip, readers: it's always worthwhile to donate castoffs (however small and seemingly toss away) to your local Value Village/charity shop - as items you might think are destined for the trash pile can find a whole new life in a crafter's wise hands. We can all spot the beauty of an upcycled cashmere sweater, but just wait until you see what I make with these!

On second thought, this photo does look , shall we say, a bit rude? Never fear, soon my idea will blossom, err... bloom (yes, that's a hint).

like apples and oranges

Another sign of NYC's sheer bigness. This gets right to the heart of the matter:

There's only one thing left to consider. Imagine the heft of the squirrels!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NYC Favourite

Everything's an adventure when the right Guy is by your side.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The mothership: Etsy Headquarters!

I’ve finally sorted through the memories, errr…photos from our blissful weekend in New York. I thought Toronto was big, but New York is the Mecca. Toronto’s subway system feels unsophisticated and Playmobilish; my neighbourhood’s streets seem so wide and so empty. Our traffic woes feel old-fashioned, circa 1970. Here’s a big city discovery for you - time takes on new meaning in an urban metropolis. It sounds trite, but it’s really true. Remember on Sex and the City, when Carrie found herself stuck in a yellow cab traffic jam, and subsequently took off running in her fancy Monolos for the subway, in order to make it to the Stock Exchange in time to ring the opening bell? To the cab driver, she had worryingly instructed “I have to be downtown in an hour”. That line used to throw me off. An hour? By goodness! But now I’m wiser. Full blocks of traffic clog the city (and up the meter) like nobody’s business in NYC. Being late really is kind of fashionable.

On to Etsy. Birthday morning, Guy arranged a surprise tour of Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NYC (!!!) Borough- newbies, we confused one address for another and found ourselves off track and late, and our trek to the mothership took the form of epic adventure. One sun-dappled walk across the Brooklyn Bridge later, we were at Etsy Headquarters, - or at least in the vicinity of. Etsy is one of many companies (communities?) that makes their home in an industrial monolith warehouse. Picture this: Floors and floors of white hallways and largely-unmarked metal doors. Super insider. We felt very much like mice working their ways through one of those wooden mazes (on a timer, no less). But then I spotted this:

Now more than an hour late, the sight of handwritten script made my heart swell. We were here! (almost, we were actually at the Etsy Craft lab). A quick redirect later, and finally, HOME.

I took all the standard pics. But they’re MINE. I ran my hands over the fabric typewriter, stapled the plush Stadler, and made a (very important!) phone call via fabric phone. What’s more to say? The Etsy folks are just as you imagined they would be – your best friends, your crafternoon pals, your blog buddies. Walking through those metal doors was like entering a portal to the best high school cafeteria I could imagine: no cliques, just one big community – of Handmade! Sincerely, Etsy is everything you hoped it would be and more.

At this point, things get a little bit fuzzy - I totally nerded out, to be completely honest with you. (side note: I think I now fully understand how my sister felt, meeting Tom Cruise - 1999, not the creepy years ). I don’t really know what I said to Julie, who gave us our very own bang-up tour of Etsy – But THANK YOU, secret admiral for humouring me as I took it all in, all pie-eyed and wide-mouthed.

A final note: my favourite part was visiting the Editing suite, where This Handmade Life is put together. I was thrilled to meet all of the nicely be-specked nerdy types within, and tell them that their video portraits make my workday so much happier (who wouldn’t love to hear that?) As we all know, Quit Your Day Job fantasies are best experienced in the cubicle. Thanks Etsy pals!