Friday, August 15, 2014

Black and White

I've just handed in my last paper for my grad studies course, and have four days before I go back to work for the fall. So, naturally, that's enough time for a good project!
I am a perpetual redecorator. I rearrange my furniture, repaint stuff, recover stuff ALL the time. A little while ago, we got a couple of benches from Ikea, and they came with a standard pattern. 
They were intended to be toy boxes, hence the circus pattern.

The chairs at my table are hand-me-downs. I kind of (really) hate them. I recovered them once, a few years ago, with a fun pattern.

So it was time to update these items to reflect my current sensibilities.
I've been noticing these sort of African black-and-white patterns lately. Like:

and 2. Ariele's chair:

My local fabric store was having a sale, so I bought up some black-and-white batiks. Not quite African, but the graphic and geometric quality was there.

I totally freehanded those bench cushions. And messed up a bunch. It was a prototype in progress, and but it ended up working. I bought two more cushions, and stacked them to make them thicker, which I think looks better (and is comfier). And I also really love that each chair cushion is a different pattern, but it goes together. And it makes those chairs somewhat bearable.

It was fun to make!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clay Mobile Wreath

I wanted a new wreath, but all the ones I've been seeing were too Halloweeny or too Fall-ish, if you know what I mean.

I used these two tutorials from Ez from Creature Comforts, a beautiful and lovely blog.

The quote on the cloud is from the Holstee Manifesto.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I am a tree

I've started on the road to get a Masters in Education degree. It's an interdisciplinary degree, and my first year is Creativity in Educational Practice.

In our introduction course, which was just a week long and finished today, we learned about the fundamentals of creativity. We were also invited to experiment with our own creativity, so we could experience what our students go through when we ask them to be creative. We had two major projects: a personal metaphor, and a collaborative creative project.

I want to share my personal metaphor. Quite simply, I think I'll just post some photos and the explanation I read to the class as I shared today, and let that do the talking. If you have questions about the process, fire them my way!

Quotes that speak to me or help me define myself.

Oddly and Trotsky are near my tree.

I am a tree. I'm not an apple tree or an oak tree or a birch tree. I'm an idea tree. Here's how I work: I draw my nutrients not only from the prairie that surrounds me and is a part of who I am, but also from the many thoughts and inspirations that I draw to me.

My bark is black, grey, and white. The black absorbs ideas. The white shines them back to their thinker, illuminating the idea in a new light for them. The white is where the children reside. The grey is the most interesting, as there's a little of each - absorption and reflection - happening here. Ideas swirl, marinate, and evolve here.

My leaves are the colours of the rainbow. I am a colourful tree, not willing to blend into the background. My fruit are not edible, in the traditional sense. Worlds and words hang from my branches, and all the best ones, the ones that most resonate with me, are here. The people who wrote and said these words are wise, and their words hang here to show the importance of such things. Words are permanent, and can bring so much joy, insight, and meaning to the reader.

My branches shelter creatures. The birds sing their sweet songs, which reverberate through my branches and trunk, shaking me right to the core. Their music changes me, and makes me feel emotional and free. Creatures of all kinds are nurtured by me... they seek my shade and comfort, and also appreciate my generosity, taking my fruit when they need it.

There's also a quiet spot hidden in the centre of my branches. It's a spot no one ever sees, but it's there. It's a place of introspection and inner life. It's a thoughtful place. It's a lovely place.

I'm an idea tree, and I'm strong and grounded. I'm determined and I'm dependable. But most of all, I'm hopeful - when my fruit falls, and gets sent out there into the world, it's a beautiful thing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


My students wrote their own manifestos this year, after I showed them the Holstee Manifesto:
They wrote such beautiful, insightful words. There is wisdom in thirteen year olds. Trust me. If you are disillusioned by youth these days, spend a bit of time with me. I'll tell you some stories that will change your mind.

I always make my students a gift for the end of the year to celebrate the amazing learning that has taken place. This year, I decided to frame their Manifestos. I just printed them in colour on a colour printer. I got these inexpensive frames and Ikea, and they happened to be two-sided, so I added my own manifesto on the back - words of advice for them to keep in mind. 
In my Manifesto: Always read. Read often. Read what you love. Read to know.
Their spelling isn't perfect. But they made all the decisions in their Manifesto: what words to choose, how to lay them out on the page, and what (if any) their background would look like. And that's an authentic writing assignment, if you ask me!

I'll give them to my students tomorrow, on their last day of school. I hope they keep these words somewhere where they can see them, so they can always remind themselves what they believe to be true and what they think is important. What more could a teacher ask?!

P.S. Seed bombs were last year's gift!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Freshening Up: Living Room

The weather here is so beautiful this weekend! I have my windows flung open (the cats are happy!) and the melting snow and warm sunshine are making me think of spring.

And, for the first weekend in a really long time, I had absolutely no obligations and could spend my time doing whatever I wanted. Report cards are done, so now I can have some relazing time for me.

So I decided to bring some spring to my living room. I made some new pillow covers and some new curtains and decluttered. And put together a nice little grape hyacinth planter for the coffee table!

My favourite fabric is the kind of tie-dyed looking one.
It reminds me of the night sky.
I love the curtain fabric, too. The grey part is velvet.

Aren't these vintage berry containers darling? I foudn them in an antique store a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 30th birthday. I know lots of people freak out about 30, but I'm kind of zen about it. 29 was much worse!

If I think of everything I've accomplished in the past decade, it's been a pretty great 10 years! And I'm at a really wonderful place in my life right now, large in part due to my lovely sister and roommate, Selby.

Selby has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She cares so much about others, and is so generous with her time and love.

Today, she just proved that over again. Look how she spoiled me today:

She wrote down 30 reasons she loves me.

All taped to a door with washi tape (which she bought me for Christmas - the girl knows me well!!!).

She made us mimosas to have with breakfast today.
Normally, on our birthdays, we'd take the other person out for dinner, or make them a dinner of their choice. But Selby works at the food bank and works the 12 - 8 shift. I have choir practice tonight and won't be home until 10, so Selby decided to make me a special breakfast instead.

And bought me a birthday outfit!

And got some mini cupcakes from a local cupcake shop.

As further proof of Selby's awesomeness, you should check out her new blog, Extracting Happiness.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Be Less Lazy: Repurpose a Tension Rod

I think I saw this idea in a Martha Stewart magazine ages ago.

I bought a tension curtain rod and put it in place under the kitchen sink. It's a perfect place to hang cleaning products, rubber gloves, and cloths and things. And then there's plenty of space underneath to keep other products.

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