Monday, November 17, 2008

ready and willing

typewriter: 5.00
granny sunglasses: 1.50
bow-tie pins: 50 cents (for two)
purple clutch: 2.00

Today was 50% off day at Value Village (also deemed affectionately amongst my group of friends as 'Val Vills', 'Cape Value', 'the Tiny Village of Value), and I hurried over as fast as I could to the nearest outlet to get my secondhand fix.

Like the magnificent full moon, this special day comes around only once a month. Accompanying it is a lot of hectic dashing, tripping over fallen hangers, and attempting to maneuver politely around people while hauling around a giant tote of goodies. As the prices of secondhand goods keeps rising, it's hard to get a good deal in this town anymore. And although VV doesn't touch the extortionary prices of previously-loved goods in the Kensington Market or Queen st. boutiques, its prices often hit inexplicable heights. Which makes these discount days all the more sweet.

My shopping companion made off with a couple shirts, and I lugged about a typewriter (similar to the one a few posts below- it must be fate that I found it today!) and a handful of accessories. The typewriter is hands-down the best buy of the day. Although it's not the most charming typewriter I own, it's in fantastic condition.

School is out for... strike-times. Hopefully I will be on the computer more, updating and reading, although I will tiptoe about my dust-gathering textbooks quite guiltily.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Glorious Kate Spade mittens! Perfect for the slow Canadian winters. Bet these would make some mean snowballs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


(leah bartholomew, gorker gallery)
Hurray for autumn! It is wheezing to a close over here in Toronto. Leaves flaming out and then drifting to the ground. I got off school early today after class and some meetings, peeled out of the parking lot, and made it home in time to cram in a quick walk through the local gardens with my main squeeze before the sun sank.

sharon margaret russell

My parents came back from Australia/Hong Kong with a cartload of magazines that my middle sister, who lives in Sydney, had saved up for me over the past few months. frankie magazine (art*fashion*music*craft*life) was one of the best discoveries she made after landing on the other side of the world, along with the realization that toilet water swirls in the opposite direction. She's passed many issues along to me, and they've entertained me through long train rides through the country-sides of China; one issue really pulled through for me last year when I ended up in the hospital linked up to an IV for three hours, giddy from the antibiotics rocketing through my veins.

frankie is like the cool cousin who blows into town leaving perfectly-worn-in plaid shirts and old records underneath your bed. The columnists are hilarious and sharp, and the fashion's steeped in that natural laidback charm that Australian's are notorious for. Most importantly, the magazine talks to readers like they are intelligent and creative art-lovers, not like a lot of N. American fash/culture rags, many of which I feel talk down to readers or come off like one long advertorial (cough, Nylon).

Knitter/Photographer Sharon Russell's photographs featuring naughty knitted bits were showcased in the July/August issue of frankie. The tiny squares of wool juxtaposed against large expanses of skin are amazing and do great work in un-granny-fying the craft.

All images by Sharon Russell from the ‘A fleshy self : consciousness’ series.All images copyright Sharon Russell 2007

Sunday, November 2, 2008

{This is Glamorous} has the most gorgeous accumulation of fashion and interior design pics. The minute I click on that site my inspiration nodes start hopping and my heart starts to glow.

This framed chalkboard would be perfect for creating little menus at home or leaving messages for loved ones. Any To Do list written here would probably be completed with gusto and style.

Old typewriter at the boyfriend's cottage.

It was placed on a little white desk, next to a teeny white chair. A brown rocking chair lilted slowly next to it. Places for so many great ideas to sit and rest before being dashed onto the page.

Type-itty type type!

Friday, October 31, 2008

black, white and bangs all over

What's not to love about Leslie Feist? This maple syrup-voiced Canadian songstress might not have the mile high legs of Lou Doillon or the wide doe-eyes of Zoeey Deschanel, but she inhabits the world of 'awesome brunettes with perfect fringe and wardrobes to die for' with a quiet and understated charm. She stays close to a neutral palette of colours and keeps the make-up simple- the most unassuming background for all her overwhelming talent.

'Let it Die' came out at the perfect time in my life. During my summers off during my undergrad I worked at a record store and held other assorted jobs. There had been a strong murmur of buzz about Ms. L. Feist rumbling in the Toronto music scene for quite some time. Her NXNE show that Spring was gangbusters. She was a member of scene darlings Broken Social Scene- who had already capture my heart- rounding out the dazzling female trifecta which also boasted Emily Haines (Metric) and Amy Millan (Stars). And most intriguingly, she was connected to Peaches (her songs remind me of my last year of high school oh those days) in some manner- perhaps crossing paths in their expat and overly-musical lives.

And since it was summer, and since I was sad, (and oh, since I had a store discount), on the day it came out I bought her album without even listening to it first. I was captured by the crispness of the black cover, charmed by how it was framed as if she was emerging from a hole in the ground. I spent a lot of summer sunsets driving slowly around the neighborhood and rocking up and down local speedbumps like a boat in troubled waters listening to 'mushaboom' and 'secret heart' on repeat. The spare and simply wonderful music got me through some tremendously wretched months and I emerged at the end of the summer a slightly less rumpled individual.

Sadly I now find it difficult to listen to her new CD and her remixes. I saw her play a free show at Harbourfront once that was strangely disappointing, and in the ensuing years despite many opportunities to see her at local shows I could not bring myself to go. Sometimes you need people and music to be what they were for you at the time you most felt them. And it's selfish to not be able to see them in new settings or play unfamiliar songs, but there are particular places for most-loved things. I'm not like that with all music but some pieces are like captured museum settings in my heart, unchangeable.

I still listen to that album every few months and I get hurtled back into the past. All that old sadness winnowed away and things inevitably changed, for the better, as they do. But if I need a snapshot of that summer all I need to play are a few tracks and it's there.

All dressed up and everywhere to go. Loving the costume jewelery necklace dipping into the black satin.

Here she is blowing through the BSS 'Almost Crimes' video burning like a fast match. I saw her play Toronto five years ago with Broken Social Scene. She strolled onto the stage in cowboy boots and a fringed white leather jacket and played the drums and sang this song and every boy and girl in the room fell in love with her.

Monday, October 27, 2008

criterion collection covers of wes anderson films

Beautiful Criterion Collection covers of Wes Anderson films. The cover of Bottle Rocket was designed by Ian Dingman. The rest of them were designed by Eric Chase Anderson, Wes Anderson's younger brother, who also created all of Richie Tenenbaum's drawings in The Royal Tenenbaums.

The luggage set created by LV for The Darjeeling Limited is so magnificent and dignified. You could certainly stroll onto a steamship or a first-class sleeper car in style with these pieces trailing behind you. And the best part is, its ultimate function has extended beyond a prop or holder-of-beautiful-things-on-steamships. After the movie these pieces were auctioned off, with proceeds going to a charity in India. Stylish, functional, and good-hearted!

And a picture of the character Margaret Yang from Rushmore, probably one of my favourite peripheral Wes Anderson characters of all time. No hilarious over-the-top moments or obvious eccentricities; just a soft-voiced girl in a peacoat, spectacles, and beret with her own problems and an enormous depth of understanding.

MARGARET were a real jerk to me, you know that?


I'm sorry, Margaret.


Well. anyway, nice to see you.

a brick of books from brick books

A small brown package of books courtesy of Brick Books clunked through my mailbox just in time for some weekend cottage reading. Thin slices of poetry books perfect for tucking into my purse or back pocket.

I read the Elimination Dance out loud on the way out to the lake. The Elimination Dance is a poem written by Michael Ondaatje (of English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion fame) that was eventually turned into a short film by Bruce Mcdonald. The premise of the poem/short film:

"Instructions: An elimination dance begins with a crowded dance floor. At a signal, the band stops playing and the announcer reads an elimination, say, "Any lover who has gone into a flower shop on Valentine's Day and asked for clitoris when he meant clematis." Any dancer answering this description must sit down, and his partner is also disqualified. The process continues (e.g. "Any person who has burst into tears at the Liquor Control Board") until a single couple remains."

A fabulous poem that will inspire laughs and sad chuckles. A beautifully constructed game of 'I have never' (the worst game for weak-livered lovers of dangerous things) full of seemingly far-fetched scenarios rooted in a whole crock-pot of humanity.

sweater- mango $30
turtleneck dress- american apparel $20 (50% off)
spectacles necklace- $4

What to wear to get into the mood to dive into new books? Why a plastic spectacles necklace! I bought this necklace in the old Wudaokou market in Beijing when I studied Mandarin at BLCU last summer. It cost four whole Canadian dollars, which is actually quite a fair sum of money when most other jewelery pieces were going for less than two dollars. But I fell in love with the effortless geek chic of this necklace and didn't have the heart to bargain that hard for it, taking the opening price and dashing off triumphantly. Though they're really only large enough to be a misguided pair of monocles at best, whenever I wear the necklace it never fails that someone gets confused and thinks they are real glasses! For Lilliputians, I assume.