Smoking & Knitting in the Sun?


I found a new use for the large travel kit the other day as I was doing some cleaning and organizing – knitting bag! I’ve had balls of yarn, needles, and partially made things lying around everywhere, so I tossed it all into a travel kit.

I was thinking that if I kept knitting all summer, I’d be ready when fall comes back. But maybe knitting in the summer is kind of weird. Knitting wool things while you’re sweating? It would be like smoking while laying on the beach on a hot humid day. Odd right?




Theme of the week: Circuitousness.

  1. Circular drawstring bags – Sewed up a stack of circular bottom drawstring bags to ship out, and I’m testing out a new colour – turquoise!
  2. Circular weather pattern – Feels like we are going continuously from spring to winter, spring to winter. This morning we got rain, hail, then snow. If only the circle could widen a little to include summer.
  3. Circular doughnuts – Krispy Kreme after yoga practice. Yum!


Marco Cibola @ The Gladstone



Next week (Thursday, April 4th to be exact) Marco Cibola‘s show It’s About Time will open at The Gladstone. It runs from April 4 – 28 and will feature his new works on paper. For details check out the poster up top. If you’re in Toronto, you should go! You should go! You should go!

First photo: The latest Cibola Christmas card. If only the holidays could be so chill . . . I also love when Christmas things are not super Christmassy looking. That way you can keep them around after and not get depressed.

Second photo: Two prints waiting for frames.


Drape Drape


I recently got this pattern book, Drape Drape, in the hopes that I will start making clothes again. A friend gave me 2 bolts of fabric – one roll of black knit cotton and one roll of white. I figured if I skipped a few steps like drafting the patterns myself and finding the perfect fabric I’d be more likely to just do it. Sometimes it’s nice to just make something easy and not stress about spending hours on something that might not turn out. Although some of these patterns don’t look look super easy. Let’s see . . .

These could be the perfect summer throw-on clothes. Easy like sweatpants, but won’t give away the fact that you just spent the last hour on the couch eating poutine. And they might even make up the perfect effortless travel wardrobe.


Winter is a Great Time . . .

fruittart_web icecream_sandwich_web

. . . for eating ice cream sandwiches.

  1. There are no line ups or crowds of people wanting to taste every flavour.
  2. It doesn’t melt as fast.
  3. It’s cold outside, but it’s warm inside, so there’s really no difference. It might even be more satisfying, like eating ice cream while watching people exercise.

This super amazing monster sandwich is from Bakerbots. It barely fits in your hand and definitely won’t fit in your face without some effort, but so worth it. This one is filled with London Fog (Earl Grey) ice cream. Another interesting flavour to try is Bellwoods Stout. And if you’re adamant about not eating ice cream in winter, they have plenty of yummy pastries and cakes ready to get in your belly. My favourite is the Oreo cake or Oreo cupcakes.

There are also vegan and gluten free options if you’re of that persuasion.


Traveling Light


To me drawstring bags are essential when packing for travel. I love them! I like to keep everything organized in separate bags. One for underwear, socks and bathing suits, one for yoga stuff, another for t-shirts and tank tops, one for sweaters or anything that might snag or get fuzzy, one more for dirty laundry (no dirty stuff floating around mixing with clean stuff!), and an extra one just in case. Oh, and shoes go in one too!

I used to feel like a bit of a weirdo, but recently I’ve met a few other people who also pack this way, and I’m quite sure there are many more of you out there. It’s okay. Come on out and be a proud packing nerd!

Pictured above is one of the new cotton drawstring bags now available in the shop.

Here’s a little video on how to ninja fold your t-shirts. Imagine going into a wash n’ fold laundry place and it was run by ninjas! They would be dressed in all black – balaclavas, tabi boots, and all. Your clothes would be folded up super fast and wrapped nicely in fabric bags. I would never do my own laundry again and that video game music would be the soundtrack to life.


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Fold It Like Mike Friton


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The Innovator from Cineastas on Vimeo.

My friend Drew sent me this video. He drove up from Cincinnati (Norwood actually) for a visit back in December and noticed a folded piece of paper I had lying around. It was something I had done a couple of years earlier and he asked how I did it. “Oh, it’s really easy. I’ll show you!” I said. We proceeded to spend the next hour and a half in silence, except for the sound of crunching paper, trying to replicate the pattern (badly). Every 10 minutes or so someone would break out laughing when the absurdness of the situation occurred to them – a group of people intensely folding paper, in silence, on a Friday night!

The orange piece of paper in the video is what we were trying to make. The video is about Mike Friton, a freelance shoemaker, weaver, paper sculptor and innovator who worked with Nike for over 30 years. As he described his processes I noticed we had a lot of similar interests – shoemaking, folding paper into 3-D forms, weaving, I used to run track, and I also have a Bernina sewing machine. If I was an older white guy, I might want to be Mike Friton. How great would that be?

The photo up top is the original paper from a few years ago. Our more recent attempts looked like that, but less crisp, like people with severely underdeveloped fine motor skills had folded them.


It’s Oh So Quiet


For the past week I’ve been hiding out in the country with friends. We did country things like sit around by a fire, eat, drink, snowshoe, ski, have snowball fights, and make mini snowmen to put in the freezer. We also spent a day at the Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain where you do intervals of sitting in outdoor hot baths, cold baths, sauna, steam room, and resting rooms or outdoor sitting areas around fires. So great! It was a little busier than expected due to university reading week, but still relaxing none the less. Yay for quiet time!

The first photo is my friend Johnny‘s. It looks very Canadian vintage to me. Like something you might see on an old maple syrup can from the late 70’s or 80’s. Except for the person clawing their way up a steep hill wearing new snowshoes.


It’s Almost Time . . .





It’s about that time of year when summer sandals for the next season start trickling out online. For the past few years I’ve been searching to no avail for simple, flat, black leather sandals. When it comes to shoes I prefer ones that will last and can be repaired, so I can wear them “forever and ever!”. That’s how I justify buying things to friends who think I’m nuts for spending “too much”. I just don’t believe in buying badly made, throw-away things. Maybe I’m old-school, or maybe I’m an old lady who should have been born decades earlier, but I just love, love, love going to the shoe repair guy and picking up my freshly buffed, repaired shoes with new soles. It’s just so satisfying! And they keep looking better and better. Oh, I suppose there’s one exception – sneakers/running shoes. There isn’t much you can do with those.

Anyway, I’m liking the Rag & Bone Leyla sandals up top, and below that, the Common Projects ones I missed the boat on last year. However, there’s a new development this year. I found a sandal making workshop with Rachel Corry, run by Gravel & Gold. I think the next one is in March. The only problem is they’re in San Francisco. Although, the cash for two nice pairs of shoes or sandals could pay for the workshop and the flight from Toronto. Hmmm . . .


Wrapping It Up





I have a thing for wrapping things up. I just love it. It probably came from watching old kung fu movies with my grandmother when I was a kid. Not those kung fu movies teenaged boys would watch, that were all about fighting, and being absurdly aggressive. These ones had more of a storyline, not that they were any less over the top. What I remember so fondly is a detail so ridiculously small, no one in their right mind would have cared about it. I loved that the characters always wrapped things up in fabric. Things like food, some magic herbal medicine, or some other valuable something or other. Oh, and when someone was running away (someone was always running away or being told to leave, forever!) they would wrap their belongings in a piece of fabric. It was never fancy or precious, just a piece of fabric (made of natural fibre with nice texture usually).

I was also a bit obsessed with the show Top Chef when it first came out. What really stuck with me was when a contestant was sent home. “Please pack your knives and go.” Padma would say, and then there would be a calculated shot of them going back to the kitchen to pack their knives in these really great knife rolls! They would just put all their knives in it, roll it, tie it, and “go”. I wished I had a knife roll. I wished I had really nice knives. I wished I had a reason to have really nice knives. And I wished I had a place to go with my really nice knives so that I too could wrap them up and go . . . somewhere, anywhere. But I didn’t. I didn’t have any of those things. I did have some make-up brushes however, two of which I actually know how to use, and they needed organizing. Yes! So I made my first make-up brush roll. And of course it had to be made of natural materials with nice texture.

The first photo is the Folded Paper Furoshiki cloth by Link Collective.

On the website of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment you can learn how to wrap up all kinds of things!

The other two photos are of the Lemon Make-up Brush Roll available in The Made & Found Shop.



Dream Reality: Perivolas, Santorini

Look at this place! It’s a hotel called Perivolas in Santorini. It reminds me of a Barbapapa house, but with a little swimming cave. Is it odd to want to go somewhere just to stay at a hotel?

One of my dreams is to build a cobb house one day, so I can have curved walls with built-in shelves, and windows and doorways shaped however I want, just like this place.

All photos via Perivolas Hotel


Outside Reality




I got up early this morning while the sun was just coming out, to grab a coffee and check out the neighbourhood. By the time I got back to my street the sun was shining and people were just coming out of their houses to excavate their cars from the snow piles. This is what I love about winter here, that even though it’s -11ËšC, and everything is covered in snow, the sun still comes out. Maybe not everyday, but at least a few times a week.


Inside Reality



This was life yesterday, holed up inside during the snowstorm. I went out only to shovel the porch and walkway three times, and to take a little drive with some friends who have a Subaru. The city was like a super snowy ghost town and the few cars that were on the road were mostly stuck spinning their wheels. One lone biker was wobbling and swerving between the cars, parked cars, and streetcar tracks like a slow moving disaster on two wheels.

I finished my first toque with a pom pom! The last time I made a pom pom was probably when I was 8. I really like the purple section. I think that’s called seed stitch.


The Sun is Shining


We’re in the middle of a cold, grey winter, and the view out my window is so dreary I’ve taken mood altering (without the use of drugs) into my own hands. Colour! Or color (if you’re American)! I need to see some bright, warm, happy colours!!!

In Toronto, it’s a well known fact that the subway is the dreariest place, with the dreariest faces. The only thing drearier is the subway in the middle of winter. I would love if everyone could just make the small effort to wear some colour. Not black, not grey, not navy. When I’m bored on the subway I like to count the number of people who are wearing something that is not black, grey, navy or some other dark neutral and I usually get as high as 3, occasionally 5. To top that off everyone looks as though their dog or best friend just died, which I suppose may be true, but most likely not. So I like to look at each person and imagine them laughing their ass off, or imagine them getting what they want most in life, and then I imagine what that might be. That’s when things get fun. You should try it.

Here are a few new things I’ve made, to make me feel like the sun is shining, even in the middle of a snow storm. A make-up brush roll, travel case, and drawstring packing bag in light blue, cream, and tangerine orange, colours that make me think of the ocean, the beach, and orange creamsicles.  All available in the shop, except the drawstring bags, which will be available next week. Notice how happy it looks in snow?


Skates from Kate

My friend Kate got new skates and gave me her old ones. I like the waxy pink laces. I don’t actually skate, but whatever. I’m just air skating in that last photo. There’s a rink near my house where people (mostly kids) who can’t skate will go around holding onto a chair/walker type thing. Maybe I’ll try to find myself a shopping cart. That might be more fun. You know, put some dogs in it and stuff . . . Thanks Kate!


Growing Obsession

Years ago I spent some time in Taiwan which is where my plant obsession began. I would go through phases of weekly plant shopping and pick up amazing and strange tropical species. Some grew out of tree bark in odd shapes, some would open and close with sunlight and darkness, others were just the most beautiful colours . . . I love plants!

This past Christmas I received some wall planters by Woolly Pocket, so I’ve been looking around online for some ideas. I’ve always liked the look of live walls and never really thought they were that doable at home, but now with these wall planters my dream of living in a jungle may actually come true this year. To fully complete my dream I would also have to get a Bengal cat. They look like scaled down leopards with the same rosette markings and they love to play in water. To have a couple of those roaming around the plants would be just perfect!

The first photo is from the Woolly Pocket site, and the last two are from Flora Grubb.


Dancing Boots

Found these cute little Deckmate deck boots in a thrift store on a recent trip to Prince Edward County. Aren’t they great? Not sure the non-slip soles are still good though. If not, they might be the perfect dancing boot that will offer a great slide. Years ago, I was out one night in Montreal, and saw a guy discreetly sprinkling baby powder on the dance floor around him. He would pull out a tiny bottle of baby powder from the inside pocket of his jacket, sprinkle and dance. Very smooth. Flash forward a few years later, I remembered this little trick and brought a bottle of baby powder to a friend’s party and things quickly got out of hand. Suddenly it  was winter, everything smelled of freshly bathed babies’ bums, and everyone was Fred Astaire. Kind of like that scene in Being John Malkovich when everyone was Malkovich.  I was told it took weeks to get the powder out of the crevices in the hardwood floors . . . so don’t try this at home. Not your own home anyway . . . heh heh. Sorry Laura and Jon, again. But now I’ve got these slippery boots. Who needs baby powder?


They’re Back!

The New Friends site is back up!  They make the most amazing weavings, but their site was down and I couldn’t find many images. It’s now back up with lots of new work. These are some of my favourites. I love how all those textures and colours are jammed in there. And I’m not quite sure why, but they remind me of being in Argentina.

All photos via New Friends

Going North of the Wall . . .

Winter is most definitely here, but some friends and I have decided to go north of the wall. As if -15ËšC isn’t cold enough, we’ll be heading to Mont Tremblant where it is -30ËšC, not including windchill! Secretly, I don’t think I’m as excited as everyone else is for this death wish ski/snowboard trip. Shhhhh! But I do have a plan B, and it’s called Scandinave Spa. Quoi? Oh yes!

So what do you bring when you go north of the wall? I’m thinking some merino base layers from Icebreaker and definitely this merino balaclava. It will also be the perfect addition to my slowly accumulating ninja wardrobe. Can’t wait to be warm!

Obviously this is not my photo. Source: HBO


Much & Little

Oops! Got a bit caught up in all the craziness over the holidays and fell behind on posts. Better late than never though right? So here’s a little update. Much & Little, a super cute store that just celebrated its first year in Vancouver, is now carrying a selection of The Made & Found’s travel bags and accessories. If you live in Vancouver or you’re visiting, head over to Main & Broadway to check out this shop. They carry a great selection of unique household and personal items.

Photo via Much & Little