Friday, May 20, 2011

Shrimp or Dragon?

There was a Think Tank post due today, but my computer has been on the fritz again and I only was able to pull it out of stark raving madness (I turn it on and it whirs like a crazy machine and then makes weird faces at me via screen meltdown before crashing) three or four times this week. So I didn't put myself down for this one. This morning though, it seems to be behaving and now I am reading everyone's posts and feeling left out. So here is my favourite quote from a VERY long list of favourite quotes that pretty much make the rounds from Cirque Du Soleil posters, to Alice in Wonderland characters, to Dr Seuss, to Mae West... and anything that Albert Einstein ever said.  The most profound quote in my repetoire is.....

"In shallow water, shrimp make fool of dragon."

It's from Dylan's fortune cookie at KC's. OK, perhaps not profound, but it is my favourite. It's not really a quote either, it's a Chinese Proverb, but that means somebody said it, and it's my blog, so I can put this one if I want. It is my favourite for a few reasons. First, it is the coolest thing to come out of a fortune cookie since Rowan got "Eat your vegetables"... and second all Chinese Proverbs are awesome. Period. It also, of course, is a good lesson about how the strength of the beast that is thought to be all powerful is never without a weakness, and since I spend a great deal of my time cheering for the underdog, that is an important thing to keep in mind... especially during a time when the underdog seems to be every one of us... politically, environmentally, financially, etc. These days, it helps to remember that we, the little people hold the actual power in our numbers and our positivity.  Also, it sort of aligns with the rest of my favourite quotes that all read something like "Nothing is impossible." "Impossible is just a word." "Why, sometimes I have believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast." I suppose the fortune cookie sort of sums up my belief about impossible. So yeah, maybe profound.

I have enjoyed finding a few new gems in amongst the other blog entries... see what you can find :)

Andes Cruz:
Brad Severtson:    
Kathleen Krucoff:   
Wendy Kelly:
Mary Spencer:
Stephanie Clark:
Barbara Donovan:
Laura Flavin:
Beth Cyr:
Thomasin Durgin:
Shaun Young:
Kathryn Cole:
Natsuko Hanks:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome To Shprixieland! Please Leave Your Wand At The Door...

Sometimes an artisan comes to my attention that makes me weak in the knees before I have moved past even the first piece. The way of marketing means that we put our best foot forward, and generally if you are scouting through websites or even shops, then you only get to see the best few of many... but when you find an artisan who is fabulous on multiple fronts, that is when it gets REALLY exciting! I think I have discovered my new favourite artist, and living in the Koots, that is saying an awful lot. I am surrounded by talented people and spoiled by the offerings of my small town. So it was a great pleasure to stumble upon ShprixieLand this morning!

Green or yellow... green or yellow... hmmm...

I am going to be needing some of these!

I'm pretty sure that's Pixie right there with her flower wand...
Such gloriously varied and whimsical designs! I love all of it and will be fetching myself up the beginning of a collection as soon as is possible... They don't have an online shop yet, they are working on it though. If you are local they will be selling at DogPatch, Touchstones and The Gallery 378.

A Shprixie-Chicken
 The pair that make up Shprixieland Studios are nicknamed Shpriken and Pixie and it sounds like their lives as artists and rural homesteaders are intertwined in the same formula as their studio name. Days that begin with gathering eggs (from fabulous looking designer chickens... I'm serious, look at that plumage!) are interrupted by inspiration to hone their craft and the wares that are the result are most definitely inspired! A flurry of facebook messaging confirms for me that Pixie is indeed fabulous beyond most and as proof, she has a parrot! You know what they say about a girl with a parrot :)

The minute they have a website you can purchase on, I will post. If you simply must contact them right away though (as I did) you can find them on their facebook page or here.More from this brilliant pair as soon as I can find my way to ShprixieLand proper! And so my quest ensues...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Thoughts... Ummmmm

It's Sunday.

I'm supposed to have thoughts on Sunday. Today is the day that I have the time to actually sit down and write something stimulating and thought provoking. Ummmmm... well, I s'pose I could write about how wonderful it has been to finally have both sunshine AND a yard to work in at the same time... but that pretty much sums that thought up. How about the free headboard that I got this week to play with (photos of before and after when my camera is working again)... oh, wait... can't really turn that into a post without photos, can I? Hmmmm...

I am having an "I Love My Life" week, can I share? This is me remembering that it is the little things that make life worthwhile :)

This is the view from the top onto my town.
I got an unexpected call this week from my sister (who does not have kids and hence lives a completely different lifestyle- read: waking and sleeping schedule- than I do and we don't hang together nearly as often as we once did...). She took the boys and I on a hike. WITH her! My sister is the kind of person who wears yoga pants when she doesn't do yoga and calls Mountain Equipment Co-op "MEC". We know we are related because everyone says we have the same nose, and you simply cannot duplicate this nose... but aside from that... well, different cloth indeed. So when she wakes me up from a lovely sleep to tell me what a glorious day it is to hike up the side of a mountain... yeah. Not so much. BUT my number one DS asked me really nicely if we could do that hike again soon (the last time may or may not have been two years ago...) just a couple of days before, and I had said yes. I said yes because the chances of getting that phone call were so slim... perhaps they are conspiring.

Kazillions of yellow mountain lilies.
Turns out said mountain was a lovely place to be. Sis picked us up and took us by her place to make sure we had a protein shake before our ascent, then we spent a few hours in the perfect cool morning weather putting one foot in front of the other... about the time I started to feel my legs buckling, I noticed my first budding wildflower, then a wild strawberry flower, then some stunning chartreuse lichen... and all the toil melted away. The top of the rock was utterly blanketed in sunshine yellow lilies, and pink something or others... and the boys were on cloud nine... above it by the time we reached the top I think. Definitely a worthwhile day and I remember now how much I like being outdoors... sometimes I need a gentle reminder... yes, even living here in the Koots.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pack Your Bags!

What can you do with those super fabulous vintage suitcases that you see at the thrift shop but can't actually fathom dragging to Greece because they weigh a ton EMPTY? Hmmmm...

...just a thought :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pal & Smith... Coveted

Featured on the cover of Living Etc. Magazine.
 How much does a kidney go for these days anyway? I need to know, because I am saving for, well, pretty much anything from Pal & Smith. I was coveting a lovely table for awhile, and spent waaaay too much time drooling on my keyboard over their fabulously fun website. Then a bit ago I fell in love with their bedroom that was on the cover of Living Etc. After that, not only did I want the table, but now I want their bathroom, their bedroom and their entry hall too. Not so sure about their faux turf front yard though....


I have such a difficult time browsing their website because it is so fricken stylish that I can't stop playing with the little icons and I get lost in the pretty pictures. So far my favourites seem to be the lovely table and the lamps.

I love that you can order near anything in whichever lacquer you choose... I am obsessed with lacquered anything. I adore the chunky shapes of their pieces... but mostly, I love their style. Period. I could happily live in any room they have designed. Sheer brilliance.

Yes, I want to live here...

Ohhh... want, want, WANT!

They should be warned that they may find me camping out in their house one day. I don't mind being relegated to the bathroom either. Just sayin', it's that fabulous :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

LOL... Sorry, it had to be done. This had me laughing so hard that I had to share.

Hope yours is filled with breakfast in beds and flowers and chocolates :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kitty Empire... The Chicest in Vegan Totelage

Nelson, BC designer Erin Bruce creates the sweetest styles in vegan vinyl Messenger Bags, Purses, Wristlets and Wallets under the name Kitty Empire. She uses vinyl and re-purposed materials when she can, and comes up with the most whimsical designs and great colourways.

I adore the Bambi wallet but I have also witnessed other gorgeous creations of hers being toted about town that I would happily take home and I don't think I have ever seen one I don't like. She is a doll too as well as a Derby Girl (this is me bowing and swearing allegiance), and we like to support artists that have stellar personalities, right?

 I can tell you that the workmanship is excellent. I had one that I used for my laptop for the longest time, but my sister kept commenting on it so I gave it to her... I need a new colour anyway I think :) If you live locally, you can find them at one of my favourite shops in Nelson, the Global Underground.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Garden Orb Lanterns DIY

I adore this chick's blog, The Art Of Doing Stuff. She is always a pleasure to read and I always learn something, whether it is how to properly re-wire a lamp or how to change the channels on your neighbours television with your remote. This one is so easy and fabulous, I had to share :)

Glass lamp globes
Basically if you take these (easily found for about $1 each at any thrift store)...

...and you add these (also for about $1 at your local thrift store)... get gorgeous high end looking garden lighting. Stunning. And crazy inexpensive. Love. Go and check out her blog for more photos and how tos... very worthwhile :) Happy garden beautification!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Thoughts: What Does "Home" Mean To You?

 Many years ago, when I decided that life would be more interesting if I surrounded myself with eccentrics (OK, my life has been filled with them, but this was more of a conscious decision,) I moved to Nelson to hang out with artists. I have always been into that romantic notion that less is more and that the starving artist has so much to offer in the terms of character building etc... Yes, well I have since decided that the starving part has to go, but in those years I learned an awful lot.

Container City made of re-purposed shipping containers that are abandoned because it costs more to ship them back overseas empty than to make new ones.
At one point I dated a guy who was... extraordinarily interesting. He was also borderline crazy, but in that way that many geniuses are. Where they have put all their mental eggs into the intellectual part of their being and not many into the social graces basket. He was my first lesson in living with almost nothing. I had previously been a social princess who preferred the company of those in the extravagant fashion industry. He preferred the company of people who had left the rat race for their own race and he spent most of his time starting shelters and food kitchens when in the bigger cities, so he felt resentful being stuck in a tiny town such as Nelson where his small son lived. We would often take hitch hiking trips out to the larger cities and I would see him become this (more) amazing person when surrounded by streetkids. We would stay up with them all night in the parks talking about things like politics, art, culture... Not the things that society associates generally with street people, but that was the lesson. Those of us still in the rat race miss out on a lot. Also not something I would recommend unless you are with a person that can outcrazy them on any count and that you know can protect you if necessary.

Water Tank from Infomab

It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me because you really cannot understand what it is like to be in those shoes till you have been that close. It is also my firm belief that one cannot gain an absolute appreciation of what they have till they have experienced having nothing. And honestly, sometimes I saw very clearly how these people, in a lot of ways, had so much more. However, the part where people live without basic needs in a country where there is more than enough to go around is deplorable. It really shouldn't be that way and there are people who are trying to find ways to change it.

This is one man's idea for a homeless shelter. It has a toilet, solar shower, water catching system, a kitchen, desk and sleeping area. The two doors when opened were designed to pin on art wares for sale.
Of course, as with most progressive thinking, it comes down to red tape. The government and it's agencies are not on board with actually eradicating homelessness and while the problem continues to grow exponentially around the world, it is the richest countries whose governments do the least. It is up to society to push for intervention as well as to put an end to the notion that the homeless are there because they want to be and that it is simply a waste of time to help them. Hopelessness is an easy feeling to come by when everything has been taken from you. It is not a feeling that is easy to rid yourself of and even less so when the world looks down at you. Anyone who has ever felt failure, a math test, a parenting issue, not getting a promotion at work, if you have had that feeling during a time when you tried your hardest then it should not be a stretch to understand where these people are coming from. And if you continue to try and you get nowhere, how long does it take before you feel hopeless?

The test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.~Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)

Pallet House
 I think the big move to make affordable housing a reality is stemming from the fact that so many people are realizing that they are only one paycheck away from being homeless. It is happening all over the continent from the economic crisis and all over the world as a result of the earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. It is totally bizarre that after years of this we still haven't come up with a viable solution that has been acceptably implemented. Studies show that it is the impoverished that are the first to step up to help the people who lose everything. It makes sense because it is a reality for them. But it is unfortunate that there are still so many that don't understand how real the issue is.

A Vancouver project by Emily Carr students.
 I have been lucky enough to see both sides of the fence, and truthfully, I am undecided which side has greener grass. I would like to think that there is a happy medium where we can all live with a smaller footprint, help each other build stronger communities and find a way to integrate systems where we can think outside of our society's box and give everyone a way to live a healthier and more productive life. The projects in these photos from around the world are just a few examples of how it is more than possible if we just check our issues at the door and put in a bit of effort. I know it seems overwhelming in the broad scope of things to see the forest for the trees, but homelessness is an issue that does affect every one of us and society as a whole. If the only thing you do is change the way you perceive the situation, it is a step in the right direction.

If you know of a way to effectively help, or of a project that is working, feel free to leave it in the comments!