weekend worship: rabid raccoons and six-headed cats

My parents were in town this weekend and they stayed at a beautiful historic hotel across the street from English Bay. It rained through most of their visit, but luckily Sunday was gorgeous and we were able to get out for a little walk in Stanley Park, one of the best places to appreciate everything we have here in Vancouver. Which apparently includes a large population of rabid raccoons. In fact, my parents stayed on the third floor in the Sylvia and had raccoons outside their window every night except the one that I was there waiting to see them. Darn!

Not to upset Canadians living elsewhere or anything (just think of your cheap rent!) but yes, these pictures were taken at the end of January. You've gotta love it here. Flowers are popping up everywhere and spring is in the air...not to mention the fact that the sun has been making occasional appearances, too.

Below is a six-headed cat ring that I scored with my mom at a thrift store this weekend. It's sterling, too. Don't worry, I got a pretty good price. More apartment pictures to come tomorrow. 


this is where we keep our stuff

A while ago I began a tour of our new living space. At the end of December Jeff and I moved into a beautiful brick apartment building that's over 100 years old and we are still settling in. You might remember that the building used to be a dormitory for nuns who worked at Vancouver General Hospital when it was first built. Now it's an apartment building with a lot of character and I am loving our place! Looking around our living room, I realize that we have a lot of stuff in here and a lot of stories. The room itself actually appears pretty spacious because our things are organized, but I can remember where I bought most of my books, where I read them, where I found records for our record collections, what favourite songs they have on them, and so on...so I'm going to break our living room up into at least two posts.

I thought that I would start with our built-in bookshelf (which also used to include a murphy bed back in the nun dormitory days). This bookshelf is really the main feature in the room and holds all of our most treasured possessions. Often it's the memories these objects evoke, and not necessarily the objects themselves, that are valuable to us. Let's take a closer look and I'll tell you about some of these things...

The first picture shows one of my favourite things. I went to a New Year's Eve party in Edmonton a long time ago and won that cat creamer. I really love it and find I've become very attached to it over the years. In fact, when I won it I hid it from the view of the other party goers so that no one would get any ideas about taking it away from me during a party gift swap. My friend Camilla ended up with a Thighmaster...also pretty sweet. I can't quite remember where those other strange things came from, surely thrift stores, probably from Halifax and Vancouver.

The second picture shows my two heydey design ceramic jars. One I bought during the East Side Culture Crawl, one Jeff gave to me as a Christmas gift. The little piece of spirit quartz I brought home from Calgary this Christmas. I love the colour and the fine texture of the crystals. The little Niagara Falls tv we got on during our one and only visit to the Honeymoon Capital of the World. It's actually a little viewfinder with slides of all the famous Niagara attractions: the floral clock, the skylon, the aero car, and so on.

The third photo shows off one of my favourite pieces of art, a painting by Alberta College of Art grad Sam Walrod. Jeff and I bought this at a student sale and I wish that we'd bought one of her larger paintings, they were so beautiful, but out of our price range at the time. Her recent work is totally gorgeous, too. The texture and colour of her work is what really appeals to me. I hope someday we'll get that big painting of hers! Do you have any favourite local artists?

The last photo demonstrates that for a year I tried to be up on new fiction and poetry. The Paris Review is pretty great, and I loved having a subscription, but I did not renew...I feel like it'll take me another year  just to get around to reading all of these issues. This photo also offers a glimpse of part of my vintage photo collection (these are from the Vancouver Flea Market), a photo I took of Lola with my Diana, a pencil holder my mom got for me from an antique mall in Calgary and a strange postcard our friend Adam brought us from Japan. Oh, the tragedy of soft ice cream... Enjoy your Sunday! I'll provide photos that share the whole living room a little more in my next post!


five friday favourites

I'm going to share a mix of things here today that I've been loving lately. I hope you'll find something to you enjoy amongst these things, too.

1. Dirty Projectors

This is not exactly a new song, but I've been listening to the Dirty Projectors a lot lately, and this is one of my favourite songs. I generally like way weirder music, but this makes me happy on the bus ride to school. 

Sanaaq talisman necklace by pagan poetry
I find Diane's line extremely inspiring. I love the way she combines materials and her colour palette is soft and evokes cold climates and winter days. And don't you worry, that's faux fur she's using! I'm very inspired by Diane's beautiful blog and her story. She also studied landscape architecture (which is what I am studying right now) and became smitten with jewelry design along the way. I'm sure you will love her work.

3. Heart Shaped Box

I've been thinking about this video a lot lately. Perhaps because I've been seeing a lot of Valentine's Day related stuff everywhere. If you haven't watched this video for a while, it's worth taking another look at it. It was intended that it be filmed in Technicolor, but that type of film was either no longer being made or being processed. Instead, the director came up with the plan to have the frames coloured by hand, thus you end up with the amazingly vibrant and slightly surreal coloration of the video. I realize that this video might still be a bit controversial, but it is one that has really stuck with me. I still love this so much, I cannot believe that this album was released in 1993. I am getting old!

4. Paul Newman

This photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward is just too good to be true. I want to recreate it with Jeff and Lola. I might have to work out for a while first to be able to hold Lola like that. This reminds me that another western movie you might want to check out is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Seriously! They're good when you give them a chance!

Okay, so I haven't actually tried Habit Forge yet, but it seems like a pretty good idea. Except that I already get a lot of e-mails and they are already a bit distracting. This site allows you to set a goal and holds you accountable to yourself for twenty-one days, just long enough to turn the change you seek into a lasting habit. I think I'm going to give it a shot. Just need to figure out what would be the most useful habit to forge. What good habits do you wish that you had?

And just a bonus list of some great giveaways that are going on right now:

Carla at Starry Eyed Charlie is generously sharing one of her beautiful dandelion rings here. While one of my other favourites, Wichser Studio is also hosting a generous giveaway for custom designed jewelry pieces and more!


Guilty Pleasure: The Magnificent Seven

Time for another installment of the Guilty Pleasure Movie Club. This week Jeff brought us a Western, which the group unanimously agreed was an awesome addition to the genres we've been exploring. I've asked Jeff to help me a bit with the writing here, because I think he did a magnificent job the last time he came to my assistance on this one!

This week's Guilty Pleasure movie was The Magnificent Seven. Director John Sturges remade Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai as a western, transporting the themes of change and lost ways of life from feudal Japan to the American west. It was my turn to pick the movie this week and in the wake of True Grit a western seemed like a good choice. I have had a great love of the western genre ever since I took an entire class devoted to it. In that film studies class we watched many classics like Shane and Once Upon a Time in the West (I would have picked the latter if it wasn't 175 minutes long!). We also watched lesser known films like the surrealist Latin American western El Topo, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (I would have picked this one if it wasn't so weird!).

Hosting at our new apartment, the food theme of the evening was "miniature" and "eat with your hands". There was excellent food, as usual, provided by all attendees: mini veggie sliders, quiche, satsumas, spinach pies, and cupcakes! It was a great night and a great movie!


Thank you, Jeff! Don't write the Western off, they are actually pretty engaging when you give them a chance. True Grit is incredible, it you haven't seen it yet I urge you to go check it out. Take a look at the awesome trailer for The Magnificent Seven and the montage below. It will give you an idea of the intensity of both the acting and the score:


an interlude

Apologies for being absent lately. I've got a lot on my plate right now, especially because my parents are coming to visit this weekend and I want to at least take care of some of my homework and work obligations before they arrive. Above are some pictures that I took at the American Museum of Natural History. The object in the top photo is the largest stibnite specimen on display in the world. It weighs 1000 pounds and is the product of some pretty complicated chemical reactions. Kind of amazing, yes?

The last photo is from the meteor room, which was my favourite room in the whole museum this time around. Some of the meteors are so heavy they have to have their own foundation to support them. Anyway, the plan is that over the next couple of days I will be buckling down to get some serious school work done and make sure that all current Sadie orders are in the mailbox in a timely fashion. But I'm looking forward to sharing some new things with you soon and will have lots of pictures from my upcoming weekend adventures. This week can't be over fast enough. I'm thinking about a visit to the Fort Langley antique mall with my mom. Oh, and I'd like to welcome my new followers, too!


won at 100!

You guys really made my weekend! Not only did I celebrate the first year anniversary of my Etsy shop, but I also hit 100 sales, which feels like a big landmark. You might remember that over the holidays I announced the Win at 100 contest here on the Sadie blog, well, the prize has been won! 

Using a random number generator, I drew Sadie customer number 96! Congratulations, Kieran! Your Sadie Designs prize will be headed to you in Wellington, New Zealand later this week! Thank you all for your support. I promise something even better for my 200th sale! Have a great week.


weekend worship

My weekend has gone something like this so far:

Finally saw The King's Speech and Black Swan. I liked them both, but at the risk of sounding boring, I kind of liked The King's Speech better. It was just so much better than I expected and the wall behind the speech therapist's couch was gorgeous! I also rode my bike to the Vancouver Winter Farmer's Market with my friend Stephanie. I was surprised at how many vendors were there. Nothing like a bike ride in January to make you feel incredibly lucky that you live in Vancouver!

Yesterday Jeff and Lola and I went for a walk in Richmond, too. You can see the results of some of our explorations above. Did you know that Vancouver has a gigantic crow population and they all migrate east every night? In the afternoon and evening you can see them heading to their roost by the hundreds across the sky. 

Hope you are having a great Sunday! Thank you for all of your kind words about the one year anniversary of Sadie Designs.


sadie turns one!

Dear friends, tomorrow is Sadie's first birthday and I'm celebrating a little early! I want to thank you all so so so much for all of your enthusiasm over the last year! You have no idea how much your encouragement and support means. Getting feedback from friends and customers, support from other jewelry designers and bloggers, and being inspired by all of the wonderful things that you do have made this an incredibly fun first year of jewelry design! I am so excited for the next year of Sadie Designs that I can barely contain it. There are so many new things I want to learn, so many things I want to get better at, and plenty of milestones ahead that I look forward to sharing with you. I love discovering new materials, meeting new people, and eating cupcakes. 

Seriously, look at these things! Champagne cupcakes made by my friend, the very talented Camilla Ingr (and photographed by Spencer Krug). Camilla is going to be making a cake for Jeff and I to celebrate a very special occasion later in the year. I'm so excited to finally get to eat one of her lovely creations! 

In the spirit of showing my appreciation to all of you I'm having a birthday sale in the Sadie shop from now until Monday. Use coupon code "ITSMYBIRTHDAY" for 20% off until January 24th. Enjoy!



A new Destroyer album comes out next week. Tour dates have been announced and this video was just released. I think you'll like it. I know that videos are sometimes a bit of a drag on blogs, but I promise to only bring you the best. And in my opinion, Destroyer is the best. I'm also digging the cover photo. Looks like it was shot in Queen Elizabeth Park because that's definitely Vancouver down there.

the forsythia club

I went on a little walk today after I got home from school. I've been crazy busy the last few days and have really been ignoring the poor dog, so it was nice for us to get out for a while. I chose our route with the intent of finding some blooming forsythia (the little yellow flower below) to photograph because I've been noticing that it seems to be around already. Rumour has it that you can plant your garden peas when the forsythia starts blooming, but I can't imagine getting away with getting the garden started in the middle of January. I think it's still going to be way too wet in the days to come and last year our peas didn't amount to much anyway (thank you, sparrows!). Do you have a garden? When will you start it? I'm thinking late March for us here in Vancouver, but I've already been perusing the West Coast seed catalogue.

Lola and I were lucky today on our search for signs of impending spring. Not only did we find forsythia, but we also found a slightly confused already-blooming cherry tree! Yup, there it was, just down the street from our place. There are always a few around that start really early. Seeing this one is a very promising indicator of great things to come!

If you're feeling like you could use some spring inspiration check out the let's pretend it's spring giveaway on Lune Vintage. Jill has just revealed her new line of accessories and they are glorious and summery. I am really coveting one of those Ojo pendants! And now it's afternoon nap time!

P.S. Here's the entire first episode of Portlandia. It starts with the same video that I posted yesterday, but then it's all new. It'll make you happy if you've got half an hour to spare.


guilty pleasure: the 'burbs

What a great Guilty Pleasure Movie Night! The theme: '80s sleepover pizza party! So, here's the rundown:

1. Pizza made by Amanda and Ryan
2. Chips and pop
3. Pudding and neapolitan ice cream (I'd forgotten how good that stuff is)
4. Michael Jackson: The Experience (I'm pretty awesome at the Thriller zombie parts)
5. The 'Burbs starring Tom Hanks and a little role for '80s heartthrob Corey Feldman as nosy neighbour kid, Ricky Butler (great pick, Amanda!)

I can honestly say that The 'Burbs was one of my favourite movies growing up and I've seen it a lot. A quiet suburban neighbourhood is messed up when a creepy new family moves into the cul-de-sac. Murder and mayhem ensue...or do they? Not to be missed are some classic Tom Hanks freak out moments and Corey Feldman's leather jacket.

Here's the trailer:

What I am extremely excited to share is actually one of the shorts that was played before the movie. We have a new tradition of showing the best of what we know on YouTube or whatever before we start our movie. A little catch up, if you will, with popular culture and the videos that are currently making us laugh. No responses from guests allowed, only the movie-chooser gets to pick shorts, which keeps the night from devolving into an all-out YouTube party...most of the time.

This one was introduced to Ryan and Amanda by some friends of theirs (who also have great MJ dance moves) and if you've been to Portland, OR, I'm sure you'll recognize the truth in it. I'm excited to see Portlandia now. I really love Portland and I'm just gonna put this video on the list of reasons I wish I could live there. "Portland is a city where young people go to retire." Seems true to me. Enjoy.


two new things...

Just a quick post today to give you a head's up on a new Grizzly Cave Explorer in the Sadie shop. This is the last of the grizzly bears that Jeff and were making things with over Christmas. The diorama and the first Grizzly Cave Explorer are gone, but I finally found the perfect stone for this last little figure!

I'm also adding a new amethyst druzy necklace. Amethyst is the February birthstone and it's totally my favourite stone right now. Thanks to all of my new followers and commenters, by the way. You make keeping this blog going even more fun!

UPDATE: So, moments after I posted the latest Grizzly Cave Explorer I was contacted by a buyer, so you'll notice it's now reserved. I promise, however, that there are more Cave Explorers on the way soon. And don't forget about the lumberjack in the shop. He doesn't photograph particularly well, but he is super fun in person! Check him out!


craziest hedge award

It turns out that I'm not the only one who has noticed the crazy shrubs and hedges of Vancouver. These things are everywhere and I've received lots of suggestions on where to go to find some good ones. I'm not sure anything can top this picture that my friend Sara sent me though. Way to go, Richmond, BC! Homeowner, whoever you are, you win the Craziest Hedge in the Lower Mainland award. It should be noted that this award is only bestowed on this particular hedge until we find an even crazier one, as if that is even possible. Thanks for the photo, Sara!


missing: the sun

Today it got dark at 3pm again. And it's raining. Again. I'm sitting at my desk getting ready to format my new external hard drive (fun weekend!) and wishing it was spring. No. Summer. As you can see Lola is also pretty fed up with all of the rain and the sun disappearing before 4pm. She just wants to go to the beach. Some fresh flowers in the house brighten things up a little bit for us.

By the way, I took this photo of a cat in our neighbourhood. I'm thinking now it must be quite the trick for it to get between the blinds and the window like that. This photo also contains evidence of Vancouver's "weird shrub" epidemic. I should really start taking photos of all the bizarre variations on hedges, bonsai, and shrubbery that I encounter in this city. Hope you are having a sunny weekend wherever you are!


a few new things...

I have been making some new pieces for the Sadie shop this week using some amazing quartz stones. The first one is a substantial polished quartz point on a beautiful Japanese 14k gold rolled chain from my New York trip. I love this chain so much and sadly I've almost run out of it. Perhaps I'll just have to back to New York someday soon to get more. Just kidding, I'm much more likely to swing a mail order than another cross-continent trip any time soon.

The second photo shows some of the clear, white and black rutilated quartz that I've been lucky enough to get my hands on. I love the variations in these stones and the fact that they are double pointed. They remind me of Herkimer diamonds and are just so unique.

Finally I'm able to post one more pink and green rutilated quartz necklace. I'm hoping to locate more of these teeny tiny amazing crystals soon, but until I track some down, this is it. One of my friends called this the "dirty crystals" necklace while another called it her "magical pan flute" necklace, either way, it's one of my favourite Sadie pieces. Everything will be posted in the Sadie Etsy shop later this afternoon, if it's not already there. There are silver pieces, too, if you're not the gold type. And just seven more sales until the win at one hundred contest happens! If you've purchased something from the Sadie shop you're already entered. Thanks, everyone! Have a great weekend!


snow day

We had snow in Vancouver today! Most of it fell overnight, actually. Lola and I went out on a walk around 10pm and she was so happy to be playing in snow and was eating giant mouthfuls of it all the way to the library. I took these photos at school today. The top is the arbutus tree close to my studio. Ignoring the gross parking lot in the background I thought it was kind of awesome how the tree had kept so much of the snow off the ground beneath it, creating this strange grassy shadow effect. By mid-afternoon the snow had almost all melted and every sidewalk transformed into a system of lakes and fjords nearly impossible to traverse without getting soaked. Still, the snow made things look good for a while and it was a nice treat in a city where it usually rains all winter long.

It's so green here year round. I think what I really like about the photos I took in Alberta this winter was the fact that it was just a pure white and grey world, like this photograph called February Blues from Jennifer Squires Ross's Etsy shop. I love photos that are almost monochromatic but have just a hint of detail. They're something so dreamy about them. Do you have snow where you are?
P.S. I will be putting some new stuff in the Sadie shop soon. Looking forward to sharing it here!


guilty pleasure: suburbia (1983)

Well, well, another suburban-themed feature on my blog! This time I have to bring Jeff in as the first ever Sadie guest blogger, because I left my homework too late on Sunday and couldn't go to the Guilty Pleasure Movie Club gathering. Lesson learned. Actually, I seriously doubt that I have learned not to procrastinate, though I'm trying to be more on top of things these days and I definitely don't want to miss another movie night any time soon!

This week's Guilty Pleasure Movie Club meeting was hosted and chosen by Caroline. Her first pick was Fast Times at Ridgemont High; she continued her '80s theme with her second choice: 1983's Suburbia. This movie is often confused with the 1996 film also called SubUrbia. Both involve disaffected youth but the 1983 movie is darker and made with a much smaller budget. It also stars a 21 year old Flea who had just started his now famous band "Tony Flow & the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem" (a.k.a. The Red Hot Chili Peppers)!

The film depicts punks and runaways squatting an abandoned suburb in California and it is not a light movie. It was directed by Penelope Spheeris, whose earlier work was a documentary on the Los Angeles  punk scene called The Decline of Western Civilization and whose later work included the best movie ever (in Sarah's opinion), Wayne's World! This was a fantastic pick by Caroline, as only one other present movie club member had seen it before. Everyone was pleased and after the movie there was an impromptu puzzle exchange (I still have to give Caroline a vintage cowboy puzzle that we got in Calgary over Christmas)!


There you go! Jeff's first guest post and another awesome Guilty Pleasure Movie Club pick. Sorry I had to miss this one, but I'm looking forward to next week at Ryan and Amanda's! 

Oh yeah, and I am loving these new wristlets by madebyhank on Etsy. I totally can't pick a favourite!

when it's grey it's grey

Yes, that is how we spell "grey" in Canada. Yesterday I walked across the Granville Bridge to go to a printshop in Yaletown. It wasn't super cold, but it was so dreary. It even started to snow when I was halfway across the bridge...or "snow" in Vancouver terms, which means barely-there flakes for a few minutes.

I never get sick of the views off the Granville and Burrard Bridges (that's the Burrard Bridge in the distance in these shots). The mountains, the ocean opening up from False Creek, I love it. On any given day the bridges will have several photographers on them. Vancouver is pretty photogenic, even on dark days like today. Still, these short winter days are making me wish that spring would hurry up and get here. I know it's still just early January, but we'll have crocuses in a couple of weeks and I'm already spending some time with my seed catalogue. Are you ready for spring yet?

By the way, as soon as I'm home during daylight hours to take photos (it got dark at 3pm today, I swear!) I'll continue my home tour. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments! Happy 1/11/11.