Favourite things

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Hi nice people! I had a really crazy December and January, dealing with a family emergency and then working on recovering from the terrible health flare that it set off...one of the worst bits of which is my hand/finger joint pain went through the roof, making typing something I've been having to moderate even more than usual. But just the last few days I've been starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, something I always find uplifting after a long slog through flare-ville.

Lots more to catch up on, but for now I just wanted to share some neat stuff I've come across recently in the textile and sewing world...

Ah, late November. The first thing that comes to many peoples' minds is this: Christmas shopping. Over the years, I've become extremely disillusioned with consumerism, materialism, capitalism, and the economy. And some of you might remember my old blog, SpendLocally.ca that was borne of my love of supporting local small businesses. It's hard not to become disillusioned with this side of the holiday season if you care about the environment, manufacturing ethics, your community, and let's not forget your own financial stability. But there are ways to make positive choices and impacts, even at this most consumerist time of the year!

LED christmas lights

Down with "stuff"

My approach to gift-giving has very much aligned with my approach to shopping in general. It comes down to some basic tenets:

The Punk Singer - documentary cover imageHave you seen the documentary "The Punk Singer" yet?? It's on Netflix right now, and I loved it. A lot.

Some of you, particularly music lovers, will know who Kathleen Hanna is - she was lead singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and currently fronts (The) Julie Ruin. She was also one of the founders of the Riot Grrrl movement, which teenaged me growing up in Saskatchewan miraculously had some tiny window into, thanks to lots of MuchMusic, Sassy, and zines.

I was familiar enough with a lot of the bands and history covered in this documentary, but I also learned so much more about everything and how it all ties together. I was enthralled watching through the first two thirds of the movie that detailed the movement and music history, and Kathleen's role in it.

But then the film takes a major turn - one I had no idea was coming, when it reveals that Kathleen Hanna has been struggling for several years with severe chronic illness, eventually to be diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. She speaks so candidly about how the illness has changed her life - it was actually hard for me to watch parts of it, because I related all too much... I found myself tearing up as she said many things that I've been feeling, and that despite my best efforts, I've continued to habitually minimize and hide behind a brave face.

Hmmm, "The new school capitalists of Vancouver". Kinda has a nice ring to it, now THERE is a reality show I'd like to see!

Yeah, yeah, I know all good bloggers are supposed to have a niche. But folks, I've had several past lives already, and am a bit of a renaissance (wo)man, so I can't stand censoring my many interests!

I was excited when I heard about this new documentary that a group in Vancouver, Institute B, had released. I sat down to watch it this morning, and it's an inspiring glimpse into many of the major socially and environmentally conscious businesses that call Vancouver home. You'll see Mark Brand notorious restauranteur de Save On Meats, Joel Solomon from RenewalSuzanne Siemens and Madeleine Shaw from Lunapads, and so many other local business leaders from this city in the film. 

This afternoon I got to do something really special, and it occurred to me I should get these thoughts written down before they start to dissipate. I figured why not share them with all of you, lest they be of a tiny bit of help or inspiration to someone else... The special thing I got to do was join a few other women on a Google hangout (ie. video call) with two of the creative women who I admire the most: visual artist and illustrator, Lisa Congdon, and founder of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney!

I've had a weird few days... Haven't been feeling amazing healthwise, feeling a major lack of direction because of disappointments in the art-class department, and the cell bill... I think it's time for a pick me up:

Advanced Style 
http://advancedstyle.blogspot.ca/

Wonderfully dressed older women, my gosh their boldness and style floor me! It's a documentary trailer and the blog has lots more.

Lisa Congdon
lisacongdon.com

I may not talk about it much, but I love being an observer of good design. Product/industrial, interior, surface (textile/patterns), architecture... I particularly love well designed things that are part of our everyday lives. Since I was in my teens, I've been voraciously reading interior design and architecture magazines, and ripping out pages to stuff in my inspiration files. Paint colours, ceramics, textiles, furniture, gardens... the right combination of materials, textures, and colours can be like a religious experience - well, if you practice the religion of pretty things.

Purdy creature + tiles at Heath Ceramics new SF showroom

When Bruno and I embarked on our road trip to San Francisco earlier in the summer, there weren't too many destinations on my "must see" list. I was just going to go with the flow, except I HAD to go to at least one Heath Ceramics store. I've been coveting Heath Ceramics' gorgeous wares for as long as I can remember. And yet, I'd never even seen a piece in person! Well, I can tell you, they did not for a moment disappoint.

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