Visiting the Edward Gorey House

During our family holiday last month, we spent a week on Cape Cod. It was my first time there, and my, what a wonderful place.

Other than spending loads of time with family, my highlight of our time there was visiting the Edward Gorey House, on Meighan O’Toole‘s recommendation. I didn’t grow up knowing Gorey’s work, but I’m sure it’s no surprise that as an adult, I’ve fallen in love with his stark, gruesome, utterly odd illustrations and stories. I wish I had known about him when I was younger; surely I’d have felt a little better being so weird, you know? Anyway, I was surprised to learn that he was also quite prolific in puppet/doll-making and costuming! Anyone know if his textile work has been written up anywhere?

Needless to say, I bought books.

Gorey puppets

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What. Wouldn’t you be fascinated by the faucet in a beloved artist’s home? Whatever. Don’t judge me.

Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2013

This was the year our wee event got major press, increased attendance by more than a third, and went off without a hitch! More importantly, it was a super fun time. Here’s a bit from my day at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, in photos and Vine:

Maker Mobile

The Maker Mobile is shaping up to be amazeballs.

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I spoke!

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What would you do? From Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar’s talks.

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Mikey Sklar speaking about homesteading and The Good Life Lab.

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Haley from CRAFT meets Goli from MAKE for the first time!

A Weekend of Crafty Funtimes

Last September, my trip to New York to see my agent and go to Maker Faire and chill with my cousins ended up being all of those things, and also the trip marking my meeting-in-person of Haley from The Zen of Making. We were faster than fast friends; we were, like, immediate friends. And last weekend she came to visit. The visit coincided with Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, resulting in a weekend of superb craftiness and funtimes. Here’s a recap in Instagrammy photos, sans VMMF, which I’ll round-up in a separate post.

Haley brought Owen a fingerprint monster kit, and they had FUN.

Haley brought Owen a fingerprint monster kit, and they had FUN.

We spotted this awesome fabric at Dressew. Instagrammed – yes. Bought – no.

We spotted this awesome fabric at Dressew. Instagrammed – yes. Purchased – no.

Also this gem. In a massive aisle of ZIPPERS.

Also this gem. In a massive aisle of ZIPPERS.

We explored rocks at the beach.

We explored rocks at the beach.

 

And we stopped for a wee gander at the view from UBC over the Fraser River.

And we stopped for a wee gander at the view from UBC over the Fraser River.

When we weren't looking, Owen figured out how he can use chopsticks to shovel seaweed salad into his face. It was breathtaking, really.

When we weren’t looking, Owen figured out how he can use chopsticks to shovel seaweed salad into his face. It was breathtaking, really.

Such lovely chill time all together in the living room.

Such lovely chill time all together in the living room.

Not only did spending time with Haley seriously fuel my sewing bug, she actually left me with this skirt she made that was too big for her but fit me to a T. I'm going to pick up Brett Bara's book, which contains the pattern. I'm going to sew clothes!

Not only did spending time with Haley seriously fuel my sewing bug, she actually left me with this skirt she made that was too big for her but fit me to a T. I’m going to pick up Brett Bara’s book, which contains the pattern. I’m going to sew clothes!

Sadly, this is not a lamp; the cord is from something else. We spent nearly THREE HOURS at Value Village and had all the fun. This made us think of Diane at Craftypod.

Sadly, this is not a lamp; the cord is from something else. We spent nearly THREE HOURS at Value Village and had all the fun. This made us think of Diane at Craftypod.

A mystery!

A mystery!

Haley left this note and finger puppet for Owen when she left. We were all so happy to find it when we woke up! Thank you, Haley.

Haley left this note and finger puppet for Owen when she left. We were all so happy to find it when we woke up! Thank you, Haley.

 

 

Paying Attention to the Mundane

Most mornings, I take Cleo out for a walk in the woods near our house. It’s my best way of being active during a day otherwise spent sitting on my ass, and I really enjoy the quiet time.

The other day I saw my first salmonberry of the season (they’re like raspberries but not nearly as delicious) and I took a photo of it. From then, my walk became an exercise in noticing small details I usually walk right by, lost in thought. It was refreshing to pay such close attention, and I found myself smiling a lot. Below is the bounty of my morning.

I recommend this exercise: Spend some time noticing the small details related to something you do routinely. Does it make you happy?

Click to embiggen (highly recommended):

Creativity Exercise: Go on a photo walk. Notice things you usually walk right by.

Meet the Shuttle: Our Continuing Camper Shenanigans

So, first we bought an 18-year-old truck, then we levelled our urban garden so we can put in a trailer park.

Last week we drove to a town a couple hours away to see a 1970 Boler camper. The people selling it were lovely, but the camper needed the kind of work we aren’t terribly interested in doing. We mulled it over, but decided to see if we could find a better option, especially because we knew of another camper we could see over the weekend.

Trillium made campers very similar to Bolers in the ’70s – small, fiberglass, nearly identical configuration. Bolers are a little cuter from the outside, and there’s quite an avid community of Boler enthusiasts. But Trilliums are almost the same, with two added bonuses: 1) Their floors are fiberglass, whereas the bottom part of a Boler is wood. In a forty-year-old camper in a wet climate, there’s a good chance a Boler’s foundation will need to be replaced if it hasn’t been already. And 2) Trilliums are back in production with similar parts and dimensions, so it’s not as tough to find parts for it. And the Trillium has a couple extra inches of ceiling height, which Greg really loves.

I assume you’ve already skipped to the pictures and have accurately deduced that we totally bought a Trillium. It’s a ’74, and we’re pretty sure we’re only the third owners! The man Greg bought it from last night (while I stayed home and put Owen to bed – I know! I so wish I could have been there, but we’ve been living and breathing this for weeks, and there was no more discussion to be had) had the camper for twenty years, and he took great care of it. It’s in outstanding near-original shape – the inside hasn’t been painted, the outside has been kept clean and maintained. I’m not sure if the upholstery and curtains are original, but the sink, fridge and stovetop are (I’m sure the curtains are newer, actually).

It’s in such great shape that we’d only need to put a couple hours into it to get it into full working order for this summer. But of course we’re going to do more. In no particular order we will (ok, maybe not by this summer but over the next year):

  • Thoroughly clean the inside (though I honestly don’t think we could have found a cleaner forty-year-old camper)
  • Replace the foam cushions
  • Upholster new foam cushions
  • Sew new curtains
  • Make blankets (I plan to quilt, kids. Oh yes.)
  • Work some on the electrical
  • Put in a bunk bed so the camper will sleep four instead of three
  • Replace the table with one Greg will make
  • Figure out a great awning for the outside
  • Redo the closet storage
  • Replace the flooring
  • Replace and/or paint the cabinet doors

I’ve gone into more detail in the photo captions, below.

Greg and I were so excited last night that neither of us slept well. When we all got up this morning, we immediately layered up and took Owen out to see it.

We named the Pathfinder Serenity, so we’re calling the Trillium The Shuttle, like Inara’s shuttle. Because we’re embracing being insane geeks and I could go into more detail about why this combination of names is totally fitting, but I won’t.

Click to embiggen:

2012: A Round-up of Making

So, fine, it’s 2013 already. I had to debug a little WordPress to get images to work on the blog, and that took up almost all the time I had to blog over the last while.

My excuses thus delivered, here’s a summing up of my last year in making, viewable as a slideshow if you’re so inclined (just click a thumbnail and proceed in the obvious way).

Oh, but first, a look ahead. You’ll notice there’s some food in here. I’m cooking and baking more than I used to (which was pretty much never, so I don’t mean to imply I do it all the time), and this coming year will involve a lot more of both. In part, that’s because Owen can help now, so we can make things together. That makes dinner cooking a lot less painful, and it kicks me in the ass to be more thoughtful about meal planning. Also, we got a slow cooker, which means I’ll be able to easily prepare delicious meals all day without having to take time out of my workday. And finally, we’re getting a stand mixer. As many of you have already told me, oh my god, love for the stand mixer.

In 2013, I want to knit or crochet for several beloved babies and children, and make myself a sweater and Greg a sweater vest. Already this is seeming too committed to me, so we’ll see how it all pans out.

And my most daunting making-related goal for the year is to learn to sew myself a shirt. Specifically, an A-line tunic I can wear with the skinny jeans I’m oh so in love with. (And let’s be clear: My goal is to make half a dozen of them in different colours and patterns so I can have a go-to thing to wear. Uniforms, I loves them.)

Ok, right. Behold, 2012: