Back to reality. After spending 7 glorious days on Margarita Island, Venezuela, I am home in the cold winter embrace of Canada.
The four of us went to spend Christmas with my husband's extended family. Our 2 daughters had a wonderful time meeting their distant cousins who were close in age to them. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a dynamic, interesting and loving family!
The many beaches on Margarita are spectacular. I loved how you could get away from it all or be amongst the happening crowd; depending on your mood...
We had grilled fish at beachside restaurants, read books lying under thatched shelters, sipped pina coladas, body surfed on the waves and just enjoyed being away from all the hustle of our daily lives.
Christmas Eve was enchanting. Our relatives brought us to this amazing private restaurant. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was something very special as you can see from these pictures... We exchanged presents in a very fun way. We all brought one wrapped gift with us and set them in a pile. After drawing numbers we picked from the pile one at a time. Each person that followed the last had the option to switch their gift with any that had previously been opened.
I loved how this brought on lots of laughter; it was a perfect way to share gift giving without any stress or expectations! This was a lovely way to wind down 2009 and prepare for 2010.
I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve... We will likely have a low key dinner with a few friends.
Yesterday concluded the four day craft show that I, greavesdesign, participated in.
It was held at a very interesting arts building/former warehouse that now houses 4 floors of artist studios and other creative businesses.
There is an inherent warmth to this building that seems to be generated by the talent of so many creative people as well as the natural materials all around such as the vintage wood floors and brick walls.
The participants in this annual show are always a delight to be around for this 4 day event. This year I was not disappointed in this regard and made some new friends as well as catching up with old ones.
Here is a photo of my overall display. I like to change things up a bit each season and was quite happy with this year's version. I added my photographic cards to the mix as well and they complemented the textile work as well as provided an under $10. purchase.
The photo to the left includes a couple of my most recent cuffs made from some fabulous red and white broad striped linen. A jacket had caught my eye at a thrift store with this bold stripe and low and behold the label inside read 'Christian Dior'! There was a bleach stain on the collar so I did not feel too bad in cutting it up... So far I have produced 3 cuffs. One was purchased at the show by Sheila, a super talented hat maker.
Sheila is modeling her cuff as you will see and I think it looks stunning on her. She will soon be opening an Etsy shop and I will introduce her on my blog as soon as her store is stocked up. My next introduction is Sigrid, who makes her own line of wildcrafted skin cream products. They are incredible. My whole family has been using them and we all love them. Sigrid is also getting ready to open on Etsy and I will let you know when she is in business!
She also happens to be very beautiful and posed in some of my pieces for me. I couldn't be happier with the results... she really wears them well.
Even though sales were down for me this year at the show I have no regrets. I think of it as a rather relaxing long weekend spent with friends and a real change of pace from my normal hectic days. I have been very focused on my FoundVintageStyle shop this year. I get a lot of satisfaction from finding and selling vintage decor. Now I have to figure out how to bring balance back and continue to evolve my art as well...
This is my neighbourhood. I have lived here, in the largest Victorian enclave in North America for 25 years. We have a working farm in the community which is amazing considering we are a 20 minute walk from the downtown core.
Throughout my children's childhood this was the anchor of their everyday lives. From joining the farm's programs, strolling through to check out the animals with Mom or Dad to visiting on their own with friends as they got older to having their first summer job leading day campers... the farm was an unquestioned presence.
Each year, the weekend after Labor Day, we have a 3 day festival. A huge arts & crafts show in the park, bands playing, the main street closed to traffic... it is a hub of activity and community bonding.
My first thought was to record all these events for a blog post. Sunday morning however, I got up early and took a walk. The streets were quiet, the crowds were still sleeping and I felt my own personal connection to this beautiful place I call home.
I went back to get my camera. In the early morning light I captured these images of this 'Neighbourhood of Grace'. (my own term which came to me as I was reflecting on how lucky I was to live in such a place).
Ever since starting my vintage business, almost one year ago, I have been amazed at how the most fascinating items seem to cross my path. Perhaps they were always there and I just had to be receptive to their existence. I hope I don't sound sound too flaky, I'm actually quite the realist...
Again, I have responded to the 'beauty in the mundane'. I mean, how much more mundane can you get than flash cards? Take the concept however, back to 1937 and up the scale from a hand held pack of cards to full poster size of 20" x 27" and we are getting somewhere...
A house being gutted, a garage full of a lifetime of stuff that must be disposed of... Found... a cardboard sleeve housing 22 of these elegant, Art Deco musical flash cards.
I have been waiting to post some shots of our updated, de-cluttered bedroom... I fear this is not exactly 'decor worthy' to anyone but myself! However, here it is, in it's less than perfect state...
Now that the apologies are done with, I am in fact very, very pleased with these results. As far as a room to walk into, at any time of day, my eyes feel soothed and my mind at rest. No constant clutter to jar my mood. What I was after was some form of simplicity with a few hits of beauty to catch my eye.
With a very limited budget it was more about what was removed than acquired. This, if anything, is a tip I would pass on to anyone wanting a fresh start with limited funds. Take everything away, out of the room. Get back to the shell that is your space. Re-paint the walls. For myself, a soft white was the way to go. The other big element is your floor. We tore up the wall to wall carpet, (which I got for free from a film set far too long ago) and put down dark wood flooring.
With a new 'shell' to work with, adding elements back in will become a very considered process. I found I did not not want anything to mar the clean envelope. Functionally, I knew a vanity would be a great addition. I searched around and found this one with it's matching bench, already painted white and on sale! Perfect. It is a place to focus in the morning, getting ready for the day. With ample storage my stuff can be tucked away in drawers. (well, mostly).
No money to rid the room of the IKEA bed & dresser but with crisp white sheets and gorgeous new handmade pillowcases in Liberty fabric from elizagran their presence has been elevated.
Not ground breaking or magazine worthy but it sure works for me in my 'real' life!
A few weeks a go I made an unusual find at my local thrift store. I generally do not expect to see anything this obviously spectacular. I am good at spotting the diamonds in the rough or the under the radar treasures. This however, seemed rather a hard to miss gem!
It was sitting on the shelf covered in all matter of dust, grime and maybe a few cobwebs. (where had this been for so many years/decades)? As always, I travel with a supply of wet wipes. A few test swipes later I was convinced it was all there under the dirt.
Not a bad price on the sticker but still more than I am used to paying at the thrift... A little discussion with the manager brought it down to a very comfortable price and off it went to my car.
I have been slowly cleaning, polishing and buffing. All the mechanics seem to work, even the ever so gentle bell at the end of the line... "pardon me, I believe it is time to start a new line"...
It has tab, line depth, black or red type, cap lock and many more functions... The top of the line machine it seems. It is an Underwood N0.3 14 Inch model I believe dating somewhere around 1920-
I am in awe of the beauty of it from a purely aesthetic perspective. The amazingly tooled parts, the chrome fittings, glass keys with lovely typography, stunning graphics ALL OVER the machine... wow.
It is super heavy of course. I think I will have to find a local buyer as shipping fees would be crazy.
For now I am happy to admire it on a daily basis. It really charms me.
...a sneak peek at some of the 6 glorious 1930's-1940's little girl's dresses I picked up at the Sunday Antique Market today. My heart skipped a beat as I saw these lying on a table. The gentleman who sells vintage cameras had gotten a box of these with his auction lot and wanted to dispose of them. Yes please! Many had already sold he said. If these were the lesser of the group I must have missed out on some amazing pieces. I never dwell on that thought though. In my world of the Sunday Market every item goes to the rightful person including myself... it's all good as they say! I wasted no time in giving them a nice wash in the sink and hanging them in the sun to dry. Next step is a little mending where needed and then a good ironing. Look for them in my vintage etsy shop very soon...
I am very much into casual, unstructured and neutral colored clothing. This outfit defines it for me although I couldn't wear this successfully myself...
Subtle shades of whites and grays are quite beautiful. As I get older I don't like feeling overpowered by too much detail & color. This seems to be my aesthetic in home decor as well... interesting how they go hand in hand...
On the weekend I was on a walk and happened to pass by a favorite vintage decor shop, eclectisaurus, on Gerrard St. in Toronto. They were closed but as I peered in the window I spotted this textile on the wall.
That was it. I knew pretty well, as long as it was in my price range, I would purchase it. I knew exactly where it would hang. At approximately 4 ft. x 2.5 ft. it was the perfect scale to hang over the bed. In our newly painted and re-configured bedroom.
About one month ago I let go of my procrastination and picked a Farrow & Ball white and got painting over some hideous minty green that I had on the walls for far too long. With 2 children in the house a serene bedroom was never a priority. Life was too hectic and messes were too constant to even think about the aesthetic side of things.
Kids are launched. I am seeing rooms again as blank slates, ready to reflect my current take on style.
Bedroom walls... now a linen shade of white. Bedroom floor... dark wood. Bedding... white. Walls... bare except for this one glorious piece hanging over the bed. I love it.
...each piece of art, a fragment of a never ending poem, an heirloom of love. -susan fothergill
This is the work of Canadian artist, Susan Fothergill.
From the first time I saw one of her silkscreens, several years ago, I knew this was someone whose language I understood. I sensed a tension between joy and sorrow, love held and love lost... ideas and imagery that can be felt on a level that needs no words.
The image above is a triptych called 'Dreamers'; life size self portraits of the artist dreaming awake and dreaming asleep. I find this an incredibly compelling series. The symbolism is powerful; the flaming lotus flower, roots, serpent and crown all in reference to an unending source of creative energy and imagination...
The first boot print is called, "Baby's Boot II". The following two are from the "Baby's Boot I" series. These are hand colored silkscreen prints. On a purely visual level, I adore the joyful exuberance of these images. The colors pop on the pure white ground and the graphic crispness of the designs are very appealing to me. (In fact I purchased one of these a few years ago and I just love it).
Susan uses the boot silhouette as an icon; a form onto which femininity's power & softness can be voiced. There is an undeniable energy that radiates from these pieces... *************
These last works are a small sampling of her work that uses dresses as imagery. In her different streams she uses both children's and women's garments as subjects. Susan has a love of textiles with a history; lace, veiling, stockings... diaphanous materials that suggest fragments, memories...
This ghostly quality allows for the subtle layering that Susan's work embodies. Old snippets of ribbon & other adornments add a three dimensional element to much of her work. Text is also included on fragments of paper as thoughts are expressed...
There is a haunting aspect to her work but never in a disturbing way. Tragedy, romance, ritual & exploration, strength & vulnerability... all are expressed so beautifully and poetically through Susan's art.
If you are interested in seeing more of or purchasing Susan's work you can email her at: email@example.com
I thought I would share with you today a piece of photographic art that is compelling visually and emotionally...
I was given this 'rare' work to present and sell in my Etsy shop, foundvintagestyle. It is the work of a photographer by the name of Elizabeth Frey. She was born in Germany and trained as a photographer in Berlin. She re-located to Canada in the '50's and had a career in photo-journalism.
Coming up on November 9th./2009 will be the 20th. anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall. It was erected in 1961 in an effort to stop people from leaving East Germany for West Germany.
Elizabeth was there in 1989 for this historic event which held particular meaning for her. Being a photographer she naturally documented what she saw. This photograph of graffiti on the wall is full of the energy and emotion of the time. Additionally she carried back with her this chunk of the wall; about a 3" x 4" piece.
This duo makes a dynamic textural and visual work of art in the truest sense. It provokes thought and, to me, a sense of appreciation for what we at times take for granted...
Along with my Etsy vintage textile jewelry shop greavesdesign, in September 2008 I opened FoundVintageStyle, to reflect my growing awareness of the quality, beauty, economic and environmental value of vintage goods. I am loving every minute.
Formerly a painter, printmaker, graphic designer. I also currently work in the film business, in the set decoration department. It can be boring, exciting, exhausting and exhilarating...