Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In The Workshop

I feel like I'm coming up for air.

Over the past month I have been working hard on custom orders. They have all been international (yay) so I've had to push to beat the postal cut off dates.
I went for my first long walk yesterday in weeks, a good sign that I'm over the custom mountain and returning to some sanity. I'm even making soup for dinner instead of buying it.
My latest order is for lots of Christmas-y goodness. An Elf Poppet (just completed) and some gorgeous hanging Christmas Poppets. I've cut them out and will continue to stitch them today while I watch Mr Selfridge on Netflix.

Here are some shots of the finished Elf...

Isn't he delightful?
Next week I'll be working on a little boy Poppet and his dog. I love trying something new!
And I took a quick snap yesterday of my tiny workspace. It's a long way from my studio back in Australia but it works fine for now.

The weather has turned completely now. This week we'll have high temperatures of 8 or 9 degrees.
Poppet and I sorted through our hats and gloves yesterday to have them ready to grab in the mornings for the walk to school. I didn't realise she had so many darn hats! Me either, for that matter...

Halloween is turning up all over the neighbourhood, we need to get our skates on and put some spiderwebs up over our place. Poppet will be dressing as Wednesday Adams this year for Halloween.
Fingers crossed it isn't the complete washout we had last year, we only managed one street before dragging our wet and bedraggled selves home to bed.

We'll pick up a pumpkin this weekend and carve it too. Poppet has decided on an Adventure Time pumpkin. Surprise surprise.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Day With Ai Weiwei

We spent the day exploring the art of Ai Weiwei downtown.

A massive installation of over 3000 bicycles was installed downtown for the all-night Nuit Blanche festival earlier in the month. You can read more about the bikes here, but I've also taken a silly amount of photos of them.
Unbeknownst to us our daytrip coincided with the finish line of a city marathon so we had to wade through blocked streets and thermal blanket-clad athletes to reach the sculpture.

It was worth it!

Ai Weiwei was once chosen by the Chinese government to co-designing the birdnest stadium for the Beijing Olympics. But when he started to criticize the government very publicly and internationally through art and social media he ended up imprisoned for it. Like all brave activists he continues to speak out to this day.
I'm a sucker for this sort of art and found his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario today incredibly moving.
We walked up to the gallery after spending some time with the bicycles. The exhibit was incredible but I only took one photo. Sometimes you need to just be in the moment, photos be damned.

In 2008 the Sichuan Province in China was hit with an earthquake in which over 90000 people died. At least 5000 of these were children who died when government built school buildings collapsed. The government refused to give an account of how many children died and never released their names. Ai Weiwei and his team went door to door in Sichuan and collected the names of the dead from their families. He has created many incredible works of art in their memory. One of which is this backpack snake seen above.
If you are curious about the man and his art I encourage you to watch the documentary released recently.
Never Sorry.

Poppet really enjoyed the art as well, these big installation pieces are so engaging for children. It shows them that anything is possible, no idea is too big. Certainly not in Ai Weiwei's case.
She did manage a little sketching time of her own while we waited to enter the exhibit.

She drew some characters from Adventure Time, if you're unfamiliar. She is a big fan.
Fittingly, we wandered through China town on the way home, stopping to look at some anime books and then finishing up with dumplings at a wonderful Chinese restaurant nearby.
Another great day in Toronto.

And it's going to be 7 degrees during the day this week, time to look for some gloves!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Field Trip!

Poppet's class went on a fabulous field trip and I volunteered to join the madness.

232 hectare national park, Fall colour, 15th Century reconstructed Iroquoian village, 60 kids.
Where do I sign up?!

We went the Crawford Lake Conservation area, the website is here. The kids went on the bus and parent volunteers carpooled. We were unable to beat the bus in either direction, a tad embarrassing but we did stop for coffee and gas (petrol!) along the way. No doubt we would have whooped that bus driver's a*#e otherwise!

What a gorgeous place. We hiked around the lake with our guide for over an hour, then learned about the original residents of the area and the kids did some craft. Next we had a full tour of an amazing longhouse and grounds reconstructed to imitate how the Iroquoian's used to live. That was fascinating to me, having not grown up in North America, and the kids managed to pay attention for the most part.

Here are some shots...


I didn't take the super duper camera as it was meant to be a rainy day, but we only had one downpour and were happily inside for that.
I think we'll take ourselves back to this spot sometime soon. It was beautiful!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Feeling Thankful

Yes, the harvest festival falls a little earlier in the northern-most parts of this continent which means Thanksgiving is upon us. It's yet another reason to love October. We have friends who also have no family in town but are accustomed to celebrating this Holiday so we scored an invite for dinner tonight. Turkey and stuffing, brussel sprouts and pumpkin pie. We feel very thankful to have made some great friends in our adopted country. It would be nice to feel a little less full of dinner as I'm typing this but I suppose it aint a Holiday if you don't overindulge.

image via pinterest

My contribution was a vegetable dish and a pavlova. Doesn't hurt to bring a little bit of Australian summer to a Fall celebration! This is a pretty good recipe if you'd like to try it. It's my favourite dessert by far and I was particularly thankful today that it didn't collapse completely when I took it out of the oven.

We've also been thankful this weekend for having a house guest. His name is Pumpkin and he's been driving us into fits of giggles when he fills his cheek pockets with carrots and tissues. Hamsters are way more adorable than I thought. Though he has taken a nibble from our fingertips on occasion, it's been worth it. We really miss having a pet.

I'm almost at the end of my custom orders for the month which makes me feel most thankful indeed. Here is the cute little Christmas Elf I am posting on Tuesday.

But what I'm most thankful for right now is the prospect of a public holiday tomorrow filled with Autumn colour walks, the farmers' market for some apples and a huge dose of laziness. Leftovers for dinner means no cooking (hooray!) and we're considering settling in front of the tv for a spell to watch Master Chef with our girl. Happy Thanksgiving whether you celebrate it or not!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I've been working non-stop lately. I'm certainly not complaining, but I was feeling a little burnt out yesterday so I decided to take a big walk through the park on my way to a friend's place for lunch. It took me an hour of pretty fast walking though I did stop to take some photos.
The animals were relaxing in the sun, the bumble bees were working hard and the leaves have just started to turn. It's a beautiful park and I am so fortunate to live so close to it.

After my restorative walk I had a lovely lunch with friends before heading home to pick up my girl from school. I was excited to find my new iPod at the front door. I shall spend the evening loading it up with all my favourite music and podcasts and books and head back out to the park tomorrow. Need to make the most of this weather before walking becomes a challenge.
I love Fall!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I was asked to make a kitty with some little shoes. 
I think she's really sweet...

Now I REALLY want a kitty!

image via pinterest

Have a lovely day.


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