cupcake wednesday

For the sake of loving cupcakes, I thought I'd share how entertaining it was today, to see two burly, bearded men walking down 17th Avenue, eating Crave cupcakes with pink icing.

After doing some looking around for some oohy pictures of cupcakes to illustrate my story, I came across this lovely cupcake shoppe called Whiskie Bits, located in California. Their cupcakes are so beautifully photographed and not to mention that their menu offers an interesting variety: Vietnamese Coffee (above) Apricot Nectar (below) and Vojito (very bottom.)

Although I don't have a cupcake at my access, I will try my best to imagine its fluffy deliciousness as I head out for a run before we get some (much needed) rain. It may not be as enjoyable as the real thing, but it could make for some very delicious exercise.

Happy cupcake Wednesday.



Who is Libby? Is she a person? Someone you know? A character you made? A story you wrote? To answer your questions. Yes, she is all of those things.

Elizabeth Marie was my grandmother on my father's side. She was a quiet woman; shy, reserved with a dry wit. She and I understood eachother on many levels. She'd listen to my stories, pay her two cents and give me the advice that I needed to hear, and sometimes not. We got eachother, even on days when there was nothing to say. Friends like that are hard to come by.

My sister, cousins and I spent most of our summers at our grandparents' place, growing up; playing in the pool, making toothpick boats in the street puddles, exploring our surroundings, coloring, writing, drawing at the kitchen table. We had wonderful days there, learning who we were and what made us unique in our own way. With 6 little girls to keep up with, there was never a dull day for anyone.

When my grandma passed away in 1995, it felt as if my entire world had suddenly disappeared. What now? What happens? But why? and how? So many questions with very few answers. Death is not a fun thing to deal with, but of course we all must learn from it and move on. "Chin up, kid." as she'd most likely say.

From these experiences, I have decided to take the memories with me and use them as my inspiration, my fuel. Dear Libby; A letter, a drawing, a poem, a painting, a story, all of which contain a narrative. This is where my mind wanders and explores, in much the same way as it did when I was a kid. I look at my surroundings and hold many things dear to my heart. It's my way of sharing with her and with others, as if she never left.


random wish 1

One day, I would ever so love to have a Boston Terrier.
Photo from Dog Breed Information 2006


and a tea

For those of you know me well, know that I'm a little bit of a tea buff. It's true that I love my tea, but I tend to stick by one brand religiously; Numi's Jasmine Green. And although my love affair with Ms. Green has lasted a good three or four years now, without any conflict, it's time to branch off and play the field of teas before I ruin a good relationship by excess. I'm not quite sure what flavors I'm looking for, since I will admit that I'm French and narrow-minded, but that doesn't mean I'm not trying my best to be more adventurous.

I've been poking around local tea shops for ideas and thank goodness for 2 dollar sample baggies. They're fantastic if you're not ready to commit on the spot. I brought home three this week to my surprise, since I was shy about asking many questions. I quite enjoy collecting suggestions and tips, as well as being given a sample of the fragrances before making a decision. Let's just hope the neighbours don't get the wrong idea about my mini-bags of leaves and spices.

So far I've been testing out lemon teas. They're quite pretty when you dump out the pieces and pick at them. Lemon wedges, zest, leaves, blossoms. Lovely colors and smells, beautiful. Lemon Ginger from Tea Desire, and some Lemon Drop and Lemon Merengue from Steeps. They were alright, but I haven't decided if any of my new finds are keepers as of yet.

I'm still learning about how to properly steep the leaves, which is interesting to find that I was doing so many things wrong. It may take some time before these lemony treats give me the flavour I'm anticipating, but I'm at least keeping cozy during this time of experimentation. mmm.

So you know, the title of this entry makes me laugh because it's a running joke that we have when Ian imitates me. He just shrugs his shoulders to his ears and says with an awkward smile "and a tea.." I guess if I had a catch phrase, that would be it. I couldn't help but think of it after writing this post.


recipe card

Recipe cards are fun to make. Maybe I will make some for my online shop, which I've been meaning to get started on. Procrastination, go home.

snow deal

I don't like to complain about the weather because any Canadian who scoffs at the snow causes me to question, but even I will admit that I'm kinda done with this icy, salty, melty, mucky stuff that seems to be in constant slop mode. Of course because I am part Eskimo, I adore any/every snowfall that we can get. And although we need more rain than snow at this time of year, I decided to throw on one of my favorite winter movies before spring takes full force.

A Christmas Story is just the best there is. From the perspective of a child, at Christmas, it brings back so many childhood memories; The anticipation of Santa, the frustrations of having to be good at all times, the family dysfunction and stress, the entertainment that winter can bring (above). I simply love it. It has become a bit of a tradition of mine to put it on any time snow hits the ground. But because the air is in so much need of some moisture and the streets need a bath, my dear Ralphie Parker.. I would prefer that you come visit next Winter.


sew inspired

I have to admit that being cooped up because of the weather has caused me to become more restless than I usually am. Is that possible? The house has already been cleaned from top to bottom, so I don't have many options other than to search the place for inspiration. I've done a little crocheting here and there but nothing is really peaking my interest. Bears with striped shirts have worn their welcome, I suppose ?

After taking a look over my closet bookshelf (A compulsive minimalist hides their book shelving in the closet.) I found my Sew-it Kit , which I have been meaning to get my hands on for quite some time. Considering I haven't cracked open the sewing machine I was given for Christmas, I'm beginning to feel a bit badly for having not built the courage to touch it. I'm no seamstress that's for sure but I am growing eager to test it out.

My only memories of sewing involve home economics class, where we were required to make a sweatshirt, cylindrical gym bag and some pillows. Of course the pillows were my best friend in the cinch department, but the other two projects caused many tears. A cylindrical gym bag for a beginner class (of teenagers)? Hmn. Because I was born stubborn and impatient, Mom stepped in and gave me a hand. In fact, she eventually ended up doing the entire project for me because I had such a hard time with it all. I admire my mother's attention to detail and craft. Summer, birthday and graduation dresses, Halloween costumes, tap dancing costumes, doll clothes, toy repairs were all made by Mom. (Yes, I took tap lessons when I was little.)

With the Sew-it-Kit, each project is featured in the form of a fantastic recipe card (15 patterns): pot holders, aprons, placemats and napkins, tote bags, floor cushions, and a kitty tunnel which Ian "oohh"ed over. I doubt Tim would play in a kitty tunnel since he dislikes having his head covered, but the idea is fun nonetheless. I'm all about functional craft so this kit is perfect for someone like myself.

I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to take on the sewing machine on my own as of yet, so I may pick at my stack of (very random) reading in the meantime. Mom is coming to see the house in the summer, so I might wait to ask her if she can teach me how to sew while she's in town. Passing on such traditions makes me feel so much closer to my family. Let's just hope my patience holds up. Maybe with a little reading of my Self-Esteem Companion I'll be ready.

(funny how it's at the bottom of the stack.)


snowed in/out

Because of the snow, my housewarming party was put on hold. Phooey. Snowed in. Snowed out. No one's going anywhere. I will say that I'm not surprised at the outcome since my luck with planning parties seems to turn out this way (no whining intended.) The last semi-successful party I threw was when I was 10, which quickly turned into an embarrassment as my pool party guests had to leave screaming with green scalps from the chlorine. It's laughable, but sometimes I have to ask out loud "really?" each time it happens. Am I really not meant to be a host? It was +15 degrees just yesterday, without a cloud in the sky. Really?

I don't like to waste an opportunity of staying in my jams all day, so I best take a bad situation and turn it around. Cheese/basil pizza buns and lemon ginger tea sounds like the perfect menu for my party for two (don't forget the cat.) Tim and I will most likely cozy up by the fireplace with a blanket and settle in for an all day movie/vegetation marathon. Oh and now there are some mini cheesecakes to be taken care of. hhmn.


when boy is away

With Ian in Quebec for the next few days, I have planned a housewarming party with my coworkers this evening. I've never actually hosted a party before so this whole experience has been quite fun, although I wouldn't say I'm up there like Martha, yet.

For some house-to-myself baking, I decided to test out a recipe for these killer '3 Step Mini Cheesecakes' given to me by my dear friend Debbie. With a Fudgee-o cookie crust (Oreos can be used as well) these tiny treats are a girl's best friend.

I'd so much rather post the recipe with a downloadable pdf recipe card but because boy is away, my brilliant technological ideas will have to be put on hold for now. Soon soon.

3 Step Mini Cheesecakes

2 packages (8oz) softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Oreo cookie (Fudgee-o is just as delish)
fresh fruit for topping (optional)

Place cookie on bottom of paper lined cupcake cups.
Pour batter evenly.

Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool in refrigerator for 3 hours. Devour!


favourite spot

Getting to know this new home of ours has been an enjoyable experience now that we're beginning to settle and make it our own. Each one of us has developed our own nesting/resting places for those much needed "me time" moments. I guess we can tell who is the easiest to please around here.

I should also add that it's always the second step from the top, outside the bedroom. Strange little kitty.


I heart books

I have the tendency to get a little overexcited when I see a book posted online with pretty pictures and things that peak my interest. It may not necessarily be a bad thing since I have found that my latest purchase has brought on some new ideas.

Margaret Kilgallen: In The Sweet Bye & Bye is fantastic . Each page features something different from the last: "A quirky, forgotten adjective in carnival display typeface some twenty feet high interrupted by another saying, a name, the backside of a woman in a too-tight dress, a number, a barren popular or slightly bent acacia tree, the letter F rendered in an ornate typography, a shelf of old soap, an uncooperative donkey, the word amok, a lone bird, the face of a fleshy-lipped woman." Her organic presentation is so aesthetically pleasing.

Exploring handwritten type is something I have been interested in for quite some time, but never so much until I saw Kilgallen's work. Maybe if I can get past my meticulous subconscious, nagging about my lopsided S or my Pac-Manesque C, I'll post some pictures of my experiments down the road.



After spending some time lurking, I've decided to jump back in and join the blog world. So, I'm thinking of this site as part show n' tell, part sketchbook, part dumping ground for my personal work, and part collective snippets of the things that I enjoy.

For current projects on the go, I recently submitted my piece for Work/Life : the UPPERCASE directory of Canadian Illustration & Photography. The book will be published in June, featuring a collection of work by illustrators and photographers across Canada. As well as a full page spread, each participant was given an interview/biography page, with photographs of their workspaces, sketchbooks and inspirations. The photo part was a bigger challenge than I thought it was going to be, because my workspace consists simply of a desk and chair at the moment, at least until we settle into the house and figure out what we want to do with our virgin walls.

Instead of not-so-interesting photos of an empty workspace with a fleece cat bed on my desk , I decided to create some collages of pieces from my photo shoebox and sketchbook. Old family pictures always charge my creative process for some reason. Whether it be the sepia stained color palette or the impressive vintage appeal of our home made clothes, they help me think. I was always allowed to be creative when I wanted to, as a kid, so it kind of acts a sort of therapy to remind me that it's okay to step out of the loop and imagine things up. How else would I survive.