20.8.14

BABY | LETTER AUG 20.14

my aunt told me about this idea, where you set up an email account for your child, and write them letters through-out the years. of course i could just write them by hand, but here is where the ease and casual air of email comes into play. there is less pressure to sit down and write an epic letter each time. now, who is to say where email will be in sixteen years (an inbox full of letters from your mother would be an excellent gift for a teenage boy right? haha), and goodness knows technology is not stable or consistent. but it's easy and fun and gives family members the opportunity to write a letter on special occasions (or whenever as well). here is a recent one:


Jackson,

You are five months old this week.
Right now you are trying to eat your toes. Putting objects into your mouth is how you discover the world around you. I'm not sure what you learn from goobering on something but it pleases you to no end!
You do other things too. You are always moving - waving your hands, stomping your feet, and twisting your head to see what's going on around you. In fact, you move so much and so often that when you aren't, your papa and I call to one another to come see. "Look" we say, "Look how still he is."
You've started crawling this month. We rooted for you to crawl for months (every day it looked like you were so close). But now that you are moving of your own accord, we hardly know what to do! It's clear to us you need more space so we'll try to work on that for you.
You smile for everyone. I used to think it was because they smiled at you, but now I can see you looking at strangers, the corners of your lips turning upwards. You want so badly to burst into a great big grin...but you need them to look at you first! When you smile at us, we feel like the best parents ever. It's safe to say that everything we do is to make you smile. Or laugh - because your giggle is absolutely infectious. Right now it's not consistant - just short happy snorts. So we keep doing what we were doing hoping to combine together each outburst - like crazed maniacs we throw you over and over into the air or gum at your chest and pretend to eat you - "Nom! Nom! Nom!"
Five months has flown by. It's true what they say - that it goes by in the blink of an eye and you're never as tiny as you once were (you were so tiny!). But we look forward to what is to come.

-Mama

15.8.14

ISAVIRTUE | CUSTOM STAMPS

i've been designing stamps and having them mounted for almost two years now. i've even been taking stamp requests! but for some reason, it never occurred to me to list it as an option in my shop (but i have now, tra la la). it's so fun because the opportunities are endless - letterhead, address stamps, business card info, logos, invitation and place card stamps. below are some examples of what i've done recently:







2.8.14

LINKS | CAMPING, CARDS AND CUSTOM ORDERS


one | my husband is taking me and the little sniff camping here this weekend

two | working on a custom stationery and stamp order for this lovely gal

three | i'm slowly working my way through this book. reminds me of the rent tent which i love!

four | this is the first good, serious article i've read on the huffington post

five | i'm having a blast with my new card collection!

six | it's fun watching the integrate art society gear up for this year's festival even though i'm not directing it anymore.

30.7.14

ART VS. ART | LIS BAILLY VS. MICAH CRANDALL BEAR

this is one of my favourite versions of art vs. art. why? because we're mixing media! two different artists, with similar results - though each used a different medium. in 2011 i posted about the photography work of lis bailly. i did such a good job of describing the photos and how they made me feel, that i encourage you to go back and read that. and then last week i was flipping through leslie's instagram (the clever artsy forager) and i stopped in my tracks when i saw a painting by micah crandall bear. the similarities are stunning! 

when comparing the two, you can feel the technological aspect of lis' work (i'm assuming there is an element of alteration after the photo has been taken, but i could be entirely wrong). micah's pieces are softer, closer to the reality of our world. i love the precision of the lines in lis' photographs, but the "imperfections" in micah's that allude to sloping hills and setting suns are intriguing. so i just can't decide - which do you prefer?

i feel it's important to add that both artists have a wide array of images in their portfolios and it's worth clicking the links above to discover more.


lis bailly







micah crandall bear





29.7.14

BABY | CO-SLEEPING


co-sleeping, sleep sharing, bed sharing, family bed - call it whatever you like, you're sleeping with your kids.

when jackson was first born, my top concern was not whether he was sleeping, but whether i would ever be able to (click here for the lengthy rantings of a sleep deprived woman).
selfish right? putting jackson down to sleep was a lengthy process of holding, soothing and rocking. nursing often throughout the night meant i had to attempt naps during the day. but every time i tried to put him in a "safe place" such as his crib or bassinet, he would wake within twenty minutes. my sleep deprived mind was teased to the point of frustration.

one day, he fell asleep in the coil of my snoogle. he looked safe, and happy, so i slept next to him (somewhat fitfully). the next time we went down for a nap, i put him in my arms. it was scary, i won't lie! and then i did it at night.

miraculously, i didn't have to rock him to sleep anymore. i didn't have to pace our apartment for thirty minutes, or keep my hands on him for ten more after putting him down. i didn't have to stay up while he whimpered and wriggled after being fed. i didn't have to worry about whether he was breathing...because i could feel it, right against my own heart. when he's had a rough day or is fussy, i have the power to calm him and the option to sleep with him. not to mention his sheer joy when he wakes up in the mornings - probably something i would miss if i waited for him to whimper or cry to call me to his room.


after that, i read voraciously about the idea of co sleeping. one of my favourites was this cup of jo blog post. not so much the post itself, but rather the comment section. it was invigorating to read comments from real women (mothers) about the subject. what i found, was that those who did it were experienced and well informed. those that didn't, or didn't intend to were mostly open minded, but also assumptive and didn't seem to have any real knowledge about it. and that was how i felt before.

here are the benefits of co-sleeping:
  • mother sleeps better and doesn't have to fully wake to feed or check on the baby
  • breastfeeding is simple and requires little movement or disturbance
  • the baby sleeps better because s/he settles much more quickly next to the mother
  • when mother and child lay together, there is a harmony in breath and heartbeat
  • mother and child often share the same sleep stages
  • synchronous arousals - constant awareness of baby and mother can easily awake to check on him
  • the baby spends less time sleeping on his tummy, thus lowering the risk of sids
  • creates a deeper bond and connection
  • a plus for working mothers to spend additional time with their child
babies and parents co-sleep in all areas of the world. in countries such as asia, africa, southern europe and south america, it is an unquestioned practice and has been for centuries. it is only in countries like the states and british colonies such as canada and australia that we study and question the practice. for many families, the idea of a child having its own large bed, or its own entire room is foreign. for more detail on co-sleeping, there is a great study and some interesting results in this article by dr. sears. 

in all fairness, i wanted to know the cons as well so i researched that. i'll be honest and say it was difficult to find any. there was some frightening, but biased articles such as this one about death, and this one about selfishness. this article provides an actual cons list but they are rather inconsequential. 
my own downsides include not being able to switch positions and a slight return of the numbness in my fingers from when i was pregnant (from having to lay with my arm a certain way).


the technical details:

when we sleep together, i lay on my side with my arm out. the baby rests facing me, with his head in the crook of my arm. it's best to have a barrier on the edge of the bed and blankets should never be brought up past the waist. our bed is not against a wall, and the baby doesn't sleep between us unless it's morning and we're drifting in and out. we've had a talk about all of this and have both agreed we are conscious of, and responsible for the baby in the bed. i never take any drugs, medication and i don't drink or smoke (this, and obesity are the leading causes of co-sleeping issues). read more about the rules here.

we don't sleep together the whole night, but i bring him in with us after his first or only night feeding. we put him down by himself - so it's possible that when he is done nursing we won't co-sleep anymore because he'll have slept in his crib for the whole night.


i co-sleep because i want to sleep. i co-sleep because i love the feel of a sleeping baby in my arms. i co-sleep because i feel empowered knowing my scent, my breath and my presence will put my son to sleep almost immediately. plus...he's adorable! wouldn't you want to cuddle him as much as possible?

23.7.14

CRAFT | ENVELOPES (IT'S A PROBLEM)


i collect envelopes - below is a sampling from my box. i won't tell you how i've ended up with such a collection because it usually involves some selfishness, strange maneuvers, and somewhat sly questionable behaviour. but i can't help it because i love envelopes. here are all of the things i use them for:

mail art
snail mail
envelope templates
craft packs 
letter writing sets
gifts
greeting cards

i'm not quite sure what i want to do with that last group i've been collecting - maybe a journal of some sort?




20.7.14

LINKS | COLLAGE, COFEE TABLES AND CRAFT MATERIALS


one | beautiful collage work on the new artful desperado blog
two | a little insight into marilyn
three | i always find myself coming back to this shop. such workmanship.
four | makes me want to try my hand at embroidery again
five | a stunning use of an underappreciated craft material.

more

an impressive modern take on one of my favourite art history texts

planning to teach this to myself come autumn

a project the husband and i are definitely taking on at some point

a funny article with some things i can relate to while on mat leave

15.7.14

ART | ELLY MACKAY

i am forever drawn to artwork which plays with multiple components such as collage, three dimensional perspective, and in the case of elly mackay, diffused light. her whimsical scenes recall fairytails and imagined faraway places. the way the artist designs each piece allows her to imbue it not only with different light, but a different atmosphere (moody, romantic, mysterious, hopeful etc).




10.7.14

BABY | NOTES ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS


when i think about my love for my son (something which admittedly, did not come immediately), it is too much for me to handle. and so, because the overarching concept of my love for him is too great to comprehend, i instead focus of the plethora of minutia that fill my days. these are some of the things i love about him - the "little things" as it were.

when he yawns, i lean over him in the hope that he will expel his sweet milky breath onto my face. i watch his his tongue while he inhales, his mouth a perfect little "O." he luxuriates in this inhalation, sometimes expanding it to one, two, three inward breaths. and then, mid-yawn, he decides he's finished, and his lips clamp suddenly shut into the most adorable straight line. and if i lean far enough, and listen closely, i can hear a sweet little sigh.

when wear him or hold him, i must bury my nose into his head. his fine little hairs tickle the inside of my nose but i don't even care. the smell of him is so intoxicating i find myself going back immediately for more. for a short time after he was born, he had the most beautiful scent. when i was younger, i always associated that smell with baby clothes, and johnson & johnson lotion. but as it turns out, those companies took their inspiration from the baby, not vice versa. nowadays, he smells different, but in the most delicious way. it's like a perfect combination of me and his papa, plus something very much his own. when i press my nose against him, i imagine it's somewhat like mainlining a drug.


sometimes he gets this look, and i just know he's about to sneeze. this baby is always moving and fidgeting - go go go! but when he's about to sneeze, he becomes very still all of a sudden. his eyes start to squint, his lips pucker out...and then BAM! his whole life force goes into making what is really quite a small explosion. it's not even a modicum of what an adult can do but it's so glorious i feel the need to repeat it back to him - to tell him what he's done in borderline psychotic shouts "achoo! achoo! you sneezed, achoo!"

at different points throughout the day, this baby is full of immense energy. he coos like crazy, flails about and seems very very awake. he'll keep on like this for ten, twenty minutes and then all is silent. i turn to him and there he is, totally conked out in his bed, the car, the floor, the couch.

he has these thin summer sleepers. we bought them to account for the heat of the season. they act like a second, smooth cotton skin and i love to feel him in them. the cuddles are somehow better and i want to squeeze every limb all at once. though it's only a thin layer of fabric, it blocks the intense heat we create together when skin to skin.

when he nurses, he looks up at me (like a precious moments boy). his eyelashes flutter upwards and he stares at me unblinking for the longest time. just as when he coos relentlessly, i want to know what it means. what is he thinking? what is he feeling? what is he trying to tell me?? but i settle for this small connection that says we are both content in this moment. and he resumes the busy work of filling his tiny tummy.

8.7.14

ART | ROBERTO ROSENMAN & MODERN STILL LIFE


i wrote here about my love for quirky still life artwork. here are the key components to what i think makes the perfect modern still life:

one strange and unlikely objects (i.e. dish ware, keys and cigarettes), or fresh takes on expected objects (i.e. fruit, feathers and bones).

two a unique presentation of objects (particularly those in an impossible or analytical context)

three | a crisp clear image bordering on photorealism

four | a modern and minimalist aesthetic (unlike the overabundance of centuries past)

fivea play of light without a reliance on chiaroscuro

below i'm featuring the work of roberto rosenman. his work checks off many of the points above and i absolutely love his choice of objects - playing cards! q-tips! piles of bones!