December 10, 2013

Metropolis Factory Show

Tucked away between alleyways and the West Toronto Railpath, you may just stumble upon the Metropolis Factory. It may not be in an obvious location but once discovered, the large industrial space will quickly inspire "wants" for all things unique and vintage.

A couple days ago, I set up a booth among other fellow artisans who create amazing things from jewelry and clothes to artwork and cupcakes. All were tastefully displayed with a Vintage flavour... and I found it so much fun to design my booth around these parameters. In fact, I narrowed the theme even further to reflect a "1950's style camping trip into the mountains"!

Since it was a priority to keep costs at a minimum, I managed to hardly spend anything at all by using items already owned, borrowed, up-cycled or found:

Already owned: Wooden CD boxes, round mirror and globe.

Photo by Allyson Reid

Borrowed: The vintage-style Judy from the stylish Marie-Eve Tremblay. The satin-lined suitcase with the red, metal lantern from my lovely boyfriend Julian. The decorative cedar snipped from my Mom's front yard hedges!

Up-cycled: The 3D "mountain" business cards were cut from my old, 2012 Mountain Calendars and then stamped with my logo. The small frames around the Mountain Cards used to be trim on a door (which I painted and attached a hook at the back).

Found: Frames around the Mountain Calendar and Vintage Wallpaper Notebooks. The drawer is from a nightstand I found on the street last year, then painted and bought a cute little owl knob on Etsy :)

What's your favourite creation that was made at little or no cost? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

November 11, 2013

Time for a Riddle

I have a little secret,
not revealed just yet!

It's been brewing since May,
and worked on everyday.

It's something new,
shown to only a few.

Initially just a single thought,
into a product to be bought.

What a special transformation,
from idea to experimentation.

Researching and sewing,
photographing and drawing.

Learning about printers, fabrics and hems,
information from my wonderful friends.

Following along this fun trail,
my imagination took off like a sail.

Hold on a little bit longer,
'till then--enjoy the wonder.

October 28, 2013

Halloween is Beautiful

Happy Hahhhlloween!

Yeah, it's mostly about gore and zombies... but it also makes me feel bloody good :)


It's an annual event of spiritualness--your memories of costumes, candy and parties from previous lives.

Consider how all of your senses are involved: The sound of crunchy, autumn leaves, dead beneath your feet; The deliciousness of Reeses peanut Butter Cups and all those other succulent treats; The smell of buttery pumpkin seeds awakening in the oven; Feeling all the tools and materials to slaughter up some frightful decor; Freaking out from the sight of scary spirits in horror movies and haunted houses. 


It summons creativity in all of us. It's always in the details, in every costume and jack-o-lantern, that leaves me breathless

Feel free to share your creations, I'd love to see them!

October 15, 2013

My Graffiti Adventure

It's fun to rediscover your own city.

Cartoon faces on a garage door

Beautiful! The most detailed graffiti I've ever seen.

On Saturday I met up with fellow art enthusiasts to walk through alleyways around Bathurst and Bloor. Richard led us through parkettes, pathways and parking lots. He explained the culture of street artists and the different styles of graffiti. The terminology ranged way beyond my limited vocabulary of "tagging" and commissioned "murals". Here is more info on Toronto graffiti.

Mural behind the Victory Cafe in Mirvish Village.

Repeated stencil in a hidden dead-end alley.

Every corner we turned had a new surprise.
Every person was drawn to different details.
Every piece will continuously transform.

The cutest one of all--makes a grungy back alley worth visiting :)

I was amazed at the variety of sizes and surfaces and techniques.

Strategically composed within the frame of a pipe and a ledge.

These wispy trees almost went unnoticed. 

Impressive shading technique made with spray paint.

Wandering around on a warm sunny day, chatting with new people, seeing new things, felt like I was traveling in a different country. It reminded me how much I crave adventure!

Where have you found amazing graffiti?

September 30, 2013

5 Days Running...

The beauty of morning light made running feel like fun.

Since the 1-week drawing challenge, I've thought about setting more short-term goals. It feels motivating to wake up and remember that I get to work on something non-work related that's really fun to do. So I will intermittently surprise you with a new one, starting with this second challenge: to take a photo every morning on a different running route.

The 7-day plan ended up turning into 5. Unlike the extra energy I gained from drawing, I found myself a little physically depleted by the end of the week!

While the fresh air awoke me from my sleepy trance, the warm sun cast orange rays across my face. My mind felt more alert, as I kept myself occupied by looking out for something unique to photograph. I noticed how the low sun (at this time of day and year), cast some intriguing, elongated shadows.

Allowing myself this time to pay attention, made me realize (yet again) the multitude of photo opportunities that are offered every moment of every day. Something amazing is happening all the time, even only a few minutes away from home. Some of these moments will never happen again, exactly the way you found them, so how satisfying it is to capture it before it disappears!

Monday's run: A passing shadow on the ground caused me to look up. With the wind blowing West and the sun at it's early stages, a shadow casts upon the smoke stack's own smoke:

West Toronto Railpath

Tuesday's run: early morning rays warmly highlight this chain link fence against the cool shadows behind it:

Bank Street

Wednesday' run: the grass along the East side of this sidewalk casts long shadows:

Along the Soccer Field by Brockton Stadium

Thursday's run: with the sun still at a low point in the sky, I'm able to point the camera straight up towards this tree top without getting harsh back-lighting.

Dufferin Groves

Friday's run: the first corner I turned, was down an alley where this kitty kept watch from his safe spot; up upon a tall fence, behind big foliage:

Dundas Alley

I challenge you to keep your eye open for something unique today... what did you find?!

September 17, 2013

A Fad or Forever?

What is it about birds?

Wispy, curling, feathers

I myself have definitely fallen prey to loving them so much that I would actually just about stick them on anything! (Check out this funny spoof, Put a Bird on It). Yes, the last few years have generated an abundant number of bird images on everything from clothing and housewares to story books and wall graphics. But I really think there's more to it than just a pretty image; birds are not a fad.

They represent an idea and a feeling... Freedom.

Pigeons flying past my window

It's even proven in our dreams:
"If you are flying with ease and are enjoying the scene and landscape below, then it suggests that you are on top of a situation. You have risen above something. It may also mean that you have gained a new and different perspective on things. Flying dreams and the ability to control your flight is representative of your own personal sense of power." (Dream Moods)
How liberating is that?! We love birds because we want to be a bird. Imagine... traveling anywhere you please, with a clear view and a cool breeze in your feathers, without traffic jams or speed limits.

Here are a few birdies I've found both near and far. They captured my eye when I saw them playing in the sky, fully enjoying every precious, little moment.

Toronto: A community, settling in for the evening

New Zealand: An albatross gracefully gliding with the wind currents

Florida: Pelicans diving like spears to catch their lunch 

September 02, 2013

Buena Vistas 2014

Happy September everyone!

It's the start of a new month and a new season. I'm already missing summer's relaxations but that cooler chill in the air does feel refreshing. It's a positive kick-in-the-butt for me to get those creative juices flowing a little faster.

Even though Fall is a busier season, it too will pass by quickly... all of a sudden it will be 2014! Ok, not so fast--we still have a third of the year left :) In the meantime, there is no reason not to give ourselves a moment or two to enjoy what we love. Listen to music, smell a rose, eat chocolate, look out the window...

Sea Green

Or admire a poster! Introducing the new Mountain Calendars for 2014, now for sale on Etsy.

Enjoy the view!

Red Sunset
Silver Dew
Blue Mist

August 19, 2013

My One-Week Drawing Challenge

I love to draw. It's my most favourite thing to do in the world--in fact, it's my most favourite thing to do all around the world!

Tuesday, 1 of 7:
Contrast between tiny transparent leaves incasing black Basil seeds

Traveling has given me opportunities to find (what I think are) unique details. My travel sketchbooks are filled with landscapes and portraits, textures and patterns, colours and shadows, nature and architecture. Everything looks different everywhere... but you don't have to travel far to find them.

Wednesday, 2 of 7:
Texture inside a new Peace Lily flower

Thursday, 3 of 7:
Pattern inside a Mosaic Plant leaf
When time is limited, I'll take a photo but sometimes I'm drawn to draw. It feels like a necessity, to record particular details that would translate well into a line (vs. an image).

Friday, 4 of 7:
Organic forms in a hanging Cactus

Drawing makes me feel good, similar to meditating. Perhaps it's from concentrating so closely on just one object. Or enjoying the process of gradually piecing each shape together into a whole composition. Maybe it's the satisfying sense of accomplishment upon completion...

Saturday, 5 of 7:
Cross-hatched shading in an Ivy Vine

That is the moment, when this joyous feeling erupts into a surge of energy (which usually ends up with me dancing around my living room!) So... if it makes me feel that good, why am I not drawing more often?!

Sunday, 6 of 7:
Pattern from segments of a Cactus

I decided it was time for a new week's resolution. And without having to travel far at all, house plants became the theme for my Tuesday-to-Monday Sketch-a-Day Challenge.

Monday, 7 of 7:
Details eliminated into pure silhouettes of a Butterfly Plant

I'm so happy, I may have to do it again!

What is it that makes you so excited that you just want to dance?!

August 12, 2013

Sky Crazy

The sky has really astonished me lately. 

Several times over the past few weeks, I've stopped in my tracks, completely mesmerized by the huge mass of beauty above me. 

So the bright side of our unseasonal rainy weather is that it's caused these spectacular displays! Here are a few that made me feel very lucky to have witnessed:

July 17: Streaming beams of light behind fluffy, glowing clouds:

July 19: Threatening clouds and birds flying for cover, only seconds before the rain poured down:

July 19: After the rain, low-hovering, cotton-ball-looking Mammatus clouds, in a cast of orange light:

And another one for fun... 

August 4: Reflection inside a hot tub while up at a cottage last weekend. The white specks in the tub look like stars in the sky :)

Did you happen to stumble upon any crazy skies?

July 29, 2013

Art Spin Adventures

Imagine... a warm summer evening, riding bikes with friends, visiting galleries and outdoor music venues.

Panorama #1 at St. Anne's Church

Panorama #2 at St. Anne's Church

I find the Art Spin experience completely adventurous and magical! We're guided down side streets and alleys, unaware of when our next turn will be. Everyone is in high spirits and like-minded, open to a world of new art in the city. 200+ cyclists glide at a casual pace, chatting with good friends and making new ones. We create choruses of ringing bells. The busy roads transform into calm bike paths as cars are kindly asked to wait while our long stream of bikes pass by.

Googly-eyes at Daniel Faria Gallery

All of our senses are captivated by the unexpected... Smelling the aroma of chocolate while passing the Cadbury's factory. Tasting cool, refreshing freezies while watching a video installation. Hearing the gentle clicking spin of all the wheels while the traveling band played on. Touching the carpet of grass we sit on to watch an open-air performance. Seeing new techniques and craftsmanship in every piece of art.

Bluemouth Inc. playing in the grass

It's like being part of an exclusive secret--but anyone is welcome to join:) Maybe I'll see YOU at the next Art Spin?!

July 16, 2013

The Amazing Tubular Wall! *Starring Bella the Bunny*

Finally, the wall is complete!

You've watched it's progress... from cardboard tubes, to two-toned cylinders, to a composition of stacked circles. My primary goal was to create a functional product that also showcased my artwork. Now here it is... a piece of furniture and a sculpture.

The wall is composed of cylindrical compartments--three inner tubes house my artwork, and the others are meant to be filled like a shelf. As I looked for props, I found the wall quite versatile as it easily accommodated books, scarves, candle holders, and incense.

I discovered new creative possibilities by using additional circular containers to hold smaller items like pencils and business cards. Then looking at the interesting negative spaces, emerged even more room to place things!

And look, it even fits a bunny! I just happened to be babysitting Bella when I did this photoshoot. She's been perfectly content for hours now, sitting in her new-found happy spot :)

I'm interested to know your ideas! How would you use this tubular wall in your home?