Friday, July 29, 2011

Inside the Marimekko printing factory and Marimekko Kids

I just watched a slideshow titled "Helsinki Ink" on Dwell magazine's website that gives a peek into the Marimekko's printing process.  I'm so surprised to see what a small cozy factory it seems to be.  All the workers look so relaxed -- I want to work there!
Wow... look at all those screens!

This video is from Marikekko's YouTube channel and showcases the factory in action. VERY RELAXING and so well shot!  

Dwell also has a fabulous slideshow showcasing all of "Marimekko's Iconic Patterns".

Some amazingly cute Marimekko designs for kids...

Apparently H&M Europe (maybe just Paris) had a small line for kids sometime in 2008, and this cute 60's inspired kiddie dress is from that line.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

babies moving like aliens in bellies

Hello friends!

I am just starting to feel my baby moving her arms and legs independently.  I was taking a nap this afternoon and went to lay on my side and had to change position because it felt like I was going to squish a wee arm or leg.   Last time I saw my midwife she told me that the baby was likely head down, but this morning I'm pretty sure I felt her head up at the top of my belly bulge. I better start doing some inversions to get her head back down!

I thought my baby was active, until I checked out YouTube...


I'm up early today after a night of baaaad sleep.  I was feeling a bit cranky, but then saw this post at momtastic about a company about fringes in party decor that showcased this photo of a fringe covered wall by CONFETTISYSTEM:

From their website:
CONFETTISYSTEM is Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho, a duo working as artists, stylists, and designers. A friendship born from their shared love of communal celebration and craft-making has brought them together to create a new system.

CONFETTISYSTEM transforms simple materials such as tissue paper, cardboard, and silk into interactive objects that create a point of focus, where memories are made and a spontaneous collaboration with the viewer is sparked. CONFETTISYSTEM’s creations occupy the space between the ephemeral and the permanent, evoking a sense of nostalgia and lighthearted fun. 

Dwell Magazine featured this interview with CONFETTISYSTEM on their website last year.

CONFETTISYSTEM has a tumblr blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

biking while pregnant

(photo from the blog Happenstance)

I'm 33 weeks and 4 days preggers and feeling very pregnant. I had a rough sleep last night, have had non-stop heartburn and have felt overall hazy-headed, but otherwise I've been feeling pretty good physically. 

I have been using a bike to get around downtown Toronto for more than 10 years.  I used to bike through the winter snow and slush, but now that I have a car to get to my job in the suburbs, I stop biking when the snow starts.  So, when March came around this year, I was about 4 months pregnant, I started to re-think my relationship with biking.  I spent some time thinking, do I really need to continue biking?  I live in the west end of Toronto and can walk almost anywhere I want to go.  My hubby Joe is a walker and doesn't bike at all, so I'll just join him. I had been taking long walks all winter to try to stay in shape and ward off morning sickness. 

But after some thinking I realized that biking is part of my identity. There's nothing I love more than riding aimlessly, stopping when I feel like it to do some shopping that I tote home in my basket, running into friends. I also love that when I bike I'm able to wear heels or other shoes that I wouldn't want to walk long distances in. To top it all off, biking is just a quicker way to get around than walking or taking public transit.  
So, I went in to my local bike shop, Hoop Driver Bicycles and I bought my first brand new bike in years - this one, an Opus Classico. I've always had upright bikes with fenders and minimal gears, but I wanted something that was more reliable. With my pregnancy hormones raging, I was afraid of how I might react to to a chain slipping off or flat tire after flat tire.  

I did speak to my midwife about biking, who said that falling is always a possibility, but she also talked about how resilient the body is, how important regular exercise is for both mom and baby and about how I must trust my own thoughts and instincts.  For the past few years I've always worn a helmet and I've been a cautious biker.  I feel pretty wise to the dangers of riding downtown -- most specifically, getting "doored" and a tire stuck in the streetcar tracks.  Over the 10 years of biking in Toronto, most of those years included commuting to a from school or work, I have only fell once, and it was my own fault-- I got my front wheel stuck in the streetcar track at an intersection with a huge amount of track, which was slippery because it was raining.  In the past three years I've been commuting to work and just last year I was rear-ended while in a traffic jam. 

So, I've continued to bike throughout my pregnancy, however, I have modified the way I bike. 
  • I have definitely slowed down as my pregnancy progresses.  (Right now I ride at a snail's pace.)
  • I limit the distance I'm biking.
  • I avoid biking in the peak of the day when the sun is hottest.  
  • I do not take risks I would normally take. I make sure I leave enough room while riding beside parked cars so that if someone opens their door I will not get hit
  • I use my bell... a lot! If I don't think my bell is being heard (for example, if someone is about to walk onto the road and are not acknowledging my bell-ringing), I will stop. This is easy because I'm already going at such a slow pace.
  • I do not succumb to the pressure to move or change my pace to allow other cyclists to pass me.  This is important in Toronto because of all the parked cars and lack of bike lanes.  
  • I always have water with me.

I have no idea if I'll bike right up until I give birth, but I'll keep you updated! 

What other preggos are saying about biking while pregnant:

This post on SimplyBike talks about how all professionals she consulted (midwives, doctors, etc.) supported her in continuing to bike through her third trimester. Here is a nice interview about with the author of the SimplyBike about her experience biking throughout her pregnancy on the blog Naturally Cycling Manchester

Here's a great post on the Guardian's Bike Blog about the author, Sam Haddad, cycling right up until she gave birth. She's convinced that the fact that she maintained her fitness level by biking (in London!) and by practicing yoga contributed to the relatively quick and uncomplicated birth of her baby. 

I consider myself to be a commuter cyclist, using my bike as a form of transportation. If you're more of a  hardcore cyclist, into going long distances, here's a post at the blog Skirt Sports discussing cycling while pregnant.  Take a look at the comments to read the perspectives of some incredible women who were cycling long distances up until they delivered. My favourite comment: "Ride until you don't think it's right for you anymore. I rode 50 miles the day I had my first child and had mountain biked until a week earlier. I also rode my road bike towing the first until the day before our second was born. Do what suits you and enjoy!"

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm having a lazy morning, listening to CBC radio and waiting for the pavement to dry before I bike to Kensington Market to have coffee at Cafe Pamenar, buy some nice bread and some veggie pate, and find some new tea for iced tea.

I've been trying to find other mommy bloggers to be "friends" with, so I've been lurking blogs like crazy trying to find some ladies that I have something in common with. Let me know if you know of any mommy blogs that I might like...

Today I came across this post at a blog called Domestic Reflections about how she followed a pattern to make these super cute baby moccasins. Here is the pattern on Etsy. These booties have an added fringe.  

I think I may try to make these over the next few weeks... wish me luck.


Glittery banner by Caitlin Holcomb, sold through Etsy. This would be awesome in my bebe's new room. 

You can read her blog here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vintage baby clothes from St. Jacob's

With these crazy hot Toronto days, I've been feeling exhausted and overheated.  I did have my heart set on a trip to a beach this weekend, and was thinking about booking Joe and I a night at one of those cute cabins at Wasaga Beach. But, I wised up and realized that while a day at the beach sounds glorious, my pregnant body can't handle sitting in the hot sun all day long.

So, we got up early and headed out to St. Jacob's market, about an hour or so from Toronto. 
It's a huge outdoor and indoor fruit + veg and flea market. There are a lot of Mennonites in the area and they sell produce, honey, maple syrup and other homemade things.  There is an awesome antique market just across the road called Market Road Antiques where last year Joe and I found this amazing pull down school map for $25 that we've used as an inspiration for the colours for our whole house:

I bought these vintage toys yesterday for the baby's room. I've been really drawn to bright yellow lately. We're planning on painting the interior doors of our second floor a more subdued version of the yellow here. 

I was surprised to find some vintage baby clothing. Here's what I bought. Each outfit was around 6$!

I had to stop myself from going crazy buying too much, so I took photos to remember the outfits I didn't buy.

Bye for now!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

cakes for Amy L's big day

I'm a week late posting this, but I wanted to share these recipes (and brag about how I can actually follow a recipe and create something very cute and delicious). My very good friend Amy just turned 30 and had a BBQ party in her incredible backyard with a big grape pergola and pear trees. I brought this cake and the mini cupcakes (which I ended up laying out around the cake) and we sang happy birthday to Amy and she blew out a citronella candle.  

The cake recipe is from from thekitchn and is called D.I.Y. Yellow Cake  and the Pink Raspberry Buttercream Icing recipe is from the Making Life Delicious

Amy plays music as The Youngest. You can see an installation I created for a show she played a while ago at Nuit Blanche Devereaux 2009. SHE'S AWESOME!

The Milk Truck - Truck shaped like breast comes to the defense of breastfeeding women

"Part performance art, part public service announcement", this boob truck is hilarious. It will be at the the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Andy Warhol Museum, running from September 17 - December 10, 2011 and is the creation of Jill Miller - artist and faculty member in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The idea behind the truck is simple; if a women experiences harassment/negativity for breastfeeding in public, in particular from business owners or staff, she can call the Milk Truck and it will come and park outside of the establishment with the goal of causing a scene and embarrassing the business and sparking some healthy conversation about breastfeeding. 

The one thing about the Milk Truck that I don't necessarily agree with is that it will offer women a positive, alternate space to breastfeed. Not that I don't believe in breastfeeding positive spaces --as a teacher who runs a program for pregnant and parenting teens, my classroom is definitely a breastfeeding zone... students breastfeeding while typing up essays... I even had a student breastfeed all through a fire drill while walking in and out of the building!-- I just don't like the idea of the mother and baby having to be hidden away, satisfying whoever had a problem with the breastfeeding in the first place. 

I have two suggestions for modifications to the milk truck:
1) Make the sides of the Milk Truck with transparent plexiglass, so when the truck parks in front of, let's say, a restaurant with a big front window, the breastfeeding woman will be seen by all. It could act almost like a stage, with the woman and child (and the Milk Truck breastfeeding supporters) elevated above ground level, working to further enhance the hilariousness and embarrassment of the Milk Truck.

2) Instead of inviting the breastfeeding woman and her child into the breastfeeding safe and friendly environment of the truck, have the truck staff bring the breastfeeding positive space to them inside the establishment that is being breastfeeding unfriendly. The spectacle could be heightened by the truck staff wearing a Milk Truck uniform, they could bring breastfeeding accessories/helpers, like the "breast friend" pillow, a comfortable chair or a breastfeeding stool.

(here is a Canadian example from 2008 where a women was asked to cover up on a WestJet flight. The flight attendant said to her, "You know, some men find the sight of a bare breast quite offensive. Can I offer you a blanket to cover up with?")

Here is the post from the blog inhabitots that I originally read about the Milk Truck.
Check out the website for the project,
The project is looking for funding through KickStarter.

Friday, July 22, 2011

33 weeks tomorrow

I'll be 33 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and I'm starting to feel pretty huge. The baby is moving around like mad, her little arms and legs flailing.  She's head down and the bump of her boney baby butt is clearly visible at the top of my belly.  She moves it back and forth. It's a wonderful feeling!

The city still feels as hot as a sauna today.  I rode to meet my friend Anita for lunch at Fresh on Crawford and Queen.  Big mistake.  Even though it's likely less than not more than 2kms, I felt waaaay to hot and tired to bike home. I almost jumped in a cab, but instead I rode home at a snail's pace and then jumped in a cold shower before plunking myself in front of the portable air conditioner.  

While I was on Queen I went to Ella & Elliot to see if I could get this mobile by Artecnia for the bebe's room. None in stock :( I'll check back in August.

Bye for now!

Awesome People Reading

Toronto's sloppy mayor Rob Ford has been toying with the idea of closing some of Toronto's libraries and cutting library hours.  The Toronto Public Library system is the busiest in the world, and I use it...  a lot.  

I became hooked on the Toronto Reference Library's image collection, where librarians have meticulously collected clipped images from magazines, books, postcards etc. and categorized them into filing cabinets. I've used the collection for visual research for many projects I've worked on, starting when I was in film school at Ryerson.  Seriously, you can find a section of images on everything from Birch Trees to children playing hopscotch.  

I've also used TPL's incredible hold system, where you can put have a book transfered from another branch. I routinely have 5-10 books borrowed from the library at a time. ---> At the moment I've borrowed a book on wolves (I'm working on a drawing of a collection of wolves to hang on the wall to inspire me while i'm in labour), a book on the Canadian wilderness (visual research for a sand animation I'm starting to work on), a baby names book, and a few novels.

I'm looking forward taking my little lady to my branch, Bloor-Gladstone, for some story-telling sessions. 
Bloor-Gladstone branch- AMAZING

Visit to learn more about the threat Toronto's libraries face over the next few weeks.  

In support of reading, I've picked a few of my fave photos from the tumblr blog Awesome People Reading.

Jean Shrimpton reads...

So does Debbie Harry.

Bye for now...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Taking my bebe on the streetcar

Happy Wednesday,

Today is another scorcher in T.O.  

After staring at the Marimekko  website for a while yesterday, I had my heart set on going to the Textile Museum of Canada downtown....

...but it was too hot to bike.  I hate admitting this, but being 8+ months pregnant and biking in this heat is likely not happening anymore :(  So, I hopped on the streetcar. 
Holy shit, was it H-O-T. 

Overall, I wasn't too impressed with the collection on display right now, but then again, the last time I was there in 2009 was the Judy Chicago show, and you can't really top a 20 foot wide crocheted image of a woman giving birth. (yikes, that will be me in a matter of weeks!)

Here are some highlights of my visit.  

Bye for now. I'm off to the suburbs to take advantage of my parents' central air.  

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