September 26, 2015

Creative Crush: Marlen Komar

This Creative Crush is a little something different. Marlen Komar writes beautiful poetry (and a blog!) that has a way of tugging at your heart and making you remember the people of your past in a nostalgic, pleasant way, even if the experiences shared through her poetry are highly personal and often anecdotal.

I often lose sight of how much I love poetry, and writing; the world of writing and how words can purvey so many ideas and images. I'm so glad I stumbled upon Marlen's blog a while back, and subsequently her writing, because now I am reminded whenever she posts a snippet of her pretty words on instagram!
Marlen also has a book, Ugly People Beautiful Hearts, which you can buy digital copies of for kindle reading and such. Her writing is so dreamy and subtle, not-too-mushy-romantic.  I love it!

Be sure to check out Marlen's writing site for a little dose of creative, written magic!


September 25, 2015

5 Thrifting Tips: Finding the Best Treasures

Finding the best treasures in a thrift or vintage shop is not always easy because, in all honesty, a lot of what you find secondhand has been given away/gotten rid of for a reason. Not to mention you have to really work to find things your size or things without stains and rips or missing buttons. But there is a way, and it's not that hard!

Here are my 5 tips and tricks to help you find the very best items when you go thrifting!

1. Know what you want and what you like. Are you in need of t-shirts, sweaters, or pants? Thrift shops can be overwhelming since every single piece is unique and there is so much to sift through. Knowing what you're looking for narrows the search and helps you focus. This holds true for colour, pattern, style, etc. If I'm looking for all-black-everything, I will let my eyes tell me what items to pull out and look at first, given that they are black. Same goes for wanting to spice things up and try on patterns or bright colour!  

2. But don't be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone. Knowing what you want and like is a helpful starting point - but if you're hoping to find some gems, sometimes they'll be outside of what you want. If something on another rack catches your eye (maybe because it's that yellow colour you've been loving lately, or it has a pattern you've never seen before), take a peek! Even if it's something you never thought you'd wear! You may just stumble upon a new favourite.

3. Try things on. Sometimes garments seem a little sub par and unexciting on the hanger, but make you feel like you've hit the jackpot when you try it on and it fits you just so and makes you feel like 5 million bucks! (This tip is recurring, it's also on my  5 Tips for Avoiding being Duped and Disappointed when thrifting list!)

4. Take the time to do it. Thrifting isn't like walking into H&M and knowing exactly which section caters to you (Basics? Business apparel? Or the section that appeals to your inner teeny bopper?). Some thrift stores will have categorization, usually based on what they have in stock at that moment. But it takes time and patience to go through the varied clothing items. So if you want to find the good stuff, you have to take the time and energy to do it, and it is most definitely one of those "it's worth it" activities.

5. Don't get discouraged. As a frequent, somewhat obsessive thrifter, I've experienced almost as many off days as I have had fabulous days. There are times where a store simply does not have anything that suits me. It's all contingent on so many factors; who has donated or sold their clothes to the store that week, who has already come in and scooped up all the good stuff, how I'm feeling that day, what my tastes are that week, what I want that week.... etc. But that's just the nature of the thrift-game, and for every day you find nothing, you will have a day or two where you basically want to buy the whole store.

Are you interested in thrifting? Check out these other posts for more tips to help you maximize your thrifting potential!
- 5 Thrifting Tips: Avoid being Duped and Disappointed
- 4 Thrifting Tips: Finding Workplace Clothes

What is YOUR very best thrifted or vintage find? 
Fun fact: one of my best finds is the sweater in the picture for this post. The part with the pattern, anyway. I bought it years ago and my parents even joke that it's my "signature sweater"!


September 21, 2015

Art Fart: 27

This collage is another example of trying out new things and pushing out of my comfort zone. This time? Combining black and white images with colour ones. I didn't think it would work, but I really like how it looks.

I have a couple of shows coming up with my collage work in them - I'm really stoked and will share more info when the time comes. So I am diving head first into collage work and doing very little else (other than work and, eating, and stuff... the necessities.) I just wrapped up a sewing project that had taken over my work space for a month, so it's nice to have my big table back to do collage work at, instead of in front of the TV in my basement on the mushy leather ottoman. It was productive, but limiting.

So here's to freely creating in a good space, and a happy monday to all of you!

ps. I updated my portfolio website. Take a peek, let me know what you think!

September 20, 2015

Weekly Photo Capsule 09.20.2015

It's been one of those weeks where I take pictures of tons of things all the time. I guess you could say it's been a visually stimulating week!

Top left is a collection of "fairy doors", "porte de fées" in French, at a sweet little bilingual, art and sculpture school that my fella and I want to take pottery classes at, so we went to visit it and it had a very special vibe. I'm excited to spend some time there!

Sometimes I want to collage, but nothing is going together properly. So I end up with a whole collection of little bits and pieces left over. I keep them in little envelopes and categories for future collaging.

And the rest is just pretty lighting and crisp white t-shirts and fun floor patterns.

How was your week?


September 19, 2015

Year of Thrift Update: Fall

Wow guys! My shopping desires have just shot through the roof!

I've been particularly surprised at how much my Year of Thrift Challenge diminished my need to shop - for a while. I mentioned this in my most recent Window Shopping post, but I am realizing that fall is absolutely my favourite season when it comes to fashion! It's funny how paying attention to my consumption habits and reflexes can tell you a lot about yourself.

Man, I would kill for the perfect knit cardigan (or just 'borrow' one from my mum who has impeccable cardigan/sweater taste), and I love all things furry and fuzzy and soft. I love denim jackets and neutral, earthy-tones. I love booties and being able to layer things without sweating enough to fill a modest backyard pool. I love scarves and the texture or colour or length they add to an outfit. I love my various jackets that pull together and outfit just so. I LOVE FALL FASHION!

This week, I maaaybe bought another cardigan/sweater even though my sweater basket is already overflowing. It was absolutely perfect though! I found it at my current favourite thrift shop (for my fellow Torontonians: Kind Exchange at Yonge & Eglinton) and I will definitely take some photos with it and show it off soon! You know that feeling you get when you have an outfit on and you feel like your most powerful, fabulous, comfortable, YOU? That's how I feel with my fall wardrobe. That's how I feel with a killer pair of booties and a badass jacket on top of a cozy layered outfit.

So back to the thrifting aspect of this. I actually find fall a great thrift season too. Thrift shops are stocked full of cozy sweaters and - let's face it, a cozy sweater is likely to look great no matter the fit, as opposed to a summer top that needs to fit you just so. It's easier for sure.

Recently the only things I haven't bought thrifted have been a pair of sunglasses (my thrifted pair broke), some tie-dye, some under garments (one of my original "exceptions"), one dress that was really fabulous and on sale and that I wanted for a job interview (this I have no real excuses for. oops.), a planner, and a computer game from 1997 that I found out you could buy from a site called "Good Old Games" which sets the games up to work on modern computers and Macbooks. Hurray! That made my inner computer game geek really really happy to find ;)

So I am about 3/4 of the way through my year of thrift challenge and I am still holding pretty strong. I have to admit with fall fashion coming out I've been feeling tempted to go into stores. I think I said the same about the emergence of summer patterns and florals and flowy pretty things, though! But I can resist. It helps that I already LOVE my fall wardrobe and don't really need to add anything to it right now.

Do you have a favourite fashion season?

For any new readers, check out my Year of Thrift Manifesto to learn more about my 2015 Year of Thrift challenge! 

September 16, 2015

Window Shopping || 13

(Cactus Flower Tote Bag: Idiopix | Vintage Wolf Eye Denim Jacket: Windy Peak Vintage | Black Suede Skirt: Token | Jasper Round Bead Necklace: Sew a Song)

Now that jacket and boot season is creeping up on us here, with a more-present breeze and chillier mornings, I've found myself on a slight western magic-desert-woman kick again when it comes to style! I crave my denim shirts and leather details, little booties, gold details. I love warm weather for comfort and sunshine, but I have to say fall is my favourite season for fashion! I'm very excited to put my collection of light jackets to good use while I can!

This tote-bag from Idiopix is something I may actually invest in for myself (I have such an affinity for retro illustrations of plants and such!), and the necklaces from Sew a Song make me think of little moons which I just LOVE. Two really good new shop finds!

What have you been lusting over lately?


September 14, 2015

Art Fart: He likes it hot, hot, HOT!

This week I challenged myself to do a collage of a male subject, you know, just to mix it up. I don't want my work to be entirely woman focused. This proved to be very difficult to do with a collection of women's magazines mostly gathered from my step mom and the salon around the corner from me. Ha!

I think I did okay though, I had luck in that most of the male photos I found were close to the same size, face and body wise, so I was able to put them together into a fun new image!

Lately I have been really trying to focus on making art, on applying to jobs that I genuinely would love to do, and learning (again) what makes me feel good (ie: collage, exercise, eating well...). It's hard to find the motivation to get back into routine when you've been out of one for a while. Or rather, when you've gotten into a slightly less-than-healthy routine. But I've bought all the ingredients needed for several new recipes to try - so I'm going to have to, or else they'll all go to waste, right? ;) It's good to challenge ourselves out of our comfort zones sometimes, like with this collage! Usually the results are pretty OK!


September 8, 2015

A Thought or Two: September

This week my brother, sister, their friends, my former school-mates, and (what sometimes feels like) the rest of the world, go back to school.

But not me! Not this time!

It is a super strange feeling, to not be packing my bag with an empty notebook or sketchbook and maybe a few new pens, getting excited to see everyone's new haircuts and tattoos and piercings (the small joys of art school). Instead, today, I am interviewing for an incredibly wonderful job (fingers crossed!) and my fella comes home from a big long trip. So it's an exciting day nonetheless.

That being said, I have been speaking with several people about the sensation of "new" and "starting" that September brings us all - even those of us not in school. My step mom said she always found September to be the exciting new start, not New Years. I argued that's partly because of marketing, and the way companies use Back To School as a way to sell (because we all need back to school lingerie amiright?). My uncle reminded me that it also goes far far back to the timing of harvests and new seasons, so, the arrival of autumn. He said it had might as well be ingrained in our genetics at this point - that September is the start of something new.

I then realized that these starting times for school are very North-American specific. When I studied in France the timing of vacations and starts and ends were very different.
So it got me wondering: What time of year feels like a time for new beginnings to you, in your part of the world?

I'm so curious about how this differs for cultures and places other than my own, so please share!!


September 6, 2015

Weekly Photo Capsule 09.06.2015

Happy September everyone!

I took a step away from the internet this past little while and have been enjoying as much outside time as I possibly can. I am really trying to milk what's left of this summer weather and take advantage of the natural paradises around me.

My aunt's place up in the country side is always the sweetest escape with a cabin in the woods to sleep in, listening to wolves howl and night bugs buzz. And then walking to my grandmother's property next door for breakfast in the early morning. There's also my fella's place which is a good spot to paint in, and the Toronto beach which is a fun place to lounge about and eat snacks with friends.

I've been making art and thinking about art a lot. I always do, but this is really my time to explore it. No school, no full time work, just me and some time to explore my creative side even more deeply. It's actually thrilling, to be falling into something with art that makes me so happy and fulfilled. Yay!

How are you taking advantage of the last little bits of summer?