Monday, August 31, 2009

a little bit of company

Every so often - tucked in between the endless tasks of being a mama - I am lucky and am able to catch a few moments here and there to work on some of my own projects.

These few moments of self time are precious to me, but I have found that I seem to still enjoy them most, however, when my daughter is by my side, happily working on her own projects. Like today, for quite some time she was busy across the table from me - Chattering away to her favourite sheep and showing him how to make drawings.

scrap bin by you.

And at our feet, perhaps the coziest cat in the world, all snuggled in my scrap paper box. Not even minding my ever-so-often-additions to the box, falling all over on top of him. Our kitty Jack will try anything to find the coziest spot ever!

Sometimes, It's really just very nice to have a little bit of company while you work.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

little girl on campus

When my partner Charles and I were looking for a place to call home, we searched and searched for a long time. But then we finally realised that a University is a pretty darn good place for a kid to grow up, and here we are.

little girl on campus by you.

little girl on campus by you.

Over at the University there is usually something happening to fascinate a little kid - and her nerdy mama, too! Adelaide absolutely loves going there, so every few days we usually wander on in for some exploring.

little elf by you.

in the trees by you.

For it is full of gardens and sculptures, ponds and courtyards, slopes and stairs and waterfalls and forests and fields. Libraries and laboratories, swimming pools and gymnasiums, cafes and coffee shops and bookshops, on and on. We could wander on forever and usually find something interesting to explore... to Adelaide, this place is one big playground!

quick reststop by you.

in circles by you.

But to me, the very best thing of all is that there are very few cars (or none at all). So I can relax and just let her run free and wild like the crazy kid she is and should be. And everyday I am so grateful just for this one thing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

up on top

Adelaide loves hanging out on up on my work tables, and excitedly insists on this activity almost daily. It makes me kind of nervous, but they are big and strong, and Addie so careful, that she seems to be pretty safe. While she is up on the tables, she may poke around through my papers, or collect up lots of stray little dots, or find a pencil and make a drawing or two, or perhaps stretch all out and check out the ceiling for a while.

To me, this doesn't seem like it would be that appealing (at least on a daily basis), but I guess that being up higher like that a curious little kid feel bigger, and a little more free.

treasures from china

This morning I have come across a big crate of papers that were brought back for me from China. My partner Charles was born in Guangzhou, and he has so many Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins there and in Hong Kong that we can't even begin to count them all. They must think I'm a crazy lady, because apparently some of them have heard about my fondness from old and interesting papers, and they have been collecting for me. Stacks and stacks of wonderful treasures! This makes me very pleased, and I couldn't ask for better souvenirs.

treats from china by you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

waking up, together

waking up together by you.
waking up together by you.
Here are Adelaide and Elliot together again, on a hot afternoon, and waking from a big sleep (unseen fan whirring away at bottom of shot - Elliot is cooling off his big belly!)

I can't get over Elliot and how much he needs to be loved. And I can't get over how worried I was about bringing a little person into his world... for the results have been a delight!

Every time Adelaide has a sleep he cuddles on up with her. And every single evening he will sit out on our front stoop and wait. He is waiting for people to come by - and give him some love! Sometimes, my heart just breaks for Elliot, when people don't notice him sitting there sweetly waiting, or sometimes they even kind of push him aside a little as they walk hurriedly by. He then looks so sad and so disappointed. Often when this happens he will attack and mutilate himself - something that he rarely does anymore.

So, if you happen to be out for a walk and see a cat sitting and looking kind of hopeful, please do all the Elliot's of the world a big favour and pause to give them a few nice pats. Because when someone stops to love Elliot, He really is the happiest guy on the block. And I am quite certain that his heart is growing even bigger.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

making tags

I've been making and selling my things for many years now - eight? nine? Mostly, I am still in shock that people will purchase the things that I love to make. I usually feel kind of guilty, having to charge people money for what I love so much to do. But I learned long ago not to undervalue myself, my work, or especially my time.

Some of the best advice I can give to anyone looking to make a living off of their craft is to never undervalue all of the time it takes them. It may seem like fun at first - making a little bit of extra income here are there for something you like to do. But one day you may become overwhelmed with orders. Suddenly, becoming incredibly pressured and stressed - and all the while making much less than minimum wage for all of your effort really kind of sucks.

Regardless, I love so much that people will purchase my work from me, and I am forever eternally grateful. I have found most of my customers over the years to be truly wonderful people. I really feel like I have met some kindred spirits out there. And that is the most satisfying feeling of it all.

I am not always able to, but I really like and try to send along a small little gift with all my orders. One of my favourite things to make are little recycled paper tags. I constantly have tons of little paper scraps around, so its the perfect way to make something sweet and nice from them. If you want to make some for yourself, they are really easy - you don't even need a tag punch really. They would be really nice to use for gifts or to label some of your favourite things.

To make them, I first purchased a couple of tag craft punches and a bunch of packages of 1/8" metal grommets from Michael's. Whenever I get a moment, I punch and set away. This is a really good project to take "on the road" with me, and often I will bring along these supplies when we go to visit my parents or such.

I designed the packaging top up in Adobe Illustrator, and get out 5 to an 8.5 x 11" page. Then I simply photocopy them onto ivory cardstock. (This is cheap of me but hey! It works out and the idea here is to not cost a lot but still be nice).

thankyou's by you.

blackberry summer

I love these beautiful summer evenings so much, when the sun heads off to sleep beyond the trees, and we are left within its soft, warm glow. To me, these times are almost perfect.
blackberry mouth by you.
little wild blackberry by you.
The blackberries are back and we have been picking! Each morning I ask Adelaide "what do you want to do today?" and most always she will respond: "pick blackberries!" (Or: "do paintings!")
I've been craving and cooking wild salmon lately (this recipe is phenomenal), and now all of these blackberries have me dreaming of a dish marrying the two. Perhaps, I will try something like this one? Salmon and blackberries together sounds so yummy to me right now...

handful by you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


table-top by you.

Here I am now, puttering away in my work room while Addie dozes. I am cutting up many papers, and in between cuts I keep glancing up at my tabletop. This is what I see. There are many treasures here, but mostly they get lost up in all of my clutter.

It seems no matter how hard I try to discipline myself, I rarely ever have a clean and organised work table top. I would very much like to. I frequently set aside little bits of time to tidy it. But it never seems to happen - there is always something else more pressing that catches hold for me to do!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Thank you to everyone who visited me over the past week and entered my giveaway for the two address files. And now, the winners, (as chosen by random number generator), are:

no. 355: Little Happy Things

no. 209: Katmac

Little Happy Things said...

Hi Sharilyn,
I came across your blog about 6 months ago when I searched "Shinzi Kato" and I felt in love with your blog ever since. You are living the life I'd been dreaming of: a lovely home with lovely husband and kid and doing what you love to do---design.I am almost having my dreaming life: I have a lovely home and a lovely husband and doing my design job, and we are trying to have a baby. We would like to have a cute girl like yours.
Anyway, just want to say thank you for keeping this lovely blog, I really enjoy it. And if it's not too much to ask, would you please tell me what's the typeface you used for your logo? Thank you very much.

Katmac said...
Your address files are simply beautiful! My work table would be very happy with that lovely piece upon it.

Little Happy Things and Katmac, if you haven't heard from me yet, please send me a note with your address information to sharilyn AT lovelydesign DOT com and I will send your gifts out to you.

Thank-you everyone who entered this giveaway. I will be having more in the future, so keep in touch!

ps. the typeface used for my lovelydesign logo is a mixture of different faces from the Chalet family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

scratches + dents

Here are two address files for which I am looking to find a lovely home for. These two little files are almost perfect, however, the maple one has a small dent in one of the bottom back corners, and the black walnut one has a teeny scratch on the front side, and two small indents on the back side. You probably wouldn't really notice, however I do not want to sell them.

It is my hope that they can find a loving home through giveaway! If you wish one of, please leave a comment for a chance to win one of these lonely address files. I will randomly select two winners (the first winner will have first pick) in a week or so.

This contest has now ended. Thank you to everyone who entered!

special place

We've recently returned home from a few days away to our favourite place, Port Townsend, which is a sweet little Victorian town on the Washington Coast. We camped in the forest, hiked and berry picked, both cooked and dined with marvelous food, and visited the wonderful farmers market. And, together with Addie flew her first kite!

We had such a wonderful trip that, despite dragging along my camera, I only paused to take just a photos on the ferry ride home. I think we may head back this weekend, if the rain will stop.

The only problem with visiting Port Townsend is that it is one of the few places that I don't ever want to leave. We've visited almost every summer since I was a kid. I'm not sure if this history has something to do with why, but with each visit I feel this strong urge that we should just be there. Unfortunately, it is in a different country which makes that a little complicated. Maybe, somehow, one day?

Which leads me to wonder: are there other special little towns out there? Are there places in the world where you leave your heart each time you visit? And you feel like you would truly rather just be? 

ferry stroll by you.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


If you'd like to come and visit us in our little home today, here now is a tour over at cafe mom. Please do say hello!

There are also loads of other lovely mama homes featured as well (at bottom). So very nice!

together, breakfast

One thing that I've learned since becoming a mama is the importance of breakfast. I was never one to stop and eat in the mornings until my girl insisted that we do. I have learned - the hard way - that if I rush her out of bed and miss our morning meal together, than I will pay for it for the the rest of the day. She is a different child when I am stressed and we are rushed.

I consider myself Adelaide's teacher, but in so many ways I have much more to learn from her. Here is one of her lessons to me - to be calm and patient and not to rush things always. Start the day calm. Take some time each morning to lie in bed (together) and consider our day ahead. And have a simple, yet nice, breakfast each morning. It is amazing how much more I get done - and how sweet our days can be - when I take a little time to do so.