Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cake topper hunting...

When we were little, my aunty Irene made us all beautiful cakes for our birthdays. Although this was a very long time ago, the memory of one particular cake is very clear in my mind. We were admiring the cake outside in the front yard of our house in Regina Saskatchewan. I was born in August and my sister was born in July so who's ever birthday cake this was, was being served on a hot sunny day. Aunty Irene, like the rest of her sisters was very talented, so her cakes were, not just cakes, but works of art.

I was never sure how she got the barbie doll inside the cake, or if it was in fact a barbie doll or some other kind of doll, but what I remember is a beautiful princess in a white gown, narrow at the waist and completely full at the bottom. It was a masterpiece and really too beautiful to eat — but we did of course, savoring every bite of the glistening sugar icing and the white or marble cake layered inside.

Since those long summer days on Lakeview, I have made my share of birthday and wedding cakes, inspired by my childhood memories and my aunty Irene's creativity.

These memories were awakened this week, when I was viewing one of my sister Leslie's treasuries, I came across this adorable cake topper by Susan at Middleburg and decided to see how many other fun creations I could find. I thought since I am sort of in the wedding business, I should start there.

Blue bird wedding topper by Middleburg
On etsy, there are 8,908 listings for Wedding cake toppers. A bit daunting to say the least, but I think I found some gems that I would like to share with you. I started with checking out what else Susan of Middleburg had in her shop. This little house on the hill caught my eye.

Happily every after by Middleburg
I am a folk art nut so the fact that I love every single piece in the next shop I found, called "Bunny with a tool belt", is no surprise. Her shop banner slogan is "Making you smile since the late 20th century".  That my friend, is an understatement! Look how cute these are! And she does commissions ...

I love you and I love bananas too by Bunny with a Toolbelt

Smiling gators by Bunny with a Toolbelt
Next I found these over the top toppers by from Builders Studio.

Robot Secret Agent by Builders Studio
I couldn't resist these goolish gems from Sweetie Cake Topper.
Scull Wedding Topper by Sweetie Cake Topper
Oh my, I love these precious toppers from Red Light Studio.

Couple by Red Light Studio
Love Birds by Red Light Studio
That was fun. Both to think about the beautiful cake my aunt made for us so many many years ago, and to go on a treasure hunt. If you have a birthday memory or a cake topper story, PLEASE share! Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hello in there...

Reflections ... by Naomi Broudo
For those of you that speak more than one language, I think you will understand when I say that there are situations where a particular phrase in a particular language says it better than any other. In Hebrew when you need to take a moment to reflect, you would say "rega choshvim" or actually you might only think it. Literally it means "moment, thinking" which sounds pretty awkward in English but in Hebrew which is a language with few words and deep roots, it is pretty profound. At least I think so.

I have had a couple of those profound moments this week. The kind of moments that catch you off guard and you literally are stopped in your tracks.

What got me rolling towards this "rega choshvim"? Finding out I was no longer a Leo was pretty traumatic. That certainly could have contributed to it. Was it admitting that our son Aaron's Brooklyn Night Bazaar needed an artist/designer cooler than his mom to create an edgy Brooklyn hipster website — yah, definitely getting me there. Or was it Poppytalk letting me know that my pattern paintings were more suited for an older audience and not really appropriate for the Poppytalk demographic ...

Yup that did it.

Soon after that jaw dropper, a comment from someone I had just met confirmed my need for — you know — a good long "rega choshvim". She said (with the best of intentions), I was quite different in person than what she expected reading my blog ...

That's the moment I'm talking about — where everything starts going in slow motion and it is like everything else that came before fades away and all you can think about is — "Who am I"?

I am sure we all suffer from this. I know that well into my 30's I still thought I was 18. And even today, I have a hard time believing I am really over 50 (almost half way to 60 to be exact). So what is a gal supposed to do in such a situation?

A "moment thinking" does the trick for me every time.  I checked in with myself and realized I am fine with the fact that I am a 54 (almost 55 years old) mother, wife, designer, ketubah artist and creator of fresh ideas. I love to write about things that are important to me and I am pretty sure that who I am on these ages is who I am in person. I don't think I could ever have been described as edgy or hip or cool, so it is OK that I can't describe myself that way now. I will never give up trying to find audiences for my work, even as certain doors close. The eternal optimist, I always believe that when one door closes, another better one opens.  

After this experience when I look in my internal mirror, I see a slightly older, me, but I am totally fine with that!

Fresh ideas I can relate to: Noga Yarmar

Copyright Noga Yarmar
I didn't know Noga until a week ago, but it is amazing how much we have in common. Noga has been living in Victoria for about as long as I have been living in Vancouver. And as if it was not coincidence enough that her family is originally from Winnipeg, she herself is a sabra (born in Israel) and a kibbutznick to boot. She grew up on Kibbutz Barkai half way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. So we were sort of living the same distance apart in Israel as we are in Canada.

Noga is an innovative ketubah artist, calligrapher, art educator and fine artist. And like me, she is trying to figure out how to make a go of it in all of these areas. Noga happened on my blog while doing a search for Vancouver ketubah artists and we met for coffee on skype last Friday (don't you love technology!). We had a great time talking about the things we love, and the things we make, and all of the difficulties of putting yourself out there and the hard work it takes to make things happen.

I think for both of us, it was good to feel there are others out there going through the same things. It makes it easier to keep moving forward when there seems to be so many roadblocks in our way (self imposed or otherwise!).

Copyright Noga Yarmar

So I wanted to introduce you to my new friend Noga. These images are of her floor cloths which I adore! Hopefully soon I can show you some of her ketubot (waiting for permission). When we spoke last Friday, she was bubbling with new ideas for so many things. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. No online portfolio yet, but we talked about that too, and I hope there will be an etsy shop for you to enjoy soon.

Thanks Noga for sharing your work and your enthusiasm with me!

Copyright Noga Yarmar

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vancouver 2010: Relive the Dream!

Hard to believe that it was a year ago this week that Vancouver welcomed the world to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It was a heady time for all of us. We were — ALL — transformed. Even the biggest naysayers, became the games biggest fans. We all shed tears of joy as the torch wound it's way around the lower mainland and by opening night, we were all ambassadors.

I watched my first hockey game (and enjoyed it!), and personally helped Canada celebrate the first gold medal on Canadian soil with a commemorative stamp that Violet and I designed for Canada Post. Was I ever more proud to be a Canadian?

Red gloves were everywhere, and for two weeks last winter, the Canadian Maple Leaf was the hottest fashion statement in the world. But not only that. We all saw for ourselves that with great determination, hard work and lofty goals, almost anything is possible.

Tonight I received an email with a link to a wonderful video, made by by Jordan Megahy. Watching it allowed me to relive the amazing experience that was the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. After a few tears of joy, I  reread the post I wrote after attending the closing ceremonies (thanks CA and David for the tickets). It kind of brought me back to that moment — and it felt good.

Unfortunately, it is really easy to forget that energy. I have to thank Patricia for sending along this video, so that I could feel again as I did one year ago — that you are not the same — once you have experienced this — even in our otherwise sleepy Vancouver.

Enjoy the video — and remember that anything is possible — I believe!

Vancouver 2010 Olympics from Jordan Megahy on Vimeo.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is it Friday already?

Coffee Press by
I am sitting down with a cup of steaming coffee to reflect on the past 7 days. And what a week it has been.

••• On Saturday my talented sis Leslie opened her etsy shop called clayshapes.
Squash shaped bowl by Leslie Fruman

She has been in a gazillion treasuries already — and everyone is checking out her shop. I check everyday to see what new pieces she has added. It is so much fun to discover her work each day. Try it, you will see what I mean!
Organic shaped fruit/salad bowl by Leslie Fruman

••• On Monday our Son Aaron launched his kickstarter site to raise money for his new project the Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Check out the video! And pledge away. Or at least pass this on to everyone you know!
Aaron has been working non stop on this project and I have had the pleasure of working through branding and design ideas with him on a daily basis. It has been a great mother/son bonding experience. Very proud ema. Kol hakavod ben!

••• Last week after patiently waiting until after the holiday rush, I received news that I had been accepted into the coveted Etsy Chai team.

There are a lot of rules and I have been studying all of the emails I received from Linda who is the team "ema" (or — the Yahoo List Mom & Membership Maven) to be sure I am doing everything I need to be doing to remain a team member in good standing.

It was a busy week so I finally got around to making my first team treasury today. It gave me a chance to meet the team members and get to know them through their work. In honour of valentines day, I chose pink tones. Hope it puts you in the mood for love!

click to see the whole treasury

••• On the home front, I am working on a new series of Ketubah designs based on my pencil doodles. Here is a sneak preview of bits of artwork:

It has been a busy but fruitful week. Lots to think about and lots to be grateful for. Coffee cup is empty — but my wine glass is full!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fresh Ideas I can relate to: Brooklyn Night Bazaar coming this summer to Greenpoint Brooklyn Waterfront!

This is so fresh, it has never been done before in Brooklyn. And the most exciting thing about it is that it is my son Aaron that dreamed it up and is making it happen.

And, he found great etsy artists to create art for a series of posters that will soon be all over Brooklyn. Aaron's very talented friend Giga put together a video to promote this amazing project, so I will let Aaron describe it to you — and then watch the video — and start pledging. He is going to need lots of help getting this amazing project off the ground.

“As some of you know, I have been planning a rather ambitious Night
Bazaar which will take place on a very large swath of land on the
Greenpoint Brooklyn waterfront this summer. The Bazaar will have about
200 independent vendors, a beer and wine garden and a performance
space. It will run from May to October on Friday and Saturday nights.
There will also be a separate large concert series on the site while
the Bazaar is idle - but that will be run by a separate entity, and
just so you know, no Kickstarter rewards will be redeemable on those
separate large concert nights. Please check out the Kickstarter site
for more information.

Kickstarter is a website that helps creative projects get off the
ground by offering rewards in return for payment to help offset
start-up costs. In return for your support, you get various rewards
that I have thought up and I get some start up funds to help make the
event a success. I'm also hoping to use Kickstarter to build a little
buzz, so if you wouldn't mind passing this along to your friends and
family, especially if they're in the New York area, that'd be a great
help. ”