Saturday, July 19, 2008

My neck of the woods.

It's a glorious morning here - hope you enjoy your weekend. I'm starting off my day the french way - with fresh brioche and a cappuccino from Au Soleil Levant.

I took this picture this morning outside the bakery - check out the flowers!
Au Soleil Levant is a rustic french bakery at 281 Herridge Lane here in Nelson BC.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Bloggers Week

I thought since this is the end of the week (is a bloggers week only 5 days long?) I would include a few images that didn't quite make it to this weeks posts. Mostly they are pictures that I took in New York, in no particular order. People keep asking me what camera I am shooting with and I have to confess I am using my iPhone. Yup!

This first image is a store on Bleeker Street - it sells a lot of very stylish cowboy and western gear all displayed in antique shop fixtures. I don't really have a thing for western gear but I am a sucker for a beautiful old store front and I am sucker for Bleeker Street. Does anyone know the name of this store? - it's right by the Bonpoint store - oh, note to self, must do post on Bonpoint.

The next couple of pictures may look familiar to a few readers. I was lucky enough to visit Tinsel Trading just a couple of weeks before they move into the their new location. It's an amazing space and an amazing retail environment. You know they have been in this location for 75 years - and there is 75 years worth of cool stuff every where you look. I can't imagine what kind of challenge it will be to move this store. While I was there they were busy tidying out the basement boxes - some of which hadn't been opened in 50 years!

uch of what they sell at Tinsel is new old stock. Spools and spools of 50 year old trim and ribbon. Some of their oldest trim is metalic victorian brocade. They still sell it by the yard - and they keep it under glass. Everywhere you look there are boxes of wooden spools and sequins and feathers. The store fixtures themselves are worth the visit!

don't know who's cards these are. They are lovely and they looked really great displayed on this vintage time card rack. I also love the way they were displaying cards without plastic sleeves, I am a big fan of that. If you can make it in to Tinsel Trading before they move that would be great - but I am sure that the new store will be just as impressive.

Tinsel Trading is located currently at 47 West 38th St, New York and they are moving to 1 West 37th St in August. They are open until 5:30 everyday and closed on Sundays. Go now!

And finally I am going to leave you with a view from my neck of the woods( just in case you think we've gone mad and moved to New York). Because it's all very well living in the middle of nowhere but it only works if you get out to the middle of SOMEWHERE on a frequent basis.

And I'd like to say thanks to everyone who stopped by this week. I hope you can make Cafe Cartolina part of your regular reading schedule. And if you've enjoyed the posts this week and you think you've got a picture, a product or just a story I'd like to know about, drop me a line, write a few comments or email me some pictures - I'd love that :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Up and Down New York

While we were in New York last week Doug was lucky enough to get this book for his birthday - Up and Down New York, illustrated by Tony Sarg. I love this book, everything about it from its dust cover to the preface by Jonathon Adler. The clever gift giver found this book at none other than Fish's Eddy. The illustrations were done in the 20's and 30's and have been compiled into a book published by Universe Publishing(Rizzoli). Tony Sarg was a famous artist, puppeteer and cartoonist(he apparently was responsible for developing the flying helium character balloons used in the Macy's parades). He also had his own chain of stores where he sold textiles, wallpaper and rugs - of his own designs.....hmmm, note to self, research more about Tony Sarg's wallpaper designs. I think his illustrations are wonderful and remind me of another great illustrator from that era, John Held Jr (who illustrated the classic flapper girl). 

We have a lot of books on illustration and illustrators in our studio. One of the reasons that the Tony Sarg book caught my eye was because I am an avid New Yorker reader - I love the articles and I love the cartoons. 

My love of New Yorker cartoons has a rather odd beginning - when I was a kid growing up in Scotland we used to spend our summers in a tiny village on the SW coast of Scotland called Monreith. We had a tiny cottage by the sea that was about as big as a garden shed - and it was filled to the brim with very odd artifacts. There was a collection of strange musty smelling books and amongst the more interesting was an album of New Yorker cartoons. I loved it - and used to practice copying the drawings - not that I understood the humour or the references. Rather odd really for an 8 yr old to be reading New Yorker cartoons in a rose covered, seaside cottage in Scotland. Well years later I found a copy of that book in a flea market, snapped it up and laughed again at all the cartoons that I remembered so well. 

Oh, and by the way, if you are ever in Scotland take a side trip to Monreith and stay at the Steam Packet Inn - it's a magical place!
Make Art Not War

I bought this poster for the studio the other day. I really like it. I don't know much about it, except that it is by Shepard Faire. It has a lovely art nouveau feel. You can purchase it online here. 
I bought my copy at a local store in town here called Still Eagle. I saw it in the window. Still Eagle has been a Nelson institution for many years. We moved to Nelson 15 years ago and it was already an established hemp store back then. They carry a simply amazing selection of organic, sustainably produced, and fairly traded products. Everything from clothing to stationery to bedding. It smells like pachouli oil and tiger balm in there and there is more tie dye and macrame than you will see in a normal life time(but then again this is not a normal place  - this is Nelson!)

Here's what it says on the Still Eagle web site, "Still Eagle Planetary Persuasions began as a small alternative environmental storefront in the Kootenays of BC. That was 1990. Shortly thereafter, we became one of Canada's first hemp stores, wholesaling the best hemp products we could find to other hemp stores across Canada. Today, we carry everything from twine to food to rope to clothing to bags, body products, hats, socks, jewellery, rolling papers, posters books and information." 

One of the things I love about Still Eagle is that everything in the store has 2 prices on the tag - and you can chose which one you feel like paying . . . I think it's brilliant - they have always had this policy - and it really makes you think beyond yourself every time you purchase something. And in the change rooms there is a sign with John Lennon's face on it that says "Don't steal things - Instant Karma will get you " ! 

Still Eagle is located on Ward St, Nelson BC 
They have online catalogues and they wholesale an amazing selection of hemp products.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Poppytalk guest blog today : Fish's Eddy

Well we are very happy to be guest blogging on Poppytalk again this morning. This time we are not in my neck of the woods - but it could be your neck of the woods! We had the pleasure of spending a week in New York last week and even in the 95 degree temperatures we managed to walk our feet off, pounding the pavement through Soho, Midtown and downtown. Today's post at Poppytalk is all about one of my favourite stores, Fish's Eddy. Hope you enjoy.

I have lots of New York photos and details to share with you over the next few weeks and days so tune in and turn on.
And thanks to Jan for the shout out today - Cafe Cartolina is our newborn baby blog - and, guess what? It's all your fault - you got me hooked!
Lilikoi and Jenna Rose.

I stopped in at Lilikoi this morning to take some pictures of the pillows that I had seen there last week .
Lilikoi is the brainchild of designer Barbara Boswell who studied design right here in Nelson at the Kootenay School of the Arts.
All her designs are gorgeous and her shop is fabulous - bright and sunny and inspiring. Her designs include clothing, accessories and home decor items. Her materials are all organic and are from sustainable resources like bamboo. Very nice!

I am also really loving these pillows that they sell at Lilikoi. They are produced by Jenna Rose - another Canadian creating wonderful silk screened fashions and decor items in Ontario. Check out the hats on her site too.
Lilikoi is located at 358 Baker St Nelson BC

Monday, July 14, 2008

Abacus Beads, Nelson, BC

Today I had to run out to Abacus Beads. 
I love Erin's store. It's not the biggest bead shop in the world but it has an amazing selection of semi-precious stones that Erin buys from locals who spend their winters in Asia and South America. If you are not into skiing then the winters are pretty long here so it's quite tempting to head off to exotic places for the season. I for one am happy to stay home and hit the slopes but I am very grateful to the non-skiers who bring back the beautiful gem stones to Abacus. Erin doesn't have a web site so here are a few pictures that I took this  morning.

I love the way Erin merchandises her shop in abundance using vintage wine glasses and old cabinets. I can spend hours in here!

New business cards.

Just took a picture of Dougs new business cards. I love them. He whipped these up in about 10 minutes and I think they are the prettiest business cards I have seen in ages - though I may be biased!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bad Boys

Today I want to introduce you to some gorgeous fellas courtesy of Mimi Kirchner.
I am in love with everyone of these guys. Aren't they amazing. I have been thinking about them ever since I first saw them here.
I love the way Mimi represents their tattoos with vintage toile fabric - such a great idea!

You can see more of Mimi's work here at her Etsy shop
The following posts are from a week long guest blog that we did for Poppytalk in June 2008

My Neck of the Woods - day 5.


Grass Roots
When I started this guest blog on Monday I wanted to talk about the challenges of living and working in a relatively remote, small town. Nelson is an 8hr drive from the closest big city, Vancouver. But I got a little distracted over the last few days by all the talented designers and artists who do business from here - and they all make it look pretty easy. But it does have its challenges. At times you have to be fairly resourceful to live here. Most people live here for the peaceful lifestyle - I don't think I know anyone who chose Nelson for its variety of industry and career choices. So to begin this last post of the week I want to acknowledge the grass roots entrepreneurs who give Nelson its soul. From the radish farmer to the potter, the weaver and the panama-hatted herb guy, what they do everyday, in our small community, is beautiful, simple and really important.

The Craft Connection and Nicole Bigg
The Craft Connection has been a cooperative of Nelson artists for 25 years. Craft Connection members share in the operation of the store through staffing, advertising, marketing, and display. Since most co-ops are community and regionally based, investment in, and surplus revenue from, the co-op stay within the local community. The Craft Connection recently bought and renovated this lovely old building and converted it into a great gallery space for all their members. Nicole Bigg is one of the member artists at the Craft Connection and I have enjoyed watching her art evolve over the last few years. Currently I am loving her belt buckles, there are lots on display today at the store - aren't they amazing?



Nicole has a few things to say about living and working in a small community, "Some cities are great for a bit but over all I enjoy living in a small town especially Nelson. There are many things here to inspire great artwork like beautiful lakes and mountains-and it's relaxing, it doesn't have the traffic, pollution and distractons that the city has. Nelson keeps me as busy as I would like really." Nicole has a great web site with lots of images of her work and also her fabulous jewelry. Enjoy!


Cabin Fever.
So if you get in your car, in the middle of nowhere, and drive for 2 hrs, you might be surprised to find that you are still in the middle of nowhere - though in a different country. Sandpoint Idaho is a beautiful 2 hr drive from Nelson. It's an even smaller town than Nelson but they are lucky to have one of my all time favourite little shops - Cabin Fever. Owner Rebecca has amazing good taste and a wonderful talent for merchandising. The store is split into a clothing section and the other side of the store is furniture, with bedding and bath downstairs - a great rustic mix of vintage and new. 
So there I was on Wednesday admiring the John Robshaw linens stacked high on vintage dressers, when I saw these amazing handmade linen pillows designed and produced by local artist Melissa Neufeld. What struck me most about these pillows was the frill which is made of burlap webbing - the kind you see underneath the seats of antique dining room chairs. The screen printing is beautifully done and really unusual. I think I was drawn to them because I love the combination of natural linen, burlap and black ink. You can see more of Melissa's work here.

cabin fever


Gotta love this lamp from Uncommon Goods and its vintage wood base. It fits the whole rustic vibe at Cabin Fever.



I have really enjoyed blogging this week and giving you all a glimpse of life in Nelson BC. Thanks for all the comments. I have uploaded some pictures to this Flickr location if you are interested, and I will continue to add some more in the next few days.
I am leaving you with a photo taken from my studio window. I hope you enjoyed the posts this week - and if you're ever in my neck of the woods, give me a call we'll go for a coffee at Oso Negro.

My Neck of the Woods - day 4


The Dominion Cafe.
I realized this morning when I parked my car round the back of Oso Negro that due to my precaffeinated state that I hadn't noticed that they had painted one of the 3 matching old houses that I park in front of most mornings - when did they do this and how did they choose that colour? Generally I like orange and it does look cheery, I guess I'll get used to it. It's bright though.

I'm not going to Oso this morning, I am going to the Dominion Cafe for a change. I have a soft spot for the Dominion Cafe because it used to be mine. Back when we got frustrated with the lack of coffee shops in Nelson we designed and built one ourselves. How fun - for a while, until I remembered that I am not a restauranteur, I am a graphic designer. Now there are lots of cafes in town to chose from and I can be a graphic designer in a different coffee shop every day of the week if I want!



Honey I'm Home

A few weeks ago our home decor shopping choices in Nelson went decidedly up-market. What a relief!
Honey I'm Home (mailto:info[at] is the retail vision of owner Veronica Tompkins. Veronica moved to Nelson from Toronto where she worked for many years with the beautiful chain of Robin Kay stores (gorgeous Canadian home accessories and fashion). Her eclectic decorating style and good taste is bound to inspire us all to combine, as she does, antiques with bright modern accessories and earthy natural elements. It's a lovely place to shop.



One of the items at Honey I'm Home that really caught my(probably because it was in the gorgeous window display on top of a completely mirrored console table - be still my heart!) was a rock. Now you might think that this is an odd place to sell rocks but these rocks are felted. Produced by Ronel Jordaan these felted wonders must be seen to be believed and you must visit her website right now to see all the wonderful things being produced at her work shop in South Africa - rock on.


Ceramic Artist Aura Carney.
Lastly today I want to introduce you a ceramic artist that I am just loving, Aura Carney (mailto:auramay{at} . I first saw Aura's work at Very Hush Hush in Herridge Lane and I was so taken by the illustrations. They are so honest and impulsive and delicate. I love the simples vessels and plates that she chooses for her drawings - especially the 2 long dishes with the shy swim suit girls on them

I asked Aura to tell me more about her work, she says, "I try to create pieces that evoke a romantic nostalgia while remaining contemporary. Most pieces are made from cone 6 porcelain and all pieces are hand drawn." She makes it all sound so simple! Aren't they wonderful?




Well I hope you enjoyed today's Nelson snap shot. I'm really enjoying blogging after all and it was so nice of poppytalk to ask me to guest blog this week, thanks Jan!

Tomorrow we are going to visit a local gallery and then we are going on a road trip - so grab your organic, pesticide-free, locally-grown soy snacks because it's a long drive to anywhere from here. See you tomorrow!
My Neck of the Woods - day 3.

Very Hush Hush - another tale from the back alley.
Last year when I was taking a short cut from the 
art school, down the steps to the post office, I stumbled upon a shiny silver Airstream travel trailer nestled in Herridge Lane, behind the bike shop and next to the All Seasons Restaurant. What a nice surprise - must investigate! Well lo and behold if it isn't my pals Tracy and Cathy and their new shop on wheels, Very Hush Hush! Well since that day the Airstream trailer has become a favourite back alley haunt and a great place to support indie designers.

Very Hush Hush Gallery is Nelson’s most original purveyor of contemporary art & craft. Operating out of a restored 1964 Airstream trailer, Very Hush Hush sells handmade goods by emerging, independent, Canadian designers. Exhibiting work that is aesthetically innovative and technically astute. Co-founded by my friends Cathy Terepocki and Tracy Fillion, Very Hush Hush is a wonderful, unique, small town, shopping experience.


Picture 14



Tracy produces really unique, handcrafted and silkscreened toys (above), clothing and accessories under the trade name of Dearpony. She has a real eye for detail. I love the silkcreened details in these dresses....which are organic cotton and soy jersey, very soft and light. The full line is available at Very Hush Hush and at her Etsy shop.

Cathy Terepocki"s line of beautiful ceramics named Horn of Plenty (below) available at Very Hush Hush include plates, vases and mugs. I really love how Cathy's style has evolved in just the last year. Cathy's fun personality really show in her designs.


"My new product line is a pared down, natural evolution of my previous work. Using many of the same colours and techniques in perhaps more of a subtle way. The pieces I make deal with the juxtaposition between mass-produced and handmade objects. The floral prints used are primarily old, often discontinued decals from ceramic production.By making objects that people can use, I allow the viewer to connect with the piece on another level. My intent is to embellish functional objects with a touch of irony or satire so that mundane routine usually associated with function, is more pleasurable and interesting."

As for living/being a designer in the country, Cathy has some interesting thoughts: "On the pro side, it's positively beautiful here. I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for the natural world. Moving out of the city has also coincided with having children; this has slowed me down and enabled me to enjoy and draw inspiration from the subtleties in nature. A small community like Nelson is extremely supportive of their artists as it (art) is a big part of this town's identity. In terms of inspiration, sales, research etc you can do so much online which makes living in a small town less isolating."


I love all the products that Tracy and Cathy are selling at Very Hush Hush but one of the things that catches my eye every time I step up into the trailer are the belt buckles designed by Naomi Joy Yamamoto at Flight Path Designs - also another BCer! I love them. I love their interesting vintage images and their texture. I had a look at Naomi's web site she says that inspired by her love of textiles, design and traveling, she created Flight Path Designs in 2007 as a way to merge these three passions. Her work utilizes a combination of found imagery from her travels, vintage textiles and leather to create a line of belts, handbags and other accessories. Check out her bags too - really wonderful!



I hope you enjoyed my feature on Cathy and Tracy's Airstream trailer. Tomorrow we are going decidedly up-market for Nelson! A little urban style for our laid back Nelson lives. See you tomorrow.


My Neck of the Woods - day 2

nelson12A Morning in Town - Oso Negro
It's a nice sunny morning today - smells good because we had some rain. It's still early in the season and I notice a few early bird tourists out looking for some breakfast or at least a cup of coffee. Most mornings, before I go to the studio, I head across the bridge and into town to 
Oso Negro. Oso is our local coffee shop hang out. It's a bit of a destination for locals and visitors(who are usually hoping to catch a not so rare glimpse of one of Nelson's legendary colourful characters).

One of the interesting things about Nelson is that everyone seems to have a lot of time on their hands to sit around and drink coffee - I don't always have a lot of time for sitting around but I definitely have time for a good cuppa joe. And in a small town the coffee shop is where many of us do business, have meetings and make connections. I see lots of people I know today including the very talented Tracey (who I will tell you about tomorrow!) It's very social here this morning and no one seems to mind if I take their pictures!


Global Underground and Bonspiel Bags.
Nelson has a cool little downtown and a buzzing main street called Baker Street. Anyone who lives in a small town knows that it can be hard to get any where in a hurry, not because of traffic, because you are always running into someone you know and stopping and chatting. So if I am in a hurry to get somewhere I head down the back alley (Herridge Lane) - the only trouble with that is that a whole bunch of new shops have opened up in this trendy little spot and now I can't resist heading in to check out what's new.

One of my favourite spots to buy a gift for a friend is Global Underground. Owner Laura Price has very good taste and features lots of indie Canadian designers in her cool shop including one of my faves Ellen Box from Bonspiel, a fellow BC designer and craftsperson.



I love Ellen's designs. She designs and produces all her pieces herself. In her words. "I love simplicity, clarity, texture, charm, cuteness and strangeness. And complex color combinations." 
This bag, above, with the fur corners is amazing and the quality is really beautiful. Do you think I could use this as a summer bag or does the fur make it a winter only accessory?


While I was out today I stopped by Snowpack to see the new designs by FlatFlat Bags, below, are designed and produced in Nelson using recycled bicycle inner tubes. Almost every woman I know in Nelson has a Flat bag and we love them for their style and durability. Shannon Hames is the designer and producer of Flat bags. Shannon says, "Being an avid mountain biker for years, there was always piles of old inner tubes in my basement. So in 1996 the first inner tube was cut, instead of patched… and with some old rain pants for material, I made the first Flat Bag. Now we collect used bike inner tubes and fun fabrics from colourful era’s to make a simple line of carrying bags." Shannon says that they have used around 15,000 ft of old inner tubes so far. Including a few of mine I'm sure!



I am really loving this new style, above, especially in the orange - might have to upgrade my Flat bag soon!


This yoga mat bag, below, is fantastic. I saw it on their website ( and I have just had a look at it in person and it is really durable and solid, not to mention super stylish and eco-friendly - which translates into very good karma for your yoga mat!

So now you have seen a little of what's available in Nelson BC, I'd love to know what talented designers you know in your neck of the woods.
Tomorrow, I'm going to lurk a little longer in the back alley and introduce you to some very clever friends of mine and their super shiny shop - stay tuned.

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