Sunday, April 12, 2009


So long without posting! If you're hear reading this, I salute and thank you! 

Unfortunately, my life in academia needed tending to in a big way. My year's goal of defeating my penchant for procrastination has not yet been achieved. This meant that I had to write my graduating paper in much shorter order than I'd recommend to anyone. However, the good news is that it is completed, revised, submitted, passed, and turned in to the department. My final presentation has been made, another course's final paper submitted, and I, gentle reader, am done grad school. 

Things will be a bit hectic around here for a while yet. My new teaching term has begun, and is extremely demanding, and I've got another job which I am woefully behind on to bring up to speed as well. However, I no longer feel like I have to deprive myself of all extracurricular activities to accomplish these goals. Hooray!

That's all quite dull, however. What are some good things that have happened, besides the finishing of grad school? 

Spring has sprung here in Vancouver, just a couple of weeks later than usual. I'm back to walking to work most mornings. Here's a sample of my morning commute. 

At this time of year I feel like all I do is take pictures of flowers. It's a compulsion, but spring beauty is so fleeting that I can't help but want to catch it and hold it in some way. Or at the very least, to take a few minutes to be mindful of my surroundings, particularly after several months of a head-down grind.  

I look forward to seeing you here again soon, and hope you're enjoying a taste of the season, wherever you are. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday Lives Up to its Name

Well, apparently the reward for spending a week under the fog is to have a glorious weekend of sun. On Friday, a friend and I went to Ikea, then framed a picture I found in Readymade magazine. I'll post about it soon; I'm hoping to hang it this week. 

Mr. Ripley and I went for a run Saturday morning which was glorious. We run, and then reward ourselves with goodies from the public market which usually include delicious coffee drinks, tasty cinnamon buns, and the fixings for a delicious pasta dinner. Fresh raviolinis! We also feasted on several varieties of olives. We're partial to little nicoise olives, big black neros, and the delicious big, green citrus marinated ones, the name of which I cannot remember except that it starts with the letter "c". Saturday also brought a baby shower for the most recent arrival in the bumper crop of friends' babies. Cute babies and tasty treats abounded, and really, what more can a person ask for in a baby shower? 

I went for a stroll along English Bay on Sunday with my sister. I hadn't planned to, as I had a load of lesson planning and homework to take care of, but I couldn't resist the allure of the sunshine. I've grown up on the west coast, and know that for us a sunny day is nothing to sneer at. Especially in the winter, you never know when the next one will come along. 

We walked along English Bay. 

From the Dog Beach...

Along English Bay beach, with the towers of the West End rising in the background....

To a Beard Papa reward. So tasty, and surprisingly light! Also, I love the bearded papa on the bag. 

A lovely end to the weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seen on the Street- Sanctioned and Unsanctioned Art

As I'm walking around the city, one of the things I like to do is look at graffiti. Recently, I've seen some new public art pop up in my neighbourhood, as well as some politically oriented graffiti. It's true that sometimes I tire of the incessant parade of plaid shirts and overgrown, unkempt beards that adorn the fixie-riding hipster denizens of my neighbourhood, but I do love the creative and artistic energy that crops up as a result. 

The first in the series of artistic sandwich boards (at least, the first I noticed) popped up outside a local coffee shop. The tiny text at the bottom reads "Instant Coffee Loves Everyone"

And the reverse side:

About fifteen blocks further up the street, another pair of signs await. It seems like instant coffee is everywhere....

And the reverse:

Here's the third sign, which should perhaps become the new City of Vancouver motto:

And it's other side:

More about Instant Coffee here. If you click you will see there's an interesting project involving buses covered with afghans that I'll be watching for...

I've seen a lot of political graffiti around town. Here are some examples from my neighbourhood. We have the anti-Olympics messages...

And the reaction of one of my neighbours to a recent news story, the latest in a string of stories which tarnish the reputation of local police forces:

In the category of one down and one to go....

(for my non-Canadian readers, the one on the left is our right-wing Prime Minister, Steven Harper).

Last, but not least, is a paste up I just plain like:

Do you enjoy graffiti? Feel that it's legitimate art, or condemn it as vandalism? Care to share any of your favorite instances of graffiti? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moody January

Most of our snow has finally melted. It's been raining off and on for the past few days, and the streets are clear, as are most of the sidewalks. I'm excited to go out for a run, as I've been feeling kind of housebound for the last few weeks, at least exercise-wise.

I've seen some raindrops hanging from bare winter branches, jewel-like. My camera doesn't do them justice, unfortunately.

When I went out to the university today I couldn't resist a walk down to the beach. Campus was rendered blurry and muted with fog. Suddenly, I wanted to hear and see the ocean. When I tromped down the very long staircase to the beach I saw a few other people out with their cameras, enjoying the sound of the waves washing onto the shore, and the feel of the soft sand underfoot.

Looking left...

Looking out to sea...

Looking right.

I need to make time to walk down here more often. It's so relaxing to spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation, listening to the waves sliding on sand.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Technical difficulties- eep!

Hello dear readers,

I apologize for the recent technical difficulties with the pictures on my blog; I think I have it figured out. I don't exactly know why I cannot make the fonts uniform in these same posts. It's all part of the learning process I'm sure. Thanks for coming by! Next up, tomorrow or Wednesday: my favorite Etsy yarn sites.

Happy Tuesday,
Miss Ripley

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Bright Shiny Things

A few days ago I shared some of my favorite recent Etsy acquisitions with you. In addition to wonderful things to hang on my wall, Etsy is a great source of pretty things to wear. Being in graduate school is wonderful, except for the budget, so a source of attractive and inexpensive jewelry is a welcome find.

Most recently, I purchased these lovely earrings with their coral beads from maryandjane. I am really a sucker for all things coral, especially in the winter when I find red to be a real pick-me-up. I also love the shape of these.

SeeJayneKnitYarns is, as the name suggests, primarily a source to find hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn, but she also has a section of her shop devoted to vintage jewelry. This bracelet has been gathering complements all around town. Brass has been gaining in popularity for the past year or two, especially in it's not-so-shiny incarnations. I love this chunky little number!

Speaking of brass, I went shopping last summer at My Bellacosa and found this pretty seahorse. I've really enjoyed wearing him around my neck. He's definitely brass in one of its shinier incarnations, but he's very sweet.

I should mention that I had excellent customer service with each of these shops, and so feel confident recommending them. Also, all the pictures in this post belong to their respective shops.

Have you been shopping online lately? Have you discovered any new treasures, on Etsy or elsewhere? I'd love to see what you've found.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

These are a Few of My Favorite Things- Etsy Edition

Ok, I must confess that I don't love the Sound of Music. I saw it for the first time as a very cynical teenager, and was not too impressed with the idea of pausing to burst into song whist running from the Nazis. I know that this musical is near and dear to many peoples' hearts, and I don't mean to malign it. I just never got bit by the Sound of Music bug.

However, I find myself stealing a song lyric for the title of this post. Materfamilias was asking if we've tied up the loose ends from 2008, and this is one post I wanted to write before moving fully into 2009.

I've done quite a bit of Etsy shopping in the last few months, and have purchased a number of lovely items. I'm loving Etsy because I try to support small, independent crafters whenever possible. Also, the variety of merchandise available is staggering, and often reasonably priced. It's unfortunate for me that the Canadian dollar has plummeted in the last few months, but even with a lousy exchange rate there are still bargains to be had. I'm inspired by bloggers like Holly over at Decor8, who regularly post their Etsy favorites. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorites.

Ok, one last bit of ado. The lovely pictures belong to the owners of these shops.

Irene Suchocki has a lot of very lovely photographs, including this one which is currently awaiting framing in my living room:

As it this one, printed on a metallic paper that gives it the most incredible finish:

Mr Ripley has a love of penguins and polar bears. I couldn't resist this photo from Esoule, which is one of a series of photos of animal toys that she's done:

Little Brown Pen has an assortment of great stationery that you can buy, download, and print for your friends, which I did this year. They also make a Southern Hemisphere version of this calendar, with the seasonal pictures reallocated appropriately.

Hadley Hutton sells lovely originals and prints featuring animals, birds, and flowers. As I have a theory that foxes are the new owls, I couldn't resist this print from her October series:

I hope you visit some of these shops, or are inspired to visit Etsy if you've not done so before. I'd love to hear about some of your favorite Etsy shops, or other online artists. I have more Etsy goodness to share, so tomorrow I'll post about the cheap and cheerful Etsy bling I've enjoyed...