Friday, May 29, 2009

patterns & shapes: ovals

oh patterns & shapes ... i adore you!
here's the next in the series on the beautiful shapes around us! enjoy!


scalloped mirror by uncommon
turquoise oval silver earrings by limegreenmodern
organic crochet ring by ElinThomas
goats milk soap by sissy soap
oval crochet bins pattern by knotsewcute
fortune cookie embroidery by MelissaSue
hammered flat oval links by prolifique
shabby chic oval silhouette by KZukowski
modern maple oval teether by littlealouette
oval bamboo ring by bikudesigns

i adore the oval.
to me, it's strong & soft.
flexible & sturdy.
classic & modern.

lovely & beautiful.

love those characteristics.
wishing you all these things, nicies. have a wonderful weekend.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

collections: with MamaRobot

i just love seeing what folks are collecting. i guess i kind of feel it tells us just a little bit about what inspires them, what they love, and what they choose to surround themselves with in their home. today, i'm delighted to present the next in the rikrak studio's collections series: 11 & a 1/2 quick questions with a wonderful artist on what they're collecting, (apart from their art supplies! ) hope you'll just love: vintage dial telephones: with the wonderful Amanda of MamaRobot

who (are you) : Amanda Baehr Fuller, aka MamaRobot

what (are you collecting) : Rotary telephones

when (did you start) : About 12 years ago

how (many do you have?) Nine

where (do you find them) : Salvation Army, flea markets, the dump

where (do you keep them) : in a display cabinet and around the apartment

what (‘s a crazy/interesting story behind one) : 10 years ago I found a cool grey phone in a thrift shop in Amsterdam and carted it all the way home in my suitcase.

what (piece would you like to add): A brown or orange rotary phone.

why (do you love them) : I love the design and the colors. Also, they remind me of a time before cell phones and other annoying technology.

which (one is your favourite) & why : It changes - right now I'm keeping the mustard yellow phone out because it seems the most summery.

what (else do you collect) : Art made by my friends


thanks so much, Amanda!

i just love this gorgeous collection. so nostalgic & fresh & beautiful! thank you!

and i just adore the MamaRobot shop: Amanda's wonderful artworks, featured on organic clothing for babies, and "shirts and more for adults!"

i love her designerly graphic style and adorable silkscreened designs, reflecting sweet little moments in roboworld life! i know my own cute hubby would just love that fabulous men's robo tee with little robot on his shoulders (father's day is coming up!)... so sweet for the daddy's in your life!
so be sure to visit her cute cute shop, and wonderful blog, too.

thanks again!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

spring cleaning

i've gotta say.

i'm a little late on the draw.
we're kind of just doing our spring cleaning these days here @ the rikrak home (even though spring has sprung for a while now!)
... but as it's said... it's never too late to clean!

here's the thing. i don't mind cleaning, i just don't do it all that often!
but there sure is a great feeling once something is nice and tidy and clean.
the thing i really need to spring clean are my rikrak supply shelves, but that will have to wait for a wee bit!

today it's the kitchen & living room overhaul @ my place. wish me luck!

do you have a cleaning regimen?
what's your fave cleaning chore, and least favourite?
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morning lovelies! happy wednesday!
thanks to everyone who entered the most recent rikrak studio giveaway: to win a fabulous mchenwears shirt! i loved reading about the songs you LOVE to sing along to - what an eclectic and fun mix! thanks.

wo of the comments were fun non-entries, so the winner of the fabulous choose your own tshirt is..... #53... krrley of she sews lovely!

krrley has a great blog & a fun eco forward shop you'll want to visit! look @ her fun eco friendly cup cozies!

so thanks so much to the fabulous emily @ mchenwears for her generous giveaway, and for sharing her very fun playlist! i loved it!

see you in a few hours with another post... til then, thanks for entering, thanks for all of your kind cheers yesterday about the REDBOOK feature, and thanks for hey, being such nicies! see you soon!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

advertise with the rikrak studio blog!

thanks so much to the nicies who have come on board to advertise in these 1st 2 months here on the rikrak studio blog! it's almost the end of the month - and so i thought i'd let folks know that for the new month of june, i have three new spots available, if you're interested!

if you feel that your shop, group or blog would be a good fit with the rikrak studio blog feel & focus, and are interested in rates, please email me at

i'm a handmaker & mommy and know it's a challenging economic time out there... so i try to keep the rates nice & low! i'm also happy to design ads for folks that need them, too!

the rikrak studio blog is young but will hopefully continue to grow & grow! thanks so much for helping to build it, wonderfolk! so come & be part of it!

thanks so much!
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with thanks: to you & redbook magazine!

morning nicies!
happy tuesday.

this with thanks is going out to 2 wonderful rikrak supporters!

first: thanks so much to YOU & all of the rikrak studio readers. it's such a delight to read all of your fun comments, encouragements and sharings each day. while i may not always comment back, please know that i ALWAYS read your wonderful words .. and click away to follow your links, to see your blogs and adore your lovely shops, too! (i've discovered so many of my new handmade faves from folks who have commented on my blog! so fun!) so thanks. thanks for being part of the fun!

secondly: it's with a very thankful heart that i'm thrilled to say that the lovely editors @ Redbook Magazine have featured my rikrak coasters in this month's June issue! woohoo! so many thanks to the nicies involved. i'm thrilled!

thanks so much everyone!
have a glorious day!
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Monday, May 25, 2009

proud mommy moments

i've gotta say... i'm a proud mommy.

not that either one of us are always at our best...
but ...
i'm always so proud of my little sweetie.

that he's a kind little soul.
that he works hard and tries his best.
i'm so proud of the little sweetheart he is. thoughtful, loving, generous.

an especially great little proud mommying moment happened this past weekend.
i don't usually post about all of my proud little sweetie moments (there are so many when you're a parent, an auntie, a teacher, aren't there?!) but i thought i'd share this one with you.

there was a great big garage sale going on this past weekend in ottawa.
(more on that later - how i LOVE garage sales!)

weeks ago when little rikrak and i were talking about it, he mentioned that he'd love to sell some of his own toys, make & sell some cookies, and donate all of the money to the local food bank. we had been talking about food banks that week, and the wonderful things food banks do for our community.

i was so thrilled to hear him say that.
i was so touched to hear his thinkings on how he could help others. i was so proud of him for using his creativity to help problem solve.

so last week we prepared.
he gathered toys. we baked cookies. we made lemonade. we made fun signs.

on saturday morning it was a great sight.
neighbours and others generously gathering around. little rikrak busy pouring juice, taking it all in. little rikrak & i both seeing how one person, regardless of their age, can certainly make a difference!

i know there are mixed feelings in the parenting community about showing children that you're proud of them. but i have to say... i can't help it.
i'm so proud of our little sweetie.
if i ever dreamed what qualities i would hope my child to have, having a kind heart and sharing it with the world would be at the top of the list.

so that's me.
a very proud mommy with a grateful heart.
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morning lovelies! hope you had a great weekend!
wow! thanks so much to the over 400 entries in the most recent rikrak giveaway! it's wonderful reading about your favourite goodies from all of the sponsor shops! many thanks!

i'm excited to announce that the winner of the $21.00 rikrak gift certificate (for a mini-shopping spree) in my little shop is...... #249 ..... the lovely lovely isabel f (aka Rosa e Chocolate)

gosh! i'm a longtime fan of the ama
zing Rosa e Chocolate's amazing arts & crafting. be sure to follow her gorgeous blog & amazing embroidery & other work on flickr.

so thanks again for playing!

happy monday... and don't forget to enter the rikrak studio mchen handmade silkscreened tshirt giveaway, on now thru tuesday pm. click here to enter!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

what i'm working on: eco wallets

happy friday, lovelies!

what a fun-filled week it’s been here @ the rikrak home. spring is in its glorious full bloom, little rikrak & i have been working on some fun papier-mâché projects, and we’re getting ready for a little bakesale we’re having soon (more on that later!)

and in rikrak world, it's been so lovely visiting with all of you, reading your wonderful blog comments and fun ideas! thanks so much!...

what have you been working on? for me, sewing-wise, i’ve been working on lots and lots of eco wallet orders of late. especially fun, i’ve had a fun flurry of fun brides ordering vintage eco wallets for their wedding attendants! isn’t that a fun idea? i love it. some folks are ordering a whole set of the same fabric, others are ordering individual fabrics chosen especially for each bridesmaid! so fun!

so, in honour, i’m now offering rikrak eco wallets in little bundles, at a special rate, for a limited time. now when you buy 3 wallets, you get the 4th FREE. woohoo! and yay to all of those eco-forward weddings out there! (ps: by the way, no need to be getting married to take advantage of this fun offer… all eco lovin’ wallet needers can save!).. you can find more details in my shop listings, or feel free to contact me!


in other rikrak news, just a little reminder.. i’ll be drawing the winner of my rikrak gift certificate tonight @ 9pm … and there’s also still time to enter the mchen silkscreened tshirt giveaway! woohoo!

what are you working on lately? i’d love to hear! (and if you have a link, please leave it here! i'd love to see your projects!)

wishing you well with your projects!

and have a superdooper weekend.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

playlists: by mchen {& a giveaway, too!}

i just love a great playlist. i think it stems back to those glorious mixed tapes days where i'd either make, sometimes receive and always always covet a fabulous collection of tunes by various great artists! for me, a personal playlist is a magical grouping of songs. *bliss!* ... so i've asked some wonderful artists if they'd make up a little playlist on a theme for this new rikrak studio series. i thought we might get a glimpse into what musically inspires these fabulous folks... i'm thrilled to present the first: playlists with mchen: songs to howl along to!

ever meet someone and feel instantly musically kindred!?
i'm fortunate to say that about mchen... she's golden! & i first came to know her thru her wonderful love & support of live music...

let's start with her delightful playlist (just click the titles to hear!):

dj: mchen of mchenwears
playlist: songs i love to belt out - loudly!


1. Light of the Moon by Joel Plaskett
2. Deep Red Bells by Neko Case
3. Rhythm & Blues Alibi by Gomez
4. Oh, Alberta by Elliott Brood
5. I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues by Elton John (guilty pleasure)
6. Robots by Dan Mangan
7. See You on the Moon by Great Lake Swimmers
8. Winter by Tori Amos
9. One Two Three Four by Feist (also the Sesame Street version)
10. Black Boys on Mopeds by Sinead O'Connor
11. Shelter by Ray Lamontagne
12. Don't Be So Mean Jellybean by Justin Rutledge


"I'm a music-head. I love going to live shows, hearing new tunes, witty lyrics, and finding songs that I can relate to. My brain ties memories to music strongly; I often relate songs to specific moments in time or people. I often turn to music, whether I need a pick-me-up, a calm-me-down, a distraction, or good company.

While compiling this, I realized I like belting out slow tunes. It's these kinds of songs I play while doing illustrations: moving enough to keep the creative juices flowing but calm enough for me to keep the pen steady!
Maybe one day, I can give you my go-go-go silkscreening playlist :)


thanks so much, nicey!

i've gotta tell you.. Emily Chen of mchen is one fabulous soul! we started to get to *know* of one another thru twittering this year, and i soon came to adore her lovely blog. i noticed that her fabulous posts would often include a musician i myself adored, or one that she would introduce me to that i would shortly LOVE! isn't that a wonderful thing!

as the merriment of life would have, it was soon discovered that not only did we live in the same city, love lots of the same music, but that we lived... that's right, on the SAME street! we soon met for a delightful teaparty, and as the afternoon slipped by, i was smitten! what a genuine, real life sweetie mchen is! i've gotta say... she's really really wonderful.

i just adore her kind heart, fun personality & artistic brilliance! and super excitingly - she's just launched her newest line of handmade silkscreened shirts: the re{verb} line! so be sure to visit her wonderful shop and check them out for yourselves! and she now has adorable kids wear, too! woohoo! i've seen the shirts first hand and they're gorgeous!


and... for even more fun...

emily has kindly offered to give
ONE lucky rikrak studio blog reader
their choice of ANY mchen tshirt in her shop! WOW! so fun!!!

so here's how it works:

1. there will be 2 possible entries per person.
a) one entry: leave a comment in this post with a link to your favourite item from mchen's gorgeous shop.

b) 2nd entry: leave a comment in this post with a song YOU'D have on your own playlist of songs to howl along to. what song do you love to belt out & sing?

2. please leave each entry as it's own individual comment.

3. i will draw one winner via on tuesday may 26th @ 9pm EST.
please make sure i can contact you thru your comment post.

thanks so much! and happy singing-along-to!

{ps: i'll be drawing the winner of my OTHER giveaway tomorrow (friday) evening..
there's still time to enter that giveaway, too!}
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

great green-ies: Born Again Purses

greening.... i find it exciting and hopeful that while there sure are lots of terrible things going on to pollute & harm our planet, there are so many wonderful folks doing fabulous things to help make the world a greener, healthier place! so, the rikrak studio is happy to feature great green-ies : snapshots of amazing, inspiring. eco-forward-thinking folks & groups from all sorts of fields and paths in the greening movement. some inspire by greening at home, or in their business; in their art or the larger world, or on many levels at once! i've asked each green-ie to suggest an easy eco-idea or tip we might all be able to add to our daily lives. today i'm honoured to present the next in this series!


i'm a real scrapper ... in the crafting sense of the word!
like so many of you, i love to use every last scrap of my crafting materials and turn them into wonderful new projects.

so you can imagine how i just love great green-ies that inspire us to do that, too!

enter Born Again Purses: a crafty duo making beautiful new purses & accessories from pre-loved sweaters & other garments! i just love seeing things transformed like this!

Allison Brideau and Melissa Mazgaj are the magic-working team, and they told me they just love finding clothing in thrift shops and recreating the garments into something new! be sure to visit their lovely shop and see for yourself!


and here's Born Again Purses eco tip: "We try to use every last piece (of each sweater) so we've included smaller things into our shop to reduce waste. If everyone could either buy used clothing to wear or do some things like upcycling to re-create their clothing, it would be a lot better on our environment. "

thanks so much, Born Again Purses!

happy upcycling & re-creating, nicies!
do you know a great greenie? please let me know!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

thrifty caregiving!

on the front of today’s Globe & Mail newspaper, i noticed a fun article by Sarah Boesveld on “The Recessionary babysitters Club” … whereby “thrify parents swap sitting duties to save on child-care costs.”

i smiled as i read the tale of friends taking turns “switching-off” with babysitting each others kids… this has been something my hubby and I have done with various sets of friends since we’ve entered parenthood – and has it ever been a saving grace.

i recall years ago reading about *free* babysitting co-ops, whereby a formal token system is set up. when you join you get so many tokens, each token representing one hour for one child. you use tokens when another member watches your child(ren) .. you gain tokens when you watch someone elses. i love it!

while we haven’t set up a fun token co-op system, we do relish in the financial & emotional feasibility of formal childcare swaps with our friends. we love it: when little rikrak is under their care, we save on babysitting monies & love the reassurance of having a friend watching our sweetie! and he loves having a fun sleepover night with their kids!

in our case, this was sort of born out of necessity, as we sadly don’t live within quick driving distance to any relatives who could watch little rikrak for a night, and try to be very very budget-minded. we both think caregivers should be well paid for the great job they do, but as parents know, a night out can become crazily expensive! so for us, babysitting swaps have come to be a great, thrifty, fabulous venture for us. and in our case, it means we end of taking advantage of more nights out! yay to that special time together!

do you ever babysit swap with friends on a formal basis?

are you part of a babysitting co-op?

i’d love to hear about how you go about meeting your own babysitting needs, moms & dads!

do you find it a challenge?

yay to thrifty plans!

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yay! thanks so much to everyone who entered my little twitter giveaway! it's so nice to have you all as twittery pals!

 kindly selected 2 winners, who will each receive a prize pack of 4 iron-on birdies (in their choice of fabrics!)

nd the prizes go to.... twitter followers #184 and #529 .congrats to harrilu / muttsywonder (@harrilu on twitter!) and benconservato (@benconservato on twitter!)

be sure to take a look @ these lovelies' lovely handmade shops! you'll just love benconservato's fabulous artwork, and harrilu's fabulous hand silkscreened clothing! woowee!

so thanks to everyone for playing! and happy twittering!

AND now.. there's a new rikrak giveaway on for you to try your hand at! please see here for more details... this week's prize: a $21.00 rikrak shop gift certifcate, to buy whatever you'd like in my little shop! yay!

so come and enter.. and happy tuesday, nicies!
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Monday, May 18, 2009

let's celebrate: warmer weather, fun sponsors & another giveaway!

happy new week, lovelies! hope you had a wonderful weekend!
it's an exciting day here in Canada!
so in honour i'm holding an extra-special little giveaway!

today is Victoria Day here in Canada. we're celebrating our long weekend (with fingers crossed) and the start of more summer - y weather, planting our gardens, a sort of non-official end to winter for most of our lovely country and bbqs, camping and warmer weather fun!

with this in mind, i'd like to say an extra special thanks to all of the wonderful folks who joined me this month as my rikrak studio sponsors. i so very much appreciate them coming on-board and helping to support this little venture! i'm honoured to say that the may sponsorship spots sold out within the first few days and i'm just thrilled!

so for BOTH of these great reasons... on friday, may 22nd @ 9pm, i'll randomly select (using one entry from the comments below. the winner will receive

::::::::::::::::::: one rikrak gift certificate of $21.00 US :::::::::::::::

to spend in my shop for whichever goodie(s) you'd like to purchase (i'm choosing $21.00 again as most of my goodies are $21.00 and under! ... free shipping worldwide will be included for the winner!) ... yay warmer weather & wonderful handmade sponsors!

here's how to enter!
1. go visit one of the shops on the top left hand sidebar of the blog : the rikrakstudio blog sponsors for this month.
the sponsors are:

2. take a look around their shop.

3. come back here and leave a comment with a link to your favourite item from their shop (i.e. "i just love __________ from ________ 's shop!")

4. repeat this process for as many sponsor shops as you'd like. BE SURE to leave a different comment/entry for each shop (so that when the winner is chosen, i can count it easily!) ... only one entry per comment.

5. for an extra bonus entry, become a follower of/subscriber to my blog and leave me a comment about it here! (if you're already a follower/subscriber, just let me know that in a separate comment, too)

6. again.. EACH ENTRY must be as its own comment.

a) it is possible to have a maximum of 21 entries (one for each sponsors' shop) PLUS an extra one for being a follower of my blog. = 22
b) the winner will be chosen from on friday, may 22, 9 pm.
c) please be sure to leave me an email where i can reach you if your account doesn't link to one. thanks.
d) thanks so much everyone! happy warmer weather!


please note that my fun twitter giveaway, on until tonight! (monday, may 18th)
is open til 9pm EST ... come enter it, too!!! yay giveaways!

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Friday, May 15, 2009


tulips pillow by chakrapennywhistle
tulip skirt by Ureshii
tulip bag by morelle
hat tulipe for children by cocon


i love my lovely city. ottawa is a really great place.
one of the reasons i think so is because of ottawa's amazing array of fun festivals!

this town sure knows how to celebrate things!
we've talked before about ottawa's wonderful winterlude festival. this season here in ottawa, we're celebrating tulips!

isn't that a great reason to have a festival?
wonderful. so simple!
let's celebrate tulips!

so if you can make it to canada's pretty capital this weekend, come and enjoy the final festival festivities. lots of beautiful beds of tulips. wonderful concerts. readings. fairs and more.
yay tulips!

hope you have a great weekend.
don't forget to enter my little twitter giveaway (thru monday!)
and have fun celebrating all those wonderful, little things in life... like tulips!

the Peace Tower @ Parliament Hill, Ottawa via Troy and Naomi's photostream

under tulips photo by emmarts

Tulip fields just outside Alkmaar, North-Holland, Netherlands via Allard One's photostream


{ps: thanks so much playing the fun game yesterday!
i loved reading all of your answers, nicies! }

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

the rikrak slumber party { part 1 } : your top 3 topsecret tv crushes!

Got Me a TV collage by kareemrizk


don't you just love a slumber party? comfy pjs, silly movies, telling your friends, old & new, your thoughts & crushes & dreams.... such fun! so i thought i'd invite you to a new series on the rikrak studio blog... the rikrak slumber party. come on over... here's the first question :
:: your top 3 topsecret tv crushes ::

i must admit, i'm not such a tv watcher. but over the years, i have had a few spurts of tv - ing - fun! they heyday for my tv watching was really when i was in my preteens. there were a variety of great 1960's and 70's reruns on in that era, that were right up my alley!
and so...
my first tv crush was was born...

Russell Johnson autograph via cerebral_intoxicat ion's photostream

tv crush #1: the professor from *gilligan's island.* (played by Russell Johnson) if you don't know gilligan's island, the premise sounds a bit like a comedic *Lost.* (just kiddin'!)
i loved the professor's good-guy charm, thoughtful approach to problem-solving, and understated wit .... i thought he was so cute! ahh...


fast forward to the mid-80's ... tv crush #2.... *sigh* ... remington steele (pierce brosnan) ... to be honest.. i don't think i ever really saw this show about a former conman turned detectivey guy, as a youngin'.
( surely i wouldn't have been allowed! it still seems so racy in my mind! ha!)

but i do recall a glorious full-sized poster of
remington steele that my very cool babysitter had up in her bedroom... and i was hooked! everytime i would be @ her place, i would just stare and stare... is it wrong to have a crush on a poster? i could just tell from that photo..
he was so dashing, so debonair, so clever and with such spy - ly intelligence! that's tv crush #2.


well... we've all come a long way from professors stranded on islands and dashing private investigators... so we're down to tv crush #3.... late @ night if i'm cutting fabrics or ironing orders, i love tuning in to see the very wonderful george stroumboulopoulos on cbc's current affairs/ news show *the hour* - it's true - i've certainly got a crush here! sadly, if you're not in canada... you might not know of the wonderful george... yet! i think george is a great host. he's gregarious and witty and has a fun intelligence to him... and he happens to interview some of my favourite advocates, humantarians, politicians and writers. i do have a little crush on george. it's true. *sigh*: tv crush #3

so there's my 3 not-so-secret top 3 tv crushes.
let's snuggle into our cozy sleeping bags, open another bag of sour cream & onion chips,
turn on some cyndi lauper, giggle & whisper and hear yours!

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