claire basler may just live in my dream home

From My Modern Met:

Claire Basler is a French floral painter who lives and works in a former schoolhouse in Les Ormes, right outside of Paris. On a daily basis, she creates huge floral arrangements and puts them around her house, using them as sources of inspiration for her paintings. “In her garden, she witnesses nature’s fight for life against the wind, the rain, and the sun,” according to theTelegraph. “This is what Claire Basler portrays in her paintings: the strength and frailty of a flower, the reassuring nature of a tree, the metamorphosis of a simple poppy.

Just have a look at this amazing space.  Major swoon!

0920 home of artist Claire Basler clairebasler06 claire-basler-6 clairebasler09 clairebasler10 clairebasler12 clairebasler022 clairebasler024 studio




I don’t even know how I would feel about this if it happened to me.

Noam’s scream self portrait, which was taken in early 2006, became one of the most used images of all time. What started as a low (no) budget photoshoot in his NYC apartment is now an iconic image used around the world in protests, products and advertising, or just for art. By age 28 Noam’s face had become part of popular movements that brought down several world leaders – a rare distinction for someone’s face. Oh yeah, and it all happened without Noam’s knowledge or permission. Here is the case of The Stolen Scream.

sonic sculptures

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the activation of one sense produces the activation of another.  Some examples that have been reported by people who have this condition are: interpreting numbers or letters to have an inherent associated color, hearing a sound associated with an otherwise silent movement, and associating numbers to a mental map of where each number “sits” in space.

I always thought that this would be a pretty neat trait to have especially since some people report seeing color or patterns when they hear music.  It would be very interesting to be able to see what synesthetes of this type see, don’t you think?

Although I do not know if this is at all representative of the experience, Martin Klimas‘s sculptures of a specific moment in time of a song are nevertheless beautiful.  The artist stretched a thin membrane over a speaker, dropped paint on it, and turned up the volume.  Some of the beautiful results below.

Velvet Underground and Nico's Run, Run, Run

Velvet Underground and Nico – Run, Run, Run

Daft Punk's Around the World

Daft Punk – Around the Worl

John Coltrane - Ascension

John Coltrane – Ascension

James Brown - Sex Machine

James Brown – Sex Machine

See the rest here.

extra ingredients

Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week 

post pics

How neat is this camping stove? It doesn’t need fuel AND it charges your iPhone! (

Tickets have been bought to see Gogol Bordello in August!  The last time they were in Toronto it didn’t quite work out so I am super stoked to finally see them live!

China’s “counterfeit” cities.  Super weird especially because most of them are almost completely devoid of people.  (

How neat would it be to get a surprise package every month in the mail tailored to you?  Fancy does something similar. (

How to properly set the table for formal and informal events.  Faaaancy styles! (

All Beastie Boys album cover illustrations/photographs explained. (

I tired Prairie Girl Bakery cupcakes for the first time!  Raspberry on chocolate was my favorite.  If you live in the T-dot go check them out.

toronto prints

With the very real prospect of moving apartments coming up, I have started to think about some decorating ideas.  I think that some Toronto-themed art would be pretty neat.  I already have one panoramic photograph of the Toronto skyline but I keep seeing other cool prints around that I wouldn’t mind having.

Some below.

source: Etsy By Raymond E. Biesinger

source: – Raymond E. Biesinger

source: - MapHazardly

source: – MapHazardly

source: - Loose Petalssource: – Loose Petals

source: - Designed by Yoni

source: – Designed by Yoni

source: - DesignsByEJB

source: – Designs By EJB

source: - PaperBleu

source: – PaperBleu

source: Choose any TO subway station for a decal

Choose any TO subway station for a decal

Also, this.  And this.


Although the bear will probably remain at the top of my “favorite animals” hierarchy for the rest of my life, foxes are becoming a close second.  Not really sure why, but over the past few months I have become kind of obsessed with this fairly small furry animal.  There is something about them that is very beautiful, but perhaps I have Aesop to thank for also thinking of them as sly, scheming, and smart creatures.  And don’t they, with their bright orange fur, fit right in to the fall season?  Let’s have a look…

Fantastic Mr. Fox. Not my favorite Wes Anderson movie but it is certainly up there.

Dapper Fox Ties
source: Scatterbrain Ties on Etsy

Sitting Fox plate by Becky Baur

His and Hers fox hoodies from Canada Cosplay


Adorable flying fox brooch by designer Peppermint Daydream


Vintage Fox Hunt Whiskey Glasses
(source: Tagfinds on Etsy)

F is for Fox illustration by Oana Befort


Fox print fabric – not sure what I would make out of this but it is super cute.

the real deal – oh so pretty


nuit blanche

Nuit Blanche is almost upon us here in Toronto (September 29, 7:03 pm to sunrise), and I for one, am super excited.  Mostly because this is the first year I have my old faithful companion (my bike) to help me out with getting around.  Walking is for chumps!  CHUMPS!  Just kidding.  Walking is fine, I won’t judge you.  However, I am hoping that with the help of a bike I will be more likely to see more areas of the city that are participating in the festival.  Last year was the first time I ever saw any of the exhibitions (yeah I know, kind of bad since I have lived in TO for five years) and I really loved it, but we definitely stuck to the downtown core and I couldn’t help but feel like I had missed out on other aspects of the night.

look at all this stuff to check out!

For those who are not familiar with this event, Nuit Blanche (literally translated to White Night) is an arts festival that takes place from sunset to sunrise throughout the city and includes galleries, installations, performance, music, you name it someone is probably doing it somewhere.  I have to say that this event really reminds me of the Summer Solstice celebration I was once “lucky” enough to witness in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Because the city is so far north, on the longest day of the year, they practically have no darkness.  So even in the deepest hours of the night it could be compared to twilight.  I say that I was “lucky” to witness it, because it was very neat to be surrounded by lots of revelers and see the huge street parties going on, however I had to wake up at 5am to catch a flight back to Canada so even trying to get a bit of sleep was absolutely impossible because of the noise.  Let’s just say that Russians know how to party, especially the young folks who were also celebrating their equivalent of prom on that night.

I don’t think that Nuit Blanche in Toronto gets quite as rowdy, but it is still a party of sorts nonetheless and I am very excited to witness it once more this year.  Just the contrast of late night hours with hordes of people swarming around the city core is something to take in on its own.  I remember being especially struck by the number of people walking around the Financial District at 1 in the morning last year.  Normally all you see down there at that time are tumbleweeds and drunken people who lost their way to da club.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good camera with which I can capture the night as it progresses, but I will try to take some photos on my iPhone and maybe do a follow up photo diary of blurry images and *hopefully* entertaining captions.

Are you planning to go?

hermitage cats

The State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia is the Eastern European version of the the Louvre.  Formerly the winter palace of Russian royalty, this beautiful and grandiose building now houses a huge art collection.  What is often said of the Louvre, definitely goes for the Hermitage Museum – you can spend days in it and only see a fraction of the art.

I have personally visited twice and both times were equally impressive.  You can find galleries dedicated to almost any time and any place in the world here, and the actual building itself is absolutely spectacular.  Many remnants of the Russian czars remain as well, including the Throne Room, which left me awestruck (pictured below).

What I did not know when I had visited is that the Hermitage is also home to over 60 cats!  These furry guards were brought into the building in the late 1700s to combat the mice and rat population and have been a fairly permanent fixture ever since.  Although not usually allowed in the exhibition halls, these felines are comfortable wandering the grounds and the belly of the building where they are taken care of by a dedicated team of staff.  From reading numerous articles about this it seems that the Hermitage has adopted many stray cats over the years, ones either brought in by the staff or left on the grounds by local residents who know the cats will have a good home.  Due to this fluctuating number of feline friends, the Hermitage also has an adoption program to find the extra cats good homes.  And they even come with a Hermitage certificate!  These cats really are royals!

However, no matter the surroundings, even these cats can be silly and rebellious.  Here is an example (Tatyana Nikolayevna Danilova is a supervisor at the museum):

However, it’s very difficult to totally deny access for the cats to the exhibition premises. Many times the Hermitage supervisors have found runaway guards strolling amongst the visitors. Last autumn, an alarm bell called Danilova to an exhibition room where the art and culture of ancient Egypt is presented. Entering the room she heard someone yelling terribly. A cat named Chipa was stuck between a showcase and a plinth. Tatyana immediately called the local fire department. Chipa was finally set free from the trap by two strong firemen, who lifted the metallic plinth with the help of a crowbar.

Tatyana also remembers a case when one curious cat climbed from the basement through a ventilation tube up to the second floor of the New Hermitage, where the exhibition room of the famous Dutch artist Anthony Van Dyck is located. The exhibition supervisors tried to lure the cat with the help of food, but all efforts were useless. Finally, the hungry animal surrendered to the staff after spending two exhausting weeks in the museum’s ventilation system. From that day on the cat was called Van Dyck.

Perhaps because of my fondness for cats those stories make me grin from ear to ear.

I am sure I will wind my way back to Hermitage at some point in my life so next time I will keep an eye out for these “guards” and maybe even try to sneak them a little treat.

Some extra reading:

ABC news – St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum Home to Masters…and Cats

Russian Life– Hermitage Cats: The Guards of the Russian Crown Jewelry (a great write up)

no photoshop here

From Lost At E Minor:

Alison Scarpulla is a magician. All of her images are done through traditional film. There is no Photoshop: that is her dipping her negatives into acid and wine. There is no fancy light trick: that is her smearing dirt across the camera lens.

When I was growing up my dad used to love his camera.  He would take it out all the time and capture what are now very precious images of my family and I.  These images are now the perfect and most nostalgic memories of my childhood.  Every few weeks we would all gather in our kitchen, black out the light, and develop the negatives.  I used to love watching the images magically appear.  There is something about film photography, a type of magic and nostalgia, that digital can never replace.  And because of my fondness of it as a kid, work like the below, which plays around with the medium, will always hold a special place in my heart.