what if it is broke?

forest ferns

I woke up this morning in a mood. It’s a bad mood, a sad mood and a helpless mood. I’m feeling very “what is the point”-y. What is the point of this blog, what is the point of my shop, what is the point of all this hustling I try to do to get by. I kind of want to take a break from all internet stuff but hilariously, I can’t. Well, this blog I can, but not the shop.

I had a baby lined up to start full-time childcare in July, so I limped along all spring, broke as a joke because I knew once the summer hit everything would be ok. Then the parents changed their minds about starting childcare (the baby is only nine months old, the mom was going to go back to work early but decided to take the full year of mat leave after all). They never bothered to tell me so I actually turned down other people who were looking for care, and I only found out about their decision because I contacted them about their start date. They were like “oh we thought you would have found someone else by now anyway.” No, because you paid a deposit to hold the space and I am a FUCKING PROFESSIONAL. Anyway so now I’m totally stressed about money and I need the income from the shop to stop my flimsy financial house of cards from tumbling down.

But like… REALLY what is the point of it? I am not saying I don’t appreciate every customer who buys something from me, every person who promotes my shop and recommends it to their friends, everyone who reblogs my images on tumblr with the correct links for once, because I absolutely do, I appreciate it so much (especially now, yikes). But it’s not like it’s possible for me to make an actual living from it, so what I have right now is a second job on top of my regular job, one that eats up all my spare time. It’s been suggested to me that I could hire people to help, turn it into a real business but tbh I don’t want all that responsibility, and I don’t have the income or the sales volume to support it. Like, I sell just enough stuff for one person to make, so that person has to be me.

This weekend I was actually caught up enough on orders that I was able to work on the brown-suede-with-copper-stars fringed boots I started making for Gwen in like… March, as well as making a felt foxtail for her to wear. It was the first time in I don’t even know how long that I have been able to make something just for fun, and even as I was sewing the tail I was thinking to myself “Should I be photographing this for a DIY for my blog? Should I be listing tails like this in my shop?” The irony in that is even if I did no one would ever buy one, because in spite of my attempts to diversify my offerings, pretty much everything other than the banners has flopped.

I just get so tired of making banners sometimes! It can be so repetitive. I guess my hope is that if I offer other things for sale people will buy them and I will be making different stuff all the time so I’ll never get bored. It doesn’t work out like that though, and I have to ask myself what is the point of trying to make other things to sell if no one wants them? I should just make what I want for my kids and myself, right? But with all the banners I have to make I rarely have the time, and if I do have the time I usually don’t want to spend it making stuff for fun because I’m ALWAYS making stuff for work.

idk idk. Really I should just stop dragging my heels and get my childcare license again (it expired when I was on maternity leave but I haven’t bothered to get it back, and have just been license-not-required since I started working again). Then I wouldn’t have to worry about money and I could run the shop if I want or shut it down if I want. Of course that opens a whole new can of worms because when I think about getting licensed again I have an anxiety attack and want to go to bed forever instead. I just… like I like kids and most of the families I’ve worked with, but I’m so tired of being screwed over. I’m tired of people changing their minds at the last minute, or not giving proper notice, or expecting me to bend over backwards for them and then fucking me over anyways. It’s so stressful I want to cry, and when I’m licensed there’s just so much more opportunity to get dicked around. I just cannot even deal with it. Anyway. I’m on vacation this week (from my real job) and I guess I need to really sit down and figure out what the heck I’m going to do with my life, because right now it is not working.

talk | slide













I haven’t mentioned Gwen’s delayed speech/her progress recently. She is still on the recall list with the speech pathologists, which means they call us every few months to ask if we want to bring her in. I haven’t taken her in since our initial appointment at the beginning of the year, as her speech and vocabulary have continued to improve. She now says the names of the pets, certain colours and letters, and many more household objects and toys. She says mama and dada all the time, and for some reason she calls Sym “Dee.” My most recent fave was the other day when I was watching the X-Files while I worked on banners and every time someone was abducted by aliens she cry out “oh no, oh nooooooo!” Totally the appropriate response imo.


May long weekend when we were in Kelowna we were supposed to have a barbecue on Sunday night with homemade sliders, but because we left early (due to Gwen’s refusal to sleep) we missed it. This was super disappointing, so my new thing this summer is making sliders on Friday nights. Now, I’ve kind of quit eating meat I have to prepare myself because it grosses me out to the point where I can’t eat it*, so I’ve been making veggie sliders. It’s super easy, I just buy the Yves veggie burgers**, cut each patty into thirds (in wedges, like a pie) and sort of smoosh each wedge back into a round patty shape. You can also use a round cookie or biscuit cutter with a 2.5″ diameter to make circles, but you will only get two and then you’ll have to REALLY squish the scraps together to get the third patty.



Gwen loves ’em.

The first week I just made simple cheeseburgers with mozzarella, but last week I got more creative and topped the sliders with caramelized onions and smoked gouda. I asked Taylor what he thought I should do this week and he suggested something spicy, but then he was like “get a cheese with jalapeños in it and put chipotle sauce on the pattie sand top them with pickled banana peppers!” and I’m kinda like CALM DOWN GUY, THE KIDS HAVE TO EAT THESE TOO. Sym won’t eat anything spicy and idk how much spicy stuff Gwen should/could be eating, so I think I should just stick to ONE spicy element at a time.

* Except for bacon, cooking bacon doesn’t gross me out… YET
** I didn’t eat these for a couple years bc soy is a goitrogen, ie not rad for your thyroid, but now that my Graves’ is in remission I’m adding it back into my diet. Not kale though. Never kale.



In other news, last weekend Taylor and I spent a whole day putting up assorted shelves around the house. The shelves that used to hold Gwen’s books until she and her lil friend pulled them right out of the wall like baby hulks are now in my office. I already had three longer shelves on one wall so I put these on the other wall at the same heights so there would be a cohesive look, and with the new space I’ve been having lots of fun rearranging my pictures and putting up new art, including pieces from The Disaster Life, Sara M Lyons and Sebastien Millon. I also hung up this new lil gradient banner I made for myself last week, you can get one for yourself here.

went away|came back

First of all, thank you everyone for the incredible response to the Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade banners that Sara and I released last week! I sold out of the Whatever Forever banner in about fifteen minutes, and Sara has just one left in her shop. We both have some Out of this World and Best Buds banners still available so please visit shop.unicornpara.de or shop.saramlyons.com to get one of your very own.








Gwen’s flamingo swimsuit is from Old Navy




I actually have a degree in taking pictures of scenery through the window of a moving car.

For the long weekend Taylor and I packed up Gwen and the little dogs and headed up to his moms’ place in Kelowna. Since both of us were off work Friday (I’d booked it as a vacation day but as it turned out I had no kids coming, what a waste!) we planned to leave early in the day and avoid traffic, but due to certain circumstances we didn’t actually leave the house until about 1pm. It took us two and a half hours just to get out of the city and across the Fraser Valley, ugh. After a quick visit to Hope to buy snacks and to enact a complicated standing-up diaper-changing maneuver on a screaming toddler in a truck-stop bathroom we made good time the rest of the way and arrived at dinnertime.

Saturday was beautiful and sunny and Gwen was up bright and early at 6am and ready to hit the backyard. She spent some quality time with the water table and then after breakfast we headed out to go hiking in Bear Creek Park. Back at the house Gwen had a very short nap (she’d fallen asleep in the car briefly and non-nap time sleeps always mess up her nap). She spent most of the rest of Saturday playing with water in the backyard and watching her fave shows with her grandmas while Taylor and I ran some errands.

At bedtime we started to have some problems. She’d gone down easily on Friday night but Saturday night it was a HUGE struggle to get her to sleep in her bed. In fact, I never did. At her grandmas’ she sleeps in a crib in a spare room but since she can climb out of cribs it only took about five seconds after we closed the door before she turned on the light and started knocking to be let out. Taylor had some work to do so I tried myself for an hour to get her to bed in her room, but it just wasn’t happening and I was so tired and stressed out that I was starting to get mad, so in the end I let her come lay down with me in the other bedroom. Of course, she still didn’t go to sleep- she stayed up goofing around for at least another hour before settling down to what would be a long, nearly-sleepless night for Taylor and I.

Sunday morning Taylor’s sister came over with her three kids for a little visit, and after they left we tried giving Gwen lunch and putting her down for a nap again but it was just more of the same as the night before, she wouldn’t stay in bed. We tried both the crib AND the actual bed in the room but there was no way. Taylor and I had already decided that if she wouldn’t nap we’d have to leave early because all of us were pretty much at the end of our ropes, emotionally. It sucked because leaving early meant missing out on more time with Taylor’s family and a barbecue I was really looking forward to, but the alternative was a toddler on the brink of a constant meltdown and two even more exhausted adults making the drive back the next day. So we quickly packed up all our stuff (forgetting only Taylor’s tablet and notebook) and headed out.

As soon as we put Gwen into her carseat she got MAJOR sleepy-eyes, and I think she fell asleep before we’d driven 50 feet. She slept all the way to Merritt, two hours away. After she woke up she was mostly good the rest of the way, only making a serious fuss when she needed her diaper changed, again in Hope and again a complicated standing-up endeavour, this time in the back seat because it was raining and I didn’t want to get out of the car. We drove through rain- and thunderstorms until we reached the sun in Metro Vancouver, again arriving just in time for dinner. We were a little worried that Gwen would be difficult to get to bed again but she went straight to sleep without a problem and didn’t wake until 7am.

Since we still had the rental car for another day we made a quick trip to Ikea this morning to snag a couple items we forgot on our last trip, a pair of waterproof mattress protectors and a second duvet for Gwen’s toddler bed. as well as a new sheepskin for her room. We had to chuck out her old one because SOMEONE’S little dog peed on it, and we ended up getting a fake (ie WASHABLE) one this time. Since we were saving money on the sheepskin ($15 vs $40) we also picked up a cute rack for Taylor’s hats, a frame for a poster he ordered last month and some 600lm LED lightbulbs for our bedroom. I’m OBSESSED with these bulbs; they last for basically ever and make CFLs look like the literal worthless trash bulbs they are. I buy a few every time I go to Ikea and plan on eventually replacing every CFL bulb in my house with them.

five things | eleven

Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade
Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 5.03.44 PM
Is it tacky to post my own link in one of these posts? Probably but I DON’T EVEN CARE because I am in love with these banners Sara and I designed together! They are based off three of her original illustrations (I actually just posted about one a couple weeks ago) and they are available today in limited quantities in both our shops, here and here.

Bestie Row

How To Accept Compliments

Hermit of the Jungle Guards a Brazilian Ghost City

The Magicians! This book series is one of my absolute favourites and I’m just really really really hoping the tv adaptation doesn’t suck.

monday morning









My hairdresser went on a month-long vacation and in that time my bangs grew OUT OF CONTROL. They got so long I had to start pinning them to the side and now I’m considering growing them out, oops. I just got them in December, and getting bangs once my hair reached a certain length was always the plan but idk you guys, I don’t love them this time. I guess we’ll see how it goes- failing at growing out my bangs was part of the reason I cut all my hair off two years ago.









The other weekend I finally got around to weeding my terrible garden and seeing which of my plants have survived another year of my neglect, so now we’re in the part of the year when I pretend to care about it and buy some new plants and remember to water it every day. Last year I bought a ton of groundcover plants but lost interest in them too quickly and they all withered and died. This year I bought just one, a Corsican mint, as well as this cool-looking little fern. My upstairs neighbor also gave me a bunch of pansies that I planted in the worst spot in my garden, right under the foyer window where the roof overhang means no rain reaches the plants there (it’s where all my groundcovers died last year). Will I be able to keep any of these plants alive? ONLY TIME WILL TELL but probably not.



This is not our cat, it belongs to some of our neighbors and sometimes they bring him down to the backyard so Gwen can pet him. She is absolutely obsessed with kitties right now, and when I hold him (his name is Theo) she climbs into my lap and lays there quietly, softly petting his little paws and ears. It also helps that he is the chillest cat in the world, but she is much nicer to him than she is to any of the dogs. Seeing her gently patting him and whispering “ki-y” is so sweet and really makes me want to get a cat even more.

I haven’t had much time to post lately because I’ve just been so busy with real work. I am mostly caught up on orders but so behind on other things, it’s ridiculous. I actually put my shop on vacation temporarily to try and give myself some time to catch up!

The thing I’m focussing on right now is finishing a pair of bunny boots. They were ordered by one of my kickstarter backers, and I SWEAR TO GOD THEY ARE CURSED. Little things keep going wrong with them so they are taking me forever to finish. First, when I went to attach the little black studs for the eyes, they would not set right and just crumpled and bent and eventually I had to pull the mangled remains out so many times that the leather of the vamp (the toe section of the boot) tore. I had to cut whole new vamps, but I’d already attached the muzzles & noses to the old ones so I had to unstitch them to put on the new vamps, but then I discovered I’d accidentally hit one of the noses with my mallet, ruining it (they are small triangular studs). I was so frustrated that I ended up doing a completely different face, with appliquéd features instead of the studs. Then, when I went to sew the first finished vamp onto it’s shaft, I sewed almost halfway across before realizing I’d forgotten to put the ears into the seam, so I had to unstitch that! And for the final curse, after finishing the upper of the first boot I went to assemble the second and discovered the other pair of ears was missing. Now, I’m 90% sure that I did make four ears, and in all likelihood Gwen got ahold of them and put them somewhere so clever I won’t find them for months. HOWEVER there is also a slight chance that I only ever made two ears, and any time spent searching for the allegedly missing pair would be a waste I can’t afford. So now I have to make another pair of ears, which I probably already made, making it also a waste of time.

It’s just really frustrating and exhausting and as a consequence I am at the end of my rope with everything in my life. I’m tired and have zero patience for nonsense from anyone. Last night I ended up so frustrated by little things Taylor and Sym and even Gwen said and did that after making and serving dinner for everyone I shut myself in the bedroom to read this supremely boring book I’ve been slogging through and didn’t have anything to eat myself until later. Not very mature or productive, I know. Also not productive is the work avoidance procrastination I’ve been doing: running errands with Taylor that I don’t need to go on, rearranging the foyer, deciding the most valuable use of my time is to take Gwen shoe shopping, gardening. NOT THE WAY TO GET THINGS DONE. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get properly back on track, because lord knows right now I just want to go back to bed and pull the blankets over my head and go “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” to all my responsibilities.

rise & shine





my jean jacket has a theme for spring; (sold out) pins by Sad Ghost Club & Sara M. Lyons












Gwen is officially an early bird. She wakes up at 5:30 or 5 or 4:30 in the morning. For a few days the other week we tried putting her to bed later but it really made no difference to what time she woke up. The later bedtime also meant that by the time whatever housework was done and the dogs were walked and we’d both decompressed from parenting a rambunctious toddler, Taylor and I barely had any time to hang out together as grown-ups (ie fall asleep on the couch watching tv). Now we’re back to putting her to bed at around 7:30-8 and she’s still waking up in the pre-dawn hours.

Last Tuesday Gwen woke me up at 5:45 and I was like “this is a good thing.” I got her up and changed, gave her some milk and put on Pee-Wee for her to watch while I had a quick shower (something that never happens in the mornings) and it was GLORIOUS. Just for that one day though, and then I was back to hating it. I’m just really not a morning person. In the latter half of the week she started waking up even earlier (ARGH NO) so now if she wakes up earlier than 6 we put her back to bed and cross our fingers that she’ll actually let us sleep. This morning she was up at 5:45 again, but after a quick diaper change & reading one Olivia book she went back to sleep until 6:45. It was kind of a miracle.

• • •

I have so much work on the go right now. Last week I ran out of every single colour of glitter for (almost) every banner I needed to make, and had to wait until the weekend to get more. I was so dumb about it too, there was plenty of OTHER work I could have done instead of the banners (like sewing boots and making patches) but in my vast intelligence I decided to do nothing instead. SO STUPID UGH. So now while I’m not technically that behind on things… I am kind of behind on things. Then yesterday I accepted a rush order on a time-consuming banner AND an order for twenty banners. TWENTY. Like I didn’t already have enough on the go! So I have no time for slacking this week. This month, even. So if you see me slacking around on the internet STOP ME!