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Archive for January, 2009

Good thanks come in small packages

January 15th, 2009

My latest little project has been these puppies:BIG THANKS - teeny tiny recycled envelopes and hand-lettered cards (set of 12)

These itty bitty one-inch-square envelopes are made with lots of TLC and squinting, out of recycled magazine pages. And then, I stuff each of them with cards, on which I handwrite individually in silver pen:

BIG THANKS - teeny tiny recycled envelopes and hand-lettered cards (set of 12)I posted this listing for a set of 12 for the first time last night… and it lasted all of 3 minutes, thanks to paisleybaby, one of my favourite fellow etsians and Canucks (she’s got mad sewing skills and gorgeous fabrics!).

In the meantime, I’m researching giclée printing, and also getting the rumblings of a new line o’ wears. Somewhere in there, there’s a busy day job too… But it’s all good and happy, I promise. I just have a little more glue and silver ink on my hands :)

Next post will be a Graphic Details!

etsy.com, good peeps , , ,

How do I dig thee, Kathleen Edwards?

January 13th, 2009

Let me count the ways.

In December, I wrote about Lucas, a buddy of mine who’s been in Afghanistan since last summer and about his facebook post “All I want for Christmas is a mixed tape” — and encouraged folks to send songs his way. Well, on Christmas Day, he got his wish and it was hand-delivered by the lurvely and talented Kathleen Edwards:


(Lucas kindly pointed out that he happened to be wearing one of my wears on the day of :))

As it happened, Kathleen was in Afghanistan to perform for the troops, and she’d very thoughtfully brought along dozens of cds to hand out along the way.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Kathleen’s sis-in-law / my dear friend / cbc3 radio host Amanda Putz took my blog post and exponentially dialed it up by linking to it from the cbc3 site, inviting feedback from listeners, and then putting together a playlist which she then burned and mailed to Lucas. She also mentioned the story to Kathleen — and from there, the Christmas Day meet-n-greet came to be. When Lucas sent me the pics, my heart swelled.

For there are already many reasons I get a big grin on my head when Kathleen comes to mind; below are but a few…

Reason #93: One of the greatest videos. Those with crushes on hockey, Jim Cuddy, Colin Cripps and/or Dave Hodge, dig in. Ottawa’s other sweetheart, Jim Bryson, is in it too; in fact, the whole dang song is about him!

Reason #104: She does a mean karaoke version of Like a Virgin. It involves throwing off her shoes.

Reason #36: She gave me my first break at designing merch: I did the artwork for her tees & hoodies last year — vacuum tubes and album-inspired flowers (woot woot, Daniel Lohnes for a beauteous cover design!).

Reason #29: Have you HEARD her? If not, visit her site and you can hear some of her latest songs (streaming) from her “Asking for Flowers” album. Then go get the cd… which, by the way, was one of the shortlist finalists for last year’s Polaris Award.

Reason #277: Her sweet hubby Colin was the one who kindly offered to get one of my tees to Bryan Adams, then Kathleen caught the moment on megapixels.

Reason #184: She plays a mean fiddle, and looks great playing it on a jumbo screen (this is last summer at Bluesfest):

Reason #71: She likes pomelo hats too.

Reason #240: She gives good hugs.

Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.

good peeps, horn tootin', m chen wears, music , , , ,

What’s in a name?

January 11th, 2009

I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose name was Emiko. As you scratch your puzzled head and say “But I thought you were Taiwanese?”, I can explain. At the time of my grandmother’s birth, Taiwan was under Japanese rule, which was reflected by education and language… and kids were named accordingly. When my parents were born in the early 1940’s, my Mom was named Michiko and my Dad was named Taka.

Then when Taiwan was handed (back) to China after WWII in 1945, it was another culture shift — and my parents had to get Chinese handles. So my Mom was henceforth called Mei-tze (“may-TSUH”) and my Dad was dubbed Wen-long (“WOON-ong”).

Fast forward to the early 1960’s. My parents attended National Taiwan University, where they took English courses taught by American Catholic priests and nuns, who felt the students should have English names. So they drew them out of a hat. Seriously.

My Dad got Robert, and was cool with that.

My Mom got Dorothy… but wasn’t a fan. So the following day, she visited her professor and explained that she’d prefer a different name. He gave it a little thought, then suggested Loretta — after the movie and tv star Loretta Young.

And so my parents are Bob and Loretta… as well as Wen-long and Mei-tze… plus Taka and Michiko. It’s a wonder they don’t have identity crises.

Years later, when my Dad’s younger brother hit post-secondary, he got to choose his own name — progress! He gave it a lot of thought, and finally came up with… Carton. Older brother Bob said:

“Uh… don’t you mean CARLETON?”

“Nope! I mean Carton.”

And so I have an Uncle Carton. And yes, he definitely walks to his own drum.

In 2004, we did a family trip back to Taiwan. My Dad put together a detailed itinerary that included contact names and numbers. On it was my Uncle’s coordinates, and my Dad had typed “Uncle Carleton Chen”. When I saw the printout, I asked him why he’d put that.

“Because it SHOULD be Carleton!”

I said that since Carton had chosen Carton, we should respect that. My Dad grumbled, but did correct it.

I’ve often wondered if I would’ve turned out differently if my name had been something else. I wonder if Gwyneth’s kid is going to be screwed up because her name is Apple. I consider what I’d choose for myself if I could pick my own name now. I find it fascinating that names go in cycles — a million Zachary and Madison babies now, but no more Pearls or Clarences.

Where did your name come from?

What name would you choose for yourself if you could pick now?

general rambling , , , ,

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