Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Holidays to all....

I hope that over the holidays you take some time for yourself, some restorative recharging for the year to come and some reflection on the year that was.

The moments leading up to the holidays were, for me, very busy and overwhelming, and I made a decision to not go it alone next year.  I'll be calling the help of some former students who mentioned that they would give me a hand if I needed, it but I waited too long to ask for the help when I most needed it.  Lesson learned.

I wanted to share with you a peaceful place, that is inspirational, restorative and mood altering if you are in need of a winter pick me up. 

On my list of Holiday adventures was a trip to the Allen gardens in Toronto.  One of the oldest greenhouse gardens in Toronto, it was founded in 1858, and is over 16,000 square feet of floral wonders. 

The day we arrived, it was a beautiful, sunny, crisp day with snow covering everything in sight.  Throwing open the doors, you are immediately transported to another world, in sharp contrast to the one that you just left. The fragrant, moist environment is pretty shocking to the system, and I can only parallel it to the feeling you get when you leave winter in Canada, and exit the plane, somewhere tropical, when that wall of heat, growth and abundance smacks you right in the face. 

Towering palm trees, tropical curiosities, bananas growing in abundance, cactus, paper whites, and for the holidays, poinsettias filled every nook and cranny.  I have resolved to make these gardens a destination when I need an escape from the winter chills and a calm, soft space to renew. 

Happy New Year to you all. xoxo


All photos by me with the exception of the exterior shot of the building. 
I totally forgot to shoot a pic as it was FREEZING outside, but luck may have it,
Patrick, at had a great outdoor image in winter! :)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Final Countdown!

For the past few months I've been working towards a big show coming up, "City of Craft".
It's an annual event, held at the Great Hall on Queen Street West, in Toronto.

It's been extra busy in the studio as I've been developing some special pieces for the show,
and there have been many late night slogs where I'm not quite sure if I'm arriving or leaving the studio.

Well, the final countdown is on...and I hope to see some of you at the City of Craft, on the weekend!  It's going to be a lot of fun!

Check out the website:

or the Pinterest page for more information and images of the work:


Monday, 2 December 2013

Touch the Dutch and Jolly Good Salute you!


To thank my readers, clients and customers, and to usher in the holidays,  I'm offering a chance to win a pair of earrings to gift or keep for my readers.
I've teamed up with the lovely Helen, from Jolly Good studios in the UK who is also a jewellery designer and textile designer.  Check out her blog, it's pretty fun looking around in there!

She has designed these really great holiday stockings that were inspired by that creepy line in the holiday song "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake", intended to terrify children into being on their best behaviour during the holidays, lest Santa be lurking outside. 

We're both hosting a promotion for you, dear readers, to participate in a give away of a pair of handmade sterling silver petal studs or hanging drops to the winner.

To participate, in the Rafflecopter event, you get more points if you:

1. Like my Touchthedutch page on Facebook
2. Answer the question, which do you prefer,studs or hanging drop Earrings? On FB
3. Follow Jolly Good on Twitter!

All you need to do, is enter below on the Rafflecopter link!  The contest ends on Friday, Dec.6th at midnight EST. Good luck!


Petal Studs Sterling Silver Earrings

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Designlines Winter 2013: Tables of Content.


Its been a tough week, so it was really nice, when on Saturday, Cameron and I popped into INAbstracto (, to take a quick peek and see what's new and grabbed a copy of Design Lines magazine on the way out.
I love the curation of this shop, and generally the mid century picks are not too bossy or large, which would make it a great stop if you're looking for smaller, unique pieces from this period for your apartment or condo.
Later that afternoon, I had a chance to peek inside and saw that my work was featured!  Hark! Squeee!  Alanna chose several of my spoons from my "Lost and Found" series to feature in her editorial, "Tables of Content". 
Through this series, I incorporated and manipulated vintage and antique spoons, bringing new life to forgotten discarded pieces.  Exploring notions of preciousness and disposability, and abandonment, this series is an ongoing body of work.
So, I'd just like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the stylist, Alanna Davey
Check it out, on page 79 of the Winter Issue:


Monday, 18 November 2013

A Grey, Cozy Monday....

After a whirlwind trip to the east coast to celebrate my fathers retirement, I'm in a reflective mood.  After all of the excitement of planning and preparation, It was so great to spend some time with close friends and family. 
I spent my time tucked into quiet coffee shops and noisy bars in Halifax, watching the fireplace in my sisters living room, and terrible movies with my dear friend.  One of the best parts of the trip was dancing at the party with the most adorable kids, and drawing with them all night.
For a couple of hours, I was absorbed by their world...a world where jewellery is made from washi tape and drawings need no planning or brainstorming.  It was SO much fun....and now I'm feeling exhausted, but happy, and inspired.
I took this weekend to reconnect with friends, ride my bike in the balmy, wild weather....I took a day to myself to relax and recharge, and wanted to share some lovely things I've been eyeing on Etsy for the holidays, during a much needed online retail therapy session. 
A giant wool blanket from London
A bay Leaf Wreath from California
A magical dog from Berlin
A Dutch inspired sweater from Quebec
A simple natural handcrafted soap set from Washington
A reminder from Missouri

Chunky Knit British Wool Throw

Fresh Bay Leaf Wreath with Raffia Bow
Petite Flower Dog Vase
Rotterdam Porcelain Sweater
Pink Clay Gift Set. Soap. Facial Mask. Spa Gift Set. Handcrafted. Vegan. 100% Natural.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

White Wedding Wednesday! Noah and Kelly...making their own luck.

Noah and Kelly believe in making their own luck, following their hearts path and adventure. 

I would love to meet these two in person, and really enjoyed talking with them online over the past few weeks, as they so generously opened up a small window into their world.  Kelly volunteers at the Duke Lemur centre, where I picture long days filled with snuggling and taking care of ill lemurs, works at Duke University, and Noah is a talented musician who sang to her on their wedding day.....amazing!

When Kelly spied Noah careening downhill on a skateboard at the corner of Albany and Sunset in North Carolina, she took a chance.

She'd seen Noah at a grocery store a week before and felt a connection....she convinced her friend to stop the car, and, well, I'll let them finish their amazing story.

Thanks Noah and Kelly!!


1.  Where did you both meet?
He said: 

We met on the corner where I almost crashed into her car, on a day when the weather was perfect and I was escaping bad decisions for a minute to enjoy something that I used to do all the time but can't really do anymore. I was riding my skateboard back to my temporary home and almost ran into her on the corner of my street at the time Albany street, here in Durham.


She said:

On the corner of Albany and Sunset in Durham. When my friend Katie and I drove by Noah on his skateboard, I immediately recognised him as the handsome stranger I didn't have the nerve to talk to at the grocery store a few weeks earlier.

I exclaimed, "Stop! Put the car in reverse!" Katie responded wordlessly, as if we had choreographed the moment. Unfortunately, Noah was careening downhill at this point, and we nearly collided.

2.  At what point in the relationship did you know that you wanted to get married to each other?

He said:

When she told me with a journal and gentle demeanour that I could do things in my own time. That may be the first time in my life someone close to me said anything like that, and actually showed it in any sincere and or measurable way, and it was a gesture of friendship, not some wanton thing, it wasn't filled with ulterior motives and I started doing that thing where you try not to picture yourself with someone but you do it anyways.

She said:
I knew I loved Noah right away. We immediately became good buddies but were casually dating other people. When my dad came to town for my 32nd birthday, the three of us went to dinner. Noah dressed up like Jake Ryan from 16 Candles. My dad told me later that on the way home, I had muttered half-asleep "I'm going to ask Noah to marry me someday." 

 3.  How did you imagine your wedding day to be as a child or teenager?

He said:
I didn't imagine getting married as a child. I was staunchly against it. I came from an astoundingly broken home, surrounded by similar home lives in my working class neighbourhood in Lowell MA.
Everyone was a divorced catholic and I was enlightened to that hypocrisy at a very early age which left me feeling mirthless about the act of being married. I never knew I'd meet Kelly though, just glad it finally happened.

She said:
As a kid, I had a recurrent argument with a playmate about which of us would marry Tom Cruise. We used to watch Top Gun a lot. Other than that, I don't think I thought very much about it.

4.  What is the trait that you admire most about the other person?

He said:
Resilience comes to mind immediately, but the trait that she has shown for me is that, she is sworn to be my protector, she is fiercely loyal and though we argue plenty, and have our own conflicts, for external conflicts, even if we are having a hard time, she vaults into action to defend and protect me, my character and our relationship,
I have never known that state of being taken care of before, there has always been some concession or negotiation, but not with Kelly, she was all in from the very beginning.

She said:
His drive to be a better person (by his standards), despite the fact that most of us think he's pretty darn good

 5.  What is the quirkiest trait that you've grown to love about the other person?

He said:
Ha ha, her ever weirdening relationship with our dogs. Kelly hadn't had her own dog since she was young, and has grown to make my old boy Ben and our dog together Molly, truly her own, and in a way that is often completely bizarre to me, like when she'll sing a song 20 bars long that is made up on the spot of only words like "She's a Molly she's a Molly Molly Molly she's a Molly Molly dog, she's the best Molly dog.
Our relationship with the pups is a very affirming one and it is great to have her to nurture and enjoy them, but it also brings out wonderful and just primal and childlike affection from her which I love to see, since were both sort of serious folks with a lot going on all the time.

She said:
The many different ways he snickers, laughs, snorts, etc. He's not self-conscious at all about them, and it's very contagious. We have a lot of funny moments.

 6.  What do you like to do on weekends, as a couple?

He said:
On weekends anything goes. We might sleep all day and be disappointed that we missed it. We might just do work and schoolwork and things around the house. But every so often the weekend holds a great spur of the moment surprise where we have a lot of fun and get to know each other better. Often involving a trip or hanging out with good friends by a fire or at a show or something. I like the weekends with her because we get to explore the concept of "home" a little more carefully with her.

 She said:
Take the dogs to the forest, work on house projects, have people over to sit around the fire.

7.  What was your most memorable date or trip together:

He said:
I had the best trip of my life to the beach with Kelly. It was sublime, and it basically only lasted a day. Also, driving back exhausted from our wedding the morning after in a 55 Chevy coupe with the windows open, our eyes bleary and cans clanking with her dad doing terrifying things in traffic to take photos with our dogs in the back of his SUV terrified, was a pretty memorable mini trip.

She said:
We drove to Wilmington to go to the beach one weekend shortly after we started dating. It kept looking like rain when we got there, but the sun won out. I mostly remember laughing a lot and feeling amazed

8.  What was the most memorable/surprising thing about your wedding day?

He said:
The most surprising thing about our wedding day to me is that she basically wrote the same vows as me, and we had never even talked about them with each other. The second most surprising thing, was how near perfect and effortless it all was. (Barring having to move the PA myself at 1AM.

She said:
When we exchanged vows. Noah had been working on his for a while, but was keeping the content a secret. I had written mine that afternoon, surrounded by my closest friends. I read mine first, from a piece of paper. Noah recited his from memory. When he repeated--verbatim-- the same idea I had written, "to be curious and gentle," I started laughing. I thought with all the nerves he had forgotten his vows and was riffing off mine. As it turns out, it was just one more thing to add to our list of strange yet comforting coincidences.

9.  What does your new jewellery mean to you?

He said:
The wedding ring I have now is something new. It marks a very literal new stage in my life, someone has actually for once, pledged forever to me, with tears and smiles and sweat and lost sleep and joyous laughter and dancing and a floodgate of personal sharing. No one has ever done anything like that, for me, promised me. It has always been vagueries and deals and compromises.
 The funny thing is I have had a ring on that finger for a long time, since before even my engagement ring that Kelly gave me and this is the first time I find myself thoughtfully twirling it around or tapping it, and it reminding me of something good and secure. It's the first time I have ring that makes me feel connected instead of separated as a symbol. It's sort of a little part of me and I am often concerned, just a bit when I take it off.

She said:
We wanted something simple, understated, and beautiful. The insides of our rings say "fifi" (his) and "francois" (mine)-- and I can't understand how Anneke engraved these nicknames by HAND with such tiny perfection, especially since my ring is only 2mm wide. Noah told me early in our friendship that I reminded him of a Tex Avery cartoon he'd loved as a child, called "The Flea Circus." It stars two fleas, Fifi the Ballerina and Francois the Clown. They fall in love after an amusing courtship. Even though Noah is hardly as funny-looking as Francois, he is as sweet, goofy, and humble as the little flea clown.
These characteristics are all things I love about Noah. So, for me, I guess our rings signify a synthesis between two perspectives of love: that it is delicate yet tenacious. And achieving that balance requires both sensitivity and a sense of humour
10.  What is your biggest fantasy/dream/hope as a couple?

He said:
My biggest fantasy is kind of here already, I mean, we want to fix up the house a bit, go on trips, have more money, get better jobs and all that, but my life-long fantasy was to have a secure home with a loving friend and a place where I feel welcome and unafraid, and I have that with Kelly. I feel like were there, and things keep getting better.

She said:
Being grounded in the present is very important to both of us. In particular, I appreciate one particular way Noah is a great partner and friend: when my excitement carries me far up into the clouds or I am stressed out and multi-tasking, he reminds of how effective it is to do one thing--and be in one moment-- at a time. I see a parallel between our belief in "making our own luck" (which is why we irreverently chose Friday the 13th for our wedding date) and our belief that hopes and wishes are displacements.
Rather than looking forward to something we don't have, we try to be grateful for the things that we do have. Together, I think we want to be better at accepting and appreciating the groundlessness of life; and to help one another be more graceful in that flux. Pema Chodron sums up my interpretation of your question in a way I like:

"Abandoning hope is an affirmation...If we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death."

All wedding photos by Dustin and Whitney Deal:

Candid shots courtesy of Noah and Kelly.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Dear October, Sorry I missed you.

MMK - Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art) in Frankfurt a.M. / Germany

You know that feeling when the days keep rolling into one thundering, intense landscape where you can't see the horizon and you just keep moving forward?  That was October.

And, I'm almost dismissing it, as it comes to an end, as a mess of work, deadlines, production work and chaos, but I won't because even though the intensity sucks, it will make the small breaks all that sweeter.

So, its been a bit quiet around here, as I've been a bit overwhelmed with it all.

I'm currently working on several projects, conceptualising a project for the 2014, "Not Forkchops" exhibition which launches in January, designing for a ring exhibition in Vancouver, preparing work for a pop up shop at the Ontario Crafts Council gallery on Queen Street, and preparing work for the City of Craft show in mid December.

Did I forget anything?  Likely.  I'm finding that I am in need of some time to develop some conceptual projects and really would love the time to tinker and experiment with some ideas I've been mulling over.  I really can't see that happening until February, after design week.

Till then, I'll keep on....