Posted by: ableanna | May 20, 2010

Emeline & Annabelle on

Posted by: ableanna | April 24, 2010

Happy Birthdays

I’ve been struggling with an update here – just because so much has been going on at our store and now with two blogs to write for – I’m not sure where to take this one. I could definitely discuss and explain more about the store, but that feels a little redundant, no?

But just to recap the OTHER changes that go along with opening up the store – the largest difference in going from being employed to self-employed is the changes in family dynamic and my whole approach to having a job. For one, I’m no longer running around like a harried lunatic in the morning trying and no longer have thoughts like “I need a car” or “I need anger management” to get me through the day. My time with Ella in the morning is something wonderful and fun, not this marathon of getting through each step of the routine to try and get out the door by 7:45 a.m. – now we casually stroll out the door at 8:30. It’s a 45 minute difference – but what a HUGE difference. And again, in the evenings, getting home for 5 instead of 6? Makes dinner wayyyy more manageable. And fun? Yes.

How about walking into your shop every morning? A shop with lots of sunlight and beautiful fabrics and a lot of creative conversations that allow you to explore every facet of what you have learned, what you want to learn and how you can accomplish what you want to accomplish. I get to have coffee with my friends AND be at work at the same time. It’s like a dream come true.

It’s cochonet‘s birthday today – that’s my business partner & friend & & & & – and I could probably write a book here about her, but I think the key thing that marks her as one of those amazing people you meet (you know the type – you shake your head and think they must be part crazy to get done what they want to get done) is that she says “Yes” 99% of the time. I quickly noticed in my time writing the business plan, getting the store, renovating the store, running the store is that my default is fear-based and set in “no”. I can think up a thousand reasons why something should not be done and why it’s safer to stay put. That fear mechanism is good sometimes and it will help in our ability to balance the shop operations, but more often than not, I have found that saying “yes” opens doors to listening & learning, having new experiences, challenging yourself, inspiring others and being of help to more people. Thank you & Happy Birthday Emeline! The flowers below are for you, from small stump + studio choo:

flowers for Emeline

Virtual flowers for Cochonet

So, I must jump in the shower and get the house semi-ready for the imminent arrival of my family who’s driving in to the city to visit us today – the sleeping arrangements will be interesting. And Happy Birthday to BOTH of my brothers, too – can’t believe that my little brother is 15. And that the other is 23! I don’t even want to think about how old that makes me 😉

Posted by: ableanna | April 7, 2010

Assembly day & giving thanks

There were times, many times in my early adulthood where I felt rather alone and as though I could only depend on myself to make my life happen. My 20’s were full of cynicism and figuring out why I shouldn’t bother pursuing something before I had even tried. It’s an isolating way to look at the world – and then things happened to me – I got injured, I had a baby and I realized I really would never know everything about anything and that NO ONE expected me to. I realized that if I asked for help, I would get it. I would get somewhere else. This is my tiny shout out to the entire village of people helping us get this shop up and running.

I can remember our first “ideal” floor plans on paper *if* we got a perfectly perfect space and to see this all come to BE is something so spectacular. Volunteers to get chairs and table legs at Ikea? Pick up our accounting software? Come in after work and help assemble the shelving? Take time out of your morning to help drill in table legs and bring coffee? Come in on a holiday and paint everything? Install everything on our computer? Or how about install the floors, the wiring, the fixtures, build the massive cutting tables and cash area? Create our brand? Brainstorm workshops? Give us money? Or just even listen to us – constantly? All because we asked you to? For all of this we owe huge thanks to you. Seriously. And your invite is in the e-mail: the least we can do is give you a drink and raise our glass to you.

Here are the new shop visuals of what we got done today (with our village of people).

Emeline & Annabelle shop

Emeline & Annabelle shop

Emeline & Annabelle shop

Emeline & Annabelle shop

Emeline & Annabelle shop

Posted by: ableanna | April 5, 2010

The shop workshop

Emeline Annabelle shop Emeline sanding floors

Emeline - 8 mos pregnant - sanding

So… I don’t even know where to begin with this one, except that our shop is set to open this Friday. THIS FRIDAY.
But you know what? The floors are in, which was a project so huge in scope and complexity, that Friday feels like a blip on the radar. The baltic birch plywood floor “floats” on top of a cement floor sealed with carpet, ceramic and some soundproofing. We had amazing men by our sides to do the installation (thank you) and we spent a week sanding and varnishing, sanding and varnishing and assessing and then sanding and varnishing for one final finish. And what a finish! I think I might want these floors in my house…

Emeline & Annabelle shop floor pre-reno

Our shop pre-reno

Emeline Annabelle shop floor before pic

Shop floor before

Emeline Annabelle shop floor during install

During the installation

Emeline Annabelle baltic birch plywood floors

Floors in progress

Emeline Annabelle baltic birch plywood floor

Second coat of varnish

Emeline Annabelle baltic birch plywood floors

Beautiful floors

On top of all this I have been plagued by my immobility to help out on the errand side (apparently I was sleep talking a negotiation to buy a car the other night), so cochonet finds herself making a second home in her car, trolling with the dudes at Home Depot and the floor displays at Ikea. Plus we have all the remaining store to build & paint, and the marketing/website, accounting, paperwork, orders, stock, and party planning to account for at the same time. Tomorrow is a big day. Here are some more photos of the shop! Enjoy!

Emeline Annabelle shop in progress

Emeline Annabelle shop in progress
Emeline Annabelle shop in progress

Emeline Annabelle shop in progress

Emeline & Annabelle storefront

Posted by: ableanna | March 9, 2010

Temporary Hiatus

Not like I write so often anyway – but officially announcing a hiatus for the next two weeks!
Stay tuned…

Posted by: ableanna | March 1, 2010

Big change for a small month: the recap

That hockey game was incredible today. I  love the Olympics, I love getting caught up in the spirit of the competition and all the emotions that are played out on my TV screen (and on my couch). There were moments where I had to wipe tears away even when I wasn’t even actively watching. (Just whisper “Joannie Rochette”)

And looking back, this month was Olympic for me in so very many ways… life changing events happened. Here’s the recap and some pretty big news in my life making itself known online tonight:

Passing my Driver’s test

Getting my first cell phone (an iPhone)

Mending fences with loved ones

Handing in my notice at work…

…to take the final steps in making our shop a reality (opening April 2010!)

Turning 32. It’s going to be a Big year. BIG.

Posted by: ableanna | February 22, 2010

to market, to market

at the atwater market on sunday

sunday market

I’m taking a little pause here, because I have a feeling my subsequent posts are going to contain a lot of news.

A few little side notes…

We wasted a good portion of tonight trying to book a romantic getaway vacation on a site that refuses to allow us to make the final booking appointment. Cue google segues into researching EVERY HOTEL within a 100 mile radius and arguing about how annoying each other is with the scroll down speed on tripadvisor. WHO uses the arrow button at the bottom of the scroll bar?! Despite his scroll bar skills – I’m super excited about said planned weekend.

Super fun that I have won a heart-shaped cake pan! Thanks to fudgie, I can look forward to making many misshaped mishaps full of marshmallow deaths.

How about them Olympics? My enthusiasm has waned over the last 24 hours… but maybe that’s because the never ending saga with the fish tank continues to breakdown and look like its contents came directly out of the sewer. Still though, love the moguls, the snowboarding, downhill skiing and speed skating.

How about the winter? Not too bad this year, I have to say. Although I will admit that I have been perusing the seed catalogues recently… planning less swiss chard, more flowers.

Contemplating getting back into shape… its been a 6 month hiatus and my body is starting to show signs of deterioration. I think I feel the urge to throw on my running shoes sometime in the next week. Also, I have a shoulder surgery coming up and I need to start prepping so that I have SOME muscle to work with during the post-surgery recovery physio.

Ok, bed time. Useless post over. Want to see a nice, fun, pretty post? Visit cochonet, she’s pretty great.

Posted by: ableanna | February 13, 2010

I’d like a bowl of water, please

What. a. week.


After 14 years of putting “Get Driver’s License” on my list of Resolutions (until this year, it was my ONLY resolution)… I did my road test on Monday and passed. Not with flying colors and in truth, might understand HOW Montreal has become so reknowned for its bad drivers i.e. my Tester passed me, then got out and re-parked the car I had spent the last ten minutes of my test trying to park. Nonetheless, the idea that I have the OPTION to not navigate the inferno metro in a parka with a toddler has brought on a new idea of freedom. Just need the car to execute that idea.

Cooking lesson at Appetite for Books – what a great idea for a date. You bring your wine. You get a new cookbook. Four dishes selected from the cookbook are prepared in front of you. You share the joy of food with 8 other strangers and compare your experiences with cooking. You find out how to choose the best eggplant. You find out that maybe your hatred for Lasagna is misinformed. You walk out full and inspired and ready to explore new recipes for the weekly menu plan.

Bellydancing restaurants… why are these not more popular? One of the best dining experiences I have ever had.


Way too many.

Work was filled with drama – normally I can take it and leave it and get over it and get on with it. This was not one of those weeks. This is one of those weeks where the stress of everything else overlaps into all aspects of life and the clarity to prevent overspill inevitably succumbed to being overwhelmed and putting my foot down to say “Enough.” Probably not in the most professional way, but sometimes anger is the only way to make yourself clear.

And how about finding yourself in the dog-house at home and knowing that, despite your differences of opinions and interpretations, you know you are wrong? How about knowing that you can not say or do anything to make it right? That you royally fucked up? All you can do is concede, nod, agree, put your pride aside and then ask that person for forgiveness. And hope that all your good qualities are enough to get you through your mistakes and faults. And then how about forgiving yourself? That’s important too.

My time is up on the year-long Shoulder Surgery waiting list. This SHOULD be a Pro. But this surgery terrifies me… 8 WEEKS RECOVERY? When is there time to do that? Years of Physio… Barf.

Finding the middle:

Might be a cliche, but the balance always finds itself in the small things: late night phone talks, skype bear hugs, breaking your personal rules, coffee in the kitchen with a good friend, laughing, idle chat, my semi-clean house, plants are alive, daughter requesting a nap early in the day, listening to The Debaters, and an hour of quiet.

snow walk

deep freeze fun

Posted by: ableanna | February 6, 2010

Music to my eyes

I don’t know where this rule came from, but I often think I shouldn’t post on weekends. Even though, really, it is the most ideal time for me to write. I’m in my pj’s, E’s working on her bricks in the living room and it’s freezing outside… so what’s the problem? But I digress… already.

Swell Season St.Louis tour poster

If you are a first time reader or even a seasoned one to this space, you may not know that my original idea for this blog was to explore the changing relationship between music and the visual components that came packaged along with it. More specifically, I was interested in the way we think about music NOW versus when I was growing up and would involve myself throughout the length of an entire album staring at the artwork provided on the album’s sleeve. Also, we rarely need to listen to an entire album now, the technology reduces us to singles and shuffles without ever grasping an artist’s intent of telling a complete story. It’s like we’re only allowing ourselves to listen to the climactic parts without allowing for context or the complexities involved with the full plot.

Swell Season Seattle poster

Abandoning the visual component (ok, so iTunes shows the cover art of an album online… but really, it no longer acts as a secondary layer to the whole story of the album) has always felt tragic to me. True – video and remix culture has allowed a new, more interactive, way in which we interpret music that can be shared with millions, but it feels too literal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the ways in which we adapt and change the way in which we explore our collective creativity. However, the combination of one artist’s interpretation of another artist’s composition, through a static representation that acts as a suggestive conduit to how the listener makes their own interpretation of that album is lost. I feel less participatory in the intricacies of that story.

swell season washington tour poster

And so it always pleases me when I find a musician/band that also feels connected to that type of visual interpretation (Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Radiohead are what come to mind immediately). It also always please me when I find a new album/artist that I like, not that I’m picky about music, but I feel completely disconnected to what’s going on at most times in that area. So comes The Swell Season on replay most often in my house these days (with the occasional Black Eyed Pea and/or “I like to move it move it” request form the three year old resident of this household) – I also love their library of tour posters that you can find on their site. To replace my parents collection of milk crates stuffed of Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, Ramones, Beatles and Bruce Springsteen albums, I have taken an interest in the tour posters you can find online (and order) that can act as that static visual cue that I so obviously enjoy.

swell season boston tour poster

Now I have lost my train of thought… E is bringing in her Lego creations, it might be time to flip on the Swell Season and bake a sheet of cookies with her. But before I go, I suggest you go read gypsy bandito’s latest post – which is the indirect reason why I broke my rule about weekend posting today.

Posted by: ableanna | February 1, 2010

the deep freeze

I went to Las Vegas for work almost two weeks ago. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of being out on my own for five days or the break from routine in such a MAJOR way, but I found myself unable to covet the time I had sleeping alone in a hotel bed. Instead I slept 3 hours a night on average. Since my return I have done nothing but covet my sleep, with bed before 11 and on the weekends ANY chance I got I was nodding off and taking a nap. Last night I slept 12 hours after my 2 hour mid-day nap. This is very weird for me. I don’t DO sleep. I like the idea of it, but the idea of having time to myself normally wins over for any real chance at a decent bed-time. I have recognized that this will probably make me look 50 by the time I am 35, but I can’t help it.

With a week of ample sleep under my belt, here I am on a Sunday night perusing all the long lost blogs I used to visit so regularly and getting caught up in this community of which I occasionally take part. I so want to be vigilant and diligent in this area… but then I also want to be diligent when it comes to cleaning the bathroom. (I cleaned my neglected and disturbingly dirty bathroom today and I’d like to know how hair gets on the ceiling? We’re tall people over here, but we’re not Guinness Book tall. Anyway, it’s disgusting.)

Some highlights from my blog-reading night:

  • smittenkitchen via cochonetrouge, leave it to -30somethingwithwindchill to make me feel like anything but pasta basics and pizza are the extent of my menu plan. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes out, especially this black bean & cumin recipe (two of my all time favorite flavors)
  • wikstenmade‘s beautiful hat and scarf set has given me the direction I need; all my recent knitting projects were half-made and then unravelled… and thanks to her, I have found ravelry – can’t wait to explore more.
  • not that I don’t love every one of Jenna’s posts, but I found this post on sweet fine day particularly poignant and resonates with my own fears when it comes to E being at school
  • Jessica’s Fish Tank Chronicles on her linear ramblings is a post I read a little less recently, but since every second thing we do in our house now involves the fish tank (this weekend we added the vacuum pump and the algae scrubber as the latest additions to our growing inventory of Tank Tools), I felt like re-reading this post.
  • most peeps know I love wine, but now I am going to start a little book, as suggested by Dooce.
  • Uh, so, apparently Paul Rudd interviewed Jon Hamm. Paul Rudd has been good friends with Jon Hamm for 20 years. I… there are no words… for how perfect this is to me. It’s like the universe is starting to speak my language. (thank you fug girls).

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