katharine still hearts boris

the relaunch of Blissfully Bitter reveals WHiRR as a line under the BB brand instead of the whole enchilada. this doesn’t mean Boris is being retired again. we’re just making room for other creative endeavours. new robot merchandise is on deck and Boris will live to see new adventures.

a few months ago, i put these little things together. i don’t know what to call them. the plasticine robots were made by a friend of mine and these were from the test run and defects.

materials: plasticine robots, hex nuts, zip disk cases, decorative paper

katharine does not heart lazy design

trying to come up with original creative is a challenge these days. so much design is available to the public in books, magazines, television, internet, and t-shirts. it’s hard to not be influenced by someone else’s work. my own designs and art are heavily influenced by Shag, Exploding Dog, and my boyfriend.  a Monkees CD cover design i created for a class last year was a blatant rip off of their video set.

when we were headed out of town for our New England road trip, I saw a logo for a car wash that looked suspiciously similar to my favourite doughnut chain. I tried to snap a photo, but my camera takes drunken pictures these days. thankfully, the site you thought we wouldn’t notice has the comparison of the Keele Car Wash and Krispy Kreme. the site is a good reminder for designers and hacks that it doesn’t matter how small or unknown the design(er) is that you’re ripping off, someone somewhere is going to notice.

katharine hearts crafting

my left knee is angry with me. it has squashed my dreams of becoming a double dutch champion and world-class hoofer. it also frowns on my taking strolls around the neighbourhood, walking around the house, or standing for extended periods of time. thus, i am spending lots of time on teh internets and crafting. over the last week or so, i’ve put together several presents for family and friends (which i cannot reveal for another month), turned my Eric Von Zipper card dream into a card reality, and made a few things for myself.

Eric Von Zipper:

Scarf-Hoodie (inspired by this Scoodie tutorial):

Moustache on a stick:

i cannot explain the moustache on a stick except that it came to me while i was falling asleep and it makes me giggle. and it is not inspired by Jeff Dunham and his jalepeno on a stick.

if that’s not crafty enough for you, here’s a memo board i made last year.

before it became my desk side home for silly pictures and important items, it was a 10″x14″ frame, a swatch of blue vinyl, and a spool and brown and blue argyle ribbon. the ribbon is glued down in a few spots to hold things in place.

katharine has a new etsy shop

just in time for the holidays, i’ve opened a new shop on Etsy. while i take time to overhaul the Blissfully Bitter website and determine the fate of WHiRR and Boris, i’m offering non-robot goods to the general public.

i’m fairly certain WHiRR will survive in some capacity, but it’s taken quite a hit over the past year with school and its insane demand on my time and creative energy. my fancy plans to continue the web comic were dashed within mere days of my re-entry into higher learning. momentum was lost by the time my break rolled around. and being short of manpower, i haven’t signed up to schlep my wares around town during the holiday season (which will make my pocketbook weep). once i redesign and relaunch Blissfully Bitter’s site, WHiRR will just be one category rather than the whole focus.

if you’ve seen any of the crafts i’ve posted here over the past months and said “Man, I need to own that, but I’m too lazy/unskilled to make it myself,” this is the time to be heard and make your requests for the online store or private commissions.

at the time of this writing, my new shop only has my prints and a couple of felt pouches, but i’ll be adding more in the coming days. like dorothy parker martini IDs, eric von zipper valentines cards, and childfree- and martini-themed items.

katharine hearts public transportation

a couple of weeks ago, i was afforded the opportunity to follow a man named Joe Clark around a number of Toronto subway stations and take a gander at the tiles and signs and the various messes made by/in the TTC. i could try to regurgitate a bunch of half-remembered facts here, but you’re far better off reading Mister Clark’s reports and taking a (self-guided) tour yourself (or click through the TTTT Flickr pool).

the tour was, at times, like travelling around in a giant time machine. in one station, you emerge from the train into a 1960s bus depot.

go a little further and you’ll find yourself in some low-budget 1970s sci-fi flick.

our guide around the TTC world claimed Dupont to be the loveliest station in the system. and while it does have some pleasing and interesting elements, it remains dark and orange with burned out lights scattered around the walls. possibly this was a post-apocalyptic 1970s sci-fi flick.

if you head farther north, you disembark in a station befitting yuppies of the 1980s, rushing off to their lower rungs of the corporate ladder, stopping only for a Cinnabon.

design-wise, the stations are in a time warp. if you don’t like one time period, just wait and get off at the next stop.
when it comes to signs, there appears to be a conspiracy to confuse TTC riders. perhaps a plan hatched by the taxi drivers to lure weary travellers aboveground and into their plush, if odd-smelling, vehicles. from a designer’s standpoint, it’s all a hot mess—mixed typefaces, bad typefaces, advertising in materials that can be easily vandalized and pulled down). but then there’s also the lack of clarity. a lot of (newer, Helvetica-inspired) signs are not easily legible, especially if you have bad vision or are a bleary-eyed drunk trying to stumble home. some signs cannot be viewed by the handicapped or from a certain angle. just for giggles, try finding your way to the westbound trains in the Bathurst station, or try going westbound in surface vehicles from the Bathurst station.

overall, it needs work. my favourite quote from Joe Clark’s speaking notes is:

Type in the Toronto subway is a story of just how much of a mess you can make without adult supervision. They started out with something nobody else had and then, through a combination of ignorance and bad taste, they spent 50 years destroying it. 

As a non-driver who has lived in cities without reliable (or any) public transit, i’ve found the TTC to be a mostly pleasant experience. i’ve been fortunate enough to avoid panhandlers on trains, most of the stations smell no worse than Pleasure Island on a Sunday, and i haven’t been stranded in the snow for several hours. it could be worse, definitely, but it also has the potential to be so much better.

katharine, age 5

katharine hearts pillows

inspired by the applique pillows featured on Design*Sponge, i decided to make my own by covering a juvenile pillow and making it classy.


i used this Daffy Duck pillow, a brown oversized tea towel, and some blue vinyl i had from a previous project.

i used glue to affix the K to the fabric, stitched up two sides and sewed in a zipper. it was all done in less than two hours.

the best part is that it matches a couple of bags that i own, so if i get invited to a sleepover, i can be well-coordinated.

(colophon: adobe garamond bold)

katharine hearts backgrounds

when i was still in the single digits, my whole family went to see The Jungle Book in the movie theatre. i remember watching it and being blown away by the background illustrations. combined with sitting with both my parents and eating popcorn for the first time, it was the best day ever. shortly after, i was given a book with art from the movie and i pored over the thing until it fell apart.


a guy named Rob Richards has a blog full of background composites from various Disney films. my particular favourites are The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians (even though I never cared for the movie itself), and A Symposium on Popular Songs.

but i don’t love them quite as much as Toot Whistle Plunk & Boom, which is my favourite Disney short (second being Lambert, The Sheepish Lion…even more so now that i live with a Lambert and a sheep kitty).