Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On the Agenda: COOKIES!

Molasses Cookies via Not Martha
I am making these today. Because molasses is GOOD for you. My mother says I should be giving my kids a teaspoon a day... well, she said more than that, but we tried it for a bit and both kids disowned me. I don't entirely blame them. So I am putting it in in cookie form instead. Also I think I will try a gingerbread cake. Because Christmas is in full swing around here, folks! I know, this is NOT what she meant...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Knitterly Love

via Motohiro Tanji

I can't knit. It's kind of crazy since I can do so many other crafty things... especially so since my skills in and understanding of textiles are generally pretty good. I know I could learn to knit, and lord knows my mom has tried over and over to teach me... One year EVERYONE got a scarf for Christmas. Tons of them... super long ones too. You would think that after oodles of scarves I would be better than I am... but it's not in my cards, and I accept that. I suppose the fact that I can't just make a knitted something has a lot to do with my obsession with knit goods. I love knit skirts, handbags and pretty much any knit item or garment that is not usually what you think of when you think of knit.


Craig Lawrence
I say obsession, but it isn't the kind of obsession where I want all of it. Far from it... but more of a thing where when I see something unique and beautiful in the knitted world I am far more drawn to it than to something sewn. While I may look at a Dior gown and marvel at the technique and the ingenuity of it, I know that given the resources and time, I could produce something as grandiose... I know I have the talent to make most of the things I see, whether I actually do or not. Sewing is technical, and once you understand the concepts it is pretty easy to deconstruct an item. This is not me saying I am as good a designer as Dior, as dreaming up the designs is something entirely different. The only designer who has literally stumped me so far, is Alexander McQueen (RIP)... which is why he is my favourite. Which brings us back to why amazing knitting awes me.

Annie Larson

Annie Larson
Is it just me? Or is knitting entering an entirely new dimension on the fashion scene? Obviously, somebody someplace has been out there all along knitting amazing and unique pieces... it's not the talent that is new, but there is a recent acceptance, or maybe the same as I feel, awe over the knitted garment. Missoni, Rodarte, major players on the fashion scene as well as relative newcomers like Annie Larson are reinventing knitwear, and most often with as much colour and pattern as they can manage.


I am seeing the most beautiful things come out of the fashion scene in knit, and moreover, seeing all of my most uber chic friends take it up. It's becoming the "cool" hobby. Which IS cool! I am loving this generation's way of embracing all of these skills that we have removed ourselves from. Knitting, baking, slow food, gardening, crafting, etc. How refreshing!

So mom, if you are reading this and you have the utmost desire to knit something in the coming months... I would like to request... this pretty little number from ravelry.  I'm sure it's not that complicated... :) Probably less so than my first choice...

...no? Heck, it can't be that much harder than a scarf... maybe I'll give it another go.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Most Totally Awesome Gift Guides!

So here they are, the Handmade Gift Guide, and the Not Handmade But Still Totally Brilliant Gift Guides are here. You can find them by clicking on the appropriate links at the top of the page under the banner.

The DIYs range from super easy to not so much. I have tried to put something in there for everyone, and my idea folders have barely a dent in them, so they will be added to daily. And they will continue to be added to for all time, so if you are looking for ideas past Christmas for birthdays or just a fun DIY they will still be there. Feel free to send me ideas or links if you know of something ridiculously awesome I need to add!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Excuse Me... Santa's BUSY!

So yesterday I got all up in the sewing area ready to bust out a bunch of crafts... loaded the fabric into a pile, got back on the computer to look at something in the inspiration file... and the next thing you know I have spent the day putting together Gift Guides for the blog. I have two on the go, one for handmade gifts and one for just supremely cool whatnots that had to be mentioned.

It's OK, a large majority of the whatnots are made from recycled materials and such and I tried very hard to keep with my mantra of less is more... but there are some really nifty things that I needed to put someplace. Rather than doing a post, I think their own pages is a better plan. SO I am spending the rest of today sorting photos and such. I hope you are happy with the result. I will publish them later today with what is there (it takes a surprising amount of time to load photos and links... ) and will continue to add to them for... well forever... but will make a concerted effort for the next week so you can look up some fabulous Christmas ideas.

Around here we make most of our gifts or use "experience" based gifts like classes and such. I will definitely be using a lot of what is on the handmade list! Hope you find them helpful and thanks for your patience with the lack of christmas crafting photos as per yet.... HEY! It's still November people! I know, I know... the early bird and all that. OK! I'm on it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today's French Lesson...

Internet issues yesterday. Sorry for the lack of post. So I thought I would throw up something quick, but seriously adorable. I hear all the time how fascinating (yet completely incomprehensible) the French language is to people south of the border :) so I thought I would share a little "lesson" with you today in the form of a sweet, wide eyed story about a "tremendously very bad mammoth" and a suicidal hippo. You don't have to understand a word, it's helpfully translated for you :)

I am off to make a bunch of goodies for the first slew of craft fairs and art shows of the Christmas season. I shall tote my camera and hopefully produce images worthy of your time tomorrow :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gatherings Joins Lonny and Rue In The New World Of E

Quite some time ago there was a big commotion over the launch of the online mag, Rue as being the "new" competition for Lonny (which launched in October of '09). I love the idea of web based e-zines because I am an eco girl at heart (no trees hurt in the making of), and also they are so much more accessible... although shelter glossies are my major vice. And movie popcorn. Those two things top my weakness charts. Thoroughly evil, I know. Good thing there are not many good movies these days. But I digress... I tend to think of it as culling, as there were so many magazines on the shelves it was a little much at one point. In the period of one year, nearly every magazine I read just disappeared, leaving a huge gaping hole for those of us who eagerly anticipate a monthly dose of rugs, wallpaper samples and pretty vignettes of mirrors and seashells. (One of my male friends, while enduring my whining over coffee one day pointed out my "house porn" addiction. Since I can't have ten houses and unlimited funds to decorate said houses, I covet them through magazines, and it is an unhealthy addiction that literally covers bookshelves and piles around the sofa. Point taken.)

Rue Mag
 The news of last September's launch of Rue Magazine was good news for those of us who simply can't get enough of the eye candy provided by such compilations, and the endeavor, started by blogosphere diva Crystal Gentilello of Plush Palate and Anne Sage from one of my favourites, the City Sage has proven to be worth the wait. I think it would be fairly easy to garner attention during this period of mourning. It could be said that a team could make a half-hearted attempt at this and it would still fly... but these talented folk have seriously outdone themselves.

Gatherings eMagazine: interior by Annette Tatum
 Now, for the past few months I have been eagerly awaiting new issues of Gatherings. Strangely I haven't seen or heard much about it at all in media. I can't even remember how I happened upon it, always these voyages through cyberspace takes me on interesting paths and I can never seem to follow the breadcrumbs back. Either way, it is another feast for the aesthetically inclined eye that crosses the boundaries between interior design, gardens, food and pretty much anything... well, pretty. While the others sort of have that "mightier than the average home" feel of designers and stores trying to outdo each other on the "casually thrown together on an ample budget" scale, Gatherings is the type of read where you literally want to save it till you have a hot cuppa in hand and your scone perfectly prepared before you hit the browse button. It is warm and comforting and a bit more real... in kind of a dreamy sense. But real dreamy... you know what I mean?

Crochet Blossom Garland craft project
 Gatherings is only partly leaning toward my style. The creator, Heather Spriggs is an interior designer from Tennessee and we really obviously lead different lives and styles. Still, there is so much that appeals to the girl in me. It has that romantic vintage thing going on and  the photography is gorgeous. I am more inclined to drool over the recipes than to try making any of them. I really appreciate the look of most of the rooms, but it's not how I decorate my home. And yet, there is something very satisfying about how the publication is arranged and I adore the crafty look. I just think it is a really nice addition to the mix. I hope she expands a bit, as it is currently only a quarterly. I am excited though to see where the whole thing goes. Worth a look.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Honey Candles: A Green Candle Company

When we started planning our pink Dressing Up shoot awhile back, we tried to make sure that we pulled together as much in the way of eco product to display as possible. The gown was reLoved, the flowers from an eco florist, the tablescape was entirely vintage and the ingredients in the baked goods were organic and local. We also contacted a local company that makes the most gorgeous organic beeswax candles in existence.

Many people don't realize exactly how toxic regular paraffin candles are, both in how they are made and what comes off of them when you burn them (read: what you are breathing in!). Honey Candles is a small (14 employees in busy season) company based in Kaslo, BC that specializes in all things good about candles... from the way they are produced to the unbelievably fabulous way they smell! They also debunk all the myths about how beeswax comes in only... ummm... beeswax colour. They have pretty much perfected the filtering process (they filter their own) and use natural dyes that allow them a range of vibrant colours (including blue!) as well as white, like the gorgeous tapers used in the Pink shoot.

In addition to the heavenly natural scent of the beeswax (I kid you not, I may just carry a candle around with me from here on in and smell it once in awhile to put myself in my happy place, it's that good) they offer gorgeous scents such as Lavender, Mulled Spice, Evening Bloom and Rosemary Mint.

While the company says that 90% of their business is wholesale, and they are growing all the time, they are more than happy to accomodate weddings and you can shop for candles for your home on their website. There you will find pillars, tapers, tealights and even church and birthday candles. Their selection also includes really nifty "shaped" candles (see above photo) that would be super pretty for an autumn or Yuletime wedding. Their website is a great wealth of information on the eco aspects of beeswax, and what the company does to contribute to helping with the decline of honeybees.

I have been burning the pillar from the All Soul's shoot for... oh... well, forever now. The burn time is incredible, and did I mention the scent? If you are looking for favours that live up to your green wedding standards, a gorgeous gift for your vendors and/or candles as part of your decor, Honey Candles is more than worth a look!

PS... This is NOT a paid post :) Just a heck of a good find!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alternative Embroidery

From Urban Threads
 Possibly you don't know that I embroider things. I do. Weeeelllll... I have a machine that embroiders things. I did actually take up cross stitch when I was about twelve... for maybe a week. I think I got half a flower done. Which may explain why I have the utmost regard for people who have the patience for it. I really REALLY like the look of it, especially in places that may not be the most obvious spot to find it :)

I'd pretty much kill for anything in Christopher Kane's embroidered leather collection.

Via Green Wedding Shoes
These invites used an actual embroidered on paper master that was then scanned and used to create a unique set of invitations. It would be lovely to do embroidery on paper... for a wedding though, that's a lot of work. You would need minions.  I could use some minions...

Sigh... Back to the machine... I am off to do another quilt :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Thoughts: Working Together is Awesome

Awhile ago I finished up a couple of very lengthy and head-banging-up-against-the-proverbial-wall frustrating photo shoots for the other blog. I started with the ideas ages ago, and it was a one thing after another situation where I was trying to make things work the way I wanted them to without the proper resources. I can be difficult that way :) I live in a small town where time moves very slowly and people's priorities are very different than those living in the rat race (read we don't stress the small stuff as much). Normally this is so not an issue for me. But when I try to take the thing that I used to do as a city girl and translate it to the "today me" there are some funny things that come up. Like, say, impatience. I realized that what I needed was a good team.

Heather's eldest daughter, Skye

It happened in a very haphazard and organic way but I found a group that consisted of a few brilliant vendors and a few general keeners. Good balance. The photographer Heather, is pulling together pieces of her portfolio that are outside her comfort zone, and could have been a disaster to work with. She is really sweet and lovely on a day to day basis, but those can sometimes be the people who come out of their nice and into their nasty when you try to work together on unfamiliar territory.  Turns out that not only is she brilliant, but that her daughters all make great models as well :)

The goodie makers are a British couple, Becca and Stephen, who had their mother (in law) staying with them for two weeks from the UK and the first (pink) photo shoot was literally the last day of her visit, so... well... yeah. Tension. But the making of gorgeous and incredibly yummy confections turned out to be therapeutic maybe, because they came through with flying colours... pink, white and red to be exact :) They also helped set a gorgeous table and save my precious belongings when the sky opened up and poured rain down on all of the antique and vintage treasures. (Thank you for carrying the mirror, Stephen!)

the pink shoot
the all soul's shoot

The florist I had never met in person, face to face. She and I have used Facebook (of course) to hash out details and I have never done such good business with somebody that way before. This girl is uber talented and a total sweetheart! When I say talented, I mean the conversation for the second shoot went a bit like this. "I am thinking of doing a kind of goth but not creepy photoshoot of a wedding, but not a real wedding that will be mostly shot in the graveyard AND my garden, and it may be gray and red, or purple and ivory... or both... can you do flowers for that?" And she came up with exactly the perfect thing.

The models were one of those "laugh later" situations. It took me forever to decide on the perfect bride for the first shoot, who then disappeared the day before without a trace (she moved house and couldn't contact us without phone or internet we found out later) so we nixed the bride entirely... which kind of makes the tie in with a wedding blog... er... difficult. When I couldn't get hold of her for her dress fitting, I panicked.

Again, enter Facebook. A woman my mother works with sent me a friend request while I was trolling through my list of people trying to find a replacement. I remembered seeing her with her daughters at the library and asked if she thought they might want to model... They loved the idea, but being eleven at night, it seemed a bit far fetched to start dress fittings in the morning when we were supposed to be doing setup. So they became models for the second shoot...

The pink (still brideless) shoot was all on schedule. The morning of, I called to confirm the wee models... and their mother had been called into work. Ugh. Two of the girls were the photographer's daughters, so I knew we had at least two, but two does not a fabulous tea party make. We went to our location with fingers crossed that the backups we had called in would show up. Somehow, not only did Kate (the mom of the original four girls) show up with her sweet brood of angels, but she also stepped in to be the bride! And what a gorgeous bride she turned out to be :)

There were other small trials (super last minute change of local, major thunderstorm, etc.), well, not so small... but I think this list pretty much describes what I am getting at here. The bottom line is that despite all the drama, stress and eye-rolling, we are ALL happy... more than happy... with how all of the photos turned out. More than that though, the experience of both (well, all three in truth) shoots were all in all positive experiences for everyone involved. Even for the girls that had to spend "an eternity" out in the rain laying on gravestones at dusk in the cold... we all got more out of it than we expected and are all such suckers for punishment that we are willing to do it again. Which means that there may have even been an element of fun in some of it, right? We have found a team that works well together, and asking people who wouldn't necessarily be the first people you would think of, for help... we have all discovered some great raw talent. It has been a great experience for me to realize that sometimes all you have to do is dig a wee bit deeper to find what you are looking for!

If you are interested in how everything turned out and haven't seen them yet, the shoots are here :)
Playing Dressup... (the PINK wee lasses shoot)
After Playing Dressup (the PINK bride shoot)
Not Quite Goth (All Soul's Engagement)
Not Quite Goth (All Soul's Wedding)