Today on Etsy - January 31, 2013

Wow! Where did the first month of 2013 go? It's already the end of January. Which means it's that much closer to spring. In the meantime, look at these fun repurposed canning jars from BeachBlues.

Lovely for a spring table, a side table, and entrance way.

Tip of the Hat

The other day I stepped into an elevator. Inside was a gentleman who I suppose was in his early seventies. I say he’s a gentleman because upon my entering the elevator, he promptly removed his hat. And I have to admit that up until that moment, I was having a Bad Monday. Capital B. Capital M.

But when this man removed his hat at my presence, I couldn’t help but smile. I had been acknowledged (presumably as a lady); and it made me lift my chin higher and walk a bit more lightly. And maybe that’s the point.

Why don’t we wear hats anymore? I know men still do (and I’m not talking baseball caps or knitting caps). Think of the ranch hand tipping his Stetson with the anticipated “Ma’am”; or the octogenarians playing chess in the park. But what about us ladies? How many women do you know who routinely wear nice hats? I mean personally know. The Queen doesn’t count.
Remember those funny looking headpieces worn at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? They are called fascinators for a reason. Love them or hate them, people were  in one way or another …”fascinated” with them. And they needed to be a bit extreme to capture their youth and whimsy. It wouldn’t work for the young princesses to wear the same style of hat that the Queen wears; they would come off looking old and frumpy. Although, the hats that the Queen wears give her a bit of youth and often add a touch of fun to her ensembles.

Sometimes the hat does make the man (or in this case, woman).
I love hats, and have several that I wear. In downtown Vancouver. For no reason. And when you think about it, you’re really wearing the hat for the people around you. I mean, you don’t see it while you’re wearing it. But each time I do wear one, at least one person will stop me and say “oh, what a lovely hat!” Which makes me to smile.

Which is reason enough for me.

Today on Etsy - January 26, 2013

I’ve been ordering button sets from mariiam for a couple years now. I like how the buttons are all a little different, but all matchy-matchy. This makes them great for craft projects such as card making, scrap booking, button flowers, pillow accents …..the list could go on and on.

Shown here is an example of the Valentine mix. There are two size options to choose from: small-medium or medium large. I usually choose two sets in the medium large and one in the small medium so that I have a nice mix of sizes in the same colour range.
The Valentine mix would be perfect for making class cards for Valentine’s Day. An idea is to have your child draw some flower petals and then glue the buttons in the centers. Or cut out some simple hearts and glue the buttons on for decoration, and then write “Cute as a Button”.

Trust me…kids+ buttons+glue=magic.*

*As with all craft projects that involve small children with scissors and small objects, supervision is strongly advised to ensure the safety the child. Ingestion of glue, buttons, glitter or other equally appealing craft supplies is/are not recommended. These items are non-digestible and from experience, a child that eats sparkles will in fact poop sparkles. And buttons. And Lego blocks. Just saying.

Today on Etsy - January 24, 2013

Soft pink and dove grey? Yes please! What a charming and fun bracelet from KIMMSMITH.

Wear it with black, wear it with white. Or navy blue. Or chocolate brown.

Wear it with jeans or with a cocktail dress. And so pretty with a soft grey suit set or blazer.
Would make a great Valentine's gift for a mother or daughter; or if a guy is a little squimish about giving something red or too fancy-smancy to the lady in his life because she hasn't been in it all that long. (You know what I mean, that awkward "We've only been dating a month....what do I give her?" situation).

There are several other colours to choose from, and lots of options for brides, bridesmaids, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, for prom, for the spring formal dance.....or simply just because.

Today on Etsy - January 23, 2013

One of the best things on the internet beside those LOL cats? PDF patterns. Just look at this pretty bolero style shrug. The pattern comes from BernioliesDesigns.

The nice thing about a PDF pattern is that it usually comes to your email Inbox within 24 hours, there is no shipping cost, and you can access it any time or re-print it as need be.
And of course with a pattern, you can make your project any colour you choose. Add beads, sequins or buttons. Thread a ribbon through the lacework of the sleeves and neckline.
In other words, make it your own. Make it work.

Promote What You Love

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

In life one lesson that we must all be willing to learn is how to focus our energy on the things that we love instead of focusing our energy on the things that we know will never be a part of us.

Instead of talking badly about others, speaking down on situations that are unbecoming, and just being negative overall, we must commit to acting on the positive things in life that we have interest in.

Spending time focusing on negative aspects in life will only lead us closer to destruction, while spending our time and efforts devoted to acting and living positively will only lead to helping construct a better life for ourselves, and the people around us who are able to inspire as well.

So make efforts to promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate, life is too short to do anything but spread love.

Brunch at Yew

Ah…Sunday Funday!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining a friend I hadn’t seen in way too long for brunch. Initially, it was to be a whole gaggle of gals, but because of a nasty flu bug that’s going around and last minute cancellations, it ended up being just the two of us. Which was just as nice. It gave us a chance to catch up that we otherwise might not have had with a whole group.

I have several favourite places for brunching. This time, I chose Yew in the Four Season Hotel. It’s a beautiful room; open, full of light, interesting architectural features and lots of wood accents. We sat in a cozy booth for two, which was not butted directly up against the wall. Instead, there was a 12 inch wide wood “shelf” between the table and the backlit wall, perfect for hand bags and coats. No putting the purse on the floor or on another chair. It’s great when restaurant designers think of the comfort of the guest and combine it with function.

Yew does a 3 course brunch for $29.00. Essentially, you choose a starter, a main course and a dessert. I chose Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes to start, followed by a Goat Cheese and Chive Omelet and finishing with a Brulee Duo. My friend chose a Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad, a BLT Eggs Benedict and the Chocolate Explosion to end.

Instead of standard bread that arrives after ordering, we received little sugared mini donuts with a mixed berry mango dipping sauce. Warm doughnuts? For brunch? I’m in!
Yew also offers all their bottles of wine at 50% off on Sundays. Like I said….Sunday Funday! With just the two of us, we decided to skip on ordering a bottle and save that for when we’re able to have the whole gang. Instead, I had a peach bellini. Not the slushy, overtly sweet kind but the traditional, muddled peach nectar and champagne kind.

And so we enjoyed a nice leisurely two hour brunch catching up and chatting about life and its many twists and turns. Our jobs, our homes, our projects. Bad boyfriends. Family. Afterwards, it was off to Holt Renfrew for some post-brunch shopping.  We oogled over Chanel and Prada, decided that at 60% off, $7995.00 was still too much to pay for a blazer jacket; and then said our goodbyes, with the promise “let’s do this again soon”.

Dinner with Friends = Family Dinner

My girlfriend and I decided we needed to have a dinner party. Well, in truth, she had bottled wine with her roommate and it was time for the wine to be consumed. Not all 30 bottles mind you, but a healthy amount.

So Friday night we rounded up some friends. Or rather, SHE rounded up some friends while I sat at the bar drinking a martini while I waited. Then we were off to T&T market to find “provisions”. The girls in the group wanted to do salmon. But it’s January, so fresh salmon is not exactly plentiful.  Nor is asparagus. While they contemplated the fish in the display case, I took off to find the rest of the meal. Fresh green salad with sugar peas, mandarin sections and apple with a sesame oil red wine vinaigrette, steamed broccoli with lemon juice, yams baked in brown sugar and orange juice. When I found the group again, they had settled on chicken with coconut. Which meant a hunt for panko crumbs. Also picked up some gyoza to start, and some aloe vera juice and papayas to make muddled fruit vodka cocktails. Quick stop at the liquor store for the vodka and we set off for home.

I will say I definitely learnt the pros and cons of six people trying to prepare dinner in a tiny apartment with an uber tiny kitchen space; while you might think the work would go faster because of all those extra hands in truth it took much longer….mainly because we needed to take dance breaks and refill the beverages.

Divide the group into teams of two. Understand that not everyone is comfortable with a knife or knows to remove the seeds before juicing citrus. Know when enough is enough. Relax, have fun…it’s just food.
After a bit of prep work, a few fruity beverages and much laughter later, we sat down to a beautiful dinner with candles and the promised wine.

Today on Etsy - January 14, 2013

Somebody once gave me a card that read, “I love you like vintage loves lace”. Which is pretty à propos, because I love lace. Not the stretchy cheap stuff you find tacked onto panties and tank tops at Walmart, but the real good stuff. Alençon lace, Venice lace, lace from Spain used to make elegant mantillas.

I’ve been researching lace for my upcoming design projects. I’ve decided on Alençon lace or point d'Alençon for several reasons. Alençon lace is has a raised, slightly corded edge to it. This makes it easier to work with for couture designs, where the lace is hand appliqued to the garment. It can be cut to suit the design of the garment, since there is an easily defined pattern repeat. It doesn’t fray as readily. It is often embroidered or beaded, so I don’t have to spend the extra time or money to do this. And it definitely has that vintage lace feel.

Here is a picture of the pieces I've bought from MaryNot Martha to use for my fianl designs / runway presentation. Great selection of all kinds of lace, trims, feathers and millinery accessories. Super prices, fast shipping and based in sunny Pasadena....not overseas. I've bougt from this Etsy seller a couple of times and have always been happy when the package arrives.

The trouble is choosing which pieces I like without spending the bank. Self control and I don't always see eye to eye when it comes to things like lace and buttons.

Today on Etsy - January 04, 2013

So many pretty things, so many credit card statements arriving from the holidays ....

Today's find on Etsy is from bedbuggs. Now normally bed bugs are not a good thing. But these lovely whimsical pillow covers brought a smile to my face.

I am in the process of decorating a friend's apartment. He is out of town a whole bunch, so he essentially gave me a colour scheme and an idea of his taste and is letting me run with it. He does a lot of charity work for American Breast Cancer Society, so pink definitely has to feature in the decor. I have my eye on a couple hot pink and white ones for the white Italian leather sofa.

The pale blue and white one shown here would be great for my living room.

Next pay check.

Today on Etsy - January 01, 2013

Yes, it is the first day of a new year. And in keeping with the goal of moving forward and focusing on creativity and my designing....I present you with some fabrics from FabricMart.

There are so many things I would want to make with these fabrics. I'm in the process of designing five looks for my final school project. Not five garments, but five looks. Each look will have two or three pieces. For example, instead of just a dress, there is a dress with a jacket. Another look is a pair of pants with a top with a bolero. Yes, I am designing a bolero.

In total, I will have 16 pieces to make up my five looks. By the end of June. I know, it's a bit daunting. But outside of my full time day job, it's my focus.

Back to the fabrics.

These all are in my colour palette for Pre-Fall 2014. These particular fabrics will work well for the dress and the lining of the jacket. I hope to post sketches soon.

It's going to be hard to choose