One Gift from Me to You

Thanks for bearing with me through these 12 days of Christmas. I honestly can't believe I reached number one in time! So, my gift to you is the gift of music! Here are 100 of my favourite Christmas songs in one convenient playlist for to download and listen to on Christmas day! Click on the link below, save, unzip and enjoy! It's 450 mb, so be prepared for a short wait, but it's worth it. There are some golden oldies, but there are also guaranteed to be some that you have never heard before. Let me know what you think and anything you recommend I add to my list for next year. [Sorry, folks. You snooze you lose. This is no longer availabe for download.]

Thank you so much for a fantastic year and I look forward to everything to come in the new year... after a much deserved break, of course. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2011!

Love, Edna xo

2 Tasty Teas

Everyone that reads this blog should know by now that I love tea. Here are two of my favourites that are only available around the holidays: Gingerbread Spice and Candy Cane Lane, by Celestial Seasonings. Great last-minute stocking stuffers or extra little something to give along with your homebaking.

A tasty blend of ginger, cinammon and other roasted spices that will remind you of a cosy kitchen filled with the aromas of gingerbread baking.

Sooth your tummy after a big Christmas dinner with this special green tea mixed with cool peppermint, creamy vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. It honestly tastes like candy canes!

There's a bit of a back story behind these teas. I randomly discovered the Gingerbread Spice in a Walmart years ago and loved it instantly. I shared it with Carla and she loved it as well. We quickly drained my box and then, horror of horrors, we couldn't find it anywhere! Carla discovered it in a drug store in Edmonton and mailed me 3 boxes. That's how great this tea is! Now that Carla is living back in Ontario, we were worried our stash would never be restocked again and our holidays would forever be ruined. Lukily, we discovered the entire range of holiday teas at Bulk Barn and Denningers! Hallelujah! Christmas is saved!

3 Wise Wines

Say that three times fast! After 3 bottles of wine! Ha!

For some, alcohol is the only thing that will get them through certain holiday parties this year. Whether or not this is the case, you may as well bring along a bottle you will enjoy. Here are three of my favourites. They are all under $20, available at the LCBO and make excellent gifts. Cheers!

    Wayne Gretzky Riesling

      Rieslings are the go-to white wine in Ontario, they're
      always good, but the Gretzky is pretty exceptional.
      The sweet and fruity notes pair well with gingerbread
      men and sugar plums.

Ravenswood Zinfandel
$15.95 (on sale!)

The Santa Claus of the reds, this is the biggest
and boldest grape around. Leave out a glass of
this and you may get a little extra something in
your stocking.


A surprisingly full-bodied red from Ontario. Baco is pretty
much the only non-blend we'll buy from Niagara and this
one is top notch. Pairs well with my marbled candy-cane
bark and washes down Grandma's fruit cake.

Honourable Mentions

I should mention that two of my absolute favourites couldn't be included because they're currently unavailable (tear).

Ridge Road 2007 Baco Noir (2008 available early 2011): Mikey and I frequently premise our visits to Ontario wineries with the bold statement "We don't think Ontario makes good red wine". Often this is followed by equally as bold attempts to persuade us otherwise. The folks at Ridge Road succeeded with this one. I highly recommend stopping by next time you're in the Stoney Creek area; the tasting room is cosy, the staff are friendly and all of their wines are delicious. 

Stoney Ridge 2005 Chardonnay: We discovered this on one of our first wine tasting trips in Jordan and fell deeply in love, with both the wine and the area. This is a great white for winter, as it is aged in oak and therefore has a rich, buttery taste to it. I'm worried they are sold out completely now. There may be tears. I wonder if this one will compare. Only one way to find out.

4 Unique Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

Recently I read about someone who thought wrapping was a complete waste. I disagree. A beautifully wrapped present stirs up more excitement and anticipation than a shopping bag ever could. It can show originality, personality and thought... when you think about it. Yes, wrapping paper gets ripped off in 5 seconds and then sits in a landfill for 50 years. But, if you put your thinking cap on, there are many ways you can reuse items from around the house to dress up your gifts and in some cases give the recipient a little extra to take home. Here are some nifty ideas I've picked up from around the web.

Another great use for old Christmas cards and so easy! Cut them into rectangles, punch a couple holes and string some spare yarn or ribbon through. Done. Don't throw away that extra couple inches of wrapping paper either - punch out some circles, string through some more yard and you have really cute garland-style gift toppers. The vintage brooches are my favourite though. An elegant gift fit for a lady! There are 3 more amazing ideas where I found this one using greenery, buttons, and ornaments.

Just like my old Christmas cards, I knew there was a reason I was holding on to piles of extra fabric bits and pieces! They can be easily and quickly sewn into reusable gift bags and ribbon! Fabric bags are great for hard-to-wrap items or add a personal touch to a simple bottle of wine. And the ribbon is adorable! I can't wait to try it! Thank you Jenny and Design Sponge.

I love, love, love these tags! Sweet Paul suggests photocopying old photographs of the people you're actually giving the gift to. While this is super sweet and personal, photocopying is not so eco-friendly. I suggest going to an antique shop and buying up a bunch of old photographs - every store seems to have a box of them - and make the tags out of them. They look really cool hanging on the tree as well! 
I don't know about you, but I always feel guilty throwing out those crisp paper bags you get from retail stores. I end up stashing them under my sink until I can't close the cupboard door anymore! Why not cut them open and use them as gift wrap? Extra points for stamping. Any idea how Martha got the pine cone look shown on the little brown and white one?

Now, can you guess what the gifts on the right are wrapped with? Potato-chip bags! Who knew chip bags could look so beautiful! Caution: this does not give you permission to eat all the chips in your house in order to get to the bag. Haha!

Happy wrapping!

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Holiday Look

Happy holidays! It’s De Facto Redhead, back for another Dear Edna guest spot, and this time, as part of her “12 Days of Christmas,” I am writing about what to do to spice up your look for the ubiquitous holiday party. I am Day 5 of 12, but instead of a plain gold ring, let’s instead consider a gold, silver, pewter, bronze, and bejewelled ring that will give everyone a splitting headache as soon as they look at it. Obviously, the idea behind this year’s party pizzazz is big, notice me, and big. Case in point: in the Winter 2011 Fashion, each woman on the contributors page was asked, “How do you accessorize for a holiday party?” Snippets from their answers: “Anything over the top, so what better time to break out a wild piece of costume jewellery or skyscraping heels?”; “ I am very faithful to my jewels.”; and “A pair of Bally python silver sandals…Sergio Rossi peep-toe Mary Janes with shiny gold heels, beige ankle straps and orange suede toes.”

In other words: “What up, party?! It’s me, your accessories, and I’m killing it!”

Taking a cue from accessories who talk and who try to upstage me, here are five items I would be naughty for this Christmas:

Christian Louboutin, Pigalili 120 mm shoes

These are a complete fantasy, and I’m fairly certain I will NEVER own them (um, they’re $3,545). I probably wouldn’t even pay for the knockoff version at Aldo, and would end up with a sorry reproduction from Spring, but when I saw these Louboutins, all my teeth fell out.

Black birdcage hat by PetalAndThorn, $123.25

I love this hat! Beware of its sexiness, and its penchant for dark places where people are smoking.

Titanium quartz cluster ring by wildspirit, $34.00

Black dress, black stilettos, smoky eyes, and this ring. OMG LOL OMG LOL.

Reclaimed necklace by ecoblingcouture, $128.00

OK, forget the ring, and just focus on this necklace instead. I would love to wear this backwards. Santa Baby!

Vintage kimono clutch by kaleidoscopebyerin, $60.00

Caw! Caw! The bird gives this clutch a special holiday feel, and paired with a festive green dress, I think you would have yourself a winning combo.

I solemnly wish you well in going for the glitz. Merry Christmas!!

6 Christmas Crafts

I'm already drafting my list of new years resolutions in my head and preparing in advance for Christmas next year is definitely one of them. If I had more time, I would have loved to try out these DIY holiday projects that I've collected over the last month or so! If you're one of the lucky ones that has all their shopping, wrapping, baking and cleaning done, congratulations (she says with jealously). Perhaps you'd like to give these a try... then gift them to me! Ha!

How amazing is this? This balsa wood mini tree via Design Sponge looks like it would require some heavy duty tools, doesn't it? Apparently this magical material can be cut with scissors and manipulated like paper but is still strong enough to hold ornaments! A great alternative for people who live in small spaces or even just as another decoration around the house. Full instructions and templates can be found here.

Do you collect the Christmas cards you receive every year but have no idea why? Martha Stewart has your answer: to make gorgeous ornaments! I really want to try this one. Instructions here.

This is one of those simple ideas that makes you say "why didn't I think of that?" A simple sugar cookie recipe with melted sugar used to fasten the string and Santa images. A unique twist on giving cookies as gifts and a folksy look for your tree. Thank you Sweet Paul. I also love Sweet Paul's candle cosy.

Every year I promise to make a tree skirt and every year I get too busy with other things and settle for wrapping some fabric around the base of my Christmas tree, Charlie Brown style. Maybe I'll get around to it between Christmas and New Years. Having these simple instructions via Design Sponge will definitely help.


I am always drawn to vintage tins when I am in an antique shop, but I can never justify bringing them home, as I can never think of how I would use them and I simply don't have the cupboard space for piles of unused tins! Renee Elliot was much more inspired and turned a bunch of tins into adorable candles! She assures us it's very simple in her instructions here.

Oh, if only I learned to crochet this year like I said I was going to. I so badly want to be able to make things like this! They could be used in so many ways at Christmas time: ornaments, gift tags, handkerchiefs. Next year... next year... (I seem to be putting a lot of pressure on next year, aren't I?) In lieu of crochet skills, I've given you an extra craft, the traditional paper snowflake. You know you loved making them when you were a kid. Surely as adults we could make even more beautiful designs. And don't they look great hanging from the ceiling as they are styled here? Crochet instructions here. Snowflake instructions here.

7 Holiday Recipes

Now that my sewing and shopping are mostly out of the way, I can finally get to enjoying another of my favourite Christmas activities - baking! Here are some of my favourite recipes: some have been passed down through my family for generations, some I'm trying for the first time, and some don't require any baking at all! Have fun and try not to peck too much as you go!

1. Cherry Surprises
I've loved these since I was a kid. My mom always used red and green candied maraschino cherries and the surprise was always which colour you were gonna get.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup fine coconut
maraschino cherries (drained well)
graham cracker crumbs

Mix butter sugar and coconut.
Scoop out mixture with a spoon and place in palm.
Cover cherry with mixture (just enough so that it doesn't show through).
Roll ball in graham cracker crumbs.

2. Whipped Shortbread
This is my grandmother's recipe. It's guaranteed the lightest shortbread you've ever tasted. It melts in your mouth. I made this for my French class last year - lucky for you it's written in English this time.

1 lb butter (softened)
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together icing sugar, cornstarch and flour.
Beat butter until really soft.
Gradually mix dry ingredients with butter and vanilla and beat until consistency of whipped cream. This takes a lot of beating - don't get lazy!
Roll in ball or drop from a teaspoon onto a cookie sheet.
Decorate if wished with small bits of cherries or sprinkles.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. PEI Sugar Cookies
I haven't made these myself, but I've tasted them, and they're yummmy! I recently bought myself a new rolling pin and set of Christmas cookie cutters, so I think this recipe will be their inaugural use. Thanks for the recipe Carla!

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Place bowl in fridge for about 15-20 minutes to chill the dough to make it easier to work with. Place cookie cutters in fridge as well, as this will help (marginally) in battling against the sticky dough. Preheat oven to 375 C. Cover cookie-cutting surface, rolling pin, cookie sheet and hands with flour (you are going to need a lot of flour for this part – the dough is REALLY sticky and lots of flour is pretty much the only way to combat this unfortunate side-effect). Roll out dough to about 1/3-inch-ish thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before cutting it through the dough. Go to town cookie-cutting – but remember, keep your hands and the rolling pin coated in flour or else the PEI Cookies might not get baked at all and the dough will just end up in the trash in an act of extreme frustration. Bake for about 10 minutes. As cookies are baked, spread them out on wax paper.

When all the cookies are cool, you’re ready to ice them. Take about a teaspoon each of shortening and soft margarine and mix together in small mixing bowl. Add milk and icing sugar until consistency is that of icing (you will use much more icing sugar than milk). Add small amount of almond flavouring.

Place desired amount of icing on cookies and then decorate with sprinkles. When finished, I dare you to eat less than five. It’ll be harder than you think.

4. Cinnamon Roll Cookies
I haven't tried this recipe yet either, but it was immediately torn from Food & Drink magazine and has been patiently waiting to be baked for a couple years now. I think this is the year to finally give them a try. They sound so delicious!

2 cups and 4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plus 2 bsp unsalted butter, bool but not cold, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. whipping cream

1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For cookie dough, pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a rough crumbly texture.
Keep blending until dough shapes into a ball.
Divide into 2 pieces, wrap and set aside while preparing filling (do not refridgerate).
For filling, stir all ingredients together.
On a lightly floured work surface, rool out one piece of dought into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle.
Spread half of filling evenly over rectangle.
Roll up cookies dough int he stle of cinnamon rolls, fromt he long side.
Repeat with second piece of dough, wrap each and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350.
Slice cookie rolls in 1/4-inch slices and lay an inch apart on baking tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies barely start to turn golden.

5. Cookie Fudge
Possibly the easiest fudge recipe ever. I believe I snagged this one from Kraft Canada.

1 package (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
10 orea cookies, chopped

Microwave chocolate and milk in large bowl on medium for 2-3 minutes or until almost melted, stirring each minute. [If you don't have a microwave, like me, set up a double boiler on the stove by placing a bowl over a boiling pot of water.]
Add vanilla, mix well and stir in cookies.
Line an 8" square pan with foil or parchment paper.
Spread mixture in pan.
Refridgerate for 2 hrs or until firm.
Pull out hardened fudge using foil and cut into bite-size squares.

6. Marbled Candy-Cane Bark
My cousin Connor's favourite and my mom whips up a batch just for him every year. Isn't he special?

Two cups each of white chocolate and milk chocolate wafers (bulk)
Melt each (using double boiler or in microwave).
Pour about 3 or 4 thick strips down a cookie sheet alternating chocolate and white chocolate.
Sprinkle with crushed candy-cane and dried cranberries (and nuts, if you wish).
Swirl knife through to make marble pattern.
Refrigerate until hardened and then break into pieces.

7. Mulled Wine
Ok, this clearly isn't a baked good, but I had to throw it in here because Mike and I tried it just last week and loved it so much we drank the entire batch in one night! Don't judge. It makes the house smell extra festive and no doubt having a pot brewing next to you while you bake could make being in the kitchen for hours on end a little more bearable. You can easily modify this recipe to taste. We combined a version from Chatelaine and House & Home magazines because we prefer more spice.

1 bottle (750 mL) of fruity red wine
500-750mL fruit juice (grape, blackcurrant or mixed)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (depending on sweetness of wine and juice)
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 long strip of orange or clementine peel

Mix wine and fruit juice in large saucepan.
Heat through, but be careful not to boil.
Add sugar, spices and orange peel.
Stir until sugar has melted.
Let steep on low heat for at least 10 minutes.
Strain and serve warm.

8 Places to Shop in Hamilton

We're less than a week away from Christmas now - are you panicking yet? I am. I had a moment last week where I was up until 4am, mind reeling with to-dos!

If you still have some last-minute shopping to do and are finding that most online shops can no longer guarantee delivery for Dec. 25th, have no fear - you don't have to brave the overcrowded malls just yet.

Local independent shops and boutiques can fill the gaps in your list with unique, personal gifts. We spend so much over the holidays, wouldn't you rather put your money back into your community than a big box store?

If you live in the Hamilton area, here are some of my favourite places to shop for gifts.

1. White Elephant / 133 James St. N. / I've mentioned many times in this blog and in person, that this is my absolute favourite store in Hamilton, and not just because they kindly sell some Dear Edna items. This store is so full of one-of-a-kind handmade goodies and vintage treasures, you won't know where to look first. And, if you're like me, you will like so much that you won't be able to decide either!

2. Mixed Media / 154 James St. N./ This is Hamilton's only independent art shop and so naturally they specialize in art and printmaking supplies, but I go there for the locally made gift items, greeting cards, books and magazines.

3. AGH Shop / 123 King St. W. / Take a little time to smell the holly. Browse the gallery, then grab a cup of coffee at the cafe and head into the gift shop. From jewellery and accessories to pottery and prints, you may be surprised at what you find here.

4. Lulu & Lavigne / 228 Locke St. S. / A fantastic little home decor store. A great choice for hostess gifts.

5. Pure / 174 Locke St. S. / Guys, want to know what women want? Everything in Pure.

6. Citizen Kid / 188 Locke St. S. / The go-to place for children's gifts, this toy store carries only "natural toys of quality, integrity, and lasting value ... with an emphasis on toys that are Canadian made, eco-friendly and fair-trade."

7. The Farmer's Market / 2 King St. W. / Do you have someone difficult to shop for on your list? Have you thought of putting together a gift basket of meats, cheeses and preserves? Everyone loves food and food chosen with their tastes in mind is even better! Choose locally produced goods for extra bonus points.

8. Ottawa St. / Antique shops are a fantastic source for gifts that are often overlooked and this street is packed with them. A first edition of their favourite book, a crystal perfume bottle, a diamond ring - put your thinking cap on and gift outside the box.

Image via stacey met a possum

9 Stocking Stuffers

Stockings have always been one of my most favourite parts of Christmas, both to buy for and to receive. All those little essentials, knick knacks and gags are one tiny thrill after the other. Here are some of my favourite things to stuff your socks this year for mom, dad and the kiddies.

(top to bottom, left to right)

1. i love etsy pinback button by indiepin

2. Vintage Coin Purse by iloveluci

3. Pecan Pie Lip Balm by LittleBatch

4. Animal Finger Puppets by AracneForKids:

5. Custom Rubber Stamp by Corrabelle

6. Lego Crayons by 123polkadotty

7. Whisker Wax by scodioli

8. Reusable Coffee Cup Sleeve by GoodMarvin

9. Chalkboard Labels by bradensgracewallart

10 Things on MY Wish List

Edna has been very fortunate to be filling orders like mad the last couple weeks. I've been sewing in every spare minute, sometimes into the wee hours. The bad news: my poor little blog has suffered. The good news: my holiday delivery deadlines have now passed, so things should get back to normal soon (fingers crossed).

You may have a few more days to shop online in other shops, so I'll throw you a couple more gift guides this week. Here's my personal wish list, chosen from my Etsy favourites. There were many more that I wanted to include (especially these cashmere undies!) but alas, I could only pick ten. I may have sugarplums dancing in my head to ever think that I would be gifted some of these items, but a girl can dream. Plus, there are plenty of affordable choices in that there list, too, I might add, many of which may very well be coming home to live with me, gift or no gift!

1. Francesca brooch by MANOLOjewellry: Brooches are one of my favourite accessories. I'm majorly in love with this one!

2. Fenia necklace by treeandkimball: Nervous about shipping this close to Christmas, last-minute shoppers can pick up a gorgeous one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery from treeandkimball at White Elephant in Hamilton.

3. Faux Bois Stoneware Vase by jadeflower: This is one of my most recent finds and I can already think of many uses for it. It's such a great mix of masculine and feminine. [update: this vase sold, but more will be available in the new year]

4. Felted Merino Wool Slippers by ing00te: I think I have a blood circulation problem, as my feet are frozen pretty much from October through May. Needless to say, my slippers are my best friend. But my pair are getting pretty ratty, so these would make a great gift for me! Merino is an amazing wool that breathes well, wicks sweat, and regulates body temperature. Perfectly suited to slippers, don't you think?

5. Porcelain and Platinum Fruit Bowl by isabellabramson: This is one of those luxury items I don't ever expect to own. I love everything Isabella makes. Maybe by the time I get married, Etsy will have a registry option and I can put her shop on it! In the meantime, I shall admire...

6. Vintage Bonechina Teacup Bracelets by StayGoldMaryRose: Aren't these cool? I think they're super unique and completely suited to me and my tea-loving ways.

7. Doily Coasters by uncommon: Duh.

8. Flower Garden Letterpress Calendar by 1canoe2: Everyone needs a calendar and I ain't got none. This would look pretty darn cute framed in my office.

9. Order Small Scrolls by rubyslounge: One day Mikey J mentioned how great a stag would look in this odd space going down our stairs, and I thought of these bucks by rubyslounge immediately. Now, of course, I can't get it out of my head and nothing else will do!

10. Margaret Stamp Set by PrettyTape: A girl can never have too many shoes... or stamps. Alas, my shoe collection is much larger than my stamps, and these would look just perfect on Dear Edna packaging!

11 Things on His Wish List

You can tell a lot about a person by their Christmas wish list. The gift guide today was all chosen by my boyfriend, Mikey J. Do you think he's a lover of all things grey, wooden, bicycle related, or printed with a stag? I'm super impressed with all of his picks. They're trendy, but still simple and classic enough to never go out of style. I hope you can find a few gifts in here for the men on your list as well!

1. Thomas Paul Octopus Throw via Velocity is 100% baby alpaca. You know what that means... a lot of cold baby alpacas somewhere. Haha! It also means something soft and warm to curl up in on those cold winter nights. It's reversible too and we all know how Edna feels about that functionality!

2. Knot Now Houndstooth Bow Tie hardly needs a description. It's classically perfect in every way.

3. Cable Knit Scarf by crochetbutterfly is handmade in Istanbul and is also made of a alpaca wool.

4. Bent Wood Basket will apparently strap down almost anything you throw on it. It could be entertaining to test out that theory! Five layers of wood veneer make this sturdy but still light as a feather.

5. All things Outlier:  The Pea Coat featured here and the merino hoodie are Mikey J's favourites at the moment, but honestly he'd be happy with anything by Outlier under the tree. I've never seen a man so excited by clothing. It is made with the urban bicyclist in mind, combining technical materials, innovative construction and stylish design to produce garments that allow you to bike to work and not arrive looking like you just ran a marathon.

6. Cardiff Grips via Linus Bikes would look so slick on a vintage bike. MJ also found a comparable product on Etsy by CarterFabrications.

7. Soma Retro Bike Light via Linus Bikes. Never has safety looked so good.

8. Scrimshaw Ivory Tie Bar by lindalyaden is etched and inked by hand in ivory. Google scrimshaw - it's an interesting art form.

9. Necktie with Deer by mailordervintage. It's vintage and the deer is stitched, not screenprinted. How cool is that? And this seller is from Hamilton. Double cool. [correction: the deer may or may not be printed, but it was not done by the seller]

10. Buck Sportula. Barbecuing in the snow will be so much more bearable with a buck in hand.

11. Swiss Army Bike Paniers by shmattson. Mikey J's had his eye on these for ages. They're made of 40-year-old Swiss army ammunition bags! They're currently sold out, but our fingers are optimistically crossed that shmattson will relist soon.

My wish list is coming tomorrow!

12 Ways to Deck the Halls

Ever since I can remember, the first weekend in December has traditionally been the time to throw on the Christmas carols, put up the tree and deck the halls. Perhaps this was a rule put in place by my parents to avoid constantly being nagged by us kids the day after Halloween, but I suspect this is the weekend most households officially kick off the holidays, get in the festive spirit, and hang the stockings with care. Later this evening I'll be doing just that myself. So I felt the need to kick off my 12 days of Christmas series with holiday decorations and ornaments all chosen from Etsy. I am seriously in love with a few of these pieces and wish I had seen them earlier in the season, particular that gorgeous advent calendar from Australia! It will be mine.

1. Arctic Express Bus Scroll from TransitDesign
2. Cross Stitched Folk Art Snowflake Ornament from CherieWheeler
3. Lasercut Holiday Ornaments from kleinlewicki
4. Teal Checkered Origami Star Ornament from Rigmarole
5. Vintage Trio of Deer from shavingkitsupplies 
6. One Sweet Linen Tree Ornament from allthingswhite
7. Ho Ho Ho Christmas Embroidery Hoop Garland from afabulousfete
8. Christmas Advent Calendar Kit from FreshFabricAustralia
9. Let it Snow Wood Coasters from OryxandCrakeDesign
10. Red and White Christmas Party Mini Bunting from BlueMoonStudios
11. White felted wool acorns from CityCrochet
12. Small Deer Trivet in blue felt from peppersprouts

12 Days of Christmas

I am a very indecisive person. Anyone that knows me, knows this and knows it well. When it comes to this blog, there are no exceptions. For the life of me, I could not decide what kind of gift guide to offer you this Christmas season. Facebook and twitter were no help. My means-well boyfriend suggested this was not a question that warranted a response. Ha! Thankfully, on December 1st I permitted myself to put out my newest holiday purchases and the tea towel above inspired me. For 12 days and 12 posts, I'm going to count down all things Christmas, including gift ideas, recipes, crafts, and more. Judging by my schedule lately, I very well could be continuing this series after the big day, but I'm going to try my best. As always, your suggestions are very welcome!

From the Workshop

Edna's been a busy little elf. Once the special holiday items were finished, it was on to the apron designs I've been working on literally for months. Remember when I received the fabric way back here? At each stage of the process I seemed to be interrupted by other projects, orders, and social events... but have no fear, they are finally finished. I have four brand spankin' new aprons and I'm super excited about them! I've been oohing and ahhing at every stage of their construction and declaring every single one my new favourite once they were finished. You can tell Mikey and I were pretty jazzed to be wearing them as well; as the pictures below show, we were often inspired to bust a move in our photo shoots. They're all available for purchase in the shop now. Get em while they're hot and before the Christmas shipping deadlines pass you by!

Fashion Finds: Playing Footsies

Hi there – De Facto Redhead here again for my last post of Dear Edna’s fall fashion preview. I suppose it’s not really a “preview” at the end of November, so let’s consider it a “refresher.” So far I’ve covered the lady-like silhouette, the military-inspired look, and the statement coat, but what of footwear? Personally, I have been coveting this fall’s/winter’s mega-sexy over-the-knee boots in all colours, styles, and heel heights, and I am just waiting to find a pair for the right price so I can pounce! Reow! Besides, the brown suede boots I have now are almost falling apart in the toes, and my mom has already warned me that if I dare wear them home at Christmastime, she will throw them in the garbage. She’s not joking—she did this to me last Christmas with a pair of ratty black boots that were in a similar decrepit condition. So, in the spirit of buying new footwear and appeasing moms everywhere, let’s take a look at this season’s most popular footwear styles.

I have kept my Fashion magazines these past couple months, so I could reference them when writing these posts for Dear Edna, and looking back, this fall’s hottest shoes run the gamut from oxfords, to wine-coloured shoes, to platform-based high heels, to wedges, to mukluk/shearling-adorned boots, to military-inspired boots, to utility boots, to pointy-toed low-heeled pumps, and I expect you to buy at least one pair in every style so you don’t end up looking like a hideous dowd. Yowza!

I’m joking, of course, and thankfully for your budget (and mine!), for the next few months, actual shoes often end up taking a backseat to the necessity of boots, boots, and more boots. Not that there’s anything wrong with a nicely discounted mid-winter shoe sale. Nope, nothing wrong with that at all.

Left to right: Aldo – lacy platform - $100; Spring – black with shearling tops - $99.99; Forever 21 – heeled utility booties – $35.80; Spring – Black flat studded ankle boot - $29.98; Aldo brown shearling - $180; Forever 21 – vintage brown oxfords – $24.80; Spring – grey over-the-knee with zippers - $59.98; Forever 21 – brown riding boots - $35.80; Aldo grey suede pump - $60.00; Spring – wine-coloured bootie - $54.98; Aldo – brown faux wedge – $85; Spring – Heeled grey studded bootie - $34.98

I’ll just say it plain – I want every pair of these shoes, and I am experiencing some major shoe envy right now. Santa? It’s me, Carla...

Stay tuned over here at Dear Edna for my December holiday-wear special. Sparkle, sparkle, Mr. Crow!

One month to Christmas!

Did you look at your calendar this morning and shudder? It's true. It's someway, somehow, the 25th of November. I can't believe it either! One month until Christmas, folks. The countdown is officially on!

If you're like me and prefer to avoid the craziness of the malls and big box stores as much as possible during the shopping frenzy, I'm going to shamelessly plug buying handmade. If personal, unique, eco-friendly and well-made gifts are priorities on your list this year, please consider shopping online on sites like Etsy, Big Cartel, and Supermarket, and locally at boutiques, craft shows and bazaars. Stay tuned for some of my gift guides to help you in your handmade search.

If you are considering shopping online, you better get a move on though, as shipping deadlines are looming. Please see below for Dear Edna's recommended purchasing dates.

Of course I welcome orders after these cut-off dates, but I can't guarantee they will arrive in time to make it under the tree. Ontario residents may have a little wiggle room, though.

I'm also tossing around the idea of gift certificates for those last-minute shoppers that miss the above deadlines. What do you think? Is that something you would be interested in? Maybe I should ask you on December 12th...

Happy shopping!

Image via PeppermintPinwheels

Holiday Goodies

Christmas is quite possibly my favourite time of the year. Baking, music, wrapping, decorations, and all in my favourite colour. For a season so close to my heart, I couldn't let it go by without a few special Dear Edna holiday items, so I've been a busy little elf the past couple weekends, sewing up some goodies. I may be biased, but they honestly make me smile and giddy with excitement for the holidays to begin! I hope they do for you too! Please visit the shop to see them in all their red and green glory.

Dear Edna for Sweet Trash

Over the last few weeks, I've been quietly working on Dear Edna's very first collaboration project. Do you remember me hinting about it here? I love how it has turned out and I've been dying to share! I've teamed up with the beautiful Elora vintage clothier Sweet Trash to produce classic totes from vintage fabrics. Here are the first three designs. What do you think? I'm kind of in love with the fisherman one! A great, eco-friendly gift for the vintage lover on your list. Available exclusively at Sweet Trash.

I had so much fun working with the "new" materials and I'm promised there is plenty where these came from, so stay tuned!

On a related note, last Friday, I zipped up to Elora to deliver the totes and to model in a Sweet Trash fashion show held at Drimmie Florist. It was a holiday glam theme and I surely felt glamourous strutting my stuff, particularly in this metallic green number. Dear Santa...

Fashion Finds: Coat your Wardrobe

It’s me, Carla from De Facto Redhead, back for Week 3 of 2010’s fall-fashion preview. As the weeks have gone by since my first guest blog for Dear Edna, I have been waiting for the weather to turn froid, and while the average overnight temperature has definitely dipped, it has not been even close to cold enough to break out my heavier winter coats. I actually just donated by go-to fancy winter coat, so I don’t really have an outerwear piece that I’m looking forward to sporting this season. Not that I want the coat I gave away, either – it was nine years old! I think I would have screamed if I had to wear it again this season. But on the other hand, I’m now left with an empty spot in my closet where my “statement coat” used to be.

This fall, a bona fide trend that’s all over the pages of every fashion magazine is the aforementioned statement coat. True, your makeup would probably sweat right off your face if you actually wore any of them right now (at least, in the Toronto area), but there’s no harm in doing your research early! My fantasy winter coat is definitely one made entirely of fur, but while I like furry abundance, pelt-shy people might like the smaller quantities of fur adornments that are also prominent this fall, i.e. collars, cuffs, etc. Some people, however, are not into fur, in any quantity, so other features to look for in a “statement coat” are high collars, bright colours, bold prints, big buttons, or long lengths with belted waists (this is a look I also covet, but am convinced I can’t get away with because of my petite height of 5’4”). Stumpy alert! Stumpy alert!

But no matter how much I want to flatter my stature with something svelte, I won’t be dishing out the, oh, $835 Fashion magazine’s Winter 2011 issue recommends spending on a 3.1. Philip Lim leather jacket…for a toddler. Wtf?

Left to right: You've Been Spotted, Modcloth, $69.99; Cottage in the Woods, Modcloth, $129.99;
Fox Fur, Danier, $299.99; Highest Bidder, Modcloth, $199.99; Fast All Hours Fur,  FCUK,  $298; The Aria, Modcloth, $174.99; Big City Blues in Red, Modcloth, $129.99; Cowel Neck Trench, BCBG, $418; First Snow of Season, Modcloth, $69.99; Impressing the Gals, Modcloth, $93.99
I would gladly wear any of the coats above, but I am oddly drawn to the Danier one with the fur collar and ribbed cuffs and hem. It seems tough, and I like it! But if, say, Mod Cloth, BCBG, or FCUK wants to comp me the other little fur-adorned numbers, they could rest assured I would strut the streets and do their coats justice. I’ll just sum up my need for one these coats by quoting an obscure moment in Saved By the Bell history (Season 3, Episode 10), courtesy of Jenny Richter, from the Malibu Sands Beach Club – “Oh, I want, I want, I want!!!”

Lest we forget...

Wear your poppy proudly today and take a moment out of your busy day to remember all that it stands for.

Meet Your Maker: Jenna Rose

I have no regrets about the education I received or the path that it took me on. However, I won't lie that I often have pangs of jealousy when I discover that the designers and makers I admire most were formally trained in a Fine Arts or Design degree. If I had time to do it all over again, I tell ya. But since I can't, I'm determined to turn that envy into inspiration and try to learn as much as I can.

Enter: Jenna Fenwick, founder of Jenna Rose. Jenna designs and screenprints fabric that she then creates beautiful accessories from in her a gorgeous Hamilton-based textile studio. Her peices have been featured in the top design blogs and magazines and are sold in numerous boutiques in both Canada and the US. She is basically living my dream and she inspires me more than I can say. So, when she agreed to take the time to answer some of my questions, I was over the moon! Enjoy!

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
I grew up in a family where art and sewing were a part of life. I sewed my own clothes in high school and worked in my mom’s quilt shop - it was inevitable that I would go on to work with textiles one day. I received a Bachelor of Find Arts Degree from NSCAD University in Halifax with a major in textiles and a minor in fashion. After graduating in 2006 I returned to Guelph and set up my studio in the top floor of my mom’s quilt shop and started producing my screenprinted fashion and home accessories full time. In the summer of 2008 I moved to a lovely studio surrounded by a vibrant artist community in Hamilton, Ontario.

The current Jenna Rose collection consists of hats, scarves, handbags, pillows, blankets, and storage bins and hampers. I illustrate each design by hand and screenprint all of the fabrics in house using non toxic waterbased pigments and natural and organic materials

WHAT inspires you?
I am constantly drawing and photographing things I see and places I go that I find interesting or intriguing. I am really attracted to old objects and architecture as well and trees, or anything out in nature really, most of which I find on forest walks. These are things I enjoy to draw and that eventually become prints. The prints remain very personal to me because of where the initial inspiration came from, such as pinecones collected and sketched at the family cottage, or animals and trees photographed while on trail walks with my husband and dog.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
My studio is just around the corner from James Street North in Hamilton. It’s a building where other creative businesses have their own studios and offices as well. There’s a painter, a recording studio, a clothing company, a record manager, and a vintage clothing shop. The building opens for the art crawl the second Friday of every month, often with live music and art shows throughout the hallways.

My own space is a big room with high ceilings, painted exposed brick, and all the necessities of a screenprinting studio. I have a 15-foot print table, a dark room, cutting tables, and an industrial sewing machine. I have inspirational images framed and hung on the wall. There’s a partial wall painted in chalkboard paint where I write my long list of to-dos each week. I have shelves and baskets of fabrics and notions. There’s one big window in the studio, in front of which sits my sewing machine. It’s a nice place to sew, and it also overlooks the best sushi in town, which is so tempting every day.

WHEN do you feel most successful? frustrated/insecure?
Success, I suppose, is when everything just feels right. When a design that I have worked on and worked on is complete and is a hit, or when I have great show with lots of positive feedback from customers. I love meeting customers and hearing that they love what they have of mine. To hear that my work makes a customer happy is the most successful feeling of all.

The harder times would be when I feel stressed and pressured by time constraints and deadlines, mostly when preparing for shows. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day.

WHY do you do what you do?
On a creative level, I make what I make because screenprinting is the perfect medium that combines my love for textiles and drawing. From a business and environmental stand point, in a mass produced world I am providing objects that are thoughtfully, locally, and independently made with a small environmental footprint. And I also do what I do because it’s great working for myself.

HOW do you do what you do? Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day?
On a typical day I would walk to my studio with my yellow lab, Beau. I spend most of my day making. I am lucky to have a long print table where yardage is pinned and printed. I also have a big cutting table and an industrial machine. I initially hand draw each design. They start out as sketches and are developed into patterns which are exposed onto screens for printing. I screenprint each piece of cloth and while the yardage dries I will usually cut or sew. Each design is heat set in a heat press to make the pigments permanent - I am also doing this at the same time. So I pretty much go from task to task all day long: from the print table, to the cutting table, to the heat press, and back to the print table. I’m a multi-tasker.

You are always welcome to visit the studio by appointment. Anything you see on my etsy shop will be in the studio for you to look at in person. I also usually try to open for the art crawl. I mention on my blog when I will be open for it. I often have screenprinting demos and button making happening that evening, as well as treats and goodies to eat.

I am currently working on products for the One of a Kind Show. It runs from November 25th to December 5th in Toronto. If you are able to make it I will be at booth I-04.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Jenna. I look forward to meeting you and seeing your studio in person at your next Art Crawl event. I'll try to not talk your ear off with all the other questions I'm dying to pick your brain about.

To find out more about Jenna and her work, please visit her website, etsy shop, and blog.


All images via Jenna Rose.

Hamilton Happenings

Now that the craziness of the municipal election is behind us, we can put aside the preaching and promising and get back to work suppporting and enjoying our city again! Starting today and over the next couple weeks there are plenty of fun events featuring local artists, businesses, and charities. Take your pick. I'm also super excited to be taking a screenprinting workshop this Saturday at the Print Studio. Wish me luck!

Hamilton Film Festival: Nov. 2-7 / Staircase Theatre / 27 Dundurn St. N. / $8 / This year marks the 5th anniversary of this festival, which screens only independent local and international films. What draws me to this event is that they promise to have most of the filmmakers present for a Q&A session following the screenings, an experience that I always seem to get a lot out of, no matter how much I enjoyed the film.

AGH Art Sale "Style + Space": Nov. 4-7 / Art Gallery of Hamilton / This particular sale will feature not only paintings, but sculptures, glass, pottery, metal works, textiles, and jewellery as well. A perfect opportunity to start your Christmas shopping early (for yourself, if need be). There will also be a live musical performance by Annie Shaw on Thursday evening, and both a "vinyl-only" DJ and two interior design consultants available for personal consulation on Friday evening.

GenNext "A Night in Monte Carlo": Nov. 5th / 9pm / $20 / Royal Botanical Gardens / A fantastic night out in support of an excellent cause, the United Way. I attended this event last year and had a great time watching a few hands of blackjack (I'm still too chicken to play) and socializing in style. There were also plenty of excellent prizes to be won, although I didn't win any. There's always this year!

Musuem of Art Craft Fair: Nov. 10-12 / McMaster University / "Browse, shop and meet the makers of a wonderful and eclectic array of gift items including jewellery, toys, clothing, glass, turned wood and much much more. Support the local craft community and the arts in Hamilton." Another opportunity to pick up some unique Christmas gifts.

Art Crawl: Nov. 12 / James St. North / You know the drill -- local galleries, studios, and shops open to the public until around 11pm. I'm not sure what's on tap this month, but I do know that every time I go, I discover something new. Be sure to stop by White Elephant to see some select Dear Edna pieces on display.

Holiday Bazaars: I have fond memories of attending my own church's bazarre as a young'un... penny sales, raffles, crafty Christmas decorations, and homemade baked goodies galore. The Spec has a very extensive list here.

If you have any events to add, please feel free in the comments below.

Image via bostonbaglady