Hamilton Happenings

It’s been a busy week for Edna. Being featured in Etsy Finds on Tuesday brought in more orders than I thought possible, so I’ve been working my little fingers to the bone ever since to get everyone’s Mother’s Day gifts out the door on time. Needless to say, I haven’t had time to blog, despite ambitious plans earlier in the week. But there is so much going on in Hamilton this weekend that I couldn’t let it go completely unnoticed. Plus, after my rant last time, how terrible would it be for me not to follow through. So here’s a quick link roundup for you. I hope you find something that piques your interest!

AGH Spring Art Sale: April 29 to May 2, 2010 // Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion is transformed into a four-day showcase for art lovers and art collectors hosting the best from specially invited local and regional artists.

Spring Sprint: May 1, 2010 // Lakeland Community Centre, Confederation Park // A 5k walk/run benefitting the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. I’m participating for the second year in a row, along with my team, The McIngiomas. Make a donation or come out and show your support for such a great cause!

Open Doors Hamilton: May 1-2, 2010 // The city’s landmarks open their doors to the public for free! As a downtown dweller, I can’t wait to check out some of the old churches in my neighbourhood, finally see what the Lincoln Centre is all about, and check out what they’ve done with Mikey J’s alma mater, Stinson School.

Jane’s Walk: May 1-2 // Guided walks highlighting historic areas of Hamilton: Victoria Park, east of Dundurn Castle, Westdale, and the West Harbour/Bay & Barton Neighbourhood.

I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to this weekend, your thoughts on past events, or future events you’d like to see here, so don’t be shy, leave a comment or send me an email.

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back next week (or perhaps the week after if I’m still a one-woman sweatshop) with some interesting finds and a new "regular" feature.

Fashion Finds: Earth Day

I set out to gather some stylish eco-friendly fashion finds for you this week, and when I came across Pretty Birdie, I fell in love with absolutely everything in the shop and realized that's she's a star all her own and deserves the eco spotlight.

Pretty Birdie is the stunning clothing line of designer Stephanie Teague. I think her designs are unique, modern, fashion forward, and flatter a woman beautifully. She uses a mix of organic, sustainable, and vintage fabrics, so you can wear her clothing with a free conscience. And perhaps the best part... she makes your order by hand, to your specific measurements, so her designs always fit you perfectly! Could you ask for more?

How about a sale? In honour of Earth month, for the rest of April, she is offering 10% off all orders of 2 pieces or more! Check out her shop. What two pieces would you like? I'm having a pretty tough time deciding myself.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

I heart stationary

I have had a serious love affair with stationary for as long as I can remember. In my bedroom as a little girl I had at least two drawers dedicated to all the paper, note pads, journals and writing instruments I had accumulated. I also had quite an extensive sticker collection (but that's probably common for any girl under the age of 13).

Anyone that has received a gift from me before knows that I love wrapping a gift almost more than shopping for it and have been known to spend more time at it as well. I can spend hours searching for the perfect greeting card and I save the ones given to me for years (much to the annoyance of the man who shares my storage space).

So, naturally, while many online sellers curse the shipping stage of an order, I adore it! By the time I'm finished wrapping, tying, addressing and stamping, I practically skip to the post office in glee. If I could whistle, I would. In the middle of packing up an order yesterday, I thought you might like to see what a package from Edna typically looks like. What do you think?

Enough about me. Here are some of my favourite stationary shops at the moment.

I stumbled across nothing elegant just last week and immediately fell in love. It's chock full of adorable stationary (I'm talking over 900 items!). I'm seriously lusting after the vintage stamp collections. All of them!

The Mayberry Sparrow a.k.a Corrabelle is another fabulous Etsy seller from my hometown that I found while searching for my new obsession... stamps. I think her designs are just so simple and cute. It was quite difficult for me to choose just three here.

Last but far from least is cutiepie company. The golden girl notebook was one of my first purchases on Etsy last year and when I discovered her school library cards in White Elephant Vintage recently, I sent her a quick note letting her know that I bought one, and a wee online friendship was born. She's been an incredibly helpful resource to me in setting up my own shop. Thanks cutie!

Hamilton Happenings

As you can see, I'm trying to make this a regular feature on my blog. Bear with me as I explain a little bit as to why.

Hamilton is the city I grew up in, couldn't wait to get away from as a teenager, and returned to make my home again a year ago. It's a city that often gets a bad rap from neighbouring locales. Known all too well for the smokestacks that line the major highway people drive en route to Toronto, it's been called many dirty, smelly names. I always chalked those comments up to ignorance, people never taking the initiative to drive into the city to see what it and we actually have to offer. But Hamiltonians themselves hold an enormous amount of bitterness and negativity towards their own city too, especially the downtown core. I'm not condemning. Remember, I couldn't wait to get out.

Once I started dating Mikey J, I found myself back in the city much more often (eventually moving here) and looking at it with a whole new perspective... a city with an amazing farmer's market, vibrant arts scene, beautiful architecture, and blossoming neighbourhoods.
A friend of mine once said, Hamilton has a lot to offer, you just have to find it. And it's so true. The city is what you make it. Take the effort to know your city. Find out what's going on and get off your couch and participate. You may be surprised at what you find. After all, this is your home... make it one!

So there you have it. Every couple weeks I'm going to try to give you a few ideas of things to do in Hamilton, to hopefully open the city up to you in a new way and support the city's growth at the same time. For all you non-Hamiltonians, I hope it inspires you to explore where you live in the same way!

Up this week, three of my favourite things.... vintage, books, and art.

I discovered this lovely shop when I first joined Etsy and was curious to see some local artisans. I was pleasantly surprised to find this shop, run by sister team Sarah and Cassandra, which sells vintage clothes at amazingly affordable prices! When it came to opening my own shop, I contacted them for advice and they were incredibly helpful and encouraging.

This Saturday they are hosting a clothing sale at their home. I'm so excited to meet them and to get the opportunity to try on some items I've had my eye on. Plus, there's snackies and sangria! Who can say no to that? Check out their shop and the party details on their blog.

The Hamilton Public Library has their spring book sale all this week. I am always overwhelmed by the amount of books at these sales and end up buying way more than I need. I have many unread books from the fall sale, but how can you resist bestsellers at $1 a pop?

Check it out daily until Saturday on the bottom floor of the City Centre (former Eaton's Centre). More info here.


This is a really cool and unique event where art is auctioned off in exchange for volunteer hours. The event takes place Thursday, April 22nd at McMaster Innovation Park. More info and tickets here.

The art featured here is a piece you will find at the event and is from my talented friend Paul Richard James. It could be yours! Visit his website to see more of his inspring art. FYI... he now offers painting classes from his Atelier at Bold and Locke. An incredible opportunity.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is right around the corner, and if you're like me, struggling to think of a unique gift that your mom will love that you didn't get for Christmas or her birthday, try turning your search to the handmade this year and give the talented artisans at Etsy a try. Your mom deserves something one-of-a-kind.

Lucky for you, I've done the legwork and rounded up a motherload of mother's day picks for you in six different categories and in several different price ranges. I hope you find that perfect something!

Pamper Perfect

Mother's Day is all about the pampering, allowing (or forcing) your mom to take a day off from her multi-tasking and just relax. Those cupcakes are unfortunately not edible (they're soaps!) but thankfully the truffles are. Yum!

Kitchen Kitsch

If your mom loves to cook, or just loves a pretty kitchen, she can go from washing dishes to entertaining in style with these adorable accessories.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Your mom will be the envy of all her neighbours with these home and garden beauties. Perfect for spring! Forget mom... I want them!

Don't Forget To Write

Does your mom copy the birthday of everyone she knows into her calendar every year? Does she start her Christmas cards in October? Make her life easier with a personalized return address stamp, organizer, or collection of beautiful office supplies.

A Girl's Best Friend

I would never attempt to buy my mother clothing, but accessories are always a good fit. A personalized necklace stamped with her children's names and birthdates is a great idea. A woman can never have too many scarves... or pearls. Or maybe your mom likes to spice up her classics with some funky pieces like a felt corsage or a semiprecious stone necklace.

Sweet Sentiments

Don't forget the card! This selection is too cute for words. My problem is choosing just one!

Hamilton Happenings

I know it's been a rainy week, but you have to admit it's better than snow and a necessary way to start off the season we all can't help but love, SPRING! It's time to pack away the woolies and bust out of your hibernation rut. And Hamilton is ready for us, pasty skin and all. There's something exciting happening every day of the weekend. I'm going for a hat trick. Hope to see you there! How about you? What's going on in your city this weekend?

On the second Friday of every month in the James Street North district of Hamilton, various galleries, studios and shops open their doors to the public until late into the evening, usually around 11 pm.

This is Hamilton as you've always wanted it to be... for one night a month at least. People are out and about, similing and interacting, talking about art over pints long after the galleries have closed. You'll seriously be wondering where these people are hiding the rest of the month.

This time around I'm pretty pumped for the "Circus Art Show" at Loose Canon Gallery, which has me intrigued, as well as the "Graphitti" wall outside Mixed Media.

I was at the event last year and it was fantastic! I've been to food and drink fests in Toronto before, but this one was way better in my opinion. There's live local entertainment; it was kept pretty small, so you felt like you could try it all if you wanted to; and the vendors were really friendly and open to conversing at depth about their products.

There were samples from last year's show that I still reminisce about... the ridiculously delicious garlic-drenched lobster slider from Prime, the $1 truffles from Beanermunky, and chatting with the winemaker from Vineland estates who pulled out a very expensive Syrah from under the table just to change our negative minds about Ontario reds.

This year we've convinced a couple of friends from Toronto to join us. I've been looking forward to it all week. I just hope the move to Copps Colliseum doesn't change the welcoming atmosphere.

It's the 40th Anniversary of this popular fundraising event for the school and over 1500 works of art are now on display.

The live auction takes place on Saturday evening, but the silent auction is what draws me out to to the valley. All three floors of the school are filled with donated works of art that are up for silent auction. It's so fun to pick out your favourites and make a bid.

Last year Mikey J and I won a beautiful framed photograph by Paul Simon and, with a little detective work, discovered the actual place it was photographed behind the school! A regular Sherlock and Watson we are, huh? Ha!

Fashion Finds: April Showers

It's been a dreary, rainy couple days here, so today's finds are pretty and practical things that will carry you through damp April and into floral May. It's time to stock up on the basics, ladies, in colour, style and function.

And one more photo... The thought of looking down to the street and seeing this umbrella staring back up at me makes me happy. I hope it brightens up your day too!

Edna's Every Holiday Shortbread

This delicious shortbread recipe started out as a Halloween treat, the most adorable candy corn cookies ever, courtesy of Sweetspot. It was such a hit and so fun to make, that I adapted the recipe slightly to use cookie cutters to make green trees, red boots and white stars at Christmas time. Again, they were a huge hit!

So, naturally, when I discovered super cute bunny, chick and flower cookie cutters at IQ Living, I knew just the recipe to use them with.

Happy baking and happy Easter!

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
food colouring

Step 1: In large bowl, using electric hand mixer, beat butter until almost white.
Step 2: Add icing sugar and beat until combined.
Step 3: Stir in flour until well combined.
Step 4: Knead dough together with hands.

Step 5: Separate dough into 3 portions (or however many different colours you would like to use).
*Tip: If some of your cookie cutters are larger than others, you may want to make their portion larger.

Step 6: Tint each portion individually. Add the food colouring 3 or 4 drops at a time, kneading the dough thoroughly before adding more, until it's the shade you like.

Step 7: Wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).

Step 8: Sprinkle flour on flat surface and on rolling pin and roll out dough to about 1/4" thickness. Use cookies cutters to cut out shapes and place them on pan.
*TIP: If you don't have a rolling pin (like me), just use anything cylindrical that you have in your house (eg. a wine bottle or a non-stick spray can) and wrap it in plastic wrap.

Step 9: Bake at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes or until edges start to brown.



I love vintage and I love books. Put the two together, perfection. Add two more of my favourite things to the mix, bicycles and Marilyn Monroe... consider my universe rocked!

That said, you'll understand why I'm seriously lusting over these vintage books that the folks over at Freshjive have offered up for sale in their LA store, Reserve.

It's moments like these that I detest the many months between my birthday and Christmas.