Floor to Heaven

Remember the office redesign I mentioned here? A rug is a necessity to warm up the room and the chilly hardwood, so when I stumbled upon these carpets from Floor to Heaven, I was... well... in heaven. This is haute couture for home decor and I'm sure it comes with a fashionably high price, but they are fun to drool over!

This lacey rug screams Dear Edna and cable knit can't help but convey warmth and comfort.

I'm loving all the woodgrain patterns around these days. They bring a little bit of rustic masculinity to any space.

These funky, bright colours are so in fashion this year. I love the the crocheted look of the orange, the dutch inspiration behind the blue and black design and houndstooth is always a classic, even in neon pink.

 This one is my favourite. To me, it's a cross between an intricate piece of lace to admire and a plush quilt to keep your tootsies cozy. A perfect fit for the Dear Edna office, don't you think?

Which is your favourite?

Big News!

I am so unbelievably happy to announce that select Dear Edna accessories can now be found in White Elephant, a beautiful boutique that sells vintage and handmade goods on James St. North in Hamilton! Without a doubt, it's my favourite place to shop in the city and I'm so proud to be a part of it! Thanks Hollie and Jane! If you have a chance, please stop by and have a look.

White Elephant
133 James Street North
Hamilton, Ontario

Fall Preview

I don't know if it's all those years spent heading back to school, the changing leaves or just that crisp, clean air, but Fall has always meant to me a fresh start; a time for deep thinking, planning, and organizing; a time to brew some ideas over steamy cups of tea; and a time to get my butt in gear and get productive. And that is exactly the headspace I'm in right now. I'll admit I have been a little lazy and down ever since I got back from vacation and business has been slow, but suddenly I find myself optimistic again, daydreaming about my plans and gearing up for some exciting changes. I'm so happy to finally share with you some of the things brewing for Dear Edna, on this very first day of Fall!


I reached a twitter milestone this week: 100 followers! And to thank all my loyal tweeps, I announced a big sale: 25% off anything and everything in the shop! Go to twitter and follow @DearEdnaShop for the secret code.

I admit the shop's inventory has been a little depleted all summer, but have no fear, in the last couple months I've been busy stocking up on materials and have begun sewing lots of new items for fall: some old favourites in new colours/patterns and some entirely new products as well. The photos above are a little sneak peak. You likey?

I've also been commissioned to do some custom work using vintage textiles for my favourite vintage store, Sweet Trash. Do you remember when I visited the heavenly store of frocks and pumps here? Dear Edna's first collaborative project -- so exciting!

I've realized that in order for my business to grow, I have to develop new processes and learn new skills to both increase efficiency and give my ideas space to develop. There's four things on my syllabus this term:
  1. Screen print. I'm taking a screen-printing class with the Print Studio in November. No more labourious hand-stencilling for Edna.
  2. Learn the serge. I was loaned a serger by a very generous family member and I intend to sit down and pore over the manual until I learn how to use it. There's also a course at Mohawk College that teaches you in an afternoon, which may be well worth the money to save the headache.
  3. Crochet and cross-stitch. They seem very Dear Edna, don't you think? I was admiring some pieces in a vintage shop over the weekend and it dawned on me, why don't I make these myself? Did you know you can crochet lace? A girl can dream.
  4. Books, books, books. As you all know, I love to read. I was quite heavily into the business books when I first opened shop, took a break for the summer, and now I have a stack at my desk once again. This time I hope to share some of the things I learn on the blog. Speaking of...
I couldn't leave the Dear Edna Blog out of all the fun, now could I? Besides keeping you up to date on all the new things I'll be creating and learning this fall, I also have a guest blogstress lined up for Fashion Finds and an interview with a incredibly talented and inspiring textile designer for my Meet the Maker series. That's all I can say at the moment -- you'll have to stay tuned to find out more.

This is more of an ongoing Fall/Winter project, but we've decided the next reno project in our house is my office and workspace. Yay! The bones are good, but I need all new stuff: desk, shelving, carpet, art and accessories. The search is on. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

That should keep me busy! I'm hoping now that these plans are in black and white, I will be more accountable to them. Perhaps we can help each other stay on track.
What are your plans for Fall?

Eurospactular Vacation: Finale

Our first stop in Italy was Pisa, and what a lovely place to spend an afternoon. We headed straight for the famous leaning tower along with all the other tourists, took the requisite photos, admired the upright buildings surrounding the tower, and picked out a best friend for Mikey J that he would become inseparable from for the rest of the trip (a.k.a. a straw hat). Wandering back along the shadiest streets we could find (we thought France was hot!) we had our very first Italian meal in Italy, a delicious antipasto on a misty patio. By the time we hopped our train, we were content and excited about this Italian leg of our trip!

Paris may be labelled the city of love, but Florence is a stiff competitor in the romance department. How can you help yourself in a city saturated with comfort food, cheap wine, stunning views against a backdrop of Tuscan mountains, and art and architecture from the greatest artists of our time? Actually, it may have been too much at a certain point! Case in point: we were literally dragging our feet through the epic Uffizi museum and ended up walking right past the only Michelangelo. Oops! In our defense, the place was a sauna and was rammed with tour groups. Whatever... give me another scoop of gelato and let's catch the train!

After our failed museum attempt in Florence, we decided to skip them entirely in Rome. And, quite frankly, we didn't miss them one bit. Architectural ruins and historical monuments were everywhere you looked in Rome, littering the ground at your feet and growing out of modern buildings like something living and organic. Combine that with the sheer age of these relics and it was a pretty overwhelming experience.

How can you wrap your head around the fact that you're sitting on a piece of rock that may have fallen from a home built in 42 BC? Or that the black stain you see at the top of those columns was a result of the Great Fire of AD 64 that nearly destroyed all of Rome? Take a breath, swallow that lump in your throat, and then go eat more pasta! Ha!

Speaking of food, on our very first night in Rome we discovered a gem: a welcoming place where they serve complimentary champagne while you peruse the menu, a place where the servers provide you with cigarettes in a pinch, a place where the food melts in your mouth and the wine goes down like water. We ate at RomAntica three times in two days with absolutely no regrets. Prego!

After twenty-four days, fourteen cities, ten beds (plus one train floor), and hundreds of miles, Malta was a breath of fresh air. We were so tired of finding our way, picking restaurants, and translating foreign languages, so arriving in Malta to the outstretched arms of two of our best friends was the best thing that could happen to us on the final leg of our vacation! I think we would have been happy to simply socialize with our friends and relax on the beach the entire time, so we pretty much felt like we had died and gone to heaven when we were piled into a 1969 Mercedes every day and shown everything that Malta has to offer: a tumultuous and courageous history, unbelievable stone architecture towering above the ocean, deliciously fresh seafood, a boat party and an outdoor reggae party in one day, a stunning private villa, salty skin and beach picnics, late nights and lazy mornings, old friends and new friends -- a perfect finale to a perfect trip!

For many more photos, check out my Picasa galleries for Italy and Malta.

Hamilton Happenings

My trip to Europe was a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience, but I am sorry to have missed all the events happening around Hamilton this summer and to have skipped out on my promise to share them with you here. I'd love to hear about everything you got up to, so please share in the comments. The good news, Hamilton Happenings is back and September is a BIG month for Hamilton! I've rounded up FIVE awesome events all happening in the next two weeks in the downtown core. Hope to see you there!

Art Crawl: Sept. 10 / 7-11 / James St. North / Business as usual for Art Crawl again this month. This is truly one of my favourite things to do in the city, so I really missed not being able to go the last couple months. In addition to my usual favourite hot spots, I'm excited to finally check out the newest member of the James North family, the Mulberry St. Coffeehouse.

Locke St. Festival: Sept. 11 / 10 - 11 / This is a great annual event in the area with tons of local vendors lining the street, live entertainment, and great food. Be sure to stop by and say hello to the girls at The Last Hurrah for some stylish vintage finds for your fall wardrobe and try not to miss Tomi Swick on stage at 8:30 strumming out some old favourites.

Localicious: Sept. 11 - Oct. 3 / For 17 days, 13 downtown restuarants will feature special lunch dishes and prix fixe dinner menus featuring the best of our local harvest. The "Delicious Baker's Dozen" they've chosen truly are some of my favourite restaurants, so I encourage you to take advantage.

AGH World Film Festival: Sept. 24 - Oct. 3 / This little film fest seems to be getting bigger and better every year. Get Low (I saw it at  last year's Toronto International Film Festival and it was excellent), Animal Kingdom, The Maid, and Police, Adjective are some of the acclaimed highlights.

Supercrawl: Sept. 25 / 1-11 / James St. North / Think art crawl, but bigger. In addition to the usual fantastic galleries being open to the public and interesting artsy street performers, there will be vendors' booths set up on the street and several stages featuring musical guests such as Elliott Brood, Cadence Weapon and Bruce Peninsula, to name a few. [One of my oldest, bestest friends is getting married on this day, so I have to miss it, but I'll be there in spirit my friends!]

Image via Shelbyville

Eurospectacular Vacation: Part Trois

This portion of our trip was a whirlwind, to say the least: six cities in six days. What were we thinking? Well, I'll tell you. When you're planning a 4-week trip through Europe, choosing destinations is much easier said than done. We couldn't justify a trip into Germany, so why not get as close to the border as you can. We both love wine, so how could we not stop in both the Alsace and Burgundy wine regions that were along the train route? And honestly, how many times did we expect to be in France again? May as well see as much as we can! So, it was settled. From Paris we would head to Strasbourg, Colmar on the way to Dijon, Beaune, and Lyon on the way to Nice. Phew. Yes, it was exhausting. But, I also don't regret it in the least, because in these six cities we met amazing people, saw incredible things and had so many unforgettable experiences. C'est la vie!

Strasbourg, France
When we first started tossing around the idea of a trip to Europe, I immediately began to search for pictures of places I might like to visit. An image of Strasbourg became my desktop wallpaper. It's right on the border of Germany, which made it all the more intriguing to us. Schnitzel and escargot anyone? Ha! Not quite... but close. We arrived on Bastille Day, so the town was pretty vacant, which was actually quite refreshing after being in bustling Paris. We were still in the midst of a heat wave, so we wandered the empty streets at a leisurely pace, stopping to dip our feet in the canal, sip a cool beer, or indulge in some gelato. The German-influenced architecture was fascinating. Later, we really lucked out by completely missing a torrential downpour and by finding an amazing restaurant where we could sit and listen to live music and watch the Bastille Day fireworks while we ate dinner. Parfait!

Colmar, France
Here's a tip if you ever plan, like us, to just stop by Colmar for the afternoon en route to your next destination: there is no baggage check at the station. After hauling our bags what felt like miles, we ended up stashing ours at the museum (thank you ever so much, Unterlinden Museum). I like to say that Colmar was when I reached my peak: I was so exhausted at this point, I don't think I appreciated this city for what it was. However, I did enjoy the museum, the still-prevalent German architecture, and our lovely "gondola" ride through Petite Venise (Little Venice). The river views were absolutely stunning.

Dijon, France
Moving into the Burgundy region of France, we arrived in Dijon. Obviously famous for its moutarde, but also well-known as the home of the finest French cuisine, so we were more than happy to indulge with a market-fresh picnic in the park and our first taste of escargot and boeuf bourguignon. Four thumbs up. This province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy and Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power, which was obvious in the exquisite architecture spattered all throughout the city and the amazing collection of art in the Musee des Beaux Arts (probably our favourite museum on the trip, besides Le Louvre). I was also thrilled to discover our hotel was on a quiet street, our room looking out on trees rather than concrete, which meant that I could look forward to two much-needed full nights' sleep. Bliss.

Beaune, France
I think this is the part of France that I was most excited about, as this is where we would get up close and personal with French wine. I love wine and French wine is supposed to be the best in the world, but I've never had very good luck picking out bottles of it for myself, so I was really hoping to learn more about it, or at least consume a lot in my pursuit. Ha! There is an amazing paved bike route that winds through the vineyards and little towns from Beaune all the way to Santenay. Forget the wine, that was enough for me. Biking through those vines, I could've died a happy woman. But of course we did manage to try some wine along the way, from a variety of sources: a small winery, a very large winery, a couple wine distributors, and a restaurant, and, in broken-french, learn a little more about what makes good French wine. Mmm. We may have been a little wobbly on the way home, but we were rosy cheeked, satisfied and beyond happy.

Lyon and Nice, France
Lyon is another city that we decided to only stop by for the day. However, just our luck, there was also no baggage check at this train station. (Actually, they have baggage check, it was just closed on Sundays! Imagine!) Once we found a place to stash our bags again (thank you so so much kind receptionist at Hotel Ibis), we tried our best to see what we could in a limited amount of time and energy. The old town, the view from Notre Dame, and the textile museum (where I got to fawn over Marie Antoinette wall coverings) were worth the stop.

The overnight train to Nice was an adventure. There were no sleeping cabins, so people were strewn all over the train (some in very odd sleeping positions, I must say). So we hadn't slept too much by the time we arrived in Nice and then had to figure out how to get from Nice to Italy, which, we discovered on arrival, was much more complicated than we had thought. Once we decided to give up on our previous plans and go with something a little simpler, we were able to enjoy a little beach time and socializing back at the hostel. It was wonderful how the beaches were right downtown and it looked as if there were lots of interesting day-excursions that I would have enjoyed if we had more time there. I think we need to flag Nice as a place to hit again.

Au revoir France. Je vous manquerai.

Next, the grand finale... ITALY and MALTA!

As always, many more pictures can be found in my Picasa gallery.

Wedding Season

Indulge me for a moment as I take a break between the vacation recaps to share a little something something. Wedding season. The days of dreaming of being a June bride are clearly gone, as I have three weddings to attend in the next two months and created I don't know how many Dear Doily totes for brides getting married this Fall. It's easy to get caught up in the flurry of planning and pre-wedding activities and lose sight of what all the preparations are for. I don't know how many times I've heard an exhausted bride-to-be admit "I just can't wait until it's over!" or a guest mutter under their breath "another stag and doe?" So, to help us us all get back in the nuptial mood, thinking about how beautiful weddings really can be and the love behind it all, here's a little inspiration via Coca Rocha's exquisite wedding... in a French castle, in a Zac Posen gown, with fireworks! Need I say more? Enjoy! xo