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