Westward Bound

My bags are packed and I'm ready to head on another travelling adventure. After last year's epic European tour, we're sticking a little closer to home this summer and finally checking out a region we've been talking about visiting for awhile, the Pacific Northwest. Kind of like how it's hard to say no to a sale, it's also really hard for us not to stop at amazing cities that we'll be close by or passing through. So, once we decided to go to Vancouver, inevitably Victoria, Seattle and Portland were quickly added to the itinerary. For the next two weeks the shop will be closed and the blog will be quiet, but I'll try to pop in once and awhile on twitter and facebook to let you know what I'm up to... which will hopefully be a lot of market wandering, mountain gazing, park biking, beach drinking and (fingers crossed) 90s dreaming.

7 Minutes in Weird Heaven

About once a year, Mikey and I like to throw a big summer party. We also like to have fun with our invites. We had A LOT of fun with our shoot this year. Maybe we have a particular sense of humour (one friend sweetly called us a "match made in weird heaven"), but they make us laugh hysterically every time we look through the shots. Here's what we ended up with. I hope it gives you a giggle too.

Bow-tiful Brides

This past weekend I helped host two bridal showers, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, one for my oldest friend and one for my closest cousin. I wanted to do something extra for these special brides, so I got creative when it came to some of the craftier aspects of planning, and I really wanted to share with you what I came up with.

Name tags are something that is often overlooked at showers, but really practical when you think about how the majority of the people at these gatherings don't know each other. After a few frustrating attempts, I came up with this surprisingly easy design made out of ribbon and scrap fabric, paper price tags, rubber stamps and clear labels, and secured them with a simple straight pin. I made them while watching Stanley Cup hockey games, which was great multitasking on my part, but I'm not so sure Mikey appreciated my interruptions of "oooh they're so pretty" every time I lined one up with the others. Haha!

The cupcake favours were a last minute idea, as was the packaging, but they came together really well! I used my tried and true cupcake and buttercream icing recipes and topped them with clear sprinkles and handmade tags. I also found that telling the the guests "don't turn it over" when I handed them their boxes really sparked their curiosity.

Both showers went without a hitch and many guests told me they really enjoyed the "Dear Edna" touches! (My branding must be working!) I won't be signing up to be a party planner any time soon though. I was completely exhausted by the end of it all and I think I'm still recovering.

Art Nouveau

Do you remember my interview with Melanie MacDonald in which I shamelessly gushed over her gorgeous paintings? If you scroll down to the bottom of that interview, you'll see the comment Mike left about not being able to get the "Deer Glass" painting out of his head and suffering deep "pangs of regret" over not purchasing it. We love Melanie's work so much that we recently planned a whole weekend around a trip to St. Catherine's to try and scoop up one of the three she was selling at the NAC Small Feats show, but naturally they were all sold as soon as the doors opened. Wah waah.

Since then, Melanie and I have been emailing back and forth a bit, as online acquaintances do, and she generously agreed to take pity on our regretful souls and repaint the famous Deer Glass just for us! It arrived a couple weeks ago and it's even more beautiful than we remembered. We hung it above our staircase, where I can pass it a million times a day and smile.

Our first art commission. I guess that's the sort of thing you do in your thirties.

Cue Soundtrack: Junior Boys + Miracle Fortress

Ever since my first concert (Bush X and Moist — oh yeah!), in the days leading up to a show, I line up the band's albums and listen to them repeatedly. Does anyone else do this? You would think this might make me sick of the songs and enjoy the live performance less. But it never does. If anything, it makes the experience better! I arrive like the optimal well-prepared fan, pumped up and with lyrics memorized. Haha!

I'm going to the Junior Boys and Miracle Fortress show at the Leander Boat Club in Hamilton tonight, so guess what I'm listening to today?

As far as I know, tickets are still available for purchase at Dr. DiscThe Brain and The Ship.
Hope to see you there with your dancing shoes on!

Weekend Wisdom


The majority of the time, I try to do the right thing. I don't own a car. I shop and eat locally. I try to make or buy handmade as much as possible. Heck, I'm even making my own veggies this year. But y'know what I learned this weekend? Sometimes, a girl just can't do it all. Sometimes the errands and to-do lists pile up so high that I can't possibly get it all done without four wheels and a big box store or two. And sometimes,  just sometimes, I have to accept that every gift can't be personally handmade by yours truly. I only have two hands and I need to cut myself some slack.

So this weekend, I splurged on a rental car and spent Friday and Saturday blitzing through my long list of errands, from Walmart to Party Packagers to Ikea and back again. But Sunday, Mike and I used the car for good. We took a day for ourselves: we visited the lilacs (and some furry friends) at the Royal Botanical Gardens, followed by a deliciously romantic and relaxing picnic, and a few laughs at the Buskerfest in Dundas. I'm thinking I should give myself a break more often.

Hamilton Happenings: June 2011

Before I get into the events, let's take a moment to admire these tote bags shall we? They are the newest design by Jenna Rose, the lovely and talented artist I interviewed here. And I want one. Bad! She'll be selling them at her fifth anniversary party at this month's art crawl (hosted by White Elephant) and at the AGH trunk show. I sure hope I can get my hands on one!

Dundas International Buskerfest: June 3-5 / A favourite event for Hamiltonians, come be entertained by buskers and street performers from around the world as well as local arts and crafts vendors in the heart of the valley.

Slut Walk: June 5 / 2pm / City Hall to Central Police Station / Following in the footsteps of SlutWalk Toronto, a group have joined together to organize a similar event in Hamilton, in the hopes of making it known that everyone deserves respect, protection and justice when faced with sexualized assault and harassment, no matter how we dress or present themselves.

Junior Boys and Friends: June 8 / 9-2 / Leander Boat Club / $15 / Hamilton homeboys, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, aka the Junior Boys, are celebrating the release of their new album and the start of their six-month world tour right here in their hometown. It gets better. They're bringing along some pretty talented guests you may have heard of, Miracle Fortress! Oh, and did I mention the venue is on the waterfront? It should be an amazing night. I already bought my ticket, now it's time to get yours (available at Dr. Disc, The Brain and The Ship).

Art Crawl: June 10 / 7-10 / James St. N. / As per usual, I haven't heard too much about what's on tap for art crawl this month, besides the anniversary party I already mentioned. Keep checking H Mag for updates.

Open Streets: June 12 / 10-5 / James Street North, from York Blvd to Guise will be closed to cars this Sunday, so walk, roll or ride downtown and enjoy street vendors, live music and your favourite James St. businesses.

AGH Sale & Trunk Show:  June 16 / 12-9 / The Shop at AGH presents a members’ sale and trunk show. You'll get a chance to meet Jenna Rose and enjoy a sneak peek at her latest work. Members will also enjoy a 20% discount. Not bad.

Keep and Collect Market: June 25 / 11-4 / Freeway Coffee House - 333 King St. E. / A new market has popped up in the East end and is celebrating it's launch this month. The market will feature locally made art, crafts, accessories, vintage items, jewellery, photography, stationary and baking.

Mr. & Mrs. Green Thumb

Mike and I (well, mostly Mike) have been working hard the last couple weeks on making our patio gardens as beautiful as they can be. This is our first year setting up a vegetable garden and we're pretty excited (and nervous) about it. It can get so hot up there on our roof that the only way to keep veggies alive is by building self-watering container beds.

Mike has been reading and researching these containers for months. Above is the process in a pictorial nutshell.

Our beautiful little seedlings, ready to plant: four different kinds of tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, zuchinni and squash. We hoped they would be bigger at this point, but our sunless Spring just didn't cooperate.

The finished product. Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope they grow so we can have a summer full of fresh veg at our fingertips.

The flowers are my job. They went in last weekend and I LOVE them.

Happy Spring everybody!