Shop Update

Good news! The blue houndstooth men's apron is back! I sold out of this fabric during the holidays last year, but luckily came across some more recently. And guess what? This time he brought along a girly friend in hot pink! If you're the matchy matchy type, or know someone who is, they would look amazing as a set. Both are available now in the shop.

I've also been keeping busy sewing up some merry holiday goodies for you. Luckily the fabric was beautiful enough to get me in the spirit, because listening to carols in October felt way too weird. If I stay productive through the weekend, they'll be available next week. For now, here's a little peak at some of my finished products. Look at all that red on my sewing table in the background! Haha! Good thing it's my favourite colour.

Have a great weekend everyone!

E xo

Meet Your Maker: Abigail MaryRose Clark

I seem to have a soft spot for porcelain lately. My last interview was with a porcelain pottery artist and today I have a porcelain jewellery artist. Please welcome Abigail MaryRose Clark of StayGoldMaryRose. Abigail's stunning bracelets, pendants, rings and brooches are all made from reclaimed vintage ceramics such as teacups and plates. She has been creating and selling her work since 2004 and last year began selling her teacup bracelets in Anthropologie stores across the US and UK. As an antique china lover myself, I adore everything that she makes and am always looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. To top it all off, she's a super sweet girl, lives in an old Victorian schoolhouse near the ocean, and has recently taken to calling me "Poppet"!

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
I am Abigail. I am a Northern-born girl living in the South of England, right by the ocean. I have never been able to keep my hands still for more than 10 minutes. I never took Art GCSE [General Certificate of Secondary Education]. :)

WHAT inspires you?
Making/drawing/designing/collecting/documenting is pretty much my life. I am obsessed with the history of British-made objects, especially the heritage of British china and British tailoring/fashion. I love vintage illustration, Ernst Haeckel and James Audubon; colours and shapes in nature; kaleidoscopes and symmetry; old bygone processes and communications such as playing records, sending letters, using typewriters, drawing and painting with pencils/charcoal/ink, taking photographs on 35mm film, polaroids, screen printing/ lino printing; music; books; film. I could go on forever.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
I live in a beautiful old Victorian building that was once a school. My workshop is one of the old red brick outhouses in the courtyard. I have one workshop where I make all of my noisy ceramic mess with my machines and another that I use for designing peacefully, packing, drinking coffee, typing and pondering.

WHEN do you feel most successful? frustrated/insecure?
I feel most successful when I have a collection or a design taken on by a company/shop. I thrive on seeing a range of my jewellery on a website or in a catalogue such as Anthropologie. It's a lovely feeling seeing something that was once an idea in your head or a scribble on a page in your scrap book become a piece of jewellery selling around the world.

I feel most frustrated when I see my designs or my maker friends' designs being reproduced or copied.

WHY do you do what you do?
I think I would go insane if I couldn't make. It is a release. It has become a slight obsession. I have found a way to vent at least some of the images and ideas that constantly swim around in my head. I see objects as having their own life and purpose and if I see it being discarded or thrown away, then something in my head decides to change that. I guess some people call it upcycling.

HOW do you do what you do? Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day?
I make a lot of mess. Working with china is a messy process. I am blessed to have a great workspace and a lot of friends and contacts who work in the ceramics industry. I don't really have a typical day, as it all depends on the orders I get. I love days when I've finished my orders and can just experiment in the workshop to create new pieces.

FINAL WORDS: Anything else you would like to add? Advice for new artists or entrepreneurs?My advice would be to go with your instinct. If you have an idea, then run with it, even if people aren't so keen on a design/idea. Don't give up on a project, always finish one, even if you come back to it years later. Be as professional as possible and be honest. Don't copy. Be original and you'll do well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Abigail. I wish you the best of luck going forward, although with such talent and passion, I don't think you'll need it!

If you have any more questions for Abigail, fire away in the comments below. Also, be sure to visit her Etsy shop, blog and facebook page. She actually has a special promotion going on right now for 30% off your next purchase for "liking" her facebook page!

Cue Soundtrack: A Very She & Him Christmas

Does this make you as excited as it does me? Christmas! Ok, I know that word doesn't make everyone as ecstatic as me, quite the opposite most likely. But what about a She & Him Christmas album! Surely the sweet combo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Mard would melt even the scroogiest heart. The album comes out on October 24th, which you can pre-order here, along with a special red vinyl edition and matching red mittens!? I want! I want! I want!

While you've got your wish list out, don't forget the Dear Edna holiday line. Despite how it might seem from what you just read, I usually try not to think about Christmas too early (I need limitations or I'd have my tree up year 'round), but I'm a business now and that means two months before the big day is seriously behind schedule. The countdown is on! I'm hoping to have festive accessories in the shop by November, so this weekend and all next week I'll be Christmas-cramming. Carols will be cranked, eggnog will be spiked and the halls will be decked in little red and green fabric scraps!

If there are any items you'd like to see in the holiday line, I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Fa la la la la la la laaaaaa!

E xo

P.S. If you've been having difficulty commenting on my posts recently, the problem should now be resolved. Thank you for your patience... now comment away!

Birthday Bow

Monday was Mikey J's birthday and look what I made him — a bow for my beau! Heehee! Doesn't he look dapper? I've noticed him looking at bow ties a lot recently but knew he was wary of dropping the dough for a trend he wasn't too confident about sporting, so I figured I'd give it a go with some of my scraps. I found this free pattern on BurdaStyle that seemed simple enough and, after a few attempts and adjustments, came out with this. I had to revise the pattern a little because I didn't have the sliders required in order to make it adjustable and the pattern seemed small, so I made the pieces a couple inches longer and just sewed them together at the back. It's a couple inches too long now (blerg!), so I may hunt down some of those sliders after all. But all in all I'm pretty proud of the overall look, my new bow-tying skills, and my ability to keep all that sewing a secret. Happy Birthday Mike! xo

Very Important Date

This past weekend was Thanksgiving for those of us that call Canada home. Aside from Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday and this year certainly didn't disappoint. For one, the weather was gorgeous: I don't think I can remember a time when I could sit on the patio all day in a skirt and t-shirt on Thanksgiving! Two,  I was lucky enough to be invited to two home-cooked turkey dinners, and they were goooood. My bloated tummy can attest. I contributed a dessert platter this year and decided to try baking a new treat: date squares. Aside from Dads, who universally seem to worship the old-fashioned bars, I've discovered most people are extreme in their love or hate of them. Haters out there, this recipe has the power to convert. I know from personal experience. Give it a try -- they just might surprise you. For the lovers, you're welcome.

Date Squares
Adapted from recipe in Breakfast, Lunch, Tea

Date Filling:
3-4 cups (400 grams) pitted dried dates
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Oatmeal Crust:
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Place the dates and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 - 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in your food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Butter an 8 x 11 inch or a 9 x 9 inch pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Then add the butter and knead until the mixture is crumbly. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the base of the prepared pan.

Spread the dates evenly over the oatmeal crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the top of the dates. Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the squares have cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least one hour or until firm enough to cut easily into squares..