Never Hurts to Ask

As you've probably noticed, I haven't come out with anything new since the holiday line. That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it. In fact, I've been itching to get creative again for months, but I've put the idea machine on hold in order to get some necessary to-dos crossed off the list. The good news is, as of this week, my taxes are submitted, my sewing machine is tuned up and I have a pile of new fabric I can't wait to cut into. It's time!

While I'm busy cutting and piecing and sewing and photographing (yay!), I thought I'd show you some of the custom pieces I've created over the past few months. Maybe they will spark an idea of something you'd like to request. These all came purely from customers emailing me with their ideas, saying "by any chance, could you...", which just goes to show it never hurts to ask.

It may be hard to tell the scale from these photos, but this is a tiny apron I designed for an 8-year-old girl. The customer I made it for had already purchased an adult-sized reversible apron in these two fabrics and then came to me with this request for a matching mini version so they could be given as a set to a mother and daughter. Everyone together now... awwww! I'm tossing around the idea of making these "little girl aprons" a regular item for sale in my shop. What do you think?

Besides size alterations, the most common custom request I get is for monogramming. I don't have an embroidery machine, so I always offer to stencil the monogram with textile paint, the same process I use to print my totes. A few customers have taken me up on it, and I'm so glad they did, because I think they turned out really great.

Coffee cosies. A more accurate description would be coffee sleeve, but I like alliteration, so coffee cosy it is. This woodgrain one wasn't exactly a customer request — I made it for my Mikey J for Christmas. Apparently it's been quite the talk of the farmer's market. Apparently.

This houndstooth French press cosy was purchased along with an apron so they could be given as a matching set. My customers are such clever and thoughtful gift-givers.

A mini doily tote for a flower girl. Too cute.

An extra large tea cosy for an extra large tea pot.

If you were here when I first started my business, you may remember that I sold yoga bags alongside my aprons, totes, and cosies. It didn't seem like a great fit for my brand, so I stopped listing them in my shop. However, that doesn't mean they're completely off the menu. I'm still more than happy to make them by request.

Hamilton Happenings: March - April 2012

Spring is in the air and Hamilton is coming alive again. There are events slowly filling up every weekend now. Which means it's time for Hamilton Happenings to start up again too! Here's what's going on from the end of March until the beginning of April. Have fun!

Food & Drink Fest: March 23-25 / Careport Centre /  An opportunity to experience all the best restaurants, wineries and craft brewers from the area, naturally this is one of my favourite events of the year. We went on Friday night and had a fantastic time! Switching the venue to the Careport Centre this year was a great move: despite the hundreds in attendance, there were no lines and it didn't feel crowded or congested, as it has in the past.

Around the Bay Road Race: March 25 / The oldest road race in North America, this event draws runners from all over the world. I'm proud to say I ran the 30k race back in 2006. It's a challenging one (harder than any full marathon I ran since), so let's all get out on the streets and cheer those athletes on -- they need it!

Sweet Taste of Spring Maple Syrup Festival: March 25 / 10-4 / Westfield Heritage Village / This is a unique chance to explore the making of maple syrup from three different time periods, through the methods of Canada’s First Nations, 19th century pioneers and modern times. Families can take an old-fashioned horse and wagon ride and purchase a wonderful pancake breakfast.

Art Crawl: April 13 / James St. N. / All the usual goings on, plus the first Maker's Market of the year and the grand opening of the Tourism Hamilton Visitor's Centre in the Listerblock!

Operation Shasta: April 13 / 10pm / Baltimore House / 43 King William / An art crawl after party to help raise money for the lovely ladies of Sweet Ice Snow Cones to get their vintage camping trailer cleaned up and rolling through the streets of Hamilton this summer. Dancing, alcoholic snow cones, cool venue and a good cause... can't go wrong. If you can't make it to the dance party, you can still help out by donating here.

DVSA Art Auction: April 12-14 / 21 Ogilvie St. / If you're looking for affordable, original art from local artists, don't miss this event. Floor to ceiling art fills every room of the school. We already own two pieces from this event and are always excited to see if something new will catch our eye. Even if you're not looking to buy, it's really fun just to admire too.

Birthday Bumps

Dear Edna turns TWO today! Can you believe it? My baby has survived another year and what a year it was! If the first year was all about testing the waters and facing a lot of scary firsts, the second year was about getting comfortable standing on two feet and growing like a weed. One day she's going to be all grown up.

I can keep up this baby analogy all day, be the proud mama pulling out the photo album and bragging about each tiny step, but to tell you the truth, it's not all about me. Dear Edna wouldn't exist at all without all of your support. There's no such thing as a business without customers, and I'm convinced I have the absolute best! Thank you so much!

So... how should we celebrate? Did I hear you say, S-A-L-E?! As you've probably noticed, I don't do sales very often, but it seems like the least I can do for all of your generosity over the last two years. Going with the theme of two, I'm offering everything in my Etsy shop at 20% off for two days!!! Just enter the code HAPPYBDAY when checking out. Sale ends at noon on Friday, March 23rd and can't be combined with any other discounts. Happy shopping!

Now I'm off to treat myself to a special birthday lunch, most likely on a patio. The weather has been so unbelievably gorgeous in these parts. Life is good!

E xo

Meet Your Maker: Ingeborg Krebs

Is it just me, or is there something irresistible about little things? Baby socks, mini cupcakes, teacup pigs? All adorable in their teeny tiny ways. If you're with me, I have a treat for you today. Let me introduce to you Ingeborg Krebs, of Inge's Minis. Inge is an artist that takes miniatures to the next level, creating works of art like bobbin lace, cross-stitch, macrame and weaving at a one-inch scale! These types of fibre arts are seriously impressive under normal circumstances, I'm stunned by Inge's skill in being able to craft such tiny versions! As if this wasn't cool enough, Inge only does this part time. Most of her time is devoted to raising alpacas and sheep for wool and fibre on her gorgeous farm in the foothills of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Umm... wow?! I was so intrigued by all of this, I just had to learn more, and I'm so pleased that Ingeborg agreed to share... a mini interview about minis. Haha!

WHO are you? Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
I grew up in Germany and came to the USA in 1985. My professional life was in the medical field. Also, there I was intrigued by small things when I worked in a laboratory for electron microscopy.

WHAT inspires you?
The interest in making doll house miniatures started when I learned to make bobbin lace about 10 years ago. I was fascinated by the clear and crisp structure of the lace and the fact that I was able to make lace. So I tried out thinner threads which made the lace smaller and one day I thought that would actually look nice in a doll house. But then I also wanted to try out other craft techniques like wood work, cross stitch, macrame, basket weaving in miniature. I am fascinated by small things and I am always looking for things that can be done in miniature. Some times it can be done and some times not.

I started selling my crafts several years ago. I am taking part in the NW Miniature Show in Portland, OR once a year, and I am selling at the Saturday Market and Holiday Market in Eugene, OR. In March of last year I opened my Etsy shop first for the miniature things and then a second shop for the wool from our animals.

WHERE do you work? Describe your workspace.
I have a workroom in the house where I can make almost all of my miniatures. To do the wood work I have a work bench in the conservatory.

WHY do you do what you do?
I love to work with my hands and to create things that I like.

HOW do you do what you do? Describe your creative process and/or your typical work day?
On a typical day, I work in the garden, with the animals and their wool for most of the day. In the evenings and whenever I can in between, I work with the miniatures. Lately I started using hand-spun wool from my animals to weave miniature rugs. So now I am able to combine my two passions.

Thanks so much, Inge!

If you'd like to learn more about Ingeborg's art, please visit her website, IngesMinis (her miniatures Etsy shop) and TimberwolfWool (her wool and fibre Etsy shop).

Baby Face

Remember how I said that all my friends are pregnant? For me that means a lot of baby talk, a secret onesie stash and a lot of baby showers. I helped host two showers already and I'll be a guest at another in a couple weeks. For this last one, the host asked me to send a baby picture of myself. Any excuse to go through old photos and gush over my own cuteness is fine by me! Here are some of my favourites that I was able to steal away from my parents over the years.


So this isn't a picture of me exactly, but I love it so much! That's my older brother, Andrew, sneaking a peak at his new baby sister. I'm glad he's smiling instead of devising a way to get rid of me.

Check out that stink eye! I wouldn't even think this was me, except for the tell-tale red nose. I fell down the stairs around this age, so most of my baby photos feature a rosey shnoz.

My love of Christmas was evident from a very young age. I'm looking pretty devious here. I wonder how many ornaments my mom had to replace that year.

My grandparents lived in Picton, Ontario, so many summer vacations were spent on the Sandbanks beach. By the looks of this picture, those summers were well spent.

This is my favourite picture of me and my brother. Pure happiness, with just a plastic pool and some old buckets. Gosh we were cute kids!

It was touching to see my grandmother's handwriting on the back of some of these. Cursive handwriting, printed photos... it kind of makes you wish everything wasn't so digital nowadays doesn't it? I'm also left with an irresistable urge to sit down and go through all my parent's photos. They have albums upon albums and boxes upon boxes, so it would be a nostalgia marathon. If I do, I'll be sure to share. Do you have any favourite photos you'd like to share? Please do!

March Madness

There couldn't be a better day to come out of hibernation. It's sunny and 15 degrees here today! I feel almost guilty to be so looking forward to spring, since it's been the mildest winter in my memory, but even without snow, boots and longjohns, I still long for fresh air, bare feet, and patios. Don't you? Another sign that spring is on the way, Mikey J started our seedlings last weekend and a few have already sprouted! Fresh veggies coming soon!

In case you're curious as to how I've been spending my hibernation, I haven't slept it away (although I have been relishing 8 hours a night). I've mostly been keeping busy tinkering away at little projects that got pushed to the side for the last few months: mending, organizing, researching. It's a long list, but I'm slowly getting through it one task at a time. It's pretty satisfying.

I've also spent a good deal of time tackling my bookkeeping, which is no easy task after ignoring it for six months, I'll tell you. I've recently realized that organization and record-keeping are two completely different things and I'm pretty terrible at one of them. This realization did not come easily. I'm not going to lie, there were tears... followed by sobs... followed by doubts about having a business at all. It was not my finest hour. But the good news is that that breakdown forced me to recognize the problem and to sort out a process that actually works for me. I think having a partner is key. It better work, because I don't think I can go through that every year.

Business is hard. Spring is better.