Don't Forget Dad

I was flipping through my calendar last night and realized Father's Day is only two weeks away! Ah! Did it slip your mind too? Lucky for you, I feel your pain and have decided to make things a little easier on the forgetful sons and daughters of the world by offering a last minute Father's Day deal — free shipping on all men's and reversible aprons! Shipping usually takes two weeks, so this deal is happening for this weekend only. Get ye to the shop and have a look around. You know your dad would look spiffy behind the grill or puttering around his workshop in these duds. I know mine sure does! :)

Zippity Do Da

There are a lot of things a girl can have too much of. Chocolate, wine and reality TV jump to mind. But can you really ever have enough zipper pouches? I think not. So I picked through my favourite fabrics remnants, made a bunch and took them along to the One of a Kind Show to see if anyone else agreed. Well, boy! I primarily use zipper pouches as a travel makeup bag, but I am clearly thinking inside the box on this one, because I got an earful at the show about the many ways this little accessory can fill some very specific needs — pencil case, foreign currency wallet, medication bag, sunglasses case, first aid kit — the list goes on and on.

Luckily I came home with a few in hand and they're now finally available for sale in my Etsy shop! I designed three different styles (straight bottom, flat bottom, and mini) and they come in various print combinations. I've listed just what I have on hand, but feel free to suggest patterns or colours and I'll see what I can do.

Also, might I mention that these pouches would look super cute with a little embroidered monogram in the corner? I just so happen to have a promotion on custom hand-embroidery until the end of the month. 20% off with the code CUSTOM20. Think about it.

Retail Therapy

Up until recently, the only retail store that carried Dear Edna items was White Elephant, which you've heard about many times already. The owners of White Elephant, Hollie and Jane, have been incredibly supportive from the very start and that positive experience has given me the confidence to reach out and partner up with two new retailers: I'm excited to say that Dear Edna items can now be found for sale at Red Hill Coffee Trade and Dots and Loops Handmade!

Red Hill Coffee Trade is a family-run company here in Hamilton that imports and roasts fair trade organic coffee. They have a coffee bar in the Hamilton Farmer's Market where Mike is a regular customer, and when they found out that I make coffee cup cosies, they kindly offered to sell some for me! It's businesses like this that make Hamilton such a great community to live and work. The owner, Jason, and the staff are incredibly friendly, so I hope you'll stop by sometime for a coffee, a chat, and a cosie.

Photo at right via Happening Hamilton

Dots and Loops Handmade is a cute little gift shop in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia that sells beautifully curated handmade items from around the world. The shop is owned by husband-wife team Melanie Strong and Stephen Bishop, with Melanie running the shop floor most days while Stephen works in his print studio in the back. Oh, and did I mention it's located in a heritage building? It sounds like a dream setup to me and I hope to get a chance to visit them in the near future.

Photo via Shibang Designs

Although I mention it often, I don't think I've ever shared any photos of White Elephant. It is my favourite store in Hamilton, my friends can attest it's my go-to place for gifts, and (again) I'm incredibly proud to be a part of it. Thanks for everything, ladies!

I'd love to add some more retailers to the team, so if you know of any shops or boutiques in your community that you think would be a good fit for Dear Edna, please be sure to let me know!

Customize It

Things may have seemed a little quiet over here, but I've actually been pretty busy behind the scenes. Even after three years of doing this, it still surprises me how much work and time it takes for a product to make it from design through to sale. Sewing is actually the easiest part, I think. Anyway, you should see lots of new listings in the coming weeks... starting today!

Today, I'm here to announce the launch of two new services: Dear Edna will now be offering custom hand-embroidery and DYOA (Design Your Own Apron)!

You may recall that last year I had a special promotion for the month of October offering free embroidery on all my products.  It was intended as a testing ground to get some practice with the entire process and I'm so glad that many of you took me up on it, because I learned so much, most importantly how much I enjoy hand-embroidery! I can take it with me on trips, shows, or craft nights; I can stitch and talk at the same time; it gives me (and my back) time away from the sewing machine; and it's intensely personal and creative, which is probably the thing I love most about it. You have to admit that there is something special, traditional, and almost romantic about the process, knowing that someone drew the letters, stretched the hoop, and made every delicate stitch with a simple needle and thread. That is a kind of handmade that cannot be imitated by a machine. So even though I've actually acquired an embroidery machine recently, I'm sticking to what feels right to me, my business and my values.

I currently have two listings up, one for monograms and initials and one for names and phrases. If you want something stitched that is longer than 10 characters, like my good man Lou here, simply send me a message and we'll work it out.

While we're reminiscing, you may also recall how I ventured into the world of wholesale fabric last year and came out with a lot (some would say too much) fabric. So much, in fact, that I haven't had time yet to photograph all of the aprons I made with it! I've also had a few customers in the past request different pairings of fabrics than what I offer. So, hoping to solve both problems, I came up with the Design Your Own Apron concept. I'm basically giving you virtual access to my entire fabric stash of 20 designer fabrics to mix and match and create the reversible apron of your dreams. Haha!

These ideas have been kicked around, experimented with, discussed at length and put on and off to-do lists more times than I can count, so I'm pretty proud to see them finally for sale and I'm eager to see them action. To sweeten the deal, I've decided to offer these two services at 20% off until the end of the month with the discount code CUSTOM20. I sincerely hope you'll take advantage!

Why I Decided to Start Running Again

It's true. After a 3-year hiatus from long-distance running, I made the somewhat impulsive decision to sign up for a 20k race this July. Why? This collage on the cover of one of my old running logs says it all. At least it tries to. Haha! For me, the answer is a two-parter. Jen from Jen Loves Kev expressed the first part perfectly when she said,  "I run to train for races." Running hurts. I think we all learn this from a pretty young age. But so does weight lifting, and squash, and even yoga sometimes. There is no greater motivation for me to get off my butt and work out than an upcoming race. As hard as I try, exercise never takes a priority in my life unless I have committed to a race. The second part is the special wave of emotion and joy that only comes from finishing a race, crossing that line, accomplishing that goal that at one time seemed impossible. I get chocked up just thinking about finishing a marathon. And the only way to get there is to train. See how that works? It's a love/hate relationship that you may call crazy, but to me, and many others that call themselves runners, it works.

So now that running and I are back together again, I guess you're wondering how it's going. To be honest, our first date was a disaster. I set out to run only 3k and ended up stopping to walk around 2k because my knee was pinching and then I started to feel nauseous, which persisted half an hour after I got home. Not a good start. It was the week following the One of a Kind Show, so I think I may have still been a little run down. (Pardon the pun.) The good news is, every run since then has felt great! I've been progressing slowly, for fear of irritating an old knee injury, so after 4 weeks I'm just now logging 5k.

Speaking of logging, although I will miss the super cool motivational cover, gone are the days of handwritten notebook entries. I'm now using a fancy dancy app called RunKeeper. It uses the GPS on your phone to track your route, mileage, pace, and time all at once. Genius. Of course this raised new challenges, like how to carry my phone while running. How did I ever survive with a clunky, skipping Discman in my hand? Crafty girl that I am, I made a running belt for it, which is basically just a zipper pouch with a loop on the back that I slid a wide elastic through and sewed to a buckle from an old fanny pack. Problem solved.

What about you? Are you a runner? Are you training for any races this year?