31.8.09

the perfect t-shirt

I have found it: the Alternative Apparel burnout deep V with pocket. I love this t-shirt. It drapes really well, has a slightly boyish cut (it is unisex), and is so soft and comfortable. It's not see-through, unlike some burnout styles, and I think I need it in every colour. I'm wearing this colour, "washed black," at the moment. It is the Jane Birkin of t-shirts.

It is also perfect for my fall fashion concept, such as it is, which happens to be a lot like Tara-Lynn's. Bring on the dead leaves!

28.8.09

let's sail around the world!! update


(via Danske)

About my post from yesterday: Emily has three days to raise the remainder of the money, but she's half way there!

If you were looking through the list of backers and wondering where my name was, I sent money via PayPal, which you can do too! This post explains how.


27.8.09

let's sail around the world!!

Just so we're clear, I'm not currently living my dream. Part of the problem is that apparently, "hanging out" isn't a realistic way to use the "9 to 5" portion of the day -- that is, unless you have someone in your life who throws money at you (n.b. I don't). And I somehow got to be 30 years old without ever realizing what my dream actually was, beyond trying to be as happy as humanly possible at all times (but I'm nearly there, guys!).

Recently Laura Jane told me about her friend Emily who has a dream to sail around the world. At the time, I didn't really grasp the enormity of this. Then I started to think about it, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I could never do this -- but I want Emily to do it.

Here is the plan: circumnavigating the world by boat, 24,000 miles in 24 months. I'm not a scientist, but I think Emily will use up less energy on this trip than a one-hour flight from Toronto to New York probably would, and that's pretty amazing / inspiring. To help with the cost, Emily is raising money via Kickstarter. She's created some incentives (kind of like when you pledge money to PBS), and Laura Jane created some even "wackier" incentives on nogoodforme.com. $15 gets you a Polaroid from the trip! An original Polaroid, guys; a piece of her trip in your pocket. $15 is nothing for that kind of magic! Personally, I'm aiming for the sailor hat. I really need a sailor hat in my life (and I get the Polaroid too!).

You can pledge as little as one dollar, or you can cover the balance of the $8000 she's trying to raise. As Laura Jane says, give Emily one dollar and drink tap water for a day: "EMILY NOT EVIAN!"

There's a really good interview with Emily on the Kickstarter blog. When asked what she's most excited about: WHAT AM I NOT EXCITED ABOUT!?! I want to paint my face and do tribal dances, I wanna roam forests and learn about natural healing. I wanna snap photos and swim with fish. I want to learn and give, grow wiser and kinder.

Don't you love sharing a planet with someone like this? Her blog is going to be such a good one to watch -- if she is able to reach her goal. Check her out! Community! High fives!

24.8.09

dig a pony


I am so in love with these F-Troupe saddle shoes that I spent my hard-earned necktie-making cash on yesterday (you know where). I foresee much happiness when I look down at my feet this fall.

Of course, the second I had decided to buy these I walked in to Toronto's best shoe store for the first time... but more on that later.

19.8.09

on choice + on bodkin


I struggle with the choices I make.

For example, I have recently decided to stop shopping at Urban Outfitters. As far as I'm concerned, their constant stream of collaborations with designers that appeal to people like me are essentially taking money away from the small local boutiques that I love; a $200 Sunshine & Shadow blouse at a boutique or a $50 Yellow is Gold by Sunshine & Shadow blouse at Urban Outfitters? Which would you choose? Up until a few months ago, I know which one I would have chosen. I know that I cannot afford a $200 blouse, but when I splurge on one, I value it so much more. I don't care about the fate of the less expensive item. It's nearly disposable. There is a reason why there is such a difference in the price.

My Contributor by Rachel Comey sandals (an Urban Outfitters collaboration, as you probably know) wound up being disposable. They fell apart after a few hours of wear and I had to spend half an hour walking home in broken shoes the other day, dragging my left foot through the hot streets. They are not worth repairing. I am very sad about this. I understand why the designers create these lines, of course. You do what you have to do. Certainly a lot of designers would love to do a line for Urban Outfitters.

I also understand that there are people who don't have the option of shopping in small local boutiques. I get it. It's tricky. It even gets tricky when I think about Rodarte for Target. The Rodarte customer is not going to stop shopping at Barney's. And what do I care about Barney's? But with collaborations such as Yellow is Gold or Fletcher by Lyell, it just hits a little too close. I feel as though I am being manipulated, and I resent it. Yeah, okay, the Free People blog is really cool. I know.

I am not trying to ruffle any feathers and I am not trying to preach. But incredible feats of merchandising are just not enough for me at this point. Small business owners can do it just as well, and better (I'm sure you have all seen the pictures of Saipua). I don't have a lot of money and I want to spend what I do have as well as I can. A company that is making enormous profits in a recession doesn't need me. That's all. That's my choice. I won't judge you for yours.

So I do struggle, and I feel so small. I know many of you do as well. Too often I give up and I settle for the easiest option, all the while trying to be weary of greenwashing and of corporations putting on an act. You can poke holes in any argument. I do like to use my critical thinking faculties. We all should. But sometimes I stroll into H&M and mindlessly buy a skirt just because it is inexpensive and I want to wear something new that night.

Anyhow.

Erin and I have been chatting about the clothing label Bodkin a bit lately because Robber is going to carry select items from the line for fall (the line was started by Eviana Hartman and Samantha Pleet -- of Samantha Pleet but also of Rapscallion by Samantha Pleet for Urban Outfitters -- but is now Eviana Hartman's alone). I read the description of the dress above, made of hand-loomed silk blessed by the Dalai Lama. My cynicism took over. I complained about how such effort had been put into this beautiful fabric, but that it had to travel to this side of the world on an airplane, to be made into a dress sold to one who could afford it. I disregarded the fact that at least Bodkin had tried to do something different, because for too long I have been rolling my eyes at "green" marketing and irritating terms such as "eco-chic," and it has hardened me. I thought Bodkin was just another designer doing the "green thing" for the sake of the bottom line. I was wrong, wrong.

Yesterday Jenny posted about Bodkin with a link to Eviana Hartman's blog. I read the whole thing; I absolutely fell in love and had to revisit everything I had said to Erin. Here is a designer who THINKS about every choice she makes (down to the provenance of her safety pins & to garment care -- just say 'no' to dry cleaning; I do). She doesn't condescend to us and in fact solicits opinions on her blog. Never mind that the clothing itself is lovely! I am in awe.

Please do read her blog, particularly this post and this post. It demonstrates perfectly that there are so many grey areas, but that there are people who make the best choices that they can. I sincerely wish that there were more designers and more manufacturers and more companies that operated with this spirit & I hope that we can give them the space to thrive. It's legit.

18.8.09

industrial sewing






I took last week off work to take a course on industrial sewing. I thought that it would teach me techniques that would help me get better at sewing at home, and that the confidence in my increased skill would inspire me. I learned a lot, but mostly it made me wish that I could take two years to practice and to learn more and more. Those industrial machines are pretty amazing things. Of course, I kept thinking of all my parents' friends who worked in garment factories when I was little, when Toronto had such things. Those ladies made very little money (think of them when you see a Nu-Mode dress in a thrift shop).

At the bottom are the half-size muslin shorts I made as the final sample. I was so discouraged and I was doubting my abilities towards the end of the course, the same old song; when I started to make the shorts, I didn't bother to be too careful. I got a good grade on them, though (90%).

The shorts are tiny. I showed them to Geoff and he burst out laughing. We'll try to get them on Oreo one day.

15.8.09

annabelle by dace

Ooh. The Annabelle dress by Dace. It's not quite my name, but it's close enough, and the dress is stunning. I think I have to have it this fall.

Available at Robber.

Today is a scorcher, so I'll be running my errands with a small bottle of Jurlique's rosewater balancing mist in my tote bag for relief (that's meant to be kind of funny, not obnoxious). Happy weekend!


Also: dear Toronto, if any of you are interested in purchasing CB I Hate Perfume, it's available at Ewanika. I called the other day and they're not open yet -- they just moved into the former Annex Books space at Dupont and Bathurst and should be open in late August. Thank you to K-Line for the tip!

13.8.09

from elora to hanover to cambridge to meaford

The Stratford moss pom-pom cowl

Geoff and I just went for a walk, the kind you can have in late summer when you have a craving for tacos and the temperature is comfortably warm. I am trying to savour every last moment of summer while still gazing longingly towards fall. Tara-Lynn's latest sneak peeks of her knits for fall/winter '09 have me so excited for the return to hats and scarves and cowls. Her shop reopens soon, and I can't wait.

12.8.09

oh babydoll

Forgive the shyness; I am disinterested in being photographed these days, but somehow this dress looked worse on the hanger. Is that really me wearing a dress made out of jersey? Why yes, it is. Fickle! I made it last night using the babydoll dress pattern in Sew U: Home Stretch. It was so easy. I used my serger but I did the finishing on my machine with a ballpoint needle. I trimmed about five inches off the hem; it hits above the knee. A little bit Laura Ashley, a little bit 90210.

Lately every time I walk into a shop selling clothing for young folks I feel as though I'm walking into my early teenhood circa 1993. I thought, well, I can make floral jersey t-shirts and leggings and dresses myself. I went to King Textiles on Richmond Avenue and at the back of the shop, they have bolts and bolts of floral knits that I am convinced have been sitting there since circa 1993. The real deal.

11.8.09

CB I hate perfume

Thank you, everyone, for your comments on your favourite scents! I find it so satisfying to learn about how other people like to smell. It's such a personal thing, but it's a powerful thing too, if the amount of thought you put into your comments is any indication.

I know that there are a lot of people who can't handle any scent at all, and I get that. It doesn't have to be perfume, though; one of my favourite smells of all is that smell that hangs in the air in the fall. If someone could bottle that without having it smell like a bathroom deodorizer, I would be quite happy. This scent might come close.
A couple of you (Chad and Missa) mentioned CB I Hate Perfume, a New York perfumer. Read his manifesto here. I followed his blog for a while; ever since I read his description of most perfumes as "juice" and read of his contempt for celebrity-endorsed perfumes, etc., I have been incredibly fascinated. I admire his passion. I am particularly interested in the scent above, At the Beach 1966:

The prime note in this scent is Coppertone 1967 blended with a new accord I created especially for this perfume – North Atlantic. The base of the scent contains a bit of Wet Sand, Seashell, Driftwood and just a hint of Boardwalk. The effect when you wear At The Beach 1966 is as if you've been swimming all day in the ocean.

Doesn't that sound dreamy and compelling?

Incidentally, Chad tells me that he ordered CB's Tea/Rose blind (or rather, noseless?) and that he loves it!

9.8.09

perfumery

Yesterday I stopped at the newest Anthropologie location with Erica, and I think I have found a new perfume! At the moment I only wear Stella by Stella McCartney, which is one of the prettiest scents I have ever worn; I love it. Perfume guru Laura Jane Faulds of nogoodforme.com recommended Burberry Brit for men for me, but I think I'm going to pick up a bottle of this Stella for now (the Brit does smell fantastic, though -- I tested it and kept sniffing my wrist all evening).

The notes in Stella are "Blood Orange, Orange (Seville/Biarade/bitter), Watery Notes, Freesia, Lily, Diamond Orchid, Sandalwood, Transparent Musk." This makes sense for me; I love florals, and I love musk -- the blood orange part is unexpected but I do love eating blood oranges, and I am certain that had I lived in 17th century Sicily, I would have fit right in. Eating blood oranges, tending sheep.

Talk scents to me! I love reading about scents & perfumes & oils. What do you wear, if anything at all?

6.8.09

love yr blog!

This is my 300th post, and what better way to celebrate this milestone by marking another: I have been profiled by one of my all-time favourite blogs, nogoodforme.com! Read the lovely piece by Laura Jane here. This made me so ridiculously happy that I smiled at a couple of strangers on my way home. Spreadin' the love the nogoodforme.com way. Try it!



This video is one of my favourite things these girls have posted. Laura Jane ("Maxwell's," as I like to call her) is even more adorbs in person!

pretty things from paris


Yesterday I came home to find this lovely package from my amazing friend Annie. She had just spent a couple of months in Paris (lucky girl!) and was sweet enough to think of me. "I keep on seeing things that remind me of you guys (more in Paris than anywhere else I've ever been, I think)!" I think that is a huge compliment! I love these little bits & pieces to, well, bits! I want to use the larger buttons on the "Boutons Tailleur" card, but I also think I want to frame the card as is! Thank you, Dreamboat Annie. I think that if I could have any wish, it would be that New York City were bike-riding distance from Toronto, as that is where Annie lives. Or that someone there would give me & Geoff jobs that paid a ton of money. You know.

Oh! Many of you are aware of the fact that I have been spending a lot of time at Robber (I do love pretty clothing and I adore Erin!). All summer Sarah McNeil's prints and drawings have been hanging on the walls, and this weekend is the last weekend they'll be up. I'm going to miss them! These two are the two prints I picked up from Sarah at the Hunt & Gather trunk show at The Workroom -- Geoff & I framed them recently in some frames we thrifted. They make me very happy indeed.

4.8.09

shabd


I'm excited that dye is so hot right now, because people are doing some amazing things with it.

I love, love, love these leggings by Shabd Simon-Alexander, available here. The universe on your legs -- amazing!

Via Oh Joy!, Camp Comfort, and Love Forever.

3.8.09

wallpapered



We got the wallpaper up! It took a few hours and my arms are sore, but it wasn't too bad. I had wanted blue toile wallpaper as seen in the Domino feature on Blonde Redhead, but I couldn't find any that I could afford ($200 for one wall in a rented apartment is impossible). I also thought something chinoiserie-like would be good, and was pleased when I found this particular wallpaper on clearance. It's on one wall of the dining room -- it's so much more cozy in there now.

august dress


I made this dress for Erin as another confidence booster. Japanese pattern books are perfect for that purpose for me because the biggest challenge is following through; the construction is not difficult. Erin picked up this cotton lawn and one evening before we went to see The Dirty Projectors she flipped through my pattern books and selected dress J from Stylish Dress Book 2. The dress features an empire waist and five buttons down the bodice.


I made it shorter (I actually used the skirt pieces meant for dress M) and gathered the skirt. The original pattern calls for six pleats in the front and six in the back, but after seeing the new Steven Alan Soma dress for fall (the purple paisley in particular -- it is gorgeous!), I have fallen hard for gathered skirts.

I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I love how summery the print is, I love that it looks like a little girl's dress, and I loved adding fabric-covered buttons. After I had cut out the pieces and quickly basted them together, I took the dress by Erin's shop and she tried it on to make sure it would fit. I just know the finished dress is going to look so cute on her!

See? Confidence!


Since today is a holiday I intend to be super productive and tackle all those things I have been meaning to tackle for months: wallpapering a wall, making a skirt, an embroidery piece. Wish me luck.