Monday, February 28, 2011

what she wore when... she went to her first oscars

When I first saw Hailee Steinfeld on the Oscar red carpet last night, I immediately thought: "AUDREY."

She might not have taken home the Best Supporting Actress statue, but the 14-year-old has been the big winner on the red carpet all season looking charming, relaxed and, bless her, age-appropriate.  She worked with Marchesa on the design for her first Academy Awards dress and you have to think they took a bit of inspiration from fashion history while putting her own twist on it.

Here's Audrey Hepburn in 1953 at age 24 - similar boatneck, sheer overlay and silhouette.   You can't tell from this picture but like Hailee's the skirt hits mid-calf.

Of course the best inspiration Hailee took from Audrey is her poise and joyfulness.  Here's hoping she continues down that path.  The world needs more Hepburn girls.

For a bit of an insight into Oscar ceremonies past, check out this 1953 footage of Audrey accepting the Oscar.  It's great to see Donald O'Connor presenting with a quick and somewhat quirky cut to Gary Cooper in Mexico.  

french press slippers

The stakes were a little on the high side when I decided to make ballet flat-inspired slippers for my sister-in-law for her birthday. After all, beautiful shoes are her family business. But I really loved the Felted Slippers from Melynda Bernardi of French Press Knits. It was my first felting project so I was a little nervous but I was so happy with the way they turned out.

If you've never felted a knit project before, it's quite magical.  These were knit with Cascades 220 Heathers 100% Peruvian wool.  I think the Heathers works well because it gives a nice variation in the felt rather than a flat solid.  The bottoms are knit with three strands and the sides and straps with two to give it good bulk.   The remarkable thing is the size of the project pre-felting.

Here's a before pic next to my size 7 (dirty) shoes:

Looking at these floppy, 15" long clown shoes, it was hard to believe that they would eventually turn out to be a chic, sturdy slipper.  But wool is an amazing thing and after 20 minutes in a hot wash with a touch of detergent and a couple of Henry's old rubber balls, the fibre worked it's magic.  Here they are right out of the wash:

I was very vigilant during the felting process and checked on the slippers every 5 minutes, shaping the shoe each time.  If they felt properly, it's sturdy enough that shaping the damp shoe becomes more like sculpting than fibre work.  After a couple of days the shoe was dry and I could attach the strap (also felted, also meticulously shaped) and the cute tortoiseshell buttons. 

By changing colour and button style, you could get a lot of great looks. I want to make these for everyone know.  Starting with a pair for me!

(Most importantly, my sister-in-law loves them and they fit perfectly!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

what she wore when... she launched a lifeboat (and her official duties)

You know I love a good fascinator so I was thrilled that soon-to-be-Princess Kate turned up at her first official public engagement sporting this brown velvet and silk.  Miss Catherine Middleton has alread proven herself a big fan of hats -  especially the fascinator -  and is putting her own twist on the royal millinery tradition. 

Besides the fact that it's awfully pretty, I appreciate the attention to detail.  According to the Mail:
   Appropriately for the Welsh visit, it was decorated with an insignia of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers – given to Kate ‘some time ago’, aides said – and two military tunic buttons.

The hat was designed by Vivien Sheriff Millinery, a small company based in rural Wiltshire which makes all of its hats by hand.They're a favourite of Kate and judging from their recent winter collection, they share her love of classics with a twist.

From the top of her head to the tip of her toes, Her whole look is win. The cute suede ankle boot gives it a fresh feel.  She's getting kudos from the tabs for wearing a coat which has been in her closet for at least five years and which she had shortened for the occasion (Frugal is the new fabulous!). 

I love that her style is ladylike without being froufrou and that she shows a lot of love for tweedy Royal tradition but with a 21st century spin. Most of all, her look is very accessible. Even if you haven't found your prince, you can still sport cute boots, a smart coat and knotted pashmina. And on a special occasion, a really, really cute fascinator...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

never try to teach a pig to sing

by Full Circle Press
These cute cards from Full Circle Press combine some of my favourite things: letterpress, whimsical animals and words of wisdom.   A great reminder that it's good to expand yourself but it's okay and even encouraged that you understand your own limitations and the limitations of others.

Monday, February 14, 2011

valentine's tea

 I've been wanting to do a  Valentine's Day tea for a few years now.  More than any other holiday, this is a chance to be as girlish and whimsical as you like - pink treats, hearts and flowers, dainty tea-cups, grandma's silver and doilies.

So this year, I gathered together a few crafty ladies for an afternoon of sweets and conversation.


The music for the afternoon was heavily influenced by Meg Ryan movies (inspired by Ms. E.!) with a little Blossom Dearie thrown in for good measure.

Friday, February 11, 2011

have a love-filled weekend!

diy valentine's cakes from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

it's not too late to send love

So time's slipped by and you've forgotten to get your old-school Valentines in the mail?  Never fear!  The folks at Kate Spade are here to help you out (they're good like that).  They've joined forces with some of their favourite design types to create a gallery of e-cards that anyone would love to receive.

Did I mention they're free? You'll want to send love to everyone you know:  your bestie... your sister...your cute co-worker...  your third grade crush... the guy who shovels your driveway... your dentist... you name it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Champagne & Roses by Barbara Michelle Jacobs
 I'm not currently in the market for one but this has to be my all time favourite engagement ring. It's classic, whimsical and organic all at the same time. Barbara Polinsky of  Barbara Michelle Jacobs designs her pieces with a commitment to ethically-obtained stones (this is a Rose Cut champagne diamond from Australia), reclaimed metals and found objects.  The band of this ring was once a twig in Central Park.  Does it get any more romantic than that?

If a proposal is not in your forseeable future, she has several other amazing pieces...

Wildflower Band - made from plaintain leaf weeds!

Green Blossom Earrings

Beech Seed Necklace
Walden Pond Twig and Seed Pearl Bracelet
These carefully crafted pieces will be treasured family heirlooms.  So special.

best wedding video ever.

Max, Margaux, & The Marvelows from Shark Pig on Vimeo.

So I've been waiting for the lead up to V-day to share with you what I believe to be the all-time best wedding video.  It was created by the same folks that brought us this video and I've been completely in love with it since I first saw it last summer.  It's so full of joy and handmade touches and lots of love and personality!  Anyway, when I was poring over Anna Bond's Rifle Paper Co. blog for my Tuesday blog post, I discovered that she did the invitation suite for Max and Margaux.  Of course she did.  Love.

via Rifle Paper Co. Photos by Our Labour of Love

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

fashion, jewelry & fine art

Did I need a pick-me-up today!  This morning my last bit of patience with winter evaporated.  It's freezing, the snow's up to our window and to drive or walk a few blocks is to take your life into your own hands.  Thank heavens for an invite to put on a little black dress, leave my hibernation and spend an evening at Ingrid Mueller Art & Concepts.
Designer Aidan Stanley at Ingrid Mueller Art & Concepts
At the beautiful and newly-opened gallery space on Regent, Ingrid partnered with The Towne Shoppe for an evening of fashion and fine art and to showcase jewelry designers Aidan Stanley, Jeneca Klassen and Audree H. St-Amour.

Friends, fresh flowers, glasses of bubbly and great new looks... maybe spring isnt' that far away after all...
My pick of the night: a striped and asymmetrically draped Ronen Chen paired with classic black flats.
Aidan Stanley's brillian metalsmithing - that's a statement piece.

Ingrid Mueller and designer Audree H. St.-Amour

Audree modelling one of her designs - I love the vintage yet organic feel of this necklace.

nerd valentine

by Ruka-Ruka
As is clear from yesterday's post and, well, this entire blog,  I'm a girly-girl.   If your taste is a little less flowery (it's ok!  I still love you!) but no less whimsical, you'll love Nerd Valentine on tumblr.  I went for the Venn diagrams (because I LOVE a good Venn diagram - Ruka-Ruka also do sweet ones with Mom, Dad and baby's names too) and stayed for the clever gift ideas "curated with love by Amrit Richmond."

by Handmade by Machine

by Mary & Matt
 And speaking of Mary & Matt, I'll leave you with their very cute op-art commercial... Delicious!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

love is in the air

If you can get past the ticky-tacky plastic, Valentine's Day is by far the prettiest of all the holidays and a much-needed pick-me-up in a very long winter. A holiday filled with pinks and reds, hearts and flowers, sweet chocolate and sweeter words. L-O-V-E.

I'm especially loving Rifle Paper Co.'s  take on Valentine's Day.
image: rifle paper co.
 Rifle Paper Co. is all about whimsical, folk-art inspired cards, prints and stationery - perfect for Valentine's Day... your wedding day... or a random Tuesday.  I wish I was flush enough to order one of these custom portraits for each of my favourite couples!

image: rifle paper co.

image: rifle paper co.

And you just had to know that behind these whimsical, romantic illustrations was a real-life love story, right?  Meet Anna Bond, Rifle's illustrator and designer, and her husband Nathan who runs the business end of things.

image: rifle paper co.

Anna's blog is a well worth visiting if you need a happy, pretty, inspiring break from your day.