Monday, August 30, 2010

Victoria Store Update: Fresh New Button Skirts!

Here's a look at our button skirt in a fresh beautiful green with some great lily prints.
Just hit stores last week!

Where I Live: Fishing Central!

This year Sockeye Salmon have returned to the Fraser River, in B.C., in the largest numbers since 1913 - the biggest run in nearly 100 years. Estimates are that 25 to 30 million Sockeye are making their way up the Fraser this year! Good news for the environment and our local fishery.

So yesterday I joined hundreds of people at a few fishing spots out near Chilliwack and Hope. We left Vancouver Saturday night and camped out to be on the river with lines in the river early - 6am early. All with hopes of catching a part of the excitement, and our 2 fish limit.

Here's Christopher's first cast in at Laidlaw. Pretty peaceful, but too many snags on the rocks, no fish getting snagged.

We stayed for an hour. But since no one around was catching anything we left. The only excitement was watching a beaver swim past. He was motoring! Nice wake buddy!

We had more luck further down the river near Chilliwack. It took time, but both Christopher (carrying his catch) and Eugene (cleaning his in a cooler) reeled in beautiful Sockeyes.

Then we headed back to a spot that we had checked out earlier, but was really crowded. I had heard about the "shoulder to shoulder" possibilities, but it was pretty incredible to see. "Gong Show" was Christopher's description. There were hundreds of people lining the river!

We blazed the Jeep through a few shallow creeks and made our way over to join them. Fortunately everyone was in a good mood, and the inevitable tangled lines were just a brief break from the constant casting. I saw more than a dozen fish pulled in in an hour.

We returned home around 9:00pm and fell straight into bed. A perfect way to spend a Sunday. Salmon for dinner tonight.

I love where I live!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Embellished Lily

The cutest family came in the Vancouver shop a couple of weeks ago. The Mom, Danielle, had just celebrated her 39th birthday. Her husband, and children, had given her a Smoking Lily item, which was lovingly presented in an embellished Smoking Lily paper bag. She needed to exchange the item for another size, which we were happy to assist with, and we were absolutely tickled to see the DIY wrapping that it came in.

Little Luka (seen with the fancied up bag below), his sister Hanna, and his Dad, Douglas, all got together to make the pretty wrapping paper for the gift. As you can see, a Lily paper bag with the Bunny Frou Frou print was the basis for the project. They embellished with princess stickers, and gave Miss Frou Frou a necklace and high heel shoes.

Hilarious! and Cute! and Sweet!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Studio Update: Donkadonka Coat

Well I guess fall is almost here, and we have been sewwww busy making new things for the stores. Here is a new exciting addition to our fall line up, the Donkadonka Coat. Made of a boiled wool blend, this 4 buttoned, pocketed jacket has a pretty printed undercollar, cuff and facing. It can be worn so many different ways! They are fresh off the sewing tables, still warm with the love from its maker. In stores today (or tomorrow in Vancouver).

Guerrilla Toronto Street Art

Last weekend public space advocates in Toronto performed a large scale guerrilla art installation, "hacking" into pillar advertisements and painting over billboards; cool! Operating under the moniker TOSAT--short for "Toronto Street Advertising Takeover--they replaced forty-one pillar ads and "redesigned" around twenty billboards. Apparently, the group specifically targeted illegal advertising--structures that sound like they are largely installed overnight and contravene various Toronto bylaws, but end up staying put because city enforcement is so lax.

The idea of "illegal" advertising in cities has never really occurred to me before, and I wonder if the same sort of thing happens in Vancouver. I suppose I'm naive, but it just seems ridiculous to me that large, professional, corporate companies would engage in something so juevenile: "We'll build it, 'cause who's gonna stop us--na nah na nah boo boo!" Seriously? For real, Pattison Group?

Have any of our Toronto readers seen any of the "hacked" signage? What is the word on the street--do people like that new look?

end of run sale items

We have a few items of summer stock that have been marked down in the stores!

Market Dress - a few blue med/large market dresses now priced at $62 (from $82)
Red Dale Skirt - printed with all over flies now $75 (from $88)
Double Take Skirt - now $75 (this is hot hot hot)
and the Scoop Neck Tees are now $25 (from $32, all printed, no special orders)

Email me (Rachael) at if you can't make it to the store and you need me to snag one of these hot deals for you. There are not many of these left, so they will go fast!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spotlight: What's in your bag?

One of my favourite items from this past season is my Jack Wallet. I wasn't in the market for a new wallet--my Metro Wallet from a few years back was still in great shape--but I came across this wallet and had to have it. Mine is suede with the honeycomb print. Love it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vancouver Update: Smoking Lily's Artistic Treatment

Last year my very good friend, Mark--photographer, painter, art director, Renaissance man at large--shot a series of photo portraits of his friends in locations they had chosen that were of some import to them. Having been one of his volunteers, I can attest that it was an interesting experience for someone who dislikes having their picture taken (Glenda knows well how I generally squirm when there's a camera on me), but I was absolutely fascinated by the results. Flipping through the dozen or so finished photographs, most of which being of people I haven't met, was so engaging; who were these people? Why had they chosen their particular locations? What were they thinking of when the picture was snapped? What stories lie here!

One photo I most certainly did recognize was the one above. Despite splitting her time between Toronto and Japan whilst slaving away at post-graduate research, Sara manages to come and investigate our skirts on a pretty regular basis. In this portrait she is looking quite contemplative in, I believe, one of the very few short-sleeved John Wayne tops from last year. Sara also writes a fantastic blog all about her Japanese adventures called Tokyo Beaute, which I highly recommend. ...Hhmmm, maybe we'll have to get her to send us some pictures of her Smoking Lily collection in action on the streets of Japan!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Anti-Feminism Everywhere?

Remember the cute little video poem about being alone I posted a while back? Well, apparently it is now an international internet sensation and kicking up a bit of a critical storm! Russell Smith, of the Globe and Mail, wrote that, while he didn't want to come down too heavily on such an "innocent piece of diaristic vlogging," he nonetheless felt "this kind of pair-bonding-obsessed weepiness to be anti-feminist, retrograde and disempowering to women." Wow! I know op-ed pieces are supposed to stir things up a little, and it looks like Mr. Smith has succeeded. There has been at least one letter to the editor in response, with more on the way.

I dunno--what do you guys think? I honestly didn't read it as a pre-second wave feminist commentary, as the idea that anyone would think that a woman would literally be afraid to go to a coffee shop or a movie on her own didn't really cross my mind (and how post-third wave is that!). I also didn't read the "advice" given in the poem as aimed solely at any particular gender. Oddly enough, Smith's description of the piece--a collaboration between a professional poet and a professional director--as an innocent, diaristic vlog smacks somewhat of a dismissive patriarchy to my mind. Yikes!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yes, Eggs!

I was charmed by Nicole's last blog post - so cute that you have chickens Nicole! And yes, I agree, pleasure and inspiration can come from the smallest of things. Well, in the case of Nicole's giant egg, it was a humongous little thing.

I too was recently inspired to photograph eggs. I was vacationing in Cherryville, B.C. earlier this week and woke to our hostess coming in with fresh eggs from the barn - in a basket nonetheless! She gently washed each one, and as she placed them on a towel to dry the most beautiful linear arrangement of orbs appeared. She must have thought I was crazy as I photographed her regular morning chores (oh, silly city girl!), but I couldn't resist.

They are beautiful, no?

Smoking Lily Inspiration: Not always what you'd expect

I am not saying that I necessarily get inspired by eggs. Although I would say that going out each morning to collect the eggs from the chickens in your backyard can be quite the experience. I could go on about how beautiful it is at 5-8am (depending on the time of year that the sun is rising) or how cute it is when each of my three girlies takes the morning leap from coop to ground rushing her way quickly to the shed to get fed. Yet I am not going to. It's nice, but not super inspirational.

I am instead going to go a slightly more Smoking Lily route with things. Here we are all about getting inspired. We love sunrises, outdoors, chickens, and all that, but what's extra awesome is weird things. Things that don't happen every day.

The other morning I went out to do my morning routine, just as usual. There was a fine mist in the yard, the sun peeking it's way over the edge of the clouds, casting rays of sweet light through my fruit trees and onto my face. I opened the coop and... there was this HUMONGOUS egg. Normally there are three normal (well not by grocery store standards) but normal, to me, eggs in the nest. Today there was only one really huge egg, as though the three that were normally there had conglomerated into one single egg. I was astonished. I looked down at the girls, and said out loud at 7:15am, alone in my yard, wearing my Hello Kitty housecoat and rubber boots. "Holy crap. That must have hurt." I took it inside and lining it up next to my quilting ruler, took a picture. (it was 3 inches tall!) I'd say a grocery store egg is probably about 2'' tall.

I thought about how I would have to tell all the girls in the studio, and of course, how much you'd all like to check out this feat-of-nature chicken egg. I ended up selling that particular egg to the guy downstairs in the Pita Pit, and he asked if maybe one of the chickens was actually part ostrich. I asked him to tell me how many yolks were inside. Later he reported only one. One big one.

So yes, this is perhaps not your traditional inspiration, but it is something that brought me joy and excitement, as most inspiring things should do. I hope that today brings you giant eggs as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Awesome Logo

Saturday, August 28th, 11 to 6
The merchants on Johnson Street are throwing a Festival

It is a fund raiser for
Youth Empowerment Society

I'm waiting for official word, but I hear there is all day music, a dunk tank, skate board ramp, there will be sale racks, a chance to learn how to make a tote bag, hip hop demos
and a whole lot of more.
Smoking Lily is hosting a mustache booth, we've been having fun at the studio with this.
Hope to see you all there next week Saturday

Sad News for Cougar Annie

I'm not sure if everyone has seen this already or not, but late last week a customer in Vancouver informed us of a recent Globe and Mail article describing the serious financial trouble the not-for-profit society that currently owns Cougar Annie's estate has run into. We here at Smoking Lily just love Cougar Annie and the lovely people at the Boat Basin Foundation, so we were very sad to have heard this news. My first thought was, "Oh! Maybe we could do another fundraiser for them," but it sounds like the extent of the problem is a little more than awesome tee shirts can battle.

Good luck, Boat Basin--our thoughts are with you.

Spotlight: Rusty Rooster

Lots of great stuff is happening in the studio right now in preparation for the move into fall, but I thought that today I'd introduce you to Rusty Rooster, a boutique in Cumberland BC where you can find some Smoking Lily treasures outside of Victoria and Vancouver.

Rusty Rooster is located at 2722 Dunsmir Avenue in Cumberland and caries a variety of Smoking Lily clothing and accessories, as well as baby products, stationary, natural products for your home and body, soy candles and some amazing upcycled furniture.

On the left here is one of our black Lily Dresses on display outside the front of the shop.

Above are two lovely displays of Catherine Gabriel's up-cycled furniture. The photo on the left has a couple pairs of last winter's Pajama Pants hanging in the background behind a Sheet Music Cabinet, and on the right our Kid's Quilts are cute as all-get-out surrounded by these home-wares (that mirror?! *drool).

Finally, they have a great kids section showing our Lap Top Tees, Tiny Dancer Dresses, Onzies and Baby Quilts.

If you live in the area, or are going up-island on a road trip you should stop in and say hello!!

We have many stores across Canada featuring our clothing and accessories (such as Seed in Regina and Room 6 in Deep Cove) and will start featuring them here on our blog so you can find some Lily close to home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vancouver Update: Upcycling Strikes Again!

While reading an article recently on the "inevitable" demise of the printed word (I think it's a bit premature to call, but maybe that's just me!), I got to thinking about all the creative ways people might have to start repurposing all those "outdated" things. Out of curiosity, and with Glenda's awesome holiday window display made from old books in mind, I embarked on a Google-tastisc image search to see what all people were getting up to. Wow! There are too many to recount, but here are a few of my favourites:

Book wreath! Compliments of Apartment Therapy.

Super cute book planter, available from Italian design firm Gartenkultur.

Incredibly detailed "book sculpture," from artist Brian Dettmer, using an old copy of Grey's Anatomy (reminds me of our new Enormous Heart print).

Stunningly ethereal sculpted pieces from artist Jacqueline Rush Lee.

...On an entirely unrelated note, I also wanted to let all the Vancouver Lily-ites know that we have our first official fall piece in the shop, the fabulously cute new black cardigan (name still T.B.A.)! I know it's hard to imagine that summer is almost over when it's thirty degrees out, but it's coming, people, it's coming;)

P.S. The very top image was from an ad campaign for the Prague boutique, Anagram Bookshop. It's not actually made from a real book, but I love octopi and it was just too charmingly whimsical not to post...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Monday

Just thought I would share this music video for you to start your week off right. Michael Jackson and Nirvana. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beavers for Everyone!

I just came across this story while cruising the BBC News online and thought it was pretty cute: the UK is all excited about the first wild beavers to be born on the island in four hundred years!

Native to Great Britain, beavers were, sadly, hunted to extinction there several hundred years ago. Last year scientists reintroduced the little guys to Scotland as part of the Scottish Beaver Trial, with eleven animals coming from Norway. In addition to starting families, it sounds like they are damming up all sorts of stuff and creating great new wetland environments. Good for you, beavers! ...and it's nice to know sometimes we humans can fix the things we screw up (even if it takes four hundred years!).

Lily inspiration: Dogs

For the past few weeks, I have been walking SPCA dogs with my husband Ben. Ben has always wanted a dog, and because we couldn't get one in our small apartment, he decided to start volunteering at the SPCA. He talked about it so much that I decided to start tagging along a few weeks ago and I love it! The dogs are so excited to see you, and you can walk a different one every week. Here are some of my favorites!

My favourite is Loki, a pitbull mix who is super friendly and sooo cute!

Tawny is a really friendly pitbull, maybe lab cross, and she was still waiting for a new home earlier this week!!

This is Ben with Lenny, a husky mix, who had lots of energy and excitement, and a beautiful coat of hair. He's was still at the SPCA earlier this week too!

If you want to volunteer, donate or help, please go to for more info.
Also, if you were wondering, all 43 of the chihuahuas have already found new homes.

In the spirit of dogs, here are some running greyhounds one of our freshly made duvet sets available in the Vancouver shop.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vancouver Update: Dancing Leaf Jewelry

Hi! I'm over in Victoria soaking up all things new at the studio - fun times!

My blog post today was going to be multiple shots of the Dancing Leaf jewelry we carry at the Vancouver and Victoria shops. I was hoping to take some photos of the jewelry here in Victoria, but Trish and I were really busy with chop saws and airguns - there's exciting things going on over here.

So, I'm posting the only photo I have of Noriko Kobune's Dancing Leaf Jewelry that we are carrying in Vancouver. Embarrassingly it's a photo me (it feels oddly narcissistic - guess it's obvious I'm not on Facebook!). But, isn't Noriko's lace necklace beautiful? She also makes earrings and bracelets out of Japanese lace that she hand dyes (some with tea and BC wine!). As well, she is the genius behind the lovely Bouquet rings and necklaces - gorgeous creations of beads that resemble stunning floral bouquets.

I'll post more photos of the Dancing Leaf Jewelry soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Best Obi Blog Ever

It's finally time to discover the answer to one of the most common questions we get asked: How do you tie the obi belt?
The answer: sorry... actually there is no right way...
BUT! Don't despair, me and some of the ladies here at the studio have made videos of some of our favorite ways.

To start off, the obi belt has 2 sides. You can tell the difference by looking at the center of the belt and seeing that it is shaped differently on the top and bottom. If you wear it with the scoop up (pictured on the right), the belt can be worn just under the bust as an empire waisted accessory. This is great for all those small busted/big hipped girls out there (myself included). It accentuates the smallness of your waist, makes your legs look longer and draws the eye up towards your face. Think of an arrow pointing up!

If you wear the scoop facing downwards (pictured on the left) the belt looks great worn around your waist to elongate your torso, busty or tall ladies, this is great for you!

This way also looks really nice if you wear it around your hips to give some movement to a drapey garment, like our fabulous Hama Dress, shown in one of the videos below.

To start off we'll do the scoop side up ties:
Below is a video of how to tie a scoop side up (empire waisted) bow over our new colour of the Rhonda Honk Honk dress. Very pretty!

And here is how to do a lovely rosette knot.

How about a scoop up folded over box knot? Tres fancy.

And for the scoop side down ties:
Here's a single loop bow (like the bow above with only one loop) done around the waist over the Oscillator - THE dress to have for autumn.

Below is a hip tied scoop down simple box knot to add some movement to our delicious bamboo cotton hama dress.

Finally, we have a way to wear it with jeans! Casual and pretty, folded over and threaded through belt loops to be tied in a rosette on the hip.

One last tip: when trying out these knots, the easiest way to get a clean and crisp bow or knot is to try and keep the fabric flat when folding (not twisted or bunched).

Now go young padawans, tie your belts with experimental fervor and passion! Good luck :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where I Live: Fernwood, Victoria

Ladies and gents, welcome to Fernwood and the few blocks I call home!

I'm a real fan of the 'hood. I lived on the outskirts for my first 2 years in Victoria and just moved to a great place right in the heart of Fernwood. I'm a 10 minute bike ride from work, a 2 minute walk from the Belfry Theater (where I just caught 'Billy Bishop Goes to War' last Thursday), Cornerstone Cafe (a mean americano, just my style), and the Collective Works Gallery which always has interesting, local and good art. Fernwood also has an awesome little market on Tuesday evenings with fresh local produce, craftsters, hippies, kids and Terry the Bubble Man.

What I've been enjoying most this summer is the open field behind the Fernwood Community Center where my friends and I have had great afternoons of frisbee, tree climbing and baseball (Trish and her sister actually stumbled upon our last game. Just in case you're wondering, I'm an awful pitcher. Seriously bad.) Here's a pic of me in one of the many playgrounds scattered throughout the hood.

Let's face facts, we all think that our own personal stomping grounds are the best ones possible. I think we're all a little bit right. All in all, I'm pretty sure our lower mainland is one of a kind. There's nothing like the warm feeling of flying into YVR (or YYJ) to be greeted by a misty rain after an adventure abroad.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's Raining!

It's raining here on the West Coast. While that's not usually something unusual here on the aptly nicknamed "Wet Coast", I think this morning was one of only 2 times in Vancouver that I have been surprised to hear rain when I woke up! It has been sunny and hot here for weeks, and I guess I just got used to it. Oh complacency, you do make me giggle sometimes...

I'm going to get in trouble for this (sorry Alex!), but I had to post this old shot of our awesome model and friend Diana - braving the elements for us, yet again. I took this photo in 2004 when Diana was a hot blond (now she's a hot brunette). She's wearing a Boatneck Tee with the Periodic Table print and a cotton Skirt of Good Cape (and some cute pink heels!). I know, I know, I said no more torturing with you with photos of Lily items no longer available! But I love that this shot is a cute rain shot.

All you West Coasters have fun jumping puddles (or splashing through them) today!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lily Inspiration: Not such a Wallflower

Last Monday Trish and I got busy printing up some incredible wallpaper
with a fancy new screen I burnt on the weekend.

Quite stunning, c'est non?
Meet our new botanicals:

On the left is Tea and on the right Thea
(actually called Theaceae, but that's one to many vowels for me to concern myself with)
What beauts!

Winning the Good Fight!

Well, the battle isn't won, but Tuesday was a huge step in the right direction for queer rights in the States as district court Judge Vaugh Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional--gooooo California! Somewhat surprisingly for a George W. Bush appointee, Judge Walker found that, among other things, "...stereotypes imagine gay men and lesbians as disease vectors or as child molesters who recruit young children into homosexuality. No evidence supports these stereotypes." Hhmmmm. Journalist Kai Wright's NPR blog post on the matter sums things up quite nicely on an emotional level, as does the photo I saw on the SFist website of a protester with a sign that read "I can't believe we still have to protest this crap!" Amen to that, my sign-bearing friend, and congrats on the victory, California!