Friday, April 29, 2011

Just a few odds and ends!

I took a couple of quick (crummy) photos before leaving the store tonight - woah! We have quite the kooky assortment of stuff available for the sale tomorrow. Here's a little preview...

Vancouver Spring Cleaning Sale - tomorrow!

A reminder that we have oodles of fantastic things ready for the sale tomorrow that will add pizzaz to your home and wardrobe! See you Saturday!

Lily Inspiration-Yo' Mamma!

Mother's Day is fast upon us. Which inspired us to bring back a small run of the classic Smoking lily silk ascot. We have a beautiful grey, classy navy and cheery blue silk all printed in motherly images. Butterflies, peony plant, sprigs, and of course Cougar Annie.

Available -NOW. In the stores by tomorrow, $52. Limited supply.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Studio Update: Electric Blue Suede

This morning as I walked into the studio I was immediately drawn to a large bundle of the most beautiful Electric blue suede I have ever seen. I started thinking about all the lovely things we could possibly make with this amazing leather. I'm hoping that we will have enough to make larger bags, because I really want one, but the decision will rest with our creative director. When you have a colour like this, do you keep it exclusive, or do you make smaller products so everyone can share the treat? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lily Home: Silk Tea Cozies

Recently, the studio got their hands on new colours of dupioni silk and created the most beautiful tea cozies. The colours of silk are shades of blue, pink and mustard with fantastic prints. Stop by one of our stores to see the selection of prints and the true colour of silk. Here's a few photos of my favourites (please excuse the quality of cell phone photos!) Tea Cozies are $49 and make wonderful Mother's day presents.

Lou Riel

Pirate Ship and Virgin Mary

And the most beautiful Tea Cozy we've ever made:
Filigree Wallpaper with Queen Annie's Lace

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vancouver Spring Cleaning Sale!

We have been doing our Spring cleaning here in Vancouver, and now I'm sitting amongst mounds of items that will be available for your shopping pleasure this Saturday, April 30th from 11:00 to 6:00 at the Main Street shop!

There are loads fun props (skates with hearts and beavers, copper relief pictures of deer, wooden trays and boxes...), a grand assortment of garments and bags culled from the Victoria Garage Sale!, and oodles of display pieces (wee shelves and chairs and tables...). It's all very exciting.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Surprise!

It was my birthday last week and I was still on Lent. Although I broke away from my Anglican connections decades ago, I still practise the 46 day test of will power that is Lent. Each year I give up sugar and caffeine, and some years I add an additional challenge: no packaged snacks (I came to realize that my Cheezie habit was more pronounced than I had thought - embarassing), getting up early (the least successful of all my Lent commitments - frustrating) and extra exercise (this year I worked out 4 days a week - exhausting and very rewarding).

So, when I was invited upstairs on the morning of my Birthday, you might guess that I would be surprised to see this:

Had Rhonda forgotten that I was off sugar? She assured me she hadn't, but I was confused.

I looked closer and...

realized the garnish was anchovies and capers! She had made a savoury bread pudding with zuchinni, eggplants and mushrooms and had "iced" it in mashed potatoes!!! and the "Happy Birthday" was piped on with balsamic vinegar reduction! She popped it in the oven for a few minutes and we had hot birthday cake for breakfast - amazing!

Friday, April 22, 2011

David Suzuki Garb!

It's a beautiful spring day here in Victoria and I thought I'd share some new goodies we've sent out to stores this week. I'm sure all our blog followers know about the limited edition David Suzuki Dress we made last month in honour of the main man's 75th birthday. Well, in case you're a fella or just didn't get one of the dresses in time, we've made some limited edition David Suzuki Tees and Bamboo Cotton Scarves!! We will also be donating 25% of the proceeds from the sales of these items to the David Suzuki Foundation. Win-win.

The tees are an organic cotton in sizes S - XL and retail at $34 (+ tax)

The awesome scarves are on a beautiful tealy-blue bamboo/cotton blend (as I mentioned earlier) and retail at $28 (+ tax)

Here's a pic of me wearing one for vanity's sake.

And while I was at the Johnson Street shop I just noticed how lovely the window display looked. Forgive the tiny pictures, but seen above are the Japan Love Wallets, Upcycled Broaches and a very small run of some Bike Ascots we experimented with for the upcoming Tweed Ride in Victoria! Now get outside and enjoy the sun, everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Studio Update: Sustainable Plant Fibres

Photo by emrank

Hama Hama Top by Smoking Lily

Here at the Smoking Lily headquarters, we have been hearing the buzz from our customers that sustainability and ethics in the clothing they choose to purchase is equally as important as design and aesthetic.

Our creations are cut, sewn, and silk-screened in-house, right in our hometown of Victoria, BC. We are very consious of sourcing our fabrics and supplies locally, within BC, or within Canada (in that order!) whenever possible; "shop local" applies to us, too, and is always at the forefront of our minds. With more suppliers and mills offering eco-friendly fibres, more and more green choices are becoming available.

Recently, some of our favorite fabrics to use are hemp, organic cotton, and bamboo. Hemp is sustainable in that it is fast growing and requires very few pesticides and no fertilizers. Organic cotton comes from non-genetically modified plants, grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, so there is no contaminated surface run-off, and, post-harvest, yields thicker topsoil with higher organic matter content, thereby considerably reducing soil erosion.

Bamboo is one of the most prolific and fast growing plants: it can grow up to one meter per day!! It regenerates on its own quickly after harvest, requires little irrigation, and no pesticides or herbicides (partly due to its naturally occurring anti-microbial and anti-fungal qualities). It improves soil quality, minimizes CO2, and generates up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent planting of trees. Because bamboo fibres are short, however, they do require processing similar to rayon to be turned into fabric. This process does involve chemicals, but the market is starting to demand cleaner practices, and a handful of companies have led the way into the future by switching to a closed-loop process which captures and reclaims nearly 100% the solvents used; it is only a matter of time before other factories adopt this model, or are left behind.

Some of our current creations that include these sustainable fabrics are: Hama Hama Top, English Bay Dress, Garden State Dress, Suzuki Garden State, Suzuki scarves, Men's Suzuki Shirts, and some of our Onezies and Baby Hats.

Stay tuned for many more of the eco-friendly pieces we are working on for Fall!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Store Hours

We're starting to get calls regarding our holiday hours this weekend, so I thought I'd go ahead and post them here. Hours for all three shops this weekend are:

Good Friday: 12:00--5:00
Saturday: 11:00--6:00
Easter Sunday: closed
Easter Monday: 12:00--5:00

Happy Easter, everyone!

Lily Inspiration: The Benefits of Buying Local

Victoria, B.C. is a small city that I believe is Green at Heart. 46% of Victoria residents take the bus, walk or ride a bike for their daily commute, and we all live in neighbourhoods that are focused on creating sustainable communities. I think people in Victoria believe shopping locally is a positive choice they can make with tangible benefits for themselves and their city.

Whether it's groceries or accessories, buying from a local source vs. a national (or international) chain makes an impact on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions when examining the true cost of shipping. Also, where an item is manufactured can have a smaller environmental footprint depending on the energy resources consumed in the process. Here in B.C., 86% of our electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, with the remainder powered by natural gas, both of which produce far fewer detrimental emissions than coal burning power plants.

A major benefit to any community is economic sustainability. Local producers and retailers create local jobs and quite often choose to shop locally themselves, helping to support other businesses and investing in community projects that national chains might overlook.

However, I think the most tangible benefit for customers is choice. Local businesses are able to listen to and cater to their customers' requests and provide diversity in an otherwise homogeneous market. Here at Smoking Lily we keep a Request List handy for items we don't have at the moment, and are able to accommodate variations in our products that national chains can't offer. Also, because we care about the quality of our products, we offer a one-year repair policy on everything we make (and we're often able to repair our older products that have seen better days for a nominal cost!). All in all, shopping local is a wonderful way to support your community and environment and get something for yourself that you can't get from the big shops.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Smoking Lily Loves the Environment

I'm not sure if the small, local business model just inherently goes along with environmental awareness in a P.B.&J. kind of way, or if that's just the way we roll here at Smoking Lily--maybe a bit of both?--but I find we've often got "green" on the brain around these parts. In celebration of Earth Day this coming Friday, we're going to feature a number of "eco"-themed posts over the next two weeks on topics ranging from environmentally friendly fabrics to the simple things we do as manufacturers to keep waste in check.

In addition to reading about some of the things we're doing to stay green here at Smoking Lily, you can get more involved by checking out Earth Day Canada's site for listings of Earth Day events happening in your own 'hood. The Queen of Green blog from the David Suzuki Foundation's very own Lindsay Coulter is also a fabulous source of information on all sorts of the little, everyday things we can all do to get more down with Mother Earth (and I just noticed that Lindsay is pictured wearing our very own David Suzuki fundraiser dress in her latest blog post--woo hoo!).

Go, Earth, go!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Victoria Store Update: New Dancing Leaf Jewelry!

Spring is definitely here in Victoria and with the new flowers that are popping up around the city, we have received a beautiful new shipment of Dancing Leaf Design earrings. Perfectly crafted, dainty little lace and bead jewelry fresh and ready to be incorporated into your increasingly less layered outfits! I find these earrings are great all round everyday or fancy enough to wear out when you're all dressed up.
I am not sure if you can tell, but Dancing Leaf is one of my favourite jewelry lines that we carry here at Smoking Lily. I confess to owning and consistently wearing two pairs of earrings, a ring and a necklace from her! (I also love the Erica Weiner collection that we carry, but I'll gush about that some other time...) Stop by our Vancouver or Johnson Street stores and come see how pretty they are yourself!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Have you seen the lights?

I am referring to our beautiful wire-cage pendant lamps sold at The Milkman's Daughter. A fifteen-foot braided gold cord plugs into your outlet for easy installation. It's a rustic yet elegant look for the office or workshop.
Hang them solo or even better in a cluster.

3 styles to choose from @ $138 each. The filament bulb is included but can also be purchased seperately for $8.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Inspiration: Garage Sale Mania!

In years previous, our Garage Sales have garnered a reputation of being really fun, a great place to stock up on all things Smoking Lily and a little crazy. However, we have been learning through the years how to turn down the crazy and keep it fun for all who attend. You have probably all heard the rumours of line-ups around the block, but we have devised a strategy to combat this. This year, we open the doors of our studio at 1 pm and keep them open until 7 pm. We will be putting out fresh stock throughout the day, replenishing the selection and thereby negating the need to rush in first thing. Last year this strategy worked very well, and with the exception of the line-up for the very first wave of enthusiasts, we had no line-ups past 2 pm. I will be updating the blog throughout the day and letting you all know how it is going, if there are any line-ups and snapping pics of the most exciting deals of the day. So if you have to go to work today, feel free to visit us afterwards - and don't worry there will still be plenty of Lily to pick up and enjoy.

Update 2:45 p.m. - There is no line up outside and lots of goodies to choose from yet!

Update 4:20 p.m. - It's official, the last dress has been sold but there are still lots of awesome skirts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Robyn's Top

Robyn's Top

A new design made from colourful mens dress shirts. A sister shirt
to our popular John Wayne.
(Didn't know John Wayne had such a stylish sister, did ya?)
So many colours of dress shirts waiting to be transformed!

Thanks to our dearist Robyn for the colourful shirts. We are so glad
to know you've always got our backs!

This time we have the buttons and pocket in the front with our popular scoop neck.
With the delightful lantern sleeves and new printed yokes these cotton shirts will transform your new spring/summer wardrobe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My New Best Friends

Okay, I don't know these guys, but I would love to hang out with them some time. This months issue of Style at Home has a feature on Tim and Doug's back yard and garage renovation. These two have good taste down. I am loving the hot pink touches and the natural canvas on the walls, best of all they have a Smoking Lily tea towel with Louis Riel.

Good Lookin' Mannequins

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share two of my favourite looks from the Vancouver shop at the moment. Both are casual but put together, and very, very comfortable.

On the left, we have the Richmond Skirt and Mt. Pleasant Top in "Moroccan Blue." On the right is a printed American Apparel cardigan and one of our Ribbon Tees layered over a Hester Skirt (the denim shown is already off the web store, but there are still a few kicking around the shops).

Below is a close up of one of the new lace Dancing Leaf necklaces Noriko dropped off for us last week--sooo pretty, and a good way to inject a little feminine flounce into an otherwise clean-lined look. Noriko even makes a point of using only B.C. wine to dye the lace this lovely pink-purple; she is too cute!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vancouver Update: Snake Eyes

No, this is not another post on our Vegas trip. In our usual Tuesday box this morning (we get shipments of lovely new Lily goods every Tuesday and Friday in Vancouver!) I found something rather unusual - snake heads!

Korinne (who manages the Milkman's Daughter in Victoria) and I had been talking about display ideas and she had found some toy animal heads that she thought would be good to modify as hooks. As Korinne has a good eye and great ideas I agreed that she should send me some to test out. Well, they are hilariously cute/creepy. I will have to figure out how to make them into hooks, as that will definitely be awesome.

For now, I popped them onto the ends of our wall-mounted clothing rails. These should be good for random giggling and silly conversations. Thanks, Korinne!!

Oh, this last photo shows the Garden State Dress in all it's wonderful colours. I should let you know that we now have a few available in Extra Small!


Paper cut works of art (from magazines!) by Xin Song. Found via iiiinspired.

Good Advice

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lily Garage Sale Update!!

With our annual garage sale in T-4 days, all of the Lily girls are buzzing and whirring around the studio. Printing and sewing and making big messes, it's pretty fun in our neck of the woods. Here are some pics of everything that needs to be sorted so far!

Be sure to come out and join the fun this Friday, April 15th, from 1:00 - 7:00 pm!!