Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vancouver Update: Garage Sales Begin!

It's finally that time of year again, when people start mucking out their basements and garages and put their unwanted goods out on their lawns and into their carports for sale! I love garage sales. The hunt is fun, there are usually good stories and there is occasionally good banana bread and hot chocolate (that saved me last Saturday).

I was out looking for display furniture for the Vancouver shop when I came across this fascinating garage sale/personal art installation. It was really difficult to tell what was for sale and what was part of the permanent "exhibit". The back yard was littered with decaying furniture and odd relics. Rust and chipped paint abounded - gorgeous, odd and ever so slightly creepy. I managed to sneak a couple of discreet photos of some of the goodies, not wanting to disturbed the owner who was parting with his collections with some difficulty.

I spied this printer's tray loaded with weird bits and pieces and was instantly drawn to the top center cubbies...

mini doll hands!

which I quickly scooped up, knowing that they could be used in the shop for something...

I took them over to the owner and asked how much they cost. My guess was $2. To my surprise he said calmly, with a knowing undertone, $10. Ten dollars! Did he sense my excitement?

I told him I was purchasing them for a shop and didn't know if they would want to spend that much (would Trish ok a petty cash purchase of $10 for some dirty baby hands whose final use was as of yet unknown?). His reluctant reply was "well...give me two and you can have them for five". It took me a moment to realize that he wanted me to give him two of the hands in order to get a reduced price. This was the first time I had heard this bartering technique, but it worked. I happily gave him two of the hands and paid $5.

I will be mounting the hands onto drywall screws and using them to hang jewelry. I wonder what the garage sale guy will be doing with his?

Oh yeah, and this is the house next door!

Yup, I love garage sales. See you out in the back alleys this summer!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vintage Wool Blankets

The Milkman's Daughter recently received this batch of beautiful vintage wool blankets adorned with patchwork, prints and lace. A perfect bed-topper or beachblanket. They are the kind of woolens that last more than a lifetime and with these pretty updates they will be treasured. $138 each. (Note the colour on the yellow bicycle blanket is vibrant but not quite so flourescent as the image appears!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We love Color!

Summer is so close I can see it! In the studio our conversations on upcoming designs will usually trail off topic or sprint in other directions as everyone has their own thoughts. Lately we have been discussing the endless possibilities of color combinations with prints, inks, dyes, ties and accents which lead us to a side topic of our universal love for Crayola Crayons.

In 1903 there were only 8 colors available, now in 2011 there are 120 colors. Crayola has renamed, revamped, and recreated their product to grow with the times. My personal favorite color is Magenta (yes it's pink).

Each of us has our own story on why we love Crayola Crayons. As a kid it gave me an avenue to be creative and play with colors. Even now if I am at a restaurant and there is a set of crayons I will be sitting there off in my own world coloring. I can remember being at my Grandmother's house with a fresh box of 64 crayons, the built in sharpener in the back and a huge stack of princess coloring books with a big smile on my face. I bet my Grandmother liked it too because it was the only time I was ever quiet.

**comment with your favorite Crayola memory**

Thanks to www.theimaginaryworld.com and vantagepointblog.wordpress.com for images.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pirate Ships, Bikes and Bears, Oh my!

Freshly sewn, hot off the press!
New duvets!

Pirate Ships for the adventurous,

Raleigh bikes for the nostalgic vintage lover,

And BEARS. Because they're the best.

Goldilocks duvet anyone?

Customer Feedback

We are fortunate to get lots of lovely comments and notes from our customers here in Vancouver. This morning when I opened our email inbox I found a note of epic proportions from one of our regular customers, Janie. Check this out!

Janie and her husband cycled through the Rockies in early May! They have done a number of big cycling trips but we were super impressed that their weather braving abilities matched the magnitude of their stamina. Way to go!

And thanks Janie!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vancouver Update:

Gardening has been a theme this weekend. We got the window box in front of the Main Street shop all spruced up too!

That's the pretty light grey Lucrezia Dress with fuchsia belt in the window.

We have a few new items in the shop as well: the Squirrel Hunter Tunic!

The Love Score Tee printed with Kelp, Seahorses and Sparks!

Black Hama Hama Tops printed with floating tulip heads!

and a few awesome new Tea Towels!

(As I was typing this I heard a shout in the street and some horns honking, I guess the Canucks scored! Time for me to go bug my neighbour with a TV...)

May Long Weekend

I joined millions of other Canadians this weekend by finally planting my veggie garden. Our weather has been less than seedling friendly this May - cold and wet (and a big hail storm). So, the May long weekend became the deadline yet again.

I live in a house with 6 suites and a big back yard. My boyfriend, and his son, live in the apartment next door to me (we share the back deck), and a good friend and her boyfriend live in the apartment above me. Of the six suites we were the only ones interested in gardening - perfect! For Sunday and Monday we worked like a well-oiled machine, planning, organizing, shopping and planting.

On Saturday, the boys tilled the existing garden (used by the old oweners of the house for years and now empty for our experimentation) and a chunk of tenacious grass to use as a pumpkin patch. With the ground ready, we got rolling on our first year of serious gardening at The Big House.

This photo shows the garden space all sectioned out.

Christopher bucked up a bunch of stepping boards and plant markers for us from a pile of wood he was chopping up for camping fire wood (yay! camping is about to start soon too!).

Here's the garden almost complete.

The view to the house above, also shows the deck (tiny deck for such a huge yard but we fixed that by setting up a badminton court in the yard!).

Christopher built a structure to hold a removable tarp so that we now have an all-weather deck - nice!

and here's the start of the pumpkin patch. We dug and ammended the soil and planted pumpkins and squash and now we wait...

All in all a very productive 2 days!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

L.A. Foliage

Los Angeles isn't the greenest city I've visited, but some of their foliage is awesome. I do love that succulents are outdoor plants! and that horsetail is used as a form of short hedge (as opposed to a form of garden torture...but that's another story).

Here are a few of the pretty scenes of greenery I encountered.

Waiting for dinner outside of Umami Burger (Umami Urban in Hollywood where you can watch a movie on the giant screen out on the patio while munching on awesome veggie burgers - I hear the meat ones are good too).

Walking in Silver Lake next to the reservoir.

Pretty container in front of a shop in Venice Beach.

There's the cool horsetail!

Ha ha! Graffiti on an agave plant - first time I've seen that.

What is this thing of bizarre beauty?

Studio Update: What's goin' on!

Well if I were you, I'd be super curious as to what's going on in this awesome joint, the Smoking Lily studio. And lucky for you, Friday is the day we get to tell you!

As some of you may have noticed, Steph is super duper pregnant! She went on maternity leave last Friday and should be having her baby in the next week or two!! I can't believe it! We are all so excited and also very sad that she can't be here with us all of the time. We miss you Steph but will get over ourselves for the sake of your child.

In other news, we've made an awesome tunic dress. It's called the Squirrel Hunter. Thank you Joanne. It's really cute, as you will notice in the photo of me. There are two ample pockets, flattering princess seam lines and it's going to come in a variety of great colours. The fabric is a comfortable linen, rayon and Spandex blend. I can see it working for any season! There was supposed to be an arrow pointing to where you place the squirrel in the diagram below, but the arrow disappeared when I uploaded it. Sorry, you will have to use your imagination.

Trish just drew up a really amazing new print, the maple pods. The varying sizes and scattered pattern has such a nice flow, this will be a great addition to our fall line.

Also going on in here are new Rowan Dowans. We recently picked up some enticing new leathers in colours including a pink, hunter green and beautiful textured gold. Combined with Liz's excellent printing skills these Rowans are exciting indeed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoe buying freeze

Smoking Lily on Main Street in Vancouver is located right next door to Umeboshi, an incredibly awesome shoe store. Due to my weak will power where shoes are concerned, I have a nice collection of boots (my main weakness as they go so well with tights and the Hester Skirts that I live in) and shoes. In September I declared a "shoe buying freeze" for one year for myself. I do have to admit that I qualified that with "new shoes" as I felt a couple pair of second-hand shoes whould be acceptable.

To my amazement, I have done very well so far, until the L.A. trip that is. I bought 2 pairs of shoes - eeek. My excuses, one pair was only $38 brand new (basically second-hand price), the other pair was on such deep discount and were so beautiful I couldn't resist (ok, I could have, but I didn't). So when I tried on the shoes in the photos below I decided that my new tactic would be to photograph my feet in the shoes I wanted and leave them behind. I get some of the shopping thrill and none of the guilt. We'll see how well this works...

These beauties are patent leather and tweed!

The white ones were fine woven jute, so pretty, and so high! I have to admit to being a little more sad about leaving these behind in West Hollywood. The black cotton espadrilles are the $38 pair I brought home.