Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Golightly Bags!

Hello hello! I know I've been bad at keeping up with my goal of posting every week. Honestly, I've been trying to be less of a hermit and spending more time with friends as well as making new friends! I love it! But it definitely has cut into my computer time. That, and I still haven't fixed/replaced my laptop, so unless I do the posts on my lunch break during the week I have to use my womanly skills to fandangle Jeff's laptop away from him! haha

I've had a lot of requests for images of my bags to appear somewhere on the net other than on my Facebook profile, so I figured I best be doing a post about them! 

No name
 Some info about these babies: 
 - They are all designed and handmade by yours truly. 
- Inspired by many things, but mostly nature and art deco architecture (pretty much my 2 favourite things of all time... that and ice cream). 
- I get my leather from second hand stores, then spend an incredible amount of time cutting it up into manageable pieces.
- I use my mom's old Pfaff machine from the 70's (that poor poor workhorse haha) and sometimes hand stitch when I'm feeling extra insane. 
- The linings were initially going to be second hand silk scarves, and my very first bag had a silk lining, but that (obviously) didn't last long, AND I ended up loving the scarves as they were... which spawned my incredibly large vintage silk scarf collection! Instead, I decided to put the scraps from my quilting hobby to good use. And while 100% cotton isn't as luxe as silk it's definitely waaaaay more practical, cost effective (because I already owned it) and eco-friendly. Yay!

So without further ado I present (most of) the first batch: 
(You can see more bags, including new ones, on Pinterest here
Oona - SOLD
 The first! A true labour of love. Cut outs, hand stitched details... I hated this bag until I completed it. Then I loooooved it.

Alexis - SOLD
One of the last made in the first bunch. Doubled up circles, hand hole punched detailing PLUS hand secured pearls... I have no idea how I finished this bag haha
Black leather, butter cream leather, blue pearls.

Jane - SOLD
Rosie - SOLD
Jane's identical twin sister, until I added a handmade leather Rose to her face. 
She didn't want to be a twin anyways. Black leather, pearls.

Marvin - mine!
Marvin was inspired by the lining fabric and David Bowie.

Willow - SOLD
My friend Peggy had told me that she was looking for a bag with a big tree on it. So I made her one! It's not big, but it does have vintage MOP buttons for leaves!

Oh Flo.

This bag is so 70's it makes me laugh. I have no idea why, but it reminds me of some super over tanned girl wearing some crazy over sized turquoise sunglasses.
Bronze, tan and turquoise leathers.

The only boy of the circle bunch, he's very marine inspired.
Ultramarine blue, butter cream, navy, bronze, turquoise, tan and some heavy yellow suede.

Oh Lucille, you minx! One of my Art Deco inspirations. Soft feel with a strong look.
Super soft black leather and butter cream leather.

Evelyn - SOLD
 Art Deco inspired Evelyn. I still think about this bag on a regular basis!
Black leather pieces on amazingly soft butter cream leather.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Vintage Adventure

I'm sure most (more likely all) of you have noticed that I am not really hitting my mark on sewing/making something every week. I haven't even finished the corrections on my first inside/outside dress! And trust me, I feel awful. I'm trying to figure out what I need to do (aside from kick myself in the butt) to actually get this stuff done. I do have a plan to start on my bags again, but my sewing room needs a serious reorganizing for that to happen!

So in the meantime I'll keep posting other fun stuff, like my vintage shopping adventures, as well as some new ventures in green living. :)

Last weekend I went to Toronto to visit with some of my best friends who I haven't seen in awhile. It was SO much fun. I don't know why it's always months between visits to a city that I live a whole 2 hrs away from! Anywhoo...

Saturday began with a lot of melting snow, which I wasn't prepared for as I had brought a pair of 3 yr old suede boots as my only footwear. I definitely didn't learn my lesson from the weekend before where those same boots failed me on our wine tour and I walked around with soaking wet feet! So, needless to say I needed some new footwear stat! The second shoe store we found was having 50% off sale. Awesome! I ended up buying a pair of rubber boots to combat the slush and puddles that were plaguing the sidewalks of Toronto (unfortunately not as fashionable as my aging suede boots).

My aging salt stained suede boots and my new mud splashed rubber boots!
For our vintage shopping adventure we stayed on Queen West and started in the fashion district just west of Spadina and worked our way west allllll the way down to Roncesvalles! Quite a hike, but soooo worth it!

First stop: Preloved. This amazing store makes well designed pieces made out of reclaimed fabrics. If I could own everything in this store I would! I've never bought anything from Preloved on past trips, so I felt this time I had to have something! I ended up buying a pair of fun lightweight Preloved mitts (and they were turquoise, so how could I resist?). If you are ever down on Queen West near Trinity Bellwoods Park please check this place out. You won't be disappointed!

We stopped in a bunch of random little antique places stuffed to the ceiling and sometimes spilling out onto the sidewalks with everything and anything! Unfortunately none of them had items any of us were searching for. One had vintage microphones which I would LOVE to have, but they were just for rental. Boo.

We continued down Queen W until we hit Parkdale. For those of you who don't know, this section of Toronto is turning into an awesome vintage hub. It's a nice change from Kensington as its not really well known, so its not at busy or trendy. That's not to say that Kensington isn't a cool place to check out, but Parkdale is my new haunt for vintage :)

Public Butter was our next stop. This place has a lot of funky clothes and knick knacks. I've purchased a lot of vibrant coloured leather jackets/skirts for my bags in the past. This time I bought a white beret. Not vintage, not second hand, but definitely something I've been searching for! And it was cheap. So I didn't feel like I was breaking any of my "no buying clothes" rules.

At 4:15 we had finally made it to Stella Luna (our goal)! Located at the far west end of Queen W near Roncesvalles, this place is so worth the trip! The owner, Crispian Underwood, has fabulous taste in clothing and accessories, and she's super nice to boot! The prices at Stella Luna are also mind bogglingly reasonable, which is why it's my #1 vintage shop in Toronto.

Everything in Stella Luna is sorted by colour, so it's very easy to sort through.

This amazing leather bag, modeled by my lovely friend Dominique, was actually made by a Toronto designer, and had *gasp* an ultramarine blue suede lining! Dominique scooped it up, but if she hadn't I was going to! I call first dibs if she ever wants to get rid of it haha.

This was my score from Stella Luna. I've been searching for a nice vintage corduroy shirt dress for awhile now, not really finding anything in a compelling colour or that fits, so I was SO happy to find this beautiful item. A little tight in the arms (nothing a few push ups can't take care of), it fits quite nicely. The owner actually went downstairs and grabbed 2 others in different blue shades, but this royal blue was the one for me! 

My other friend Soph purchased 2 amazing dresses, but I didn't get any photos of them! Trop mal!

After shopping we needed some coffee and stopped at a place that had just opened, The Pinball Cafe. This place is super cute, and the owner was really nice! They have board games and pinball machines for you to enjoy while sipping on their delicious drinks, or munching on homemade rice krispie squares, imported chocolate bars, or vegan brownies! 

The next day Soph and I hit up the St.Lawrence Antique Market that runs on Sundays in the north building. In the past I have loved going through the market, but I think I was already all shopped out from the day before, so the rude vendors and pushy buyers were getting to me a lot sooner than usual. I did pick up 2 sets of silver round bowl soup spoons (1 set has a "G" engraved on them!), and a nice looking chain watch with turquoise and gold fleur de lis details (which I did not look closely at and now realize is not as vintage as I thought it was... slightly miffed about that one!). 

All in all it was a great weekend! I love wandering around Toronto, stopping into new restaurants, shops and cafes. There is always something exciting to see. I will need to plan another trip up to visit sooner than later! 

Are there any vintage or independent designer stores you love in Toronto? Let me know! I'd love to find some new gems :) I know one that I have always wanted to check out, but know I don't have the cash to afford anything, is The Cat's Pajamas up on Younge st. Has anyone been there before?? Let me know below :)

Have a great weekend and keep an eye out for my next post.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Something to Think About...

I do have an exciting post brewing about my recent trip to Toronto and the vintage adventure my friends and I had, but in the meantime I thought I'd stir up some emotions and link an article that popped up on Reserve29 yesterday. It's about a topic that is near and dear to my heart... cruelty towards animals for human vanity.

Can you tell which mink jacket is REAL fur?

Personally, I am all about animal rights, although sit on the fence towards whether vintage leather/fur perpetuates people to buy new leather/furs. My stance on vintage is that the animal was already killed sometime ago, and I'd rather see their beautiful hides be used than end up in the landfill. BUT, I am firmly against killing animals purely for their pelts. And with all the new faux versions that come out and get better and better every year, why not spare the poor creatures some suffering already! I have to say though, I do feel awful going into public wearing my grandmother's vintage arctic fox fur hat in the winter... so it pretty much just sits on display on a hat block in my dressing room.

I guess I'll also address the fact that I make leather handbags out of recycled leather. This idea for me was a way to "save" all those perfectly usable garments that were finding their way into the garbage because of tears/stains. If one day there was no more second hand leather for me to work from... I'd find something new to reuse! :) I'd rather have a planet of happy safe animals living their lives how they should be lived... free (or on a pasture raised farm)!

Anyways, here is the Reserve29 article. I have not read article by the girl who killed 5 foxes to make ONE VEST (my stomach is still churning over that disgusting detail) as I'm pretty sure I'd be rage crying through the whole thing.

How do you feel about the issue?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


So this almost became my second week without a post!  Apologies all around, including myself.

Last week my laptop died. Incredibly upsetting considering all the photos, videos, music and inspiration I've been amassing for years that I now don't have access too. To try and stick to my once a week posting I pulled out some fabric to start cutting for a new quilt. Oh wait! All my quilt patterns are on my laptop. Fail. Then I pulled out some leather and my new bag sketches, but I was feeling really lost as to where to start. My new designs are based on art deco architecture and are very structured... so I walked away from that too, hoping that if I left it on the kitchen counter I would come back to it. Then a week went by...

This weekend was filled with a very exciting trip to Niagara on the Lake for a wine and chocolate tasting tour. For the low price of $30 you can visit all 28 participating wineries over the course of all the weekends in February. Each winery works with a local master chocolatier who creates a unique chocolate treat to pair perfectly with the wine that is being featured. DELICIOUS! Since I live too far from NotL to go back every weekend, me and my 2 girlfriends decided to jam as many tastings into the weekend as possible... we managed 13! I bought more wine than I expected to, but it was too good to pass up! It was a fantastic weekend and I highly recommend anyone in the area to check it out (it happens every year)! There is still time this year to go as well, and if you're interested you can click here: awesome wine and chocolate tasting.

Anywho, when I got home this afternoon I thought I'd dive into trying to make a bag again. I looked over my sketches, and now I dislike all of them (typical)! Then I thought I'd look at all my salvaged leather and hopefully get some inspiration from that... but a lot of it was still in clothing form and it quickly became overwhelming. Solution: cut it up! So all afternoon I've been cutting my leather into workable pieces. Once I get my inspirational images off my laptop I'm hoping I can jump start this leather bag nonsense and plan a bag party for the near-ish future!

Well that's all for now. I'm on Jeff's laptop and I know I've overstayed my welcome haha. Thanks for letting me use your laptop dearest!

I shall update sooner than later this week.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vintage Shopping Adventure! (pic heavy)

Last weekend my friend Lisa and I set out on a vintage adventure! I was really excited because we would be stopping by my favourite place Lovesick (owned by my equally favourite person Kim!), but also checking out 2 new (to me) places: Mesh Boutique, and The Sentimentalist.

We began at Lovesick, and after saying hey to Kim I started grabbing clothes off the racks and sending them back to Lisa in the change room. (I grabbed a few goodies for myself of course!) Kim has great taste and has curated a really fun treasure hunt of unique, new and vintage clothes and accessories. I highly recommend popping in whenever you have a chance, but to really find those special gems you might want to give yourself a little bit of time to go on the hunt. There is SO much stuff, and it's all wonderful!

And now for your viewing pleasure, here is a selection of items I have acquired from Lovesick over the years (including last weekend!).

My red, blue and yellow dresses, blue bag, and black and white rope knotted belt/necklace are all from Lovesick.

Next on our adventure was Mesh Boutique. This store has been around for awhile, and has changed owners quite a few times. In its current vintage/consignment glory it is owned by Rex, who also has really great taste and is super nice! I walked around with a vintage fox fur scarf the entire time I was there, but ended up leaving it behind, mainly because I knew I probably wouldn't wear it over all the colourful, easier to maintain scarves and pashminas I own.

I found this amazing 1950's A-line coat with beaded embroidery on the lapels. I wanted this coat SO BAD, but I also left it behind (although I am really kicking myself about this one). This photo is not the greatest, but the store was fairly busy and I didn't want to take up too much room or time... it is much more amazing in person. And if you have bought this coat, I am quite jealous!!

Last stop was The Sentimentalist. This is a new vintage store to London, which opened late 2011. We actually couldn't find it the first few times walking up and down Richmond between Dundas and King. For anyone looking for this place, it is a second floor location on the east side of Richmond, look for the funky door and the sign on the sidewalk.

We found some fun hats, and clothing (which were mostly vintage lady sizes, like this amazing 70's extremely long skirt!) but I was able to fit into this men's plaid shirt which I fitted with a belt and turned into a shirt dress! I also picked up some vibrant leather/suede scrapes for my bags!

I'm SO happy that London has some great second hand and vintage clothing stores! Go check them out next time you are wandering around downtown. I will warn you though, it's extremely hard to leave empty handed!

I guess I forgot to mention this, but Lisa did end up picking up a few gems herself. She bought both the dress and the burnt orange envelope handbag in the photo below, as well as another bag, and a fantastic hot pink belt, all from Lovesick!

Doesn't she look cute?

Well that's all I've got for today. I'll update everyone on the one shoulder dress when I've got that mess sorted out!

Have a great evening!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The One Shoulder Knit Dress

Is everyone ready for this?

Clearly I have forgotten that making quilts and pillows is not the same as making clothing. An obvious oversight on my part... which lead to this hilarious creation.

About this dress: On first glance it looks pretty normal doesn't it? Look again. See those "flaps" at the side of the bust? That is the seam allowance... on the outside of the RIGHT SIDE of the dress. Yep that's right. I sewed half of the dress together inside out. Easy enough to fix, but a pain in the butt. 

Things I learned:
1. A flat pattern does not fit a human being. This adjustable Judy has been in my basement for probably almost a year now, left by my friend Peggy who I was going to teach to sew (maybe she'll rethink her teacher after seeing this haha). I did not take advantage of this until after I finished putting it all together, which is a newbie mistake. From now on, I will always use this (until Peggy takes it back!).

2.  Don't sew at 10:00pm on a Sunday. Another obvious point, this is definitely when I start making many simple mistakes that go sight unseen until well into the end of the project. I just never learn!!

3. I strongly dislike sewing with light weight jersey!! It stretches too much, it doesn't stay put, and it shows every mistake (using a white fabric probably really amplifies this). Never again light weight jersey, never again! That said, I would definitely sew this pattern again, but try a heavier jersey weight or another stretch blend.

(Note: Everything that went wrong with this dress is my own human error and has nothing to do with the pattern or instructions. It was a very easy to follow design, I just can't follow instructions haha)

About the pattern: I downloaded this pattern from If you like to sew or want to learn and are interested in sewing up some clothes, getting inspiration from other peoples creations, and learning about techniques and pattern drafting this is the place to go! I joined years ago, and the community is so large now it's amazing. There are both free and pay for patterns to choose from. If you click this "One Shoulder Knit Dress" it will take you directly to the pattern and you can download it for free and make it yourself! Thanks to dixiediy for providing this pattern.

I shall post the completed, none inside/outside dress after I fix it up this weekend!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Busy busy busy!

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the delay in update, but I've been super busy with work all week!! Friday is sounding like I'll get home at a normal hour.

I have 2 posts to share with you: one is about the dress I made (yes! I actually made something on Sunday... haha it's... interesting), and the second is about my day of vintage shopping around London and all the treasures I found (and bought!).

Stay tuned :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

Happy Thursday (and Happy 4th day of my blog!)

True to my wandering artistic brain, I've been having issues deciding what to sew. I have, oh I don't know, at least 4 quilt tops that need to be completed, a pink and burgundy houndstooth long jacket that needs to be lined, a ton of clothing that needs to be mended or altered... but none of this is exciting enough for my FIRST "I made something" post.

I think to help motivate me to at least complete the above sewing projects (minus the mending, blah), I'm going to post photos of them so everyone can guilt me into striking them off my "list of things to do" haha. I clearly have no drive to complete things. I love starting things though!

Boo helping me spruce up the photo of my clam shell Winnie the Pooh quilt top!

A graduating colour triangle quilt out of Tonga Batik fabric lollipop I bought in Lions Head, ON.
Fall leaves quilt in Autumn Medley fabric I bought at Hyggeligt Fabrics in London.
Quilt kit for Anna Maria Horner fabrics Good Folks I picked up at the Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph.
This jacket has been in the works for 4 years!
Close up of the fabric, and a very camouflaged pocket!
 I just decided this second I want to make a skirt for my first "I completed something" post. So by the end of Sunday I shall be sharing my new skirt. There. My artsy brain will just have to deal with my quick decision. Or I might make a 60's style shift dress...

Monday, January 16, 2012

I did it!

Ms. Marilyn Monroe doing her own hair!

To all my friends and family (and strangers) that I told about my upcoming year of blogging... I finally did it! I'm here, posting my ramblings and adventures for the whole world to see :)

For everyone and anyone reading this, here's the deal:
- I love to design and sew
- I love fashion and people with unique personal style
- I love vintage everything
- I love to procrastinate

So what does this have to do with you? Well, this blog is a way to hold me accountable for all those times I've said that I was going to change my evil procrastinating ways and there is the added benefit of helping my bank account recover from the years of spending abuse.

The plan:
(Cry and wonder what the hell I've gotten myself into)
1. Make my own clothing. I did this way back in highschool and loved how everything fit me exactly, and considering how much I love vintage styles yet do not have a vintage figure (yet!), or a proper vintage curating income, I'll have to make it!
2. Make (and post!) 1 item every week for an entire year. This includes finishing some of my quilts, but is mostly meant to light a fire under my butt to finally work on my upcycled leather handbags.
3. Stop buying new clothes. I've had a lot of back and forth on this one... and I think I've come to accept these terms:
     - I can buy things I cannot make, as long as I NEED them (underthings, shoes, sunglasses...)
     - I can buy clothing if it is vintage, or a needed second hand item
     - I can buy items that are handmade by awesome people with awesome styles :)

So, there it is. Feel free to hold me to everything I just told you (I'm probably going to need you to hold me to everything I just told you haha).

Day 1: Create blog - Done. Wow that was easy, time for a Starbucks break! haha Juuust joking bank account!

P.S. I'll make this blog a bit prettier as soon as I can. Promise!