Friday, December 31, 2010

Yes, another wonderful year!



Thanks to everyone for following my blog throughout the past year. And, to all my friends and family for the constant support that I cherish. 2010 was wonderful and I'm excited and looking forward to all the new projects that I have brewing for the new year. I discovered this wonderful signage that inspires me for this new year. 

Happy New Year!



Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!...

The turkey is in the oven, the Christmas village is on and I'm listening to Christmas songs with Richard.

All we need to make it post card like is a little snow. 

Christmas is not stressful for us, we always make it a point to make it simple and to go with the flow. What is really important is to share it with your love ones. May your Christmas be cheery and bright!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Be your own Tribe.





I heard of this book, 'Tribes' by Seth Godin, years ago and I really wanted to read it. I have finally got around to reading this book. When this book was first published (2008) it was definitely describing a new movement of ideas in the world. 

Two years later, the author describes the way people connect to each other and we are now living it. We're living exciting times. Communities sprout left and right. With the help of your own computer you can form your own tribe. By social media it has become easier to connect with like minded people. 

I find it interesting to look at the way the world of business and marketing has changed in such a quick way. Never being the same. No longer status quo. People are looking for changes. 

This is a good resume of how the world is changing. If you haven't stopped to notice then read this exciting book and watch the video!



Friday, December 17, 2010

Knitting 24/7



This is the first book I picked up while I was sick with bronchitis. I did a lot of knitting. That's all I felt like doing... knitting 24/7.

I love it when I find numerous projects from reading one book. The book, 'Knitting 24/7' by Veronik Avery, is divided into different sections; 'AM, PM & Weekends'. All together thirty different projects. There's a great range from quick projects to advance knitter. At first glance, you may think that the patterns are difficult but they are actual very easy to memorize. I'm a beginner when it comes to following patterns, but I was able to start easily.

For the scarf, I had to modify the pattern for the amount of yarn I had. So, I ended up with a scarf half the size of what she shown in the book. I'm happy with the results. Here, in Vancouver, I don't really need a heavy scarf. This little silk bamboo mix is just perfect!


My silk bamboo scarf perfect for Vancouver!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New Nest with Bird On The Wire.




A beautiful & sunny day as Richard and I walked down on Main Street to visit our newest shop selling our Galstudio handmade products. The shop is called, 'Bird On The Wire' nestled nicely in our neighborhood.




I met friendly Karen, the owner, about a month ago spotting her shop on my stroll to the post office. I like what I saw. Ever since the fire, about a year ago on the same block, we can see a new dynamic of different shops created. This is usually a boutique you would find further up Main, and I'm so glad we have it.

Karen asked me if I was an artist. I gave her my business card. And, I was surprised when I received information from her about putting my products in her store. I hadn't consider it especially when I already have my caps in bicycle stores. A shop like this makes sense.







Our entire line of products are selling at her store. And, even my knit goods never looked so good displayed here. Karen has made an extra effort to make the products look their best. She obviously loves what she's doing creating this beautiful & supportive environment.

She gave me that extra confidence to recognize myself as more than a maker of cycling caps. Above it all I'm an multi-faceted artist capable of making a diverse range of products. I feel so good about this.

I'm so excited and proud to be one the artist's to be represented in her shop. She carries eco friendly products made from growing cottage artists within a 100 mile radius of her store. I'm selling my fun products around the world but now I'm selling it in my little neighborhood. It makes me feel part of an artist community... I feel that I'm finally home. I love this Mt. Pleasant area and it's growing on me!






Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wow! 100!




I've made it, to my 100th post! It's a milestone for me. And I'm proud of myself.

Of course, I can always blog more then it would cut into my knitting time which is my relaxing time.
Actually, I cannot believe our first craft show is over a week ago. I planned to post about it ... last week. But, sometimes things don't happen as you planned it, so all you have to do is go with the flow.

Todays the first day since last Sunday, that I have the energy to stay up all day. I came down with a nasty, nasty bronchitis and today I can finally say, "I WILL SURVIVE!"

I was so ready and pumped up for the Make It Show. 5500 people attended in 18 hours. It was overwhelming considering the fact I usually work with Richard at home, this was the most people in the last few years I seen at one time. Talk about short and intense. Eventually my body was overloaded and my immune system crashed. To be able to get direct feedback from people was so valuable. Most people had positive comments on the rubber inner tubes pouches and wallets. "It's great!" "Very Unique!" "Wonderful texture." "Love the overstitch, great idea!" ... were some of the comments that moved me.

It was a wonderful learning experience. Everyone that sells online or work at home eventually has to come out to be exposed and ...share with the public. All in all, a unique experience. I do not believe that I am the type of person to do weekly craft fairs. A few craft shows, chosen wisely, is beneficial for me and the business.

My blog has evolved, a journal of the growth of my business. It took me about 16 months to reach 100 and I can tell you it will take less to reach 200. It has become easier for me and with the help from Richard, I'm planning 200 within half the time.

I'm always thankful when I receive comments. My Fashion Mate post received the most comments and still receiving comments. Every time it does I love my sewing machine even more. I'm so glad when people share their love affair with their own machines.

Thank you all for stopping by to read my blog and a special thank you for the ones that take the time to leave a comment!



Richard finishing the table at the Make It Show!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sometimes all you need is ... a Whack!



I'm a very creative person. I live by it. You have to stimulate it. It won't just happen by itself.

I bought this Whack Pack well before I attended art school. Brilliant, beautiful and wonderfully designed it captured my imagination. Still does. It's like giving gas to your creative engine. If you need a spark this will help you think outside the box.

Each card has a fun way to help flex your creativity muscle. And we all need that from time to time. I use it often when I'm taking a break. The artwork is fun and I enjoy reading the stories. I usually keep the pack close to my computer at the ready.

If your creativity needs a whack... this is the right tool for you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gal & Grommet!




I'm over the top. Scaling Mount Everest would be something else, but my new banner is top of the top!

This is exactly how I designed it on my computer. The colors are vibrant dead on perfect. Just fabulous. The Make It Show is next Friday and I'm so READY!

It's so great to have friends in the industry to help me in the printing of this banner on canvas. There's a semi-matte laminate on the canvas which pops out the color. The easiest way to hang it is to place two grommets at each top corner. And I sew around the edge to make the banner rigid. I can't wait to hang it on the black curtain behind my booth.

I've worked in the special events industry on formcore banners that I designed and produced. That was many years ago, and now I'm excited to have my very own pair of grommet pliers. Finally!

If you never had this tool, the other option is to use a hammer and pin which is very loud and iffy. It would do the job if you only need to do it once. This tool is the right tool for the job. At 15 bucks including grommets, it's a steal!



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winter Classics

Galstudio's Condorito winter cap.


If it wasn't for Richard asking me to create a winter cycling cap I probably would not have. He showed me his earliest winter cap a precious red, wool Colnago. He asked me if I could make one similar. I was inspired by how the ear flaps fit on the neck. So I set out to create my first winter cap the Bobet.

Many models later, I'm happy to say my winter caps are popular. I now have seven models to choose from. The newest one is the Presta.

My best seller is the Condorito. I found more fabric and made more. In fact, I have a good supply of caps in stock. But, once they're gone that will be it for that model.

Richard was out riding this chilly morning wearing his Condorito cap and he happily reported how comfortable and warm it is. And, with winter fast approaching I was reminded by Guy when he said, "You cannot think of going through winter without a Galstudio winter cycling cap!"




Richard's precious 1980's Colnago winter wool cap.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Classic Winners

Galstudio's classic three:
(l to r): Capello da Ciclismo Nero, Tempo & Routier.



The Capello da Ciclismo Nero is the second cycling cap I ever sold. Right from the start it continues to be a favorite. Classic black how can you not like it? Made from Linen/cotton I fell in love with the fabric. Because, it's nice and crisp, light, and wicks. I thought of how it benefits cyclists as the material breathes well. I've received many compliments on this cap, the most ever, on how good it looks and feels. Form follows function.

Next in my classic cycling cap peloton is the Tempo and the Routier. The Tempo is also made from Linen/cotton in gray. The Routier cap started as an army style cap, but I soon realize it would look better as a cycling cap.

At the beginning, I made two or three Capellos, now I have to make twenty at a time just to keep up with demand. Although, I'm always tempted to create colorful caps, quite a few of my clients enjoy the classic colors!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Milkless Hot Chocolate!




Working away I become so involved in whatever I'm doing I sometimes forget to take a break.

I'm in front of my faithful Singer machine and I felt a stoppage in my workload. It happen to be 2 PM and as the weather is turning into it's Fall pattern of grey skies & constant rain I craved a hot chocolate!

My love affair with hot chocolate goes back to when I was young. Quick instant was popular. When I was a vegetarian I let go of milk and sadly let it go. Lately, I discovered 'Silk' soya milk and it has a velvety texture and a delicious taste. Silk soya milk is one of the rare soya milks that tastes as good cold or hot. Now, I can enjoy my hot chocolate fix again.

I'm using real dark chocolate, a little bit of brown sugar, a bit of cocoa powder and cayenne pepper. A hot chocolate for adults... minus the Baileys. Christmas time the Baileys is the added star!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Moo and improved!

New & Old...



My new Moo cards have finally arrived. I'm ecstatic.

The newly re-designed 'G' works very well. It means business. The font is easier to read and the overall look is cleaner. The back is simple with lots of space on top to allow for product description labels. I think it's a winner.

I have a tendency to be over perfectionist. For the first time, in memory, I'm 100% satisfy on how well the card design turned out. Most of the background pattern remains the same but, of course, I added a few more.


20 Moo cards...


Richard and I are working hard for the upcoming Make it show. Products need labels and we're busy tagging them all. I'm working on more wallets & Scoula, too.

One thing, as the fast approaching show is upcoming, it's always hard to determine how much stock you need. So, I'm making sure to that we have enough stock available.

Moo cards allow me to exploit my creativity to the max. Thumbs up to Moo!

Richard hard at ... MOO!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Talkin' Turkey & Inner Tubes


What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day than talking turkey and Inner Tubes. It's the long weekend and we're sharing it with Turkey and busy producing winter cycling caps & wallets/pouches.

For many years in the past, I was a vegetarian. I always felt there was something missing, the tradition of Autumn the harvest season. Without the smells of roasting turkey it was not quite the same. Most often, we make a 15 pound turkey and we have plenty of leftovers. But, the most important factor is to share it and we do and that's where it counts. In my case, I'm far away from my Quebec family and I try to create my own tradition with friends.

Richard cut about 150 tubes and they're destine to become wallets. In fact, we're getting excited for our first craft show. We figure it's better to make more than be stuck with not having enough. There's been a huge demand for our winter cap's and I anticipate an even bigger success at the show. No one else makes this type of winter cap. With the weather cooling down I'm sure every cyclist will appreciate one of them.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Adieu! Textile Clearance House.



Today, is a sad day for me. I'm back from one of my favorite fabric suppliers and learned that they are closing for good by the end of December. I talked to one of the nice ladies that cut fabric and she said that after 35 years, Textile Clearance House, will be closing their doors. I was in shock.

What was I going to do? Where was I going to go for discounted fabrics and notions? I thought where would all the women go for decently priced fabrics? For a big city like Vancouver, we don't have many choices. Only one left, Dressew, that deals only with cash. Not always good for a small business.

I'm already considering checking online. But, obviously if I can't find affordable material I might have to charge more for my caps. On the other hand, this may allow me to find other suppliers with more choice. In the long run it might prove beneficial, so I remain optimistic!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finding the artist... within


This phrase touches me...


I'm inspired by the article by Scoutiegirl, "You are already an artist". It hit home. This reaffirms that I am an artist and that I create everyday.

As a young girl I was always making things. In college, I took my first art class thinking it would be an extrordinary experience. The teacher was someone I looked up to, a  recognized sculptor/drawer. But, during midway through the semester, she told me that if I wasn't serious about learning the basics of drawing I wouldn't go far in art. She was trying to teach us the 'perfect' proportion in drawing a human face. I wanted to discover how to draw from a live model. She was too technical for me. So I quit, thinking that I would never have what it takes to become an artist. I was young and lacking self-confidence I took what she said to heart. So, I change my major to business administration.

Later on, I was bored working for too many years in the special events industry. I started to question my career choice. One of my friends, convinced me to redirect my career path into art. I thought she was over the top so I decided to take a class called, introduction to art. It sparked me, I was blown away. Afterwards, I realize that my place was in an art school environment. So I enrolled and for four years I learned what it is to be an artist.

I'm touched with that phrase, "A beautiful thing is never perfect." Perfection for me use to be black and white. How boring is that? Nothing is more varied than quirkiness. In life, we are surrounded with beauty. It does not need to be perfect you just need to appreciate it for the pleasure it gives you.

Today, I don't ask myself anymore whether I'm an artist or not. Because the important thing that matters most is to go out and create. Because... to create is to be!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Winter: Most Wanted Scarfs!



I sew everyday. But, I also knit. It's a need for relaxation & fun. And, knitting allows me to showcase my one-of-a-kind pieces on my Etsy shop.

Last year I place my knitwear for sale and almost sold out. By December most of my knitwear sold so I got back into it aiming for twenty scarfs. I'm constantly surprise when I finish a project put it away and forget them only to rediscover them later. It's a fun moment. Some of them I haven't seen in eight months. Due to time constraints & the fact that I'm currently knitting more socks than scarfs, I won't be able to reach it but I'm knitting away and bound to have a few more scarfs soon.

Scarfs are great knitting projects. They're small enough to keep costs down, quick to finish and allow me to explore with different stitches. I enjoy it and for the simple fact that it allows me to zen out. Sometimes, I find inspiration from books. But most of the time I don't follow it and end up using different size needles & yarn sizes just to see how far I can push the design. It's exciting how a stitch can look so different just by changing the needle & yarn.

I present my six dazzling scarfs (above) for sale now in my Galstudio Etsy Shop!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RUBBER SALE!



Ok, I guess everyone was out this Labor Day weekend. No one participated in my free scuola pouch contest.

Well, now I have a Rubber Sale. A what sale you may ask? On Galstudio's Etsy Site I have the sale on my handy little wallets, piccola & scuola pouches. Take advantage of this huge sale... for a limited time!







Monday, September 6, 2010

Fun with Belts

The Pac Man Inner Tube Belt.


Bicycle inner tubes are so fun to work with. A short while ago I was approached to make a inner tube belt for a birthday present. I was supplied with a very fun Pac Man buckle (above). I've never attempted to make a belt before and I looked forward to the challenge.

It's always challenging to make something new. But, that's what is so fun about it. It showed me how versatile rubber is and that there's still plenty of room to learn & explore. It was fun sewing the overstitch and picking out the vibrant orange fabric. Very colorful & electric. I think it turned out very well and the customer was extremely happy.

As soon as this one was done, my old friend Joey wanted one made. Well as you can see it's more in a classic style. He hasn't seen it yet. I won't see him for a few weeks as he's on vacation. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised!



The Plaid Inner Tube Belt.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Free Scuola for School!

Scuola is back!


I started to make my Piccola pouch for awhile now and people love it. Customers have asked for a longer version to hold glasses & pencils. People have ask me to customize it to their size requirements. I produced 10 new pouches called, 'Scuola pouch'. I just sold 3 in the first week. So, I went back to making more.

Living close to a school, I'm ready to hear the kid's run past my patio door for another year. I enjoy the familiarity of the kid's as they run past screaming & laughing. I don't have kid's of my own but I enjoy hearing them. You might say school is back. And, I thought it was the perfect idea to offer a Scuola Pouch for Galstudio's Labour Day Back to Scuola Contest. Scuola is Italian for school.


HERE'S ALL YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN A FREE SCUOLA POUCH:

Leave a comment on Galstudio's Facebook page. And share one favorite moment when you went to school.

On Tuesday September 7th, I will choose the Scuola pouch from my new collection. And, the winner will be chosen by Random.org

Thanks for entering & good luck to all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Plaid Tribute to Winter

Galstudio's Winter Cycling Caps.



Winter arrived early to Galstudio.

I was fortunate to find very nice winter fabric this summer at my suppliers. Plaid that is. Three models are back & I've added two new caps for now.

Plans are to add a few more models within the next month. I'm thinking something a bit more neutral. Today, I call it my plaid tribute. I can't get enough of it. I think it's due to my Scottish roots. I love plaid. You know, these caps would also look in place amongst fox hunters in England. Something we would never do growing up in Quebec. How about urban hunting on wheels. Sounds less violent.

The two new winter cycling cap's are from top left to right: Galibier & Lombardia. Of course, Richard named them with the context of two very famous names in cycling. Galibier is the French mountain & Lombardia is a famous classic race in Italy. Three caps are back this season: Bobet (center), Grand Fusil (bottom left) & Gentleman (bottom right).

It's always fun to work on new caps for the upcoming season. Takes the chill out of winter!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Love my food processor!




Well, there's one thing in my kitchen I cannot do without...

I dreamed about having one. Finally, Christmas of 2000, after saving my pennies I bought my machine of my dreams. The Kitchen Aid Food Processor!

It has become indispensable like my fridge & stove. If you are pinching pennies, have a small kitchen. Between the three to choose: mixer, blender, or food processor. Then this is the choice. This food processor will do it all. Even the black color is still in fashion, and after ten years it keeps on working well. Most products are built with planned obsolescence. Manufacturers, in their best interest, intentionally developed goods to break down. Causing a circle of dreaded need for consumers to keep on purchasing. I haven't found this to be the case.

I definitely intend to buy the whole line of appliances. That will have to wait...

Until I have a larger kitchen!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No Ride with this Fabric!

Ironing didn't help!


I was all excited to prepare my new fabrics for the upcoming Winter Cycling Caps. Except this fabric had another agenda.

Pre-washing fabric is an absolute for me before I construct my caps. I know in the fashion industry it's not current practice to pre-wash fabric before making garments. For me, it's a must. When you think about it, cycling caps have to be pre-shrunk before. Imagine an unwashed cap, the rider comes back after a hot ride sweating into it. They're be surprised with a smaller cap.

I'm making cycling caps well over a year and this is the worst fabric I've come across. How about deceiving. I thought it would make a killer cap. Now, it turns out to be a wrinkly eyesore.

This is Step #4 (from a previous post) in making a cycling cap, called washing the fabric. It's not a step you cannot miss. This is a crucial step, for Galstudio, to make the best possible handmade cycling caps. Now, the challenge is finding the best usage for this 5 meter disaster. It won't be a cap, shirt or pants. Maybe it will become a cushion cover.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Salt or what makes the cookie crumbles

Tasty!


I've never been a fan of cookies. I grew up in a household where my mother gave away store bought cookies to the neighborhood kids. So, we always had a well stocked pantry of cookies.

The kids mainly from my extended family would come, for their cookie fix, almost everyday.

When I was married, I quickly discovered that Richard was a cookie monster. We often bought cookies. Too expensive for the quality. If you want good cookies well their really expensive. So, I started to make cookies for Richard. I explored in making a few varieties: peanut butter, shortbread. But, the favorite so far is the oatmeal. The absolute favorite of Richard.

My recipe has evolved in the last 15 years. I am now satisfied with my new standard, chocolate coconut oatmeal cookie. I would like to share my recipe with you...

Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 20 cookies.

1/2 C unsalted butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
1C whole wheat flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t sea salt (important)
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1 C dark chocolate chips
2 C quick oats

Preheat oven to 350 F

Mix well (I use my trusty food processor) the butter, sugar, egg, & vanilla until it is whiteish color. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, wheat germ, coconut, & chocolate together. Add the wet mix to it and add the oats 1 cup at a time while stirring. You may need to add more oats to get the proper consistency. The consistency is just before it crumbles and sticky enough you can make balls from it. Roll the mixture into ping pong size balls & flatten on parchment sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack & try hard not to eat them for 10 minutes!

People who eat my cookies say that their delicious. There's no special ingredient here. It's all about the sea salt and balancing it with the sugar. Maybe that IS the secret ingredient!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The first glimpse of Winter...

It's Summer but it's already time for Winter cycling caps!


It maybe August but we're already getting under way for new winter cycling caps. Todays a good day for it, rainy around 16 C and feeling like wet Vancouver. Perfect for Richard to come up with three new names for the new fabrics.

I bought the fabric a few weeks ago, washed and dried it and about to begin cutting. So exciting going to my suppliers and  hunting for fabric/colors for new caps. I have fabric from last year and plan to re-introduce two previous models. There's demand for solid colors and something may come from it.

This is just the beginning...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Going back to ... Scuola!

The new Scuola (Italian for School) Pencil Case.



Today, we're introducing the Scuola Pencil Case.

Made from recycled bicycle inner tubes it's hardy for kid's storing their pens & pencils and anything they can hold in there. It measures 3" X 8". And, if it gets dirty it can be hand cold washed. Each one has a zipper and overstitich on the inner tube matching the interior fun fabric.

Of course, if school is not where you're at, it's versatile capable of holding a multitude of stuff. It can also hold a pair of your favorite sunglasses. Due to demand for something a little longer than our Recycled Piccolo Pouch we've gone longer!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Coconut Dream Pie

My first homemade coconut cream pie...
and not my last one!



We had a special event last Wednesday. It was Richard's 50th birthday. He's requested a coconut cream pie for a long time and I decided that it was time.

I made it from scratch. After all I have my own handmade business. So, I went online for a few recipes to get ideas and just to get inspired. My favorite coconut cream pie recipe is here. I knew it was a winner, all from scratch with coconut milk for the filling gives the whole pie a freshness. It's deceiving; the look and the taste offsets the huge calories inside. For Richard, he's always looking for carbohydrates and for me I'll have to monitor my intake. Basically, I'll have to take it easy.

The recipe didn't call for real fresh coconut. I decided that; real is the deal. So, Richard helped me break the coconut with a hammer. He smashed it, outside on the cement landing, into little shards. I baked the ginger snap cookies in the morning. While the cookies cooled away from Richard. I dried the grated coconut in the oven. Later, I created the mix and put it into the ginger crust then I let it sit for four hours in the fridge.

Just before serving I whipped the cream and served it. It's an easy pie but planning is the key. You have to start in the morning. This pie is everything I expected it to be, it's wonderful. Two things I will change for next time; cut down on the ginger snap crust to half & make more coconut filling!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Discovering wine tasting.

Wine anyone?



I won!

I usually don't participate in contests. Well, I did and I put my name to win a free wine tasting evening. I receive an email from the Francophone College stating... I won! It's the first time I won anything from a contest. In fact, I plainly forgot all about.

It's not a huge win, worth 25 dollars. I would never go myself but why not? It turned out to be interesting. And it is the first time that I participated in a wine tasting. I'm a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. I watch him with his blind wine tasting and I felt bad that he has to spit out all that wine. I've tasted some bad wine but the French Pinot Noir ($18) was the worse. It tasted like strawberry syrup with alcohol. Just to be nice I gave it 1/10. I thought of Gary and thought about spitting it out, too. I didn't have the heart.
After this experiment, I'm more aware or I'll take notice as to what I'd buy.

It was a fun experiment trying so many kinds of reds. The biggest surprise was the last glass of wine; Avalon from California ($25). Usually I don't like  Cabernet Sauvignon, in fact I loved it! It was full, bold and fills your mouth. You can taste the ripe fruit in it. It's only three years young but it tasted older. I gave this wine a 9/10.

Let's don't forget the bread and cheese. Everything I could live on. Not just any cheese. A special selection of Quebec cheese. A rare treat.

Now, I want to take wine classes. The more you learn the more you want to learn about it. It's so addictive. What would be fun is to grab six friends, six bottles of wine and have a blind test.

Cheers!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kicking out of bed



For me to get up early is unnatural. I like to linger in bed, but my partner, has the bad habit of getting up early. And he knows, to get me out of bed is to have a cup of my favorite coffee made.

It's the transition of leaving my warm & comfortable bed that is the challenge. I'm a sleeper. I remember when I was in kindergarden, mom ask me to choose if I wanted to go in the morning or afternoon. I said, "I cannot go in the morning, I'm sleeping." I was practical back then. As a kid I use to sleep in until 11 AM. Most of the time I was eating cereal while mom was serving lunch.

I always found a way to get my first cup of coffee. When I moved into a new apartment (my younger days), I couldn't find my French press. I consider using a Turkish coffee technique leaving the grain at the bottom of the cup. It's not my prefer method as the coffee taste is too bitter. I used a corner of one of my t-shirts as a filter. It worked but the t-shirt did not survive!

I love my coffee strong, preferably French roast. Trying out a new coffee brand is one of my favorite activities. It's essential. One of my favorite coffee's is Kicking Horse Coffee from Invermere, BC. I love the blend called Kick Ass which kicks my ass out of bed. I'll always love sleeping in but knowing a good kick ass coffee is waiting gets me out of bed earlier!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going old school.

My old school technical manual.


I'm back into pattern making ...for me. My time, I'm finding there's very little of, is divided between our business and my pursuit of designing my own clothes. I don't buy anymore socks. Now, my next challenge is not to buy clothes. I graduated from fashion school and I'm finally using techniques I've learned twenty years ago.

I have a mandatory book on Pattern Drafting. During my time in fashion design in Quebec City, the book is in English yet no one could read it. They gave us a cheat sheet to decipher the important directions. Funny, we were made to buy this English book and it never came in French. I suppose there wasn't a book in French and I feel that we were being groomed in the predominately English fashion industry. That's what it was in Quebec. If you wanted to go through the big fashion industry door it was in English.

My first attempt was taking an old pair of pants dismantling it and using it for a pattern. It did seem to be a good idea at the time. I learned that it's better to have a proper pattern to start with. Because I carried over the problem of how bad the pants fitted. But you know it's not that bad. Having a proper pattern is easier to work from. I worked hard to make adjustments to make it fit properly. I still have a lot to learn, so I'll go back to using the pattern book on my next project... making a t-shirt. I'll be using organic bamboo cotton.

I'm going old school again!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birks forever!

"My 20 year old Birks"

I just notice, as I'm putting on my Birkenstocks to go off to the post office, these wonderful sandals have been my friend for twenty years.

The first time I saw them was on my friend who came back with a pair from the US at the end of 1980's. I never saw them in Quebec. I wanted to buy one. In Vancouver, sombre colors were offer but not funky colors. As I traveled by car down the west coast, I remember that cute little store in Del Mar California.

They had every model and color imaginable. I saw the nicest sandal in purple suede. It was love at first site. I believe they cost an expensive $125.00, not cheap. Over the years I have partially re-cork them and had new soles done on them. They just keep on working. It's the first shoes that give me the proper arch support I need. Words can't describe how comfortable they are. The only negative is that you cannot wear them for a very long hot trek. Your feet will burn. I wear them in the house especially when I'm sewing or standing for a very long time. When I want to relax I have them on.

Johann Birkenstock registered the name in 1774. In 1897, his grandson, Konrad developed the first contoured insole to be used by shoemakers. In 1902, he developed the first flexible arch support. Such a good product with a solid history. They're the oldest pair of shoes I have and with tender loving care I'll try to make them last for another twenty years. I also have another pair of lovable black Birks, for the last ten years, that are in need of re-corking.

Growing up in Quebec, it's one thing to wear Birkenstock's, it's a no no to wear socks with any sandals. So I'm a little shy to go out with knitted socks & Birks, but I must confess that I wear this combination in the house!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love lace

My mini shawl.


I always loved lace work. I love the intricacies of the fine work. It's a refine way to create holes to form a complex pattern. Usually lace work is very feminine. Not entirely my style. But, I found a pattern with a little border of lace. With the choice of color I could even wear it casually with jeans. I used a 10 US circular Addi Turbo needle with a super fine weight #1 yarn. I enjoyed doing it and found it easier than I thought. As I was knitting this lace work I came across, from my favorite library, a book on lace.






This extraordinary book, 'Victorian Lace Today' by Jane Sowerby sparks me to do more with lace. This book has so much to offer that I'm going to add it to my library. Sowerby starts from the history of lace, reworking old patterns to make it easier for us. Back then, needles used were often as small as 0000 US. Can you imagine that? And I'm using the 00 US to knit my socks. I thought that was small.

The photography is beautiful and very professional with the UK as the elegant backdrop. Placing the old Victorian landscapes as a romantic background. Instructions and layout is easier to follow for the beginner. But enough to keep the experienced knitter interest level high. You can also learn how to design your own pattern. This is 'the' book on lace to have. I'm putting in my order!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun Fridays



One may believe that working from home is fun. Working at home, I find, is a whole new concept of time, space & work. I'm lucky and privilege to work from home. It's an personal achievement to work for myself while being appreciated by my customers. I've never had so much recognition for my work. I barely had any before with a 9 to 5 job. In my experience, when I worked for someone, because the employer pays your salary they didn't give me the much needed appreciation.

Now, when I sell to someone, I feel appreciated with every sale. Someone, somewhere likes my products and wants it. It blows my mind.

Working from home I discovered unlimited freedom but I also had to organize myself so I don't burn out.  I work seven days a week but I also take time for myself. As long as the work gets done within a set time and your work is making you happy is hugely important.

When I work at home, with my partner, we work better following an informal schedule. Basically, it allows room for both of us to work more efficiently. And to make sure we include activities to have fun and to enjoy ourselves. That's why Fridays for now on are so important. Traditionally, Friday sparks the end to the work week. It's a point to finally let your hair down and celebrate. I know that we'll be working on the weekends.

It's easy to have Richard's fond love for beer aka the podcasts. He suggested it first. So, I declare officially, Friday afternoons as Beer Break. We slow the production and make room for a tasty beer. Whatever you do in life, try to find joy in it. Because if it doesn't make you happy...  please do something else!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The new La Piccola Wallet!

The new La Piccola Wallet...
Fun, practical, & handy!


You know, after producing this new product, my excitement has grown more intense. I'm talking about Galstudio's new La Piccola Wallet!

This is our first run and we made 20 of these cute little guys and I kept the first one. We first made three prototypes to fine tune them. Working with rubber seems to have it's own mind. I really have to work with it within the constraint of this material. Rubber is not easy to work with but I find it rewarding when I can make something I truly love. Simple details happy fun fabric wrapped in inner tubes is the perfect handy wallet to hold 8 cards and a few bills. It can probably take a few more cards but that's to the owner's discretion.

I had left over pieces of fabric and I used it in the wallets. So much fun just choosing from the funky bright fabric designs. I'm having a lot of fun creating new designs with inner tubes and I hope people will enjoy them as much as I love making them!


Sushi anyone?

Both images by Galstudio.