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Saturday, December 24, 2011

We're Moving Forwards!

It's a whirlwind of activity, here.

Hard to believe it's Christmas, the smell of roast turkey from my kitchen pleasantly reminds me of it. This year has passed by so fast that all I want to do is relax and sleep in and have a glass of wine or two.

Three years ago, I was between jobs, I stumbled onto Etsy. And, being a knitter, it made sense to sell my knit goods online. I had no idea what to call my new business. That's when Richard helped me with the name... Galstudio.

Remember our first logo design?

Gal is the first three letters of my last name, and it was my dream to have my own working studio. Selling my knit goods online was, as I discovered, not very successful. Definitely, not enough to make a living. My goal was to have my own home base business.

Richard had been looking for a well made cycling cap for some time. Like his old and used Campagnolo cap that he liked so much but wanted a classic cycling cap with a urban look. He asked me, "You know how to sew, why not make a cycling cap?" And, soon in March, 2009 I was selling my first handmade cycling cap on Etsy.

Richard wears the very first caps sold in March 2009...
The Paris-Roubaix (first version) & the ever so classic,
The Capello da Ciclismo Nero.

Quickly, Galstudio became a handmade cycling cap company. Soon afterwards, we worked with bike inner tubes creating different rubber accessories. That first year I must've modify the cycling cap pattern ten times to get it just perfect. It was a crazy year, I was working by myself and often asked Richard for help during the evenings. It just made sense when Richard came on board full-time. I suggested we re-brand the company to reflect more of the cycling cap/inner tube accessories.

We both utilize our talents: my sewing expertise/computer knowledge and Richard's cycling passion. It's a match made in cycling heaven.

After three years with the Galstudio name, we believe it is time to grow and move further. Importantly, to come up with a new name that better describes who and what we are. We came up with a few names but we haven't made the final choice ....yet! I'm already sketching  a few ideas for the new logo.

The new name will be launched in January 2012.

And looking at my remaining stock with the Galstudio labels I suggested to Richard that it would be impossible to remove the old labels and put on the new ones. So the simple solution is to have... a MEGA SALE!

This mega sale will start on December 26 and we expect to sell out quickly.

I guess I won't relax, but I'll be comforted to know that I'll be working in front of the computer through the holidays ...with a much needed glass of wine (or two)!


Cheers to all of our customers & friends...
past, present & future!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Climbing with the Polka Dots!

Hurray! Let there be DOTS!

Guess what I found at my new supplier, today?

As you may know, I've made two different versions of the popular Polka Dots cycling cap. Of course, no longer available due to discontinued fabric from my supplier. It's difficult to obtain the red dot pattern fabric. I'm thinking most fabric designers are not in tune with the Tour de France.

Today, Richard and I was about to leave the fabric shop with our notions when I saw, from the corner of eyes, the familiar red dots on white. I immediately zoomed onto it and purchased as much as I could.

I love it, it was meant to happen since I didn't find what I first was looking for. Next, I will wash the fabric and rework the design because the fabric seems like a lighter cotton.

This will be fun project!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Zesty Orangeman

It's hectic around here.

The Make It show maybe over, but our online business is humming along nicely. From time to time, I make custom cycling caps and here's one that I just completed.

It looks like Spring is back. The demand now is for winter caps, and whenever I have an order for a regular cap it's time to re-learn.

Here's a custom Orangeman with yellow stripe, bright and colorful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Flemish has landed

The Make It Show is over and done ...and it was fantastic!

With the addition of another day, the show was intense. Saturday being the most intense. They broke a record: 1000 customers passed through the gate in 1 hour. A grand total of 8400 in 3.5 days.

I don't know how I managed it, but I found the time to make a Bike sign that really made our booth stand out. People loved it and kept complimenting us all throughout the show. I used christmas lights.

We brought along a huge diverse inventory. The big star was our wallet, and we introduced our newest 100% winter cycling cap; The Flemish! I redesigned the pattern and modified the ear flap to fit even better. We realize our caps would fit better if we offered two sizes. A great success! We are planning to look at the way we size our caps in order to provide a better choice of sizing.

As you probably guess, Richard has many caps and now he has a 100% wool winter cap. After a week without a ride, Richard didn't waste time to jump on his Marinoni. The next morning after the show, he went out to test the new Flemish cap. It was a cold morning close to 0C, perfect conditions to test the Flemish cap. The picture below is Richard back from his cold weather ride. He was tired ...but warm!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Make It!

We've made it to our biggest show of the season... Make It!

Today starts four days of handmade love at the Croatian Center here in Vancouver. Richard and I are excited to have our Galstudio cycling caps/accessories on sale. 

I invite you all (if you can make it) to attend and come over and meet us. Our booth is located beside the bar in the main room!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make It Big Time!

Roberts Creek, Sunshine Coast  BC
(image by Richard)
I took a blogging break...

You know when you're juggling so many balls and you lose site of everything else?

I'm sorry that I've neglected my blog but life got so crazy with work I've turned my attention to my sewing machine instead. 

In August, Richard and I decided to spend holiday time in the Sunshine Coast (Gibsons). But, work forced me to bring along my sewing machine to actually... work. Call it a work holiday. At least I did enjoy my evenings with the beautiful scenery and a glass of wine. Richard was able to squeeze in a few rides exploring unknown territory of the Sunshine Coast. To say that we both fell in love with the Sunshine Coast would be an understatement!

Galstudio is in growing mode. We just finished a huge wholesale order that left us completely exhausted but happy. It was a grueling tens days of production. 

Circle Craft Christmas show

The Christmas craft shows have started. Richard and I went to investigate one of the top three shows in Vancouver, called Circle Craft. They've been around for over 20 years. Our friend Graham was there and he's a mainstay doing this show for the past 15 years. I was excited to help him design his newest children's music CD cover. 

Circle Craft is top notch with quality merchants but the admission fee of $12.00 is too high and I didn't feel that this show is a good match for our products.

On the other hand, we are back at the Make It Show for our second year. We're very excited that they added another day totaling four days. We have a larger booth sharing with our friend Helene... I'm definitely feeling this show and we will have lots of fun.

So, I'm back to my sewing machine and need to produce a few more items for the Make It Show. I also started teaching a crochet workshop... I'll keep that for my next post!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Initiation à l'entrelac & Introductory Crochet.

As far as I can remember, I've embraced knitting. Most of my aunts including my mother were passionate knitters. So, knitting came naturally to me. Already by 15 years of age, I've knitted throws and sweaters.

I'm from a generation where knitting was not the hip thing to do. At that time, young women hid behind close doors to knit... we were closet knitters. By age 20, my knitting needles were collecting dust bunnies.

I took back my needles in the late eighties when one dear friend was looking for a special knitted above the knee socks. I answered that call and from then on never put down my needles... again.

Arbol from Malabrigo

I was so excited when Karen from Bird on a Wire Creations, first asked me to teach a knitting class. I suggested to teach a knitting class in French. So I can combine my two passions of speaking French and knitting!

I realize that this would present a challenge; to re-learn knitting in French. It's quite complex really. I know why I embrace the English pattern due to it's ease of understanding. 

I'm extremely happy to present the Entrelac pattern, I have adapted and translated, for the upcoming classes. 

Turner from Malabrigio.

I'm also teaching an introduction to Crochet in English using this wonderful green wool. I will use a pattern I have modified to make a beautiful Bruges lace scarf.

Please check this link  for details on all the classes and ...sign up.

Let's knit together!

Monday, August 22, 2011

MAMILS at the Whistler Farmer's Market

Check out Richard's old Mavic wheel!

I haven't been back to Whistler in over fifteen years and it has sure changed!

With the Winter Olympics, this resort town has grown up. I was there often working in the special events industry and it was small and quaint. The trade and convention centre was beautiful and quite new back then. Also, I was decorating in the Le Chateau Hotel when it first opened in Blackcomb.

Now I don't recognized the town anymore. Sunday, Richard and I was selling our Galstudio products at the Whistler Farmer's Market. It was beautiful and sunny... everything a market should be. Plus full of people and samples for all.

I had a chance to try sea asparagus. It doesn't look like asparagus it's actually a type of seaweed. It's green, crunchy and salty collected at low tide. Definitely good for salads and pasta.

Sea asparagus.

This vibrant market is on my list as must have markets to be in. So, next year we plan to be back.

Often in these shows, there is a tendency to have too much of one type of vendor. Not so here. There was a full array of different products to discover. The organizers did a very good job of curating the show. Our unique cycling accessories were appreciated by everyone. There were many outdoor types especially cyclists and their spouses that bought our products. Richard was doing so well selling cycling caps to middle age cyclist guys. These cyclists are the MAMILS; middle age men in lycra. Richard's part of this fast growing tribe. I still laugh when he mentions it.

The foam core display didn't survived our last market, it was destroyed. So I came up with a clever fix. Richard's Mavic wheel held up to nine of his cyclingart cards and he was so pleased to use it again. It works so much better.

Special thanks go to our partner, Helene for allowing us to share the tent with. It was a wonderful day with her!

Wish I had a dog...
beside our tent was a fabulous organic dog treats!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hackett Park Summer Arts & Crafts Fair

This past weekend's Hackett Park Art Festival in Sechelt BC was by far the friendliest show we've been in.

The music was fantastic. The weather beautiful the people that stopped by to chat were very friendly. And, all the vendors were especially nice, too. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Francophone presence. I had the chance to speak French!

Richard and I had the wonderful opportunity, again, to share our booth with our friend Helene. And, it's going to be fun to come back next year and enjoy the Sunshine Coast rhythm!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cycling Cap or Baseball Cap?

Benoni Beheyt 1964 Tour of Belgium

Le Tour de France is over.

Richard and I are in withdrawal. And, he is re-watching old Tour dvd's for some satisfaction. I have been thinking of new cycling caps both regular and winter. There's no doubt in my mind, this Tour de France was the most exciting one in years.

During the opening team presentation I question why they wear baseball caps instead of cycling caps? I don't understand why the iconographic cycling cap is seldom worn. Why is the baseball cap accepted as part of the teams kit? It's not that you can wear it during a cycling race.

Greg LeMond 1990 Tour de France.

I'm bias, personally the cycling cap should be brought back on the podium. Just like during 1990 Tour when the proud Greg LeMond and his team wore their cycling caps. I feel that the cycling cap is a proud fashion piece and the cycling world should re-embrace it.

In my utopia, baseball players wear baseball caps and cyclists wear cycling caps!

Just imagine if they all wore the classic cycling cap!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Emily's Quilt

At the beginning of Summer 2010, our friend Guy (the other half of the 3b's) announced that he was going to be a dad. With this wonderful news, this was my chance to make something for the new baby. By September, I realize that I had to make something special that Richard can partake in. That's how the idea of the babies quilt came to be. When Guy announced that it was a girl, I was so excited to make the quilt very girly-girly. I made the design in Illustrator and scanned Richard's Campagnolo chain ring to keep a cycling twist to the girly-girly quilt. I realized, even with Richard's help, and juggling the business that the quilt would not be finished until after the baby is born. We were so busy with the business, I even forgot to photograph the beginning stages of the quilt.

Ready to sandwich the bamboo batting
between the quilted sides.

This quilt was a journey, and self-taught. It really opened my mind to the vast world of quilting. I remember my Ma Tante Phonsine quilting away at night. Small pieces of fabric that she lovingly assembled by hand. Pure Magic!

Quilter's safety pin...
with a bend.

These days, quilters have a vast variety of tools to choose from. Safety pins, a simple material, is specially designed for the quilter. Who could ever imagine that! 

My first overstitch of hearts & flowers...
8 more to go!

I never did applique until now. So, I don't even know if this was the proper way of doing it ...but I love the result.

Making a pattern for the Scallop Edge...
sure helped!

When I first designed the quilt, I didn't know I was going to make a scallop edge. I was online for help on how to finish the edge and saw someone making a scallop edge. What a perfect way to compliment this quilt.

the girly side with the large E for Emily!

complete Campagnolo chain rings.

No quilt shall go into the world unsigned.

I'm extremely happy with my first quilt. Without Richard's help of cutting and prepping everything, Emily would probably not have her quilt until she starts to walk. It was fantastic to complete it and a joy to present it to Shelly & Guy and to see seven month old Emily happily rolling on it! What a happy family!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WetCouver Folk Festival!

The wet weekend is finally over and I'm glad to have the Vancouver Folk Festival behind me.

What an experience! There's nothing that can prepare me for the sheer size of this show. I can only imagine what it would be like if the the Sun was out. Sun = people.

We showed our two new caps: Le Chasseur and Classic Racer and Major Tom was back. The caps will soon be on our Galstudio site.

As an entrepreneur ...this weekend was a disaster. As a participant, although it was wet, I enjoyed the music and ambiance. We had interesting folks commenting on our caps. I especially enjoyed the comment from an older gentleman looking at Richard's cyclingart cards. He said, nonchalantly, he rode in a club ride with Sean Kelly. He confirmed Kelly's legs still look like steamer trunks.

We haven't decided whether we will return next year, but we sure would like to experience this festival with more people and Sun!

Saturday was wet... all day!

Friday nite stage set up.

Our shared booth with Helene.

Our new soggy banner drying under the tarp!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

FolkFest & New Rubber.

The new Fanny Packs.

Galstudio will be selling at the Vancouver Folk Festival this Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

We've been preparing for awhile now. In fact, this is the biggest show for us, thirty hours in three days. I never thought that I would have the time to finish this new recycled inner tube fanny pack. It's done and now Richard has one and I have one. 

I love them and I have feeling that folks will ask me if I sell them. Depending upon the demand I may have to put some up on the Etsy website. What a better testing ground, in front of literally thousands, to ask their input. 

I worked in the Special Events Industry for over twenty years and, for one thing, I wore a fanny pack. I could never find one that was big enough, fun enough and durable. The stitch would always come apart and the zipper would go. Now, I have one that finally fits and looks well. Richard's fanny pack has a special pull tab made from bicycle chain links... very cool.

They're both made to our own specifications. Richard wanted the traditional plastic clasp tying around the waist. I went for a loose strap that I can either tie around my waist or across the chest. They are similar to our Scuola Pouch but only deeper for more room to hold things. 

For the show we are excited to reveal three new cycling caps. I can't tell what they are.

I'm back to preparing more food for us to bring to the folk festival. It's outdoor and on the beach without any food concession stands. And Richard will not function without food, it's like a military operation... of the craft kind!

I'll have pictures and upcoming podcast soon!

Richard's excited...
the new fanny pack is a winner!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Recycled Bike Inner Tubes on Recyclart

Our Galstudio recycled La Piccola bike inner tube wallet.

For some time now, I'm following this excellent Recyclart website on everything about sustainability and creativity.

It's one of those websites I check out daily because I like how people recycle in a creative way.

I'm very proud to be amongst the ones that re-cycle, re-duce and re-use. And I would like to thank them for showcasing Galstudio's La Piccola bike inner tube wallets, today!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thumbs Up at the MEC Bikefest!

Yesterday, Richard and I wondered if the weather was ever going to change from the grey rainy start of the MEC Bikefest

We set up with the rest of the vendors at 9:15AM dressed for the cool drizzle. It's June and even Richard was dressed in layers still shivering. I had three layers on and with the wind off the water, I wished I had my polar fleece.

I am so grateful that MEC Coordinator/Marketplace, Stephanie Ruane sent us an invitation for this fun event. It was indeed fun. I can imagine if the weather cooperated. By midday, the weather did clear up and the sun peeked through the clouds to help dry up the rain. Special thanks go out to the MEC staff/volunteers for putting on a fun show and so good to see so many people out enjoying themselves ...rain or shine.

We worked hard at presenting a good looking display. And it worked! This was only our second show and considering the weather, we can say it was extremely successful.

I met a french speaking woman, Agathe who works at MEC as a customer service representative. It was very refreshing to speak in French and I never knew MEC offer a bilingual customer service.

It was good for us to be among cycling interested folks. We had valuable feedback from cyclists. Our Galstudio brand is slowly starting to be recognize in  the cycling community.... we look forward to be back next year!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bonne Fête Québec!

Today is St-Jean Baptiste Day in Québec.

A provincial holiday celebrating the Québec culture. I am proud to be a Québecoise and although I live in British Colombia, I definitely identify with my roots. I miss my culture and I miss speaking French.

My friend Jean sent me this video this morning. All about Québec, the passion, the hardship and the strength of the Québecois. I plan to listen to Quebecer music all day and raising my glass to my proud culture.

So on this special day... Je Me Souviens!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DIY Mustard

I had no idea that mustard is so easy to make.

After watching this easy to make video I feel so inspire to make my own. Now, the challenge is to find good mustard seeds it's THE important ingredient. If you find the best seeds thus you make a top mustard. And, of course, you cannot deny the importance of good white wine. It's a must in mustard.

I'm a mustard kind of girl. I've tried so many kinds but always come back to my favorite, Grey Poupon. It's probably the best quality for the price.

Now, I'm on the hunt for good mustard seeds... next grocery trip!

My overall favorite!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Bike Month

Today is June 1st.

And the weather, is a beautiful 14 C Spring day and I feel there's hope yet, for Summer. June is Bike Month here in Vancouver. There's quite a few of bike activities for the month. Here's a just a few: Velopalooza, Car Free Day (June 19th), & MEC Bikefest (June 25th).

Yesterday, Richard and I helped Karen with the June Bike Month window display at Bird On A Wire Creations. Richard took the opportunity to use his retro fun 1984 Team Pinarello wool cycling jersey, looking very nice. Special thanks go to Nic & Jamie of Super Champion Cycle Shop for their beautiful bicycle. The window would not be the same without their bicycle. It's stunning. And, I would like to thank Karen (Endure Upcycled Designs) for the great 'I love Bikes' banner.

Richard has three cycling art framed prints for sale. And, we will be back as the Artists in the Window this Saturday (11-4) producing another handmade cycling cap. He will also have on hand his portfolio of cycling art prints for everyone to look at, too.

I'm not exactly sure which cap to make; the Ventoux or the Espress O. I'll have to decide very soon. Hooray for June Bike Month!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

There Are NO Mistakes Only Opportunities!

Anybody with a 26 inch head?

Yesterday, I finished my funky looking knit hat .... and it was challenging.

I've never made this kind of hat before. I had to assemble the band first, grab more stitches along the edge before finishing the point. To my surprise, it took me three attempts at picking up the stitch along the circular edge. Whatever I did, it never looked right. Finally, it came together. For some unknown reason, the hat seem to grow as I was knitting it. Sounds odd? The 22 inch band grew to a whopping 26 or so inches.

It was not big but really big. Not even a giant could wear this hat. Ok, I'm exaggerating. As I learn from past experience, when life throws you lemons you had better learn to make lemonade. I'm really good at lemonade but I don't know much about felting.

There was no other option. I grabbed the finish hat and threw into an old pillowcase, tie it with a knot, and tossed it along with my wash and hope like hell for a miracle.

My miracle pillowcase...

It happened! Miracles to come true. This hat is better than it could ever have been if it was regularly knitted. I wonder if they have a good book, at the library, on felting. I'm feeling a new project coming up!

Voila! My lovely first felted hat!