Blue Pumpkin Corsetry: I’ve been making corsets professionally for three years now. I was studying the construction techniques and pattern manufacture for two, previous to that.
I really do believe that a good quality corset is comfortable and wearable. I also believe that a corset can be made for any occasion, not just formal or bedroom occasions.
I have made corsets for clients all over the World and for all manner of reasons. From underwear, to office wear and day-to-night corsets.
When I was in the third grade we were asked to create a diorama that represented a climate, or geographical setting of some kind. The tropics, perhaps a frozen tundra or a mountainous region. Honestly, I wasn’t paying all that much attention. I had just started reading A Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder and there wasn’t anything more riveting to me than reading about Laura and her Pa having to grind up wheat in the coffee mill. Or Ma Ingalls making ice cream out of some snow and maple syrup. Really, these people were geniuses.
The day before the project was due I decided that I would make a Desert scene. Tents, sheiks and the whole shebang. I would use whatever I had on hand – just like the Ingalls. I took out a rusty cookie sheet and filled it with scoops of sand from our sandbox. [Read more…]
It’s no secret that I like my handbags. I have lots of them. My husband might argue I have too many, but let’s think about this honestly – can you ever have too many?
My answer would be yes. I literally do have too many bags. And shoes. And generally I have too many clothes. My answer: I need a de-cluttering session. In the far future, of course. It might even benefit me to sign myself up for the famous 100 Thing Challenge.
Not heard of the 100 Thing Challenge? The founder of the movement, Dave Bruno, says that the goal of the 100 Thing Challenge, or 100TC for short, is a ‘way to stop participating in irresponsible consumerism and start living a more meaningful lifestyle that is economically secure and that blesses people.’
So how do we, the Average Over Spenders of the World stop filling our lives with meaningless ‘stuff’? The 100TC follows three nice and easy steps:
First things first this means getting rid of some of your stuff. Not wearing a bunch of old clothes and waiting for the day they’ll fit you? Think again. If they’ve been sitting there waiting and you wishing, they’re better off in another person’s life. Either give them away to another person or donate them to a charity. Books that you’ve read making your bookshelf look pretty but not doing much else? Get rid. With things like children’s toys you should seriously think about doing an inventory of toys. Make a list of all toys, tick off a few loved favourites and ditch the rest. Donation, donation, dontation. Oh yes and a little note: do not take out items of clothing and reminisce over memories if you’re serious about giving these things away. You’ll only get emotionally involved and this isn’t a time for hanging onto ghosts of the past.
(Image: One parent from the 100 Thing Facebook has had a major clear-out of their children’s toys.)
This one is perhaps the most difficult. Refusal is taken offensively in Western culture. This won’t be easy, but the best route is to be relaxed with people who try to give you ‘stuff.’ Don’t preach. Just calmly explain you’re having a bit of a clear-out of stuff and you really don’t need whatever this person is offering. If they are really insistent then think of someone who would benefit from whatever you’ve been given and donate to them. There is always someone who will benefit from the things you’ll never get around to using or don’t really need.
I suppose this sounds easy and as a last step you should be well on your way to your de-cluttered nirvana, but readjusting your thinking and habits you’ve acquired over your life time are not going to be easy. Take this last step in small increments. Don’t make it an all or nothing scenario. But question little day time habits;
Do I really want to spend money on snacks that I could have easily prepared at home?
Should I walk more rather than rely on my car?
How can I cut down on my weekly food bill?
Make it fun and if it helps, remind yourself with visuals as to why you’re trying to achieve this balance in your life; a photo of your family or loved one or even a photo of yourself when you were at your happiest.
The best thing that the 100 Thing Challenge has created is the self motivation in others. They want this change, too, for their own very personal reasons. And living in a World where borrowing and buying on credit is increasing I can’t help but think we’d all benefit from adopting some of the 100 Thing Challenge principles in our life.
As one person on the 100 TC Facebook said;
Quote of the day: Too many people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.
For myself there are happily not a lot of changes I need to make; de-cluttering is my only issue. Debt isn’t a feature in our lives and we are more than aware of our incomings and outgoings. We don’t make huge spends on worthless items we’ll rarely use and barely need.
How different would our World be if credit cards didn’t exist? If debt was never a consideration? I see so many people around me getting into debt when they really can’t afford too; the truth is that you can never afford debt so you shouldn’t make it in the first place. Let’s all start living within our means. Let’s plan and prepare for the future rather than party in the present. Let’s take care of our basic needs and think about our wants more carefully.
Ponder this article. Question if you’re giving your life purpose right now and ask yourself if things could be different for the better if you did something a little bit different, every little day.
Unlike our neighbours to the south, with their somewhat-brazen flag waving, we Canadians are notoriously humble about our patriotism. Sure we show our red maple leaves with pride, but it is always with an underlying sense of moderation and polite restraint. However, the one day of the year that we allow ourselves to really let loose is July 1st, when we take a collective day-off to observe our Nation‘s birthday. In honour of Canada’s 143rd, I’m inviting you to embrace your inner Canadian and take a peek at some terrific handmade finds from the unabashedly polite people at the top of the continent.
Rhonda, of My Handbound Books is a bookbinder and book artist hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is constantly working on new ways to practice her craft and often includes an eco-friendly element. Some of Rhonda’s journals are made entirely from recycled/reclaimed/repurposed materials; to create the one pictured above, she didn’t have to go any further than her stash of leather scraps and salvaged trims and closures. To match the virtue of the cover, it is filled with unlined cream paper with 30% recycled content. Check out Rhonda’s blog http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com/ to see more of her eco-friendly projects, including her awesomely kitschy “as seen on tv” product box journals.
Released in 1983, Bryan Adams’ album “Cuts Like a Knife” was the third studio album by the Canadian singer/songwriter, and can easily be credited for giving Adams his first real mainstream popularity in both Canada and the US. Montreal’s Odd Bob has taken this iconic piece of Canadian music history and preserved it as a funky piece of functional art for the home. The signed and numbered piece has been carefully reshaped and three non-slip feet have been added. It even comes complete with its original cover! (Music lovers and collectors need not worry – Groovebowls are made only from records that Odd Bob has deemed “unplayable”, due to pits and scratches.)
Mariclaro Canada is a small design collective based in Toronto with a mandate to design and create sustainable products. The bag pictured above, made from seatbelts, upholstery and bike inner tubes, is a perfect example of their work. Created from 99% recycled materials (the thread makes up the remaining 1%), it is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Toronto locals (and visitors to “The Big Smoke”) can find the brick-and-mortar Mariclaro shop at 457 Roncesvalles Ave, just south of Dundas West.
Lucky me – one of my favourite Canadian designers just so happens to live right here in my home province! Winnipegger Kelly Ruth absolutely loves Manitoba summers and you can tell by the way the vibrant, earthy colours of her hand-dyed garments (pictured above) reflect the natural beauty of our ever-changing prairie landscape. By using special, fiber-reactive dyes on super-soft and sustainable bamboo-blend knit fabrics, Kelly creates one-of-a-kind pieces that no only look gorgeous when you buy them, but will not fade over time.
The upcycled Canada atlas envelopes at the beginning of this article are made by Prairie Peasant, a member of the Etsy Trans Canada Team. Visit the team blog to find out how you can win one of two fabulously Canadian prizes in their “Handmade in Canada Party”. Hurry – the contest only runs until Canada Day!
Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, is a celebration marking the anniversary of the enactment of the British North American Act of 1867, which united two British colonies with a province of the British Empire into a single country. Similar to the way Americans celebrate their Independence Day, we Canucks will spend the day with family and friends; eating, drinking, gathering, parading and setting-off fireworks…with the utmost of polite moderation, of course.
Inspired. That’s what I felt after visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery last weekend. My husband and I are members, so we’re free to pop in any time we like to check out the newest exhibition which is a great luxury. So much so that we may not even look into a new exhibit in that much detail in advance like we would otherwise, we’ll just head down instead to check it out in person. For some reason I wasn’t that excited about the WE: Vancouver exhibit. I figured, I live here already, and as much as I love it I’m not super interested in some kind of rah rah city pride type of thing. I found something very very different that encouraged me in more ways than one. (The Reclaimed Dress above is from Etsy shop, Adhesif.)
Seed Bombs from Visual Lingual
With the dawn of the internet, we’ve seen the rise of countless different types of sites – and I couldn’t help but wonder after visiting the exhibit, how this easy transmission of information might be changing our collective perspectives for the better. Now it’s altogether possible that the folks whose thoughts and work were on display came to these views without the internet’s helping hand, but there were three outlooks that I have heard expressed again and again by people online and by my own friends in the last couple of years that I can’t help but wonder if there is some kind of interplay there, and a really great one at that, that is making these types of views far more mainstream than they ever have been before.
Throughout this post, you’ll find handmade items that I feel fit the various themes of this post in one way or another!
Reclaimed Wood Vase from Peg and Awl
The first “manifesto” I came across in the gallery found it’s main focus in nature and architecture, and painted an enticing vision of individuals who find themselves deeply connected to the outside world in a sustainable way. If you’d like, read more here about Mari Fujita and Matthew Soules vision of a future where we commute by kayak and pluck tomatoes from our wallpaper, right here.
Next, a commentary on conscious consumption – reminding us to be in touch with what we eat and use in our day to day lives. Either by baking bread, or planting a fruit tree or any other number of things as Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon suggest here.
Reclaimed wood terrarium from Ecogro
Next stop – a display courtesy of Natalie Purschwitz, who for one year decided to wear only things she made herself. You can read more about her project here.
If you have a chance to read these manifestos or to peruse Natalie’s blog, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you inspired like me, or do you think these lofty ideas and ambitions are unrealistic or somehow unattainable?