My family came to Canada from Ireland in 1846, so we always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day when I was growing up. Now that I live away from them, I like to celebrate and share my culture with my friends. This year they’re all coming over for beer, good Irish whiskey, music, games, storytelling and some traditional, homemade Irish and Irish-American food. My husband has been brining a brisket all week to make corned beef (we’re going to try marinating some tempeh in a similar brine for me) and I’m making a springtime colcannon and fresh soda bread!
I’ve never made my own soda bread before, so I had to learn and experiment with a few different recipes this past week. I think the recipe I’m trying today, from Baking for Friends, is a real winner! I can’t wait to share it with the people I love tomorrow.
Knit Tights ModCloth
House Shoes Amazon
Hair Combs Amazon
All photos by me.
Maybe it’s because I just turned 30, but I’ve been making a lot of changes lately. As the year, my age and the season have changed, I’ve been working hard to improve myself, my work and my art. I’ve made goals to be a better friend to the people I love, to distance myself from people whose choices and behaviours upset me, and to say yes to anything that could help me grow personally or professionally, even if it scares me. We’ve settled into the puppy routine and are slowing transitioning into a dog routine that’s taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice but has improved out lives in so many ways. I’ve committed to only spending my money on things I absolutely love and my personal style has become bolder, more deliberate and more expressive as a result.
I’ve been thinking about making another big change more and more over the past few weeks. I’ve been wanting to dye my hair a fun colour for a few years but have been to afraid to make such a drastic change to my physical appearance. I dyed it occasionally in high school and tried a lot of different colours, ranging from could-be natural to obviously fake, but stuck close to my natural colour and never really worried about finding it again in the end. I’ve been looking at some brightly coloured rainbow shades of semi-permanent hair dye recently, and although they sound reassuring and unintimidating, promising to fade out gracefully, there’s no way they are going to show up on my natural hair colour. I’m going to have to go light first.
I take very good care of my hair, washing it only twice/week and avoiding heat styling, so I’m not too worried about the damage going light is going to cause; I’m mostly afraid I’m going to miss the old me. My hair is almost exactly the same colour now as it was when I had my first hair cut (I know because my mom kept a lock of it for my baby book) and I’ve always loved it. I love being a fearless brunette in a sea of women who seem to think blond is better. It almost feels like I’ll be betraying myself if I go blond, or ginger, or pink, or peach, but this is one of those things that scares me, one of those things I’m being trying to say yes to.
I want my hair to be in the best health possible when I start, so I’m waiting until after my appointment for the spring chop in a few weeks. I know I’m being bad by dying my hair at home, but I always loved the creative control and ritual of doing it that way. I’m thinking I’m going to be brave and aim for a dark strawberry blond to start. Then after a couple of weeks of shocking friends with that – and once my hair has recovered a bit – I’m going to try Lime Crime’s Unicorn Hair in Strawberry Jam. I’m looking forward to trying a few of their magical colours and maybe hitting a natural ginger orange/red before going back to brunette. Let’s see if i’m brave enough to say good bye to my beloved chestnut and hello to dreamy new tones.
Hair Pin gift
Earrings street market in Panama
All photos be me.
I wrote, earlier in the week, about my new design process. Basically, I’ve decided to no longer sacrifice anything for speed and efficiency, to keep the end cost down, and instead make all new clothing this year true to my vision. This means more sizes, more fabric, more interesting t-shirt inks, more everything. The second piece to come out of this year’s new philosophy is the new Margaret Dress and I’m absolutely in love with it.
I’ve also decided this year, to reduce my four seasons of annual new designs to two, alternating spring and fall one year with summer and winter the next, to spend more time focusing on each. I’ve been planning this spring season since Christmas but I just started sewing and making new print screens. I’ve felt so inspired, creative and charged with positive energy since I started bringing these new pieces to life a couple of weeks ago, that I feel like I’m blooming right along side the snowdrops in my front garden. I have one more skirt, one more dress, a t-shirt, a tank, and, for the first time, a children’s t-shirt in the works for spring, then it’s on to getting a jump-start on fall designs. I couldn’t be more excited for all the work the lies ahead of me.
Pepper’s Bandana Sophster-Toaster
All photos by me.
I’ll be doing things a little differently this year. Instead of trying to keep all of my new designs under a certain price point, and sacrificing exciting options and features to accomplish this, I’m going to make things the way I want and let them cost what they cost. With my first new skirt of the season, this meant doing things like using more fabric to make a fuller skirt, taking more time to line the skirt with lots of voluminous voile for a fuller, softer silhouette, and improving my patterns to include 2X and 3X as size options. In other years, I may have skipped the lining, or offered a more limited size range, to keep the cost of my materials and labour down when it came time to determine how much I need to charge for my work; this year, I’m doing things differently – and I’m so pleased with how this piece turned out!
Of course, all of my older designs will continue to be available at their original price points and I will still strive to make a variety of items that range from lovely, but labour intensive dresses to high quality, screen printed tees to the accessories that I make with fabric salvaged from the leftover scraps of those dresses. I hope that new and returning customers and admirers alike will see the benefits and the importance of this type of ethically minded, eco-friendly slow fashion and be there with me as I hope to make some of my best work yet!
Necklace Craft Arts Market / Emery & Opal
All photos by me.