Tag Archive for 'kids trunk show'


This week is whipping by! I wanted to post a couple photos from the fun Kids Trunk Show on the weekend. Thank you to everyone who dropped by, it was really wonderful to see you. I especially loved how excited all the kids (and adults) got over the button maker.

Through some stroke of luck, it didn’t even rain so we had the backyard open the whole time! Did you get to sneak a peek back there?

I was pretty reserved with my shopping this time, but I did pick up a sweet collage by Aprile.

Making buttons in the backyard

Cupcake decorating station in the backyard

Ella & her portrait by Zeesy

Collage by Aprile Elcich


The Little Paper

Tomorrow is the Kids Trunk Show! Although I’m not a parent, I imagine that trying to find interesting, engaging things to do with your child would be a real challenge if something like The Little Paper didn’t exist. Started by local mom, Vicki, The Little Paper organizes and lists activities, groups, events, classes and local business that are relevant to young urban families. It is an incredible resource that is passionate about family time. The Little Paper can be accessed in print version at locations all across the city or via their email newsletter, so you’ll always know what’s happening on any given day to delight your little ones and yourself.

Pick up a free copy of The Little Paper tomorrow at the Kids Trunk Show!

How and when did The Little Paper start?

Vicki : The Little Paper began as a last ditch effort to avoid returning to work in an office. I’d been home with my daughter for two and a half years and had officially run out of money. I didn’t want to leave her and I couldn’t imagine going back to work as I had known it before she was born. So, when my dad gave me $2000 to put into our falling down house, I used it to start The Little Paper instead. Nobody had ever told me that magazines rarely survive and never make money so I just jumped in and worked really, really hard to build a great independent resource for city families.

I had come of age reading Eye and Now but after I became a parent, I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me as an urban mother and I knew that there must be a lot of other parents in the city in the same position… people who wanted to live vibrantly in their communities, experience big and small culture with their children and who could really use a modern, relevant family guidebook to the city. The original tagline of the paper was “What Do You Want To Do Today?” It was pretty apt.

We published 2000 copies of the first issue of The Little Paper in December 2003. It featured a grainy picture of my daughter Lily in High Park, 16 pages of 12 point type, 14 ads and an astonishing amount of information about events, activities, programs and classes for West End families. Gillian Anderson, whom I’d met about 3 weeks earlier at a drop-in, had keyed in all the listings and we put it all together on a four year old imac G3 and a borrowed copy of Quark.

A little over five years (and a second daughter) later, we’re printing 10,000 copies of a month, run about 54 pages with 80 or so regular advertisers and have reduced the type size to 8. Most importantly, we’ve got almost a dozen moms working for us, carving out their own part-time jobs around the needs of their families and bringing extraordinary creativity, commitment and intelligence to each issue.

Have you found that the focus or needs of your readers has changed since you began?

Vicki : The one year maternity leave program started shortly before the paper began and has really helped families (and mothers in particular) spend time with their children and explore the resources in their city and their community. Making it easier for families to stay home for the first year creates a ripple effect of positive changes. When families have time to be together, they are better able to participate in their communities and this supports local business, safer neighbourhoods, greater resources and helps create strong relationships among neighbours. Another big change is the desire for greener alternatives. Having a child is a huge incentive to create a safer, cleaner, healthier planet and families are seeking out products, services and activities that celebrate and sustain the environment.

Are there any new local groups or businesses that The Little Paper would like to share?

Vicki : Absolutely! The filtered family beach at Sunnyside, breakfast sandwiches at Nicole’s Belly Catering in Parkdale, wonderful independent clothing at Sara’s Planet Kid on Roncey, Nature walks with Katie, Jon, Sara and Diana on Wednesday afternoons at The High Park Nature Centre and our friend Chris Reed will launch Small Print , a program of stories, music, crafts and sing a longs with independent Canadian authors and musicians, in October.

With two young girls of your own, what activities/events are they interested in doing this summer?

Vicki : Sewing has been huge in our house this summer. We found a brilliant old cotton sheet set covered with violets and made dresses, a skirt, a halter top, head scarves, stuffed animals, bags for carrying stuffed animals, little purses for stuffed animals to carry… it’s been really fun. We’ve also been spending a lot of time on Ward’s Island, swimming, canoeing, eating picnics. Probably the coolest thing we’ve done so far though was driving up to the old U of T observatory in Richmond Hill and staying up late to watch the Perseid Meteor shower.

What is your earliest crafting memory as a child?

Vicki : Its difficult to remember a time when we weren’t making something. I baked and sewed with my mom, made flower fairies and fairy villages in the woods at my grandparents cottage and spent the entire summer of 1970 finger-knitting. I think the memories I most cherish though, are those of the Saturday afternoon trips my dad and I made to the lakeshore. We drew pictures, climbed rocks and collected stones and driftwood, sea glass and feathers to make sculptures. He had a workroom in the garage that smelled of all the good smells… sawdust, gasoline, wood, paint, turpentine and glue and he was trusting and patient and generous with his tools and time and interest. He made me feel like the artist I was. Still does, actually.

The Little Paper : website

Planet Kid

Story telling


Introducing : Aprile Elcich

I love collage. Moving bits of paper and imagery around on a page until the magical moment when they make sense. I used to daydream that one day someone would hire me to make collages in my visual diary all day long. I still think that would be a pretty awesome job.

Local artist, Aprile Elcich, moves bits of paper and imagery to create dreamy pieces of art. Many of them are small and affordable, especially considering the joy they are bound to bring every time you look at them. I have yet to see Aprile’s work in person, so I can’t wait for Sunday’s Kids Trunk Show. I predict one of her pieces will be going home with me.

Why collage? What is it about paper that gets you so excited?

Aprile : Well, I have always loved books and been completely surrounded by them, and I was—wait, still am!—a packrat with them. But I think where actual technique is concerned, I’m a bit impatient. I used to love drawing and painting but they take so long! Collage is something I can enjoy in my spare time (what little I have of it) and I don’t have to worry about anything but glue to dry…

What are your favourite places to scout for materials for your work?

Aprile : I used to use magazines, but now I use all vintage materials. I love shopping for things at old bookstores (particularly Ten Editions on Spadina, which has a 50 cent ephemera section hiding at the back), antique markets, and libraries for their discards.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Aprile : An entrepreneur (really!) or a teacher. I used to always pretend I was in charge of things, haha. I was an only child so I spent a lot of time day dreaming about restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and art galleries I would open.

What is the best art-related advice anyone ever gave you?

Aprile : Umm, is “never give up” a cliché answer? Haha. Of course I’m drawing a blank now, even though there have been many supportive people in my life regarding my artwork, with plenty of helpful things to say. I can give a piece of advice that I certainly learned, which is to always feel good about what you’re doing. Art is so subjective that there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like what you do. The only important thing is that YOU like what you do. Then you will be happy forever : )

What is your earliest crafting memory as a child?

Aprile : My Nana and Papa (grandmother and grandfather) were hugely impactful on my creativity. My Papa did carpentry and fancy woodwork as a hobby, and my Nana was into all kinds of crafts. I spent a lot of time there learning all there was to learn (and making all there was to make!)

Aprile Elcich : blog / etsy / another blog

Introducing : Aprile Elcich

Introducing : Aprile Elcich


Simplicity 3062

There’s nothing more fun than looking through patterns and picking out possible ‘future projects’. I spent a couple hours today looking through hundreds of vintage sewing patterns. I set a few aside for myself and have already started picking out fabrics in my mind. Even though I have so many projects on the go right now, I can’t help but dream of some new clothes for fall. These are all possible contenders that might be making a second appearance here in fabric form.

the workroom has acquired a large collection of vintage sewing patterns very similar to these from 1940s to 1980s. We’ll be putting out a few boxes full of them at the Kids Trunk Show this coming Sunday. They are worth a look, if only for the lovely illustrations/hilarious photos.

p.s. I marked down over sixty bolts of fabric on our shelves to help make room for the new fall collections, so it’s a good time for you to dream up some fall projects, too!

Simplicity 8260

Simplicity ESP 8183

Butterick 5297

Vogue 6121 & Vogue 7917

Very Easy Vogue 8768

Simplicity 8793


Bespoke Uprising

I’m a new fan of Bespoke Uprising. I only discovered Roisin Fagan’s work at our last trunk show and I promptly treated myself to a pair of her paper airplane screen-printed tea towels. (They hang pretty in the workroom’s blue bathroom) Roisin’s subject matter are beautiful, everyday things like mason jars, ferns, power lines, and nasturtium. For me, her prints alone would be enough but Roisin then turns her printed fabrics into wallets, buttons, pillows, reversible dresses and more. Be sure to browse her lovely goods in person at the Kids Trunk Show on August 23rd.

Roisin also has a new venture with Arounna of Bookhou called, “repeat“. They’ve only just set up shop, but I already want everything. I’m especially excited that repeat will be selling fat quarters of their printed fabrics.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Roisin : When I was very small, I wanted to be a unicorn. I used the watch the movie, ‘The Last Unicorn‘, over and over. Then I wanted to be a teacher, and finally i settled on an ambition to be a scientist. I think I’ve fulfilled the scientist in my small self, as I use plenty of chemistry in dyeing and screenprinting.

Who is inspiring your work these days?

Roisin : Anni Albers has been an inspiration since high school. Her sense of colour and pattern are wonderful. The printed textiles from the Arts & Crafts movement are also a favorite. I had a very enthusiastic Craft history prof at NSCAD that really piqued my interest in William Morris’s textiles, Liberty textiles, and the tilework of William de Morgan. Currently, I’m loving the work of Julia Rothman – her patterns often have a strong narrative content, like mine.

What is your favourite product that you’ve designed and why?

Roisin : My favorite things to make are my reversible garments. They involve a lot of problem solving, which, while often frustrating, is so satisfying to work out in the end. The ruffle dresses are the most elaborate thing that I make and took me so long to figure out! I also love the new caps that I’ve done. I have started using an organic linen in my work and these were the first thing that I made with it.

What is the most challenging thing about having your own business?

Roisin : The most challenging this is definitely the paperwork! I like to do everything myself, including my taxes, and it takes up a lot of my time.

What is your earliest crafting memory from childhood?

Roisin : I was always crafting as a child, my mom and dad were very big on encouraging creativity with my brother and I. One of my earliest memories is making a card with my best friend Sarah – I think we were about five. I had asked to sleep over at her house, and my mom said no [must have been a schoolnight]. We spent the afternoon in my room, writing things like ‘pretty pretty please with a cherry on top’ in Elmer’s glue on construction paper, and then pouring on sprinkles to make big, sparkly words.

Bespoke Uprising : website / blog / etsy

Bespoke Uprising

Bespoke Uprising

Bespoke Uprising


HELLO! I accidentally took a little blog holiday. I’ve been super busy working on several big projects. One of them is the upcoming Kids Trunk Show. Ohh, it’s going to be soo good.

The other major project is the workroom’s backyard. I just had a stone patio installed and am doing some serious gardening back there. (with the help of my dad, Alison & Jerisse) Here are a few sneak peek shots for now. Wait ’til you see our new outdoor space!

  • I’ve been thinking i need to make something like this for maisy!
  • can’t wait for this movie! Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland trailer!
  • prettiest plum-y & pleated hem skirt
  • paris. the girl. the bike. those shoes. the hat. that dress. the sartorialist.
  • oh no. heather ross won’t be designing anymore fabric for a while! how can this be?
  • i’ve just discovered boro – japanese mended and patched textiles
  • this is the coolest subscription – 25 coloured pencils a month to create a 500 coloured pencil set (via notcot)
  • bittersweet chocolate scones!
  • shipping container homes… i really like these (via notcot)


Pattern: Amy Butler Anna Tunic
Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics Pink Le Fleur

There is just over a week until Labour day and somehow I’ve fallen behind in my dress challenge. Reading back on my first post about the challenge, it seems a bit fuzzy as to when the challenge officially ends. I did say the end of summer, which technically isn’t until September 22. I still have three more dresses to make! What do you think? A little leniency for a busy girl?

Dress 10 is from Amy Butler’s Anna Tunic which many of you may not know can also be turned into a dress. The photo on the cover of the pattern is deceiving as it only shows the top version. The dress goes together quite easily, with only a few fiddly parts. I found the instructions on how to attach the facings to the body of the dress slightly awkward and wished there was a more elegant way to do this part. I had to read the instructions several times slowly at this point to make sure I understood what I was supposed to do. Basically it is just top stitching the facing closed after you have pressed under the seam allowance and pinned each section around the yoke. There is no zipper in this pattern. For those who fear zippers, you may enjoy doing the button loops and buttons. I like the button detail very much.

Amy Butler’s patterns always seem to be quite a-line. Often times it’s too much for me and I end up straightening out the silhouette. On this dress, I quite like it. I made the longer version of the Anna Tunic and even wore it with the belt. (I rarely wear belts) The dress is fully lined which makes it feel slightly formal, in a good way.

The pink fabric by Art Gallery Quilts is clearly inspired by Art Nouveau. I love the swirly motifs which remind me very much of Paris.

I wore this dress on Sunday at the Kids Trunk Show. For once I thought I’d show you photos of the dress in action and me without my head cut off. Looking over the photos of the show, you’ll notice a good percentage of them include cupcakes. The night before, I baked four dozen cupcakes from scratch. I also made 7 minute frosting for the first time, which I really loved. Most the kids only ate the tops of the cupcakes. That probably had more to do with all the candy piled on top of them than the ‘Madagascar Vanilla Bean’ or ‘Shaved Dark Chocolate’ frostings.

p.s. Yes, I ate all the leftover cupcakes for breakfast this week.


Happy Monday!

Wow, what a crazy fun day yesterday was! The Kids Trunk Show couldn’t have had a sunnier day or a better crowd. It was so delightful to see all the kids running around, decorating cupcakes with piles of candy, having their portraits done and just generally looking as cute as can be.

Today I’m going to take it easy, by my standards. I’m riding my bike downtown to pick up a new pair of flip flops and have lunch in the park.

I just posted most of the photos the Trunk Show on flickr. Did anyone out there visit the show yesterday? Did you have a good time? Did you buy a special treat (or two)?


photographs courtesy of Lindsey Hodgson

The sock monkey has a long history as a popular children’s toy in North America. The design ingeniously transforms a pair of socks, a pair of buttons, stuffing and thread into a lovable creature. Traditionally, the red-heeled work sock has been the most popular choice for sock monkeys. The red heel forms the distinctive mouth on the stuffed monkeys. But nowadays the monkeys come in all sock varieties, each one cute and ready for some monkey fun.

Lindsey Hodgson believes in the power of these monkeys to make a difference. She started up Operation Sock Monkey to create awareness for Clowns without Borders and to send sock monkey ambassadors to children affected by AIDS/HIV in South Africa.

How was Operation Sock Monkey born?

Lindsey: Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) was born from a love of sock monkeys and a belief in their healing powers on the human soul. No matter who you are or what you do, a sock monkey will cheer you up when you’re feeling blue!

Why is this cause so important to you?

Lindsey: Can you imagine losing your most or all of your family to an epidemic? Who would be left to ask you what you want to be when you grow up? Who would sing songs with you and make you smile? Who would let you know that you are loved?

I believe that the work that Clowns Without Borders does is vital in the the healing process of those bereaved by or infected with HIV/AIDS. Daily life is often a struggle when faced with challenges meeting very basic human needs, such as food shortages and drought, on top of having or living with someone who has this debilitating virus. The clowns provide much needed comic relief and emotional support in the form of shows and workshops. Sometimes they also provide food and other resources to the communities they work in. They are bringing extreme positivity to a very negative situation and the response they are met with is astounding! I am delighted to fundraise for them through sock monkey sales and sponsorships. And I’m absolutely floored at how many others have lent their energy, creativity and resources to OSM.

How many monkeys have you been able to donate so far?

Approximately 150 monkeys have been sent via clown-courier to HIV/AIDs orphans living in South Africa. More than half of those were sewn by volunteers who have donated their time and talents to the cause. It’s really inspiring to be moved by a project happening around the world, and then do something about it here at home, and to have others join in and say – ‘Hey! we want to help too!’ It brings a sense of of global community and citizenship that seems so difficult to attain in this big crazy world. Small acts of love can make a huge difference.

Why do you think everyone loves sock monkeys?

The sock monkey is a magical creature who lives for many human lifetimes. Their very nature is Reincarnative. Some will have 5, 6, 7 owners. Imagine the stories they could tell, the things they have seen, the feet they have warmed! Humans can sense the innate wisdom and omnipotence of these marvelous beings and are easily enchanted by them.

Lindsey & Operation Sock Monkey will be at the Kids Trunk Show at the workroom, 1340 Queen Street West, on Sunday August 17 from 12-5pm. Show your support for this worthy cause and purchase a sock monkey or three.

If you’d like to learn to make your own sock monkey you can join a workshop taking place next door to the Kids Trunk Show at Shop Girls, 1342 Queen Street West, on Sunday August 17 starting at 1pm. The cost of the workshop is only $15 or free if you donate your monkey to Operation Sock Monkey. All materials and supplies will be provided. All ages are welcome and youngsters are encouraged to bring along an adult to partner with.

Sock monkeys can be purchased anytime from the Operation Sock Monkey website. Monetary donations or even material donations of new socks or stuffing are accepted, as well.

photographs courtesy of Lindsey Hodgson


photograph courtesy of Tania Howells

As much as I tried, I was never very good at drawing. That didn’t stop me from taking art classes all the way through school, hoping that one day something would ‘click’. The problem was, unlike many of my talented friends in art class, I had no style. There was absolutely no magic in my drawings.

Tania Howells has got oodles of style. Her illustrations are fun, whimsical and overflowing with charm. I wish colouring books had been as cute as Tania’s when I was a kid. I may have to get one this weekend, so that I can pretend that I can draw.

Tania’s first picture book is coming out this fall, called ‘Berkley’s Barn Owl Dance’. Whoo hoo! I have to know what happens at this owl dance.

Did you always love to draw?

Tania: I did- when i was a kid and friends would say “what should we do now?” I always wanted to draw, but we usually ended up doing lego.

Is illustration something you went to school for?

Tania: I went to Etobicoke School for the Arts in high school. Then I went to OCAD, but back when I went they had “interdisiplinary arts” which I don’t think they have anymore. It let me take all kinds of classes including wood, jewellery, ceramics, enamelling, metal, textiles. Mostly craft stuff and oddly no drawing or painting at all. At graduation, I was making mostly wooden shadow box scenes and hoped to use those as illustration work, but it all morphed into drawing as it was easier to market.

What would be your dream illustration job/client?

Tania: I have always wanted to work for Chronicle Books. They do such amazing projects.

Are the characters you create based on people you know?

Tania: Not really. Although some look like me. They are usually based on a small child in the way that each character will have an innocence and optimism that you tend to see in little kids.

What’s your biggest influence right now?

I am really exited about the poppies blooming in my garden, checking out what everyone is doing on flickr, Jeu de paumes books, reading and knitting on the porch and visiting the workroom! {note: how sweet!}

I just found out that Tania designed the logo for Buddha Dog on Roncesvalles, which makes me want to go there even more. I really really love hot dogs.

Tania will be at the Kids Trunk Show at the workroom, 1340 Queen Street West on Sunday August 17, noon – 5pm

If for some reason you miss out on Sunday, check out Tania’s etsy shop and pick up something to make you happy.

photograph courtesy of Tania Howells