Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Busy Bee

Colleen and I are heading to the gift show this weekend and it just hit me that when we come back it'll be February!
Me thinks it's time for a Valentine's display.

I dug out a book of coloured cardstock from my mess of supplies in the shop and got to work on perhaps the easiest little craft project EVER.
Scissors, stapler, paper and tada!
I call them "insta-hearts".
Or I do now anyway.
And, since I don't go anywhere without a needle and thread (that might be a lie actually) I strung them up and hung them about the store.
Over the front table...
...and in the window.
Cute huh?
You should come see them. Here.

I've been pretty productive this past week.
I launched the Blackbird online shopping website: www.blackbirdshop.ca
as well as our new Creative Workshop venture that I talked about a few posts ago.
We decided that the burlap wreath workshop would be our first and, in just 3 days our class sold out!
Why I didn't think of this sooner I DO NOT KNOW!

After it sold out Col and I kind of went in to panic mode.
You know, not having sourced all the necessary supplies or, say, having made one ourselves to see if we could even do it in the 3 hours we allotted for the course.
Colleen tends to worry about these things a little more than I do.
Which is probably why we make a good team.

We did eventually find the materials we needed. Kelly from Textile Traditions kindly provided the burlap. Which we upcycled from the bags some of her bolts of fabric are shipped in.

I spent the better part of Clementine's nap getting started on it, and finished it last night (save for a few finishing touches).
Yes, all within 3 hours I'm happy to say.
I think it looks pretty darned special.

I kind of want to make more. I get addicted like that.
With different colours and textured fabric...and buttons! Ugh. I will have to bring buttons to the class so our students can go hog wild!

I was planning on selling this in the store after the workshop, but I may have to keep it.

Also, Colleen and I are finally making serious progress on our little Handmade Nest project.
We've coined our pacifier clips "Cliptomaniac Pacifier Clips".
Another thing we share in common is our affinity for funky packaging.

I got these little watchmakers tins at Lee Valley Tools (the perfect place to find great "dad gifts" by the way).

Brad was at a work function last night so I had lots of crafting time on my hands.
I moved the little kitchen table into the tv room and got to making more of these:

Baby hair clip sets.
I can't stop making these for some reason.
Clemmie now officially has a hair clip for every outfit. And some that don't match a single thing in her closet.
We were at a wedding this weekend and I even made one especially to match.
It's insanely large and dorkalicious.
You'll notice she's also sporting a pacifier clip.
My little product tester.

Brad, of course, HAD to match his girl again.
In his defense, he did change his outfit to match me at the reception later in the evening.
What a fashionista that boy is.

That's it for now I suppose.
Again, if you're not already on the shop's email list, and you'd like to know about upcoming workshops, click here to join our mailing list.
I'll keep you in the loop.

xo Em

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'm back from my dark place.
I knew it was official when something serendipitous happened just now.
I had to write about it.

First things first, there is nothing worse than a return on a slow afternoon in January.

I grinned through the transaction, and it really was okay. We don't have a no returns policy and I remembered the woman from before Christmas and knew there was a possibility that the item wouldn't work in her home.

And THEN like an angel from heaven, a woman came up to the cash not a minute later to buy the exact same thing!

That's right. Tickle me sideways and call me Steven.
Even Steven that is.
Love that.

If you've been to my shop you know the unlikelihood of something like this happening.
This place is packed with (cute) merchandise. And I rarely have more than 1 or 2 of the same item at any given time.

Also, it's January. So the odds of having more than one customer aren't exactly stacked in my favour.
I'm taking it as a sign to keep on keeping on.
Maybe if I hadn't returned the original hook the other woman wouldn't have bought one. Or maybe she would have overheard an unsavoury conversation regarding a bad return policy that would have made her turn on her heels and head for the door.

I know you don't do things for people in the hopes that you'll get something in return.
But it sure is nice when you do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Cheer Up

I've been feeling pretty hum drum lately.
I usually think of my blog as my rose coloured glasses. Maybe you feel this way if you write a blog, but I find life looks considerably more interesting when you focus only on the good, quirky stuff.
I just haven't been in the mood this past week. I don't know what it is really. A combination of things I suppose.
I'm not a winter person for starters.
The store is quiet, but I have a lot on the burners so if we're being positive I suppose that's a good thing in the short term.

I think it's just been a long year you know?
Clemmie will be one next month and maybe I'm feeling a little melancholy about that. It's almost been a whole year since my life was not my own. Maybe that's it.
Also. She's growing up!
As much as I look forward to the days when she can change her own diaper (it could happen) I love my little bambino.

Even after a year I'm still finding it so difficult to be patient and not do what I want to do when I want to do it.
That's definitely been the hardest part about motherhood for me.
I wonder if that will change ever. I hope it does. Or that I can change to make it okay.
Sure the sleeping (or lack of rather) can be challenging at times, but the waiting around is the real killer.

Are there mothers out there who really enjoy staying one step behind as their toddlers teeter up stairs at a glacial pace?
Sure it was cool the first, even the 5th time.
And YES she looks very cute when she does it.
But, if I'm being honest, I'm over it.
I have things to do people.
Even if those things are just putting on laundry and, you know, like peeing when I really have to.
Is that bad you think?
Am I a bad mom?
Do I need a lesson in patience? Probably.
Whatever. I do other things that some moms don't do. Like make her things, and let her chew on my cell phone.
She loves that.

I have three pregnant friends right now. Which is very exciting.
Because really, no one is as honest about stuff like this as your friends.
Misery* loves company. Ain't that the tooth.

Let's talk about something fun. How about crafts? That always cheers me up.
Colleen and I are buzzing with ideas lately. Blackbird is going to start offering Creative Workshops in the coming weeks. Have I mentioned that before?
I am losing it you know.

They'll be 3 hour, $35 workshops (in most cases this will include the cost of materials), covering a variety of different projects.
All of which will be awesome.

Over the months we have been collecting amazing tutorials generously provided by some amazing fellow crafters. I think we all need a creative outlet and what better way to socialize than over a great project?
And, knowing me, wine.
Here's just a taste of the things that have inspired me lately.
The type of things you could be creating if you join in all the fun we're about have here at Blackbird.

original creator: Tatertots and Jello
original creator: Bella Dia

(As in any craft, we'll be putting our own spin on things of course, but these images and ideas are taken from tutorials generously provided by the blogs listed above. Go check them out, but be warned. A crafting session may well ensue.)

You're excited I can tell.
Want to know about upcoming classes?
Join our mailing list here and write "Workshop" in the subject line.

We're also launching our own Handmade line of products in the shop.
And on Etsy.
It's called Handmade Nest. You know. Because we're addicted to the bird theme.
Handmade Nest is going to be hosting all of the workshops as a way to generate start up revenue and keep the creative juices flowing.

Look at that. I already feel better.
Thanks blog.

*I'm not miserable about being a mom. You know what I mean.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

There is just something so exciting about a new year don't you think?
It's not even about the whole resolution thing.
I'm not the kind of girl who needs to wait for January to get started on something, but I really dig the idea of a clean slate.
A fresh start.
I'm over the idea of going cold turkey on my nail biting habit, or trying to lose another 10 pounds, or even being nicer (sorry Brad). And I'm certainly not going to drink less wine this year.
That would be a mistake.
I'm quite pleased with the direction my life has been taking this year, and I don't think I'll mess with it thanks.

If I'm going to resolve to do anything, it's not going to be something that requires less.
It may take a little more organization when it comes to time management, but 2010 is going to be all about more. More more more.

If there's one thing I know it's that almost anything is possible if you got enough enthusiasm for it. That is the ingredient folks. Enthusiasm. Don't leave home without it.

Also, I'm going to try living by the tried and true cliche that "life is too short".
Of course I've heard that saying a million times, but it was said again to me the other day by a friend who is going through something terrible right now, and I guess it made me actually think about it.
How true!
I'm not going to take it to a level of intensity that would make me hard to live with or anything - life will never be too short to put on a clean pair of underwear for instance - but I think there's some good to the idea.
For instance, I was reading a book last week that I was struggling to enjoy and I thought to myself, "Hey. Life is too short to read this book".
2009 Emily would have laboured through and finished it.
No more! I put it back on the shelf and picked up a new one. Which I am loving by the way.
See? Already my new creedo is paying off.

Another thing I'm doing in 2010 is putting myself on the payroll.
I'm going to pay myself exactly half of what I pay my staff. I'm worth at least that I think.

Back in the shop today (Saturday) and getting the year in gear.
I hope you all had a really wonderful New Year's Eve and that you've started the year off on the right foot.
See you soon.