Friday, November 21, 2014

Erica Weiner

Hollie and I have been drooling over Erica Weiner jewelry for YEARS. Why it's taken us so long to get into the shop, I'll never know. As luck would have it, Hollie spent some time with Erica at weaving school this summer, and came back with only the best things to say about her. After years and years of drooling, and now this personal connection, we finally got ourselves in gear and got some of her stunning jewelry into the shops this week!

These heartbeat necklaces are 14kt gold plate, and stamped with your very own lyrics from your favourite songs. They're only at Westdale right now, and going fast. $69

We just love all of Erica's celestial-inspired pieces, and these twinkle earrings ($25) and celestial curve set ($35) are no exception.  If you have multiple piercings these ones look amazing together.  Available at both shops.

These isosceles opal studs ($55) are a personal favourite right now. In addition to having magical properties, Erica is collaborating on these beauties with members of the Zuni Nation who handcraft jewelry to earn a living, and donating a portion of the profits from these studs to TEWA Women's United.

Finally, the Huntress Earrings ($69) don't claim to have any magical properties, but they will make your earrings look amazing! That's magic in and of itself, isn't it?

Both styles are available at both shops.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Preloved Pop Up!

We are very pleased to present a Preloved pop up shop on Friday November 14th from 7pm-11pm during the James Street North Art Crawl. Visit us at 133 James Street North to browse Preloved's F/W and holiday collection of sweaters, dresses, and accessories. Founder and Creative Director Julia Grieve will be joining us, and we have a free gift to give with every Preloved purchase!

 Preloved is a brand that would never be described as conventional. Its hallmark is reclaimed vintage fabrics expertly combined new luxe accents to create one-of-a-kind clothing, all manufactured and designed with love in Canada, Preloved’s designs capture colour and patterns to evoke a gorgeous life! Preloved honours design by paying attention to detail, mastering sophistication but also welcoming a certain flare.

We hope that you will join us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


It's not really a good excuse for not keeping up on the blog side of things, but we took a little vacation. A real vacation with planes (lots of them) and each other and our partners, which hasn't happened the entire time we've been in business together! Earlier this year we realized that we would have some extra airmiles on our credit cards that needed to be spent by the end of 2014, so we treated ourselves, and Mike and Doug (who do so much for the store behind the scenes) to a few days away on the West Coast. It was so nice.

We decided to travel to Las Vegas and Joshua Tree in California. Warm and sunny and fun and far enough away to feel like a whole different world.

We spent lots of time by the amazing hotel pool, and the rest of the time walking around with giant margaritas and catching the sights. I always thought I wouldn't like Vegas, but I think I'm coming to the realization that I might LOVE Vegas. It's just so weird and glamourous.

I once saw on Instagram a photo of Solange Knowles at the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and that went immediately on my sightseeing list. We drank, we gambled, we ate at buffets. We did all the Vegas things for two days and two nights and felt like we were living the high life the entire time.

For a welcome change of pace we then headed to the solitude of the California desert for two days. We didn't rush and took a route through the Mojave National Preserve. We saw so many volcanic formations (aka ROCKS!), and massive sand dunes, and drove maybe 0.5km on Route 66 where we stopped at this abandoned motel. The office with the huge glass windows was a time capsule for the late 1960's.

Our Airbnb was perfect, and situated in the side of a mountain. Overlooking out onto the valley, we caught glimpses of jackrabbits, desperately scanning for desert tortoises. By day we lounged in the hammock, and at night we spent time by the outdoor fire, in the hot tub, and looking up at the Milky Way. Desert life is a really good way of life.

Also, every UFO photo is horrible, because it's really hard to get a good photo of UFO's!!! We were staying just outside of the biggest Marine base in the world, and these huge balls of fire lit up the sky one night. We think that they were just testing military flares, or WERE THEY?


A couple hours in Yucca Valley lent to the discovery of some pretty cool desert shops. We hiked in Joshua Tree National Park, checked out Skull Rock, and I made a .gif of the drive. Can you believe this is my first ever .gif?

Eventually we had to come back home. Our first real vacation together was a great one, but we've got so much in store in the next couple of weeks that we can't wait to get started on it all. We promise we'll try to keep things a little more up to date around here too!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fallin' For Westdale

I can hardly believe that Westdale has been open for two months already. Where does the time go?  It's been a really amazing experience thus far. The neighbourhood has been so welcoming, and it's so nice to be able to preach the good word of handmade and Canadian design to more of Hamilton. It's truely a breath of fresh air to be able to come into this new space and meet so many new and friendly faces. We hope to be here for many more months to come.

I decided to take some quick photos on this pretty gloomy day, because the blog has been lacking photos of our new space. I thought the rain collecting on the edge of our new awning looked like tiny sparkles. And even though these beautiful garden roses that Bev from I Fiori found for us are on their way out, they still brighten my day when I see them.

You'll find the same artists in Westdale that we carry in James. We've had a couple of customers comment on how the vibe is the exact same here, and that's so great to hear. It's exactly what we wanted, and because we are guided mostly through personal taste, I think it would be more alarming if the two spaces felt completely different.

There may be certain pieces that we only carry at one shop or the other for now, but if you see something online or in person and would like it transferred to the shop that's more convenient for you, don't hesitate to ask! We can always bring things back and forth between shops.

When we did our clothing ordering for F/W earlier this year, the second shop was just a twinkle in our eye. This season may prove to have some growing pains as certain clothing styles are only at either James or Westdale, but we already did our S/S and we made sure to order enough for each store in more styles.

I thought I would share a couple of my favourite pieces right now. Pieces that are perfect to welcome in the fall season (the best season!).

Alpaca/merino/silk Jarvis toques by Good Night Day. Knit in Hamilton. $64. Both locations, various colours.

Middle - ceramic necklace by Lauren Winter $65, both locations in various styles. Outer edges - ceramic necklaces by Sojourn $50-$80, both locations in various styles.

Mittlets by Anna Kari. Knit in Hamilton. $28-$32, both locations in various styles.

Falconwright screen-printed leather pouches. $32-$78. Westdale only, various styles.

Birds of North America Phalarope dress, $209. Westdale and James North.

Eve Gravel Leo dress, $178. Westdale in snowfall print, James North in striped print.

Dagg and Stacey Bramley button-up, $112. Westdale only.

Make sure to stop in if you are ever in the Westdale area! We have all the cute things you love and we have a whole bunch of new lunch recommendations for everyone now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grand Opening Party!

We are finally settled into our new Westdale digs enough to host a little party for all of our best buds. Join us in celebrating on Thursday September 25th from 7pm-10pm at 1032 King Street West in beautiful Westdale village. We'll have the best snax, and 10% off everything in the shop! There are so many great new fall arrivals, that we promise we'll post on the blog soon.

 We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Monastery For the Human Hands

This summer I was fortunate enough to attend the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina for two glorious weeks. I had learned about the school last winter and fell in love with their programing, and the dreamy landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains in which they are situated. I've always felt a little pang of regret by attending a practical college program instead of an art school, so I put together an application package and hoped for the best. I ended up receiving a partial scholarship to attend a course in weaving during one of their summer sessions. I was most interested to practice weaving at Penland as it was started as a weaving school in the 1920's, teaching women how to generate an income for themselves through the craft.

I knew a learning vacation would be a lot more intense than hanging out on the dock of a cottage for two weeks, and when I applied the idea of a second White Elephant location was just a twinkle in our eyes, but this was something I had an immense draw to do, and I'm so glad that I did. My experience was nothing short of magical.

I took a propeller plane from Charlotte NC to Asheville NC, where I then traveled an hour by car through the mountains. We climbed up twists and turns to arrive at this beautiful school made up of log cabin buildings, and where the fog hung low in the air. It was remote and private and secluded, but there was an energy that you could feel as soon as you arrived on campus. I was told that the land is believed to be a creativity vortex, much like Sedona, Arizona is thought to be a spiritual vortex. I was so into that line of thought.

My course was an introduction to weaving and was titled "The Language of Weaving". It was taught by Tali Weinberg, the current executive director of the Textile Society of America. I was expecting to be amongst the youngest in the class, but to my surprise I was on the older end of the scale in our class made up of 12 women. And some really extraordinary women at that.

Our classes were held in the historical Lily Loom House, with one of the best views on campus. I foolishly brought some books and knitting that I thought I would use during my "down-time" but quickly found out that all I wanted to do was to spend time in the studio. Most days I spent 10-12 hours at the loom (with breaks for meals) and during crunch time I might have been found in the studio at 3am.

I prepared my loom three separate times during the two weeks, which helped me grasp the fundamentals of weaving really well. My first project was a five yard long sampler of different weaving patterns and techniques, and of different weft materials. For my second project I wound three yards of a striped warp and wove material that I'm intending to make pillowcases out of. My third project was my favourite, making ombre tea-towels out of tencel with a supplementary warp. These were also by far my most frustrating project, almost bringing me to tears and giving me nightmares one night about strings floating in front of my face that I couldn't untangle and get rid of.

In all of my projects I worked with only natural fibres - cotton, linen, wool, and tencel.

Penland offers classes in almost every art concentration you can think of, from charcoal drawing to forging Damascus steel, and they continue to expand and build new buildings. All of the studios are idyllic, and I know I'll be checking the course program every season to see what new classes I can dream about attending. I met so many amazing people during my time there, from all over the world.  It's so remote that there's not much else to do but focus on your craft and to be taken in by the beauty of nature. We all joked about how we couldn't remember our previous lives before coming to Penland. It really felt like we were now weavers who lived in the mountains for the rest of time.

But I eventually had to return to real life on that little propeller plane. I returned home to a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, which made me even more thankful for my little respite where I got to fully work with my hands and with my heart. Thank you Penland, I hope to see you again one day.