Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sweater Weather

Eyelet Front Raglan Top - Alpaca and Silk - $168
If you visited the shop this winter, chances are you have seen and admired the knit mittlets we started carrying by Anna Kari.  They were one of our most popular items this winter, and we are thrilled that Anna has taken her work up a notch with these amazing knit sweaters, now in the shop.

Anna uses vintage knitting patterns and styles as inspiration in her work, and creates everything on her knitting machines and by hand. She combines super soft and fine wools like cashmere, merino and alpaca with silk so that the finished result is the comfiest coziest sweater you've ever owned.
Graduated Sparkle Stripe Cardigan - Cashmere, Merino and Silk - $188
Long Line Cardigan - Alpaca and Silk - $196
We currently have each of these sweaters in a range of colours and sizes, but they're so beautiful we don't expect them to last long.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Dreams

Spring arrivals have been filling up the shop in the last couple weeks, and it`s giving me hope. No matter how cold it is right now, it`s March, and that means Spring is surely coming soon right? Right? We have tons of new spring clothes which really need to be seen to be believed, but we also have lots of new goods and accessories too. Here are some recent favourites:


My Krystal Speck pottery obsession might be a little off the charts. Her pieces are my go-to for gifts, and also the one thing that is almost always on my Christmas/Birthday/Just Because wish list for myself. Krystal dropped a beautiful selection of new work a couple weeks ago, and I basically just stare at it all day. ($25-$85)


Amy also restocked us with a bunch of beautiful Crownland Goods items. These beautiful pouches / pencil cases are some my favourites, because the leather is beautiful and soft, and the clasp is just so fun to play with. ($48)


We recently received our first ever shipment of Twisted Whimsy Designs jewelry and we are loving this new line. Described as metal with roots, these pieces make a pretty beautiful statement. ($22-$39)



We've restocked some favourites too. We received a big shipment of April Look bowties in colours and prints that are perfect for Spring and Summer. ($36) These are basically the best men's accessory for wedding season. We also keep restocking our selection of Karolina Anna Hajna's beautiful Street Maps series. The pieces we have in the shop right now are some of my favorites because of their size, shape, colours and prints. ($35-$80)



Don't let all these accessories fool you. We also have some beautiful spring clothes in the shop right now, and more keep arriving every day. Hollie and I have been spending our days steaming up a storm to get all the new pieces out on the shelves for you, and we've endured a few steamer burns in the process. This Bird of North America Poule dress is one of my favourites in the shop right now, and it also comes in white AND runs in a full size range of 2-16 as an added bonus.  ($209)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flawless


When I really like something, I go hard into my obsession. It's all I talk about, all I think about, all I do. I've fallen deep into a Beyoncé obsession, and I don't know if I'm ever coming out. I've never been a huge fan previously, but her latest album has awakened the fan girl inside of me. If you come into the shop anytime soon, Beyoncé will most likely be on the stereo. And when I was trying to come up with something to put on the big heart in our window, I jokingly told my friend Lauren that I was going to make it say "breakfast", just like this Bey sweatshirt that we both have our eyes on.

But then I actually did it. Because breakfast is a universal love that knows no boundaries. Romantic love is all well and good, but feed me pancakes and a poached egg and I'll be yours forever. And maybe I'll wear that Eve Gravel dress while I eat it, because... I woke up like this.



Our newest line of jewelry in the shop - Tilly Doro - comes to us from Brooklyn. Edgy and versatile, her pieces are great for layering.

I love the boldness of the beaded blue wrapped necklace against the simplicity of the Martine dress from Betina Lou. Statement accessories are such a good and easy way to breath new life into your staple basics.


Lately, we've gotten lots of requests for bracelets. We listened and we tried our hardest to source lots of different styles for you! Simple bangles, heavy cuffs, delicate chains...I hope we didn't miss any. Some of our current favourites come from designer Liana Marie, who named her newest pieces after Toronto neighbourhoods.


Bespoke Uprising has done it again with new handkerchiefs made with Japanese cotton double gauze, and naturally dyed with indigo. So luxurious! I am a devoted hankie user, so I squealed with delight when she brought these in at the thought of expanding my collection. Bespoke Uprising is one of our best selling designers when it comes to gift-giving, and I think that streak will continue with the addition of these in store. Who wouldn't love to be gifted a beautiful handkerchief made right here in Hamilton? The thought of it makes my heart go pitter-patter.


New designs in this week from Ugly Bunny including these adorable cupcake stud earrings. Holy cow, these are just too much.


And of course we are well stocked with Valentine's Day cards for you to show that special person just how much you care about them. I adore this one from Rifle Paper Co. So traditional, so romantic, so pretty. Basically the perfect valentine.


Oh, hey, it's me. I took this photo because sometimes during the day I'll look down and realize that the majority of the clothing that I'm wearing is Canadian-made. That is SUCH a good feeling. In this instance, I'm wearing a Valerie Dumaine top, and Betina Lou skirt. Buying Canadian shows that you care about your national economy and craftspeople, and buying those pieces from a local independent shop shows that you care about your neighbourhood and city. We really love all you caring people out there.

To show you just how much we love you, we are offering 50% all clothing this weekend in the shop. Starting Friday at 11am until close at 4pm on Sunday you can swing by and scoop up some beautifully crafted Canadian pieces for your wardrobe. It's our valentine to you. The gift of love and a new dress? You can't go wrong.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hello Sweetheart


I'm super excited about the special Valentine's Day package that we've come up with between some of our favourite shops in Hamilton. Look, we've been doing this shop girls thing long enough now to see a pattern that most of you leave shopping for special events to the very last minute. And that's okay! We do it too.

But we thought we'd help you out a bit, and make a one stop shop for all your valentine essentials. Jewelry, chocolate, flowers, BAM. And not just any chocolate or flowers, but some of the best chocolate and flowers in Hamilton. Made-from-scratch chocolate assortments from Cake & Loaf, and elegant, modern bouquets from I Fiori. Plus an adorable, understated, gold-plated heart necklace from Rare Specimens that will go with absolutely everything. All for $50. What more could you need?

I think my favourite part about this is that you won't just be showering your sweetheart with love, but also showing that love to so many great small businesses in our city. Local love! 



Flowers in the bundle will not be as pictured, this is just an example of Bev's beautiful work!

Quantities are limited, so putting in a pre-order with us would be so helpful! You can do that by emailing us at hello[AT]whiteelephantshop.ca by 5pm on Monday February 10th. Pickup will be on February 14th, at any of the locations you prefer during store hours. We'll actually have extended hours because Art Crawl happens to fall on Valentine's Day this year! So lucky in love, we are.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bouquet of Street Maps


One of my favourite things to recommend in the shop these days are the beautiful Bouquet of Street Maps necklaces by Karolina Anna Hajna.  I own two of these necklaces myself, and while I've always admired their beauty, it wasn't until I got to visit Karolina Anna's studio this past December that I really understood how much work and effort goes into each piece.

 


The Bouquet of Street Maps jewelry is inspired by the city of Paris and vintage floral tapestries. In fact, it is based on an actual street map of Paris that Karolina painstakingly researched, printed, and then made a full paper cut out of with an x-acto knife. You can see a shot of a new map in progress at this stage in the first picture above.

From there, she makes a plaster slab and traces the street map onto it line by line before she begins individually carving out each street. You can see a finished slip cast in the middle photo above. Finally, she pours porcelain into the slip, allows it to dry, and then begins cutting into the map, piece by piece, to create the jewelry you see in the shop. Each piece is then fired, sanded, glazed, fired again, decorated and fired one last time before they're ready to wear around your neck.  


When I visited Halifax last December, Karolina Anna invited me to stop by her studio to pick up some new pieces for the shop. Located in the newer Port Campus of NSCAD, it was a serious treat to get a tour of such a beautiful space.

Karolina Anna's studio space was filled with inspiration, works in progress, completed pieces, new ideas & lots of beautiful things to look at. She showed me some casting work she's been playing with, and some past projects as well. All in all it made me seriously want to go to art school, and I left with a greater understanding of how special one of my favourite necklaces really is.






When I got home that night, I spent a good 20 minutes staring at a google map of Paris, pinpointing the exact part of the city that I was wearing around my neck.

Karolina is currently taking part in a residency at the Guldagergaard-International Ceramic Research Center, as part of Project Network. She'll be there until the end of February, and is working on a new series of street maps of Copenhagen and Skaelskor. Before she left, she was gracious enough to send me home from her studio with lots of new pieces, so our store is currently stocked with her beautiful Bouquet of Street Maps collection.

It was amazing to get a full glimpse into the process behind one of the lines we carry in the shop.  I love seeing the amount of inspiration and work that goes into something that will eventually make someone else so happy to wear. It's the reason Hollie and I love carrying handmade items. Each piece has a story, and even if we can't blog about each piece we carry,  visits like this are always a great reminder about why we love doing what we do.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Betina Lou Flash Sale

  Laurence Cardigan - regularly $139, NOW $90.35

Our new Spring deliveries are just around the corner, and we are so so excited about it. This January thaw has got us antsy to make room for lots of lovely spring things, so we're having a big flash sale for the next week on all Betina Lou clothing! Just look:

Bonnie blouse - regularly $139, NOW $90.35 
Katie Dress in Navy - regularly $189, NOW $122.85
Penelope Dress - regularly $199, NOW $129.35 
Martine Dress - regularly $169, NOW $109.85

Basically, sales galore! The sales starts today and runs until next Friday, January 24th, but if you have your eye on something I probably wouldn't wait that long if I was you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013: A Very Good Year, Pt2

It's hard for me to even talk about the second half of 2013 right now, because I've been taken hostage by this Canadian winter,  complete with polar vortex. But then again, maybe thoughts and images of summer days gone by will warm me up, right?

Right? 

Sigh, early summer means street festivals like Open Streets and park festivals like Seven Sundays. A massive popsicle run with friends during Open Streets inspired me for my favourite summer project. Look at all those cool dudes. Seven Sundays was a new festival this year, held at Gage Park. I only made it out to one of them, but it was amazing. Riding my bike across the city to the most beautiful park to hear local music and eat some all-natural snow cones is my perfect definition of summer.

Waaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!

 

We took on some crafty projects as soon as the weather got warmer. Doug made us an awesome sandwich board for outside the shop, and I subsequently spent my next shift making it look real pretty with some chalk markers. 

It was time that our outdoor bench got a facelift, and I tried my hand at making a popsicle pattern to decorate it with. I was a little worried because my execution of the ideas in my head rarely turn out well when I try and bring them to life, but this one turned out better than I had expected! I think it's pretty cute. A lesson for 2014 - to execute more ideas!


When Jane helped out she somehow got paint in her mouth. She quickly rinsed it out (after a photo-op) but still ended up with a terrible stomach-ache later that evening. Workplace hazards!


And just so I don't get depressed over the fact that I never have time to be crafty in my spare time - look! You do! 2013 was really a year for FINISHING what I started. Cross-stitch, quilting, natural dyeing, and knitting. I made sure to make time for it last year, and made sure that I stuck to it.

Well, that red cross quilt of mine still isn't done, but it's the only thing and it's really close, okay!?


In August we closed for a week to do some renovations to the shop so that we could build new fixtures that would be home to the new clothing lines that we were bringing in! New paint, new trim, new bannisters, new flooring. The works. We built our own shelving and racks and changerooms. We took a million trips to Home Depot, but we stayed within our timelines and re-opened with the store of my dreams. White Elephant all grown up.


September means Supercrawl and we hosted an incredible installation - Floropolis - that Kalpna Patel made for us. We can't thank this lady enough for being a part of our year. A serious highlight.

Supercrawl was an amazing weekend, as always. The organizers put on another great festival where downtown Hamilton shined for all to see. It's always an exhausting weekend, but it's that really great happy exhaustion where everyone is working together for the collective good and it's nothing but smiles on friends faces all weekend long.


I think I got home at 7am after staying out all night at Supercrawl. Some friends and I went for this amazing super breakfast at 4pm the next day. Give us all the food.


As summer turned into fall, I tended to my ever-growing garden, and preserved my bounty, and the bounty of Ontario farmers, to enjoy all winter long. As always I did some staples, such as tomatoes and pickles, but I tried some new recipes this year, and did more fermenting and drying than ever before. I'm most excited about the small batch of fig jam I squeezed in.


October was our birthday. We turned five! WE DID IT!

I also turned 30 that month, and had my fifth wedding anniversary. We had a keg party to celebrate, and October remained my favourite month of the year for the 30th year.


Winter means the One of a Kind Show (featuring wine and pretzels!), snow, and a little holiday cheer. I hardly have any photos from the past two months on my phone because we were just so busy. Which we are so crazy thankful for. This holiday season was probably our best holiday season yet, and it's so encouraging and lovely to see so many people out shopping locally and buying handmade gifts for their loved ones. We saw so many people consciously shopping for Canadian made items, and that's what we love to see and what we love to provide for you. Thank you.

We're not just thankful for the holiday season. We're thankful that we get to do this all year round. It's crazy that we're able to do what we love, in the city that we love. And in 2013 we got the chance to do it full-time. Which just means that we have so much more time now to work harder for you. Thanks for making 2013 an amazing year in downtown Hamilton, and we look forward to bringing you lots of fun times in 2014!
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