31.8.09

Yes Please!

Now that breakfast is done, I could really go for one of these... Cupcake and doughnut together at last!

via OhJoy!

The most important meal of the day... breakfast!

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day - and I think simply breakfast is my new favourite breakfast blog! Love these brekkie pics...



photos: simply breakfast

What did you have for breakfast?

28.8.09

Kid-o's - the great debate!


Today is the last day of camp, hurray! Not that it's been that bad - actually, it's been great to hang out with the other teachers and spend afternoons outside in the sun. Yesterday however, we were all feeling the effects of 60 screaming kids with incessant questions and poor grammar, when one of the teachers declared "I'm never having kids!" and another piped in with, "Camp is the world's best contraceptive!". Oddly enough, in all the years I've worked with kids, I've really had the opposite feeling. Obviously you aren't going to have 60 kids - but won't you be a force to be reckoned with after learning how to manage 60, shouldn't only 2 be a breeze?! Perhaps my perspective is a little too simplistic (and slightly exaggerated, of course), but I feel like having spent so much time teaching and being with children is great preparation for when I'm a parent.

Am I crazy??

Have a great weekend, and last day of camp!
bess

27.8.09

Cecilie Ellefsen

Cecilie Ellefsen via GrainEdit

Some eye candy for you today! Great artwork from Norwegian diorama artist, Cecilie Ellefsen. She works with paper and plastic to create intricate and colourful dioramas of wooded and mythical scenes. Enjoy!







Have a great Thursday :)

26.8.09

I love this!

I wish I'd had this idea first - is that a bad thing to say? I don't mean it in a jealous way, more in an ultimate respect way.






Alphabeasties - Children's alphabet book, where the animals are made of type - all types of type. From A to Z.
Designed by Wernerdesignwerks
via mint

25.8.09

Inside English Muffin

photo: Bess Callard

I have had to suspend Canadiana Tuesdays for one more week - I haven't been on Etsy at all over the past few weeks, and thus have no great new Canadian designers/shops to share with you. You can blame the English camp kids for making me so exhausted that at the end of the day my brain can't handle much more than watching Top Chef Masters!

I do however have a fun link to English Muffin's shop profile on the Shopbug Blog. Check it out, here. Thanks again Rachel for asking me - it was my very first blog profile!

Hope you enjoy it : )
bess

24.8.09

I need a makeover!

Photo: Nicholas Haggard (via simply photo)

I know that Spring is supposed to be the season for renewal, but I often find myself wanting to transform everything I own come September. As the weather gets cooler, I have more and more "I hate all my clothes" crises, and the urge to go shopping for luxurious new fall/winter outfits is strong. Well... strong is a relative term, since my default shopping setting is to avoid it at all costs.

But this year, as fall creeps closer, it's English Muffin I'm longing to revamp. I have been thinking about doing it for a few months already, and just haven't been able to find the time to dedicate to making over the blog, website, Etsy and Big Cartel shops. I feel like my brand could be more unified, like I need to set some standards and stick to them. How's that for marketing speak?

I find it so much easier to see other companies objectively, what works what doesn't, where brand unity falls apart. I have a much harder time seeing these things in my own work. Does anyone have any good examples of well branded companies, seamless identity from website to shop to products - I'd love to hear your suggestions. For now I'll continue holding my brand development meetings on my bicycle between work and home.

Have a great Monday!

21.8.09

Funky Lunch

Funky Lunch - Sheep, via Swissmiss

I've been eating lunch with kids all week and there are always a few who refuse food all together. I don't get it! Lunchtime is my favourite part of camp - mind you, I bring my own lunch, Austrian cafeteria food is often quite mysterious, but how the kids survive on fruit punch alone, I'll never know!

Maybe we should be more creative with what we put in front of them. What? Schnitzel isn't appetizing?!

Funky Lunch - Giraffe
Funky Lunch - Pig
Funky Lunch - Loch Ness Monster
Funky Lunch - Space Rocket

Have a great weekend!
bess

20.8.09

Gotcha!

The Toronto Star

Sorry about the mini-post today but, I'm heading out the door on my way to English camp. Just wanted to share this hilarious picture with you. Read the full story on The Toronto Star's website.

That's all! Have a great day.

19.8.09

Automobilia

Volkswagen Notchback

Hi guys, nice to be back - it's Big Chuck here (no, no, it's not Friday, only Wednesday). Bess is busy with camp this week so I'm picking up the slack.

While we don't drive cars, we certainly do appreciate them. Our taste tends towards the classic and vintage. In the same way that people are looking for a kitchen table that has patina, many people will keep the original paint with all its accumulated character.

Here are some of our favourites. The Volkswagen Squareback and Notchback were released by VW as an alternative to the Beetle in the 60's.

This double cab (vw was so ahead of its time) has oodles of patina.
Check at The Samba here if you want to buy it or shop for other classic vw's


Volkswagen Squareback

Volkswagen Squareback

18.8.09

Many hats

photo via flickr
I like wearing a lot of hats, it keeps life interesting, but sometimes it also feels like perhaps I am not taking life seriously enough, like I am pretending with all of these pretend jobs. Why can't I just find one real 9 to 5 office-girl job and be done with it?

When we go to parties and people ask what I do, I usually just pick one from the list and leave it at that. I say, "I'm an English teacher" or, "I'm a graphic designer" or, "I'm a contemporary dancer" or, "I own my own business" (I rarely use that one). Big Chuck then always pipes up, dissatisfied with my answer, and proceeds to fill in the casual inquirer on the story of my life, while I stand there and feel dumb. Now, I may be exaggerating (slightly), I know he does it because he thinks that I am being modest, but modesty be damned - I just don't want to relate to every person we meet the details of how I came to be standing there in front of them. Sometimes I wish I could just say something simple and straight forward that requires no elaborate explanations, "I'm an accountant!", the end.

The idea of working at desk in an office in a random building in a random city is not what scares me, it's the idea that the work itself will be so uninspiring that I may as well be an accountant (no offense accountants - I really do respect your maths skills). Although I have a schedule that can at times be irregular (and therefor, money unreliable), I do value the newness it brings to every day.

Spending my summer days playing with kids in the sunshine, and teaching them dance, and in the evenings shipping orders and blogging, is a darn good way to make a living.

Just one question, who should I speak to about that raise??

17.8.09

Do you TGIF?


The weekend started like this...
Me: "You know how some people say TGIF!"
Big Chuck: "Yah..."
Me: "Well I never say thank god it's Friday, my work doesn't stop just because it's the weekend."
Big Chuck: "I know... mine either."
Me: "Saturday is just like Friday Version 2.o, and Sunday like Friday Version 2.1"
Big Chuck: "It's not exactly the same, we do sleep in till 9 on Saturday morning."

Guess what we did this weekend?! Caught up on, you guessed it, work!! Not that I'm complaining - I love being busy, especially with English Muffin, and I've been spending my time on wonderful projects that need to get done.

I am so excited that I am going to be featured on a wonderful blog written by an English Muffin customer. What a compliment! I'll definitely post a link here to the article when once it's up.

Also very exciting... I was contacted by a beautiful online store in California while we were away in Finland. I was slightly embarrassed that I didn't have a 2009 Wholesale Catalog to send along so after working for the past few days on it, I finally finished it on Sunday night. Yay! It's one of those things that has been on my "must do" list for ages but I kept putting off. Nothing like a potential wholesale account to light a fire under my bum.

See you tomorrow,
bess

14.8.09

Muffinettes - Bite Sized Fun!

Sparkling Ink

This week's Muffinettes installment is devoted to, you guessed it, Finland! I appreciate you all hanging in there, it's taking me a while to get my head out of the forest. But I promise you there are some real jewels this week.

...a wonderful blog based in Helsinki via Decor8...

...I have to get out of the sauna at 90 degrees, this guys begins at 110!...

...pretty books and brooches on etsy...

...hello favourite things!...

...I bought this...and this... and these...

Have a great weekend!
bess

13.8.09

Finland Pt. 2 - In the forest

Welcome to Finland's forest! One of my favourite parts of being in Finland is visiting the cottage. It is in a little town on the Baltic Sea called Merikarvia. Big Chuck and I stayed in the little cottage that my grandparents built. We had such a marvelous time, I hope you enjoy the photos.

Our little cottage. From the small window on the left hand side you can see right to the sea from the sauna, ummm, heaven?!

The Baltic Sea










See you tomorrow for some Muffinettes :)

12.8.09

Finland (Pt. 1)

Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, Turku Finland

We're back! Our holiday was so wonderful and relaxing and full of good food and family. I have so many photos, as you can imagine, and I'm trying to sort them all and pick out the best ones. I thought I would start the Photos of Finland Bonanza with some from my favourite museum in Turku, the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum. The outdoor museum is made up of 200 year old wooden houses, the only ones to survive the Great Fire of 1827. There are over 30 workshops and visitors can watch as the craftsmen and women work.

Grass roof keep the homes well insulated and the roof less likely to leak.

The rope maker.

I think this was the workshop of a metal smith.

The watch maker, one of the wealthier craftsmen.


The book binder.

The workshops all had these beautiful fireplaces. When we build a house, we'd like a similar one.


The basket weaver.


The printer.