2011 Calendar: Pre-Order Promotion just for YOU!

2011 Calendar Promo

Hello Dear Blog Readers!

I'm so excited to start rolling out the 2011 Calendar. I've been working on it for the better part of a month and am extremely happy with how it has turned out. It's larger than last year's calendar, measuring 6" x 11" and printed right here in Canada on FSC certified, satin-finished high quality card stock.

2011 Calendar

"Inspired by Saturday mornings at the market, the 2011 "Counting in the Kitchen" calendar features an original 5" x 5" food illustration for each month of the year. From a single squash to a dozen eggs, you'll enjoy counting the months and asparagus as they go by.

Makes a great kitchen calendar, or the perfect gift for the Jr. foodie in your life."

I hope you're as excited about the 2011 Calendar as I am. I'd like to invite you to sign-up to my Friends & Family mailing list to receive a very special Pre-Order Promotion. The offer is only good until Sunday October 17th, 2010. Once you sign-up you can expect an email from me within the next couple days outlining the promotion details.

I'm really excited to be able to extend this offer to all of my readers and online friends. Please think of it as my way of saying thank you for all your encouragement, comments and support over the past couple years.

I hope to hear from you soon, and may I be the first to wish you an amazing 2011!

xo bess


Rain Day


Some days I just don't have anything particularly interesting to say, you know? It's a funny pressure I put on myself to get something up on the blog everyday, I mean really - are you going to care if I miss a post every now and then? I hope not.

It's raining here, which for me means another day I can't take photos of my 2011 Calendar, the one that's siting in its pretty package waiting for its glamour shots. Well, not today little calendar, not today. But soon.

Have a great Tuesday :)
xo bess


Pizza and a deadly catch


Fall is here, and that means so are pizza + TV Saturday nights chez Bess & Big Chuck. This weekend was the official kick-off marked by our very first pizza in our new apartment in our new city, and it was delicious! How did we last all summer without Big Chuck's pizza? I don't know.

Since we don't own a television, we have to get crafty to fulfill the TV portion of the evening. I signed up for Netflix.ca and they give you your first month free - which is good because I'm not so impressed with the selection of movies and shows thus far. We did however manage to find a program that was just the right amount of drama and trashiness to satisfy both our palettes, have you heard of Deadliest Catch? Of course you have, only kids like us who have been away from North America for the past three years haven't, and it makes it all that much sweeter when we discover these little gems now. (I haven't watched the Snooki show though, not sure I can go there - yet.)

Have a great rest of your weekend!
xo Bess


Our Wedding Photos, pt. 1


Ok, I'll admit it. I've had wedding photos sitting on my hard-drive for a week now. They are lovely and pretty and make me oh-so-happy when I look at them, but the task of going through them to do a proper wedding post seems a little too daunting at the moment.

So here's the plan, over the next few Fridays I'll post my favourites here on the blog along with some charming details about our wedding.

The venue and the pies!

As many of you know, Big Chuck and I got married at Toronto City Hall in a civil ceremony in front of our families. After the ceremony we headed down to Queen Street East to my friend Rob's wonderfully charming café, F'Coffee. Rob was such a dream to work with and the space was beautiful (I'll dedicate a post to his great place, with photos, in the coming weeks), just think exposed brick, beautiful lighting, old wood floors and a huge back patio. I know, heaven in the middle of the city. If anyone is looking for a great place to have a party, let me know and I'll pass along his details.

Rob's café also lent itself perfectly to our pies instead of wedding cake idea. We displayed them on cake stands in the front window of the café and they looked so sweet (pun intended!). Not only did we serve Ontario Sour Cherry Pie, but we also had Niagara Peach, B.C. Raspberry, Ambrosia, Strawberry Rhubarb and Wild Blueberry pie all courtesy of the most delicious pie shop in Toronto, Wanda's Pie in the Sky. We had six pies! Everyone loved them and and I thought they were the perfect finishing touch to what was a truly wonderful evening.

I'd also like to thank our wonderful photographer from 280dg, Rob Bava. He was a dream to work with as well and managed to capture the feel of our wedding perfectly. Rob was our hero, taking the job only 3 days before the wedding when I changed my mind about not having a photographer (what was wrong with me?).

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our wedding!

Have a wonderful weekend!
xx bess


Perfect Pairs

1. Three Mixing Bowls 2. Mini White Shimmer

A more muted palette for today's Perfect Pairs post, probably due to the grey sky's I'm looking at outside my office window. I don't mind though, I'm ready for you Fall!

my perfect pairs for this week...

packaging supplies + things to package! (see this post)
warm sweaters + cozy socks
cool nights + fluffy duvets

Have a wonderful Thursday!
xo bess


Small Business, Small Steps: Frugal Fanny

Joey Harrison

It's funny, up until this point the things that have made me feel most like a real business aren't the Etsy sales or wholesale accounts, the customer service ups and downs, or even the products themselves, but the things that make me feel most like a mini factory, with product to move and sales to make and work to generate, are the boxes of bulk packing supplies currently sitting in my office. I know, that's weird. But, I'm going to let you in on a little secret I don't like spending money, and at the end of last week I finally bit the bullet and bought my first bulk anything for English Muffin.

There's a Frugal Fanny deep down inside me. I'm not sure exactly where she came from, but I have a feeling she made her first appearances right around the time I made the decision to pursue a career in contemporary dance. Here's another secret, dancers make peanuts. Really, they do and it's a shame. That's essentially the reason I decided to divert my attentions to my other passion, design, only a few years into my dance career. The writing was on the wall and I wasn't prepared to fight tooth and nail to eke out a place for myself in the dance world that could all come tumbling down if - heaven forbid, I ever got injured.

But I digress... the lesson at the end of this longish and slightly unfocused post is that investing in your business is a good thing, and packaging supplies (especially those in bulk) make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

image via Joey Harrison


Canadiana: Paule Trudel Bellemare

Paule T.B.


I love this print series from Montreal illustrator Paule Trudel Bellemare, Girls + Dogs!
Aren't they so wonderful?! (Paule - if you ever need another model Tyke and I are available!) Perfectly styled, Paule manages to catch the personalities of both the dogs and their Mamas, and of course the magic of puppy love.

The prints, along with many others are available for purchase in her Etsy shop. You can follow PauleTB on Twitter or via her blog.

Have a wonderful Tuesday and don't forget to hug your dog!
xx bess

images via Paule TB

Music Monday: Chromeo

Good Monday morning! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Mine started with a super sweaty hot yoga class on Friday night, it was just what I needed after a week parked in front of my computer. Saturday and Sunday we spent working on projects around the house. It was a bit of a painting marathon on Sunday, but some long overdue projects are finally getting the attention they deserve.

I know that Music Mondays fell off the radar for a little while, but I couldn't think of a better way to start the week than this little ditty from Montreal duo, Chromeo. Enjoy!

Chromeo "Night By Night" Video from GreenLabelSound on Vimeo.

Have a great day!
xo Bess


The last weekend of summer...


I want to wish you a very happy last weekend of summer! I hope you get warm and sunny weather wherever you are. It's crazy to think that the summer is coming to an end. As many of you know, it's been a pretty amazing one for Big Chuck and me, new city, new jobs, new ventures and newly wed! Hooray for summer 2010! I hope you had an equally wonderful one, full of popsicles and lemonade, swimming, cycling and relaxing in the park.

As we bid adieu to summer, I am extremely excited to welcome fall and all the new possibilities it brings. There's something about the back to school time of year that lights a fire under my bum!

How about you? Have you got anything brewing for fall 2010 yet?

Have a summer-licious weekend,
xo bess


Perfect Pairs

1. Vintage Children's coat 2. Primitive Wooden Wagon

1. Bus in the Snow print 2. Map Notebook

1. Surfboard Paper Cut 2. Blue Circle Clock

A few wintery pairs mixed up in today's perfect pairs round up (except for that adorable surfboard paper cut, of course). The blustery wind was out and about this morning when I took the dog for a walk, I'll admit it, I miss Summer already (some Canadian, eh?!).

My perfect pairs for the week...

toast + tea
spaghetti + (veggie) meatballs
candles + music

How about you?

Have a great Thursday!
xo bess


Small Business, Small Steps: 2 months down

Modern Emotive Note Pads

I've been in Montreal for a couple months now, and I thought this would be a good time to check in and do a little self-reflection on where I am at right now with English Muffin and this new working at home situation.

I can begin by saying that I am definitely starting to get my working routine established. I am a creature of habit, so when things get shaken up it takes me a little while to find my bearings and settling in to the new 'swing of things'. Over the past few weeks I have been feeling more at ease in my new circumstances; working from home and being my own boss. The biggest change for me is that my time seems so much freer. The days, and nights, are mine to organize as I see fit. I can work well into the evening when I get a second wind of creative energy and take a break in the afternoon when I often feel a little unfocused. (I've also noticed the snooze button has been playing a larger role in my morning routine!) I no longer have to fight to make every second in my day über-productive because I know tomorrow I'll have to go to my 'real' job. I can fit appointments, errands and household chores into time slots where I'm not at my desk. It's been really wonderful and liberating.

While this is all true, there are definitely still some challenges. I am still a procrastinator, but I'm working on it - I swear! Thanks to @modernemotive, a Twitter friend, I managed to finish the 2011 English Muffin calendar ahead of schedule and I am going to get the first one printed later today.

I do still get scared about where all this is leading, but I think those moments are becoming less frequent (at least for now), in part because I feel like I have more control over where my time is going and what I am spending it working on. I'm getting over the loneliness, to be honest I kind of like being here alone all day, I've got my dog and my podcasts and the good ol' CBC, what more does a girl need?!

So, two months in and I think I'm doing pretty well. The dollar bills aren't knocking down my door just yet, but I have a feeling things will start to pick up soon. I also have a wonderful husband (!) who has given me the space and support to try this self-employed hat on for a little while.

How about you? Have you, or are you thinking of, making the shift to the self-employed life? How did you fare? Any tips for me?

Have a great day!

image via ModernEmotive


Canadiana: Marianne Chénard

marianne chenard

Big Chuck and I were walking through Old Montreal last week and we came across a great little shop called Zone Orange. They had a wonderful selection of Canadian design, and I just loved these little maple syrup containers by Marianne Chénard. They come in all different patterns, and in two different sizes. This one (see below) with the sled is my fave. Perhaps this is a good time to start making my Christmas list...

marianne chenard

Does it get any more Canadian than this, I mean really?! You can see more of Marianne's work on her website, www.mariannechenard.com

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
xo bess

(image 1: Marianne Chénard, image 2: Bess Callard)


2011 English Muffin Calendar - Sneak Peek

2011 Calendar - sneak peek

Before I run out to do some errands (in the pouring rain), I thought I would give you a little sneak peek of English Muffin's 2011 Calendar. The theme for this coming year's calendar is "Counting in the Kitchen". I've been having a great time illustrating some of my favourite yummy foods.

The 2011 calendar will be available for pre-order soon (with a special discount for you lovely blog readers). So, stayed tuned!

I would love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions for foods you'd like to see in the 2011 calendar :)

Have a wonderful Monday!
x bess


Le Weekend


I hope you have a lovely weekend! Big Chuck and I are going to tackle a few remaining projects around the apartment. I hope we'll be able to find some time to explore Mont-Royal, the park / mountain in the middle of Montreal. The weatherman says it will be sunny and mild, sounds like a pretty perfect weekend to me!

How about you? Any weekend plans?

Have a great Friday!
xo bess


Perfect Pairs

1. Call Your Folks print 2. Don't Stop Believin' print

1. Fox and Forest Studs 2. Lovely Lincoln


I'll give you one guess as to what my perfect pair for this week is.... (actually it's more like my perfect pair forever),

me + you

Have a wonderful Thursday!
x bess


It's official...

city hall

I'm a married lady!! Could our smiles get any bigger?! I think this was the part of the ceremony where the justice of the peace pronounced us husband and wife, yay!

Lots more photos of the ceremony to come...

Have a wonderful Wednesday,
x bess