I've been struggling to keep up with my daily posting regime here on the blog over the past few weeks. Last week I managed a whopping 2 blog posts. So I've decided to take a break from requiring myself to post something everyday, at least for a little while. It's all part of the small business balancing act, I'm sure once January and February roll around I'll have oodles of time to devote to this space.

Life at English Muffin is getting busy, which makes me extremely happy. I will of course keep you updated on everything, right here. Say 2-3 times a week instead of 5?

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
xx bess



Need some good ideas for this year's Halloween costume?

YumYum 1
YumYum 2

I love these little characters designed by the London based studio, Yum Yum. Designers and directors, Beth Algieri and Jonny Plummer, have created a whole "Toy Series" as well as a "Heros and Villains" series.

You can also watch their animated short here, called "Parallel Parking".

Have a wonderful Monday!

Photos: YumYumLondon


Canadiana: Mjolk


During the Thanksgiving weekend I had the chance to finally make my way to Mjolk, a gorgeous Scandinavian design store in Toronto. It was also a treat to meet John and Juli, the two fantastic folks behind Mjolk.

(I mentioned last week in my post on Harvesting Birch Bark that I was inspired by a birch bark installation at their store. It's in the front window on the wall above the couch, can you see it? Don't you love it?!)


John and Juli did an amazing job converting what was an architectural firm into a welcoming and warm space to display their wares. Besides a large selection of pieces from Scandinavia and Iceland, they also stock some lovely Japanese products. It's always been interesting to me how similar Japanese and Scandinavian style is, I mentioned it to John and he had some interesting things to say on the subject. You can tell just by being in the store that John and Juli really know what they are talking about. They have exceptional taste and a very discerning eye.


I highly recommend a visit if you're in the Toronto area, it's really not to be missed. For more photos you can check out my flickr page, there's even one of Juli with a mustache!!

Have a great Tuesday!
xo Bess


Last chance // dernière chance // letzte Chance

2011 Calendar January - June
2011 Calendar July - December

Sunday marks the end of the 2011 Calendar Promo, so... if you've been wanting to take advantage of the deal of the century and get yourself (and maybe your best-friend) a 2011 "Counting in the Kitchen" Calendar, then I urge you to act now! Operators are standing by to take your call. (No, they're not.) But, my 2011 Friends & Family Mailing List is ready and waiting to welcome you into the club and give you a whopping $10 off your 2011 Calendar. I know, that's incredible!

Have a wonderful weekend,
xo bess

ps. It's funny how the work "chance" is the same in English, French and German. Interesting...


Fall Leaves


I took a few photos of the pretty Fall colours when we were up north on the weekend.


What is it about leaves that make them so beautiful?


I think it's how delicate they are. Paper thin and each one unique.

Have a wonderful Thursday,
xo bess


Thanksgiving + Birch Bark Harvesting

canada goose sweater

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, in fact, we had 3 Thanksgivings, all delicious and unique. The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect! Sunny, warm days and cool crisp nights, the perfect weather for being outside and working off some of those pumpkin pies.


On Saturday I went to visit Mjolk in Toronto and was overwhelmed, impressed and inspired by John and Juli's beautiful store. (I'll post photos on the blog later this week.) They had a gorgeous Finnish birch bark installation in their storefront and I was in love with it.

Big Chuck and I love natural wood, and the idea of using birch bark somewhere in our home was something I really liked. So, when we arrived at the cottage for thanksgiving dinner and I saw not one but two birch trees laying next to the wood shed, already sawed into perfect 16 inch logs the wheels in my brain started turning. And, before I knew it, Big Chuck and I were harvesting birch bark.


We have a big bag currently sitting in our backyard. I haven't figured out exactly what to do with it yet. I'm not sure if I want to do something on a large scale like the installation I saw at Mjolk, or something smaller and potentially sell-able. I'll keep you posted.

Have a great Wednesday!
xo bess


Happy Thanksgiving - gobble, gobble


It's a rainy day here in Montreal, but that's ok because later this afternoon Big Chuck and I are hopping in the car and heading west, to Toronto (and there it's 22C and sunny!). It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I am so excited to be back home for our first proper North American Thanksgiving in 3 years! Bring on the turkey and pumpkin pie (and ensuing belly ache).

I wish you all a wonderful weekend with your families whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or just hanging out.

See you on Wednesday!
xo bess

ps. You've only got a week and 3 days left to take advantage of my 2011 Calendar Promotion. If you're not already on my Friends & Family mailing list, sign-up now!

image: Big Chuck


New Day, (Another) New Website

Sometimes I get in these funks. Where before I can move forward I have to go back, second guess, and then re-do everything I've already done. Big Chuck calls it procrastination. I call it perfectionism. In reality it's probably a bit of both culminating in a whole lot of late nights.

So, with this new day brings a new and improved English Muffin website and logo. Check it out!

English Muffin Website

Have a great Thursday,
xx bess


New Website, New Logo, Same Me

My new website: besscallard.com

It's been a long time coming, at least it's felt that way to me. I've been designing and re-designing and then designing some more, trying to get a new site together that could serve as a way to bring my freelance work and English Muffin work together in one place. I'm happy with how my website has turned out. There are a lot of things that still need to be done (like the portfolio page), but at least the structure is there and I can keep working on it as I move forward with other projects.

I'd love for you to go and check it out. I've designed a new little logo for myself, a stylized lowercase letter b. I wanted something simple and clean, and of course the little dog in the top right-hand corner is Tyke. He's been such a loyal office mate, the least I can do is let him wag his tail a little on my website ;)

Over the next few weeks I hope to do a mini re-design of the blog too. Something to bring it more inline with my new branding. I'm actually thinking of getting rid of the name English Muffin and just going with Bess Callard. I've mentioned this idea on the blog before, I think it's time.

If you haven't already signed-up to my mailing list - do it! I've got a great promotion on right now until October 17th for my new 2011 Calendar.

Have a great Wednesday!
xx bess

Ok, I've had a change of heart about leaving the name English Muffin in the dust. It's funny I had really given this a lot of thought, but it wasn't until I put it online and actually started to change over my shop and other branding that I realized this wasn't the best idea. So English Muffin stays!! Sorry about the confusion.

Ok, back to work.


Music Monday (on Tuesday)


Dear Aloe Blacc,

I usually don't get crushes on musicians, the whole NKOTB / Backstreet Boys thing was totally lost on me as a child. But there's just something about you, your style, your cute mini 'fro, the double 'c' in your name, your smooth like butter voice - yes, that last one - your voice, that's what did it.

I'm off to play this song again. For the millionth time this morning.

Have a wonderful day!
xo Bess


Puces POP, Montreal 2010

Puces Pop 2010

On Saturday I went to my very first Puces POP craft fair here in Montreal with some wonderful new friends I've recently met. It was an inspiring and fun day. First of all, the ladies who were with me are such a talented bunch. It was a treat to spend the day with them chatting about the design world, our work, ideas and challenges, and I even got a little design gossip to boot! It's kind of amazing to me when I think of the people I've met through twitter and blogging. Being in a new city (again), it can be tricky to find people you click with, let alone people who really understand what you're doing, your sense of style and the world you live in. I feel so fortunate for all of you who have reached out to me and made me feel welcome here, whether via the internet or in person. Merci!!

Ok, the sappiness is over. Time to get to the goodies. Puces POP is a tri-annual craft fair that features the work of artists and designers from Montreal and the surrounding area. I was blown away by the talent and diversity of the work we saw and was so happy to meet many of the designers I've featured here on the blog as part of Canadiana Tuesdays in person.

I had my camera with me, and in between chatting, admiring and fondling I managed to snap a few photos.


I was so excited to meet Paule, you may remember I featured her work just last week on the blog. She was so sweet and her work is amazing!!! I also got a peek at her 2011 Calendar - gorgeous.


I featured The Butter Flying a while ago, one of my first Canadiana Tuesday posts, I think. There were some great new clouds at the show, metallics, black and even a few with snow.


Hands down the best new find at the fair was Raymond Biesinger. I really have no idea how he's slipped under my radar for this long. I LOVED everything at his booth. Do yourself a favour and check out his etsy shop.


Adorable felted goodies. How great is that white squid? (and the chocolate chip cookie?!)


Another great Canadian designer I've featured on the blog. Her work is beautiful and reminds me of the sea. I loved the trivets she had for sale, great idea.

Katie's table was one of the first we stopped at. Her work is really interesting. I particularly love the Trophy Series, in addition to the lion she also has a moose and a bear. So neat!


If there was an award for most adorable table it would definitely go to Coucou Salut. With that name and those plush monsters it's pretty much a clear win. Her stuff was so cute!!

So that's just a taste of what was on hand at Puces POP. I highly recommend a visit to the craft fair if you happen to be in Montreal when it's on. I have a little secret to share, I really want to be part of it next year. I hope they've got room for one more!

Have a wonderful Monday,
xo Bess


Our Wedding Photos, pt. 2


As promised, here are some more photos from our wedding. The best part of the evening, after saying "I do", was definitely the reception. Food, music, an awesome venue and wonderful people - what more could a bride and groom ask for?

Below are a few photos of what we served that night. We didn't want to do a traditional sit down dinner, so we opted for smaller finger foods and hors d'oeuvres.


The biggest hit with the guests were the definitely the mini sliders (thank you President's Choice!). So folks were running a bionafied burger joint, dipping into the cheese platter and loading up on all the toppings. Next to the burgers we served mini roasted potatoes (burgers and fries!!) they were also extremely tasty. Rounding out the rest of the menu were some veggies + dips, meats, cheeses + crackers and other small dishes.

The guys were having a great time grabbing locally brewed Amsterdam beers from a stocked cooler and beer tubs, and we also served a few different red and white wines.

And, of course, for dessert there were pies!


Looking around the room that night, I couldn't help but feel extremely grateful to everyone for being there. It's not easy to all come together in one room, on the same day in the same city at the same time - but to everyone who came, and to those who were there with us although not physically present, thank you, merci, kiitos, danke! You made our day truly magical.

I think that these will be the last photos I put up on the blog, but if you want to see more come on over to facebook and be my friend - I'll put the rest up there.

Thanks for reminiscing with me,
xo bess