Canadiana: Edit Mitten Shoppe


A few months back, the lovely Joanne from Edit Mitten Shoppe contacted me about doing a mitten trade. Her warm and cozy wool mittens for my 8" x 10" mitten print... um, yes please!

So a couple of weeks ago, right as the weather started to cool down, these beauties showed up at my door. I requested a dark and muted colour palette, and I think Joanne did a great job.


I wear my made in Canada Edit Mittens every single day. Minus 9 to plus 9, it doesn't matter, I love them! Joanne makes these one-of-a-kind eco-friendly mittens from repurposed wool sweaters felted for maximum warmth, they are lined with fleece and adorned with adorable details. I can't wait to really test these puppies out in -30C!

To order your very own mittens visit the Edit Mitten Etsy shop.
Joanne also has a blog where you can see English Muffin's 8" x 10" Mitten Print!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
xo bess


Pre-Christmas Sale


Today is the last day for you to get 20% off your entire English Muffin order when you use the discount code "NOV20" in my online shop.

Get the latest news about English Muffin's holiday sales, events and updates sent right to your inbox. Sign-up to the Friends & Family mailing list now!

Happy Monday!
xo bess


Weekend Update

Phew! What a week. So much has been going on that I forgot to mention a few things...


1. Last weekend Big Chuck and I went for a 7 course 5 hour meal in the country hosted by his supervisor. The experience is called la table champêtre and we visited this one. It was a really wonderful afternoon/evening, full of eating and drinking and visiting the farm animals. There were at least 40 of us there, seated at a long table in the host family's home. A certain percentage of the food they served had to come from their own farm. So between courses we got to go out and meet the animals (possibly friends of the ones we had just consumed... ahem).

Shop Banner

2. Today is Black Friday. A relatively new concept to me. But since the majority of North America is getting their shop on today, I thought I'd join the party. Visit my online store and enter the discount code "poppytalk" to receive 20% off your entire order. Valid today (Nov. 26) through Monday November 29th.


3. Which brings me to my next bit of news. English Muffin is part of Poppytalk Handmade Holiday Market. You should go check it out. There are tones of great vendors, the perfect place to start your handmade holiday shopping.


4. Did you get a chance to see my office featured on Jane's blog Ill Seen, Ill Said as part of her "Where we blog from" series? It was such a treat to be part of her blog, it's been a favourite of mine for some time. Thanks again Jane!

So now that we're all caught up, I'd like to wish you a wonderful weekend. I'll be making some decorations for my sister-in-law's baby shower, and enjoying this winter weather we're having here. (Crossing my fingers for lots of snow this weekend!)

Bon weekend!
xo bess


Wise Words

Whenever I hear or read a great quote I scribble it down on whatever piece of paper I have handy. I store those random pieces of paper away for the days when I will need a thoughtful / motivational / honest / tried and true phrase to turn to, to get my bum in gear and plant my feet firmly back down in positive-land. Truth be told though, when I'm feeling low I never reach for these little words of wisdom. I forget about them, perhaps knowing in my heart that they're not much use to me at the present moment, that when they really come in handy is when I'm already in that positive kick-butt mentality, when I feel like beating my chest, climbing the mast and yelling to the open skies to bring it on - is that all you've got?! (Channeling Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump)

Those thoughtful words quickly written on a bit of paper reinforce the feeling that yes, gosh darn it, I am doing what I'm meant to be doing, and whoever this wise man or woman was who wrote such a poignant phrase, well they think so too.

Last night while on Facebook, I read my good friend Nikki's status:

I love the no b.s. - no excuses - just do it-ness of that statement. It's powerful and achievable and just what I want to hear today.

She also posted the link to the song, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise by The Avett Brothers, where the quote came from. The video is beautiful and mesmerizing.

Thanks for the inspiration Nikki!

Have a wonderful Thursday,
xx bess


Small Business, Small Steps: In good company


It's been a while since I've checked in with a proper Small Business, Small Steps post. It's not because I haven't had anything to write, quite the opposite, I've been wanting to share so much with you, it's just that I've had some difficulty finding the time to sit down and commit my thoughts to paper - or screen, as the case may be. fyi, it's 1am...

In the middle of last month, once I felt that I had as many ducks in a row as I could round-up, I began actively pursuing new online and bricks & mortar shops that might like to carry the English Muffin products. I compiled a list of stores I felt were in-line with my own aesthetic, who valued handmade, eco-friendly children's products and began emailing. And emailing, and emailing. I am going to be completely honest with you, I emailed about 100 different stores. And now I'm going to be brutally honest with you, I heard back from four and am now happy to report that of those four, two are carrying English Muffin products in their shops. Since that initial email campaign I have received interest from a few additional shops, and so the wholesale accounts are continuing to grow.

Some may read those numbers and find them discouraging. I, on the other hand, was not discouraged, not for a moment. That's because only a couple days after the emails went out I heard back from two stores that were way up on my list, one in particular I almost didn't email, because I thought it was positively unattainable. That's why I am so pleased, thrilled, tickled pink to announce that not only is the full line of English Muffin's prints and posters being carried in fawn & forest, but English Muffin is also featured in their bi-monthly forest finds. You have no idea how warm, encouraging and kind the folks at f&f have been. It is pretty much my dream come true to have my designs along side Petit Collage, Dwell Studio and the like. I never imagined I'd be in such good company.

There's still so much to share, but for now I will leave it at that. Things are in a good place, and although there are bumps in the road every now and then, the scenery is lovely and I'm enjoying getting closer and closer to the destination.

Have a wonderful Wednesday,
xx bess


Canadiana: Adanac


Sue Lepard and Matt Heximer are the two designers behind British Columbia design group 10four. Earlier this year they created the iconic font, Adanac to celebrate Canada Day. Each letter and number have a corresponding icon representing aspects of Canadian culture and history. You can learn a lot about our fair country by visiting their site to get a little background info about each of their icon choices. Who knew that "the first workable anti-gravity suit was developed by a team of Canadian inventors"? Not me.

The best part, 10four is offering this font as a free download. Now you can celebrate your love of Canada (and include a mullet or two in your memos) everyday.

Have a great Tuesday!
xx bess


Perfect Pairs

1. Custom Black & White Bird 2. Turkey Feathers Watercolor Print

A perfect post offering for you today. Here a couple of my own...

fish + chips
apple crisp + yoghurt
weekend + snow?!

Have a wonderful weekend!
xo bess


What's on my screen?

What's on my screen?

A poster of some food.

I thought I'd pop in and share a little sneak peek of a project I'm currently working on for English Muffin. I'm thinking this Food Poster (haven't come up with a more creative name yet) will be part of EM's 2011 Spring line.

That doughnut is making me hungry.
Hope you're having a great Thursday!
xx bess


Canadiana: Holley & Gill

Holley & Gill

I feel very fortunate to call today's Canadian design duo, Michelle Carangi and Conrad Buck, of Holley & Gill among my friends. (Well, technically I have yet to meet Conrad, but Michelle has been an invaluable friend since we first had drinks a few short months ago, and I am sure Conrad and I will hit it off too!)

Holley & Gill is a design studio based in Montreal, Quebec. They create unique and elegant silk-screened upholstered headboards, all made by hand in Montreal. They value old world craftsmanship and "believe that there are people who care about where and how a product is made".

Holley & Gill

After a successful run and much praise from online media, Holley & Gill announced yesterday that they will be making the design studio's final product, cushion covers in the same print as their first headboards, available in their online shop shortly. With the success of H&G under their belts, Michelle and Conrad have decided to hang up their headboards and set their sights on new and exciting ventures in the design world.

I wish you both all the best as you continue forward on your journey.

Holley & Gill

To see more of Holley & Gill's work, visit their website, holleygill.com
or their online shop, Holley & Gill on Etsy

Have a great Tuesday!
xo Bess


Weekend drive: Barns

Barn 2

For the last few weekends, Big Chuck and I have found ourselves out in the country surrounding Montreal. We've been in pursuit of antique furniture, on leisurely drives, or more recently, picking up car parts for our "antique" 1982 Toyota Corolla, Lola. I won't get into the car right now, she really deserves her very own post.

This past Saturday I decided to bring my camera along to capture some of the beautiful scenery found only 40 minutes outside of downtown Montreal.

Barn 3

Big Chuck and I love barns. We ooooo and ahhhh over them whenever we pass one on the road. We examine their old barn boards and imagine all the furniture we could make from them. We dream about buying one and converting it into our dream home. Of course, on a big farm property there's never just one barn. The main one would be our house, one would be the studio/office, and one a beautiful guest house where all of our friends would come and stay.

Barn 4

On Saturday, as we were driving along, I rolled down my window and took "drive by" photographs of all our favourite barns that day. Lucky for me, the weather was gorgeous and the barns were a' plenty!

Barn 1

In case you're interested, the area we drove around was L'Acadie, Québec. If you're in the Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa area and know of some barn hotspots, I'd love to know!


Have a wonderful Monday!

xo bess


Salut Montréal // Chez Snips

Yesterday The English Muffin Blog, along with our good friend, Lake Jane, got a lovely nod in both the La Presse newspaper and on their Cyberpresse.ca website from arts and culture maven Catherine Pogonat. Merci Catherine!
I checked my Google Analytics this morning and saw a huge bump in readers yesterday, so welcome and bienvenue to all the new folks!

chez snips2

Last night, after a fun press day, I went to get my hair done/did at Nadyne Kasta's perfect little hair studio, Chez Snips. It was my second visit to Nadyne's, and I am so in love with her and her space that I was inspired to share a few photos of Chez Snips with you. The decor is light and bright, just like Nadyne, and sitting in the vintage airplane (?) seat complete with built in ashtray (not that anyone uses it) is worth the trip alone.

chez snips1

Chez Snips is located at 5460 St-Denis, Montreal / (514) 270-0114
You can get more information about Nadyne's services and pricelist by checking out Chez Snips' website here.

Have a wonderful Friday, and a relaxing weekend!
xo bess

Photos: Chez Snips


2 things


On this rainy Friday afternoon, I've just got a couple things I'd like to say...

1) Happy Weekend
I wish you a cozy, cup of tea drinking, magazine reading, country walking, rubber boot wearing, chocolate eating weekend. Or whatever version of weekend perfection suits you.

2) Thank You
Thank you to all the people in my life who encourage, inspire, support and yell go Bess!
Thank you to those of you who approach me with great new ideas and opportunities.
Thank you to those of you who really don't know what I'm doing but love me nonetheless.
Thank you to Big Chuck who switches hats from scientist to courier to art director to small business CEO to life coach to financial advisor every time I need him too.
Thank you to Tyke, my 24/7 companion and mail dog.

xo bess


Perfect Pairs + Post #501

1. Vintage Canvas Mail Bag 2. Vintage Postage

Phew! It's been a while since my last perfect pairs post, but I had these beauties in my favourites folder and just had to share them.

Here are my own perfect pairs for the week:

muesli + apple + yogurt (ok, that's a trio)
hats + mittens
crisp fall air + bright sunshine

How about you? Any perfect pairs you'd like to share?


In other news... this is post number 501! Wow, I can't believe I've written 501 blog posts. Thanks to all who have stopped by and read/commented/skimmed from time to time, and thanks to Big Chuck and my mom, who have probably read every single one of those 501 posts ;)

Have a wonderful Thursday!
xo bess


Canadiana: Lawrie McIntosh & The Canadian Animal Series



I was perusing the Design Exchange shop the other day with Big Chuck and we came across these beautiful paper folded animals called, Canadian Animal Series by artist Lawrie McIntosh.

The DX website does a wonderful job explaining the history of this series:

"The Canadian Animal Series began in 1960 when the province of Manitoba sponsored a Canadian souvenir competition in anticipation of the national centennial in 1967. Industrial designer Lawrie McIntosh entered and won the competition with a series of animal figures that were created by folded sheets of vinyl. Larger copper versions of the award-winning animals were sold across Canada throughout the 1970s, selling over 1000 units.

Four decades later, a third series of animals is now available. This series can be purchased as a PDF file that is printed at home on card stock and then folded and glued by the user. Series 3 celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of this award-winning design."

Interested in more info? Check out this video featuring the artist himself talking about the history and development of the Canadian Animal Series.

I hope you had a wonderful Tuesday! (there's still 1 hour left ;)
xo bess

images via Design Exchange


Coffee Table

coffee table

On Saturday morning, Big Chuck and I ventured out to the suburbs of Montreal to pick up our new coffee table. For months we'd been living without one and finally decided that we had to rectify that. We had been toying with the idea of designing and building something ourselves, but also felt like we didn't want our entire apartment to feel like it came for a hardware store (as our industrial design supplies pretty much all come from home depot). We were so happy to fine this lovely vintage pine trunk on Kijiji and scooped it up as soon as we could.

Our little pine box looks great, it fits perfectly with the rest of the living room and gives the whole room a warm cozy feel. Now we just need to find a rug, tackle our birch bark installation project and then our living room will be complete, for now. I'll keep you posted!

Happy November 1st!
xo bess