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My First Editorial Photography Project

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The booklet was smooth in my hands as Shelly slipped the music for the Snow Angel Suite to me. It was a chilly October Saturday, and Ariose Women’s Choir members were assembled for our semester workshop. Our new album was ready to drop for Christmas, and Snow Angel was the title suite. Naturally, we would be providing a live preview at our December concert.

I have a deep emotional connection to the music as a mother. For the past 12 years, my oldest daughter–my “heart outside my chest”–has spent half her time away from me, and I have clung to the visualization of strong, protecting angels at her side when I can’t be there. Every conversation, every interaction with her is an investment, an attempt to instill resilience in her: the kind of resilience that can bend, but not break; that can hold on to hope in the face of discouragement.

I’m also drawn to the picture of God painted in the music. It’s a God of grandeur, whose essence is preserved even in the motes of dust that float in the sunlight, and whose goodness is manifest in the myriad angels who bring light and kindness to humans, especially children, in times of need.

It just so happens that one of my recurring times of need is the dark of winter in Alberta. What does it matter that the weather is often sunny, if the hours of sunlight are curtailed and the temperatures make it impossible to venture out? My Maryland-born blood has never quite thickened enough to enjoy the cold, and my Happy Light is only so good at raising my energy. I’m literally (not figuratively) half as productive in winter as I am in summer. Household chores and social interactions become overwhelming.

So, when the angel in the final movement of the Snow Angel Suite explains that her work is to enable winter to shelter life, via the protecting blanket of snow she scatters, I always get goosebumps. It’s a message that reminds me that I’m not the only creature that needs protection and reminding that spring will come again.

After the workshop wrapped up, I drove home, and found inspiration along the way. I wanted to create a series of photos to give my girls a tangible, personal reminder that resilience can be learned, no matter how difficult life can get. With three girls that look very similar to each other, it would be possible to create the visual idea that they were the same girl, growing up, and protected by her own guarding Snow Angel.

…all I needed was a model to portray the angel, a photographer, and a talented makeup artist…all of whom were not people in my orbit.

But sometimes, things that are meant to be just come into existence. Within a week, I had a model and a photographer on board, and within a short time I had a stylist and a makeup artist, and a plan for publication, so that each team member could be enriched with business growth as a result of their participation in the project. To my delight, every member of the team fell in love with the idea, and threw their entire hearts and souls into making the shoot incredibly beautiful. And, though winter took its toll on my mental health and courage as usual, I felt an underlying peace that this project was blessed, no matter how tumultuous my emotional day-to-day may be in preparation.

It was hard work, honestly. I had never made a sweater, or used a knitting machine, and in the span of about six weeks, I learned to use my hand-driven knitting machine, and designed six different sweaters to be worn in the shoot. I had never taken on such a large-scale artistic project, and I relied heavily on each team member–especially Kortnye–to help guide the vision lovingly.

When the day finally arrived, I had hardly slept for a week. I was seaming the final sweater together while Melenie worked her makeup magic, Shelby steamed the wardrobe, and Tanya tested lighting. Angela, my fellow dyer and friend, wove in loose yarns and jerry-rigged the blanket I hadn’t had time to finish.

At the beginning of the journey of producing the Snow Angel editorial, this had been a blend of business and personal, but unbeknownst to most of my family and friends, I realized in December that my business model was unsustainable in the long-term, and I had effectively made the decision to close up shop and focus on my girls. My personal commitment to the team and to the vision of providing a tangible representation of resilience to my girls were the only reasons I forged ahead with the design and organization work.

But something deep shifted in me when I saw my handiwork come to life through the lens. Suddenly, my first attempts at design weren’t just handmade: they were fashion. They were quality–even luxury.

It’s taken me a long time to write about the experience, because it’s taken me this long to process. Blame the cold of winter, I guess. But there’s a new confidence in my heart. It’s a new belief in the value I bring to the world; a new perspective on the ways that my interest in fashion can enrich the context and meaning of my life as a mother.

As winter melts into spring, I’m working on organizing the leftovers from my previous business model into a sustainable, worthwhile endeavour that’s scalable. I’m investing in myself as well as my girls, learning new skills and writing.

A friend once likened entrepreneurship to a duck learning to swim. From above the water, the little fluff ball appears effortlessly buoyant. But under the surface, those little webbed feet never stop moving. Without their constant activity, the duck would fail. That’s exactly how I feel: my website remains, social media remains, and yarn has always been my constant. But under the surface, I’m working, doing the math, fighting discouragement, deciphering how much to share about the struggle and how much to show my brave face.

One thing I know: no matter how cold and dark, winter shelters life.

Photoshoot inspired by music, find their work on any major music retailers.

Tea and Scones, and BRCA2

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One particularly normal September morning, I sat with my little ones, knitting while we ate breakfast. My mind wandered away from the Cheerios and baby smiles, wondering when I would receive a call that I both anticipated and dreaded.

I had decided to follow through on genetic testing to find out whether I carried the gene for the breast cancer that stole my beautiful aunt and my great-grandmother too soon, and nearly took my grandmother. While many people believe you’re more likely to inherit the gene from a mother than a father, the reality is that the gene doesn’t discriminate based on sex. It just manifests differently.

Libby asked me what I was making. So, back to my knitting, and thank goodness: my obsession with fibre art is therapeutic, especially as a tool for coping with stress. I had spun a gorgeous batt made by Erin at Lily & Pine into my typical thick and thin single ply yarn, and I was making a hat just for myself. It felt fitting to make something to keep just for me, made from a batt called “Tea & Scones,” two of my favourite repasts.

In drifted a thought: what if I could use my yarn as a way to break the tension in my heart about my own unsure future, and also spread a little light in tbe world? Because Lord knows we need light and kindness in the world today.

The idea went through a few iterations as I bounced it off some friends, until I settled on this: there are 31 days in October, and I can realistically spin two 4 oz. skeins of yarn each day. So, that is what I’ll do. And each skein will have a variation on a theme: pink, grey, and soft brown. Some will be ombré (some of you may be familiar with my love of spinning ombré yarns) and some will be variegated. All will be full of all the love I can pour into them.

And here’s the kicker: I’ll send a skein to any knitter or crocheter who wants to help me spread the light. All I ask is that you give the hat to someone you know who is fighting cancer, or donate the hat to a cancer organization—and that you cover shipping. No other charges. And you can even use the pattern I’ll post below, for a slouchy, comfy hat.

There’s no pressure for you to join me. I’ve got a few friends waiting for my first few skeins, and I’m also working to be able to donate the yarn and pattern to my local cancer hospital for chemo patients to use for passing the time during their treatments. But everyone I’ve run this idea by has been excited, so I thought I’d open it up to you, my friends here at ilex.every.day. If you like tea and scones, make a date with yourself for tea, scones, and a little knitting.  Because we knitters know that love can truly be expressed in stitches, and felt in the gentle warmth of a hand knit hat.

Shoot me an email if you’re keen to spread some light and love, and I’ll send yarn!

Final thoughts: do your breast exams, ladies. Attend your physical appointments, and do the diagnostics your doctor recommends. Don’t rely on just hoping you’re invincible because you eat your kale; genes can be your Achilles heel. But they don’t have to be, with the right screening.

Here’s to hope.


Tea & Scones Hat

You will need:

– 10 mm circular needles or DPN’s

– 4 oz. skein of merino thick & thin yarn

– pompom

– tapestry needle for weaving in ends, cinching up crown,and sewing on pompom

– scissors



Cast on 44 (I have a huge head, so I did 48. As long as you have multiples of 4, you’re golden.)

Join to work in the round.

Rows 1-22 (P3, K1) x 11

Row 23:(P1, P2tog, K1) x 11

Rows 24-26: (P2, K1) x 11

Row 27: (P2tog, K1) x 11

Row 28: (P1, K1) x 11

Cut yarn, leaving enough yarn to thread tapestry needle and cinch up the crown.

Cast all 22 stitches onto the tapestry needle, cinch up and knot to close the crown of the hat.

Sew on pompom.

All done!


Baby Fairy Slippers Crochet Pattern

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If you’re like me, instant gratification is pretty high on the list when I’m choosing a project to make. Especially when it comes to baby things.

I designed these sweet little booties/slippers with my own baby bump in mind. I want her to have a totally couture wardrobe to wear home from the hospital, and since she’s due to be a summer baby, she will need the lightweight comfort of cotton.

One of the best parts about them, like most of my patterns, is how simple they are to make! You literally need next-to-no crochet skills. They’re crocheted flat, folded and seamed.

if you’re concerned about sizing, you’ll want to make sure your foundation chain is about 4.5-5 inches long, and your finished length should be about 3.5 inches.

i use a single chain to begin each row, and I stitch into this chain at the end of the next row. This yields an edge with very little give, which, hopefully, will help keep the slippers on baby’s feet.

Let’s get started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3.5 mm crochet hook
1/4 skein of Lustrous Cotton DK weight Pima cotton yarn
measuring tape (optional)
scissors and tapestry needle for finishing

First, chain 18.

Row 1: skip first chain from hook, HDC in each chain.

Row 2-11: Chain 1, turn, HDC in each stitch, including the chain 1 from the previous row. (17 stitches)

Now fold in half, bringing the beginning and end of your final row together. Turn to slip stitch through the touching loops of your stitches to create the heel seam.

Fasten off, weave in your end, and turn the seam to the inside of the heel. Your slipper should now look like this:

For the left foot slipper, fold the left side down, right in the middle, like this:

Then fold the right side over at an angle, and use spare yarn to sew the flaps together.

I start by securing the inside flap at the corner to the inside of the outer flap, work my way up to the corner where they meet, and work down the top of the outer flap to the toe. I find this works to keep everything in place without slipping while I work.


Snip your yarn, leaving a tail to weave in from the toe.

Repeat for the second slipper, making sure to fold the toe flaps the opposite way.

And there you have it!  I’d love to see your creations! Be sure to tag me on Instagram!

Noelle Knit Hat Pattern

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knit your own (1)

I’m a sucker for simplicity. I love simple designs, repeating patterns, and instant gratification when it comes to making things.

I designed this hat for my friend Noelle to model for my Etsy shop last year, and it was an instant success. The tall brim section, coupled with the huge pompom, gives the hat instant noticing value.

One of the best parts about the hat, aside from its beauty, is how simple it is to make! You literally need next-to-no knitting skills. It’s knit flat, and sewn up the seam from the top down. Although, if you really don’t want that seam, you can easily adapt this pattern to be done in the round.

Let’s get started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5.5 mm knitting needles
  • 1 skein of Beautiful BFL yarn, available from ilexeveryday.etsy.com
  • measuring tape
  • scissors and tapestry needle for finishing
  • pompom maker, if you’re making your own, or a faux fur pompom

First, using the long tail method, cast on 70 stitches.

Row 1: *P2, K2* repeat pattern until last two stitches remain on needle, P2

Row 2: *K2, P2* repeat pattern until last two stitches remain on needle, K2

Rows 3-20: Repeat rows 1 & 2.

Row 21: Switch to stockinette stitch, by knitting every stitch in this row (70). This will be the right side of your hat, and the purl side of the stockinette stitch section will be the wrong side.

Row 22: Purl 70.

Continue to repeat rows 21 & 22 until your work measures 8 inches top to bottom. Be sure to finish on a purl row, as the next section begins by working a knit row.

Shape Crown:

Row 1: *K2, K2tog* (decrease one stitch) repeat pattern until last two stitches remain, K2 (53 stitches)

Row 2: Purl 53

Row 3: Knit 53

Row 4: Repeat row 2

Row 5: *K2tog, K1* repeat pattern until last two stitches remain, K2 (36 stitches)

Row 6: Purl 36

Row 7: *K2tog* repeat pattern to end of row. (18 stitches)

Row 8: Purl 18

Row 9: *K2tog* repeat pattern to end of row. (9 stitches)


  1. Snip your yarn, leaving a tail about 5 inches longer than the length of your hat. You’ll use this to sew up your seam.
  2. Thread tapestry needle with the snipped yarn, and weave it through the remaining stitches on your needle.
  3. Cinch up the crown of your hat, wrong side out, and bring your edges together to create a seam. Sew down to the brim edge of the hat, tie off, and weave in yarn end.
  4. Attach pompom.

And there you have it! A quick and easy, super fashionable and luxurious knit hat. I’d love to see your creations! Be sure to tag me on Instagram!


Knit . Crochet . Weave

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What’s the difference between knitting, crocheting and weaving?

I take my projects with me everywhere. And I get asked all the time, “what are you knitting?”

When I first started crocheting, I felt the need to correct people. Not sure why, but I was always worried that a real knitter would overhear and be offended that I let people believe I was knitting. Now, I realize most people are actually just trying to make conversation, and don’t need or want a detailed explanation of the difference between knitting and crocheting. They see me playing with yarn, and their curiosity is piqued—about the intended product, not necessarily the means of creating it.

But since you’re here, and while I have you, let me bend your ear on three beautiful ways to make fabric that often get confused for one another. I know there are other fabric-making art forms, but these are the most common.

Here’s the simple breakdown: it all comes down to the tools you’re using.

Knitting is done with two pointed sticks, used to make interlocking loops.

Crocheting is done with a hook, also used to make interlocking loops.

Weaving—well, weaving is a far more complicated ball of yarn to unravel. Fundamentally, it’s the crosshatching of threads to create a cloth. That can happen on many different kinds of looms, and uses a variety of tools. Since it’s fundamentally different, using crosshatching rather than loops, it produces a very different type of fabric, and you’re not likely to see someone weaving while they wait for the bus.

Funny story; I took to crochet like a fish to water. I picked up a how-to book at my local Walmart, and after a quick tutorial from a coworker on chaining and half-double crochet stitch, I was on my way. It made perfect sense to me, and I learned new techniques from Youtube videos and free online blogs. Even the fact that the tutorials and diagrams were for right-handed use and I crochet left-handed didn’t deter me.

Knitting, however, was not so easy. I bought the knitting how-to book on the same shelf at Walmart, but it was as if it had been written in another language. I had expected to breeze into it, given the fact that knitting uses both hands, and that I already knew the basics of working with yarn. It was a slow, painstaking process, and to this day, I’m a better crocheter than a knitter.

I’ve heard it’s often the case that a person will prefer one over the other, even if they can do both. And not everyone can or wants to learn both. Sometimes one or the other just makes sense to their brain, and they can create amazing works of art using that technique, but no other. Weavers are an even rarer breed. Maybe it’s because the equipment makes it less portable, or because it requires more spatial reasoning; I don’t know.

Part of the reason I don’t know why weaving isn’t as popular is that I’ve not done much of it. Last summer, my father-in-law and I made a simple loom using scrap wood and finishing nails. I wind my warp thread between the finishing nails, and then use a tapestry needle to weave the weft yarn to make decorative wall hangings. It’s super fun, and often feels like painting, because the point in making a wall hanging is simply to use colour and texture creatively, just for the joy of making something beautiful to look at.

However, I have a goal to learn weaving “for reals” by taking classes at my local weaver’s guild. Wish me luck, my friends! Weaving is a different way of thinking, but I’m ready for the challenge. I have a goal of making myself a coat out of fabric I’ve handwoven. This means, of course, I’ll also need to learn to sew a heck of a lot better than I do now. This should be fun!

The Beginning of the Journey

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My fascination with slow fashion isn’t only a profession of high ideals. It’s an intersection of two innate parts of my personality: the thinker and the creative. I’ve always been fascinated and delighted with the tiny details. From the time I was a child, I would listen to the same piece of music over and over again, reveling in the tone, tempo, cadence. I studied botany and philosophy in school, because I loved to think about the deep things in life, and to dissect the beautiful.

Study New York defines slow fashion as “the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity.” There’s currently a trend in New York and around the world to re-examine the fashion industry through this lens. This speaks to the philosophical side of me on so many levels. I know that even small, gradual changes over a broad swath of people will have a profound effect on future generations and their ideology. That’s how the world is changed. That’s the way to start—and win—a revolution.

That’s also how a life is changed. At least, that’s how my life has changed. I’ve learned a lot over time, and the changes have been gradual, both in my thinking, and in my practice of clothing my family. When I first learned about the detriments of fast fashion, my first response was one of self-preservation: “well, that’s really unfortunate, but I don’t have unlimited funds, so I need to continue to shop at the cheapest places.”

I knew it was a lame excuse. I kept reading. It started to be uncomfortable to walk into fast fashion shops, knowing the price paid by others and the environment so that I could “save a little money.”

Then I started making and selling crocheted accessories on Etsy. I figured I was doing my part to offset my poor purchasing choices, by giving others the option to make good ones by buying my natural-fibre, high-quality pieces. Again, I knew it was a lame justification. Self-awareness is often a gradual process.

Pushing myself to produce items as quickly as possible en masse, while living outside of my own values took a toll on my hands and my psyche. I knew prosperity would never come if I was working in an unsustainable physical and mental framework.

At the beginning of this year, in the dead of winter, I took a step back, spiritually, mentally and physically. I reread One Face, written by my BFF Sarah McDugal. I went to yoga classes, added more nourishing foods into my diet, and all but stopped making things.

It was in the cocoon of this winter quiet that I realized I needed to stop making excuses for doing things that weren’t working in my life. I wanted to be the active ingredient; to do things intentionally, and to enjoy doing them. I wanted to stop hiding behind the mask of never having enough. I wanted to find my voice to say what I need to say, whether anyone is listening or not. I wanted to keep seeking to satiate my curiosity, unbounded by expectations of settling in to the role of “maker of knitwear.”

We shall see where this goes.

Rag Rug Tutorial

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Many households have unused sheets stashed away in cupboards, begging to be given a new life, but if you’re looking for a sweet, down-home addition to your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, and don’t have sheets of your own, they’re easy to find in an array of colours at your local thrift store. Be sure to read labels and feel for texture when choosing the sheets you’ll be working with, as you’ll want to use sheets made with the same materials.

By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to create your very own rag rug.

First, you’ll need to assemble your materials. You’ll need:

  • 15 mm crochet hook
  • 2 twin or double bed sheets in complementary colours
  • Measuring tape (optional)


You’ll begin by using the scissors to remove any tags on your sheets, and to remove the elastic on the corners, if you’re using bottom sheets, or to remove the folded-over top edge on a top sheet.


Next, use your measuring tape to measure a one-inch width from the edge of your sheet, make an initial cut with the scissors, and begin tearing a strip off of your sheet. Be sure to stop approximately one inch from the end of the sheet. *Troubleshooting: if your strip doesn’t tear in a straight line, simply correct its direction by cutting using the scissors until you’re back on track.


When you’ve reached approximately one inch from the end of your sheet, stop tearing, turn, and use the scissors to make another initial cut, this time running along the bottom edge of your sheet. Continue this process at each corner, making continuously smaller rounds until you’ve turned the entire sheet into one long strip.


Wind this strip into a ball. Snip any annoyingly long loose threads, but don’t worry about getting every loose thread. They add to the charm of a rag rug, and most will be contained by the stitches you make when crocheting.


Tear the second sheet into strips using the same method, and wind it into a ball.


You’re now ready to begin the crochet step of making your rag rug. Make a slip knot with the first sheet, insert your hook, and chain 2.

Insert hook into first chain, single crochet 10 in same loop, joining last stitch to first using a slip stitch.


Chain 1, which will count as your first stitch in round 2. Make 2 single crochet in next stitch. Repeat this pattern of 1 single crochet, then 2 single crochet in the next stitch, all the way around. You should have 15 stitches in total in round 2. Do not join first to last stitch.


We will now work in continuous rounds, working in multiples of 5.


Round 3: Work 5 sets of *single crochet 2, 2 single crochet in next stitch* for a total of 20 stitches


Round 4: Work 5 sets of *single crochet 3, 2 single crochet in next stitch* for a total of 25 stitches


Colour changes can be done at your discretion. An easy way to do a colour change is to simply cut your strip at the end of a round, leaving about a 3 inch tail, and tie your new colour to this tail. Crochet as usual. When ready to switch back to colour A, cut and tie as before.


When you’ve reached your desired size, slip stitch the last stitch of your round to the first stitch, tie off, leaving about a 3 inch tail, and weave in the tail.


Two twin sheets will make a rug approximately 2 feet in diameter. Of course, you can choose to continue with your rounds, working in multiples of five, until you’ve reached your desired size. Keep in mind that, with successive rounds, the strips have further to travel, and simply adding two more sheets will not yield an additional two feet of diameter in your finished product. Be sure to gather as many sheets as you will need before beginning a project.


And there you have it! I hope you enjoy making your rug. Drop me a line with your creations if you can. I’d love to see what you’re making!

What I Want to Say

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I wrote this in the afterglow of Christmas, and saved it privately, unsure of whether it was worth sharing. But I reread it tonight, and I do think it worth sharing. I still feel the truth of everything I wrote that night. Much love!

It’s Christmas night. Actually, it’s the wee hours of what we call Boxing Day in Canada, “the day after Christmas” back home in the States. Either way. It’s the day reserved for holiday hangovers of several varieties.
My “holiday hangover” has been a long time coming. I’ve been going full tilt for several months now, trying to figure out how to handle success. And while tasting success comes with a high, it’s also a bit messy. I’ve learned quite a few things this year:
1. Planning ahead is always a good thing. So is flexibility.
2. Losing sleep negatively affects creativity and productivity, no matter what “they say”. Also, exercise is important, even when it’s not urgent.
3. Always be gracious.  
4. Multitasking is the bane of productivity.
5. Collaboration totally rocks.
6. Every idea has its time, and if a great one lands on you, just to flutter away to someone else, be grateful that you were noticed by the universe. Your turn will come again.
7. Always be yourself. Full stop. Not a unicorn, or a mermaid, or any other funny thing on a T shirt. There’s more to you than you might think.
Tonight, I took some time to search YouTube for some dyeing inspiration, and stumbled on Hue Loco, by a girl named Nicole. I fell in love with her authenticity, her ability to just chat with friends virtually about things that excite and inspire her. And it got me thinking about what I really want to say just right out of my head and heart. 
I want to say “thank you” with all my heart to every person who is a part of my life. I have a wonderful, growing tribe of artisans, both locally and abroad. I’m not even kidding when I tell you I’m grateful every single day to have found “my people.”
And I want to gush about all the ideas I have in my head and in production. Some are far on the horizon of reality, but they’re so fun to mold and shape in my mind! And it never fails, when I talk with a friend about an idea, it grows and morphs and gets closer to reality right here, right now.
I want to tell you how much it means to me and to my family when you purchase from my shop; the hope it infuses into my life. I’ve seen memes going around about how a small business owner does a happy dance when you order from them, and I can tell you, it’s true. The struggle is real, my friends, just as I know it is for you, and every purchase breathes hope into me for a brighter future for my daughters. I want nothing more than to be able to fund their childhood and their future education while being at home to raise them. That dream is becoming a reality, slowly but surely, and it’s fueled by hope.
So, my friends, that’s what I really want to say. I have lots of photos for future posts about the dyeing, spinning and making process. They’re going to be really fun. And I have some exciting plans for creative collaboration with other designers, photographers and bloggers in the new year. I can’t wait to share those things with you, too. 

Along the lines of personal growth and just being yourself, by BFF Sarah McDugal wrote an amazing book about living in alignment with your values, and shedding the masks we all tend to hide behind. Want to read it? Find it here: www.livewithoneface.com

It’s a Beautiful Thing

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This week, I’ve been meeting with bloggers nearly every day. It’s one of the really fun aspects of what I do: I get to have coffee with interesting people, get to know them, and give them things I’ve made. Yesterday, I had the privilege of sitting down with Stephanie from www.allaboutami.com to talk about yarn. I got to get a glimpse into the life of a blogger, learning about the care and attention that goes into preparing every post. She really is incredible, and if you’re at all into making things with yarn, her blog is a treasure trove!

In our conversation, I mentioned that I feel like this business with wool is a calling on my life. But it felt so weird for me to say that something so frivolous as fashion and crafting is a life calling. Yet, there it was, this deep soul conviction, spat out on the coffee table between us. She said she felt the same, and the conversation drifted on.

Later that evening, I opened Facebook to find news of Trump’s supporters wishing they could take away women’s rights to vote, because apparently he would be elected if only men could vote. That, to me, was the last straw in this whole debacle of an election. I don’t care whether you like either candidate; taking away anyone’s constitutional rights is never okay, no matter why you think it’s a good idea. I shut down the Facebook app on my phone, and didn’t log in for the rest of the day.

But as I sat spinning yarn late into the night, I realized that maybe there is something to this whole “calling on my life” thing, and I have Donald Trump’s reality star bizarro world to thank for my newfound clarity. In a world so bitter and teetering so precariously toward dystopia that a man like Trump can make a legitimate run for the presidency, it is desperately important for thoughtful people to make beautiful things.

I’ve heard that Estee Lauder excelled during the depression, and that sales of red lipstick are never higher than during economic hard times, and I’d always just figured maybe it’s human nature to try to show a brave face to the rest of the world, even when you’re starving and miserable. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think women buy red lipstick during hard times because they need to create beauty in the midst of the darkness, chaos, sadness, trepidation. And sometimes, the only thing you can make beautiful is yourself.

There is so much darkness in the world right now, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by it. It’s easy to let the words, attitudes and actions of politicians, reality TV stars and strangers on the street creep into your heart and steal your light. It takes real, genuine effort to hold onto your light. You have to give it fuel constantly, just like you have to fuel a fire. But it is so worth it to do so. Because that light is the only antidote to darkness. Because as you produce and create beauty, it spreads to others around you, like frost creeping across a pane of glass.

So, my maker friends, be proud of who you are, and what you do. I’m sure proud to know you, and to be one of you. Share your work, your passion, your light with those in your circle, and expand your circle to include others. We are changing the world, whether it seems consequential or not. And, to borrow a phrase often repeated by Mr. Trump himself, “it’s a beautiful thing.”

Where Credit is Due

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I posted on Instagram a few minutes ago about having grace, even when people promise you the world, and give you an atlas. It’s true, there’s a lot of need for grace when you’re running a nbusiness and dealing with people. Because you’re going to screw up, and they’re going to screw up. It happens.

But sometimes, magic happens, despite the screw ups. And it’s never because of just one rock star. I think that’s why there are so many impassioned thank you speeches at awards shows. Because any time magic happens, it’s something sublime; something that’s bigger than each person who participates, but yet you know that, without each of those people, the magic just wouldn’t be there.

A few weeks ago, I felt magic happening. It practically vibrated from my fingers, and even brought tears to my eyes in the midst of the work. I had a photoshoot with Jillian Schecher, a local Edmonton photographer, using three of my friends as models for my Fall 2016 collection. It was fabulous. Nickol did hair and makeup, Jillian made the light come alive, and my girlfriends stepped outside their comfort zones and played it up for the camera.

I thought it fitting that one of the models, who totally killed the dewy, fresh-faced look even while pouring sweat under piles of luxurious wool in mid-August, was my friend Noelle. She was my first customer, and was the first to encourage me to start an Etsy shop. I did so many things wrong at the beginning, and I know I’m still making mistakes. I’m one of those “accidental business owners,” who has just kind of thrown things at the wall to see what would stick. But I never would have started throwing if it hadn’t been for Noelle.

Ruth brought all the simmer and quiet poise that only a redhaired musical theatre actress can bring. She brought a touch of runway to the shoot, and made every piece she modeled come alive with a sense of fashion and timelessness.

Shea’s playful and creative personality just shines through every single picture of her. She wore the neutral tones collection, but there was nothing neutral about the poses she struck! I mean, really, how many models can make fingerless gloves look unique and amazing in Etsyland, where just about every knitwear seller has a selection of fingerless gloves? But Shea pulled it off!

I’m so excited for the official launch of the pret-a-porter Fall Collection on September 1st. If the pre-launch showing is any indication, this is the start of something very, very magical. *cue orchestral swell*