Saturday, April 18, 2009

Summer Schedules

I've been busy making plans for summer, which seems a little ironic when we've just stepped into spring. But schedules do fill up quickly, which is why I'm letting you know about one of the summer shows where you can see me and my work in person!

The Muskoka Arts & Crafts 47th Annual Summer Show is a great three-day arts festival, on the riverfront at Annie Williams Memorial Park in Bracebridge, Ontario. This year's show dates are July 17 - 19, and will host 200 Canadian artisans and their work (including mine and my friend Arlene's, from Sewlutions by AMO (

Photos of our work have made it onto the official show website! Take a peek, here:

The Muskoka region is the Ontario equivalent of New York's Hamptons -- all of the Who's Who of Toronto will escape the sticky summer weather and retreat to their palatial waterfront homes, spread along the shores of the region's three pristine lakes: Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph. Here's a photo of a boathouse from the area, that won a Governor-General's Award for Architecture. Wow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring is here!

Today has been a glorious day... I can finally believe that spring is just around the corner! I know, that sounds odd for those who have been enjoying 80-degree weather already, but winter holds on long and tight here in northern Ontario and I think its grip has finally broken.

With that in mind, I've begun working on my spring orders for clients, including a really pretty plus-sized dress that combines printed Swiss cotton, bias-cut edging, and a burn-out silk fabric.

I've mentioned before that my design style is sometimes very organic -- how it begins may not be how it ends -- and that is very evident here. In the photo above, you can see where I've chalked out several curved lines that flow from the neckline to hem of the dress. Only the last one made the cut... pardon the pun! :P

Once the style lines were (finally!) determined, I stitched bias-cut binding along each edge, as seen here on one sleeve. The bias is trimmed, turned under, and edge stitched for a clean finish.

Each piece of the dress -- front, back, and both sleeves -- will get the same bias treatment before the garment is stitched together. It's not finished yet, but you can start to see the big picture!

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's in a Name?

I have a double life... and it's about to be revealed!

I often forget that most people don't know I am really two businesses: AnvilArtshop, my online boutique of leathergoods and fashion accessories; and Abbey Hill Design, in which I design couture suits and one-of-a-kind eveningwear for diplomats and CEOs.

While there is some crossover between the two lines -- from techniques to supplies to logo -- the styles are quite different.

Here's an example from my AnvilArtshop boutique on Etsy:

Here's an example from my custom Abbey Hill Design portfolio:

Textiles and surface design pieces can fall into either camp. I have the fun, sassy pieces listed on Etsy...

... and the more serious, "status" silks are made-to-order for my clientele.
So the next time you see me with two hats on, don't be concerned... it's all good!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trunkt Show

I was very excited this week to have been featured on Trunkt's Fashionable Finds blog, in a brief article written by my good friend Darlene from BijouxBead (

A photo of my Red Paisley Leather Obi belt (above) also made it into the article, it's my new favorite design and is sweeping the runways for Fall 09. (Hint: try one over an eyelet dress for summer, or over a boyfriend jacket or slouchy sweater for fall high fashion!)

My obi design can transform you from glamor puss to corporate maven in seconds -- just slide off the obi and you're left with a beautiful topgrain leather belt that can hold up your pinstripes in style!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Belated Blogroll

Sometimes it IS better late than never... I found out late last week that one of my leather cuffs had been featured on this blog:

I'm joined there by several other members of the Etsy Leather Team, in a collection of cuffs and leatherwork that is so striking when seen en masse. Thanks for including my "Wishbone" cuff!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bon Voyage!

My Victoriana messenger bag is on its way overseas this week... thanks to Etsy and its international fanbase of handmade artistry.
I love the mix of sturdy leather and mannish messenger style, alongside the more delicate elements like the vintage cameo and a feminine ruffle of Italian leather. I hope the new owner in Istanbul will enjoy it as much as I did creating it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eyelet Ecstasy

The leather eyelet jacket begun earlier on this blog (see my post of February 4, 2009) was completed and delivered to a *very* happy client this past weekend!

As a plus size, she'd never believed she could wear a leather jacket. To her delight, I created a jacket style for her that was both slimming to the eye, and lightweight to wear.

The reverse side of this purple embossed ostrich was an amazing coral-red shade; thanks to the hand punching, the coral tone peeps through each eyelet and adds depth to the design. Oversized antique brass hooks form the closure for the jacket, unusual in that the hooks are "on display" on the front side rather than hidden underneath.

When my clients are happy, I'm happy! :D