Friday, December 14, 2007

back at the machine.

we're back from our nyc city show and i'm back at the machine cramming in a few more days of work before i break for xmas.
... must ... finish ... my own xmas gift list.

so the show was awesome indeed. but more then anything it was all an excuse to get to spend a few days in new york and not feel guilty about spending money (and time). our hotel was on the edge of little italy, and i couldn't resist a cheezy but fun walk around what's left of the area. at the corner of mulberry and grand there was an italian sweets vendor cart where i bought some of the best torrone i think i've ever had. (and that's saying a lot since i've eaten a lot of torrone!) my only regret is buying just half a pound - it's half gone already.

[insert fabulous sugary almond vanilla smell here]

♥ m.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

freshly sewn in NYC

i'm making my way down to new york city for bust magazine's annual craftacular this weekend! i am functioning on two weeks of four hour sleeps and blistery fingers so i'll wait until i'm back to babble on with details and feelings and such...

of course, come by and see me if you're in the area!
saturday december 8
10:00 am – 8:00 pm
the metropolitan pavilion
(125 west 18th street, nyc)

♥ m.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

tag your it...

okay, so a while back i was “tagged” and i really did mean to play along but then never got to it… then i was tagged again a few days ago and this time i promised to do it. so i’ve taken a quick break from cutting scarf pieces.

here are seven random facts about me…

1 – cutting wool drives me crazy.
it’s like nails on a chalkboard… just thinking about it makes me shiver & clench my teeth.

2 – i don’t like to sleep.
i think its a waste of time and i resent that i have to do it.

3 – i am in love with jemaine from flight of the conchords.
and i think it makes my gf a little jealous.

4 – i don't make friends easily.
i often come across as a bitch though i don't mean to (or i guess i do if i'm aware of it... oh well). and i'm terrifyingly moody.

5 – i love to organize but i am horrendously messy.
i also love to make soup (i think it's related).

6 – my brothers are more important to me then anything else.
i smile like a delirious idiot every time I get to see them.
(miss you matt ♥)

7 – if i was rich i’d have a vault like scrooge mcduck and roll
around in the contents all day -- except it would be filled with
fabrics not coins ;)

♦ ♦ ♦

i was tagged by:
wire tree
crafty peeps

the rules: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I’ve tagged:
Lost Button Studio
Cheshire Kat
Rainy Day Art
Wolfie and the sneak
Bead On A Wire
Living in a knitters paradise
Tethyis’ Dreams

back to work!
♥ m.

Monday, November 26, 2007

a pinch of salt, and a smidge of cipolla..

catch a glimpse of cipolla's goodies on Smidge, a fabulous canadian site that strives to showcase and network lovely handmade artisans (and their supporters).

okay, so i want to sit and sip coffee and write a huge long entry today about the stress and excitement of the holiday rush... but my stack of to-be-sewns is so tall it keeps falling over. it'll have to wait to january. for now, i'm off to... well you know...

much love. m.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

my favourite tree.

lately i've been having a lot of fun bringing my tree drawing to life in fabric and thread. my newest favourite is this yummy dark chocolate brown scarf. i'll definitely be sewing up my own personal batch for a few gifts on my list ;)

this scarf, and others, are available in my etsy shop.

back to work... though not at the machine. today i've promised i'd clean up the workshop... there's fabric covering every surface - i had to move a pile just to find room to work at the laptop this morning!

have a great day.
♥ m.

Monday, November 19, 2007

jealous yet?

now this makes sewing until 3am seem like a pleasure.

i make the best stove top cappuccino.
you should come over and have one sometime ;)

♥ m.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

seriously too cute.

i just finished a batch of hankies using the most adorable print ever. vic and i found it while browsing the len mills shelves at the creativ festival last month. and although it was a little overpriced and perhaps more then a little cheezy, i couldn't resist! the most lovable little squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, rabbits, and birds in a winter holiday theme. i immediately thought it would make painfully cute hankies for xmas stockings and such.

i set a few aside for me, vic, and gifts.
and i'm on my way to list the rest in the shop.

this guy is the best. just try to resist him.

♥ m.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

home at last

my baby has been gone since friday. but after four trips to the repair shop, she’s finally back at home today and there’s one hell of a pile of pinned pieces waiting for her to chew through tonight.

as you can imagine i’ve been nervous and moody (yes, even more then usual!) since dropping my sewing machine off at the service shop. true, it is partly my fault. i haven’t had it serviced since i bought it over a year ago, which is a big no no for someone who uses their machine as often as i do (if you’re an avid sewer, go get yours cleaned every 6 months to a year). so perhaps predictably, on friday morning it finally complained, and while sewing the headings on a batch of cipolla newsletters it started to groan. i went crazy with a can of compressed air, but it was indeed too late. i changed out of my work clothes (some call them pajamas) and jumped onto the tram for a trip down queen street to the service shop.

but i must say that although i was a stressball these past few days while she’s been gone, i actually got a crapload of non-stitching work done in just a few days that i would have otherwise done in bits and pieces over several weeks. i even joked that maybe i should send her away to visit with family once a month to force myself to catch up on some other work.

i know, it sounds crazy, but it did feel a lot like picking up a family member or friend from a hospital stay, i even took the car this time. infact, the toyota’s seat belt alarm beeped the entire ride home – the weight of the machine on the front seat signalled a passenger that should be strapped in. i laughed at that the whole way and thought about writing a little something in the blog when I got back to celebrate her return.

okay enough embarrassing myself for now.
i can once again say, back to the machine ;)

♥ m.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

meet grr bear...

i don't usually go gaga for stuffed animals, but when i stumbled upon this one in Jellibat's shop, he haunted my thoughts until i went back to get him.

i bought grr bear as a treat for myself after my first three months on etsy and have been infatuated since his arrival. what can i say - i think the pic here tells it all. he's super soft, sorta scary, and just the right amount of crazy. as my brother tony put it when he came for a visit and found grr bear sitting on a living room chair, "he's you."

the hands behind Jellibat, Angela, is located in australia, but you can visit her etsy shop at

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a handmade holiday

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

buy handmade this holiday season... and beyond.
here's some of my reasons why :)

as a buyer seriously, nothing beats that feeling that you are supporting someone who is supporting themself with their art or trade! handmade items that are one or a few of a kind mean the receiver is getting something unique (not to mention the personal touch behind each creation). your gift is something that you specifically chose for that person and their interests or personality - it's not something that's being pushed as the must-have item this season ;)

as a seller myself it is just fabulous to be able to support yourself with your own hands and on your own terms! (a huge thank-you to all cipolla customers!) and it's an awesome thrill each time someone writes me about how they love their goodies.

click on the above graphic to visit the handmade pledge site if you'd like to sign up for the pledge, and/or add the button to your own blog or site :)

♥ m.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

zombie a la carte?

liana from hawaii has included my zombie messenger bag in a great collection of creepy halloween inspired goodies. check them out on her lovely indie shopping blog mixed plate.

i'm off to think of costume ideas...

♥ m.

Monday, October 15, 2007


these fab knitting needles were custom painted for me by fellow etsy seller arachknits. seriously, i love love love them. so much so that i haven't even untied the cute little black ribbon she sent them with. since opening the package (3 days ago) they have sat on a work table where i keep looking at them and smiling, lol! the little spiders are awesome, even better then i imagined when i described to her what i wanted. and at $20 for the pair, the detail is just amazing. great idea for any of you who might need a gift for a knitting friend.

ciao for now.
♥ m.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

cipolla's spread...

our table at puces pop montreal this past weekend

vic and i had fun and met some great people at pop montreal's craft fair this weekend. like fellow etsy seller allison's photography - check out her cute coaster sets.

oh, and best of all... we got to eat real montreal bagels once again. heaven.

thanks to everyone who came out, and if you picked up a cipolla goody while there - i'd love to hear from you and how you're enjoying it ;)

♥ m.

Friday, October 5, 2007

patti smith and freshly sewn goodies

cipolla is off to montreal this weekend for pop montreal's puces pop. if you're in the area, be sure to come out and say hi!
we'll be at the arts and craft fair both saturday and sunday at the Canadian Grenadier Guards Armoury (4171 Ave. de l’Esplanade).

will be back with pics on tuesday :)
have a great weekend!

♥ m.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

it has arrived...

sure it looks awesome, but is it?

ok, so the crop-a-dile arrived last week and i said in an earlier post that i'd let you know how it performs. so i will.

after all the hype i'd heard about it, including a plug in the latest issue of craft, it was disappointing overall. it definitely does small grommets/eyelets well (emphasis on small), and punches through surprisingly thick stuff. but if you're looking to use it for snaps don't bother. and i know that i have very small hands, but the handles are seriously huge and wide - it was a struggle to try and hold them in one hand and even harder to apply a good amount of pressure, definitely not comfy. although i can imagine that they could be comfortable in a larger pair of hands, since they have nice cushy handles.

of course, whether it's worth your money depends on whether or not you have a lot of projects requiring little eyelets and novelty snaps (and perhaps whether or not you're a shorty like me with elf hands). all in all, definitely not for cipolla.

there's my two cents worth :)

♥ m.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

bottoms up!

a load of lovely grape tomatoes that i picked while watering the garden this morning. i had begun to get a bit sad at the prospect of winter and the subsequent goodbye i'd soon be saying to the garden. but today's hot sun made it almost unbearable to stand out there long enough to take pics of my new totes... so it seems i'll be harvesting new goodies for a while longer still.

♥ m.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

knitting novelties...

these awesome little glass stitch markers arrived in the mail yesterday and i'm in love! could they be any cuter?
seriously, there's even a tiny little detailed head of garlic. ahhh...

i bought these guys from fellow etsy seller DragonLadyDesigns. if you like to knit, check her out - she has tons of different glass lampwork bead stitch markers to choose from. beware though, you'll definitely fall in love with something!

♥ m.

Monday, September 17, 2007

daily swank!

just stopping in again today to share a little newsbit... one of cipolla's tony booklets was chosen as today's "daily swank" by the lovely folks at vintage indie.

check it out here :)

♥ m.

cotton lovelies for your nose

just in time for my own cold, cipolla hankies are in the shop.

after finishing up a stack of hankies this weekend i noticed i seem to have my own case of the sniffles... a perfect excuse to make one of them mine! - my last one has been lost since the move from montreal.

these hankies were inspired by the ones i often made for myself and vic years ago... the first one i ever remember making was a red flannel one with a print of hammers and wrenches on one side. i loved that ratty thing for years and years. i think i creeped out a couple people with it... and then juice chewed it to bits. (i actually still have it as a sort of memory keepsake of juice actually). anyway, later, when i met vic, one of the first of many handmade gifts was a hanky made with a dorky cotton print of little white ducks on blue. awww... how cute was i!?

this time i've made them strictly out of new cotton. more durable than flannel, and light and natural feeling on your nose. many of them were made from reproduction print fat-quarters that i bought this past year at craft fairs and little quilting shops. i think these vintage-inspired prints go especially well with the old school feel of a hanky to begin with. then add a cute applique and it's almost irresistible...

fun and functional... my favourite!

back to the machine.
♥ m.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I can almost smell autumn...

this is one of two scarves called morning ashes, to be listed in the shop soon :)

it's been a bit cooler, and quite windy here lately - invoking thoughts of autumn. and although I dread the subsequent thoughts of winter, i really am looking forward to the cold crisp feel (and smell) of fall.

fittingly, i have become addicted to etsy's hand spun yarn artisans. i can't get enough! i've ordered over 20 different skeins so far from at least five different shops... in all kinds of great colours and shapes and materials. seriously, you haven't lived until you've seen and felt some of these amazing yarns.

this one i'm calling dear violet,
it was knit from snowberrylime's yummy provence yarn.

knitting has been a great way of pulling me away from the machines. and for more then just a few hours sleep, or a quick meal. in fact, lately i've spent entire evenings away from the workshop. vic is in shock that she's had me on the couch beside her for a few nights.

i think it grants me back a little bit of my sanity. and it couldn't have been at a better time. lately i've come dangerously close to smashing the computer, i've exhausted my will to curse and swear at the sewing machine (which is quite significant for me) and even contemplated giving up on a few custom orders...
but it all had come through, and now that i've finished just about all the custom orders, i have a free weekend to play around at the work table with some new ideas. (and then relax a little with the new yarns that just arrived!)

these two skeins arrived from twirlgirlfibers this morning.

most of these knits will soon be listed in the shop, since vic and i only need so many scarves... and i'm excited about supporting fellow etsians by creating items with their amazing spinnings. it can seem a bit pricey for a skein that will make just one scarf, but it's definitely worth it. i used to hate yarn because i always found it to be scratchy, but these yarns are soft and fluffy and... okay enough gushing.

here's one that i don't think i can part with, knit from insubordiknit's awesome art yarn vitreous humor.

pics can't do that one justice. it's simply awesome.
a bit pricey at $46 for a skein (makes one medium-sized scarf), but definitely something you won't see anywhere else!

if you knit yourself, go check some of these (and many more) spinners out on etsy.

if you don't knit - well keep an eye on the shop ;)

♥ m.

Friday, September 7, 2007

spaces for spectacles...

a batch of eyeglass cases will soon make their way into the etsy shop. of course, i made a few cases from two of my favourite japanese fabrics... the spider web cotton and the "cat-thedral" dobby cloth. mmm.

it was fun to play around with them, making something so simple for once -- no fussing with pockets or zippers or appliques. though i did fuss around a bit with the closures, making some with velcro tabs, some with snaps...

and then my snap/grommet pliers bit the dust!

the stupid things bent -- i couldn't believe it!

but then i smiled, cause they had always been crappy and left my hand in pain after a batch of snaps. and this meant that i could go get a pair of the ones i had just read about in craft magazine.

so at about 2am i found them online and now i sit patiently while they ship out to me. seriously, i can't wait... grommets and snaps without a swollen palm afterword... lovely!

i'll let you know when they arrive
and how they live up to their promises.

now stop distracting me!
i have to get a load of custom orders done. sheesh.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

school treats

check out my fishy clutch in zestyb's back to school treasury.

♥ m.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

it doesn't get any better than this...

drinking coffee made in our camping percolator
on our ranger cabin's little propane stove
hundreds of kilometres north of toronto.

it really doesn't.

a pic from our little slice of algonquin last week. i must have taken a hundred photos of our little "dock" and view of the lake.

so much to say, and nothing seems to describe it well enough!

suffice to say that i now understand why you can barely get a cabin, even when calling five months in advance. but if you ever have the chance, jump on it. they are surprisingly affordable - our cabin was $80 a night and could have easily been shared by four people (4 single bunks in two "bedrooms") - perhaps more if you wanted to camp out in the main room.

though the campsites are also beautiful... everything is so well spaced out. we didn't see another human (except while canoeing) the entire time we were there. awesome!

though we did see a lot of chipmunks, mice, rabbits, blue jays, hummingbirds, magpies, ravens, and one very vocal squirrel who wasn't happy about us encroaching on their space.

we rented a canoe - you can't stay at algonquin without one - and took a trip around rain lake (vic's first time in a canoe!). we stopped to take pics of some very cool trees and go for a swim. the water was gorgeous... crystal clear and warm and amazing. again, you really have to go!

predictably, i was almost in tears when it came time to leave - vic had to drag me into the car. thankfully i was already in sewing machine withdrawal, so the drive home - though full of promises that we'd be back soon - was happy and hopeful... i really was anxious to get back to cipolla.

speaking of which... time to get to bed.
orders await me in the morning.

♥ m.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

fall browns

just a quick post tonight as i sneek away from the machine for a few minutes.

here's my favourite of the newest batch of bags i've been working on since returning from vacation. see the shop listing here.

i love these spindly, bare brached trees. i love drawing them, but especially sewing them... the fabric and thread really making them pop. i'm sure they'll be a recurring image for cipolla this fall.

back to work!
♥ m.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

aqua love

i was up sewing until early morning hours again.
which means that when i logged into etsy for a quick peek,
there was space for new treasuries...
i threw together a collection of yummy blues,
including this awesome yarn by haptotrope.

view the entire treasury here.

these bright blue colours make me nostalgic for summer already -
but at the same time look forward to winter.
they're so crisp against the white backgrounds and accents.

love it.

♥ m.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

garden goods

i am buried so far deep under one of my infamous to-do lists that i'm sure i won't be playing around with the pics from algonquin for many... many days...

so here's a quick garden pic instead - a lovely little pile of grape tomatoes that were ready for picking when we got back yesterday evening.

i'm in love.
♥ m.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

i've got new glasses! oh, and a bunch of clutches too...

the first batch of the new cipolla everything clutch is finished.

these were first inspired by back-to-school time. and originally, i wanted to make something a bit thinner, strictly thinking about pencil cases.

but then i thought about all the things i used to cram into my cases... scissors, tape, glue... kool-aid packets and sour balls...
a pack of cards for a game of asshole...

-- and then suddenly i had decided to make a clutch type case instead. a simple, sturdy design that could work for myriad uses.

looking at them is making me happy. they look so cute!
it was exciting to finally play with all the fun cotton prints that i picked up at the creativ festival this spring.

plus, the prospect of such organization... well if you know me, then you know i'm grinning like an idiot thinking of all the things you could sort and separate and delegate to each pouch... (i'll stop before i give away too much crazy).

i went downtown today and picked up my new glasses!
i love them so much i even used them in the pics i took for the new clutch listing! they go well with the baby bananas i think ;)

now i have a shitload of work to do before vacation, so ciao!
♥ m.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dust and Shadow

I've finally created an etsy treasury!
Including this lovely print from phantomwise.

View the entire treasury here.

♥ m.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cipolla Summer Sale

i'm not usually a fan of sales, I like to set prices fairly and stand behind them...
but a little sale once in a while can't be a bad thing!

i have been working hard these past weeks to create some new items with the back to school season in mind... messenger bags, pencil cases, lunch bags, and such. so in order to clear the etsy shop out a little, we're having a sale on some of this summer's items... pouches, tank-tops, and a few bags... for $1-7 less then their regular prices.

Come by the shop to check-out the "Summer Sale" section.

now, for me, back to work!
♥ m.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

pistachio tree


two of my new messenger bags are featured in an etsy treasury.

view it here.

♥ m.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

100 pencil cases...

behold a scary stack of fabric.

oh yeah, i keep forgetting that it's only scary to me.

ok, so i hurt my thumb when i cut out 200 suede patches for my promos on monday night. don't know how i hurt it exactly. though it might have been from holding onto my tiny pair of applique scissors for so long...

woke up tuesday morning and the top of my thumb felt numb - you know, all pins and needle-ish. funny thing is, it didn't look hurt - not red, not swollen, not bruised.
and the funnier thing is that it's still numb now...
think i'm going to have to call the clinic tomorrow.

happy to report though - no injuries today while i cut what can best be described as a shitload of rectangles. 100 to be exact. they'll sit waiting on the shelf as i try to make my way through them over the coming weeks.

this is for a batch of my new pouch design in various prints, inspired by the back to school crowd (pencil cases) and the fact that the pre-xmas craft show season is looming ahead.

now to cut the 100 pieces of interfacing,
and 100 matching pieces of lining ;)

but they will be oh so cute!

♥ m.

Monday, August 6, 2007

it's that time again...

i think it's time for another shot of the garden.
i was out there this morning watering,pruning, and of course drinking coffee. i couldn't resist taking yet another batch of pics.

news in the garden...
• the cucumbers are huge, there's at least a half dozen that will soon be ready to pick.
• i've got so much basil i'm going to have to start hanging it up on the clothesline to dry.
• the onions are being dug up by squirrels or raccoons or some other annoyingly cute creatures almost every night - but almost every morning i snuggle them back into the soil and re-cover the bulbs. the crappy part is that they don't even eat them, just dig them up to get to bugs or something else delicious (at least i hope there's a reason to it, other than tormenting me).
• the grape tomato plant is growing like some sort of virus... the branches reach way taller then me, or at least they would if they weren't too heavy to support themselves. i've had to rope them up with twine attached to the top of the porch... it looks like some sort of jungle plant puppet, hilarious and effective.
• oh... and craziest of all, the rosemary is actually growing, a lot!
perhaps the curse has been lifted (as long as i didn't just jinx myself).

for those of you in ontario... enjoy your holiday monday.
i'm off to make messenger bags for the back to school crowd.

♥ m.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

sewn fresh daily on it's way to your door.

my eyes are fried, my fingers will never fold again, and i should really be getting a discount from canada post...

yup, the newsletter is done and on it's way tomorrow morning!

i know, you can't wait, right?

a little peek...
... when i first started cipolla, i immediately new that i had hit the mark. i instantly felt at home. like i had made it to that place i had daydreamed about while sitting bored at office jobs, or cursing snobs with their little dogs in the service industry...

if you'd like to join the mailing list, look on the right →
just drop me an email ;)

now to finally get some time on the sewing machine. aaaah...

♥ m.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

fun clothes for curvy girls.

♦ new tops in the shop, listed this afternoon!

i am actually really excited about the prospect of being able to offer fun/funky clothes in larger sizes for girls out there that i know get frustrated with the lack of options in the stores that surround them.

i will definitely be working on more things... clothes made from scratch, "used" items that get spruced up...

♥ m.

Friday, July 27, 2007

more fun than a drunken game of cheat!

this is the first batch of tiny cipolla plastic zipper pulls and i am in love. shrink plastic is the new subject of my dreams.

i know i'm like decades behind, this stuff has been around since the seventies or something. but seriously, it rocks!
and if i didn't know about it before, maybe you didn't either.

here's the deal:
get your hands on some sheets of shrink plastic somehow.
sand one side of the sheet with a fine grit, in a criss-cross fashion.
draw your image onto the sanded side - for the zipper pulls i drew one main image, then traced it over and over again to speed it up (i used translucent shrink plastic so i could trace easily).

the piece will shrink to about 1/3 of it's original size (different brands may vary... my pack said 40%, but it was much smaller then that).

colour in image if desired (i used pencil crayon!)
cut out however you like.
bake at 300-325º celsius for a few minutes - i put mine on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and found that worked well.

while they are shrinking they will probably curl up and/or bubble... at first i pulled them out right away and tried to flatten them out, but they looked warped so i put them back in. then i realized that you just need patience (hard, i know, trust me) they will eventually shrink evenly. they may be a bit curled or something, but this is easy to fix with a bit of coaxing while they are still hot (before you pull them out of the oven for example, flatten them all down with a quick press of a dish cloth).

my kitchen was a hot horrible place, but it was worth it.
serious fun to see the adorable results!

these will be used as zipper pulls on cipolla bags and pouches.
but i have plans for future bits like buttons and key chains... yay!

we also used this shrink plastic to make slate a couple tags for his collar (he is constantly losing his).

have fun and good luck if you plan to try it!

♥ m.

Monday, July 23, 2007

bottoms up!

taking a quick break for a coffee refill and a quick post about this...
a frightening stack of bottoms. (though i suppose it's only frightening to me, who knows what must follow).

but while shopping for fabric bits this morning i picked up the book on tape of anna karenina, so bring it on!

actually, it's exciting (the batch not the book, well the book too).
- thinking of all sorts of images to patch onto these guys -
there'll be zombies (yes zombies!) for sure... hmmm.
maybe something inspired by hours of tolstoy
(who knows what that would be!?).

a new batch of cipolla classic tote bags on the way!

back to the machine,
see you after i've sewn the last stitch.

♥ m.