From earliest childhood, I have memories of the flowers my mother grew in our garden. Snowdrops and crocus in early spring, sweet bi-coloured columbine in May and fountains of pink and red roses all summer long. As long as I've had a garden, I've grown roses. From those uninspiring, thorny canes sprout the promise of heavenly beautiful and often fragrant blooms every year.
~Rock and Roll Rose
Now in a townhouse, I have space for only a few roses. But lucky me, I have only a short walk to one of the prettiest rose gardens in the whole city. I have to give much credit to the man that created the Queens Park Rose Garden as well as those who maintain it with love and attention. This garden contains roses of every shape and colour in the possible palette. From purest white through every shade of pink, apricot, yellow, red, mauve, burgundy; not to mention all the combinations of red or pink and white stripes. My favourites are the roses where the petals melt from soft yellow to pink to salmon....just like the most beautiful sunset.
~Archbishop Desmond Tutu Roses
~Cinco De Mayo Roses
~Living Easy Roses
Organic Growing Tips
If I could share a few bits of wisdom on growing roses, first it would be to pick a trusted variety for health and disease resistance. This can vary by region, so get opinions from knowledgeable gardeners in your area. Roses get all manner of bugs and problems so choosing well and treating them right will go along way in your overall enjoyment of your rose(s). The second most important thing is to meet their needs of good quality soil, something akin to a fluffy chocolate cake by liberally mixing in manure and compost. Also feed the soil, not the rose, which means using organic fertilizers like bonemeal, alfalfa, greensand, kelp and epsom salts. Of course, you can buy a premade mixture, but best to pick one with these kinds of natural ingredients. It's very important to pick an area with at least 6 hours of sun a day and good air circulation.
~Wild Blue Yonder Roses
~Julia Child Roses
Every time I walk through the rose garden, I take a moment to stop and stick my nose deep into a variety that comes in a soft red colour but does not have the most perfect blooms. Just like with people, sometimes we look past the imperfections to the hidden beauty, which in this case is the most delicious 'Fragrant Cloud' of sweet perfume you could possibly imagine. Aside from health and beauty, in my opinion, fragrance is a top consideration when choosing a rose.
~Fragrant Wave Roses
Everyone loves Pockets, right? I'm in a lucky position as a designer to be able to create exactly the item that I want to wear. For Spring this year I thought to myself what are all the things that I want in a new top? The Add Pockets Tunic was what I came up with.
The idea behind "Add Pockets" was a top that could be worn in different ways. For me, that means mostly on its own but it can also be worn like a vest over a sleeved top like the Perfect Tee. In this way, it transcends the seasons and "Add Pockets" can be worn all year long. It's a summer top but it's also perfect for fall layering when worn as a vest. It's shown here as an outfit with the Smarty Pants.
So if like me you LOVE bare arms in the summer, this could be for you. Many women complain about their arms, specifically that 'extra area' under the bicep. I choose not to be one of them. I'm kind of indifferent to my arms, bare arms are so freeing and comfortable for my busy workday.
Other than deep pockets for my phone, the Add Pockets tunic was designed to be flattering with lots of room across the tummy, and slimming vertical seams. It's long enough so that it can be worn with Cafe leggings too.
If you're local to Vancouver, come try on all the possibilities at our Studio Shop this weekend:
Friday May 17 from 2-7pm + Saturday May 18 from 11-5 pm
There is so much negativity around shopping, body image and fashion in general. How about Happy Shopping? What if you could shop for clothes that were designed by people who not only understood your body shape and how to fit it properly but also really GOT you? How often do you have a happy shopping experience? The truth is, there are companies that exist right now run by women just like you, who want to give you a positive experience every time you shop. They do exist!
Staying in the moment.
When I had my own retail store that catered to sizes 10-24 you wouldn't believe how many people would spend their time, in my shop, that catered to them, talking about how there was nothing out there for them. That may be true but right then, at that moment they were standing in a space that was inspired by their wants and needs. A safe, happy space with quality clothing and lots of choices IN THEIR SIZE. It's kind of like going on a date with someone for the first time and spending the whole time talking about all the bad dates you've been on. I don't blame them at all, it's like being triggered by a trauma or something. One of the reasons I love working at Diane Kennedy is that I find it so easy to help create a happy, positive experience for our shoppers AND we have the goods to back it up.
They totally get me!
What a wonderful feeling it is to enter a space that honours who you are. In many cases, it's because the people who created that space are a lot like you. Or maybe they just possess the empathy needed to make you feel welcome and comfortable when you enter their space, whether that's a retail store or an online store. Those are the businesses you want to support.
You do You.
This year I turn 53. So far my 50's have been pretty great. At this time in my life I have a pretty clear idea about the battles I want to fight. Shopping isn't one of them. There are so many different types of folks out there and everyone has their own shape, size, and story. I'm done with being pissed off because a store doesn't carry my size. They aren't after my dollar and I'm not their customer. That's okay. I'm sure they are filling a need for someone out there or they would have gone out of business long ago. I do think that cheaply made fast fashion is bad for everyone and there's no excuse for badly cut and poorly fitted clothing, but that hasn't made me immune to it. We're all just doing our best to get dressed in the morning without regretting what we are wearing all day. Right?
Look, fashion and clothing isn't everything, but it is something. All I know is when I feel well dressed I find it pretty darned easy to feel good about myself. It gives me confidence. It's one less thing to worry about.
I will leave you with this story...
I ordered some cotton underpants online. You know the type that comes in all sizes and 5 in a package. They fit ok but not great. I didn't want to return them and they were a good price but they ended up being second stringers right away. Never the first ones out of the drawer and only worn when it was laundry day. I decided to order a different style the next time and also to go up a size. When I got my package I unrolled the first pair and they were just enormous looking, full coverage, what I might call a granny panty. My first thought was to send them straight back but then I decided to try them on for a laugh. The laugh was on me because omg, these are the most comfortable underwear I've ever owned. They cover everything that needs covering, and a bit more, and they stay put, no riding up. I never would have bought them if I'd seen them in a store but now I'm so glad to have them. They make me happy!
There's no real moral to this story except sometimes your bum is a bit bigger than you think it is. As long as someone makes the size that fits YOUR bum, life is pretty good! Sometimes it's the little things and the slightly bigger things...
Find out more about happy shopping at Diane Kennedy here.
Published May 03 2019 in bamboo, design, eco, eco friendly, environmentally friendly, ethical, ethical fashion, fabric, green living, local, Made in Canada, natural, nature, slow fashion, spring, sustainable
There's always a story about the latest thing we shouldn't eat or product not to use. But as conscious consumers, we can't help but want to make the best choices. Now that microbeads (found in our toothpaste and beauty products) have been listed as a toxic substance (and already banned in the US), they've found an even more pervasive problem— fibers shedding from synthetic clothing. These microfibers get released in the clothes washer and make their way into our oceans. Washing just one synthetic fleece garment can release approximately 1.7 grams of microfibers with each wash. So choosing organic, sustainable and biodegradable fibers may be even more important than previously thought.
New studies indicate that synthetics like polyester could be poisoning our lakes and oceans and therefore our food supply on a massive scale. Synthetic fibers have been found in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish! These tiny threads shed from fabrics could ultimately be of huge concern as they enter the food chain and have the potential to accumulate in the bodies of larger mammals. We, at the top of the food chain, are, of course, eating these fibers when we consume the fish.
Tiny fibers emitted from synthetic clothing when washed are entering our oceans and waterways at an alarming rate.
While this is a problem without an easy solution, if you're already a consumer of natural fibers, you're obviously doing the right thing. Aside from the many other obvious advantages of bamboo, it's 100% biodegradable. So once it's no longer wearable, in as little as a year, it will have decomposed back into the soil or ocean without the production of any pollutants.
While very few fabrics and methods of dying fabrics can get a 100% clean bill of health, bamboo has many impressive ecological credentials. By nature bamboo as a plant is fast growing and requires no pesticides or additional fertilizers. Another key benefit of bamboo is that it requires one-third of the amount of water required to grow cotton. One of the other benefits is that, in comparison to an equivalent area of trees, bamboo takes in five times as much carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen. One of the drawbacks of bamboo processing has been the chemicals used, but new mechanical methods of processing have been devised in where the crushed bamboo is treated with biological enzymes. This breaks the bamboo into a mushy mass and individual fibers are then combed out. Although expensive, this process is eco-friendly.
While not the ultimate solution, every step helps. We're suggesting that you keep choosing the most natural products possible for inside and outside your body.
It's Spring and there's no excuse to not get out walking. Thanks to a pedestrian overpass, my route takes me up 5 sets of stairs and into the trails and gardens of Queens Park. In about a month, I'm predicting an explosion of rose blooms to enjoy on this walk. Past the park is the neighbourhood of Queens Park; featuring so many lovely heritage homes and more beautiful, well-tended gardens to pass. Bursting peonies, flags of iris and the delicious scents of mock orange and honeysuckle brightened this journey. Join me on this trip through this beautiful neighbourhood in my city of New Westminster.
Bright orange Geum and Brick Red Hens and chicks echo the vibrant colours of the paint
Bodacious Azaleas in salmon and pink complement or clash? I love it!
A pretty wrought iron gate and punchy red door jazz up this tasteful beige beauty
No shy paint colours here! I love how the graceful Japanese Maple accents the trim
The gorgeous blue flower is called Corydalis 'Blue Panda'. It is native to China and likes shade and quite moist soil. Here with other shade lovers like Astilbe and Variegated Astrantia
Who wouldn't want to sit and enjoy the neighbourhood from this inviting chair?
Campanula Persifolia or "Peach Bells"
I love how the campanula is growing up into the boxwood here!
I hope you enjoyed joining me on this pictorial journey through New Westminster's Queen's Park neighbourhood to enjoy the enchanting blooms of my favourite flowers and these charming gingerbread cottages.......