Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tri-tri-tri a little harder


NEW ORLEANS, April 27th, 2010 - A three wheeled wonder from New Orleans has finally fulfilled one of humanity's greatest dreams, while also restoring hope to millions of Americans. The conceptual art world had claimed it was impossible, the bike community said it couldn't be done - but the mysteriously named 'Miss Karina', as she's known to her on-line friends proved everyone wrong when she finally discovered that it was in fact possible to turn a tricycle into a unicorn. With golden wheels, mane, horn and hooves, the unicorn trike was everything that pundits and fans alike were waiting for.
"That wrinkly, piece-of-s**t shark at the Met can lick my b**ls," said one on-line shopper. "This is what art fans have been waiting for. Did a Hirst installation ever transform my meaningless 9-5 existence into a sublime, life-altering, transcendent experience like this does? I don't f**kin' think so."
While Miss Karina was unavailable for comment, one of her assistants was on hand to inform us that "There are two pieces that can both be removed from the tricycle. The front piece can be removed and hung on a wall like a taxadermy deer or the like. The wings are on hinges so they can be out to the sides all the way or closer to the rider. There is a pretty large trunk that can smoothly be opened and closed. The bike runs surprisingly smooth. The back legs spin as you ride giving the effect that the unicorn is running. The eyes have lights in them that are LED tap lights. The structure is made from rebarb, chicken wire, papier mache, and spray (expandable) foam. This piece is designed to last forever if properly cared for."

"Tri-State Trekkin'" by Doodle and Hoob

Check them out here.

Lazy Mondays...

M and I went thrifting together today... First day off since Costa Rica, and I couldn't wait! First we hit up Goodwill Hunting, then off to Value Village-no-City! Glorious. The best thing about M is that even though she is a total babe who lives in mini-skirts and leather jackets - she's also this super-genius writer who just published a huge article about boosterism in Canadian art, which basically got Gary Michael Dault fired at the Globe and Mail.

So of course when I left her alone for two minutes (I was testing out the 3-deck Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles skateboard they had there) she was surrounded by dudes when I found her again. Too bad for them, M's first love is vintage hunting so off we went. (But not before someone generously offered to design the Deadly Nightshades a new logo.) It's funny how guys assume that because you're wearing a short skirt that you're gonna be slutty. Couldn't be further from the truth - but it would be nice if some dudes weren't so predictable all the time. Anyway, we found the most amazing pink and white mid-century lamp, tiny owls, tiger print scarves, pretty dresses, an embroidered giraffe pillow, vintage towels, a fur hat and cape and a sweater that says...

All in all it was a huge success. Can't wait to post pics of the pink lamp in the studio!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This is an amazing poster from a photo series CyclePassion out of the Netherlands. This is a poster of Sweden's Emilia Fahlin, a gorgeous pro cyclist.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sun Shining on the Nightshades!


A few weeks ago, I was asked to send my Prom 2010 predictions to Heather Toskan at Sun Media. The girls I've been teaching are really into big volume and short hemlines, so I told her what I thought girls would be wearing this year. I also told her I thought that black was over but sequins and vintage are in. She writes:

Bury the black and stand out in shades of fuchsia, coral, turquoise, aqua, red, blue and gold. Celebs also know that vintage looks can also be the most unique....

...Many current prom dress trends draw largely on the styles of the 1980s with lacy, sequined and other glittering fabrics of the era.

“Fashion-forward girls are really into playing with volume right now, so the one shoulder might have a big ruffle or ‘80s pouf on it. Hem lines are getting shorter so it makes sense to have more happening at the shoulders,” says designer-seamstress Irene Stickney, of The Make Den, a vintage-inspired sewing studio in Toronto.

You can read the entire article here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Make someone's day...?

Arielle lost all her sewing supplies because of the earthquake in Haiti. You can find out how to send her sewing notions in Haiti here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Press Pass for The Make Den!

My Lady Gaga sewing workshop made it into the Star recently, and the PACT Prom classes that I'm teaching were in the Globe! You can read the full article here and here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

WOAH bike fees?

So although I am on the west coast, I have been very interested in the electoral stuff going on in the municipality of Toronto. I like municipal politics, they are much easier to participate in/see results. Not only that strong cities make strong countries. Back when I was a kid in Cabbage Town (before the yuppie parade moved in...), my mom was in a brunch club of sorts and so was Barbara Hall. So maybe it was me listening to local talk over scrambled eggs and juice that made me into the politico I am today.

There is hot debate on city infrastructure, and it is being focused on bike lanes. On his facebook Dave Meslin posted this great article "Bike fees: Misinformed, misguided and a step backwards for Toronto." He starts off by quoting this article in the Toronto Star "Bike lanes divide mayoral candidates" by Robyn Doolittle. Meslin, using straight up facts de-bunks some theories on rich, suburban car-owner vs. downtown poor biker. The bi-line is "Conflicting views emblematic of divide between right and left". Are they really? Or are politicians just making up lines so we can stand on sides? The bi-line got me thinking about one of my favourite TED Talks, "The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives", and dives into the moral matrix behind this divide.

My favorite quote by Jonathan Haidt: "This tribal mentality is so deeply pleasurable, that even when we don't have tribes, we go ahead and make them." Or in our case we make a bicycle gang.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Evolution of a Bike Gang Jacket...

In the beginning, we used old jean jackets. We hacked the arms off to make them into vests, and then Mzungu silk screened 'Deadly Nightshades' onto the back of them. This was back when the bike gang was pretty much a big, over the top inside joke for the four of us. (Not the world famous, loved-but-feared bike crew that we are now).
We had alot of fun in those jackets...
Eventually the bike gang grew to five members, and then seven... And we knew it was time for a new gang jacket.
And we had even MORE fun in those jackets. They became our most beloved piece of clothing, our trademark, our seafoam green pillows when we passed out at a party. Hells, they even got knocked off by American Apparel. But now, the DNS have moved on past the step two jackets. Now, we need... (dramatic pause) STEP THREE JACKETS! (*bum bum bum*).
We're working on them night and day in our secret Nightshades Lair. Stay tuned...

Missed Connections

The Bike Edition


"Riding my bike, saw you walking"

"Girl waving at guy on bike :) - m4w - 35 (Lonsdale)"

biking in pink - w4w (Adanac bike route )"


"Bike bell gang at A Clockwork Orange - w4m (The Bloor)"

"Bike Pirates, The Redhair Beauty. - m4w"

"poetics not in sight"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rihanna rings like a bike bell in the night...


Teaching Sewing...


I always swore I would never become a teacher. My mother was an english teacher, and my father was the head of the math department at my highschool. I was doing math puzzles before I could talk and to this day I have an uncanny ability to score really high on IQ tests without trying at all. I went into fashion because I wanted to make things, not teach.

But lately I've started giving sewing lessons at my studio, and much to my surprise... I really love it! It's awesome to watch people learning a new skill, getting excited about stuff they've made themselves - and when people tell me that they learned how to sew with me, I feel really good! I was often disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm in my teachers at university. I imagined that they would all be Edith Head look-alikes who eat slept and breathed fashion. But more often than not they were slightly bored by their jobs and definitely disillusioned by the fashion industry. I never want to be that kind of teacher. I want to inspire people to create and to experiment and enjoy themselves. I want to be patient. I definitely don't want to discourage or dishearten them. I want my criticisms to be constructive.

I'm writing this here so that I have a record. I want to remind myself that learning a new skill can be daunting for people and that it is a privilege to be helping someone to learn that skill. Fingers crossed I won't forget that!

this could basically be our mantra...

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This night started with us girls just chilling... you know singalongs to 1987 hot and nasties and some very compelling chitter-chatter.

Then off to Jenn's party at Tota (that re-vamped gutterpunk bar at Queen and Bathurst)... Titled, Heavy Clambake, slamming digs were pumped out by the infamous and DNS favorite, FAWN of Tight Knit.


Here's some evidence...

(this was the only guy I was compelled to chat with, purely based on his amazing sunglasses ofcourse)

Not many eligible bachelors, so i was convinced that all the hotties around just decided to blow off men in general...

Friday, April 9, 2010

women's rights vs. climate change.

I stumbled across this, on Oxfam Canada's website yesterday, and i think it's something worth taking a look at. It talks about how poor women are least responsible for climate change but the most burdened by the impact. And while things like this can be so overwhelming... getting involved can be as simple as signing an ongoing online petition started for the last UN negotiations. It calls the Canadian government to "stop harming and start helping."

So let's do our part and show them that we care.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


So the second annual easter distance bike from Toronto, commenced last friday. Thirteen friends, 100 k and the far off shining beacon of Port Hope....
we may have lost some friends along the way...
and changed some tires....
but eventually we made it...
...with fanfare no less.

AND just in time
for the infamous ganny race (we're so competing next year by the way. riding down rivers in homemade "crafts" was MADE for us nightshades).

Good weekend everyone! Til next year.... or just later this summer.

(thanks to the lovely frank for mad photo & planning skills!)