Guest Post: Melanie Biehle

Monday, April 23 at 4:00 PM

I’m at Peter Miller Books, leisurely walking through the shop, picking up amazing design book after amazing design book. Drew found this cool architecture book by Tom Kundig of the Seattle firm Olson Kundig Architects called Houses 2.

The book features their awesome Rolling Huts project, offering a high-end camping alternative in a former RV campground located in Winthrop, WA. I’ll tuck that one away for future road trip options.

And now it’s time for me to say goodbye. It was interesting to share my anniversary with you. I hope you enjoyed the day! If you miss me, come say hello at Inward Facing Girl.

Guest Post: Melanie Biehle

Monday, April 23 at 2:00 PM

We’ve been walking around Pike Place Market like tourists in our own city, taking our time and looking at things we rush by when we’re showing visitors around. I found some amazing fashion and design magazines from the 60s, and was still on my vintage magazine cloud when we started looking for a lunch spot.

Matt’s in the Market was closed, so we end up at Copacabana Cafe for a light lunch al fresco and prime people watching. I see a woman with a tiny baby sleeping in a sling, probably no more than a month old. I’m reminded of newborn Nathaniel - how light he was, how much I loved feeling his gentle weight against my chest, and how I cherished the intermittent waves of rolling and kicking inside my body before he was born.

Up next: 4:00 PM Rolling huts

Guest Post: Melanie Biehle

Monday, April 23 at 12:00 PM

I’m eating delicious crumpets at The Crumpet Shop at Pike Place Market. Drew and I are treating ourselves to one savory crumpet and one sweet crumpet. I chose green eggs (eggs scrambled with basil pesto) and cheese for my savory and Nutella for my sweet. Both of them are also smeared with butter. I know. I know.

We’re sitting at the bar facing a strip club. The huge flashing marquee with “clever” messages like, “Easter Legg Hunt” and “April Show Hers” is kind of distracting. Earth, Wind, and Fire’s
Boogie Wonderland is playing and Drew and I are reminded of the record players we had when we were kids. Mine was blue and white. I even found a photo of it on eBay. I love the internet.

Up next: 2:00 PM On a vintage magazine cloud

Guest Post: Melanie Biehle

Monday, April 23 at 10:00 AM

So, I just finished taking a shower. I usually get a lot of inspiration there, probably because it’s one of the only places I don’t take my iPhone. I’ve come up with new blog column ideas, including my new special series Bloggers On: Motherhood, but today I was mostly thinking about how weird it is that I’m going to have to write about my shower routine on the UPPERCASE blog.

In other news, I checked out my new temporary tattoo and thought how much better the quality is now than the ones I used to get from Cracker Jack boxes. I can’t remember what any Cracker Jack tattoos looked like, but I promised myself I’d Google it later.

I focus on my “Amazing Things Will Happen” print by Mary Kate McDevitt while I brush my teeth. I thought that hanging it beside the bathroom mirror would be good for a dose of daily inspiration...on the days that I don’t have my iPhone attached to my non-toothbrushing hand, anyway.

Up next: 12:00 PM Crumpets and 'clever' messages

Guest Post: Melanie Biehle

Monday, April 23 at 8:00 AM 

I’m working on my blog post for Bella Umbrella before my husband and I spend the day exploring Seattle on our third wedding anniversary. I’m looking through art deco images for inspiration for tomorrow’s post while Drew is walking our nearly 21-month-old son Nathaniel to day care.

I’m thinking about how we’re going to spend the day together. I love that this day is basically unplanned. The only thing that we know for sure that we're going to have a “city day.” We'll explore Seattle unencumbered by a toddler’s whims and see where that takes us. Our only definite destination is Pike Place Market.

On this day I’m reminded of our honeymoon. We spent two weeks traipsing around Italy, exploring different cities at a leisurely pace. Our favorite stop was Siena. Everyone seemed to be so proud of their city, but not in an arrogant way.

I feel so grateful to be married to Drew, and lucky that we get to have lots of adventures together.

Up next: 10:00 AM Toothbrushes and tattoos

Be here now

On a recent walk I came across a piece of street art. I stopped and took a mental picture of my kids in the enormous double stroller and Tinkerbell, our 65 pound black lab, proudly escorting us on a brilliant early spring day.

Erin's four-year-old son living in the moment.So, I thought, what if I asked members of our community to do the same thing? Have them stop and take a moment to document where they are throughout their Mondays. Luckily, I had a willing participant in Melanie Biehle who blogs at Inward Facing Girl.

"When Erin asked me to participate in her “a day in the life” experiment, the day she wanted me to document happened to be my third wedding anniversary. How could I say no?"

Dispatch from London: Smug

Donna Wilson made me a list of places to see and Smug was one of the destinations. A pretty multi-level boutique in Camden Passage, Smug is the curation and styling of Lizzie Evans:

"Lizzie remembers spending her pocket money in Camden Passage as a little girl. Now as an interior and graphic designer, she has turned a regular shop front into a light and airy designed space filled with 1950s furniture, handmade toys, gorgeous stationery, quirky kitchenware, and chic ceramics. The space retains its old waxed boards and rusty manhole covers, but introduces sheets of glass as balustrades and portions of the floor, allowing light to penetrate the downstairs of the retail haven."

The floor on the upper level was fantastic! I loved all the textures and contrasts in Smug's shop design.

Featured stockist: Sabrina Butterfly Designs

I have been in love with Sabrina Butterfly for many, many years. I would stalk her at local community fairs and amassed quite a collection of her clothing. Sadly, I've never been to the store in Edmonton, Alberta where she stocks UPPERCASE. Her clothes make up the backbone of my wardrobe and are still sassy and funky after all these years. 

Shatner brings us together

I live in a neighbourhood of contrasts. Walk one way and you'll meet new Canadians from many different countries. Head in the other direction and you'll stumble on multimillion dollar homes. Our street has a group home, an artist, many renters, a few young families, and some people who have lived here for over 40 years. We like this mix and it's why we chose this neighbourhood to raise our family in. But, it can be hard to get to know people when you don't have much in common.

That's where Shatner comes in.

One night the 20-something renter from next door came looking for a bottle opener. She loudly exclaimed, "Hey! Shatner show!" as she saw the Shatner Show print in our living room.

No matter what our differences, Shatner can bring us together.

Subscriber Profile: Clare Corfield Carr


How are you creative in your daily life?
I draw in lines shapes and patterns mainly, with a bit of collage. I've always drawn. It's a relaxing process for me.

What are you most curious about?
How some illustrators become so successful and the different areas you can apply your skills into the industry. How couples interact with each other, and people's mannerisms.

What is your most prized possession?
My perfume-Oriens by Van Cleef & Arpels. A little bit of heaven.

What is your favourite letter of the alphabet and why?
Many satisfying words begin with F.

What is your favourite colour?
Midnight Blue.

What is your preferred creative tool?

What is your favourite food?
Chicken and leeks with a bit of thick gravy.  


Are you a subscriber who would like to share a profile with our readers?
Visit our participate page to find out how.



Wanna play a modern game of chance?

STC Craft did an interview with Janine. And, there's a contest for a subscription to UPPERCASE.

I know, I know...fortune favours the bold...but, you may not want to leave your UPPERCASE subscription up to fickle fortune. Subscriptions are on sale now.

Dispatch from London: Labour and Wait

At least five people recommended that I visit the shop Labour and Wait, in the Brick Lane area of London. A meld of a hardware store, curio shop and fashion boutique, Labour and Wait offers timeless and classic design basics for living simply:

"The inspiration for Labour and Wait came from owners Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins, both designers with menswear backgrounds who grew frustrated at having to redesign products and ranges every season.

There was no time allowed for products to mature and establish themselves and, in time, become classics themselves. The demands of seasonal retail trends had become more important than the products being sold.

To counter this, Rachel and Simon envisioned a place where functional, well designed, timeless products would always be available. Taking inspiration from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s exhortation to ‘Learn to Labour and to Wait’, they set up shop in 2000 in the old Victorian terrace of Cheshire Street, in the heart of East London’s market district. Here, they gradually sourced all the products that fitted their ethos of functionality, quality and honesty, and slowly established themselves as one of the leading independent shops in London." Read more on their website.

The shop is empeccably curated and very focused in its aesthetic. Simple tags, twine and butcher string brand the everyday items such as brushes, pencils and enamel cups. Their extensive inventory is available in their online shop as well.

Shopkeeper Richard was very agreeable to my photo-taking while he was busy assembling the workglove packaging (which makes all the difference in elevating the mundane into something special).

He asked that I take a portrait of him smiling for his mum:

Well worth a visit when you're in London. 

Dispatch from London: More Museum of Childhood

Some characters I encountered at the V & A Museum of Childhood.

You know what would be an awesome project? New tin toys illustrated by contemporary illustrators...

type tuesday: Museum of Childhood

When I return to London (for now that I've been once, I'll have to go back again and again) with Finley and Glen, we'll go to the V & A Museum of Childhood together. This free museum had excellent displays of traditional and historical childhood toys, but also areas for play and a nice place to have a lunch as a family.

This spelling cabinet from 1790 caught my eye. What an amazing specimen!

If it has letters on it, I'm automatically drawn to it.

This 1890s Victorian party programme outlined the activities for a wealthy child's party.

Some more modern-day items. (It's funny to see the Fisher Price village as "museum quality" — the one I played with some 30+ years ago is now Finley's.)

The boy mannequins look unhappy and worried about getting their clothes dirty. If anyone knows where you can get these Left and Right alphabet shoes today, I think Finley and I would both be happy.

Dispatch from London: Ray Stitch (part 2)

I'm home in Calgary again and trying to take it easy since I really pushed myself on this trip and caught a cold at the end of it. Our home's internet, TV and phones were out for the past day so that was actually quite useful in contributing to some down time.

As promised, here are some of the fine folks who attended the Ray Stitch meet and greet.

From top to bottom: Ray Stitch is Rachel Hart's wonderful shop. That's her behind the counter in the teal sweater. / Excellent food for the event. / Lots of people came to say hi! I'm sorry, in my fog I have forgotten some names. Here's Janet Clare with her book, Freya & Fred. / Alex and Pui-Yee browse the latest issues. / That's Francisca Prieto (profiled in issue #12) and me. We look related, I think! / More details of the event and fine folks who supported it by braving traffic and weather.

Calling all fearless designers

Chicago's Firebelly Design came up with an interesting solution to all the internship requests they receive. Camp Firebelly, an intensive apprenticeship experience like no other, was created for 10 talented folks looking to break into the design profession and use their powers for good. Camp Firebelly challenges students and recent grads to address social issues through a collaborative project of their own design.

Are you a fearless and highly talented designer? Get your application in by May 4.

She had me at self-saucing

Now that you've had issue #13 for a while, have you tried Tara O'Brady's recipe for lucky spring rice on page 106? Truthfully, I am intimidated by it.

Tara was included in a National Post story where she noted that one of her most popular recipes is Caramel Self-Saucing Walnut Puddings.

And that's where she had me.

Sometime this spring I will make Tara's rice. Because someone who could create self-saucing pudding can't be wrong. About anything.

Image from

Hillman Curtis

In honour of the inspiring creative force Hillman Curtis who passed away this week from cancer.

"Be prepared to reinvent yourself, be prepared to go out on a limb occasionally, and be prepared to do the things that you feel strongly about that maybe other people don’t… For me what started out as a creative vacation…has become my life calling." 

Dispatch from London: Ray Stitch (part 1)

Ray Stitch is a very attractive shop. Here are some exterior photos before the Meet & Greet event, after (another) rain shower. Fitting, though, for issue #13 which is about how weather affects/inspires creativity.

More about the event and people pictures to follow in the next while. Thank you to everyone who came out and to Rachel and Michelle for their efforts, this great venue to meet my readers and for the all-round support of UPPERCASE. Thank you to Sam for the tasty food.

Featured Stockist: Room6

I must admit that I have been lost on the
Room6 site for a while. It is a contemporary gift & clothing boutique in Deep Cove (North Vancouver) Canada. I am completely taken with their wall pocket that lets you create a living wall. I'm also enticed by their selection of twine. I love wrapping my handmade gifts in a simple brown paper and string combination that lets my hard work be the focus.