2011 was a really big year for me in just about every way. It's also the first full year that I've had a blog, enabling me to look back at milestones noted in blog posts and reflect on a year that has felt a decade long. I'm 31 now and have reached a bit of a turning point, in that school is over and the future is a little more open-ended than it has been in the past. Thank you all for sharing this incredible year with me. Here are some moments I won't soon forget:

1. My thesis presentation

My mom flew to Vancouver to attend my final presentation with Jeff. I was so nervous beforehand that I thought I might throw up if I ate lunch. Despite my doubts, I lived through it, presented in record time (thanks to my mentor for pointing out how quickly I talk when nervous), and was just, well...done. Finished. Numb for about two weeks afterwards. What just happened? I had finished the toughest thing I'd ever taken on: a master's degree in landscape architecture. Finished it. Weird. Still not over how awesome it feels to be out of school with that degree under my belt.

2. Graduation

One of the happiest days of my school career. Sure, it was fun to wear a hooded master's gown, but it was way more fun to share this accomplishment with all of my classmates, who I will love forever. I could not have asked to go through the landscape architecture program with better people. In my opinion, we were an amazing class with 100% wonderful, supportive people. When you felt shitty, someone made you feel better. When you didn't want to work, someone would go for coffee with you. When you felt like you needed to have a blast of sugar, someone would give you a ball hole. Without my classmates I would never have survived this program. I love the photos of all of us from graduation day! I hope we all still get a little bit of a high thinking of that sunny, amazing day!

3. My stagette in Calgary/Banff

Shortly after graduation I flew home to Calgary for my stagette. Heather organized it all for me, making sure that as many of my good friends who could be there were there. Carrah even studied in our hotel room for a while, since taking a weekend off from med school was not an easy thing to do. My sister Jenn showed up a few hours later than the rest of us, but seriously owned the club we went to that night, ruining the photos of at least four other stagette and stag parties with her hilarious antics. And Heather carefully placed the pizza in our hotel room's fridge before we all went to bed that night, ensuring that we'd have a healthy breakfast in the morning. So. Much. Fun.

4. A new job

my morning commute
Even before I went home to Calgary for a party weekend I started a new job as a junior landscape designer in a local landscape architecture firm. The biggest adjustment has been getting used to full-time work again...it's been a while, to say the least. But I really like my new job. I learn something every day, work with great people, and have told myself that I will try very hard to never make the same mistake twice. Mistakes, you see, are a given in my chosen profession, and the learning that comes from them is invaluable. I figure it I don't mess up in the same way twice, I'm learning and moving forward. And getting a paycheque again? That's just awesome.

5. Our wedding

I can't possibly sum up all of my thoughts and feelings about our wedding in this post. All I can say is that the day was everything we wanted it to be and the first four months of marriage (which makes it ten years and four months of being together) has been great. I really believe that Jeff and I did everything we could to plan the best event for our family and friends that we could possibly pull off and that the rest of the awesomeness (most of it, that is) came from our guests showing up to share the love and have a good time. Watching everyone meet each other (after hearing so much about one another from us, I'm sure), make new friends, do ridiculously hilarious shit by the end of the night, and generally have a fun time celebrating with us made this the best day ever. I knew right away that it was a once in a lifetime kind of day and found myself saying more than once, "I wish I could get married every day!" As my good friend Jill R. said, that's a good sign. Best day ever. Thank you, friends!!!

Sarah and Jeff's Wedding Video from Sarah on Vimeo.

6. Montreal/Vermont trip

To celebrate our new found freedom from planning a wedding, Jeff and I took a little vacation to Montreal. We were so long overdue in our visit! It had been nine years since we last visited Camilla! We are bad friends! Seeing what Camilla, Marigold, and Jesse get up to in their Montreal lives was so much fun. I loved riding Bixis and eating amazing food. I loved reconnecting with some Calgary people that I hadn't seen in a while (Karen!). And our short side trip to Vermont was super fun and fulfilled my dream of visiting that part of the continent at the height of autumn. We are definitely looking forward to our next Quebec visit!

7. Beating our old landlord in court

I thought about whether to include this one or not, because it's not the most fun story, but it did end up being a highlight of 2011. This time last year Jeff and I were having the worst day ever. We were wrapping up our move to our new apartment (already our old apartment...see #8) and dealing with a very unreasonable, crazy landlord. Long story short, she attempted to illegally keep our entire deposit (a full month's rent in a very expensive city) and it took eleven months for us to pry our cash from her greedy little bank account, using every legal avenue available to us. But in the end, we got it all back and then some. Thanks to everyone who listened to us freak out and complain about this over the year. We won!

8. Our new abode

Yes, we moved twice in the last year, but this time I think we'll stay put for a while. Jeff and I have a place that is nearly double the size of our last little turn of the century nun dormitory apartment. Yes, it is as suburban as we've ever lived (read: ever want to live) but we've got everything close that we need, have lots of natural light, and a remote controlled fireplace that Lola and I love very much. Furthermore, there is no satyr living above us, clomping around at 2AM. We sleep very soundly and the extra fifteen minutes on my commute is worth it.

9. Sadie Designs

photo by ryan mathieson

I couldn't end this list without talking a bit about Sadie. This was my second full year of making jewelry and blogging. The growth that I experienced as a craftsperson and that my little business experienced is very exciting. I have so many great things planned for the New Year and my 2011 customers and supporters made it all possible. More scarves, amazing new stones, and some big changes are in the works. Stay tuned and thank you!

10. Lola

Going into our fifth year with this fifty pound bundle of crazy. No better dog in the world. For real.

11. Alberta holidays

Jeff and I found ourselves wrapping up this crazy year in the company of good friends again. A hectic but fun vacation to our adopted hometown kinda brought it all together. We had some time with my family, met up with our very best friends in the world, and gave everyone one last 2011 hug. We even made up some more 2011 dirty jokes! We know we'll see you all again in 2012! Hot pumps!

This was New Year's Day on Burnaby Mountain last year. Wishing you all the very best in 2012. Thanks for reading!


Love this landscape

This morning Jeff and I went for a walk with one of my sisters. Fuelled by our favorite cheese buns from Glamorgan Bakery, we walked through Weaselhead along the shores of the Elbow River. Jeff was bitten by a chickadee that was maybe a bit too used to humans and we slipped and slid our way along some of my favorite trails. I hope you're able to spend some time outside this week, too!



Today I spent some time in one of my favourite rock and gem shops this side of the Rockies (which is to say, not the side I usually find myself on). Take a look at some of the amazing specimens that they have available. The stone that I discovered today that I find particularly amazing is this super lightweight, pure  matte black stone called "jet". According to the stuff I read about it, it comes from Australia and is a type of bituminous coal that can be polished. I also read that "it assists in entering and exploring your inner void of creation"...not exactly sure what that means, but the stone is lovely. What is your favourite type of stone? And how were your holiday celebrations?

***Just a quick note: use coupon code BOXING15 for 15% off everything in the Sadie Etsy shop today only!***


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all have a great day celebrating with family and friends! And if there was a Sadie gift under your tree I hope you love it!


when I was a teenager...

...I am pretty sure that this was all I cared about:


vintage winter

While searching for wintery inspiration images I came across this awesome Flickr photostream belonging to the Vintage Winter Museum and Shop, one of my favourite finds recently. Here are some of my favourite photos from their collection. I think my absolute favourite is the hairy backpack. I've never seen anything like that! But then again, I've also never seen a horse snowshoe before. Enjoy these ones and take a look at more in their photostream. You might also want to take a peek at their shop for more vintage winter awesomeness. I think I need a cabin in the mountains somewhere filled with their repurposed winter gear stat. (All photos from the Vintage Winter Museum collection.)


the cave explorers of 2011

Here they are! The final cave explorer necklaces of 2011. These guys are all listed in the shop as of today. Figures range from little children playing in the snow to a old gentleman making his way through a crystal cave with his walking stick in hand. Each stone has been chosen for its amazing shape and crystal features. Take a look at them all in the Sadie shop

In other fun news, last week I hit 400 sales in the Sadie shop. My 400th customer just happens to be a local blogger who I connected with thanks to Got Craft? here in Vancouver. Heather has a great blog called Tea with Me. She even wrote about her Sadie necklaces after the craft fair. In addition to her order, Heather is going to be getting a pretty special surprise in celebration of this exciting milestone. 

I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but thank you all for your support! This has been a fun year (crazy at times with getting married, graduating, and all of that) and you guys have all made it even better and gotten me through the nutso times with flying colours, too. And now we have just five more work days until Christmas vacation!


it is coming

Lately I have been eating, breathing, and sleeping work. I fall asleep thinking about jewelry design and wake up in a hurry to get to the bus on time to make it to my day job, which has been really demanding lately, too. So I'm here today to share with you some of my thoughts about what I'll be doing over my Christmas holidays.

While visiting my family and friends, I plan to spend lots of time outside (no matter how cold it is, and I imagine it will be very cold). I would really like to visit the migratory bird sanctuary that I used to work at, as I've been trying to get back there for the last couple of Christmas vacations, only to have everything else make that all but impossible. Maybe since Jamie and Carrah live on that side of the city we can all go there together this year.

I would also love to walk in Weaselhead, which is close to my parent's house. Last year I did a small post with some of my photos from our afternoon there. It is definitely my favourite park in Calgary.

And, finally, I am sooooooo looking forward to sitting on some couches, eating food and drinking giant cups of coffee. I will likely spend some time on Jill's, Heather's, Jenn's, and my parents' couches, to name just a few. In fact, I'll pretty much go anywhere where I can hang out on a couch and enjoy doing almost nothing. Doing absolutely nothing is just not in my nature.

The countdown is on. Just one week until winter vacation. In the meantime, Jeff will keep delivering Vancouver's mail, I'll be happily making jewelry every night and getting stuff done at work every day, and Lola will continue to sleep 22.5 hours a day. After all, we all have to earn this little break, right?

P.S. The great irony of running an online shop around Christmas is how much time I spend helping other people get ready (gladly helping them, no less), while my own preparations lag further and further behind! I think I might be sending out some IOUs this year!

P.P.S. If you'd like your Sadie package to arrive before Christmas today is the day to get your order in, friends!


all I want for christmas...

It's been a long time since I put together a list of my favourite handmade objects and 'tis the season to talk about things we want and drop helpful, blatant hints, so here are mine (a little late, I know...). A limited edition gold leafed ceramic tray by upintheairsomewhere? Yes, please. A big, pretty much ideal Forestbound leather bag. Forestbound leads in perfectly to Foret, my favourite scent from OLO (inspired by all of the forests the maker has visited). A BFF necklace that I'd be psyched to have half of, made by In God We Trust. (I'm dying to see their "Heathers" series...I wonder which quotes they chose.) And finally, hand-painted silk and cotton scarf from Scarfshop's Holiday Shimmer collection. I'd definitely choose the gold one (to go with my platter...).

I have a bit of a tough time with the whole insanely commercial side of the holidays, but I think shopping handmade makes it all feel a little better. Rest assured, any purchase that you've made from a small business person has been greatly appreciated this holiday season. I have been very busy making, packaging, and shipping jewelry lately and I am thankful for each and every order. I love seeing all of the different addresses that my work is headed off to and appreciate it whenever a customer sends me a nice comment when they place their order or receive their package. It's amazing to be part of the process of getting the perfect gift to a special person. Thank you all so much for your support this year! 

What's on your handmade wishlist? Leave me a link if you have a post to share!

gold zag tray by upintheairsomewhere
ashcroft leather carryall by forestbound
OLO fragrance
best fuckin' friends necklace by IN GOD WE TRUST
holiday shimmer collection by Scarfshop


a few new things...

This weekend I'm updating the shop with some new pieces. Among them: cave explorers, rutilated quartz necklaces (one of my all time favourite stones), new pendulum pieces, and a few new vintage paddle necklaces like the one in the middle. I've taken and edited all of the close up shots, tomorrow I'll take a few more of each piece and get the listings up. There's still time to get your order in before Christmas!

I hope you're enjoying your weekend and perhaps hitting up a craft fair or two to support your local makers! Jeff and I spent a lot of the afternoon in Point Roberts, Washington, waiting in various lineups to get American Sadie orders mailed out, pick up some Christmas packages, and take advantage of cheap American gas prices. Not the most exciting afternoon, but we got a lot done. Tonight we're going to our first Christmas party. I'm hoping for shortbread and glogg. Happy weekend, everyone!



Although I often talk about home being Calgary, I'm actually from the far east coast of Canada (not the farthest, mind you). My hometown is Halifax, Nova Scotia, and recently I've been able to make it back more often than in the past. It helps that my sister lives there now, as does my dad, and my 92 year old grandmother that I've written about before also lives in there on a farm she's been at since she was about two years old. So the draw of close family is strong.

Halifax is also an amazing little city. It has a whole bunch of universities and with thousands of students living there it's got a pretty great arts and culture scene, some decent restaurants, and perhaps best of all, practically nowhere to buy expensive things. I love that!

So, though I grew up in Calgary during junior high and high school, Halifax, slumping down to the Atlantic Ocean, is still home. And while I lived in Calgary, my dad lived in Mississippi or England, so I've had bedrooms next to both sides of the Atlantic and along the Gulf of Mexico.

I would love to go back to Mississippi, as my sister has been lucky enough to do a few times, but I know that everything has changed since I was last there. We lived right on the coast in a little place called Pass Christian, and nothing was left in the wake of Katrina. Well, some cement ("see-ment"?) pads and pool copings, but that's about it. My dad had already moved to England years before, so the foundations that are left were no longer ours when Katrina hit, outside of the memories that all of the images of the devastated coast brought back.

And now I live by the Pacific, which is not at all like the Atlantic. In Vancouver we're protected by Vancouver Island, which means we rarely see waves. The ocean laps the beaches here, at best, but I still appreciate the way it changes every day. You'd never know that the two images of the ocean from this post and one a couple of days ago were taken at almost the same spot. Today was warm-ish and bright and sunny and I discovered a beach by my office that I never knew about before. It's for dogs, but I still like it.

I think it might be hard to ever go back to living land-locked...but then again, the Rockies are pretty spectacular. What kind of natural places do you visit in your part of the world?


vancouver in december

Vancouver turns into a magical city this time of year. All of the major downtown streets are strung with twinkle lights and there are even more people bustling around downtown than usual. We have a very vibrant, busy downtown here, owing to the fact that many thousands of people live on the downtown peninsula, a condition not very common in North American cities. All of those downtown residents mean busy streets 24/7. It makes our little city feel like a much bigger one, if you ask me.

I'm looking forward to doing some holiday shopping in Gastown (seen above in the drizzle last night) and having dinner in a couple of my favourite restaurants this month. Jeff will be finished his exams this week and I'll have all of my craft fairs behind me and online orders shipped in time for Christmas. There are a few exciting pop up shops that I want to check out, and some places that I always stop by this time of the year, like Old Faithful.

I'm excited to bake some cookies, finish unpacking, and head away on Christmas vacation to see most of my family. What's on your holiday to do list? Do you have any travel plans?


new camera...sort of

You guys might remember my little autumn to do list. Well, I didn't get to everything on the list, but I got to a lot of it, and had a fun fall travelling, making new things, and generally enjoying an autumn without school for the first time in three years.

One thing on my to do list was to take a photo with a new camera. I still haven't invested in the camera that I have my eye on, but in the meantime, I was way overdue for a new phone and I got the new iPhone 4S. I think this counts as getting a new camera, too, and I thought I'd share a picture that I took of Burrard Inlet and downtown Vancouver this afternoon. Yes, it is a grossly grey day here in Vancouver. (And, Danielle, I will try to refrain from sharing crappy Instagram photos here but I can't promise I won't try to get one past you every now and then...)

I'm not kidding when I say that I was overdue for a new phone. BABIES have much better phones than I did before last week. And with my new phone I was already able to contact a locksmith to get Jeff and I back into our apartment when our lock broke last weekend, take credit card payments at Got Craft? that were instantly authorized through PayPal's virtual terminal (so awesome and convenient), and share this photo with you. I don't want to talk about my new phone too much, so let's just say: I'm convinced.

And on that note, please tell me about your favourite apps...


something new

Hi friends! Got Craft? was a great success, thank you so much to all of you who came out to check out the amazing vendors. It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces and some people that I haven't run into in a long time. To everyone who stopped by to say hi, from old friends to new customers, thank you. It was so fun being part of this event. I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to participate. And I really should mention the people who directly helped me with this show: Jeff, Sam, Laura, and Jacqui, you guys are the best! It was excellent having your help working the table, making piles of jewelry, keeping up with online orders, and having your company, too. Thank you!

Above are a couple of pictures of new things that have been added to the Sadie shop. Black tourmaline nugget necklace and hammered brass and vintage chain neclaces. If you live in the US or abroad and you order before Saturday I'll ship your order from the US this weekend, which means you'll get your package much faster! If you live in Canada you have until December 15th for regular mail orders or right up until the 21st for orders shipped expedited.

Jeff goes back to being a Christmas mailman next week (he'll be on a little break from school). If you live in Vancouver maybe he'll have a hand in delivering your Sadie package. Oh, and on that note, don't forget to be a bit old school this year and leave your mailman or woman a little gift. They love Starbucks gift cards but will also happily accept thank you cards, cash, and booze. I know it for a fact.

I guess it's time: Happy Holidays!

How is your holiday shopping coming along? What handmade items have you purchased?


sadie scarves have arrived

After getting such a great response to the post where I introduced the new hand dyed organic cotton Sadie scarves I've decided to list a few in the shop. These are limited edition for the holidays. Take a look at the ones I've listed in the shop and let me know what you think.

There will also be a big shop update sometime this weekend. Today is my day to photograph all of the pieces that I have ready for the last part of this busy holiday season. Check back here for more about some of the new pieces I have going on! And if you live in Vancouver be sure to stop by Got Craft? tomorrow any time from 10AM - 5PM. Remember! The first 45 people through the door get amazing swag bags! See you there, I hope!

UPDATE: Several of these scarves found new homes at Got Craft? but don't worry, there are more on the way soon!


got craft?

I'll be at Got Craft? on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It's at the Royal Canadian Legion on Commercial Drive (just a couple of blocks north of Broadway). Remember! The first forty people to show up get a swag bag with goodies from the vendors inside. I've heard that people line up to get into this show and am looking forward to being a vendor at Got Craft? for the first time.

A couple of other things to note: I'll be able to take cash, credit cards (using my phone) and PayPal/Interac money transfers (using your phone). That should have most people covered, I hope. I'm also going to have some friends helping me out, so thanks in advance to Sam and Jacqui for hanging with me on Sunday.

Here's a little time lapse video of a previous Got Craft? event:

Got Craft from blueolive on Vimeo.


we've got a lotta lotta lotta lotta work to do

No, really, you guys are amazing. I'm a bit overwhelmed these days with my day job being increasingly demanding (and challenging, in a good way), holiday shopping well underway, and preparation for one more craft fair this Sunday. And with all of this going on it is all but impossible for me to catch daylight hours to photograph in...it starts getting dark here around 3:30 PM these days! It's been great that despite my long absences between posts, when I do check in here you guys always leave me such lovely comments or send me a message on Twitter wishing me luck with all the things I've got going on. I really appreciate it and am very grateful for the things that you've helped me accomplish this year. (I'll go into that a little more at the end of the year.) I'm looking forward to taking a little inventory of 2011 here on the Sadie blog and I will certainly be sharing my plans for 2012 soon.

Happy December, everyone! Good luck with all of your holiday preparations! Oh, and as a little thank you to my Sadie holiday customers, then next ten purchases from the Sadie shop will ship with a free pair of laser cut baltic birch earrings. I will ship ten different designs to ten wonderful Sadie customers.

Here's a little video to start your Thursday off with:


business time

It's been a bit all business, all the time around here (and in my life in general as both my day job and Sadie have ramped up a few notches in the past few weeks). There are still packed boxes in our new apartment and my to-do list just keeps getting longer, no matter how much I accomplish in a given day. I'm sure you know the feeling. It's just a busy time of year.

So today I just wanted to share one small thing. This is the view I have from my lunchtime walk Monday - Friday. From my office on the North Shore we have an amazing view of Burrard Inlet, the Port of Vancouver, downtown Vancouver, and more. Turn around and there are the North Shore Mountains. It's a beautiful place and on days like these, when I'm insanely busy and a bit stressed and the sun is shining (in November in Vancouver?) I have to take a walk to soak some of this in. I thought you might want to take a look, too. That right there is the Pacific Ocean, friends. What did you get up to this weekend?


portobello west all weekend long!

I'll be at Portobello West all weekend long, so be sure to stop by and say hi. There are coupons for free admission in The Georgia Straight this week. You can find me and my friend Sam at Table 19 down the centre row. We're going to have tons of new necklaces, earrings, and a few special, limited edition hand dyed scarves to share with you. Some items will be deactivated in the shop starting later tonight as they're coming with me tomorrow! Have a great weekend everyone! See you at the market!

Portobello West runs from 11AM - 5PM both Saturday and Sunday at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre in Southeast False Creek (Athlete's Village). Come get some holiday shopping done!

meet the holiday cave explorers

These new cave explorers will be joining me at Portobello West along with a couple of other new miniature figure pieces this weekend. You might also find them in the Sadie shop this week, though the little man in the beige coat has already found a new home. These guys are really fun to make, but it takes me a long time between batches to find the right stones and materials to use. I'll be sure to let you know when more hit the shop!

In slightly unrelated news, my friend Laura came over last night and helped me do some major prepping for my upcoming shows. I have to thank her here so that you guys can all know how awesome she is! She helped me get all caught up on online orders, ensuring everyone who's ordered up to this point will get things in lots of time before the holidays, and having her and Emily here to chat with helped make the night fly by and we made a ton of stuff. So, thanks to both of you ladies for coming over to our new place! And thanks to Jeff for always taking things to the post office for me! He's the one who really makes sure you get your orders quickly! Looking forward to seeing everyone at Portobello West this weekend! I'll be at table 19, down the middle aisle just in front of the entrance! Stop by and say hi!


sadie scarves

Our new apartment is pretty great, though not entirely unpacked or cleaned up yet. One of my favourite things about it is the new paint job. Alice recommended simply white by Benjamin Moore and our landlords were kind enough to paint everything in the colour we chose. I couldn't be happier with the bright, clean feeling this white lends to this place. It is so much easier to take photos in here than in any of our other Vancouver apartments.

Now on to the scarves! If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that Emily and I (and Camilla Tie Dye Ingr) have been hand dyeing everything from scarves to underwear since the summer. One of my favourite things to make are these large organic cotton scarves. They are big, nearly 2m long, and super lightweight. I use mine as a blanket to sit on in the park, a scarf, or as an adhoc sweater in the summer.

Wednesday morning I had a serious dye session in between drawing landscape plans for work and I got some awesome scarves made for Portobello West this weekend. As you can see, they still need to be ironed, but they're almost ready to go. I'm so glad I managed to pull of making these in time for the shows I'm going to be at. Any that I still have after PW and Got Craft? will be available online in the Sadie shop...except that last one...I might have to keep it for myself. 


white agate pendulum necklaces

As I said in my last post I'm going to be sharing a lot of new Sadie pieces here over the next few days. Previous pendulum necklaces were made with grey quartz, these are made with a beautiful banded white agate. One is accented with a vintage brass tassel charm, the other has a working brass fan with an etched dragon motif. You can find them both in the Sadie shop now. Thanks for taking a look! I'll be sharing an exciting new project here tomorrow morning.