Friday, December 5, 2008

Brazen Blowout: The Great Global Recession Sale!

When in doubt, shop local and handmade. It's good for the economy, good for the environment and good for your gift-giving/fashion reputation. You'll probably save money, too.

In that light, Brazen Design is having a blowout Global Recession Sale!

YES, The dark cloud of financial crisis gloom has a sterling silver lining!

Brazen Design will be at two Holiday Fairs in Montreal and all sterling silver pieces will be PRICED TO SELL!


Get a sterling silver Brazen Design at my special Friends&Family rate! WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

In stock:

4 small branch necklace
5 medium branch necklaces
5 hanging branch necklaces
2 hanging branch earrings
3 leaf vein necklaces
1 leaf vein (medium) earrings
3 caribou antler necklace
2 tiger lily necklaces
1 crown necklace
1 brass crown necklace
1 magnolia necklace
1 lightning bolt earrings
1 large leaf cutout earrings

Brazen Design and other talented local artists will be at:

Puces Pop: Breakfast for Dinner
Saturday, December 6, 2008 11:00am - 6:00pm
St. Michel Church Hall,
Corner of St. Viateur & St. Urbain
Montreal, QC

Hot Cakes
Friday, December 12, 2008 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Sunday, December 14, 2008 12:00pm - 7:00pm
In the basement of the Saint-Enfant-Jésus Church
5035 rue St. Dominique
Montreal, QC

In times of economic despair, support local artisans while keeping your carbon footprint to a bare minimum!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Italy seems to be the theme here... sample sale madness!

There are two not-to-be missed sample sales happening this weekend in Montreal.

I walked by Mimi & Coco on my way home and their annual sample sale started today and runs through to this Sunday November 16th. I'm talking about the Little Italy location, not the westmount one. Here's a map.

Their sample sales are killer - Italian made cotton and wool for dirt cheap prices. I always pick up a bunch of great basics: long sleeved waffle knit shirts for winter, tank tops, etc. Last year, I also picked up the chocolate version of this chunky cable-knit poncho type sweater that wasn't cheap even at 50% off but it is now one of my ultimate autum cover-ups.

I recommend hitting it up on the Friday if you can (or tonight!) but be forewarned: it is intimidating to be in there with the regulars - those ladies will try to elbow you away from the boxes of cotton treasure. Just throw your shoulders back and dive into the fray, it's well worth it!

Next but certainly not least, there is a m0851 sample sale at their headquarters. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read my m0851 blog post (or blog gush, I should say). Can you say Canadian-made bags, coats, clothes and more from Italian Leather? Yes, Please!

Here are the details:

Friday, November 14 from 10h00 to 5h00
Saturday, November 15 from 10h00 to 5h00
Sunday, November 16 from 12h00 to 5h00

3981 Boul. St-Laurent
T. 514 842 1221

Happy Sample Shopping!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dry Clean Only : from Process to Product

I am auctioning off a one-of-a-kind leaf necklace at this event in Montreal on Saturday, November 15th. You can see the complete start-to-finish photo essay here.
Dry Clean Only is the first of a yearly event in which Moniker has juried and selected 20 established artists, organizations and small businesses, or those new comers on the brink of explosion, to bring their creations together under one roof to celebrate and highlight the creativity that is flourishing in Montreal today. This is a chance for artists to exhibit one unique item that represents their line of products or services offered that is distinctive to their venture.

This year the theme of the show is Process to Product. The purpose of this exhibit is to showcase the method through which the final products are fashioned. We aim to create a public understanding of craftsmanship and how the artist relates and interacts with their chosen medium.

The event is to take place at a newly renovated space at 550 Beaumont - Studio 505 - on Saturday the 15th of November 2008 from 5:00 – 11:00pm.

Some of the talented folks that we have invited to exhibit their products are woodworkers, bag/fashion designers, longboard creators, screen printers, photographers, painters, graphic designers, zine creators, home/beauty product designers, jewelry designers, and more.

The items displayed are one of a kind and on sale by silent auction for this one night only. The auction will end at 10:30 sharp. Cash only.


AT: Sim Bistro - 550 Beaumont (Downstairs)

Saint Even
M.O. (of FAMN)

$5 - Doors @ 10:30
(Free Food)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brazen Bling at Puces Pop - Oct 4 & 5

The Puces Pop Marketplace, part of the Pop Montreal Music Festival, is taking place this coming weekend, October 4 & 5, and Brazen Design will be there with bells on. Okay, forget the bells. Accessories? Of course and always.

As it goes with most mile-end-ish craft fairs, it will take place at the St. Michel Church Hall, 105 St. Viateur West, in the basement.

Prepare to be overwhelmed and overheating.

The Brazen Design table will be featuring the 4th installment of the Brazen Design One Offs, as well as the ever popular leaf vein earrings - on SUPERSALE ($15 - in honour of Autumn and the nostalgic imagery that is leaves falling off trees.)

Brazen Design One Offs #4 began as a twinkle in my eye about a year ago and was finally manifested in a real labour of love in time for the annual Puces Pop sale. I am proud to introduce One Offs #4: "The Key to my Heart", to the world.

Inspired by the awesome-ness that is the Lee Valley Hardware Catalogue, "The Key to my Heart" uses real escutcheons (awesome word = learn it = 'ornamentation around a keyhole, handle or switch') combined with stones, charms, pearls and glass to create lovely pieces of poetic bling that you won't wanna evah take off!

Merci et j'espere vous voir ce week-end!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am SO tired of hearing about Etsy but I'm starting to wonder if I should be jumping on the bandwagon.

For those of you who haven't heard of it, is an online marketplace for all things handmade and vintage. Think of it as the hipster Ebay.

If I had a dollar for every time that someone has mentioned Etsy to me since I launched my business just over a year ago, I wouldn't need to be in business. The Montreal Gazette just did a feature, The New York Times had a huge profile about six months ago, and there are over 800 Montreal stores on Etsy alone!

They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Though I have had an Etsy shop all along, I never invested a lot of time, money or energy in it. Just to keep people off my back (and see whether Etsy is as profitable as people say it is) I have finally revamped

Do you have an Etsy store? Have you shopped on Etsy .com?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crazy 1 Hour 75% off sale!

Le Marche Montreal - a great little store featuring designer and vintage clothes, shoes, accessories and more - is having a crazy 1 hour sale today and tomorrow, on all their summer stuff.

They are located at 24 Pine Ave East, just around the corner from St Laurent. You can't miss their hot pink store front.

Friday, August 15 (today) from 4pm - 5 pm
Sat August 16 (tomorrow) from 3:30pm - 5pm

You won't see me there cause I'm still on shopping hiatus, but take advantage and let me know what you find!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Design is Yummy

My friend Elana has a great blog about design - and I am honored that she just wrote a blog entry about Brazen Design!

Read it here:

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Whoops, I have been on summer holiday from Things that go Bling for a little too long... I had written this in May but never got around to posting it.

You may remember my first post of the year, in which I swore not to do ANY shopping for all of 2008. And you know what? I didn’t make a single purchase that wasn’t food, groceries or toilet paper for FOUR MONTHS. I was so proud of myself. I had resisted temptation from left, right and center.

But THEN. The flyer arrived. For m0851’s annual sample sale. And damn it if I didn’t already have my ultimate purse picked out years ago from their permanent collection. I had to go - just in case THE purse I wanted was down from the currently-unaffordable-for-me $300.
See, I did have a caveat in my new year’s resolution, which was that if an item from my wishlist (which actually isn’t that long) was available at a very good deal OR about to be taken off the market, I could make the purchase.

I am not trying to make excuses, for as you’ll see, I didn’t even make proper use of this caveat.

I arrived at the real sample sale (as a previous customer I knew that the advertised locations of the sale at their two Montreal locations was a red herring and that the real deals would be at their headquarters up the street) and headed straight for the bags. One quick tour revealed that none of their permanent collection bags were on sale, and I headed for the door. On the way there, of course, I found myself slowing down and then stopping to look at their wallets and leaving with a $60 burnt-orange clutch.

And yes, I turn a matching shade every time someone said “hey, nice clutch - WAIT, is that NEW? Did you break your New Year’s resolution?!”

Now that it is 3 months into my purchase, I can safely say it was a wise purchase - the outer and inner pockets separate my business and personal money and receipts, the colour has “aged” well with all the dirt I throw its way, and it comfortably carries my cellphone and keys inside when I go out for dinner.

A friend of mine who has lusted after my clutch recently made a trip to m0851 to acquire one for herself - and left with a burnt-orange laptop bag instead. I got weak in the knees when I saw this gorgeous leather dream and then wept with envy when she told me it was half-off. That was mid-july, so it may be a good time to acquire your dream tote!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring Fling Fancy!

Calling all Montreal lovers of Bling 'n Bags!
(and anyone in need of a Mother's Day idea)

Saturday May 10th will see the third installment of...

The Brazen Design.
One-Off's (#3)!

Brazen Design has teamed up with Mir Handbags to bring you the ultimate Mother's Day event, featuring Miriam Fortier's high quality, hand-made handbags, Brazen Design's One-Offs vol.3, and wine, all in a gorgeous Little Italy loft. Prices start at $10.

For those unfamiliar, the Brazen Design One-Off line is my line of one-of-a-kind necklaces and earrings made from vintage/found/reappropriated beads/objects/etc. One-Off #1 and #2 sold out in a matter of hours so if you missed your chance then, don't make the same mistake!

Count it down: you have 1 week. See you and yo mamma there!

Pertinent Info:

Saturday, May 10th

14h - 18h

55 Moliere Suite 203

The nearest intersection is Jean-Talon and St-Laurent... Moliere is two blocks north of Jean-Talon and the building is just east of St-Laurent. Metro De Castelnau on the blue line is a hop, skip 'n a jump away.

google map

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hade Bags!

Question 1: Did you miss me? My apologies. Life got the best of me.

Question 2: Do you love the move towards reusable cotton grocery bags, but hate the hideous billboard aesthetic of the ones carried by most stores? Me too! Well, now you can mesh style and sustainability all while supporting a local artisan!

I was walking the crowded/smelly/sweaty aisles of Montreal’s annual Expozine Fair, regretting having been dragged there for a third year in a row, when I came across Marie-Claude Hade and her gorgeous hand-silkcreened and stitched cotton bags.

These gorgeous unbleached cotton bags are decked out in the most sumptuous imagery, the most delicious colour combos - they are just dying to carry fresh stalks of green celery, electric orange carrots and fuchsia beets!

Marie-Claude Hade - who handmakes all her bags in her Granby, Quebec studio - has the eye of a designer and the talent of a seamstress. She silkcreens her drawings and imagery on to these bags, making each one different.

They come in two sizes and prices: Large, at $35 and small, at $20. The thin ones are perfect for toting around bottles of wine in style, whether it’s of the hostess-present variety or a trip to the liquor store.

She can be contacted at the following email address:

Marie-Claude Hade

Friday, February 15, 2008


Transcript of a text message conversation between my sister and I on Valentine’s.

“guess what sis- the main man got me a pearl necklace for v day! isn’t that crazy? and no, not the sexual kind”

“ omg so amazing - if he ever gives you the other kind, please don’t tell me “.

“ promise “

Let's sully this blog a little more by promoting my friend Larissa's amazing v-day cards by hand that she sells at the Concordia Co-op Bookstore (2150 Bishop Street) where she is a manager. This year, I purchased this one:

cover: Screw V Day
inside: Now Screw Me

Hee hee, so naughty!

Some of her other gems include "Happy V Day! I'm pregnant!" and a play on the other meaning of "V.D".

February is a rough month folks: Hang in there! The sun is starting to shine a little bit brighter...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Good Doctor

Everyone needs a good doctor.

Mine happens to be elite, exclusive and expensive, not to mention German. And he happened to save my life.

World, meet Dr Hauschka!

Dr Hauschka is a skin care line from Germany that uses biodynamically grown ingredients and an anthroposophical approach to encourage and kickstart our skin’s natural self-healing abilities.

All my life I have battled with skin issues: I came into this world with eczema all over my body. I have spent a lifetime already seeing specialists, dermatologists, homeopaths, on and on. I have used hundreds of different skin care products - some that injected steroids into my skin and left me with permanent side effects, some that burned and made things worse, some that worked for a stint but kept me addicted and slathering cream on twenty times a day.
Three years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the good doctor and I ain’t never going back. Most days, I use my body and face cream once. I need only wash my hair twice a week. I no longer use a night cream and instead spray my face with toner and allow my sleep to support my body’s natural balancing processes. Four years ago, this would have been unthinkable to me.

I know it’s not affordable (the little pot of eye contour cream can run you 50$!) but can we really afford to continue to subject our largest organ to synthetic products that only treat the symptom, thereby never allowing your skin to actually heal and rebalance?

I don’t care if I have to open a store and become a retailer, or take out another line of credit - I ain’t never breakin’ up with my good doctor.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

buttons: the overlooked accessory

I just lost a beautiful knotted leather button off a sweater that has 17 of those same buttons on it - well, now 16.
I am not usually one to replace lost buttons. I usually just safety pin it in a rush on my way out the door. A 1-inch diameter knotted brown leather button, however, can not simply be replaced by a safety pin; I don't even need the button to be functional down there on the bottom of my sweater, I just need it to be pretty. An accessory.

I do often use buttons: but only in my line of one-of-a-kind earrings and necklaces. Buttons make great beads. And in the years I've spent rummaging through sewing store button bins, I don't recall coming across many brown leather knotted ones. Maybe cause those are the ones on the full price shelf.

If you have any leads, let me know!

Monday, January 21, 2008

And the accessory-of-the-year award goes to...

For those of you who already own a really nice set, this will be like "duh!" but I have only just encountered this new item in my life in the last 48 hours, and I am already a new person.

So, I award "accessory of the year" to Nice Bed Sheets.

I'm talking 300/400/500/600 thread count, satiny smooth, not from Ikea or Sears, BEDSHEETS. I had no idea what I was missing! It was the most amazing feeling. I didn't sleep particularly well, but it was not for the sheets! I can't wait to get tired again tonight and jump back in between my new 360 count mocha brown sheets and matching pillowcases. Mmmm... maybe a quick nap is in order?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter Flowers

When done right, I love floral, especially at this time of year when it gets so depressingly grey and everyone is in black and brown and blue.
Floral can be devastating, but if it’s simple, oversized and in large blocks of colour, it can be just about the best. Cause who doesn’t love flowers?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Furry Shoes?

Well, no not really.

Here’s an addendum to my blog from yesterday, that my friend Sarah sent my way back when there was still snow on the ground.

What would optimize the winter outfit?

Annie Deschêsnes Recycled Fur Belt Bag, available at: Delano Design, 70 St-Paul Street West, Montreal. $220

Also, if you are in Montreal this weekend, check out “I HAVE A LOT OF SHOES”.

Some friends of mine are having their “first shoe installation and sale” at their gallery/studio.
Details below.


vernissage Friday the 11th January 2007
7 pm - don't know when
also open on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th from noon till 5pm

3634 St. Laurent Blvd

And speaking of shoes... I want these so bad. Ok, wait, maybe I should take that back. I want a beautiful pair of above the knee, patent leather boots. But flat. So if these were flat, I would want them. Here's hoping this trend doesn't disappear too soon, or that if it does, there are enough leftovers on the sales racks. I still have fantasies about the brown leather, wedge-heel thigh-highs that BCBC came out with in Fall 2006. I would have put a photo of those up, but no where to be found... and I am too lazy to scan them from my catalogue.

(I will leave that catalogue for another post, for I could go on and on about how that BCBG Fall 2006 epitomizes class and style and if Max Azria only made them in sizes that fit real women's bodies and wallets, I would never need to purchase another piece of clothing EVER.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Winter Outfitting

I don’t know about you guys, but I find winter so hard. Maybe it’s my East Indian Blood, but sweating and humidity make me happy. Snow is pretty, but couldn’t I jump around in it wearing shorts? Please?

Being a Torontonian by birth, I made my way through my first three Montreal winters wearing only my vintage motorcycle jacket and a variety of flats/sneakers/PayLess boots.
I have finally become a real Montrealer in Winter: giant heavy sorels on my feet keep me warm and dry, my fur-trimmed hooded down coat makes me look twice as big as I am and no one recognizes me cause all you can see are my frosted-over glasses.

But it’s January 10 and it has been misting and 10 degrees for a week. I know it is freaky and scary and global warming and all that, but to be honest, my skin is loving the mild moisture. Also, it means I can pull out my Toronto Winter Look: a waist-length bell-sleeved red peacoat with giant black double-breasted buttons, and my knee-high, flat, Italian brown leather boots. To top it off, my friend gave me a gorgeous chunky knit scarf from Kate Spade, whose red matches my coat perfectly. (And it’s acrylic so no itchy).

Only six months left til summer!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I have always reviled turtlenecks. The combination of sensitive skin (i.e. itchy fabric on my neck BAD) and having a short neck has made me avoid them like cropped baby-ts. But on a recent shopping expedition in New York City, I not only bought a turtleneck, I spent three days looking for one.

My skin is very sensitive, and it flares up in the winter, which means that I am constantly trying to find ways of not furthering the sensitivity and hiding the red blotchy skin from the public eye. People are constantly suggesting turtlenecks, and for the reasons mentioned above, I always bulge my eyes and refuse.

However, out of desperation, I began to look for a really nice turtleneck to hide in. I was looking for something white or creamy, not made in China, with 100% soft cotton. I found just that at Olive and Bette’s, a cute chain shop of high quality designers in NYC. It is creamy, one-size-fits-most, soft as a baby’s bum and best of all, it is super long (the hem, not the neck) which means I can wear it in many ways: as a dress, over leggings or skinny jeans or just the usual way. I wore it over skinny jeans the other night, and dressed it up with a lot of jewellery and a big belt. The bonus: I can wear necklaces with it, which is something I can’t do when my skin is flared up.

So I eat my words. I love turtlenecks.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Shopping in NYC.

I went to New York City for New Year’s Eve - my friends’ appartment in Brooklyn was empty for the holidays, and I had heard about this fantastic happening that occurs on Pratt University’s campus on New Year’s Eve.
[ Check out for a taste of what happens there. If you can, go - it was amazing. ]

Because 2007 was a major spending year ( I started my business and upgraded lots of clothes and home things), my resolution for 2008 is to not shop at all for a year, so of course I went nuts in the days leading up to the end of 2007. Well, I shouldn’t say nuts - normally I go crazy for the dirt cheap couture knock offs, well priced shoes and Chinatown handbags. This time, however, my shopping companion and I were much more refined and stuck to the SoHo boutiques. I purchased only four items but they were all super high quality, unique and impossible to say no to.

1. Sweater of a life-time from Nicholas K: Oatmeal Merino Wool, long, cable knit, zipper and double-breasted leather buttons, satin lining, bunchy neck, can be worn as dress.

2. Limited Edition Suede Boots from Te Casan: This store in SoHo works with 7 shoe designers to create limited edition lines of incredible shoes - I went ga-ga. I couldn’t afford most of them, but lucky for me, a pair of made-in-Spain, knee-high, wine-red, suede boots with a 2 inch wooden heel were down from $650 to $250. The clincher: they came with a detachable 2 foot long suede fringe. With the fringe: ridiculous, Cher-inspired, once a year wear. Without: incredible high quality and comfortable heeled boot that goes with both fancy dresses and jeans.

3. Soft Cotton Turtleneck, made in the U.S. Can be worn as a dress.

4. Marc Jacob Toque: sauntered into a Marc Jacob Blowout Sale in Greenwhich village and found a grey cashmere men’s toque for $40 that holds all my hair (and I have a lot of that). I haven’t taken it off since. Ew, maybe it is time for a wash!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy New Year

So, in the debaucherous chaos of having three weeks off work, travelling, catching up on sleep, etc, I took a major break from Things that go Bling. But now I’m back! Welcome to 2008. I have a good feeling about this year. My resolution is to watch my finances, so I will have lots of frugal-minded accessorizing tips!

Accessorizing Tip of the Year: One Chunky Bracelet.

Something everyone needs in their accessory bowl (well, yours probably isn’t a bowl but mine is so let’s go with my frame of reference) is a big bracelet. I’m talking about a wide chunky bangle made of ceramic or wood or plastic, that slips easily over your wrist. Let me tell you why it’s the ultimate versatily accessory:

1. It can be worn year round and looks just as good over a long sleeved knit as it does on a bare wrist.

2. It can be worn around your wrist bone, just barely held on your arm by the width of your hand, or pushed up close to the elbow.

3. It dresses up any outfit. If you dislike wearing jewellery, a chunky bracelet is easy to wear and eye catching enough to allow you to bypass the traditional earrings/necklace/ring sets.

4. They can also be your most affordable and conscientious accessory purchase: second hand stores are practically littered with them, and usually in the 0.99$ bowl at that.

Recommendations: I think the classiest way to go is wood. it’s a harder thing to find, but the treasure hunt will be well worth it. For added drama, offset the large chunky bracelet on one hand with smaller similar colored ones on the other.

Downfall: Annoying if you work at a computer all day and the bracelet hits the edge over and over, driving you closer and closer to the edge of sanity. And in regards to wood = I have hypersensitive skin so maybe this is just me but I seem to be allergic to the dark waxy woods that wooden jewellery tends to be made from. I have to wear my wooden bangles over the sleeves of my shirts, which is totally fine in this season but not very summer-conducive.