Fashion is everywhere

Clones N Clowns by Aimee Wood

Introducing Le Colis

Hello ! I hope your Xmas has been as delicious as mine 🙂 To celebrate good food (and the fact that it’s not time for healthy new year’s resolutions just yet), I want to introduce you to a new French company called Le Colis. This company was born to make expats and foreign foodies HAPPY. Basically, the concept is you buy a seasonal box and receive it full of French goodies to devour in the comfort of your own home. Just right if you’re missing French favourites or fancy a bit of something different ! The Winter box by Le Colis arrived on our doorstep a couple of weeks ago and during the countdown to Christmas and its delicious smells and tastes, the French food literally couldn’t have been more welcome. Here’s a glimpse at what the Winter Le Colis carries – but to taste it yourself you’ll have to order because ours is ALL GONE ! The first thing I pulled out of the surprise box was chocolate… I’ve always thought starting with pudding is a great idea 😉 Gourmet chocolate to be precise – needless to say it didn’t last long. Paté, a French favourite of mine. Nobody makes paté like the French and this chesnut mix is perfectly seasonal. Yummalicious on crusty bread with a glass of red wine.Tapenoix, a mix of “tapenade” (olive paste) and “noix” (walnuts). I had never tried this before but I can’t say I won’t be having it again – it was a wonderful surprise for my taste buds and it was nice to have something new to try in the box too. Crème de marrons… A classic ! Chestnut spread, in yogurt, on crepes, or simply by the spoonful… Thank goodness it was just a small pot or I wouldn’t fit into that New Year’s eve dress !If you don’t like the idea of Winter, mulled wine probably cheers you up. This little pot is just what you need to make a bottle of red wine into a deliciously warm and spicy beverage – switch on The Holiday and you’ve got yourself the perfect evening. The French macaroons were the last thing I pulled out and I have to say I was surprised. Having previously worked in the PR team for one of the most prestigious macaroon suppliers in Paris (yummy memories), I know it’s a challenge sending these babies by the post… They’re pretty fragile and perish more than quickly. I remember the solution for Fauchon being huge polystyrene boxes that kept the egg and almond mix fresh, but apparently things have moved on since then because these macaroons can be kept upto two months. They’re slightly drier than your usual macaron which probably helps, but they were still perfectly delicious (especially the cherry one). So, feeling hungry ?! Go and grab yourself a turkey sandwich and then  order a Le Colis box for when it’s all gone ! The website is currently in French but will soon be available in English too – watch this space ! Thanks Le Colis and happy day after boxing day ! xx Aimee

Introducing Le Colis

Flower is the new black

Hello les filles ! Today I’m here to introduce you to a new Parisian brand I love and discovered on Artbay. These three girls got together to launch their brand Ménage À Trois and I just love the outcome of fun, unusual clothes. Ménage À Trois are here to defend “Jay Z for everyone” and remind us of Beyoncé’s saying “Who runs the World ? Girls”. So we’re here for a good dose of girl power today then ! The product I chose when Ménage À Trois kindly offered is a sweatshirt that reads Flower is the new black. I just love the idea of wearing a bright pop of colour and flowers in the Winter – there’s nothing like a pretty bouquet to cheer you up on a gloomy day ! You can find more products by Ménage À Trois on Artbay here – they have some awesome tee-shirt about Paris, too ! Today I’m wearing a Flower is the new black sweatshirt by Ménage À Trois, an H&M skirt, a designer jacket found in a charity shop, Zara boots, a Monoprix scarf and a Topshop bag. Thanks to Artbay for introducing me to this and many other brands and thanks to Ménage À Trois for the gorgeously cosy and perfectly cool-dude sweater ! xx Aimee

Flower is the new black

Avenue 32

Yesterday I attended an event organised by Avenue 32. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know anybody there so I spent a lot of my time hiding behind my camera – I’m shy like that ! I did feel like you were with me though, as weird as that may sound. I saw how the other fashion bloggers grouped together, took photos of each other, almost held back from eating the delicious breaky provided, ooohed and ahhhhed over the clothes on show… Oh and, bloggers tend to have the hugest cameras ! I had a small lense on mine yesterday so I had to remind myself that “size doesn’t count” ^^ Generally speaking, all the bloggers looked very stylish, many with a typical London modern-yet-retro look, and as for the items on the rail… Just : WOW. I am so inspired by Avenue 32’s whole concept : the website stocks emerging designers as well as better known designers, sharing the credibility and promoting newcomers with talent. I love that idea. Promoting designers is something I’d love to get involved in and I think it’s a new dimension I’d like to introduce to this blog. Although I’m a total DIY freak, I do genuinely believe supporting talented designers is a good thing. It’s one of the reasons I’d rather DIY a project inspired by a trend rather than attempt to reproduce a designer’s actual piece of clothing or accessory. Well, OK, I did recreate the Moschino paper boat clutch – it was irresistible ! But as a general rule I try to do my own thing and if I love another person’s creation, I will also try and buy it or not have it at all. Personal rule. The prices on Avenue 32 are what you might call “affordable luxury”. I mean, you’re not going to fill your basket without having to deal with triple digits, but new designers tend to charge more understandable prices for their work. It’s not so much about the hype and branding, it’s a lot more to do with quality, materials, work and talent. I think I’m going to start saving up to buy less high street and a little more “luxe”. My dream style would definitely be a bit of homemade, a bit of cheap ‘n’ cheerful high street and a beautiful designer piece to top it off. When’s payday already ? Uh oh, today… So I’ve been thinking. How can I (and you) boost my wardrobe without failing to pay the rent ? Well, there are so many sites out there with second hand designer, and then there’s ebay, and also sales and “private” sales… There’s actually a lot of alternatives out there if you’re looking to buy designer at a lower price. So what I’ll do sometime soon is take the time to dig out some online luxe bargains and post you a top ten selection – what do you think ? Something like “OK I’ve found these, they’re amazing, one of you grab ’em nooooooowwww”. A cheaper way to upgrade your wardrobe. Come on, let’s get designer clever 😉 xx Aimee

Avenue 32

Clones ‘n’ Clowns is one year old !

Yihaaaaaa March 2013 is here and this lil’ blog is ONE YEAR OLD ! One year ago I had no idea how much I was going to put into this blog but here we are, 12 months, a few hundred posts and hundreds of thousands of page views later, and I’m still loving every minute of it ! When I started Clones ‘n’ Clowns I didn’t even tell my boyfriend. I was quite involved from day one but was also very shy and thought it might be one of those things that would last a couple of weeks and fade away… I didn’t want to go on about it if I wasn’t going to see it through. “Yet another ambitious idea” they would say… I’ve always been full of them ! After just a few days, hundreds of people were visiting my DIY walk of fame wedges post (bless those iPhone pics !) and when I realised people were actually enjoying my crafts projects that was IT ! I knew this place was going to become my second home, my baby, my alter ego. I used to get bored of things so easily, needing something new, and yet with this blog I see so much future, so many possibilities, so much potential… I wake up every morning and can’t wait for the day to get started. Who’d ever have thought I would finish uni only to start my own over-intensive course of learning as much as I can a day about photography, Photoshop, Illustrator, coding, webdesign, SEO, blogging in general and just plain old organisation and dedication. I still have a LOT to learn about all of these subjects but I also definitely know a LOT more than I did one year ago ! And I really enjoy learning something new each day. I honestly don’t think a day goes by without me learning something super useful. It’s a never-ending quest for skill and perfection – it makes me feel alive ! Never mind the best excuse in the world to spend most of my time making things 🙂 Oh yes, CNC and I have been through so much already… and yet there’s still a lot more to come ! I’m so excited about the upcoming year – in fact I’m so excited about the upcoming months ! I have loads of fab’ surprises coming up, the adventure is getting bigger and bigger ! It’s been hard enough keeping some bits to myself over the past weeks so today I’m spilling the beans… Here are three projects I have planned for you guys very VERY soon : 1/ My first book Yes ! I’ve known for months and yet couldn’t let the cat out of the bag… Torture ! I’ve written my very first book that is to be published in France by Hachette – unfortunately it’ll all look like gobbledegook to you if you don’t speak French but I’ll be showing you a few piccies on here so you get an idea of what it looks like and who knows, maybe I’ll get a book together in the UK sometime soon too… 😉 It’s called Customisez ! and is all about how you can customise your clothes, shoes and accessories at home with just a few supplies and easy steps. I have always loved crafts books and can hardly believe my bookshelf will soon have one with my name on it…! I’m so proud ! More on that topic in May. 2/ DIY CHALLENGE : 30 DAYS – 30 TEE-SHIRTS Now this is something everyone can enjoy, whatever your language ! From the name of the challenge I’m guessing you’ll know what I’ve got in store but just in case you haven’t figured it out, here’s the aim of the game : 30 DAYS, from March 20th to April 19th (so starting VERY soon !) + 30 basic white tee-shirts, all ready to be customised = 30 tutorials, one every day of the challenge, so that you can find out how to turn the most basic tee-shirt in the world into a 2013 fashion statement !  Get ready, this is going to be a month of hardcore DIYing ! I’m so excited* to get started I could pop with ideas but I’m also pretty nervous (which, let’s admit it, only makes it more exhilarating !). What happens if I get some crafty version of writer’s block ?! I suppose we’ll see, shan’t we ?! I’ll share it all with you RIGHT HERE on CLONESNCLOWNS.COM – even the DIY fails and panics ! But what’s a good challenge without a bit of teamwork ?! I’ll be inviting some other bloggers and creators to DIY and take part in the challenge, to make it even more fun ! I’ll also be launching a very special competition for you guys…… so that you can take part too ! STAY TUNED, it’s going to be DIYing EPIC. * I’m going to make search engins explode with my totally OTT use of the word exciting today, but I’m afraid there’s no better word to describe how I’m feeling ! 3/ Coming soon… Clones ‘n’ Clowns, the BOUTIQUE ! I have wanted to launch a collection of my own products for years now and ladies (and gentlemen?!) the time has come ! I’m currently working on a range of wildly bright tote bags and other bits and bobs, all hand tailored in the most beautiful fabrics (c/o Liberty, Rowan […]

Clones ‘n’ Clowns is one year old !

Photoshoot with Alixe Côté

Whilst I was visiting Montreal, I got the chance to meet a few local creators. Alixe Coté graduated as a fashion designer in 2011 at LaSalle College. Extremely talented, Alixe says she gets most of her inspiration from vintage patterns and worldwide customs but also from her close ones who she feels very lucky to have. Alixe’s clothes were modeled by Cynthia, a beautiful Montrealer who is actually pretty creative herself. We shot the photos on the 9th floor of a building in the centre of Montreal, the view was fantastic ! Alixe worked on many pieces while she was at college and now continues to create for her own personal pleasure whilst waiting for the right time to launch her brand. Meanwhile, you can find a few items on Etsy under the name of Mutane. She also took part in putting together a collection of pretty clothes for Tu m’aimes-tu? (this is how French Canadians say “Do you love me?” – such a cute brand name !) by helping them out with patterns and samples. Alixe also has many other projects on the go, including a cookbook she is writing with a friend of hers – I will say no more, but I can tell you now it’s going to be a good one ! Watch that space… I think my favourite piece has to be the skirt on this last photo… Which is yours ? xx

Photoshoot with Alixe Côté

5 craft blogs you should be following !

Hello ! Have you ever seen the film Yes Man ? If so, you’ll understand what I mean by positive attitude and saying YES ! This is one of the things I’ve noticed here in Quebec, people seem so open… I’ll be taking home strong memories of beautiful landscapes and city history, but I’ll also remember how people are so warm and welcoming. Positive energy seems to flow around here and the locals are passionate about their projects and encouraging about other people’s. Some of us Europeans should take note ! Since I began blogging, this is one of the things I have often wondered about. Although it appears to be such an open minded community, people can sometimes be so negative and closed off ! And the word “competition” is often overused… Behind the sidebar blogrolls (often just a link exchange…) and the smiley faces, a lot of bickering goes on and I think it’s such a shame ! I would rather see bloggers with common interests working together and sharing their passion. I get so much out of blogging for Clones ‘n’ Clowns, it’s been giving me butterflies in my tummy daily for nearly a year now ! However, I still read other bloggers just for fun and enjoy and respect their content and ideas. Hopefully, what goes around comes around and those people might read me and find my projects inspiring too ! A positive attitude is always beneficial, of that I am convinced. Which is why I thought I would like to share a few links with you today, of blogs I enjoy on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. I’m not around to blog so much at the moment as I am making the most of my trip to Canada (hell yeah !), so why not introduce you to some other crafty people who are well worth the read ?! These are bloggers who inspire me not only at work but in life. They are full of creativity and love of life – if you don’t know them already, it should definitely be love at first sight ! I’m not the first blogger to share a list of bloggers I love but I would go so far as to say not many do – a lot of writers would be afraid of losing you to someone else ! But I’ve always been taught that hearts are extendable and I believe the more crafty people there are in the world, a prettier place it shall become ! And anyway, the Canadians around here have convinced me that life is so much better with an open mind and a smile on your face 🙂   Abeautifulmess.com (photo source : www.abeautifulmess.com)   There a big chance you already know this one… but it had to be my number one, just in case ! I have had a couple of twitter exchanges with Elsie already and she is as OPEN as they come ! Elsie and Emma have beautiful taste (in blog names, as a start !) and are now so used to blogging that their site is perfectly professional. You wouldn’t want to reproduce all their projects or you’d end up with a garage full of recycled furniture, but you’ll definitely want to read them all !   Torie Jayne   (photo source : https://www.facebook.com/TorieJayneBlog?fref=ts)   Some how I managed to go a long time without discovering Torie Jayne’s blog… I don’t know how that’s possible given this blogger is an extremely crafty Brit ! My favourite thing about this blog is when you get to see a corner of Torie Jayne’s craft room – it’s DREAMY ! All the projects on this blog are brought to you in soft pastel colours – a choice I would never be able to stick to but that definitely gives the blog a bit of extra style !   Glitter ‘n’ Glue (photo source : www.glitternglue.com)   I’ve been following this blogger for a while now – her fashion DIYs are rad ! Glitter, studs, jeans, heels… A real Do It Yourself blog with tons of tutorials to help you upgrade your wardrobe without breaking bank !   Oh Happy Day (photo source : www.ohhappyday.com)   By far one of my favourite blogs… Again, this may be a blog you already know. It is super pro (can you hear the perfectionist in me ?!) and Jordan’s simple projects will get you thinking “why didn’t I think of that” ? Well, because even if they’re easy ones, it takes a trained crafter to come up with so many cute tutorials ! Jordan lived in Paris for a while too, which obviously makes me love her even more !   Boat People (photo source : blog.boatpeopleboutique.com)   I only discovered this Canadian blog last week but I felt it should definitely figure here as again its DIY fashion projects are to die for (to DIY for ?!). Trendy and more advanced, these projects will guide you to an affordable designer style in no time !   Enjoy ! I’ll be back tomorrow with some more crafty news from Montreal ! xx

5 craft blogs you should be following !

Everything Alice ♠♣♥♦

I’d been wanting this book for a while when one of my friends picked it out for me as a Christmas gift – how she knows me well ! A weird and wonderful crafts book, full of fun ideas and cute pictures ! The projects are as diverse as the ones on my blog so there is some sewing, some cutting out, some cooking, some drawing… I love it dearly and can’t wait to get stuck into some wonderland DIYing ! I’ll show you what I make from it on the blog so be sure to keep your eyes peeled, meanwhile, you can buy the book for yourself in bookstores or on Amazon ! As you can see, I have this book in French but the English title is Everything Alice and it is published by Quadrille Publishing. Piccy of the English cover below. xx

Everything Alice ♠♣♥♦

5 days, 5 creators : Fifi Mandirac

Some people have too much talent. Why aren’t I able to design prints with such effect ? Fifi Mandirac is a French graphic designer with taste and skill – pretty pictures and romantic catchphrases are her speciality and my walls will be sporting two of her designs very shortly. Wrapping paper, posters, beads, postcards and badges… Fifi’s stand was definitely a cute overload and I would have bought it all including the sign if I hadn’t held back. As this post is number 4 on my list of 5 creators I discovered at the crafts show in Paris,  I feel the need to underline that this is not in order of preference. I think Fifi Mandirac definitely left the show with my heart in her pocket. But that’s OK because I left with a heart printed bead in exchange <3 Find out more about Fifi on her blog and buy Fifi’s beautiful merch on http://www.fifimandirac.com/ xx – – – – – –

5 days, 5 creators : Fifi Mandirac

5 days, 5 creators : the hand sewing machine !

Who says you have to either hand sew or use a machine ?! What about a hand sewing machine ?! This is one of the innovative creations I found out about at the crafts show in Paris last week and just had to show you… It’s just like a stapler, only it sews. It doesn’t even need thread coming up from underneath ! The neat little gadget just loops the cotton each time you give it a squeeze. I couldn’t believe my eyes ! Now I tried one of these machines and I have to admit it took me a few minutes to get used to it and I was more than skeptical about how good the stitching would actually be. However, once you have your tension sorted (a tiny spring you adjust with a screw), the stiching is pretty neat. As long as you keep your speed regular… I wouldn’t say they’re the ideal solution for making a dress, but these machines are definitely perfect for repairing that top you’ve been saying you’ll stitch up for months ! You can also use it to make small items, like pencil cases, keyrings, bracelets… Great for travelling or a quick stitch without having to drag out your massive Singer ! Even though it’s hand-size, the machine will sew faux leather and Zibuline also offers a wide range of colourful findings that will get your imagination going ! Not on sale on Zibuline’s website yet… maybe sometime soon ?! More from the creatorthon tomorrow ! xx – – – – – –

5 days, 5 creators : the hand sewing machine !

5 days, 5 creators : Unique jewellry Machicadou !

After introducing my new CREATORS column yesterday, the 5 day creator-thon continues with a designer I met this week. Machicadou is a label founded by a young woman named Camille who visited my stand at the crafts show yesterday and whose necklace I fell in love with right away. Of course I guessed she’d made it – everyone here is pretty crafty and it definitely looked like hard work had been put into it : a beautiful leather coated heart statement necklace covered in buttons and other recyclyed bits and bobs. After checking out her website I can guarantee – she’s got talent ! Camille creates unique pieces out of recycled “junk” – giving left over pieces of leather, snippets of lace and dropped off buttons a second life and a glamourous one at that ! When she is not involved in theatre, her other main interest, Camille works alone in Paris using mainly leather, lace, wool and buttons and says her secret technique is PATIENCE ! Well, we can see that – check it out for yourselves : All Camille’s designs are unique and sold at very reasonable prices on her Dawanda boutique : HERE Check her out or follow her on Facebook (HERE) – her designs would definitely make the perfect Xmas gifts, don’t you think ?! Thanks for visiting and see you on Monday for our 3rd discovery – clue given on my Facebook page last night 😉 xx – – – – – –

5 days, 5 creators : Unique jewellry Machicadou !