December 2012

Here we are on the eve of another new year, ripe with possibilities. There are so many things we can count on experiencing in 2013. There will be surprises, tragedies, and triumphs. There will be love and there will be loss. Some things we will be able to control, and some things we will not.

I am not making resolutions this year, but I AM making some wishes, the way children make wishes, with all of their hearts, and my wishes are for YOU (and for me too). Here goes…


image credit: from artist Lisa Congdon’s 365 Days of Lettering

  1. Bravery. I wish for you the guts to pursue whatever it is that calls you, without delay. Life is short, and a rewarding life demands courage.
  2. An ability to let go of worry and embrace the unknown. A life without anxiety is a much better life. If you can remain calm and open, you’ll be better able to cope with whatever challenges you face, and you won’t waste your energy worrying about hypothetical problems.
  3. Self-acceptance. Trying to be something you’re not is exhausting. I wish for you the freedom to feel comfortable in your own skin and to stop judging yourself or others for not living up to expectations. You’ll feel better, I promise.
  4. Community. Remember that there are amazing people out there, all around you. Help them out whenever you can, and let them help you too.
  5. Gratitude. This might be one of the most powerful things you can do to change your life, immediately, for the better. I’ll start:

Thank you for being on this voyage along with me, and for helping me grow Red Thread from a tiny seed of an idea to a thriving creative enterprise.  Thank you for helping me build this virtual community and for being honest with me about what you love and what you don’t. Everything I make is for you and for your children, and I have so much more to share with you in the year to come.

Happy New Year!

Red Thread Design


About a year ago I embarked on an exciting new project that would be different from anything I had ever done before. My goal was to create a special dress to raise money for a very effective, life-changing charity called Canada Mathare Education Trust (, and the dress at the centre of that project was called The Love Dress.

The dress was launched in March 2012, and was featured in Canadian Family Magazine, ParentsCanada Magazine, and on the morning show Cityline. A few of my wonderful stores: Planet Kid, Elm Hill Kids, Kid Culture and 100 Mile Child created special displays to promote The Love Dress, featuring beautiful posters that were designed by graphic designer Eric Parker, and printed by Lamin-8 Services in Toronto, both of whom generously donated these services.  CMETrust promoted the dress through its own channels, and a great many people helped spread the word.

The cheque is off to CMETrust this week, and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported this project in one way or another. I hope it’s helped to spread the word about this amazing charity, so that the ranks of their supporters will increase, and I especially hope that it will make a big difference in the lives of the youth who will receive these scholarships. It’s been a privilege working with CMETrust on this project, and I look forward to hearing more about the amazing, deserving scholars they are supporting in Nairobi. I cannot think of a much better cause and am honoured to be a part of it.


I’ve already shared with you my outrage about the lax safety standards in garment factories that have led to the deaths of hundreds of workers overseas in the past few years, workers sewing clothing for us and for our children. But our outrage, however deeply felt at the moment of a catastrophe, is clearly not making an impact on the safety of workers, particularly those in Bangladesh, and I just can’t let it go.

These are not rare events. The devastating fire that killed more than 100 people in a garment factory in Bangladesh last week was notable only for its scale. Authorities declared that the loss of life would have been dramatically lower if the exits had not been locked from the outside.

Why would any company allow its products to be made in a facility that permits workers’ lives to be put at risk? Are we truly willing to sacrifice human life in exchange for low labour costs? What’s stopping us from demanding answers to these questions?

Katrina Onstad wrote an excellent article in The Globe and Mail last week on this subject entitled “The real cost of our ‘fast fashion’ consumption culture.” I encourage you to read it if you’re interested, not to provoke guilt but rather to increase mindfulness. The link is here.

I know very well, of course, that on the subject of children’s clothing it’s far more pleasant to think about beautiful colour and design, and natural to celebrate a great bargain.  But unless we all pay a little more attention to how our clothing is made, and start demanding that manufacturers meet standards of human fairness and safety, nothing is going to change.