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EHC 2012 – Dress Code fashion event!

EHC 2012. Click on link for Dress Code in summary!http://animoto.com/play/XSV70fPvK5E11aIejo1avg

Dress Code opening act...

Dress Code opening act…

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How about an ECO friendly picnic destination….

How about an ECO friendly picnic destination….

As a celebration to mark the successful completion of the 2011-2012 school calendar year EHC hosted a leisurely day in the countryside for its staff and students. Last year was a ‘graduation year’ for which EHC organized Dinner at the hip Hotel Arts for the grads, students, their friends and family to share in.

But as this year was an in-between graduation year, a less formal event was hosted in the countryside – for all who felt comfortable with the lack of visible concrete and traffic noise – in the outstanding Rocky Mountain foothills area near Sundre Alberta.

After a full-on buffet picnic lunch everyone hiked the short distance through the bush from our location to Bearberry Creek Water Gardens for a behind the scenes tour with owner Heinjo Lahring. Bearberry Creek nursery (horticultural zone 2, at 4000 ft. elevation) specializes in aquatic plants for northern region ponds and wetland rehabilitation and is incidentally located near the Bearberry arts community in the foothills of Alberta.

Here hardy wetland plants have been selected for their ability to survive in the relatively short northern cool growing season. All the plants are grown outdoors (most of which are native to Alberta) which provide food and cover for wildlife, and help to establish and maintain a healthy wetland environment. These plants are raised for wetland restoration, wildlife enhancement, water treatment, bio-filtration, or other aquatic projects such as shore stabilization, erosion control, planting in flooded areas, nutrient utilization, waste water treatment and clarification, shading, and ornamental plantings.

As a modern day homesteader in the Canadian back country since 1983, together with his wife Jan (fellow botanist and business partner) and the seasonal staff, Heinjo established and operates the nursery, gives tours for school children, does research, speaks at conferences, and has authored “Water & Wetland Plants of the Prairie Provinces” a 326 page paperback field guide [ISBN: 9780889771628 – available at the nursery or through Amazon books]featuring colour photos, line drawings, and detailed descriptions of over 400 species of water and wetland plants found across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Written for amateur and professional botanists alike in other parts of Canada, the United States, and even Eurasia, many of these northern wetland species are circumpolar in distribution.

As a lover of nature, Heinjo and family regularly ski and cycle in the back country in their spare time, but he also plays and teaches drumming.  Now if that isn’t enough, he also heads up the Sundre Gymnastics Club coaching team, is one of its founding members, and continues to take NCCP training and works with the Alberta Gymnastics Federation.

We had a great time and are thankful to Heinjo for giving us a very passionate and informative tour of the facilities, the showy tropical water lily tank specimens, the tree seedlings, the transplanting  house, and all the various garden offerings, but more importantly for explaining the hidden work and importance of environmental rehabilitation [especially in our oil industry based province], the challenges of operating in this particular climate and the competition bestowed by the indigenous wild creatures that crave these water plants!

It was a long glorious day, and a memorable one shared with our very talented, passionate and hardworking students at a destination that perhaps we will visit again in the future…

Heinjo Lahring – owner operator Bearberry Creek Water Gardens

Pond bed for water plants

Muskrat challenges

Water lilies in bud

Water lily in bloom

Water bed preparation

Water grasses featuring a type of cotton producing water grass – centre

Tropical water lily which only blooms at night

Bearberry Creek regularly hires national and international summer students providing specific practical work experience in the field of water plants

Domestics are always on duty to keep rodent population under control

After a long day…

…let’s do this again….

Field guide cover

Field guide back cover

 

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Who are we? CRAVE: Calgary

…found this great video seeking to articulate who we are and what the soul of our city is. You may say that your own city is the same…what do you think?

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

A call went out to the students at EHC for inspiration for this week’s weblog – they came back with the theme of Mother’s Day.  Looking into the origins of this celebration I came across several versions of its history and its varying celebratory traditions.  But, it is important just to recognize the contributions of all great women, mothers, and in my case, my mother the founder of EHC, who is strong willed, energetic and has a great Vision.

As Founder of EHC, Elfriede has dedicated the past 20 years of her life to developing Ecole Holt Couture based on her ideals, 60+ years of experience and the fortunate opportunity of her own training.  Not one to be put off by some resistance and more than a few obstacles she has contributed a wealth of knowledge to be passed on to future generations to take advantage of as the basis for a career in Couture Fashion.

It appears that the Mother’s Day that we are familiar with in North America can be traced back to the name of three incredible women.  In recognizing these women who have been given the credit for establishing Mother’s Day, countless others – who to us are now nameless – have also given their support to these heroic efforts.

Anna Reeves Jarvis and Anna Marie Jarvis

In the 1850’s, American – Anna Reeves Jarvis, organized Mother Work Day Clubs that focused on providing medicine for the poor and on improving sanitary conditions. Then, during the Civil War, Mother’s Day Clubs cared for all soldiers — regardless of which side of the battle they had chosen. After the war ended, Anna continued her peacemaking by working to bring people together to heal the deep wounds of those who had been divided by the war. In light of this, in 1872 Anna celebrated a special day terming it Mothers’ Day for Peace.

After Anna Reeves Jarvis died, her daughter Anna M. Jarvis campaigned for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace.

In 1908, Anna petitioned the superintendent of the church where her Mother had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday school. Her request was honored, and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration took place at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The West Virginia event drew a congregation of 407 and Anna Jarvis arranged for white carnations—her Mother’s favorite flower—to adorn the patrons. Today, white carnations are used to honor deceased Mothers, while pink or red carnations pay tribute to Mothers who are still alive.

In 1912, Anna M Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Anna had become disappointed with its commercialization already by the 1920s.”Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card,” she also once pointed out, “There is no connection between candy and this day.”

As Mother’s Day celebration began in 1908 in the US, it was followed in Canada a year later in 1909.

Julia Ward Howe

Social and Anti-Slavery activist Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) who wrote ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, also wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, which she delivered at a Women’s Peace Conference in London. The proclamation was an antiwar reaction and belief that women had a social responsibility to shape their societies.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
 
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
 
“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
  
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
 
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
 
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
 
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
 
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.             Julia Ward Howe Boston 1870

Mothering Sunday in the UK

In the Roman religion the Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele and it took place during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe slowly converted to Christianity, this celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the “mother church“.

Although the beginnings of Christianity in England can be traced back to 300AD, it appears that by 1400 AD like the rest of Europe, England and Ireland were observing the mid-Lent holiday and honored their “Mother Church,” by decorating the church with flowers where they were baptized; it was considered important for them to return to their “mother” church at least once a year.

Mothering Sunday by the 1700’s, was observed by taking a break from the fasting and penitence of Lent and having a family feast. Children would make a rare journey home from their apprenticeships and jobs in ‘service’ to spend one day a year with their mother and family. They would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday and the secular tradition of giving gifts, cakes and flowers—especially violets—to mothers.

Constance Penswick-Smith

In the early 1900’s to 1920s, the custom of keeping Mothering Sunday had tended to lapse in the UK, Ireland and in continental Europe. But, in 1914 inspired by Anna Jarvis, Constance Penswick-Smith created the Mothering Sunday Movement,and in 1921 she wrote a book asking for the revival of the Mothering Sunday festival. It also experienced a wide scale revival in the UK through the influence of American and Canadian soldiers serving abroad during World War II.

The traditions of Mothering Sunday, practised by the Church of England and Church of Ireland were merged with the newly-imported traditions still celebrated in the wider Catholic communities. By the 1950s Mother’s day was celebrated by everyone in Ireland and the UK on the same day that Mothering Sunday was celebrated, however, the two celebrations are not the same observance.

Today over 70 countries observe Mother’s Day  http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/#anna

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Calgary Spring War-drab

Caught on video Banff National ParkThis Photo captured by video in Banff National Park on March 28, 2012 even Lynx is looking for Spring…

An interesting time of year Spring, when one starts to experience symptoms of cabin fever and the longing to just get outside in the sunshine and warming fresh air. Here in Calgary Spring really doesn’t exist as most people know it. The clocks change to daylight savings time – we can’t imagine why this tradition still persists, the calendar proclaims the vernal equinox, and yet we don’t experience flowers bursting out of the ground, greening of the grass or buds on trees. In fact at Easter, we could still be dealing with grey frozen mounds of dirty snow, cold winds and threats of freak snow storms.

Our winter weather is prolonged until well into late April or May when one day it seems everything suddenly changes and wakes up as if late for work, hurriedly gets dressed into bright greens, and manages to catch up to Summertime knocking at the door offering everyone a lift to mid-summer activities. The roads may still be heaped with dry pickle from the winter until July when the City trucks turn up in swathing teams to sweep it all away.

Wardrobe planning sort of skips spring season here, and marches straight from Winter to Summer in the respect that light coloured trench coats and pastel trousers don’t seem to work well facing cutting icy wind gusts and possibly new snow, dusty rain with some intense sunshine – all within the same day. Everyone is loath to put away down filled jackets too soon, but has no problem wearing short pants with it – just in case.

Our spring wardrobes really are reincarnations of Fall season wardrobes that work perfectly well until we shed the cashmere sweaters and change into summertime cotton dresses, linen suits, and trade in winter boots for rainbow striped sandals.  We envy those who can sport white and bright colours with open toes shoes in April as displayed on the runways.

One great thing about Calgary summers, when they finally arrive, is that they rarely like to give up until the end of September and sometimes tease us with gorgeous hot sunny days into October when finally relenting to Fall weather. Calgary wardrobes are really most effective consisting of interchangeable pieces for Winter, Summer and Fall. Plan ahead and save the spring wear for your next vacation to Paris….dream on J…

Very Chic for Autumn or Indian Summer

Photos thanks to http://www.thesartorialist.com/  OK so he can get away with white jeans and no socks…lol

 

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Happy Easter

Hope

 

 

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featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

Eleganza – Pattison Outdoor Advertising Calgary AB – visit www.couturecalgary.com

McKnight Blvd. Calgary

 

 

 

Thank you Tania Lavoie – Pattison Outdoor Advertising

 

 

 

Students of EHC will feature their latest couture projects along with vintage couture garments and new couture wedding gown at the event. Sponsors will be there supporting the event, relax and enjoy live music (see who below) with wine and nibbles!

Couture vs Labels continued: Couture

…FOR the wedding gown we assimilated all the information gathered in the consultation process and started to produce sketches putting to paper a variety of ideas. Starting with sketches too early in the couture process just creates wasted time and effort; couturiers should more or less understand their clients before putting pencil to paper. Unfortunately, what may happen in very rare cases is that the client may take the couturiers creative ideas and abscond to someone else to be constructed. If this happens the other couturier should have the integrity not to copy someone else’s designs. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence; by the time the couturier ought to be creating sketches is when the couturier/client relationship has been well established, trust has been developed, a contract signed, and the deposit paid with the cheque cleared.

Couturiers must understand and become very familiar with their client’s preferences, needs, lifestyle, etc. and – this is a very big AND – keep it to themselves as private not-for-public-consumption as confidential as information between doctors and their patients. Fabrics are sampled and sourced to make the whole image come together with sketches. Sketching is used a technique to communicate ideas – not an end in its self – rather a means to an end. Many ideas are explored, revised and developed but, this stage has a definite duration. After which, the client approves of the design in writing before anything else is done.

What happens if the client changes her mind along the way about the design? More on that next time…

Couture vs Labels: Labels

…BACK to ready-made wedding gowns, hems always need adjustment but, the other thing that needs altering nine times out of ten is the lining. Linings of production line garments seem to be a ‘one size fits all’ component.  Beautiful gowns on the outside frequently have unsightly rippling showing through. Most people think what they see is the result of the dress being too big, in a way they’re right, but unless you are more experienced with dressmaking and tailoring you may not realize that it may only be the lining which is supposed to be exactly the same size and shape as the outside or slightly smaller.

In most ready-made garments the linings are not even seamed in the same place as the top fabric, excess fabric being only pleated in to match a seam line or folded over to take up excess lining. Let me repeat: this is NOT how it should be.  Linings should be like a second skin to the top fabric following the contours and seaming of the top fabric. Overcoats and jackets may have special ‘giving pleats’ for ease of movement when a more flexible top fabric than lining is used. Please don’t confuse a ‘lining’ with an underlay, slip or underdress to the face of the garment.

Why don’t ready-made garments have linings these days? That next time….

 

Eleganza will be featuring the very talented Sarah Vann www.sarahvann.com singing and Los Morenos www.losmorenosmusic.com live band playing at Eleganza on November 20th, at the Calgary Winter Club www.calgarywinterclub.com