Meet my new friend LeslieJane


, , ,

You can now find Anne Carson Design at that Vancouver fashion institution, LeslieJane in West Vancouver at 1480 Marine Drive.


The charming shop just celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, which is no mean feat in this economic climate.

The store was named for the founder Leslie Jane Tyrell, a fashion illustrator who wanted a boutique that sold the kind of clothes she preferred. She sourced stylish pieces made by small fashion houses that did limited production lines made from high-quality fabrics. LeslieJane has always catered to women who want a look that is all their own.

It’s the sort of fashion I prefer, and I’ve shopped there for years. So I was delighted that her son Paul, who has kept the family business alive and thriving, will be including my jewellery at LeslieJane beginning this month.

Yvonne, LeslieJane’s Paris-based buyer

I love their sense of fun and the enthusiasm for fashion. These shots are from their fall buying trip to Paris, which included goofing around in the Palais Royal garden as well as hoofing it through the ateliers and trade shows.


They search Paris, Milan, London, and Los Angeles to find the unique garments that comprise the LeslieJane look and you can follow their adventures on the blog, where it seems they’re having too much fun to call it work.


Yvonne with the designer of my favourite cashmere sweaters, Lara of La Fee Parisienne

LeslieJane is the only shop that carries Anne Carson Design in Vancouver and they carry about three dozen pieces that complement their stylish garments. You can still find one-of-a-kind pieces via my monthly newsletter — sign-up here — and if you’re in the U.K., my jewellery is carried by the online retailer, Emma & Louise.

And I’m still doing small, private trunk shows. If you’re interested in arranging a showing, please contact me — info(at)




The case for a Canadian book flood


, , , ,

I think I’ve finally figured out why those Scandinavian countries are always topping the international happiness lists: they read. A lot. In Iceland they even have an event called the Christmas book flood and it sounds as if it could easily become my favourite holiday. On Christmas Eve everyone gives everyone else books as gifts and then all 330,000 of them hunker-down, with good food and grog, to read. 

Well, sign me up! As it happens, I already have a private holiday that is very much like this. On one day over the winter break, I like to lounge around in my pyjamas reading the books I got as gifts and eating every delicious food I can find.


(Currently on my nightstand. And I recommend it.) 

Although it’s also true that I’m often thwarted. Other people have other plans for holiday things and introverts like me are told to just suck-it-up and make merry, dammit!

So I think we bibliophiles and introverts need to reserve a day that the party-hardy crowd can’t hijack. Since they’ve already claimed Christmas Eve, let’s make the Canadian book flood the last Friday in December. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we’re all exhausted from the holiday rush. What better way to celebrate surviving the season than by getting all hygge and curling up with a glass of wine and a good read.

Want to join me? I’m sure a Canadian book flood would make us all very happy.


Come to my show; explore Main


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Part of the fun for me in doing a trunk show on Main Street is that it gives me a good excuse to visit shops and restaurants outside of my neighbourhood. And if you’re visiting my pop-up shop this week, I recommend you visit them too.


I open at 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, so if you’re dropping by midday, may I suggest you have lunch at Coco et Olive at Main & 22nd — the hot chicken sandwich is worth driving across town for.  If you’re arriving later in the day — I’m open until 7 p.m. — the French Table is just four blocks north of my trunk show at Little Mountain Shop.

I know many of you have a thing for beautiful stationery with clever sayings on it, so don’t miss The Regional Assembly of Text, near 24th. The shop has a vintage feel, not least because of all the typewriters decorating it. And who doesn’t need a tea towel with a map of Vancouver on it?

I can never get enough of independent bookshops and there are two near my trunk show. Book Warehouse on Main is just three blocks away from me, and is also dog friendly. And then there’s Carson Books, a secondhand bookstore just a few doors down. No relation, but obviously a kindred spirit.

Pulp Fiction on Main, is farther north, near Broadway, but since you’re already on Main, why not go a few extra blocks? (Yes, this is my rationale for hitting every independent bookstore on the street: when will I get over to Main next?)

At the top of my reading list: Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, which just won the Giller Prize.

Need to supply yourself with greenery and flowers for parties, stocking stuffers for the green-of-thumb, or maybe sign-up up for a wreath-making workshop? The Flower Factory is just a block away and they have a lovely Instagram.

And I’m sure I’ll have a few more  Christmas shopping recommendations by the time my show is done. Hope to see you there:

November 21-23

4386 Main Street (near 28th)

Little Mountain Shop

Wednesday, 4 pm – 7 pm

Thursday and Friday, 11 am to 7 pm


Christmas pop-up shop Nov 21-23


This year Theodora and I will be doing our Christmas show on Main Street in the trendy Little Mountain neighbourhood. It’s happening mid-week, Wednesday to Friday.

Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Friday, Nov. 23
4386 Main St. (near 28th Ave.)
Wed – 4 p.m to 7 p.m.
Thurs, Fri –  11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(or by appointment)



This necklace is fresh off my workbench and headed straight to the trunk show: Blackened silver and creamy baroque pearls, punctuated with a sparkly spinel clasp.

And I think the upside of winter is that it just gives us new ways to wear jewellery. Like my scarf pins. These are new for me and I have only a few in stock; I’m taking commissions. Sterling silver pins with big, bold baroque pearls, silver charms, and semiprecious stones bring some glamour to a simple scarf.





Beautiful & life-saving


, , ,

It’s fair to say that I would rather nosh on glass than discuss my health with anyone but a doctor, so you can imagine my horror when I learned I was going to have to wear a MedicAlert bracelet.


“It’s bad enough I have to advertise my personal info in public, but now I have to display it on jewellery I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing…,” my inner 20-year-old was wailing.  I know; bad joke. But really: medical jewellery. When did it come to this?


I tolerated the ranting of my inner brat for a moment or two before grown-up me returned and I remembered: this actually fits my philosophy. I’ve always believed that the things we wear every day should be beautiful and longwearing, and contribute to our quality of life.

So I’ve been experimenting with bracelets and necklaces for myself, attaching the medical medallions where I would normally add a crown or a feather or some other charm with charm.

And I can do it for you too, if you happen to need such a thing.

When it comes to medical medallions, there’s a silver lining (and a gold one). You can buy them in sterling silver or other precious metals and I can incorporate them into the design of any necklace or bracelet you like.

And I’ve been thinking about how to weave the different shapes of medallions into bangles and gemstone bracelets.


We can come up with something that lets the family member or friend who will inherit the piece — someday! a long, long time from now! —  remove it easily.


Yes, there’s another thing I don’t like talking about, except when I’m talking to brides. They’re delighted by the idea that someday their children and grandchildren will inherit a signature necklace that carries so many memories. And while it’s true that, ideally, all our good jewellery will be worn long after we’re gone, I just hate thinking about the “gone” part.

So that’s how I’ve dealt with my resistance to wearing my medical history in public. I’m trying to make it as beautiful as possible now, so that whoever inherits it will be delighted to wear it later. Much, much later.

My first creation is a simple charm bracelet in a big link silver chain, with a stylish lobster clasp and some decorative silver beads. It’s ideal for layering with other pieces, like my watch, and a simple leather-and-silver-bead bracelet that has been in my wardrobe for years.

But my next life-saving piece could be anything that delights my senses. Or yours.


Which is all to say that while I’m not up for talking about my health, I’m always happy to discuss medical jewellery from the aesthetic point of view.


The right to bare arms (with bracelets)


, , ,

The latest Twitter tempest — about the #righttobarearms —  sprang up as most of them do: when someone’s poorly worded tweet was misunderstood.

At first I was bemused by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell taking it upon herself to criticize women newscasters who wear sleeveless shift dresses.

Personally, I like the look: as sleek as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And certainly professional: 1950s fashion was nothing if not demure.


And as I joked in Twitter, I’m all for the #righttobarearms, since it’s the best way to show off a bracelet.


But I looked up the blogger she was retweeting, and I think there’s been a little miscommunication. He’s a communications consultant who was noting some research that said that audiences are inclined to think that the more covered-up public speakers are, the more intelligent they are.

And it applied to both men and women.

He goes on to offer five good, common sense tips for dressing appropriately that could apply to any event. Or daily life. And his final point practically explains how I ended up in the jewellery design business.

“Dress to set yourself apart,” Nick Morgan advises. “What accessory can you wear…that will allow you to stand out from the crowd… Finding that one little bit of difference can really make for a memorable stage costume.”

It’s like he read my mind.


I began designing statement necklaces for myself 20 years ago because I wanted to elevate what I referred to as my mommy uniform. I was wrangling two pre-schoolers and I would dress daily in a black T-shirt and dark jeans. Boring, but practical. That outfit had to carry me through my 18-hour days. And I figured it could even work for my part-time job as a photographer, if I added some grown-up jewellery. (I didn’t have time to change. But a necklace? That I could manage.)

I wanted something bold and eye-catching to distract from my pedestrian outfit. But when I went necklace hunting I couldn’t find what I had in mind. I saw some big necklaces, but they were often glass and base metals. I wanted real silver and real gemstones. After a few weeks of searching, I gave up and hit one of the gem shops to see if I could make that necklace that was in my head.

I could.


And I made quite a few.




And eventually it became a business.


So I think this guy’s fashion advice is pretty good. Although I’m not so sure about that research study, which came from psychology researchers at a trio of universities: Yale, Maryland, and Northeastern.

It’s called “Sexiness and Sweaters: The Psychology of Objectification.” Naturally the subjects were university students. And I’m not so sure we should be making our life decisions based on the perceptions of undergrads.

Gifts for those who have everything

My newsletter readers come up with some of the best gift ideas for people who seem to have everything, like this one for emergency kits.

On the West Coast we’re all aware that The Big One may hit any moment, but it’s also true that most of us blithely ignore earthquake preparedness. So one reader says that her gift for those who already seem to have everything is a little bit of insurance so they can keep it.



She gives emergency kits including water and food rations. You can make them yourself with the help of the city’s checklist or buy them ready-made. They should include things like a radio, a flashlight, batteries, blankets, candles…

Part of emergency planning is knowing how you will reconnect with friends and family after a disaster. So this writer includes phone numbers for who to meet, where, and who to check-in with outside of the disaster zone.

And this is a really thoughtful touch: she also keeps track of the gifts and updates the food and water as it expires.

“I don’t preach,” she says. “I just quietly prepare.”

Earrings fit for a thrifty duchess


, ,

The conversation began as my phone conversations with one particular friend often do: with no preamble.

“Hello! I’m looking for a pair of pearl drop earrings like the ones that thrifty duchess always wears,” she said, in lieu of “hello, how are you.”

What earrings? Which duchess? And since when are duchesses thrifty….?

It turns out my sharp-eyed pal had spotted something that might be surprising to anyone who has never owned pearl drops. The former Kate Middleton has been wearing a pair of beautiful white baroque pearls to every kind of event for years now. The same earrings, over and over again, despite the fact her husband is in line for the throne.


Maybe that’s a sign of thrift? Or maybe it’s because they’re so flattering and go with absolutely everything that they’ve become her go-to earrings.

Pearl drops are ageless and timeless so it’s not unusual to have a pair in your wardrobe for life. They’re lovely on everyone from a 70something Helen Mirren to a teenage Taylor Swift.




And for a working woman who wants earrings that are elegant without being too fussy, a substantial white baroque pearl is just the thing for collecting an Oscar…


… or sitting for a portrait


A rope of freshwater pearls may well be worth a king’s ransom, but just two high quality complexion-flattering pearls won’t break the bank. Which also makes pearl drop earrings a perfect gift.

I will have a fair selection of what I now think of as the Thrifty Duchess Earrings, in different shades and sizes, at my upcoming Dec 8-10 trunk show, with prices beginning at $60.




Trunk Show
December 8 – 10

Designers Collective
2885 W. 33rd Ave. (at MacKenzie St.)

Friday, Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come for the earrings; go for the cake


, , , ,

I’m popping up again at Designers Collective in Kerrisdale. The shop is located at snacks central: kitty corner from Butter Baked Goods and around the corner from Bigsby the Bakehouse. Lots of pastry and parking.

2885 W. 33rd Ave. (at MacKenzie St.)

Friday Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

My pal Donna Tangye, the painter, is joining me. Photos don’t do her brushwork justice, but here’s an idea of what she’s up to.

Hope to see you there,

XO, Anne


Big, bold green amethysts are perfect grey-green shade that goes with everything

ACD-E-LondonBlueLeafLondon blue topaz topped by a leaf of delicate sterling silver



Garnets accented with decorative sterling silver beads


Baroque pink pearls topped with decorate silver beads


Raindrops of white baroque pearls


Faceted rutilated quartz topped with pyrite



Rutilated quartz on a sterling silver chain



A pink kunzite necklace, layered with a rope of blush pearls with a marcasite toggle clasp