Everything But Books
Fun and more fun, but none of it relating to books (because I have another page for that)

January 28, 2013

Ada Blackjack — the shop

Recently I heard from a designer named Ivonne Schippers, who let me know about her Etsy shop, where she sells handmade bags and leather goods. The shop’s name? Ada Blackjack.

Ivonne says she was fascinated by the early polar expeditions and came across Ada when reading and researching. “I thought it was a great story and found it a very inspiring name for my brand.”

Originally from Holland, Ivonne moved to Barcelona, Spain, in 2008. She had always sewed as a hobby, making some of her own clothes, but she went to school to study theater, film, and television science, and later worked for a movie distributor, a communications agency, and an apartment booking agency. When she lost her job in 2010, she began yoga teacher training, but when an injury intervened, she postponed training and “dusted off” her sewing machines.

“The initial idea was to make bags for yoga mats but pretty soon I decided to make other types of bags as well. With a lot of practicing and studying I am where I’m now, selling my bags online.”

Her designs are lovely. As Ivonne says on her online storefront, “I decided it was time to start doing what I love most, creating handmade goods to brighten up this world a little bit.”

And brighten she does. Check out her bags on Etsy and on Facebook, and read an interview with Ivonne over at Cute Suite.

I can’t help but think that the original Ada Blackjack, a skilled seamstress herself (pictured here in a parka she designed and created), would be proud.

October 21, 2012

Pretty boots for a rainy day

In 2005, I traveled to the high Siberian Arctic (setting of The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack) aboard a Russian icebreaker. Quark Expeditions, which organized the expedition, provided everyone with giant, all-weather parkas to protect us from the cold. One of the things they didn’t provide but advised us to pack was a hale and hearty pair of wellies, as they’re called in the UK– more commonly known as rain boots.

Me being me, I was determined to find pretty and stylish wellies. I figured it was bad enough I’d be wearing a hat and polar bear-sized coat the entire time– at least my feet and legs could stand out.

All these years later, as I get ready for a trip to Ireland (where everyone tells me it will rain, no matter what the slightly less ominous weather forecast says), I’m dusting off my faux leopard rubber boots with the bright pink soles.

But if I didn’t have them, oh the fun I could have finding new ones.  Here are some boots so cute you might even want to wear them on sunny days.

Horse Print Wellies in Pink (or Yellow) from Winstanley Welly

Randi Too by Kate Spade (sold by Piperlime)


 Skull and Roses Mid-calf Rubber Cowboy Rain Boots from eBay

Hunter Original (High Gloss) from Zappo’s

Spy Love Wyre Valley “Autumn” Wellies from amazon.com

Zebra Rain Boots from Brandi’s Boutique


Marc Jacobs Heeled Rubber Wellington Boots from Net-a-Porter.

(Not sure these are still available, outside of eBay,

but they’re just too adorable.  Like rain go-go boots!)