I was flipping through an issue of Country Living the other day and I came across a little story on tools by Estwing Manufacturing and I thought ... "Hey, those look familiar."

I have a vintage Estwing hammer, once my grandfather's, then my father's, now mine. I've had it for years, and though I actually have a couple of other hammers in my tool box, this one is my favourite by far. And now I know why! According to CL:
"Swedish immigrant Ernest Estwing was a self-taught engineer who started as a six-cents-an-hour machinist before eventually striking out on his own in 1923. His big idea: Hammers forged from a single piece of steel would be stronger than the traditional wood-handled models. He developed prototypes in his garage and then patented his 'unbreakable' design."
Photo from Country Living taken by Alison Gootee/Studio D; Styling: Paola Andrea.
Tool shown: Estwing sportsman ax with leather grip.
These bad boys really do seem to be unbreakable. My hammer, though old and worn, works beautifully and feels wonderful and aerodynamic in my hand. The leather-wrapped handle is soft and the patina is lovely. Apparently, Estwing had already been making tools for a couple of years by the time he opened his first factory in 1925. I'm not sure how old my hammer is, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. It's just a great tool.

You can still get Estwing tools today. A brand-spankin'-new Estwing Leather Claw Hammer (English Pattern) costs about $30 and looks like this: 
My vintage one, however, looks more like this:
I think i'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more leather-handled vintage tools by Estwing. Maybe start a bit of a collection.
 
 
Mason jars. They're not just for weddings anymore! I mean ... they're not just for preserving anymore! I mean ... they're not just for crafting anymore! 

MASON JARS ARE NOW EVERYWHERE AND THEY ARE FOR EVERYTHING.

But seriously, you've noticed, right? The whole mason jar thing? We've all seen them at weddings and on Pinterest. We've all noted them containing laughably-small amounts of flour on whatever cooking show is cool this season. (Who stores single servings of flour, I ask you?) We've all seen them corralling nails on The Most Adorable Workbench EVA!™ (as if the sort of people who use serious workbenches hang up their filthy coveralls only to channel Martha Stewart by night).

Just last week, I saw a gal drinking her coffee out of a mason jar. Her morning coffee. She's knitted some sort of sleeve/cosy to keep the heat from hurting her hand through the glass (I think). She wasn't even going to a wedding. She was just chillin' with her mason-jar coffee.

Mason jars are taking over the world. If they were sentient, they'd already be in charge.
Ball put these limited-edition blue mason jars out not that long ago. Green ones are available too.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining ... exactly. I like a nice mason jar as much as the next lady. I enjoy the mysteriousness of the freemason brotherhood. In the 1990s, I was into the Canadian band Wide Mouth Mason. I was into masons before they were cool, okay? I have nothing against masons. 

Here's something I think, though: Mason jars might be best-used for preserving. Maybe. (I am actually uncertain about this, rather than judgemental, so bear with me.) All I mean is that mason jars were designed for a specific purpose and they work beautifully at it and have done for, what, 150+ years? Something like that. So when you repurpose a mason jar, while your project may look crazy cute, you nearly always abandon some aspect of the jar's functionality -- the rubberized lid meant to create a seal, for example, is rendered useless in many repurpose projects. 

And that's fine, I guess. I mean, they're your mason jars and you should do whatever  you want with 'em. I just wonder if mason jars might not be the best tools for every job, you know? Are the projects worth the trouble?

Let's examine some projects that are adorable, and that I have considered, since I pretty much never preserve anything and I have a whole box of unused mason jars languishing in my basement right now, but that I have nonetheless NOT undertaken, for various reasons (laziness being the main one). 

1. Spice jars. So cute. BUT, I already have spice jars that I love AND I've noticed spice smells stay in the rubberized bits of mason jar lids forever, so if you mix up your lids, you're going to have some cross-smell contamination issues. (Is that a thing? I know I expressed it badly.) Also, while I think the chalkboard-painted lids are adorbs-to-the-max, doesn't all that painting seem like a lot of trouble? Am I wrong? Maybe I'll just stick with spice jars that were designed to be spice jars? 
These spice jar images hail from A Cozy Kitchen
2. Mini wall planters! These are really appealing, aren't they? I first saw the project online a couple of  years ago. Downsides from my perspective include having to discard the lids, having to attach the jars to the wood, having to find a spot for them that will get enough sun, having to deal with drainage (the jars have none), and just generally feeling like this is one of those things that looks great on day one, but might be impossible for a person like me to maintain.
Wall-planter project pics (and instructions) from Not Just a Housewife.
3. Pendant lamp shades! Again, while lovely-to-look at, I'm just not sure I have the will to complete such a project. You'd need the lighting kits, which aren't that cheap. Or you'd need to be handy with electric stuff. I think they look best in a cluster, so you probably shouldn't make just one, etc. All that said, this project is one of my favourites. (Shout out to Kerry at First Time Fancy who just posted her own mason-jar-chandelier project  just today: Holy cow, Kerry! I am wowed by your DIY prowess.)
All pendant lamp project images and instructions are from/at the Dutch site Woon blog.
4. Bathroom storage. Again, cute. Very cute. Here's why I don't like it: no lids. Bathrooms get muggy and if your swabs and whatnot are out in the open, they will get swampy and dirty. You could keep the lids, but that would take away a lot of space and these containers are already very small.  I don't know about you, but when I buy cotton balls, they come in a big-ass bag. Where am I supposed to store my extra balls (ha), and how many times am I supposed to refill these jars in a given month? Maybe the lady who did this is just a lot less lazy than I am. (Okay. All these project-people are less lazy than I am. Let's face it.) 
Images, etc. for the bathroom storage project can be found on the Liz Marie blog.
5. An advent calendar. Sure, you've have to affix the bottoms of the jars to something sturdy, so that the numbered lids face out (making for a very heavy calendar that I am not sure is child-friendly), and SURE, the jars are glass and transparent, so you'd have to line them with something to hide what's inside, but it's still a cute idea. I am just not sure it's practical.
All these images are from Studio DIY. Click through for instructions on making the calendar.
Look, here's what I need to know: Have any of you actually done anything like this with your mason jars?* Not just for the purposes of putting a pretty picture up on your blog? Have you found a legitimately good use for repurposed masons? Something that made the work worthwhile? Please tell me. I need to know the truth.

*Other than Kerry, of course, whose post was a timely coincidence that kind of negates everything I just asked. But maybe Kerry is an outlier? Someone with an unusual amount of energy?
 
 
So, I was invited to the media breakfast/preview of the One Of A Kind Christmas Show which kicked off down at the Ex this morning. (I don't know why I get invited to this sort of thing, because I am a big nobody. And let me tell you, watching the vendors get excited by my media pass and fancy camera kind of broke my heart, but I digress.) Invited I was, and went I did. I mean, the show costs $12/$14 (online/in-person) to get in, and as press, I could get in for free. Between that and the offer of a free doughnut, I wasn't going to say no.

And for once, I did the show right. I went up and down EVERY AISLE IN THE PLACE. My feet are currently incredibly sore and I'm a little grumpy, but I feel like I saw everything and took note of everything that really caught my eye. And I took photos of all of it, which I will now share with you, but first, a bit of a caveat:

As huge as this post is, it features only a small fraction of what's on display. (I believe there are more than 800 OOAK booths/vendors this year.) My personality means I'm drawn to decorative objects, fine art, and that sort of thing. Things I generally avoid, and that you won't likely see here, but that are in abundance at the show: kids' stuff, woollens and knits, clothing, most wood and leather goods, art glass and most pottery, food and edibles. I also steered clear of most of the cutesy stuff (felted creatures, owls, bunnies, and the like), most of the jewellery, most of the furniture, and all of the body/beauty products. All of that stuff is amazing in its own right, but I only stopped to photograph the things that really jumped out at me, which may not be what will jump out at you. So... there. End caveat.

Now, some pro tips:

  • Work methodically. I saw every booth, starting at the east end of the centre (end of the alphabet) and moving west, winding up and down every aisle along the way. I know it seems a little anal, but making a plan for the path you want to take (and sticking to it) is a smart move. The show is overwhelming otherwise.
  • Wear comfy shoes. SERIOUSLY. I was wearing Toms and my feet are still killing. (I saw a couple over-zealous young "journalists" in 4-5 inch heels, and I bet they want to kill themselves right now.)
  • Give yourself a good three hours for your visit. Or even a full 1/2 day. It's better not to be rushed and if you want to see the whole thing, it's going to take you a long time. (Note: if you're bringing babies or little kids with you, as I noticed many did... well, you're crazy. What can I say? The rules don't apply. You may need 12 hours. Who knows?)
  • Eat, hydrate and let yourself rest from time to time.
  • CHECK YOUR COAT. It's hot as heck in the Direct Energy Centre. I have no idea why. Coat Check costs $2, but it's worth it.

Okay, enough with the tips. Are you ready to see what I saw? HERE GOES!
Stewart Jones: Booth R-57
These fine art paintings by local artist Stewart Jones were the very first thing that caught my eye. I stopped to snap this pic as I made my way along the back wall (before even making it to the first official aisle). Jones does "urban landscapes" and I'm sure his work doesn't come cheap, but I like the realness of his subject matter. Very Toronto.
Daniel Pollak Accessories: Booth T-54
I know I said I steered clear of most of the jewellery, but this booth was so glittery, it caught my eye immediately. So decadent, so sparkly, so over-the-top. It's fashion/costume jewellery, rather than fine jewellery, but I enjoyed it.
Kat Kaland: Booth Y-62
Artist Kat Kaland makes toys, illustrations, accessories, etc. She told me when I popped by that she's moving away from the toys and focussing more on art, and having seen the art -- paintings incorporating doll parts -- just my kind of creepy -- I think she's making a good decision. The pieces shown here, with the hands and the little 3D girl figures, go for about $200.
Moon Rox: Booth Y-20
Again, jewellery is hardly my thing, but it was early in the day and this gold-toned costume statement necklace caught my eye. Moon Rox is owned/designed by a woman named Monique V. Chan. 
Noelle Hamlyn: Booth W-43
Hamlyn has been at the OOAK show before, showing off her repurposed art/purses made from books and magazines, but she's also doing framed artworks now, using the insides of the books (paper, illustration, etc.) as opposed to the outsides. Now, in general, I'm a "READ BOOKS, DON'T CUT THEM UP" sort of person, but I like what Noelle does nonetheless. Her bigger art pieces are about $165, while the smaller ones are about $90.
iDENTITY: Booth W-09
I stopped at this booth because of the hipster-factor. Megan Irish makes these pillows from recycled blankets (vintage Pendletons, The Bay/HSBC classics, army blankets, etc.) hipsterified with prints on top. Her company makes tees and other apparel as well, I think. The pillows are $48 to $108. (The HSBC ones are more pricey than the others.) 
Heyday Design: Booth V-09
Hailing from Vancouver, Claire Madill makes these neat ceramic mason jars. You could achieve the same effect by painting a glass mason jar with flat paint, but nonetheless, these are nice as far a ceramics/porcelain go.
C Comme Ca: Booth V-43
Artist Cindy Cantin makes these bags and wallets from leather and wool felt and I thought they were super chic. 
Dapila: Booth T-15
This stuff looks like ceramic, but it's mostly made of cement, which is sort of neat. I know body-parts and surrealist stuff isn't everyone's bag, but I sort of love it. I like the idea of using some of the finger sculptures to hold everyday objects like makeup brushes or razors. 

Eric Seguin: Booth S-53
This is not a booth I'd usually stop at, filled as it was with knives and such, but I a few natural skulls caught my eye. These are otter, fox and mink, respectively. I have no idea why I like 'em, but I do.
Felt Factory: Booth R-19
These felt, mounted animal head pieces by artist Sabine Alpers are very well done. I love natural animal stuff (vintage, generally) but these might please the vegan in you if the real deal creeps you out.
Laurie Sponagle: Booth Q-31
These AH-MAZING charcoal drawings look like photographs. No kidding. That's how amazing they are. Artist Laurie Sponagle really stands out. Bigger pieces are priced at $1600, but there's a nice range of sizes available and the smaller pieces start at $250.
Tammy Shane: Booth Q-24
Tammy Shane is another stand-out fine artist exhibiting at the OOAK show. I would have bought one of her pieces in a heart beat if I could have. Gorgeous. Truly. I mean, look at those owls! Those birds! That sky! Love.
Yves' Drop: Booth N-06
Vintage neckties made awesome? Just my sort of thing. I kind of wish my husband would wear a tie every day. (And if he did, I get him a few of these babies.) 
Tat Chao Design: Booth N-34
These glass candlesticks were pretty fabulous - substantial, yet delicate at the same time. Very unique. Tat Chao is a nice new addition to this year's show.
Sarah Tacoma: Booth L-23
Photography artist Sarah Tacoma caught my eye. I love how she captures stark branches and winter trees. And her pieces have rustic wood frames/mounts that I liked.
Sarah Hillock: Booth K-24
Sarah Hillock's huge paintings of farm animals (mostly cows, from what I saw) done on mylar, were maybe the most striking, unique thing at the entire OOAK show. I've never seen anything like Hillock's work in person before, and I have to say, I've never wanted a huge painting of a cow more. I mean... they're cows. And I'm a city girl. Yet I want one. Immediately.
Pepper Mills: Booth G-03
The name Pepper Mills kind of speaks for itself. These handmade, OOAK wood objects by Cam Lavers Designs Inc. aren't new to the show, but I've always liked them.
Him by Shima Itabashi: Booth D-5
I know I said I was going to stay away from cutie-pie felted things, but this booth's wee decorations spoke to me more than the works of other felt artists doing similar things. There's something really authentic and adorable about Him pieces and designer Shima Itabashi seems like a sweetheart. Her English isn't perfect, but that just adds to the charm.
Ateliers des Cent-ans: Booth C-36
This booth was a bit spare, but what I saw of the porcelain and wood pieces inside definitely left an impression. The stuff I loved most was delicate and white, with slim blue nautical patterning. Very chic.
Grace Eunmie Lee: Booth C-44
Some of Grace Eunmie Lee's wee white ceramics are highlighted with bits of shiny metallic and colour, but her monochrome pieces are my favourites. I love their small stature and weird, offbeat cuteness. Some of these wee works are merely decorative, while others are functional (salt and pepper shakers, for example).
Evelyne Rivest Savignac: Booth I-37
Interestingly, while I initially passed this booth during my official "go down every aisle" run, I didn't stop at it the first time around. I'm not sure why. Maybe the crowds were too thick and I didn't get a good look. Happily, I needed to hit a bank machine before leaving which took me on a second trip down row "i" and that's when I noticed Evelyne Rivest Savignac's pretty ceramics. The artist told me she's been a vendor at the show for the last eight years, so if you've been in the past, you may remember her. I was especially charmed by her little leafy bowls. They have the vibe of something sold at Anthropologie (but are much more authentic, of course). 
And that's IT. Honestly, I saw some other stuff I liked (bow-ties by Genuine Article, for example.) but I just can't write about any more. This is already the most unwieldy blog post I've ever written. 

Go to the show. Enjoy. Support your indie artists and crafty friends. And remember, wear comfy shoes. And if you're not too exhausted afterwards, tell me what you got! 

P.S. Sorry about the lighting in some of these shots. I'm no photographer and since artists provide their own light at each booth, dimness is an issue.

P.P.S. Shout-outs to my web friends Jen @ Rambling Renovators and Staci @ Switch Studio for letting me talk their ears off at breakfast, Pam @ Cherish Toronto for being my favourite person to run into at these things, and House & Home magazine staffer/editor Margot Austin (who I may or may not have terrified when I declared "I'm obsessed with you!" - because I'm the sort of weirdo who says things like that, apparently). Sigh.
 
 
Guys, I know I haven't been posting much, but can we talk for a minute about what's going on in my living room right now?
My milk glass (milkglass?) collection is getting out of control. Remember when I first posted about it, back in 2010? I had only a few pieces!
It was a reasonable little cluster. Manageable. Possibly even useful.

At the time, people told me that milk glass was a "gateway" collectable. And I sort of laughed it off, but I swear to you, collecting milk glass is addictive. I was a fool to ignore the warnings. I have no idea how I've managed to amass so many pieces in two short years, going from what you see above to THIS:
Sigh. I leave this with you as a warning: beware the milk glass. It multiplies!

Maybe that's why I haven't been blogging much... too much dusting to do.*

*Ha! Not. I don't dust. I let the dust/hair tumbleweeds roll the halls, unmolested, thankyouverymuch.
 
 
Not that I have the space or anything, but I've started a new collection: vintage copper cookware. I'm obsessed. It all started with a few skillets I found at my local Goodwill. The pans were cheap and unmarked, but pretty. I hung them on the wall.

But lately, copper has been popping up at my regular thrifting haunts on a regular basis. And I can't resist! I'm buying it like crazy! I now have the three little pans I started with. Small, medium and large sauce pots/pans, and a big, heavy sauté pan (all with lids, natch).

I heard tell of people finding copper awesomeness at thrift stores in the past, but I never thought I would get so lucky. The stuff I've been finding has been tarnished, but it turns out, cleaning copper is super duper easy. Lemon juice and salt, plus a little patience, gets it shining in no time. Of course, it doesn't look "like new" but a little patina is right up my alley anyway.
So my point? No point! I just want to urge you to consider hunting down some vintage copper cookware. Mine comes from all over the world and most of it is marked. I have a piece of "Paul Revere-ware" from the States, a pot from Portugal, another from Chile and one from France. It's all slightly different, but you would never know it wasn't a real set. Plus, it's beautiful and fun, and great for cooking. Copper is super conductive and I find it very easy to use. Cooks meat perfectly, for example. Responds very quickly to temperature changes on the stove dial.

Yes, the tinning on the insides will wear out over time, but even though my new/old pans have been around for awhile, the tinning in them seems fine. And besides, copper cookware is WILDLY expensive new. (The Mauviel line, carried at Williams Sonoma, costs $2,800 for a 12 piece set. I already have many more pieces in my collection, in practically new condition, and I paid less than $10 per piece.) 

Think about that. You could buy a single pan from Williams Sonoma (or register for one as a wedding gift, putting the burden of purchasing an idiotic $300 piece of metal on your poor friends), or you could keep your eyes peeled at your local Goodwill and get something that will work wonderfully, look amazing, and cost less than $10. No one will know the difference!
 
 
Hey all. Sorry things have been a bit slow on the blog lately. Getting married very shortly. Lots of to do. Been busy.

But not too busy to thrift!

In fact, I had a very successful thrifting day about a week ago. In addition to a couple of dresses and some bits and bobs for Will & Bequeath, I came across a great find I just had to share with you: an Erkers enamelware bowl!
Images via Jag Blommar.
My bowl is yellow, with a black rim, like the yellow one shown above. And I looooove it.

My obsession with vintage enamelware started fairly recently, with a piece of Catherineholm that I blogged about here. Since then, it's grown, and now I have several different pieces scattered around my apartment. But this is my first Erkers. And it was only $2.02!

According to a profile on Design Arkivet, "Arne Erkers was born in Leksand and at the age of 24, decided to move to Stockholm as he for a long time had been interested in drawing." He worked as a gold and silversmith and a freelance designer, and founded the Erkers Design Studio around 1955. He designed my bowl (and the Raff pitcher, which obviously influenced similar designs currently at IKEA) for Kockums Jernverks AB in Kallinge. (My piece, like all similar pieces, is marked "Kockum Sweden".)

"Function is an important aspect of Arne Erkers design. His view of his profession was that the task of the designer was to design objects as simple and practical as possible. With this as a starting point he created articles as diverse as ball bearing joints and stackable saucepans but also had bold ideas about more practical cars and lawnmowers, sadly never put into production."
Images via Designarkivet.
Erkers lives into his 90s and passed away recently, in 2010.

If you're looking for vintage enamelware, search online for Cathrineholm and Finel, and add words like "Scandinavian" and "enamelware" and you should come up with a lot of options. But don't discount Erkers. While less well-know, his work is just as nice.

I like my bowl because of it's unusual rounded-triangular shape and low profile. I also love the tone of the yellow. It has one flaw -- a hole in the enamel -- but I just keep that bit turned away and never think about it. (Remember, it was only $2!)

Super find! Yay!
 
 
So... I'm a little OCD.

Okay, I'm more than a little OCD. But it's not that bad.

I don't have OCD in that amusing "I'm such an organized perfectionist!" sort of way. Rather, I am obsessive in the l "I lie awake all night worrying" sort of way, and compulsive in the "it's 3am and I MUST scrub down the cabinets" sort of way. Neither of which is a good.

But it could be a lot worse, so I try not to complain about it.

Here's the latest thing I'm obsessing about: making everything in my kitchen cabinets "match."
Picture

Remember back when I blogged about French bistro glasses? Well, since then, I've converted nearly all my glassware to matching, bistro-style sets. The only glasses in my cabinet that aren't faceted are the wine glasses.


And it's bothering me.

So I'm thinking of getting new wine glasses. (Even though I hardly use the ones I have and there's not a thing wrong with them anyway.)

I'm considering these new Pokal ones, from IKEA:

I should confess that already (just last week, in fact) I indulged in a set of six teeny weenie shot-sized bistro glasses that I absolutely didn't need.

Of course, I didn't HAVE six matching shot glasses already. And the set (also IKEA) was only $2.99. So I felt semi-justified... but ... BUT ...
Would getting the wine glasses be going too far? Would the all-matching, all-faceted look even be a good thing? Or am I being too obsessive again?

P.S. Happy Leap Day! ;)
 
 
Know what I've really been into lately?

Pheasants.

All sorts of pheasants. Regular pheasants, wild pheasants, golden pheasants. Pheasant salt and pepper shakers, pheasant earrings, pheasants on plates and glassware.

It's kitschy, but I'm obsessed. Not sure why. I've just got pheasants on the brain.
_Creative commons Image of golden pheasant feathers by Paul Tonner, SXC.
My sis got one of these plates from my grandparents and every time I'm at her house, I wanna steal it.
This embroidered pheasant pillow is currently for sale from LittleMsTips on Etsy.
This emerald pheasant figurine is for sale from PatinaVie on Etsy.
 
I have no idea what's wrong with me. The whole "put a bird on it" thing hasn't seemed to dampen my enthusiasm at all. And objectively speaking, pheasants are kind of ugly... aren't they?

Besides that, I already HAVE several. A couple of yellow ones are sitting on my coffee table right now.
Not sure what to do about this, or even why I'm sharing with you. Any members of pheasants anonymous out there? Wanna commiserate?
 
 
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Part 1: When I was a little girl, I had a lot of keepsakes. Little bits and bobs and things that I kept in an old wooden box under my bed.

The box was one of those 60s-era treasure-chest jewellery boxes. I got it at a yard sale. With my allowance.

Despite the fact that box mostly contained items I'd found on the street (feathers, pennies, broken bits of jewellery), I kept it secure with a discarded mini-padlock from one of my mother's suitcases. You know the kind. The ones you can easily open with a bobby pin, or break with your bare hands. I enjoyed wearing the key around my neck, hanging from an old piece of string.

I was such a little grub.

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Part 2: My parents sent me to Catholic elementary school, which was strange considering that my father, at least, is an atheist. 

Regardless, Catholicism - with the whole "drink my blood" thing, stigmata, angels and plenty of other supernatural excess - was a major part of my formative years.

And every year, the littlest kids at my school would gather in the gym for a showing of the animated "filmstrip" version of The Littlest Angel.

I don't remember much about the story except that it gave me anxiety. The little boy angel/hero left his treasure box behind when he died. They didn't let him take it with him to heaven! The box contained "earthly treasures" like butterfly wings and interesting pebbles. In other words... it's was just like mine. And that concerned me, because I didn't like the idea that I might have to go to heaven and leave my best stuff behind. (And worse, that even if a nice angel helped me get it back, I'd eventually have to give all my stuff away to the stupid Christ child! I didn't even KNOW the kid! Eesh.)

Elementary school was a very stressful time.


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Part 3: Even now  (into my 30s and for all intents and purposes a "grown woman") I find I have a special place in my heart from all my little treasures. Even the weird ones.

So, I frame them.

I started with a 25-year-old blue jay feather. Got a dollar store frame. Popped in a piece of white computer paper for a mat, and placed the feather in the centre. No glue, no nothing. Looks great. And it's up on the wall, so I get to see it every day.

That's really the point of this post: I get to see it every day. These are the sort of details that make a home happy.


Most recently, I framed a little silver pendant that I found on the street in 2008. It's something to do with me and Nathan. Kind of embarrassing to explain. I carried it around as a good luck charm (often putting it in my sock for safe keeping). I'm pretty sure this talisman made him fall in love with me... because yes, I'm that girl.

Anyway. It just gives me a good feeling. So...
It looks pretty cute, right? And it now hangs with the other oddities in a salon-style display (a new one, which I'll be posting about soon).

Do you like it, or am I a weirdo?
 
 
I have so many posts in the hopper right now, it's not even funny. But so many of them require just one more picture, or a bit of staging. So in the meantime, I'm going to tell you about the number one item on my current wishlist: a door knocker.

We live in a rental with an old doorbell. It's probably been broken since the 1950s. But people always push it, not realizing that it doesn't work. So I thought a knocker (perhaps with a little note telling folks to knock) would be a pretty solution. But I'm finding it really hard to find something!

Here are a few of the ones I've found (online). I like these, but I don't love any of them. And without seeing them in person and testing the heft, I'm just not sure I want to buy one.

What do you think? Do you like any of these?
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This "Sly Fox" knocker is from Anthropologie and is $24.99, but it looks a little small and I'm not sure about the tail.
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This vintage cast iron knocker is from JunkFromMyTrunk on Etsy. It's $28. But I don't think the seller ships to Canada (and that would up the price too much anyway).
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I love Victorian-style hand knockers like this one, but there seems to be a massive price range online (say $10 to $300). I can't tell what's real and what's reproduction. And I can't spend $300. (My budget for this is $50 max). Plus, as I said, without seeing the knockers in person, I can't be sure I like them.

Anyway, what do you think? Got any advice for me? Should I go with an animal, a regular knocker, or a weird shape like a hand? And I need local help: know any Toronto brick and mortar places with good knockers? (No strip club jokes, please.)