I know I haven't been "chic" blogging much. I KNOW, okay? It's just that my house is decorated already. I am cheap. And I feel like it's nutso to change things for no good reason. Still, I can't seem to stop window shopping. I look at fixer-upper houses in small town America that I can't afford, even if I was American. I look at clothes I don't need. I look at paint samples. I look at furniture that wouldn't fit in my apartment even if I had none of the crap I already have. I look at Craigslist.
And damn ... Craigslist Toronto sure has become depressing.
What has happened, you guys? WHAT HAPPENED? Just a few years ago, I was posting
about all the "bargain" finds I was coming across. And now? There aren't any. I mean, maybe there are, but I haven't seen any real bargains in awhile. The prices are absolutely out of control and it's really fucking depressing.
This is not to say that these items aren't "worth" what they cost (although in some cases they're not), I am just lamenting the disappearance of a bargain. Not everyone is a dealer! What has happened to convince Joe Average that the couch from his grandfather's basement that he just inherited for free should be priced exactly as it would be if it was housed in a store on Queen West? And what is it about midcentury stuff that makes it command top dollar? Anything "teak" whether truly teak or not, comes at a premium. What overhead are these people trying to cover, exactly? Arg. Am I way off base here? I don't know. Feel free to criticize if you like. I can take it. (But can we agree that it is weird and unnecessary to make the word TEAK
and only the word TEAK
in all caps, all the time? WE AGREE THAT WE ALL UNDERSTAND WHAT TEAK IS, EVEN WHEN IT IS WRITTEN NORMALLY? Yes? Okay, then.)
So, anyway, here are some things I've recently spotted, and a few I like, that are nonetheless too expensive for a bargain hunter like me to even consider. One day, maybe I'll move away from Toronto and rediscover the world of bargains. Until then ... I sigh. Click the images to go to each respective listing.
Here we have a midmod magazine holder for $125.
Here is an admittedly lovely Danish modern love-seat for $1650.
Here's a trunk with some legs attached, making it a coffee table. It costs $345.
Here are a couple of "lounge chairs" with burnt-orange upholstery for a mere $1195.
This sofa is $500 ($900 if you want the matching chair and love-seat).
This green wonder is $700.
And of course, here we have a lovely credenza for the bargain price of $945.
Like I said, tell me I'm being unfair here. The sad thing is, this stuff will probably sell in no time. It's not like high-priced items are languishing. Stuff I found for this post just a couple of days ago is already gone. Stupid Craigslist.
Hey guys. Have any of you seen The Listings List
? It's basically a Tumblr blog filled with curated picks from Toronto's Craiglist and Kijiji offerings.
I've been following it for a few weeks and here's what I think: There are pros and cons. Sure, the curation is good. The items featured on The Listings List are basically the coolest, most designer-friendly things available on Craigslist/Kijiji (in the area) and following the TLL is therefore fun and could be a serious time saver. No more slogging through mountains of crap to find the best stuff, right?
Isn't slogging through mountains of crap kind of what online garage sale-ing is all about? I mean, if someone else does the work for you, is the hunt compromised? Is the find as satisfying? Isn't it better to earn a deal rather than having one handed to you?
I'm not sure.
Besides that, TLL might not be as practical as it seems. Great items worth curating have a tendency to go fast, and once something has been featured on the site, it goes even faster. I've already experienced seeing more than one great thing on TLL, only to find it already sold.
Anyway. Here are some of my favourite finds, found on TLL just today. At the time of this posting, I think they're all still available.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you love The Listing List or would you rather do the hunting all by yourself?
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.
Okay, friends. I need your help.
See, I have this sofa. It's deco-era yellow vinyl number that I bought for only $100 (plus $30 in shipping) off Craigslist back in 2007. It has served me well and fits perfectly in our small living room.
It's a great little sofa. Solidly structured with foam and innards in good condition. Problem is, the vinyl is going. You can't tell in the pictures, but on the seat cushions, it's cracked and peeling like a mofo. It doesn't look good.
Now, here is my dilemma: I would love to keep the sofa. I've looked into having it reupholstered, and I estimate it will cost about $1200 to do so. Considering our personal finances, this is a LOT of money. For between $300 and $400, we could reupholster just the seat cushions and leave the rest of the frame as is, but again, it's a pretty pricey prospect.
I'm torn. I'm torn because I spent so little on the sofa to begin with, so perhaps spending a lot now isn't such a big deal. Then again, I could get a new sofa for less than reupholstering, and a new/old Craigslist model for WAY less. Financially speaking, a different sofa makes more sense. But I don't want to send this perfectly good piece to a landfill either, not when it can easily be rehabilitated to last another 20 years, in any fabric I want...
Speaking of which, here are a couple of the fabrics I've been considering were we to reupholster:
Trina Turk's Peacock, (which I think may be too much):
Dwell's IKAT Citrine:
I just don't know what to do. 1. Nothing. Live with the tears until we feel comfortable spending on redoing the sofa right.2. Reupholster: spend the money and get the sofa we want and the pleasure of knowing we saved something from landfill death. Try not to be so fussy about money.3. Reupholster just the cushions.4. Ditch this sofa and get something affordable new/old from Craigslist or similar.You guys are stylish and smart. Weigh in, would you? And if you have fabric ideas, I'd love to hear them. If we reupholster, we're going to have the lovely Staci at Switch Studio do the work.
.. which means we also will have to haul the piece to and from Oakville from Toronto...Sigh. I am paralysed. Help!
First off, friends, my apartment was featured on Apartment Therapy today
. Abby Cook took photos that are way better than anything I can imagine taking, ever, so you should really check it out.In the piece, I mention my hall credenza, that I sort of built/upcycled from kitchen cabinets. Thought I'd use today to talk about how I made it.
Initially, my front hall (which is also a main wall in my living room) looked like this:
And it was fine, I guess. But it was also busy. And it started to annoy me. I turned the spines of my books backwards in an effort to create more calm, but it didn't really work. How could I store all the stuff I needed to store, while leaving plenty of room for people to walk down the hall? Closed bookcases? A shallow console? What?
I hunted around, but I couldn't find a piece that suited my needs ANYWHERE. Billy bookcases from IKEA (with doors) were an option, but I just didn't want Billys. Traditional consoles were too fat. So I decided to hack something together.
Here's what I used:
3 assembled kitchen cabinet uppers (Home Depot)
8 fence post spires for legs (Home Depot)
6 pieces of linking hardware (two-screw pieces, 3 across each seam)
Long wood screws (to drill down into the legs from inside the cabinets)
White primer and white paint + a "velvet" roller
6 ring pulls (Lee Valley Hardware) to attach to the centre of each door
Once the three cabinets were linked into one big long piece, and the spires were drilled into and attached as legs, the thing was a behemoth. I needed help to lift it upright. But it sure provides a lot of storage.
I stocked in my books and whatnot and lived with it in its dark brown form for awhile until I settled on painting it white. I should have used melamine paint, but I didn't. I used regular latex paint and primer. And such paint can chip easily. (It already has, in fact.) But oh well. Melamine paint is too hard to work with/too stinky. I didn't paint the insides of the cabinets. Only the outsides.
The final touch was adding brass hardware to the centre of each door.
Here's the end result, as shot by Abby for Apartment Therapy:
SO MUCH STORAGE and it's all hidden away. And in my opinion, it doesn't look like a set of kitchen cabinets anymore.
It's fantabulous if I do say so myself. (And I do. I do indeed.)
A long while back, I posted about a project where I decoupaged some birds onto an old stool
. Here's a photo to refresh your memory.
I was never perfectly happy with how this project turned out. I felt it needed more birds. Or that the birds weren't well laid out.
But it was good enough, and for a long time, I lived with it.
Then, thanks to a hot cup and a low attention span, I ruined it. I scalded the top of the stool and a big fat chunk of varnish, bird and paint tore away.
This gave me an opportunity to start again.
Using my handy-dandy oscillating sander, I stripped away the old decoupage. (I should have used paint stripper for this. I'm so lazy. Don't be lazy like me. Do things right and you'll save yourself heartache.)
I brushed on a new under-coat of black paint, then found, printed and carefully cut out a picture of a water lily to take the place of the lost birds.
Here's how it turned out:
I used regular paper and my home printer for the water lily. Again, not wise. Decoupage works a lot better with thick paper and inks that won't bleed.
I re-decoupaged the top of the stool with the flower. The thin paper wrinkled and I had major bubble problems along the way. I tried to solve these with a needle and patience.
The result is imperfect. If you look at the stool up close, you can see that the varnish isn't smooth and the flower itself is a bit blurred, but nonetheless, I am very happy with it. It's better than the birds, I think. The water lily has more impact.
I did the whole thing while watching a movie on a Saturday afternoon, so it wasn't exactly hard labour.
Have you decoupaged anything recently?
Remember when I wrote about wanting new dining room chairs and about how I'd decided on the (fake) Eiffel chairs from Kitchen Stuff Plus
? I never posted a reveal of how they look! So... that's what this is.
As you know, I'm no great shakes at photography, but what do you think? Good decision?
Well, I've decided. I bought four Eiffel chairs. Two regular ones and two arm chairs.
I never intended to do a mix, but Nate felt the arm chairs were more comfortable, and they weren't THAT much more expensive, so we compromised.
The lot should be delivered by early next week at the latest. I will be sure to take some pics in context so you can see what I've gotten myself into.
I have no idea if I made the right decision. But here's hoping. Cross fingers. And for goodness sake, leave me some supportive comments to ease my mind, would ya?
Okay, so I have a dining set. A complete dining set. As in, a set that came together. A matching set.
This is, allegedly, a design sin.
Now, I agree that most matching dining sets are ugly. The one above practically makes my eyes bleed, it's so ugly.But my set is MUCH nicer. And in my defense, I inherited it. And beggars can't be choosers. Also, it was made in Canada, likely in the 1940s. It's a warm, aged colour. The oval table has two leaves in perfect condition, and while the caning on two of the six chairs is damaged, that's only because my friends are aggressive asses. Or rather, they have aggressive asses.The buffet features
roller doors and felt lined silverware drawers and all in all, it's pretty nice.But it matches.And that bugs me.So, I've been thinking of getting some new chairs. I'm not sure I can justify this, either financially or practically, but it's what I'm craving. The caned chairs will have to go into the basement (which is problematic) or I'd have to sell them (more problematic still, both for emotional reasons, and because I find it hard to break ANY set, and especially since two are damaged).
But I'm still considering it.
I'm also dreaming about what NEW chairs would look best with the old table.At the moment, I'm leaning toward Eames Eiffel chairs, either in white, or multi-coloured (which is to say, a different colour for each chair). What do you think? Authentic Eiffel's are out of my price range, but my lovely Twitter friend Janice (from Life Begins at 30)
told me they've got knock-offs at Kitchen Stuff Plus right now. AND they're on sale for $60 apiece.
Do you have any other chair suggestions for me? I want something that provides contrast, that will be practical, and that will stand up to the occasional aggressive man-bum at a drunken party. Ideas?
I have decided to paint my bedroom dark. You weighed in
and I listened and I decide to go for it. I have the colour all picked out. I'm going with Behr's "Night Shade" which, in practice looks like this:
No, not the colour on the left! The colour on the right! The DARK colour. (So dark.) (The image is from the Hostetler's blog
.) Oh man. I'm terrified.Just to give you an idea of what it's going to look like, I'll show you a couple of things I've got already, like my IKEA furniture (from the Engen line - now defunct):
And here's a before shot of my bedding (or at least, some of my bedding) and accessories:
If all goes well, and I can get the room finished and dressed, I'll have a reveal for you next week. Cross fingers!