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!
I've been wanting to experiment with felting for a long time now, but I've hesitated because it seemed like... well, like a lot of work, frankly. All that poking and knotting. All the necessary felting accoutrement. But I was recently alerted to a potential felting shortcut and I just had to try it. Here's what you do:
Here, let me show you.First, we have the initial object: a crochet woolen hat, which I got from Goodwill. I meant to wear it. It was lovely. Warm. And itchy as all get out.
- Get something made of wool (like an old hat).
- Wash the heck out of it in hot water and soap (in the washing machine).
- What comes out? Felt! Mold it to the shape you want and let dry.
So, I decided to say goodbye.
Into the washing machine it went. Wash wash wash. Dry dry dry. I ran it through a good five times. (I didn't want to waste water or power by running washes exclusively for this project, so I waited until I had light loads of regular laundry to do. So the whole washing process ended up taking awhile. But obviously, if you were feeling impatient, you could speed things up a bit.)
The result? Felt!
I cut the rim/brim off with plain kitchen shears and voila - a bowl.
Fabulous for fall, if you ask me (which you didn't, but let's pretend you did).
I'm pretty proud of this project. Easy and highly satisfying. Just my style. You like?
So remember when I posted about my rug dilemma
? I was trying to decide between a few different options from Structube. The whole debate turned out to be moot because Nate decided to buy me a hide rug (which I've long longed for) for my birthday. It's funny, in a way. Just when I finally abandoned the idea of having a hide rug (after years and years of wanting one, but hesitating because of the price, the ethics of it, and my resistance to all thing trendy AND "on trend"), AFTER all that, a hide came into my life.
It's tri-colour (that is to say, brown, black, and cream). I'd always imagined I'd end up with something black and white. Or perhaps mottled grey. But tri-colour, it turns out, it just right. The brown (which is sort of stripey, like a tabby cat), feels warm, and despite the pattern, it reads almost like a neutral. It's soft underfoot and doesn't slide around.
I really, REALLY like it. Makes me feel a little guilty, actually.
Here it is on a typically untidy weekend morning at my apartment:
What say you? Hidey hidey hidey ho!
Usually, I'm not much of a Structube
person. (Structube, for those who haven't heard of it, is 35+ year old retailer of contemporary/modern furniture and accessories.) It's relatively affordable, but often too cold for my tastes. I like modern, but not TOO modern, if you know what I mean.That said, I recently came across a few Structube rugs that are really speaking to me. For example, this $349, 5x8' wool rug (available in both black and white):
I'm not sure why I like it so much, I just know that I do.
Another option is this zebra patterned wool rug, also 5x8', also $349, which would be a great upgrade from the polyester runner I currently have in my living room:
I've long wanted a hide rug for the space, but the more I think about it, the more I feel it would be a bit off-putting (especially for my vegan friends). With that in mind, I'm considering all three of the rugs above. Which do you think would work best? The light one would probably get too dirty... And remember, my living room currently looks like this:
The runner I have isn't so bad, especially as far as $20 solutions go, but I'm itching for a change.
Is Structube the answer? Any thoughts?
EDITED TO ADD:
Check out this quick mock up my friend Patty did. Neat right?
I know it's slightly annoying of me to keep posting and boasting about my awesome thrift store finds.But
I just can't help it! I find some of the neatest stuff at Goodwill and the like. (I'm no Rashon Carraway - a.k.a. Mr. Goodwill Hunting
, but I'm no slouch.) So it's impossible to "keep shut" about it (as my moms used to say). Anyway.
My latest find came from my local Sally Anne. I popped in for a quick tool around in order to see if the store had any refurbishable pieces in the furniture department for the Pete Project
. They didn't. What they DID have was a set of bedding. Natural linen (sort of a light sand shade), embroidered with seemingly African-inspired animals. The set was in perfect condition, free of stains and clearly never used. I paid $14.99 for the duvet cover and $2 for the pillow cases. So all in all, it cost less than $20.
initially, I thought the bedding might suit Pete, since it's relatively tribal and manly. However, once I got it home, I started to do a bit of research and now that I know what I've got, I selfishly want to keep it for myself.
It's House of Anin
(Casa Anin) bedding, hand-embroidered in Namibia. The company calls itself a "bespoke" operation. I wonder if that means they're fair trade? Regardless, it looks like you can only buy it directly, so I'm gusssing someone who went on holiday to Africa must have brought this bedding home in their suitcase, which is pretty neat.While initially, I just liked it, as the days pass, I fall more and more in love. Instead of giving it to Pete, I might box it up and save it for my someday cottage.
What do you think? You like?
* Images of different Casa Anin embroidery motifs from the company website.
I have a new obsession: granny square afghans. It's completely bizarre. Every time I see one kicking around at Goodwill or the Sally Anne, I think... 'Wow. That is SO granny!'
And then I buy it.
It's a sickness! It's like I've caught some sort of extremely robust granny blanket bug.
I bring the blankets home, Nathan looks at me like I've lost my mind, then I box them up and put them away. Because at the moment, there's really no place for granny blankets in my house.
I have no idea why I'm doing this. In the back of my mind, there's some vague notion of a future cottage, nursery, etc., but in the real world - the world of today - granny blankets don't suit me at all.
And really... do they suit ANYBODY? Anybody who's NOT actually a granny?
So my question to you is this: is there room in a chic life for the granny blanket?
You tell me.
Last week, while doing my usual "why don't I live THERE?" envy-soaked web trawling, I came across this Design*Sponge sneak peek of the home of Kimberly and John Canale
. This is their bathroom:
Image from Design*Sponge. Photo taken Jen Huang.
I saw this image and immediately thought, "I need
that shower curtain. Like, NOW." It's a feeling Design*Sponge gives me almost every day, frankly. (Watch out for that site, guys. It's addictive.) But still... I felt it more acutely than usual in this case.Thomas Paul stuff can be found at a lot of different places. At Anthropologie, for example, and via Design Public
.Know where it can't be found? At MY house. I seriously have to remedy this.
I'm full of a rather unusual (for me, anyway) desire to buy buy buy! Spend spend spend! I see Thomas Paul, and I can't help it, I feel... greedy.
In addition to the octopus shower curtain, I want...This melamine whale plate:
This black and white botanical print rug:
This fish scarf (blanket/towel thing):
Want want want. Now now now.
I have to get a hold of myself. Seriously.
* Final three product photos from the Thomas Paul website.
Hey friends. I'm contemplating a little DIY I wanted to tell you about.
Back in the fall, Nate and I went to NYC for a holiday. It was great. And while there, I bought a bunch of tee shirts from a street vendor (5 for $10 thankyouverymuch) with the intention of making a couple of throw pillows.
We've been back for months, and once I get the darn Christmas tree down, I think I'll be ready to begin. I have no sewing machine or skills, so I'll be doing this by hand, but I've made pillows before. It's not hard.
Still, now that the time has come, I'm beginning to wonder if this is actually a good idea.
I know my idea isn't very original. Would "I Heart NY" throw pillows be cute and graphic or generic and trendy? Can you think of any other fun uses for the tees that I might not have thought of? Should I just go for it? Lemme know.
If you read the site regularly, you've probably noticed my bed/bedroom obsession.
Last October, I made my first duvet cover, and attempted to mix and match patterns
. This summer, I made an attempt to brighten the room
by switching out my throw and flipping my pillows.
I wasn't always like this.
I used to be a hardcore advocate of white, white, and more white. Now, all I want is colour. And the colour I like best changes all the time
It's a bit of a problem.
Anyway, this weekend, I made an attempt to autumn-ize my bedding with yet another injection of colour (to go along with the butterflies I told you about on Monday
). What do you think? I even sewed new throw pillow colours (by hand, thankyouverymuch). Though, to be fair, my hand-sewing isn't really impressive since the only reason I sew by hand is the fact that I don't own a sewing machine. And actually, even if I did, I wouldn't know how to use it, because in Grade 7 and 8 Home Economics class I got a boy named Filippo to do my sewing for me and I didn't learn a thing. But anyway.
The whole thing came together quickly. After sewing up the pillows, I just added a burgundy sheet set (which you can see only a bit of on the back pillow cases). Then, I threw on a satin throw (which is actually a vintage bedspread from Value Village).
Like? No like? I'm into it. I think it's one of those small change, big impact kind of things.