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?
The Door Store
keeps popping up in my life lately. A few weeks ago, some friends bought a pair of doors there and fashioned them into a headboard. (See a photo of their project at the end of this post.) Then, someone emailed me asking about knocker hardware for their front door and I sent them a link to my own front door update
(which included a Door Store knocker). Finally, just today, while flipping through the Latest issue of Style at Home I saw a little thing about fun, animal-shaped hooks (for hanging coats and whatnot) and a few of the options were Door Store picks at excellent prices. Anyway, I think the universe is trying to tell me to write something about The Door Store, so here I am, writing something.I've got to plug the aforementioned coat hooks. They're adorable, and I believe they're only about $10 a piece.
Cute, no? And these prices are much better than the ones at Anthro. (And besides, screw Anthro. They are so annoying.)
As for actual doors, the shop's selection is huge and worth checking out in person, but here are a few of my personal favourites I plucked from the currently-available mech photos on the website.
Front and back of the same door. LOVE that green.
More colourful vintage choices. More love.
A couple of international choices, from Paris and Egypt respectively, I think.
Finally, check out the headboard I mentioned in the first paragraph - the one my friends Josh and Megan made with two doors they snagged at The Door Store. (They paid $375 for the pair.) I think these were outhouse doors once upon a time, but I'm loving their second life.
I really wish I had an inch of space or that I needed a replacement door... ANY real excuse to buy some stuff, frankly. I'd be off to The Door Store immediately. Alas, I must live vicariously. If any of you have some DS finds you want to share, I'd love to hear about 'em in the comments.
Hey y'allyall. I know I've been remiss. I haven't posted anything new to the Chic or Reviews blogs in AGES. I promise I'm working on a plan to get back into it on a regular basis, but in the meantime, I just had to tell you about a couple of bad ass deals I spotted this very afternoon at Toronto's own Honest Ed's.
First up: A kelly green trench coat. Brand: Ann Taylor. Original price: Around $180. Ed's Price: $12.99. Sizes: XS to XL and some variety of petites as well. It's looks kinda, but not exactly like this:
I seriously love this coat. I have no idea why the original Ann Taylor merchant had a problem with it. The whole lot I saw seemed fine. The buttons are a lovely tortoise colour, but could possibly use some reinforcement stiching (but I've had that problem even with garments from The Bay). The fabric - heavy and cottony, not unlike a light denim - seems to be in great shape and the green colouring is vibrant. This is one chic coat, my friends. AND IT'S ONLY $12.99.
Also, I nabbed a little pair of classic yellow rain boots. They look just like Tretorn Skerry Boots, which were designed for sailing (so chi chi). Tretorn Boots cost about $70. These look-a-likes? Ed's Price: $9.99. Ed's is carrying women's sizes 6 to 9 only. Here's how they look:
The boots are lined with a thin layer of cozy flannel or felt, so they're pretty comfy. I am not sure how they ended up at Ed's but I will say that I notice they have one irregularity: with this style of boot, at the top back, you usually see a little tab meant to help pull the boot on and off. At Ed's these tabs have all been cut off. This doesn't affect functionality or style, but it's worth noting.* SEE UPDATE BELOW!
There are lots of other fun finds at Honest Ed's right now. I had forgotten how much I loved the place. When I lived in the Annex, it was a go-to shopping haunt.
Now, I warn you, there's lots of junk to sift through if you want to find gems like these, but it's fun and so worth it. And if you don't believe me, I invite you to consider my favourite-ever Honest Ed's find: a vintage-style one-piece bathing suit. Classic black and white stripes. It looked like this and I got it back in 2008:
How much did I pay? $2.99. Two dollars and ninety-nine cents, people. Chic and cheap. My favourite.
Anyway, guys. If those yellow rain boots or that kelly green trench appeal, I advise you to hop on down to Honest Ed's before they're gone.
As for blogging on the Chic page, like I said, I'm going to try to get back into it soon. Hang tight.
* UPDATE: Just 3 weeks into wearing the yellow boots, the rubber was torn in multiple places. They now suck up water better than they keep it out. So that's ten bucks down the drain. The green coat however, is awesome. I hand-stitched a little button reinforcement and the thing is wearing great.
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!
So remember when I posted about wanting a door knocker
? (It was just last week! You better remember.) Anyway, I posted about that because I really wanted to do a little mini-makeover on our front door. And I've done it!We live in a rental and our front door was pretty ugly before, but thanks to a little paint and a heavy iron knocker from The Door Store in Toronto, I'm loving it now. The Door Store was recommended to me by Jen at Rambling Renovators. I'd seen the place on TV, but never been inside. I LOVED IT. While a lot of the hardware they had was a bit out of my reach, price-wise, we were able to find something neat for only $35. And yes... it features a bird.I put a bird on it. AGAIN.
Deal with it.Okay, so let's take a look:
Good, right? The flat black paint hides the dings and imperfections of the old door pretty well, AND it makes the vintage hardware pop.
Here's a shot of the mail slot (at the bottom of the door, not shown in the first pics):
And here's one of the bird-knocker, up close.
What do you think? Good?
And for the record, I will never stop putting a bird on it. NEVER.
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?
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.
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).
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.)
Blue Eyed Grass is my absolute favourite thing about springtime in Toronto. My absolute favourite thing. I love how it seems to appear out of nowhere. How you can leave your house in the morning with a lawn of nothing but green shoots and mud, and when you return home, it's brimming over with blue. I'm surprised by it every single year. And it always makes me happy.
Hope y'all are having a nice holiday weekend. I spent it walking around the city, hunting for Blue Eyed Grass. I wasn't disappointed.
Image by Glitch of the blog Way Out in the Margin, spring 2010.
In my ongoing quest to revamp my bedroom, I created a little vignette above one of the dressers.
And I decided to blog about it because it occurred to me that this vignette cost me practically nothing. Every piece in it was either inherited, or purchased second-hand.
What do you think?
The books, milk glass bud vase, ginger jar, leaf dish, and white floral candle holder are from Goodwill. The faux forsythia and the bird are from Dollarama. The statue is from Angel Interiors and Custom Upholstery in Toronto (on St. Clair West.) It was a gift for my 17th birthday back in 1997. The art and the copper tree are from Value Village and the antique telescope used to be my dad's. I have no idea where he got it.
All this stuff was already hanging around my house in other rooms, on other tables and/or hidden away, so the vignette took no time at all. I love how spring-timey and bright it feels. So much better than it was, no?
So did any of you catch the premiere of Sarah Richarson's new show last night? Sarah 101
? I watched a screener and will probably watch the show again, but I've got to say... I had a few reservations.First off though, I want to explicitly say that I think Sarah Richardson is one of the best, if not THE best, designer working on television today. I mean that. I've literally never seen her do a room that wasn't impressive. And she has a lovely on-air personality. She's funny, sharp, and genuine... at least when she's not reading lines.
Forced, scripted writing was a problem on Sarah's earliest show: Room Service
. The design work on that show was fine, but Sarah herself - as a television personality - was problematic. She had that poofy short hairdo. She spoke in an exaggeratedly formal way. It was like she was trying (and failing) to channel Martha Stewart.
Nothing against Martha -- besides the obvious, of course -- but it's important to be yourself.
And then along came Design Inc
. and... BAM. Sarah was fabulous. Here was a woman I could love! A Sarah with personality! Design Inc. was a great show, and its focus on what really happens behind-the-scenes - the mistakes, the unforseeable problems, the on-the-fly solutions - was completely compelling. I still watch reruns whenever I can.
Design Inc. gave us a glimpse at a real team at work. A team that clearly respected, loved (and yes, sometimes feared) its leader. I especially enjoyed the way the crew would scramble to please her. There was an air of iron first about Sarah on that show, but a kindness too, and it was awesome. Real. The show's successors, Sarah's House
(and Sarah's Cottage, etc.) were appealing in a similar way.
Sarah's evolving looks and dos
I guess that's why I found the first episode of Sarah 101
to be a little... lacking.
Sarah 101 is a bit of a step backwards in the evolution of the Sarah Richardson brand, which isn't to say that step wasn't deliberate. The show is obviously designed to be what it is: a stripped down, simplified, "back-to-basics" look at design. Consider the logo - the school-house font. Ostensibly, Sarah 101 is attempting to do what I always hoped Sarah would: to show regular people how to make a room happen, in a clear, DIY friendly, and budget conscious way.
It's everything I thought I wanted.
Nonetheless, something about the format feels dated.I had a couple of problems with the first episode of Sarah 101 that I saw - a pre-released screener of a yet-to-be-aired episode entitled Big Box Kitchen. I thought the design relied too much on IKEA (though, to be fair, using a big box store was clearly the point). But I was also put off by the overly didactic tone of Sarah's scripted moments. They were awkward and harkened back to her Room Service days. What was missing from Sarah 101, I think, was more of Sarah herself. More of her and Tommy and their amusing banter. More real conversations and moments, less of the obviously contrived.Don't get me wrong, I understand the attempt. I just think Sarah (and her sidekick Tommy, of course), their personalities, are what sets Sarah's shows apart. And I'd like to see more of them.
IKEA chair used in Sarah 101's Big Box Kitchen
I was lucky enough to meet Sarah and Tommy recently, at an event for a small group of bloggers. It was great. Sarah was more beautiful, charming and impressive than I'd expected (and I expected a lot). I especially enjoyed her toughness. When I (mistakenly) said that I thought Design Inc. wouldn't do projects for people who didn't have a minimum $15K budget, she refused to let my error pass. She could easily have said that she didn't think I was right and moved on, but I watched her shuffle at warp speed through her memory in order to discover that I'd misread her old website, which listed the value of the Design Inc. team's services at an estimated $15K. I liked the determined way she set about setting me straight. I could see how much she cared, both about her image and about a brand that is clearly her baby.
During the get together, Sarah also reminisced about the hiring of former intern Lindsay Mens (who's now been on the team approximately 6 years and who you may remember for Design Inc.) Sarah said that Lindsay was the only student she met at one particular event who was brave enough to ask her for a job and to some extent, that's why she was hired. Armed with this information, I jokingly asked Sarah for a job at the end of the meeting. I wish I could describe her expression. She knew what I was doing and she quelled me with a look. It was kind of awesome.
Considering all this, I'll definitely watch Sarah 101 again. I can't imagine not giving a Sarah/Tommy effort a fair chance. And the end credits featured a bit of the banter I love, which makes me hope there'll be more in future episodes. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
With Tommy and Sarah at the Blogger's meet up.
Group shot of the bloggers with Sarah and Tommy courtesy of Rambling Renovators.
Sarah 101 airs on HGTV on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m. Full schedule here
. No idea when or if it will air in the States. Sorry.