New Favourites at the One of a Kind Show – Winter 2015

It’s that time of year again – the one where I wrack my brain for gift ideas for the people on my list and pretty much always come up empty. The trouble is, whenever I ask what they might like, the invariable answer is that they don’t need or want anything.  This makes gift giving VERY difficult. Handily this time of year coincides with the Winter One of a Kind Show.

I’ve blogged about the show in the past- it’s always helped me find gifts for at least some of the people on my list, and this year was no different. I went Thursday evening after work to take advantage of their later hours, and I’m pleased to say I think my gift list is now about 90% complete.

I bought my ticket online (after finding a $1 off coupon via google) and printed it out before going. Best $12 I’ve spent in a while – no battling through malls which always seems to make me grumpy. While busy, the show wasn’t really crowded until I got to the aisle with all the food vendors who were giving out all the tasty samples. I might have definitely indulged in way too many samples, but it was worth it .

I thought I’d share a few of the ‘New to me’ vendors I found this time at the show just in case you’ll be visiting this weekend (the show closes Dec 6). (The pictures I’m sharing are mostly via the vendor’s websites as sadly my cell phone doesn’t take the greatest pictures)

Russell Hackney Ceramics – Booth Z19
Russell Hackney White ceramic cookie jar with bear motif
A new vendor at the show, Russell’s booth was actually one of the first I visited (I always do the show from right to left, or aisle Y though A). Given my love of matte white ceramic vases it’s unsurprising that his work caught my eye.  I need to figure out a way for this Bear cookie jar to grace my kitchen counter. Hopefully he’ll be back at the spring show and I can get myself a present.

C is for Clean – Booth I13
C is for Clean - Lavender & Vanilla
I actually somehow missed this booth on my first pass through the show (I walk though once and make notes of gift ideas, who they might be for and note the booth name and location. Once I’ve seen everything I make my choices and go pack and purchase them), but spotted them as I was leaving. While I didn’t buy any this time, this is another booth I’ll be buying from in the spring (here’s hoping they’re there!) I love that they’re all natural, and the four scents they have are all lovely.

Marjorie Camiré Céramiste – Booth W49
White and blue ceramic bowl with gold rim
Marjorie’s booth was busy when I was walking by and it’s clear why. With lovely ceramic pieces rimmed in gold they are simple, beautiful pieces. she also had a teacup and saucer that made me want to start drinking tea on a regular basis

Julia Veenstra – Booth W52
Original painting by Julia Veenstra
Julia’s art quite literally stopped me in my tracks. It’s bold and vibrant, and I love it. This is Julia’s first #OOAK show, and judging by the number of red stickers denoting sold pieces it’s been quite a success. I LOVED the above piece named ‘Evening on the lake’ – the person who purchases it will be very lucky.

If you haven’t already gone to this season’s One of a Kind show I hope you have a chance to go this weekend – it’s well worth it.

In Search of Winter Boots

It’s almost the end of November which, besides being entirely shocking (seriously – wasn’t it July just last week?), means I will soon wake up to a blanket of snow covering the ground. Sadly, the boots I’ve been wearing for the last two winters developed a hole in the toe in the spring so it’s time for some new boots.

If I had any sort of foresight I would have taken advantage of the end of season sales last spring to buy a new pair but since I didn’t, I’ve been trying to decide on a new pair while knowing that it could snow at any moment and I wouldn’t be prepared. If I had an unlimited budget this wouldn’t have been such a problem, but I’m heading to Africa in just under a month and I’ve got a lot of stuff I still need to buy for that trip, so the budget is tight.

Some people might think spending $200 on a pair of winter boots is a lot, and frankly I rather agree, but there are a few reasons I think spending the money is warranted:

  • I live in Canada. Yes, there are stereotypes (no I don’t live in an igloo or ski to work), but the reality is it gets cold, and it snows. Good winter boots are a bit of a necessity for living in Canada – kinda like maple syrup.
  • I hate the cold. Seriously. If I could figure out a way to only live in Canada during the spring, fall and summer I’d totally spend the winter months somewhere warmer.
  • It’s an almost 1km walk from my house to the subway, so I’m spending a lot of time walking on snowy, slushy, wintery sidewalks for more months than I’d like.

Here are some of the contenders:Six winter boots for under $200


  1. Cougar 39068 Original. My mom had these when I was little so these are a bit of a nostalgic choice. They’re also available in black, brown and red. Rated to -30 degrees. Waterproof $200
  2. Keen Elsa Boot. These are a bit less bulky than some of the others. I like the black, but they’re available in a bunch of different colours. Tag on the inside says rated to -20 degrees. Waterproof $140
  3. Cougar Puffy Zip. I really liked the idea of a zipped-up boot as they’re just easier to put on than the lace-up. I’m not sure the fur collar is quite ‘me’, but I think they’re rather fun. Rated to -30 degrees. Waterproof $195
  4. Cougar Keaton. These have a really cute zipper up the back and are also available in blue and black. I love that these are taller, but they’re only rated to -10 degrees so they might be better suited for spring and fall. $120
  5. Sorel 1964 Premium CVS. These are a classic too, and I like that the liner can come out to be washed. They’re available in black and army green, but I rather like the blue. Rated to -32 degrees $150
  6. Cougar Cheyenne 2. These are all leather, and felt more like shoes when I tried them on. Also available in red, brown and tan. Rated to -30 degrees. Waterproof. $190

Now I just need to decide. What do you wear? Any suggestions?

(for American readers I’ve linked the above to Canadian websites – you can check out some of the boots on Amazon here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Thrifting in BC

It’s no secret that I love thrifting – I love the thrill of finding something amazing (or something ugly that could be amazing) in a pile of what can often sometimes be described as junk. I find however that in Toronto it’s hard to find that amazing score – I don’t know if it’s because there are just so many others in town that have the same affinity for the hunt that I do or, if it’s just a case of luck not being on my side whenever I head to the local stores (which aren’t that local when you don’t have a car).

In August I visited my parents in BC and on a couple of occasions my mom and I went out to explore the local second-hand stores. They live in a small-ish town that has what seems to be a larger number of thrift stores in comparison to Toronto. It may be the demographics are different – there is a large retiree population, but they also have a number of stores which are run in benefit of local charities like the Hospital Auxiliary and the Woman’s shelter which I haven’t seen here (I’m sure they exist – I just haven’t found them).

I don’t know what it was on this trip, but I found a number of great pieces. So many I had to get creative when packing to get them back to Toronto.

I finally found some milk bottles – these are originally from The Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous, BC, which is, according to my mom, a mandatory stop when traveling on the Trans-Canada highway. I’m not entirely sure if these are ‘vintage’ as apparently this dairy still sells milk in bottles, but they were just $2 each.

Dutchman Dairy Milk Bottles

I’m sure this coffee can isn’t vintage, but for only $.50 I figured why not? It has the look and now I just need to figure out what to plant in it.

Maxwell House Coffee Tin

This little Scheurich ‘onion’ vase caught my eye for the vibrant colour and the MCM pattern. It was $8.

Small Scheurich Onion Vase

Ever since I purchased my large Kaiser vase from the Junction flea a couple of years ago I’ve been on the lookout for more pieces. I did find one more small vase at the Aberfoyle antique market (I never shared it here, but it looks like this), but other than that I haven’t had any luck. I love the matte white look of the pottery which I think is timeless (I love it so much I’ve even started a whole collection of MCM white vases on Etsy in case anyone wants to buy me one  – ha!).

Anyways, I was lucky enough to find two Kaiser vases in BC, so I’ve got the start of a little collection. The first round vase was $7 and the second, slightly larger vase, was an incredible $2.

Round Kaiser Vase

Medium Kaiser Vase

Hopefully over time I’ll be able to find some more Kaiser vases and eventually be able to showcase them like this. If anyone happens to find one while out thrifting please let me know ;)

Does anyone else find a difference when thrifting in small towns vs. big cities? Or was I perhaps just lucky enough to be visiting when there was many great things for sale?

Thrifty Thursday – Memories

Anyone who likes thrifting knows that you really can’t go looking for anything specific as you’ll never find it – you need to be ready to spot the possibilities in anything – from how you can completely makeover an item, or simply what it means to you and the memories it invokes.

My dad is from Winnipeg, and growing up in Toronto I didn’t get to see that side of my family very frequently – maybe once or twice a year (Don’t get me wrong – I know I was super lucky to get to see them as often as I did – I know there are plenty of families who live apart who don’t have the same opportunity). When we visited Winnipeg when I was quite young we always used to stay at my Gran’s house which was also my dad’s childhood home. My dad’s room was the way it was when he left from university so I remember it being a bit like being in ‘Back to the Future’ (I could be wrong, but I seem to remember there being cowboy wallpaper in my dad’s room).  My Gran’s been gone for a number of years now, but every so often I’ll see something that reminds me of her – certain upholstery fabrics make me think of her white sofa, and Royal Crown Derby china in the Imari pattern makes me think of her corner hutch and the china she kept on display there.

One thing I spot quite frequently while thrifting is Blue Mountain pottery. I remember my Gran having a number of pieces, and while I always think of her when I spot the distinctive blue-green pottery, I’ve never bought a piece since I’ve only ever seen it in figurines of cats and ducks which are not my thing. A couple of months ago I spotted this little pot for $2 and while it’s not Blue Mountain Pottery it’s colour made me think of Gran so I brought it home.Green flower pot with handles

It sat on my windowsill for a few weeks until I eventually decided I should put something in it. The next time I was at Home Depot I explored their plants and tried to figure out what would look best. The problem was that most of the small plants they had in stock were simple with leaves in various shades of green and I wanted something with a bit more colour since the pot itself was green. Happily I found the perfect plant one row over – an African Violet.African Violet in a green flower potOne of the other things I remember about my Gran is she always had several African violet plants. I can still picture several on her drum table in front of a big picture window. Whether she had them because they were a favourite, or they were given to her as gifts I’m not quite sure, but they will always make me think of her.

A green flower pot and an African Violet may not mean much to most people, but to me they are a perfect pair just for the small things they make me remember.