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.

Scenes from my Weekend – EdgeWalk

A few weeks ago a friend messaged me and asked if I’d be interested in doing the EdgeWalk atop the CN tower here in Toronto in celebration of her husband’s birthday. Without hesitating I said yes despite it never having been on my bucket list of things I must do. In fact, I’m fairly certain that when the EdgeWalk opened in 2011 I said it was something I would never do.

For weeks every time I thought about what I had agreed to do I got butterflies in my stomach the size of pterodactyls, but this past Saturday I rode an elevator up 116 stories and stepped outside 356m (1,168ft) above Toronto and took a little stroll.

I can say now that it was fun, but while I was up there I have no problem admitting I was a bit scared. Heck – you can see it in the video – at points I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do the ‘activities’. I’m not generally afraid of heights, but there’s something about peering over the edge at that altitude with just a couple of ropes to hold you up that’s a bit terrifying.

Michelle - EdgeWalk

Now that I’ve done it I can honestly say it’s an adventure I’d recommend. Walking around on the outside of a building at that height is completely crazy and totally nuts, so therefor it’s something you should try if you can ;)

Edgewalk group

I did learn one thing from this adventure – I’ll never go bungee jumping. It’s one thing to peer over the edge at that height – it’s another thing completely to leap off. Never going to happen.

Look Up

Have you seen this video yet? It showed up a couple of times on my Facebook feed today and it struck a chord with me – it made me wonder how much time I spend sitting in front of a screen everyday instead or interacting with real people. The answer is easy – too much (and no, the irony of learning about this video via Facebook does not escape me).

On Sunday I was up WAY too early, so I did something I haven’t done in ages – I went for a walk. Not just a small walk – I was out for hours. Yes I took my phone, and yes I took pictures of the interesting things I saw as I went and shared them via social media, but here’s the thing – the only reason I was able to see different/interesting/beautiful things was I was looking up – I didn’t have my head down as I madly tweeted about whatever random thing that just popped into my head. And I liked it.

I did a sort of meandering loop from my place, and in all I probably walked about 10km. In that time I saw some things I likely wouldn’t have seen in my everyday life, and I know I never would have seen if I’d been looking down. What I did find really interesting however is that when I tried to make eye contact with some of the people I passed and say ‘hi’ more often than not I was ignored or given a strange look.

Are we so used to communicating electronically that simple face to face interaction between strangers is completely foreign? We think nothing of interacting with complete strangers over social media – is doing the same thing in person really all that different?

Maybe it’s a Toronto thing? My mom says that she finds a huge difference when she comes to visit – but she lives in a town that’s significantly smaller. Is it the pace of life in the ‘Big City’ that makes us all slaves to technology?

No matter the reason I’m going to set myself a bit of a 30 day social challenge (if you’re on social media of any sort these days you’ll know that 30 (or 100) day challenges are all the rage – there’s the 30×30 nature challenge or the 100 Happy Days challenge, and any number of fitness and diet related challenges, so really I’m just following the trend). Anyways, starting tomorrow (May 6) I’m going to look up and try to say ‘Hello’ or ‘good morning’ or something similar to at least one stranger a day, and maybe, if I’m very lucky, they’ll also be looking up and will say hello back.

By the way – here are some of the interesting things I spotted on my walk while I was looking up:

Street Art

Happy street art

Summerhill Tin Man

If you look up while wandering through Summerhill you’ll spot this Tin Man and his family

Eaton Family Crypt - Mount Pleasant Cemetary

The Eaton family crypt in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Spring buds on trees

Spring is Finally here!

Zara Home is Coming to Canada

Having an Irish mother meant that growing up I spent a bit of time in Europe visiting relatives. On one such trip I was introduced to Zara, and I was amazed by the store filled with lovely clothing, and very pleased to be able to buy some clothes that nobody had at home.

Zara eventually opened stores in Canada, and it remains one of my favorites for fun, fairly inexpensive clothing. A few years ago I discovered that Zara had a housewares division and from time to time would browse the European web stores to see what they had. When I was in Ireland last fall I even checked to see if there was a retail store so I could finally go shopping, but was disappointed to discover there wasn’t one.

This past spring I heard some Internet rumblings that Zara Home would finally be opening an online store in Canada, and unbelievably a retail location as well. I tried not to get my hopes up, and refrained from perusing their wares online. This past Tuesday I heard that the first Canadian retail location would open at Yorkdale shopping center on August 22nd, and that the online store would open that day as well (a second retail location in Laval, QC will open on Aug 29th). After hearing the news I  jumped right online and picked out a few favourites.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite from the above? I can’t decide between the tray and the skull tumblers.

PS – The items above are mostly from the US site, but a couple are from the UK.
PPS – Oh the irony of hearing that Zara was Finally going to open just days after realizing that any extra money in my budget for the foreseeable future will be going to plaster repairs.
PPPS – This is not a sponsored post – I’m just a bit excited Zara is finally coming to Canada.