The One of A Kind Show - Christmas Edition

November 23, 2012

You may recall in the spring I went to the One of A Kind Show here in Toronto. Well, last night I had the chance to go again on the opening night of the Christmas Edition and discovered that as good as the spring show was, the Christmas show is even better – it’s bigger so there are more marvellous things to be seen.

This time round I knew what I was getting into so was more prepared – I wore runners and jeans instead of my work clothes and shoes. If you go dress comfortably – you’ll be there for a while, and there are about 800 artists showing their work so there is a lot of walking to be done. Coat check is only $2, so make use of that as well – there’s no point in carrying your coat around with you. Seeing the show will take several hours, but they do have a free re-admission pass if you want to split your visit up into two shorter visits.

Quite a number of the artists I featured after the spring show were there again (you can see those posts here and here) and as much as I still love their work I tried to feature new ones below (with one exception).
ReStyle studio at OOAK
Some of the marvelous pieces available from Re:Style
Re: Style Studio (Booth Z-19) is run by Andrea Ford. She creates one-of-a-kind furniture pieces with vibrant fabric and colours that are stunning – the picture above doesn’t do the pieces justice.. She also runs reupholstery workshops out of her studio. I’m plotting to attend one in the new year.
Moonrox jewelry at OOAK
Tools necklaces from MoonRox Jewelry
MoonRox Jewellery (Booth Y-20) is a line of great jewellery created by Monique Chan. I loved the little tool necklaces shown above. They are $45 each, and perfect for your favourite DIY-er
James Kennedy Steel Artwork at OOAK
James Kennedy 'Continents' steel art
James Kennedy (Booth Y-44) is an artist from Montreal who works with steel, and he is showcasing his ‘Continents’ series at the show. My photo doesn’t do his pieces any justice – they are simply stunning in person. The variation in the colours in the steel makes you forget it's made from cold metal. His 12”x12” pieces are $325, and the large 48’x42”(not shown) are $3400.
Pook Tuques at OOAK
The guys from Pook Tuques
Pook Tuques (Booth U-10) The guys above run Pook Tuques and their booth is worth a visit simply to have them demonstrate the many ways their Pook Tuque can be worn. It’s hilarious (there's a 'Donald' comb-over). You can take a look at the many way the hat can be worn on their website.
Felt Factory at OOAK
The lovely animal creations from the Felt Factory. Which one would you pick?
Felt Factory (Booth R-19) is run by Sabine Alpers, and will be at the show just until November 26th, so if you like her felted animal heads you’ll have to go this weekend. If you follow me on Instagram you know I spotted one of her Unicorns last weekend in a store in Picton and fell in love. After seeing her animals at the show I’m now torn between the Unicorn and the Bison (which isn't shown), but they’re all amazing. The animals range in price from $60-$90.
Tammy Shane artist at OOAK
'There is Softness' by Tammy Shane
Tammy Shane (Booth Q-24) is an artist who will also only be at the show until November 26th. All her paintings are stunning, but the larger pieces are especially lovely. The piece above, entitled ‘There is a Softness’, is 48”x48” and really caught my attention($2820). Tammy Shane on Facebook
Sarah Hillock artist at OOAK
Hen painting on Mylar by Sarah Hillock
Sarah Hillock (Booth K-12) is an artist whose booth features large quite realistic oil paintings of cows and other animals. Looking at her work you can’t help but smile – they are marvelous and fun, and quirky in a really great way.
Sweet Truth booth at OOAK
The Sweet Truth Candy Company
The Sweet Truth Gourmet Candy Company (Booth G-36) is run by Diane McMillan after she learned to learned to make candy from her grandmother, and her candies are divine. With 7 flavours including Almond Butter Toffee, Sweet Lemon Butter Toffee and Cappuccino Chocolate Toffee and Pecans your taste buds will thank you if you stop by for a taste. The small tins are $8.95 and the large $14.50.

The Christmas One of a Kind show runs through December 2nd at the Direct Energy Center, Exhibition place. Tickets are $14 for adults (or $12 in you purchase them online)

*Disclosure: I was provided a ticket to the show free of charge, however all opinions expressed are my own.


Arranging Flowers with Coriander Girl

November 22, 2012

Last evening I had the opportunity to go to the Anthropology store at the Shops of Don Mills for a little flower arranging demonstration. The event was hosted by Pure Green Mag, and they had Alison Westlake from the flower shop ‘Coriander Girl’ there to give us some quick tips and pointers. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I try to buy myself flowers once a month (although I missed the last few months), but I’m woefully untalented when it comes to making those flowers look pretty in a vase.

We were directed to bring some sort of vintage item to use as our vase for our flowers. Mason jars and teacups were suggested. I brought this:
Thrifted glass bowl with silver handle
My selection for the 'vintage' vessel we were told to bring
I’m not quite sure what it is – it might be an ice bucket? I bought it at a thrift store for $4, so I thought it qualified as vintage. I should have looked harder for a cute teacup because this thing was a bit difficult to arrange flowers in - too wide.
The flowers for our class set out on a table
The flowers we would use for our arrangements
Alison set us all up around some tables, and then did a quick demonstration of how she makes her lovely arrangements. Nerd that I am, I took notes on my phone (I’m sure she thought I was being rude and texting, but I wanted to remember some of the things she said). Here are some of the things I learned:
  • Use room temperature water.
  • Remove all the greenery (leaves, etc) that will be below the waterline.
  • When trimming stems cut at a 45 degree angle – this gives more surface area for the flower to absorb water.
  • If you’re using a small shallow vase you can use clear tape to make a grid over the opening – this will help the flowers and greenery stay in place.
  • Start by adding your greenery, and once most of it’s arranged add you blooms. The greenery supports the flowers, and makes them stand out more. (I’m going to think of it like underwear – a really gorgeous outfit can look only so-so if you’re not wearing the right underwear – right?) You can add more greenery later to fill any spaces that remain after you’ve added the flowers.
  • If you need to force any blooms put them in warm water and then cover with a plastic bag.
  • In terms of scale – the height of an arrangement is very much personal preference, but as a rule of thumb the whole arrangement should be about twice the height of the vase alone.
I was going to take pictures of my bucket as I went, but I got distracted by the fun and forgot. Bad blogger. Anyways about 40 minutes after I started I ended up with this:
My flower arrangement
My flower arrangement at home. Before it got home I took it on the bus - I got some weird looks.
Some of the other participants arrangement were stunning so I’m going to have to practice. Such a hardship – playing with flowers.

Do you have any other tips for arranging flowers?


That time I met Sherry and John

November 13, 2012

If you’re a blogger, or read shelter blogs with any sort of regularity I’m sure you’ve heard John and Sherry Petersik (I admit it – I had to check how their last name was spelled – Doh!) of Young House Love, and I’m sure you’ve heard that they’ve written a wee little book that was recently released. As tends to happen when one releases a book they’ve embarked on a rather exhausting book tour of 21+ cities, and Toronto just happened to be one of them, and the only Canadian stop of their whirlwind tour.

Last evening on a dark and rainy night I made my way across town to the West Elm store for the signing and arrived to find quite a line winding it way around the store, and while it took about 2 hours for me to get to the front of the line it was time well spent as I got to ogle West Elm’s lovely wares. Below are some pictures of the event – they were all taken with my phone so I apologise in advance for some of the blurry shots.
hot chocolate at the young house love book signing
Tasty sustenance while we waited in line
Lovely West Elm place setting with gold cutlery
I'm in love with this gold cutlery
West elm gold honeycomb glasses
What's not to love about these glasses?
West elm mason jar cocktail shaker
Mason Jar cocktail shaker? Yes Please!
West Elm branch floor lamp
I really like this Branch Floor lamp. I would LOVE it if it came in Gold.
Sherry and john Petersik signing books at West Elm toronto
Eeeps! Getting close!
Meeting Sherry and john of Young house Love
Sigh - the record of my brush with blogging superstars, and it's blurry :(
Book signed by sherry and John Petersik
So far I've only managed to quickly flip through the book, but already I'm plotting projects #2, 12, 24 and #36. I'm sure there will be more that I'm inspired to try, and maybe I'll even complete some of them!

Before & After

Aren't I Spiffy?

November 12, 2012

I’ve been a little incommunicado over the last little while and I apologise for that, but I have a good reason – I promise!

I’ve been working on a little makeover which I’ve been plotting for quite some time – I’ve updated the look of my blog.  Yippee! Those of you that get my posts by email or through a reader won’t notice anything different, but those of you that visit my site will notice a completely new look, and I hope you like it!

When I moved from to being self-hosted in January I had my first real experience of trying to design a blog, and in all honesty it was hard. Playing with code is rather difficult and very confusing when you’ve never done it before, and after a while I just gave up trying to make it look perfect and learned to live with what I’d created. It wasn’t all bad, but it was nowhere near the level where I wanted it to be. Now 11 months later I’m a little bit more comfortable with playing with css and php code so I decided to take the plunge (and by a little I mean a very little – at least I now know where to find it).

This time I was a little more prepared when it came to designing the look I wanted –  months ago I created a Pinterest board where I put pieces of blog design inspiration and tutorials to create some of the things I wanted on my blog, and I’ve been adding to it whenever I spotted something I liked, or wanted to remember. There are quite a number of great tutorials available for blog design and I used a few.

Another great resource is the forums on the site. A few of the coding issues I discovered while working on my new look were easily fixed with a quick search of the forums as chances were someone had already answered the question. In one instance an answer wasn’t already there so I posted the question detailing my problem, and within hours I had a coding fix that worked perfectly.

Anyways, shall we reminisce about my old look for a bit? This was the old landing page. It had a slider image at the top which featured some of my past projects. I didn’t really like it but couldn’t figure out how to turn it off (silly css and php), and I never remembered to update the slider images with more recent projects.
Old website design with slider
Old Sweetsuite10 homepage design
Old sweetsuite10 blog post look
Old Sweetsuite10 blog post look
The main blog page looked like this. Nothing really exceptional about it, and the subscribe/follow section was a little amateur looking. I’ve updated the subscribe/follow section for my new look. Here’s the before and after – much better now isn’t it? Now you just need to click on the circles to see my Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest pages, send me an email or follow the blog through RSS.
Blog subscribe panels - before and after
he old and new subscribe/follow panels - the new one is much better isn't it?
I also changed my header image. The old one was a bit busy. I like the new one quite a bit more as it’s simpler.
Blog header looks
The old and new header images - the new one is simpler
Here’s my new main page – which is simply my blog. I’ve done away with a separate ‘landing page’ in the hopes that the new look is simpler to navigate.
My new blog page
I have added one new thing which I’ve been meaning to do for months – I’ve created a project gallery page. Here I've posted images that link to some of my favourite past projects, crafts and recipes. Fingers crossed I’ll remember to keep adding to it!
New project gallery page
So there it is – my new look. There are still a few quirks I need to fix, but for the most part it’s done. I should thank D who put up with a number of panicky phone calls when things weren’t going well, and helped me get things moving in the right direction again. It’s rather handy to have a boyfriend who knows a little about coding and Photoshop.

What do you think of the new look? It’s a step up from the old one isn’t it? As a reader would you change anything?


Rain, Resolutions and Retail Therapy

November 02, 2012

Last weekend I accomplished something I didn’t think I was going to be able to do. You may recall that last January I made a rather extensive list of things I wanted to accomplish/finish this year. I’ve been rather distressingly unsuccessful with my list so far, and given we’re already in November I don’t have much time left to get things done. One of those things on my list was run a 10K race. I used to be a runner and even completed two half marathons even though I’m quite slow (molasses or lava come to mind) and not the most attractive of runners. Have you seen this circulating around Pinterest? That’s me. I'm not kidding.

A couple of months ago I made a pact with a friend to register for, and run a 8K race. I then proceeded to not train, which was probably not the best plan in the world, but I had ‘lots of time’ before the race to get ready. Yup, remember when I admitted to being a procrastinator? Last Saturday was race day. Guess how many times I’d laced up my runners and gone for a run? If you guessed zero you should probably go buy a lottery ticket because you’d be right. On top of the small issue of not having run any distance in over 2 years there was the weather. It was pouring. I don’t like the rain, and if I hadn’t gotten the brilliant idea that running a race would be something fun to do I would have remained buried under my toasty duvet.

Anyways, I went and ran 8K in the pouring rain. That’s right – I ran it. Sure I stopped for walk breaks, but I’m quite proud to say that I ran at least 90% of the 8K distance. In the pouring rain. Yay Me!
Women's 8k race
Race day before and after. That jacket I'm wearing? It's 'waterproof', and was completely soaked through by the time I finished.
While It wasn’t the 10K that I originally resolved to complete this year, and my time of 58:26 was slower than my best 10K time, I’m more than happy with having completed 80% of that resolution. It also reminded me how much I enjoy running, so maybe I’ll start doing it on a semi-regular basis. Maybe. Perhaps.
8k medal
Later on Saturday after a long hot shower to try to warm up, I convinced D that we should go antiquing. We headed up near Barrie to Roadshow 400 Antiques which I’ve passed many times, but never visited. It’s a rather large antique market with a quite varied selection of items. Remember those glass candle stick holders I found at a thrift store in September that I worried were a bit expensive at $14.14 for the pair? Look at what I spotted on Saturday:
glass two-arm candleholder
I think these candle holders are the same as the ones I bought.
I’m pretty sure they're the exact same, but were being sold for $50.

A few aisles over I spotted these lovely vintage Pyrex bowls.
four-color pyrex bowls
Lovely Pyrex mixing bowls - too bad they were $75
I loved the colours, but at $75 there was no way I could justify buying them as I’d be afraid to use them. Leaving them behind made me sad, however the day wasn’t a complete bust as I did bring something home with me.
My new colourful Pyrex mixing bowls
My new mixing bowls
Yes – I brought home Pyrex bowls. These ones were literally 2 stalls over from the original set I spotted, and I bought them for a whopping $24. Better yet - mine are less scratched than the original set I spotted! I have no idea if $24 is really a good price for 4 Pyrex bowls, but given they were only a third of the cost of the original set I couldn't really say no could I?  Would you have left them behind? Or would you have been like me and hobbled as fast as your race weary legs could take you to the cash so you could buy them?

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