I would like to highlight two of my favourite stores from our downtown misadventures! Hopefully this will not take forever! The extent of my willingness to gush over these boutiques is legendary in its vastness.
The first is Pam Chorley's Fashion Crimes. The original Queen West boutique! Full of glamorous dresses for all ages, glittering accessories, loyal and enthusiastic employees and customers searching for a unique garment (or two). They always have amazing window displays and as soon as you enter it's like walking into a VERY large (and surreal) closet with dresses hanging from all available spaces. It's comfortable and cozy from the second you walk in but it is incredibily exciting each and every time you come back!
This store is awe inspiring.
I was once lucky enough to get a gorgeous trench, 3/4 length sleeves, white with blue flowers and green leaves, matching fabric covered buttons and a waste tie for 50$ on sale from 400$. It's finally going to be nice enough for me to wear it as Toronto is on the verge of a freak hot spell (upwards of 25 degrees C!).
The second boutique I would like to cover is second only because it is newest to me. Certainly not because it is lacking in great fashion! Fresh Collective is a designer run collective with a bit of everything. Adorable dresses, silk screened t-shirts, baby clothes, re-purposed knits with witty animal appliqués and (my personal favourite) a lot of unique jewellery! After falling in love with a brown corduroy dress featuring a retro bird print in blue, green and red in a 60s housewife cut (a total steal at 49$) and a quasi sweetheart top with puffed sleeves (for 85$) I was informed the designer was none other than Laura-Jean herself, store owner and designer of Fresh Baked Goods.
I did not end up with either of these items (although I am still kicking myself over that dress) but instead got a forest green sweater vest with a silk screened image of a deer with a tree sprouting from it's antlers and a deep v-neck shirt with a lovely layering of trims running from the bottom, up behind the neck and then down around the front once more. Marie purchased a lovely tote bag by Norma W in houndstooth with a little robot appliqué.
It was easy to fall in love with this shop. See the website for a complete list of designers!
This pair is a vibrant green lace, with vintage faux pearls on sterling silver findings. The earrings look different when you have them in. They don't have wire through them so they hang like wonderfully large floppy bows!
I got a few compliments over the weekend which was inspiring. Having people who work at places like Fashion Crimes talk to you about how much they like your accessories is very VERY encouraging. I'm sure they are constantly seeing a lot of really fabulous things.
I went shopping with my partner to pick up some necessities for an upcoming craft fair. While out we picked up a lot of really great records and awesome Avengers tapes! We also went to The Madison Ave Pub for a surprise birthday party, which was very nice. I think everyone had a really good time!
In my free time this weekend (and while watching The Avengers) I learned to make 3 new things and I wanted to share them with you even if they did not turn out all that well! But for first attempts I think they are rather good! So here they are:
First is a tree pendant. Commonly known as a "Tree of Life" Pendant... but I don't love that name... The wire I have is not at all the proper gauge for this project. The outer ring got really bent up and the beads ended up not being as close to the hoop as I would have liked. But still for a first go I am pretty impressed with the results.
Then I attempted some bird nests. This first one turned out somewhat boring as I hadn't used enough wire to get it looking really thick and layered.
I much prefer the design of this, my second attempt. The wires look much more organic.
I also attempted to make wire rings. Only thing is I don't own a mandrel so I had to improvise what to use for the form. Everything turned out far too large or too small this way! But have a look anyhow. I'm sure with a mandrel I could make quite a few nice little rings. (The ring with the green stone bead was the first one I made).
It's nice to be able to expand into other areas, as I have been doing a lot lately. Especially since I run out of headpins so quickly and then have to wait for more to arrive before I can make earrings. This way I will always have something to keep me busy! (At least until I run out of those supplies as well!)
Oh! I picked up a few vintage watch parts on our Saturday outing and I am very excited about the prospect of a post detailing my first Steampunk design! EEP!
Here are just a few items I feel every librarian should have!
Such a smart necklace. Perfect for any avid reader in your life.
This chair is really more for a private library on your country estate to go with candles and large tinted windows and a very lovely ladder attached to your towering, dark stained wooden shelves. With doors that lead to the garden where you take your tea... Oh my. I think I'm getting carried away.
I love these cards. The design is such a wonderful combination of printing methods.
Such a precious top. Perfect for any dreamer.
In my romantic version of being a librarian they are only ever seen stocking the shelves and assisting the public in a pencil skirt. This one is exquisite.
I could go on and on but I thought looking up heels and glasses might be dangerous for my wallet!
Have a nice weekend everyone!
An adorable little nautical themed hat and booties set!
Wonderful herbal bath for baby. (There are many great natural options in this shop for mom, as well!)
A lovely diaper bag!
A special elephant rattle made from organic fabrics!
I simply adore this magnet! (Obviously keep this one far from baby!)
Cute alphabet cloth diaper. Read the item description to learn more about the negative impact that disposable diapers have on the environment.
This changing mat is too cute for words! I love baby items with animal motifs!
The sweetest cowboy themed bib and burp set!
And a cute diaper bag for mom. This baby has 7 pockets! (I really love a bag with pockets.)
These wonderful items could help to prepare any new mom for her little bundle of joy! Many items are missing of course but I looked at so many items I was fearing a cuteness overload!
This kind of marvellous stencil work! I mean look at this!
I'd give my left leg to have arms capable of this! It adds such drama and elegance. (Not that my little apartment has the wonderful wooden detailing that compliments the stencils so perfectly.)
This one is my favourite but it's a two step process making it a little more difficult for the dexterity challenged, even with such well thought out templates!
If you love decorating for yourself and have the arms and the eyes to pull it all off (as I'm sure most people in the world do!) click on the pictures to see more by CuttingEdgeStencils.
First we had a wonderful brunch at Fran's at Yonge and College. I was given so much food I had to give almost all of my untouched home fries to the first homeless guy I could find, not wanting to waste them but not wanting to carry them around all afternoon either. I hope he enjoyed them.
The weather was wonderful as we made our way down Yonge to Queen West and only improved as the day went on. Diane being able to pull on her sunglasses and me being able to throw my coat into my backpack as I had a nice little sweater on.
Our first stop was at Active Surplus. I found lovely little vials with corks. They were not paired together however and the mess of boxes they were scattered throughout were not at all self explanatory. With the incalculable help of Diane, we managed to find matches for most of the little bottles that I had taken a liking to.
And here they are!
I have big plans! Even my partner has big plans for these babies, sharing them with me last night over dinner. His imagination is top notch.
After that we made our way to my most favourite place in the city! There is a wonderful stretch of Queen West between Spadina and Bathurst that is simply crawling with bead and fabric stores! I went into one small shop and was able to locate a wondrous selection of chains that just so happened to be from 30-50% off. I picked up enough to make approximately 20-25 necklaces for around 13$. Not bad! That said I picked nice coloured chains that I do not have matching clasps for. Oh well! An excuse to go again!
I finally found some lace suitable for making bib necklaces. My first find was great. Usable as is. My second was a nice pattern but it needed to be dyed. The shiny white colour was so awful!!! All I could think was 80s bridal horror! But it was an easy fix. I used tea and Kool-aid mix for the dye as it was all I'd had on hand. To do this I simply boiled some water, steeped the tea/stirred in the kool-aid and then dropped in the bits of lace.
They both turned out pretty well! I am especially fond of the tea dyed piece, it smells so lovely.
But instead! I slept in until 12:30 because my kitten was being cute and cuddly and she is almost never like that with me. Then I had a phone call with my mom during which we discussed such riveting topics as what to do with my tax forms (as I got paid in two provinces this year). Bank fess. And an argument over how long it takes to get to NFLD. Which was highly amusing at first since she thought I meant from Toronto and not from P.E.I., and really, why wouldn't she.
Now it is rainy and grey and sad outside. Doubly sad since we have had so much nice sunshine. Maybe I took it for granted? I'm sure if I write it a nice letter it will come back soon.
So now I have about 3 hours until the ball and chain gets home from work. Then we are making some supper for a couple friends. One of them recently bought a pin from my shop! So she is going to be picking that up also. Which reminds me of another thing I was supposed to do... I have to let everyone who looks at my shop know that I am willing to do pick ups for anyone in Toronto. So they don't have to play silly amounts of shipping and so I don't have to waste mailers and packaging.
Let's see how much work I can get done before this evening. I have a nice weekend to look forward to if the sun comes out. I hope it does so that I might ride my bike around the city!
I JUST CANNOT WAIT!
In other news. Heading to the Tranzac tonight to see The Silt. First time for both. Pretty excited. Going with friends new and old!
...I think I just got the hang of Thursdays.
A new blog segment!!
Every Wednesday I will be posting something I wish to make that is currently outside of my skill level but not entirely unachievable (you know if I really tried... and tried... got frustrated... gave up... started over, etc.).
Here is the first!
Crochet dinosaurs!! Oh so very cute! Oh so very, very out of my league!...
Patterns are available for purchase through this site
However! Currently in Toronto, the sun is shining, there is no snow to be found anywhere, and all weekend it was over 9 degrees Celsius. I just can't help myself! I'm thinking about floral dresses, ballet flats, sun hats, parasols, and EVEN sandals! I have been stung before and my poor heart should know better. However I am well aware of how brutally hot this looming summer will be and here in Toronto winter has been a joke. I would walk 25 minutes to work in the middle of January in tights, a skirt (or dress) and completely nonsensical boots.
I feel the time is right to get excited!
Here are a few goodies I have searched out for all of you so that I might complete my obligatory "spring is nigh" post in style. Click on a photo if you wish to see more from the shop it came from!
Some home decor. Bring Spring to you!
A miniature I would love to have full sized.
Jewellery! Of course!
Now to find a job that can support my crafting addiction AND my Spring wardrobe!!
This was the first thing I saw that I loved. It put me in a wonderful state of mind and made me excited for the whole event. By Nava Waxman.
Emma Nishimura perched herself at the top of my list with ease. I cannot download any photos to provide as a link as the site is Flash but please, check it out. It's so unique and interesting. It meshes well with my personal Aesthetic, so I might be incredibly biased. However, that she was one of a kind in the show is not debatable.
These billboards fascinate me. By Randy Hryhorczuk.
Kelly Grace. When there is a reputable art show, this girl is there. I was first introduced to her work last fall at the Queen West Art Crawl. She had a sweet set up at the Gladstone. Immediately it was clear to all that this was a stand out artist. She always covers the blank walls she is provided with beautiful vintage wall paper before hanging her work. She is bright. She is funny. She is fresh. Click on the picture below to visit her site but know that it does her no justice.
Some honourable mentions:
I know the abandoned building photo shoots are something we've all become cognisant of but I enjoyed the perspective of both of these men: Mathew Merrett and Russell Brohier.
An interesting slide show.
This website annoys me a little. The paintings, do not.
Oh and before I forget! Here, as promised, is a picture of me with my "fascinator" taken in front of a Dave Sheppard original. Check out his site if you haven't yet!
This is also fabulous! Okay... last one for today!
This. is. great. I just learned to crochet and while I was looking for ideas for crochet pendants I came across this wondrous necklace!
Remember how I mentioned last night I had made something I've never attempted before? Well here it is! I made a cute little fascinator! I'm pretty impressed with how it came out. I honestly thought I would botch it up pretty fantastically. It is made from some lace sewn onto a hair comb with a nice little gem sewn onto the front. The gem features a beautiful lace pattern. Perhaps when I get better at it I can take some photos and give a sort of small tutorial. I don't think this is something I would try to sell as it is just a little rough around the edges but I will certainly be wearing it!
I have ample opportunity this weekend. Tonight I (sadly) have a going away party for a friend I met at work to attend. Tomorrow I am going to a large art exhibit near the CNE grounds that our friend Dave Sheppard is a part of! . And on Sunday we've been invited to have lunch with some friends! It is probable I will find something to wear it with for all three occasions.
Maybe, if I'm extra sweet to him, I can convince my fella to take some pictures of it in action!
Sorry the picture quality is not the greatest. I just took it from ebay instead of trying to take one to add myself. I am SO excited to make something with these! I also made something I've never before made today! I am very excited to show you all but we will all have to wait until I am able to take a decent picture of it tomorrow in the light of day.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thursday!
Today I was doing many, many things. Getting in almost a full ten hours of work, in between keeping my kitten out of trouble and taking care of my lovely boyfriend, who just had his tooth pulled. Somewhere along the line the thought came to me that I could write about this experience (not the tooth pulling... the working). So I'm going to give you a quick outline of how it went!
Basically, my morning routine where usually I (might) exercise, shower, drink some coffee and then perhaps start working, was all sort of out the window. I made some soup for my fella and then I dug in trying to get as many earrings and such things done as possible. I then ran out of sterling silver head pins. I tried to use regular head pins of unknown metallic origin but alas(!) they are so tough and hard to bend! A real first world tragedy, I know. But I quickly moved on.
Having just received a small box of sterling silver earring hooks, I set to work attaching them to the earrings I had been making in anticipation of their arrival. After I ran out of those I set to work taking pictures of the completed items.
This part of my day was super fun, but challenging. The sun was just streaming in through the window (an absolutely superb day) and so it was sort of difficult to find a good lighting balance. I spent this part of the afternoon following around a small shadow cast by the post in the centre of the window and it treated me very well... Until my battery died.
Ultimately, I'm glad it crapped out on me. I got halfway through my pieces and that was enough to keep me busy with sorting them into folders and writing up some half decent descriptions of the items. I am planning to post some pictures of these new and exciting items on facebook sometime tomorrow. For now, I go to take some well deserved time off. I will likely continue to make Granny Squares (I learned, thanks to my friend Kim, only a couple of days ago!!) and watch some TV. Time to break out the wine and relax!