Friday, 28 November 2014

Gift Guide #4: For the Father who can take anyone down in a Scrabble challenge and build you anything.

Personalized Whiskey Leather Dopp Kit with Initials and Optional Custom Lining for Him

This handsome dopp kit for storing his shaving essentials while he jet sets.

Outil multifonctions New Wave réf. 830078
This Leatherman multi tool is a great gift for your Dad to MacGyver his way out of anything.  Need help with that beer? Check.  Screw loose on your table leg? Check. Marshmallow roasting stick? Check.

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary

Never get in another Scrabble word dispute again.  He was pieing in public?  Gasp.

Hudson Bay Axe

Some of the most beautiful hand made axes around. The best shape is the Hudson Bay style axe.  This one is called "Sam McGee", inspired by the poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee".  Other equally clever names on the site for the other axe styles they have available.

Beard Oil MAHOGANY Scented Beard Oil For Men Made with Natural Oils Great Holiday Gift for Him for Movember

Just a few drops will keep Dad's beard conditioned, and smelling amazing, like he just finished up working on a great project.  This one is in their "Mahogany" fragrance profile.  Too funny.

What's better than spending time with Dad?  Spending time with him, and cheering on his favorite team. Season tickets here.

Walter Caesar

A truly Canadian cocktail the Caesar never fails to disappoint.  I watched a friend eat/drink a Caesar at dinner a month ago that was garnished with an entire sausage and okra.  Intense.  Give Dad the best Caesar mix around.

Cookshack Super Smoker elite Series Smoker

Dad can take his BBQ game to a whole new epic level with this wood fired smoker.  Perfect for the giant family reunion.

All-Purpose Spice Rub

Give Dad a bit of your time, and whip up some custom spice rubs for the bbq.
Lots of recipes are available here and here.

An interactive map of the world to visually document all of the places he's travelled to.

Take an epic road trip with your Dad, or fly to Vegas and watch Willie Nelson play in a casino. Surreal.

Large Waxed Canvas Log FIrewood Carrier Tote Gray

This will make it so much easier for Dad to lug the wood indoors for the fireplace.

If he knows what to do with this, and you often find him covered in wood dust get these for him here or here

File:The goldfinch by donna tart.png

Trust me. He will love this book.....Donna Tartt's work is staggering and fascinating, and she is my favorite author.  Plus. She won the Pulitzer prize for this book, so I'm not the only one who feels this way about her work.

Organic Heirloom Rainbow Swiss Chard Seeds

Give him some great gardening dreams through the long winter.  Get him some seeds for stocking stuffers.  I buy mine online from this organic seed seller

funny card, fathers day card, birthday card for dad, hey dad you're awesome, black white bold rustic modern typography, letterhappy

Cause it never hurts to remind him.  A hand written note thanking him for all of his awesomeness.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Gift Guide #1: For the quirky girlfriend who's always willing to lend a hand and join in your adventures.

I get pretty excited around this time of the year....overwhelmed, anxious, but also, excited.
I love searching for gifts for my pals and family, and try to focus on handmade, thoughtful gifts that they will enjoy.  I generally try to make some of my gifts, and have made spiced dill pickles, soap, knitted scarves and other things in the past.  This year I've been planning on making some custom essential oil soy candles for my family and friends, and I'm just waiting on the oils to finish arriving. 

This year, I thought I'd make a few gift guides of some of my favorite things!  The first in the series is a gift guide for your girlfriends that always stand by your side, laugh hysterically with you when you mess up, share a pint with you at the end of a long day, knows your secret tales and loves you loyally and fiercely. 

This cast iron green tea pot is actually from Home Depot which I found really surprising, as it's such a simple classic shape.  You and your pal can make an afternoon of shopping in Chinatown and looking for the best loose green teas to try.

Ujinotsuyu Japanese Loose Brown Rice Green Tea - Twin Packs - 2x 14.01 Oz - Genmai Cha (Genmaicha)

If you get her the pot, you'd better get her the best green tea in the world.  Seriously.  This is the only green tea that I drink.  It's the Genmaicha style with the roasted rice and it is so delicious.  It's like the popcorn crack of green tea.  I buy mine here at Sanko in Toronto, but you can also get it on Amazon.

Silk Chiffon Fringe Kimono - Rijksmuseum Collaboration - "The Threatened Swan" by Jan Asselijn

Beacause sometimes she's a frightened white swan....this absolutely amazing silk chiffon Fringe Kimono made by Angie Johnson of Norwegianwood, is a stunner.  Totally speechless.

Hammock Thigh High

These textured tights will keep her cozy this winter and would be perfect paired over a contrasting, full charcoal grey tight.  By Freepeople

DIY Hard Cider Kit

She likes sharing a cider with you, and likes to DIY, so why not get her a kit so she can try making her own

Chunky long convertible infinity loop scarf with buttons/ The Eskayjay/ Thick warm eternity scarf/Winter scarf/ Buttoned convertible scarf

This extra long (6ft!) hand knit scarf will keep her warm on those chilly winter days.  And in a pinch, she can hide underneath it like a turtle when she spies her ex heading her way.
By Hilltopknitwear.

100 % Genuine Australian Sage Smudge Sticks

Maybe she just moved and needs to bring some good energy into her space.  Grown and harvested in Australia by a white witch, this sage smudge stick should do the trick.

Wild Fern Leaf Leather Sunglasses Case

My partner thinks living ferns, anything with a fern pattern or fern paintings reference the Golden Girls.  Thank her for being a friend, and protect her eyeglasses or sunnies with this amazing hand painted, leather case. By Kertis.


Sometimes when I'm running errands in the jewellery district downtown, I somehow manage to go out of my way, and *poof!!* somehow end up sipping a spiced Mayan Hot chocolate shot at Soma.  Seriously. Pure bliss.  You can gift your best gal pal this amazing hot chocolate, or if she's a big chocolate lover, try out their Ultimate box of plenty, with shortbread, strawberry black pepper bar, dipped oranges, Mayan hot chocolate, gingerbread animals in Peruvian dark chocolate, and much more.  Small batch chocolate is

The Belinda Pouch ///// Ikat Pouch. Orange Yellow Pouch. Brown Leather Pouch. Tribal Clutch.

This stunning fold over leather clutch is hand made in Toronto by Grace Design.  She has lots of patterns, and incorporates vintage ikat and Japanese kimono textiles into her designs.  Exquisitely made and a perfect size for a night out of dancing.

She Believed She Could, Gold Typography Print, Inspirational Quote, Hand Drawn Script, Poster Print

"She believed she could, so she did".  Some encouragement for the long winter ahead.

This would be my dream, three wheels in my own studio! !! That's a new goal!
Helen_Levi_0054 (by Nicole Franzen Photography)
Want a gift you can share with your best girlfriend?  Sign up for ceramics classes in your area, or arrange private lessons with a local artist.  In Toronto?  Try the Harbourfront Centre for really great classes led by current artists in residence.

Half round walnut shelf - floating wood shelf

This solid walnut, wall mounted floating shelf is perfect for your space challenged pal.  She can stash her keys, display her favorite fragrances, jewellery or artwork.  It's stunning, and it's made by my talented fiancé. No bias there, but it is a stunner~!  Check out this and his other interior objects at Offcutstudio.

If my girlfriends have pierced ears, chances are they might have received a pair of one of my earring stud designs over the years.  This is a faceted pebble pair in sterling silver, which can be picked up in my studio, in my Etsy shop, Touchthedutch, or at the upcoming City of Craft show that I am participating in.

BATH SET - Soap and washcloth , Pick your natural soap, crochet washcloth, gift s for men , valentine gifts for women,

This is one of my go to gifts.  A lovely handknit, cotton cloth and handmade soap, made by the RightSoap company. Vegan, pure and organic. 

An old photo of me and my bestie.  Dancing the night away.  Hope you enjoyed my picks!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

White Wedding Wednesday: Leah and Jason

With the stark, fantastically surreal landscape of Iceland as the back drop, Jason asked Leah to join him on a lifelong adventure.

I met Leah several years ago as my neighbourhood of Roncesvalles was in transformation after the long period of construction ended.  Leah opened up a new shop, called Scout featuring art, functional home objects, greeting cards and gift items from North American artists and makers.  Leah has been carrying my work in her shop and is a strong supporter of artists in the area.  She's wonderfully professional, and stocks her beautifully curated shop with items that she loves.

I was honoured to create some simple, subtle wedding bands for Jason and Leah, in white gold and sterling silver, and pleased to have played a small part in such a big day.

Take a look at their stunning wedding photos, shot by the talented duo at Tied Photography, and be sure to drop by Scout if you get a chance!

Where did you both meet?

He said: At a Halloween party.  I was dressed as a dwarf, she was a fairy.

She said: At our mutual friends BBQ.  Though technically a few years before at a Halloween party.

At what point in the relationship did you know that you wanted to get married to each other?

He said: About two years in. It was the moment when I realized my life wouldn't be complete without her.

She said: A couple years in we started discussing the possibility, though we were both never big into the idea of marriage before that.  It was a new idea and feeling for both of us that we were excited about.

How did you imagine your wedding day to be as a child or teenager?

He said: I didn't imagine having a wedding day. Only when I met someone worth marrying did it all come together in my mind.

She said: To be honest, I was never that girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I can't say I really had a vision of what it would look like. 

What is the trait that you admire most about the other person?

He said: Her compassion.

She said: His drive and his dependability.  I can always count on him, and that's not just true for me but all of his loved ones.  He is true to his word and he's there when you need him. Of course there are MANY other things :)

What do you like to do on weekends, as a couple?

He said: Walking and drinking coffee, and mini road trips.

She said: Sleep in a little, go for brunch or make breakfast at home.  We also love doing little close to home road trips, rent a car and explore somewhere close to the city.

What was your most memorable date or trip together:

He said: Iceland, what's more memorable than asking for a lifelong commitment.

She said: Iceland! The place where Jason proposed to me :) Who knew you could make such a unique, beautiful country that much more special.

What was the most memorable/surprising thing about your wedding day?

He said: Our overwhelming feelings of gratitude.

She said: All the love! You can't really prepare for the feelings that come with being surrounded by all your closest friends and family supporting this huge commitment in your life. It was overwhelming and we didn't want it to end.

What does your new jewellery mean to you?

He said: It's a physical symbol of the connection that exists between us at all times.

She said: I never want to take it off!! I love showing it to people and looking at it and just being reminded of our commitment to each other.  I love that it was made by an independent designer who I've come to know from carrying in the shop.

What is your biggest fantasy/dream/hope as a couple?

He said: To keep the excitement, joy and love that we experience in this newness for the rest of our lives.

She said: To keep on the same path.   To buy a house and continue to travel. To grow together and embrace the changes that come. To keep having fun with each other and take each day as it comes.  To not lose the feeling of gratefulness for having found each other.

Wedding photos from Tied photography and personal photos courtesy of Leah and Jason.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Perfect Strangers.

Strangers make us nervous.  Strangers trouble us.  Strangers often delight us.
"Stranger Danger", is something my sister yells occasionally, when someone creeps her out.

We're taught as children to be suspicious of strangers, and to never accept gifts from strangers, which is what makes the "Perfect Strangers" project by Oh, Comely magazine
so delightfully wicked.  An international gift exchange between strangers, perfect strangers has paired people from every continent in the world!  Check out this amazing map that they created because they were so astounded by this years numbers.

I thought that this would be a fun project to participate in, and take me out of my bench work head space for a little while and focus my attention on a perfect stranger.  A perfect stranger living in Lancashire, England.  All I know is that Sally is a photographer, and has just moved into a new home, and is settling in. 

The premise of the project is pretty simple..."Prepare a package for a stranger, and fill it with things you love. You'll surprise someone. You might be surprised in return. You might even find a friend."  So, I decided to focus on some great handmade and local items for my stranger across the ocean and filled my parcel with a great handmade, solid walnut shelf by OffcutStudio, an embossed journal by Artistry Cards, some cinnamon French milled guest soap, and some other little gifts.

Check out some of the great gifts that people have posted on the site, and sign up to take part in next year's project!

All images from the Perfect Strangers Facebook page.