In Business/ Sponsored

October 21st is #SmallBizSaturday

This past Summer our little family took a not so little road trip across Canada and through the USA for a 14 day (or maybe it was more?) adventure. I lost count it was so lovely being on a road trip with my boys. On our way home, on the last day of our journey, truthfully tired and a little cranky, we stopped in Cooperstown, USA and I experienced what could be only described as magic. A little toy shop nestled on the busy street was filled with sounds of toys whirling and purring. Behind the counter was a shopkeeper, a man who people write about in storybooks, or at least authors base fairy tales on, and he surely had magic dust floating out of his pockets.

The little shop left an impression on me and, Oscar. So much so, I wrote a post about it on Facebook upon our return. That little shop that we stumbled upon made me think about my neighbourood here in Toronto and that my little shops that are equally as magical but that I come to assume as everyday, as I interact with them so much. But they aren’t “everyday”. Not in the slightest. These are shops that bring some story to our lives, add some community and happiness.

It was serendipitous perhaps then that shortly after we returned from this trip and I was feeling all sentimental about the crazy little toy shop, that I was offered the opportunity to work with The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Interac – to let you know about #SmallBizSaturday on October 21st, and to encourage you to shop from small businesses that make our communities unique. So this post, although sponsored, is a wonderful opportunity for me to elaborate on that spark that I felt after my trip, to tell you my tales of why I adore shopping small, what I feel as though it does for a community and myself, as a small business owner, how I am grateful for support.

I wanted to bring you on a little walk through my neighbourhood and introduce you to some of my favourite shops. These are the shops that have watched Oscar grow up from a baby, to a seven year old. The flower shop that gives Oscar a lollypop every time he goes in, even though he’s so shy he won’t really make eye contact (but is lingering by the cash because he knows what will be offered – which they do, every single time, not demanding anything of him) There’s the balloon store that the old man always says “hi boy!” when Oscar walks in to see if he has Pokemon cards in stock. It’s where I buy my balloons, and streamers for parties. There are so many, but here are a few that stand out.

1. Collected-Joy
1035 Kingston Road, Toronto, ON

At the corner of Kingston Road and Victoria Park, is Collected-Joy, and inside the shop, sitting behind the wood counter you’ll find Sharon – the woman who is at the heart of the shop, and truly at the heart of the community. If we were in the days of Dickens, Sharon would be the fancy shop keeper the gentlemen would trust to find the most perfect gift for their wife. That would be in Dickens time. Today she will tell you, as you’re buying that awesome jewelry for yourself, why it’s awesome, why you deserve it,  and why you must own it. She’d tell you why it was perfect and the story behind who made it. You’re not just buying a gift, you’re buying something that Sharon saw something in, and fell for the maker and the product.

Walking through the store you’ll come across a wall of greeting cards on one wall, only to turn around and see a even bigger card wall on the other wall if you walk back a bit further (Sharon loves greeting cards and you’ll find the very best of the bunch here). Natural body care products, that are made by Torontonians (Dalish Cosmetics and LoveFresh) who are too, amazing small business owners.

Want to know why the shop owners in your neighbourhood are amazing? They love and want the neighbourhood to thrive. Sharon unofficially heads up the Kingston Road Village Business association bringing other shops together to talk about how to keep our neighbourhood amazing. She’s the one contacting our local MP about how they’ve changed street parking that makes it ridiculously hard to park and, support the shops in our neighbourhood. People like Sharon are advocates for our neighbourhood.

Can you tell I love Sharon? I do. Anyhow, joining me on my pretend walk, after dropping off an order to Sharon (she carries my Penny Paper Co. wares) and usually buying something for myself (like chocolate) I’ll walk down the street and pop in Ella Minnow books.

2. Ella Minnow Books
991 Kingston Rd, Toronto

Ahhh. Ella Minnow. Walking in, you’ll be charmed right away by this lovely little shop. The shop used to have a little Bunny here that Oscar adored, but the bunny was adopted and two little gerbils – Maude and Montgommery, have taken residency. Oscar will run into the store, if he’s accompanying me and go straight to the cage to visit them. I’m teaching him to stop and say hello to whomever is behind the cash before rushing by, and thankfully the owners are always gracious. A shop like this is so important in my bubble, because it adds a sense of community with Oscar. He gets to recognize faces, learn manners on people who have seen it all, and I feel comforted that as he grows up and walks these streets on his own – he’ll have familiar faces among the stores and a sense of community.

Not only is it so important from a family perspective to have a shop like this by us, but heck – they carry the BEST books. I always leave with the very best and wish I could have an endless bank account to buy even more. When Oscar was fretting over death and what happens when we die, I went straight to this shop and requested some advice. And advice they had, and books were recommended and I had a parenting win.

Stores like Ella Minnow are run on a passion of books. They know books, they know the authors, they live, and breathe books and what our kids may like. You can’t get this from online, you can’t. So I find myself here, at Ella Minnow, like a kid in a candy store finding treasures of books.

3. Kingston Road Flower Market
966 Kingston Road

Walking further down the street, after dropping off my order at Collected-Joy, picking up some books for the family at Ella Minnow, I head to my local flower shop – The Kingston Road Market – where I indulge in some Monstera leaves  that last for weeks on end in my house.  Helena will give me a lollypop to give to Oscar, even if he’s not with me. We talk about his change in schools, how he’s liking it and she imparts sound advice having raised her own kids in the neighbourhood. It’s moments like these, the little talks, that I cherish. After a few minutes of catching up, I pack up my leaves under my arm, and go on my way.

4. The Beaches Bakeshop & Cafe
900 Kingston Road

Puttering on, I’ll pop into The Beaches Bake Shop, where Anna is baking the most delicious, amazing Finnish food. I’m sure her cinnamon buns have been voted the best in Toronto, and were for a long time Oscar’s favourite. I’d pop in here before picking Oscar up from school and I’d have a bun waiting for him on his car seat. You have to call and reserve them though, if you’re visiting after lunch – most days she’d run out so I’d always call ahead to have her put one aside for Oscar, who was always excited to learn he was eating the very last one available that day.

And at last, I come home having chatted with the loveliest of people and loving my neighbourhood. So you’ve read about my favourite spots in my neighbourhood. If you take a moment, your neighbourhood must have a little shop, at least one, that is eccentric or wild, sweet and savoury or quiet and bookish, that brings you delight. I encourage you to #FindYourSpot for #ShopSmallBiz and tweet about it or share your love for your local love. Because these shop keepers are integral to the fabric of our communities. They are rallying for us with our MP’s, they are supporting other small businesses like mine (like Sharon carrying my lines in her store).


This post was sponsored by The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Interac – to let you know about #SmallBizSaturday on October 21st

 

In Decorating/ shopping/ Shopping Guides

Project 62 at Target

I’m dying. D-Y-I-N-G. Target has launched a line called Project 62 and it’s glorious. Drop dead gorgeous / glorious / fantastic. I don’t even know why I tease myself going onto their site, to see what I can’t have. It’s torture.

I’m seriously considering a drive down to the US or just having it shipped to me via Cross Border Pickups. I’m obsessed with these in particular….

In Updates

snapshots from the studio

I’ve been itching to screen print some t-shirts for quite some time now. So….. after watching some YouTube videos and familiarizing myself with the whole process, I decided to finally just try to do some t-shirts and stop being so afraid to try something new. This past week was a perfect opportunity to dip my toes into the water and test it out, as I’ve been hiding at home, feeling somewhat sorry myself after having a tooth yanked out at the dentist.

I’m obsessed. I encourage you to binge watch YouTube videos to teach yourselves things, and just try. For that is the best way to learn. (For me at least!)

In Decorating/ Interior Design

pssst …. Lighting Sale at Pottery Barn

I happened upon a sale at Pottery Barn, and lamp I had been coveting – the Jayce Lamp, was down to $125 from $180. So last night I bit the bullet and purchased two, and I’m hoping they will work in our bedroom. I’ve always been a fan of marble bases to lamps and the fact that this was under $150 a piece (with the shades) was a bit of a steal. Not only that, the light itself is relatively small in comparison to other similar style lights, which is what I need for our bedroom. So price wise, it’s a fit and, aesthetically.  Here are some others I found that were on sale that I loved… Continue Reading →

In Decorating/ Interior Design/ Shopping Guides

Roundup of some of the best table lamps

1    /  2   /   3   /   4   /   5   /   6   /   7   /   8  /  9  /  10  /  11

I’m obsessing over side table lighting right now. Here is a roundup of some of my favourites which touch on almost every look – from mid century to beachy. I can’t decide the look that I’m going for, so for now – I’m just obsessing over all of the above.Here are some I’ve also been pinning on Pinterest

 

In Lindsay

#NoBlankBrains – My brain designed with Peter Mansbridge

If you follow me on social media you may have seen over the course of the Summer, snippits from this amazing project that I’ve been working on. Earlier in the Summer, I was approached by organizers at The Brain Project . But before I tell you more about my involvement, let me explain the Brain project because it’s initiative is the most important aspect of this story.

The TELUS Health Brain Project launched to start a public conversation about brain health and bring awareness to diseases like Alzheimer’s. The program raises funds for Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in brain health and aging. The initiative is that as an artist you apply to be one of their 100 artists who can design a brain to be on display throughout Toronto, throughout the Summer. At the end, the brains are sold, with all proceeds going to Baycrest Health Sciences. I was familiar with this great initiative having seen brains across Toronto and Yorkdale last year and found it to be a compelling installation – using art to spark conversation and placed in various centres across our city – where you would wander and happen upon a brain.  So when I was approached about the 2017 initiative I was immediately on board.

They further explained that they were doing a smaller exhibit called “Great Canadian Minds” where they picked six great Canadians and pair them with artists to render their vision. It was obviously a yes for me, and they said that they wanted to pair me with Peter Mansbridge, the longtime host of CBC’s The National. It was a perfect pairing as CBC is a part of our family – as Aubrey has worked there since we were married, and Peter Mansbridge has been in my life longer than Aubrey – hosting the evening news that I would watch with my Mom and Dad growing up and, throughout my adult life. He was a voice I came to trust. To be partnered with him was a HUGE honour.

 

This is the brain I got. It was quite the piece!

And so we set out to design a brain together. It was actually quite easy to do, having such strong admiration for him and knowing how much he has impacted Canadians with his evening news. Also, Peter had a great idea of what he wanted his brain to be like, gave me a great start to how to design it. Over the course of some weeks at the cottage I sketched and sketched, fretting as I was new to 3D concepts. The brain is a full circle of Canada, from the West Coast to East, with a handful of iconic images representing areas of our gorgeous country. It was a family affair at the cottage, with all of us around the fire talking about Canadian images that would have to be on the brain. From my perspective, I wanted to design a brain that had imagery that would capture the attention of children, with someone like Oscar being able to pick out iconic images. At points it was terribly overwhelming as I didn’t want to leave anything out or misrepresent. But in the end I sat and designed a brain that I am ridiculously proud of, and thankfully Peter loved it too!

The brain is now on display at Yorkdale, right outside Roots (which is super fitting as it is also a great Canadian icon!) 😉

You can see it in full rotation over on the Brain Project’s website. 

Also, this brain is for sale, with 100% of the proceeds from the sale going to Baycrest’s Health Sciences. (you can get a tax receipt!). So if you have a great space for this brain, perhaps at your company’s lobby, this would be such a fun piece of art to spark a conversation.