Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Vintage Adventure

I'm sure most (more likely all) of you have noticed that I am not really hitting my mark on sewing/making something every week. I haven't even finished the corrections on my first inside/outside dress! And trust me, I feel awful. I'm trying to figure out what I need to do (aside from kick myself in the butt) to actually get this stuff done. I do have a plan to start on my bags again, but my sewing room needs a serious reorganizing for that to happen!

So in the meantime I'll keep posting other fun stuff, like my vintage shopping adventures, as well as some new ventures in green living. :)

Last weekend I went to Toronto to visit with some of my best friends who I haven't seen in awhile. It was SO much fun. I don't know why it's always months between visits to a city that I live a whole 2 hrs away from! Anywhoo...

Saturday began with a lot of melting snow, which I wasn't prepared for as I had brought a pair of 3 yr old suede boots as my only footwear. I definitely didn't learn my lesson from the weekend before where those same boots failed me on our wine tour and I walked around with soaking wet feet! So, needless to say I needed some new footwear stat! The second shoe store we found was having 50% off sale. Awesome! I ended up buying a pair of rubber boots to combat the slush and puddles that were plaguing the sidewalks of Toronto (unfortunately not as fashionable as my aging suede boots).

My aging salt stained suede boots and my new mud splashed rubber boots!
For our vintage shopping adventure we stayed on Queen West and started in the fashion district just west of Spadina and worked our way west allllll the way down to Roncesvalles! Quite a hike, but soooo worth it!

First stop: Preloved. This amazing store makes well designed pieces made out of reclaimed fabrics. If I could own everything in this store I would! I've never bought anything from Preloved on past trips, so I felt this time I had to have something! I ended up buying a pair of fun lightweight Preloved mitts (and they were turquoise, so how could I resist?). If you are ever down on Queen West near Trinity Bellwoods Park please check this place out. You won't be disappointed!

We stopped in a bunch of random little antique places stuffed to the ceiling and sometimes spilling out onto the sidewalks with everything and anything! Unfortunately none of them had items any of us were searching for. One had vintage microphones which I would LOVE to have, but they were just for rental. Boo.

We continued down Queen W until we hit Parkdale. For those of you who don't know, this section of Toronto is turning into an awesome vintage hub. It's a nice change from Kensington as its not really well known, so its not at busy or trendy. That's not to say that Kensington isn't a cool place to check out, but Parkdale is my new haunt for vintage :)

Public Butter was our next stop. This place has a lot of funky clothes and knick knacks. I've purchased a lot of vibrant coloured leather jackets/skirts for my bags in the past. This time I bought a white beret. Not vintage, not second hand, but definitely something I've been searching for! And it was cheap. So I didn't feel like I was breaking any of my "no buying clothes" rules.

At 4:15 we had finally made it to Stella Luna (our goal)! Located at the far west end of Queen W near Roncesvalles, this place is so worth the trip! The owner, Crispian Underwood, has fabulous taste in clothing and accessories, and she's super nice to boot! The prices at Stella Luna are also mind bogglingly reasonable, which is why it's my #1 vintage shop in Toronto.

Everything in Stella Luna is sorted by colour, so it's very easy to sort through.

This amazing leather bag, modeled by my lovely friend Dominique, was actually made by a Toronto designer, and had *gasp* an ultramarine blue suede lining! Dominique scooped it up, but if she hadn't I was going to! I call first dibs if she ever wants to get rid of it haha.

This was my score from Stella Luna. I've been searching for a nice vintage corduroy shirt dress for awhile now, not really finding anything in a compelling colour or that fits, so I was SO happy to find this beautiful item. A little tight in the arms (nothing a few push ups can't take care of), it fits quite nicely. The owner actually went downstairs and grabbed 2 others in different blue shades, but this royal blue was the one for me! 

My other friend Soph purchased 2 amazing dresses, but I didn't get any photos of them! Trop mal!

After shopping we needed some coffee and stopped at a place that had just opened, The Pinball Cafe. This place is super cute, and the owner was really nice! They have board games and pinball machines for you to enjoy while sipping on their delicious drinks, or munching on homemade rice krispie squares, imported chocolate bars, or vegan brownies! 

The next day Soph and I hit up the St.Lawrence Antique Market that runs on Sundays in the north building. In the past I have loved going through the market, but I think I was already all shopped out from the day before, so the rude vendors and pushy buyers were getting to me a lot sooner than usual. I did pick up 2 sets of silver round bowl soup spoons (1 set has a "G" engraved on them!), and a nice looking chain watch with turquoise and gold fleur de lis details (which I did not look closely at and now realize is not as vintage as I thought it was... slightly miffed about that one!). 

All in all it was a great weekend! I love wandering around Toronto, stopping into new restaurants, shops and cafes. There is always something exciting to see. I will need to plan another trip up to visit sooner than later! 

Are there any vintage or independent designer stores you love in Toronto? Let me know! I'd love to find some new gems :) I know one that I have always wanted to check out, but know I don't have the cash to afford anything, is The Cat's Pajamas up on Younge st. Has anyone been there before?? Let me know below :)

Have a great weekend and keep an eye out for my next post.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Something to Think About...

I do have an exciting post brewing about my recent trip to Toronto and the vintage adventure my friends and I had, but in the meantime I thought I'd stir up some emotions and link an article that popped up on Reserve29 yesterday. It's about a topic that is near and dear to my heart... cruelty towards animals for human vanity.

Can you tell which mink jacket is REAL fur?

Personally, I am all about animal rights, although sit on the fence towards whether vintage leather/fur perpetuates people to buy new leather/furs. My stance on vintage is that the animal was already killed sometime ago, and I'd rather see their beautiful hides be used than end up in the landfill. BUT, I am firmly against killing animals purely for their pelts. And with all the new faux versions that come out and get better and better every year, why not spare the poor creatures some suffering already! I have to say though, I do feel awful going into public wearing my grandmother's vintage arctic fox fur hat in the winter... so it pretty much just sits on display on a hat block in my dressing room.

I guess I'll also address the fact that I make leather handbags out of recycled leather. This idea for me was a way to "save" all those perfectly usable garments that were finding their way into the garbage because of tears/stains. If one day there was no more second hand leather for me to work from... I'd find something new to reuse! :) I'd rather have a planet of happy safe animals living their lives how they should be lived... free (or on a pasture raised farm)!

Anyways, here is the Reserve29 article. I have not read article by the girl who killed 5 foxes to make ONE VEST (my stomach is still churning over that disgusting detail) as I'm pretty sure I'd be rage crying through the whole thing.

How do you feel about the issue?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


So this almost became my second week without a post!  Apologies all around, including myself.

Last week my laptop died. Incredibly upsetting considering all the photos, videos, music and inspiration I've been amassing for years that I now don't have access too. To try and stick to my once a week posting I pulled out some fabric to start cutting for a new quilt. Oh wait! All my quilt patterns are on my laptop. Fail. Then I pulled out some leather and my new bag sketches, but I was feeling really lost as to where to start. My new designs are based on art deco architecture and are very structured... so I walked away from that too, hoping that if I left it on the kitchen counter I would come back to it. Then a week went by...

This weekend was filled with a very exciting trip to Niagara on the Lake for a wine and chocolate tasting tour. For the low price of $30 you can visit all 28 participating wineries over the course of all the weekends in February. Each winery works with a local master chocolatier who creates a unique chocolate treat to pair perfectly with the wine that is being featured. DELICIOUS! Since I live too far from NotL to go back every weekend, me and my 2 girlfriends decided to jam as many tastings into the weekend as possible... we managed 13! I bought more wine than I expected to, but it was too good to pass up! It was a fantastic weekend and I highly recommend anyone in the area to check it out (it happens every year)! There is still time this year to go as well, and if you're interested you can click here: awesome wine and chocolate tasting.

Anywho, when I got home this afternoon I thought I'd dive into trying to make a bag again. I looked over my sketches, and now I dislike all of them (typical)! Then I thought I'd look at all my salvaged leather and hopefully get some inspiration from that... but a lot of it was still in clothing form and it quickly became overwhelming. Solution: cut it up! So all afternoon I've been cutting my leather into workable pieces. Once I get my inspirational images off my laptop I'm hoping I can jump start this leather bag nonsense and plan a bag party for the near-ish future!

Well that's all for now. I'm on Jeff's laptop and I know I've overstayed my welcome haha. Thanks for letting me use your laptop dearest!

I shall update sooner than later this week.