Best of Etsy: Hi Mom!

[Avonnie Studio mug]

We here at Covet Garden love our moms. Why some of us are moms! And while we hope we show our moms that we love and appreciate them every day, we know that Mother's do like a little present every now and then. Our mothers were also the ladies who taught us how to knit and sew and encouraged our artistic endeavours (my mom has even helped out on DIY projects for the blog). So this Mother's Day, we've been searching for momentos that reflect that spirit of creativity.

[Karolin Schnoor Girl With Flowers print]

[Jen Hewett Fete of Roses foldover clutch]

[Scripted Jewelry handwriting bracelet]

[Vera Viola Vintage Mother Poem]

If you can't make something yourself, the next best thing is shopping for vintage and handmade offerings from Etsy. The following finds are just a few of our favourites—we've assembled a nice list of objects that are sure to make your the number one child. Check it out and say hi to your mother for me.


Postcard from Oaxaca: Lynda Loves Mexico

[Lynda outside of Oaxaca’s Contemporary Art Museum. Image: Donna Griffith]

This year for my landmark birthday I decided to take myself on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a place that I have wanted to visit for quite some time.

The state of Oaxaca is the fifth largest in Mexico. It’s also the one with the most cultural diversity because it encompasses so many different geographical and climatalogical conditions. The moment I arrived I was hit with a blow to my senses. This city is full of colour: brightly coloured buildings, clothing, textiles, ceramics, flowers, food and so much more! And after a long, gray miserable winter this was just what I needed.

[A shop on Hidalgo Street. Image: Lynda Felton]

[Colourful facades on Colon Street. Image: Lynda Felton]

[A weaver on Arteaga Street. Image: Lynda Felton]                                                    

[Adorable ornaments in the town of Arrazola. Image: Lynda Felton]

My hotel was across the street from the Benito Jaurez market where you can buy everything from meat to produce and clothing to ceramics. I started every morning with a trip to the market to get a hugo verde (green juice) consisting of cacti, aloe, parsley and fresh grapefruit.

[The Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption. Image: Lynda Felton]

[Oaxaca’s Indigenous Academic and Cultural Centre. Image: Donna Griffith]

From there each day was different. There’s so much to see and around this city. Beautiful colonial architecture and vibrant cultural traditions, excellent cuisine and amazing handicrafts—trust me, you won't be bored. There is always something being celebrated somewhere. Even birthdays are marked with 6:00 a.m. fireworks, which I have to say did take a while to get used to. 

Stay tuned for part two of my Oaxaca diaries...


City of Craft Spring Preview

[Image: Crown Flora]

Spoiler alert! We simply couldn’t wait to be surprised by the delights at tomorrow’s City of Craft Spring show. So we’ve been stalking the vendors online to give you a sneak peek at our new, favourite things.

City of Craft is one of Covet Garden’s go-to destinations for discovering up-and-coming makers (and to find out about new projects from our favourite creators such as Crown Flora, pictured above). The spring show is an invitation-only event, so it represents the best of local scene. It also makes it really hard to choose just a few items to represent the selection, but here goes…

We’ve written about Lana Fillipone before, and by gum we are going to write about her again. We simply can’t get enough of Fillipone’s delicate and droll porcelain.

[image: Bookhou]

As always, we're suckers for Bookhou bags, and the show promises new prints and colours to make us want to collect even more of these amazing satchels.

We also adore the vintage inspired graphics on RC Boisjoli's collection of ceramics. The Badger's Brew bottke is our fave. The badger itself is a collaboration with illustrator Ian Phillips, who will also be at the show selling his amazing screenprints.

[image: Falconwright]

The creative team behind Falconwright will be well-represented at City of Craft. Fans will be happy to see their familiar pouches, but Danielle Wright will aslo be showing her geometric jewellery designs while Sandi Falconer will be presenting her artwork.

This is but a fraction of the good stuff at the City of Craft Spring show. Head down and then let us know what you got (or wanted to get) in the comments below.

Now for the deets:

City of Craft Spring

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trinity St. Paul's United Church
427 Bloor Street West (one block West of Spadina)
Toronto, ON
Admission: $1
(Kids 12 & Under FREE)


Guest Post: The Leslieville Flea on Container Gardens

With spring on the way (hopefully?) people are thinking about gardening. Planning an outdoor garden is wonderful if you have lots of space, but many people only have small yards...or even just a balcony or terrace.  

Even if your footage is tiny, there are still plenty of ways to create a green space. Container gardening has increased in popularity as a great way to add some colour and life to your yard, deck or balcony. The Easter Sunday Leslieville Flea is a great place to find the right container for your garden! And Cubits Organics will be their selling their fantastic varieties of organic, rare and heirloom seeds.

When thinking about container gardening, keep in mind the look of your home and your own personal style. Bringing your inside aesthetic outdoors is a great way to create flow and harmony in your home. For example, if your taste is modern, choose planters in solid colours that have clean lines and strong architectural lines. 

If your style is traditional or eclectic, choose containers that reflect your personal taste.

Think outside the box for the types of containers to use as well. Old wooden crates, vintage tin containers and even metal trunks can make interesting and functional planters. 

Here are some how-to tips when creating a container garden:

• If the container itself doesn’t have built in drainage (hole or holes in bottom) make sure to line the bottom of your container with a few inches of gravel or stones. This will help drain the excess rainwater away from the roots and prevent root rot.

• Group your containers together for visual impact. To add extra interest, try using varying heights and sizes of containers, or using placing some containers on top of objects to vary the heights (pic of varied heights of grouped planters).  

• Just as choosing a container is key, what you put into it is equally important. Soil choice is critical. Choose a very good quality soil that has peat in it as well as some sort of particulate to aid in aeration and drainage—most garden centers will sell a soil that is specifically made for container planting.

• Plan your plants! Choose flowers and foliage that will complement each other in scale, colour and bloom cycles. It’s always nice to have something blooming just as something else is dying off. Picking plants that are drought resistant is another good idea—especially if you are prone to not spending enough time with them (as I am guilty of). Succulents are a great choice (think hens and chicks and sedum) because they store water in their plant bodies and will thrive even in dry conditions.

• You can also create several different zones or clusters of containers in your space. A kitchen garden with herbs for cooking or small tomato plants set near your back door will provide a handy resource for your cooking! Nothing tastes quite like something grown in your own garden.

•You really can have a fantastic green space even if you don’t have much space to begin with. Plants add much- needed life and colour to any outdoor area. Play around with container gardening...the best thing about it is that they can easily be rearranged and you can experiment with new ideas without too much commitment.

We here at Covet Garden are pleased to have Chris Roberts and Brigid Elmy, founders of the Leslieville Flea, as guest bloggers. Visit their blog for regular news and style ideas. And and keep checking this space for more of their insights on incorporating vintage and handmade finds into your decor.


We Covet: A.J. Donahue's Winnipeg Chair

[Arthur James Donahue's Winnipeg Chair from Issue 44 photographed by Donna Griffith]

The current issue of Covet Garden features home owner Alexandra's rare example of Canadian modernism architect Arthur James (A.J.) Donahue's Winnipeg Chair (aka The Canadian Coconut chair).

Donahue (1917 to 1996) was born in Regina, and educated in Minnesota and later attended Harvard where studied with Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius in the 1940s. It was at Harvard where he began to explore the modern applications of traditional techniques of bent wood furniture construction.

Donahue eventually landed in Ottawa, working for the National Housing Commission and the National Research Council. In the post-war era, pre-fab consreuction was all the rage. When Donahue moved to Winnipeg to teach architecture, he brought all of these experiences with him to develop the Winnipeg Chair, his sexy, low-slung lounge, in his basement with the assistance of his students.

The chair is a simple plywood shell, supported by metal rod legs and covered in textured textiles. It originally sold for $35 at the Hudson's Bay Company. It's called the Canadian Coconut because of its resemblance to George Nelson’s Coconut chair—which wasn’t introduced until 1955. Donahue was ahead of the curve in many other respects. He is credited with designing the Monarch Life and the Faculty of Architecture buildings in Winnipeg and the Confederation Building in Charlottetown, P.E.I. He later relocated to Halifax, and many of his modern masterpieces can be found across that city. 

While his work moved away from furniture design, his buildings share a similar modernist philosophy as well as a love of wood and other natural materials. If, like Alexndra, you ever come across one of these beauties, treasure and enjoy it!