Guest Post: The Leslieville Flea on Outdoor Spaces


[Vicki Bell's garage from Issue 12. photography by Tracy Shumate]

Summer is finally here! After the long winters we endure—and this last one was particularly long and cold—we all love to head outdoors to enjoy our fleeting warm weather.

Entertaining and relaxing outside make the most of those hot summer nights. Creating an outdoor space that is inviting and beautiful can be so much fun. You can play with colour and materials in ways that are totally creative and even a departure from the style of the rest of your home.

Making whatever outdoor area you have (balcony, porch, garden or yard) an extension of your home gives you another “room” to call your own—and any found space is super-important, if you have a smaller city home or condo.

When designing an outdoor space, try using traditional indoor pieces to extend the interior look outdoors. As long as the space is protected from the rain and direct sunlight you can use a few of these items to really make the space feel like another part of your home. Using vintage pieces in your outdoor space is a great idea because they’ve already proven they can weather the elements. Old dressers can function as sideboards and store your outdoor linens and tableware.  

Dressing up your outdoor “walls” with art is another great way to make the space feel inviting. Mirrors and wall art made with vintage and reclaimed materials add sparkle and style to any fence or outdoor wall. This great piece of art made from an old broken bench is a fantastic piece with loads of character. 

[wall art from Pure Dutch]

Using textiles in interesting patterns and materials will add interest to your outdoor space too. A cushion made from an old coffee bag will work great on outdoor furniture and will withstand the rays of the sun without rotting or fading. Jute is a super-durable, natural fibre that can withstand wet and sun. These jute pouches, originally intended for indoor organizers, become instant gardens for a small space when they are planted up with herbs and smaller plants. 

[vertical garden jute pockets from Avani Creations]

Try charming herb markers made from silver-plated and silver spoons. The spoons are sourced from a variety of places, flattened with a sledge hammer and then hand-stamped. They also make great gifts for gardeners and cooks. They should be brought indoors at the end of the season and can be cleaned easily with toothpaste and a rag.

[herb markers from Creekwood]

However small your outdoor area, and however short our summer season, you can create a space that is functional and interesting. Get creative, be bold and have some fun with it.

You will find all sorts of great items to decorate and use in your outdoor space at the Leslieville Flea at Harbourfront Centre this Sunday, July 6th from 10am-5pm.


Issue 47 is Now Live!

[cover photograph by Donna Griffith]

One of the reasons that the Covet Garden team is drawn to so many artist's homes is because we are always blown away by the creative ways that they approach design dilemmas. This month's featured householders Melissa and Nina are visual artists. Like every couple, they have different tastes and ideas when it comes to interior spaces, but they are also collaborators who have combined forces (and collections) to create a work of domestic beauty.

You can best see this collaborative vision illustrated in the customized backsplash made from vintage paint-by-numbers that Melissa co-created (and if you want one for yourself, contact us and we'll help hook you up). You can also check out Nina's work this summer in the exhibition Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography, at the AGO.

And always, their super style and spirit has inspired our drink, project and fashion and decor picks this month.

We also have some big news for our American readers: our print edition, Covet Garden Home, is now available  online at and And later this month, we'll be available at select Anthropolgie stores across the US and Canada.

In fact, more and more stores are carrying our pride and joy. Click here for our updated list of North American stockists.


The Canadian Collection

In the current issue of Covet Garden, Paul's house is packed with great Canadian art. And since Canada Day is right around the corner, we thought we'd share fun, summery gifts, housewares and other goodies from some more talented Canadian illustrators so that you can start growing your collections as well. We're starting with the Victorian Birdies note cards by Alanna Cavanagh for tuNeues. Send a thank you to the hosts of your long weekend barbeques and patio parties and keep one for yourself to frame.

Nothing says summer and Great White North like this Canoe Trailer print from Wendy Tancock. It's printed on recycled card stock and she tells us that it fits right into an IKEA Ribba frame if you want a touch of Scandinavia to go with your Canadiana.

What's a celebration without cake? Our friend and Covet Garden contributor Katy Dockrill has created a cool, reusable cake decorating kit for Party Partners to help you dress up your dessert.

If you are planning to hang around the city this long weekend, you can show your hometown pride with a pennant designed by artist Olivia Mew for Stay Home Club (there's a Montréal version too).

Cheezies are the most Canadian of party snacks and are therefore perfect for any July 1st fête. They are so evocative of Canuck cuisine that they have been celebrated in song! Now illustrator Ian Phillips gives them artistic recognition with this limited edition giclee print (it's probably the healthiest way to indulge in these flourescent orange treats).


Gone Glamping: Poppytalk for Target Preview

Poppytalk — the Vancouver-based blog by Jan Halverson and Earl Einarson — has been one of the Covet Garden team's go-to sources of style and DIY inspiration since before there was a Covet Garden. We're also suckers for Target's collaborations with designers over the years.

Which is why we are totally stoked for Poppytalk's collection of outdoor decor goodies which launches in stores this Sunday (June 22). Some backstory, Target asked three influential Pinterest presences — Oh Joy!, Poppytalk and Wit & Delight — to create fun, accessible collections for their perfect party. For their project (which was a year in the making) Halverson and Einarson stayed true to their Great White North roots, with pretty but practical "glamping" goods.

We're crazy about this grouping of picnic-ready wares. The mix of vintage floral prints (who wouldn't want a lantern with a cabbage rose pattern to light up their life?) and forward touches such as the hot pink plastic cutlery shaped like scrolled silverware (pictured above), and the collapsible laser cut cake stands and candleabras are sublime!

We're also in love with the bright blue portable camp stoves (for roasting marshmallows, pictured below), the foldable napkin caddies (again, so versatile — you can also use them to hold flowers) and, well just about everything in the collection. Why? Because each piece is thoughtfully designed to make you feel like you are at an elegant affair — even when you are roughing it in the woods.

[images: Poppytalk for Target]

[image: Jan Halverson and Earl Einarson, CNW Group/Target]

And best of all, everything in the collection is all priced under $25!


Best of Etsy June: Our Favourite Makers Gift Card Contest  

[Nina Invorm teapot]

UPDATE: Congrats to our winner Carrie White Innes!

One of the main reasons Covet Garden loves Etsy so much is that it connects us with the work of wonderfully creative artisans from around the world. Not only do we see handmade objects from Etsy shops featured in just about every home we’ve toured in Covet Garden, we’ve been fortunate enough to feature the a behind-the-scenes peek into the spaces of the makers behind such shops as Bookhouathome, Xenia Taler and pi'lo.

This month, we’ve curated a treasury of our favourite makers on Etsy — our go-to shops for inspiration and, yes, commerce (you’ll find a lot of these craftspeople represented in our own homes too). And to help you get more handmade into your life, Etsy is giving one lucky reader a $50 Gift Card (keep reading for details).

So who are our favourite makers and why? We’ll let the team weigh in:


I love print and pattern and like to surround myself with beautiful pieces — on my walls, clothing, accessories and housewares. There can never be too much print or pattern, my friends! These fantastic illustrators and textile designers are some of my favourites. Toronto is an amazing city filled with venues for crafters and makers to sell their wares, but it is great for them to gain access to a world-wide market via Etsy and for us to be able to buy stuff from as far afield as South Africa, The Netherlands and the UK!

[Karolin Schnoor]

[Skinny La Minx]

[Leah Duncan]


I fancy myself a bit of crafty person myself, but I bow down before those who have the passion, patience and energy to truly master the art of creating something by scratch. On Etsy, I follow so many ceramicists, woodworkers and artists simply because they make beautiful things that keep traditions alive while bringing craft into the 21st century.

[Julie Moon]

[Lee Mezaros]



There was a time when pretty much everything was handmade. Now almost everything is mass produced. When I buy handmade, I invest in an artist or maker and I support thir business as opposed to investing in the production of cheaply made goods mass produced by underpaid workers.

To win the $50 Etsy Gift Card, simply subscribe to Covet Garden between June 13, 2014 and July 11, 2014. One winner will be chosen randomly from those who sign up (it’s free and you’ll also get our monthly newsletter and have each new issue of Covet Garden delivered directly to your email box).

And to help you figure out how to spend that $50, follow all of our lists on Etsy here.