Best of Etsy: What's the Buzz?

[1. Hand printed tights, Hosetights; 2. Vintage Swedish textile, Uncle Bunks Trunk; 3. Plastic frame purse, Octopurse;4. Vintage Panetta scatter pin, Vintage Meet Modern; 5. Embroidered lumbar pillow, Kain Kain; 6. Vintage flower power canister, Mom Pop Shoppe.]

Spring has got the Covet Garden team thinking about nature, renewal and the whole circle of life. It all comes down to the birds and the bees pollinating the flowers and powering this whole crazy merry-go-round. Our winged friends have also inspired our latest curated collection for Etsy — a treasury we call "Birds and  Bees." We've pictured a few of our avian finds above, but you can discover more flights of fancy on Covet Garden's Etsy page.


Spring Flowers

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to have lunch with Bluebellgrey's Wendy Gilmour and a group of lovely decor and lifestyle editors. It was an inspiring occasion that we just had to share. Firstly, we loved the presentation — little mason jars were filled with heather (a symbol of Bluebellgrey's home in Scotland) and ranunculas (which are just so pretty). It was a reminder that even a little sprig of flowers can make a meal feel like an experience. It didn't hurt that the lunch was held at Colette Grand Café with all of it's amazing Parisienne bistro ambience.

[images above, Jessica Reid]

It was also a delight to catch up with Wendy, who we first met last October when she and designer Fiona Douglas came to Toronto to launch Bluebellgrey at The Hudson's Bay. This time Fiona stayed at home in Glasgow to tend to her new baby, but Wendy delivered the news of Bluebellgreys new oversized floow cushions. We fell in love with them immediately. Featuring the company's trademark colourful, handpainted prints, these fat pillows are perfect for providing flexible seating for when you and your guests are just hanging around, or a cozy place to curl up and read a book.


Issue 55 is Now Live!

[image by Jodi Pudge]

The Covet Garden team has always been fascinated with small spaces. We admire anybody who can pack big ideas into a limited footprint, which is why we are so impressed with art director Colleen’s enchanting condo. We hope you too are inspired by her creative take on incorporating treasured art and heirlooms as well as her own designs into a fun-sized but functional home.

There's so much good stuff in Colleen's space that we've decided to double up and make it an April/May issue. We'll be back in June, but keep checking in on the blog as well as our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages for more eye candy.


One of a Kind Spring Show's Soft Touch

[pouches with original silk-screened illustrations by Prints and Needles]

Even though Spring has officially arrived, it sometimes feels like we just can't shake the winter of 2015. Perhaps that's why we are so attracted to the so many of the warming textile objects at this year's One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale. Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so here's a peek at some of our favourites.

The exhibition (which began on Wednesday and runs until March 29th at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place) features over 450 artisans and designers from across Canada selling an amazing array of handmade home décor, fashion accessories, clothing, jewellery, beauty, outdoor items, baby, toys, and food.

[upcycled fabric pillow by Stitch and Spoke]

[silkscreened napkins by Salvage Ink]

[children's dress by Yana Gorbulsky]

And just when you think you've seen it all, this season there are 177 new participants. That's a lot of homegrown goodness. And that's why we had to focus on fabrics. Head on down to the OOAK to discover something to pick up your place for Spring.


We Covet: Alice and Martin Provensen

[image from Funny Bunny by Martin and Alice Provensen, 1950]

While it might be a disturbing sign that I have too much stuff, I was delighted to discover a picture book illustrated by Martin and Alice Provensen in our library. Turns out my husband won it as a prize when he was a young schoolboy in Kenya (we never got books as prizes here in Ontario, although I have an awesome collection of "Participant" ribbons).

Martin and Alice Provensen are like the Ray and Charles Eames of illustration. They were from Chicago but met in California, where they were both working in the animation industry. They basically began their professional collaboration shortly after they got married in 1944, working for the Little Golden Books series of kid's lit. (If you scroll through out back issues where Heather, Val and Matt namecheck their tome "The Color Kittens" in Covet Garden Issue 4).

[image from Aesop's Fables]

Their work is angular, abstracted and absolutely modernist. But what helps it stand the test of time is Martin and Alice's sense of humour. My husband's book, Aesop's Fables, not only features playuful figurative animals acting out classic stories, the characters are constantly making funny remarks within the artwork. As their reputation grew, they began to write as well as illustrate children's books, winning the Caldecott Medal in 1985 for The Glorious Flight — a book about the aviator Louis Bériot.

Outside of the couple's literary works, Martin was responsible for the design of beloved cereal pitchcat, Tony the Tiger. But mainly they worked as singular artistic brain. In an article originally published in Publisher's Weekly after Martin's death of a heart attack in 1987, Alice said, "we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist."

Alice continues to be awesome and is still working to this this day. Her most notable solo book is A Day in the Life of Murphy (2006) which has everything we love about her work, including beautiful, irresistable, almost human animals.