27.7.14

Shibori Workshop (aka Tie Dye for Grown Ups)


A few months ago, my friend Jess and I attended a terrarium workshop at Parkdale's Crown Flora Studio.  We had such a great time, that we've been monitoring their website for updates on new workshops to sign up for together.


The Shibori workshop (we'll get into what that actually means shortly) was taught by Arounna, the owner of Bookhou.  Neither Jess nor I had any idea what shibori was (we called it "grown up tie dye") but we'd had such a great experience at the terrarium workshop that we were excited nonetheless.

We arrived at Crown Flora's new space (they recently moved into a large loft space) and we took a few minutes to look around.


Jess bought some more succulents.




While I enjoyed the pretty accessories and vignettes.




These pillows and clutches are a great example of shibori using indigo dye.


The pretty flowers reminded me that it was time to order my bridal bouquet, which I crossed off my list before the morning was over.


There were examples of indigo dyed fabrics using different shibori techniques.... Which, as it turned out, is actually very much like tie dying only more intricate and often involving stitching.  


Our workshop kit included gloves, instructions to set the dye at home (in a 5 minute vinegar and water bath) and a cotton tote as well as a rough-edged scarf, which could also be sewn into a pillowcase.


Arounna opened the vats of indigo dye and skimmed a thick sludge off the surface.  I was surprised to learn that preparing indigo dye involved a fermentation reaction and that indigo dye has a strong ammonia odour, so soon, the entire studio smelled like cat pee.  Luckily, it was a large space, so my pregnant nose didn't suffer too badly.


The dye itself (and any fabric freshly dyed) is actually green and only develops the signature blue indigo colour after reacting to the oxygen in air.  Arounna demonstrated a few different techniques for us before leaving us to experiment on our own.

She showed us various resistance methods like tying and clamping and we learned to soak the fabric in water first, so that it would soak up the indigo better.


It's so interesting taking workshops with so many creative people, because I'm almost as excited to see what they make as I am to create something myself.

I jumped in right away with my tote and decided to use accordion folds without any elastics or string and to just dip the edges carefully myself.

Then, I borrowed a swatch of test fabric and tried tighter accordion folds with some heavy paperclips to create a resist area.

Finally, I decided to spend the majority of my time on my scarf and used elastics, marbles and coins to create a circle within a circle effect.


And here are some of the creations by our class.






What a fun morning!  Would you try shibori?  Check out Crown Flora Studio's website for the dates and times of their other workshops.

22.7.14

The Parkdale Flea


I know this is not the popular opinion, but I always find Toronto's neighbourhood flea markets to be a little lackluster.  It's not that the vendors aren't good... because some of them are amazing.  (It's a little like shopping Etsy in person.)  It's more because there are so few of them and the markets just feel small to me.  Last year, I checked out the Parkdale Flea and the Junction Flea.  Last weekend, I was in Parkdale with a friend and we happened upon this year's Parkdale Flea.  Here's what we found:

I loved the jewelry being sold (at very reasonable prices) by The Shop I Am.  The website isn't active yet but I'll watch for more unusual and delicate jewelry by this artist at other Toronto markets.



I liked Elle Shay's mixed media art, which featured different Toronto landmarks.  They were also very reasonably priced and the colours were vibrant and hyper-saturated... in a good way!


I loved some of the vibrant art that was hung throughout the main space.  I couldn't decide whether it was too crazy for our house though.


Maybe a little?  I wish I had noticed the artist's name.


I'm always a sucker for rough edged furniture and One One Eleven Designs was showcasing some lovely pieces.



There were soaps and body butter (which smelled good enough to eat) by The Parkdale Butter Co.


... And some whimsical illustrations by Emily May Rose.



Not my favourite flea market, but still a fun day out.  It's kind of a nice change of pace that the emphasis is more on local art than vintage wares .

My Bouquet


Do you remember (or have you thought about) your wedding bouquet?  I had never really thought about what I'd want but it actually seems like a pretty important accessory.  I chose mine the other day (similar to the one in the top photo only a little smaller) and ordered it from Crown Flora Studio.  I love how unusual it looks.   .

I had originally planned to diy my bouquet but I decided that (aside from Corey) it's the most important accessory to highlight my dress so I wanted it to be out of this world!  I also ordered a matching boutonniere for Corey so he wouldn't feel left out.  ;)

I also think succulent bouquets are chic and fun.  I love the one below from Offbeat Bride.  Something like this would probably be my second choice.


What do you think?

21.7.14

DIY Tiered Dessert Stands


I've been wanting to tackle this next craft for a while now.  Instead of a cake for our wedding, we're opting for cupcakes from this shop.  I thought it would tie in with the vintage centerpieces at our wedding, if I made tiered stands from mismatched thrift store plates.

I found a tutorial on Apartment Therapy and purchased the stand hardware inexpensively on Ebay.  Choosing the plates was fun and I looked for a dinner plate, lunch plate and dessert plate or tea saucer for each set.


Next came the challenging part.  I used Corey's work bench and clamp and we got a diamond tile bit for his drill in the same width as the screws in the hardware.  I made sure to have safety glasses and a spray bottle of water handy to ensure that the drill bit didn't overheat.


I began each plate by laying it on the bench face down and taping and measuring the centre.  I began drilling each hole on a 45 degree angle (see video below) and slowly moved the drill upright until I had a solid indentation and could remove the tape.  I applied even pressure until I had drilled all the way through, pausing occasionally to spray the drill bit and hole.  Once finished, we washed the plates and assembled them.

video

They turned out nicely.


We can't wait to fill them with raspberry and lemon cupcakes!  Wouldn't they also be perfect for high tea?  Mmmmm scones....

20.7.14

Impromptu Thrift Store Visit


I love shopping at thrift stores!  There's something about it that always feels like a treasure hunt and I've written before about my favourite thrift store tips.  While I was looking for something specific during this trip, I ended up coming home with two other small treasures.

As many of you know, our wedding centerpieces are going to be a mix of succulents and cacti planted in vintage glass and milk glass, which I mentioned in this post.  I was also hoping to add some fresh cut flowers in vases to fill each table.


Well, I recently ordered flowers in white and green from Bunches Direct and I decided to look online for fun ways to arrange them.  I loved some of the photos I found of flowers arranged in milk glass vases (I'm afraid I was unable to track the original source of either of these two pictures.) and I decided to see if I could find some more.



I had a few already but I added to my collection and I now have a nice assortment for the wedding.  I can't wait to see what they look like with flowers.


Remember when we styled our living room gallery wall last year?  We had always assumed that we'd add to it over time.


I found this little painting which makes me want to travel to Greece.


It was only three dollars and I figured I could always recycle the frame if I ended up hating the picture.


But I think it goes quite nicely in our living room.


And we came home with one final purchase.  I know I've posted a few pictures in the past of my nightstand (photo below) but lately, I've been finding that it gets too cluttered.


I found this pretty little candy dish (on the right) which sparkled like new after a trip through the dishwasher.


Now I have a place to put my hair elastics, chapstick and even jewelry.


I think our bill came to about $18.  Not too shabby!  It also makes me want to sing this song...

I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I'm I'm I'm hunting, looking for a come-up
This is f%$#ing awesome!

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