The best resource for great local shopping!

There is amazing stuff close by – local artisans and independently owned retailers, cool things to do and eat, and great charities to support. It’s good for the economy, the environment and the soul.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Clothing Show part 2 - Chiyopia

As you can imagine people are always asking us about shopping local. It's not as simple as you think. There are definitely levels of local.
Here is a great example. You know the "new" charm bracelets? I think they call them "generational" bracelets too. Pandora is probably the biggest name, there is also Chamillia, Biagi and Trollbeads, and I'm sure a bunch more.
Well a team of Toronto guys have created their own version.  As far as quality, design sense and price is concerned they are definitely competitive with the other companies, in some ways superior to.

They are not manufactured here (so we can't carry them on but they do design some of the beads here, and in the U.S. They ship them from a warehouse in the Toronto area.  They are manufactured in Thailand, as are Pandora beads, and probably the other companies too. Each company offers slightly different beads, clasps, bracelet options...

This is an amazing local option! Maybe not as local as it could be but definitely more local than Pandora from Denmark, or Chamillia, Trollbeads & Biagi are from the States. Trollbeads from the US actually started in all in 1976.
As a supporter of artists I am sensitive to buying knock offs,  but I don't think this applies with any of the companies. I think they are all offering a superior product that is competitive price wise, each with their own unique offerings as far as bracelet and charm options.
So all things being equal, Chiyopia has some beautiful charms, check out their FairyTale section and their Family sections of beads.
There is also the local advantage of being able to go to sample sales, like the one at the Clothing Show AND returns are allot easier when done locally! I know, I know, you are welcome for this little tid bit!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Clothing Show - Las Valentias

I only discovered the Clothing Show last spring. I had always known about it, it's been around forever. It used to be the Old Clothing Show and Sale featuring almost exclusively vintage and second hand items, over the years has morphed into a great place for local designers to show their stuff. There is still an amazing offering of Vintage goods but now there are more jewellers and local designers than ever before.

One of those local designers is Las Valentias. Their stuff is amazing! They use fabrics that are light with allot of movement. They offer pieces that are great for layering, so you can wear them all year round. There is a real classic feel, yet trendy and somehow nostalgic, it's hard to explain. All I know is I bought one of their tunics to wear over leggings for our photo shoots this week! They have a great sale going on! This dress is the Etta, it's on sale for $124.99, can't get much better than that!

I think they should start listing even more of their stuff on 100 mile finds. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Clothing Show

On Sunday Susan & I headed off to the Clothing Show. Damn marathon! It sure wasn't easy to get there by car, although the TTC really did their best to make travelling through the area possible. Now all they have to do is advertise that they are doing it!!
Once again we were humbled by the talent that exists in our city, our province, our country. It is truly amazing!
Eve from Torched Studios was there. Her work is spectacular.

She is one of those fantastic artists that is thrilled to be doing what she loves and not only does it show in her work but she is such a pleasure to talk to. Eve will be at the Parkdale Bazaar (Queen & Cowan in Toronto) on Saturday December 4th, 10-5pm. Check out her store on 100 mile finds, it gives you a hint of what she has to offer. She makes these enamel tube necklaces, they have a real ethnic feel to them, beautiful! She has started doing these amazing rings too! Very different from what she has been offering up until now. I think they are enamel, All I know is, I have to have one! I almost forgot to mention the bracelets, seriously you have to see her work. She also offers classes from her studio. Don't you think she post her new enamel rings on 100 mile finds so that we could buy them? Me too!

That's it for now, but stay tuned throughout the week. I want to tell you about Las Valentias, Slashpile, and some other ways you can shop more local than not!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruby Diego Sculptural Adornments

Sometimes the name says it all - sculptural adornments. Ruby Diego's jewellery on 100 Mile Finds is an amazing hybrid. The pieces are intricate, 3-dimensional works of art that any discerning jewellery lover would covet.

According to the bio, "My work is deeply personal and reflective, responding to current events and the daily activities around me. The ring is a source of great interest to me artistically because of its universal form. To think of the ring is to shape your thoughts, no matter the significance -wedding ring, graduation ring, friendship. Reinterpreting adornments gives life to the familiar object, paying homage to the history of jewellery".
The piece shown, Teacup On a Branch, is cast sterling. The teacup is "a symbol of our dreams....what you want is out there, just look around and reach for it." Love the sentiment, and love the art.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Upset Games at 100 mile finds

I don't know about you, but I don't just want to buy something because it was locally designed, manufactured, and/or produced! It needs to be a fantastic product that happens to be made locally. That is not too much to ask is it? Absolutely not!

Ever think you'd  be able to buy a great board game, locally designed in TO? Me neither! Well you can!

UPSET is a new board game that was designed/invented by local Torontonians. It just won the HOT toy for the Holidays 2010 by the Canadian Toy Association, they should know what they are talking about, right?

It's a game that combines chance with strategy. It rewards skill and strategic play with an element of surprise to make sure everyone has a chance to win! There is a travel edition too! AND the "piece de resistance" as far as I'm concerned is it promises to improve your child's math skills, sign me up! It is now available on 100 mile finds.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Las Valentias at 100 mile finds

One of the things that inspires us at 100 Mile Finds is the level and depth of local talent. Las Valentias is a local designer of women's clothing that we would love to wear.
"Employing a consistent look that echoes a modern lifestyle, we believe in casual beauty and tranquil elegance. Clothing that isn’t separated into formal or casual, but clothing that is built to endure and be beautiful".
Las Valentias has an amazing philosophy of creating pieces that go from season to season, celebrating fashion through the ages with a modern touch. They play with mixing fabrics giving their pieces a tranquil elegance that will last a lifetime.
Their 'Billie' dress (pictured) is charming, and comfortable. Perfect for work and play. AND the line is now on sale at 50% off. This is the perfect time to take advantage of beautiful, local and reasonably priced.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Alli's Originals

We can't help but think of great gift ideas here at 100 Mile Finds. So many of our vendors make such unique items, who wouldn't want to receive something with some personality.

Alli's Originals makes jewellery that can be personalized. With ideas for men, teens and special occasions, gift giving is easy. And as the giver, it is nice to think that the recipient will think of you when they wear their customized piece.
Looking for the perfect housewarming gift? Alli's Originals Canape Knife is so beautiful. It will never go out of style, and can be enjoyed for years.

VENDOR CALL - St.Pius Christmas Bazaar

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Junction Arts Fest

100 Mile Finds headquarters is in the west end, so on Saturday evening we strolled up to Dundas Street for the Junction Arts Fest. I have lived in the neighbourhood for twenty years (yes, that is a long time), and it has been such a pleasure watching the Junction transform into interesting and arts oriented area that it has become. There are several 100 Mile Finds retail locations there, including:
Wisedaughters Craft Market
Black Daffodil
Trap Door
Pandemonium New & Used Books & Discs
Post + Beam Reclamation Ltd.
Rawlicious restaurant

The festival was fun - live music, performance art, lots of great food and artisans. We bought a new/used Jamaican sound CD from Pandemonium and a very cool Pirate T-shirt for my son from WIJOM. I picked up a few more cards from artisans who would be a great fit for the site, so hopefully they will be with us soon. We ran into friends and neighbours, reconnected, and caught up on each others' summers. So go to your next local festival and celebrate the great neighbourhoods we live in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adornments jewellery design & production

Nancy Lismer (Hall) is Adornments. She is currently based in Toronto. Nancy's work is a unique variety of finely handcrafted pieces inspired by wrought iron work, often using the technique of forging in her work. Using nature as one of her inspirations and materials including sterling silver, handmade Italian glass beads and semi precious stones, her pieces are whimsical, funky and elegant in spirit!
Look at this necklace! It's beautiful!
Sterling Silver Flower Necklace
This cute and charming flower necklace blossoms gloriously on your neck! I worked the flower component originally from sterling silver square wire, hammering, bending and soldering it into shape then adding casting grains for bud accents. I then rubber molded these and cast the components in sterling silver. The glass beads I made from Italian glass, and then joined it all together with sterling wire and some lovely amethyst stone. The chain is sterling silver. Price $135.00

I love the fact that not only is her work so beautifully handcrafted, her descriptions make it clear that she absolutely LOVES what she is doing!
PS the bracelet and ear rings are gorgeous too!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Handwork Studio at 100 mile finds

The handwork studio is run by Kathie Young. She offers felting, drawing, and watercolor painting for adults and children. Kathie really celebrates the process that it takes to create a piece as much as she values the actual product that is created. "...artistic activity is a necessary part of human development and pedagogical essential." She speaks of the process having less to do with inspiration and innate talent and more to do with the drive to understand, to seek solutions and to think creatively.

Kathie is offering a "Felt Gnome Workshop on Toronto's Harbourfront" from 12-4pm on Sunday October 17 or November 21st. it's $120 and it includes materials. I know Susan has a, not so secret, love of garden gnomes, this creation could live indoors!
What a great gift a class would be for a child who is struggling socially, or academically, or for an adult going through a rough patch at work or dealing with grieve...

Check out Kathy's store on 100 mile finds to see the other workshops she is offering! The Handwork Studio

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crumb Designs

Jennifer at Crumb Designs is all about appreciating the simple things in life. It really shows in her work, she turns simple into spectacular. Jennifer creates handmade aprons, and they are beautiful, works of art. There is a hint of nostalgia, a dash of elegance, and superior craftsmanship. If putting on one of these aprons doesn't inspire you to create a masterpiece in the kitchen nothing will! And even if dinner is a flop,  who cares, you look fantastic!

My personal favourite is the Lucille! Flirty, and fun. It has an adjustable halter neck strap, left side pocket, wide shaped waistband for comfort, and beautiful  wide waist ties to create that perfect bow! These aprons would make a great gift for the cook in your life, what about as a shower gift with a cookbook? How about the "nobody gives a better 'Thank you for hosting Thanksgiving Dinner' gift than you do?" That's what I was thinking too!

Did you know that Christmas is coming up! It is, it's going to be on December 25th, same as last year! I know what you're thinking...

Check out Crumb Designs on

Friday, September 10, 2010

Morris B

Christine Vonburn of Morris B has been a 100 Mile Finds supporter from early on. We had the opportunity to meet and chat with Christine at a show in the CBC building last December. "Christine is originally from Vienna, Austria, where she earned a degree in Fashion Design and a Certification as a Master-Craftsman in Handbag Design. Her education instilled in her a deep respect for the tradition and craft of handbag design, which is why Morris B bags are produced only on a small scale, with the sort of attention to detail that is otherwise lost in a sea of mass-manufacturing".

But it was not just a pleasure meeting Christine (who understands the value of local and embodies craftsmanship), it was an exquisite pleasure meeting Christine's bags. Lola, Flora and Sophie (the bags featured on Christine's page) are incredibly crafted. The quality of the materials used and the attention to detail is amazing. And who wouldn't feel a bit like a modern day Audrey Hepburn carrying Lola?

So, do you really need the flashy initials on the bag, or something 'designed' by another celebrity? And remember, bags still fit after Christmas dinner - you can keep them a long time. And now you can buy your Morris B bag directly from 100 Mile Finds - you are only a couple of clicks away......

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Curious Oddities

We are all conscious of the three R's (reduce/reuse/recycle), and sometimes we may even feel a little exhausted when we try to do our part to leave a little smaller footprint. But Kat, of Curious Oddities makes reuse an art form.

"Combining vintage and unexpected treasures with brass, silver, copper and fabric, her designs are delightfully romantic and Neo Victorian, Steampunk, Noir and Industrial inspired". This is the opposite of mass produced and uninspired. Perfect for a gift - I can't imagine a teenager not loving Kat's work.

We love Kat's location as described on her page -
3rd hollow tree on the left,
High Park,
Toronto Ontario
M6R 2K5.
Perhaps the magpie in the park drops off the shiny bits for Kat to use.
At 100 Mile Finds we ask that vendors include an address. Some vendors are reluctant to share their actual addresses, as they work out of their homes and sell on-line and at shows. We get that. We ask them to use a close postal code, as the 'local' concept of our site and the search is dependent on location. Some of them, Kat, for sure, turn it into another way to be creative!

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a great local day!

I must share my great local day! Yesterday, under dark and gloomy skies, fighting off rather cool temperatures, the Fairley's headed off on their long weekend adventure. First stop, the Distillery District to check out the Art show. It was amazing! Although getting through this damn city is enough to turn you into a hermit sometimes, but that's a whole other post!

The girls were, well not dreading "another craft show!", but I wouldn't say they were dying to go either, too bad. Who's kidding who, all three of them were a bit sullen, but after a pep talk/brisk talking too, we were off and running, with smiles planted on our faces! Off we go on a family adventure.

There were tons of buskers there, love that and the art work is truly inspiring! I discovered another vendor, Mosaika Gallery was there with beautiful belts & buckles. They were pretty busy so I didn't get a chance to talk to them but I loved their stuff. Their gallery is in Jordon, not too far... I will have to do some research and give you more info on these guys.
If you, yes you, have a local artisan, a cool event or a funky store that we need, yes need. to know about, I feel it is your responsibility to let us know! I have thrown down the gauntlet, oh yes I have! We would love to hear about them. The more the merrier!

Then we had lunch at the Mill St. Brew Pub! Nothing like enjoying a local beer while enjoying your local lunch! AND  they offer these little sample glasses of beer, much fun to be had with that! AND you can buy their beer there, in their little shop, stuff that isn't available at the LCBO! Grand I say, grand!

Then we went to Rowe Farms to pick up some filet mignon,  it was so yummy! Neither of our kids are big meat eaters, so we had to literally force them to try the meat. The look of shock and delight was totally worth the strong arming that had to get us there.

So after we picked up the meat, but before we ate it, we, being me and girls, (we lost one of the team to get some work done), headed off to the Revue Cinema in Roncy. Although the street is still torn up, for some reason, maybe everyone was still stuck on the Lakeshore, the traffic wasn't bad at all, we hunkered down to watch Ramona and Beezus. My plan was to grab a quick nap, but the movie was so good, good in a young girl kind of way, I never managed to nod off, and I cried not once, but twice!!

It's a real sister movie, if you've got young daughters and the older one is being unbearably mean to the younger one, not that, that is happening in our house, this movie is a delight!
The Revue offers kids gift certificates, $6 for a movie pass. I'm thinking loot bag, stocking stuffer, baby sitter gift...
What a great local day!

I hope everyone is having as great a long weekend as I am! ENJOY!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Steven Crainford Photography

There are a number of different photographers on 100 Mile Finds - from portraits to landscapes.  Photography is an amazing way to express your taste in art without having to bid at Sothebys.  One of our photographers, Steven Crainford, has listed several different shots that are a sampling of his work taken from across North America. 

 "Over the last 19 years my photography has evolved from B&W images made on film with a view camera and printed in the darkroom into work in both colour and black and white using a high resolution digital camera and printed on a state-of-the-art inkjet printer."  His work "is based on capturing light, form, line and texture in the images he creates. In addition to representational images, he often creates abstract and impressionistic photographs".

In the last little we've been going over the site and I was reintroduced to Steven's work. It is amazing! He is one of those photographers that can capture a huge vista and make it fit beautifully into the frame. He uses repetition in nature as subtle accent in many of his images. Well worth a trip to his website.
Custom projects are welcomed by Steven - each print is made individually. 

For a larger representation of Steven's Work, click on the link Steven Crainford Photography