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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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Belong Cafe@Evergreen Brick works is now open!

Ever since the beginning of June when we participated in the Love Local show at Evergreen Brick works Susan and I have been waiting patiently for the Belong Cafe to open it's doors. Between having booths at the Artisan Craft Market throughout the summer to meetings with the lovely Amber to organize our Culture Days event we have watched expectantly as the Cafe started to take shape. It has been a true evolution, from occasional sightings of Brad Long inspecting the progress, to a make shift lunch station, to the Cafe finally openings its doors a few weeks ago.

To celebrate the signing of the contracts for renting the Young Welcome Centre for our 100 mile finds market/Culture Days event on October 1st, 2011, Susan and I grabbed a coffee and a treat the Belong Cafe.

The blueberry scone I had was absolutely mouth watering. I find scones can be a bit tricky, this one was perfect, nice a moist in the middle and crusty on the outside! Perfect! Susan had an oatmeal square, there was no discussion about us sharing. There was no way I was giving up any of my scone, I don't care how good her square looked, I just couldn't do it!! Add a great cup of coffee and a friendly chat with the waiting staff, it was just what we were looking for.

Cafe Hours
To Go: 8am–6pm
Cafe Kitchen: 11am–10pm
Reservations for Lunch and Dinner available.

The Belong Cafe offers local, sustainable, organic fare. Although they don't have a liquor license yet, rumor has it there is one on the way! Belong is not only a cafe but a catering service too. They pride themselves on quality preparation and beautiful presentation. They cater events as well as offering to pack a picnic you can enjoy anywhere.

Evergreen Brick works is now the perfect place to go to spend the day. On Saturdays you can visit the Farmers Market in the morning, then amble through the grounds, there is always something going on there, with the up and coming Artisan Market, the Garden shop, and now the Belong Cafe it's one of Toronto's best kept secrets!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sun Creations

New vendor Sun Creations makes 'everything under the sun', from hand crocheted items to beaded jewelry. We sure do like all this creativity.
On 100 Mile Finds, Sun Creations has featured this hemp and shell necklace that has a retro vibe (for those of you who remember the day). The domino decoupaged tile will have special meaning for those dog lovers.
Sun Creations will accept custom orders for crocheted items so you can specify size and colour.
Welcome Sun Creations!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Junckshop et al at the Brickworks

Tammy from Junckshop is a fabulous 100 Mile Finds supporter. Tammy creates unique one-of-a-kind pieces from upcycled plastics. Her hair barrettes are made from hotel and 'phone cards. Her necklaces rings and bracelets are also made from these cards, twisted and moulded into interesting shapes to create wearable pieces of art. They always get lots of great comments at shows - it's an amazing creative idea.

We are featuring Junckshop at Evergreen Brickworks tomorrow from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. with Saracino Designs Bags, jewellery and leather journals by Christine Marie Ford and Torched Studios encaustic jewellery. Kat from Curious Oddities will be joining us with her unique accessories.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Niagara on the lake -part 3 - dinner at Treadwell's

When you drive up to Treadwell's it's this cool little place just off the main road. I wouldn't say it's in a sketchy part of town but certainly not in the cool part of Port Dalhousie. It's quite a large restaurant and we sat on the terrace, right on the river! And I mean, right on the river, I almost dropped my purse in it!
Treadwell's has been around since 2006 and boasts farm to table cuisine. They don't use the term lightly either, they use the old school approach of basing their menu on what is available locally. It doesn't hurt that they are in a region that is bountiful with wineries, farms and orchards. Although their wine list does have some offerings from Australia, Argentina and New Zealand the main emphasis is on Niagara wines.

Being a huge supporter of local anything I was really impressed by just how "local" they were. The back of the menu lists where they source everything! Very cool! As far as I'm concerned this all counts for not, if the food isn't fantastic! It was!

I started my meal with the zucchini blossoms. Nothing like deep fried zucchini, that's what I always say! Yummy! For my main course I had the Steak Frites! It was fantastic! It was a dry aged striploin by Cumbrae Farms topped with a cafe de paris butter, mushrooms with the best pommes frites I've had in ages! I'm getting hungry just writing about it!

It was a great meal that capped off a great day! We headed back to the hotel to catch the fireworks over the falls!

If you get a weekend away from the kids, I highly recommend a trip to the Niagara region.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blushing Pixie

100 Mile Finds welcomes Blushing Pixie to the site! Designer, Paige Elshaw has been making jewellery now for several years. What started out as a fun little hobby has blossomed into a full time business.
"Our hand made jewellery is original and fun! We use a variety of glass and semi precious stones to create unique and beautiful designs. All of our handmade pieces are unique and one of a kind. We use excellent quality beads and findings including Rose Quartz, Jasper, Agate, Jade, Quartz, Bronzite and many more! We also use crystals and glass. If you have a favourite stone or a favourite colour we will gladly custom make something for you!"

These adorable owl pieces are reasonably priced, include free shipping, and are available for sale at 100 Mile Finds.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christine Marie Ford - Fiber Artist

Christine Marie Ford has been a vendor on 100 Mile Finds for quite a while and we just wanted to give her a nod in this space to remind you of her talent. I met Christine this past week when we rendezvoused so I could pick up some of her pieces for the Evergreen market where we will showcase her work, Aug 20 and 27.
It amazes me how varied Christine's pieces are - her products range from fabric vessels to jewellery and leather work. Featured here are her "Words Apart" wallhanging and her leather travel journal. Christine is committed to her career as an artist. Recently Christine has experienced an ordeal after a bike accident where getting treatment and recovery were very difficult. We are so pleased to see her healing and getting back to the studio - Hang in there Christine!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Susan & Shirley's excellent adventure - part 3

On the weekends of June 18th and 25th Susan and I set up shop at the EverGreen/Brickworks Art Market. The market runs from 8am (Good God, do you know what time you have to get up to be ready to go at 8am?!?) to 1pm (Gotta say it's lovely to have had a full day and it's only 1pm, it's like have babies in the house again).

EverGreen/Brickworks is really one of the best kept secrets in the city. It's situated off Bayview at Pottery Rd. and it is a beautiful facility. The Pavillions is where the Farmers' Market is located. It's held every Saturday from 8am to 1pm.

Gotta say the Cinnamon buns at Alli's Bread are oh so good, you actually get a sugar high from them! There's Choco Sol, not only is the chocolate fantastic but their passion for chocolate, pairing it and the importance of local and sustainable is inspiring. There are crepes, waffles, Bhudda dogs, Susar's coleslaw, lemonade... Oh yeah and they have veggies too! :-) Clearly it's not just a Farmers' Market it's a full on food experience.

Having established the Farmers' Market over the last 5 years, EverGreen is developing an Artisans market too. It is situated in the open area between the Farmers' Market and the Garden Centre.

This is where 100 mile finds comes in. As we may have mentioned, right now Susan and I are all about getting the 100 mile finds name out there to the customer. We figured craft markets is the way to go. They are our people, through and through and neither of us could think of a venue better than the EverGreen/Brickworks that we like to spend a few Saturdays at over the summer.

On our first Saturday Melissa McColl from Vintage Baby Revival joined us as our guest star artisan. Not only is her work amazing, she's amazing too! We had so much fun. It's great getting to know the vendors personally and having Melissa there was a key component in making our first day at EverGreen/Brickworks our biggest day ever!

On Saturday June 25th, Cassandra from Tweek joined us. This special guest star biked down through the "closed for construction" section of Pottery Rd! Nothing's going to stop Cassandra, that's for sure. Cassandra brought a totally different energy to the show. She is so sweet and soft spoken. Her work is so creative, she really takes upcycling to a beautiful place. One of the many great things about meeting the different artisans and getting to know them a bit, It is so important for us to hear about their experiences selling their wares and what works for each different vendor. There are so many opportunities out there, it's just a matter of capitalizing on them all.

Join Susan this weekend, I'll be off cottaging! She will be at the EverGreen/Brickworks market for 8am 'til 1pm. Get there early and make a morning out of it. Make sure you don't eat breakfast before you get there. Yummy, yummy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Steven Crainford Photography

We have mentioned Steven Crainford Photography before in this space, but wanted to remind you of this very talented photographer. According to Steven, "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". The featured photos, part of the Flowers in Colour series, illustrate Stevens talent using colour. His black and white architectural pieces are also amazing.

And Steven has embraced the virtual world in an effort to get his work into our path - we know that sometimes it is lonely in cyberspace, so congratulations on your perseverance with all this new technology Steven.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skarce Hand Made Designer Jewelry

Rob Skarce of Skarce Hand Made Designer Jewelry has been with 100 Mile Finds since our earliest days (est. December 2009). Ok, so maybe those days are not so early - I think I remember what I had for lunch then. However, this is a nod of appreciation to our faithful vendors - they are the 'Finds' we seek.
Rob's foray into jewelry making was a natural, "Way back when, I started my career working with metals(welding, fabricating). Branching into metalsmithing was the natural progression in my jewelry making journey. My focus is now on working with copper, brass and silver, married in unexpected ways with beautiful semi-precious stones, leathers and fibres". Well said Rob.

The highlighted
Tiger's Eye and Brass Pendant includes an 18x25mm Tiger Eye Oval Cabochon set in pure brass that is textured with a great vintage-look patina. The pendant is on an 18" brass chain with a front toggle clasp. The pendant can be custom made to any length.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Niagara on the Lake - part 2

It's funny as we drove through Niagara on the Lake, Alex asked if all the Canadian towns were like this. If you've ever been, Niagara on the Lake is the quintessential tourist town, especially on the Friday before the long weekend in August because it's still not too busy! The streets are lined with bountiful flower baskets, the buildings are all turn of the century, horse drawn carriages wait patiently for their next rides. It's like something out of a movie. We assured them, this is exactly what's it like in every town right across Canada... Last year we had some other guests here from Europe and they had been up north at a cottage the week before the visited us. One of our guests commented on how in Germany they weren't nearly as worried about water and that they flushed their toilets after every use! We tried to persuade him that it was only up in cottage country that we did this, I'm not sure they bought it. Although neither of them have an accurate view of Canada hopefully our little fib evens the score a bit.

Now that we covered the bigger wineries in Niagara on the Lake (part one of the blog) we're off to some of the smaller ones.

First stop Daniel Lenko. Bruce found out about Daniel Lenko from
some fellow cork dorks at work and had visited the winery before. He loved it! You pull up to the most unassuming property on the outskirts of Beamsville. The wine tastings are held in the kitchen of the Lenko family home. The walls are covered with awards from over the years and the fridge holds not only the wines for tasting but all the stuff our fridges have got to!! Daniel Lenko sailed through the kitchen as we arrived and Thomas Laszlo, the winemaker did the wine tastings for us! He was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and had a million stories to tell. Some of them less appropriate than others!
If you like Chardonnay, this is your winery! They have oldest root stock in the Niagara region.

Next stop, Hidden Bench! We found about Hidden Bench from neighbourhood friends. They are a small start up winery that makes some fantastic wines. Hidden Bench is an artisanal wine maker that prides itself on their sustainable practices, the fruit that they use, and how they use a minimalist approach to wine making. They have a really good Riesling and a really good Meritage.

On to Tawes winery. The girl at Hidden Bench has suggested we try Tawes. They are famous (in wine circles, I guess) because their state of the art completely gravity-fed winery. They are very energy and eco-friendly, using geothermal heating and cooling. Their sparkling wines were great and we bought a Chardonnay too.

Now it's time to head back to the hotel and have a nap! Next post, dinner at Treadwell's

Monday, August 8, 2011

Buy Some Love

Introducing new 100 Mile Finds vendor, Buy Some Love. Buy Some Love is a husband and wife team, now joined by a young son who enjoys shaking his beads as much as Kristina and her husband enjoy making creations with them.

The featured silver plated heart pendant has glass pearls that represent your own, or your family's birth month. A reminder of the special people in your life, and makes a great personalized gift.
The chain is silver plated measuring 16 inches. The heart pendant is 3cmx2cm.
Welcome to 100 Mile Finds, Buy Some Love!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Diana Nazareth Photography

New to 100 Mile Finds, Diana Nazareth Photography is a photographer who works exclusively with natural light to capture you and your family as you are. According to Diana,
"As a lifestyle photographer, my goal is to preserve a day in your life as you've trusted me to see it. This means I could spend a couple of hours with you in your home, where you and your family are most comfortable, or we could head outdoors where there's plenty of space to move around and have some FUN.
Families often tell me they're surprised by how much they enjoyed their photo session. So, don't worry if you're kids are not "behaving" or if your baby won't stop crying, or if you're eight year-old won't stop making silly faces. Most of the images you'll treasure for years to come will happen in between these moments, and I'll be there to capture them."
I am particularly camera shy (it might be me 'not behaving')- so those sound like encouraging words. And even better, mention that you saw Diana Nazareth Photography on 100 Mile Finds and receive a $100 print credit when you book your session.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Some of the lessons I learned in Niagara on the Lake - part one

We've been trying to orchestrate a weekend away with Bruce's friend and new wife ever since they moved to Connecticut in the spring. Not so easy when you've got two kids and they are sans enfants! Then my Mom offered to take the girls for a night so we headed off to Niagara to meet Alex and Katja. We decided to stay right in Niagara Falls, I know there are tons of quaint B&B's in wine country but if you are a tourist you can't get this close to the Falls and not spend at least a little time enjoying how spectacular they are. On the weekends in the summer there is a fireworks show every evening at 10pm. You just can't miss it!

Katja's family owns a winery in Austria, Bruce is a bit of a cork dork (I mean that in the most respectful way) and both Alex and I just like drinkin' wine! A couple of days in Niagara is going to be a blast!
First stop Inniskillin! They are internationally known for their ice wine, so we did a wine tasting with 4 of their different ice wines. We started with the Sparkling Vidal ice wine and had a couple of their regulars and because both Bruce and Katja could talk to the talk we were lucky enough to get to taste one of their older vintages. Our guests were hesitant to even try the ice wines but the sparkling one, won them over. Because they were so impressed with the ice wines we tried some of the vineyards other wines, they weren't nearly as impressive. The sparkling ice wine is meant to be enjoyed at the beginning of an evening with cheeses or at the end with cheeses and chocolates.
Check out Inniskillin's website, they've got a ton of valuable information on how to pair the wines...

It's funny because when you travel to Europe and get to know some of the people they talk about how unbelievably polite Canadians are. I never really appreciated what they meant until Katja, stated that the wine wasn't very good, right in front of the lady serving us, and that we should move on! I almost feel like if I taste a wine, I should buy it, and I make a whole bunch of excuses why I'm not buying it. It would never, ever, cross my mind to just say I didn't like it! huh?! I might try this new approach, out right honesty!

I'm not knocking Inniskillin, it's just that their wines are made to be served as everyday table wines. It means that bottle number 1, number 100 and number 10,000 will all taste exactly the same. We're in wine country for God's sake, we want the best of the best, the elite, not everyday table wine. I can get that at the liquor store at home. Onwards...

We headed off to Pellar Estates, it has a beautiful dining room, that came highly recommended. It was a bit early for lunch, but not too early for wine!! Once again Pellar Estates is more of an everyday wine so we didn't stay long. We did learn that 2010 was a banner year in Niagara on the Lake. Remember that when you are buying wine. Some of the 2010's are available for sale right now, you would want to cellar a white wine for 1-3 years and a red wine for 3-5 years to have them taste like anything though. Not much point in drinking it now, too young. I'm sounding like a bit of a cork dork myself!

We had lunch at Pennisula Ridge. It has a great little patio and is housed in a beautiful century home. We bought a couple of bottles of the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, it's a light, refreshing table wine.
Stay tuned, now we've wet their appetites and we're going to head off to some of our personal favorites. We've got to really impress these Austrians! Next stop Hidden Bench...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Play Me Mama Crafts

We have some imaginative folks here at 100 Mile Finds and we love the ones who somehow 'pay it forward'. I will personally never forget the Buzz Lightyear outfit that my son loved. It had a grey hue in its final days, and the feet had to be cut away as he grew out of it. Dress up clothes, and the years that kids play with them, are special.
On that note, we want to welcome Play Me Mama Crafts to 100 Mile Finds. Whether it is fairy or superhero season at your imaginative child's house, Play Me Mama Crafts has something to offer. I love that the capes are upcycled T-shirts. But those wings are to die for - made from 100% silk, they are bound to take flight (just like their imagination).