20 Below: Penny Paper Co. Packaging

The Penny Paper Co. is a Toronto-based stationery supply company owned by Lindsay Stephenson (of Little House Blog and BlogPodium fame). I’ve had my eye on her custom stamps for a while but I have only recently noticed these sweet cream-coloured drawstring bags.

large cotton drawstring bag, $6.25

Use them plain for wrapping small gifts or personalize them, fill them, and use them as party favours. Time to get crafty!


The Friday Five: Family Trees

I have been working on my family tree on and off for at least five years now. It’s nowhere near complete. It keeps growing as I meet more family members (which is always nice) who can provide more information about relatives. Sometime in the future I need to go to the small Italian villages where my parents were born to learn more about my family history. For now, I’m happy to fill in names and dates as I learn them. My family tree is in very rough form and I never have a paper that’s large enough to fit all the info so I keep taping on paper extensions…

my family tree: this is only my mother’s side…I have another paper roll for my father’s side.

Maybe one day I’ll work it out so that my family tree is as pretty as one of these…

Diamonds Family Tree by Martha Stewart

Family tree by Melinda Beck via Martha Stewart

Inspired Goodness

family tree, Martha Stewart

How about you? Have you ever worked on your family tree? Any tips?


Forging French doors

This week I had the most exciting time meeting and getting to know one of Canada’s foremost window dressers, Philip Minaker. Having created hundreds of major storefront windows during more than 25 years as a style director for many iconic Canadian and international retailers in Toronto and his home town of Winnipeg, Philip is a fascinating individual unlike any other.

His boundless creativity and problem-solving know-how are only surpassed by his sweet and fun personality. Philip is a fashion force and he’s put on countless runway shows and deconstructed trends working for various styling and retail roles at The Bay, BCBG, Lipton’s, Eaton’s, Mondi, Parachute, and the list goes on and on.

He is known for his stunning sales-boosting windows and his ‘let me show you’ philosophy about sharing his fashion knowledge. His windows are known to increase sales; a job well done, then. Look for his work coming up at Toronto’s downtown Josephson’s in the next few weeks- he told me that he’s currently fabricating the set pieces for the fall windows.

Beyond having a keen eye for styling, trends and balance, Philip is an incredibly talented artist and he creates much of what you see in his displays. Today’s French doors featured below are an example of his incredibly simple take on getting what you need: make it yourself.

When I met Philip on the weekend during his first of two moving sales, he invited me in his home where he has these gorgeous antique French doors behind a bed (those aren’t for sale, though, sorry! but just DIY for these and drop in on Philip’s second sale for other very cool stuff).

These gorgeous French doors are not real; they’re two large format prints of doors that are glued to large pieces of foam. The antique look is truly outstanding and the quality of the print here is just right, working in favour of achieving that natural aged look that the doors have.

The best part about all this is that they weigh nothing! They’re made of foam! You know, the inch-and-a-half rectangle sheets of white foam from the craft store. So simple. Philip told me that he cut the print and foam in the curved shape at the top and he has another piece that creates an archway to really bring it all together. I think they are spectacular just like this.

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Images courtesy of me via Philip Minaker

You’ll want to be there for Philip’s second moving sale in a few weeks, September 13-16: he is parting with some of his window dressing treasures including props, decorative urns, industrial art, art hangings and artist canvasses, art that he has created, beautiful vintage mannequins, and so much more.

You’ll love meeting Philip- just drop in to say hi and check out all the fascinating pieces of his career that he’s selling to new good homes, and meanwhile take a look at his moving sale ad on Kijiji- lots more pics there to see what he’s got on the floor (including Herman Miller La Fonda chairs…).


20 Below: IKEA Greenhouse

Did I ever mention that I’m currently attempting to grow basil, parsley, and tomatoes…in a sunny corner in my apartment (for now)? It’s been fun to watch everything grow from seeds and I really didn’t have much faith that anything would come up.

If I really discover my green thumb this spring, I’d love to try out a greenhouse like this inexpensive version from Ikea. I imagine it would help the plants out right from the initial stages.

Socker greenhouse, $19.99

Have you grown anything indoors before? What’s worked? Do you have a mini greenhouse for your herbs?


DIY: Painting Pottery

Have you ever been to a pottery painting studio? A while ago Mackenzie and I went to Bisque it! and we had such a fun time. This is how I painted the inside of a bowl:

photo by Jordana

Does it make your eyes hurt?


The Friday Five: Oscar Night

This Sunday is Oscar night. Who will be watching?

invitation via Twig & Thistle

Oscar bingo via How About Orange

Oscar ballot via How About Orange

DIY ballot booklet via Twig & Thistle

DIY Oscar statuette via Twig & Thistle

Learn everything you need to know about Oscar night here.


DIY: Felt Ornaments

These DIY felt ornaments are some of the prettiest I’ve seen. Time to get crafty!

via The Purl Bee

Many thanks to Adrienne & Kate for sending these photos my way.