Holiday DIY essentials

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating this winter (if any), if you’re looking to add some festive decor to your home or a personal touch to gift-giving, there are a few DIY essentials you should have in your toolbox. With these ten items you’ve got everything you need to make homemade gifts, wrapping paper and labels; to decorate for holiday parties; to get cozy for the winter weather; and to turn inexpensive items into showpieces.

1) Spray Paint: My love of spray paint knows no bounds. Particularly if your holiday decor has a specific colour scheme, it’s time to make spray paint your best friend. Matte white has long been an essential in my home, but metallics are an amazing addition for the holiday season. Turn cheap dollar store or garage sale tjotkes into Anthropologie-esque ornaments, gild that ugly green tree stand, coordinate pinecones, customize serving ware (handles only please!) or even add a festive touch to furniture.

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2) Twine: A roll of twine has the power to give boring every day objects a rustic flare. Wrap around glass candle holders or mason jars to cover ugly labels or turn a plain jar into a winter vase; use in place of ribbon to wrap gifts or to hang DIY ornaments; or tie a cinnamon stick around cloth napkins for a festive place setting.

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PRODUCT Toronto

This blog aims to celebrate the awesome, the unique, the creative, the positive, and the beautiful that surrounds us. It is also very much an ode to our beloved city; no matter how far we travel and and yearn to run away and rave about cities like San Francisco and Buenos Aires, Toronto is home and number one in our hearts.

While reading the Editor’s Letter in Issue 7 of PRODUCT magazine written by Editor-in-Chief and self-titled “Cultural Curator” Kyle Kofsky it became very evident that PRODUCT and For the Love of Awesome are clearly in pursuit of similar goals. Kyle describes the magazine’s mission as profiling the lives of Torontonians who have found success while choosing to live positively and to better their own lives and the lives of those around them, whatever their backgrounds and pursuits.

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H Project

Kelly took some time this week to introduce you to Roozt, the online marketplace with a conscience. Well, along the same vain, I was recently made aware that notorious upscale and glam retailer Holt Renfrew is taking a step to support humanity, health and habitat through its new in-store shop called H Project.

Opened this year across Holt Renfrew stores, H Project is selling merchandise from over 30 worldwide artists that seek to help something – people, the environment, communities. While not veering from luxury, supporting these brands does something beyond making you fashionable and pretty and putting a few more dollars in the pockets of the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Victoria Beckham. The boutique is led by Brand Strategist Alexandra Weston.

Definitely something to keep in mind as the holidays creep up, here are a few lines that have caught my eye:

WeWood are high quality watches that use the precise Miyota movement technology to keep time. What makes them special is the watches’ prime material: wood, and mostly from scraps. The watches are beautiful and come from a variety of trees and grains. From colours ranging from ash to beautiful mahogany, pat yourself on your back knowing that a tree is planted for every watch you buy, too.

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Aish scarves are just beautiful. Aish textiles are all made using ancient weaving and embroidery traditions of India such as, Jamdani, Ikat and Kantha.  Handwoven, hand-dyed and hand embroidered, Aish finds craftsmen in remote Indian villages to design and create fine muslin scarves. Know that you are supporting small villages in impoverished areas in India with your purchase.

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Introducing: Roozt & Brika

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that Robyn and I are big fans of the e-commerce website, Etsy, the handmade/vintage equivalent of the better known Ebay. Recent Etsy purchases for us include wedding invitations and a vintage bridesmaid dress but have historically included jewelry (LOTS of jewelry), home decor items, art pieces, and custom designed gifts.

Although I will be faithful to Etsy until my dying days, two similar new sites have recently popped up that have my attention.  The first, Roozt, is a platform for socially conscious consumers and mission-oriented brands.  The second, Brika, is a Toronto based online shopping destination offering a carefully curated selection (rather than an open marketplace) of handmade goods by primarily female artisans.  Both sites are beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and are full of inspiring stories and handmade treasures.

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In the words of founder Brent Freeman, Roozt is about “giving sexy back to giving back.” The site showcases cutting edge brands (primarily fashion and accessory lines) whose production and/or sale makes a positive contribution (or avoids a negative impact) on our earth and/or the people who live here.  An added bonus?  For every member who joins the site, Roozt donates a meal to an American in need.  It is free to sign up and members collect “Changemaker” points and credits that can be used towards future purchases.  I’m loving the “Buy One, Give One” section, that functions on the TOMS model: for every featured item you purchase, one is donated to a person in need.  Bonus points for the unique yoga gear and selection of natural beauty products.
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Unlike the fashion focused Roozt, Brika features a wide array of gifts and decor as well as accessories.  Started by two incredibly bright and talented young women, the site highlights and honours its Makers, sharing their stories to help connect purchasers to products and to inspire future makers. I’m particularly loving the Made in Canada category and the curated gift boxes, but I’d be thrilled to be gifted almost anything featured on the site.  Lucky Torontonian’s can check out Brika in person at the newly opened pop-up shop at the Bay, Queen street.  Open now through the holidays.

“School” supplies for adults

I am totally one of those stationary geeks who loved shopping for school supplies like most kids loved Toys R’ Us.  Although I didn’t go back to school this week, that didn’t stop me from making an office supply wish list (and secretly hoping my mom would show up to take me shopping).  If, like me, the fall air has you longing for a fresh backpack full of pencil crayons and crisp notebooks, then why not indulge in some more grown up school supply shopping and take this opportunity to redesign your home office, organize all those magazine clippings, write some old fashioned letters, or start a new creative pursuit.

If getting organized is your thing, Russell and Hazel’s linen trimmed recycled binders with metallic reinforced tips and erasable white board interiors are the gold standard in binders.  Not quite ready to file away those inspiration pages?  Pretty up that pinboard with some handpainted butterfly push pins and stay organized with Knock Knock’s task specific paper clips.  Keep your desk organized with a minimalistic bamboo desk set and a cheeky stapler, and when you need to transfer files from your computer, do it in style with a skelton key usb.

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