It amazes me how much work is involved in packing for three days up in cottage country. TheÂ to-do list is endless.Â This coming weekend is the Victoria Day Long Weekend in Ontario and, like so many other families,Â we are heading to the cabin. I call it “the cabin” and not “cottage” because right now it’s more akin to a wooden tent than a summer getaway with all the comforts of home. Only recently did said cabin acquire a self-composting toilet, solar panel, and solar powered fridge. Still to come: solar powered water pump and four light fixtures. Right nowÂ our source of lighting appears in the form of candles andÂ hand crankÂ LED lanterns.Â This is all the handiwork of my husband who has dedicated hours of work and hard, physical labour to make the cabin habitable (to more than just the furry rodents who settled down there while the place sat empty for many years).Â Oh yes, and did I mention the property is water access only? That’s right, upon arrival we must steady ourselves for a short paddle across the lake, canoes fully loaded–children, dog, food and clothing. Believe me, I’m no princess, but I do feel the need to have certain comforts and amenities even while roughing it in the bush. There is no shower or tub, so all bathing must happen in the lake. However, in cool weather, such as we are expecting this weekend, we all stink together. A wood-burning stove remains our sole source of heat, along with a fireplace we have yet to use. The only downside to this is our clothing ends up smelling like a campfire, which for some brings back fond memories. I’m sure I will grow to love this place, particularly as the weather warms up and I put my own personal touches into the cabin. That’s something I’ve begun to do, but it is a gradual process and one that requires being budget conscious in the truest sense. In principle I agree with the off-the-grid ideology. In practice, it requires effort and I don’t know that I’ve fully committed myself to it just yet. I’m no Les Stroud. This weekend will be a real test of my mettle. I’ve been doing some reading about cottaging off-the-grid in Cottage Life Magazine, and I believe there is a way to do it withoutÂ feeling as though you’re really going without. Being a bit of a foodie, I do miss having an oven, but maybe I’ll master the barbeque and won’t miss the oven when it’s 35 celsius outside.Â And maybe we’ll get creative and install an outdoor shower one year, able to forgo the indoor plumbing altogether. And candlelight is far more romantic than any LED bulb. Hey, maybe I can do this off-the-grid thing afterall! Now if only we could get rid of the damn bugs.
I may have mentioned that in this blog I want to feature others who are into the “homemade” way of living, and artisans tend to be those who best live by that mantra.
So it’s always inspiring to meetÂ someone who does what they love for a living and finding a whole bunch of people who do what they love for a living all in one place is even better. This place is called the SpringÂ One Of A Kind Show and I had the pleasure of attending the opening with my friends Barb and Jenny. WeÂ wandered the show floor to meet the vendors and check out their wares.
Among the many talented artisansÂ we discovered several who were creating unique and beautiful clothing, jewellery and accessories. And now I get toÂ share their stories with you.
“ANTLER LADY”- Actually her name is Dandi Maestre and she makes beautiful jewellery from found objects. She moved to Toronto from Columbia six years ago. Originally trained as a graphic designer, Dandi, like so many new to Canada decided toÂ reinvent herselfÂ when she moved to Canada. Dandi’s accessories were recently seen on theÂ runway at Toronto Fashion Week in Lucian Matis’ collection. Dandi, a self-taught jewellery designer,Â describes herÂ piecesÂ as “tribal.” Using all-natural materials like horn, hooves, antlers, seeds from the Amazon, coconut and reclaimed wood, Dandi’s jewellery really are statement pieces. This jewellery is definitely for the confident woman.
“FEATHER GIRL”- Nicole McInnis is a third year student studying fashion design at Ryerson University.Â She was selling these precious hair ornaments at the Show. If you can’t make it to the show this weekend, you can always check out her online shop, Oh Dina! on Etsy.com To her delight, there were many shoppers interested in her accessories. They ranged in price from $30 to $125. Nicole, who also loves to make hats, says she gets her inspiration from Pin Up girls, vintage Hollywood glamour and as she says, “anything pretty.” Great for dolling up any outfit, or even as an accessory for your wedding day up-do, these feathered friends really are worth checking out. My photographs hardly do these ornaments justice, so go visit her Etsy site to get a better view.
Honeybea Design Hive– This vendor immediately caught my eye when I saw these lovely button bags on display. Becky Caulford is the creative genius behind Honeybea. With fashion design under her belt, Becky decided to create a line of “sustainable fashion” five years ago and began pedaling her wares at fairs and festivals across the country. Traveling in her VW wagon dec’d out with daisies Becky is a modern girl living the flower child lifestyle. Her fabulous button bags ($79)Â truly are eye-catching, as are her sexy mama halter tops ( for $59 which I procured for myself, as did Jenny) all have a very ’70’s vibe about them. All of her gear is made from discarded fabrics and objects like curtains, coasters, napkin and curtain rings (the “buttons” on her bags are actually made from vintage wooden drink coasters!) that she finds at thrift stores. Becky truly is a modern-day environmental maven. The best way to describe her style? “Not hokey, but folky.”