Saturday, March 28, 2015

Vendor call: Story Planet seeks out of this world handmade goods

STORY PLANET is a non-profit storymaking centre dedicated to helping young people discover and develop their voices. Their innovative programs ignite students’ imaginations, fuel their curiosity and equip them with the tools they need to launch their stories. Their retail store, with an outer space and extraterrestrial theme, helps to fund their creative writing and arts programs for neighbourhood kids. 

They are currently revamping their retail space and seeking to work with handmade vendors who can supply items which work with their theme (like aliens, rockets, of space-themed wares), who might like to rent space in the store or sell on consignment with the fee going back into their kids writing and arts programming. They are especially keen on finding local vendors since they are all about helping the community. If you're interested, please contact Mahira Karim!

STORY PLANET is in the Bloor and Dufferin neighbourhood:
1165 Bloor Street West, Toronto Ontario, M6H 1M9 416-645-1049


Friday, March 27, 2015

T.E.S.T. Interview: ThreeontheTreetop

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 75th in our series and is with Lillian McKinnon of ThreeontheTreetop.

Where does the inspiration for your artwork come from?

Tons of things inspire me! I love make believe and playful whimsy. I’m drawn to certain aesthetics and I’m influenced by personal experiences. In terms of aesthetics I love the look of paper theatres and antique stage sets. I love the way both of these play with 2 dimensional images to create a 3 dimensional world. Paper theatres inspired me to play with layering elements of my prints and original drawings, to create my shadowbox pieces.

I also love the playfulness of trompe l’oeil and the elaborate detail and border treatments that are found in some old fairy tales. Since becoming a parent I’ve read about a million children’s books to my kids (ok maybe not that many but it certainly feels like it!) and I think the countless books I’ve read to them have inspired me to attach stories or playful poems to my images. Now it is very rare that I create art that isn’t accompanied by a story and one day, I would absolutely love to illustrate children’s books!  

Can you tell me about your process from getting an idea to finished product?

Ideas usually strike me out of the blue and I will get pencil to paper as soon as I can to do quick sketches and notes. If I am working on a commission with specific guidelines I really enjoy reading up on the subject matter; I find learning about what I am drawing helps me get excited about the process and shapes my final piece. Once my initial sketch is fine-tuned and transferred to watercolour paper or illustration board it’s time for my favourite part; the inking and/or colouring.

My pieces are quite detailed so this is the part of my process that takes me the longest. If I am working in pencil crayon I often do a preliminary wash in gouache and then render it in coloured pencil and finally I’ll add some highlights and fine details in gouache or acrylic. Once the final piece is complete it’s time for Photoshop. It’s very important to me that my giclee print looks exactly like my original, so I will spend a great deal of time colour-correcting to get the print just right. If I am creating a shadowbox piece the next step is the cutting, layering and final positioning of the layers within the frame.  

Which of the forms of your artwork is your favourite – nursery art, whimsical fine art prints or shadowboxes?

I really enjoy creating all three but if I had to choose a favourite I would probably say shadow boxes. I like to manipulate my prints and alter their appearance and backgrounds. I have also done a number of shadow box commissions in which I layered original drawings, not prints, and I think I like working on these the best. I find the challenge of thinking and drawing in multiple layers to create one cohesive final piece a lot of fun!  

Can you tell me how you came up with your company name?

My father is a classic car collector and owned an auto shop when I was a kid. I spent a lot of time at his business and was always surrounded by cars and grease and tools. Today, I feel a sense of nostalgia when I walk by a garage and smell fiber glass and exhaust. When I was young, my dad taught me how to drive and the first cars I learned on were classics that had manual transmissions, most with a column shift (which is also known as “three on the tree”). I always loved that expression, so when I was trying to come up with a company name it kept coming to mind.

A little play on words tied my past and present together perfectly; from driving old cars and spending my youth with my dad in his auto shop to singing “rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop” to my own children, whose rooms are now filled with Three on the Treetop art!

Check out the other items available from Lillian in her ThreeontheTreetop Etsy Shop! You can also find her on Facebook and

Interviewed by Marlene of IntrinzicDesign March 24, 2015.

T.E.S.T. Interview: IntrinzicDesign

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 74th in our series and is with Marlene Santilli of IntrinzicDesign

How has your fashion background influenced your product/Etsy shop?

My fashion background has influenced my creations as it's helped me to identify functional shapes and colours. Whenever I'm creating a product, I always aim to make something that stands out.  

How did you decide on cotton flannelette and flaxseed as materials to use for your heating and cooling pads?

I chose cotton flannelette because it's a very soft fabric. When heated or put in the freezer, it has a very comforting feel to it. Since my heating and cooling pads are primarily used for aches, pains and relaxation, this fabric selection was particularly important in order to achieve that soothing feel. I selected flaxseed as the filling as it's an ancient grain that contains natural oils, which can be reheated again and again. Flaxseed is good to be used as a compress for healing colds, flus, infections and pain. That being said, flaxseed and cotton flannelette fabric make for a winning combo! I come from a family who have used flaxseed for years and thought it would be a good product to share with others.

Your heating and cooling pads are created using fabrics in a wide variety of patterns. How do you select your fabric patterns and is there a particular aesthetic you are drawn to?

I look for prints that are pleasing to the eye. They must look soothing, preferably not be too light in colour (I don't want them to look bland) yet have a fun vibe at the same time.  

Aside from heating and cooling pads you also make lavender sachets and lavender heating pads. Why did you choose lavender and do you have plans to create with any other scents?

I choose lavender for my sachets and heating pads because it is extremely relaxing, calming and at the same time refreshing. I take custom orders, so am happy to include other scents should a customer be interested!

How does it feel to create products that promote well being, comfort and healing?

It's extremely fulfilling to create products that promote wellness. I can be creative and at the same time help people feel better. For me, it doesn't get any better than that!  

Marlene on R, daughter Vanessa on L
Check out the other items available from Marlene in her Intrinzic Etsy Shop!  She's also on Instagram and Facebook.

You will find Marlene at the Youth-led Pop Up Market:
Date: March 28, 2015 - 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: CSI Annex - The Garage 720 Bathurst st (ground floor)

Interviewed by Lillian of ThreeontheTreetop March 24, 2015 in Toronto. 

T.E.S.T. Interview: SewnWithLoveByMom

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 73rd in our series and is with Anne Pathammavong of SewnWithLoveByMom.  

How did the idea of starting SewnWithLoveByMom appear?

When I was pregnant with my son Benjamin I spent way too much time browsing for baby items. I noticed everything was pink or blue and nothing that matched my modern decor. I wanted to create modern and practical baby items I would use with my own son. I love sewing and creating items and it seemed like a natural fit.  

Where does your inspiration come from?

A few things - Benjamin, my son, mid-century furniture and Modern Art and design. From a practical stand point I also wanted functional baby items that would get a lot of use. I created baby bandanas for Benjamin because he wouldn't stop drooling and I didn't want to have to change his outfit five times a day. 

What materials do you like most to use for your creations?

I love the variety of prints you can get with basic cotton and how soft fleece is. I'm also working on a few projects that involve organic materials like organic bamboo, organic terry cloth and organic fabric.

What advice would you give to the other young mothers, who want to start their own business?

I would just tell them to jump right in and do it! Make a business plan and work on your business when the baby sleeps. Doing a bit every day is better than nothing.   

What marketing strategies do you prefer?

As a brand new shop I'm focused on perfecting the basics like Search Engine Optimization in Etsy. I hope to have more strategies in the next few months.  

Anything else you would love to tell us?

My mom is a seamstress and I grew up sewing on industrial sewing machines in my parents basement. While other kids were playing during march break and summers I was there helping her with her business. I'm also slowly adding new items every week and look forward to being a part of the Toronto Etsy Street Team.
Check out the other items available from Anne in her Etsy Shop! You can find also find her on:
Twitter: @SewnwithLoveMom
SewnwithLoveByMommy on Facebook

Anne Pathammavong was interviewed by Julia Alimova of VIVIDClothingToronto, February 16, 2015. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vlog: One Of A Kind Toronto Spring Show 2015

 One Of A Kind Toronto Spring Show 2015! On this vlog I will take you to see some of my friends/ work I love at the OOAK show. The show goes on from Mar.25th-29th So I hope you will go see all the wonderful work at the show.
Thank you to everyone that let be video tape there wonderful work!

Who you will see in the video and here you can find them at the show:
Queenie's Cards E05
ReFluff E23
The Candi Factory G19
Carolyndraws I13
Greg Voisin Pottery J19
Brooch Boyfriends N32
Kiriki Press N24
Embroiderwee N20
Clay Shapes Pottery P48J
Pikelet Workshop P44E
Little Bellwoods Q41A
The Teeny Tiny Bakery Q41B
OOAK website:

Vintage Swaps!

All you vintage lovers, vendors and collectors will want to mark
Thursday, April 9 at 6:00pm - 10:00pm on your calendars. Etsy Canada is hosting a Vintage Swap at the Gladstone hotel (1214 Queen St W). Join the Event Page here to stay abreast of details. Vendors who want take part or network with other local Toronto Etsy vintage sellers can join the Toronto Vintage Swap 2015 Etsy Team.

Also, TEST's own Kyle of riceandpotato writes:

Join local vintage lovers at Arts Market for the first edition of Vintage Exchange, a vintage clothing and goods exchange event! The swap will include vintage home décor, kitchenware, barware, clothing, accessories and more. Bring a vintage item, take a vintage item! If you do not have items to exchange but want to attend the event, that’s great! You can still purchase items on the tables. Save-the-date & please help spread the word by sharing with other vintage lovers. See you at Vintage Exchange on April 23 for some eco-friendly fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Vendor call: The Mom Show

The Mom Show is taking place at the International Centre in Mississauga on May 10th from 10-6. 

This event is a Mother's Day focused event geared towards families with cooking events, crafts, a fashion show hosted by CBC's fashion stylist, Jenn McConville and over 50 vendor spots.  The event is anticipated to draw in between 1000-3000 people.  

They are inviting any Etsy vendors who might be interested in booth space to sell Etsy items in a booth during this fun event.   The early bird space/prices for booths are as follows:

10 x10 $595
5 x 10  $395

NOTE: You can choose to split a booth with another vendor!

You can find the Exhibitor Application here which will need to be confirmed by March 30th to confirm a vendor spot.
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