While Black Friday kicks off holiday shopping south of the border, I prefer to get my Christmas cheer in gear at Toronto's One of a Kind Show. Running from November 22nd to December 2nd at the Direct Energy Centre in Exhibition Place, it's a great place to find unique gifts, affordable art, stationery and jewelry (Biko is my go-to). Plus, you can fuel up on yummy samples from the food booths as you shop and meet the artisans who make each piece, which always make a purchase more personal.
1. Maple syrup jugs by Marianne Chénard
Morgan: Oooh, I love these!
Margot: The peachy colour is gorgeous.
Me: The snowshoes in icy blue really say snow day — time for a pancake breakfast.
Morgan: It's the perfect cottage or friends-of-your-parents gift.
Me: They're so wonderfully Canadian. I want to gift one to myself.
Tip: Chénard also sells the jugs pre-packaged with a tin of maple syrup.
2. Limited-edition prints by Ja Teuber of Ilee
Me: This whale print is adorable. It would look super cute in a kid's room.
Margot: I like the ones without any writing on them. This Bambi print is pretty dreamy.
Me: You can't really go wrong for $18.
Morgan: The cards are nice, too. Oh, I need to buy a birthday card! (She bought one.)
3. Ceramic tableware by Melanie Mena of Mena Dragonfly
Morgan: These blue rimmed pieces are lovely.
Me: The little honey pots are such a sweet scale. They make me think of Winnie the Pooh. I bet my dad would fill them with mustard. It's his secret ingredient. (Mena had a sign beside them saying: It's cute & it's useful, what would you put inside?)
Margot: I like the sugar and creamer set for teatime. (Margot signed up to win a mug!)
4. Charcoal drawings by Laurie Sponagle
Margot: This is my favourite thing I've seen so far.
Morgan: I like the large clouds and the landscape with grasses. Up close it looks almost three-dimensional.
Margot: I just love how simple they are.
Tip: Laurie is only at the show for the first five days.
5. Concrete accessories by Nicole Mireault and Tommy Ferfuson of FMC Design
Me: I like the architectural look of these pieces.
Margot: The white bowls are stunning.
Morgan: The trays are also great.
6. Paintings by Sarah Hillock
Me: Holy cow, these are amazing. (I'm the only one giggling.)
Morgan: I wish I had a wall for one of these. The little brown guy is fantastic.
Me: The blue, black and white one would look great in my bedroom. How would you frame these? You'd want to see the paint dripping off the bottom of the Mylar.
Morgan: You'd need to float it in a giant frame.
Me: Yes, so you could see all the edges. Hmm... maybe it would be weird to wake up with him staring at me.
7. Ornaments and objects by Grace Eunmi Lee
Me: I always make sure to check out the Rising Stars section. You never know what you're going to find.
Morgan: Look at these wacky creatures.
Me: They're so weird... and wonderful.
Margot: It's like she's constructed a whole fantasy world.
Morgan: The artichoke salt and pepper shakers are nice, too.
Me: They remind me of some of Takashi Murakami's crazy creations. (Grace told me she's often inspired by plant life.)
Remember, the show is only on until December 2nd, so if you're in the Toronto area, be sure to squeeze it in — it's an easy way to tackle Christmas shopping in one day. Plus, the H&H booth in row R is selling back issues of the magazine for $2 each, or three for $5.
1-15. Kimberley Brown