Waterslides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout a year ago I met Lisa at my local coffee shop.  She was the barista serving me my delicious latte – we got to talking and realized we were both creative people who tend not to act on their impulses.  The “procrastinator club” was born – a club where nothing gets done.  ever.  Until last weekend….  Lisa and I decided to be procrastinators no more and drag our cameras out of dormancy to explore the industrial sector of Hamilton, Ontario.  We met at the cafe on a rainy afternoon, when I though that the day was going to be lost, but the rain let up and we headed down to explore the desolate weekend industrial area.  It was desolate alright, but there was not a lot of opportunity to pull our car over and explore as there were signs posted everywhere “not trespassing”. We drove by this parking lot full of colourful plastic pieces – it was like a candy store, a giant candy store!  the gate was unlocked and there was a man working inside the building – I asked if he would mind if we wandered around to take pictures, he was cool with it so off we went!  Turns out it was a fibreglass manufacturing company that makes waterside for all over the world!  They were working on slides for Disneyland, China and many other theme parks- how cool is that?!

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Keeping It Real With The Ladies From Pretty Grit

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Every so often you meet someone that you instantly feel a connection with, a kindred spirits of sorts.  For me, that moment happened almost 2 years ago at a “Galentines Day” party hosted by a new friend here in Hamilton.  I was introduced to Amanda and after chatting about many things (our love of design, the fact that we share the same awesome name and general outlook on life and having both lived the “scene” in Toronto) we became instant pals.

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After many long conversations about our dreams of being entrepreneurs and business owners, I was so pumped when Amanda told me that her dream of owning her own shop was becoming a reality with her buddy Annie.  It seemed like in no time at all the wheels were in motion and the girls set their minds and wallets to it and launched what now stands “Pretty Grit”- Hamilton’s BEST place for all your house ware needs.

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The shelving unit is OOAK and such a head turner… custom order girls? 😉

I stole some of the girls precious (and very limited free time) to ask them a few questions about their entrepreneurship life.  Here’s what they had to say:

What is your business and how did you know this was your path in life? What/who inspired you to open a business and do what you are doing?

We are Amanda Cordero and Annie Horton of Pretty Grit, we are a new home accessory store located on James N. in Hamilton. We provide fun and trendy item to for people to dress there home with. Our style is clean, modern, leaning towards industrial.

We both have very different reasons for forming this business. Amanda has been interested in design her entire life and has been working in the retail end of it for some time whether it be doing window displays for Holt Renfrew or as a Design Consultant for EQ3, all of her experience has led to this business.

Annie:
I always knew I wanted to work for myself or try some kind of entrepreneurial venture, specifically in Hamilton. My first attempt (if you can even call it that) was after I came back from New York a few years ago. I came upon “Insomnia Cookies” which I thought was a brilliant idea, so I did research on starting one here, then quickly gave up. A little while after I’d considered starting an arts and drama program for inner city children, but nothing came to fruition. From 2012 – 2014 I was very heavily involved in the community running events and working in media for a local charity. During this time I met and networked with tons of inspirational Hamiltonians working for themselves or other organizations towards growing the city which I admired. In short, both of our skill sets have created Pretty Grit.

We have been inspired by many, especially the friends we have who own shops on James N, they have all been amazing, with providing insights on their experiences, tips and even in some cases products. We both also really wanted to be self employed.

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I find this so interesting, (this is not their logo)…. but a dynamic wall art piece

How did you choose your business name?

Our business name came from a brain-storming session that occurred on the 4th floor of the Central Library. We wanted to convey the duality of Hamilton. We both were born and bred here and we love this city for it’s complexity. Even though it is changing and gentrifying, Hamilton will always remain just a little gritty, that is what we love about this city.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

Amanda: I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I loved animals, then an architect, but sadly realized that you have to be good at Math.

Annie: For years I wanted to be an actress, this dream took me through post secondary. I spent all of my teenage years in plays and musicals. It wasn’t even too long ago that I “retired” my so called “career” – I like this gig much better.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Our biggest challenges have come form our timeline being shortened repeatedly. This project was originally suppose to get off the ground Spring 2016, however everything fell into place much sooner and we had to act quickly and make tough decisions immediately. With a short time frame we also had to learn patience while working with other companies.

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Everyone loves the sofa, but I LOVE the lighting! Sourced from Montreal – they are so unique!

Do you have a favourite object in your work space? What is it? Where did it come from? Why do you like it?

Amanda: The zig zag shelving unit, I saw an image of something similar and thought is would be the perfect feature piece to put in front of our brick feature wall. The shelving unit was built by Ted Hill, who built most of our fixtures. He was able to bring an idea to life and I will forever be grateful. I love this piece because it provides both form and function. It holds a lot of product, while creating visual interest with its dynamic lines.

Annie: Our couch. It’s my favourite because of how much of a pain it was to get together. We found it on Kijiji and thought “WOW, this is perfect, cheap and it’ll be SO easy to fix up and get in the shop” – we were wrong and now I look at it and laugh, and NO it’s not for sale.

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The exposed brick with industrial lighting is softened with all of the beautiful accents they have sourced. I am a big fan of the realistic printed pillows

Are you and early morning or late night person?

Amanda: I am neither, I am at my best late morning. Although my internal clock has definitely shifted since starting this business. I now wake up on my own with no alarm clock much earlier that before, no matter how much sleep I have gotten.

Annie: I don’t know, I go to bed at 9:30 when I can and usually wake up early and grumpy. I’m a mid-day person.

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Along with a set of 2 marbled pillows, a set of the red ramekins came home with me… one can never have too many ramekins, right?!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to a budding entrepreneur?

To get out of your own way and to do it. Don’t delay, the tools are all here, there are support systems. There is no sense in waiting, because someone else will come along and do it instead. Stop thinking and JUST DO IT.

Where is you favourite place to think?

Amanda: In bed is where I get ideas, either as I am falling asleep or just waking up, that is when I have the best creative ideas. In the car while driving is where I can clear my head and sort out problems.

Annie: Solo strolls around the city always help to clear my head and often get my creative juices flowing.

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The store has a mix of vintage and new pieces – I am loving the vintage glasses they are sourcing lately!

If I gave you $100 what would you spend it on?

Amanda: Something pretty, either clothing or for the home

Annie: Food and/or a new bra.

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These girls have an awesome sense of style and a great sense of humour

What would your customers be surprised to learn about you?

Amanda: That I have very little idea what I am doing and I am winging this.

Annie: Same.

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Eye spy – MEHKER pillows 😉

Check out PRETTY GRIT HERE

Pretty Potting – Top 10 Succulent Planters

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I was in Cafe Odin the other day in Toronto, where I spotted a beautiful terrarium on one of their counters.  It inspired me to search out 10 cool planter designs (made in/sourced from Canada) I would want in my home via my favourite online marketplace: Etsy.  I have seen a few of the designs in local stores or at designer markets always wishing I had more room at home to collect them.  Right now I have to be VERY selective as to what comes into my home as we will be down sizing in September and have to really pare down our stuff to the bare essentials.  I like the idea of potting succulents because in my experience – they are almost impossible to kill!  I hope you enjoy this round up, happy potting!

Concrete Barn TO – Medium Square Concrete Planter – Toronto, ON

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I love all things concrete and I am especially loving the monochromatic blue tones on these little guys!  So simple, yet so striking.  Also, they are posted at a great price point.  I would put these outside on my patio tables and gladly house them indoors as well.

Golem Designs – O Planter – Vancouver, BC

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The organic texture is very appealing, also I love the idea of stacking displays.  I can imagine these hung in multiples to make a larger installation.

Rong Designs – Geometric Wood Succulent Holder – Toronto, ON

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I remembered this designer from a market I participated in at 401 Richmond in Toronto a few years back.  I really appreciate wood items and love the clean lines of this piece.  This piece would probably double as a tea light holder (just incase you kill the succulent by accident…)

Bliss Craft And Brazen – Hanging Planter In Ceramic – Sainte-Marguerite–Estérel, Quebec

blissI really like ceramic planters and especially love hanging planters.  The beautiful leather harness adds to the overall appeal of texture in this piece.  It seems like the perfect material to cradle the soft ceramic bowl.

Beard Bangs – Three Legged Fox Planter – Montreal, QC

catI don’t even know what to say about this one – I just LOVE it.  (also, how beautiful is that succulent, AM I RIGHT?!)

Keri Rounding – Felt Plant Cozy – Brampton, ON

feltedFelted vessels are one of my favourite things.  I fist came across one at the OOAK show.  Having done felting myself, I know it is a lot of work.  I just love the natural textures in this piece – way better than your average plastic planter.  This also makes it really easy to swap in another plant (should yours mysteriously die…)

Plants In Mind – Modern Succulent Zen Planter – Vancouver, BC

interestingLooks simple because it is simple.  Sometimes less is more.  This is a beautiful minimal statement piece.

Hinkleville – Handled Plant Pot – Toronto, ON

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This little guy is super cool!  I love how the succulents make his hair-do.

Balsam Root Glass – Plant Holder Set – Duncan, BC

chalkCustomization is key.  These little guys let you leave a little note for your housemates to brighten their day.  Cute.

Glimpse Glass – Diamond Terrarium – Calgary, AB

diamondI really like these terrariums.  They would look cool on top of a giant coffee table book.  I found different coloured moss at my local floral store that you could change up depending on your decor scheme. Even empty I would like to display these.

Nerding Out

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I have found my new favourite hang out in T.O. I stumbled upon it while Lee was at his accountants doing tax stuff. It looked pretty interesting so I wondered in and was pleasantly surprised that it is the brother cafe to my old local espresso joint “Thor”. @Odinhus cafe+bar is such a thoughtfully designed space. The detail put into the design is impressive from the extra thick letterpress business cards, to the alto water jug.

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From the honeycomb white tile backsplash to the angular carpentry, this place got my design brain firing on all cylinders! Also the fact that it doubles as bar makes me really happy!

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The first thing I noticed when I came through the door was how modern the espresso machines looked. Knowing that Thor has a “Roles Royce” espresso machine, I asked the barista what type of machine these were. I was informed they are called MOD. Whatever they are, they are gorgeous. I opted for a cold brew coffee, but next time it will be an Americano I want to see the machine in action! The barista in me wanted to jump the counter and take it for a spin…

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Shaaaaaaa wiiiiing! I love me a beautiful Bertoia chair 🙂

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Unless you look up, you would probably miss this cool air plant installation. I love round orbs, especially floating above my head.

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Here is that honeycomb tile I mentioned earlier. And THAT turntable…. *swoon*

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I never realized how cool Corktown has become. I too heart Corktown. I also love the t-shirts they sell.
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I am really loving the colour palette of the ottomans. Mustard-ish yellow? What do you call that colour?

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A little out-of-place, but charming non-the-less  a piñata highlighting the fact they sell frozen pops. I was tempted, but opted for the cold brew instead. This is a pretty cute little cooler though!

Anyway, if you are in the King East neighbourhood, make a point to pop in and nerd out on all the design details that make this space awesome. You might see me there!

Check out Odin HERE

What’s Behind Door #270?

I wanted to share some photos I took of a chamber of commerce event hosted at 270 Sherman here in Hamilton, Ont.  270 Sherman is an old textile mill that was purchased by Torontonians and is being divided up into working studios and office space for the creative talent that is booming in this city.  We were given a great tour of different spaces and their occupants gave us some detail on what it is like being in the building.  Bursting at the seams with charm, I hope to one day be a resident in the not so distant future…

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The stairs have original metal stamped details.

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This is a hallway where a few video production companies work out of.

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Here is a green screen used for filming large scale productions for movies and television shows.

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Gorgeous windows that are being installed throughout the complex. Originally the windows were small because the employers did not want the employees to be distracted by the outside world when working.

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Original locker room from the days when employees filled the mill.

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Original big wooden loading doors all over the place.

7 morgue set

Same set as the police station – super creepy – but so interesting!

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This is a set for a television show. The recreated this room to look like an FBI police station.

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Original loading elevators on all sides of the building. I rode one up with a few people to a really neat artist space.

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This is the original boiler house for the mill. Now home to a circus school.

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Our tour took us out into the courtyard where we headed to the boiler house.

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We were treated to a live performance by this trapeze artist who wrapped her body around a hula hoop in the air. Impressive? Yes. Would I ever do it? No. COULD I do it? Probably not.

This was a GIANT prop storage house. The props are used on television and movie sets and are for sale. Weird world of stuff...

This was a GIANT prop storage house. The props are used on television and movie sets and are for sale. Weird world of stuff…

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Well I found it. Sprayed on my way up to see more studios.

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There is a cabinet shop that works out of the building – has been in business for over 50 years – apparently 45 of them have been in 270 Sherman. I love big saws!!

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We were given a sneak peek into this insane workspace. It was an artist collective where they were making big installations for the city. Very interesting, very messy.

15 print making studio

A fabulous letter press workshop (and potential new friend Sara’s) space. Another London”er” who also went to BealART! She picked up the equipment from a person retiring form the business.

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The main mill. The pictures do not do it justice for the sheer grandness of the space. Would be perfect for a rave with 2000+ people.

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I was invited to the event by my friend Joy who owns Made for you by Madeline – a cute bakery here in the city. It was filled with members of the chamber of commerce- a great networking night (not to mention open bar, catered food and live entertainment!)

And The Most Memorable Halloween Movie Goes To…

Teen Witch!!

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My friends Whitney and Emma (a.k.a. cat and mouse) had the great idea to host a Halloween movie night at Whitney’s store Girl on the Wing.  A few friends gathered to watch Teen Witch (a must see for all) and enjoyed a delicious array of treats and drink.  The girls even had a little vintage inspired popcorn machine!  This is truly one of the reasons why I am loving that we moved to Hamilton. We have met so many great people and events like these make me feel like part of a community.  I feel like I am living in a small quaint town surrounded by great creative minds.

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The girls set the screen up with a projector and had chairs for everyone.  One of the highlights was when we had an “intermission” and the classic “let’s all go to the lobby” video played.  It was so charming!!  Here are a few flicks from the evening – I can’t wait to do it again!

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Soup’s On!

So… it is cold out.  The weather is all over the place – hot, hot, hot like summer last week – then blistery cold winter temperatures this week.  Where did fall go?  I am all too happy to snuggle up on the sofa, throw a blanket over me and marathon my latest obsession on Netflix.  Add a cup of soup in there for good measure and I have my ideal evening.  Lee and I have been discussing getting some new soup bowls – thought I’d check out Etsy (as usual).  Below are 10 cool soup related things (made in / sourced from Canada) I came across… dreaming of cheddar biscuits and creamy soups all day long 😉 Stay warm friends!

Ben and Lily – Scandinavian Design Soup Bowls- Toronto, ON

The warm brown accented with the pop of turquoise is right up my ally!  Think of all the yummy french onion soups you can prepare over the winter with these bad boys!
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KalikaBowlbyPottery – Peach & White Bowls – Nelson, BC

Simply elegant and modern.  I can see these hosting a variety of broth based soups from kale and legume to a classic minestrone.

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Whistle and Work – shy soup bowl – Toronto, ON

Charming little bowl I would personally use while watching vintage black and white movies. It has a very audrey Hepburn feel.  I wonder what her favourite soup was?

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HandmadesRovena – Nerd Get Well Soon Chicken Noodle Card – Toronto, ON

This makes me feel like I should have paid more attention in science class.  Regardless of my lack of molecular knowledge I think this card is pretty cute!

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DazzlingDezignz4U – Hand Stamped Soup Spoon – Windsor, ON

I want a spoon with the types of soup I eat stamped into it. For example: butternut squash.  I would eat chicken noodle soup with the butternut squash spoon. Just because I can.

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Parceline – Lace Pattern Porcelain Bowl – Montreal, QC

Very pretty, granny chic bowls – perfect for a girls afternoon filled with stitching and most importantly bitching.

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oharahale – Soup Cat Poster – Montreal, QC

One of my favourite posters I have come across as of late.  Cats… soup…Warhol inspired? YES on all fronts.  Meow.

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 Lots Of Wood – Hand Carved Spoons – Kawartha Lakes, ON

How beautiful are these?  This picture is particularly stunning.  I want to collect spoons now.

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AJmetissage – Small porcelain bowls – Montreal, QC

I like these for their subtle pop of colour.  This company makes a juicer that Is stunning – but I was looking for soup things – these fit the bill wonderfully.

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PaperChat – Seinfield Typography Poster – Toronto, ON

A must have for every college dorm room (and young at heart kitchens) everywhere.

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