Archive for the 'found' Category


Did you have a great weekend? I did. I love coming home after a trip, settling back in and feeling freshly inspired. This week should be action packed here at make something. I’m continuing my Paris posts, introducing you to some awesome designers (for the upcoming Garden Party Trunk Show) and announcing a fun giveaway (later today)!

I’ve been collecting snapshots of Space Invader‘s mosaic pixel installations for many years now. (from New York and my first trip to Paris many years ago) He’s one of my favourite street artists and I knew I’d be able to add more to my collection while in Paris, since that is where he’s from. I was pretty thrilled that I spotted eleven ‘invasions’ during our trip but I just found out that in Paris alone, there are over 763 invasions. Whoa. That means, I only collected 1.45% of them. That’s not a very high score. I hope to do better on my next trip.

Awesome video of an Invader installation here and an interview here. I have a really big weakness for mysterious street artists.


My wishing powers have come through in spades once again! I’ve really been wanting some vintage embroidery hoops to hang on my wall at home. I was also kicking myself for not picking up the hoops Anabela had at the trunk show, but Celine was quicker than me.

Every once in a while someone will stop by the workroom and give me sewing related things – patterns, fabric, tools that they no longer want. Yesterday a lady dropped off a huge bundle of embroidery hoops, including some awesome metal ones! Happy day. I love it when the universe delivers to my door!


I never know what little treasure I’m going to find on my walk to work. Looks like Martha’s been up to some more happy-making art. This appeared the other day on Brock, on the same pole as her knitted cozy. Is anyone else inspired to make a little public art?


This made me stop while riding my bike down Queen Street on Monday. I guess someone was really missing someone else in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Sweet.


B & J Fabrics

Okay, this is not my usual ‘found by the side of the road‘ post. This is about discovering something in your possession that you forgot you owned. Like finding a $20 bill in an old purse you haven’t used for a few months, only I think this is much better. When talking to Debbie the other day about her metallic tote bag, I suddenly had a flash that I had bought myself some gorgeous metallic linen when I went to New York over Labour Day. When I went home, I scavenged in my spare closet and pulled out a beloved B & J Fabric store bag. Inside it, I found a yard of silvery linen fabric and also a couple yards of the finest wale corduroy in purplish grey. I can’t tell you how delighted and inspired I was.

One of the things I miss most about living in New York (besides French bistro fare, sample sales, Chelsea art galleries and the Strand) is aimlessly wandering the Garment district, slowly scanning shelves piled high with bolts of delicious fabric. I would often spend hours dreaming up creations and carefully choosing which fabrics would come home with me. B & J Fabrics is one of my favourites. This is where I first discovered Liberty of London fabrics. Just to be near those bolts of fabulous prints made me giddy.

Usually I find that the fabric tells me what it wants to be. The soft corduroy demands to be a dress and the linen a little sparkly top. As I start having some down-time over the holidays, I’ll be ready with my Gingher scissors to cut into these two fabrics and start creating.

p.s. There was a piece on the CBC radio show, ‘Spark’, yesterday about the resurgence of sewing. You can hear my funny voice for a few seconds here. Just fast forward to 12:30 for the part on sewing. The piece starts and finishes with cute audio clips from the 1948 film by Simplicity, “Pattern for Smartness“. It is extremely entertaining.

Greyish Purplish Corduroy

Metallic Linen


Making a Terrarium

I’m crazy for moss. I don’t know why, but I love it. If I could, I would live in a house carpeted in moss. More than likely this obsession stems from my fascination with fairies. I never said, but fairies are my favourite mythical creature. Everybody knows how much fairies love moss, right?

Over the years, I’ve tried to bring more moss into my life. The trouble is that moss requires very specific growing conditions and neither my backyard nor my house resembles a shady, moist forest. I’ve tried decorative bowls filled with moss, moss lining my planters and moss edging for the patio. Unfortunately, I’ve killed lots of moss in the process.

This is why I’m so excited about my new terrarium. This enclosed glass mini eco-system should be perfect for keeping moss alive… theoretically.

On Monday, I started gathering together all the essentials for this project. Almost everything I used for the terrarium were found materials, the only thing I purchased was some activated carbon from an aquarium shop. The activated carbon or charcoal is used to filter the water in the terrarium and keep things clean. I used this vintage cracker jar that I had found a few months ago. On my walk with Maisy, I scooped up a small section of moss from the woods, complete with a cute mushroom. My local lumberyard let me grab a handful of gravel and sand for free! When I got home, I divided a small fern we have growing in our front yard.

Into my cleaned out glass jar, I put a layer of gravel with a bit of sand. The gravel provides drainage for the water. On top of that I put a layer of activated carbon. Then a layer of dried moss or sphagnum moss. I have a good collection of dried out/dead moss already. This keeps the soil from getting down into water below. My section of live moss had a nice layer of soil attached to it, so i just cut it to size and evened out the bottom. Once the moss was in the jar, I made a little hole to plant my mini fern. I tried to tamp down the moss and all the layers below to compact it all together. I even put in the acorn cap that was sitting on the moss when I harvested it. A little bit of water was added to get the roots wet and then I put the lid on.

The idea with a closed terrarium is that it is it’s own eco-system. The plants produce oxygen and the water condensates and runs down the glass and waters the plants. If it gets too misty, you can open the lid and let it dry out a bit. After a few weeks, apparently things get sorted out and it just takes cares of itself.

I’m mentally planning more terrariums, but I’ll see how this one progresses. It’s pretty amazing though. It’s like a little green mossy world on my bedside table.

These terrariums by Paula Hayes are a whole other level. {via unruly things}

Terrarium Layers


Mr. Frog, originally uploaded by the workroom.

The elusive frog in our pond finally let me get close enough to take his photo. Meet Mr. Frog!

I’m just so proud that our tiny plastic pond in the ground has become home to such a cute creature.

Monday = My day off, so I’m planning on making some things. (starting with french toast with pear jam for breakfast & french onion soup for dinner – oh, i didn’t even realize i was feeling so french today!)


Vintage Wrapping Paper, originally uploaded by the workroom.

Every so often, when the moons align and Jupiter is in just the right house, a special portal opens up and delivers the mother load of found treasure. When you find this rare portal, you can often return on multiple occasions to find the treasure replenished.

Please note the bounty I have rescued over the course of a week from the exact same location…

1. A large vintage glass cracker jar
2. Two small glass milk bottles
3. Two green mugs made in Japan
4. Five etched floral drinking glasses
5. Yellow round vintage cookie tin
6. Four rolls of vintage holiday wrapping paper
7. Vintage desk lamp
8. Rectangular embossed glass measuring cup

There might be more. While I was at the shop today, they got a dumpster bin and filled it to the brim. When I walked by tonight, I refrained from jumping in, due to there being witnesses. (who also happen to be my neighbours) This is where one of those invisibility cloaks come in might handy. If only I could find one of those.

Milk bottles, cracker jar and lamp

Vintage Tin


Bench for the garden, originally uploaded by the workroom.

Have you ever done something crazy for love? I have. Too many times to count. Most often it involved something I had found at the side of the road. I guess I am what some people refer to as a ‘dumpster diver’ or my new favourite, ‘urban forager’. I love to find stuff at the side of the road and bring it home. My house and now the shop are filled with these found treasures. How can people throw this amazing stuff away? But, thank goodness they do!

What is even better than finding some random thing, is finding exactly the thing you had been hoping for. I have had this experience many times. Some people call this manifestation or the power of ‘The Secret’. One of my former roommates was an astrologist and she used to say that I have a very close connection to my spiritual guide. Thus, the things I asked the universe for were more often delivered than the average Jill. All I know is that it has happened over and over again.

The universe delivered to me again yesterday. I had been thinking very hard about a bench for the back garden at the workroom. I knew exactly the style I was hoping for, just a simple homemade-looking bench. At the corner of Brock & Chesley, I found my bench. Not only is it the exact construction I was hoping for, but it is painted in my favourite colour, grey.

Over the years, I have made a few rules with myself about finding stuff and what I’m allowed to bring home with me. As a general rule, I need to be able to carry the item by myself or be able to throw it into the trunk of a cab. This bench is six feet long, so cab was out of the question. I took a deep breath and picked up the bench. It wasn’t THAT heavy. Mind you, I did also have a dog (Maisy) on a leash and two tote bags. It’s quite a hike from Chesley Avenue down to Queen Street, along Brock. It’s 1.5 km according to Google Maps. I definitely felt like a crazy lady and today I feel sore all over. But really, there was no way I could leave that bench behind. We were meant to be together.

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