Small Business Saturday - My Toronto Faves

Happy Saturday folks!  Can you believe it's less than a month until Christmas?  I have yet to start my Christmas shopping (typical, I'm always last minute) but this season I'm doing things a little differently.  My goal is to shop local for all my gifts.  This will be a challenge for the little ones on my list so if you know any Canadian made toy stores, do share!

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In honour of Small Business Saturday, I'm sharing with you some of my favourite local spots for shopping in Toronto! I don't know about you, but a handmade or locally made gift for Christmas means so much more to me than something bought at a big-box store.  The care and craftsmanship that goes into every detail of these products is amazing.  

You'll notice the ceramic bowls below.  These are made by Inspirations Studio, a Social Enterprise that I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year.  Inspirations Studio is a project of Sisteringa woman’s organization that offers practical and emotional support to women affected by homelessness, trauma and mental health issues.  They are having a Studio Sale from December 5-7, I suggest you check it out!

I hope you'll take the time to visit some of my (or your) local favourites this season.  Sources are below, happy shopping!

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Sources:

1. Sweater by Muttonhead

2. Bowls by Inspirations Studio

3. Pillow by Bookhou

4. Blanket by Cambie 

5. Candlesticks from Green Light District

BRIKA Pop-up Shop at Yorkdale Shopping Centre!

If you still have a few people to cross off your Christmas list, I suggest you visit the new Brika pop-up shop at Yorkdale Mall.  I mean, YOU MUST GO.  Believe me when I tell you it's worth the visit.  I'm talking sensory overload.  Every where you look, you'll be inspired by beautiful decor, handcrafted items and delicious treats that are almost too pretty to eat.

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I was so excited to be invited to this event because this year, I'm making a conscious effort to buy local and/or handmade and it was great to see a lot of local talent being represented at the store.  

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Cookies from Moo Milk Bar?  Yes please.  And we even received a sweet little wreath demo from DIY expert, Natalie Ho of My Little Secrets

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I'm a sucker for pretty paper goods and this spot did not disappoint.   I also gravitated towards some handprinted napkins from Pehr and coasters from Xenia Taler.

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I honestly wish I had taken more photos but I was too busy being 'present'.  And you honestly can't help it when there's so many beautiful things to see and feel.  If you're in the Yorkdale area, make sure you pay a visit. You won't regret it!

One Room Challenge – The Reveal!

Today is the day - the reveal day that over 150+ bloggers have been working towards.  To be honest, it was a race against time trying to get my shots done right before the sunset but I did it and I'm so thrilled with my finished studio space!

No matter how small a room, it takes time and patience.  For a new entrepreneur like myself, I've learned that time is limited and I have to make every hour count.  This challenge has helped me become more decisive, organized and it also increased my alcohol tolerance.  Because let’s face it, you need wine.  Or in my case, cider.  Sweet, sweet cider.

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If you’re new here, welcome to Love On Sunday!  I am an interior stylist and graphic designer living in the Greater Toronto Area. I recently took the plunge and quit my full-time job to follow my dreams. I help businesses re-brand, re-design and more.  I also work with families and couples who require assistance with styling their home. 

So back to the space – I wanted a place that was calming, inspiring and slightly minimal.  Do you remember the before’s?

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Not calming at all.  I hated working in there. I loved the desk but it wasn't right for the space.  

Also, a little update on the chair situation.  Remember the cane back antique chair I was refinishing? (above)  Yeah, didn’t happen.  It turns out, you should always watch a youtube video BEFORE trying to strip the back of a cane chair.  What a disaster.  It’s blotchy and needs a lot more finessing.  So, it’s still in my garage but it will be done very soon.  Super bummed about that but lesson learned.  On a happier note, I scored a lounge chair on Kijiji for $20!  Not even hating on the cushions but I’m thinking it might need to be replaced in the near future.  What do you think?

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I wanted to keep the majority of the walls blank because this is where I'll be shooting things for my blog and portfolio.  It was important for me to have a blank canvas that would easily turn into a backdrop for a shoot. The wall-to-wall desk space provides ample space for working and styling.  I've reserved the area on the far right corner for shooting smaller pieces. 

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The hanging planter was a last minute addition.  I've been eyeing that plant for awhile now.  Instead of hanging it from the ceiling, I decided to use an extra IKEA shelf bracket.  The wall above my computer usually changes based on what I'm working on so it's rare that it will stay this clean and minimal.  You'll notice in the first photo above, I've already started placing some inspiration pieces.

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Thanks to all the folks who’ve been following my progress here and on Instagram.  Your positive and encouraging comments definitely helped me push through.  My studio makeover had a slow start but I hustled and managed to sprint to the finish line.  A big thanks to Linda from Calling it Home for creating this challenge and also much love to my parents and hubs for helping me with this space.  

Now, if you want to be thoroughly inspired to makeover a room, you can check out the other 150+ bloggers here and the 20 designers here.

I hope you'll check back soon as I'll be updating my home for the holidays and posting some free printables too!

xo, Amy

One Room Challenge – Week 5

It's crunch time, people.  Week 5 of the One Room Challenge has left me with feelings of anxiety and excitement.  Progress has been slow but steady and I honestly cannot wait to see my studio space dreams come to fruition!  It's been a blast following the designers, as well as other guest participants (like myself!) who've decided to join in on this 6-week transformation!

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Even though I've made some excellent progress, I might have bit off more than I can chew.  I'm pretty consistent that way, I always seem to think things are easier then they are (just ask the hubs).  Long story short, I made a last minute decision to change the upholstery on my antique chair on top of stripping the paint.  Yikes.  What was I thinking???

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But honestly, the fabric wasn't in great condition.  The photo above hides the rips and tears pretty well, but it was in rough shape. The natural wood looks so much better than the yellowish paint it originally had.  And I'm actually loving the wabi-sabi look it has now, it looks a little more aged and weathered.  With only a week left and a busy weekend of social commitments, I'm nervous this baby will not be complete by the reveal.  Plus, I think my lungs need a break from the potentially toxic fumes that were released while stripping paint.  Did I mention I'm also a hypochondriac? ;)

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Moving on…we have a light pendant, a rug, a side table and a desk lamp.  What's left to do?  Finish the chair situation and find a plant or PLANTS.  Plants make me happy, especially when I can keep them alive.

If you want to view my previous posts for the challenge, you can check them out here:

WEEK 4  |  WEEK 3  |  WEEK 2  | WEEK 1

Don't forget to visit Calling it Home to see the other projects and check back next week for the FULL REVEAL of my space!

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 4

Hey there!  I can't believe it's already Week 4 of this challenge.  To be honest, I'm SUPER behind and a little worried that I won't be able to get this done for the reveal.  I've had minimal progress because a lot of this happened:

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WORK.  I'm currently swamped with a few big design projects that are taking up most of my time.  I can't complain about being busy though - I feel blessed since I'm still fairly new to the full-time entrepreneur world.  Th photo above is a moodboard I'm working on a for a client.  

You'll notice the desk looks rather yellow? I've picked up a stain at Home Depot which I will test out in the next few days.  I'm thinking it might need a teeny-tiny bit of stain to give it more of an ashy colour.  What do you think?

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How about this chair?  I'm excited I'll finally have a spot for it!.  Again, it looks yellow so I'm going to be stripping it down to the natural wood.  Wish me luck!  As you can see, I'm already getting a lot of use out of my new and improved desk.  It's so much nicer to have a huge surface where I can lay things out. And that rug? It's going bye-bye.  I purchased it with an IKEA gift card but I'm not really loving the colour.  What my heart really wants is a Beni Ourain rug or a vintage kilim rug to help warm up the space and make it feel cozy.  I'm loving these 2 options from West Elm:

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Leaning towards the Souk because it's fair trade :)  Also, as beautiful as they are, I feel like it's everywhere which might make me sick of it after awhile.  Oh, decisions.

So things left to do:

  • patch holes
  • paint?
  • strip chair
  • hang art
  • accessorize
  • decide on a rug!!!
  • photograph

Please keep your fingers crossed that a miracle happens and I get this room done.  EEK!

You can check out the other guest participants of the ORC here as well as the 20 ORC designers here.  Don't forget to check back next week for more updates!

One Room Challenge – Week 3

Hey there!  It's Week 3 of the One Room Challenge and I'm happy to share some progress on my studio makeover.  If you'd like a little more background or want to check out my before's you can catch up with Week 1 here and Week 2 here.

Since last weeks update, there have been a few changes.  You may recall this beautiful inspiration photo?

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Sadly, it's not going to happen.  My plan was to DIY a miniature version of a daybed but after taking a long, hard look at the space and measuring the room for the 20th time, it's just not going to fit. My plan was to place it across the desk and even tried it in the corner but it would be way too bulky especially since my desk is already massive.  So, I'm thinking something on a smaller scale.  I'd love a sitting area where I can read, recharge and be inspired. I love the photo below, the mixture of traditional furniture and modern scandinavian elements makes the space feel modern but not too stark or minimal.  This photo has inspired me to use a chair I already have which I think would work well in the space (bonus!).

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The good news is, we managed to get my MASSIVE desk into the room.  And that was a fun adventure to say the least.  Tried it up the stairs; didn't fit.  Tried it through the room's window; didn't fit.  Thankfully, we managed to fit the desktop through our bedroom window!  Let me tell you, my heart was beating so fast when my Dad offered to stand ON TOP of our garage roof to get that sucker in.  Apparently standing on your roof is no big deal (insert screwface).  I honestly said, "let's just cut the piece in half and call it day"  But before I could even utter that entire sentence my Dad was already on the roof. He was determined!  

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And there it is folks, the desktop is in! I'm loving it so far and so thankful for all the help from my Dad (who built it) and also my Mom and Uncle for helping deliver and maneuver this baby around the house.  But here's my dilemma:  do I stain the wood?  I'm kind of loving the natural wood but it looks a little too yellow, don't you think?  (also, the lighting is not great in this photo so it does look extra yellow). I would love your thoughts and/or suggestions on this because I am completely torn.

I'd say that's pretty good progress for Week 3 but there's still tons to do:

  • lighting situation (pendant!)
  • reading nook (which chair? thinking I will use something I already have)
  • fill holes and touch up paint
  • select and hang artwork
  • accessorize
  • style
  • photograph

I feel like I'm missing a few things so I will re-evaluate my to-do list a bit later.  I must say, It's been a fun experience so far and what makes it even better is to be able to follow along with other bloggers who are participating in this challenge as well.  You can catch 20 awesome designers here as well as other guest participants like myself here.  Until next week!

Sources:

photo 1 | photo 2

One Room Challenge – Week 2

I've never been THIS excited on a Thursday.  First off (and totally unrelated to the ORC), our Toronto Blue Jays advance to the ALCS!!!  Our city is buzzing right now since the Jays haven't made it to the playoffs in 22 years. It's a great time to be a Jay's fan, I'm still on a high from last night! Second, it's Week 2 of the One Room Challenge. Let's do this!

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Big thanks for all the comments and encouragement on my Week 1 post.  If you're new to Love On Sunday, this is my first time joining the challenge as a guest participant and I'm excited but a little nervous.  For this challenge, I'll be transforming my studio space in six short weeks! This week, I've pulled together a little concept board with some key elements for my studio makeover.  Loving the image above for its simplicity.  Doesn't it feel like a calming space to work in? I will be incorporating tons of white with hints of black and white and maybe pink.  I love natural materials so I'm thinking some raw, unfinished wood will be incorporated somewhere.  For the lighting situation, I still haven't figured out whether I want a natural material or an industrial fixture.  Thoughts?

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And of course, I can't forget the most important piece for the room; my desk. My plan is to have my desk span the width of an entire wall.  Since I work with 2 screens and a drawing tablet, ample desk space will help tremendously.  It will also offer an area for sketching/painting as well as space for the printer and other office accessories.  Here you see my Dad has clamped the pieces together in order to prevent the wood from warping.  Thankfully, the weather has been good to us so we were able to lay this out in my parents' backyard. 

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Stay tuned, next week I hope to have the desk all set up and hopefully moving on to the seating area.  I'll also be sharing my progress on Instagram so follow along if you're interested!  

Don't forget to check out the other guest participants of the ORC here, who will be posting their progress every Thursday (like me)  as well as 20 talented designers whom you can find here, that will be posting every Wednesday.  A ton of inspiration!  I'm off to see what the others are working on.  Happy decorating and GO JAYS, GO! 

 

sources:

top image via Norfolk

concept board sources: IKEA storage cabinet / natural wood tabletop / room with daybed / lighting / eucalyptus wall hanging / large workspace

Fall Fashion - My Wishlist

I used to love shopping.  When I was in my mid-20's, I actually went into debt because I was an impulse shopper and a fast fashion addict.  Finding cute clothes for a bargain was thrilling; with no regard as to how my purchases affected my bank account, other people and the environment. I commended myself for saving money with a $5 t-shirt that I discarded after a month.

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Back in June, I watched a film called True Cost.  A documentary on the fashion industry and how it affects people and the planet.  This was a huge eye-opener for me.  Since then, I can count on one hand how many clothing purchases I've made.  Every time I feel the urge to buy something, I ask myself, "do you really need this?".  I try to make a conscious effort to find out where the item is made and how it's made. Now more than ever, I'm trying to buy local, handmade, second-hand, or fair trade products.  This is definitely a lifestyle change for me and to be honest, I'm wondering if it's even feasible to implement for all my purchases.  I'm taking small steps but at least they are steps in the right direction; closer to the life I want to live and the person I hope to be.  I want to buy with a purpose, opt for items that are better quality and don't harm people or the environment.  After all, in the grand scheme of things, we are all connected somehow and I can't bear the thought of wearing something that I know someone else suffered for – no matter how cheap it is.

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via Sarah Lazarovic

 

So I've scoured the web and gathered some of the top items on my wish list.  As you know, buying local, handmade or fair trade can be a lot more expensive but when you buy less, you can save for the items that do good and make you feel good too.

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What's on your Fall wishlist?  Better yet, do you have any favourite sources for the conscious shopper?  I'd love to know!

Sources:

tote bag / collar necklace / shawl / leather crossbody / leather Tom's

The One Room Challenge

I love a good challenge.  Especially one that helps you take action on something you've been putting on the back burner for awhile.  For the very first time, I'll be participating in this seasons One Room Challenge!

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Why am I doing this?  Simple.  Since starting my own business back in June, my office has been a weekly rotation of coffee shops and pretty much anywhere in the area that provides free wi-fi.  For a creative gal like me, I thrive in an environment that keeps me inspired and calm plus a beautiful atmosphere is like icing on the cake.  So I'm in it to win it, folks.  And my prize is going to be a beautiful home studio that continues to inspire and encourage my thriving business.

I'm embarrassed to show these photos, but here goes the 'before':

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Yes, there are birds in my office.  The previous owner used this room as a nursery – I'm keepin' it SO real right now but these photos must be shared.  I really wanted you to get an idea of what the space was like and also witness how much deskspace I need.  The desk is actually missing my laptop too! :)

Now for the pretty.  Here's a bit of my inspiration for my home studio:

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Lots of white and wood tones, plants and a long workspace.  I'm excited!  

And now for the best part: There's a ton of inspiration for you to feast your eyes on.  20 handpicked designers will be posting about their makeovers every Wednesday and you can check them out here.  In addition, other guest participants (like myself) will be taking part and will be posting every Thursday.  You can check out the guest participants here.  All of this makeover/challenge goodness was created by Linda over at Calling it Home.  What an awesome idea!

So, make sure to carve out some time every Wednesday and Thursday to follow along.  I hope you'll help cheer me on and other talented peeps as we transform our spaces!  Don't forget to check back on Thursday, I'll be sharing my concept board :)

 

sources:

1. (top image) via Jonas Berg Photography

2. via Daniella Witte

3. via Norm Architects

4.  via Brunner Studio

5.  via Brunner Studio

Basement Makeover: Inspiration

Oh, basements.  The place where things go to die and collect dust.  To be honest, I rarely spend time in my basement because 1) the lack of natural sunlight 2) it's cluttered as hell and 3) it's just not cozy.  My basement is filled with extra furniture, baskets of dirty laundry and too many mislabeled boxes filled with anything from next season's footwear to old halloween costumes. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to de-clutter and figure out a plan to transform my boring basement into a cozy and welcoming retreat.  I've always wanted to do dark walls and although pretty daring for someone who loves white, I decided to go with one colour for the entire basement.  I knew it had to be something DARK.  Here were some of my inspiration photos:

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I wanted something pretty close to black (!).  My husband thought I was crazy (?).  But a mixture of dark walls with white, natural wood and vintage elements was calling my name.  Have you painted your basement?  And would you ever go dark?

Sources: fastighetsbyran.se / Domino / Style By Emily Henderson / Newburgh Row House by Door Sixteen / fastighetsbyran.se

 

 

 

I Quit My Job.

interior styling toronto That's right, I did it.  I am finally a full-time entrepreneur.  I say "finally" because it's something I've been thinking about for quite some time now.  As someone who's worked a steady job since I was 16, venturing off into a world of uncertainty was a scary thought for me.  The thought of not having a pay check every 2 weeks was terrifying to say the least especially now that we've moved from a condo into a new house (stay tuned for that post).

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I had a good job, working as a full-time graphic designer for a large Canadian brand but something kept tugging at me.  It started as a whisper which I ignored, and then it just got louder as each day passed.  Soon I felt like someone was throwing a brick at me screaming, "you're on the wrong path, stupid".  It would consume my thoughts morning and night.  I've always been very self-aware and observant of the things that happen in my life and it just so happened that opportunities would present themselves every time I was closer to making my decision.  Opportunities that I've always wanted and just couldn't pass up.  Oprah says, "there's no such thing as luck.  There's only preparation meeting the moment of opportunity".  I believe this 100%.  I wasn't ready a year ago but I worked hard, sacrificed and hustled…and now I'm exactly where I need to be.  Now is my moment of opportunity.

loveonsunday working as a freelance designer

After working over a decade on and off with freelance clients of my own, I knew I could sustain a somewhat steady income and be much happier because I would be able to create the life I've always wanted.  Working for a growing company can be rewarding but also challenging at the same time.  On the upside, you get to be part of something amazing that touches the lives of thousands.  On the downside, you may have to give up a lot of your own free time in order to meet the needs of the business.  I soon felt that I was giving up too much of my life, especially for something that I couldn't see myself doing for the long haul.  It just wasn't right for me anymore.  My heart and gut was telling me it's time to go.  The life I wanted included being my own type of creative person and still being able to enjoy my home, family and friends.

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So here I am, writing on my couch on a Tuesday morning.  I'm a little under the weather, surrounded by a mound of kleenex and blankets but I wouldn't have it any other way.  There's something liberating, scary and exciting about creating something that is truly your own.  Only I can determine how much money I make and whether I get a raise at the end of the year.  I'm ecstatic and thankful that I have the opportunity to take this risk during this time in my life.  It's going to be a long and hard road ahead but I accept the challenge.  I'm now comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It also helps that I have the most supportive hubby in the world.  I wouldn't have been able to leave a steady full-time job if it weren't for his belief and trust in me and of course his steady income.  He's always been my #1 supporter which makes things a lot less scary and a lot more exciting :)

interior styling toronto

So things are going to look a little different around here.  I'm in the process of consolidating my portfolio and blog so some changes will have to be made to Love On Sunday.  Right now, my business will be focusing on interior styling and graphic design and I definitely want my site to reflect that.  I hope you'll stick around for what's to come!

loveonsunday freelance designer

Bookcase Makeover On A Budget

bookcase makeover Do you ever buy a piece of furniture for your home, stare at it every day and then wonder, "why did I do that?".  Well, I did this for months after I brought this beat up bookcase into my home.  What I loved about it was: the size (it fits perfectly in my small hallway), the shelves which provide additional storage and the clean lines of the piece.  But no matter how I styled it, it just wasn't working for me:

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Not sure why it took me so long to paint it.  I guess I couldn't settle on a colour I could live with...so very Libra of me.  It takes me forever to make a decision!

After a quick trip to Home Depot I realized the only colours I wished to use were in the wall paint section. I took the leap and bought 2 samples of Behr Marquee in Frosted Silver.  The best part: total cost was $8! (sample cans!)

The result was incredible. Not only did it cover the bookcase evenly, the paint was flawless after it settled with barely any prep. And I have to add, this is not a sponsored post, I am simply a fan of the product because it worked so well!

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The bookcase has a laminate top and brown legs which we left unpainted.  I love how the lighter colour takes up less visual space and complements the items so nicely.

Have you worked on any Spring project or DIY's lately?