Monday, October 17, 2016

Inside MacAusland's Woolen Mill - a century old family business making beautiful woolen blankets

MacAusland's woolen blanket

If you're lucky you only get a few rainy days during a holiday on Prince Edward Island, on one of these days my Dad and I headed west to visit MacAusland's Woolen Mill in Bloomfield, PEI located on the western end of the island.

MacAusland's is a family business that's been in operation for over a century. Impressive. It began as a sawmill in 1870; by 1902 it was producing yarn and in 1932 started producing its well-known, very beautiful woolen blankets.

I happen to have a bit of an obsession with blankets. I collect vintage ones picked up mostly at thrift shops. That's right. There are ways to deal with the ick factor that you might feel. Remodelista has a great post on how to do that right here.

So a trip to this family run business had to be done. In fact, I've been saying I want to go for years but I never managed to get there. I'm so glad I did. It was fun to visit the mill, see how the blankets are made and choose something special to bring home. Instant heirloom. Made in Canada. Love that.

If you happen to have some freshly sheared sheep wool you can bring it into the mill to be washed and turned into skeins of wool ready for your own projects or you can have the wool turned into a blanket. How cool is that?! 

MacAusland's Woolen Mill, inside the mill

MacAusland's Woolen Mill, inside the mill

MacAusland's Woolen Mill, inside the mill

The blanket I finally settled on (it was so hard to choose!) was woven by this lady right here, the latest MacAusland to carry on the family business. I love that I met the (lovely) person who made my blanket. It's heartwarming to know that local businesses like this are still thriving.

The good news is that you don't have to wait until you are on the island because they ship across Canada! So head over to their website and start browsing and then give them a call or email to order. Their old fashioned like that. 

P.S. In case you were wondering...this is not a sponsored post. I'm just a fan :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vintage hunting on Etsy

Two more weeks until outdoor antique market season officially kicks off around here. Woo hoo!

On Sunday April 24th you'll find me on the 401 headed west to Aberfoyle for my favorite outdoor market. I can already feel the anticipation building. You know that feeling when you are about to hit the market? Do you have it too?

If you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome! I'm just back from a blogging break. Feeling energized and ready to spend time here again. I've been busy with my freelance work (interior styling projects and writing for The Toronto Star both of which I love doing!) these past months but I've vowed to carve out more time for my blog. 

So back to the antiquing...I go year round. I have a few I regularly make a trip to visit. If you live in the Toronto area two good markets I visit all year are Freelton Market, on Hwy. 6 just south of the 401, and Southworks in Cambridge. For whatever reason I head west and I'm not as familiar with the markets east of the city. 

Etsy is also a great space to shop for vintage. So I thought I'd share some Canadian Etsy shops you might want to check out including a few finds I'm loving. By the way, you can also check out my Etsy finds here!

Granted this vintage Dansk flatware set is a little out of my budget at $1499 but they do have some beautiful vintage finds in a range of prices (especially mid-century/Scandinavian) and are located in Toronto.

Good Folk Vintage

 Another Canadian Etsy seller Good Folk Vintage is based in Vancouver. Love these brass cranes.


How about this pile of vintage frames? These would be great for some DIY projects! From Canadian Etsy shop Gazaboo in Mallorytown Landing between Kingston and Brockville, Ontario.

Tiny Beaches Shop

I have a bit of an addiction to lamps, especially the pretty vintage kind. Love this sunny yellow "citron" enamel lamp from Toronto Etsy shop Tiny Beaches Shop.

Do you have any favorite Etsy Vintage sellers you want to share? If you sell Vintage on Etsy and are local please make yourself known to me by leaving a comment below!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Giving Back Gift Guide

This is the time of year when I pull together gift guides and share holiday ideas but I thought I would start off the season by sharing a gift guide that gives back.

There are many ways we can give back and like it or not it seems we focus a little more on doing this during the holiday season.  Whether you prefer volunteering your time at a local food bank; making a donation to a charitable organization or purchasing a tangible gift from an organization that sells fair trade products; I've gathered together a list for you to explore. 

There are many beautiful and stylish fair trade gifts that you can buy that are sourced from artisans in emerging economies. I'll definitely be exploring these a little bit more.  

It's a different kind of online shopping. I hope you feel inspired to act, donate or purchase.

1/ Flying Dove Ornament via Ten Thousand Villages 2/ Geometric Patterned Notecards via Far and Wide Collective 3/ Kantha pillow via Ten Thousand Villages 4/White Round Placemats via Far and Wide Collective 5/ Turquoise Endito Three Strand Necklace via Far and Wide Collective 6/ Winter Wonderland gift set via Me to We

For more gift ideas visit sites such as:

Me to We
Far and Wide Collective
Ten Thousand Villages
World Vision


 Give a micro-loan and help empower someone to start a business and change their life. 

Give the gift of sport:

Kidsport Provides financial assistance to kids under 18 for registration and equipment through a confidential application process.

Right to Play Uses play to teach important life skills to children through sports and games.

Jumpstart Canadian Tire's charitable organization helps kids participate in sports by providing necessary funds to community groups and helps families cover the cost of equipment and registration.

Gifts that help children:

Hospital for Sick Children

Artsy Gifts:

Inner City Angels
Santa Claus Fund


Other community driven charities:


Habitat for Humanity

Gifts for Animal Lovers:

World Wildlife Fund
Ontario SPCA
Canadian Wildlife Federation

Finally, The Toronto Star published a list of ways you can donate your time to help this season. Read it here.

By the way...

So much has happened since I last posted on my little blog. I've been busy with design projects and a new gig I started last spring with The Toronto Star. I'm writing a weekly column for their new tablet product "Star Touch" as well as working on other features that appear across all platforms (print, tablet and web).  Have you seen the column? It's called "Try It or Buy It".  Every week I share a simple DIY project with step by step photos. Then I show readers where they can buy it - buy something similar - for those who aren't feeling very crafty but still want the look.

I've been missing this place and was feeling a bit odd about just reappearing out of the blue. Instagram has been my main spot to share. It's so easy, right?

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