Monday, 25 August 2014

CRAFToronto: Value Village

Do you love Value Village as much as I do? I couldn't help but make it the first store visit for my new series CRAFToronto where I'll be sharing what I've learned about art, craft, and party shopping in Toronto. 

One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about Value Village is that you never know what you're going to find. You literally can't count on anything for sure, even things you've seen there every other visit. Not only does the selection change day by day, but I've found that the variety in different locations can vary quite a bit as well. For this post, I visited the Value Village near Bloor and Lansdowne which I've been told is one of the best stores in the city. After checking it out a couple times, I agree that the turnover there is quick, but the location near Victoria Park and Finch has a better glassware department (which is where I always dart to). Get to know the different locations in your area - likely each one will have better or worse departments. 

Keeping that all in mind, if you're looking for vases, glasses, jars, platters, dishes, or similar for your next party I would definitely recommend checking out Value Village before heading to a department store - you might just get lucky! Chances are you won't find 12 matching glasses that you love, but if you are having a smaller party, want to mix and match, or are looking for individual items then your chances are good. Aren't the gold dipped glasses above gorgeous? I'm already regretting not buying them.

You can almost always find glass mason jars at Value Village. I like looking at the jars here because if you want to mix and match for a more interesting look, you aren't forced into buying a huge group of identical jars like at department stores. You can also find unusual sizes and some gorgeous vintage jars as well. If you do want a huge group of identical jars, don't expect that at Value Village - go to a department/hardware/grocery store and buy a tray there (the price per jar will likely be better too).

Another one of the fun sections in Value Village is the miscellaneous housewares wall. It can be overwhelming at first, but if you have a bit of time of your hands you're almost guaranteed to find a treasure. Because the items are grouped in plastic bags, you might end up buying something you don't want to get the thing you do - I found a box of used tea lights grouped with a pricey scented candle I'd seen in store a few months back, all for $1.99. You can sometimes find craft supplies too - like the candle wax pictured above, fake flowers, candles, party supplies, paper supplies, knick knacks, sewing notions … you never really know.

Value Village also has a section of table linens, which (like everything else) can be hit or miss. Before buying anything, check carefully for stains or tears. If you're looking for vintage fabric, you can also look in the bed linens section for sheets with unique designs. Keep in mind that most fabric items have that uniquely Value Village perfumey smell, so if that isn't something you want to deal with then stay away from the fabric items. (I've almost always been able to get the smell to go away after a few washes though.)

Some Value Villages even have a small craft section. In my experience it's usually made up of yarn, outdated sewing patterns, and knitting needles. Once I did get really lucky and score a linocut carving tool  for just a few bucks though, so I always check it out just in case.

I hope this first CRAFToronto post has been helpful! If you have any questions or comments about it, I'd love for you to comment below! And what have been your best art, craft, and party finds at Value Village? 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Introducing a new blog series

It's probably pretty obvious that I have a huge collection of craft and party supplies. It didn't happen all at once; the growth has sped up since I started this blog and contributing to others. Since shopping for art, craft, and party supplies is now a part of my job description, I've been learning lots about where it's best to buy certain things. More and more I get asked by friends where the best place to buy craft supplies are, so I thought it would be a lot of fun to start a local series that I'm calling CRAFToronto.

CRAFToronto will focus on art, craft, and party supply stores all in the Toronto area and share helpful tips and tricks that I've learned. Some of the shops I'll write about will be independently owned while others will have lots of locations nationwide. Of course, in-store stock and product availability is changing constantly so while this series may not remain 100% accurate forever, as the months and years pass I think it will be a good starting point.

Do you live in Toronto and have any craft supplies you'd like tips on? Or maybe you have a favourite store to recommend? Comment below - I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Back to School Wrapping Paper

I hate to be the one to bring it up, but back-to-school season is drawing nearer! I used to love shopping for school supplies (I'll admit it - I'm still hooked even though I've been out of school for ages!) so this little DIY wrapping paper project is a fun way to dress up your back-to-school necessities. See the full tutorial over on Oh Happy Day!

Back to School Wrapping Paper

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Favour Cup Paper Flowers

You may have noticed that one of my favourite things to do is repurpose supplies in unexpected ways. For these fun paper flowers I decorated a bunch of favour cups - the same ones you put ketchup in for your french fries! See the full post over on Oh Happy Day.

Favour Cup Paper Flowers

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