New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tickled by Tiki

Friday afternoon my guy and I were over at Wicker World on McPhillips having a looky loo at deck umbrellas. I found myself particularly attracted to the kitschy Tiki umbrellas and lamps as I thought they would be tres, tres retro cool at poolside with the utterly funk-a-licious volcano/hula girl bowl and Hawaiian glasses we have grouped together in store. And that's where it hit me, I know nothing more of that bowl than it was a must get vintage treasure. I loved it. It was just so... so... Kitsch with a capital K.

While searching the annals of the net, digging deep, I happened across an interesting piece of history I thought you might enjoy. It seems that Tiki culture was created by nothing more than one young man's desire to earn a living, his lack of funds and forced frugality and a series of happy accidental collisions with the right people. It is a story rooted in Americana and an example of rags to riches. This article is also where I learned the history of our kitschy bowl.

Take me there!

THE Don enjoying a tropical rum concoction at one of his Don the Beachcomber's at the International Marketplace in downtown Waikiki.

Its rather a long article, but do read the first segment, at least until you get to our bowl!

We all know Tiki. Some folks just don't get it and I know I can say with certainty that not everyone loves it - at least, not like I do. My love was sparked by the fab art of Shag. How could I not love the vintage/retro/mid-century/Tiki influences as portrayed by his talented hand? Take me there!

Tiki, like any other design style, has its place. It's a rather easy look to create and there aren't many, if any rules, to abide by. Thatch, bamboo, palms, Tiki statues, coconuts, Polynesian and Hawaiian influences from orchid embellished towels and coverups to bright barware with a high kitsch factor. Spin a little surf music or, preferably, Tiki music (yes, Tiki even inspired a new sound in that time), hang up a few Tiki bar signs, serve up some classic rum concoctions and you've recreated the Tiki craze of the fifties.

Of course, the final touch would be to serve up a massive cocktail with the volcano aflame in our unique hula beverage bowl!

I wouldn't be comfortable with it in my house, but it would work really, really well, in high Kitsch fashion, in my gazebo and around the pool! Which is exactly my new plan for that space. At my house, not my guy's. He doesn't get it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pretty Private Label!

Part of our ChiChi philosophy is the belief that it really is possible to find fabulous, unique products right here in Winnipeg without breaking the bank. And if we can’t find it here, we search the 50’s and the globe and we bring it here. That philosophy has led us to bring Tord Boontje’s designer d├ęcor line with Artecnica, Jill Sawatsky’s Tony Chestnut line of handbags & hand-felted necklaces, Teresa Bickles’ line of vintage silver-plated spoon jewelry, to name a few, and countless treasures from the past to you.

Well, we found a skin care professional who shares our philosophy, or rather, she found us! Lovely Sheila Tan, who hails from Manila, has created for us a gorgeous line of high quality & affordable ChiChi private label Certified Organic, Vegan-friendly skin care. These products are not tested on animals and are environmentally friendly. Sheila uses 100% natural, pure therapeutic grade essential oils and Certified Organic ingredients when creating products that are also free of chemicals and pesticides. And my favourite part: No. Mineral. Oil. I don’t care what they say, mineral oil is not meant for the body, and the word “mineral” doesn’t necessarily equate with “healthy”.

So why go Organic instead of buying yet another pretty bottle of something from Sephora? Because if used properly Organic can be around better for you. It's cleaner, safer, and easier on delicate skin. It also works wonders on the flesh of those who suffer from excema, etc. The scents are not chemically-based so they are easier on the asthmatic. And don't forget, everything you put on your skin soaks right through and on into your bloodstream. For a prettier bottle from a high-profile cosmetics or skin-care giant? No thank you. It's time for all of us to read labels and make educated choices.

Okay, that’s the pitch, now here’s the list of magical elixers!


ChiChi Beauty Secret Anti-Aging Serum
This luxurious advanced serum includes a phytosteroid complex of Wild Yam and Soya for firming and wrinkle reduction. Guarana, a plant from Brazil that contains xanthine alkaloids (theophylline, caffeine, theobromine) recognized to tone, stimulate blood vessels and eliminate excel fatty tissue. This blend also works well on the neck and under your eyes. You could spend between $80 and $300 for a blend from the department store, or between $400 & $1600 for Botox but why would you! You could just pick up this little miracle in a bottle for only $35!

Tootsie Treats
Now don’t neglect your feet! We have a very ChiChi little foot-care kit that includes Cracked Heel Butter, Relief Blend-Pumice Foot Scrub, and Soothing Spray and only $30 for all 3 products!

Start your mini-pedi with our Relief Blend Pumice Foot Scrub which, in addition to Pumice, is infused with Certified Organic Essential Oils- Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Rosemary - all 3 with healing and antiseptic properties. Commonly used in high-end spas, you can do this without leaving home! Excellent for tired feet and legs with blocked pores from shaving, not that any of us have to shave mind you…

Next you massage in our Cracked Heel Butter which is also infused with Certified Organic Essential Oils- Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Rosemary. It also contains Sweet Almond Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, and Grapeseed Oil – yummy! But please don't eat it, just slather it.

Finish up with our Soothing Spray with menthol, peppermint, tea tree oil & eucalyptus is great for the sinuses, muscular system, energizing and is a good nerve tonic for mental fatigue. This all-purpose spray is good for feet, legs, or problematic skin allergies and bites.

And Everything In Between!

Body Butter the likes of which you’ve never felt before. Really. Rich. Really rich. Ingredients include Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, etc. etc. And we have it in 2 scents – Sweet Pea and Mommy & Baby. 6 oz for only $20.

Exfoliating Body Scrub. Forget crushed almond this and rocky bits of that, our scrub uses Jojoba beads that closely resemble the sebum of the skin and are rich in Vitamin E to do the job. And it’s gentle enough to use on your face too! In 3 delightful fragrances including Cherry Blossom, Invigorating and Heaven. 8 oz for only $17.

Zen Hand Cream & Hand Soap Sink Set – Gorgeous cone-shaped 6 oz. bottles. So pretty sitting at the kitchen sink! The Hand Cream contains Sweet Almond Oil and the Soap contains… soap ingredients. Don’t try to pronounce them, just lather up, dry off and slather up. Then go about your business with soft, supple, prettily scented hands leading the way! $30 for the set.

If You Haven't Felt it Yet....

Then you need to get your hands on a Tony Chestnut Fashion bag. With bags and baubles exclusive to ChiChi, we would like to introduce you to Jill Sawatzky of Tony Chestnut. Fashion and jewelry designer, Jill, has an eye for detail and a keen sense of style. Wrapping your hand around one of her felt bags is like holding hands with a lover. It feels warm, comfortable and familiar. But, unlike a pair of flannel granny-jammies, you won't be sacrificing style for comfort. These chic bags are available in a range of colors, color combinations and styles. From the sophisticated clutch to the gorgeous handbag which converts easily to a shoulder bag, you can custom order a purse to suit your wardrobe or whims.

Black & White purse showing zingy red pocket inside and convertible strap atop.

Complementary to the Tony Chestnut line of purses, and by the same creator, we also have an eclectic selection of hand felted ball jewelry. Stunning with a solid color of contrast or on bare skin, these necklaces are created with repurposed vintage pieces, fabrics and organic handmade felt balls.

Jill is also a very talented fashion designer and wows us with her creations every time she walks in the door. She loves natural fibres and remaking vintage fabrics and textiles into modern, feminine pieces. You can visit Jill's website by clicking on the link off to the side. To custom order your very own Tony Chestnut bag, visit us at our House. We have been commissioned, by Jill, to take orders on her behalf.

Welcome Jill! We are proud to have you as part of the ChiChi experience!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Better Than a Box of Crayons

Ripe, juicy, lickable crayon colors abound this spring. We've been busy little bees acquiring wicker and old tubs and other garden elements to paint them up in succulent crayon colors. Delectable lemon. Luscious lime. Ambrosial pink. Heavenly turquois. Every morning we put our pretty wares on show in front of the store and the colors are virtual traffic stoppers. Or so said the woman who screeched to a halt one Sunday afternoon directly in front of the store!

The color continues once through the door of our House... the front room pops with classic and candy colors. From the Tord Boontje Until Dawn curtain in green and white, to the vintage yellow hobnail vase set on the rattan table top, the ChiChi house is alive with color. And that might be why it makes it our favourite place to be. We can't help but feel infused with energy and, well, just plain happy, when we walk in the door.

That a bland looking, but solid, piece of furniture becomes our canvas is but one of the things we love about what we do. Bringing old things back to life, and back into service as a result, really is a joyful process. Some pieces cry out to be treated with a specific color. Others require some thoughtful consideration on our part. Some are experimented with and sent back to the drawing board and others are resounding successes. Some "experimental" design ideas are waiting in the wings for the right piece to arrive. All in all, we're finding we're loving the dramatic change bright hues create in a piece - the deep lilac hall table currently residing in the ChiChi room is a gleaming example of how something neglected and unwanted can be modernized and adored again.

All the colors we are using today, and seeing on the design front, are influenced, in large part, by the color palletes used by savvy home decor experts in the 50's. One has to walk no further than our Kitsch-en to see it. It's there in the multi-hued vintage Pyrex and Fire King mixing bowls of all shapes and sizes. The retro chrome table with yellow top positvely pops with the vintage red chairs and stools it has been paired with. A plethora of pretty pink Melamine dishes sits atop the table (serving for six complete with serving pieces and accoutrements!). A pair of "Made in Japan" sweet pink bunny salt and pepper shakers stand alert and tall on hind feet, just waiting to be called into service. Turquoise kitchen ware, from snack dishes to a kitchen scale adorn the countertop. Bright hues of green and yellow and pink and blue are abundant in everything retro - from dish towels to table clothes, from kitchen utensils to vases.

I find, often, that we are not overly afraid to adorn ourselves with colors we love. Be it in clothing or jewelry and accessories, we like to look good. Why then, I sometimes wonder, are we reluctant to infuse color in our homes? We like our homes to look good. They are a source of pride for us, not just a neccessity. Painting is one surefire way to get a big dose of color yet many people I speak with are afraid to try it. Oddly enough, of those I know who worked up the nerve to try it none have ever regretted it.

If a big change in color on a wall is too much to contemplate then start small and work your way up to that big canvas. Brighten up your kitchen with a smattering of multi-hued vintage mixing bowls. Suspend a Boontje Midsummer Light over your dining table. Make your bedroom more dreamy with a bright bedcover or accent pillows. Infuse your living room with color by applying a One-Up Designs wall graphic like Blossoms or Koi. You may grow to love one of the lively colors so much you'll be envisioning it on an entire wall in no time!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


That is not an insect hovering nearby. I figured you simply must be tired of the same old "Vintage in the News" headline. Besides, the latest is more than just news. It's become buzz. And our focus today isn't really about the news.

You've heard us use the term "Up-cycled" time and again both in the store and on the blog. As much as we'd like to, we simply cannot take credit for creating the name. I first heard it in an article featured in the New York Times a good many months ago, well before we even opened our doors at our old space. It was originally coined by William McDonaugh and Michael Braugart in their book on ecologically intelligent design, Cradle to Cradle. It stuck with me and when we started giving new life to old things by renewing them with paint or a different purpose it seemed more than just a little appropriate to use it. Today the tag "Up-cycled" is commonly used in the design field and has been dubbed the buzzword du jour by both Metropolitan Home and Canadian House and Home magazines.

Both magazines, in the issues I recently acquired, focus on Green ideas, products and designs for us and our homes. The people from our generation, for the most part, do the bare minimum in order to feel eco-responsible. Some recycle. Some donate useful goods to charitable organizations which then re-sell them. Some compost and some even use energy efficient bulbs. But one has to look no further than their own back alley to see how wasteful a society we really are. The 'disposable' mentality seems to be far too alive and well and the message of reducing, reusing and recycling is apparently being lost on, or ignored by, far too many.

It is the people of the next generation(s) who have embraced the idea of doing all they can to save this speck in the cosmos we call home. They do all of the aforementioned 'Green' things and then some. Young couples who embark on custom building their homes are utilizing energy efficient solutions and eco friendly products. Individuals are choosing to spend a little more on products developed using sustainable and renewable resources. There are legitimate concerns being voiced when purchasing products from developing nations. Is the product fair trade, are the people involved in the creation of the product equitably compensated? Is anyone, or anything in the environment, being hurt in the development of the product? No longer are we content to simply have a wide range of products available to us. We are making our purchases with great consideration and consciousness. Certainly, a similar product with the seemingly omnipresent "Made in China" label might be cheaper, but more and more we are willing to shell out a few extra bucks for design with conscience. And our numbers are growing.

Canadian House and Home's May issue (still available on news stands) is full of design tips and articles featuring eco-friendly solutions. Entitled "Go Eco, Stay Chic", the 'Zine itself is not web friendly and doesn't allow browsing articles online but I found it well worth picking up and perusing. From creating a modern space in a country home to the Weekend Decorating segment featuring earth friendly furnishings, there is no shortage of Green ideas and suggestions. As you can't browse online, and the issue may not be available for much longer at the store - we are featuring some of the best here:

Bright idea:

CFLs, those compact energy efficient lightbulbs, may require only a third as much energy as a regular bulb but they still contain tiny amounts of mercury, which is not at all Eco-friendly. The Home Depot has started a service to ensure these bulbs do not inadvertantly impact the planet in a negative fashion. In Home Depot stores across Canada you will find CFL recycling units where you can dispose of your burnt out bulbs and ensure that 98 per cent of each bulb is recycled, including the Mercury.

Plastic not-so-fantastic:

Bottled water. I'm not certain when the trend began but it is a fad which has grown in intensity to the degree that, today, roughly over 22 billion water bottles hit the landfills in the US every single year. 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles become garbage and end up in a landfill. Annual production of water bottles for the United States requires more than 1.5 million (million!) barrels of oil and Americans consume approximately 28 billion bottles of water a year. Canadian House and Home recommends booting the plastic bottle and making tap water a sparkling alternative with old fashioned seltzer bottles. You can find sleek modern seltzer bottles at restaurant supply stores or pick up a vintage collectible at a store like, saaaay, ChiChi! As we don't often find pristine vintage seltzer bottles, and at present have not a one in the House, we have a solution of our own to offer; currently on order and ultimately Green, another Tord Boontje design; tranSglass. Recycled glass bottles are edited and remade into fabulous vases, drinking glasses and vessels. tranSglass is in the permanent collection of MoMA New York and has become a best selling Boontje design.

Letting it all hang out:

For purely aesthetic reasons, clotheslines have been banned for some time in Provinces/States and Cities. The disappearance of laundry lines can be largely blamed on bedroom communities across North America. Their demands for conformity and restrictive, lengthy covenants often deem line drying your delicates as unsightly a nuisance as might be a car up on blocks in your front yard. Grassroots organizations have played more than a small part in working to have such a silly law banished and their efforts are paying off. Ontario is lifting its ban this year. This allows people previously forbidden from doing so the great pleasure of snuggling in to sheets kissed by the sun and the wind - the scent of which is impossible to replicate with a dryer sheet. Besides drifting off to sweet dreams propelled by sweet scents, Mother Earth benefits as clothes dryers consume about six percent of a home's annual energy bill.

Singing the Green Blues:

Ann Mack, Director of trendspotting at ad agency JWT in New York, says the term Green is losing its lustre. "Overused and misused..." "" True, that. There are far too many products on the market claiming to be "Green" when they really aren't so environmentaly friendly after all. Sure, there may be minor changes to the overall content of some of these products, but "Green" they are not. And so, says Ann, or - rather - Ann says.... Blue. Blue, which is meant to suggest the sky and water, as well as truth and integrity, is slowly replacing green. Mercedes-Benz's latest emission reducing car is called BlueTec. In France, towns which meet certain environmental standards are awarded the Pavillion Bleu. Keep your eyes open for Blue becoming the buzz in Eco-speak. We like it.

Metropolitan Home's April issue, which I picked up last week, is their "Guide to Modern Green Design". I absolutely love how some classics are intertwined with modern pieces and that they are embracing no boundaries when mixing furnishings. Done tastefully, there is no reason you cannot combine a Harvest table with chairs fashioned after mid-century Eames or Bertoia. An article I found particularly fun to peruse was "Forever Green" which features stylish wares which have withstood the test of time. There is a condensed photo gallery of featured items to browse online but to fully enjoy the article you'll have to pick up a copy of the magazine... on the pages you will find photos of classic and time tested design elements as well as dates of original manufacture. You are invited to test your knowledge by matching the dates to the items. Some design dates are entirely self evident while others are more than a little surprising. For the brief, online version....Take me there!

"Water Wiser" features an L.A. garden created to replace a water guzzling lawn. Take me there!. Now, as much as I love the idea of giant cacti and other drought resistant succulents, our temperate climate doesn't give me much room to play. However, I did find, in Canadian House and Home, an Eco-friendly new product perfect for our part of the world.

Canadian engineered Eco-Lawn is a drought resistant blend of grasses which requires little or no mowing and no fertilizer. Switching up your current lawn for the Eco version is easy as pie, simply mow your lawn as short as possible and overseed with Eco-Lawn. The grassy spaces you see below are images taken from Wildflower Farm's website. Available to order online and shipped to you from Ontario.... Take me there!

Be Blue everyone!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Due to Popular Demand - I Happily Relent!

We will be open on Mother's Day after all, but only from 12:00 until 2:00 p.m. If you are one of many who can't make it on Saturday, we'll see you then.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Moms! Like Dads Only... er... they're moms...

Jiggers! Is it that time of year again? Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I’m excited! Although many perceive Mother’s Day as just another Hallmark Holiday, it's actually been around in some form or another for hundreds, dare I say thousands of years. Kat and I both have two of the coolest moms around who deserve to be honoured so we are not of the Hallmark mentality. And pleased as punch we ChiChi Chicks were to join the ranks of the dedicated moms who spit-wash their kids on the go! We have both been blessed with crazy lovely wonderful girls of our own, our little ChiChi Chicklets. For them Mother’s Day is fun! They busily craft and dream up their own little ways to celebrate. They also go on little shopping trips with their dads to choose their own special gifts for us but that’s the subject matter of a whole ‘nother blog!

Although Anna Jarvis, one of the original founders of Mother’s Day in the U.S.A., never intended for Mother’s Day to be commercial that is what it has become, but we can work with that. So what do you give Mom that will reflect the depth of your feelings for her? Depends, do you want to break the bank? If your mom is anything like my mom she would be upset with you if you did that. Now, if you took hours and hours and hours to burst forth into the world, and you’ve challenged your mother every minute of every day since, maybe you DO want to break the bank, a bit.

So what do you get her? ChiChi can be achieved at any price and although you can’t go wrong with anything at our house, we have some ideas:

From Piggy Bank ChiChi to Platinum

Vintage Aprons priced from $5 to $50, many to choose from but, she may think you’re implying that you want her to cook for you …

Occupied Japan Figurines priced from $8 to $25. These figurines were made over a 5 year period using the same techniques employed by Italian craft masters. Highly collectible, values are based on object size and type of “Occupied Japan” stamp.

Tord Boontje’s Fairytails Greeting Card priced @ $8.50. Zazz for only $8.50!

Upcycled ChiChic Jewelry priced from $25 to $180 – many options in this price range from Donna Guiboche’s reworked vintage pieces, to Cyndi & Carey’s vintage button jewelry to our latest artisan’s spoon jewelry by Echo.

Bottle stoppers priced at $16 – add a bottle of champagne and a bottle of fresh squeezed orange juice, pop it all in a pretty planter et voila!

How about presenting her with an empty mayo or jam jar (preferably clean), a blossom, and Tord Boontje's Thinking of You Vessel Wrapper? Lots of impact for $28 and up!

New, yet Vintage, “Mother” be-fringed satin pillowcases with velvet flocked wording. Available in either the one-sided version with a poem entitled “Mother” for $35, or the two-sided version with “Mother” on one side and the poem on the other for $45.

Espe Handbags priced to $60. Sure, you could buy her flowers but Espe already adorns many of their bags and wallets with flowers and you don’t have to water them!

Tord Boontje anything priced to $180 – unique and new to Winnipeg, guaranteed that this line from Artecnica will wow her.

Failing all that, (although really, is that possible?) give us a budget and we can assemble a one-of-a-kind gift basket at almost any price, or better yet, maybe Mom would like to pick out her own gift using the very ChiChi gift certificate you presented to her.

Did you know it was once custom to wear a carnation on Mother's Day? A coloured carnation means that the person's Mother is living. A white carnation indicates that a person's mom has passed away. In celebration of our Moms, our children’s moms, and all moms be they out picnicking, sleeping in on their special day, or what have you,
ChiChi will be closed on Sunday, May 11th.
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Old School

Waking to a flurry of snow yesterday I wasn't so much astonished as I was crestfallen. Snow. In May. The winter gear has already been put away. I refuse to pull it out again. I can't help but wonder if this is some cruel joke by Mother Nature. After spending days tilting my face up to the warming rays of the sun, feeling my body soak up oodles of much desired vitamin D, there is something positively sinister in hearing a windchill report in the same week. As the grass struggles to green and the wee buds on the trees remain reluctant, my longing for warm weather, or simply continuity, grows.

And so I seek out answers. Well, not answers so much as a reliable long range forecast.

I've never owned a copy of the Farmers' Almanac but I've heard tell that there is no other source for weather predictions with an accuracy record like theirs. The Farmers' Almanac has published an annual Canadian edition for 191 years. Die hard fans of the Almanac claim it is accurate in weather predictions 80 to 85% of the time. Not too shabby. I wonder what sort of accuracy stats Environment Canada claims?

How does Farmers' Almanac predict the weather? The behaviour of beasts and insects? The migratory habits of waterfowl? The tint of the grass or the sweetness of the corn crops in a given year? It is actually nothing as old wife-ish as an aching bunion. The first of the Old Farmers' Almanac was founded and edited by Robert B. Thomas. To predict the weather, Thomas studied weather patterns, solar activity and astronomy cycles. He used this research to create a secret forecasting formula which is still in use today. Few people have laid eyes on the secret formula and today it is kept in a black tin box in the Almanac offices located in Dublin, New Hampshire. Top secret formula? Black box? Maybe bunion activity factors into the formula after all.

Predicting the weather is not the sole purpose of the Almanac. It is chock full of helpful advice from when to plant specific garden plots and how to care for them, to recipes, to advice on the best day to cut your hair or go to the dentist. Astrology plays a large part in what the good people at the Almanac do. There are no doubt countless detractors who pooh-pooh such mumbo jumbo but, considering the number of years the Almanac has been in publication (the very first edition was published in 1792), its considerable success would suggest some degree of validity.

That I was thinking of farm life this weekend seems strangely coincidental to seeking out weather predictions from the Farmers' Almanac. While closing shop on Saturday I stopped for a few moments to admire the new found treasures in the Kitsch'n. We've changed the room up a little to make room for two kitchen queen cabinets which are presently laden with numerous colorful glass bowls and both vintage and reproduction enamelware. The practicality of these pieces, made long before built-in cabinets became a staple, struck a chord with me and my mind wandered off to simpler, but considerably more difficult times. Would I give up much of the conveniences of today to live as our forebears did? Not likely. Technology, when used for the betterment of people, is a good thing. There are aspects of life 'in the day' which are more than a little bit appealing but I only have to look at the other 'new' treasures to appreciate much of what life today has to offer.

We acquired seventeen near mint flour sacks this weekend. Having them near the front counter, to check their condition, sparked memories and tales from many of our customers. I recalled that my great grandmother would bleach flour and sugar sacks to remove the telltale merchandising print from them. She would then cut them and do her petit point, which are still in the family, many still waiting to be framed. A customer shared her story of how her mother wore dresses made of bleached sugar and flour sacks. Another told of how they were used to make underwear for the family. Today they are collected and sometimes repurposed into clothing or totes with the print left deliberately intact. We don't imagine nary a one of our collection will bathe in bleach. I wonder what my great grandmother would think of such a thing if she were still with us today?

Another find, a collection of old crocks, played directly into the days gone by theme which seemed to surround us this weekend. We currently have a 20 gallon crock as tall as my chicklet (but much rounder!) and a variety of sizes down from there. Some are Medalta, some are Red Wing and others have no markings other than the size. Medalta Stoneware Inc.'s pottery was made in the Clay District of Medicine Hat, Alberta where the company started in 1915 and produced crockery until 1924 when it was reorganized under new ownership as Medalta Potteries Ltd. The newly organized company produced crockery until well into the 50's. Red Wing Pottery is still in business today - in Red Wing, Minnesota, thereby leaving no mystery as to the origin of the name. As a third generation family owned business, Red Wing has been making pottery for over 140 years. The most collectible of their crocks were produced in the late 1800's and are known as salt-glaze pots. The exterior finish came out in a greyish color and was created by throwing salt into the ovens during firing. The smoother, and more common, pottery is known as Bristol glazeware which they began producing in the early 1900's. As we are by no means experts on old crockery we will have to do some homework to see if we can unfold the history of the other crocks we've found.

Crocks were made in a variety of sizes and were used for everything from churning butter to baking beans to food storage to pickling. The value of any particular crock is entirely dependent on its origins, age, purpose, rarity and condition.

If I could incorporate some of the practises of my great grandmother's era into my life I think I would adopt a very few. Baking beans in a crock designed for that purpose is appealing to me. Churning my own butter is not. Bleaching sugar and flour sacks to make my own underwear and clothing is nowhere near my list of things I consider charming. Nor is having to buy household staples which require a forklift to haul. Repurposing a vintage flour sack as a tote or a quaint laundry bag? Well, there's something I may just have a go at.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Congrats to Cindy and Carey!

(Faye's great buy)

Sweetest sisters Cindy and Carey got great press this weekend past!

The current issue of Winnipeg Woman Magazine featured a charming piece on the button jewelry designs hand crafted by the girls - complete with accompanying photos. This latest issue of the mag was included as an insert in Saturday's home subscription edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. That brought the sisters into the homes of over 160,000 subscribers!

That afternoon Cindy and Carey dropped by the store with a sumptuous spring collection for us. We were delighted when a woman came in to the store, while the girls were still visiting, seeking out their jewelry after reading the article just that morning! Not only was she able to meet the artists live and in person, she was also able to put in a special request and Cindy and Carey were both charming and accommodating. We've had, in the past two days, a number of people stop in specifically to view or purchase from the newest collection. One of our favourite customers, Faye, also stopped in for a moment on Saturday and was delighted to see the article and revel in the fact that she made the very first purchase of a bracelet in gorgeous greens when we first introduced the Cindy and Carey line in our house.

The latest pieces are absolute must sees - we haven't had a chance to get photos to accompany this installment on the blog, but we can link you to the article!

Take me there!

Come visit us at our House and treat yourself to a pretty spectacular piece of Cindy and Carey jewelry.