Camp Ho-Ba-Chee; image copyright Erin Torrance.

Camp Ho-Ba-Chee

Lesley Blayney and Robin Eecloo; 18 Main St., Warkworth

A while ago, I promised to start writing a little more on my hometown of Warkworth. Just over a week ago, I got a chance to make it back home to help with the annual East Street Market and partake in the Warkworth Long Lunch. That’s when the community closes down the main street (literally “Main Street”) and dines on tables lined up down the centre of the street. (Pretty cute, eh?) It’s a bustling but fun event, and I managed to pop in to visit some of my favourite shops while I was home. So what better time than the present to share some happiness with you in the form of a feature on Camp Ho-Ba-Chee?

I grew up in Warkworth and travel back about once a month to visit my parents. A lot has changed in Warkworth in my 26-year lifespan. When I was very young, I used to stop by 18 Main Street with my bestie at the time to grab some snacks and Spice Girls bubble gum (we were trying to collect all the stickers). Her grandparents owned the grocery store at that address then. I even remember passing through the big door to the backroom deli, where they’d prep and package their meats. Today, the grocery store no longer occupies 18 Main Street, but I see that door every time I visit Camp Ho-Ba-Chee.

For just a little longer than four years, 18 Main Street has been home to Camp Ho-Ba-Chee (named after a sign the co-owners picked up at an auction and coveted for many years before their store opening). Back when I was younger, 18 Main Street was a common place to find community members catching up on the latest news; today, the space is just as friendly and community-oriented, but it has a whole new vibe.

Owned and operated by the ever-lovely Lesley Blayney and Robin Eecloo (and their furry doggy friends in the back), Camp Ho-Ba-Chee is a treasure trove of novelty finds, quirky home décor, retro baubles and some fun pieces you could picture being on the set of Pleasantville. They also have some fashion accessories for pups and handmade catnip toys for the kitties.

At one point, I was obsessed with the cat toys because my Bea LOVED the catnip carrot made from recycled wool sweaters. I bought one for almost every cat I knew and a couple radishes too! Now, their kitty treat bin features catnip-stuffed fish made from tiny socks. Bea has one already, though she’s misplaced it, so a replacement may be in order. I’ll have to sweep out under the couch first.

The styles of home décor, furniture, toys and miscellaneous pieces at Camp Ho-Ba-Chee are a reflection of Lesley and Robin’s personalities and simply can’t be pigeonholed. And that’s what makes this store one of my favourites. No matter your style—modern, shabby chic, farmhouse, French provincial, industrial—Camp Ho-Ba-Chee has something for you. The store’s vintage and retro pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, many lightly worn with love, and it’s fascinating to imagine the stories behind these pieces. They also offer fun cards; artist-designed toys, mobile sets and games; scented soy candles and bath products made in Ontario; and crafting and art workshops in their storefront (keep an eye on their Facebook page for details).

One aspect of the one-of-a-kind community that I always stress and find so refreshing is a true sense of support and happiness. The artisans and shop owners I follow show such passion and love for the work they do and the community that surrounds them. Lesley and Robin are absolutely no exception. They’re involved and inclusive, supporting their community and promoting area organizations, shops and events.

I cannot stress this enough: if you live in the Toronto area or you just happen to be near Trent Hills, take a drive to Warkworth and drop in on Robin and Lesley at Camp Ho-Ba-Chee. It’s well worth the time. If you’re unfortunately unable to make the trip, you can shop some of their treasures through their Etsy shop.

For more information on Camp Ho-Ba-Chee’s location and hours, head on over to

Print by Dayna Lee Collection; image copyright Dayna Lee Collection

Dayna Lee Collection

Dayna Langlois; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Bows, polka dots, and hand-written lettering get me every time! Add hearts and inspirational vibes to that list and you’ve got me hooked, Dayna Lee Collection.

Last month, I stopped by the One-of-a-Kind Spring Show in Toronto and I picked up an art print for my underdressed kitchen: a Dayna Lee Collection original motivating me to be a macaron in a cookie-cutter world. I feel like an idiot a lot for being just a little different (what some may call “weird”); it’s natural. But my New Year’s resolution for 2015 was to strive to write one positive line each day. Accepting who I am is part of that and if that means I stand out, then I’ll be the macaron!

The talent behind the shop, Dayna Langlois’ works feature art prints, notebooks, pillow covers, and accessories aimed at inspiring and empowering women. (Can I get an amen?)

Dayna, you’ve got me hooked and I’m loving everything you do. Dayna’s Etsy shop is a must-browse. Tonight’s plan: set aside some time to snuggle up with some tea, dig into all her offerings, and pick up a little gift just for you, because you deserve it! (Hint: Dayna’s pillow covers and prints also make great housewarming and graduation gifts for her.)

Purchasing information: Find Dayna Lee Collection on Etsy. You can also visit the Dayna Lee Collection Facebook page.

Mug by Bread and Butter Pottery; image copyright Erin Torrance

Bread and Butter Pottery

Bethany Butterworth; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

I first came across Bread and Butter Pottery when I hit my first One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto with my bestie of eons of years (or so it seems). We both fell in love, the tiny little booth that it was. Drawn in by egg and bacon mugs (though mostly the bacon mug), amused by mermen and mermaid mugs, and finally being sold by cat mugs, I have to say I feel like Bethany Butterworth, the creative genius behind the cheeky, quirky, and smile-inducing pottery, just gets me. (Better yet, the mug I chose had an illustrated kitty that closely resembled my personal obsession, my cat Bea—who inspired the little ears in the Et Cetera header!)

Since then, I’ve found good homes for even more Bread and Butter mugs and I only foresee even more purchases in my near future (new designs are emerging and the classics are forever faves). Better yet, when I first decided to get matching merpeople mugs for my boyfriend’s parents, I found a stockist in Toronto that’s now become quite possibly one of my favourite stores ever. (I’m talking about Scout in Toronto!)

I’ve had a lot of down days and just plain old sick or grumpy days; when I do, a cup of tea in my beloved Bread and Butter kitty mug always helps. My mug has brought me so many smiles, and Bethany Butterworth gets all the credit for that. Seriously, THANK YOU for bringing this kitty-lovin’ mug into my life.

Purchase information: Visit Bread and Butter Pottery’s website for more information, a list of stockists, or to contact Bethany.