Scout

#iheartscout; 405 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto

Guys, I’m going to get a little sentimental here and go off on a little tangent, but believe me, this all winds back around to Scout (which happens to be my absolute favourite little boutique in Toronto).

So, if you’ve visited my little “About” page, you’ve seen about a quarter of what is the main street (literally, it’s called Main Street) of my little hometown of Warkworth, Ontario. I heart Warkworth. I was born and raised there, and I still return at least once a month to visit my family. On almost every occasion home, I end up on Main Street, which is one of the three streets that make up the heart of Warkworth (Church Street and East Street are the remaining two).

The village has changed a lot since I was young. Present-day Warkworth is a tiny little village full of surprises and shops that celebrate the arts, good food, and at times, the whimsically absurd, with the majority of goods coming from crafters, artisans, and small-batch clothing and food companies. It’s this spirit that I love about Warkworth; it’s all about community and supporting the little guys with passion and creativity. (More to come on Warkworth in an upcoming post though, including the upcoming East Street Market and Warkworth Long Lunch—a community affair!)

So what does this all have to do with Scout? Well, I’m a smalltown girl at heart. I live in the big city of Toronto now, and I enjoy its little neighbourhoods, but Scout was the first space in this city that gave me this same sense of community and pure joy the moment I walked into this little shop of happiness on Roncescvalles a little over a year and a half ago.

Scout offers one-of-a-kind and handmade goods—that includes everything from stationary and books to jewellery, bags, candles, natural beauty products, brooch Bowies and Ron Swansons, and everything in between. When it comes to my purchases, I have two pretty big obsessions: jewellery and mugs. Scout perpetuates both with its stellar selections. Really, I’m just plain hooked on Scout and could gush over this place for seemingly ever, but every post must eventually end.

Before I sign off and leave you with a little sneak-peek gallery, let me offer a couple of tips for your upcoming shopping trip to Scout (because, you know you just have to go now):

  1. Bring lots of money, because you’ll want to buy everything
  2. If you need any help, just ask; the ladies at Scout are always super helpful and the absolute sweetest!
  3. If you like it, buy it; things can go fast and as any one-of-a-kind goods lover knows, when it’s gone, it’s gone. (I’ve learned the hard way…sigh)

For more information on Scout’s location and hours, head on over to www.iheartscout.com.

Cara Carmina

Norma Andreu; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When it comes to truly unique one-of-a-kind goods, Cara Carmina’s got it covered. The creative and quirky artist behind the Cara Carmina collection, Norma Andreu is the epitome of why I love the handmade-with-love movement. Sure, you can get quirky cards and home goods at big-box retailers, but Norma is the reason not to.

Cara Carmina is all about spreading the love and showing gratitude in truly unique ways. When I attended the latest One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto, I was clearly just one person in a hoard of thousands. Yet when I stopped by Cara Carmina’s little booth and started rifling through kitty cards, Norma popped up from behind the display and thanked me for my smiles. How crazy cool and adorable is that? To have someone actually thank you for being happy by looking at their labours of love is something I’ve never experienced before. Just as memorable as her bubbly personality, though, are Norma’s works.

I’m absolutely in love with her paper cut diorama cards featuring cats with fish-filled thought bubbles and illustrated kitty postcards. but this is just a small fraction of the world that is Cara Carmina. In her Etsy store, Norma also offers Frida Kahlo-inspired dolls, printed clothing, illustrations, collages, pillows, calendars, prints, and wall decals.

Here I’ve included just a small sampling of it all; head on over to Norma’s Etsy shop to see all of Cara Carmina’s offerings and learn more about Norma—and be sure to spread some Et Cetera love while you’re there!

Purchasing information: Check out Cara Carmina’s Etsy shop or visit www.caracarmina.com.