“Why do you have horses, cats and dogs all over your house?” my adolescent nephew asked me recently.
I didn’t understand the question.
Here’s my confession: I’m an animal art addict. I didn’t mean to be, that’s just what I’ve become after decades of roaming art and craft shows big and small. It’s true, especially if you throw handmade pottery, jewelry and accessories into the mix. I can’t stop.
What’s my favourite place for a fix?
The One-of-a-Kind juried, 800-vendor, artisan show happening twice a year at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This fall, One-of-a-Kind runs until December 4, 2016. Thursday night is the late night special – it’s open until 11 pm. I’m going back.
But first, here’s my list of great dog stuff I found round one during the opening weekend of the show. No gifts listed. It’s all for me:
Stuff It – Little hand-sewn wiener dogs for people not pets. Keep these cute corduroy canines away from your pup if you don’t want them ripped to shreds – and at $35 each, you don’t want them ripped to shreds. From Leikey.
Punk it – Wear your heart on your chest – or a bamboo/cotton t-shirt sporting a rock and roll black print bulldog image. These prints on sleeveless fuchsia are one of the few items in adult sizes. Otherwise, everything at this booth is for kids, including similar long-sleeved doggie print tops in blue or pink. $29 to $35 from Kiki Kids Wear.
Bag it – What to wear with your dog t-shirt? A dog image messenger bag, of course. No kitsch or leather here. Toronto-based Meter by Metre produces quality cruelty-free totes, purses and wallets, some with animal images reflecting the designer’s interest in local cat rescue organizations. This one is $185 from Meter by Metre.
Hang It – Selling ‘home dogcor,’ Ruckus Dog specializes in breed-specific wooden folk art leash hooks, but that’s not all they do. My favourite is the Mutt one asking, “Who’s your daddy?” If you don’t need a hook, check out the hip dog belt buckles. Hooks are $48 and buckles are $30 from Ruckus Dog.
Coast for while – Thanks to the whimsical paintings from Sa Boothroyd, these clever cartoon-like coasters state the obvious every pet owner knows: “A house isn’t a home without a dog (or cat).” $7 each or 4 for $20 from Sa Boothroyd.
Dog charm – Made from recycled glass, these light-reflecting tile pendants catch the eye of both dog and pop art lovers. They look good on a chain for $30 or matching coloured ribbon for $25 from eco handmade studio.
Too cute to squish – These soft velveteen and satin cutout pillows demand you have more than one because the printed pics of dogs and cats (and other animals) look too good tossed in a pile ($42 to $52 depending on size). If you need more shut-eye, block out the light with the pug eyes sleep mask. $28 from Julien & Emily Design.
Pewter pup – Admittedly, I’m essentially collecting these pewter pup pendants. As of now, I’m up to three on various chain lengths so I can wear them all at once, Mr. T style. There’s a new breed each year (and a cat – I have that one too). This year I had to add the French bulldog to my jewelry box. $25 each from Montreal’s Stick Man Creations.
One-of-a-Kind is at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada until December 4, 2016.
One-of-a-Kind Spring is March 29 to April 2, 2017.
CThere aren’t any hotels within walking distance of Exhibition Place (yet – one is being built) in Toronto. The official hotel of the show is the Hyatt Regency Toronto On King, 370 King Street West, Toronto. CHECK Trivago for the best rates.
Shop One-of-a-Kind Online from anywhere.
If you’re looking specifically for dog products, here’s an extensive list from Beagles and Bargains – some items I own: Beagles and Bargains Holiday Gift Guide for Pet Lovers.