Small House is two sisters. Small House is Valerie Marchand and Heather Marchand. Both work out of their home studios in Torontom, Ontario. Any given day you will find either or both sisters sewing, drawing, painting, gluing and cutting. Both Valerie and Heather have educations in Fine Arts and are most happy when creating something. Aesthetics and function are carefully considered concerning all items made for Small House.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Cover of the Rolling Stone...

If you haven't already looked at this amazing online magazine I am giving you 2 really good reasons to check it out.

1. It's amazing.

2. December's issue features This is Small House and our in home studio.

Oh right, it's not Rolling Stone... it's COVET GARDEN

"Covet Garden is for folks who are curious about real spaces. We take a peek into the homes and lives of some of the city’s most interesting people—spaces that have not been styled by interior decorators. Covet Garden is inspirational, not aspirational." Covet Garden.

If you haven't seen the magazine yet the great thing is that Covet Garden launched in September so there are now some back issues online... you know the feeling you get bringing home season 1 of Madmen on DVD... yeah, same thing.

We can't wait for the December issue to launch (we haven't even seen it finished yet). We DO know that we loved having 4 lovely ladies into our home to snoop, look, question... frame and photograph our world.
I myself am a bit of a homebody and require at least 3 distinct areas in my home. That is somewhere to sleep, somewhere to relax and somewhere to work. It will be interesting to see how this translates to the page.

Here is a little taste of what's to come. (Heather in our home studio).


Monday, November 1, 2010

An Afternoon at Ransack the Unvierse...

"Ransack the Universe,
A strange and Wonderful Smorgasbord of Unique Treasures."

Recently I spent the afternoon exploring, guarding and selling the treasures that have been collected at Ransack the Universe. This shop can be found on the lower level of the 69 Vintage Collective, 1207 Bloor St West. This collective is 3 floors and 7 stores full of unique and carefully curated items.

There is so much to take in at Ransack the Universe I have chosen some of my favorites. Guess which of these items I brought home?!

Origami Earrings, by Maggie Krawczyk, $20

Spoon Rest, $3.50

Vintage Tins, various prices, apx. $12 - $25

Paper Coasters, 25 for $2.50

Field-guide to... , Set of 4 for $35

This is Small House is available at Ransack the Universe along with many other original and re-purposed crafts by over 30 local artisans.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crafting Curio Cabinet

Score no.2 from the Horder collection, some fantastic sewing paraphernalia!
Hand-me-downs and pass-alongs from 2 generations ago...

First a lovely handmade spool rack, very charming, not to mention functional.

Second - this cute, quaint and intriguing craft storage unit. I have never seen anything like it! It is at least 50 years old and I would assume it was custom made by hand, lovingly no doubt for an avid stitcher.

Standing around 3 feet tall or so, it contains spool pegs, compartments, hooks, a pocket and troughs for holding all your sewing bits. It's super neat. It folds shut and closes with a little clasp... a couple of handles on the top make it easy to move around. I'm thrilled to have it!

Perhaps the best part of all with these adorable objects is that the cabinet came stocked with all sorts of items decades old! A tin of old machine attachments, trims, buttons, wooden spools of thread, a variety of nostalgic needle books, a pair of scissors, pincushion and ribbon, all older than my mother. What a delight!

A tiny treasure.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Doily Super-Stash

One of the pro's to having a true blue Horder in your life is the mounds of useful/useless items at your disposal.

Like a box full of crochet doilies. And when I say a box full, I mean a box FULL! Not a shoe box, a big box containing some 50+ doilies.
These little gems have been stashed away just waiting for someone like me.

When life hands you a box of doilies what else is there to do but make doily buntings?!

So introducing, Tea-stained Doily Wall Hangings. The newest super-sweet item to the This is Small House collection. Watch for them soon in the shop as well as our booth at the New Bloor Festival on Saturday, July 24.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't quit your day job... ?

Because, who loves their "day job?"

Both of us at Small House are lucky enough to love our day jobs.

Heather gets to handle some of the most beautiful handmade papers imported from Japan. She works at a lovely shop here in Toronto that actually has a larger available selection (all in one place) than anywhere even in Japan. Here handmade papers like washi are all lovingly displayed, used and appreciated.

I work at a downtown floral design shop, where on any given day I might be making a sweet little posie with mini calla lilies and galex leaves or a 3 foot tall floral arrangement for a TV or movie set. To me both have equal value and stature.

I made two of these this past winter for a television show... using a new favorite flower, helleborus.

Heather will be creating a large scale window installation that will be installed this coming June. Here is a peek at what is to come.

The best thing about having a creative job like either of our is the ability to express your own ideas. This could be in the form of a store display, design, or sharing product knowledge. Between packaging and mailing our etsy sales, stitching up new items, dreaming up new ideas, visiting friends and family and lending a hand to anyone who needs it... it is great to have busy (but wonderful) jobs to go to.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This is Not Small House,

Edward Burtynsky, Manufacturing #17, Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Dehui City, Jilin Province, 2005

Lets start a conversation about something that is on all our minds as buyers and sellers and general makers of things,

(Fair) Pricing.

Okay. There it is. It's out of the bag, out on the table... open for discussion.

Now there are certain things we will all agree upon regarding this issue. We all know workers should be paid more than mere pennies for their work, along with fair treatment and all. But are we really ready to pay fair prices? Fair pricing should mean quality over quantity and quality lasts. We need to question our own needs for consumption. How ready are we really to give up "things." Within the big picture I have only begun to examine my own wants and needs as a consumer and cannot claim to have any answers. I have however considered some qualities that I myself am willing to pay for.

I will pay for uniqueness. I will pay for handmade. I will pay for made in Canada. I will pay for something that is made to last and to be reused.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just so you can say you heard it first...

Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval are a pair of artists and FriendsWithYou, of which I have been a fan for some time now. I was delighted to find out that Toronto's festival Luminato will feature FriendsWithYou with their installation/project that FWY is calling their, "Wish Come True," Festival.

What I love about FWY is their use of colour, simplified shapes and forms. They create their work within a universal language. The simple shapes, colours and expressions can be accessed by all with restrictions like language and age aside. And they are just really, really fun.

FriendsWithYou please transform my Toronto already!

If this June Toronto sees ANYTHING like FWY's "Skywalkers," 2006 that opened Art Basel Miami we are in for a treat!

Or imagine city wide installations like "Dream Maker," 2008 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Or something truly tactilely interactive like "Rainbow Valley," a permanent playground installation at Aventura Mall in Miami, Fl.

Until this summer I suggest you get your FWY fix at Magic Pony and pick up some blind boxed Wish Come True figures.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

What exactly does "made in a pet friendly studio," mean?

I caught our sweet little tabby, Fisher, napping on a pile of shear fabrics a few days ago. His cuteness is hard to resist, and so we wash and rewash materials to ensure they are clean and cat free. What else could we do?


Friday, February 26, 2010

Finding Inspiration...

Inspiration can come from anything.
I pull inspiration from objects, artworks, the environment and things I see everyday. I could be themes, or maybe colour schemes. I build and diversify my aesthetic by collecting things... some may call it hoarding... I choose to call it research.

While I'm at my day job I am surrounded by beautiful things, gorgeous handmade and decorative Japanese papers. The more I admire them, the more I notice my tastes migrating to the more unusual patterns. It's refreshing to see the way they put different colours together, combinations I would not expect or have considered myself. They encourage me to take more chances with the objects I make, the unusual is most beautiful.

Here's a few of the papers I am digging right now.... new additions to my collection:

Silkscreened Chiyogami Paper

Handmade and Hand Stenciled Katazome-Shi

Cut-out Patterns from Katazome-Shi

Silkscreened Chiyogami Papers

Small House loves Japanese paper.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I began making "things" for myself as a teenager and most of the time it was because I had a specific idea in my head for something and could never find it in any shop. How frustrating at times to not be satisfied with what what was in front of me on store shelves or hanging on a rack. I remember the satisfaction of making my own duvet cover and pillow shams or altering clothing as a teenager. I then studied Fine Arts in college and learned how to develop a strong aesthetic as an artmaker and now believe an artist's unique aesthetic can be used for more than just artmaking. "This is Small House," are makers of both practical and frivolous items that have been considered for both function and style.

This blog will introduce you to "Small House," and its creators.

Small House is two sisters,
Heather Marchand & Valerie Marchand.

One of the first products designed by me for Small House is a sweet and feminine powder puff. A soft polyester fur is used to hold and dust powder and on top printed cotton with a ribbon clutch.

Small House recommends using your powder puff with a pretty dish from your own collection. Pour a little of your favorite powder in a crystal candy dish, vintage teacup or a unique piece of pottery and you have found a new use for an old favorite.

Puff is approximately 3" wide.