Best of Both Worlds, now at Fan Tan Alley

“When we enlarge our view of the world, we deepen our understanding of our own lives.” — Yo-Yo Ma

Linda and I visited Best of Both Worlds at the Quadra Street location in the fall of 2015.  http://www.victoriassecretgems.ca/best-of-both-worlds-imports/
However, this new location in popular Fan Tan Alley is proving to be a good move, due to the enhanced foot traffic.

 

The first thing that caught my eye upon

entering the store was this silk lamp

from Thailand.  Striking!

 

 

Then there was the collection of  small

lidded boxes — a weakness of mine! —

made of mango wood.

Of course, there were Thai silk scarves……………

………………….beautiful hand crafted paper parasols………..

………………..picnic baskets from China………….an elephant table from Thailand……..
   

……………..Thai silk cushions……………….

……………..carved statues and figures………….

……………wall carvings…………………bamboo ladders for climbing or for displaying throws, etc.
  

And then there was the furniture, such as this 12-drawer teak cabinet from Thailand,
or this 30″ saddle stool from China,
        
or this reclaimed teak cabinet from Thailand,
or this substantial warrior chair made of monkey wood from Thailand, or this armoire from China.
         

There were several styles of carts from India.

There were unique shelf units or bar storage units from India made of reclaimed wood and iron.
          

Reclaimed wood items from India seemed to be particularly popular.

Perhaps because I’m a newly minted grandma, I was drawn to this child’s rocker from Thailand,
     

and this, my favourite piece, a unique chest from India made of reclaimed wood.

Do visit this charming store in Fan Tan Alley or the warehouse on Quadra St and let your senses experience some of the unique products from the Far Eastern world.  Your sense of smell will let you know when you’ve crossed the threshold!

 

Best of Both Worlds

19 Fan Tan Alley
250-590-0695

2713 Quadra Street 
250-386-8365

www.bestofbothworldsimports.com

Mon – Sat 10 – 5,  Sun Noon – 5

Art in the Barn Gallery

“Great art picks up where Nature ends.”  — Marc Chagall

Tucked onto a natural, forested acreage just off West Saanich Road is a most unusual barn.
No question, it’s a barn;  inside, you can see the concrete curbs on each side of the main aisle which formed the footings for the horse stalls.  The floors slope toward this middle aisle — that was a functional slope.

What is unusual is the contents.
This former barn now houses horses differently – horses painted on canvas.

It also houses other animals, painted on canvasses…………..
   

………because, as no doubt is apparent,
this is a barn converted into a gallery.

The proprietors are Jacqui and Gabriel.

Jacqui is a painter, and all the paintings
featured in this post are hers.

In addition to her own resource material,
Jacqui also paints animals by commission,
such as the two portraits of dogs, above.

Gabriel is a photographer.
Several of his matted and framed photographs are exhibited in the gallery.

Nature figures strongly as a resource in
Gabriel’s photographic work.

Other local artists’ work is also welcome to be exhibited in the gallery.

The art pieces, above and below, are examples of Gabriel’s photographs taken in nature.

Linda tried to gauge the size of this creation by Jacqui.
The art piece depicts a sight that’s so typical of our Peninsula outside Victoria.  It is this aspect of nature that Jacqui continues to capture in her paintings.

Gabriel also spends hours to get the “perfect” shot of a specific aspect of nature that he wants to share.
He also photographs “found” items!

Matted prints of Jacqui’s paintings and Gabriel’s photography work are available unframed as well.

         

The painting above, right, is one by Jacqui of Gabriel.

Art in a Barn is a true gem………local artists creating, displaying, and making available to others the personal creations of Nature that they want to share.    Check it out!

 

Art in the Barn Gallery
4578 Hughes Road
Victoria

778-977-2895

www.artinthebarn.gallery

Thur – Sun 10 – 4  or by appointment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cast Art Studios

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed.   And you are beautiful.”   —
Amy Bloom

Seeing such a sign generally does not instill confidence in the quality of items below that arrow!

And the “showroom” is a fenced off portion of a parking lot just off an industrial street on the Peninsula.
But let us not generalize!
These items are not ones that you’ll tuck up under your arm as you head off to the cashier.
They’re statuary made of concrete, and they are large, and they are heavy.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they are durable — tested to withstand even Prairie winters — and I recall plenty of those!
We checked things over carefully………

…..including the bird baths, of course………decorative pedestals……
   

 

………interesting benches………..
……………..wall art…………..

…………serenity-inspiring statuary……………

 

……….and my personal fave, which has nothing at all to do

with the fact that I’m about to become a grandma!

 

These palletized items are ready for shipping, to anywhere!

So, you want statement garden art?    Where y’ gonna go?

Cast Art Studios
2145 Keating Cross Road
Saanichton
250-652-3397
www.castartstudios.com

Mon – Fri    9 am – 4 pm

 

Fan Tan Gallery

“I like to look for gifts throughout the year.  If I find the perfect item for someone, I put it in my “gift closet” and keep it for the next holiday.  But I often get too excited and just give it to them before!”  — Christina Hendricks
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Sooo……..I’m not the only one with a “gift closet”!

Linda appreciates beautiful things, and she’s also practical.   When we casually browsed through Fan Tan Gallery and Linda spotted the Linnea display, she gave that an approving nod.
For each month the calendar features a beautiful 11″ X 14″ art print suitable for framing or mounting to any flat surface. Beautiful and practical!

I bought one to keep for her as a Christmas gift. But you know that it didn’t make it to December!
Fortunately, her birthday came up before December so the Linnea calendar was out!
The calendar is not by any means the sole draw at the Fan Tan Gallery, also known as Fan Tan Home & Style.

The shop, with its double storefront presence on downtown Fisgard offers a wide variety of wares made locally in BC, in Canada, and carefully sourced internationally by the owner, Janet, ranging from the USA and Europe to India and Afghanistan.
There are the Cedar Mountain marble coasters and art blocks from Salt Spring Island,   fan-tan-gallery-13
artisanal small batch foods and dishes also made on Saltspring Island and elsewhere in Canada,
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candles and room atomizers made in the USA,
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socks hand-knitted in Afghanistan from wool and lined with a thin, soft fleece,
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personal bath and toiletry products sourced in Italy, in France,
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more from France,
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            and more from France,
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quilts from India made in the Kantha style,fan-tan-gallery-24

more quilts with their exuberant colours,
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wooden blocks from India which are used for printing their fabric,
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fabric printed using various wooden blocks,
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more samples of block-printed fabric, scarves,
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.              and cushions.fan-tan-gallery-22

Of course, right now there are displays of seasonal items…………..some rustic,
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some glitzier.
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For gift-giving anytime — or for myself! — there’s a good selection of Blue Q socks,
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games and puzzles,
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          tin cups,
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pretty ring holders,
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and tidy, tiny plants.
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Sure, come to the Fan Tan Gallery  for the beautiful Linnea calendar, but you’ll surely leave with
at least one other unique item — I promise!
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Fan Tan Gallery
541 Fisgard St
Victoria
250- 382-4424
www.fantanvictoria.com

Mon – Sat 9:30 – 5:30, Sun 11:30 – 5

Patio Gardens

“Earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, in search of Earth’s laughter, we visited Patio Gardens on West Saanich Road and we found it in spades!
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The vibrant colours of flowers and greenery can uplift any spirits, particularly as daylight hours shrink.

patio-gardens13The owner, Yvonne, has been gardening for more than a couple of decades.  In earlier days the business was mostly cut flowers.  Now the specialty is hanging baskets and container gardening, suitable for patios and decks, indoor containers and anywhere you’d want to have live greenery or a garden feature.
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And in our moderate west coast climate, water garden features can run year-round!patio-gardens15                   patio-gardens1

Patio Gardens features Christmas plantings right now, so there are lots of poinsettias and greenery. patio-gardens14In a spacious classroom setting, floral and gardening workshops are offered, and wreath-making is a popular one right now.patio-gardens4

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The store offers plenty of decorating and gift ideas as well.
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It’s a delight to visit Patio Gardens during this cheerful Christmas season.
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And I can only imagine how Patio Gardens will remake itself in the springtime!
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Patio Gardens
6536 West Saanich Road, Victoria
250-896-8338

www.patiogardensvictoria.ca

Mon – Sat  9 – 5:30 pm,  Sun & holidays 10 – 4 pm

Sült Pierogi Bar

“This is my unvariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun!”  — Julia Child

My Mom used to make perogies — she loved to try many different kinds with various fillings and sides. And they were SO good!
Soooo………….what about today?  A downtown perogy place?  — OOPS! —  “pierogi” place!
Well, we discovered Sült Pierogi Bar.

Sult Perogie Bar 3 (Medium)

Trust me, this place has pierogies nailed!  No matter how you spell it, I call it “More, please!”

Sult Perogie Bar 2

The menu includes various combinations of fillings, sides and number of pierogies for your order.
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The restaurant is finished in industrial chic style.Sult 7

The walls are filled with artwork by Dallas Segno (www.dallassegno@gmail.com).
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And there indeed is  a bar!

Sult 5
This space formerly housed a bank, so the door to the bank’s vault remains in place at Sült — but it looks nothing like your bank’s vault door!
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And there’s take-out!  So following this sumptious tasting, we had out-of-province company staying with us, and we treated them to Sült pierogies — this was a BIG hit!

Sult 1Check it out!   You will NOT be disappointed!    Sült !

Sült Pierogi Bar
609 Yates St
778-265-7858

www.sultpierogibar.com

Mon – Thurs 11 am-9 pm,  Fri – Sat 11 am-12 am,  Sun 11 am-6 pm

LaLoca, Sidney

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”  —  Jane Goodall

Outside LaLoca

Walking into LaLoca in Sidney is like entering the market-of-the-world!

Tapestry, cards @ LaLoca

Christine, the owner, has travelled extensively throughout South America and sources her own products.
All items offered for sale at LaLoca are purchased as part of a fair trade partnership with individual women and artisans around the world.  Christine is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, which signifies that producers are treated with respect and paid fair wages, development is fostered and environmental standards are adhered to.

Handmade sweater, LaLocaThese darling handknitted sweaters are made by women in Peru, using their own harvested alpaca wool.

Metal wall art, LaLocaSubstantial pieces of metal wall art are made in Haiti.

Handmade baskets, LaLoca These handmade baskets are from Guana.

       Felted wool animals, LaLocaHand-felted wool birds are made in Peru.

            More recently Christine also began sourcing items from India and Africa.

Handmade bags, LaLocaThese totes are made of hand-felted wool with embellishments in Nepal.

Neckpiece, LaLoca
Edgy jewellery like this neckpice is crafted by Zambian artisans in the South Luangwa using organic materials originating from the African bush.

Frog guitarists, LaLoca
Colourful frog guitarists are made from recycled tin cans in South Africa.

Clothing, LaLoca
T
here’s men’s, women’s and unisex clothing from Nepal as well as from Thailand.

Wall hooks, LaLoca
A
n assortment of colorful wall hooks comes from India.

Kisii stone
The K
isii stone carvings from Kenya are ultra-smooth and beg to be touched.

Mouse slippers, LaLocaThese adorable mouse slippers come in all sizes and various colours.  This pair was my specific choice as a gift for a family member.  The hand felted alpaca wool slippers are made in Nepal.

Banners, LaLoca               Handmade wall tapestry, LaLoca

Banners with quotable messages are from Indonesia.
Of all the striking, colourful items on display everywhere, my personal favourites were the stunning wall tapestries are handmade in Bolivia.

What a  treasure trove from all over the globe!  A true gem.
LaLoca
2367 Beacon Ave, Sidney
778-351-3844

Tue – Sat 10:30 am – 5 pm

 

The Old Attic, Saanichton

“Our culture’s obsession with vintage objects has rendered us unable to separate history from nostalgia. People want heart. They want a chaser of emotion with their aesthetics.”  —  Sloane Crosley

The Old Attic, Saanichton                

Maybe it’s my age, but as we browsed through The Old Attic in Saanichton, I experienced a significant chaser of emotion, looking at so many items from various time periods of my own life.

The owner, Lynne Parker, had so many anecdotes about items, and clearly she knows each one individually.  She’s constantly bringing in items to replace sold pieces, always searching for good quality pieces to supplement her collections.

“Past to present” is their tagline, and the pieces reflect the various periods.    There’s furniture, linen, decor, jewellery, books & records, games, lamps and artwork, and all items are in very good condition.

                   

In addition to selling quality vintage items, The Old Attic also offers classes in refinishing furniture.
They sell Cottage Paints which you can take with you or use in their shop to work on a project.

                     

A unique collection of vintage tools caught my eye, reminding me of my Grampa’s workbench.
And then in another area, I spotted this most unusual rocking chair with a leather seat inset.

                      

But the items that made my eyes open widest were all the copper pieces, from various periods.
It’s really like a museum, ever-changing in its offerings — plus you can take your favourites home!

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The Old Attic
7925 E Saanich Rd, Saanichton
778-426-1660
www.theoldattic.ca
Sun – Sat 10 am – 5 pm

 

Good Things Consignments

“The home should be the treasure chest of living.”  — Le Corbusier

Love a great find?  Come to Good Things Consignments in a stroll-friendly part of Oak Bay Avenue.

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Three rooms of eclectic items — plus items outdoors on a pleasant day — make this a browsing treat!
Wares are well organized and include both vintage and  and nearly new items.  And LOTS of good finds!

There’s furniture, artwork, china & crystal, kitchen wares, jewellery, household appliances, carpets, toys……..really, it’s a treasure chest for living!

 

Good Things Consignment 4 (Medium)

The shelf with copper items caught Lili’s attention.

We noticed folks dropping off items for consignment.  We noticed people browsing and buying.
And we noticed a lot of intent looks — and smiles.
With the steady influx of items, we found that it’s worthwhile to browse the shelves every few weeks or so to catch any new additions.
Items are not dirt-cheap, but they’re priced fairly.  And things are in good shape and working order, where appropriate.

Good Things Consignment 3 (Medium)

Linda found a classic, useful silver serving plate.  One more person leaving with a parcel and a smile!
A sterling gem!


Good Things Consignments

1841 Oak Bay Avenue, #104
Victoria
250-598-9393
Mon – Sun 10 am – 5:30 pm