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2013/12/23 / Shanan


We’re chillin’ like villains here, wrapping presents, watching Frosty and enjoying the Hollywood-esque snow falling outside.  There was a massive ice-storm in Toronto this weekend and the power is out all over the city, so we’re thankful to be out of the melée and dug in at home up north.  The Symmetric will be posting through Christmas and New Year’s, would you please join us?

Be safe out there.  Ho ho ho and much love to you all. xx Shanan



Photos (and homemade wrapping paper!) by The Symmetric.

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2013/12/13 / Gillian


Shanan and I have been excited lately to add field trips to the roster of fun things we’re up to. Inspired by the Natural Habitat series Shanan has written and shot for the Symmetric blog, we wanted to branch out and feature some of our favourite shops & eateries. I’m pleased to introduce Creemore Kitchen for the inaugural instalment of Field Trips!

Nestled amongst the galleries and specialty stores in the village of Creemore sits the Creemore Kitchen. I know I am not alone when I say that their opening last spring was keenly awaited.  Just what Creemore needed – a little “hipster in the rural hood,” so to speak, with good food & drink to boot.

Creemore Kitchen restaurant exterior

The contemporary-but-cozy, white wood-sided building references a barn and is the perfect aesthetic for the “farm to table” adage of CK.

creemore kitchen bar christmas pickles preserves

“Everything in the restaurant comes from our home,” explains Sam Holwell, who runs the front of house. “It’s just who we are – the food, the music, the style.”  This overall vibe, if you will, is relaxed but intentional.  From the grey army-issue wool blankets that drape casually over the eclectic mix of chairs, to the rustic raw sumac branches that artfully showcase birds, gingerbread and other homemade Christmas decorations, the feel is all “house made.”


The same house-made ethos is evidenced in the menu as well. Caesar Guinto is inspired by his pastoral environs and the healthy ‘100-mile’ culture of the village of Creemore.  “Local” isn’t just about food source and proximity for Sam and Caesar, though – it’s about relationships.

“We want to be able to say to people – see that table over there?  They grew your food!”  This language of “good food local” resonates for both of them and they pride themselves on the collaborative and dynamic relationship that exists between the front of the house, the kitchen and their community.


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2013/12/04 / Shanan


So – this holiday thing.  It’s really happening.  Over the last three days I’ve been witness to approximately 3,407 blogger gift guides, I may or may not have already listened to my favourite Christmas song (John Mellencamp’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” in case you were wondering, and no, I’m not even a tiny bit embarrassed) and contemplated overpriced tree ornaments from Anthropologie.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Did that sound cynical?  My heart’s not actually made of coal, I promise.  I find one of the nicest aspects of the lead-up to Christmas is that people get more social – hosting intimate get-togethers and festive dinner parties, breaking bread and drinking wine and indulging in that extra slice of cake.  With this in mind, over the course of December Gillian and I will be setting a series of holiday-inspired tables for your viewing pleasure.  Cheers!


Today we have what I’m calling the ‘Earthy Maximalist’ table.  The trick is to apply the ‘more is more’ philosophy without veering dangerously into gaudy-ville (which is a wholly subjective territory altogether, natch).  We used the gorgeous floral Marimekko fabric from this post as the tablecloth base, and layered it with patterned china and stoneware in shades of blue and white.  Hits of gold and green round it all out with ribbon, gilded milkweed pods, and decorative glassware.










We managed to set this table entirely with elements we already had in our homes, but I’ll put together a rough list of sources below…

Sources:  Oodi floral print fabric from Marimekko  /  vintage stoneware and china plates and bowls from Gillian’s collection: china pattern is Royal Crown Derby, mikado blue, grey plates are Royal Doulton in frost pine  /  silverware from William Ashley (a wedding gift from my grandmother)  /  grey linen napkins made by my friend Lisa, with fabric from Affordable Textiles on Queen West  /  tiny green glass bunny salt cellars from Fishs Eddy  /  Jere-esque brass flower sculpture from Ebay, similars here  /  gold ribbon from The Paper Place  /  gold-leaf applied to milkweed pods by The Symmetric.

Stay tuned for another holiday table next week!

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2013/11/08 / Gillian


We at The Symmetric have been burning some midnight oil – launching the new site and preparing for our inaugural trunk show (we’ll have a sneak preview of some projects we’ve been working on next week!).  At different points in my life, late nights and deadlines would have been rolled out with a little help from The Mighty Triumvirate:  Strong coffee (we’re talking jet fuel, here), dark chocolate, and in my university days (cough), cigarettes.  Older and wiser, the combination of sleep deprivation and jitters heralds a different sort of pick-me-up: fresh juice!

vegetable juice ingredients fresh

True, I’m a convert.  This former bad girl has crossed to the light side. It’s all Gwyneth Paltrow, greens and juicing over here.  You may say, ‘boring’… YAWN… but I must admit, this stuff is pretty great. So, when Shanan confessed all starry-eyed  the other day that she wished we lived in a juice bar, we both giggled (standing order these days) and added it to our wish list for The Symmetric’s future empire. We did tell you we’re taking over the world, right?  One step at a time that is. And this morning, it’s with power juice.

We recommend using a juicer for best results (you can still make a decent juice with a high-powered blender, but you’ll have to add water and it won’t be as smooth). We also try to use organic and/or garden fresh veg where we can.  It’s pretty hard to make bad juice (really, any veggies will work) but here are a couple of our favourite combos:


2 carrots (peeled)

2 stalks of celery

1 beet

1 red pepper

1 lemon (peeled)

1/2 cucumber (peeled)

a slice or two of fresh ginger

a few slices of apple, if you prefer a sweeter taste

champion juicer green recipes


2 stalks of celery

1 green pepper

1 cucumber

1 lemon (peeled)

1-2 cups of fresh spinach, swiss chard, or kale

1 large handful of fresh parsley

* a tomato and carrot also make nice additions, if you want to turn your juice into more of an orange, faux-V8 concoction


Gwyneth’s new-ish Bible cookbook, It’s All Good, has some delicious recipes for fresh juice, too – the cucumber, basil and lime being particularly tasty.  Yes, it’s a full-on chick crush.  For now, that’s a wrap.  First blog. Done. Have a lovely weekend!  ~ Gillian

All photos by The Symmetric.

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2013/10/21 / Shanan


My blogging’s been a little light this past week and for that I do apologize.  Thought I would show you a quick behind-the-scenes of some of the (still sort of secret) upcoming projects that Gillian and I have been working on! It’s been a humorous and dare I say humbling mixed bag.

Image above: Country glamour is not so easy to pull off.

wasps nest

Gillian ‘adjusting’ the abandoned wasp’s nest (I used to order these things off of Ebay to use in projects, so, cue the groaning from my art school friends).

vintage book collection

Slowly amassing our collection of weird vintage books.

location scouting

Not too shabby: photo-shoot location-scouting while out on my morning walk.


Working with kids in tow.  Some major attitude-copping.


Unintentionally arty jewelry outtake – necklace avec bruised apple and creeping ladybug.