Torontonian treasures

This post isn’t really wedding related but I thought it may be nice to have a bit of a break and let you know what I’ve been up to the past two weeks.

I decided to spend the month of May with my brother (who is now a semi-Canadian, aka permanent resident) and his girlfriend in Toronto.

So for the month I am living in their ‘den’ on an airbed behind a divide (there’s no door) meant to keep their cute cats Charlie & Mia out. But due to the divide looking like a giant scratching post (apparently it was the only one left) I’ve had a few sleepless nights armed with a squirty water bottle to try and stop the cats from getting in and popping the airbed. (I am actually already on airbed number two as they succeeded in defeating the divide whilst I was out once!)


Whilst I’m here I thought I could learn some new skills. So I booked on a GTA Photography Course to try and learn how to use my Canon 450D/Digital Rebel XSi DSLR properly. I got it at Christmas and have been shooting on manual since I got it but I actually want to understand what I’m doing! So I have 4 weekly sessions of the beginners’ class and then am booked up for an intermediate level weekend workshop. Have had two lessons so far on composition and what all the buttons do and those confusing ‘stops’.

Here’s some photos I took for my composition homework:

GTA Photography Course homework


And here’s one I didn’t show that kinda employs the rule of thirds: a drunken attempt at baking a rainbow cake:


Fell to pieces when trying to cut a slice but it tasted awesome! The cream cheese icing they sell here in tubs is so bloomin’ good!


I also spent an evening taking a life-drawing class. And if life-drawing conjures up images of uncomfortably drawing wrinkly old men in the nude (which it always has for me!) well we all couldn’t be more wrong. I went to a Dr. Sketchy’s life-drawing event where the subjects were hot, skimpily-dressed cowgirls posing provocatively in the back room of a bar to a great rock soundtrack.

Fact: drawing cowgirls whilst listening to Marilyn Manson and supping on wine is so much better than drawing wrinkly old men in a stuffy art room. I did discover I’m not so great at drawing people but the atmosphere and the chance to see what other people drew still made for a great night! There are some really talented people out there! Sadly you’re not allowed to take pictures but have a look at this to see the kind of thing you could end up drawing at Dr. Sketchy’s!

And if you fancy drawing at Dr. Sketchy’s yourself it aint just a Toronto thing. In the UK they have one in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Leeds, Lincoln, London, Manchester & Nottingham!


I was really looking forward to the letterpress workshop I booked and I wasn’t disappointed! I found Tanya’s Snap & Tumble workshop via Google and was pleased to see she had an Adana 8 x 5. As this is the press I have I knew it’d be a great way to finally get mine printing! In the end I actually decided to print on the Craftsman as it’s slightly bigger but the principles are the same so I’m still confident my Adana will be up and running when I get home!

When I got to Tanya’s (which took 3 trains and a short walk: I was impressed I made it seeing as I’m not a native) she chatted to me about how she got into printing and showed me some of her gorgeous cards. And then she let me pick some type to print. I went for a sweet and simple ‘I like you’. I figured printing this at the top of the notepaper could let me write all the reasons why I liked someone underneath: cute right?

Tanya showed me how to lock up the metal type in the chase and how to put that chase into the bed. And then I got to print some blind impressions:

Snap & Tumble letterpress workshop

I love the way the shadow forms the words: beautiful!

After a few of those I decided to go ahead and mix up some ink. I went for a subtle blue by mixing black, blue, yellow and white. Turned out lovely. And so I printed some more…

Snap & Tumble letterpress workshop

And then I got more adventurous and went for the wood type. Being a Northern girl I went for a Northern phrase (not one I use but definitely one I’d bring out if I needed to express my Northern roots!)

Here’s what I printed:

Ey Up letterpress print

For my third mini project I attempted to print on some Moleskines I’d bought especially. They came out really well and the word choice suits the lined paper inside and the fact that I write lists for everything. Sometimes I even write lists to tell me in which order to consult my lists.


So in the three hour workshop I learnt how to use the letterpress (including lots of great tips), got to print 3 different things multiple times and even enjoyed a slice of cherry pie and a cup of tea…

Tanya & tea

Tanya on the press

…and all the while having a lovely chat with Tanya!

If you’re in the Toronto area and have a love of type or craft or pretty printed things you really should do this workshop! And here’s something wedding-related for this post: Tanya also offers Save-the-Date workshops which is a great idea for couples wanting to have an input into their wedding day and get beautiful letterpress printed stationery all at the same time!

If you don’t fancy printing yourself you should still check out Tanya’s work. Because it’s stunning. She also offers wedding stationery sets.

Other stuff

In other news I’ve:

  • watched Exit Through the Gift Shop: an awesome look at street art
  • played several games of Settlers of Catan (and even won once)
  • and even visited the gym in my bro’s condo a few times! (I hate exercise so am pretty pleased I’ve done some)

Hope the diversion from weddings wasn’t too boring! I’ll be back soon with more wedding stuff!


Vendor Details:
Snap & Tumble website
Snap & Tumble blog
Contact Tanya

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9 Responses to “Torontonian treasures”

  1. Jen says:

    I *love* the lists book! Sounds like you’re having a fab time xxx

  2. Ha! Thanks! When I get my printer up and running I will make some more of these and make sure you get one! And yup I am having a lot of fun! Hope all’s good with you : ) xxx

  3. Mich says:

    Did you really do that cat one?! It’s ace! I love it! Do some for me purlease!!!!!! xxx

  4. Yes I really did do that cat one Mich! Can do some for you. Does Tigger like Starbucks? xxx

  5. Dels says:

    I love all of this Debs. You’re so talented, can’t wait to see more stuff when you return home. You do say “Ey Up” sometimes though. Keep having fun x x x

  6. Aww cheers Dels! I only say ‘Ey up’ in emails ; ) Can’t wait to trade info on adventures when I return xxx

  7. Donna says:

    I found your blog through LMW.
    Great that you can do this letterpress in Toronto…Do you know anywhere in the UK that offers a similar service?
    Your stuff looks great. I am a list lover too x

  8. Hey Donna!

    I’ve come across a couple. Such as this one or this.

    Hope they’re of some use?

    Thanks so much for the kind words on the blog x

  9. Clare says:

    I found your blog while searching for information on Letterpress, as I really want my own and I didn’t know where to start and I’ve found your blog so helpful. I would also like to make Wedding invites and now I know what to do… Thank you x

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