Wednesday, January 27, 2010

About Face Collective + Muttonhead Collective = Love

It’s true. We’ve fallen. It all started years ago in a magical living room far, far on the other side of Bathurst… okay we’re not really sure, but there was wine involved. Anyhow, there were definitely sparks from the moment we met each of the Muttonhead Collective members. Like, major girl crush sparks. And although we could easily sit around with this crew all day, every day and braid each other’s hair and have pillow fights, we’re happy we have developed one of those healthy relationships where we actually let each other run around and do our own thing, since Muttonhead’s thing happens to be our new favoritest Canadian apparel line.

Not only is their collection of unisex outerwear and innerwear the bees knees, it’s made using natural, sustainable, locally-sourced and recycled fabrics and produced right here in our own snowy backyard (that’s metaphor talk for Canada), swoon!

AND it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Take, for instance, their pleated pullover, made with hand-dyed hemp cotton, a simple piece with the magic in the details; inset pockets, pleats from the yoke up, contrast buttons, rounded seam edge and a great fit. Price? A hundred bucks! Ladies and mans, put down those two disposable, child-labour-wielding hoodies that you’ll throw the same dollars at and watch disintegrate next week (but never biodegrade), exit h&m and come a runnin! Except, don’t come quite yet; Muttonhead’s premiere line hits stores for Fall/ Winter 2010/11. Get excited! We can’t wait to get our hemp cardigans, recycled Mexican blanket sweaters, leggings with recycled leather patches…

For now you can view the collection online and watch the space for their upcoming Readymades collection. Here you’ll be able to pick up one-of-a-kind Muttonhead pieces; tweaked vintage finds and recycled fabric garments. Heart!

Oh, and their Goretex outdoor jackets and suspender pants with recycled features are totally slope-worthy. So you can guess where we’ll be taking the Muttonheads on our next date, organic Canadian whisky and hot-cocoa equipped.


**Bonus: One lucky winner will score a Muttonhead collective sweater by counting the number of body-part references in this post.

***Editor’s note: Sorry, but Lauren already stole your prize. xo

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mondragon Cafe, my first love

Hello from Winnipeg! To my delight and Jealousy, my friend Jenna, former room mate and fellow dreamer has just landed a job at The Mondragon Cafe in Winnipeg. 2 years ago Jenna and I were visiting a friend here in the Peg and fell in love with this vegan cafe/worker
co-operative/bookstore/marketplace and began envisioning
our own dreams for how we could make this happen in Toronto. Yes folks, this is where it all began. Solar Powered Laundromat they ain't, but what they IS is pretty special.

As I sit here beneath the antique chandelier,
listening to one of the servers shout across the cafe to his friend about the dumpster full of berries and waffles that they are going to go raid later tonight, and take a walk around the space to peruse their books on south american politics, sex and gender issues, politics, economics, ecology, and admire their activist calendar whiteboard by the coffee machines, I'm again overwhelmed by this space and by the possibility to one day make this type of establishment my own.

What seems like too many things rolled into one has been made possible by the dedicated activists, entrepreneurs and community members willing to make this vision a fully functioning reality. I can only hope the same for us overwhelmed, overstimulated, too-busy Torontonians!

-- Natalie

Jenna, my hero, living my someday-dream job!

A view of most of the space, with a bookstore on the left side, featured above.

Interspersed game tables with a whole stack of boardgames on a shelf nearby.

just thought you should check.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

At this rate...

It's official: our little Natalie has set off out into the world all on her own, escaping the grays of the Toronto winter for three months of nomadic wandering. First stop: Winnipeg. Thats right folks. Why the dang anyone in their right mind would choose, of all places, to hit up Manitoba mid January eludes me. Well, it did... until I saw this latest entry on Natalie's travel blog At This Rate featuring one of the most magical thrift shops I've ever seen in my life. We here at About Face love to save treasures from the trash, (I swear it's not just me. Why buy new things when we can get a little creative with some antique gem that would love to be salvaged?!) and by the looks of it, this collective of Winnipegeans (yes, that's the technical term) know what's up.

Nat's going to be reporting on cool shazz like this as she ventures. And don't worry, it's not restricted to the Canadian Prairies (though there is a stretch of highway between Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat that's totally blog-worthy). The list includes San Fransisco, Portland (oh my love), Central America and more... with reports on rad art and enviro initiatives... But I'll let her tell you the rest . I mean, I'm already impressed with the 'Peg! At this rate... I'll be hopping on my bike to catch up to her any day now, antique-packing trailer in tow.


For the record: I actually love the Prairies. I once Jack-knifed a trailer on said stretch of highway and, as a result, met the recipients of the nicest people in the world award. There's also something magical about being able to watch the deer you were distracted by run away for three hours...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

And... We're Back! Happy New Year From The About Face Collective!

Okay, so we’ve been on a serious internet hiatus since early December, but after our rampant campaigning for our entry in the Aviva Community Fund competition, who can blame us? In fact, you’re probably leaning more toward the thankful end of the feelings-about-this spectrum since our constant facebook, twitter, blog and email reminders to vote for us ceased. Well, we’re thankful too (that it’s over!! Even our pee was turning yellow...) and also that we have such an amazing group of friends and supporters who, for whatever reason, believe in us (and a few who are bound by motherhood, grandmotherhood, boyfriendhood and deep-fried mars bars to do so, but shone through in a seriously shiny way).

Anyhow, we didn’t quite get the squajillion votes it took to make it into the final judging round and stay in the running for up to $250k funding for our Solar-powered laundromat/ gallery/ cafĂ©/ garden/ community space. But we would like to congratulate the folks who did (we’re pretty sure you’re superheroes), especially our friend Rob Dyer (who we know for a fact is a superhero) and Skate4Cancer - keep tabs on these incredible kids courtesy of our friends over at The New Beat (see, we do have awesome friends!) by following their Australia/ New Zealand Awareness Skate and associated shenanigans on their blog.

And (if you still love us) keep keeping tabs on us through our blog (you’re reading it!) twitter , facebook and website , ‘cuz while we didn’t get the squajillion votes, we did get about a bajillion. And judging from that and the adorable little love notes we’ve received (we love you, too) it appears as though we have reached a lot of folks who seemingly want to see this project come to fruition as much as we do… and we’re sure it’s not entiiiirely due to our bribes -I mean… promises- to wash your delicates for you if we won.

2009 was a year of monumental experiences for us (umm; forming, creating our logo and (still quite ghetto) website, holding our (amazing!) first fund-raising event, accepting the David Suzuki Foundation Scholarship to attend the OSEA Community Power Conference, dining with David Suzuki (!), and high fiving George Smitherman for the Ontario Green Energy Act … to name a few). 2010 is sure to be another big one for The About Face Collective. Although we have slightly less than the $250, 000 we may have had heading into this year, we now know that we have the resources and support it will take us to get there. And we’ll continue to work toward raising funds to make this happen the old fashioned way: pawning my little sister’s hand in marriage to millionaires… kidding! We’ll be doing a lot of grant writing, funding application and research this year. So like I said, exciting year ahead! Wooh!

Happy New Year From The About Face Collective!

(For millionaires only: please contact if you are interested in 5’8” brunettes or supporting art and the environment)