the hosts' party

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Goats

“When somebody comes to our farm and meets our goats, they get so excited. Then they get to play with the goats, and the goats actually respond and engage with them. It’s a memorable experience.”

Deb & Shain
the friendly farmers Deb & Shain Nightingale

Confections

“We brought home four adorable little Nigerian Dwarf goats in 2009 and we discovered their milk was truly special. I started making creams, lotions, and confections and people wanted to purchase them. That became the inspiration for us to start our company.”

Deb & Shain
the friendly farmers Deb & Shain Nightingale

The Garden

“We have a vegetable garden where we grow cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, and all sorts of great herbs. We use these fresh ingredients in combination with delicious produce from local farmer’s markets when cooking our meals.”

Deb & Shain
the friendly farmers Deb & Shain Nightingale

Cabin Feel

“We wanted a log cabin look for the cottage because it feels a lot more welcoming. There’s also bit of a chalet feel so guests can instantly feel relaxed.”

Don Price
the cottager Don Price

Get There Early

“One of the traditions we have is that the people who arrive first get to pick which bedroom they want. This gives people incentive to get up there early and start their cottage experience.”

Don Price
the cottager Don Price

Gather Around

“Having a campfire at the cottage is a must every weekend we are there. It’s the final event of the day. Plus it’s great for making s’mores and sharing stories.”

Don Price
the cottager Don Price

Childhood Piano

“In my home, I have an old baby grand Kimball piano which was actually the piano that I learned to play on. It was the first expensive thing my dad says he ever bought, and it belonged to my parents up until about 10 years ago when they gave it to me.”

Ashleigh Semkiw
the modern soprano Ashleigh Semkiw

Stage Presence

“I began studying vocal music as a bit of a fluke because I auditioned for my high school musical and ended up getting the lead just by singing “Oh Canada.” A retired opera singer in the audience approached my mother and said "I would love to give your daughter vocal training" and next thing you know, I'm travelling all over the world performing on stages big and small.”

Ashleigh Semkiw
the modern soprano Ashleigh Semkiw

Fatherly Influence

“Our house was never a quiet house, it was filled with music. My dad has an amazing collection of records that he was always playing at home and it made me want to start writing my own. As a result, my first performances were in front of my family.”

Ashleigh Semkiw
the modern soprano Ashleigh Semkiw

Wooden Cheese Boards

“When serving cheese, presentation is very important. I always use a wooden board because it helps bring out the interesting properties of different cheeses. Also, cutting cheese into different shapes brings out the uniqueness of a cheese board.”

Shep Ysselstein
the rural artisan Shep Ysselstein

Cows & Fresh Milk

“If you’re going to make high quality cheese, you need high quality milk. And because we’re using milk from my parents’ dairy farm, we know we’re serving our guests nothing but the best.”

Shep Ysselstein
the rural artisan Shep Ysselstein

5 Brothers Cheese

“Growing up on a farm as one of five boys, you were always expected to pitch in and help out. But when you weren’t working, it was great to play outside in nature. In honour of these times, I named our most popular cheese 5 Brothers, and always have some out when our friends and family come over.”

Shep Ysselstein
the rural artisan Shep Ysselstein

Spirit House

“The statue of Buddha can be found in the spirit house. The spirit house is in the gym, and is a shrine. There are pictures of the king and queen, as well as flowers and other spiritual pieces.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Carved Melons

“It is common in Thai culture to have carved melon sculptures present at meals. Everything has been handmade, and with a sharp knife. Like any piece of art, it takes focus and attention to detail to complete.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Boxing Shorts

“Just like the head bands, the shorts are red and blue. Each fighter is dressed in one of the colours. These are symbols of Muay Thai.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Trophies

“We have many trophies at the gym including one from the world Muay Thai Championship, where over 135 countries compete. We proudly won first place, however, I think that people should be respected for their work, not for how many trophies they have.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Thai Pads

“At home I have Thai pads, Thai gloves and chin guards to train my two kids. They use the gloves and headgear, and love holding up the Thai pads to help their friends train. They think it’s fun and it’s a great way get people interested in Muay Thai and stay active.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Ceremonial Headbands

“Blue and red headbands are used as spiritual items. We believe they offer protection to help us stay away from accidents and trouble. They are meant to protect during training, learning and fighting.”

Suchart Yodkerepauprai
the champion chef Suchart Yodkerepauprai

Lucy the Judy

“Not only is the mannequin a party favour, she's also the centerpiece at a clothing swap. Clothing on a hanger may not stand out, but when Lucy the Judy is dressed in something very extravagant, it can really help to bring things to life.”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Tea Set

“For me, I love drinking all kinds of tea. It's relaxing, refreshing and good for your body. Antique pieces like my tea set add a little bit of flare to my home décor. Plus, I use these pieces to display jewelry at parties!”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Jewelry and Displays

“I love to show jewelry on a white background. Spray-painting a skid white shows character of the wood, especially when staging pictures for my website or Pinterest, and painting them gold can make for a great necklace rack for clothing swaps.”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Dresses

“I've always been a visual and creative person, and the way I've done that is through shopping and thrifting and creating an outfit. Sourcing vintage fashion is a great way to add something unexpected to your clothing swap.”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Vases and Mason Jars

“It keeps my place pretty and whimsical. I love taking old mason jars and spray-painting them baby blue, white, gold, and rose. After, I fill them with flowers which really helps to make the colour pop!”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Wooden Crates

“These crates add a little bit of height, depth and drama to my place. They add an antique, rustic, do-it-yourself flare that brings the room together. And they're great for displaying shoes.”

Chelsea Roshko
the vintage spirit Chelsea Roshko

Handcrafted Oyster Knives

"Before I became a professional oyster shucker, I received a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Toronto. My shucking knives are all about anatomy and sports sciences. Each knife has a 135-degree angle that creates a lever which makes it easier to shuck."

Patrick McMurray
the shucking traveller Patrick McMurray

Shucking Trophy

"I won this trophy in Ireland at the Galway Island World Oyster Opening Championships. I’ve been named the fastest oyster shucker in the world twice and in 2010, I was in the Guinness Book of World Records for shucking 38 oysters in one minute."

Patrick McMurray
the shucking traveller Patrick McMurray

All Canadian Shucking Puck

"This puck is the perfect height to raise an oyster off a tray for shucking. It’s made with full on Canadian rubber. I once brought the puck to Florida for a TV shoot in 110 degrees weather. The cameraman told me I was a crazy Canuck with my shuck and puck."

Patrick McMurray
the shucking traveller Patrick McMurray

Ceili’s Piano

"I always wanted a piano for an Irish bar. The executive Chef at the Distillery was hosting an oyster festival I was working at and offered me the piano in lieu of pay. I keep it at The Ceili Cottage where people are invited to play it anytime. It’s made out of local southern Ontario wood so it naturally expands and contracts with the environment."

Patrick McMurray
the shucking traveller Patrick McMurray

Irish Clock

"My grandparents brought this clock over from Ireland with them in 1910. It was a fixture at my Nana’s house, then it went to my parents’ place and finally it ended up at my house. It had been in our house for about a week when it suddenly started chiming for the first time in about 60 years."

Patrick McMurray
the shucking traveller Patrick McMurray

Nonna's Cookbook

“When I first moved out, my mom took all of the family recipes that she had accumulated from both sides of the family (Japanese and Italian) and compiled them in a cookbook. She took the time to hand write them out, step-by-step, to make sure my sister and I could carry them on and put our own spin on them.”

Kevin Sato
the creative Kevin Sato

My Kicks

“When you have people over, the first thing they notice is what you're wearing. Shoes can often be overlooked as part of an outfit but are a great way to add a little flair. I like to have options.”

Kevin Sato
the creative Kevin Sato

Vinyl Collection

“I have albums from the 50's all the way through to today. With vinyl, there’s always that sense of discovery. You never know what album someone will gravitate towards and I sometimes even forget what I own. You have to change the album side every few songs, so you end up changing the mood and direction of the night with each side.”

Kevin Sato
the creative Kevin Sato

Mason Jar Stocking Stuffers

“I love giving gifts in mason jars. They’re obviously trendy right now but they’re so convenient. I’ll layer non-perishable ingredients from one of the recipes in my book, or I’ll fill a jar with a homemade nut butter, raw cookie balls or a granola recipe from joyoushealth.com.”

Kevin Sato
the healthy hostess Joy McCarthy

Smooth Like Butta

“I have a lot of really great organic products that are completely toxin free. This body butter gives you a nice glow for a party. It’s amazing – there’s no ingredient you can’t put on a spoon. It feeds and nourishes your skin, leaving it really soft.”

Kevin Sato
the healthy hostess Joy McCarthy

The Honest Leaf – The Joyous Blend

“I collaborated with another holistic nutritionist and went through about a million taste tests until we finally got it exactly how I liked it. It’s an organic green rooibos blend that’s fresh and lemony. It’s a great tea for the holidays because it’s very detoxifying.”

Kevin Sato
the healthy hostess Joy McCarthy

Joyous Health

“Joyous Health is a celebration of eating and living joyously. The first half is about healthy lifestyles – things like listening to music and how it’s a nutrient for our brain, detoxification and what I call “Vitamin G” (Green Space) which is making sure you get outside everyday. The second half of the book is full of delicious, healthy recipes.”

Kevin Sato
the healthy hostess Joy McCarthy

Inspirational Quotes

“My dad always gave me self-help and inspirational books when I was growing up so I’ve always loved quotes. Having those messages to read every time I come into my office or throw a party is just such a great way to set the stage.”

Kevin Sato
the healthy hostess Joy McCarthy