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Bento Collection and more

Bentos numbered

 

So as promised, this is a post about my bento collection to date, and where I was able to purchase everything. Above I have numbered my collection (for a photo without markings, refer the the gallery). Please note that for most of these, I have mentioned them in previous posts, so please look to the right side to refer to past posts. The newer ones I will go into more detail today.So lets start!

1. Viewshop: 1972 St catherine, Montreal, Quebec H3H1M4
2. Jtown, store name SILK: 3160 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 4G9
3. Banzai: 2120 boulevard Decarie, Montreal, H4A 3J3
4. Jtwon, store name SILK5. Jtwon, store name SILK
6. Dollarama, Alexis Nihon (found in all, in baby section)
7. Dollarama, Alexis Nihon (sold out about a week after arrival)
8. Dollarama, Alexis Nihon (found in all, in baby section)
9. Viewshop
10. Viewshop
11. Viewshop (see below for more detail)
12. Ebay
13. Jtown, store name SILK
14. Dollarama, 1934 Sainte Catherine Ouest (sold in all)
15. Dollarama, 1934 Sainte Catherine Ouest (sold in all)
16. Ebay (see below for more detail)
17. Ebay (see below for more detail)

DSC00001 These are my two favourite bentos I own. The turquoise one (which seems blue in this picture), I got from the Viewshop for $7.99 (they also have it in an orange version and a pink version). Not only is it microwave safe, but I also find it holds the most amount of food for its size (except for the round ones but they are not always easy to pack in a smaller bag for work). DSC09746My Panda is probably my favourite because…well look at him! He is also probably my most useless bento. He has ridiculously little storage, falls apart without the elastic  band, and I have no idea what I will be able to put in there, but I know I wont be able to use him until I have a baby. However he is still so cute to look at. I bought him off of Ebay for $20, had the most horrible Ebay experience ever, but it finally arrived 45 days after my order. Refer to the gallery for an image of the inside containers.

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My newest and also most loved item, (THAT I RECEIVED TODAY!!!), are these adorable Kawaii food picks. I bought these off of Ebay for a total of $8.45 and absolutely love them to bits. Not only are their little faces adorable…but look at those little shrimp! And the hotdog octopus is such an iconic food option for bento-ers. I also found thesejapanese-bento-food-pick-10-pcs-for-bento-box-veggie equally cute vegetable picks (lemon, carrot, sweet pea, tomato), and if they only had little kawaii faces they would be perfect! I have to admit that I am loving food picks at the moment and even have a bid on Ebay ending in 5 hours that I am hoping to win.

 

DSC00008Now I have to talk about the benefit of places like Dollerama to find substitute bento boxes and accessories. I bought this sandwich container which I have used many times. Its a great item when all you want is a sandwich because you don’t need to worry about cramming a full sandwich into a rounded, double tier box. DSC00010I also needed to find something to carry my sauces in (like salad dressing). That was not too big or too small. I had debated these animal containers for a while, but decided they were a pretty good size and very easy to clean. You get two to a package for a dollar. Finally silicone cups are not very cheap still, so when I saw these ones at Dollarama (again, two for a dollar), I had to scoop them up (they also sell them in a bear shape, and ones with feet). These are really helpful when dividing your food items in one tier of a bento box, and are again, very easy to clean.

Finally, if you are visiting my site for the first time and are new to the Bento world, or just want to see some really fun ways to brighten up your bento even more, I suggest you check out this blog post from SMALL POTATOES, http://mysmallpotatoes.com/2013/01/15/whats-in-your-bento-part-one-supplies-for-the-beginner-bento-ers/. She talks about everything bento from the foodsafepens2container, to picks, to food cutters, to even these ingenious food colouring markers. I am still little weary of them because they look so much like sharpies, but they would be so helpful when dressing up your food, Kawaii boiled egg anyone? haha. Anyways, check the blog post out, its very colourful and very inspiring. If you have any questions in regards to anything I posted today (or in any of my blogs), feel free to leave a comment in the comments box below. I am quick to reply and will try to be as helpful as I can.

FUROSHIKI!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Okay okay, I know I said the next post would be on my bento collection to this point, but I simply can not wait. Last night I, for the first time, delved into the world of Furoshiki. Now I have seen these fabric wrappings before as carriers for bento boxes, but I never knew anything about it, other than how pretty the fabrics were. So last night, while visiting one of my most inspirational bento website stores: Bento&Co (http://en.bentoandco.com/), I saw some of their furoshiki fabrics and decided to look more into it. Obviously, I went straight to Pinterest, and 3 hours later (mind you I started this at midnight :S ) I am OBSESSED!

e7e46683e3a0be45ae8ea706d0548b86Now for those who don’t know about Furoshiki (although if your reading my blog your probably VERY familiar, and I am just very late coming to it), it is wrapping objects with square fabric (of various sizes).

Popular among wrapping lunches (bento), this technique can really be used to wrap anything from wine bottles, to flowers, to your tablet, or even shaped nicely into a bag. What is so great about it is simply the diversity and range of a simple piece of square fabric. Your sweetly wrapped lunch bag unfolds into your colourful picnic cloth!

Because it is just a square piece of fabric (from cotton to silk and all inbetween), you could go to a fabric store and pick out your favourite patterns (or, if you are like me, head straight to the liquidation section for a hidden gem), or even look at second hand stores for a great silk scarf. My head immediately goes to using pagne (African cotton), which is always has beautiful colours and patterns, and I already have a huge stock in my closet (that I will hold for another post).

4253a08ec2ca5e9b3e46666cf9caec65 As a beginner in Furoshiki, I suggest these 4 links for quick tutorials on wrapping (if you have others please comment!):
1. http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/08/19/furoshiki/ (features the book Wrapogami, and includes 8 tutorial videos)
2. http://furoshiki.com/techniques/ (simple diagrams on everything from basic wraps, to bottles, to apparel)
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC7MH3EzBWM (Youtube video giving a tutorial on 3 types of bags)
4. http://bklynbrideonline.com/14193/diy-projects/you-me-diy-furoshiki-wrapping/ (blog where she shows a basic wrap for a [bento box])

pagneHere is a quick wrap I did with some pagne I was given from my mother-in-law from Côte d’Ivoire. Now, I don’t drink wine, so I had to use what I have lying around, which ended up being Vanilla Coke (which is another obsession of mine –that they have stopped selling in Canada I think, so I had to resort to a visit to the States– and if you haven’t tried it YOU MUST!!! mmMMmm), and a quick attempt at a bento wrap.

Check out the gallery below, including the cutest Totoro furoshiki ($100 on ebay!! :O !!), Kiki’s delivery service prints, and a beautiful circular lucky cat print.

 

I’m Back

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Hello everyone! Besides bento, there seems to be one big common thread in my posts …they are always far apart!! It has been a YEAR since my last post, and I truly apologize. I honestly got lazy when it came to taking pictures and keeping it up. However, I continue to have lots of views and visitors, and you all deserve updated material!! So, I am going to do my best attempt at providing more frequent postings.

I have found many new things to tell you about, and with my discover of Pinterest this past year, I keep finding new obsessions and inspirations. I am always still trying to find places to buy bento around Montreal (and sometimes Ontario), and have been collecting new stuff along the way.

My next post will be about my complete bento collection and accessories, and where I got everything. I have a new PANDA BENTO, and lots of fun accessories, including some I am still waiting to receive in the mail.

a98abfa03821a7501c30da586cdab35dBefore I give a detailed post about that stuff, I do want to share some amazing blog I’ve come across Pinterest. Now I am a HUGE Studio Ghibli fan (my favorite film is Kiki’s Delivery Service….with My Neighbor Totoro in a tight second), and I came across a blog, who’s author MAKES the food featured in the Ghibli films!!! Check this out: http://www.annathered.com/2010/05/12/ghibli-feast-1-porco-rosso/
She starts with Porco Rosso and does all the films, even Graveyard of Fireflies. I thought this blog was so creative, even if  I wouldn’t eat a herring pie, that I just have to share. All of them looks almost identical to the film.

dsc_0028I am in my mid-twenties and my maternal clock is ringing! I never thought this was true, but for the last year, all I can think about is having a baby. Now the fact that my job requires me to work closely with children and families may have something to do with it, but what ever the case, I have been planning for my future children. Anyways, have you ever seen these Totoro children’s costumes????? CUTEST THING EVER! I have to have one of these at some point. Well this blogger put up a post of different people making these costumes. So cute: http://youandmie.com/tag/totoro/ !! I have also seen them sold on Ebay but the bid starts getting pretty pricey, so maybe it is better to make one yourself, or ask one of your sewing-master friends to help  you out.

Once again, sorry for the disappearance, but please return as I will be very shortly putting up a couple new posts.

Bento in Dollerama!

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It has been a long time since my last post, please excuse me. However, today demands a posting. While going though Dollerama today, I came across BENTO BOXES!! For $2 you could purchase a bento in the shape of the head of a pig or a frog. The bento’s are freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe and BPA free. Too Cute! Image

ImageAnd while you are in there you can pick up some silicone divider cups (either in rectangle or bear shape). They come in green, purple, black and clay colours. There are two in a pack for, I think, 2$ (or less!). They can also be put in the oven for interesting baking, but for cheap bento accessories, they work great.

On another note, an acquaintance of mine went back for a visit in Japan and brought me back some Totoro goodies! A very cute totoro towel, Cat bus Keychain, and a VERY COOL Totoro Daruma!

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***UPDATE*** It has been less then a week, and I went to go back to get the frog bento’s for my nephews AND THEY ARE GONE! I checked 3 Dolleramas in a kilometer radius and I can’t find one frog or pig anywhere! So, if you are in at a Dollerama and find one, SCOOP IT UP! They go very quickly!

Holidays and a New Bento!

It’s obvious, I know, but I have to say it: I LOVE BENTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I know it has been a loooOOooonnggg time since my last post. I was hoping to do a number of posts for my absolutely favourite and most obsessive holiday CHRISTMAS but man it crept up in no time! It was also my first time spending Christmas in Montreal, so I was busy narrowing down the thousands of recipes I could make for Christmas day dinner (needless to say I could have still narrowed down waayy more).

So Christmas came and went with no time for a post, and Valentines day soon followed. Now I have never been a Valentines day nut. It has never been exciting to me, which is rather good because my partner and I don’t have to run frantically around trying to book a reservation at restaurants or stand in line for an hour for an overpriced bouquet of flowers. This year I printed off a small little valentines day card, stuck it in a small ziplock bag and hid it in his bento box for him to find at work. When I came home from my first day at a new job (YAYY!!) I was met with a wonderful, and unexpected(!!), little package. Inside I found some candy and chocolates, and two wonderful surprises from THE VIEWSHOP! First I found a cute little toothpick man I had been eyeing since my last visit to Toronto’s Chinatown (There it was a little smaller at was going for $1.99-why I didn’t buy it I don’t know), and my partner picked it up here for $7.99!!! I told him he shouldn’t have got it, but it is so cute. Finally in my wonderful bag of surprises was….*drum roll* ….A NEW BENTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This wonderful little gem was only $7.99, and came in light pink or this periwinkle purple. I had my eye on this for a while. It is a wonderful 2 tiered bento, good for both hot or cold food, as well as re-heating, AND comes with a plastic fork and spoon (all pictures attached below). It is bigger then all my other bento’s which is great because, despite the beautifully elaborate and over-flowing bento ideas floating all around google, at some point you have to put the lid on it. This bento allows you to put in the amount of food you want, arranged in whatever design and still have room to put the lid on securely. So, despite the fact that I don’t care about valentines day, 2012 was the best Valentines day yet!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, The Viewshop is really one of the best places to get unique, affordable gifts for anyone young or old. They are constantly getting new things in, and their bento supplies are always expanding. If you haven’t stopped by yet, make sure you go someday soon. Check out my past posts for more info on the store.

Oh and can we talk about the Ghibli movie, The Secret World of Arrietty ? How Exciting is this!? I have been trying to find a subtitled version online for AGES, and finally one night I see the previews. Finally I can see a Ghibli film in theatres. I totally discovered Ghibli movies too late, and now I get a chance to see it on the big screen. I hope you are all rushing out in the coming weeks to see it, because it is going to be oooOoooo sooooo good!!

Viewshop Montreal HAS BENTO!!

You read that right, the Viewshop on Saint Catherine Ouest (1972, rue Sainte-Catherine O), across from Provigo, now carries Bento! The first type they carry is a rather large bento (1 tier) for $4.99 in green, blue, yellow, or pink with either a bow on the lid or a clear lid, and a spoon included.I didn’t bring my camera (I doubt they would let me take pictures anyway), so I can’t show you, but they are quite nice, and for the price and size, it is well worth it!

The second type I ended up purchasing. It is a 1200ml bento from Yoo Ee, and came in hot pink, green and blue (I believe..or was it yellow?).  This is a 2 tier, again with a spoon included, and was priced at $12.99. I believe it is more for soups, and I think it is a thermous as well which will keep your hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold, AND it is microwaveable safe! I think it is so cute and so big. I have been waiting for so long for Viewshop to carry bento, so I was so surprised when I saw it them tonight, and for so cheap (compared to the rest of our options as Montrealers).

If you have never visited the Viewshop, I suggest you go as soon as you can. There are sooo many interesting this to look at and everything is so cheap. Great for gifts, beautiful watches for $20, pretty jewelry and makeup, contacts and cases, furniture, stationary stuff, kitchen and dining-ware, clothes that are often on sale, hair stuff….you name it, they have it, and for good prices!

Below you will see a few other pictures I took of the bento I bought, you can click on them to enlarge. Happy hunting!

Matryoshka doll, Babushka, Nesting Doll

What ever name you want to call them, these wooden dolls are absolutely addictive. For those who aren’t familiar, they are just hollow wooden dolls that usually come in sets of 5, that fit into each other, decreasing in size.The come in a variety of designs, and while they are usually women, I have found some wonderful Christmas and Vintage ones.

My obsession for this started when a neighbor of mine went to visit his family in India and brought back a wonderful set for me. It is a gorgeous set of women with green saris and a nose piercing! I have also found through my Google search a picture of the same set beside a number of other sets including a woman with a other colored saris, a Santa set, a Tiger set, Penguin set, Elephant set, and frog set. There a number of them that I hope to add to my collection some day! Click on the image to enlarge and see them up close. It is really how this Russian craft has spread to the rest of the world for new interpretations!

After I received my first nesting doll set, of course I had to discover more. My first and foremost obsession is Christmas and there is a ton of beautiful Christmas nesting dolls out there! If you are in Montreal and looking for some of these Christmas ones, you must stop in to the year-round Christmas store Noel Eternel in Old Montreal (http://www.noeleternel.com/). They have a number of them that are so beautiful…though crazy expensive of course. In the gallery below I will put a number of other Christmas nesting doll pictures.

My Second addition to my beginner collection are these Vintage Pirate nesting dolls I purchased today. My boyfriend and I dropped some clothes off at Salvation Army and in their window display I saw these vintage Pirates. We went in to inquire and the told us that the window display is only sold once a month. So today we woke up at 7 a.m and headed out to wait until the doors opened at 9 a.m. Luckily we were the second in line and the People in front of us were interested in cookbooks. I ran in and grabbed the set (despite a very nice girl who came just 10 minutes after us who was also after them :S), grabbed my boyfriends items and ran out. I was so happy to have grabbed them, while people came storming in the window display. After a good polish they came out beautiful. If you research them on the internet they are quite rare and actually come in a set of 5 with a little cook and monkey to complete the collection, so my hunt is not over! They had no price tag so when we got to the till, I was expected 15$ to pop up, but to our astonishment they only sold them for 1.99$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now THAT is a great day! My boyfriend ended up buying an Atari Flashback, and we also purchased a board game called Pirate and Traveler; clearly it was a pirate day (more pictures of purchases below)! I think we have discovered a new monthly tradition.

Now my hunt continues for nesting dolls new and old. I hope there is a set of Lucky Cat nesting dolls out there somewhere. Please look at the gallery below for other pictures of unique nesting dolls floating around the Net and Good Luck with your obsessive Hunting!

*UPDATE* Recently I had received messages regarding my vintage pirates, and got me curious again as to their history. When I started to google them I saw that someone on EBAY was selling a set of 3 pirates, which look like they are from the same producer as my three, but different characters. So I bid on those (and won! YAY), and saw that the seller was also selling a set of 4 of these new pirates, so of course I bid on those too (and won!! YAY!). So now my collection has expanded to 9 wooden vintage pirate nesting dolls!! I am so thrilled with them all. I was surprised at how much smaller they are than my original three, but I am never the less excited about these…and they are even more pirate-y!! If any of you reading this has any information on the history of these guys, please fill me in!! I would love to know where these come from.

*UPDATE 2014* – Thanks to Anthiny who commented below, I received more information that led me to re-search these guys. I THINK I know where they come from. From looking at similar ones (painting style is almost exact despite different themes), I believe the company Authentic Models Inc made these. There are TONS of different themes such as cats, clowns, farmers, etc.