Would you like to come and meet me?

I write for the Lee Valley Newsletter.  If you aren’t familiar with  Lee Valley I’m not sure how you ended up in a place like this, but I’ll explain it for you.

Lee Valley is like the Disney World for anyone who likes to do anything.  Actually, if you’re a lump who doesn’t have a single interest in the world, even you would like Lee Valley.  Lee Valley is like the retail version of me.  They carry all the best, most useful, interesting and odd items you’d ever need for gardening, cooking, woodworking and life in general.  Need the best little pressed glass cupboard knobs?  Lee Valley.  Yes. I own em.

I also own their push mower, knife sharpener, U Digger, brix tester, planters and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember because it’s just a part of my life.  I love Lee Valley.  Always have.

So a couple of years ago when they called and asked if I’d like to write an article for their newsletter I screamed I LOVE LEE VALLEY!!!  Only I didn’t really scream it because it was in an email.  I did however say yes, and I’ve been writing articles for them pretty much every month since then.

I bet you’re wondering how this all leads to coming to meet me?

A couple of months ago Lee Valley told me they were opening a brand new store in Kingston, Ontario.  And they wanted me to be there for it.  Would I come and do a couple of workshops for them and meet people in the store.

You BET.



But the fun doesn’t end there.  I’m going to be giving away some of my Art of Doing Stuff cleaver tea towels, bookmarks and a sharing some of my favourite Thanksgiving recipe tricks.

I’ll be showing you how to make a Thanksgiving themed table runner that revolves all around the harvest.  Once I show you what to do, you should be able to go home and make this table runner yourself for about $25.

And did I mention that the workshop is free?  I think I mentioned that.  There are 2 workshops.  Both will be exactly the same, it’s only the times that are different.

I’m really, really hoping that some of you that are within driving distance of Kingston will come by because you all know me but I never get the chance to talk to you.  The reader who comes from the furthest distance gets a tea towel!

As you know I don’t ever promote or talk about things I don’t actually use and love.  Lee Valley is no different. I’ve been a fan of theirs for years and I’m genuinely excited to give this workshop during the opening of their newest store.







  1. Jamieson says:

    Poop, I’m up north that weekend with the family or I’d suggest you invite me along for a chatty road trip!!

  2. Jill Riley says:

    I am sad that Lincoln, NE is a little far for a road trip! Have fun!

  3. Therese says:

    If I come over from Melbourne, Australia, would I get the tea-towel? Only joking – I’m doing something else that day 🙂

  4. Auntiepatch says:

    Let’s see. A trip to Canada from San Diego CA for a tea towel. I would if I could but I can’t so I shan’t. But have fun!

  5. Brit says:

    Sigh…Northern California is just too far away. Have fun!

  6. jamie says:

    Darn it! Would TOTES love to meet you. But, alas,Northern California to Ontario is a wee bit far. And Lee Valley sounds amazing

  7. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Wish I didn’t live in Alabama…


      From Alabama also! (Auburn) Would love to meet and share!

      • Gretchen Sexton says:

        Well Marilyn, I just google-mapped the route…17 hours more or less. Will pass on the L-O-N-G road trip this round. Good idea though…

        • Dana says:

          I’m in Alabama, too! Ladies, we need a road trip! Just teasing. I’d love to go but we just moved and I’m surrounded by boxes. Does it count if we go in spirit, Karen?

  8. Kelly Wolfe says:

    I am up for a 2 hour road trip to have you show me how to make a fall table runner. Maybe it will be my lucky day and I will walk away with a cleaver tea towel, too! See you in October!

    • Karen says:

      2 hours … that’s pretty good Kelly! I’m hoping there’s at least one person that has to drive further than me though, lol. I’ll start screen printing those tea towels today! (3 hrs) ~ karen!

  9. Sandi says:

    I’ve loved lee valley for years and years too!!

  10. Lin N says:

    Hey come do a workshop at Lee Valley, Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C!!!

  11. Paula says:

    I second the sentiment re: Lee Valley – I LOVE Lee Valley and I don’t think that I could list everything that I have purchased there on one page. My first purchase was at least 15 years ago and it was an irrigation system for planters on my deck. The catalogs arriving at my home are the highlight of my week, whatever week they happen to arrive.

    Anyway, I won tickets to Upper Canada Village so perhaps I could combine the trip considering they are in similar neck of the woods.

  12. Elaine says:

    Gee, I wish I could come, Karen!! Wondering if you will ever do a show in Dundas, Ancaster or Burlington?? I love Lee Valley too and their amazing gadgets and wish they would bring a store to the “Power Centre” in Ancaster. I bet it would do well. I’ve been a fan of yours forever and would get a kick out of meeting you.

    Have fun in Kingston!

    • Liz Walter says:

      I agree with Elaine-do a show here in Burlington! PLEASE!!!!!!
      My most recent favourite Lee Valley gadget is a can opener that has the mechanism like the “Swing Away” kind with the big handles but it has no handles. Fits great into the drawer and works like a charm!

  13. Mel Clench says:

    Lee Valley to me is like a kid in a candy shop

  14. nancy says:

    Lee Valley is so awesome! and I love to get their emails. I went home to Louisiana a few weeks ago and there is my redneck vegan (confusing) brother in the recliner reading his new Lee Valley catalog. A moment of true bonding for us.

  15. Bobbi says:

    Well, first I’d have to get a passport…..hmmmmm….

  16. what Auntiepatch said but from L.A. shame. I would’ve loved to meet you. look me up when you come out to the coast.

  17. Kathy Hartzell says:

    I most certainly would search it its to see if I could come from San Francisco Bay Area…..but it is Honeciming and I have 550 Cal Bears coming for lunch!!!

    I adore Ler Valley. And you.


  18. Wendi Miller says:

    It’s an eight hour trip for me, but I would actually consider doing it anyway. But OF COURSE that is the weekend that we’ll be visiting my daughter who is away at college! GAH!!! Please keep letting us know when and where you’ll be making appearances. One of these days…. :o)

  19. M says:

    Where’s the link to the newsletter?

  20. Shauna says:

    Let’s see, Google Maps says the drive time is 1 day, 16 hours, but only 1 day, 14 hours without traffic. Maybe if I time it right…

  21. Pam'a says:

    I’ve loved Lee Valley since forever! The husband and I fight over the catalog when it comes in the mail, and I’d have a hard time listing everything around here that came from them. Only once did I ever purchase a “lemon” from them, and they cheerfully refunded my money, no questions asked.

    I can’t think of a better company to pitch, Karen. 🙂

  22. Kiki says:

    We Need a Lee Valley in South Africa…. then maybe we get to meet you too!?!

  23. MaggieB says:

    Google Maps is pants! It won’t even try to calculate a route of any kind from Germany – sulky bottom lip. I also second the motion that Lee Valley should consider international branches!

    Am positive that the day will be stellar. Lots of fun and interesting absolutely necessary purchases to all lucky enough to be able to go.

  24. MissChris from SA says:

    Alas, South Africa is a tad far to come…………………

  25. Robert says:

    I’m not as far as South Africa but I’d still need a passport to go met you

  26. Erika Collins says:

    Well Washington State is a little too far away but based on your recommendation I will check out Lee Valley!
    Erika C.

  27. Jim Mills says:

    I am a Lee Valley person too.
    Wanted to add for our American friends they have a U.S. Website.
    Jim M.

  28. Roxy says:

    Love Lee Valley. Got my Bogs there before they were trendy. Now every idjiot is wearing them.

    Also bought the little doorknobs for my birch cupboards. Still good after 20 years!

  29. Kim C says:

    2 hours…hmm. I love Lee Valley, your blog, Kingston, tea towels,and road trips! I see a plan coming together (rubbing chin in deep thought).
    Besides all the great products, Lee Valley also has the best customer service around.

  30. Jack Barr says:

    Hi Karen:
    Great blog, keep it up.
    I wouldn’t have doubted that you’d be a Lee Valley fan; they both make and sell quality items, most unavailable at “big box” hardware stores. As a wood carver/woodworker, I’ve been going to Lee Valley since Leonard Lee had one tiny shop just off Carling Ave. in Ottawa and was just publishing his first (then tiny) catalogue. My wife thinks I have shares in the company. I’m an easy “buy” for Christmas and birthday- a little disposable cash to spend at- you guessed it- Lee Valley.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jack! Yes. I love Lee Valley, lol. I’d love to have seen the original shop! And I forgot to mention in the post, that the Lee Valley catalogue is what I curl up on the couch with and circle items I want like I used to do when I was a kid before Christmas. 🙂 ~ karen!

  31. Ann says:

    I am not sure who I love more. You or Lee Valley. But alas, like most, I am too far away for that kind of road trip.

  32. Alana says:

    If my passport were only current, I would seriously consider coming from Harrisburg, PA, USA for a chance to meet you!

  33. Carolyn Boyd says:

    Oh, I love Lee Valley! Used to go there when I lived in the Toronto area, now I go to the one in Dartmouth, NS. My hubby and I love their merch. I think they should bring you to beautiful Nova Scotia and do a workshop at the shore here?!

  34. Karol says:

    I would have had a better chance driving to Graceland to meet you, Florida is too far away. I’m jealous of all who will get to go.
    And apparently I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve never heard of Lee Valley, but I am investigating. Thanks.

  35. Fran says:

    Would it be possible to see a photo of the runner? I was thinking of asking my daughter to come with me to meet you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran! I haven’t made the runner yet. 🙂 I’m making it while we’re all at Lee Valley. I’ll be doing a few test runs here to get it right but I can tell you I’m doing my best to make it out of inexpensive items that will give you BIG impact. And it will be a true harvest table runner, so lots of vegetables etc. in it. Does that help? ~ karen!

  36. I was SOOO hoping it was going to be Burlington…but THAT Lee Valley is ALREADY open …I vote you do this gig there too, and I will be there for sure!!!

  37. Heather says:

    I would so do the 3 hour trek to Kingston and maybe stay at one of my favourite hotels (http://www.bestwesternkingston.ca/default/) They have the best roast beef dinner anywhere and the nicest rooms. But I am committed to a girls’ weekend up north. Girls weekend? Road trip? Girls weekend? Road trip? I think I better stick with girls weekend (it’s only a 2 hour drive).

    You need to convince Lee Valley to do a workshop at their Burlington location.

    • Carswell says:

      ^^ This. I would come in a heartbeat being a big fan of yours – and of Lee Valley.

      I loves me some Lee Valley catalogues – I can sit and read them like a recipe book. The product blurbs are always so interesting and informative. I’ve learned tons of stuff about things I will never need nor use – and lots of stuff about their products that I do own.

  38. AngieC says:

    Alas, I am not allowed in Lee Valley without adult supervision. Also, I’m in Alberta so it’s a bit of a drive.

  39. Ev Wilcox says:

    Too far. Would very much like to meet you though! Surely there must be something about northeast Ohio to draw you here! Well, not really. Just wishin’. Have a good time anyway! @#$%^&*(lucky people….

  40. marilyn says:

    lee valley 🙂

  41. Mel says:

    I’m only about 2 hours away. But with two babies that equals about 16 hours, so we will see. My husband and I really like Kingston, they have an awesome brew pub and cute downtown.

  42. cbblue says:

    We could form a caravan! I would have to sneak across the border which I am considering anyway. Karen if all your fans came for your class they would think Lee Valley was under siege. A wonderful, slightly screwy siege.

  43. Janalee says:

    Only 2 hours away, sounds like a great day trip!

  44. Ann Brookens says:

    It looks like Lee Valley needs to expand to Germany, Australia, South Africa, and various US locations, including central Illinois! If they sent you to all those openings, just think how many new customers they would get! Your legions of admiring fans would mob the stores.

  45. Deb says:

    Karen, I hope that if I could travel to Kingston from Alabama that I would win a cleaver tea towel (for coming to see you from afar), but I’d crawl across glass from Alabama to Kingston if I could win THAT DRESS by doing so! (Ok, I’ve mentioned THAT DRESS many times before in my comments to you, so I’m realizing that my obsession may be bordering on unhealthy). THAT DRESS is so far beyond awesome that I can’t even describe! And while I have white hair in almost the same cut as yours (honest to Pete, I’m not trying to copy you, nor am I a crazed stalker – honest) I’m sadly realizing that THAT DRESS is ‘yours’ alone, and would do nothing flattering for my shape. But I could just hang it on a lovely hanger and just admire it, perhaps!? Ok, maybe my obsession passed unhealthy a while ago. Sorry. Enjoy your time in Kingston, and give THAT DRESS a little collar tug from me, please!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I threw the dress out just last week! ……. Just kidding. Trying to see if I could get your heart rate up. It’s safely in my closet. ~ karen!

  46. carla gruszecki says:

    Lee Valley is a cool store. I know a fellow who works in the one in Calgary, Alberta. (Just a little fun fact) I am actually flying into Kingston for the first time in my life on October the 5th. Bummer. Not a bummer that I’m coming into Kingston you understand, as I have heard it is a lovely city and I’m looking forward to seeing it. A bummer that I shall miss your appearance. Anyway, I love your blog (found you through the Costco article in the summer) Keep up the excellent work. Looking forward to reading your post about it. A few pictures might not go amiss as well as I shant be able to work Lee Valley into my schedule.

  47. Barbie says:

    How Awesome! Wish I could come from Spokane! How far is that?

  48. Vanessa says:

    I love Lee Valley too, and have actually outfitted a lot of the insides of our new IKEA kitchen cupboards with their pullout systems. I smile everytime I pull one out. Those folks out at Kingston are a lucky bunch, I’ll admit I’ve had thoughts of “hmm I wonder if I’ll run into Karen here today, and also how awkward would I actually be if I saw her?” when I was in and out of there all summer – but then I have no idea if it’s the Ottawa store you frequent.

  49. kate-v says:

    I never heard of Lee Valley, but I guess I better google them ’cause everyone else seems to love them. Have fun at your store opening seminar – it does sound like fun. I ‘m also very far away – at the south end of the San Francisco bay – so will pass on this one.

  50. Annie1946 says:

    Karen, Would love to come but I was diagnosed with shingles a few days ago (I’m only 4 hours away). I love Lee Valley, when we visit our son in Fort Erie I have a look at the catalogues, make a list and we would stop at the Burlington Store and now we stop in at the new Woodbridge Store which is even handier as we drive right past it. I wish we had a store nearer us as ordering online is just not the same as going to the store.


  51. Rosanne says:

    Will it be recorded and put on their/your site for those who can’t make it?

  52. Tigersmom says:

    I love Lee Valley and I have those knobs on the upper cabinets in my kitchen.

    I can’t make the trip, but I implore you to please use all your powers of persuasion to convince Lee Valley that the next store they open should be in Dallas.

  53. Cussot says:

    I just bought a tiffin at the Ottawa Lee Valley – it has already been on two camping trips. It didn’t occur to me until I was in the field that I could use the stacking containers as pots on my camp stove. Worked wonderfully.

    And Ottawa is Disney World for real, of course, what with Lee Valley right down the street from an enormous Ikea. But have fun in Kingston!

  54. Ruth says:

    Here’s the thing… Lee Valley sounds just like a US-based store we have over here, and – can you believe it? – it’s in Kingston too…. Kingston, Jamaica.

    True Value in Kingston, Jamaica… and I live within driving distance, but you prefer to stay with Lee Valley in Kingston, Ontario. That’s okay. I’m a big girl. I can take it. *goes off in search of chips*

  55. Shawna Greyling says:

    I will be there with bells on! My office is 2 minutes away from the store. So looking forward to meeting you! Can you bring Cuddles?

  56. Mireille says:

    ehrmygod. I was already excited to go to the opening, but now I’ll get to go twice in a week and see you to boot! Thank you for coming Karen, can’t wait!

  57. Mary Kay says:

    DANG! I need to get a passport.


    From Alabama also! (Auburn) Would love to meet and share! Dag gum!

  59. Sue says:

    Hmmm. I hope you send this response thread to the Lee Valley folks! (love them!!)

    How about trying to set something up with them to do the San Francisco and Seattle Garden shows?

  60. Melissa in NC says:

    Would love to meet you and mame the harvest runner but I am in

  61. Melissa in NC says:

    Switzerland meeting my grandson, Oliver! Have a blast. I’m sure you will have a great turn out.

  62. Daphne says:

    If I didn’t have to fly for 10 hours…. But if anyone feels the need to buy me a ticket I will make sure I’m there. 😉

  63. Caroline Bedard says:

    Wahhhh! I LOVE Lee Valley. (Sorry for yelling.) I’d love to see you at a Lee Valley store! I can’t travel to Canada from California just to do that, though. My husband would not understand.
    When my kids were at UofT and I flew up to help them move in or out of housing, I went to Lee Valley Hardware every chance I got. It’s one of my happy places. I know I can order online, and it’s easier than most online shopping between the US and Canada. But I love to spend time there, admiring everything.

  64. Catherine Manning says:

    I had the sharpest, coolest garden knife ever from Lee Valley, and my garden ate it. Seriously, last year i placed it down near my lavender and have SCOURED the garden ever since… 🙁 Quick question about the push lawnmower you mentioned in the post – recommend it? Our electric is nearing its end, and our lawn is decent-sized but not huge at all – is it light and effective, as they claim? Thanks – wish I could make it to Kingston!!

  65. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Have fun young lady…wish I could be there…

  66. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Former LVT employee here. It’s fun to run into my former customers at Home Depot or wherever . . . we look at each other and then say “Lee Valley?” and smile knowingly. Hubbie gives woodworking seminars at various LVT stores. I think he secretly wept when I “retired”. Have fun @ the Kingston store Karen!

  67. Jan in Waterdown says:

    And I meant to say that I did meet you one day in the store maybe 8 years ago. I was the cashier that day and recognized your sweet face from tv. Mike Holmes was in one day too and I recognized his sweet *** from tv!
    Oh dear, did I just post that? Hah!

  68. Kimberly says:

    34 hours to meet you. Tempting, I must say. ?

  69. Sue says:

    Afraid it;s too long a trip from North Carolina, but thanks for turning me on to Lee Valley. Had never heard of them, but now waiting for my catalogs to arrive.

  70. Kathy W says:

    4 hrs. For me…maybe…do I need to register?

    • Karen says:

      HI Kathy W. Nope, no need to register. At first they were going to have me in a small workshop room with limited seats, but now I’m out in the middle of the store so anyone can show up. No limit. 🙂 ~ karen!

  71. Elen G says:

    Yeah. Lee Valley is our crack. We’ve sent them so many customers. I’ve written a blog post or two. 😀 I should be on the road at that time, but it sounds like it will be fun. Yay! Another Lee Valley.

  72. kelli says:

    RATS. Dallas is a little far. Even for one of your tea towels. Maybe you could do a whirlwind tour of the States, eh?

  73. Kent says:

    I’d love to drop by and meet you! And I am driving distance too!… It just takes about a week from Vancouver. : (

  74. Kitten Caboodle says:

    I’d never heard of Lee Valley here in the States. I just went to the website and had a look around. 20 minutes and $80 later, Christmas is coming early to my house. They sell the most ingenious tree stakes that you can mow over. Brilliant!

  75. Cindy says:

    I’m 2 hours away and I’m in and out of Kingston all the time to visit my parents. I’ve been a Lee Valley super fan since Leonard quit the feds and started selling stove parts. I’ll be there! (god willing and the creek don’t rise.) My sister in Nanaimo is going to be soooo jealous. Maybe there’s a seat sale on…

    • Karen says:

      That’s exciting! Make sure you come up to me and tell me you’re the one with the sister in Nanaimo. ~ k!

      • Buffy Barrett says:

        I’m the sister in Nanaimo! And YES . . . so jealous. Karen , Lee Valley and my sister all wrapped into one — I can’t contain myself! Jealous but SOOOOOO excited for you sis!

        • Cindy says:

          If I get my hands on a tea towel (which I’ve been coveting lo these many months), Santa may swipe it for your stocking! Cause I love you that much.

  76. Kerri Green says:

    I am beyond excited about this. I will be there with bells on (well not literally).

    • Karen says:

      I’ll give you a tea towel if you come with actual bells on. 😉 I’m excited I’ll finally get to meet some readers. ~ karen!

  77. Sabrina says:

    Darn it, Karen! I was so excited when I read Kingston, Ontario – only to realise I will be up North for a mandatory field lab. Literally the only day I cannot come. Oh, well.

  78. Janet says:

    I love Lee Valley! I just told a client of mine yesterday about their catalog because they were looking for parts of a caster for their chair and they couldn’t find anything at Home Depot or our other local hardware stores. I told them to get their Lee Valley catalogs, I love reading them with a glass of wine. Would love to meet you, Sarasota, Florida is a bit far when you have flying fear! Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder if Lee Valley has something for that…I wonder if they have a pharmacy catalog, otherwise I would be there in a heartbeat!

  79. Brenda says:

    You love to meet you! Maybe Lee Valley could send you across the country doing workshops. Starting in the east coast of course!

  80. Anesha Deweese says:

    Sorry I missed it. Well… I just found ya and ecstatic that I did. I am all about Art and stuff that needs doing! I’m shouting from the hills of colorful bluegrass Kentucky. From reading previous post….sounds like you need to go on tour! Hehe
    Just letting ya know how I appreciate your humor your talent and your joy of sharing!

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