Happy Halloween!

It’s a perfect night to get your baking on and feed your sweet tooth with a lollipop, cookie or a fun themed cupcake- costume not required!

 

Lollipop from Crate & Barrel

White chocolate ghosts via Martha Stewart

Fondant ghost recipe via Martha Stewart

Scary pear heads recipe via Martha Stewart


To do: The Design Exchange

Here’s something for the upcoming rainy weekend in Toronto: check out the new and ongoing exhibits at the city’s  Design Exchange (DX).

Located in the spectacular space formerly the hectic trading floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Design Exchange “is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of design excellence and preservation of design heritage.”

I highly recommend dropping by to see what’s in house and on display at the DX, and if you have no time for a proper tour, the gift shop is a mecca of cool finds, unique books and design gifts. I’ve always found a DX visit inspiring and refreshing and I know if you’re reading this blog, you’ll like your visit.

A few current exhibits you will enjoy at the DX:

Vertical Urban Factory, Sep. 3- Dec. 9. Looking at more than 30 factories to consider their integration within urban settings such as Detroit and New York, with case studies such as the American Apparel factory in L.A. and the VW “Transparent” factory in Dresden, Germany. (paid exhibit)

Considering the Quake: Seismic Design on the Edge, Sep. 13 – Dec. 9. “Design meets practical application. Examples: From ARUP’s Hermès Building featuring the work of Renzo Piano Architects in Tokyo, Japan and their York University Subway Station with Foster and Partners in Toronto, to Daniel Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, to Cast Connex’s seismic technology that will be included in New York City’s World Trade Center 3 design.” (included with general admission, about $10)

Permanent/ongoing exhibit –  the Must-See:

DXUNCRATED

This exhibit features iconic pieces from the Design Exchange’s permanent collection, which celebrates Canada’s rich industrial design history from 1945 to the present. Spanning over five decades, the Design Exchange’s permanent collection covers more than six hundred industrial design objects and archival materials including furniture, housewares, textiles, electronics, and lighting. DXUNCRATED illustrates political, technological, and social changes that occurred following World War II to present day. Items on display will include the famous Clairtone Project G Stereo (pictured below), Thomas Lamb’s Steamer Chair, and Russel Spanner’s Dining Chair.

The Clairtone Project G stereo produced by Clairtone from 1964-7 is a Canadian design icon

To celebrate all that is design and Canadian ingenuity, this year’s annual fundraising party coincides with the DX’s relaunch on November 16, featuring interactive design installations, fancy food from celebrity chefs, and today’s big names in Canadian design. Find out more here.


Origami chair

The lovely life-sized origami-style Folder chairs by designer Stefan Schoning are assembled by folding them just like an origami creation. How cool is that?

The ‘Folder’ can withstand your weight since it is made from paper-thin polypropylene, which means the look is very cool and the construction lightweight, rigid and tough. The chairs more durable than wood, plastic or metal and have been exhibited around the world: the National Design Museum in NY, Nike Design Library in Oregon, Colette in Paris, Salone Satellite in Milan, and 100% Design in London, UK.

What’s not to love?

Images courtesy of Stefan Schoning.


White Rabbit

Do you ever find yourself tempted to download a font and then wonder what you’ll do with it?

Well, now that the world of self-publishing has us doing everything from blogging to printing our own books, you’ll be surprised how many uses you’ll find for your new (free!) font.

Today I ran across the White Rabbit font designed by Matthew Welch. You can also see more of his design work here where the font is available for download. Use it to make your own Thank You cards, or better still- holiday gift tags.

And while we’re here, don’t we just love the font AND the name? So fun! And imagine my enthusiasm when I realized that White Rabbit is available for free on the site Font Squirrel.

White Rabbit font by Matthew Welch available at Font Squirrel


Tea for (f)all

I drink tea all year and I actually like a hot cuppa even during the summer months. As a coffee-in-the-morning kind of gal, I find that making an herbal tea after lunch is a great alternative to caffeinating my thoughts all day long.

With the rise of tea`s popularity in recent years, there is far more variety and easy access to unique blends from far-away places than ever before.

Today I`m showcasing a few mugs that make tea time that much more quaint. These are also really easy to get your hands on (!) since they`re widely available at Chapers-Indigo and make a perfect, random, `thinking about you`gift for a friend, colleague or parent. They make a really sweet add-on to an online book order for curling up on quiet weekends this season.

Stoneware mug made in Portugal, $12

Scrabble mug, $12

Forest stoneware mug, $8

Owl mug, $16.50

Textured zen mug, $8

Aegean mug, $8

Monogram mug, $8

And now this is fantastic- the mug with a perfect-fit filter for loose tea (below). The lid doubles as a filter holder for when steeping is done. I have one of these and I love using it at the office.

Mug with lid and filter, $20


Delicate strength

Today I’m spotlighting award-winning Japanese artist Kasuyo Aoki with a few pieces from her Predictive Dream series.

The porcelain pieces have an ethereal, sinuous-ocean quality, don’t they? Not to mention some of the skull-inspired shapes. I love how easy it is to get lost in the movement created by the swirls of porcelain.

Happy White Wednesday, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

All images courtesy of Kasuyo Aoki.


Forging French doors

This week I had the most exciting time meeting and getting to know one of Canada’s foremost window dressers, Philip Minaker. Having created hundreds of major storefront windows during more than 25 years as a style director for many iconic Canadian and international retailers in Toronto and his home town of Winnipeg, Philip is a fascinating individual unlike any other.

His boundless creativity and problem-solving know-how are only surpassed by his sweet and fun personality. Philip is a fashion force and he’s put on countless runway shows and deconstructed trends working for various styling and retail roles at The Bay, BCBG, Lipton’s, Eaton’s, Mondi, Parachute, and the list goes on and on.

He is known for his stunning sales-boosting windows and his ‘let me show you’ philosophy about sharing his fashion knowledge. His windows are known to increase sales; a job well done, then. Look for his work coming up at Toronto’s downtown Josephson’s in the next few weeks- he told me that he’s currently fabricating the set pieces for the fall windows.

Beyond having a keen eye for styling, trends and balance, Philip is an incredibly talented artist and he creates much of what you see in his displays. Today’s French doors featured below are an example of his incredibly simple take on getting what you need: make it yourself.

When I met Philip on the weekend during his first of two moving sales, he invited me in his home where he has these gorgeous antique French doors behind a bed (those aren’t for sale, though, sorry! but just DIY for these and drop in on Philip’s second sale for other very cool stuff).

These gorgeous French doors are not real; they’re two large format prints of doors that are glued to large pieces of foam. The antique look is truly outstanding and the quality of the print here is just right, working in favour of achieving that natural aged look that the doors have.

The best part about all this is that they weigh nothing! They’re made of foam! You know, the inch-and-a-half rectangle sheets of white foam from the craft store. So simple. Philip told me that he cut the print and foam in the curved shape at the top and he has another piece that creates an archway to really bring it all together. I think they are spectacular just like this.

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Images courtesy of me via Philip Minaker

You’ll want to be there for Philip’s second moving sale in a few weeks, September 13-16: he is parting with some of his window dressing treasures including props, decorative urns, industrial art, art hangings and artist canvasses, art that he has created, beautiful vintage mannequins, and so much more.

You’ll love meeting Philip- just drop in to say hi and check out all the fascinating pieces of his career that he’s selling to new good homes, and meanwhile take a look at his moving sale ad on Kijiji- lots more pics there to see what he’s got on the floor (including Herman Miller La Fonda chairs…).