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…).


Surf’s up

I’m now back from the most beautiful week of sun and sea in Maine and I’ve got surfing on the mind. I’ve only been back on home continental turf for less than two days- but how I could easily slip back into the curl of the ocean’s waves.

Not surprisingly, I’m interested in bodyboarding since I spent the week perfecting catching waves on Ogunquit Beach. Bodyboarding is easier to master than bodysurfing since you use the board to help catch the wave and ride its curl. Bodysurfing involves your body riding the wave with your head pointing facing down and your hands extending in front of you like an arrow as the wave propels you forward. Both are fun, and while I’m slowly picking up the tricks of the bodysurfing trade, bodyboarding is proving to be a lot of fun.

What’s your ocean sport of choice?

white boogie board

 

White boogie board via polyvore

A ruler among us

Since discovering earlier that Jordana has not one but six rulers, I thought I should share & show my own special ruler.

I, too, have more than one ruler but you’ll understand why this one is still kicking around: it’s a three-sided drafting ruler that belonged to my geologist dad. I inherited it since he no longer needs it (he no longers drafts but still has the drafting table… ahem office supplies hoarding, dad!) and as much as it is mildly confusing (to me) I can’t help but like its specificity and said handiness.

Ta-da! My ruler. I know, eh? It looks nothing like a ruler.

Now you get a better sense of it

The drafting ruler is made by Faber-Castell; the model number is indicated

and when I searched online I discovered that there are Faber-Castell

vintage drafting rulers for sale on Ebay! Who would have thought-? Mine is

definitely vintage but certainly not a fancy one

What makes this ruler special is that there are various ratio measurements

all along each side. So if you’re in school and you use the wrong side

to measure your algebra shapes you can kiss those homework marks goodbye.

You’ll find that each side offers two different sets of ratios running in the opposite

direction along the length, so there are six measurement scales in total (fyi)

I also like that the three colours along the sides are different:

red, forest green and black

Images courtesy of me.


Getaway car

Thinking of leaving it all behind for a summer escape? Why compromise on the comforts of home when you can take them on the road with you in this fabulous motor home by Vario?

Aptly named Perfect, this motor home model includes air conditioning, a full bathroom, luxurious finishes and – wait for it- a garage in the rear to take your Smart car with you. So when you do arrive at your destination you can park big daddy and slip away like an action film trick aboard your zippy compact wheels. So you never have to walk-!

It’s priced at $1.4 million, but really- who cares. It’s perfectly insane and I’d love to experience it.


At the cottage

This week I’m writing my White Wednesday post from our family’s beautiful cottage in the Haliburton Highlands, which is really just on the edge of Muskoka in Ontario. We’re on Livingstone Lake- a small, quiet lake near the quaint town of Dorset.

I came up here this week for a few days to relax and help out my dad who is building me a stunning canoe made from a cedar tree on our property that he cut and milled into cedar planks. The canoe has a ribbed interior that is now undergoing coats of clear varnish and its exterior is wrapped in a canvas that is coated with various fillers before being painted its final hue: a brilliant vermilion red! (My colour choice).

Today I share with you a few white things that caught my eye around here and give you a glimpse into the most special place in my life and the canoe that is nearly done.

There are all kinds of species of trees here, including birch (pictured above).

I quite like exploring clusters of trees, especially a magical spot where tall hemlock trees

create a very high canopy that prevents much underbrush from growing. Birch trees

let a lot of light through their leaves and many ferns and saplings grow underneath.

When you’re out on the Canadian Shield you’ll find lots of rocks

and since my dad is a geologist, rocks have always been in our viewfinder.

This is a piece of white granite that is a decoration in my stepmom’s garden bed.

These are the tips of kayak paddles. I grew up in cottage country in Québec and Ontario

and my dad is a perpetual sportsman, having always loved and sought adventure. He taught me how

to ‘Eskimo roll’ back in my early teens and we went down a river in kayaks when I was barely

barely 13 years old. We still have the kayaks and I paddled them last month.

Ta-da! Here is my canoe wrapped in canvas and coated in a white sealant.

It’s sitting like this under the deck drying for a few weeks and then

we’ll apply another coat of sealant

This is a closeup that shows the strokes of the paintbrush from coating the canvas

with white ‘stuff’ that has the effect of an egg shell finish, and the interior ribs sticking

out until they’re trimmed where the gunnels will be.

This is the can of filler that was brushed onto the canvas on the canoe

This is one end of the canoe and if you know your canoes, you’ll recognize the shape- it’s a Prospector.

This boat is slightly modified and built to be strong, fast and hold a good amount of camping gear.

Shifting, gears, we use a four-stroke motor to putter across the lake in an aluminum boat

during the in-between seasons when our regular ‘big’ boat is in storage for the winter.

I really like the type for this number four

This large buoy prevents us from accidentally scratching the hull of the boat

as we dock it. Not that we really *need* the bumpers but… just in case

Our cottage is off-grid and water-access, so learning how to tie knots is important.

Talk to seafaring folks and they’ll never call a rope a rope- it’s a ‘line’. A line can be used

for just about anything- I always keep one kicking around. I’ve been taught how

to tie a bowline knot but I always forget how, and this self-strengthening figure eight

is never quite right when I do it. My dad did this one when I arrived on Monday afternoon

and mine didn’t look nearly as nice.. so it’s not pictured

This is a danger warning sticker on the boat’s dashboard:

Warning! do not put your feet into the propeller. Ouch :S

I’ve been treated to beautiful sun and puffy white clouds this week.

I took this quick pic off the dock while looking for white stuff;

I’m hoping that when Jordana does make it up here for a visit she’ll

show me all the white things I’ve missed in today’s cottage tour for you all.

Happy summer, everyone!


The summer topper

Not all hats are created equal and today we’re featuring the ultimate in glam -yet practical- toppers.

The floppy extra-wide brim hat is lightweight due to its straw construction, and all that extra girth will provide the wearer with ample shade and a fun accessory whether you’re lounging by a fancy pool or heading to the beach for a day.

I’ve always wanted one and it’s looking like this will be my summer to pounce on this tireless classic. Looks great with any swim suit, a breezy maxi dress, or knee-length shorts for a day of urban exploration. We recommend it in white although the colours available are quite fun to coordinate with your suit- black, fuschia, and natural straw.

The Del Mar wide brim hat by sur la tête, $27 at Village Hat Shop


White cover

Isn’t it refreshing to see a beautiful knit all in white on the cover of a rather bid deal mag?

The stunning Lily Donaldson was photographed by Richard Bush wearing a Chanel spring 2012 dress for Vogue Russia’s July issue. I love the shape of this dress- architectural in shape with high texture value.

Happy White Wednesday, everybody! Stay cool!

Image courtesy of Vogue Russia


Big top

The Big Top of Cavalia’s Odysseo production in Toronto, Canada

In case you’re not living in Toronto or have passed through in the last month, you wouldn’t know that the city’s whiteness just went to new heights: the big top of Cavalia’s Odysseo show is here! (and you can still get tickets!)

The beautiful big white tent is the largest touring big top in the world and it is currently at the Toronto Port Lands on the city’s east side waterfront where each night, skilled performers and 61 horses create a spectacle combining music and acrobatics to make your childhood equine fantasies come true.

Many horse breeds are in the show. Image via Cavalia’s Odysseo

The big white tent is a sight to behold- I see it frequently from the Gardiner Expressway and I’m always admiring how lovely it is. The structure was conceived in Canada by set designer Marc Labelle, director Erick Villeneuve and Cirque du Soleil creator Normand Latourelle.

It is more than twice as large as the big top used for Cavalia’s original production and was designed with the help of the Italian firm Cannobio. The massive arches were built by Show Canada and the tent structure was manufactured in Italy. More than 60 people were involved in its creation process over the 11 months it took to finalize.

Big Top Facts

Dimensions: 125 high, covering an area of 393 feet long by 311 feet wide, which is more than 120,000 square feet.

Inside: A stage covering close to 8,200 square feet, no obstruction on stage or in the audience. Seating capacity: 2,290 people.

Assembly and transportation: Assembly requires more than 40 motors and a mechanical crane. The four arches are 88 feet high by 203 feet wide. 20 trucks are required to transport it all.

Below is a video of the assembly- amazing!


Whited eyed

All the excitement yesterday about the traverse of Venus across the sun has got me thinking about protective eyewear.

For me, wearing prescription sunglasses has improved my enjoyment of the outdoors a millionfold. And I love the sunshine- but being rather unable to wear contact lenses, and being sensitive to light in general, prescription sunglasses have changed my life.

Are you thinking about getting a new pair of sunglasses this summer? I am. And the white frames do make for a very striking look, don’t they?

Neff’s Spectra sunglasses in matte white finish, $25 at Neff

Michael Kors retro Griffin sunglasses, $115 at Nordstom

Miu Miu white sunglassses, about $350 at House of Fraser