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DESIGN and style LIVING

What to Wear: At a Lifestyle Blogging Event – and a Look at BlogPodium

blogpodium may 2012 fashion

blogpodium may 2012 details

Last Saturday, I attended BlogPodium at the stylish Arcadian Loft located in the Simpson Tower in Toronto. First, I must congratulate publicly  Lindsay Stephenson of Aubrey and Lindsay’s Little House Blog and Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators for organizing such an amazing event. The girls put a lot of hours making it a reality and it showed when we look at their attention to details. Bravo Lindsay and Jennifer!

I tweeted a lot during the session to share the good tips from the keynote speaker Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely, who shared photos of her short stay in Toronto, and the panelists. Many attendees published their recap posts. Instead, I thought of taking this occasion to discuss what to wear when you go to a blogger conference.

For Attendees

I have a thing for patterns and it shows. A blogger conference is the perfect venue to wear your fabulous summer dress. Many of the attendees did just that.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
Vanessa of Damask et Dentelle wears so well her Italian style tunic dress. When you know Vanessa, you know that this dress is perfectly her. I wore a yellow bird printed dress that I bought this Spring at Jacob with an orange handbad by m0851. A brown braided belt embellished with two large flowers and a pair of orange gem earrings completed my outfit.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
I felt in love with a V-back floral dress of Sarah Gunn who writes at Yummy Mommy Club. With Sarah’s blessings, I scheduled another shopping trip to Zara.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
Green and pink were popular! Her green dress enhances Christine’s beautiful red hair. Christine was a panelist and told us how she makes money with her blog Bijou and Boheme. Christine wore several bracelets with her watch. Very stylish! And it reinforces her brand. I provide more tips about how to dress if you are a presenter at the end of this post.

blogpodium may2012 bracelets

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
A few good examples of how patterns and solids can mix together. Update: Nicole A. Panacci of Lipstik Events wore a cream, green and purple floral dress that looks awesome on her. The colours suit this lively brunette girl. She is photographed with Krista Illies of Nook of Wellington.

blogpodium may2012 fashion

For Presenters

making it lovely

If you are a speaker, it is an excellent idea to wear the colours of your brand or blog. And this might be an occasion where I shy away from patterns. You do not wish to deter the attention of the crowd sitting in the room. This is exactly what did Nicole Balch. Her outfit represents her well.

I look forward to the next BlogPodium this fall. With so many well-dressed women, I will make sure to plan my outfit well in advance.

Update: I am missing some names. Contact me to tell me if you are on a picture.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Kim Vallee, Mango Studios and BlogPodium

ENTERTAINING Gift WRAP

Corinna Wraps Spring Flower Workshops

gift wrapping workshop

paper and petals gift wrapping workshop

Though we’re in store for a few more weeks of winter, spring flowers are already showing up at markets and in stores – we’re already thinking about spring decorating!

If you’re eager to brighten things up with a bunch of blooms, and want to learn how to transform potted plants and bulbs into something spectacular, don’t miss two new workshops at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto this spring with writer, stylist and creative wrapping pro Corinna vanGerwen.

gift wrapping workshop

Known for her genius wrapping ideas that have been featured in Canadian Living and Style At Home, Corinna is pairing her love of paper with petals for two one-day workshops.

On April 21, you can learn how to create a spring wreath from Japanese watermark tissue , or join her on May 12 to learn how to “wrap” daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers for gift-giving, party favours and other decorations. Learn more about the workshops and register at the Harbourfront Centre website.

Do not forget to check out the Corinna Wraps blog for more creative wrapping ideas. An idea to steal is her yellow striped suit gift wrap.

gift wrapping workshop

SOURCING:
+ Corinna Wraps Blog
+ Harbourfront Centre Spring Workshops

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Best of Conversations in Design 2012 (part 1): Swedish Design by Eero Koivisto

orsta gallery on a farm

orsta gallery exterior view in the day

It is not everyday that a private client sought an architect to design his own private museum. This is exactly what Anders Fasth, an avid art collector who lives on a farm with his wife Birgitta, asked Claesson Koivisto Rune to do. The result is a stunning building.

orsta gallery on a farm

The modern gallery is located next to a traditional farm home. The grandchildren of the couple can admire the brilliant structure when they play on the sand box. I like how Claesson Koivisto Rune added remarkable details to transform what could have been a standard rectangular building.

The museum sits on top of an artificial hill that was created to protect the art collection against nature. The walls at the bottom follow the curves of the hill and the roofline exhibited the inverted curve. These curves create the illusion of concave walls and add panache to what would have been otherwise a straightforward building.

orsta gallery glass beads exterior walls

Another striking element is the reflective nature of the exterior walls. Glass beads were scattered across the white painted structure using a technique developed by Swedish artist Mikael Pauli. The reflective effect can be fully experienced when the sun is at a proper angle, or at night, if you direct light beams towards the walls.

orsta gallery :: exterior walls at night with red and blue lights

You can see here the effect at night when they projected a red and a blue beam to the facade.

orsta gallery interior views

Inside, the floor plan is divided into 4 exposition rooms. The architects played again with the visitors. The two walls that you see when you enter the space are at a slight angle. It will take you a few minutes to notice. The owner wanted a fireplace. Look at the clever nook designed for the fire logs. I love the entire project.

orsta gallery plan

If you plan to pass one day by Kumla, Sweden, you could ask the Fasth for a visit. This rich man opens his private museum to visitors upon request.

Claesson Koivisto Rune is a Swedish multi-disciplinary studio that puts architecture and design on the same level. They created everyday products up to impressive buildings.

SOURCING:
+ Conversations in Design
Claesson Koivisto Rune

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak is a prototype that Ayu Larasati created as her graduate thesis project. She analyzed what is going in a kindergarten classroom with the aim to improve the tidy-up task by making it a more fun experience for the kids.

Her solution integrates play and chores into one activity that goes hand-in-hand. Choochoo-stak functions as a free-standing shelf, a table, a seating area and a ride on toy and during tidy-up time, all the carts can be connected for ease of collecting play materials. For its multi-function capabilities, I believe that many urban parents would welcome a Choochoo-stak in their home.

Ayu Larasati will present one of her project at the Prototype exhibit of IDS 12.

SOURCING:
+  Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

IDS 12 Preview: What I Plan to See/Do?

ids 12 conversations in design

ids 12 conversations in design

We are just a few days before the opening of IDS 12 and I can’t wait for my annual visit. I will fly the night before to be right on time for Conversations in Design. I hope to grab new ideas from the 12 internationally renowned speakers that will talk at Conversations in Design. It should be a good introduction before heading to the exhibit floor since the Conversations in Design’s theme is Trailblazers and Trendspotters.

I will start the next day with a blog and traditional media panel conversation hosted by BlogPodium. Then, it will be time to explore what is at the trade show. One exhibit that I will not miss is Studio North and Prototype, that will celebrate the 10th anniversary at IDS.

I will stay Saturday in order to attend a second design blogger event: the Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup that will be held at Brassaii. Between meeting some friends, bloggers, and business partners, I would need to find the time to shop at the first CB2 store in Canada (@CB2queenwest). I’m so sorry that I couldn’t attend their opening party. It is a short drive (5 minutes by car, 25 minutes by foot) from the IDS since CB2 is located at 651 Queen Street West. Do not be surprised if you see at the airport a girl with CB2 bags.

I look forward to this short design trip. If you see me in Toronto, come to say hello. I would love to chat design and blogging with you.

DESIGN and style LIVING

What to Do this Weekend: The exhibitIKEA 2011 in Toronto

david dixon dresses exhibitikea 2011

exhibitikea 2011

I attended the opening gala of the exhibitIKEA last Wednesday night. It showed IKEA under another eyes. It is inspiring to see how four renowned artists transformed everyday products and furniture. I truly enjoyed three installations out of the four that are presented.

Bruno Billio’s Chair Columns

ikea fabrics and cushions on a bench exhibitikea 2011

As you enter the gallery space, you will notice the chair columns. Bruno Billio stacked 400 black and white identical IKEA REIDAR chairs under a big mirror to create his piece. Honestly, I only care for that piece because it created zones for the party. The nice fabric of the cushions on the long bench caught more my eye.

David Dixon’s Dressing Room

David Dixon's IKEA-inspired collection

The dresses created by fashion designer David Dixon were my favorite part. It is not surprising that he designs everything around a large dressing room.

david dixon dresses exhibitikea 2011

Dixon really demonstrates that, with a proper eye, you can take mass-market fabrics and produce a refined product. Like he does for his own collections, he selected a color palette for his installation. I never thought that they were as many fabulous grey and white fabrics at IKEA.

dress room exhibitikea 2011

It is also a nice lesson on how to match patterns to create an individual look. I might steal his fabric choices for a chair that I wish to reupholster with several fabrics. Grey and white is the palette of my living room.

art photos and dresses exhibitikea 2011

George Whiteside’s Still Life Photos

photography gallery exhibitikea 2011

Influenced by the work of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, he layered vintage papers as his background and created soothing combinations with IKEA vases, pots and objects.

photography details exhibitikea 2011

His photographs were all framed in white IKEA ODBY frames.

Thrush Holmes Shack

rustic house exhibitikea 2011

Holmes built the outside with the nondescript IKEA flat boxes. The graffiti style exterior contrasts with the refined interior. He staged a cozy guy bedroom, that does not scream IKEA.

rustic bedroom exhibitikea 2011

There is still time to see it in person. exhibitIKEA is open to the public today until from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday,  August 21 from 12 to 6pm. It is located at 363 King Street West, Toronto.

Disclaimer: I was invited by IKEA, who paid for my flight from Montreal to Toronto and my hotel. Besides showing up at the media event, they asked nothing else from me. I wrote about the exhibit because I think that it is worth a visit.

FAMILY KIDS products

Awesome Nursery Item Caddies and Toy Bins

baby storage caddy

toy storage bins

Any parent knows that you can avoid to keep close by a couple of bins filled with your baby or toddler toys. So, it’s best to look for great looking toy bins. Three friends who lived in New York and Toronto started 3 Sprouts in 2007. They produce cute, fun and practical toy bins and storage caddies that parents and kids would love to use.

baby storage caddy

You can put on the storage caddy all the essential nursery items – from diapers to lotions, washcloths and onesies – that you need in one spot and ready to go. My son’s nursery is on the second floor. When I have a babysitter, I carry all these essentials on the main floor. Having a tote like this will eliminate some steps. Later, the storage caddy could be repurposed as a magazine holder, a craft tote or a toy tote. I just wish that we could wash them in the machine.

You have a choice of 8 animals for the storage bins and 3 animals for the caddies.  You can buy those online at 3 Sprouts (they ship to Canada and the United States) or from these local retailers. These would make wonderful baby shower gifts that would be appreciated by mom and dad.

SOURCING:
Organic Cotton Nursery Caddy by 3 Sprouts $23.99 USD or CAD
+ Organic Cotton Storage Bin by 3 Sprouts $39.99 USD or CAD

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Smart Kids Play Zones in Toronto Architect John Tong’s Home

urban family home kids play zones

urban family home kids play zones

You do not need to have kids to appreciate the space planning of this backyard. It’s unexpected, fun and practical! One of the a founding principal of 3rd Uncle Design, the architect John Tong built a stage where his kids can sing, and watch or do clown shows. The stage platform could be repurposed for other uses.

City dwellers who become parents often deal with how to transform their home into a space that works for the entire family. The small footprint of a house in a city adds to the challenge. I know that figuring out where and how the kids will play at home could be overwhelming. This is a little bit how I feel right now. What encourage me is that I realized that you can’t anticipated what your kids will like when they get older. Putting too many constraints, limit your options and block your creativity. My advice is to keep things simple by looking for solutions suitable for a couple of years at a time.

For example, I keep a big empty space in the living room as a play area. I plan to add a play rug to delimitate the play area. It sets a boundary for your toddler, which limits the cutter to a specific zone. Plus, a carpet adds comfort if you have hardwood floor. Opting for a FLOR tile carpet provides a more grown-up look than using a play rug; especially if you plan to leave it in your living room all the time.

urban family home

Yes, living in the city requires to be smarter about how you design and use your home. But the rewards of life in the city (easy access to museums, parks, festivals, restaurants, and more…) far outweigh the amount of hours lost in commuting. Until I found how to design our backyard, I will continue to surf the Web for inspiring urban family houses. A good starting point is to have a look at the pictures and learned the details of this great family house on Dwell magazine. Another well-thought urban family home is the Maison en U by architect Natalie Dionne, that is here in Montreal.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Christopher Wahl for Dwell magazine

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

Avril Loreti’s Mixer Totes and Cocktail Napkins | Etsy Finds

i heart mixers tote by avril loreti

i heart mixers tote by avril loreti

I featured today Avril Loreti, who is living in  Toronto, for my Etsy Finds column. She designed modern home decor and accessories with a playful “wink”. Avril makes cute kitchen theme shopping totes. It probably cut my eyes because it depicts the Empire red Kitchenaid mixer that is on my wish list. She printed her I heart Mixers illustration on a Bull Denim Woven Cotton Tote from American Apparel. If you do not like the red, you can specify which of the 7 other colors you want for the mixer.

cocktail napkins by avril loreti

Avril also makes white fabric napkins. It could be fun to play name the designer or the chair at cocktail parties. Or you can go with her Many Mixers Cocktail napkins.

SOURCING:
+ I heart Mixers Tote – Red by Avril Loreti $29 USD on etsy
+ Designer Chairs Cocktail Napkins by Avril Loreti $52 for a set of 8
+ Many Mixers Cocktail Napkins $26 for 4, $52 for 8 at goodEGG Industries
+ Avril Loreti

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Sweet Sweets Cake Art

artistic wedding cakes by sweet sweets cake art in toronto

artistic wedding cakes by sweet sweets cake art in toronto

Ida Thibeh Wiese sent me an email where she presented her cake design studio. I’m glad the she did because the woman behind Sweet Sweets Cake Art is a talented cake artist. She creates superb cakes for her Toronto clients. Her wedding cakes are impressive, unique and elegant. I like her style.

wedding cakes by sweet sweets cake art in toronto

Sweet Sweets designed each wedding cake to uniquely suit the couple’s taste and style. Her commitment does not stop with look. Her menu features a nice variety of cake flavors, icings and fillings. No additives, preservatives or artificial flavorings are present in the cakes. If it is not on the menu, Ida will accommodate your request. Sweet Sweets also makes specialty cakes for birthdays and anniversaries.

+ Sweet Sweets Cake Art

LIVING URBAN Living

Not Far from a Tree Harvests Fruits in Toronto

nor far from a tree fruit picking in Toronto

nor far from a tree fruit picking in Toronto

Not Far from a Tree is a worthy initiative that is in operation for the third summer in Toronto. Founder and director Laura Reinsborough was tired to walk by fruit trees filled with unpicked fruits that have been left to rot on the tree or to look at rotten fruits below the tree. She decided to do something about it and founded Not Far from a Tree to eliminate that waste.

Let’s face it many homeowners are too busy or may be too old to pick the fruits themselves. Others may just harvest what they eat. She created a residential fruit-picking program where volunteers harvest the crop of fruit trees across the city. There are a lot more fruit trees that we can think. In 2009, they harvested 8,135 pounds of fruits!

How the crop is distributed?

One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the last third is given to local community organizations. It’s a win win situation for everyone. This is a brilliant idea than could lead to many franchises.

SOURCING:
+ photo: Not Far from a Tree