Discovery: Stan Olthuis via The Rooster Coffee House

Good Morning!

One of the many things I love about my local coffee shop, the Rooster Coffee House on Broadview Avenue, is that they also serve as a bit of an art gallery.  They support artists by featuring their work on the walls (with prices in case any of their customers are so inclined), and rotate artists regularly. Not only does having their ever-changing wallscape make for great decor, but I get to be exposed to new artists just by getting a coffee. Although I usually only get to the Rooster about once a week (sadly it’s not on my way to work), I get pretty excited when I see that the art has been changed up again.  The artist I’m going to share with you today I discovered on my most recent visit to the Rooster: Canadian artist Stan Olthuis.   After my discovery, I checked out his website.  Truly lovely works.  But I’m most drawn to his “Gowns” collection, some of which are on display at the Rooster.  Here are a few of my favourites:

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Pretty great, right?  The concept is simple but the pieces are anything but that.  I love all the layers, and the shapes the dresses take in these.  I’m officially a fan.  You can see more from the collection and other on his website.  Now I just need to save my pennies so I can own one of his pieces someday.  Hope you’ve enjoyed this discovery as much as I have!


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Black Rooster Decor: Bricks and Mortar Baby

Good Morning,

Some of you may already know the amazing online store Black Rooster Decor.  They carry the most amazing collection of furniture and home decor stuff.  If I was going to try to describe the merchandise they carry I would say modern, pretty and eclectic.  Now, often when people use the word eclectic it’s just a nice a way of saying that you have a bunch of random nice stuff that doesn’t go together, but that is 100% NOT how I mean it here.  The items are so unique yet perfectly assembled that you can’t imagine that they don’t all belong in one space.  The woman behind this store is the fabulous Nina Ber-Donkor, and boy does she have a talent for curating beautiful home decor items.  Truly gifted.  Here are just  few things from the online store….


Marble Base Adjustable Desk Lamp

Tasmanian Berber Rug

Tiffany Nesting Trays

High Back Geo Dining Chair

 So, wanna hear some great news??? Black Rooster now has a full-blown bricks and mortar STORE!  Wanna hear the even better news?  IT’S IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD!  (1025 Queen Street East (in Toronto) near Pape Avenue).  Ok, so maybe that part is really only great for me, but this is still amazing news. I was lucky enough to attend the grand-opening party last week.  And here is a little taste of the awesomeness you can expect:

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I don’t have the details on all the items that are in these pictures (most, if not all, of them can be found in the online store), but there are a few highlights I would like to point out:

1) I NEED one of those Victorian wine stoppers. STAT.

2) All the art you see in these pictures is by my friend, the ever so talented Christine Dovey.  When she is selling like Jackson Pollock, I will be able to say “I knew her”.

3) Wishbone in a bell jar, yes please.

4) Those Moroccan style hanging pendant lights are incredible.

The point is it looks amazing.  And to top it all off the party was a blast.  Great food from County General and lots ‘o bubbly, plus amazing company.  Christine, Hollie (of the Pink Zipper)  and I closed down the place with the lovely Der-Bonker fam (from left, Nina’s lovely hubs Prince, her sweetheart of a son Elijah, Nina, her mom and her brother).


And when I say lots of bubbly, I mean LOTS… the dance party, howl with laughter, create crazy hashtags kind of lots.  Oh did I mention taking ridiculous pictures…..a like picture of me with my new C-Doves painting….

me with art

One of the artist, with the SAME painting….

artist and work

Your truly, Vanna White-ing the crap out of this fab (and really comfortable) leather lounger….

me with lounger

And the amazingly sweet Mr. Bijou and Boheme (aka Christine’s husband/Ian) showing just how comfy the leather lounger is.  Note the pink socks.  Love this guy.

mr bijou and boheme

So I think you get the gist of the kind of night we had.  I am so happy for Nina and family on their new adventure.  Now go VISIT this store definitely will not regret it!  Welcome to the east end Black Rooster!


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Etsy Finds: Napkin Rings

 Good Morning!

Now that my table is finished, I’ve started to work on the tablescape.  (I have to make the table look pretty BEFORE I photograph and share it with you, obviously….).  I’ve been looking at table runners, chargers, plates, napkins, aaaand the topic of today’s post, napkin rings. As usual, Etsy comes through as an amazing source for vintage and handmade tableware.  So, I rounded up a few super fun napkin rings that just might make it onto my new kitchen table soon.

Napkin rings copy

 Vintage Fenton Hobnail Milk Glass Napkin Rings from 2numerousSolid Brass Napkin Ring Holders Aula Pinnior, Vintage RHINESTONE Gold Napkin RingsPairpoint figural Asian Fan Silver Plated Napkin Ring Signed from Just Sparkles Beucler Napkin Rings from Dress my RoomPorcelain Swan Napkin Rings from Red Ted Road,  Oco geodes on Lucite acrylic napkin rings from Mapleton Drive Vintage Expanding Napkin Ring in Copper with Faux Pearls from All Things Brandy

I am kinda sorta in love with the porcelain swans. Swoon.  You can shop more of my Esty Home favourites by clicking the Etsy “Items to Come Home To” button on the sidebar.


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Art Interiors – Festival of Smalls

Good Morning!

This morning I’m excited to share with you my visit to Art Interiors last Friday for a media sneak peek of their Festival of Smalls which opened last Saturday. I have been to Art Interiors before and have always had a great experience but what I didn’t know until my most recent visit was the story and vision behind the store.  Owners Lisa Diamond and Shira Wood went to school together and upon graduating realized there was a gap in the art community in Toronto.  There were high end galleries with expensive and exclusive art, and there were print/poster stores and nothing in between.  There wasn’t avenue for people who had some disposable income and wanted to start buying original art, but who might be intimidated by price point and atmosphere of a high end gallery. So, out of their parents basement they started their business.  It look off and now 20 years later, they are still going.  They represent primarily Canadian artists, although they do represent some international artists, and in an effort to keep beautiful art accessible to more people they have a policy that nothing is more than $5000. Fabulous concept.

And on the topic of accessible art, comes their annual Festival of Smalls, which also marks it’s 20th anniversary this year.  The festival features small sized art at a price point between $55 and $250. The festival gives people on a very limited budget access to beautiful original art. And let me tell you there is SO much to choose from.  The walls were beautifully curated, but what I found incredible is the sheer volume of gorgeous smalls they have. For example, this is what is you see lining the floors…..

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And the festival has become so popular they are constantly replacing items that have sold from the walls with the stacks on the floor. But now I want to give a quick summary of some of my faves of the Festival of Smalls:

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  1. Richard Herman – Don’t these look like photographs?  Ah, no, these are paintings if you can believe it. The detail and colours make them so life-like, you really have to see them in person.
  2. Gabriella Collier –  I am always drawn to colour so I immediately gravitated to these colourful landscapes.  They are both bold and subdued at the same time.
  3. Sheri Kaskrow – At the time of my visit this painting had not yet been set up in the space and was on the floor near under a thingy that holds the unframed art (yes this is the technical term for it), and I’m so glad a spotted it.  I just love it.  The colours, the style….everything.
  4. Lori Doody –  How fun are these pieces with the Fisher Price style toys?  Perfect for a kids room!
  5. Jack Joel – An architect by trade, this artist does beautiful pencil drawings.  It’s hard to tell from the photo but the detail is phenomenal up close.  If you are in the store, ask how they came to represent this artist, it’s a great story!
  6. Christine Breakell-Lee – Another set of smalls that drew me in based on colour.  These are slightly more modern than the art I would normally be attracted to, but the colours really got my attention.
  7. Charlene Serden – Being from the east coast I always appreciate photography of ocean harbours, but these are more than typical. The use of the fog, especially when lines up together, makes these photographs gorgeous and unique.
  8. Amy Friend –  This lovely pieces is actually a framed artist’s palette! These were made specifically for the Festival of smalls by the artist, whose other work I also really liked.
  9. Maureen O’Connor – This may have been my favourite piece of the show, although that is a tough competition. This is an old vintage photograph on silver gelatin (not sure that is the right term) from probably the 1940’s or 50’s. It is a picture taken of a photo shoot of a topless model from behind.  I like that there seems to be a story behind it and, as some of you know, I’m a fan of art that shows the human form.
  10. Jet Melencio – these unique paper art sculpture birds are awesome, and would be a real conversation piece in your home.

Buying smalls is a great way to start a collection and is a great gift idea for someone on your list this holiday season. The Festival of Smalls runs until December 24th.  Most of the small are available online, but I would strongly recommend going in person if you can. It’s a great way spend a couple of hours.

And if you are looking for larger original art they are still in store during the festival.  On a previous visit I purchased these pieces by Mel Delija.  (Sorry for the poor picture quality).



I framed them myself (poorly) but one day I’ll have them framed professionally, but until then I get to enjoy these pieces and I didn’t need to break the bank to do it. I almost bought more of his work when I was there this time!  That is the thing about this place – you are instantly comfortable when you go in.  The staff are helpful, highly knowledgeable but not pushy.  And you just get the feeling that they truly just want you to find art that makes you happy.  Now if that isn’t a business model for success, I don’t know what is.


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*This is not a sponsored post

Discovery: Two Awesome Online Stores

Good Morning!

Happy Friday!  Today I’m sharing some online store discoveries that I’ve made lately.


You may remember about a year ago, I posted about this store after discovering it on my trip to California.  The store is full of interesting home decor accessories and some of the most gorgeous (but pricey) delicate jewelry you will ever see.  The good news is that they have now launched an online store!  Sadly for my Canadian readers, they don’t yet ship internationally but as we know, where there is a will there is a way (relative in the US?). Here are some of the beautiful items up for grabs.

Little Agate Geode, how pretty are these??  Use it as a paper weight or as an addition to a vignette. Love.


18K Diamond Slice Necklace by Liven.  The guy speaks for itself. Gorgeous.


18K gold Eroded Crystal Blue Sapphire Ring by Polly Wales.  I am smitten with this beautiful and unique ring.  Have you even seen anything quite like it?



I discovered London-based Abigail Ahern’s online store/design studio when I did my post on navy blue walls last week.  She has curated a fabulous and eclectic bunch of products in her online store from gourmet foodstuffs to wallpaper.  It’s pretty cool. And they do ship to Canada & the US.

Ballroom Chandelier.  I would love to have a space that could handle this kind of awesomeness.

How funky and fun are these Taverna Jars?

For you dog lovers she also has some dog art/accessories.  Dad, this one is for you and your love of schnauzers.

Lovely coloured glass pitchers. I would be more than happy to take one of these babies home.


Pretty great, huh?  I really love discovering new stores.  Have a great weekend!


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