Archive for April, 2011


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Happy Passover to all of my non-Easter friends out there.

The tale of the Easter Bunny has always been a mysterious one for me, being a rebellious Catholic and all.  When my children started questioning the Resurrection stories (not from me) and how the Easter bunny came into the picture, I would inevitably tell them something like  “God had a pet Bunny…..”  They were too smart to believe me.

But now all of my questions have been answered, and it all makes sense.

Click here for the true story of how the Easter Bunny came to be.

Thanks Patty!

Happy Easter everyone!!!

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About 10 years ago, I did a screen-printing course with Kingy Carpenter at Peach Berserk. Her tables were covered in industrial felt that immediately caught my attention.  My tactile sensibilities fell in love with this felt and I started thinking of things that I could make with it. I do this with a lot of materials.  Then a few years later I started to notice felt products appearing in certain stores.  That’s when my love affair was reignited.  The products I found came from a company called FELT. Kathryn Walter is FELT Studio.

When I arrived at Kathryn’s new studio, I commented on how clean it was since I was expecting to see fluff everywhere from her recent project with Johnson Chou.  But Kathryn, ever considerate, cleaned it better than I clean my house! So organized! I was shown her wall of samples.  It was amazing to see how versatile the material is.

Wall of samples


Kathryn’s Studio

Kathryn comes from a long line of felt dealers.  In fact, her great-grandfather started importing felt from Germany, which makes it a 100+-year-old family business.  As a sculptural artist, Kathryn found that using this material was a natural progression to her career.

“Felt is sustainable. It’s a renewable resource, like wood and is amazingly durable”.

Kathryn’s work has brought her all over Canada and into the US.  Her small production items can be bought at MADE, the Textile Museum and online.  She works on large-scale commercial and residential projects as well.

On now, you can see Kathryn’s work at the Bulthaup Showroom, 280 King St. E, Suite 100, and at the Gladstone Hotel, with her Patchwork Exhibit.

Bulthaup Showroom

And you can purchase her beautiful felt products on her site here.



My favourite is the Briefcase. Nah! I love them all!


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On this gloomy day, I wanted to share some lovely art from Louise Cass.

Louise has been an artist her whole life and has travelled the world, creating beautiful images from her experiences.  She has exhibited in Milan, London and North America and has collections all over the world.  Louise opened a new show this past Saturday at the S. Walter Stewart Library in East York.  A gem of a library with lovely modern architecture exposing expansive spaces.

Even though the weather was cold and rainy, Louise saw over 60 people at her reception. The yummy treats of fruit and cheeses and an assortment of delicious breads from newly opened Cliffside Hearth bakery helped provide sustenance.  And the very pleasant sounds of pianist Alan Zemaitis made me happy to be in this special space.

Check out Louise’s complete works and then visit the S. Walter Stewart Library to get a real-life view of her beautiful work.


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I’ve been lucky enough to visit Milan about 4 times in my life.  And the saying “Milan works, so that Rome can eat!” always pops into my head whenever the name is said.  Milan is an industrial city with areas of extreme beauty and areas of big city decrepitude.  And I’ve stayed in both areas.  For those of you who have taken the train into Milan will know what I’m talking about.  It’s here, many years ago, that I saw tagging at it’s most prolific.  It seemed that everywhere outside of the Duomo district, buildings were tagged. This shocked me. And then I heard that the mayor at the time was of the opinion that if the people weren’t bothered by it then why should he do anything.  That’s the Italian way.

Milan is home to some of the biggest design shows in the world and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile is one of them.  This is the biggest design event in the industry. And yes, I missed it again this year!  It ended this past Sunday April 17th. Oh well, there’s always next year.

I’ll mention the interesting pieces found at the show in future posts, but today I came across the Palazzo Segreti; one of the many hotels servicing the show.  But this one is special.

Palazzo Segreti, is a new concept hotel conceived and designed by Roberta Tibaldi and her husband Francesco, “Palazzo Segreti is designed as our home. A house is open to the guests with a warm touch but at the same time, respecting their privacy. In a more and more media-oriented world where Privacy fades, Palazzo Segreti recovers the charm of mystery, of knowing how to retract and relax – perhaps – to regain our truest innerself. For Business man it’s a refreshing retreat, for tourists it’s the discovery of the Italian allure and flavours”.

In Italy, it’s all about the food, art and architecture and the Tibaldi’s have done a beautiful job combining all in their hotel.  They have liaised with Lia Rumma Gallery to bring their guests the newest in artists work.  And architecture was completed by Brizzi+Riefenstahl-Studio.

The design of the rooms is what caught my attention.  The use of Venetian plaster is so fresh when combined with modern pieces. Italians know how to do “sexy” really well.

For your next trip to Milan, stay at the Palazzo Segreti and let me know how your stay was.


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Is this the new Red Light district in Toronto?  Hardly. Well…

But the opening party of NSC(Neubacher Shor Contemporary)- The Venue, was a clear indication that something very cool is happening in the art gallery world in Toronto.

Anya Shor and Manny Neubacher, art experts, gallery owners and otherwise known as The Art Stylists have collaborated with Eatertainment to create this amazing gallery and event space.  It’s fortunate when you find an old building like this and can turn it into something amazing.  When they found it, “it was some sort of storage warehouse,” said Anya, who also mentioned that she wanted to do more research on its history.

“The collaboration just came together one day when Manny and Anya approached me with the idea” said Sebastien Centner of Eatertainment.  “Using the space for events after gallery hours just made sense” said Anya.  And I have to agree.  Imagine having your wedding reception in a beautiful gallery surrounded by the cream of Canadian artists.  And with one of my fave artists, Thrush Holmes as a new addition to their roster, you can’t argue.

The opening was by far the event to kick off the spring party season. Food was yummy with drinks flowing on through the night. Morgan Shim provided the cool tunes. There were tons of celebs, artists and fashion designers.  We bumped into Bruno Billio, – artist extraordinaire, Leah Bazian- fashion designer, Glen Baxter – reporter, and lots of socialites and models.  I was having too much fun to take everyone’s picture, but here are a few:

NSC – The Venue is now open to the public Wednesday to Saturday 11 – 5pm, at 5 Brock Ave. just north of Queen St. W.

You’re invited to visit every Saturday during April for a celebratory tour and cocktail.

For gallery appointments or booking an event contact – 647-933-0193 or info@nscvenue.com.


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I was speaking to a friend in the development industry the other night and he revealed that he had a cool million to spend on public art for his development.

Sounds good right?  But don’t think this money is a freebie from our local government.  It comes right out of the developer’s pocket.

In fact, most people don’t realize that developers are required to put back millions of dollars into the infrastructure of a community – whether it’s sewage and drainage or roadways, parks, schools etc.   And it is mandated that “a minimum of one percent of the gross construction cost of each significant development be contributed to public art.”

So my mind started racing with all the ideas and artists that I could recommend and all of sudden I received an email.  This email showed a presentation by Wooster Collective and Faith47 from South Africa, via Design Indaba.  It’s about street art around the world. After watching it, I felt the urge to graffiti my house, but thankfully, my rational mind took over and stopped me.

I challenged my friend to consider creating his public art by making it relevant and thought provoking rather than just an interesting art installation.

So grab a tea or coffee and prepare to be inspired:

Click here.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

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We have a Color Guru, or, as I have dubbed her, The Queen of Color, in our midst.  And her name is Jane Hall.

She considers herself to be a Lifestyle Designer. I think that’s a good title as well.  And we both agree that the power of color is overwhelming at times.  Jane has experienced this first hand, when people come through her doors and gasp or sigh or even tear up from the cornucopia of color in her shop.

If you’re feeling down and need a pick me up, forget the spa and get a hit of color/retail therapy all-in-one at Jane Hall.

Jane is a color “expert” in every sense of the word. Starting over 35 years ago making hand painted Batik clothing at the craft shows, she then followed a career as a fine artist.  She followed that with winning the prestigious Cadillac Fairview ARC Award  (Achievement in new Retail Concepts) for her work with Pittsburg Paints.  Her focus has always been what color can do for a product and ultimately the consumer.

With a background in Anthropology, Jane is fascinated by politics and culture.  In many ways this gives her an edge by understanding what her clients want and need to create the most fulfilling environment.  Instead of asking her clients, what color do you like or what will you be doing in this room, she asks, “ How do you want this room to feel?”

Featured on numerous design shows, magazines, newspaper articles, blogs etc. Jane is an icon in the Canadian design world.  And we’re lucky to have her in the Beach neighbourhood.

Jane Hall is art, bedding, cushions, drapery, furniture and lighting.  She will help you create amazing rooms and take your old antique pieces and turn them into a “pastiche” of color.

Here are some of my faves:

Check out Jane Hall here and then go down there and get your hit of color.


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You have probably already noticed snow drops, crocuses and tulips starting to pop their little heads up this past week as you walk along the street and you are probably very eager to get started on your planters and urns. Keep in mind that it needs to be above 5 degrees Celsius overnight for your plants to survive.

With working in the garden centre I have been just as eager to get started as anyone, and have held myself back until this weekend to bring anything home. At the moment you are safe with pansies, primulars, and all the bulb stock which includes hyacinth, tulips, crocuses, mascara, daffodils, and grape hyacinth, and of course pussy willow, forsythia or blossom branches to finish it off. As it gets closer to Easter especially because it is later this year, you will probably be able to put in hydrangea. Watch the temperatures at night, and if you hear a frost warning, either bring them into your garage, or cover them up with a flannelette sheet for the night.

You may already have a container that you use.  If not, decide what sort of look you like for your style of home, whether it is something tall and modern, cast iron urns, wooden window boxes or a galvanized steel tub. Whatever you use make sure it has drainage holes in them so your plants don’t become water logged.

Keep in mind how it will be viewed. If you have it up against a wall, place taller plants at the back. If it is viewed all around, place them in the middle. Remember that tulips, hyacinth and daffodils grow tall, so try to get the miniature daffodils if this is not going to be your focal point. This way you will have plants growing at different heights to add some structure. Primula won’t grow tall but will spread out slightly and the pussy willow will give extra height. By adding ivy this will give you a nice trailing look, which can be left in to use for your summer urn. And of course, there are your pansies, which come in so many different color combinations, and will usually last well into the middle of summer.

You can add moss to keep in the moisture. Give it a good watering once it is all potted, and then checking it once a week or more if it warms up by digging your fingers right into the soil to check for dryness.

Once the blooms are past their prime you can always pop them out and replace them with new ones; just remember the height of the one you took out. Don’t discard them afterwards. Once you have taken them out of the display let the foliage die back and plant them in well-drained soil with a minimum of half a day sun. Most bulbs are good candidates for re-cycling, but there is a chance that they just might not bloom again, or it could be a couple of years before they rebloom again.

Here are a couple of ideas for different pots and looks:

Please contact me with any question about your garden.

Nicola Bishop


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Yes, you heard me.

“Snob”, which is one of my fave shops is having a fantastic Spring Sale, just in time for all of my friends who have just bought a house and are decorating.

“Snob” is a store that brings in amazing furniture and accessories from Africa.  No other store in this part of Canada offers these beautiful treasures. Read more about  “Snob” here.  I generally don’t like to list prices, but this sale is too good not to share.

These prices last until April 17 only!


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