Category Archives: Shopping

MURANO GLASS, the fabulous art from Venice’s historic island of craftsmen

My friends at Gallery 36 in Yorkville (Toronto) invited me over yesterday to check out their ever-growing collection of stunning art glass from the island of Murano, home to some of Italy’s greatest crafstpeople. In this cozy boutique gallery you will find breathtaking pieces from glass “masters” such as Rossi, Alfiero, Medici, Russo, Bellisio, Mercato and others, in all shapes, sizes and a rainbow of colours.

20150314_145320I found some functional bowls and vases as well as sculptures of animals, birds, even festive crustaceans!

20150314_145118 20150314_145157 20150314_145921 20150314_145342I had a chuckle when I spied these cheeky kitty-cats (below)

20150314_145814 20150314_145832and all the other wee glassy beasties….

20150314_145751 20150314_145925 20150314_155513Gallery owner Trevor was busy changing the window display so a snapped him hard at work…

20150314_145524 20150314_145520…. and dusting his friend, the zaftig bronze ballerina (below). I just love her!

20150314_145421The gallery is chock-a-block full of wonderful and affordable pieces suitable for your mansion, apartment, loft or basement hide-away.

20150314_155445 20150314_155500Just look at these bowls and the intricate art found inside each…

20150314_145213 20150314_145632 20150314_155428 20150314_155434The glass is created using the “lampwork” technique – made from Silica which becomes liquid once it reaches an extremely high temperature. As it starts to harden, the “glass” is still soft enough to allow the artisan to shape the materials. You can see the amazing results of this all around you at Gallery 36. I recommend popping in and I’m sure you will find something that fits your home and your wallet. And say hi from me.

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GALLERY 36

92  Avenue Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2H2  T: (416) 962-7636  http://www.gallery36.ca

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ICEFEST TAKES OVER YORKVILLE (Toronto) FEB 21 & 22.

BIA-IceFest2015-eBlast-600x270For the past 10 years, the folks at the Bloor-Yorkville BIA have hosted a fun family festival of all things winter in the heart of Yorkville Village, featuring ice sculpting, entertainment, hot food and drinks, all sorts of interactive fun for all the family, tons of great shopping and lots of pretty lights at night.  This year’s theme will be “ancient Egypt” so they’re inviting everyone to come “walk like an Egyptian” around Toronto’s premier tourist & cultural hub, Yorkville, on Saturday February 21st & Sunday February 22nd. “Frozen in Time” is an ancient Egyptian-inspired showcase of ice carvings including a 3D  pyramid, plus depictions of  Egyptian gods and pharaohs including Anubis, Iris and King Tut.  There will also be a giant interactive ice carving of sitting camel where visitors will be able to get their photos taken as a keepsake.

424U2559Open to the public each day between noon – 5 pm, the Village of Yorkville Park and Cumberland Street will be the centre of Icefest attractions, with additional ice carving demonstrations taking place throughout the neighbourhood.

424U2193 (2) 424U2203 424U2288On Saturday, February 21st starting at 12 noon, the 15th Annual Sassafraz Ice Carving Competition will take place at the east side of the Village of Yorkville Park.  Twelve ice carvers from across Ontario will compete for the People’s Choice Sculpture Award! As great masterpieces begin to emerge beneath the picks, chisels and chainsaws of the talented carvers, visitors will cast their vote for their favourite ice carving sculpture throughout the afternoon. Winners will be announced at 5:15 pm that day.

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424U2225 424U2389Last year, I found the dolphin from HydraSense who was posing for photos so I just had to get in there myself, too!

424U2169 (2) Gwith sharkAs February is Heart Month, Bloor-Yorkville will be fundraising with participating partners and sponsors in support of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. For a $2 charitable donation, “Kiddie Ice Cubes” will be distributed each day at 2 pm, in the Village of Yorkville Park with a collectible toy inside. Patrons will also be able to sample tasty Maple Syrup Taffy from 1 pm ­ 4 pm each day on Cumberland Street for a $2 donation. Through IceFest, Bloor-Yorkville has raised over $54,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

20140222_121217424U2247This is an all ages family friendly, FREE event, all you have to do is bring is warm clothes, a hearty winter spirit, and maybe a camera to capture the moments in ice forever!  Photos from last year’s fabulous IceFest courtesy of Henry Lin and a few by me, too.  For further event Info:  http://www.bloor-yorkville.com/icefest/

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STROLL THE AISLES OF TORONTO’S INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW WITH ME

20150123_121519This weekend sees the return of the annual Interior Design Show here in Toronto, and thanks to the generosity of Mark Gleberzon of MJG Gallery (www.mgjgallery.com) I was given access to the show on Professional Trade Day yesterday.  Entering the showroom floor at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, a display of hanging Chinese lanterns set the stage for colour and innovation in home decor and design.  I went to visit Mark first to say thank you and found him with artist, Andrea Rinaldo in the MJG Gallery booth (below).

20150123_131345 20150123_131116Then I grabbed my floor map and set off into the deepest, darkest design jungle. But WOW! what a fantastic journey it was. First up, a stunning lighting display before stopping at the Oceania bathrooms booth. Where’s my soap on a rope?! http://www.oceania-attitude.com/baths
20150123_121749 20150123_121905 20150123_121909Then I had some fun with the lovely booth ladies at http://www.Beauti-Tone.ca (below) who were conducting a pick-your-favourite-colour contest with their paint chips. Thanks for the sparkly lanyard gift, ladies.

20150123_122042 20150123_122336 20150123_122423Walked a few more aisles seeing some gorgeous displays and lots of must have’s if I ever get a new condo (and can afford to dump my 15yr old furniture)

20150123_122705 20150123_122748 20150123_123211 20150123_122524Loved these carved stone sinks and giant bathtub from Stone Forest – https://www.stoneforest.com/kitchen-bath/ Everyone wanted to jump into the giant soaker tub (pictured below).

20150123_123342 20150123_123355 20150123_123419One of my favourite booths was the Urban Barn one featuring a rustic seaside dining room and a luxurious bedroom – visit their sit for more stunning decor ideas:  http://www.urbanbarn.com/

20150123_123453 20150123_123538 20150123_123542 20150123_123713More fabulous lighting…

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20150123_141141..then more fun accessories including these fun (and animal friendly) wildlife heads from http://www.camillahouse.com 

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20150123_125048….and then it was all about the plaid! Had a fun time with the folks from Montauk Sofas

20150123_124704 20150123_124923CaesarStone had a great exhibit – but it was their interactive swing set (for grown-ups) that was the hit of the show. Look who I found at the show….celebrity decorator Ambrose Price.  http://www.caesarstone.ca/en/Pages/default.aspx

20150123_125102 20150123_125421 20150123_125440Look at these gorgeous taps and shower fixtures from http://www.Rubinet.com  Me want….

20150123_125745 20150123_125751 20150123_125809Just loved the Indonesian petrified wood sinks and accessories from the lovely folks at Prehistoric StoneWorks Inc. (pictured below). Everything was very tactile and reminded me of my previous trips to Bali and Jakarta back when I lived in Australia (Bali is to Australians what Ft.Lauderdale is to Canadians!)  Check out all their stunning products at http://www.prehistoricstoneworks.com

20150123_130032 20150123_130043 20150123_130349 20150123_130411I then met the oh so fabulous Elizabeth of Elizabeth Interiors located in Burlington (pictured below) who showed me around her super luxe and livable display booth. I am definitely visiting her store the next time I’m down in Burlington. http://www.elizabethinteriors.com/

20150123_130633 20150123_130811 20150123_130815 20150123_130940More fab booths and displays, then….

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…I found it….AGA!….Agaaaaah. Yes, the olde worlde Brit stove and mainstay of cottage kitchens is here and oh boy, what a step up into the 21st century. They are gorgous and long-ago memories of my mum cursing and swearing at the temperamental fiery beast disappeared and a warm glow rolled over me. The Aga is a marvelous stove/oven for which modern cooks (incl. Martha Stewart) would give eye teeth, an arm and a leg. Check out these incredible units/colours and visit the website for complete information:  http://www.agamarvel.com/

20150123_132200 20150123_132209 20150123_132238 20150123_132249 20150123_132313 20150123_132323More fun pretty things to see and touch…

20150123_132646 20150123_132504Then I walking by a booth that was playing music…an hypnotic mix of modern beats mashed up with Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wildside…so I did. Gorgeous tiles and ceramics (below) ….

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20150123_133839…but the music was coming out of what looked like a small occasional table (below).

20150123_133706It’s called the La Boite Concept (LD Series) from Funktion Furniture & Lighting – a compact multi-speaker unit to which you connect your laptop/iPad and play your tunes with such a superior rich quality that it sounds like a pro club DJ is spinning just for you. I listened, I danced and I chatted with Daniel Fisker from the local contact, Fisker International (pictured below)  http://fiskerintl.com/about.html

20150123_133655As I left the Fisker booth, I ran into some charming design students visiting from La Cite Collegiale in Ottawa, all of whom were excited and inspired by this year’s show. You go, girls, and good luck with your studies.

20150123_133909I walked by a cute booth where a wee one was playing with some toys and proving that good design caters to all ages. The http://www.ellaandelliot.com showcase was adorable and very functional and safe. Definitely a must-see for all fashion-fwd parents visiting the show.

20150123_134029 20150123_134037Lots of contests to win fab furniture – including this booth promoting magazine publisher WallToWall

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The NettHaus Design-Build booth (below) was quite spectacular, all gold and black and shiny. Thanks to the elegant Sherry Larjani, Managing Partner & Architectural Designer, for your hospitality http://www.netthaus.com/

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Then I met the friendly folks at ProGlo Refinishing (below) who can take your old, ugly cabinets and completely make them over with updated designs that will make you smile! Loved these bright happy colours. http://www.kitchenrefinishingtoronto.com

20150123_135124Here’s the lovely lady from MiniGarden that, as the signs say, brings walls to life. Great idea for indoor cultivation of plants, herbs, flowers. Join the urban green revolution at: http://www.minigardening.com

20150123_135314 20150123_135324I then had some fun playing with the bathrooms at the Neo Metro booth. The red sink not only washes your hands, it also dries them with warm air blown out over your hands or whatever else you wanna dangle over the sink!! Loved the illuminated blue sink…forgot to ask them if the toilets lit up, too, for late night tinkles!! http://www.neo-metro.com

20150123_135448 20150123_135521 20150123_135611It was a real pleasure meeting Naomi Neilson Howard (below), the Founder & CEO of Native Trails which features rustic and contemporary designs, copper sinks and fixtures for bath and kitchen…all inspired by the southwest. My photos didn’t do them justice so please check out http://www.nativetrails.net or visit booth #024 at the IDS.

20150123_140459I found Lisa Turner of Vancouver-based Quake Furniture in a section dedicated to individual designers located at the west end of the showroom. Her tables are made from metal, wood, marble…all unique designs and stunning colours. Check out her complete range at http://www.quakefurniture.com

20150123_140715In the same section, I met the creator of Christopher Solar Design who features very clean lines reminiscent of mid-century modern. He has some really great pieces: http://www.christophersolar.com

20150123_141039 20150123_141049And around the next corner I saw the rich imaginative handcrafted furniture of Oliver Drake of http://www.DrakeWoodDesign.com  He uses a lot of found/repurposed wood and listening to Oliver, I could tell he really loves his work.

20150123_141212 20150123_141249So much to see, so much to wish for. I spent about 3 hours wandering around, meeting the brilliant designers, decorators and craftspeople. Definitely a great way to spend your weekend.

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For show times and tickets, visit the official IDS website: http://www.interiordesignshow.com/

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WAS ITCHING TO VISIT THE LESLIEVILLE FLEA AGAIN…SO I DID!

20150118_134145Another great adventure enjoyed…all for the cost of a subway token! It was a grey old day here in Toronto today so I decided to go visit all the wonderful vendors at the monthly Leslieville Flea that was back at the Fermenting Cellar in the historic Distillery District for the winter months. Lots of lovely new vendors including Sonja from Woo-Hoo! Home Decor, Accessories & Collectibles (photos above and below).  Sonja has stunning mid-century glassware, vintage cocktail sets, CarltonWare and some really cool Betty Boop/Coca Cola collectibles. I know a friend who loves Betty Boop so I’m fwd’ing her these pics.  http://www.facebook.com/woohoodecor

20150118_133758 20150118_133906 20150118_133911 20150118_133816 20150118_134154Next to Sonja, I found the lovely and stylish Erica (pictured below left) from WildThingVintage who had a stash of great vintage bling – huge sparkly brooches that are all the rage now.  http://www.wildthingvintage.etsy.com 

20150118_133621 20150118_133626Opposite Erica’s booth was Toronto’s own king of mustard, Dan Gordon from Whisky & Spice, who was very popular with the samples on offer of his handcrafted Whisky/Honey, Porter Beer or Riesling/Apple flavoured premium mustards. Dan and his lovely wife Laura (below) enjoyed meeting all the visitors and watching as their eyes rolled back in their heads after they taste the superb W&S products.  http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

20150118_133449 20150118_133658 20150118_143712 20150118_143727 20150118_143744Bill & Sacha (pictured below) from Douglas + Son had some awesome manly vintage collectibles like this ancient buffalo skull and the old green & white enamel factory lampshade which is very on-trend right now. Check out their Instagram account for more of their treasures: @douglasandson

20150118_135421 20150118_135601 20150118_135625I then ran into a rather brilliant young entrepreneur, Cassandra, who has taken discarded rubber inner tubes (sourced mainly from Indonesia) and fashioned them into purses, jewellery & accessories, even shoes: AllWaste Reincarnation Art . Her bracelets are gorgeous and I can see them being worn by models walking this year’s Fashion Week runways. Hey all you fashion labels, check out Cassandra (pictured below left) for your show accessories this year- http://www.allwaste-reincarnationart.com

20150118_135703 20150118_135706 20150118_142639 20150118_142632I found these saucy tuxedo’d gents (below) waddling around the Love in the Afternoon booth checking out the miniature vintage fainting couch. Made me smile  http://www.loveintheafternoon.ca

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Had fun chatting with Boris and Julia (below) of Vivid Toronto Streetwear. Julia makes these colourful, sexy bow-ties and pocket squares, as well as fully lined jaunty hats, chic belly-bags and innovative “neck tubes” – fuss-free scarves ideal for snowboarders. Check out their full line at http://www.vivid-streetwear.com

20150118_140934 20150118_140946 20150118_141035 20150118_141100 20150118_141112 20150118_141237I was so dazzled by all the bright shiny things, I almost walked past my friend, jewellery designer Stephanie MacKay whose work includes sparkling druzzy rings (I have a gorgeous blue one) , red gold and copper necklaces and pendants. You gotta check out her designs: (http://www.mform.weebly.com )

20150118_140248 20150118_140300Next to Stephanie, I saw some pretty amazing mini-planters that were hung upside down for display…cool.

20150118_140825 20150118_140834 As I walked around the architecturally exquisite Fermenting Cellar, I noticed this lovely lady (her name was Jen) sitting quietly, completely lost in her texting/tweeting. Thought she made a great photo.

20150118_134356Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi! Yep, I found a new mate from Downunder at the Flea. Matt Obst, a young Aussie woodworker/craftsman, showcased his great re-purposed furniture, eg: an old mail trolley made into a coffee table, a vintage factory sewing machine stand converted into table base, and all sorts of found boards and wood repurposed into stunning furniture. Visit his gallery at http://www.obstwood.com Matt does commissioned works as well.

20150118_141615 20150118_141620 20150118_141658Fallen Wood Designs was up next – check out these fabulous home accessories crafted by the talented Mike Larmer. I love the dark walnut bowl in the first photo, and don’t get me started on the stunning pepper mills. Wow! http://www.fallenwooddesigns.ca

20150118_141959 20150118_142017 20150118_142028Across the aisle, I met Paula Whitlock, the talented artist behind Picture This design studios. Especially loved her images of butterflies and local Toronto architecture. http://www.picturethistoronto.com

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My lamby girls! Was thrilled to see Samantha and Calie of Two Lamb Boutique (below) had set up shop at the Flea. I met them about a month ago at their Yorkville pop-up and told them about the Leslieville Flea. Their glam bling sparkled under the lights, attracting lots of new Lamb-fans! http://www.twolamb.com  Thank you for my lovely treat, ladies.

20150118_143052 20150118_143101 20150118_143115Another fun booth was the pair of CryWolf Clothing and The Button Machine (below). Loved the “Turonno” patches and wearable souvenirs, the buttons were very cool….another great vendor who makes you smile! http://www.crywolfclothing.com  and  http://www.thebuttonmachine.com

20150118_143013 20150118_143023Ran to another of my fave Leslieville Flea vendors, Sarah Podemski of Totem Jewelry & Accessories. Last year, I purchased one of her silver antler pendants (below) that always gets me great compliments whenever I wear it. Thank you, Sarah.  www.facebook.com/TotemJewelryAndAccessories

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One of the newbies to the Flea was this lovely young lady, Emma (pictured below), who had some groovy clothing and accessories made from re-purposed treasures she’d found during her travels around the world. She was more concerned, tho, about showcasing the happy colourful artwork by Betty Mirembe who is battling Parkinson’s Disease which makes coming to the Flea nearly impossible for Betty. This adorable young lady was so proud to talk about Betty’s beautiful African scenes that she forgot to bring her own business cards. If I receive an email from her, I’ll link her access here – she deserves our support for her own kindness to another artist.

20150118_135029 20150118_134741 20150118_134937So another fabulous Leslieville Flea visit is done-and-dusted. Was nice to see Dan and his mustards, all my glitter girls who keep me lookin’ good, and all the gifted artisans I met today.  Next date for the Flea is February 22nd, 10am to 4pm…and it’s FREE! Details here: http://leslievilleflea.com/

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SATURDAY AFTERNOON STROLL AROUND YORKVILLE (Toronto)

Decided to be a “tourist” in my own back yard today. Weather was a bit warmer (balmy compared with Tuesday’s -12!) so I wandered into Williams-Sonoma on Bloor St to meet some of the food artisans who were showcasing their wares.  First off, DAVID MARCUS from DAVID’S CONDIMENTS  www.davidscondiments.com who was sampling his hot’n’spicy rubs, marinades and seasonings.

20150117_131646 20150117_131649 20150117_131653Then I met the cute couple behind BURNER HOT PEPPER SAUCE who were busy heating up the cold shoppers. Check out their online store for all the flavours and levels of heat.  http://burnerpeppersauce.com/shop/

20150117_131614 20150117_131619Next door to Williams-Sonoma is the new Holt Renfrew Men’s store and I was stopped in my tracks when I saw this thru the window….

20150117_131759 20150117_131804 20150117_131908A giant head sculpture by Douglas Coupland called Gumhead – you take a piece of bubblegum from the old-school dispensers, chew it and then stick it on the head. Hmm, I don’t think so, but I did plant a kiss (no tongues!) on the statue for good luck.

I then popped across the street to the Bloor St Market in the Manulife Centre to pick up a few groceries and I found SUMMER’S ICE CREAM being sampled. OMG…..Summer’s is THE best locally made ice cream and I frequently drop into their ice cream parlour on Yorkville Ave for a scoop or two during the summer months. They’re now selling their super deelish treats in tubs in selected grocery stores  http://www.summmersicecream.com

20150117_132742 20150117_132752As I headed back home along Bloor, I walked past the famed STOLLERY’s clothing store at Yonge & Bloor that had recently closed after 114 years and my heart broke to see what was being done to the beautiful building….

20150117_135450 20150117_135441 20150117_135426 20150117_135532… ripping out the beautiful window frames, friezes and stone carvings, as well as peeling off all the copper flashing. Their website  http://www.stollerys.com/ says the store was to close at the end of January but I guess the greedy developers couldn’t wait to get their wrecking balls on this iconic piece of Edwardian architecture.  This makes me sad, angry and very disappointed with the City of Toronto for allowing this to happen yet again to one of our beautiful old buildings.

Hope you liked joining me as I played tourist in my own neighbourhood ….follow my blog for further adventures and scroll down for other cool news and previous events.

 

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WHISKY & SPICE MUSTARDS HEAT UP MILTON WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET

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The folks at TERRA Greenhouses, 12800 Britannia Rd in Milton, are running a series of farmers’ markets throughout the winter (every Saturday until end of March), and Dan from Whisky & Spice is out there tickling the tastebuds of foodies in the western GTA and golden horseshoe region. Lots of sampling going on……

IMG_0507 IMG_0510 IMG_0512….so make sure you pop in this afternoon (up to 3pm) or every Saturday up to March 21st and pick up some W&S Porter beer, whisky & honey or Riesling & apple flavoured mustards.

http://www.whiskyandspice.ca

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Local pop-up Christmas market features Toronto artisans

Dan Gordon from Whisky and Spicehttp://www.whiskyandspice.ca ) set up camp this weekend at the exciting pop-up local artisans market located at Yonge & Gould streets (just 1blk north of Dundas Square) so I dropped in to say hi and see how Christmas sales were going. If you’re still looking for unique and delicious gifts, I suggest visiting Dan tomorrow (Sunday) to say hello and taste the wicked condiments – W&S will be back at the market next week, too.

20141206_132629 20141206_132638 20141206_133715 20141206_133730The big heated tent was bustling with shoppers and I watched as several customers tasted the flavoured mustard samples. Several jars disappeared in front of my eyes…bravo, Dan. People love the Whisky/honey, Porter beer and Riesling/apple infused handcrafted premium mustards.

I wandered around the tent, visiting other vendors and found an old friend, jewellery designer Stephanie MacKay (http://www.mform.weebly.com ). I’m lucky to have one of her stunning druzy rings (see below) and was pleased to see others admiring her gorgeous designs….

20141206_134149 20141206_134241 20141206_134155As I made my way around the tent, here are some other wonderful vendors offering unique gifts that I’m sure you’ll love…starting with Rose and Iris Designs (below)…unfortunately their Fcbk page isn’t working as I write (am sure it’s just a temporary glitch) but their home accessories & wearable designs are terrific so do connect with them, if you can. http://www.Facebook.com/roseandirisdesign

20141206_134014Then I met the Just Feelings people (http://www.justfeelings.ca ) who create/customize the most adorable wacky pens for the littlest people on your gift shopping list. No two are the same…just like the kids who love them.

20141206_134312 20141206_134322One of my favourite displays was the HYM purses, totes and clutches, designed by the lovely and charming Christina Di Pede (http://www.hymonline.com ). She designs the bags using supple Italian leathers (feels like buttah!) and velvety soft calf hair. The oversized clutches are perfect for your iPad or Note – my favourite is the turquoise coloured one Christina’s holding below. Dear Santa, I’ve been a good girl and I wanna a HYM purse.

20141206_134546 20141206_134559 20141206_134549 20141206_134604Next to Christina was Toronto City Key, a “keys to the city” company that offers all sorts of discounts & perks – you show your “key” that has a special promo code imprinted on it to receive spa, restaurant, entertainment  perks. Better than those darn discount coupon books and …I like this…it’s multiple use at each participating venue, not a one-time-only use. Check them out here: http://www.torontocitykey.com 

20141206_134750 20141206_134809 20141206_134812Sex on a Stitch anyone? LOL Every girl should have a pair of pasties in her lingerie draw, even for her own entertainment. I happen to know several of the top burlesque performers in Toronto and I know they wear these sparkly crocheted tassels and twirly things. So if you’ve been naughty or nice, visit them here at the TO Local Market or at http://www.sexonastitch.etsy.com 

20141206_134443 20141206_134451Clothing and accessories designer Sarah Cresswell of Sci Feye Candy (below) http://www.SciFeyeCandy.com showed off her saucy lingerie for grown-up girls as well as tweens and teens. Wish I’d had such a selection waaaaay back when I was a little nipper!

20141206_134903 20141206_134906 20141206_134910Sarah was next to her friend, Sonia Kang of Coven jewellery designs which were displayed on cuddly sheepskin throws. Great edgy pieces affordably priced. http://www.covensk.com

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I totally recommend visiting the pop-up artisans’ tent between now and Christmas – your purchase will be a gift to these local artisans who really need our support. Wouldn’t you rather give money to an artist/designer than a big impersonal box store??  I know I would…and did. The artisans change on a weekly basis and many I’ve mentioned here are only there tomorrow (Sunday Dec.7) so visit http://www.adhocpopup.com/holidaymarket/ to see who’s peddling their wares and when.

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