One day when my son was very young he asked me, “hey mom, what’s with the Easter bunny?” Wanting to set a good example by always telling the truth I explained to him that actually there was no bunny that secretly came hopping into our house leaving eggs behind. I explained that the eggs (that I hid for him) represented spring and all the new life that is born at this time of year. Ie. Spring flowers, baby birds, buds on the trees, and of course bunnies. He thought this was a good answer. As traditions go, each year at this time my sister-in-law (SIL) has an egg painting/tea party for all her female friends and family. All of us gather on a Sunday afternoon to share stories, eat, drink tea and paint eggs. My SIL inherited her mothers collection of beautiful bone china tea cups, so to honour her mother and the tea cups we celebrate. A good friend of my SIL has taught us, or ‘patiently’ tries to teach us, the Ukrainian method of painting ‘pysanky’. Pysanky are Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. Using a stylus or ‘pysak’ the design is written with beeswax melted onto the egg. The egg is then dipped into coloured dye and then more beeswax is applied creating a layering of pattern. The application of beeswax in sequence with dipping into dyes in order of light dyes to dark dyes creates the pysanky. Historically in Ukrainian culture the pysanky were made at night when the children were sleeping. The women in the family would gather together secretly and create the pysanky to give to their family. The patterns and colour combinations were handed down from mother to daughter and carefully guarded. To give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life. Each year at this time I display my pysanky in a crystal bowl that I inherited from my mother. My pysanky designs are improving but it is the gathering of women, drinking tea and sharing that I think is real special.
Images via Modmissy
It is with deep regret that I write this post to inform you that Canada recently lost a preeminent glass artist. Jeff Goodman passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. Jeff was an outstanding artist, passionate creator, designer and so much more. He was a loving husband and father. He was a great neighbour and friend. I met Jeff many years ago when our children were babies. When I was introduced to Jeff and told he was a glass artist I didn’t quite understand – prescription glasses or drinking glasses? Silly me! I have come to understand that Jeff’s talent of creating with glass has ‘wowed’ the world over. Jeff’s dramatic blown glass vessels and chandeliers, as well as his architectural glass installations can be seen in public spaces, galleries and centers throughout the world. In my own home I have a few pieces of Jeff’s glass, ok…..12 to be exact, that I cherish. Here are 2 of them.
But the pieces that I hold near and dear to my heart are the ones that Jeff truly showed his talent of his thoughtfulness and generosity. When our children were small, Jeff invited us into his studio to cast in glass our hands and the children’s little feet. As you can imagine 3-year olds would be very excited and rather rambunctious running around the studio, but Jeff always had a smile on his face and seemed to be truly happy creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces with all of us. One year we even cast our faces into glass! Here is a photo of Jeff and my then 3 year old son pushing his hands into a special sand mixture before the liquid glass was poured into the cast.
My son’s hands and feet.
Jeff is no longer with us but his generosity, passion, talent and love will live on forever. I encourage you to visit the Jeff Goodman Studio website www.jeffgoodmanstudio.com and have a look at his beautiful creations and lasting legacy.
All images via Modmissy
It’s here. Spring! And it arrived in Toronto with an unbelievable temperature of 25˚ Celsius. (77˚ Fahrenheit) Considering it is still March this warm weather is just not the norm for this time of year. The elevated temperature makes for the sudden burst of spring flowers rising up from the ground. The colours of spring have arrived! Inspiration grabbing hold of me, I decided to take a walk through my neighborhood with my camera and Benjamin Moore Colour deck in hand. Climbing (precariously!) through some of my neighbours’ yards I took photos of spring flowers matched up with a Benjamin Moore paint colour. Some kind neighbours even toured me through their backyards proudly showing me their beautiful spring flowers. Thought I would share with you too.
Purple Crocus = Purple Hyacinth 2073-40
Yellow Crocus = Sunshine 2021-30
Glory-of-the-Snow = Summer blue 2067-50
Hellebore = Precious Pink 2084-40
Not sure what this flower is but I inadvertently walked into a bog to photograph! = Grape Green 2027-40
Pink Snowdrop = Spring Blossom 2172-70
Spring Heather =Taste of Berry 2085-40
All images via Modmissy
Garbage. No one likes to talk about garbage but our trash, waste, rubbish is a reality of everyday life. My axiom of, ‘design is everywhere’ includes the lowly garbage bin. Last summer I wrote about ‘the garbage bin as art’ in my post, http://modmissy.com/2011/08/23/art-in-the-country. This time I want to write about Toronto’s newest garbage bins, the ones located on main streets for public use. Referred to as ‘street furniture’ these futuristic bins were designed by Kramer Design Associates www.kramerdesign.com, a design firm specializing in street furniture, signage programs and media architecture. I would believe that hours and hours were spent at the drawing board creating the design of these newest and innovative garbage bins. In the last few weeks I have been curious about these bins and in truth have been studying their daily use by the general public. First off, I like the fact that the bins were designed as closed containers – I don’t have to see the garbage or smell the garbage. The closed container also keeps varmints and wasps out. The containers cannot be knocked over spewing nasty contents all over the sidewalk. I appreciate that they offer recycling options with different sections. The colour is somewhat bland but do we really need to highlight a garbage bin!? But here is the interesting detail about this street furniture and the real reason as to why I am even writing about garbage bins. Located at the bottom of the bin is a foot pedal that when pushed, opens the flaps allowing garbage to be disposed of without having to make any contact. Great design because I hate touching yucky, contaminated surfaces. But it was not until just recently that I became aware of this design detail, prior to that I was pushing my garbage through the flaps. And I don’t think most users are aware of this detail either because every time I pass by a bin there is garbage hanging out of the flaps. I also asked many friends and they were not aware either that a foot pedal even existed. I don’t believe anyone stands in front of a garbage bin reading instructions prior to use. These garbage bins were unveiled to Toronto in 2008 and most of us are just figuring them out now. As Ray Eames once said, “What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.” Hhmmm??
Image via Modmissy
Today marks the start of March Break also known as Spring Break. A week off to enjoy doing whatever pleases you whether that be a vacation to a warm destination, a skiing vacation, or a stay-cation. I have opted for the stay-cation and plan on spending time being a tourist in my own city – Toronto. But for today I thought I would choose a place I would like to spend time in this weekend. This bright living room feels like I would be ‘getting away’. Floor to ceiling windows flood the room with sunlight allowing me to feel like I was in the sunny tropics not to mention the possibilities of night-time star-gazing. Lots of comfortable seating planned with different conversation zones in mind. Good lighting for reading. A couple of poufs/ottomans for extra seating. A variety of tables to hold a book, drink or snacks. And the pool! What’s not to love about walking outside and taking a soothing dip in your private pool overlooking the village below. Enjoy your weekend.
Image via B&B Italia
This past weekend I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). I love visiting galleries and museums not only to view the outstanding art and exhibits but to be witness to the architecture of the building that houses the outstanding art. Often the architecture is as much a spectacle as the art. The most recent renovation to the AGO, architect Frank Gehry’s design made the connection between art and architecture. Upon entering into the first part of the gallery you walk into a large open hub; Walker Court. Immediately you are hit by the spectacle of the architecture; the dramatic spiral staircase, the abundance of Douglas fir and the high arched doorways. As gallery-goers entered and walked around this space I noticed that most were looking up taking in the amazing sights. Often overlooked in public spaces though are details that although do not take centre stage are just as interesting. In Walker Court were 2 upholstered benches. Unlike all the art in the gallery, I was able to touch and inspect these benches. So I got down on my hands and knees and discovered that the tag on the bottom (no easy feat) indicated that the bench was made in Denmark by Erik Jørgensen www.erik-joergensen.com. The bench – EJ 144 (One for Four) was designed by Anne-Mette Bartholin Jensen and Morten Ernst. The big horizontal surface, smooth black fibre-glass construction and transparent base gives “the appearance of a membrane separating heaven from earth”. The bench is also available in a single version, EJ 141 (One for One). I am sure the intention of placing these 2 benches in this outstanding space was a well thought out design decision because what you sit on to experience art and architecture is just as important.
Pouf, beanie, bonnet, ottoman, stool – whatever name it goes by this orbit-shaped legless chair is quickly becoming a popular décor addition. The pouf as I like to call it is both fun and functional, offering an extra seat solution and a fabulous hit of colour to your room. Of course like many items there is always the High vs. Low scenario. I have found 2 different companies selling their version. First is the Beanie from the Dutch design company Montis www.montis.nl .
The Beanie “a knitted cap that is warm and comfortable to sit on” is made of wool and available in a choice of 5 colours; orange, moss green, pine green, blue and grey. The cost of the Beanie is approximately $550 – reflecting the High version. The Low version is the Pouf from CB2 www.cb2.com .
This chunky hand-knit sweater-looking Pouf is made of 100% cotton and available in a choice of 4 colours; blood orange, graphite grey, pool blue or camo green. The cost…..$100. Both the High or Low version will offer a sculptural element to your room; the decision is what colour, what cost.
My ‘Friday Space’ this week is inspired by the desire to getaway. March so often being the month for travelling to warm destinations I decided that lounging poolside is where I would like to spend time this weekend. The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona is a colourful oasis that promises to both shock and calm at the same time. A departure from the usual colours of desert sand and kitschy Southwestern hues the Saguaro is alive with rich oranges, reds, vibrant pinks and violets that reference the desert wildflowers native to the nearby Sonoran Desert. In this photo I love how the orange umbrellas pop against the pink walls. (I am a huge fan of the combination of pink and orange.) I like the strong linear white roof line that draws your eye around. The purple building rising up from behind gives another pop of colour. The mature palm trees give the impression of being in a lush rainforest oasis. Even the rolled up beach towels lying at the foot of the chaises are bright pink. And in the middle of it all is the aqua blue pool tempting me to dip in, to relax and unwind. Pure ‘colourful’ heaven! Enjoy your weekend.
Today we are greeted by the first day of March which really means only 19 more days until the first day of spring! Thinking of it this way makes it a little easier to get through these last days of winter. The greys of winter will soon be banished by the colours of spring. I can’t wait. When I saw this photo I was reminded of spring flowers.
New for spring from Ikea www.ikea.com is the GAVIK table lamp. Made of coloured transparent double glass the lamp when lit spreads beautiful effects in any room. In anticipation of spring I thought I would also share with you a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson about flowers. Enjoy
The Flower by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went
Thro’ my garden bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o’er the wall
Stole the seed by night.
Sow’d it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried,
“Splendid is the flower!”
Read my little fable:
He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.