clay canvas

March 20, 2018

I’m drawn to the work of British ceramicist, Carolyn Gender. The colours, of course, are what pulled me in, but her forms –– thrown, thrown and altered, or hand built –– are all superb. I also love her use of pattern. “More than painted surfaces, each piece is a continuous three dimensional canvas,” says Gender in her artist’s statement. So much inspiration in what she creates. 

tiers galore

March 15, 2018

Naked cakes are nothing new, but I do love their rustic charm. This pistachio cake is a beauty, and so is this classic vanilla sponge with raspberries and cream. One can never eat enough Madeira cake, and this one is pretty sweet. A fridge full of naked –– they’d last less than three days in this house.

Good Egg

March 14, 2018

The first time I met Mika Bareket she sold me Tom Valenti’s soups, stews, and one pot meals. Even at the till, (at Type Books where she used to work) I knew I’d never make that rabbit stew with marjoram and vermouth, but I was so whipped up in Mika’s enthusiasm, that I had to buy it. I still have the book, and when the urge to make a lobster bisque strikes, I’ll be ready. When Mika first opened Good Egg in Kensington Market I was in the shop at least once a week. Most of the people I know and love have received a gift from Good Egg. Brazilian barbecue for my friend, Tamara, Ottolenghi for my mother-in-law, a French market bag for my neighbour, Erin, countless books for my favourite babies and children, Marimekko for everyone, Baggu for everyone, and anything illustrated by Maira Kalman for me. Mika has a knack for making her customers feel that they are her number one. She is what my Mum would call a good egg –– a top notch person, with excellent wrapping skills. Goodbye, Good Egg  –– we hope to see you again soon.

glove compartment

March 12, 2018

Between the clay, cold and chlorine, my hands are looking 150-years-old. And I never wear gloves which is just silly. But I came across these today, handmade by Kristi Jõeste, and I want a pair. These fringed ones, inspired by the traditional wedding gloves worn by men from the island of Saaremaa (the largest island in Estonia) are fabulous. And just what my ancient hands need.


dress to spring

March 9, 2018

Here’s a pretty dress, in a delightful shade of pink, that begs to be worn this Spring. In fact, I like so many of the frocks in this latest No. 6 collection. Like this floral number with its balloon sleeves. Pink crushed velvet reminds me of my teen years, and I love the colour of this silk trapeze dress. Take a look at the jumpsuits, too. This black and white check is dizzyingly good.

art of nature

March 8, 2018

“Galaxies” is how some people have described the patterns that sand bubbler crabs create when they’re scavenging the sand for food. It’s transient art, because they only last as long as the tide is low. The more elaborate the pattern, the longer the tide has been out. It’s amazing to think that something so beautiful is the byproduct of basic survival. And that it washes away, just like that, until the next time. Nature really is extraordinary. Watch this video of the tiny artists hard at work on a beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand. It’s really quite incredible.

fathers of daughters

March 6, 2018

I was looking at the work of the late, great painter, sculptor, architect, writer and stage designer, Salvatore Fiume and I was drawn to this image of Fiume painting frescoes on the walls of a collapsed castle in the little town of Fiumefreddo Bruzio in Southern Italy. I love how many local kids have come to watch him paint, and I’d love to one day visit the town and stay at Borgodifiume. In the meantime, I’m totally inspired by the motifs on these tiles, designed by Fiume’s daughter, Laura Fiume. In some shape or form, they’ll make their way into a plate or bowl of mine.

la vie en rose

March 5, 2018

What a lovely idea, a marshmallow pink bedroom is. This one here, in the Château de la Goujeonnerie in the Vendée, is a delight, with its embroidered silks from Lelièvre, 18th-century Delft vases and a palm tree chandelier by Josef Hoffman. Have a walk through the rest of the house –– designed by the trio behind L3G Designs –– it’s vraiment fancy.


March 5, 2018

A while ago, I worked on a series for Toronto Life, where I visited people’s homes and asked them questions about their collections. What inspired the collection? What does the collection reveal about them? Where do they keep their one hundred panamas? Which was the first Victorian cameo they ever purchased? How many mid century salad tongs do they own? I found the topic fascinating. So when I happened upon painter, Greg Irvine’s South Melbourne home, I was kind of gobsmacked. From tortoiseshell combs to celluloid bangles to bamboo furnishings, every room is adorned with some whimsical collection. Watch this video –– it’s quite a delight to see how artfully, meticulously Irvine curates his collections.


March 2, 2018

I went to a workshop yesterday hosted by artist and florist, Lauren Wilson. We learned about tulipieres –– a 17th century vessel with multiple spouts –– and we got to design our own arrangements using peonies, roses, miniature anemones, narcissus and parrot tulips. To play with bunches and bunches of fresh blooms is my idea of heaven, although a tulipiere is a little more challenging than a standard vase. While I appreciate restrained, simple arrangements, with so many flowers in front of me, I couldn’t resist wild and whimsical. I stuffed each spout with as many flowers as would fit, without cutting off  their water supply! It was exciting to see how each of us approached the vessel and choice of flowers. Seven women, seven interpretations of the tulipiere.

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