at the interior design show with excel naturally sweetened

The show’s slogan and popular selfie spot; pieces by the Toronto-based Kroft+Co (I love the shelf!).

Last weekend Geoff and I attended the Interior Design Show for the first time—every year we plan to go but it has never panned out, so I was glad to finally get there! The theme for this year’s show was “Design Changes Every Thing,” a sentiment I can definitely agree with, especially when I see how strongly particular aesthetics can be associated with certain people or places (also: cute pun!). We attended the opening party on Thursday and returned on Saturday to take a more leisurely stroll and revisit some of our favourite discoveries. Although I hadn’t been before, I was struck by the overall feel of the show, which was quite modern and clean, and I was pleased to see Canadian designers so well represented.

Our visit was in partnership with Excel Canada, and we made sure to stop by Excel Naturally Sweetened Lounge, designed by TV host and decorator Jillian Harris. The Lounge had been decorated in a simple and fresh way, with lovely colours and accents such as pillows with a chinoiserie pattern. I particularly loved how she used plants in the space, because I always think plants add such warmth to a space. The geometric wall planters with succulents were such a nice touch! 

I also may have, um, filled my purse with gum. I haven’t been much of a gum-chewer in years because of all the artificial sweeteners usually found in gum, but Excel’s new Naturally Sweetened doesn’t contain any of those!

This orchid table (part of Studio North & Prototype) by ART MKT was so delicate and pretty.

EQ3s new capsule collection, Assembly, featuring items such as quilts, clocks, mirrors, and chairs, shines a light on contemporary Canadian design. This dressing table was a real standout piece for me.

Another Toronto-based small batch furniture maker, Coolican & Companys pieces are beautifully made and durable.

The IDS International Guest of Honour this year was Tom Dixon. There were so many lovely pieces on display (including some incredible-smelling candles) but I was particularly drawn to the lighting.

The online gallery Caviar20 had some incredible pieces on display and for sale, including these drawings of John & Yoko by Harold Town, and these glass sculptures by Vasa Mihich. They also had the most incredible pastel Frank Stella lithograph!

Gorgeous brass lamps from Lightmaker Studio.

These drawer pulls and chairs were for sale in the Designboom market, made by Nate Roseti. I loved the colours and the playful lines!

Wallpapers by Rollout.

Another Studio North & Prototype piece, this one by Studio Lani.


giftagram: gifts for the bookworm

(This is a sponsored post)

Hi! Now that we all have gift-giving on our minds, I worked with Giftagram to create a list of gifts that any Bookwork would love. These are all items that are available through the app, which makes gift-giving so easy.

I see Christmas as an opportunity to combine two of my great loves: presenting someone I care about with a carefully chosen gift—I simply adore everything about the gift-giving process—and the chance to give books. There is something so special and thoughtful about books, which can contain entire beautiful worlds within them, as gifts.

I’m flattered when I receive a novel that a friend thought I would love, or that reminded the giver of me; I love that any time I look at or pick up the book, I will think of that friend. It infuses the act with a little extra sweetness, I think. I also appreciate a gift of a more instructional book, such as a cookbook or a collection of photographs and wisdom, which can inspire me to better myself, to learn something new, or to create something I wouldn’t have thought to on my own. Books are gorgeous as objects, they are always useful and practical, they last forever, and, to my mind, are never clutter! Books truly make the perfect gift as far as I’m concerned, and there is one for everyone via Giftagram. Here are some I would be pleased to find under my tree.

The House Gardener by Isabelle Palmer (available on Giftagram Canada) 
While I personally do not have much of a green thumb, I love having plants in my home to create an air of serenity and warmth. This book contains tips on how to select, display, and care for houseplants, all useful tips for someone as hopeless with plants as I am.

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi (available on Giftagram USA) 
Ottolenghi’s first book, Plenty, is one of my all-time favourite cookbooks, inspiring robustly flavourful vegetarian dishes that I crave constantly (especially the eggplant ones, yum!).

Love x Style x Life by Garance DorĂ© (Canada) 
I’ve been reading Garance’s blog since the beginning and have always been charmed by her approach to life. This book collects many of her bon mots, elegant drawings, and beautiful photographs, and would look wonderful on any coffee table.

Lint and Honey Giant Heart Pillow (Canada) 
This large heart pillow from Lint and Honey would make any reading nook cozy and comfortable.

Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady (available on Giftagram Canada) 
Written by a Canadian food blogger with Indian heritage, this lovely cookbook contains sumptuous photography and Tara’s trademark warm writing style. She draws from various cultures in a fresh way, and some of the recipes from her blog have become staples in my home. This would be a great book for inspiring a multi-course dinner party (which I have never thrown, but I can fantasize about!).

Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants by Amy Rosen (available on Giftagram Canada) 
If you’re anything like me, you prefer to eat home-cooked meal, saving restaurant meals for the most special of occasions. Luckily this book exists to bring home some of the city’s best to eat at your own table. Splendido may be gone but their roasted mushroom salad recipe lives on.

Sloane Tea gift set (Canada) 
This luxurious tea set from Sloane features a wonderful assortment of classic teas (Earl Grey, Signature Black, Blood Orange assam, and Marrakesh Mint) in Sloane’s beautiful keepsake tins. When you’re settling in for a lazy day of reading, a cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (available on Giftagram Canada) 
Aziz delighted us on Parks and Recreation and again on Master of None, and this no-doubt hilarious book about dating would be a wonderful companion to a warm bubble bath after a long day.

Milk Bar Life Cookbook: Recipes and Stories by Christina Tosi (available on Giftagram Canada) 
A few years ago, I made my husband a multi-layered, rather complicated birthday cake from the first Milk Bar cookbook. It took me three days but it was so delicious and impressive that it’s become legendary. This book contains savoury dishes, and my mouth waters thinking about how incredible they must be!

Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton (available on Giftagram Canada) 
I have yet to visit Gabrielle Hamilton’s New York restaurant Prune, but having devoured (ha!) her memoir Blood, Bones and Butter, it’s been a goal of mine. For now, this book would do as it is a little more affordable than a plane ticket.

Kate Spade New York: All in Good Taste by Kate Spade New York (available on Giftagram USA) As someone who is forever clutzy and forever spilling drinks and food all over herself, but who loves to write thank you notes and who has collected several editions of Emily Post’s Etiquette, yearning to be a gracious hostess, this modern style guide could come in quite handy! As a bonus, it’s full of Kate Spade’s signature illustrations and clean design, and cloth is in my favourite colour: pink.

Food52 Baking: 60 Sensational Treats You Can Pull Off in a Snap by the Editors of Food52 (available on Giftagram USA) 

Even though I have tried in vain to cut sugar out of my life time and time again, it truly is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I could spend a very happy hour flipping through this collection of cookies, cakes, and tarts, tummy grumbling!


good night, day: the pattern book

Over the past few months I’ve been working with Tara-Lynn of Good Night, Day on a book of her patterns. She’s had booklets published in the past, but this will be much higher quality, with all new photos by Arden Wray and a full redesign by me. I took on this project happily because I love Tara-Lynn’s work—I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here many times, but the only reason why I took up knitting was to knit her patterns—and because I’ve always admired her fierce independence and integrity. We’ve created something that I am really proud to have my name on. The book will be perfectbound, full colour, and will feature 18 patterns.

Unfortunately, printing costs can be quite high for an ambitious, self-funded project such as this one, and so Tara-Lynn has set up an account through Go Fund Me through which you can pre-order the book, or simply send along a few dollars to help keep this project going, if you’re in the position to do so. Asking for help and allowing people to see your vulnerability can be one of the most difficult things to do, and I admire her for taking this step.

I really love her newest knits but the patterns have been so important for me as a knitter. They’re simple and elegant and really satisfying to knit. I hope you will like them too!

Photos by Arden Wray
Models: Brooke Manning, Airin McGuinty
Styling by Tara-Lynn Morrison


new: a cmyk peony print

For the past little while Geoff has been experimenting with CMYK silkscreen prints of photographs. This process requires breaking a photo down to four colours, and printing four separate layers. The end result is this peony print that, at a distance, looks like a photo, but up close, is something else entirely.

This print is available in our shop now. We hope you like it!


giveaway: nettle's tale and dani press

Today I’m pleased to host a giveaway from two wonderful Canadian companies, the Vancouver-based Nettle’s Tale, and the Toronto-based Dani Press. Nettle’s Tale creates swimsuits for every body, and Dani Press is a stationery company that stands by the power of the handwritten note. As a kiss to our steamy summer (there is still nearly a full month of it left!), we’ll be offering one swimsuit of the winner’s choice, 8 film notecards, and one art print.

It’s been a treat to work with these companies, who create their products with their whole heart, and who are committed to giving back. Both donate 10% of all profits to a charitable cause. You can read more about Nettle’s Tale here and Dani Press here.

This giveaway is open to everyone, and to enter, simply click over to Instagram, where I will outline the details. Good luck!

Dani and her friend Lisa Gilroy


ceramics by bolden and sojourn

Over the past few months, Shayna of Sojourn and Jen of Bolden have been collaborating on a fun series of wild/domestic cat ceramics, and the results are so charming! They’ll be updating their shop tomorrow (Friday, August 7) at 1pm EST with all new pieces—the last run sold out in a few minutes.

Both of them have been posting progress shots on their Instagram accounts (Jen here and Shayna here). I love to see the two of them working together and creating such wondrous objects!


a perfume workshop!

Last week I was lucky enough to take The Art of Perfuming workshop with Julie of Province Apothecary. I had missed out on this workshop in the past so was thrilled to finally be able to take it! I adore perfumes but haven’t ever tried to make my own, specifically because I was too intimidated by the vast world of scent. With Julie’s instruction and advice, though, it felt easy and came naturally.

I’ve been a fan of Province’s Parfum Botanique line, particularly No. 7 and No. 14, and still wish I hadn’t missed out on the perfume she created especially for Easy Tiger a while ago. That one was a blend of rose, jasmine, vetiver, bergamont, and cedar wood, and without realizing it, I ended up making one that was similar (more on my blend later).

In the workshop we learned about top, middle, and bottom notes, and how to blend to make accords. We sniffed and sniffed essential oils and narrowed down our choices. Julie said that if something really spoke to us, it probably meant that our body needed it (Julie has a background in aromatherapy). It was very relaxing!

It was fascinating to see how different everyone’s finished blends were! Some were floral, some were more citrus-based. No two were alike.

In the end we got to take home a 10ml bottle of our own custom blend. I really love patchouli and mine ended up being pretty heavy on the patchouli, although made a little more subtle as its also blended with rose otto, bergamot, vetiver, and black pepper. A very earthy blend. I have been carrying it in my purse and I love to pull it out and give it a sniff. I jokingly said mine was called 1997 because in that year I went through a phase in which I wore patchouli oil. It takes me right back, although it detours a little through a few other lovely scents along the way.

Thanks, Julie! If you're interested in taking a workshop with Province Apothecary, watch this page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram.