Category Archives: Jewellery

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GLORIA BASS CELEBRATES SUCCESSFUL TORONTO TRUNK SHOW WITH CELEBRITY VISITORS

Last Sunday & Monday, Montreal-based jewellery designer, GLORIA BASS, welcomed celebrity visitors from the Canadian music industry and theatre, capping off her 2-day Christmas trunk show held in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville village. She brought her unique designs made from 18kt gold and the finest precious stones and pearls to a special “pop-up” gallery, just in time for Christmas.20161128_125530

2016 Grammy-nominated Canadian flutist and composer RON KORB (above right) dropped in with his wife, Jade (above centre, with Gloria’s assistant Marie-Josée at left), to check out potential red carpet gems for next Spring’s awards season (Ron may be nominated again in 2017). Having been photographed by the world’s entertainment media when they walked this year’s Grammy red carpet in Los Angeles, Jade & Ron know the importance of wearing just the right accessories to make an impact and Gloria’s stunning, unique designs will definitely make an impression.20161128_130350-1 20161128_131255 20161128_131307 IMG_2395-1-sJade tried on some lovely freshwater pearls (above) and listened as Marie-Josée explained the handcrafting process of one particular white gold necklace featuring black Tahitian pearls, diamonds and rubies…wow!

Jade also loved the 18kt gold & diamond necklace (pictured with Gloria, below), part of a special line designed for Canada’s Remembrance Day programme in the form of poppies.20161128_131448-120161127_105054A little later that same day artist, playwright and actor PHILIP CAIRNS (below) dropped in – Philip  has recently been nominated for a Broadway World Theatre Award and was looking for something with which to make a splash at the upcoming ceremony. Marie-Josée showed Philip a number of pieces but he soon spotted a stunning Prasiolite & ruby pendant in 18kt gold that he thought would make a fabulous accessory to his awards tux…and it seems that Gloria thinks so, too!20161128_16061420161128_163210 20161128_163329Several established clients of Gloria’s dropped into the pop-up store located on Yorkville’s Bellair St, and considering the number of sales, me thinkst Santa is gonna need a bigger sleigh this year!

Gloria would like to thank everyone who dropped into her Toronto trunk show and she looks forward to welcoming new clients via her online gallery. If you would like to see more of her beautiful designs and one-of-a-kind handcrafted works, please visit her website: www.gloriabassdesign.com

In the meantime, here are a few more sparkly gems to whet your appetite including my fave earrings (centre pic) featuring Tourmalines and Diamonds in 18kt gold, and the perfectly matched string of delicate pink “ombre” pearls (bottom).banner1 tourmaline and diamonds 2c30e9fd96eba8f2ea2f72188f9cec1d20161128_130451

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DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS AND PEARLS, OH MY! GLORIA BASS BRINGS HER AWARD-WINNING DESIGNS TO YORKVILLE TRUNK SHOW – TODAY IS LAST DAY!

On Sunday Nov. 27th, Montreal-based award-winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS launched her 2-day Christmas trunk show at 24 Bellair St in Yorkville, Toronto, and oh my, what wonderful bright sparkly treasures she showcased! Like the stunning Labradorite necklace above, each piece is unique and hand-crafted by Gloria and her goldsmiths so if you’re looking for a little luxury for this year’s festive season (or any season!), please drop in todayMonday Nov. 28th, between 10am and 5pm to experience the ultimate in bling!  Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll see……20161127_10451620161127_10493320161127_10583120161127_10493820161127_104649Gloria only uses the finest quality gemstones sourced from around the world and works in 18kt gold; she also works with exquisite pearls from the south seas, Tahiti and freshwater or cultured pearls from Japan.  You can see more of her innovative designs on her website:  www.gloriabassdesign.com  She also works on commission, as well as custom bridal pieces.20161127_11010520161127_11012120161127_11043020161127_104535As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of pearls and Gloria has created a special “ombre”style design (below) with perfectly matched Tahitian and South Seas pearls….what do you think of these beauties?20161127_110227There are many different pieces featuring South Seas, cultured or fresh water pearls set with precious stones in 18kt gold from which to choose…20161127_11571320161127_105029

20161127_105023You simply MUST come in to see these treasures in person.  You will not find Gloria Bass Design jewellery in any department stores so today is your last chance to view work from one of Canada’s leading designers. Again, 24 Bellair St, Yorkville (close to Bay & Bloor) from 10am until 5pm. Cash, credit card or debit.

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

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COME WALK THE AISLES OF TORONTO’S NATIONAL WOMEN’S SHOW WITH ME….

Thanks to KJ Mullins, publisher of the web-based NEWZ4U.ca news portal, I was granted a media pass to explore the National Women’s Show today and wow, what a blast I had!  Arriving just before the doors were open to the public, I was able to get a running start (I soon slowed to a plod as I got weighed down by samples and freebies) on the thousands of “civilian” attendees so sit back, relax, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy this virtual tour.

My first stop was the charming HRH Custom Creations booth where I met Amy and say her beautifully made metal signs and butterflies. www.hrhcustomcreations.com20161104_105702(0)Then next up I was drawn into the Sweets Canada booth where Sam Dhutia and his pretty assistant let me sample some of their flower-infused artisan chocolate. Sam gave me a box of Q’bites with milk chocolate and black licorice and a deelish bar of Dark Chocolate/Cranberry with Lavender petals to bring home and I just had my first bite….OMG – yummm. Check out their range of edible flower & chocolate treats here: www.sweetscanada.com 20161104_110107 20161104_110111 20161104_110116I love the Happy Bees Honey man (below) who was so pleased to sample his yummy treats. I caved in a bought a jar – I’ll probably christen it tomorrow on my breakfast toast. Based in Welland, Ontario, his busy winged workers feast on wildflowers so their products are naturally sweet and oh so good for you.  www.happybeesapiary.ca20161104_111008 20161104_111202Across the aisle, I found products courtesy of African “killer bees”! Yikes….the lip balm was actually quite lovely and they also offered great little stocking stuffers such as beeswax candles and mini honey jars (see below) www.africanbronzehoney.com20161104_111549 20161104_111607I was intrigued by the Enright Cattle Co. booth (below) showcasing their fashionably rugged leather bags, totes and purses. The cattle farm based in Tweed uses the hides from their beef beasties and, as a meat-eater, I was all in favour of this company’s “use every part” philosophy.  www.enrightcattlecompany.com20161104_112235 20161104_112253I then met entrepreneur Eriver Muwanguzi who is introducing African jewellery and fashion designers to Toronto through his company, Tofara  www.tofara.com  He showed me unique handcrafted pieces from various countries and I was blown away by these statement pieces (below).20161104_112628 20161104_112637 20161104_112700I had some fun schmoozing with the “ladies in blue” – officers from the Peel Region Police Recruiting dept. Yes, I was tempted to sign on but I hardly think they’d want this grumpy old broad patrolling their precinct…LOL20161104_112826CwbcafRWgAAAJYRHave you ever visited the Ste. Anne’s Spa and Bakery? Just a short train ride or drive from Toronto, you can experience relaxation in the country with spa treatments, skin products and now a healthy gluten-free bakery. And if these jovial staff (below) are any indication, it’s a very happy place to visit.  www.steannes.com20161104_113713 20161104_11372120161104_113757Nice to see Veronica of www.iloveisola.com jewelry at the show – her handcrafted bracelets and necklaces use semi-precious stones and each has an energy or healing component.20161104_113836(0)Unikati & Co. offers handcrafted toys, bags, jewellery and all sorts of lovely things, all made by people in areas of conflict, war survivors, rural families, hunger project workers…every piece has a story to tell from around the world. www.unikati.ca20161104_114010 20161104_114023 20161104_114125The lovely ladies of Lazizza explained their ultimate shapewear collection (move over, Spanx, these Canuck girls have got you beat!) to me and I may be calling on them soon so I can look fab during all the Christmas celebrations. Check them out yourself: www.lazizzashapewear.com 20161104_115212 20161104_115201 20161104_115408Invocation (below) is a First Nations aromatherapy company offering home fragrance and perfumes made from natural organic or wildcrafted ingredients. The range of fragrances enhance your mood, increase energy or can relax and soothe.  www.invocation.ca 20161104_12224720161104_122241 20161104_122255Here are a few random shots taken around the showroom….20161104_123243 20161104_111832 20161104_113304Here’s something a little different but oh so comfortable, esp. if you’re built like moi! The Breast Rest garment replaces your typical underwire bra (ouch!) and makes hangin’ round the house really comfortable. The cotton lycra Comfort Support System is fully customizable to your body shape and is designed as a solution to the discomforts of the traditional bra. It has pillow-like support and revolutionary design which provides the comfort and support for which you have been yearning.  www.thebreastrest.com20161104_123731 20161104_123734 20161104_123744

As soon as I saw the word “Australia” I knew I had to stop and find out more about the Rodan + Fields Anti-Aging products (below). I spoke with John and Bill (OMG, their faces were as smooth as a baby’s bum) and they kindly gave me a “personal pamper pack” filled with all sorts of potions, lotions, unctions and serums to try at home. The products are beautifully packaged and promise clinically proven skincare and anti-aging results. They are introducing the line to Australia next year so I’m emailing friends and family back home to watch out for it. Check out John and Bill’s website for details: www.holygrailforskin.com20161104_125905 20161104_125911 20161104_125919Now here’s something different – the Divorce Angels is a resource network for those going through the divorce process. Having had several friends go through the trauma of separating their families over the past 20yrs, I know how much they would have appreciated this support. www.thedivorceangels.com  Pictured below left, Marni Sky is co-founder and she also featured a lovely collection of handcrafted empowerment bracelets created by a member of this unique support group.

20161104_131759 20161104_131810As I was leaving, exhausted and hungry (I couldn’t even get near the food sampling booths due to huge crowds), I made one last stop at the Children of Hope Uganda booth. I so wanted the stunning purple and orange handwoven basket pictured below, but I settled for 2 cute pink bead elephant keychains and a pair of handmade bead earrings in the same colour as the basket. www.childrenofhopeuganda.org/shop20161104_132556(0) 20161104_132523 20161104_132534I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the National Women’s Show – and what a wonderful show it is this year. I spent over 3hrs there and still had more stuff to see, hear, watch. The show runs until Sunday night so hopefully you’ll consider a visit yourself over the weekend.  Located in the South bldg of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, here’s the link to information and tickets: http://www.nationalwomenshow.com/en/toronto/visitor/20161104_124047

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AWARD-WINNING JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS TO PRESENT CHRISTMAS TRUNK SHOW IN TORONTO

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Montreal-based, award winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS (pictured below R with her assistant Marie-Josee) who was hosting a special 2-day spring trunk show here in Toronto.20160515_133859(0)Her sumptuous big statement necklaces, delicate stacking rings, ballsy bracelets and elegant pieces featuring stunning Tahitian pearls in a rainbow of natural colours captivated my imagination…..I wanted to play dress up: perhaps as a Maharani or a Tsarina, a princess or the queen of the south seas, perhaps? Oh, the feel of the cool gemstones and 18kt gold against my skin transported me to exotic lands as my imagination ran riot!

A glass of chilled champagne and shared laughter soon brought me back down to earth as Gloria told me about her design esthetic, her favourite materials and finest precious gemstones, and how she wanted to personally bring her glorious (no pun intended) jewels back to Toronto’s discerning fashion mavens.20160515_133757 20160515_133746I’m thrilled to announce that we will have another opportunity to experience Gloria’s superb handcrafted designs this November 27 & 28 when she again hosts a special Christmas trunk show in a “pop-up” retail location in the heart of Yorkville.Nov Trunk Show adI asked Gloria if she would kindly share a little of her design philosophy and life story with my readers prior to the big Toronto event so scroll on down to meet Gloria Bass…banner1What first inspired you to take up jewellery design – was your family involved in jewellery or fashion?  No, my family was not in either the fashion or jewellery business but I always enjoyed working with my hands. When I was a teenager, I made my own clothes and did all the handicrafts – knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc. Early in my marriage, my husband and I spent two years in Southern California where I took a course in making jewellery. I went on to take private lessons for a short time and fell in love with it.Photo1What was the very first piece you created and sold?  I can’t remember the first piece I created but I do remember the first sale at a gallery!  Upon returning home to Canada, I set up a workshop in my house. When I had produced enough, I went to see someone at the Canadian Guild of Arts in Montreal and an exhibition was mounted for me. I remember coming in to the gallery the day before the show opened and was told that a gentleman had just purchased one of my bracelets. That was enough to send me flying……and then I found out that it was Peter Bronfman!

What are your favourite materials to work with – gold, platinum? And favourite gemstones?  18 karat yellow gold is my favourite material by a long shot! I love the rich colour and the metal responds the best to hand fabrication.Photo (1)My personal favourite gemstone is red! Rubies and red spinels. But I love all coloured stones – even though some are difficult to work with. Diamonds always add the final touch and lately, I work with a lot of different colour fancy diamonds.Ruby fringe with pearlsYou use a lot of Tahitian pearls in your designs – do you think pearls have been given a bad rap (grannies love their pearls) and do you think young women should embrace them like diamonds and other precious stones?  I most certainly do!!!! There are so many types and colours of pearls today. Pearls just light up a face and look good on everyone. I do so many different pieces with them – some very modern and cool!collection-gloria-titillium_15Do you have any favourite designers (current or historical) whose work you admire?  I think the Cartier and Tiffany pieces from the Art Deco period are sensational. That type of craftsmanship is very rare today. I identify with Suzanne Belperron’s esthetic taste. I also like the work of the German house ‘Hemmerle’ as well as de Grisogono for what they do with colour.

You’re coming into Toronto at the end of November for a special 2-day “trunk show” in Yorkville – what new pieces are you creating especially for this show?I’m making an amazing pair of earrings using over 23 carats of sapphires ranging in colour from almost white to yellow to orange. Also, I have a fabulous ring with a 22 carat opal and a pavé of multi-colour stones, a ring with a labradorite scarab, and a lot of pieces with my signature “coil” work. And always….new additions to my endless stacking rings (pictured below)!!s-rWhat trends (or colours) do you see for jewellery and accessories going into 2017?   I don’t follow trends too closely although I think big pieces that make a statement are always on my radar. I will continue to make pieces that are wearable on a daily basis but just not mainstream.Image-1 Pearls_watermelon tourmaline & green diamondsAny advice for young designers looking to go into the jewellery or gold-smithing business?  It’s a tough world out there and there is more competition than ever now. If one has the passion and drive, one can succeed.

Thank you, Gloria.  I encourage you to visit her website to see the beautiful, innovative designs that have become her signature www.gloriabassdesign.com   In the interim, enjoy some of her outstanding work here….. necklacesIMG_7098Even men can wear pearls…as cufflinks (below)MG_01062or opals, too!MG_00412

Gloria makes sure our men look elegant, too.IMG_7311See how women are wearing Gloria’s designs….
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GLORIA BASS DESIGN

Toronto Trunk Show

Sunday November 27th & Monday November 28th

10am to 5pm

24 Bellair St, Yorkville

www.gloriabassdesign.com

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MEET FLO BARON, FASHION STYLIST TO HOLLYWOOD STARS AND NOW TORONTO’S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION!

A couple of months ago, I was pushing my cart up the aisles of my favourite supermarket and kept running into the same lady reaching for the same products. We both laughed “we gotta stop meeting like this…” then began trading nutrition recommendations and handy menu suggestions as we hit the fruit & veggie dept. together. She was delightful and had a wicked sparkle in her eyes. I had just met fashion powerhouse and stylist to some of Hollywood’s great old-school stars, FLO BARON.  bf1b00_fc6f7ba492fd4571b29f6d13d52d74d3-mv2Flo and exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet for tea, and within the week I found myself sitting in her super glamourous Yorkville condo surrounded by artworks collected over many years and her elegant black and white furnishings. Very Busby Berkley, very Flo Baron! Flo not only loves styling women in fashions that compliment and enhance their body shapes, she also offers opportunities to purchased some pretty stunning designer lines from the States. She has an adjoining private “salon” and holds court each week with an exclusive group of clients, putting together their outfits, accessorizing and offering wardrobe tips.20160819_134852I asked Flo to share a little of her background and fashion career and she revealed some wonderful stories and anecdotes that I’d like to share with you here…..

Although her family wasn’t involved in the fashion industry, Flo Baron always knew she was destined for a life surrounded by beauty, design and creativity. As a young girl in Chicago, she dreamt of fabulous fashions and always appreciated the feel and look of fine fabrics. Flo won a scholarship to secretarial school where she excelled but fashion always beckoned, perhaps she would become a model. Her idol was Jinx Falkenburg (pictured below), one of the highest-paid cover-girl models in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.Jinx Faulkenburg In the early 50’s, Flo answered a newspaper ad from a modeling school who wanted someone to teach make-up, personal grooming and dress styling to women going into the corporate sector for the first time (yes, these were pre-Mad Men times). She landed the job and taught hundreds of young women how to present themselves in the most fashionable manner for their 9-5 jobs as well as cocktail parties.

Moving to California with her husband in the mid 50’s, Flo’s life took an exciting turn when she landed a job in the dress shop at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel. She helped style Hollywood’s most glamorous stars of the day including dancer and movie star Cyd Charisse, Dorothy Lamour, Elizabeth Taylor and even Zsa Zsa Gabor who would frequently drop in and demand Flo bring her everything on the racks in her size! “Polly Bergen walked in one day wearing a full length mink coat. She put her arm around me, winked and whispered “I did it all by myself!” What a fabulous lady she was.”bh hotelSome years later, after a brief stint as a production secretary on a popular TV show, Flo became intrigued by interior design and decorating. “I love anything with an artistic value, anything that was created by an idea in somebody’s mind.” So along with a friend, she soon launched a home accessories and bathroom design business. Flo loved intricate fixtures and bathroom furnishings so she soon had every garage mechanic in San Fernando Valley working with her to handcraft her metal bathroom, tabletop and furniture designs. After the successful debut of her line at a Los Angeles trade show, she opened her own factory, hiring a workforce of skilled craftspeople to produce her line which was sold in the US,  Canada and internationally. After 40 successful years, Flo sold that business and in 2005, she moved to Toronto to be closer to her daughter.

Over the past ten years she has developed relationships with a number fashion designers from New York, California and Canada. Flo has brought back these lines with her to share with friends and personal styling clients. Due to her background in fashion, décor and design, Flo has developed a loyal following of clients who look to her for guidance with their clothing choices, as well as purchasing unique and affordable fashions that she personally curates for each client’s wardrobe. “I love helping women discover their true inner beauty and elegance by enhancing their appearance with clothing and accessories that are not only timeless but very affordable.”

20160905_144857 20160905_162628When you visit Flo Baron’s style studio, you will enjoy a personalized wardrobe consultation, and get to try on various fashion pieces and accessories to enhance your own personal style.  Whether you need something casual, a business outfit or an elegant ensemble for that swanky soiree, Flo can put together a head-to-toe look that will make you feel like a million dollars…but with a much more affordable price tag. She has also just launched a “young & chic” division catering to the younger fashion followers and coordinated by her assistant Michelle, seen below assisting another client. 20160905_144916One of Flo’s clients is the Canadian actor, playwright and entrepreneur Nonni Griffin seen below getting the full Flo experience!IMG_20161005_162252 IMG_20161005_161907 IMG_20161005_164509If you want to learn more about this wonderful and talented woman of influence, please visit her website: www.flobaroncollection.com

And check out these gorgeous scarves for fall that just arrived in the salon, as well as some great bling to accessorize your own outfits.20161007_130144 20161007_130610 20161007_130622 20161007_130628 20161007_130637

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TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE HOSTS POP-UP ARTISAN MARKET

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon – I took a stroll through the aisles of the pop-up artisan market hosted by the TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE at the Toronto Reference Library, just a few blocks from my home. So many lovely decorative, wearable and edible items presented by the craftspeople who actually made them. I was pleased to show my support by dropping a few dollars myself!  Come meet the vendors with me….20160807_125040I was welcomed by these lovely young ladies (above) who set such a nice friendly tone to the event. Then on to the first stop – the lovely ladies of Little Orbs. Below, here’s craftsperson Erin (R) with her proud mum (L) showing off her home decor and accessories (sparkly wine glass fobs were my faves) www.littleorbs.ca 20160807_120124 20160807_120130Lovely to see Cassandra from Chic Made Consciously with her eco-friendly accessories. I first met Cassandra at the Leslieville Flea a couple of years ago; I’m so proud of her and how she’s built her business. www.chicmc.com20160807_120253I was thrilled to find fashion designer Tulsi MacRae (below) whose fabulous tunics are bright and unique. I may ask her to create a customized one for me for TIFF…. www.tulsimacrae.com20160807_120549 20160807_120554Next was Ashley from Ashes & Kings – fine men’s accessories using beautiful wood slices.  They look stunning and each set of cufflinks or tie-clips are little works of art.  www.ashesandkings.com 20160807_120931 20160807_120941Oh no….not macrame!!! After living with macrame owls throughout the 70’s, I never thought I’d have to look at the popular woven string things again but these pretty home decor pieces by Natalie Ranae are delightful and could bring the trend back to a whole new generation. But please, Natalie, no owls! LOL   www.natalieranae.com20160807_121257 20160807_121300I fell in love with the delicate art of Rachel Dyck of Blossom & Sweet Pea Critter Co. I purchased 3 lovely greeting cards. She had a number of colouring books that were so beautifully printed and her watercolour prints of Canadian wildlife were charming and whimsical – perfect as gifts for any occasion. Look for Rachel @ this year’s Christmas One-of-a-Kind-Show www.thecritterco.com 20160807_121600 20160807_121607 20160807_121610I then spied some adorable wee silver spoons with colourful handles – perfect for serving jam or, in my case, eating my boiled eggs. Alkahf Moroccan Imports had all sorts of exotic treasures including beautiful little mirrors. www.alkahf.ca20160807_122237 20160807_122241 20160807_122253Then I found a brand new local company, www.StrayandWander.com that brings in ethically sourced products from around the world. I really liked the purses and clutches crafted from used native clothing (below). Their website should be up and running by the middle of August but you can find them now on Instagram @strayandwander20160807_122520 20160807_122529 20160807_122543Below is www.stationtoronto.com – groovy jewellery and accessories using the TTC subway station signs as design elements. The vendor was so busy, I didn’t get a chance to find my Yonge and Bloor station ring – I wonder if it’s a secret decoder ring for subway travel secrets?? LOL20160807_122713 20160807_122717I spoke earlier about macrame art from the 70’s….well another crafty hobby back then was nail art but nobody does it like Britt Kasco of Thread & Bark (below L). Oh my, these intricate pieces were so gorgeous, Britt really understands the simple beauty in the threads and I thought her douglas firs (lower picture) were stunning. Great souvenir gifts for friends abroad/great art to own yourself. https://her-earth.com/thread-and-bark/20160807_122854 20160807_122901 20160807_122906Now it was time to head over to the “edible art”….yummmmm. First up is Cuetti Cookies & Cakes. Yes, they’re all square, too.  www.cuetti.cc20160807_123316 20160807_123324Then I stopped in for a quick nibble at Holy Cannoli – OMG, they are sinfully delicious!! They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – check out my @FordhamPR Instagram to see the naughty but nice videos  www.holy-cannoli.com20160807_123645I found another old friend…the Toronto-based Peruvian bakery, Sol Cookies (below), who I met at the Toronto Bakers Market a couple of weeks ago. The tiny cookies are delicious and come in the cutest packaging with a red llama on top. www.solcookies.ca20160807_124748 20160807_124752Just before departing, I spent some time chatting with Laura from Gooseberry Prints, a charming lady who creates wonderful photographic prints of the cutest wee beasties who are all up for adoption at various Toronto rescue centres. Please support her efforts by buying a card, a pin or a print: www.gooseberryprints.com  I am so in love with all the hedgehog ones I want them all!20160807_124318 20160807_124330 20160807_124408Thank you to all the vendors for welcoming me to your booths and a big thank you to the great event producers, Toronto Urban Collective. Watch for the next pop-up and come out to support local craftspeople.  www.urbancollectiveto.com

PS: When I got home, I just had to try out my new Moroccan spoon….yay, it works!20160807_135817

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Playing hooky mid-week in Port Hope!

Earlier this week, as Toronto sizzled and steamed, my friend Teresa and I played hooky and journeyed the 50 minutes east to the wonderful lakeside town of Port Hope (my fave small town in Ontario).  Over the past couple of years, Port Hope and I have become good friends – the welcoming shopkeepers and cosy cafes, the historic restored Capitol Theatre, the stunning Municipal Building, the charming little beach and the tumbling Ganaraska River have all worked their magic on my soul.

As per usual, our first port of call was a visit to Kenneth Bell – the king of bling, the sultan of sparkle, my go-to guy for all things fabulous! I managed to get Teresa into a tiara, too, so we now have matching crowns!! Below, Teresa meets Kenneth for the first time…a match made in bling heaven! Follow Kenneth-Bell-Fashion-Accessories on Facebook.20160726_120435 20160726_123212 20160726_120517 20160726_122852 20160726_123339Next door to Kenneth’s shop is the always-awesome Queenie’s Bake Shop where we indulged in some deelish lunch sandwiches. Both Teresa and I were so brave – we resisted the incredible giant strudel and cookies on the front counter (sssh, don’t tell Teresa but I snuck home with a couple of their famous butter tarts). Follow Queenies Bake Shop on Facebook.20160726_113232 20160726_113235A littler further up Walton Street we found Bubbles and Gems, another fab fashion house where Teresa found a cute skirt and I found these amazing cushions…something for everyone at 20% off!  www.bubblesandgems.com20160726_130124 20160726_130130 20160726_130148 20160726_130327 20160726_130314 20160726_130501We walked past Holton Flowers who always have fabulous arrangements in the windows…we went inside to find floral heaven!20160726_13244620160726_132434We dropped in quickly to G. Facey’s, another fave fashion store of mine, where Teresa found a few more additions to her wardrobe, then down to the new Joie de Vivre store (below) where Teresa found some sweetly fragranced body creams. The new store is twice as big as the previous location further up the street, and offers a lovely range of goodies for your face, body and mind.  www.joiedevivrearomatherapy.com20160726_134850 20160726_134855One of the new Walton Street shops we found (new to me, anyway) was the Marche 59 cafe and artisan bakery (below) offering organic breads, vegan and gluten-free tasty treats and all sorts of goodies from local producers. Must give ’em a try next time I’m in town. www.marche59.ca20160726_132750 20160726_132754Time to head over to the beach so we made our way down Walton Street, past these beautiful hibiscus pots, along the riverbank to Teresa’s car parked near the Municipal offices….20160726_135057 20160726_144822…then over to the lake (Lake Ontario). Wow, what a lovely glimpse of the beach (below)20160726_14575520160726_145915We even saw a dad teaching his son how to fish…so cute!20160726_150323Thanks again, Port Hope, for your warm welcome – it always feels like coming home for me. See y’all again real soon.20150613_111719

 

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MONTREAL JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS BRINGS STUNNING COLLECTION TO TORONTO POP-UP BOUTIQUE

The other day I received this invitation (below) via email and being located only a few blocks from my home, I decided to visit the pop-up shop in Yorkville and meet fine jewellery designer Gloria Bass. I’m sooooo glad I did!gloria-bass pop upJust extended for one more day, the pop-up is located on the West side of Bellair just past Sassafraz, in the Ritchie Estate Jewellery store at #24, the walls are lined with display cases filled with Gloria’s exquisite jewellery. My photographs don’t do the “wearable art” justice so I borrowed a couple of shots from her website (linked at end of story) – I encourage you to visit online for descriptions of each unique piece, handcrafted with the finest gems and metals (18ct gold) and South Sea pearls of varying sizes and colours. Gloria’s signature filigree gold wire accents and clasps are intricately woven into each piece.20160515_133740 20160515_133746 20160515_133755collection-gloria-titillium_15For over forty years, Ms. Bass has channeled her passion for design and her skills as a goldsmith, to steadily build the reputation of Gloria Bass Design. As the soul of the company, her sensibility can be found in every Gloria Bass Design creation.20160515_133905(0)Based in Montreal, Gloria (above Right, with her charming assistant Marie-Josee, above Left) and her team of highly skilled assistants and craftsmen continue to serve an international clientele. The pieces of jewelry produced in her workshop are the outcome of her curiosity, creative talent and thought. They evoke sensuality and elegance.  The unique Gloria Bass Design style is easily recognized in each stunningly beautiful and quality-made piece of jewelry. The world’s most voluptuous pearls and breathtaking gems are combined with distinctive goldsmithing techniques to become wearable, and at the same time, extremely comfortable pieces of art. Insistence on precision and detail, and the use of the finest materials, ensures superior quality.s-rThe exhibition and sale has been so popular that Gloria is extending the pop-up for another day (Monday May 16) before returning to Montreal, so if you’re in Toronto, please make sure you drop in anytime tomorrow between 10am and 7pm to see the magnificent statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and men’s cufflinks. 24 Bellair in Yorkville….and be sure to tell Gloria and Marie-Josee I sent you.      www.gloriabassdesign.com/

 

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KENSINGTON MARKET (TORONTO) – LAST “PEDESTRIAN SUNDAY” OF THE YEAR

Today, the sun was out and so was half of Toronto (it seemed) on the streets of Kensington Market to celebrate the last “pedestrian Sunday” and to support the art fair featuring local artists and craftspeople.20151025_132739My bestie, Erena, and I wandered down Augusta Ave where we saw lots of vendors and all the regular stores were decked out in their finest Halloween decorations. Best place to find groovy costumes for trick-or-treating!20151025_134254 20151025_142559 20151025_142811 20151025_143737Back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I was one of the thousands of starving artists, actors or musicians who shopped, dined and partied in Kensington Mkt. This was the first period of vintage clothing crazes Toronto went thru and Kensington was the coolest neighbourhood where all the second hand and vintage togs were affordable….Courage My Love, Exile, Black Market….all my old haunts for buying clothing, shoes, jewellery. Nice to visit and see some of my old fave places still there and thriving. Nice to see the old House of Spice still there although it seems they’re more into incense than actual spices. Used to buy my curry powder there.20151025_143629 20151025_143818 20151025_135110But today was all about the artisans and street performers. We met the delightfully bright and cheery Whitney French (poetrybusker.tumblr.com) who was typing instant custom poetry and prose on her portable typewriter. 20151025_133803 20151025_133800

20151025_133810Before heading over to the art fair, Erena and I just HAD to go grab some Turkish Delight…the best in the city…from a little spice and nut store on Bladwin St. They have THE best rose-flavoured fresh TD (see below)20151025_134633 20151025_134648…and as we walked away I noticed their next door neighbours. Their signage made me laugh – “hustlin’ since 1965″!20151025_134904Round the corner at the art fair, I met the lady at the BB Tresors handmade jewellery booth. I really liked the bracelets which reminded me of the California-based Satya line…but hers were half Satya’s price. Wow.  Check out the Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bbtresors20151025_140715

20151025_140851 20151025_140725Along the next aisle was a real cute art/ceramics booth (below)20151025_141151…then I met Marcella Valentino of inch x inch. What super cool handcrafted jewellery designs (below). Loved the big pendants made from metal washers or oversized crystals.  www.inchxinchxmv.etsy.com20151025_141411 20151025_141453 20151025_141456One of the artists I had already scoped out online was Ralph Alfonso of BBAM! Gallery in Montreal, a rock’n’roll photographer whose pictures showcase the great bands of the 70s and 80’s and who was himself a music manager (The Diodes). http://www.bbamgallery.com/ Here’s Ralph (below left) surveying the scene.20151025_141912 20151025_141922

20151025_141940Here’s a cool way to light your home. Veggie lamps. Yes, artist Masa Lizdek creates plaster molds of vegetables & fruit, then handcrafts them into stunning porcelain lamps (below) under the designer name Ripe – check ’em out at www.masalizdek.com/artdownload IMG_7165 IMG_7177Erena and I were hungry and thirsty so we went looking for some nibblies…we shoulda grabbed some Rasta Pasta but the line up was too long!20151025_142622And of course, I wanted to ride the pony (below) but couldn’t find an actual pony anywhere!20151025_143018No idea what this was supposed to be (below), but that’s half the fun of Kensington Market – finding all the wacky characters and street art. I thought Lady Gaga had arrived with a giant eyeball or albino boob. I dunno – what do you see?20151025_144827So much to see, hear, smell, taste, touch….I needed a whole month of Sundays but will certainly make another visit soon during the week. Here are a few more photos and a couple of videos I shot – enjoy!20151025_135253 20151025_143625 20151025_134050

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JOIN ME FOR A TRIP TO PORT HOPE

What a beautiful Sunday morning, blue skies, warm sun and the open road ahead of us. My best friend, Erena, picked me up in her fab ’85 Corvette (below) and we headed East to the town of Port Hope, an historical little gem about an hour east of Toronto.

20150517_181323We found Port Hope just like the touristy photos showed us online….quaint, turn-of-the-last-century buildings, a riverside haven for weekend fishermen and people like us seeking to escape the big city noise and pollution. So charming and quaint.

20150517_114641The town really welcomes visitors and this is reflected in their free parking lot behind the municipal offices (below). Tons of space, surrounded by lots of trees and chirping birds.

20150517_113854Our first port of call was a charming little tea room called Queenie’s (the grey building below) where we enjoyed lattes and a light lunch. It was recommended to me by my Facebook friend, Sharon, who knows relatives of the previous owners. Good call, Sharon. It was great.

20150517_114818The girls working there were friendly and offered some suggestions for boutiques to visit. Nothing like a little retail therapy to go with the sunshine, eh? We sat outside and watched the cars drive by – here’s our view…

20150517_121542A couple of doors down from Queenie’s was the fabulous Kenneth Bell bling boutique….I was in sparkle heaven!

20150517_123453 20150517_123501 20150517_123515 20150517_123527Never come between ladies and their bling!  Ken helped Erena and me try on all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, scarves……

20150517_123449 20150517_131450…and the King of Glitz himself let me try on a tiara. I was having a flash-back to one of my favourite episodes of Big Bang Theory when Sheldon presents Amy with a tiara so I was doing my best impression of Amy (below)

20150517_125754Then before I knew it, my bestie did a deal with Ken and…I got my tiara!!

20150517_130648(0)If you visit Port Hope you simply must drop in on Ken – we had so much fun and he’s definitely the town’s #1 goodwill ambassador.  http://kennethbell.com/

Next stop, Engine Gallery.  You may recognize the name as owner Steven Schwartz (pics 2 & 3) used to have an art gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District before moving to Port Hope. What a gorgeous (and very big) space he has there. His colleague, Marilyn, showed us around and I was thrilled to recognize some familiar names and work (incl. Kelly Grace – see earlier blog). The gallery offers stunning large format paintings, modern sculptures and some fun retro images. Check out their collections here: http://enginegallery.ca/

20150517_133504 20150517_133824 20150517_134249 20150517_134355 20150517_134358Our next stop was G. Facey, a grand old-fashioned ladies’ and men’s clothing store that carried high quality designer duds and of course, Miss Erena went to town on the racks. We can always find groovy clothes for her…me, not so much. I really must make an effort to loose this damned weight :>(

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IMG_0115 She shops…she scores! Erena found a ton of cute tops and while she tried them all on, I chatted with Teri-Jo (above at cash register) who told me about the wonderful arts community around Port Hope. This talented lady is also a theatre director so we chatted about potential projects as I wandered around the store…creaky original wooden floors and lots of vintage fixtures…a great located for a “murder-mystery” play perhaps…hmmm?  http://www.gfaceys.com/about/

Just around the corner from G. Facey was the Capitol Theatre, a stunning early 20th century theatre space that presents concerts, plays, all sorts of entertainment. What a treasure. There was an event going on when I stepped inside so I wasn’t able to see inside but I betcha it’s glorious. I found an old B&W vintage picture showing the town and theatre in their heyday…cool, eh?  http://capitoltheatre.com/ 

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th (6)It was soon time to bid aloha to Port Hope…but we’ll be back. We never made it to the beach so next trip, we hit the sand! Yes, there’s a beautiful picturesque beach on Lake Ontario just 5 minutes from the historical old town so…I’m bringing my bikini and sunscreen next time..LOL!  We walked back along the river and found more fishermen casting lines for trout and lots of spring lilac shrubs.

20150517_16420620150517_164422And when I got home, I tried on my new Port Hope tiara and voila…I was a princess!!

Princess2Thanks to all the friendly folks of Port Hope. Erena and I had a wonderful visit and I’m sure we stimulated the local economy a little, too. LOL!