Housewares Designers I'm Watching

One in Osaka, the other in Portland, both having a similar aesthetic - 1970s au naturel.
I've curated some 70s earthy decor boards on Etsy and Pinterest. Pop by for a look - oh, and don't forget my Tumblr blog.
Tokuhiko Kise of TRUCK Furniture Japan

Sally England Fibers Artist
top images © TRUCK Japan
bottom images © Sally England

A Retail Lingerie Rant

I only shop at department stores for bras, underwear and tights. I don't know why I do this to myself. Actually, I do it because I don't wear padded bras, push up bras or bras with under wire and that's all you can find in lingerie shops. Anyway, how many of you get severely choked in the lingerie section (and now even the men's' underwear section) of department stores looking for your size and preferred color? If you could've only witnessed me at The Bay last weekend! I wanted to purchase one pair of opaque black Spanx Tight End tights and left empty handed. Why? Well, because lingerie departments are always a mess. Customers have to rip down all the other sizes from the wall/rack just to try and find theirs. If you're a size extra small or extra large you can thoroughly relate to this pain because you know exactly where I'm coming from. Your size is always the last one hanging behind ten other sizes or they just don't have any because I guess only size medium or extra extra large women should wear bras or tights. Another thing, no one wants to buy those bras or tights that someone, for some reason, has pulled out of their packaging. You know what I want? I want a wall that I can go up to, select the image of the Size A black Spanx Tight End Tights, insert my payment and poof they drop down for me. Ba-bye - out I go a happy customer. Remember L'eggs hosiery vending machines? In goes my change out drops the egg.

Retailers, this is one of the reasons why we shop online. Your stores are overstocked (because you're not reading your data properly), they're a mess (because you're not reading your data properly), you have no cashiers ever open, there are no customer service people around and you never have an appropriate assortment of sizes (because you're not reading your data properly). It's time you figured out what to do with all the strategic data you've been collecting because your time is running out.*

Oh, and Spanx you need to offer free shipping. I would've just bought a pair of tights online (in a transaction that was clocking in at less than a minute) but it was going to cost me $12 in shipping for a $28 pair of tights. Come on Spanx add free shipping to your cost of doing business deduction.

*I've worked in retail for almost 30 years now - my first job was in a boutique when I was fourteen. I've worked in every retail environment imaginable. Everything from department stores, international boutiques, independent retailers, to pop up shops, trade shows and e-commerce.  At present, I'm in the process of creating a retail management program for a BC post secondary institution.  I'm also a very critical consumer.

image via ebay

How to Make a Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

 stacy reynaud
This is a damn fine cocktail.

3 ounces good bourbon
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounce maple syrup
1 large sprig of rosemary (grow it on your deck or a sunny window all year)

Combine bourbon, lemon juice and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker
Crush the rosemary in your hand and add it to the shaker
Add ice to just above the liquid, cap and shake vigorously for twenty or so seconds
Pour over ice in a rock glass
Add rosemary and lemon for garnish

Recipe adapted from the mason shaker


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Heritage Status for Canada's Oldest Skate Park?

A lot of my friends skated this park in the 80s. Now us middle aged Gen X'ers are rallying behind it. Seylynn Skate Park was built in 1978 and is Canada's oldest concrete park. Concern is that the rapid condo development in the area will level Seylynn to a plaque in the ground. However, seeing as us degenearte skateboarders are all grown up, many of us successful entrepreneurs, PhDs, or working in influential industries, the opportunity has arisen for us to assist in the preservation of the park - possibly even as a heritage site. So phooey to all those name callers in the 80s who thought we were good for nothing - we're still here, strategically sneaking up behind you.

If you want to get involved in the planning workshops for Seylynn, head out to the North Vancouver District Operations Centre @ 1370 Crown St on October 23 at 5:30. More info in the above pdf and at the District website.

Thanks for sharing the image Dr. Chapman

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My Top Picks from Interior Design Show West

I'll tell you first off what wasn't my favourite - the Mah Jong sofa by Roche Bobois. I've idolized this sofa on pages of magazines for years. I've even posted about it here way back in 2008, (and how I sold all my furniture when I was in a mood). This is the most uncomfortable thing I've ever sat on, (even more than my peacock chair).

Please pardon my crappy phone photos.

There was a table setting competition and this woodland theme was by far the most popular.

The feature wall of the woodland room.

Do you ever feel like sometimes skulls are the equivalent of birds, as in, 'Put a bird on it.'?

This was cute. A table with a terrarium built in - sans bird.

Gorgeous ceramics by Haejin Lee

I liked this textured fake brick for a wall in our apartment, (the wall that is concrete and we can't hang anything on).

This was the Scandinavian table in the table setting competition.

These were the best truffles I've ever had in my life. Bowen Island Chocolatier Cocoa West. They have an online shop and a B&B.

OPA! How to Make Stuffed Greek Sweet Potatoes

It's root vegetable season! Since you're probably already enjoying apple, beet and carrot juice, (or hot apple cider), you might as well go full on Autumn and whip up a stuffed baked sweet potato. We OPA'ed it and went for a Greek style one. The sweet and salty flavours were perfect together!

What you need:
  • small sweet potatoes
  • sliced olives
  • tzatziki (recipe below)
  • crumbled feta
  • chopped fresh mint

What you do:
  • wash and dry the sweet potatoes
  • prick several times with a fork
  • place on a baking pan
  • bake at 325 Fahrenheit for 60 to 70 minutes until quite tender
  • slice the potatoes down the center.
  • layer on as much of the stuffing as you possibly can
Tzatziki Recipe

What you need:
  • 1.5 cups plain yogurt
  • juice of half a large lemon
  • 1 small clove crushed garlic
  • half a very finely grated cucumber
  • handful chopped cucumber
  • approx. seven leaves of fresh chopped mint
  • salt and pepper if desired

What you do:
  • Add first four ingredients to a bowl
  • Stir
  • fold in  cucumber and mint
  • add salt and pepper to your taste
  • chill for about an hour
  • serve

We placed the olives, mint, tzatzki, and feta in small side bowls and topped our own potatoes at the table. The tzatziki soaks into the potato, (like those delicious Greek roasted potatoes), so have extra on hand. Serve with a salad as a meal and a rosemary maple bourbon sour as a side kick, (recipe coming soon).

An added feature to this meal? Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene and vitamin C. Say goodbye to wrinkles and colds, (I write with hyperbole of course).

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How to Make a Ginger Snap Cocktail

 stacy reynaud
We actually tried this two summers ago and loved it but I never got around to posting about it. Of course, this summer was all about basil gimlets and basil boozicles so it was forgotten once again, until I started thinking about pumpkin pie. The two are not related whatsoever.

What you need:
  • 1 part Snap Organic Liquor (neutral spirit with blackstrap molasses, ginger, and spices)
  • 1 part vodka
  • 4 parts ginger beer
  • lime wedge

What you do:
  • In a rock glass, add Snap and vodka over ice. 
  • Pour in four parts ginger beer. 
  • Stir
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Tip of the Week - Tea, Tannins and Toothpaste

I bought this gorgeous tea pot a couple weekends ago that was stained to the rafters with about 60 years worth of tannins. 'How can I clean this?', I thought to myself. Then I went to the dentist.

My dentist, upon further inquiry into the status of my sensitive teeth, revealed to me that the teeth whitening products I was using are mainly marketing propaganda, (which I already knew but ignored).  They do clean surface stains but not the down, deep and dirty stuff. To make your teeth white you need it done by a dentist. Well, when I got home, I took an old toothbrush, (which I keep around the house for cleaning grout), put some whitening toothpaste on it and cleaned 60s years worth of tannins off a ceramic tea pot. Just like that, the stains were gone.

So, rest assured, if you find teeth whitening products are making your teeth sensitive, know that you won't need to throw them away! You can use them to clean stains - such as coffee, tea, or red wine -  off your beautiful ceramic tableware. Now I think I'll try soaking my silver plated ice bucket in my whitening mouth wash.

How to clean a stained teapot.

The Perfect Autumn Drink - How to Make Hot Apple Cider

Last weekend we apparently had 100 kmh (62 mph) winds here in West Van*. I used to love storms - that is until December 2006 when Tilley (our cat) and I watched, from our apartment on the edge of Stanley Park, as windows were blown out across the street and 10,000 trees were snapped like match sticks.

Usually, autumn is crisp and sunny in Vancouver and Septembers are the best time to visit. My birthday falls in the beginning of October and we can usually count on a nice, bright, crisp celebration in Whistler. Well, this September we had three times the average rainfall for September and it seems Fall just turned its back on us. 

To welcome in the dank which will be ours for the next nine months, I decided to make our own spiked hot apple cider. Super easy.
What you need:
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 orange
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cloves
  • spiced rum (optional)

What you do:
  • slice orange 
  • add all ingredients - except the rum - to a pot
  • bring to a light boil
  • simmer for 15 minutes
  • add one or two ounces of spiced rum to a cup
  • pour hot cider through a sieve into the cup
  • serve hot with a cinnamon stick
recipe serves four 8 ounce cups or two mugs

*In case you were wondering about our bud Humphrey, (the hummingbird). He and his hummingbird chums survived the storm. They were right up at the feeder first thing the next morning.

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Please come visit me on  Instagram , Facebook and  Etsy .  April 2016 - In French they say, 'Je suis fatiguĂ©'. FatiguĂ© is a ...