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DIY: Bejewelled Bib Necklaces

This bib ain't for babies.

This bib ain't for babies.

Kicking around the city, killing time waiting to meet friends, I sat in a hipster cafe and pasted a love collage of Bib Necklaces into my sketchbook.  Oh yes, LC goes mobile.  Bib necklaces are all the rage this season.  The term describes an ornate necklace which sits flat on your collar bone and is quite dramatic in diameter.  I think the most beautiful and interesting are ones with vintage elements (of course!) that mix romantic with tough and look less than perfecto.  There are a multitude of styles to suit your fancy – some have intricate beading and others with gauzy, chiffon rosettes mixed with oversized, semi-precious stones or bright rhinestones.  Ah-ma-zing right?

I think the Bib Necklace is a fun DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Project for a chill, fall afternoon.  Where to start, you ask? 

  • Get into the Groove – Get inspired by looking at magazines or Google-ing images online.  Draw out a rough sketch of how you want your necklace to look.  You are Art!
  • Shop for knick-knacks, lace, buttons, beads and notions –  Shopping for bits of this and that is crazytown fun. It’s like being on an episode of Project Runway.  In Toronto, check out the stretch of Queen West, west of Spadina.  There are tons of fabric and bead shops like Designer Fabrics, The Beadery and MacDonald Faber.  My designer friend J says MacDonald Faber is like ‘her sanctuary, it’s so organized.’  Organization is hottt. 
  • Get Crafty – Using tracing paper and a pencil, get a friend (or use a mirror) to draw out a half-moon shape you would like to fit nicely in proportion to your neck and collar bone.  Pin the shape you are happy with to a dark coloured felt and cut out.   
  • Martha Stewart Is My Mothah – Like any good collage, lay out your necklace pieces to see what combinations look pretty together.  Plug in your mini pink glue gun and start creating.  In the vein of also being a perfectionistah, sew a ribbon to each end of your felt bib necklace base to tie behind your neck.  For the fashion adventurous, use other materials such as leather cord or multichains.   
  • You’re a Hopeless Wreck – And if you’ve burnt the tips of your fingers on hot glue after hours of DIY attempts and you feel like all is lost like a Coldplay song, just log onto www.etsy.com for those expert, indie crafters who will sell you one of their gorgeous creations for a nominal fee.

Wow, you are soooo creative, I can’t even put it into words.  And next time someone showers your Bib Necklace with oodles of compliments, just say, “Why thank you.  It’s DIY baby.”

Charlotte Russe peacock feather bib necklace. Exotic!

Charlotte Russe peacock feather bib necklace. Exotic!

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Necklace.  The Bib Necklace is over the top so pare it down with a simple tank as seen in Lucky.

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Necklace. The Bib Necklace is over the top so pare it down with a simple tank as seen in Lucky.

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October 14, 2009   No Comments

Psst…Tequila Bookworm

Tequila Bookworm?  Is it a new South American liquor?  Perhaps a clue to unlocking the DaVinci Code?  It’s actually a beloved coffeehouse discreetly tucked between the trendy boutiques of Queen West and punk rock The Velvet Underground.  Tequila Bookworm (512 Queen St. West West) is the kind of place, where time ceases to exist and the tatooed hipster clones of Joey and Chandler debate ‘pancake or waffle?’ while nursing their hangover with a beer or an espresso.  I once took a hipster first date there and he was very impressed with my venue selection. With an old world charm, the cafe is decorated with painted tin ceilings, antique bookshelves, a library of well loved books, cozy benches and overstuffed sofa chairs.  Inhale deeply the aroma of coffee beans mixed with baked goods and aged book pages.  Mmmm…delicious for the mind and body!  There is even a second floor patio which is lovely in the summer months.  Ah, cafe al fresco under the treetops. 

Better than a real library because you can eat biscotti while you're reading.  Plus, they play good indie rock.

Better than a real library because you can eat biscotti while you're reading. Plus, they play good indie rock.

Chilled out and friendly staff offer soup of the day or a latte while you work on your laptop or catch up with good friends.  An eclectic playlist from Junior Boys and The Strokes to Madonna blares loudly as the soundtrack to your afternoon.  The original Tequila Bookworm which was situated 10 doors east, was even more warm and inviting – it had a feeling akin to coming in from a winter blizzard and nestling beside a warm fireplace.  I swear.  In old school desk tables were drawers filled with tiny messages from from passerby’s – love notes, poems, funny jokes and caricatures.  It is such an interesting place.

If you are looking for a place to zen out, eat a light brunch with friends, read a book by yourself, write a book, study for a test, catch up on your knitting or have a chai latte while you collage, then this is definitely the place to be.

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October 11, 2009   1 Comment

Science Experiments (aka Sidewalk Diversions)

My bestie N and I often joke about amusing things to do on the sidewalk.  We refer to these as Science Experiments, actually it’s more like breaking social code.  First we come up with a question, a hypothesis of onlooker reaction or a prediction of the outcome, then we act on the experiment, followed in many cases by a full-bodied laugh and conclusion.  People watching is immensely entertaining.  Here are a few ideas in digging deeper into the human condition…very Jung. 

  • Skipping – Freedom!  This is especially fun when it’s a sunny day.  Just link hands with your bestest friend and skip for a block.  Yes, you may pant breathlessly but this just means you may need to hit the treadmill.  I have done this a few times with my friend C after a vintage shame spiral.  So liberating.
  • Count Boys in Skinny Pants – Ridiculously OOC in a hipster area (Queen West West).  Oh Seth Cohen, what have you done?
  • Break out into dance – What else do you do when Beyonce sings, ‘Single Ladies?’
  • Join Me in Song – Start quietly and progressively go crescendo.  This gem is particularly effective in co-creating a duet if you can carry a tune.  This one time, I started to sing “All These Things I’ve Done” by the Killers, and a random hipster joined me for 4 verses.  True story.

If anything each will put a smile on yours or a stranger’s face.

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October 9, 2009   No Comments

Let's Have An Art Attack: DIY Love Collage

Receiving magazines in the mail is like enjoying Christmas monthly.  Growing up we had a few subscriptions and I remember opening up the mailbox like a kid in a candystore.  Looking back fondly, I recall the adrenaline rush of always trying to steal my sister’s copy of Sassy (before she arrived home from school) and plunking on my bed devouring articles and fashion spreads. 

Do you remember reading the DIY, Do-It-Yourself section?  Fashion Editor Andrea Lee-Linett would take a ball of string, a piece of lace and old blue jeans and fashion said items into a totally new ensemble, ready for the streets of SoHo.  I’m nostalgic for anything related to the 90’s.  My last birthday was in the spirit of DIY.  I requested that my friends join me on a blanket upon the hipster, Queen West West grassy nole known as Trinity Bellwoods Park to beat the heat with Greg’s Ice cream, listen to music on my ghettoblaster and make art, specifically collages.   

Creating one’s Love Collage sounds like a whole bunch of hocus-pocus The Secret, however, there is such a thing as art therapy.  Sometimes we don’t put down in words or vocalize what we want in life so pasting a few pictures on a canvas might be an easier, more therapeutic approach.  It’s also a visual reminder of our hopes and dreams in an aesthetically pleasing format. 

Here are some easy tips to making your own DIY Love Collage:

  • Get inspired:  My bestie N and I found these ah-maa-zing Giclees from Papaya Art www.papayaart.com in a little Wailea boutique called Fifi & Bootzie.  The artist mixes digitally manipulated photographs or old images with watercolours and glitter.  The best place to source a wealth of fresh ideas is the foreign magazine or Crafts/Arts sections of the bookstore.
Creative Abandon from Papaya Art. DIY Love Collage. You wanna.

Creative Abandon from Papaya Art. DIY Love Collage. You wanna.

  • Collect as you go:  Keep magazine clippings, old postcards, photos, crafty cards, fabric, buttons or decorative trims (like lace or ribbon) in an accordian file or giant ziplock bag.
  • Work out the kinks:  It’s all about the rubber cement or glue sticks.  Call me anal, but it drives me bonkers when pasted paper forms air bubbles.  I recently found my mini pink, hot glue gun and it brings me ridiculous amounts of joy.
  • Zen out:  Remember when you were a kid, looking forward to Art Time, not having to speak, just cut and paste.  There is something very meditative about making Martha Stewart styled roses out of spools of ribbon.
  • Get tactile. Mix media:  There are no rules when it comes to the LC.  Paint with acrylics, layer with magazine images, paste on swirls of sequins (obsessed).  The variety of colours and textures is part of the appeal.
  • Art appreciation:  If you don’t have enough space in your home for an instant art gallery, it might be easier to keep your collage in a small sketchbook.  Another way to keep your collage is to mount it inside a frame or shadowbox if you want to appreciate (or stare) at your art on a daily basis.  

Clear out the south-west corner (the love quadrant) of  unneccessary clutter in a room and hang up your piece de resistance.  Watch your love grow.

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September 28, 2009   No Comments

Damn you, Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet speaks to you: "You cannot resist me. Look into my chocolately goodness. Put your finger in my icing."

Red Velvet speaks to you: "You cannot resist me. Look into my chocolately goodness. Put your finger in my icing."

Damn you.  The Devil must have made you so irresistably scrumptious and delicous, soft cupcake with the right amount of frosting, crumbs in my hair, once on my lips, forever on my hips.  I love you but you are the bane of my existence.  Perhaps best known from its cameo on Newlyweds when Jessica & Nick celebrated their anniversary at Tavern on the Green (scary my attention to details), the Red Velvet Cupcake is a Southern Classic. 

Why Red Velvet?  These cupcakes are a rich chocolate flavour, distinct in their rose red colour topped with a cream cheese icing.  You are salivating aren’t you?  Originally, cocoa was a lighter shade and combined with buttermilk, the chemical reaction would produce the bright crimson hue.  The effect is now achieved by using food colouring.  The perfect Red Velvet is fluffy without being too dense, the chocolate is just sweet enough without being decadent.  It’s the cream cheese icing that does me in every time (and I’m not even an icing person).  I’ve gotten many a friend hooked on my RV cravings.

Whenever I’m in the mood for an afternoon sweet pick me up, I head to the bakery Yummy Cakes on Queen West & Roncesvalles for a Red Velvet Cupcake.  No takeout box necessary as I can inhale one on the sidewalk in less than 5 minutes.  Special talent or tragic binge?  No judging on the LC.

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September 14, 2009   No Comments

Pass the Tofu Steaks Please…

Vegetarians get the shaft big time.  We might be lucky enough to get an extra piece of bread on the airplane and at weddings, we’re generally served last or forgotten (nice friends throw some risotto our way).  Many of the vegetarians I knew in the 90’s (very trendy like Grunge) have long gone back to bacon.  No judging.  So the ones left are like a rare breed of unicorn.  Luckily, I’m a lacto-ovo veggie (still eat eggs, dairy and fish) which means that I generally don’t have quite so hard a time finding something on a menu unless someone accidentally brings me to a steakhouse.  In which case, that’s veryx3 mean.

As a foodie, I find that vegetarian options can be bland.  But my favourite vegetarian restaurant that never lets me down in the Taste Department is Fresh in Toronto.  Whenever I can, I scam my carnivore friends into going here.  Here are some reasons why:

  • Fresh has a mandate to make its juices and shakes with the freshest ingredients.  It’s a flavour explosion!  My personal faves are the Date Almond (with cinnamon, soy & banana) or The First Kiss (strawberry, banana & pineapple) Shake. You can also customize your drink to suit your cravings or supplement with proteins/anti-oxidants to give your immune system a boost.  Kind of like Popeye’s Spinache, except way tastier.
  • Ridiculously good sides & starters:  Sweet Potatoe fries with special dipping sauces like Thai Peanut or Wasabi Mayo.  My besties A & D always go overboard and order extra crunchy tofu steaks.
  • Mini-size (the new super-size) entrees if you should desire.  I’m not a big eater so I like to scale down my portions.  My best bet is the Baby Buddha, tofu cubes, thai sauce with a healthy serving of vegetables on a bed of basmati rice.
  • Sharing is caring:  There are so many delicious options, you may want to try them all.  You can order the Middle Eastern plate – includes hummus, falafel, pita and tahini.  The Kathmandu wrap is a generous serving so you can split with a friend and order one of the many salads to share.
  • Finish with something sweet like a Cashew Cookie or a Chocolate Chunk. 
  • Hipster toddlers.  Okay, I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the food at Fresh but the Crawford location is a haven for the hipster families.  Downtown parents dress their kids so weird-cute in striped tights, funny hats and mini polos and they hug precociously on the sidewalk.  Well-mannered and behaved on the patio while enjoying their tempeh.
  • For more info & locations check out Fresh, http://www.freshrestaurants.ca/
Friendly & Fresh: Vegetarians rejoice!

Friendly & Fresh: Vegetarians rejoice!

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September 7, 2009   No Comments