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23 Jul 2015
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New Finds New Friends at the Leslieville Flea

You may find what you’re looking for at the Leslie Flea

By Guinevere Pura


I enjoy walking in outdoor festivals or going to local boutiques shops to support local business and artists. Though it was a sweltering 30+ºC this past July 19th at the Ashbridges Estate in which the Flea was located, it was worth going. I had my hefty Canon with me and decided to shoot the vendors’ products that caught my eye. There are such great finds that can add that fine detail to your living space , office, or retail space.  Conversational pieces found at the Flea can bring some nostalgia to any room.  I got some lovely items and  was pleased with the shots I took.  I also met some friendly people during my visit to the Flea
Below are just some of the few vendors that caught my eye:

Miriam Karanja’s goods are not just good – they’re awesome. Intrigued by heirloom pieces, Karanja transforms these fine pieces into functional modern pieces of art for your living space. I confess I purchased two of her items. And I love them.

Attic & Rhoad Runners

Attic & Rhoad

Attic & Rhoad Baskets

Attic & Rhoad


Todd Ostaszewicz, master restorer and carpenter can transform and restore anything old to bang spanking new. His prices are quite reasonable, so much so, I purchased an item from him. And despite the fact it was a heater I happen to buy in mid July, the sweltering heat didn’t stop me. Can’t wait for the cooler weather.

All that Petina Top view of Heater circa 1920'ish

All that Petina
Top view of Heater circa 1920’ish

All that Petina School Desk Chair

All that Petina
School Desk Chair

All that Petina Detail of Desk Chair

All that Petina
Detail of Desk Chair

Find him on social media as Tony Kotowick
Gorgeous refurbished pieces, from brass feathers to Leslieville signs, Tony Kotowick stuff is something you must look out for. This vintage to modern twist on his work can make any modern home homier.

Odd Lot Leslieville Signs

Odd Lot
Leslieville Signs

Odd Lot Pans

Odd Lot

Odd Lot Feathers

Odd Lot

Stephano’s cool funk sound in his booth, amidst the retro ‘60s items in his collection, I couldn’t help myself but to stop by. The teak furniture is in great condition and I loved much of his glassware.

RetroDromme Cups


RetroDomme Teak Magazine Holder

Teak Magazine Holder


I just adore the over sized rulers! They remind me of the rulers I had when I was in elementary school. That’s is on my next shopping list for my growing little girl. I can’t wait to to measure her. Mima Micic’s work is simple modern and whimsy enough for any little girl or boy’s room. She gets what kids want, especially with a little one herself.


Small Brown Dog Measuring Sticks Mima and her little one

Small Brown Dog
Measuring Sticks
Mima and her little one

As a former Visual Merchandiser, I zoomed in right to her dress forms. In mint condition and at a good price, it’s worth it. Looking forward to seeing them again for more great finds.

Equus Marks the Spot Dress Form

Equus Marks the Spot
Dress Form

Equus Marks the Spot Dress Form

Equus Marks the Spot
Dress Form

Ah…a pleasant day at the Leslieville Flea. There are a ton of amazing pieces that can personalize your home. The pieces you buy reflect you and your personality. Make your home all the more yours by collecting nostalgic finds that makes you, next time at the Leslieville Flea.

23 Jul 2015
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Artist Focus: Sculptographer, Anna Church

'Gentlewoman' Anna Church

Anna Church

Sculptographer? What is that you ask? It made perfect sense when I first saw Anna Church’s work at the 20th Annual Riverdale Artwalk this past June. It made even more sense when I finally sat down with her in her Toronto home in July. Though the word hasn’t yet been put in the Oxford dictionary, it will in due course. A Sculptographer coined by one of Church’s colleagues, is a person who composes objects whether it be found or made, into a harmonious presentation, then captured by a camera – and as a trained and very skilled prop stylist, picking up a camera to shoot her work made her exactly such.

Now, why should you ask, would I be blogging about an artist on a property photography site? Anna Church’s work is a hybrid of craft and fine art. It’s conceptual as much as it is aesthetically appealing that connects with art collectors and other fine artists. And then there’s this craftsmanship that connects well with interior decorators, designers and crafts people. She walks on this fine line with such grace, it complements the two worlds of art and craft in which not many people can achieve.

And not to mention Church’s art can make a room all that more stunning. Not only for its aesthetics, but also for the emotional, intellectual and personal connection one can experience with her art. And by placing her art in a room, it can make a room all the more comfortable for the viewer.


As a trained visual merchandiser and prop stylist myself, I was in awe by what I saw in her home. And as visual merchandisers, we are trained to create a strong visual impression once a shopper enters just three feet into a store. She nailed it for me at less than a foot: weathered metal lockers situated in her foyer, hanging buntings and a what seemed to be a nautical-type flag, a braided graphic carpet in the sitting room, and exquisite deer antlers to be used for her upcoming project.

Anna certainly lives and breathes her art and as a viewer you wouldn’t be surprise if you did the same. She doesn’t just make art for art’s sake “I like to have a concept and have meaning behind everything that I do,” Says Church, “It’s not just creation for the sake of being a creation.” Her art captures you and invites you on a nostalgic journey of memories long forgotten. This feeling of nostalgia often brings one to a safe haven or the familiarity of home. And whether the notion of home is a permanent space or not, this familiarity of ones past is brought into the present. Anna’s personality helped me become all the more comfortable in her space. Her charming personality and her passion for her craft is so apparent in the way she talks, walks and designed her home nestled in Leslieville.

She welcomed me with open arms and took me to her studio where we talked in more detail about her work. Her very first series was something she did “on the sideline” as she described it, while working as a prop stylist in New Zealand. It then morphed into a series of editions, which was an instant success.

“Finding objects is quite inspiring,” says Church, I work on my ides for quite a while,” as she mentioned that her concepts often incubates in her mind, and it gives birth nearly a year later. And the wait is all that much more worth it: bison heads, zebra and shoes, cutlery and metals – everything that one can connect to once you spend a little time ‘reading’ her art.


“It’s awesome watching people view [my sculptographs] for the first time,” Says Church, “Especially while I’m at a booth and people walking pass and say, well it’s a bunch of metals, well [I say,] come, come over and take a closer look. And that was the surprise and wonder and experience with what I see when they go and say “ah, I get it”.” Her work is about having a narrative. Each object represents something in the picture. And as you look at each object you read a multiple of chapters that becomes not just a visual but also a literary experience.

Her art is about seeing the big picture as much as it is exploring up close to the finer details to discover another layer to her work. And by doing so, viewers, as Anna put it, “Get behind the concept and live the art.” And to have her work in a living space helps you do just that.

'Party Animal' Anna Church

‘Party Animal’
Anna Church

01 Jun 2015
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Curb Appeal. A Profitable Home Improvement


While many homeowners clean and upgrade the house from the interior when selling, many seem to forget the exterior of the home. This is the ‘face’ of the home and gives buyers their first impression. This critical area is often overlooked, but by paying attention to some details beyond your front porch can increase the value of the house anywhere from $1,000 to over $10,000.

Here are a few things you can do to give your exterior of your home the attention it deserves:


For the tree huggers out there, your tree will be utmost thankful for the affection especially when it’s on your front lawn. According to an article written by Lindsay Purcell, Urban Forest Specialist at Perdue University, based on the assessment of the tree and in relation to the property site and location, a tree’s appraised value can start from $1000. And according to Landscape Ontario, trees also appreciate with time, and enhance property value from 5-20%. So think before you cut. Trees add value and are attractive accessories to any home. I hug my magnolia and birch tree whenever I can.


Like a pearl necklace around a woman’s neck, shrubs and flowers add beauty to any home. It also increases its value, especially in the front yard. And according to HomeGain’s 2012 National Home Improvement Survey, there is a 215% return on investment by landscaping alone. First impressions happen before entering the house – a welcoming home begins in the front yard.


Any new couple’s dream home would have deck or patio to host friends and family. And as one of the most profitable home improvements, why not give that new couple a deck of their dreams? The average deck price is under $15,000 and increases your home’s resale value by $10,000.


Not everyone would appreciate a replica of Michaelangelo’s David on the front lawn, or a fountain of Britannica. And in some cases, a pool in the backyard could turn off some potential buyers especially ones with small children where safety is a concern. Some don’t care for the maintenance that is involved. An attractive landscape is also one that is easy to maintain.


Many investors and homebuyers are not only interested by the home’s lovely lawn, but rather what’s accompanies it: a zoned irrigation system on automatic timers that water different areas according to each area’s need. Rather than jacking up your water bill by leaving out a sprinkler until midnight, an irrigation system cuts down your water usage, and water bill.

Quality landscaping can also reduce noise pollution into the home and lowers heating and cooling costs, says Landscape Ontario. Trees help us breath! One mature tree can provide enough oxygen for two people and absorb up to 42lbs of carbon dioxide a year. And before you consider cutting your 12 inch sugar maple, it removes 60 mg of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium, 820 mg of nickel and 5,200 mg of lead from the environment each growing season – not to mention can give you delicious maple syrup in March.

With summer nearly here, what better time to think about doing an upgrade to the great outdoors – of your home, that is. Working in your yard will certainly give you a good return on your investment and increase the value of your home by refining what sits on the outskirts of your house. And as real estate market sales peak from March to September, your house isn’t hiding behind 10 feet of that Toronto snow. So tidy up beyond your front porch and open the door to more buyers.

13 Apr 2015
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Put a spring in your step with these 5 de-cluttering tips:

Home Organzing, Decluttering, Sprint Cleaning Home Staging Toronto

Put a spring in your step with these 5 de-cluttering tips:

Whether you’re preparing your house for sale, or just catching up on some spring -cleaning it can be a daunting task to most homeowners. But once you part with a few things here and there, you’d be surprise how much of a lift you’ll feel once the cleaning is done.

De-cluttering your environment can lead to serious health benefits. It helps reduce stress, anxiety, and motivates you to tackle other projects.

Financially, it can increase the value of your home and the ROI is 403%. And selling your unwanted things can give you a few dollars in your pocket. It’s on the top of the list of must do’s before putting your house on the market – real estate agents recommend it by 99%.

Here are some ways to welcome spring with open arms and leave the clutter of winter behind.


Stack, Pack and Sack in one room

And don’t look into the closets, drawers, or cabinets – yet. Just look at what’s lying around. I often stack all my things into different ‘categories’ if you will. All books and magazines in one pile, pens and pencils in another, papers and mail in another. Once you’ve placed everything into categories, go through each pile and sort them into “save” or “keep”. One that is done, explore what lurks in the drawers and closets.

Be honest too and prioritize. Don’t keep last year’s telephone bill or used pretty Christmas wrapping paper. They belong in the recycling. Books take precedence over magazines or newspapers, so keep some of the books and recycle the mags and papers.

You can further reduce the clutter by reducing what is in the room by 25-50%. That could be a bigger challenge to some and can be tackled once you’ve warmed up to de-cluttering.


Skeletons in your closet

Start with sweaters and other winter wear. Things that are bulky or take up too much space is worth donating. Anything that you haven’t worn in a year is also worth donating. We wear on average, only 20% of the clothing in our closet. So ridding say 10% of the clothes you don’t wear anymore isn’t so daunting.


Slim down a size in your kitchen – and maybe your stomach

Pull out any perishable items that’s been sitting in the fridge for sometime. Christmas jellies, and confections can probably make an exit. And that fruitcake? Yes that too.

The health benefits to cleaning out your kitchen can also help you be aware of what you eat. Once you see what you’ve consumed in the last months to a year, you could make a more conscious decision on what to buy on your next trip to the grocery store.

Remove empty cleaning products under the sink. All cleaning rags must be laundered and put away in a designated drawer.


The Bathroom

Okay, so this may be hard. Choose one to two of your favourite hair and beauty care lines and stick to that. So the products that empty the quickest are likely the ones you use the most. Purchasing gels, lotions and potions outside of those two lines throughout the year will only lead to more clutter. Products that are still full and haven’t been used for at least a month must be emptied and containers recycled.


Clean and Calm in the Bedroom

Grab you’re partner (if you have one) and de-clutter together. If you’re single – even better, there won’t be any negotiating. Just like picking a room in your house, simply Stack, Pack and Sack.

Make the bed and shut the closet door. Do this everyday, and you will always enter a room of calm and serenity.


These small tips can really make a huge impact to your home and your everyday living. Spring-cleaning isn’t for everyone. Do it in small steps or have a friend or family member to help you. If it’s too daunting, hire a professional. Professional organizers can make your life so much easier.