Author Archives: Midori Tanaka

Greentea Design’s Headboard Ideas

close up of shelves as headboard

Coziness seems to be less of a problem for bedrooms, as the size of beds increases at the same time as bedroom size decreases.  But how do you keep things fresh, add a little bit of art and drama to tight spaces?  The answer: make your headboard the focal point of the bedroom.  I’m not particularly drawn to traditional headboards; I prefer the idea of creating a look that’s a little more unique, more visually interesting and adds some practicality to the space.  Whether you’re decorating a smaller space or just want to do something a little bit different, steal these ideas for headboard alternatives, all using pieces from Greentea Design’s line.

Bookcases and other shelving make a visually interesting choice in place of a traditional headboard.  These work particularly well in condos, where bedrooms tend to be smaller and storage space is always in demand.

Greentea Design's asymmetrical bookcases as headboardThis look with 2 black asymmetrical shelves is sleek and modern, while offering much needed extra storage.  This look would work perfectly in a condo.  Plus if you move or just feel like changing things up, these unique shelves will work in virtually any room in your home.  Bonus points if you use the stunning red asymmetrical shelves!

Greentea Design's large display shelf headboardThe black display shelf helps create a cozy, romantic yet strong bedroom look.  Like the shelves in the above bedroom, this headboard alternative offers practical storage that can be further dressed up with decorative storage boxes as well as your most prized collections.

Wall hangings, like the exquisite hand-painted crane screen make for an artistic headboard, without taking up any extra depth.  I love the rich soothing colours in the screen that are echoed in the warm woods of the furniture.

antique carved wooden doors as a headboardThese unique carved doors from China add architectural interest as well the warmth and rustic feel from the aged wood. And as with the shelves, these would also make wonderful room dividers and window treatments should you move to a new space or just want to change up the look in your current home.

What do you use for a headboard in your bedroom?  What’s your favourite look?  Let us know in the comments!

Gifts that Go Further Vol 3

Image via Elle Decoration.  Monkey Biz gems available in Toronto through Eat my Words

Each year (I can’t believe this is the third!) I’ve compiled a gift guide of gifts and tributes that go further than standard gift fare can.  These are gifts go further by giving back, sometimes in the most extraordinary and unexpected ways.

Monkey Biz

Image via Cape Grace

MonkeyBiz is a wonderful non-profit, income-generating project for women in South Africa that has brought the country’s beaded arts to an international market.  These true works of art are handmade, come with a card signed by the artist and are one-of-a-kind.  They are absolutely stunning, charming, whimsical.  Not only are artists able to sustain their families on the income generated from their work, but any profits are reinvested into local community services.  Available in Toronto through Eat My Words and Snob.

Designed Good

Stitch the Stars via Designed Good

Make gift-giving a bit easier by browsing through Designed Good’s online catalogue of unique gifts that aren’t just designed well but designed for good.  Find gifts from fashion, prints, journals and jewelry as well as information on how the artist or entrepreneur is fulfilling Designed Good’s mandate of improving the world.   Becoming a member is free and only takes your email address.  My favourite item is this Stitch the Stars Calendar Kit.  Use glow in the dark thread to connect the dots to stitch together the constellations each month.  Simply stellar!

Plan International’s Because I am a Girl

Image via Plan Canada

The work this international charitable organization does always leaves me in awe. Dedicated to supporting social justice for children, I especially appreciate their Because I am a Girl program (click here in the US) which focuses on empowering girls from the community level on up. Choose gifts that include a Newborn Check-Up for $12 (in Canada this gift is matched for a $48 value) to a Scholarship for a young girl for $295 (matched to $1180), and you will be contributing to the transformation of lives and in turn communities.  Pick a gift through the Plan website and send an electronic or paper card to your special recipient with information on the tribute gift you chose in their honour.

Max the Shelter Dog

Max, the Shelter Dog by Nicole Rivera is a series of children’s books, also available in electronic form, that follows the life of a shelter pup named Max.  This sweet series encourages a child’s awareness and compassion for animals.  A great gift for little readers on your list.


Image via Figs

For the stylish men (or those you hope to transform), Figs ties, cashmere scarves and bowties are both a fashionable and ethical gift.  Their “Threads for Threads” initiative means that every purchase also gives a school uniform to a child in need of an education in the developing world. Check out their video that explains this mission:

Charitable Online Auctions

And finally, if you’re looking for larger ticket items, consider Bidding for Good, a charitable e-commerce company that connects fundraisers, cause-conscious shoppers, and socially responsible businesses (there’s also Ebay’s version, Ebay Giving Works).  Both feature popular items as well as a number of one-of-a-kind gifts such as antiques and unique experiences like one-on-one violin lessons with a symphony member.

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Still Life

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

So today’s post is short and silly.  As you madly prepare for Thursday’s holiday, I thought a good dose of silly might be in order?  This was inspired by a post on Spoon and Tamago last week.  A post that featured this Daikon radish:

For more photos of this adventurous radish, visit Spoon and Tamago

It brightened my day, this sprinting root vegetable (and the hilarious narratives offered by each picture in the series).  That, and it led to an internet search for other strange gifts from the good earth.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is a harvest to be grateful for.  Such happy pause, these images give me.  It’s quite extraordinary what nature allows for, over and beyond these strangely cuddly produce.

I couldn’t eat this oh-so-sweet teddy bear potato.  Image via Design Swan

There really is something so tender about these carrots in embrace, image via Bee Healthy Honey

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that these strawberry boots come in a pair.  Image via Wellies Wheelbarrow

I’m not sure what this looks like to me, but it sure is special.  Image via Design Swan

And for my son, the Buzz Lightyear carrot.

To a moment of lightheartedness as you wildly prepare your Thanksgiving feast/marathon visiting/epic eating.  Happy Thanksgiving to our friends down south.  May there be much gratitude at your table this week.

Posted in Food | Tagged

Steampunk Design: Past, Present, Future Reimagined

Metropolis Interiors in Toronto's Junction neighbourhoodImage via Metropolis Interiors in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood

Steampunk, originally a literary subgenre of science fiction that reinvents the Victorian era, has recently gained traction as an aesthetic in interior design.  The interesting reimagining of 19th century machinery – and its components – into modern interiors makes a bold statement in the home, both as striking design but also from the commentary it offers about technology, history and the way forward.

Philippe Starck designs a restaurant in Madrid SpainInterior design by Philippe Starck for Ramses Restaurant in Madrid, Spain. Image via Eat Me Daily

For me the beauty of steampunk is its marriage of elements that seem oppositional: industrial elegance, the refinement of what’s raw. Steampunk design is influenced by the industrial era in Europe, and the beginning of the boom of automation and mass production, yet designs that fit within this category are handmade, one of a kind, avant garde.

wire hot air balloon planter by BHLDNImage via BHLDN

a kitchen inspired by steampunkImage via Visualize Us

Often characterized by baroque flamboyance and geometric motifs, steampunk looks range from gothic to quite playful.  If you’re looking to incorporate some steampunk in your interiors, here are some tips on what accents to look for:

  • Look for pieces from a bygone era, especially those made of metal, glass, leather, chain and raw woods.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine elements together, such as a raw hardwood tabletop with chunky metal legs and castors.
  • Bring new life to plants and your prized collection by displaying these in apothecary and specimen jars.
  • Create instant drama on your walls by displaying typographic signs, old maps, medical and scientific charts.
  • Re-imagine and repurpose items like gears, old camera and film equipment in new and exciting ways.

The Heart Machine by LaikinglandDesigned by Martin Smith, purchase through Laikingland

Or look for inspired pieces like this stunning little automaton called The Heart Machine by Martin Smith. What a wonderful gift this would make for the person who makes your heart go pitter-pat.

Images via Steampunk Home Decor

If DIY is more your style, here’s an interesting tutorial on creating steampunk inspired light switch plates.

From the shop Metropolis Interiors in TorontoImages via Metropolis Interiors

And if you’re in Toronto, the best place to go is Metropolis Interiors in the Junction.  There you’ll get lost in a dark other-wordly shop of beautiful oddities.  The owner-designer’s creations and relics are truly a sight to behold.

There’s something so damn cool about steampunk as a design aesthetic.  This is one design trend I am really looking forward to seeing more of.

Happy Monday everyone!

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Simple DIY Winter Hostess Gifts

Valley and Co. Lifestyle DIY ornamentImage via Valley and Co. DIY Lifestyle

It’s always nice to bring a little thank you when a friend or acquaintance goes to the trouble of having guests over for a nice meal.  Here are some simple DIY hostess gift ideas, many of which you can make up now in bulk so that you always have something on hand to give.

Hot Chocolate

homemade gift of peppermint hot chocolateImages via My Recipes

Mix up some fancy cocoa packages to give away, including little extras like mini marshmallows, peppermint sticks, vanilla sugar and mini chocolate chips.  I’ve seen this packaged all sorts of interesting ways: layered in a mason jar like above; with each ingredient in little test tubes; in cellophane cones.

Hot chocolate on a stick, with homemade marshmallow!

Image via Make and Take

If you’re feeling a tad more adventurous, try this hot chocolate on a stick recipe from Make and Take.  This combines homemade marshmallows and chocolate blocks on popsicle sticks that are swirled and melted into warmed milk.  Mmmmmm….


vintage asian tea canistersImage via Bijou Kaleidoscope

A simple selection of individually wrapped teas together with a little jar of honey and other garnishes like lemons, cinnamon sticks, ginger root make a wonderful gift this time of year.  Bonus points if you package the tea in a vintage tea canister or other decorative box.

Scented Sugars

homemade vanilla sugarImage via Hip Hostess

trio of scented sugarsImage via Kitchen Samurai

Scented sugars make a wonderful gift and are perfect in a morning tea, bowl of porridge, or atop fresh fruit.  And they couldn’t be easier to make.  Pick up, or re-use some glass jars with tightly fitted lids, add granulated sugar and an aromatic such as halved vanilla pods, mint leaves, lemon and orange peels, or rose petals.  Let the jars of sugar sit in its closed jar for about one week and ta-dah: A uniquely sweet gift! How awesome too that this gift is shelf stable, beautiful to present and inexpensive to make.

Holiday Ornaments

Got kids or visiting grandkids looking for a fun sparkle mess of a craft, because this one is perfect.  Pick up some simple glass baubles (or a less breakable material like Styrofoam balls if little ones are involved) and create a masterpiece for your host’s tree.

DIY glittle baubleImage via Shelterness

Simply coat the bauble with a glue stick and dip/sprinkle with sparkles.  For a snowball look, coat in Epsom salts.  It’s really simple and fun if you’re a crafter.

snowball ornament made with epsom saltsImage via My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

homemade glitter ornamentImage via Ideas Home Concept


knit washclothsImage via PurlBee

If knitting is your thing (it’s mine!), these charming washcloths by Whit’s Knits are made from a soft machine-wash cotton.  The “log cabin” design makes for a visually interesting colour blocked look that are sure to be soft yet durable.  For the full tutorial with loads of pics, just visit Purl Bee.

Hope you find time to relax and enjoy as the holiday season starts ramping up!

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