New Spaces

Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
address on the web. We will leave this blog up as a byway
to ...

See you there!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Charity Rocks!

We have a winna!

The last set of Whisky Stones in our possession officially left the building last night, bound for Vermont to a delightful woman named Elizabeth Bluemle. How do I know she's delightful? Well, for starters, she saw our auction for Whisky Stones and didn't hesitate to send us her bid, along with a note telling us what a wonderful fundraising idea our auction was (and we DO love compliments so we, of course, liked her right off.).

Also, being the curious Kat that I am, I've spent some time perusing Elizabeth's two websites. After reading her personal web page I felt like she was somebody I would want to be friends with. She's bright and sincere and interesting. She has a terrific sense of humor. She's also an author of children's books and co-owner of a bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. I'm wired to admire people who have a way of stringing together words, like shiny little pearls, to make something beautiful. It was this snippet, from her About Me page, that did it for me...

"I love words, especially the ones that sound like blown glass or have chewy textures."

Well, that and the title, cover illustration and introduction to one of her books...

Feel free to visit either one of Elizabeth's sites here Elizabeth Bluemle or here Flying Pig Books.

In honor of her father, Robert Bluemle, Elizabeth has chosen the Visiting Nurse Association (Care Connection) in Burlington, Vermont as the beneficiary of her winning bid. You can learn more about that fine organization here Take Me There!

Now, I'm off to figure out how to Wokka-Wokka.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

We, at ChiChi, would like to take a moment to thank you for your support and referrals this year and to say happy holidays.

Whatever occasion you celebrate at this time of year... with whomever you choose to celebrate with... we wish you the very best. For now. For the new year. For always.

I, personally, would like to suggest we all cherish the people close to us. Not just now, or other special times of the year. Every day. Do kind things simply for the sake of doing them. And try not to look so far beyond tomorrow that we forget about today.

We will be taking time off to enjoy our families and friends and will be closed, after 3:00, December 24th until January 5th. We will be operating under new hours for the remainder of winter from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Tuesdays, 10:00 am until 5:00 pm (Wednesday to Saturday) and will be closed, or available by appointment only, on Sunday and Monday.

We look forward to continuing to serve you next year and introducing the most unique goods we can find.

Warm regards from Terry, Kendal, Kat and Harv

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Whisky Stones Charity Auction

Whisky Stones have been the hot grown up gift this season. We tried to keep up with demand. Heck, we tried to anticipate demand. We ordered and re-ordered and did so again. We even flew a case in. The great thing about web sales is that we didn't have to watch grown ups tear each other apart trying to score a set a la the Cabbage Patch doll phenomenon of the 80's.

We have one set left. One special set we have reserved for auction and the proceeds will be donated to a cause close to someone's heart.

We will be accepting bids, via email, until Monday, December 21st at 4:00 CST. The winning bidder will determine which charitable cause the funds should be directed to and we will have the charitable receipt issued in the winner's name. ChiChi will cover the cost of shipping.

For full details, and to place a bid... Take Me There!

Whisky Stones Canada, Whisky Rocks Canada, Whiskey Stones Canada, Whiskey Rocks Canada

Monday, December 7, 2009

For Him

I don't know about you but I find men terribly difficult to buy gifts for. Ask a woman what she would like to find under the tree at Christmas and she'll likely rattle off a list of lovely things. Ask a man and he's more likely to suggest socks and underwear.

Socks and underwear??? How.... um.... boring and totally pedestrian and lacking imagination.

Instead of filling his stocking with daily needs, rock his socks with something like....

Golf Ball Paper Clip Holder

Desk accessories seem to multiply like a warren of rabbits on store shelves this time of year, obviously a big gift choice for men. This brushed stainless steel golf ball drives home the point that desk accessories need not be mundane. Nicely gift boxed and replete with paper clips, this magnetic beauty is about the size of a real golf ball.

Carrying a Torch

The Tykho Torch makes a mundane flashlight seem so last century.

If its something we need, something everyone should have on hand to light the way, why shouldn't also be beautiful?

The anodized aluminum body is coated in silicone rubber and available in a plethora of colors.

Arriving in store this week.

Whisky Lovers Set

You may have heard of Whisky Rocks - the hot grown up gift this season.

The Whisky Lovers Set steps things up a notch with two distinctive mouth blown glasses and six rocks.

We have a limited number of these sets arriving in time for the holiday season and don't expect they'll last long. If you have someone in your life who enjoys the company of a good friend to share a dram with, then you may want to consider pre-ordering a set before they're all gone!

Retro Bicycle

What is it about a vintage bicycle that charms us so? Is it a yearning for simpler times when kids could safely pedal many blocks to school, books strapped securely in their place? Is it the quality craftsmanship from a time when things were built to last?

Whatever it is, this piece is certain to evoke a certain nostalgic yearning.

This precisely built model has moving pedals and chain which turn the back wheel.

Whether for the cycling enthusiast or he who has always wanted a vintage ride, this unique piece looks great on display.

Self Balancing Tray

If your guy loves gadgets then he is going to flip over this. Not just any ordinary tray, the Self Balancing Tray is exactly what it implies. It is physics made beautiful. Words do not do justice...

Retro Inspired Radio(s)

Arriving this week, two styles of retro inspired am/fm radios...

Mini Dolmen is ultra modern technology with a vintage feel. Aluminum wrapped in bamboo, with a telescopic antennae. By Lexon, where emphasis is on design, quality and value.

Also by Lexon, and winner of seven prestigious design awards around the globe, we're pleased to offer the Tykho Silicone Radio. Available in six vibrant colors (white not shown here), the silicone rubber encased Tykho is splash proof and shock resistant. The antennae does double duty as a rotating tuner to search out favourite stations. Not only does it look great, it has terrific sound and is part of the permanent collection at MoMA, New York.

ChiChi Home

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide ~ The Foodie

My love of good food and great kitchen gadgets made it easy for me to pick the Foodie for my next round of unique gift suggestions. If you have a Foodie in your life, especially one who loves to cook - and cook for you! - then you are in luck. It was hard for me to narrow the in house choices down to six items, but here they are....

Garlic Crusher by Royal VKB

This is one of those kitchen tools you wish had been around years earlier. You've tried all the other garlic presses, peelers and crushers. You get minute amount of useful garlic from most presses - the bulk of it stays squashed inside the press. You've tried to get all Chef-y with your knife and, if you're me, have to start over after you lose some fingernail bits in with the garlic. Ugh! No more, no more. I can't explain it as well as the video shows it but I can say this is the one I want by my side, forevermore, when I'm cooking.

Letter Serving Set by Sagaform

This product is often overlooked and that is a shame. Pesto, chutney, salsa, pastes, tapenade, sauces, spreads and dips. Forked, flat and concave - each one of the three piece serving set is designed to hang from a jar. As each piece is assigned its very own condiment, you will no longer find chunks of pepper relish in your mayo. Thoughtful, clever and available at a terrific "stocking stuffer" price point. I think this product's time has come.


Whether baking in them or just using them for serving dishes, Hot stoneware goes from kitchen to table in stunning style. Generously sized, pristine white and with a simple, elegant, natural wood trivet to rest upon. The trivet is smart and elevates your dishes to new heights!

Big Time

So, yeah, your oven has a built-in timer. You don't really need a kitchen timer. Though I've been known to sometimes point out the differences between needs and wants, in this case I say need schmeed! Its big, its boldly colored, its fun, it looks good on the counter!

Herb Pot/Herb Pot Trio

Freeze dried herbs will do in a pinch (nyuk, nyuk), but for the ones you use on a regular basis why not use fresh? Because we live in a temperate climate and winter tends to kill vegetation? Oh, pshaw! With an Herb Pot old man winter can't impose his blandness on your dishes! Place your fresh herbs in the pot, add water via the corner hole and extend the life of fresh cut herbs. I use mine with planted herbs in a 2" terra cotta pot. Water via the base keeps the pot moist which provide my herbs with enough moisture to keep them happy. Rather than buying fresh at the store I can simply snip and enjoy!

Make 'Em Smile with...
Batter Finger and Equal Measure

I couldn't pick just one so here's two products from the folks who make great things with a sense of whimsy... the nice people at Fred. No need to get fingers all gooey when going for the last bits of batter in the bowl. Measure, mix and then lick your Batter Finger clean!

I've been promising myself I was going to do it and today is the day. I'm putting up one of my favourite recipes with ingredients as measured with the Half Measure cup. Why not copy my fabulous, super chocolaty, chewy and just crispy enough on the outside brownie recipe, pop your printed version in the Half Measure and gift it, along with a Batter Finger to your favourite foodie? Guaranteed for a giggle or two.

Equal Measure Brownies

2 Sticks of unsalted butter
8 Ounces of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
4 Large eggs
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
A smidgeon less than the water in a cumulus cloud the size of a bus of Sugar
1.25 equivalent of five thousand drops of water o Firmly packed brown sugar
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1.75 amount of table salt in a large human of All purpose flour

Butter and line a 13" x 9" baking pan.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and turn off heat. Combine butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place in pan of water. Stir from time to time until chocolate is melted.

Whisk eggs until well beaten. Add and continue to whisk; sugar, salt, brown sugar and vanilla.

Stir in butter and chocolate mixture.

Fold in flour.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

Now, here's the trick to a nice crispy outside... Place your pan of prepared batter in the fridge for at least an hour! When your batter is nicely chilled pop the pan into an oven preheated to 350 degrees - on the center rack. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You can be sure they are ready when the top is shiny and they are somewhat firm. Enjoy!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide ~ The Love of Your Life

Its The Little Things.

Life, in general, isn't comprised of a series of great, big events. Great big events are typically the defining moments in our lives... buying your first car. Taking possession of your first house. Getting married. Having a baby, or three. We remember these things well as they alter and impact our lives in a drastic way. What shapes us, and influences the Big Events, are the little things.

I know. Cliche. But true.

If the man you marry turns out to be a couch potato with the tv remote grafted to his hand - that is what will define your marriage twenty five years down the road. If, on the other hand, he brings you flowers now and again (cliche again - but sweet nonetheless), tells you how happy he is he found you, makes conversing with you a priority over that Cheers or Mash re-run and, in many other ways, makes you aware that he appreciates and loves you... you will likely weather inevitable storms together and do it well. Twenty five years down the road you will likely still feel like a honeymooner.

It really is the little things that make a difference. Which is why we paid special attention to little somethings when searching for sweet things to stuff a stocking with. Here are six ways you can say "I adore you." "You really are special." "I was paying attention."

Share your music - up close and personal.


SplitterBot looks to me like he's about to lose his head over a big crush - wide eyed and trying his best to impress with a cool smile. Actually he's ready to lose his head for you and your crush. Load up her (or his) mp3 player with 'your songs', pop off SplitterBot's head and plug him in to the player, insert two sets of ear buds into the ports and snuggle up together to trip down memory lane.

Say it and say it again...

Nothing warms the cockles (what, exactly IS a cockle anyway?) like hearing those magical three words. You can never hear that too many times. When you're not around to say it, let this little sprout say it for you. Laser etched bean lets love bloom with its sweet sentiment.

Saving for something special?

I hear, from time to time, "we're going light on gifts this year cuz we're saving for.... a house, a vacation, our wedding". Celebrate that commitment with a Nest Egg. Big, beautiful and clean ceramic egg with a wide slot for deposits. Um, but you have to actually break this bank to get the goods out. That seems like a waste, and a shame because it really is pretty to look at. What to do? Save your deposit slips! When you've reached your savings goal, make a note and date the egg. Then keep it somewhere special where it will tweak memories of that special occasion!

Take a cooking class together.

I like to cook but I'm not good enough to teach anyone else. I can suggest it, though, as a great couple gift. And a great way to spring that on your love is by tucking a note, or certificate, into something more substantial than an envelope. Say.... the Intelligent Apron! What makes it so smart? Little things, always little things! Like... the button adjustable neck loop. The elasticized ties (I hate 7 miles of tie to trip over on an apron). The buttons on the bib for hanging dish towels (clever!) and the split apron with (are you ready for this?) built in oven mitts!

Add a little ambience to your ambiance.

I don't have to tell you candle light sets a mood. Usually a warm, tender mood. A Chalkboard candle, a delightfully scented soy wax chalkboard candle, can make everyone in proximity glow with a sweet sentiment on prominent display. Use the included chalk to draw a picture of love, suggest something naughty, write a poem or simply say "I love you". Wipes clean so you can share your mutual admiration. Burn time of the candle is approximately 30 hours. Vessel can be used forever more.



Rejoice that you found each other. In this big old world disappointment is relatively easy to find. I believe that every convivial couple is a miracle of sorts. A line from one of my favourite movies goes something like this... "Two people could be across the room from each other and never find each other. Two others could be on opposite ends of the world... and nothing could keep them apart." One bottle of something sparkly. Two beautifully quirky glasses. And thou.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gal on the Go!

Up. Dress. Breakfast. Dishes done. Kitchen tidied. Homework checked. Kid(s) badgered into being ready on time. Laundry in the dryer. Recycling out. Messages checked. Emails answered. Bills sorted. Appointments double checked. Grocery list updated. Pets fed. Lunch(es) made. Lights out. Door locked.

And now you're ready to start the day!

Working women, working moms, stay at home moms.... we're all busy. I've always likened our minds to a file-o-fax. Little cards constantly triggering new cards as we flip through them in the course of a day. We barely have time to take care of ourselves (she types as she notices that the polish on her fingers is badly worn).

We know we feel better when we treat ourselves well but we often put other things ahead of ourselves - usually with a sigh of "some day".

Want to treat yourself better? Then treat yourself to one of these....

Contents: Hairspray, Clear Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover, Emery Board, Lip Balm, Earring Backs, Clear Elastics, Sewing Kit, Double-Sided Tape, Stain Remover, Deodorant Towelette, Pain Reliever, Tampon, Breath Freshener, Dental Floss, and Adhesive Bandages.

This handy little kit fits in the palm of your hand and contains 16 essentials for the Gal on the go!

Deodorant towelette! There's a 'why didn't I invent that' if I've ever seen one! Earring backs? Now that's a thoughtful inclusion! How, I know you're wondering, do they fit all that in a teeny tiny pouch? Because the smart gals at Ms & Mrs package them all up in adorable, wee little vessels and single use pouches. Emergency servings of beauty essentials.

Refill your handy pouch from your vanity drawers and, for those brilliant, single use items (did we mention deodorant towelettes!) you can pick up refills at our house, by the six pack or in singles.

Sure, you can try and put together your own kit. But I defy you to do it for $12 (and find deodorant towelettes!).

Carrying a large-ish bag? Travelling? Just not feeling all of your needs will be met with a Mini*mergency kit? Of the go-big-or-go-home school of thought? The brilliant mother and daughter team at Ms & Mrs know how to think small in a really big way....


Contents: folding hair brush with mirror, hair spray, clear elastics, earring backs, hand lotion, nail clipper, emery board, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, mending kit, safety pin, double-sided tape, lint remover, shoe shine wipes, stain remover, static remover, breath freshener, lip balm, dental floss, pain reliever, deodorant wipes, tampon, adhesive bandages, facial tissues.

I took my She*mergency kit on a recent trip overseas and used 6 items which I was glad to have readily available!

I think these will be a hit as unique gifts and stocking stuffers for the busy women we all know!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mmmmm, Mywalit

Have you ever beheld a cacophony of color so delicious you've wanted to taste it?

Have you ever encountered a leather product so sensually soft, so lithe, that you wished you could have bedsheets made from it? 

Satin? Meh.

Now combine the two experiences and you have Mywalit. Purses, wallets, accessories and bags you want to live with. 

The high standards of the good people at Mywalit are easy to see by simply handling a piece. Folded, double stitched edges. Carefully selected color combinations. Beautiful linings. Thoughtful inclusion and placement of compartments.

It is immediately obvious, both visually and to the touch that there is a stringent demand for exceptional standards throughout the entire process - from design to finished product. What makes the quality demands perfectly clear is the back story...

Hides are selected from Japan where there is the assurance of better quality and are free from the physical damage which can occur from ticks and barbed wire. German chemicals, renowned throughout the industry as being of the highest quality, are used in the tanning process. Hides are then dyed at a progressive tannery which employs a larger number of smaller drums in order to provide a wide range of color selection. Smaller batches also allow for greater quality control and color consistency.

Does knowing these details make the Mywalit selection of products more desirable? Well, it certainly explains a great deal. But I think the only thing one needs to do is to simply handle a piece. The moment I touched one I fell in love.

If you stop in at our House, we'll share the love with you and let you fondle a bag. I won't even be too jealous if you insist on taking one home with you.

Mywalit at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On The Rocks

Love the complex flavours of a single malt? Enjoy a rich, smooth whiskey? Hate when the 'rocks' melt away and dilute that fine spirit? Then you, my friend, need these...

Whisky Rocks.

Designed by Andrew Hellman, Whisky Rocks are sweet little cubes of cool comprised of Vermont soapstone. Soapstone is food safe and soft, so it won't scratch your glass. Store them in your freezer in the muslin bag, pop three in a glass, allow your beverage to chill for five minutes and enjoy!

When you have enjoyed that last drop of perfectly chilled elixir simply rinse the stones off and they are ready for cold storage.

Ice melts. Whisky Rocks! You know you want them..... Take Me There!


Objects of Desire

Nick Foley, as much as I can learn about him, is an Industrial Designer located in Brooklyn, New York.

His portfolio as shown on Coroflot (a terrific website for finding inspiring new design by really talented people) centers around three incredible lighting projects and one whimsical origami project.  All lights shown are prototypes only.  It was just over a year ago when I first saw them and I've been searching since then, from time to time, to see if they've been picked up for production.  So far they remain prototypes.  Should that change, I'll be sure to let you know!

Cube Lights...

utilize rare earth magnets to connect the blocks which can then be arranged in a myriad of shapes.  

Precipitous is a six foot tall lamp, lit by white LEDs, which was inspired by " Bioluminescent deep-sea creatures, falling water, and (as always) a desire to transform light from transient to tangible."  The lamp "fills itself with light" as it is turned from off to dim, to bright.  There is a video on the website which demonstrates the effect however the plug-in on Coroflot will not load for me.  

I would love to see all of Nick's lighting go to production.  His designs are fresh, playful and entirely unique.  The one I wouldn't hesitate to line up for - overnight - in a storm - in January - (in Winnipeg) - is the Pear Light....


A hand forged hollow steel tree is the charging station for urethane pear lights. The pears are 'attached' with rare-earth magnets allowing them to be plucked from the tree. They will remain illuminated for over an hour.

I'm smitten.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I've been accused, more than once, of projecting when ordering things I love for the store. I have something to say about that. First of all... yeah. Okay. I do.

I think we've got some pretty fab stuff that more people than just I identify with.

Some of our orders from the NY show have arrived. Guess which items I chose considering the sensibility of how saleable they are and which ones I chose because I love them. I'll share my answers with my next post.


Bookend. Door stop. Paperweight. These guys are heavyweights in the cute department. Hand crafted and limited to production of 9,999 each, they come with a 'dog' tag and birth certificate of authenticity.

DEK Kits

Designer Emulation Kits, by Mark McKenna, are a tribute to iconic classics of revered designers. You assemble the printed circuit boards (with circuitry about the thickness of a human hair). Pay homage to a classic by Ingo Maurer, Achille Castiglioni, Phillipe Starck and/or Richard Sapper with a DEK Kit of your choosing (or the entire collection if you are so inclined).

Pull + Push Products

We discovered incredible Japanese designed goods at the NY gift show. You will soon discover our selections at the House - some of which will be available on North American soil for the very first time! The finds which made me positively giddy, though, were the architectural structures created by Nobuhiro Sato. What is so special about little concrete buildings? Each item is personally handmade by the designer himself. Created from mortar, using glass for the windows and brass components, like the exposed portion of the Truss Planter and the chimney on the Cottage Incense Pot. I find them achingly beautiful in their starkness.

Block Lamp...

has been a part of MoMA's permanent collection since 2000. Hand cast with a sandblasted interior, each part undergoes a long cooling process to ensure the glass withstands strong temperature changes. Designed by Harri Koskinen, Block Lamp has become one of Design House Stockholm's most coveted products.

Next up... Objects of Desire.