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!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Neon Lights of Broadway Calling

When I was in my 20's they would have been luring me to the stage. I would have been glammered by the call to adoring audiences. Today they draw me to... well, sometimes its easier to say with pictures...


Unfortunately we didn't get inside, we checked in to the hotel and got back out on the street after midnight. Though Broadway was still overflowing with people, most of the shops had closed at the witching hour. Pfffft. And I thought this was the city that never sleeps.

And now, with very little sleep ourselves, we're off to a different kind of show...

Saturday, August 15, 2009


As a collector of artist/designer vinyl toys I am always drawn to whimsical playthings.  While visiting Dwell magazine's online site the other day I noticed a recurring theme.  Okay.  Maybe I only imagined a 'theme' - so attracted am I, like a fish to a shiny lure, to cutesy and/or macabre whatnots.

Robots.  Robots on prints.  Robot toys.  Futuristic robotic looking housewares.

This adorable little guy is a MoMA exclusive.  Created, using reclaimed wood, by Brazilian designer Alberto Pretel this is one little guy who will be coming home with me from New York.  

3Fish Studios artist Eric Rewitzer not only creates super cool retro style robot linocuts.... he also creates modern furniture prints.  And, as if that isn't enough, the best of both worlds can be had with his limited edition "Better Together" series.  At $35 a pop, how can you choose only one?

Visit 3 Fish Studios to acquire and see more... Take Me There!

Our Children's Gorilla is a collective of in house, and select freelance, designers.  Their designs are primarily geared toward children (and big kids like me).  Quirky and irresistible, I see more than one thing I'd be delighted to make space for in my collection.   At the top of the page we feature Albert - strong (laser cut sheet metal), eco friendly (the metal is recycled!) little robot buddy to hang your what nots from.

And then, there's Gary.  Sturdy little natural wood and hemp robo friend.  A friend to last through the ages.  To tell secrets to and to pass down to the next generation of robot lovers. And if one is good, then two is even better!  Just keep him out of reach of the dog.

See more by Our Children's Gorilla... Take Me There!

Real robot themed goods from a virtual world?  Until last year, the Museum of Robots could only be found in a virtual world known as Second Life.  Now, they can be found two places online - as a Second Life museum dedicated to robot appreciation and as an online store.  Think robot housewares might be weird?  Think again.  

Flying Saucer Bowl

To see the full line of products and learn more about the Museum of Robots...  Take Me There!    

I don't presently have any robots living at my place.  But I think that's about to change.  I am, after all, going to be in New York next week.  My vinyl guys are going to have to make a little room for some new companions.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Objects of Desire

From the moment I started blogging for and about ChiChi, I wanted to ensure we had a wide variety of content.  Pitching products is one thing, and something we really need to do as we are a business, after all.  But all work and no play makes for a dull read, even if we do have really great merchandise.

I love to search the web for great new design and find that I can spend hours meandering and finding surprisingly wonderful things... many of them just prototypes.  Some are destined to remain a one off, others may go into production.  The only thing to make finding cool new design even better is to see something in its infancy come to fruition as a tangible product.

Objects of Desire will be a weekly feature where we share some of our finds.  If we're lucky, perhaps one day we will see them in our "House".

Icelandic designer Thorunn Arnadottir hasn't had any of her designs go to production... yet.


A necklace by which one counts the time by beads.  Red and Orange beads represent hours.  A silver bead represents midnight and a gold bead indicates noon.  As described on her site, Take Me There! , the beauty of this clock is that the beads can be removed and worn to represent your freedom from time.



A three dimensional painting which adds function to form.  An experiment by the designer which resulted in something fabulous.  I'd purchase one tomorrow if I could.

There are other interesting and unique objects, a radiator which makes one wish they had at least one heater of that type in their home, a dramatic wall sculpture on which to hang jewelry.  Well worth a visit to learn more about the designer and explore her work.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning Curve

If you follow our blog regularly you have likely noticed some changes on the side bar.  Lots of 'em.  This is me wading into the social networking pool much to the chagrin of my guy's 14 year old.  People 'our age' have no business being on Facebook or Twitter or the myriad of others out there.  We should stick to email and telephones - preferably the rotary kind - if she were to have her way.

Well, we say "pffffft!"  You kids may have popularized social networking but that doesn't mean our generation - who, by the way, paved the virtual highway for you - can't jump on board (albeit a little late).

Granted, we've been sticking our toes in the waters tentatively.  But we've been finding the water is warm (translation:  its not so hard to learn after all) and we've decided we're jumping right in - sharks be damned (translation:  we don't care that you think we're unhip dinosaurs)!

I'm even going to go and Tweet this post as soon as I'm done!

We Say...

Sagaform Letter Serving Set

Sagaform creates uncommonly beautiful and entirely clever and useful goods.

One of our favourites is the Letter Serving Set.  We put these cleverly crafted serving tools to use each time we barbecue or have company (or both!).
Consisting of three pieces - a spoon, a spreader and a fork - each has a curved handle designed to hang from a jar.  Goodbye goopy handled knives!  So long spoons which disappear into larger jars!  Hello juicy dill pickle!
Cleverly contained within a ready to mail slim package - like a thick postcard - this is an easy product to love, and to send to someone you love who likes to entertain.

We Say... its Hot!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In Great Company

The ChiChi Show and Sale featuring Tara Davis and Johanna Brierley was our very first ChiChi Event.  We couldn't be happier.

Thank you to all of our ChiChi friends who attended.  We are always happy to see you and we're delighted we were able to introduce you to Johanna and Tara.

It was much effort, for all of us, but I was delighted they were introduced to a number of people previously unfamiliar with them.

I consider myself their biggest fan (after their supportive and lovely families) and truly wish to see them both be successful in their endeavors.

We also met numerous lovely new people who had their first experience with the store and I also want to extend my thanks to them for helping to make the evening a success.  

We've already started planning our next event so stay in touch!  

We'll reveal more as we get closer to nailing down the details.

Gratitude and Platitudes

~ Warm and heartfelt thanks to Johanna and Tara for thinking enough of us to have their event at our House.

~ Big smooches to Harv for tending to all those last minute details, for being my rock and for his unwavering support (and for the official iPhone photos!).

~ Thanks to Chelsey for throwing herself into the fray with very short notice and little experience with the ChiChi ropes.

~ A very special thanks to two Moms who support their daughters with unyielding devotion.  Such lovely and talented people are not simply born ~ they are nurtured, encouraged and know they have warm arms to fall into should the going get tough. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Join Us...

For an evening out at our House!

Where? 515 Osborne Street

When? Thursday, August 6th

What time? 6:00 ~ 10:00 pm

Who? You. A friend or two. Your special someone.

Why? So we can introduce you to two very special and talented local artisans and their wares.

Let me tell you a little more...

Johanna Brierley

Johanna creates stunning and unique pieces to adorn yourself with. Bands of sterling silver with the facets of diamonds carved into the surface. Thick glossy circles of gold inlaid with tiny precious gems and diamonds. The contrast of a delicate setting of stones set atop a bold, modern band. I wear my sterling 'diamond' rings every day and never fail to receive at least one compliment.

Tara Davis

Tara is a fiber artist with a focus on weaving. She is well known for her stunning traditional pieces such as scarves and tapestries. She also incorporates found objects with various fibers to create bags, scarves and neo-abstract expressionist art. Tara also has a flair for creating unique jewellery pieces in two different lines... A series of necklaces using found vintage items and a collection of simply stunning crystal pieces.

We're delighted to introduce you to Tara and Johanna. They will have their work on display and available for your consideration.

We will have refreshments and tasty things to nosh on while you get to know them and their work. We'll also be offering a special shopping opportunity with a discount of 10% across the board on all ChiChi goods not already on sale.

We will be closing our doors at 3:00 on Thursday afternoon to prepare for the Show.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

We Say..

We promised you we would be providing our own product reviews. We promised you we'd be honest. "We Say" will be our weekly product review feature to give you the inside scoop on how we feel about a product. We're kicking off "We Say" this week with our review of...


I recall when I first found Adam Frank's Lumen on the web. I was totally floored by the images and the idea.

Adam Frank is an artist. It just so happens his art, which explores light and interactivity, translated very well into products for the home with Lumen being the most accessible for most homes.

I first discovered Lumen long before I became a retailer. It was only after opening ChiChi that I was able to bring the world of incredible goods my guy and I discover in our travels (both in real life and online) to Winnipeg. Lumen was among the first of decor items to grace our store.

When our order first arrived I was absolutely thrilled and couldn't wait to get a demo out of the package and fired up. What followed was, to be completely honest, disappointment. Its not that the product in and of itself is a disappointment. It was that the images I had viewed previously were not entirely representative of how the Lumen will appear in the average home. Let me explain further...

The web images of Lumen are professionally photographed with lighting and angles advantageous to creating the most striking image. That is true of every product professionally photographed.

The actual shadow effect created by a Lumen is, on its own, striking and beautiful. We have found that Lumen has sold well and makes for a truly unique gift. We have been careful to forewarn those who have previously seen the professional Lumen images as to what they can expect. We have placed a card with the Lumens which shows the shadow effect as it can be expected to be seen when used under average conditions.

Lumen are beautifully designed in acid etched stainless steel. There is a thoughtful soft base to ensure your furniture isn't harmed. Two 17 hour fuel cells (liquid wax) are supplied and refills are available at a very reasonable price.

Without doubt any one of the Lumen series is a wholly unique and beautiful object. Something special for oneself or for gifting. We feel compelled to give it a "Cool!" If it weren't for the anticlimactic difference betwixt how its illustrated and how it works in a home setting, it would have been a definite "Hot"