Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Photo - Camping in Europe

I'm heading out camping this weekend so that inspired me to show you another blast-from-the-past camping photo (see here for the last one).  

We camped every summer when I was a child.  Since my father was a teacher, we had lots of time to go on long trips and with 5 children in the family, camping was the most practical and the most fun way to travel.

This photo was taken in Switzerland when I was about 6 years old - that's me with the red hoodie on facing the camera.  Apparently it wasn't sweltering in Europe that summer!

We lived in Nigeria for 2 years when I was a child and spent our summer holidays in Europe.  I remember bits and pieces of our time there, although I was pretty young.  One of the things I do remember was losing my teeth in different countries and the tooth fairy giving me different currency depending where I lost my tooth.

It's a long weekend here so we're away on Monday as well, but I have a post planned that I think you will find inspiring.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kitchen Progress

As you know a couple of weeks ago I embarked on the seemingly endless project of painting our kitchen cabinets.  Originally I had in mind to paint all our kitchen cabinets a creamy white and call it a day.  However, I recently came across two photos that got me thinking about painting the upper and lower cabinets different colours.

If my kitchen were an outfit - this would be it:

Our kitchen is not very big, nor does it have any special architectural interest, or a beautiful window, or a big island, so if there was going to be a wow factor it had to be added through paint.  These are the two gorgeous inspiration photos that I found. 

 Nest Egg

Our kitchen looks closer to the second one - mind you without the amazing ceiling light, the 9-foot ceilings, and the marble counter.

I noticed that in both of the inspiration photos, they used a mix of metal finishes.  I have been agonizing over what type of metal to use for the handles, so when I noticed that these amazing kitchens had goldish coloured handles, I thought I had at least better consider that. 

It was a bit of a leap for us (well maybe more for me) but - who am I to question inspiration photos - so we put in burnished gold hardware.  We tried the brushed nickel ones, but they seemed to disappear into the gray colour. 

I did the last bit of painting of the kitchen cabinets yesterday, but have a few finishing touches to complete before I do the grand reveal.  Photos coming soon - I promise! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome Gina from Three Ring Cottage

I'm excited to have Gina from Three Ring Cottage doing a guest post today.  I met Gina fairly soon after I started my blog and we quickly became friends.  Although Gina lives in Texas and I live in Ontario, Canada, we have a lot in common - we are both pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists, we both started out blogs at the same time, and most surprisingly, her father's family came from Ontario.  It is indeed a small world!  I would encourage you to head on over to her blog, if you don't already know it, so you can read about her lovely home and her love of all things rusty, chippy, and vintage.

Thank you Gina for doing a guest post today.


I was so excited when Grace asked if I would participate in her summer series of Mondays’ guest posts. Here are the questions and answers I chose to share with you. Hope you enjoy.

If you could choose, would you like a personal assistant, a personal chef, a gardener, or a chauffeur? This is any easy one: personal assistant! In my professional life, I am a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP). I work with children who have speech/language/communication disorders. Any SLP will tell you that it is a wonderful career but the paperwork is ridiculous. So, I would like a personal assistant who could assist both with professional tasks like paperwork and personal tasks. I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I would continue to work because I love it but I would donate my salary to charity and hire a paperwork assistant…in a second.

What era would you choose to live in with respect to style and design? The era I live in now. That may sound like a cop-out but I love so many different styles that if I lived in one era, I couldn’t use things from a different one. By living in today’s era, I can use all of the vintage and antique things I find along with rusted junk that’s interesting. I can also throw in some modern things I might like too.

What is your favourite way to entertain (e.g., BBQ, fancy party, informal get together for pizza, etc.)? Informal get-togethers! I’m a down-to-earth girl who doesn’t like formal events. I like hanging out with close friends and family watching a sporting event, playing games or just talking and laughing. Grill some burgers or BBQ, order pizza, make a pot of soup, I don’t care as long as there is also some good ol' southern sweet iced tea to drink. I just want to be myself and have fun. 

What are 3 colours you love and do you have them in both your home and your wardrobe? It’s funny but I do have the same colors in my home and wardrobe. My favorite color is red. I have red tops and shirts and lots of red in my home. I wear a lot of black pants, especially to work and I have black in my home. I once read somewhere that every room should have at least a bit of black somewhere because it grounds the room. I don’t know if that’s true but I do have at least a bit of black in probably every room. Now comes the hard part, picking a third color. It’s hard to narrow down my remaining three colors to just one. In both my wardrobe and home, I have lots of blue (especially denim), brown and cream. I just don’t think I can pick just one.

a little bit of red

If you could live in a house anywhere in the world for one month - where would it be and what type of house? It would probably be a huge old farmhouse in the northeast US or northwest US. A month would give me lots of time to shop all of the flea markets, vintage stores and antique shops in that area. I’ve always dreamed of living in a huge farmhouse but since I’m a bit of a city girl, it would be hard for me to do that.

What 3 words would you use to describe your decorating style? Farmhouse, vintage, comfortable.




If you could have one decorator help you work on your house who would it be and why? It would have to be Sarah Richardson. When she does cottage/farmhouse style, it’s just so me. I love how she uses neutrals but with blues and reds, how she uses old furniture and vintage pieces, and how her spaces are so calming and relaxing. Her spaces seem like rooms you could really live in.  I know she's from Canada, anyone know her?

Sarah Richardson

What is the most meaningful item in your home (not including family, of course)? I have so many because the most meaningful things in my home come from my family. I have things that have been passed down through the generations which mean so much. I have things from my childhood and from my parents that have so much sentimental meaning attached. Some things I love may be a bit strange to others but I see those things and wonderful memories flood back to me. So, I can’t pick just one thing that is more meaningful than anything else but I can pick one thing that is an example of all of the other things. This is my Dad’s jeweler’s loop. It just hangs around the house. He was a manufacturing jeweler for over 40 years (he created/made and repaired jewelry as opposed to owning a jewelry store). He wore this loop the entire 40 years. I remember him walking around the “shop” in downtown Dallas and at home where he had a small shop in the garage wearing this thing to work or popping it up on his head while he talked to me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

St. Jacobs Mosaic

Yesterday we went to St. Jacobs a quaint small town here in Ontario that is the home community for many Mennonites living in the area, including many old order Mennonites.  The market and the nearby village are a lovely place to visit that take you back to a slower gentler time.  We bought fresh fruit and vegetables, walked among the stalls as they were beginning to collapse the market since we got there later in the day, and went to the village to stroll through antiques stores, and admire the Mennonite quilts.

Linked to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Photo - Suburban Wheat Field Photos

A good friend of mine has recently gone through a difficult separation and is finally now getting settled in her own home.   It is so nice to see her enjoying setting up her house, which I hope to show you a few photos of in the near future.  Her living room and dining room windows face west so it takes on a warm honey-coloured glow in the setting sun.  Although she lives in a suburban area, just over the fence behind her house is a wheat field, beyond which is the local mall and a row of fast-food restaurants.  When you look out her living room window all you notice is the beautiful wheat field and especially when it picks up the golden sunlight at dusk.  

I went over to the wheat field late in the day last week to take some photos.  Looking at the photos you might think I was out on the prairies, but in fact I was standing at a busy intersection taking photos.

I love how these first two photos look like paintings.

The golden glow of the sun through the wheat was just gorgeous. 

And a few vintage-type treatments on some photos:

As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue.

Linked to Inspired by at The Inspired Room
I'm Lovin' it Fridays at Tidy Mom

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Sunday Date with Christopher Plummer

This past weekend my husband and I went to Stratford to see the Tempest - and Christopher Plummer!

We made a day of it, since Stratford is such a lovely old Victorian town. 

There was window shopping,

and a lovely pasta lunch at Fellini's,

and flowers to admire,

and more flowers to admire,

and still more flowers to admire in the gorgeous gardens around the Festival Theatre.  All the flowers are ones that are mentioned in Shakespeare's works.

Will Shakespeare was there,

as was Christopher Plummer -

yep he was there larger than life.

Christopher Plummer (best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music) played an amazing Prospero to a sold-out audience.  His pacing was perfect - so controlled and clear.  The audience went crazy at the end with applause, and standing ovations, and loud bravos.


He signed copies of his memoir in the lobby after the performance.

He apologized for making us wait while he got all the slop off his face.  He also wanted to know if we had all bought copies of his book so he would be able to eat for the next month - isn't he the funny one!  We weren't the only ones waiting in the lobby to see him.

It was another lovely day in Stratford.

O brave new world, That has such people in't!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"The Hidden Chemises" and a Giveaway

 A 100-year old unworn chemise is being given away on My French Country Home blog.  In order to enter the giveaway you must invent a tale to account for the ten unworn monogrammed chemises found recently at a brocante in France.  This story, as told in the form of a letter, is my fictional attempt to explain the unworn chemises.


July 20, 1895

Ma très chère Melodie,

How is it that I can be both sad and happy at the same time.  For it is with great longing and sadness that I am writing this letter to you - sadness because I miss you so much, my dear sister, yet also great joy that I am living in a new land with the man I love.  

Since I last wrote, Jacques has built me a fantastic 'château' in the woods, which suits us perfectly.

Just look at the view we enjoy from our bedroom window.

As a child I always longed to be surrounded by tall trees, sparkling waters, fresh air, and freedom, and now, since we came to live in Canada, I have my heart's desire.

For you, there is your music in France, but for me there was only the restrictions of being a woman in society and all that entailed.

Enough about that, though, it is a lovely warm summer day today and I just picked a tray full of blueberries.  I am off now to make a blueberry gâteau.

I almost forgot to tell you my secret for you.  If you look in the black trunk in the attic you will find the chemises that we made together the winter before I left.  Well you will find all but one, that is, as I took one chemise with me as a sweet rememberance of our time together. I am giving you the chemises to wear so you can feel close to me. Fortunately we have the same initials so they will be perfect for you too.

I will think of you always and hold you in my heart. We have the same moon here as in France and I think of you whenever I see it.

Grosses bises,


To read other stories and for information on winning one of these lovely chemises go to My French Country Home.

The first two photos were taken by my daughter Kate.  They are pictures of White Otter Castle (in northern Ontario), taken when she was on her 12-day canoe trip.  The next two photos and the last one were taken by me on Georgian Bay, and the photo of the chemises was borrowed from My French Country Home (with permission).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome Stephenie from Decorating Addiction

I'm excited to have Stephenie from Decorating Addiction join us as a guest blogger today.  I met Stephenie fairly early on in the life of my blog and have come to admire her sense of style, her sense of humour, and her sense of fun - for proof just check out the parties she tells us about below.  My daughter would have loved a Harry Potter party!  You should head on over to her blog to read more about her lovely home, which she and her husband recently decided not to sell, and life in upper New York State.   

Thank you Stephenie for doing a guest post today.


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Stephenie.

Stephenie was always inspired by the water and loved when her parents took her on vacations along the East Coast of the United States simply because Stephenie was very much inspired by all the ocean had to offer.  She could search all day for sea shells and treasures, build sand castles, let the waves lift her off her feet, taste the salty water and listen to the waves lull her to sleep at night.

Stephenie swore she would live near water when she grew up.  Like most children, Stephenie thought being "grown up" was a far time away, but somehow it happened.  Time passes by ever so sneakily and before she knew it, she was all grown up and ready to buy her first house.

Stephenie really wanted a dream house on the ocean.

But because of responsibilities like jobs and family, she didn't want to move far away.  Because of realities that are inevitable when you're "grown up" (like expenses), she couldn't afford a mansion on the lake in her small town of Ithaca in upstate New York.

Instead, she and her husband settled on a tiny Cape Cod style home that was a super fixer-upper

Despite the fact that they knew nothing about home renovations, they slowly but steadily made progress on their house and love where they live because, although they don't live directly on a body of water, Ithaca is a town known for its beautiful gorges and waterfalls.

It's common to see people wearing shirts that say "Ithaca is gorges" because of the 100+ gorges and waterfalls that are located within 10 miles of downtown.

jessjamesjake's etsy store image

Taughannock Falls is 215 feet, which is the highest waterfall in New York State, approximately three stories higher than Niagara Falls.

Of course, besides the waterfalls, Ithaca is known for being the home to Cornell University, which is a beautiful campus with old, ornate buildings.  Like many of the residents of Ithaca, Cornell is the place of employment for Stephenie's husband Jason.

One of the hardest parts of renovating their house for Stephenie and Jason was choosing paint colors.  They have spent hundreds of dollars changing colors of rooms only to find themselves back at the home improvement store picking out yet another color.  There are three colors though that are reflected in both Stephenie's home decor and her wardrobe:  black, brown and white.

And now that their house is somewhat complete, one of Stephenie and Jason's favorite things to do is entertain.   They like to have people over at Christmas to show off the fact that they can get a 15-20 ft tree in their house (and enjoy the company of loved ones!).

And they also love birthday parties, like this Mexican-fiesta themed party Stephenie threw for Jason's birthday a few years back.  Not only was there a taco bar, several different kinds of Mexican sodas (and beer), but everyone brought a different kind of salsa for salsa tastings!

Or this Harry Potter themed birthday party Stephenie and Jason threw for their daughter Imani.  They turned their whole basement into a dungeon where the guests attended classes in potions and magic.

So although Stephenie is all "grown up" -- having a kid, being married, owning a house, decorating a house, hosting parties -- she often contemplates what it means to be "grown up."  Sometimes she admits, she still feels like a little kid inside -- giddy with excitement, except she's giddy with excitment about getting new windows instead of roller skates.

And sometimes, Miss Stephenie tells Jason that they are not "grown up" at all . . . they are just pretending to know what they're doing . . . dressing up and playing house. 

PS - A HUGE thank you to Grace for allowing me to post on her blog today.  I am honored to have a space on the blog of such a talented and creative blogger.   By the way, you can find me and Jason playing house over at Decorating Addiction.