Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WISH Wednesday #20

I must have bedrooms on the brain as this is the second one in a row that has caught my eye.  I can't get over how gorgeous the brick wall is in this bedroom with the subtle brick arch used to frame the bed.  I love how the brick wall is kept as the main event by using neutral furniture and bedding.  The delicate chandelier is the perfect foil for the rustic exposed bricks on the wall.  I know this bedroom is more of a wish and not likely to ever be a reality, as gorgeous brick walls like that are hard to come by ... but a girl can dream!

Country Living

It's the end of another month - amazing how fast February has flown past.  I've bundled all the pictures from this past month's WISH (Weekly Inspiration for a Seasonal Home) Wednesday photos together into a mosaic.  Interesting how the month started off so bright and cheerful and ended up with warm neutrals.  I wonder what that says about me, or the month, or both.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Farm Obsessed

Last weekend we visited our friend's new farm.  Both Jonathan and I were so taken with it that we have been pouring over real estate ads all week looking for a farm of our own.  We probably won't be getting one until the last chick of ours has been fully launched and is off to university, but then look out...

There were so many things that all converged to make us fall in love with a farm.  First there was the gorgeous sunset on the evening we arrived.

Then there was beautiful thick hoare frost the next morning.

There had been a snowfall a few days prior to our visit so the countryside was gorgeous.

The farm had an old barn that had lots of treasures in it - there's really nothing better than poking around in an old barn.

The company was fun - there were 6 children between us ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years old, and there were 5 adults, and 3 dogs.  And the food was fantastic (humour me while I show you my apple jelly series of photos - I couldn't help myself, the jelly was so pretty).

The farm is on a quiet country road, and it was all so pretty.  We didn't really want to come home.

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Linked to WOW Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Love the Place You Live - McMichael Gallery in Toronto

I live on the outskirts of Toronto and love playing tourist in my own city - there are so many interesting things to do and places to visit. I've actually already written about a few of the fun things there are to do in these posts:

 Just in case you are planning a visit to our fair city I thought I would show you another of the places I really enjoy here in Toronto.  

Today I went with some friends to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg Ontario, just north of Toronto.  

It is a unique art gallery because it specializes in art by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, and their contemporaries.  The Group of Seven were a group of landscape painters (1920 to 1933) who formed Canada's first major art movement. I think one of the reasons the Group of Seven is truly beloved here in Canada is that they capture the wild look of Canada so well.  The pictures below are some examples of the art on display.

Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson
Arthur Lismer
J.E.H. MacDonald
A.Y. Jackson
Franklin Carmichael
Tom Thomson
Lawren Harris
The McMichael art gallery's building is a magnificent structure made of timber and stone and located in a hundred acres of conservation land.  Nothing could look more Canadian than this building set on the side of a wooded ravine.

The foyer is an enormous gathering space constructed of huge timbers with a beautiful wood paneled ceiling supported by large stone and timbered walls.

There are windows throughout the gallery looking out into the woods or across the ravine.

Unfortunately there are no photos allowed in the gallery itself, which always makes me sad.  I have a terrible memory and although I bought postcards and cards of all the pictures I could, there were many others I wanted to remember, but no cards were available.

Do you love going to the gift shop as much as I do?  I always have to have a look after visiting a museum or art gallery.

There is a sculpture garden amongst the trees near the McMichael - this carved piece of granite is my favourite.

And perched on the edge of the ravine is Tom Thomson's shack (you can see some of Tom Thomson's art above).  The shack was reconstructed from the one he used in Toronto during the coldest part of the winter - he really preferred to be up north living in the bush and out in his canoe which was where he spent most of the year.

Inside the shack is a studio at one end and a living/kitchen room with a loft bed at the other.  It looked pretty cozy to me.

I loved the McMichael art gallery's motto that they have on their entrance sign.   

This is one place I love to explore - it definitely is intriguing, inviting, and inspiring.

(the pictures of the paintings are courtesy of the McMichael's website)

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Linked to Love the Place You Live at Design Mom

Saturday, February 25, 2012


There are lots of little tidbits that I keep meaning to tell you about, so I thought I would combine them all together in one post.  So here goes:

1.  I'm always pleased and proud as punch to be included in the blog round-up at  Style at Home .  This time, Elaine Song the web editor, asked me to submit a photo and a tip about budget decorating.  I'm all about budget decorating so I had no trouble thinking up something to submit.  You should have a look at all the wonderful ideas the other bloggers wrote about.  Style at Home is a fantastic magazine and one of my must-reads every month so I love being part of the action.

This is the photo I submitted and you can go here to read what my tip is.

2.  I forgot to post the winner of the Canadian House and Home magazine from a few weeks ago.  The winner was Diane at Cozy Canadian Cottage and she even blogged about receiving the magazine which you can read here.  I'm so glad you enjoyed the magazine Diane.  

3.  Madeline won the SmartSilk pillow giveaway.  Happy sleeping Madeline!  I hope you enjoy the pillows as much as we do.

4.  I've heard rumblings about Google Friend Connect being changed, and even possibly being eliminated, which makes me sad as that is how I follow all the blogs I like (and there are quite a few I like).  So in keeping with the times I've put the new kid on the block on my sidebar - Linky Followers - in case you want to follow me that way.  

5.  And in other news - I've been working like crazy to finish up our France photo book.  Why you ask, am I working like crazy on it?  Well because it's about time it got done - after all it was over seven months ago that we were there.  Now I'm officially France-obsessed and farm-obsessed.  I'll post some photos from each of my obsessions just as soon as I can.   I can't leave you with only one photo in this post though (and a photo of my bathroom no less), so here is one of my photos taken in France.  

This lovely wonky house is in Rouen. I have been thinking it would be fun to post some of the day trips we took in Normandy in case any of you were planning a trip there this summer or you just wanted some eye candy - either way is a good excuse for some France blog posts, don't you think.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Farewell my Airplane Friend

Jacob, my airplane friend, has just returned to India as his contract here in Toronto is finished.  Before he left we had him over for dinner.  I had to think long and hard what to serve him as we had already had our family's favourite dish - Nigerian Curry - and we had had typically Canadian food - such as tourtiere, French Canadian pea soup, and turkey dinner - so I decided that Mexican (or my version thereof) would be a good thing for Jacob to try before going back to India.  I set the table with bright orange, teal, and green colours (my version of a bright Mexican tablescape) and we enjoyed some tacos.  Jacob hadn't had Mexican food before so I was glad to add that to his repetoire of new experiences here in Canada.

It was fun showing Jacob Canada and seeing it through his eyes.  Jacob really loved experiencing all that Canada had to offer and especially loved the woods and lakes and wilderness.

I met Jacob in August when I was seated next to him on my flight home from India.  He had never been to Canada and was very interested in finding out what to see and do, so I filled him in.  He got out his laptop on the airplane and wrote down all my tips and ideas of good spots to see in Southern Ontario.  I also advised him on what to wear as he only had short-sleeved shirts and a leather jacket with him.   On the day that Jacob left to go back to India he found this serviette where I had written down for him that he should get a polar fleece jacket from The Bay to keep himself warm (too funny to see it after all these months). While Jacob did get himself some warmer clothes, it ended up being a record warm and unsnowy winter.  

As we were leaving the plane we exchanged email addresses.  In September we had Jacob over for dinner and went for a walk in a park near our home.  It was during our conversations that afternoon that we discovered that Jacob and my husband, Jonathan worked in the same office tower in Toronto - such a small world.  

In October we had Jacob over for Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house so he could enjoy a traditional turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.  When Jacob saw the dinner he declared that it was " just like on the TV show Friends".   I think the things he liked the most about Thanksgiving were the pumpkin pie and going for a walk in the woods before dinner to enjoy the colourful fall leaves. Oh and did I mention the pumpkin pie - he LOVED the pumpkin pie!

In November, we went to watch the Cavalcade of Lights and enjoy the Christmas windows in Toronto.  It was there that Jacob learned that Santa's reindeer all had names. Who knew that that would be news!

We invited Jacob to join us for part of Christmas, but unfortunately he got sick so he came over when he was feeling better just after Christmas.  It was still in time to see all the Christmas decorations, the tree, and the lights on the houses around the neighborhood.  I'm afraid that once again we reminded him of the TV show Friends - it struck me as funny that Friends had formed such a big part of his view of North American culture.

One snowy weekend in January, we took him to the family cottage.  Jacob told me that this was one of his favourite memories of his time in Canada.  There were so many firsts during that weekend for someone from South India - lots of snow, walking on a frozen lake, tobogganing etc etc etc.   

Whenever you get people together from different cultures there are guaranteed to be funny moments - things that are lost in translation.  For example, Jacob volunteered to bring some fruit to the cottage so I asked him to bring a couple of grapefruit and was surprised to see that he brought grapes instead.  Apparently they don't have a word for grapefruit and just call them big limes (I think that was what he called them) so he thought I was just being a bit redundant by adding the word 'fruit' after the word 'grapes'.  He also told me later that he hadn't worn his seat belt the whole drive up to the cottage because he hadn't realized that you have to wear one in Canada and I hadn't noticed.  Thankfully we weren't in an accident.

Jacob thought our food was very bland although he was very polite about it (and I think by the end was getting used to it).  He did take a shine to pumpkin pie and he liked to have maple syrup on his french toast.   Around Christmastime I asked Jacob what they ate in his family for Christmas Eve dinner and he told me about Chicken Biryani.  I thought that sounded delicious so I asked him for the recipe.  Instead he found a boxed mix when he was out in an Indian shop in Toronto and gave that to me the next time he was over.  I wanted to cook it for a special occasion, so I saved it for our anniversary in February.  I cooked it very carefully following the directions and it looked and smelled delicious, however we couldn't eat more than a few bites because it was soooo spicy.  A few days later I cooked more rice and added more chicken and then we were able to enjoy it.  It does make me a little nervous about how spicy South Indian cooking is though - yikes!

It's funny how a chance occurrence of sitting beside someone on an airplane could lead to this unexpected friendship.  As Jacob so sweetly put it in his email to thank us before he left:  "Its amazing that amongst all  the memories that I cherish most from Toronto, you would occupy a big portion of the canvas".   When he came to dinner before he left, Jacob gave us a wonderful framed photo collage with pictures he had taken at Thanksgiving and at the cottage.

Jacob will likely be doing an extension of his contract in London, England over the next few months (lucky him - there's nothing like London in the spring).  Since Jonathan and I may be going to London and Scotland this summer we are hoping that we can all get together for a visit.  

We will be like the travelling gnome in Amelie.  

Do you remember Amelie's father's beloved garden gnome?  

Amelie, being a do-gooder, sends the gnome off with a flight attendant friend to have adventures all around the world in the hopes of enticing her father to travel.  Every week a photo arrives in her father's mailbox showing the gnome in another exotic city.

Crazy Dog T-shirts

I figure Jacob and I are like a couple of garden gnomes.  We popped up in Toronto,

and although we forgot to have our photo taken together at the cottage, we both popped up in the lovely snowy forest.

I have visions of us popping up in England in the summer when (or if) we cross paths and then maybe, just maybe, we will pop up in India in a few summers time.  What fun that will be!


Goodbye my airplane friend.  It was fun to introduce you to Canada.

Linked to WOW Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style,
Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence