30 June 2011

Happy Long Weekend!!

This weekend is a long one for my fellow Canadians and I, celebrating Canada's 144th birthday (and she doesn't look a day over one hundred and two!).  Today slash tonight, businesses all over the country will be turning their signs, flicking their lights and closing their doors; people will flood into the streets ready to make haste, drink beer and celebrate the one true Canadian summer kick-off weekend.
    As we know, any quest worth its salt has perils and challenges to overcome along the path to victory, and long weekends are no exception.  As a nation, we will face traffic hardship, long line-ups at Loblaws suffering, and long line-ups at the LCBO adversity, all bitter tests of our individual stamina and collective will.  It is our unique Canadian Spirit - like the true North, strong and free! - that will see us perservere and succeed against all odds, hosting barbecues and enjoying cottage weekends nationwide.  And O, Canada, it's sooo worth it!

amazing cupcakes via here
flavored balls of something with maple in it (that I think are yummy-looking) via here
more cupcakes (this time with sprinkles!) via here
classic via here
still with the cupcake obsession via here

So clearly Canada Day to me means "food."  Specifically, cupcakes.  Wonder what that's all about?  Let's try again for actual decor:

splashy (and not at all cliched :) cake toppers via here
casually patriotic throw pillows via here
dinnerware that could totally pass for maple leaves via here
sophisticated red and white flower arrangements via here
celebratory table setting ideas via here
festive red and white bunting via here
some Canada Day adorableness via here

And for all our American friends who will be celebrating their own long weekend this July 4th (and may not be checking in with the blog [and rightly so!]), Happy Independence Day!  These ones are for you:

party pinwheels via here
4th of July desserts via here
picnic spread I'd like to dig into via here
fireworks!! via here

See you next week, everybody!!

29 June 2011

Georgia On My Mind

Marvelling at the magnificent Georgia O'Keeffe

Blue and Green Music, 1919 ~ via here
Black Iris, 1926 ~ via here
Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, 1932 ~ via here
From the Lake, 1927 ~ via here
2 Yellow Leaves, 1928 ~ via here
Black Place II, 1944 ~ via here
The Shell, 1938 ~ via here
Early Abstraction, 1915 ~ via here
Maple and Cedar (Red), 1923 ~ via here

28 June 2011

Putting My Nose to the Grindstone!

Conserving my energies for working on my big, final project for Art History class (due tomorrow!) so it's short-and-sweet today.  Here are a few fantastically gorgeous rooms from my favourite UK online and print magazine, Living Etc.  UK style is so distinctive: I find it to be much more unique and brave than North American style, which can be a little homogenous at times.  UK style is brazenly individual, and I aspire to incorporate some of that bravery into my own home!

Double trouble children’s room | Children's rooms | Decorating ideas | Image | Housetohome

Spacious pink and white living room | Modern living rooms | Pink sofas | Image | Housetohome

Nordic-style dining room | Dining room wallpaper | Bench | Image | Housetohome

Eclectic bathroom | Bathroom decorating ideas | Baths | Image | Housetohome

White and primary kitchen | Kitchens | Design ideas | Image | Housetohome

all images via here

24 June 2011

Eureka! and "The Tyranny of Choice"

If you've had a look around this blog or visited any of the posts dedicated to the dining room, you will know that I have been searching for just the perfect wallpaper since, well, eons ago (really just a few months, but it feels like forever).  At the heart of my dilemma are some decorating factoids that are sticking in my proverbial craw:
  1. Economics - Having recently paid a not-insubstantial amount of money to someone to paint all the walls in my dining room, neither I nor hubby are totally super-keen to pay AGAIN to wallpaper over the freshly painted walls.  Seems like a bit of a double-dip, if you know what I mean .... $.
  2. Economics - Wallpaper is expensive, particularly the stuff that I like.  Now realistically, I'm not talking about papering a 15x13 room in the really good stuff (which I l-o-v-e but which, let's be honest, would break our bank right now) but still ... it's pricey all the same.  Add to that my upcoming sabbatical (more details on that later!) and that we're soon down to one income, and maybe now isn't the time to splash out (again) on a strictly decorative detail ... $$.
  3. ECONOMICS - Installation.  Yes, that's right: INSTALLATION.  Exactly.  After much deliberation I've come to the conclusion that no amount of elbow grease or googling on my part will assist me in learning the fundamentals of putting up wallpaper in time to get this paper up correctly.  And while I'm definitely a firm believer in "practice makes perfect," I DO NOT believe in sacrificing hundreds of dollars of product so I can try my hand at something: skill-building experiments are for cheap-and-cheerful projects only.  Which leaves me with just one viable option: pay a professional.  Sigh.  $$$.
No matter how long, how much or how hard I chew over these three issues, I keep turning up the same result: wallpaper is just not in the cards right now.  Grrr.  Budgets are for suckers!  :)

Anyhoo, yesterday on the train ride home (which, by the way, is a great opportunity to tune out the daily noises and just ride the rails of your own thought processes) I was turning over the same old decorating challenge when suddenly it struck me (in exactly this order):

Wallpaper is not the only answer.

Paint is my friend.


Yup, that's right.  I'm going to get stencil-happy all OVER those walls!!

Don't freak out yet.  The stencil pattern and application that I'm referring to are not in any way reminiscent of the 1980's paint treatments as seen here:


Classic, right?(!)  But not what I'm all about right now.

What I'm thinking is something definitely larger, for starters, and much more contemporary (I would say "modern" except that I'm a bit of a sucker for classic design, so up-to-date is really what I mean).  An internet search last night turned up a couple of great sites, from which there are a multitude of lovely patterns to choose from.  When selecting from options like these ...

Images via here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

... how can you go wrong?  And if you ask my opinion (which we will assume you did) I've convinced myself that for simple-repeat patterns, stencilling is the far better option to wallpaper given that any changes of heart and/or fashion can much more easily be accommodated with a can of paint than with paper.  Furthermore, and best of all, it's easy on the pocketbook: one can of paint, a stencil - which ranges, as far as I've seen, from $40 to $150 - and some spray adhesive is an incredibly economic option for a similar look and style to its paper counterpart.  Obviously it's not exactly the same, but I'm more than willing to make the substitute.

I've already decided that tone-on-tone is the look for me, and I will either use a white-base pearlescent paint, or stir some varathane into our leftover cans of the wall color .... I haven't come down on one side or the other of this particular fence yet. (Score another point for stencilling over paper: if I chose the 
white paper with the shiny white pattern for our white walls, Daryn white might well have killed me).  The BIG question that remains, and it's a doozy, is how to coordinate a stencil pattern with this rug, this furniture and this artwork, AND with curtains that haven't been selected or purchased yet?? (though a trip to Designer Fabric Outlet on Saturday might rectify that particular situation)


Here are the patterns I'm considering:

#1 - Acanthus Damask
#2 - Feathered Damask (but remember, mine would be tone-on-tone)
#3 - Linked In
#4 - Endless Moorish Circle
All images via here

So what do you think?  Which one would you like to see in my dining room?  Feel free to submit your vote in the Comments section :)


Before we part ways for the weekend (me to class and you to all things fun- and good-weather-related, I hope), I should mention that Milton is playing host to the
30th Annual Strawberry Fair on Saturday, hosted by the Milton District Hospital Auxiliary.  It's a fantastic family event featuring a pancake breakfast (sponsored by the Optimist Club), a BBQ lunch (sponsored by M&M Meats) and a whole lot of eating in between sponsored by a slew of local businesses.  It's the hospital's largest fundraising event of the year, and an excellent way to spend a Saturday.  If you're in or around Milton (or decide you want to be), the Fair is located at the Milton Fairgrounds and runs 8am - 4pm on the 25th.  Have a great time! 

23 June 2011

A Big Blogger Hug

As a newbie to the blogging community, I am never ceased to be surprised and delighted by the generosity of these online authors.  After having let my little blog languish for a few months, I came back with renewed enthusiasm and a determination to make my blog a "thing" (thanks, Barnacle) and in doing so, reached out to all the bloggers I followed or read regularly, and whom I had included on my own blog's reading list.  The response I received was amazing.

Among the plethora of positive feedback I received, a few stood out on an individual level and deserve a little spotlight of their own:

, a relatively new blogger like myself, instantly took up the call of global community and is a prolific - and most appreciated! - commentator on my entries.  Shannon is a great support, and Money Pit Love has benefited greatly from her having adding me to her blog roll (pictures are coming of that design project!).  Emma is so gracious and offered to let me pick her brain as I work through the building process.  And last but never least, not only is Chris generously donating his time in the form of a coffee date/brain pick, we (Money Pit Love and I) couldn't be more excited to have been mentioned in his latest blog entry!

My worry when I launched this blog was that it would be read by no one and that I would wind up pouring out my personality (read: heart and soul) into a vehicle that would just "disappear it" into the ether.  Either that, or that I would be rejected outright.  Putting yourself out there in any format, even with the relative anonymity of a blog, is a risky affair, particularly for those like myself who are a wee bit sensitive to the judgment of others and generally risk-averse in the inter-personal relationship department.  And while not every reception was warm and fuzzy - people are people, after all, even online - the positivity, encouragement and warm, welcoming response I've received thus far has just been overwhelming.

So I suppose this is an entry of sincere thanks, and to give a
big, fat shout-out of recognition, appreciation and gratitude to all the amazing bloggers out there!!  You do an incredible job of connecting with and entertaining your readers, and of developing and supporting your community.  I am so happy to have "met" all of you and look forward to building bigger and better community bridges: I, and my little blog, are richer for it.

Thank you!!!

22 June 2011

Bistro Table Reveal!

A while back, after obsessing for weeks about it, I and friend slash colleague Alison of Alison Mitchell Design took a trip to the (say it with me) Christie Antique Market in Dundas, Ontario (otherwise known as "Nirvana" for the antiquially inclined - and yes, I know that's not a word ... yet).  I don't think I have to reiterate that we had the. best. time.  And of course, Alison came home with a beautiful little bistro table that looked originally like this:

Once home and installed in her kitchen, her gorgeous table look liked this:


It had originally been her intention to give her new table a rustic, French, shabby-chic vibe however plans changed when the first coats of paint went down.  I promised you an update when I had one, and I'm so excited to share new photos of the table as sent by Alison on Monday.  Here's the table's brand new look!

Gorgeous, right??  I'm totally in love with the high gloss paint: it looks like lipstick and is so sexy and chic, yet comfortable and homey at the same time.  And lovely model Tess (the dog) really highlights the working height of the table :)

We'll have a formal photo shoot for you a little ways down the road but in the interim I just had to share: I get so excited for projects like these, when new life is breathed into older objects.  It's just so satisfying, no? 
SUCH a nice job, Alison, and thank you for letting me post a photo update!