Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Photo from Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers and Ali Hanan.

Today I will be working on a project to make a $4.00 thrift shop treasure into a fabulous piece of art.  Check back tomorrow to see how it turned out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I spotted this image on  This incredible room is actually on a houseboat on the Thames River owned by Josie Curran. What makes this stand out from a design point of view is the balance achieved by the artful arrangement of the books and objects and the colour blocking of the books.  I love the juxtaposition of the well worn leather chair and the modern floor lamp.  Since I favour white walls, I think they perfect the whole vignette.  No other paint color would have worked.  (in my opinion)  Color possibilities Wimborne White, All White or Strong White-Farrow and Ball.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I love old chairs, and have brought many home in my time. I cannot walk past a good old chair wihtout seeing it painted and dressed in new fabric. This chair was a gift for TH, who is very girly and loves pink. When I found it, it was covered in what looked like old curtains form the 60's. I painted it, and then had it re-upholstered in a lovely Italian paisley from Robert Allen. I did a double row of striped piping and also put the stripe on the back of the chair. The original chair cost me $20.00. Vintage Chic.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I am one of those people who like to chuck the Christmas tree out the door well before the 12th day of Christmas. All of a sudden on about Day 3, I start to crave my more simplified, non Christmas decor. Not one to keep my poinsettia unitl June, I start my descent from Christmas quickly, starting with my Christmas cards. I gather them all up and re-read them all, then I take the scissors to them, cutting up the prettiest ones to make gift cards for next year. Here is a sampling of a few.

This is an easy projects to do with your children too, as they can use their craft scissors.  just eyeball the card and decide which part of the picture you want to use and cut and fold it.  I made 2 gift cards from this one card.  You can make folded cards or flat and punch a holes in them and add string or ribbon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


These sweet little vintage inspired "love birds" ornaments were a gift from dear friends. I hung them on the little glass knobs of my antique cabinet in the kitchen. I bought this cabinet many years ago with a Christmas bonus I received while working for a rectal surgeon. It was once a drug cabinet in a doctors office in Kingston. It now houses my collection of cream McCoy pottery and another collection of silver baby cups which house another collection of silver spoons and hotel silverware.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Christmas Ornament from East Germany, one of my favourites.  This was actually one of 1/2 dozen given to me by an old Landlord.  Later I found out they were stolen from a storage locker in the apartment building, but I could not return them to their rightful owners.  I treasure them now but I do feel bad for the original owner, whoever that was.

Christmas to me, is a time to reflect on the past year and to celebrate your blessings with family and friends. 

It seems however, to become more and more stressful for people, as they lead increasingly busy lives, or have financial, emotional or family burdens.  I think in many familys, mine included, one person (usually the mum) tries to make it everything to everyone.  Maybe we try to make it what our childhood Christmas was, or what we secretly wished it could have been. 

Christmas is an odd time for me.  While I love to buy gifts, socialize and cook for friends and family, and love having my family under one roof, I always, without fail, suffer from a bit of melancholy at Christmas, especially on Christmas Eve. We started many years ago, hosting a party on Christmas Eve, because I wanted it to be a wonderful night for my family.  They tell me now that it is their favourite part of Christmas, and I love that their friends and ours, have made this evening part of their traditions.  I never quite get that "feeling" I feel I am supposed to have at Christmas. What it is I am searching for, I really am not sure. Maybe it doesn't exist.

This Christmas, I am reflecting on the passing of a sad period of time for me and my family, and celebrating that we have overcome it.  I am grateful to be in a place of strength to help another family member who is going through a hard time.  I am counting my blessings of having happy, healthy children and husband, as well as for my mother's ongoing good health and her strength and good nature, despite being wheelchair bound.  Christmas is special for her as it means a few extra outings from the nursing home and more time with family.  She has never complained about being debilitated by stroke at 69.  I am missing my beloved Mooch, our 1st Christmas in 13 years without him.  He loved our Xmas Eve party, all the company and snacks.  I am thankful for Lorraine.  I dont know where I would be without her. I am grateful to our troops who are fighting for our country and their families who support and love them. I am counting my blessings that I am surrounded this year by my "Beloved"s.  Wishing everyone peace, joy and blessings this Christmas.  Happy Christmas,



I have been experimenting with the fabric samples that Gresham House gave to me.  I have never sewn pillows before but taught myself to sew a zipper and put together a few samples.  The front of these two pillows are paired with a really lovley mohair velvet on the back which makes them  a little decadent.  I was so inspired by the beauty of the fabrics, I made 5 pillows.  I stuffed them with a feather form for extra luxury.  Now I have tried two projects to re-use/recycle the fabrics (see previous post SEWING).  What I am trying to do is come up with an easy prootype so that I can make a bunch as a Breast Cancer fundraiser.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


 If you live near Hamilton, Ontario, you have to pop into Pure Home Couture on Locke Street.  One of the owners Abby Karuk-McDuffee, a fashion designer, created this spectacular dress from what looks like Tshirt fabric.  Layers and layers of ruffles, it really has to be seen to be appreciated. 

Pure is housed in a loft space with soaring beamed ceilings and old wooden floors.  A mix of vintage furnishings, French soaps, jewelry, glassware and other unique gifts, Pure offers a unique boutique shopping experience.  Over the Christmas period, it is especially pretty with its oversized baubles hanging from ceiling and sparkling wreaths.  Check out the shop at .

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I saw this beautiful window downtown Montreal and had to snap a shot. Could not for the life of me tell what the shop was selling as there were no signs and I didn't go closer to check.


I'm in Montreal again and I have a new fetish.  Almond Croissant.  Tomorrow I am setting out in pursuit of the perfect almond croissant.  Just the right amount of almond paste, the right crispness to the pastry.  With a large latte served in a bowl, the French way. 

I am loving Montreal at Christmas.. Tonight we went to the candlelight carol service at St. Pauls/St. Andrews church. The choir was absolutely spot on, and the 1832 limestone church was architecturally stunning.  Sorry, no photos were allowed.

A lovely dinner with the extended Holland family. and home to relax with the kids. What more can a mum ask for at Christmas.


Here are are my finished cookies all ready to be delivered to my neighbours as a little festive treat.  I used one dough for all three cookies, and you could really use it for any shortbread based cookie.  For the Jammie Dodgers I just shaped into a ball, pressed a little indent in the middle and filled with blackcurrant jelly.  I added chocolate chips ot the dough, made a ball and squished it with a fork and drizzled chocoalte over for the Chocolate Chip Shorties, and for the crescents, I made a crescent shape, then after baking diffed the ends in melted chocolate (microwaved) and sprinkled crushed hazlenuts on the ends.

Easy Peasy Cookie Dough

1 pound butter (4 sticks, salted)
1 cup sugar
4 cups all purpose flour.

Preheat oven to 375.  Cream sugar and butter with light and fluffy, add flour.  Shape into balls or crescents etc, bake 15-18 mins until golden on the bottom. You can half this recipe with no side effects.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Whenever I am flea marketing, garage sale-ing or thrift shopping, I always look out for small plates that I can use come Christmas for gifting homemade cookies.  This pressed glass plate is so sweet with its little flowers.  It is a great reuse/recycle gift. No need to purchase plastic containers or gift bags, and filled with goodies to boot. I love to give (and receive) anything vintage and filled with homemade Christmas cookies.Even you don't bake, you could fill it with store bought cookies or chocolates.  It would be a very inexpensive gift filled with peppermint bark form Ghiradelli and tied with a ribbon.

These white plates are vintage Germany, and although I found them all at different places, they all have a common shape.  Check back tomorrow to see how they look filled with cookies, plus I will be posting my 3 minute, 3 ingredient cookie dough recipe that I use to make 3 different tylpes of cookies in one go.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Piicture courtesy of

Home Sense/Winners $6.99

Savon De Marseille is wonderful soap.  It is made in France from olive oils and natural scents, and is earth friendly.  It can be a little pricey, however I found the liquid soap and my local Home Sense for $6.99.  It is sold at boutiques for more than twice this price. This would make a great teacher, co-worker gift and is so pretty, it barely needs a gift wrap, just a pretty satin ribbon. You can also order it online.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I spent some time yesterday working on a few projects to use up a huge quantity of designer fabric samples donated to by Gresham House, my upholstery supplier.  They are all from Strohiem and Roman and Jab, so they are some of the finest fabrics around.  There are fine silks, cotton velvets, mohair velvets etc.  They are so beautiful and they get thrown away as they are discontinued.  I made a few gift bags, simply sewing one seam and attaching a ribbon.  I am also going to make some pillows.  I am wanting to use them for breast cancer fundraising, or some other worthwhile project, so if anyone has any suggestions as to other ways to use an 18 x 18" fabric square, I would love to hear from you. With an exception of a few silks, most are upholstery weight, so that may effect what I can do with them.   

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Our girl Gracie is 15 today. 


Spotted on the Chic Coles blog a great giveaway.  A chance to win one of Charmaine Hotards gorgeous necklaces.  Check out Charmaine Hotar Designs.


Now snow globes can be one of the tackiest souvenirs ever, however I find they have a certain charm, and a bit of nostalgia. Here’s why I am loving them. They are lightweight, easy to find and very inexpensive. They provide a little reminder of the places you have been or your family and friends have ventured to. They also usually feature the one of the highlights or culturally significant features of a country, such as a double decker bus in England or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Little geographical and historical reminders. I grouped mine together on a yellow shelf that I found at the Christie Flea Market a number of years ago.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I recently came across the blog of Cara Greenberg, a writer, photo stylist, editor and old house collector.  She recently posted on "Sulla Strada" which means "On the Road" in Italian. What a fabulous term!! Some of my favourite pieces have been found on the road. I thought I would share a few of them with you.

Mirror- This mirror is one of my best Road Finds ever. It is a very old plaster mirror. It has a number of the back that is identifyed as a restoration number, so someone actually had it restored at some point. I found this while walking my very young kids in a double stroller. I knew I couldn't carry the mirror and push the stroller, so I made the kids get out and walk home and placed the mirror safely in the stroller.

Bamboo Chair - Found this Chinese Chipendale Bamboo Chair while walking the dogs just last year. Similar problem as I had 2 large dogs on leash. I guarded it for a while until I saw the paperboy with his papers in a wagon. Sweet boy that he is, he agreed to load the chair onto the wagon and run it back to my house for me. I had it recovered in an RM Coco animal print chennile.

Stone Planters - Found these 2 stone planters on the same day as the Bamboo Chair on the way home from walking the dog. Gave the same paperboy 5 bucks to load them on his wagon and drop them at my house again. Believe me, they are so heavy I really should have paid him $10. At this point he was feeling a bit guilty as he told me his mum would have loved them!. Anyway, first come, first served in the standing rule for Road Finds, so they now sit on my porch adorned with Christmas greens.

Iron Potting Stand - This thing is made of iron and weighs a ton. It has the just right amount of rust and is my favourite shade of vintage green. I could not pass this one up, as I immediately envisioned it at the cottage housing my Shell and Seashell Box collections. The hitch-I was with Blake, we were dressed up, it was raining, and we were in his car (not suitable for rusty junk). We stopped imediately to lay claim to it, and after a bit of coaxing , he managed to fit it in his trunk.
I would love to hear your Road Find tales and photos.

FRIDAY FIND (on Monday)

Great find- Silvered Stag Horn Candlabra from Home Sense $19.99.  Very nicely made with felted bottom.  Rustic Glitz.



As a little festive offering for my guests, I added a sweet little mercury glass  Christmas tree ornament to each place setting. Half were white and half were silver.


For my Festive Dinner, I was seating 16, so I had a really long table.  With such a large table, I needed a really large, dramatic centerpiece.  I also didnt want to spend a bundle on it.  I had recently recieved flowers (when Moochie died) in this tall vase and filled it with branches gathered from the ravine while walking.  I adorned it with Christmas ornaments and Voila!  Easy.  The ornaments came from a great little shop in Bronte called My Back Shed. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Having Faffed Around with a few Cornbread recipes, I found this one is one of the easiest and the most delicious.  Moistened with honey and cream, it has the right amount of sweetness and no dryness.  I served this with Tomato Basil Soup last weekend at my Festive-Smestive dinner and it was a huge hit.  One of my dinner guests actually asked if he could take the leftovers home.  Co-incidentally, he was wearing a yellow sweater that was an exact color match to the cornbread (Benjamin Moore could not have come closer)(see photo on previous post).  So honestly, who better to take it home? 

 I used Ontario local honey which has a distinct flavour.  Store bought honey comes from overseas sources and is a mix of (usually cheaper) honeys.  Buying grocery store honey does nothing to help local bee populations and beekeepers.  Our Bees are dying.... please look around for local product, often available in small towns, flea and farmer markets, small groceries etc. BUYING LOCAL HONEY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Look online for Land O lake corn bread recipe.


Homemade marmalade makes a wonderful gift at Christmas, especially when you add a sweet little vintage spoon. (This batch was bottled in vintage Mason jars) Hmmnn you say "far too time consuming", but no..... Here is a little CHEATER to breeze your way through the marmalade making process and make a dozen gifts pronto.  It is called Mamade-a can of already peeled (thick cut or thin) Seville oranges. (I buy mine at Denningers) All you have to do is add water and sugar and boil it in a pot.  Follow directions on the can for the marmalade, pour into sterile jars, process for 10 minutes(boil filled jars) and add a shimmery ribbon.  Stack them in you pantry and voila... the perfect gift ready and on hand.  I collect vintage spoons all year while Faffing Around and clean and polish them.  By the time Marmalade Season rolls around, I have enough for each jar.  Let me tell you..people love this gift. It is a lovely change from cookies and chocolate, plus there is the homemade factor, plus if you give one each year, they will start to have their own vintage spoon (and jar) collection.  Fabulous?  YES.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


We lost our beloved Mooch On Friday November 13th. He had Leukemia and survived over 2 years longer than originally predicted. He is sooooo missed by us all, our friends and neighbors, especially the little kids in the neighborhood who always visited with him. Loving you buddy.


OK, now those who know me, know I have lots of what I call "bits".  Bits are things I collect, second hand things that I find in flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops and yes, on the road side.  In this photo are my treasures found at a favourite local thift shop.  First a pair of Grindley Peach Petal plates, a gorgeous cream and gold Serving Plate that I plan to use for Chocolate Cakes (yes only chocolate because the colour is perfect to enhance Chocolate).  Next, Spoons.  silverplated and mismatched, just the way i like them. A shell covered Jewlery Box and a silverplated fretwork Casserole Dish with the glass insert. Lasty, a silverplated Tray which I cleaned up and placed on my dresser to hold my Bracelets.  What a successful shopping day.  Total spend: less than $30.00.

PEEPS- Festive -Smestive

I simply love hosting a party. Especially my "Festive/Smestive" holiday party.  16 in total, we removed the living rooms chairs and extended tables right into the living room.  My centerpiece was found branches adorned with glitzy ornaments.  The cloths were simple white with black velvet runners. Linen napkins, vintage mismatched silverware and the absolute best find ever, silver plated (more like spray painted) faux stag horn candelabras from Home Sense.  I tried hard to use local ingredients, including a lovely ham made by Florence Meats in Oakville.  According to the butcher, "it isn't pumped full of "all that stuff like other hams".  I used honey for the cornbread from Williamsburg, Ontario, Ontario Tomatoes, Basil and Potatoes.  Desert was a Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Phyllo Buttertarts which took several trial runs (happily tested by the gang and Mynt Hair Studio.  Recipes to be posted on Recipe Mondays.


Assorted Cheeses with HOT Red Pepper Jelly
Tomato and Basil Soup

Baked Ham with Mango Chutney, Orange and Mustard Glaze
Baked Beans with Maple Syrup
Oven Crisped Potatoes and Onions
Meatballs (President's Choice)
Mixed Salad Greens

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
Phyllo Buttertarts
Homemade Vanilla Icecream

Preceeded, Accompanied by, and Followed by Wine, Wine and more Wine. Even though we had at least one wine expert present, I am afriad the pairings were random, haphazard and likley completely inappropriate.