30 April 2010

Not Jumping on Bandwagon Here...

I'm leading up to something.

I promise I am not jumping on the etsy "nautical" bandwagon. I will have an exciting announcement in a few days. Assuming, of course, that all goes as planned this weekend. Well, that's enough of talking around the point. Take a look at these lovelies.

A weather-beaten white row boat from photohale.

Scrimshaw cufflinks with a ship and lighthouse motif, found in the shop of lindalayden.

Gorgeous seagull giclee print from an original watercolour. This can be found in the shop of maryellengolden.

More to come soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me. :)

29 April 2010

Punch of Colour

There is an ever widening trend toward pristine white or grey, pale, washed out pallettes for the home kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home and in my mind should be the room with the most joy. Think of the colours of foods that you are chopping and dicing - rich red tomatoes, vibrant orange peppers, pale green cabbage - don't those colours look beautiful in your pale space. Keep your monochromatic pallette if you must, but add some punch to your space. Mix in colourful accessories to bring the fun and the joy back to the kitchen.

If you are timid about adding in colour, choose a nice mild addition such as a hit of pale green. Pretty vintage apothecary jars in tinted green glass from satisfind would look gorgeous housing cookies, beans, or other loose staple foods.

An arrangement of mixed bowls would be a nice complement to the jars. This quartet of Vintage Verde Cinderella Pyrex bowls are from sassboxclassics. Wouldn't they be pretty filled with various citrus fruits?

If you are a little more brave and open to the idea of adding colour choose a little modern whimsy like this cupcake cookie jar from fruitflypie. Its simply adorable, and blues are always a breath of fresh air.

A deeper blue is gorgeous with a pale colour scheme. A pair of pot holders in deep French blue is
a fabulous colour inspiration. Find these pallette pleasing potholders in the shop of Fluur.

It doesn't hurt to throw all caution to the wind. After all, a white kitchen is a virtual blank slate., Go bold. Gorgeous pale green and vibrant orange floursack towels are a great starting point. Fresh and eyecatching, these towels and other kitchen linens can be found in the shop of margotbianca.

For the truly adventurous, mix a few of the above colours together. See how the pale green and the orange look fabulous together in the towel above; or how the blue and white and khaki green are a charming trio in the potholders? Don't limit yourself to one accent colour. Have FUN!!

28 April 2010

Al Fresco

Picnic lunches are the perfect summer treat. Don't you find there is something about fresh, clean air that increases your appetite? And food just tastes better when you are sitting beneath the cooling shade of a tree, or sitting crosslegged on a slightly sandy beach blanket, a light breeze ruffling your hair.

True, picnic lunches take a little careful planning, but there is no need to be overwhelmed by the idea of hulking coolers, and hibachis and various other bits of equipment to your location. Truth is, the simpler the better. A low fuss menu and a few simple pieces are all you need.

To keep sand and grass, and of course ants from ruining your meal be sure to pack a sturdy blanket. To make sure the transport of the blanket is easy, try this handy and sturdy leather blanket strap. (Hint... use it to transport your yoga mat off season!) Find this strap (free with blanket purchase) in the shop of mexchic.

A handmade picnic basket is the perfect way to transport your picnic lunch. Sturdy and beautifully crafted from from American Cherry and Black Walnut woods and finished with solid brass tacks. I found this in the shop of mattfeve.

And to make sure that you have all your utensils at hand, and never leave with sticky fingers, tuck one of these handy roll-ups into your picnic baskets. They come complete with two sets of bamboo utensils and two cloth napkins. No waste! Find these in NstarStudio's shop.

Finally, what is a picnic without potato salad. I borrowed this from my favorite foodnetwork.ca host, Laura Calder. Click on the photo to find the recipe.

27 April 2010


...even when there isn't a camera in sight. Just in case you need a little encouragement, here are a few thinks that will surely bring a grin to your day.

The world's cutest spoonrest - Smile Spoonrest in Pistachio from CircaCeramics.

Meet Lydia. A wide, yet slightly shy smile graces her sweet face. Lydia and her many friends live in the shop of SugarandSpice.

This Billy ain't so gruff. Meet Mitten the Goat who boasts a most mischievous expression. His mug was captured by NatureMandalas.

26 April 2010

Favorite Things - April 26

Curse you, I love you!!!

You know that love-hate relationship that we can develop with things. Well, that's how it goes with today's favorite thing. Its Facebook Family Feud. I love the adrenalin rush that comes from trying to guess the correct answer to the survey questions in the allotted amount of time. The glorious ding, as the correctly answered tab rolls over. The heartbreaking buzz of defeat. The pulse-rushing 50 seconds of fast money. The excitement is sometimes too much.

If I see someone begging for help to win more fast money, I click furiously to come to their aid. I need that quick rush of excitement, and that gloating feeling of achievement in helping one of my friends win more (virtual) money. I'm a damn good friend in this respect.

On the other hand, Facebook Family Feud eats up way too much of my time. I will troll the updates looking for someone else's game that I can complete. This sometimes holds my addiction at bay until my next two episodes come available. Sometimes I deny myself the pleasure of playing so that rather than having only two daily episodes, I will have four or six waiting in my bank. And then, there's an hour gone that I will never get back.

Damn you Facebook Family Feud. I love you and curse you.

25 April 2010

Get Fit, Save the Earth, and....

...Look cool doing it.

I was gazing out the window earlier today at my long neglected bicycle. On Earth Day, I started thinking about ways that I could use my car less. Of course, using my bicycle seems like the smartest and likeliest answer. It also fits in perfectly with my "get fit, chubbo" goal.

My bike however does need a thorough tune up. And I need some cool accessories.

Once the bike is tuned up, it may be best to invest in a small tool set and learn how to do on-the-fly maintenance myself. Don't want to get caught out with a flat tire. This handy little tool roll, has all the necessary pieces, stashes away easily and it comes in a smashing khaki and pink colour. Find this and more in the shop of BikeCozy.

Bicycle security is always something to keep in mind. If I were to ride to work, my bike would be unattended for a full eight hours. A sturdy lock is of paramount importance. Having a place to keep it from banging against the bike, or against your spine (!) when not in use, is also very important. This leather holster from WalnutStudiolo attaches securely to the front or rear of the bike and safely stashes your lock away when not in use.

A bicycle basket makes it mush easier to run those little errands. Take a Saturday trip to the Farmers Market and leave with your basket brimming with goodies. The only problem is that wire baskets have a nasty habit of leave long thin bruises on delicate produce, and teeny items can slid through the wires. A handy and really pretty fabric basket liner will instantly solve both those problems. This liner comes from the shop of saralynnmo.

All potential problems solved, I now have no excuse not to use my bicycle more often.

24 April 2010

Stroll the Paper Garden

Truth be told, it is not always a perfect day to take a garden stroll. But the beauty of the natural world is always worthy of our admiration. Today, my inspiration is garden-inspired papercraft.

These absolutely gorgeous orange peonies come in a ready-to-assemble kit, or you can opt for pre-assembly. Shown here as a table embellishment, I am picturing them also as an elegant gift topper. Find them in the shop of paperplatypus.

Handmade spiral flowers have been cut and rolled from gorgeous sturdy papers. A charming mix of textured edges and coordinating colours and patterns. There is no end to the wonderful ways to use these flowers. They are crafted by SuzanneBWebb.

Don't forget all the wonderful creatures that dwell in the garden. Welcome them into your home as well. These sweet orange butterflies would look sweet fluttering up a wall, or could be made into a mobile or hung from a thread to flutter near the wondow. Again, these would also be perfect to top a gift, a card, or as a scrapbooking embellishment These are found in thegildedbee.

I have a fondness for pretty gift tags, especially a prettily embellished hangtag. I also just adore whimsical vintage prints of flora and fauna, especially those involving nests and eggs. These tags from bljgraves therefore, are to me a match made in heaven.

22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Such a milestone! Sadly though, despite forty years of efforts, the Earth is still in dire need of critical action. The idea of saving the Earth, may seem daunting, but there myriad ways you can help. And if everyone promises to make one or two small changes to their lifestyle, the impact can be massive.

The official Earth Day website has a list of action points that we can all try to incorporate into our lives. Click here to view the list, and then please let me know what small changes you will strive toward.

I have a lot of nasty habits too, and each year, I try to break a few more.

From the list I already, as a matter of habit, or whenever possible:

*Shop at the local farm's market, using my own bags, and eat a significant amount of locally sourced foods. Local and fresh food tastes better. And I believe in supporting the local economy and the small enterprise over the large multi-national.

*Use old paper for rough work to save paper. I have a stack of used envelopes nearby that I use for jotting lists, writing reminders, or scribbling ideas.

*Use less disposable products. No paper napkins is my number one rule. Plain and simple... I enjoy trees, and linen is simply nicer to use.

*Hang laundry to dry. This practice makes good common sense on so many levels. The repeated abuse from a tumble heat dryer is not good for your clothes. Air-dried laundry has a longer life, and it feels and smells fresher too!

*Do not waste water bottles. I tote a Stainless Steel Kleen Kanteen with me everywhere I go. I wrote a "Favorite Thing" post about it a few months ago if you want a review. I also have a re-usable coffee mug that sees a great deal of action.

*Pay bills online. If you drive to the bank to pay bills, you waste gas. If you mail the cheques and receive bills in the mail, you waste paper. Most companies have e-billing options, and some companies even give a small credit for this option. Most bills are also payable online, and yes, it is safe!

*Buy products with less packaging. Buy bulk products, for example. If your local bulk store allows customers to do so, bring your own re-usable bags.

This year, my goals are:

*To have at least one meat-free day each week to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.

*I will make my lunches 100% litterless. Right now, I am at about 80%... I can be better.

* I pledge to not drive it, if I can walk it.

Please share in the comments your plans on how you will help your Earth this year.

20 April 2010

Roman Holiday

Easily one of my favorite movies, and a complete fantasy world for me, Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday is the inspiration of the day.

Endless curtsying and glasses of milk, gosh, what's a princess to do for a little fun? Naturally, you scale the villa wall and make a break for it on the streets of Rome. A gorgeous photo of crumbly Roman architecture, fittingly titled "Hide and Seek" comes from the shop of scenethirty1.

Be cautious of who you meet along the way. Not everyone is how they seem. Take for instance our dashing friend Joe. He seems to have your best interests at heart, but will he turn your escape into front page news? This vintage type-writer can be found in the shop of vintagerenaissance.

And how about those accompanying photographs; how did they get shot? Why that cigarette lighter was actually a camera? Oh, Irving... she placed such trust in you and Joe. Vintage sterling silver lighter (no camera included, sadly!) is from hatstoflats.

And here, all you wanted to do was zip through the streets of Rome on a Vespa, dance a top of the Tiberis and stop for a scoop of gelato.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and every princess has duties that she simply must perform. The escape, though brief, was truly exhilarating but it is time once again to return to the villa, don the proper attire and demurely greet your admiring crowd. This dress is from the shop of TimelessVixenVintage.

A Mix of Sun and Cloud

I'll take the little mix of sun with the rain. Its better than all grey clouds and rain which is what we've been dealing with over the past few days. And it definitely is better than the snow that surprised me upon waking this past Saturday.

So, today, let's look revel in the mix of sunny yellow and cloudy grey!

Like a puffy grey cloud with bits of sun peeking through. This fabulous, squishy roving comes from the shop of spinningtheweb.

Looks like the mix of sunny and cloud are being reflected in a rippling lake surface. This staggeringly pretty focal lampwork bead comes from the shop of elysiumbeads.

Its that moment at dawn on a day when the rain is ending, and the sun is strengthening. The world is washed out one moment and in the next, colour creeps back in. A bold graphic tie from MeandMatilda.

A sunny rose. Looks like the sun won over the cloud in this moment! Find this gorgeous pillow in the dedeetsyshop. Loads of other fun colour combinations are available, too.

Although, this weather is surely pretty, let's hope for fully sunny skies tomorrow.

19 April 2010

Favorite Things - April 19

Ducks. I absolutely adore ducks. There is just something inherently enjoyable about watching a .... gosh I have no idea what a gang of ducks is actually called.

Ok.... thanks to Ducks Unlimited I have the answer, but I am no less confused by it.

There are several different terms used to refer to a group of ducks. Mostly, it depends on what species of ducks are in the group. Paddling, skiff, raft, team and dopping are just some of the terms used.

It also depends on whether the group is on the ground or in flight. For example, a group of mallard ducks on the ground is call a “sord”, but when in flight, it is called a “flock” (as are all ducks in flight).

So.... it turns out that what I really love is GOOGLE.

Honestly, if it wasn't for google, I would know absolutely nothing! I can't tell you how often I refer to google in a day. When I was in university I wanted to know everything, and I had several sizable libraries at my disposal if I truly wanted to discover an answer. After school, I went through a lazy period where I just used to shrug if I didn't know something and just simply decided that I probably didn't really need to know.

Well, that is no way to live your life. Questions should always be asked, and we should constantly expand our personal knowledge. And it does only take seconds really to google to find out what you want to know, and chances are you will also discover all sorts of information that you didn't want to know but which enriches your life nonetheless.

18 April 2010

Garden Time - Accent Pieces

Now, with the planting under way let's turn our sights to some accent pieces to really make your garden shine.

Add an old-world elegance to any garden by adding a garden trellis. Allow your ivy to creep and curl around it as shown here, or use it for showy climbing roses or charming morning glories. If you wish to be truly decadent. Handmade metal garden trellis from SilvertipsIronworks.

Inspired by the gardens of the European nobility, these garden stakes instantly increase elegance in your garden as well as being functional. These are to be found in the shop of historicalproducts.

This sweet metal wall hanging would be perfect for adding a little whimsy to the side of your garden shed or porch. Available in a variety of colours, you can find this in the shop of RustyRoosterMetal.

A birdbath is a wonderful addition to any garden. A traditional stone one adds a nice formality, while a bold glass one can add a wonderful shock of colour. This gorgeous handmade glass birdbath is from GloriousGlassGarden.

Most gardeners curse those wascally wabbits, but a concrete one adds a charming touch to a garden. I love the look of small sculptures that are tucked away into the garden instead of being a focal point. There's a certain delight in the unexpected surprise of a sweet bunny face peeping out from behind beneath a lilac bush. This sweet bunny was found in mudstuff.

17 April 2010

Garden Time - Stubborn Spots

Not everyone is blessed with acres of land, fertile soil, adequate rain and the proper balance of sun and shade. Many people have teeny city yards, or balconies even, have too much shade, or live in an arid climate. And well, let's face it, some are just not that knowledgable on the topic of gardening or do not have to time required to properly maintain a full garden. Anyone may though, want to enjoy some greenery and enhance their view.

Never fear. There are planting options for all situations.

Here is an extremely easy option. Ivy - it has a multitude of uses. It can be used to add texture and greenery to potted plants. It climbs and winds its way up a trellis which can add interesting high points in a garden. It can also be used as a ground cover. In Toronto, I used to pass a teeny front yard everyday where the owner had opted for a pattern of pea gravel and ivy rather than a traditional grassy lawn. No maintenance and very attractive. Perfect for someone not adept at gardening. Ivy plants are easy to come by. I found these on etsy in the shop of ttownmoss.

If you are cursed (or blessed, depending on your outlook) with too much shade, plant selection can be a bit of a challenge. Shade-loving, low-maintenance hostas are a perfect option. Showy green leaves are lush and certain varieties will put forth a skinny bloom as well. I have seen garden beds filled with nothing but different varieties of hostas, and the effect can be quiet spectacular. AdamsboroSundries sells a trio of roots to get you started.

If you live in an arid climate, or need a plant that can survive you repeatedly forgetting to water it, turn to succulents. There are a wide range of varieties that mixed together can be very eye-catching. A mix of sizes, textures and colours can go a long way. Sedum and "hens and chicks" like these ones found in the shop of sosucculent are popular options.

16 April 2010

Garden Time - In Bloom

There are many things to consider when planting the perfect flower garden. You need to consider what plants will grow in light and shade, which plants are hardy enough for your zone, and how much water is required. You also might want to plant so that year round your garden evolves and delights with new offerings. Colour palettes are an important factor too. Do you find a sense of calm in a monochromatic scheme; or do you take pleasure in a riotous profusion of colour?

Whichever way you envision your garden, let's explore some of the options available.

First, let's look at a show-stopper. This is a bloom that can easily add a dramatic focal point to a garden. An iris is generally tall, with a full, stately bloom available in a variety of colours. A perennial flower well suited to many climates, there is likely to be a species that suits your location. The bulbs for this beauty come from the shop of TwoDogGardens.

If you prefer the softer, cottage style of garden you may opt for the sweet yet slightly wild-looking daisies, morning glories, coneflowers and cosmos. The cosmo especially is a good choice as it has a long bloom period, and it is self-seeding. It is reportedly also one of the easiest seeds to grow so if you are an amateur gardener this may be a winner for you. Start them this year with seeds from paulajeansgardens, and enjoy them for years to come.

If you have lots of formal garden to fill and need to edge some borders, or if you have a small garden that can only accommodate a few carefully chosen plants, consider growing some lavender. Its fragrance can't be beat. Lavender can also be harvested for use in floral arrangements, dried for potpourri, or use as when cooking. Seeds should be started 6-8 weeks before the growing season. Growth will be slow the first year, but lush in following years. You can purchase lavender seeds from RathburnSmithFarms.

Are you one of those lucky individuals who has space for a garden pond? What a calming oasis. Increase its natural beauty by adding some gently bobbing waterlilies. Maybe you will be inspired to paint your own personal Giverny. Rhizomes and starter plants can be purchased from teresab123.

Join me again as we look at some low-maintenance, and easy options for planting.

15 April 2010

Garden Time - The Veggie Patch

Temporary fencing went up in the big box store parking lot overnight. It looks ugly and sad at the moment. In a week or so, though I know that it will be brimming with burgeoning life as the garden centre begins to fill.

Its time to start thinking about digging your hands into fresh clean earth, and coaxing teeny seeds and shoots to life. Maybe you are thinking of planning a huge veggie patch, or you like to bask in the glory of mid-day blooms. Maybe you possess a green thumb and like to adopt a new plant every year. Or maybe yours is a brown thumb, and grasses and succulents are your limit. Whichever way, there are lots of goodies for you to examine over the next couple days.

Let's begin with the veggie patch.

The ambitious amongst us began their work on their gardens will the earth was still buried beneath a blanket of snow. Teeny seeds, went into teeny pots and under their careful coaxing they came out to greet the world. Little paper pots such as these are perfecting for seed starting, and then can be plopped right into your garden to decompose as they seeds grow. These can be found in the shop of PhotographybyTess.
You've tilled neat little rows. You've lovingly nestled your sprouts into the soil. You've watered. Now, you don't want to lost track of what the heck you planted where? Solve the guessing game, and clearly mark your rows with these gorgeous hand-painted, vintage silverware markers from daisychestnut.

To get your garden growing, there is a trio of tools that will prove invaluable - a rake, a trowel and a claw. Keep them organised with this crafty upcycled rake head. This vintage set includes all four pieces. find it in the shop of bluebonnetfields.

Now as the season progresses, you will need to keep track of an increasing amount of tools, trimmers, twine, etc. Keep everything to hand, while remaining hands-free with a sweet gardening apron. You will find plenty of organising pockets in this one from SewMerry.

Come back tomorrow and we will look at some more fun garden goodies.

14 April 2010

Just Call Me Dorothy

I have a thing for red shoes. It is a completely inexplicable lust. If ever I find the wicked witch crushed under my house, I'd steal her ruby slippers in an instant.

Today, share my joy in the fabulousness that is red shoes.

A Mary-Jane style heel in a saucy red gets three check-marks in my book. A gorgeous photo by geekygirl.

Lacking the grace of a ballerina, I do still have an affinity for one's footwear. These gorgeous fabric ballet flats have me pirouetting with excitement. I found these in the shop of HydraHeart.

Shiny things of course continue to capture my attention, and yowza, shiny and red! A vintage shoe again in the Mary Jane style, this time is red patent leather can be found in the shop of bottleblondevintage.

I'm not sure exactly when my love for red shoes began, but maybe I was as young as little Gianna here. A darling photo by ThatSomething.

But then again, maybe I was younger still. Starting life with such sassy footwear must surely have a lifelong impact! These shoes are from the shop of GraciousMay.