Friday, October 18, 2013

"There is no Such Thing as a Design Crisis"

Ha! I just love that, and I love the rest of this excerpt taken from Celerie Kemble's book, To Your Taste. This comes from a portion Celerie has titled "Apologia." If you've ever struggled with the idea of whether interior design has any real purpose or wondered how to keep a level head amidst the materialism we always seem to be knee deep in (especially as design enthusiasts), this should help give some perspective. It has certainly helped me.

I want to be open about what I do, and put it in a larger social context. Interior design in an indulgence, and one that can be very expensive. An appreciation of nice things is an icing-on-the-cake concern. It seems grossly presumptuous when designers casually discuss as "affordable" prices what most reasonable people consider ridiculous. On the other hand, I do what I do as a business, one in which I take great pleasure. In the expensive and sometimes demanding process of helping people create their dream personal spaces, I work with craftsmen and other skilled workers. Their commissions keep alive the traditions of craftsmanship and art in addition to supporting a web of families. 

In the weeks following September 11, 2001, I felt a piercing sense of emptiness as I wandered around the New York Design Center looking for coordinating fabrics for a client who was pushing me to complete my work before a November dinner party. What I perceived at the time as unnecessary drama about an artificially imposed deadline and the trifling concerns of a spoiled woman was the core responsibility of a collaborative design consultant's job - to respond to my clients' needs. It wasn't until months later that I decided I was lucky to be involved in the work of making people happy, even if it was on the level of stylistic indulgence. In the sunshine of this later mood, I saw that my client's urgency came from her desire to create a beautiful new dining room to share with her family in time for Thanksgiving. 

Catering to the whims of some big-budget clients calls for frequent reality checks. I once met a designer (who later opted out of the business) who put our field in proper perspective. He told me about a client of his who was enraged when he wouldn't give her his cell phone number in case she had to call during a design crisis. He told her, "There is no such thing as a design emergency" and was promptly fired. Yet I understand the desire to make your home the most satisfying and flattering embodiment of the life and culture you live. More than mere shelter, your home is the backdrop of your life, and I think it's worth finding the time, the energy, and the means to make it special. Without apology.

Of course we still have to fight to stay balanced as individuals (and say "no" to ourselves sometimes), but keeping constant reality checks like this in front of us is a good aid. Thank you, Ms. Kemble.

Your Thoughts? And... make that 4 posts this week. I'm on a roll. Enjoy your weekend, friends.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Curtain Rods en Route & Some Extras

When we were in Boston we set out to find a West Elm one day. Of course it was a loong walk and of course we got lost and of course it poured rain. Bleh. We did get to our destination eventually only to find that the things I wanted to see weren't there! Boo. I had hoped to see their brass curtain rods and the geo console. Neither were at the store, and it looks like the geo console has been discontinued altogether. [*Insert pouty face*] The store had some nice things of course, but the things I was looking for were no where to be found. Sigh. 

I just can't wait any longer for curtain rods, so I ended up going with these brass rods from Restoration Hardware. They're very similar to the ones from West Elm, less expensive (with the sale), they come in more sizes, and they ship to Canada. SOLD. I ordered them (larger size) the other day and they should arrive sometime next week. Then I can get sewing!

This art print is on it's way for A's room. So cute, right?

And I found this terrific etsy store called Snake Head Vintage that sells lighting parts for you to create your own fixtures or you can pick up parts to fix old, vintage lamps. We've ordered what we'll need to turn that driftwood ball into a light fixture for L's room. This one...

And we'll put an Edison bulb inside. Yay! One more project to cross off the list. 

And then I hope to order some of these agate slabs to frame in shadow boxes. I'm thinking 5 or 6 of them to hang above the handrail going downstairs. Should be good. via Landi Designs

The weather has cooled off. We're stuck indoors more. And I'm itching to get stuff done. 

Oh, and here's what I'm hoping to make for Halloween costumes. Should be cute and hopefully not too home-made looking. At any rate, it's easy and cheap.

via Oh Happy Day

Cheers! (And this is my 3rd post this week. #feelingaccomplished  Yes, I can use hashtags in a blog post.)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boston in the Fall

Hello, hello! This will come as a complete surprise (because I haven't been around here lately to even mention it), but my hubs and I took a 6 day trip to Boston just over a week ago. It was beautiful! We absolutely loved it. We have this idea that we'd like to try and visit one major North American city each year. So far we've been to most of the Canadian cities, and now it's time to tour some in the US. Anyway, Boston was the pick this time around and it was simply terrific. We stayed in the Back Bay area which was perfect - close to parks, excellent dining, shopping, historic tours, Fenway Park, Symphony Hall, etc.

Picture time...

Our view - Boston Public Gardens

Symphony Hall

Here are a few things we did: 
  • We saw the city with the Old Town Trolley Tour (a hop-on, hop-off bus tour). I would highly recommend it. 
  • We threw "tea" in the ocean at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
  • Took a harbour tour on a ship. 
  • Yo Yo Ma was playing with the Boston Symphony so we HAD to take that in -- SO good. 
  • Enjoyed long walks through the Boston Public Garden
  • Stayed here
  • Ate here, here and here (plus other places I can't remember). The food was delish. 
  • Visited Harvard and went to the Museum of Natural History there. It was very, very good. I was wishing the kids were with us for that part in particular. 
  • Shopping. There was tons of it, and everything from regular kinds of stores to high end boutiques. Also, a really terrific antique row in the Beacon Hill area. 

Fenway Park was pretty close to where we stayed (if baseball is your thing); we didn't get to a game. 

Simply walking around admiring the architecture was enjoyable. Both the old and new buildings were interesting. I especially liked the old brownstones. The fall colours were just starting to come out when we were there; I guess we should have gone a few weeks later to see them in all their glory. It was still gorgeous though and quite warm. The flip flops even came out the one day.

I don't know if we'll ever get back here, but I'm sure glad we went. Boston is beautiful, and it was great to get away for a few days. Thankful for me and him time.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello, friends! Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving to you.

Image here

Here's to turkey and pie and time with your favourite people.

We've celebrated hard. Ate just a bit too much. And now we're ready to settle down to some rest. I hope your weekend was wonderful. 

Thankful a billion times over. 




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Family Photos: What to Wear

Hi all! I hope this finds you well. So much for getting back into blogging routine. Pfffttt. I feel like every time I pop in to say hello I'm throwing out an apology for M.I.A. too. Such is life I guess. 

We had some family photos taken yesterday afternoon. The uber talented Wilna Furstenberg of iheart photos was our photographer. We had pictures taken with her two years ago, and I didn't realize at the time, but we were her first "real" clients! Fast forward 2 years and her photography work has taken off! She's busy busy. I'm not at all surprised because she's terrific at what she does. 

Coming up with an ensemble of clothes for the four of us has of course occupied my mind just a little the past few days. In the end we kept it pretty simple and went with neutrals: black, blue (jeans) and brown mainly. Here's a look. 

1. Little Miss wore the cutest polka dot, peplum top paired with legging jeans and brown, bow boots. 

2. Little Mister wore kakis with a classic collared shirt and grey sweater (I love the navy patch on the sweater's elbows). 

3. The Mrs. (that's me) pulled together a black, mohair sweater, skinny jeans, black ballet flats and a gold pendant necklace for just a little sparkle. 

4. The Mr. sported a cowl neck cardigan on top and slim fit jeans on the bottom. 

Sometimes it's hard to come up with an ensemble that looks coordinated but not too matchy. It definitely makes it easier when you keep things simple, and I tend to prefer that look anyway. 

AND here's a sneak peek at some of the pictures. These are the only ones we've seen so far. Can't wait for more! 

Happy, Happy.


p.s. A big thank you for your kind words/encouragement as I embark on the "student again" journey. You're all so sweet and rather awesome. Hugs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Student Again

Someone happens to be just a little excited (and a whole lot nervous) around here. Today marks the beginning of a new adventure for me. I've enrolled in an art & design certificate program at the U of S (local university), and my first class starts tonight! Eeek! I've got my supplies together, and here's hoping I do alright. There will be assignments along the way, so perhaps I'll be able to share those with you (if they're worth sharing). 

I'm looking forward to learning again and having some official "know how" when it comes to drawing and painting in particular. The classes are geared to mature students and seem to be learner driven in many ways. They really work to accommodate you and your learning objectives. I'm most excited about getting some feedback from professionals and having extra motivation to complete projects/assignments.

Of course I needed a stylish book bag to carry around. This scallop edge tote from ASOS fit the bill. 

Here's to trying new things even if they scare you silly.

Hugs & High Fives,



Friday, September 13, 2013

Around the House

Hello and Happy Friday! It's a gorgeous day in my corner of the world. Hard to believe there are only a handful of these kinds of days left as summer slips away and fall creeps in. *sigh*

Things have been moving at a snail's pace around the house lately. I really haven't done much of anything for a while. I did manage to finally get some pillows in place in the living room though. They came from Arianna Belle. There are more pillows to add, but this is a good start. (The white IKEA chair will be switched out down the road.)

Notice that brass table lamp behind the sofa? I found a pair of brass beauties at a local thrift shop for $8 each! Not bad, eh? The only catch is that I need to find new shades. The original shades were ick. And yes, I know I said I'd never buy shadeless lamps again (after that foo dog lamp fiasco), but these were just too good to pass up. I figure even if I do have to have shades custom made (and pay the high price for them), the bargain price of the lamps themselves will help offset that.

I've also been rethinking our master bedroom a little. Here are some pieces I've got my eye on. 

This burlap bed is kind of cool. The curvy headboard is fun and a little quirky. The burlap fabric would add some wonderful texture and would also be a nice contrast to some of the "finer" fabrics (silk and taffeta) that will happen in the room. Not everything can be lux, right? We need some more rustic/imperfect elements to balance all the pretty.

The trillion semi flush-mount fixture is killer, and would be SO. GOOD. I know I've shown it to you before, but it's worth looking at again.

I'm still a little undecided on this one, but the delta lamp by Robert Abbey could work well as bedside lighting (and it's pretty affordable). 

I still really want a moroccan wedding blanket at the foot of the bed. 

And I've finally decided on two 20x20 pillows for the bed, done in silk capucheen (by designers guild). They'll look something like this (floral pillows).

So, I guess that's where things are at right now. Hopefully I can start to get more done indoors once it's not as nice to be outdoors. I'm itching to get things done!

Have yourself a fabulous kind of weekend! 



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Problem with Slacking Off

When you slack off and neglect your blog for weeks on end it feels overwhelming to pull something together; there's just so much to share! I simply don't know where to begin. We did enjoy one last summer getaway with a trip to Vancouver Island last week. The island is always a perfectly lovely place to be. We stayed near Parksville (flew in and out of Nanaimo) right on the water. Snapshots of our week.  

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Englishman River Falls

Oh, Canada


S+J (that's us)

The Sea

I love this place. And with our last summer vacation behind us, it's time to swing into fall mode. We started our first day of "school" yesterday. Avery is in Kindergarten and Luke will be doing some Pre-K stuff. We're all excited to start - hopefully that momentum keeps up going for a while. Some crafts from the first day at it. 

Kid art is the best kind of art. 

In other exciting news, this little man won the grand prize through our small town's summer reading program. He won a plane ride! (Making him sit through all those books paid off. Ha!) 


With that I'll sign off but hopefully swinging into fall mode means a few more blog posts around here! I need routine. Hugs.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Where to Begin

Why, hello there! It's your blogging friend who has been rather absent the past few weeks. Life has continued to clip along though. Probably the biggest bit of personal news is that I may have turned 30 recently (although I'm considering getting stuck at 29). I had a lovely birthday weekend. Gosh, I'm blessed. Also, we got our sod laid a week ago now. We have grass... in a big way! We're talking almost 5,000 square feet of it. Yep, our backs were a little sore the next day. And of course this past week has been mucho hot, so I have a full time job just keeping the grass alive. Thankfully today is a little cooler and we've even had a bit of rain. So, I will sit at the computer and say hello to you. It's going to get random from here. 

These pillows are on their way to me courtesy of Arianna Belle. Going to be good. 

They will go perfectly with the Amrapali (Designers Guild) pillows I'm having made for our sofa. (I played it safe and ordered a sample of the above to be sure.)

Originally I had my eye on the city maze fabric by Caitlin Wilson, but the pink just wasn't the right shade. Again, samples are a good thing.

Now we're thinking of recovering that antique chair (the hand me down from James' grandparents) in the leftover Amrapali. Here's a reminder of what that chair looks like. 

And here's a look at the Amrapali fabric on a similar type of chair. I think it could be real pretty.

This console would be most excellent in our entry. Going to try hard to get my hands on it (at West Elm). 

I really need to organize my laundry room... STAT! It's a major mess and has been for far too long. Here are a few things I have my eye on to spruce it up a little. 

Ironing Board Cover here.

Maybe some vintage inspired art prints (here). 

Or a photograph like this (here).

I also need to hang up some shelving and maybe a rod or two for drying clothes. Going to tackle that project soon.

And speaking of photography, I dream of owning some of Gray Malin's work. The beach/pool shots are stunning and they somehow have a real chic vibe. Some of the subjects are perfectly quirky too. Two llamas wrapped in balloons?? Why not?!

And let me ask you what you think of this wallpaper. I quite like it. To me it's stylish, but to my husband it screams dalmatian! What say you?

I'm also in the process of reworking our master bedroom plan. It's getting tweaked just a little. Hoping to share that with you soon. I do know I want to incorporate this light fixture though. Isn't it amazing?!!!

And last but certainly not least... these two. We've been having such a fun summer. Love 'em.

So, I haven't actually done much in my home the last little while, but that doesn't mean I haven't been dreaming and planning. I can never stop doing that it seems!

Thanks for the visit! Hugs all around.