Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hardwood heaven

New hardwood is in our future, I'm just not sure how far off that future is. You see, we want to do the kitchen, flooring, and knock out a wall that the previous owners put in to block the hallway (don't ask.).  The issue is that flooring and a kitchen can be pretty pricey. One would think to do them one at a time, but they go hand in hand depending on if we change the kitchen layout, what flooring we want in the kitchen, etc.

So for now we'll just dream.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dabble Party

Thursday night was the Dabble Party at Elte! There were loads of people there - as in 500+ people. Kim joked when she was speaking that they were expecting maybe 100...but really, who doesn't love Kimberley Seldon? She was the reason I subscribed to Dabble in the first place.
Kimberley is way up at the front if you can see her! She brought a great sense of humour to the event as she introduced her Dabble team.

The event offered some harty snacks (tortellini in cream sauce provided by Olivieri), some chicken skewers, and some small cheese sandwiches. The snacks were provided by different food sponsors. They also had drinks, and I unfortunately didn't take a photo of the rosemary martini which was super cute (and delicious).
The Rosemary martini was nice and fresh - it is definitely going on my list of summer drinks! They made it with rosemary-infused Skyye vodka, a spring of rosemary, a dash of club soda, and a splash of white grape juice (I think that this was the secret ingredient!).

And of course, we had the opportunity to browse Elte. I really like Elte - I used to think it was very chi chi and completely out of most people's price range, but they have a nice range of items and at the very least it is a fantastic place to go for inspiration (because some items are way up there...). Here are some things I saw that I loved.

If I had a formal living room I would love to have this style of sofa - I love the raised arms and how the whole structure is cupped with the arms/back.

Don't these look familiar?? They are my end tables in the living room! I was excited to see them at Elte (and more excited to see that I paid less!)
I love lantern light fixtures.

I've seen these coffee tables everywhere, mostly in the $800-900 price range, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this price at Elte:
$645! I thought that was a pretty good deal...

So that was the event. I didn't take opportunity of networking, primarily because there were just loads of people and it wasn't easy to move around amongst different conversations. That being said it was a fun event and good excuse to visit Elte!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday faves - West Elm

Last weekend I met up with a friend for coffee on a beautiful sunny morning. It was a bit cool, but the sun was warm and just the touch of spring we needed. I was on a mission to get to West Elm to pick up a pillow for a friend of mine - I had called ahead to put it on hold and to my horror they messed it up and put the wrong one on hold! Luckily a guy was able to find the last pillow that they had in the style I (my friend) was dying to get.  Here it is:
Water Stripe Pillow Cover
Isn't that just gorgeous? 100% silk, to top it off. My friend has the greatest eye for design and scoped this out. 

After getting the pillow I could refocus on whatever else was in the store. The first time I ever went to West Elm I was in dining room mode and was extremely disappointed with the quality of the items there.  My judgement was clouded because we were looking for a solid wood dining table (of which they had none). I wrote them off for a bit, but then got over it and realized that they do have some great accessories.

Here are some of my faves from my most recent visit:

Iznik Bath Mat

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dabbling in Dabble

Well folks, the big night is almost here! Dabble Magazine's launch party is tomorrow night at Elte. I think that there will be loads of people there, but there are also a few enticing giveaways! Hopefully I can get my hands on something while mingling :)

Their first online issue is massive. My favourite articles are a couple of their travel features - Nashville, their cover story (who knew Nashville could look so cool??), and Prague (EVERYONE knew Prague could look so cool....but their photography and the essence that they've captured is just beautiful). Unfortuantely I can't copy over any of their images from the magazine issue (maybe they'll do something about that in the future), but their website is live - check it out here.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Genevieve wins

Tonight I pick Genevieve! I watched both Dear Genevieve and Sarah101 and was more impressed by Genevieve.

First I'll talk 101 - it was a good episode, a laundry room re-do. I liked how it turned out, nice and clean looking. I guess I just have so many "major" projects to do at my own home that a laundry room didn't hold my interest. Granted, I would like to redo (or should I say "do") my laundry room but in reality it is wayyyyyy down on the priority list. It works, and that's about all we need from it right now!  That being said, this episode was entertaining with some good banter between Sarah and Tommy. The "button art" that she threw in at the end is cute (litterally buttons glued onto paper and then, cheap, sharp!).  Their option to use a vanity instead of more expensive cupboards was a clever way to keep things within budget, and the flooring added a nice punch of colour.

Onto Genevieve...she was working with mission impossible - a 300sq ft apartment where 2 (yes 2) people lived! I love how she scooped up a vintage console table from the curb and used it as a bar. And her storage solution for these two girls was genius - she installed pull out cupboards (like kitchen pantry cupboards that I would love to have) for closet space.  I liked the inspiration she took from middle-eastern type fabrics and items (ikat striped flooring that she put in a chevron pattern, and the cutest little side tables that she used in a 3-foot high loft beside the bed).  The clients in this case were 2 girls from her design team, so I think that she knew what they liked/didn't like but they looked ecstatic with the result.

I know I've said this before but I like her designs because they are really liveable, not just designing to be designy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Special

Yesterday we hosted a brunch with some great friends. It was a nice way to get together and still have most of the day ahead of you.  I didn't take any photos because we were just enjoying ourselves too much, but I thought I would share some of the good eats we had.  Friends brought delicious muffins and a great variety of fruit. We had lattes and mimosas made to order, courtesy of the Mr's great bartending skills. I made scones - some were blueberry and some cheddar/rosemary, both from this recipe. They are quite straightforward and are great standby's!

For the "mains" I made a frittata based on a recipe from Chatelaine. I adapted it to omit the ham so we could have a vegetarian option.

The piece de resistance was this:
Picture of Green Eggs and Ham Recipe

These are delicious -- essentially fancy bacon and eggs in self contained cups. What gets better than that?  We originally had these at a friend's when she hosted us for brunch. She has cyliac desease so this recipe worked well for her. She has a website with a ton of gluten free options - see Katie's Kitchen for more information!

I seem to be posting a day behind lately, but it seems like the only way to keep up!

Happy Monday everyone.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday faves (on Saturday)

In honour of St. Patty's day I will be honouring green today! Hope none of you are suffering from too-much-green-beer-syndrome today.

Don't you think this pillow would look great in an outdoor space? maybe something a little like this:

bathrooms - Pier 1 Cabinet green vanity cabinet white green bathroom mosaic tiles green mirror bathroom  Sarah Richardson!    Green cabinet bathroom
via Sarah Richardson via DecorPad

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan With Love: Blogging Day of Silence

The natural disasters happening in Japan are so tragic; it is hard to imagine the destruction and devastation from the earthquake and tsunami, and the continued threats from nuclear radiation.

I travelled to SE Asia in January 2005, right after the 2004 Tsunami.  While it wasn't the purpose of our trip we wanted to volunteer right away, but at the time were told only medical personnel were being used. A couple of months into our trip, we met a girl from Montreal who had just come from Kho Phi Phi and she encouraged us to go there and help out. We spent a week there in March 2005 and I will never forget it. This was 3 months after the tsunami struck, and Phi Phi was not even close to functioning. There was debris everywhere,  only a few hotels operating, but the mood was hopeful. We were there just after one of their most delicious restaurants (Oasis) re-opened, and we were there for opening night of one of their famous beach bars with fire dancers. We helped where we could, lugging cement and other building materials, and painting shops so they could reopen and provide for tourists when they returned.  All of this marked a slow return to "normal" for the residents and business people of Kho Phi Phi.

I hope that it doesn't take as long for Japan.

Spring scarves

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope everyone had a good day with some Irish cheer. I will have some green themed goods in tomorrow's Friday Faves post.

Aside from honouring our Irish friends, today was a big deal in Toronto for another reason - Marshalls opened its doors. I'm not sure how I feel about this, being a die hard Winner's fan and all. I guess the more the merrier right? And maybe it will keep crowds away from Winner's for a bit (doubtful!).  Marshalls to me doesn't look quite as classy as Winner's (the website and logo look dated to me...suburban 90's anyone?), but who knows. For all the time I have spent travelling in the U.S. I haven't frequented Marshalls so I will have to form an opinion myself (once I wait long enough for the crowds to die down at the Toronto locations...I'm thinking a month or so?).

On another note, Real Simple had a great daily today about spring scarves. If you haven't noticed, I am super pumped that the weather is getting nicer. These scarves remind me of those days where you can just throw one on to be warm enough in the sun...ahhh can't wait.

Here are some of my favourites:
Soft Washed Wool Scarf by J.Crew
via J. Crew

Dawn’s Early Light Scarf by Mod Cloth 
via Modcloth 
This one reminds me of a scarf I bought 6 (!) years ago in Cambodia...I still wear it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This afternoon the clouds cleared away and the sun warmed up Toronto - now I don't want to jinx anything but I really just cannot wait until Spring. Spring represents many things - birds chirping, green grass, more outside time...

One of my favourite things about spring is to finally ditch the heavy winter wear and break out some more versatile pieces. My favourite is the trench classic and structured, it looks good with everything.  Can't wait to wear mine!

Trench coat

Burberry via Neiman Marcus

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

101: practical

Tonight's episode of Sarah101 was another very practical solution for the client (2 weeks in a row!). Sarah re-did a family's basement.

Sarah used kitchen cabinetry for storage solutions in the basement. She paired lower and tall upper cabinets to make full height cabinetry. What a great storage solution for this family with two little boys!

They used a large Ikea sectional for the main area, with a wooden coffee table, media unit, end table, and console table. The tables were all the same tone of wood but not the same style. She added pop to the room with a variety of reds - from pinky red to orangey red. She had a butt-ugly, dirty, powder blue old chair refinished in a red and white fabric that really looked great at the end.  She also did full length curtains at the window - she was right when she said it would add heigh to the room. It made it feel like a main floor room instead of a basement.

Finally, my favourite feature (if not just for the pure practicality of it)...
Sarah put a set of cupboards in the back area of the basement. This area houses all of the boys' toys and is their playroom. She then (drum roll please) put a curtain rod in front of the playarea, with full length curtains that can be drawn to hide mess. I really liked this solution because it is just so real. I'm thankful that they didn't pop in there and create a spic and span space that makes you wonder just how long it will stay that way once they let the family in (3 minutes, 5 minutes?). Her solution this week is something liveable and a great mix of design elements and user-friendly reality.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gallery wall - done!

A little while ago, I was looking for inspiration for a gallery wall in our living room (you can see the original post here). I thought the room needed a little modern kick to balance out some of the more traditional art we have in the room.

To start I bought a whole whack of black frames and figured I could work with them one way or another!  From there I laid out kraft paper (actually packing paper we had left over from our move), and placed the frames on top of the paper in the arrangement I wanted.

Once all the frames were laid out, I traced around them with pencil. This worked...sort of. If I was to do it again, I would make sure there was cardboard or another hard surface under the paper to make it easier to trace onto (doing it ontop of carpet isn't the easiest thing!).  Once I traced (ripped) the paper around the frames, I removed the frames and taped the paper up onto the wall. This gave a roadmap for the frame placement. I nailed right over top of the paper to ensure the frames would hang where I wanted them to. Then I ripped the paper off the wall, and voila - all the hooks were ready for their frames!

I selected a variety of photos from some of my husband and my favourite travel places.  Unfortunately I made a bit of a goof on the photo selction and really wanted to use the photo in the bottom right corner. It is veritcal instead of horizontal, so I added an extra small frame on the left side and moved the bottom left frame down a bit. I think it worked out - here's the finished product:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Focus on food

I was hit with some bug that knocked me out Friday night.  Most of Saturday was spent recouping, and gaining energy back. Fortunately it seems as though it was a 24-hour thing as I feel fully back to normal now!

I got into good enough shape to be up for a good dinner last night. In one of my posts last week I mentioned that I picked up the newest issue of LCBO's Food & Drink, and that I had my eye on a pork recipe. We decided to try it last night:
Maple-Mustard Pork Medallions with Two Potatoes
This was absolutely delicious, and quite easy to make. Unfortunately I can't find the recipe online (I really wish they would just publish the magazine online - you can check out past recipes and a selection of current ones here). For anyone in Ontario go out and get your copy of the magazine before they run out!

This morning I made some muffins, and tried a new recipe: Oatmeal Blueberry and Raspberry Muffins.  These turned out really well (although I upped the fruit to 1 cup - about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries). You can see the recipe here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday faves

I find it hard to blog on something that's not really my favourite thing within friday faves, but with all this rain we've been having (and melting snow to add to the puddles) I need to look at the silver lining. That said, here are some of my favourite rain gear items - don't worry, they (in some form or another) are all being put to very good use this week.

This coat is amazing. It is completely packable/squishable (and even comes with a bag that you can put it in...sort of like old school k-way jackets but the pouch isn't attached to the coat - huge improvement). I found this coat at the Bay about a year ago  and it's one of my favourite pieces of outerwear! It also has a hood that zips out of the big collar. Perfect combination of practical and style.

I bought boots almost exactly like this from Joe Fresh and they have served me extremely well over the past couple of years!  They kept my feet nice and dry yesterday to and from work.

I generally think rainy days need a splash of colour, and yet the bulk of umbrellas are BLACK (don't worry, mine's not!). I remember buying an extremely cheerful yellow gingham umbrella in grade 7 (from an Eddie Bauer outlet in South Carolina of all places haha). Isn't this umbrella enough to cheer you up on the rainiest of days?

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

101: From gramma to glamma

I didn't get a chance to do this post last night, but did you catch Sarah101? I thought it was an appropriate design for her client. My favourite part was Tommy's comment: We're taking this room from Gramma to Glamma. Too funny!  Hence the post title :)

In this episode they took a dusty rose room with many country design inspirations (fake flowers, wreaths, floral everything). I liked some of the specific pieces in the room, in particular the new closet doors (they look much more modern), the reupholstered chairs (great chairs for a bedroom!), and the coffee table bench at the end of the bed (we have our own DIY version - post to come soon!).  A great move by Sarah was to put a mirrored insert on top of the end tables. She was originally looking at fully mirrored end tables, but I think they would have been too much for the room and probably too small to flank the king size bed.  I liked this episode for the amount of potential doable DIY projects (she obviously used her painters/refinishers, but a lot of it could be done yourself).  Overall it was a good application of Sarah's signature style, and it seemed to really suit the client.

We had a doozy of a weather day here in Toronto. We have had rain, slush, freezing rain, snow. Definitely made it difficult to walk around the city! To make things a bit better the new Food&Drink magazine from LCBO came out today. It is spring central. I have my eye on recipes for great looking carrot cakes, warm israeli couscous, tuna & roasted tomato salad, and maple mustard pork medallions.  And, my fave feature in this issue? A double kitchen timer, for when you have more than 1 thing on the go (I regularly have my oven timer, microwave timer, and phone timer on the go!)

LCBO references for the product, but this photo is via Uncommon Goods

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rad Covers - Complete!

This weekend marked the end of our (initial) rad cover project! You can see Part 1 here. It was finally warm enough that we could spray paint the metal grates outside in the garage. It was VERY wet/humid but the paint seemed to dry just fine (thank god...we couldn't bear waiting much longer to get these up!). 

The perforated metal was the hardest component to find at a good price. For those of you in Toronto, we ended up getting the metal at FerrierWire. They had the best price and did custom cuts (for just a bit extra). Let me tell you, that "extra" was well worth it.  We ended up paying $150 for all the metal we needed for the living room and dining room covers and having it custom cut (as opposed to $160 for just the metal, uncut from our first source). Their pieces are $113 for a 3'x8' piece (Rona sells pieces 3'x2' for $40 if you're looking for something smaller, and Danforth Lumber sells 3'x4' for $80. Neither cuts to size). The only potential downside is that Ferrier is only open Mon-Fri, 8am-3pm-ish, but we made it work.

We used MDF for the box and top, with some trim for the edges. 

Here's the stuff you've been waiting for - the before and afters:
This was our entry rad "during" the project, as posted in Rad Covers -Part 1

For this rad we used a wooden screen that we had hanging out in the garage so this was one of the first ones done.

Here is what our rads looked like before our project:

Now do you see why we were so keen on getting this project done?

Rad cover box, pre-screen

Attaching the screen was pretty easy - just a small screw that it can rest on when gravity does its thing.

And the final product... 

It's funny how such weird, seemingly background-ish projects can make such a huge difference. Now we're hooked and will likely do some for our bedrooms upstairs - it just looks SO much better!
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