Monday, November 26, 2012

A welcome change...

Every so often you come upon a shop that has soul.

A Changing Nest is that place.  Proprietor, Diana Ross has created a space that beckons you to browse. It is an eclectic mix of carefully chosen consignment pieces and newer home d├ęcor. Items mixed with such finesse I dare you to tell them apart at first glance.  It is a perfect blend of old and new.

Diana grew up surrounded by antiques and vintage finds. Her mother was a collector and they regularly visited markets, consignment shops and yard sales. Sometimes life has a funny way of coming full circle.  Diana, I think your mother lives on in the spirit of your shop.

I have to tell you, my favorite spot is the charming shed out back. I don't think there is another garage in the city that looks like this.

What was once run-down and utilitarian has become magical.

It smells of fresh greenery and cinnamon. It's filled with treasures, mostly old, some new, definitely fabulous.

From the back shed wander into the main shop and it's a different world again. Mercury glass, vintage ornaments, wool blankets, fine porcelain and silver treasures.

Wander downstairs to the basement for more finds.

The magic of a shop like this is you will never know what you will find. The stock changes frequently.

I love that Diana also features the work of local entrepreneurs. You will find unique jewelry, preserves and other handmade items in her shop.

The shop also offers full design services including custom upholstery via Lisa Aiken of TerraFirmaDesign

Seasonal workshops are also available. The next one takes place December 1 & 2 "Make your own wreath" - Fresh greenery is brought in from northern Ontario and includes lunch 
catered by Creme Fraiche.

Diana's shop is located at 572 Annette Street. 
Or visit online here.

Thanks Diana for the tour of your lovely shop.

I'll be back.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I'm declaring it officially time to start decorating for the holidays in my house. What about yours? When do you feel it's time to start?

What better way to kick it off than to share some holiday inspiration....

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how I was so thrilled to find the new issue of Holiday with Matthew Mead at Chapters. I collaborated with Matthew to create a story for this issue called "Apres Ski" a Scandinavian inspired holiday party. You can read about my wonderful experience working with Matthew here.

It's also on Canadian House and Home today! I worked with House and Home to create a very special Gallery. Here are some images from that story. I hope you like them. It was so much fun to work on. You can see it here.

Other things I'm up to....

Today I visited a local shop which I love. I was there to photograph the store and interview the lovely Proprietor whom I'll introduce you to in the next couple of days. I can't wait to share it with you!

I sent off a story I produced and photographed for Gathering's Magazine Winter issue. It is about love and paper. It was fun to work on. It inspired me to pull out and unpack some boxes of vintage goodies I still had stored away. I'll let you know when it is published.

Although my Etsy shop is still closed I am working on some wholesale orders for the holidays and spring 2013.

Here are some images from the story I worked on with Matthew for Holiday Magazine. I hope you enjoy. I recommend you go and buy yourself a copy. It is full of holiday inspiration that you will enjoy for many years to come.

All images courtesy of Holiday with Matthew Mead.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Organize a Cookie Exchange & A Giveaway!

Have you ever hosted a cookie exchange?

I haven't but I'm considering trying it this year. I have a bunch of recipes I want to try. It will be hard to narrow it down to one! I've been inspired by this amazing holiday cookie story in the latest Christmas book from Holiday with Matthew Mead. The images are beautiful and tempting! 

Take a peek...


 Photos above courtesy of Holiday with Matthew Mead

I know you need the recipes. They look delicious.

So here is the great part...

You can WIN a COPY of Holiday with Matthew Mead right here! That's right. Just head down to the comments section and leave me a comment telling me about your favorite holiday cookie or cookie exchange. To increase your chances of winning shout it out/share it on Facebook or Twitter but be sure to let me know in your comment.

**This Giveaway is now closed. The winner is Ann Martin! Selected using Random Generator.

You can also purchase a copy of the book here on Amazon. If you live in Canada go here. They are also available on new stands everywhere. In Toronto I've seen them at Chapters/Indigo, Superstore's and Shopper's Drug Mart. Psst.. If you didn't already know, you will find my Apres Ski story inside this book!

So you may be wondering...

How do you organize a cookie exchange? 

Step 1: Get your invitations out. I'm partial to the paper variety ;)

Step 2: Once you know who's participating you can decide how many cookies each person should bake. If you have 8 people in your exchange than have everyone bake 5 dozen cookies. That way each person takes home a 1/2 dozen cookies from each participant. The extra dozen is for sampling at the party.

Step 3: Decide on a recipe and get baking!

Step 4: As host you will want to decide whether you want everyone to arrive with their cookies pre-packaged and ready to distribute (let them know on the invitation) or to have a little packaging station ready at the party. I love the packaging station option.

Step 5: Prepare for the party! Typically there are "refreshments" at these events. So have your coffee/tea or ahem Prosecco ready. Fingers foods can also be served along with the cookie sampling. Have platters, cake stands, etc ready for your cookie tasting. 

Prepare your packaging station. You may want to include boxes, cotton bags, baker's twine, tags, box seals or Japanese tape, glassine or kraft paper bags and other interesting packaging materials.

So I'm wondering...will this become like our "knitting group" where eventually we just show up with the wine and eat appetizers and have a good time? Well if it does, I'm happy to be there and eat cookies with good friends.

Happy baking and Good Luck! Contest closes midnight Friday November 16th.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Dream Come True!

Some of you know that last spring I had the opportunity to go to New Hampshire to collaborate on a story with Matthew Mead for his Christmas book.  It was a dream come true. A true "bucket list" kind of dream. 

I've been a fan of his work for years. I remember having tea with my Mom and flipping through the beautifully styled and photographed pages of his books and wishing out loud that I could contribute...

Last night I took my daughter Isabella to Chapter's to buy the Christmas issue of Holiday with Matthew Mead.  I don't even know if I can articulate how that felt. Although I had seen the shots before via email it was a completely different experience to see them in print! I just kind of stood there for a minute staring and watching as a few people wandered up, picked up a copy and started flipping through. I felt like saying to them "hey ... I contributed to this beautiful book!"  Isabella was so proud (priceless). She said Grandma is doing the happy dance in Heaven. I hope so. is a photo of me today in the sunshine (feels good) holding a copy of it! It's open to the story that I worked on :) 

Let me tell you about my experience at Matthew Mead Productions last spring.... 

I flew to Boston and hopped on an airport link to Concord, New Hampshire. Matthew and his lovely wife Jenny greeted me at the station. We had met before, the previous summer in Portsmouth, NH and we had become friends since that time. So it felt very natural. They are so friendly and welcoming. It was like visiting old friends.

Matthew & Jenny (Oscar in background)

They have a beautiful home. Not at all surprising is it? It's nestled on a tree-lined street and felt like a sanctuary. Enhanced by their beautiful collections of antiques. It was elegant and comfortable.

Their studio is equally as enchanting. An old store I believe with incredible light! It was so much fun to work there. His assistant Lisa is amazing and made me feel so welcome. Matthew is truly a man in his element. You can see how much he loves what he does. It's a happy workplace. Magic happens there.

One of the highlights for me was a trip (or two) to his Prop House. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Incredible! It was like walking through the most enchanting shop. It was wondrous! What is incredible is that Matthew remembers where he discovered most of his finds and the story behind it. There needs to be a book about this place and Matthew the Collector.

We spent the next couple of days prop shopping, crafting, styling and photographing the story "Apres ski" - a Scandinavian inspired holiday gathering. I loved every minute.

Thank you Matthew, Jenny (and Oscar too) for inviting me into your home and helping to create magic for your readers.

You can find Holiday with Matthew Mead on news stands everywhere and via Amazon

Watch for a peak into the pages of it this week including a chance to win a copy!


Cozy Nights

November... you settle in quickly on us with your rainy days and cold nights. 

I guess I was feeling a chill today and found myself drawn to things to keep me warm. So I thought I would do a little round-up of coziness.

Last week West Elm launched their "Market" line of products and among the many items I had my eye on was this Enamel Tea Pot. So simple and modern but with a nod to the past.

I've been looking for some cups and mugs to add to my new kitchen and loved this Simple white cup from Vitrified Studio on Etsy.

The lovely bowl from Art et Manufacture on Etsy would look great on the floating shelves we have yet to install in the kitchen and would be perfect filled with some popcorn...

I love Tealish Tea's. They are a local Toronto company that has the most delicious blends of tea. But if you don't live in Toronto you can still buy some online. They ship to the USA too! 

The twig spoon from Indigo is sweet don't you think?

This throw from Pottery Barn reminds of the "feel good blanket". My children love to wrap the "feel good blanket" around themselves when they visit my Dad. It reminds them of Grandma. They say it's like a hug from her. I agree.