Sunday, June 29, 2014

Canadian Pride {the best in Canadian Design}

Canada celebrates it's birthday Tuesday so I thought I would highlight some of my favourite Canadian artists and designers. After all, this country is overflowing with design talent. So limiting myself to four is no easy task but these are artists whose design aesthetic I admire and would love to have in my home. 

You can visit them here:

How could I not highlight Canadian design talent without mentioning these fabulous magazines...

and... of course there are the fabulous mainstream Canadian shelter magazines which I must shout out. They are my Canadian print magazine mainstays. 

Canadian House and Home, Style at Home Magazine and Chatelaine Magazine which has an amazing home decor section edited by Emma Reddington of The Marion House Book.

Cheers to Canadian design!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

beach house dreams {Etsy Picks}

Beach House Dreams Etsy Picks

We have a beach house in Prince Edward Island ... that we borrow for a blissful few weeks every summer. For the purpose of this post and a healthy daydream for me, let's pretend it's mine. In my imaginary beachy world these are some items I would gather from Etsy right now.

By the way, if you like these then maybe I should come and help you? We could go antiquing together and find the perfect accessories to make your getaway even cosier. Really. 
Wouldn't it be fun? I'm not joking.

I found all of these on Etsy

Visit my Beach House Dreams Etsy picks page for links to all these picks and more.

1. Vintage framed seascape paintings like these from Amelia Jane Vintage would look great over an old iron bed, piled with quilts and comfy pillows.

2. Lots of great texture in this rattan side table also from Amelia Jane Vintage.

3. This sweet driftwood sail boat from Handmade Beach Craft is a great way to re-purpose found driftwood. Love this idea!

4. Brookside Bungalow's Hudson River Driftwood pendant is fabulous. 

5. Vintage maps would definitely have a home in my beach house. I like this idea from Two Cheeky Chicks to wallpaper the inside of a vintage armoire.

Beach House Dreams Etsy Picks

6. Old clips make great tools to display vintage book pages and prints like these antique fern prints from Shaving Kit Supplies.

7. Antique barometers with the prettiest script and gilding from Paper and Old Lace.

8.  A soft grey goose neck lamp from Homestead Seattle.

9. A collection of antique coral from Shaving Kit Supplies mounted in a shadowbox frame makes for instant art.

10.  This old Captain would look grand hanging on a wall. It reminds me of an oil painting that belonged to my grandparents. Found at Hampton House Vintage

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dear Dad,

Dear Dad,

I finally have a chance to sit down and write a little note to you. I still have time though to get this post up before Father's Day has officially ended. I hope you don't mind that I'm putting this on my blog. I just think you are pretty great and I'm happy to share that.

Do you remember this day? (picture above). Circa 1981. We were at Busch Gardens I think. I guess Jimmy was a big Toronto Blue Jay's fan? While I'm working a pose in my yellow terry cloth jumper. Can you believe Isabella wants one of these outfits. Ha! Everything 80's is new again.

I guess Mom took the photo because she's missing from it,  just like she's missing from our family now.  She's still watching over us. But we've done ok, haven't we? 

I hope you liked the polo shirt I picked out for you. You always do like to be a stylish guy. Even back in the 80's you rocked the white tennis look ;)

So what I really wanted to say is thank you Dad. I didn't get to say that today. I was busy and didn't get a chance. 

Thank you for ...

Taking us on summer road trips, they are the source of many happy childhood memories. (see above)

Dancing like a fool with me to the Bee Gee's in the living room when I was 10. I still think of that every time I hear their music.

Teaching us to be passionate about politics even though our opinions differ "slightly".

Encouraging me to make art. Where is that first oil painting we created many years ago?

Giving us the freedom to explore and be independent when we were kids. I am trying to do that more with my own kids now. You are right, the world is not really any more dangerous than it was in the 70's. We are just more paranoid parents. Maybe we should have a 1970's inspired summer this year.

Being such a great husband. Mom loved you dearly. How lucky am I that I have parents that really did love each other and stayed together? Great role models.

You are a pretty awesome Grandpa. 
The kids love hanging out with you, especially our annual holiday in PEI.

Your energy to give back is tireless. I can't even keep track of all the volunteer committees etc that you give your time to. You are inspiring to us.

I'm always amazed at your ability to tell a joke or story. You are a born storyteller. It must be the Irish in you.

Always encouraging us to follow our dreams. You did tell us that. I'm not sure if you remember. But we did (for the most part) and now I tell my children to do the same.

I hope you continue to follow your dreams Dad. Wherever they may take you we will always be right here waiting to hear your stories.

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad ever...

Love Deb

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden Pots & Planters Round-Up

I love plants and I think the pots you choose can really enhance both the plant and the decor in a space, whether it is indoors or outdoors.

I've put together a little round-up of some of my favorite pots and planters that I've spotted this year.

Right now, I am loving the colour and texture of these pots from West Elm, Crate and Barrel and Etsy shop Pottery Lodge. They make great accent pieces that also have a second life/use to corral entertaining essentials such as cutlery, napkins etc.

But weathered metals like steel and zinc are my go-to choice for bigger garden planters. You can find them in all sorts of styles and price points. 

We have the Graset plant pot from Ikea that I use for herbs. I find it to be just the right size to plant a selection of the herbs we use most. I like it's boxy rectangular shape and it's height which makes it easy to cut herbs.

The Socker galvanized steel pot from Ikea is a great inexpensive planter that ages nicely. After a while you get a nice patina.

I would love to have a set of these Estate Zinc round planters from Restoration Hardware (bottom left image) but they are slightly beyond my budget. So I'm thinking of relocating my old rusty urns from the front and replacing them with some zinc containers from Crate and Barrel (top left image).

I love the idea of grouping zinc and metal pots together and fill them with a monochromatic colour scheme like verdant greens.

Martha Stewart has some great ideas for planting (of course). I find her plants and flowers section especially helpful.

For local information and design inspiration I love Canadian Gardening magazine too. It is a great source of the latest gardening products and design ideas.

So that's my little round-up of my favorite planters out there right now.


Monday, June 2, 2014

raspberry cream {granita} - easy frozen dessert idea

This just happened. Kind of by accident.

On Saturday I made some cupcakes to celebrate my brothers birthday. Chocolate cupcakes with a "frosting" of whipped cream and raspberries. They were delicious. You can't go wrong with berries and cream so why not put it on a cupcake?

Anyhow... I had extra raspberry cream left over and so I quickly poured it into this loaf pan, added some plastic wrap to seal it and popped in the freezer. I figured it would taste just as delicious frozen. 

I forgot about it until today when I was looking for something to defrost for dinner. Ta da! It is kind of like a granita so I'm calling it that. It has that texture. If you let it soften it will get creamier and easier to get a scoop. I think the texture of it like this works just as well. It's nicely tart from the raspberries. I barely added any sugar so you could sweeten it if you want. 
I prefer it tart.


Whipping cream (500ml)
frozen raspberries
sugar to taste

Let the frozen berries thaw. 
I like buying frozen organic berries to use in smoothies so I always have them on hand. When they are thawed you can easily mash them. Then I add sugar to taste. 

Whip your cream until it is a lovely, pillowy whipped cream.
Stir in your mashed berries.
Pour into a metal loaf tin and smooth out with a spatula.

Add a layer of plastic wrap to the top of cream and lightly press down to seal it. Then I added an extra layer of wrap just to be safe. Let freeze (or even partially freeze) , scoop and enjoy :)