Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cheery House Plants and Chicken Quinoa Soup

The sun, with it's bright light and warmth, seems to have made only a few appearances in the last while.

The days are either grey, bringing with them damp, dreary rains, or they're bitterly cold.

It's this time of year that can seem so long and drawn out. A lot of what makes winter so cozy has passed - the tree all aglow, the holiday festivities, and the pretty white snow... And now we're left with dull days, a yard of muddy old snow, and no sign of relief. 

Unfortunately, there are still enough weeks until any signs of spring begin to pop up outside, so we must do what we can to make the most of these last weeks of winter.

Like this beautiful white Begonia I brought home from the store, we take full advantage of any sunlight we're blessed with. While reading in the pleasant warmth the other day, I couldn't help but notice it's delicate petals were turned completely to the source of the warm light. They were basking in it!

Adding potted plants that remind me of my gardens helps cheer up a home as well, like this Hellebore I found at our grocery store in town.

Hellebores are such brave, spirited flowers in my opinion. Did you know that they can brave the heavy frosts of late winter and early spring, and they aren't bothered by the snow? 

(photo from

How beautiful is this? This particular variety is called Ivory Prince - even it's name is valiant.

Candles and cozy throws also add warmth.

And what brings more warmth than a cup of homemade soup? With everyone fighting colds in our house, a bowl of Chicken Quinoa soup was the perfect remedy. We haven't been eating pasta, and a handful of quinoa was a great substitute.

The boys got to enjoy theirs with ones of Nona's homemade Cheddar and Chive scones.

How are you making the most of these wintry days? 

I've actually been working on the living and dining rooms - rearranging and doing a few projects to keep me busy.

I hope to be able to post more on that soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More New Items Added

Well that was short lived.

I was so excited to finally have some items listed in the shop, but before I knew it, they had been snatched up, and the shop was empty once again.

Luckily I've been collecting for a while.

So, don't worry, more lovely items have been added.

Like this gorgeous antique oval frame, with an antique photograph and a beautiful matte.

This is the charming Mr. Charles Slingerland and his belle in 1906, more than a century ago! It was taken locally, and there are even a few families I know with this same name, though none of them that I know of are related to this particular couple.

I think the gold trim adds charm.

I've also listed more ironstone.

Including this lovely scalloped wheat platter, perfect for hanging on your wall.

I actually have a pair, and they would look even lovelier hanging one above the other.

I also listed this little brown transferware vase. It's a favorite of mine, and compliments pretty garden roses and peonies, but also looks particularly nice displayed in the Fall. It has the feel of a piece from the Aesthetic movement.

I'm working on adding a few pieces every day or so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Recent Finds and New Items in the Shop

While out and about this weekend, I managed to pop into an antique store not too far from here. They are actually going out of business, and have been up for sale for a while, so I wasn't expecting to find much left. Still, it's been a while since I've spent any length of time looking for something old and full of character, so in I went.

I did manage to find a few little things, an antler, a tiny ironstone creamer, and a few pieces of mismatched silverware.

It wasn't much, but she gave me a good deal, so it felt like a success. 

I decided it was time to start listing some items in the shop again.

The serving fork and the gravy spoon are for myself. I love collecting pieces of antique silverware, and I use them quite often.

It's the tiniest little creamer.

These spoons are so versatile. They can be used as they were intended, or they can be tied with a package of loose tea or coffee, or in a jar of body scrub by the bath. 

This soap dish is a relatively recent find. It's up in the shop as well. I love how it fits one of those large, luxurious bars of soap.

I started listing some other ironstone that I've had collected for a while.

The boys were pretty excited about the antler.

For now it's on our shelf with other natural bits.

I had also planned to list these two julep cups, but decided not to. I really love them, so for now they will stay.

The weather has turned overnight, plummeting from an unseasonal 7 degrees (45) to -19 with the wind (-2). Hudson and I spent some time this afternoon snuggling in bed. I couldn't resist snapping a photo of him as he just looked so beautiful with his haircut and his thumb in his mouth. He's growing up much too quickly for my liking, so I was thankful for the quiet cuddling together.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Freshened Up Kitchen Shelves and A Healthy Chocolate Tart

One of the parts of un-decorating for Christmas that I anticipate most is putting back my kitchen shelves. Of course they never go back to the way they were before the red transferware is displayed. Something is always being added or taken away. But that's what makes things interesting in the kitchen.

Recently, I switched out the glass canisters and put back an older nesting set I had stored away. I'm enjoying the but of colour. I also hung this pastoral watercolour painting I had picked up over a year ago. It helped fill out the space.

My little Gold Crest tree fits perfectly in this old urn, and it doesn't feel too much like Christmas.

And since I've been spending a lot more time in the kitchen, I made a dessert to bring on New Year's Day. It seems that with the stroke of midnight, Pinterest has become an endless list of healthy recipes, all to aid in recently made resolutions.

My sister in law and I are trying to be more conscious of what we are eating, and since that meant I shouldn't be indulging in any more deserts, I decided to be proactive and make something healthier to bring. I came across this recipe for what was supposed to be a chocolate cheese cake, and while I can't really get my head around the whole cheesecake aspect, it was a surprisingly yummy chocolate mousse sort of tart.

So what's so healthy about this decadent looking tart, you ask?

It's made from avocados!

The bottom is a mixture of pecans, hazelnuts, raw cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup. The filling, a couple of ripe avocados, more raw cacao powder and maple syrup to sweeten it. It's not exactly as the recipe called for, but it's quite close. It turned out well anyway.

If you can get past the thought of avocados, and a definite healthier taste, it's quite good. It's definitely a decent chocolate taste, but refreshing and light, not decadent.

You can find the original recipe here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Coffee Table

This year, with most of our Christmas gatherings being after Christmas, I haven't felt the need to pack up every single bit of Christmas on Boxing Day.

With that being said, our tree was beginning to look tired, as we had enjoyed it for over a month, and the fresh greens around the house were hardly fresh anymore. And after dinners and visits and brunches, the house was in need of a good clean.

Yesterday I spent the day in the living room. The tree was dismantled, decorations tucked carefully away for another year. Floors were vacuumed and furniture was moved back into place. Slipcovers were washed and replaced all fresh and bright. By the end of the day, the room had wonderfully settled back into place with only a few small hints that Christmas was here. 

For Christmas I had received some money, which I tucked away to save for a future antiquing trip. I wasn't planning on using it so soon, but while browsing kijiji, (a regular habit, along with MLS), I came across this beautiful old trunk. 

It was a great find for $35.

I've been looking for a new coffee table for quite some time, not really loving the feel of the Ikea one we had. It felt very new in a room full of old. But it was quite practical, with it's large surface.

Here you can see the old coffee table. I won't be getting rid of it, it will just be going down in our family room in the basement.

This old chest, which was likely used as a blanket box, or possibly a hope chest, has so much character to it. It's worn and used, and that makes it a lovely piece. The original dove tailing has been reinforced with screws, and it's been fitted with hinges so that the front now folds down. The previous owners were using it as a television stand. I love the simplicity of the feet, and the worn latch.

While it has half the surface size of the previous coffee table, there is still plenty of room for cups and saucers and things.

I think it adds nice warmth to the room. In the past couple of years, I've been drawn to more wood pieces, and while I have a few darker pieces in the room, I didn't have any light wood. It's a nice contrast.

Putting freshly laundered covers back on is always a wonderful feeling. I am constantly asked "How do you keep your white furniture white?" The answer is, I don't. No matter how hard I try, eventually they will need to be freshened up. I try to keep food out of the room, but occasionally we entertain. And every now and then, Oliver is let in with dirty paws. And of course, where else would he go first but my white chairs? They are lived in. But that's the beauty of slipcovers - they can be removed. And white? It can be bleached.

And completely unrelated, I wanted to share my favourite Christmas gift. Ever since I was pregnant with Hudson, I haven't been able to wear my wedding bands. At least not comfortably. Finally, after 3 years, they're back on my finger. Ryan surprised me with having them sized. He wrapped them in a sheet from an old dictionary, which was actually the laws for husbands and wives, and tied it with twine. He's creative like that. I also got one thin band for each of the boys for on my other hand. I've missed them so much.