Monday, November 29, 2010

Deck The Halls ~ The Back Entrance

Continuing right along with the decorating, here are a few festive bits I've added to the back entrance.
Above is a vintage bird cage that I bought a while back. I just simply laid some fresh boughs in it and some scented pine cones.

As I've mentioned, my little white enamel bucket is a recent favourite vintage find and it's even more gorgeous with lots of fresh greens! The old frame adds a bit of character to the little sitting area.

Finally, these are a couple burlap pillows, which, though they aren't exactly festive, add a hint of red to the room.

Welcoming Baby Good!

Congratulations Meaghan and Greg (and big sister Elizabeth) on your newest edition!
Daniel James was welcomed early yesterday morning weighing a healthy 7lbs 9oz.

I popped out to visit mum and baby last night and he is just the most content little thing. He's so tiny and fresh and absolutely beautiful!
Funny enough, 17 months ago, Meg and I were sitting across from each other in the same room, each holding our new little babies, born only hours apart. My, how time flies!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let It Snow

There's a feeling of snow in the air here! It's in the forecast for today and all this weekend and I couldn't be more excited! It's below zero, windy and there are grey snow clouds looming, ready to coat everything in a blanket of white.
What a perfect way to spend the weekend! Cozy on the couch with a fire on, snuggled under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. And of course, if it actually falls, a walk through the freshly fallen snow.
Happy Friday everyone.
And for those of you who are lucky enough to be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend over the river, have a wonderful weekend full of family and friends and good food!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kitchen Inspirations

In light of the many hours that many of you will soon be spending in kitchen, I thought I'd post some lovely little kitchens that I'm in love with. Each one is gorgeous and has either inspired my kitchen now (or my dream kitchen to be).

This kitchen is perfectly polished and uber gorgeous! I don't even know where to begin...

This one's a little smaller and more rustic but still just as beautiful. I adore the windows by the sink.

This one has a more "cottage chic" feel to it.

I think I adore this one the most. It's beautiful and the closest to my style. It's got the gorgeous wood tops and lots of windowed cabinets showcasing ironstone. There's a fabulous farm sink and a bright window right above it. It's lovely. Also, how gorgeous is that fixture above the sink??

Deck The Halls ~ The Buffet

In continuation of my holiday decorating, I finished setting up my buffet in the dining room. It's fairly simple and it smells divine.

I bought two rosemary trees ($7) at Home Depot and placed them in tin buckets that I had lying around. The rosemary is so fragrant and adds a different aspect to the usual greenery smell. Underneath, to protect the top of my buffet and to add just a hint of red, I used an old piece of Belgian linen.

A chalkboard added some extra background height and is a clever way of leaving a little holiday greeting for everyone to read. This also doubles as my menu board! I placed three pillar candles from IKEA ($3.50 each) in an old rusty divided tray that I picked up at a local antique shop for $10. It's a really simple but neat piece that is 5 separate little trays all together.

I transferred a little pot of ivy that I had into one of my favourite ironstone pots. The ivy adds a bit of green whimsy.

Finally, to finish off the shelf, I added a few little ironstone pitchers, an old chippy white corbel, a torn edition of Dickens as well as my reclaimed door panel sign.

Inspirations ~ Pottery Barn

I found myself browsing through Pottery Barn yesterday afternoon. I had flipped through their winter catalogue about 4 times before finally deciding to make the trip out there.
The minute I approached the store I was glad I came! It was transformed (is it ever not??) for the coming holidays and looked gorgeous; elaborate tablescapes, trimmed trees and endless inspiration.
Anyway, I did end up picking out some gorgeous little ornaments from their Vintage Silver collection as well as a few mercury glass bud vases.
Here are some of my favourite pieces though.
A set of three numbered cachepots. They look adorable with little herb pots in them.

Pretty glass bud vases. They would look lovely with little snippets of greenery or winter berries.

These birdhouses are amazing.

I did love this collection of serving ware but I more liked the neat use of twine and letter cards in their display above the mantel.

I also loved all of the mercury glass. There was an entire collection of it; lights, pillars, vases and votive holders. They matched the Vintage Silver ornament collection and would look amazing on a mantle with some greenery.
I thought this advent calender was just too cute. I loved the different fonts on the numbered pockets! It's way too adorable and would be a really sweet tradition!

These German glitter birds were really cute too. They come by the box and have a vintage feel to them too. They would look pretty as vase filler or even tucked in your tree.

This was my favourite ornament collection. There were a few different varieties but they were all vintage-like and mercury glass ~ gorgeous!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deck The Halls

I'm starting to get into the holiday spirit. I've begun to slowly transform my house with bits of fresh greenery. It adds so much warmth and makes everything smell so fresh!

This was a recent favourite auction find - a rusty white enamel bucket. It's just gorgeous, especially when it's filled with boughs of fresh greens and scented pine cones.

Fragrant white mini-roses were a sweet hostess gift from my sister this past weekend and they look lovely with bits of pine and cedar tucked between they're creamy blooms.

Christmas magazines are out to browse through. I always find new inspirations in old issues!

Fog As Thick As Pea Soup

It's a dreary, rainy, foggy day outside here today. There's nothing like a warm bowl of home made soup to warm you up.
Feeling slightly inspired by the weather, I decided to make some good old pea soup - thick pea soup. The kind that you can practically stand your spoon in, sticks-to-your-ribs goodness.
Here is my super simple recipe that's quite cost efficient too!
Thick As Pea Soup
Soak one package of green split peas in a large pot of water over night (wash thoroughly first).
In the morning, bring the peas which have now re-hydrated, to a rolling boil. Add three chopped small white onions, 4 medium chopped carrots and 2 cups of chopped ham (left over roasted ham is the best but a black forest ham works just fine). Add about 2 teaspoons of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Continue to boil all morning with lid on, occasionally stirring. About half an hour before you're ready to eat (usually lunch time), remove the lid and reduce heat to low. Shake in some Magi (or soya sauce). For a little bit of extra flavour I have a quick trick that may seem a bit gross but is actually quite delicious.
My Opa used to tell us that his mother would throw a strip of bacon into the pea soup to enrich it with the flavours from the bacon. They would then fight over who got the strip of cooked bacon when soup was served. Apparently, it makes all the difference. I found however, that the bacon did add lots of flavour but I hated the piece of fatty meat ruining my soup. I make bacon quite often for breakfast and freeze the drippings until they solidify before throwing them out. I always keep a little tiny bit in a small container for my pea soup. I chop it up into a little cube (less than 1") and drop one cube in a pot of pea soup. It adds just the right amount of flavour!
It may not be the most appetizing soup but it sure is yummy!

A good addition to any bowl of hot soup is a sandwich. Today's was an assortment of meats with dijon mustard on a lightly toasted croissant.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spice Jar Project

If there's one place I find myself quite often this season, it's in the kitchen - I just love to cook. I love puttering around, creating something delicious to share. An important part of cooking, is seasoning and when it comes to spices, fresh is best. But fresh isn't always the easiest choice. So having good, fresh, dried spices on hand is key to well-seasoned dishes.
Since I'll be using them so much more than usual in the coming weeks, I wanted to make sure that my spices are all fresh. Since I was going through everything anyway, I figured I would tackle a little spice rack makeover that I've wanted to do for a while now. Previously, my spices were in tiny jars, tucked in alphabetical order in a little drawer by my stove. It was starting to annoy me because nothing ever stayed in alphabetical order and the jars were so small, I was constantly refilling then and always had numerous opened packets of spices in my cupboards. It was inefficient.
So, my solution. A simple little spice rack tucked beside my stove. I picked the 6 spices I use most often (not including the fresh ones I have growing in my kitchen) and filled larger jars that I already had on hand. I had bought this little chipped white carrier at a sale one time and never really had a use for it until now! The jars fit perfectly. I added some labels with twine and voila! - my new spice rack.

Living Room Updates

So, I've realized that I never really took any photos from after I had painted my living room area. I think because it didn't really ever feel complete.
Tonight I'm hosting my sisters engagement party and so, all week, I've been moving things around and adding to the room to make it feel finished off. It just wasn't feeling cozy (or in dutch as we like to say it "gezellig").
After a quick trip to IKEA and a few quick projects, I think it's done. I even started adding a few bits of Christmas here and there!

I'm using an old vintage steam trunk as my coffee table. It's dark and compliments the floors really well. Also, you can see some of the old chippy frames that I have hanging instead of artwork. I think they're beautiful enough on their own.

I added a rug from IKEA which really pulls the whole room together and adds a lot of warmth to it. Also, it ties in the neutrals and brings out the burlap throw pillows and brownish shades in the frames.

Previously, these couches were rusty orange (from before we were married). I hated the colour but love the structure of the couch. They're higher without being too deep and they're firm but comfortable. I wanted more formal cream couches in this living space but didn't want to do and spend a lot of money on upholstery. A $50 slip cover from Target that I fitted as best as I could did the trick! I made and stenciled most of the throw pillows with the exception of the small ones which are made from vintage bank deposit bags.
So, aside from my new little white Christmas cactus plant, I've looped some real cedar garland around my curtain rods and added some swags and boughs here and there of fresh greenery. More of that later though, I've got just a little but more to do before I can sit with a cup of tea and enjoy my new space.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

RECLAIMED RUSTICS ~ Vintage Grain Sack and Old Linen

There's something so exciting about finding a piece of old grain sack or french ticking. I think it partially has to do with the careful planning that goes into picking a project special enough to use the piece for. At least, that's normally the case for me. When I come across a piece of vintage French ticking or something else just as special, it's normally in a fairly small piece. In order to make the absolute most of out my little bit of fabric, it normally sits for a long time, awaiting the perfect project. Be it a new throw pillow, or a cover for a hall bench, these materials are becoming increasingly popular these days. Just this afternoon I was browsing the new Pottery Barn catalogue and they were even carrying a selection of vintage grain sack pillows! A more cost efficient method of achieving a very similar look would be to reproduce these kinds of material. You can find many different stenciled linens (some even customized) on and similar ticking in classic blues and reds at your nearest IKEA.
Either way, there are so many different things one can do with these fabulous fabrics! Here are a few ideas for some inspiration... maybe you too have a few little scraps laying around, waiting to be transformed into something special. featured this fantastic room, full of gorgeously upholstered furniture!
Here an old grain sack was used as an area rug.
Dreamy Whites (top and bottom) used some pretty vintage fabric for a simple bed set, above, and a pretty table runner (below). These would be a fabulous vintage addition to your holiday decor!

This old grain sack fabric gave this simple cream staircase so much charm!

If you'd love to get your hands on some gorgeous fabric, check out these 4 fantastic giveaways from Cabbages & Roses. Each one is different and each blog offers a few different chances to win!

- Dreamy Whites -


- French Larkspur -


- My Sweet Savannah -


- Lobster and Swan -


The contests end November 25th and the winners for each will be announced on November 29th. Hurry over to each one and enter to win!

To Our Dearest Opa

In loving memory or our dearest grandfather, Opa, who went home to be with his Lord and Savior on the 14th of November. Here, on his 81st birthday, with his great-grandson - my son. His love and faithfulness have blessed our family through the next three generations. We will miss him dearly, but are thankful for the years we were blessed with his company.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back From The Beach ~ Photos from Cuba

Here are a few phots from my recent trip to Cuba. It was gorgeous and I hope one day soon I can return.
Many of the photos are from around the town of Remedious, which was about an hour taxi ride from our resort. It was so amazing to just walk around photographing Cuba itself; the landscape, the culture, it's people and their lives.