Saturday, May 9, 2020

day trip - chester, nova scotia

This past week, following an announcement from our Premier declaring all parks and outdoor spaces open for the good of our mental well-being (to be enjoyed at a safe distance, of course), we packed a thermos of tea, piled into the car, and promptly headed to the coast.

The Chester Basin has been on our list of places to drive to for a while now, and it would take more than some grey skies and threatening rain to keep us home.

While I did expect a pretty town sort of set in a bay, and a lot of nicer newer cottages, I didn't expect to find so many charming older homes. I was delighted. As we rounded the inlet and the roads narrowed, the homes with their low roof lines and groomed hedges encroached on the lane ways. They were tucked around the basin and sat proudly on the hill on the other side overlooking the water. So many beautiful homes. I just wanted to get out and wander. Those are my favourite kinds of places - the ones that make you pull over, grab your camera and start walking, not minding if it starts raining, always saying to yourself, "Just one block further, then I'll turn back."

I'm looking forward to returning when the leaves are out and the vines are climbing the picket fences and I can sit on the patio and have a lobster roll.

They had the sweetest library and reading garden.

I absolutely loved the choice of colours for this museum.

I even spotted my first bulbs poking through.

And the first Magnolia blooms!

I think this one is my favourite so far. It reminded me so much of the low cottages in 'Sconset.

I just loved the lower room with all the windows (I imagined it as a cozy sitting room), and the little area above with the bump-out (which also in my imagination, was off the master bedroom).

It had the best view.

Others reminded me of Long Island.

And of course the town had the most charming building for their flower shop. I would take it in a heartbeat.

From there, it wasn't much further down the Lighthouse Route to Peggy's Cove, and with a whole day to waste and a little tea still warm in the thermos, we carried on. We couldn't actually visit the lighthouse as it was still closed off, but just driving around the cove was breathtaking. It was the perfect day to enjoy the waves.

It was grey and wildly harsh, rugged and yet so beautiful all at once.

All the while we just kept looking at each other saying "I can't believe this is where we live now. That we can just head out for a drive and find ourselves in places like this."

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

guest room - green inspiration

As I've been putting together the design for our guest room, which you can read more in detail about in this post here, I thought I would show some of my inspiration behind the colour I've selected.

If you've been reading for a while, you've probably noticed that I tend to gravitate heavily to white. In fact, this is the third home in which everything in it has eventually been painted the same shade of white. I have never painted a room a bold colour. Bold and colourful aren't even two words that would be used to describe me or my design aesthetic. So why this seemingly uncharacteristic choice of colour?

Green really, of all the colours, save maybe blue, is one of the most natural colours. It's also a colour that evokes peacefulness and a sense of calm, two feelings that work well for a guest room when I think of how I want my guests to feel in it. I want it to be a retreat and a soothing space to unwind. This particular shade of sage green also feels very traditional and timeless, and that marries well with the rest of our home. And yet, a guest room, in my opinion, is one of the more special rooms in a home. To me, it's a room that's sort of closed off to the rest of the house and reserved for special occasions - when guests come to stay. It's the room with it's own set of linens and monogrammed towels. It's the wedding china and pearl earrings in room form.

Because it's a very natural green, it works so well with other natural shades - classic blues and warm, golden yellows, both of which I also love. And the three of them together? A dream combination.
Before I had settled on this colour, or even green in particular, I was looking through collections of images I loved, and started noticing a lot of these similar shades of green pop up, over and over. Sagey, blue-greens like that on this door, or the greens at Daylesford Farm. I just love that it's a colour that is just that, a colour, but it's also so neutral and natural feeling. And I think that's why I chose it.

This is the colour that I've settled on -
Calke Green by Farrow and Ball
(However, F & B Breakfast Room Green and Green Smoke were contenders.)

Luckily you can order sample pots from Farrow and Ball by mail and I can't wait to try this on our walls. Thankfully I'm covering already dark walls.

The image that completely sealed the deal for me? This beautiful entrance. This green with the shake exterior is just perfection.

Images 1-4, 7-9 from Farrow and Ball
Image 5 - Norton Cottage
Image 6 - from Daylesford Farm
Image 10 - via @susaneblakey

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

table setting - easter brunch

This post (which is now a combination of three) has been sitting in my folder for weeks now, so long it seemed ridiculous to even consider posting it. I feel like it's taken us that long to really settle into a routine. At least enough of one for me to have a few minutes to sit and actually publish it. So despite being way too late, I'm posting it anyway. At least it'll be here to look back on next year. This year was a very different kind of Easter. being home in isolation and away from family, but we made the most of it, and I tried my best to keep things familiar.

 I don't make Easter baskets for all of the boys, but I do put something small together for the littlest ones. This year I had a few things put away in my gift trunk which came in very handy! I had a few little Beatrix Potter books I had picked up at an antique shop this past summer, a local-made (back in Ontario) whale lacing toy that hadn't arrived in time for Christmas and a couple little animals for the boys' farm set that were on clearance. I tucked them all in a basket I had found at the dollar store last summer and painted, and tied it together with reused ribbon from Christmas.

(The real reason I put an Easter basket together for them is actually for the enjoyment of gathering items and the putting them all together in the way I find most beautiful. Even if it means hand cutting kraft paper because I'm out of crinkle filler.)

The older boys had to make due with cash in a pretty box thanks to delayed shipping times and not being able to leave the house. They really didn't mind one bit.

 Coming up with a table setting was a challenge this year. I didn't have flowers available, or anything to prune in the garden even remotely close to blooming. But after browsing all the back Easter issues of Living magazine, I was confident I could make the most of what I had. I was inspired to Kim of @ingleepartyof5, who made these charming little crackers for her table. I had some of Jenny's wrapping paper left, from Everyday Occasions, so I decide instead of wrapping little trinkets, which I didn't have, I would make them into my own version of resurrection eggs. Each one had a few little bits of the Easter story inside, which we used as we talked about it later at dinner.

As for the actual setting, the blue hydrangea prints paired well with the rest of the table, which was quite simple.

For the centerpiece, I decided to weave together some branches we gathered by the river. They became a sort of nest and I then wove bits of pussy willow throughout it.

I made my usual hot cross bun recipe, which is a favourite of mine. The recipe is Martha Stewart's which you can find here.

baking notes  *

I use significantly less nutmeg, roughly 1/4 tsp instead of the 3/4 tsp called for. I also substitute the currents for chocolate chips. I enjoy making them in square cake pans so they are much more densely packed together and rise really high. For the crosses, I make a small batch of buttercream icing and pipe crosses on top for a bit of added sweetness.

For the place settings, I added a little tiny chocolate rabbit to the cracker. They stood in antique tins with a little crinkled paper. The boys loved them.

The eggs that we had tried to dye naturally worked perfectly in the centerpiece. I especially loved how the colour of the eggs matched the pussy willow buds perfectly.

The boys requested a big buffet breakfast. So we had little wafflles with cream and mini stacks of pancakes (both of these had been made earlier in the week, and then put aside to warm the morning of, which kept things a lot easier for me!). I also made sugared bacon and breakfast sausage and a frittata.

We had an egg hunt, a tradition for us after listening to our service, and then enjoyed tea in the afternoon.

The boys loved having tea. I made little tea sandwiches that they would enjoy - PB and J roll ups and honey triangles, as well as tuna and egg salad. We also had warm scones with cream and strawberry jam, and a few simple little cakes. They really do enjoy the whole ordeal, which you may not expect from boys. But their appreciation of it makes the extra fuss of putting it together worth it.

I had planned to finish the day with a glazed ham - also another tradition - but we had eaten enough and I didn't feel like making a whole meal. So I didn't.

And that I think was the beauty of the weekend. There weren't any real set plans, we just enjoyed things as we felt up to them.

In the end, I made the ham the next night, which was so much more enjoyable. I could take my time preparing it, and we even ate virtually with my in-laws!

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter despite the very different circumstances.