Monthly Archives: May 2012

objects we surround ourselves with


While I’ve been waiting for this baby to come along, I’ve had some time to catch up on my design magazine reading. In the April edition of Elle Decoration UK there is an interesting article by Harper’s Bazaar features editor Stephanie Rafanelli about possessions. She says the objects we surround ourselves with are crucial to our sense of self – they remind us of who we are and where we have been. It reminds me a bit of the exercise I undertook last year when I documented 52 objects in my house over the course of one year.

Today, I thought I would share with you a few of the statements from the article.

The pieces in my collection are of no great rarity, obvious value or design. But each of them was stumbled upon and fallen in love with, one by one, for its own beautiful imperfection.

We need objects to remind us of who we are, why we’re here, where we’ve been. When we look at something, or when we acquire it, the object is only half of it. The other half comes from us – and the power of the object is its ability to serve as a catalyst that sets off all kinds of ideas, feelings and associations within us. – James Brett

As the very fabric of our lives becomes increasingly mass-produced, digitalised, ergonomic and available online these sentimental trinkets act as totems, signposts back to our memories and our true selves, providing a soothing window to our souls. Without them, the dwellings we inhabit are merely a collection of anonymous rooms. With them, our spaces becomes homes.

Possessions are empty, some have said, but my trinkets are full to the brim with meaning. In isolation, each piece is simply a sentimental ornament, but arranged together they paint a snapshot of my inner being; their story is my story.

Image credits:

1- Lynn Kloythanomsup for Architectural BlackDesign Sponge
2 – Bruno Suet
3 – Sidney Morning Herald
4 – Paula Greif via Remodelista


Filed under beautiful objects

nursery is ready!


I think this might be the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The nursery is updated and ready – all we need now is the baby! You might remember that I wanted to freshen up the nursery without exerting a lot of energy or money. My goal was to soften the room and make it a soothing, calming place for both me and my newborn. I think I achieved that! {Here’s the before photo for reference.)

The most dramatic change I made to the nursery was the purchase of this new striped cotton kilim by Dash & Albert. It’s soft underfoot and on the eyes. I also opted for some warm grey curtains in heavy linen to replace the thin, cotton drapes I had there before. I made up the crib in simple white linens from Virginia Johnson and Pottery Barn. {And yes, I am well aware that bumper pads are not recommended for newborns! No worries they will be coming down before any baby sleeps in that crib. I just wanted to get an idea of what they would look like.}

As a treat to myself, I purchased a woven rattan pouf from Serena & Lily. I’m looking forward to having somewhere to put my feet up when I’m breastfeeding in the rocking chair.

On the wall opposite the crib I removed the Ikea Lack shelf that never hung straight and replaced it with this Inke Heiland wallpaper elephant. You’ll notice that our white oak credenza works quite well in this room which is a good thing as this is the only wall in the rest of the house it fits along!

Most of the small details in the room like these sweet booties and soft animals have come from generous friends and family. Decorating with baby items is inherently easy because these pieces are in and of themselves delicate and lovely.

Finally, all of Henry’s plaid, blue button-up shirts have been replaced with cream and white dresses for now. I certainly hope the ultrasound technician got it right when she told me I was having a girl!

Okay, baby we’re ready for you now – come on out and meet the world!


Filed under baby makes four, design work, house projects

fidoodle butterfly flip doll


Last week, a couple of my friends got together and took me out for one last evening of fun before baby number two arrives. It was a great evening with good food and stimulating conversation and of course a few gifts for the little one on the way. One of the presents I received was this flip butterfly doll by a Toronto based company called Fidoodle.

These magical handcrafted dolls flip inside out transforming from little girls into butterflies.

Fidoodle is headed up by artist and educator Jen Bulthuis. Her products are based on imaginative and creative play and are made using environmentally friendly materials like salvaged maple off-cuts, organic cotton and industrial felt.

This whimsical butterfly doll has already found a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to share it with my impending arrival which will hopefully happen any day now!


Filed under beautiful objects

flowers for you


Last week I introduced you to three creative women in our neighbourhood and today I’m happy to tell you about another phenomenal woman hard at work in the community of Parkdale. Sarah Nixon has been getting her hands dirty in backyards and front yards throughout our neighbourhood for about three years now (prior to her move to this side of the city she toiled in the gardens of Leslieville). Her organic flower farm business known as My Luscious Backyard uses local gardens to produce the most beautiful and rare flowers Toronto has to offer and has been written up in The Globe and Mail, Treehugger and The Toronto Star.

About  ten years ago Sarah had the idea to turn her own backyard into an organic flower farm and sell the flowers for profit. As the demand for locally grown, organic flowers grew so did her need for more backyards. Sarah decided to approach her neighbours and eventually strangers and offered up a free, well tended garden in exchange for a place to harvest her flowers all pesticide and chemically free.

This summer Sarah will be cultivating seven different gardens in Parkdale. She will need that many gardens to fulfill all of the opportunities that have arisen. This year Sarah’s flowers will be available in the following locations:

  • you can order a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet directly from My Luscious Backyard to your home or work. In the spring, you will get flowers like peonies, scented garden roses and foxgloves and come summer you will receive many rare or uncommon varieties of flowers that you would be hard pressed to find at a conventional florist. Weekly deliveries start at $40 a week.
  • Starting in July you will be able to buy ready-made bouquets of Sarah’s flowers at select Rowe Farm locations.
  • You will also see some of Sarah’s flowers popping up at Alison Westlake’s store Coriander Girl in Parkdale.
  • Finally, if you have a wedding or event planned for the fall you can contact My Luscious Backyard directly and set up an appointment to speak to Sarah.

I’m hoping that one day in the not too far future that I can convince Sarah to share a few of her gardening and flower arranging tips with us on this blog. She is so passionate about what she does – I know we could learn a lot from her!


Image credits:
1- Aaron Harris
2-5 – Sarah Nixon



Filed under beautiful objects