Monthly Archives: October 2012

fall fruit


I don’t know if it is the time of year when you want hide away in your kitchen or the fact that I didn’t show any food photography on here for a long time but all of a sudden I am ripe with food posts! I have two fantastic ones coming up that I can’t wait to show you. Today I thought I would show you some beautiful photos that Kristin Sjaarda took the other day.

Kristin and I were actually on a photo shoot for another project when I was struck by the beauty of the dark, dusky plums on a plate. I suggested we get together and do something with purply autumnal fruit only to have my life get super busy. Luckily for me Kristin went ahead and shot some things anyway. I hope you enjoy!

Also I wanted to announce the winner of Cassandra Ellis’ Quilt Love book. Congratulations Dayna I will be contacting you shortly! I truly loved reading all your comments and personal histories surrounding quilting. It’s obviously a tradition that is alive and well in your hearts and your hands. I urge you to seek out Cassandra’s book. I know you will find it very inspiring.

Filed under giveaways, in the night kitchen

stripped away


Did you see the feature on John Derian’s house in The New York Times a couple of weeks back? It was called the Makeunder. Derian is all about preserving and in many cases exulting what many people would call the downfalls of the apartment. The cigarette smoke stained walls, the creaky floorboards, and chipped paint are all features Derian chose to maintain when “renovating” his latest home. As he says, “I don’t want to lose the look of the place – I want that patina.”

I often dream of stripping back my own home – removing all the layers and layers of paint to reveal the natural wood, taking the floors down to the sub level, and restoring the old wood windows. Of course that’s not really a reality with two kids and a full time job! But one day…maybe one day.

In the bedroom the original subfloor is brought back to life infusing the room with character. 

In the kitchen, Derian installed an old sink and countertop that looks like it has been there for decades.

The bathroom is all new but the white subway tiles and hexagon floor with dark grout make it look part of the past.

Derian painted the floors in the living room and removed some questionable lighting but otherwise this room looks very much the same as when he bought it.

Another view of the living room.

To see more photos from John Derian’s house including the before photos check out The New York Times story.

Do you think you could live in this kind of stripped back style? Would the crumbling paint and squeaky floors drive you crazy or would you feel right at home?

Image credits:
William Abranowicz


Filed under beautiful objects

all in a week


My family was visiting from out of town this week which was lovely. My basement got organized, everything in my linen closet got folded and the kids had lots of people to play with them. I had dinners cooked for me and I think I hardly washed a dish! It was pure bliss. I’ve really been enjoying reading your comments this week about quilts and what they mean to you. Thanks for sharing your stories with me.

We took in the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario. It’s a must see. Kahlo’s work is intensely personal and riveting to experience. Afterwards we went for lunch at Frank. My mum and I had churros with dulce de leche and salted chocolate for dessert.

Henry went to a birthday party on the weekend where the kids got to decorate their own cupcakes. These were some of the toppings.

I’m getting into the winter groove with Orla’s clothing. I picked her up some tights, leggings and my mum bought her this long sleeved dress.

Finally I did manage to get a few Halloween inspired items on my own mantlepiece. Are you all ready for next Wednesday?

Filed under all in a week

giveaway – quilt love


I think you’ll agree with me that there is something quite magical about quilts. They are at their best practical, personal and precious having been made from scraps of cloth usually by a loving hand. A single quilt can tell the stories of a family or person and be used as a visual reminder for generations to come. It’s something I wish I knew how to do but up until know have always been too intimidated to try.

Quilt Love Book, The “Because You Know They Need it Quilt”

I have long admired the quilts of designer Cassandra Ellis (I first blogged about her about two years ago) and was excited when I heard she had a new book coming out about her own quilting experience. In her new book, Quilt Love, she admits that she had always loved quilts and what they stood for but she didn’t like what was available. She also felt somewhat flummoxed by quilting shops and their restrictive ways of doing things. So she did what any good designer would do and started freestyling. The result is beautiful contemporary quilts that still hold the same meaning and values as any other handmade quilt.

“Because You Love the Fabric Quilt” – for anyone who has stashes of fabric hidden away!

Ellis’s new book has a range of projects from simple quilted friendship bracelet’s to tote bags to full size quilts. In each case she clearly outlines the steps and materials needed. One of the quilts that Cassandra makes is called the “Because You Know they Need It Quilt”.  The idea is to make a fairly quick blanket for someone who needs a little extra comfort. It could be for someone on the street that you’ve never met, a woman or child in a shelter, a family member that needs some extra love or a neighbor who is facing hardship. Cassandra is hosting a special event to make some of these quilts on Monday, October 29th from 10 am -10 pm at Raystitch in Islington, London, England. You can book a space by contacting Raystitch on 020 7704 1060 or

“The Joining Together Quilt” for two people building a new life together – something that represents both of you.

If you can’t make it across the pond for the event you could be involved in two ways.

1) You could make your own quilt with family and friends and give it to someone who needs it. Cassandra has provided the pattern and full instructions for the quilt here.


2) You could  simply send some fabric. They need pieces of fabric that are around 33cm wide. Anything you could slip into an envelope would be welcomed (low postage too). These can be sent to: Studio, Cassandra Ellis, 44 Crofton Road, London, SE5 8NB. Or if you would like to donate blankets or larger volumes of cloth please get in touch with Cassandra directly.

“The Traveller’s Tales Quilt” – a way to document your adventures and piece together your trips.

Finally, I am happy to announce that I have one copy of Quilt Love to giveaway to a lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is tell me a little bit about what quiltings mean to you? Do you have one? Who would you make a quilt for? What you would make it out of? That kind of thing. The giveaway will close on October 31st and I will announce the winner the following day. The giveaway is open to all my readers!


Filed under giveaways, you make it