Monthly Archives: November 2012

all in a week


Well last week I requested a quiet end to November and I got one! All in all it was pretty slow and relaxing. Good thing because December as always plans to be a roller coaster ride of a month. On the decks so far I have two trips planned, three birthday’s to celebrate (including the big 4-0 for both the husband and I- gulp!) and of course Christmas. It all gets going this weekend!

Spot the baby!

There she is again about to try carrots for the first time. She’s not convinced just yet. Next week we move on to sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables.

Do you know Jo Malone perfume? It’s my absolute favorite – especially the Orange Blossom.

Remember this Hmong Winter Tote I had on my wardrobe wish list for Fall from Kosa? Well it arrived yesterday and I couldn’t be more happy with it. It is even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Have a great weekend!


Filed under all in a week

you make it – nut garland


When I heard that the Victorians were fond of tying nut garlands to their trees I did a quick search to see if I could find any modern day examples. I came up with nothing but thought to myself it would be easy to achieve. Simply string some nuts together! The result was prettier and more effective than I could have imagined. You could hang the nut garland on your tree, over a threshold or across your mantelpiece as I have done. The hardest thing is getting the hang of making the holes in the nuts but after you have done a few it starts to come fairly quickly.

Materials you’ll need:

  • assorted nuts in their shells ( I used walnuts, almonds, chestnuts and hazelnuts. Note: I found pecans too hard to drill.)
  • waxed string cut to your desired length with a bit extra for tying knots.
  • a power drill or Dremel with 1/8″ bit.
  • a measuring tape

The Process

  • Using a Dremel or a power drill with an 1/8″ bit (I found the Dremel much easier to use) drill a hole through the centre of each kind of nut. This takes a bit of practice but once you have it down you will be flying through the nuts like a squirrel in Fall. If you can find a crevice or indent to rest the nuts in while you drill it is much easier. Also you will want to drill into a protective surface as the bit will go right through the nut. (I found outside on my deck was a good spot.)
  • With your string cut to your desired length tie a knot at one end and string the first series of nuts into place. If you’re using four different types of nuts start with those four, if using two types of nuts start with two.
  • Next measure approximately how much length your unit of nuts takes up. This will allow you to roughly calculate how many nuts you will need to drill. If your selection of four nuts takes up 6 inches and your string is 60 inches long you will need approximately 40 nuts to complete the garland. (60 divided by 6 = 10 units of four nuts or 40 nuts) Or just drill as you go!
  • Once you have all the nuts drilled simply thread them onto the waxed string. I found the waxed thread was stiff enough on its own but you could make it even easier for yourself by using a needle.
  • Once you have all the nuts in place tie a knot at the other end and voila – you have a nut garland!

This nut garland would be the perfect accompaniment to an all natural Christmas.  I could imagine it surrounded by lots of greenery, orange pomanders, winter red berries and birch trees.

It’s so understated and simple you might just forget to take it down when the holidays are over! What do you think? Is this something you would try?

Project initially conceived for The Globe Style Advisor – Winter Issue.



Filed under you make it

knock twice


The other day I received an email from Eugen Sakhnenko one half of the duo behind the Toronto online resource for creative professionals called Knock Twice. (You might remember that we own one of Eugen’s photograph’s. It hangs in our living room above the radiator.) He and his partner Erika Jacob’s had just wrapped production on this video for floral studio Sweet Woodruff and wondered if I would be interested in seeing it.

Sweet Woodruff from Knock Twice on Vimeo.


Beautiful, right?

It led me to wanting to know more about this team of two and what kind of work they get up to. It turns out they are powerhouse of ideas and solutions for creative people. Have a question about filing an invoice or doing your taxes? They have the answer. Ever wondered what it’s like to be a food stylist? They interviewed someone about it. Curious about curating your own art show, how to raise money through crowdfunding, or when to work for free? These guys have you covered.

As Eugen told me, for the last couple of years they’ve tried to provide relevant information to freelancers in creative fields about transitioning out of school and into the work world. Through interviews, talks, as well as more technical posts, they have created original content that is useful and actionable. In the process, they’ve really enjoyed working with others on videos and various projects which has led them towards creating content for other businesses and individuals like Sweet Woodruff.

If you’re looking for a place to get lost for a few hours today I suggest you take a look!

Filed under house projects

styling a dicken’s christmas


Have you ever read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? I admit I hadn’t until I was asked by The Globe Style Advisor to style a shoot on that very theme. It’s actually quite a quick read and very enjoyable; rich with scenes of Victorian life. As I was going through the text I kept a running list of words that I hoped would inspire me as I gathered ideas and props for the shoot – holly, fog, keys, candles, brown paper parcels, bells, etc. Early on I was shown the direction they were hoping to take the photography – something soft and moody with almost a vintage family snapshot feel. I thought it was absolutely perfect and so different from the majority of Christmas decor shoots you see. It reminds me of being the first one up in the house on Christmas morning – still, quiet and heaving with anticipation of the day’s activities.

One of the things we researched were smaller trees decorated with objectss like nut garlands and bells. I loved the idea of doing a miniature tree and keeping the root ball intact so that it could be replanted later. This is sometimes referred to as a Living Christmas Tree and I think we might give it a try this year.

In Chapter Two of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge watches on as a father and porter laden with parcels wrapped in brown paper are met with “shouts of wonder and delight.” Who doesn’t love the anticipation of opening a wrapped parcel!

One of the ways you can really bring attention to your beautiful and fragile ornaments is to display them as a centre piece on your festive table. An old wooden crate lined with natural raffia or shredded paper is the perfect nesting ground for these delicate pieces. Votive candles (in protective glass) could fill some of the other compartments casting a beautiful light.

Mrs. Cratchit famously delivers the plum pudding all aflame to the table in A Christmas Carol. “Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in… Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper which smells like a washing-day.”  I was determined to have some sort of reference to a plum pudding in this shoot even if it meant making a quick version of one myself (a good plum pudding should be made months in advance). I was brought up eating plum pudding at every Christmas and remember well Stir Up Sunday, igniting the pudding and singing a rousing chorus of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It’s the essence of Christmas to me.

I imagined that Victorian homes would have been decorated with primarily natural elements. I came across a garland made of bay leaves and pomegranates and decided to give it a try. After sourcing a large quantity of fresh bay leaves I got to work putting this piece together. I’ll have a DIY on this garland in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking of DIY’s, I’ll have a quick one on how to make this nut garland on Wednesday. It’s super easy and would look great on your Christmas Tree, strung across your mantel or over a doorway.

By the way, if you’d like to see more from this shoot and the rest of the Globe Style Advisor you can download the issue for free on your ipad.


Images Credits:
Mark Peckmezian
Globe Style Advisor – Winter Issue



Filed under design work, you make it