foraged wreaths - behind-the-scenes

Around this time las year, my life long friend, Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard, was giving foraged wreath workshops with Kinfolk magazine at West Elm. I loved the idea so much I asked her if we could shoot a story for Chatelaine Magazine. Of course the way magazines work it took us another full year before we could actually publish the story.

Photos, Sian Richards

It took us three separate shooting days to get all the images for the final piece. We started last January when there was still snow on the ground and headed out into the urban woods with Sarah for a day of foraging. We headed down to Lake Ontario across the Gardiner expressway and snipped twigs, branches, berries and evergreens from untamed public lands that were in need of a little pruning. The thing about foraging is you can really do it anywhere. I was surprised at how much we could find growing beside the concrete on-ramp to a major highway.

Our second day of shooting took inside a studio where we shot all of the finished wreaths against grey and white walls. Sarah made wreaths with specimens she had found in and around Toronto as well as foraged items she had flown out from family and friends on Gabriola Island in BC. We wanted to make sure we represented at least two geographical locations in Canada. I even stepped in at one point and lended my hand to a wreath.

The last day of shooting took place months later in the Coriander Girl wedding studio. After we looked at all the images together we felt like we needed a few environmental shots to really make the story sing. This studio with it's bare brick walls and rough floors was the perfect setting. Once again, we set Sarah up with some wreath making materials and she went to work. 

Sarah is offering foraged wreath workshops in the Toronto area. She also has foraged wreaths for sale. Check out her website for my details. 

Amy's Bedroom Makeover

About 4 months ago, I wrote a post about re-styling my bedroom.  I wanted a relaxing, clutter-free space that incorporated my love for soft neutrals, black and white and graphic pattern. Since I received several comments and suggestions, I wanted to share what I came up with!

I was working on a very small budget so I decided to re-purpose items I already had in my home.  The side table was a thrift store find and the picture above the bed was a photo my husband took while we were in Hawaii.  The only new items we purchased were the Ikea lamps, new sheets and a few accessories.

The 2 throw pillows were pieces I designed in collaboration with a social enterprise called Spun Studio (link: They specialize in textile and needlework crafts that support homeless and low income women in Toronto.

I found a monogram napkin on a trip to NYC and framed it to add a graphic element to the room.

I love how it turned out and I'm happy to say I'm sleeping much better these days!

Heart Home Magazine - Shopping and Eating In Toronto

Back when I first started blogging in 2010 I met many fascinating people from around the world who were as obsessed with as interiors I was. We were all navigating the somewhat new world of blogging together and learning as we went. Not surprisingly, many of those friends have gone to very interesting careers in the world of design. Every now and then, an email will pop up in my mailbox saying, "Remember me..." and of course I do. A few months ago, I received such an email from Carole King a blogging friend from England. Carole runs a blog called Dear Designer's as well as the online magazine Heart Home. Carole was looking for a city review of Toronto for the September issue of Heart Home Magazine and I was happy to oblige.

Photos, Kristin Sjaarda

Photos, Kristin Sjaarda

Kristin Sjaarda (photographer) and I came up with a list of our favourite places and then she hit the road to photograph each one. We decided since Toronto is made up of many small neighbourhoods to concentrate on one stand-out spot in a few choice hoods. 

Coriander Girl, Hoi Bo, Tabule Restaurant and Type Books made our list. A small but sweet selection of some of the finest Toronto has to offer.

Heart Home Magazine publishes a different city review each month in the magazine. When I'm travelling I always find these kinds of reviews so much better than the ones you find in travel books or guides. Unfortunately it seems the hidden gems of a city never make it into those publications.

To read my quick review of Toronto head over to Heart Home

Do you have a go-to source for local travel reviews?

More Winter Coats

It's getting cold out there and I still haven't found a winter coat. Time is running out! In a last ditch attempt to make up my mind I'm asking for you advice. Which one of these would you choose?

UPDATE: I bought a new coat just in the nick of time. I picked up this beauty at All Saints. Even better it was 20% off! Thanks for everyone's comments and help!