Friday, April 30, 2010

Things that make me smile

I love music...I grew up surrounded by it and crave it daily. I believe we all have our own soundtracks that we build as we move through life. Mine is varied but heavy on the singer/songwriter side! My parents were folk singers so this may have something to do with it :) I popped my iPod in the dock this afternoon and selected Jeff Buckley's 'Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk'. Buckley is genius! I haven't listened to this for ages but it is so beautiful I wanted to share a song with you! Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you add to your soundtrack...

A Beautiful Morning

IMG_6276, originally uploaded by Darren Creighton.
It is a glorious morning here and I wanted to share another stunning shot from Darren Creighton...
So serene and still and perfect.
I hope your morning is like this too!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pale and Interesting

I happened upon this quaint on-line boutique while leafing through through the latest issue of Country Homes & Interios (UK).  There was a small picture with a brief caption, but it caught my eye.  With a couple of swift clicks I was brought to Pale and Interesting and promptly fell in love!

Maybe it was these glass cloche's that grabbed me...

or the simple apothecary jars with that oh, so perfect framed butterly?
I think it was all of it...I'm hooked!
The boutique is run by a husband and wife team from Britain who curate the selection themselves .  They do a great job of mixing old and new, the feminine with utilitarian, incorporating textures and materials to create an individual and personal selection.  Check out the shop here and have a look at the fantastic look-books they put together!  With backgrounds in photography, design and the magazine industries, they are using there keen eyes and talent to bring us fantastic wares for our homes!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Time Is It?

Are you looking for something a little different to help pass the time?  Check out this fun clock screen-saver from Real Simple and Alan Dye.
Available for both Mac's and PC's.  Via How About Orange

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Technical Difficulties

apricot blossom petals 
I had an uber-frustrating time with blogger yesterday hence the no posting!  I fought with it for a bit but then decided to go and have fun with Olivia instead.  We did play group and swimming and bike riding.  In the end a much more productive way to spend a Monday...
I'm going to do some tweaking today so it may be quiet here!  Wish me luck!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things that make me smile

A Spring Cocktail Party
I love this quick and easy menu plan from Williams Sonoma for a Cocktail Party!  I love to have friends over for a meal but I would like to do more informal drop-ins with fun drink and appetizer recipes.  

What are your plans this weekend?  I have the mom to mom sale  Saturday morning and am planning a  quick visit to my parents.  I'm looking forward to a great time and hoping for a few more days of this glorious sunshine we've had this week...

Mod Green Pod

Oh - I'm having a bit of a crush on Mod Green Pod and their fantastic line of eco-friendly products!  
I found the Texas-based company while searching for a greener alternative wallpaper for one of my clients.  Co-founded by sisters-in-law Nancy & Lisa Mims in 2005 in the hopes to fill the gap of high style products that are healthier for our homes (and loved ones!).  How these two have delivered!!
Mod Green Pod offers textiles that are woven and printed in the US, on 100% certified organic cotton that is produced in the US as well.   The prints are fun, graphic and sophisticated at the same time.  Offered in a soft but sturdy upholstery weight cotton making it perfect for everything from your throw pillows to an upholstered chair or headboard.  I am seriously considering a re-do of my dining chairs as an excuse to get some of this!!

The wallpaper is about as great as it gets!  Fantastic motifs and colour-ways that are printed in non-toxic inks with a water-based glaze and absolutely no vinyl or PVC's!!  Yeah!  We're going with the Grand Jubilee in licorice/natural...stunning.
I just want to add as well that my client's daughter chose the pattern and colourway in the end.  She is 13 years old and this is for her bedroom!  As a designer, I knew she couldn't go wrong with any of the options and the room creator feature on the website empowered her and allowed her to trust her instincts.
Have you been toying with the idea of wallpaper but can't imagine it or are turned off by the PVC content?  Hop over to Mod Green Pod and have a look and try the interactive feature...such a brilliant idea.  Oh and if you have any questions, they have super-friendly and on top of it all, Valerie.  I had an inquiry and had such wonderful prompt service.  I think that it is so important and I applaud them for this.  
Hope this product and site inspire you too!
Find them herehere and here too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Importance of Earth Day

I had a moment yesterday to browse through some articles on-line and was stopped here on the home page of Whole Living with the simple question 'Is Earth Day Still Important?'...
Well, of course it is! Isn't it?
This really got me thinking.  We've been celebrating Earth Day for 40 years now and over that time we have seen too many oil spills, melting glaciers, temperature changes and crazy increases in our carbon emissions.  As a whole, we take this one day every year (sometimes it can be the week, like at my son's school) to profess our love of nature and our planet and promise to do a better job in the coming years, but is this enough?  
I started thinking of Wall-e (such a fantastic movie) and how our sheer negligence and need for more turn our planet into nothing more than a garbage heap, unable to sustain life.  I think of the Lorax (Oh, how we love Dr. Suess here at home) and the truffula's and their plight to have clean air and water. 
We need to collectively turn Earth Day into a daily event, striving to be better to our planet with everything we do.  We need to teach our children about conserving our natural resources and help them to find ways of upcycling their possesions and things they bring home.  We also need to listen to our children and their concerns and new ideas.  They have no limits to their imaginations and haven't yet been discouraged by all the barriers that seem to be put up to help us live greener lives.  They are enthusiastic about their futures and the possibilities are endless for them. 
This Earth Day, what are you doing to celebrate the day?  Have you made changes that are impacting your daily lives for the better?  Do you have any hints or suggestions on how to sustain a green lifestyle?  I think this is an important topic to consider not only this week but every week of the year.  We can make a difference and make change for the better!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time to Slow Down

I think somebody, somewhere is telling me to slow down a bit!  Shortly after my Monday morning post was put up yesterday I took a certain little girl to the doctor's office.  She woke up with the brightest red cheeks you've ever seen!  We waited and waited and waited.  She was so patient and happy...
and red, and blotchy....
and in our 2-plus hours of waiting, we read and sang and caught up.  It was actually a really special time (well maybe not for all of the other people waiting!).  She's got fifth disease!  Have you ever experienced this?  Apparently, it's quite common and generally once the distinctive red rash appears, you aren't contagious.  We're not taking any chance for the next few days (just to be safe).   So, my plans have changed a little for this week and I'll be sticking close to home with Liv.  We'll get some gardening done and maybe some fun craft projects. 
 I'm sure I'll manage to get some work in here and there!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mondays Can Be Tough

I didn't take a single picture this weekend!!  I ended up feeling quite dreadful by Friday at dinnertime (I couldn't even get through a bowl of my favourite homemade soup and fresh bread) and was quite sure I was suffering some flu bug by 9PM that night.  
I was feeling better by mid-day Sunday but it really messed up my whole weekend...I'm still playing a bit of catch up this morning.  
I'm looking forward to a fun week though!  I'm preparing for a mom to mom sale for next weekend (hoping to take some new jewelry) and also my mum and I are going to see the King Tut exhibit at the AGO in Toronto!  It's also Earth Day this coming Thursday.  Do you have anything special you do to celebrate the day?  Any new commitments you are making to live a greener life?  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Vintage Weekend!

All I can say is I wish I was going to be in Montreal this weekend.  Why, you ask?  Well...I'd like to be going here:
vintage mart: a two day vintage sale! vintage dresses, shoes, deadstock vintage men's tees & polos, jewelry, bags and accessories.

friday april 16, 6pm-9pm

& saturday april 17, 11am-6pm

1649 amherst
montreal, qc

Here's a peak at what I'll be missing!  Maybe one day those savvy peeps over at Smart Design Mart will host something in Toronto...
I hope you have a great weekend and if you happen to be in or around Montreal stop by Vintage Mart and let me know how amazing it was!
See you on Monday...

Things that make me smile

I received a notice yesterday from my friend Karl that his amazing weekly web-comic 'The Abominable Charles Christopher  is going to be made into a book (well the first 2 years anyway!)...I am so happy for him.  I don't remember a time when Karl was not in my life and I also don't remember a time when he wasn't drawing comics.  He's been drawing professionally for 15 years doing everything from Superman, The Flash, Teen Titans and the new 'Marvel Kid's' line featuring Spider-Man!!  
Charles Christopher is like little slices of life played out weekly through a cast of animal characters.  It is beautiful, touching, hillarious and sometimes sad.  
artwork available for purchase here

The new ACC book with a 40" gatefold featuring all the characters and a 'this book belongs to' page.  
paintings by Karl...

I am so intriqued by these characters and I would LOVE to see an ACC children's book (hint, hint)!  I would also love to have these characters gracing the walls of my kids bedrooms or playroom.  Maybe one day...right Karl?  Until then, I highly recommend a read through of The Abominable Charles Christopher.  Even if you aren't a regular comic fan you will be amazed at how these characters draw you in and leave you wanting more...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Lovely Blogger List

Isn't this just the best idea?  Rachel, over at Lovely Clusters has organized the lovely blogger list so we can get to know one another a bit better!  You do an introductory post on you blog, submit it here and you're on the list!  Here is mine:

Hi there!  My name is Alana and I live just outside of Toronto, Canada.  I have a wonderful husband, two great kids and a crazy kitten named Smith...Life is busy and full and I wouldn't change a thing!

I love photography,interior design, cooking (and eating!), vintage textiles and furniture, making jewelry and I've recently taken up sewing...
My shop offers earrings, necklaces and bracelets, many of them made using vintage beads and findings. Many are one of a kind! I create pieces that are simple, beautiful, can be worn everyday, layered or alone. 
I have a real passion for cooking and baking and love to try new recipes that will appeal to both adults and kids!  It's always a challenge to feed the small people.  I love itchy wool sweaters, my Blundstone Boots and a good dose of fresh air...
I work as an interior designer and love to create beautiful, functional spaces for my clients.  I believe that good design means that a space will function beautifully.  I strive to find gorgeous solutions for my clients that will enhance and improve the way they live...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Magical Backyard

I feel so much better since my Pilates class this morning (I just started last week and I honestly don't know what's taken me so long to try it - it's awesome!).  Thanks for sticking with me...
source unknown
I've spent some time today conjuring up a landscape plan for our backyard (it leaves a bit to be desired right now) and was inspired to create a magical nook for the kids.  Max may not get as much use of it as Liv will but I imagine he'll enjoy it in his own way.  We don't have a ton of room but I am determined to make the most of it!
I happened upon this site earlier and found the most amazing products to indulge my 'fairy garden' idea.  I would love to build a small playhouse outside since we don't have the space for a swing-set.  It would do double duty as it could also function for toy/sports equipment storage in the winter!  We could add fun accents such as this elfin door and bird feeder.  Perhaps some twinkle lights and painted stepping stones that the kids make would be ideal as well.  I think this would be a fun project to do over the next month or so; dreaming up new and exciting things to add to entice fairy creatures to our yard!  
last 3 images via Hearth Song
  My brother and I had 60 acres of playground growing up and it was everything from Little House on the Prairie to the far corners of the galaxy for us.  Some of my fondest childhood memories take place in that yard and I'm hoping to create the same thing for my kids, on a much smaller scale!
Did you have your own backyard hideout as a kid or have you helped create one for your children.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


I didn't get much sleep last night (or the 3 nights before that) and it has really caught up with me.  I'm searching for a bit of calm somewhere deep inside me so I will leave you with this for now.  I'm going to find a bit of focus at pilates class....
 image via Flickr

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Day Late

I spent the day yesterday shooting a couple of my interiors with photographer Andrew Grinton.  Andrew is one of my favourites!  He's got a great eye for composition, a wonderful sense of  flow and the ability to make a difficult shot work and he does it all with a smile on his face! I grabbed a few quick shots (they are unstyled!!) to show you and can't wait to see the finals.  I'll be sure to keep you posted...
detail on pillow
Andrew contemplating angles...
Andrew's work is diverse, covering the areas of food, lifestyle, still life, interiors, kids and travel. Check out some of his work here.