Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Music of Christmas

Every beautiful interior needs gorgeous music during the holiday season -- music that is so piercingly beautiful it can bring tears to your eyes. Keeping this in mind, here are my two favourite CDs this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do: they are passionate, moving, and oh so gorgeously holiday.

Jewel, Joy: A Holiday Collection

Il Divo, The Christmas Collection

I'm going to be taking some time off between now and New Years to spend time with my little ones, husband and family. My kids are two and five, so as Celine Dion says: "These are special times." I have'nt been blogging long -- just since October -- and it's been wonderful e-meeting so many of you and reading your inspirational entries. I'm looking forward to 2008 and all the great design ideas we'll be sharing! So, hugs and Merry Christmas to you all, and see you in 2008!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tivoli Florist

It's Monday, so as promised, here are some photos of the most beautifully decorated shop I have ever seen -- Tivoli Florist on Richmond Road in Ottawa. It took a full week to decorate the shop completely, and wow, does it ever show! I hope you enjoy this enchanted space as much as I do, and feel like you've stepped into a little piece of heaven.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cloudscapes by Keith Burnett

Tonight, I'm going to veer away from holiday postings, and share the work of Ottawa artist, Keith Burnett. Keith paints the most fabulous cloudscapes I have ever seen! They draw me in and, all of a sudden, I'm remembering the look of skies I've seen in the past. Here are a few of my favourites. And, if you happen to be in Ottawa this weekend, Keith is hosting an open house at his studio. For the address, time, and more beautiful examples of his work, vist Have a great weekend, everyone! And, do pop by on Monday. I'm going to be posting photos of the most exquisitely decorated shop I've ever seen! ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A different kind of gingerbread

I was browsing through Etsy the other day, and I came across Jennywren, who just happens to be from Ottawa. And, you all know how much I like to profile Ottawa artists and crafters! Here are a few photos of some absolutely beautiful ornaments that Jenny's made for the holiday season. All are knit from 100% merino wool, felted, and then fashioned into these great ornaments with a wool string for hanging. If you're interested in ordering, you can get them though Jenny's etsy shop -- just in time to put on your tree or on presents as gift tags.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Moo-Cow Adventure (3)

Well, this is it. The final installment of the great moo-cow adventure. My apoligies over how long it's been since my last installment on November 1st. And, for those just joining in, this is the story of transforming a little girl's bedroom from her baby room to her big girl room.

Just to make it easier, because I know we're all in pre-holiday countdown mode!, here's a recap from beginning to fabulous conclusion.

You'll remember this is how the room started out looking ...

And, then, I found this terrific fabric with cows on it, and decided to base the whole room around it ...

Which led to the room being painted in these fabulous P&L colours. And, finding a terrific accent cushion, rug, and fabric to be used in a roman shade.

Which led to the grande finale, with chest of drawers and night table painted orange, and wall candy art on the walls to punch things up a bit and introduce a few new colours. I'm absolutely thrilled with the transformation -- the room feels bigger, vibrant and more alive. And, the little girl -- well, she's ecstatic -- especially with the "bubbles" on her walls!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Spirit of Christmas

Each year, the May Court Club of Ottawa -- an organization dedicated to community service and fundraising for those in need --holds a raffle of Christmas trees and other treasures created by members or donated by sponsors. All proceeds go towards local organizations. Here are a few photos of this year's trees and treasures (unfortunately, there was just way too much light and I'm no photo expert!, but you do get the idea). My favourite is definitely the first tree by Christine Beelen, "All Wound up for Christmas", which is absolutely perfect for a more contemporary interior. Each of the ornaments is hand-made and Christine told me she started making them in the summer -- probably spending close to 150 hours making her creation! I also really love "Seaside Christmas" created by the Crossland Family and Sleepy Hollow. It just has a really lovely feel to it, and makes me feel like I'm by the ocean. Check out the way the branches are wound in material to make them look like palm trees! If you live in Ottawa, there's still a chance to head on down to the Rideau Centre to check them out and buy a ticket or two -- they're on display until Saturday. Otherwise, here they are for inspiration as we decorate our homes. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For the love of furniture

I love furniture. In fact, the first design course I took was on the history of furniture! People told me I was crazy, but I didn't listen to them. I just loved it, couldn't get enough of it, and today I'm the same way. So, tonight I thought I'd break free from all my Christmas preparations (ahhh ... I feel re-energized already!), and profile Glen Foster, a furniture-maker who lives in Wakefield, Quebec, just outside of Ottawa. Glen started his career in fish physiology of all things, and spent a number of years working as a research associate in a university. But, furniture making was his passion, and today he designs and crafts it full-time. Here are a few photos of his work which has been sold at stores including Alteriors here in Ottawa. I especially like the second and third images which are of flitch-top tables, where a naturally edged piece of wood seems to float above the base. And, the Shaker table in blue, would look fabulous in my family room. If you like Glen's work, check out his Web site at Do hope you enjoy the show!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holiday greenery

We're hosting a Christmas open house in a couple of weeks, and I'm starting to think about decorating our house for the big day. Here are a few creative ideas I picked up from Virginia Vince at Ottawa's Bloomfield's Flowers.

Bring in lots of greenery, berries and flowers, she suggests. Nothing makes a home feel more festive than fresh floral arrangements and scented pine and cedar boughs on a cold, crisp night. Or, for a beautiful centerpiece, fill a bowl with green pears, ornaments, and sprigs of pine and cedar. Or, take a clear glass vase, and pack it with holly and distilled water – magnifying the berries and making the colours clear and vibrant through the glass.

And, here's a neat idea. Apparently, loaf pans also come in handy when making centerpieces! Fill one up with water, sprigs of holly with red berries, and put it in the freezer. Once the pan is set, remove the ice block and place it on a tray covered with greenery and pine cones. A couple of candles placed close – but not too close to the ice - will add some sparkle.

There, this all sounds pretty easy. I think I'm all set -- or closer to it, anyways! If you have ideas to share, please send them my way!

Photo by Erik98122, on Flickr

Friday, November 30, 2007

Advent candles

Tomorrow is December 1st - the first day of Advent. And, for those like me, who grew up in a quasi-Scandinavian family (one side Danish, the other side Irish), this means lighting the Advent candle and starting our countdown to Christmas. Here's a photo of some terrific Advent candles that would make a fun centrepiece for the kitchen table - or anywhere else, for that matter. My kids, husband, and I will be lighting ours tomorrow night -along with hot chocolate and cookies, of course! So, if you haven't got your's yet, there's still time to pick one up tomorrow, and start a new tradition, too. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Photo by Gertrud K, on Flickr

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'll have a blue Christmas

I'm absolutely loving blue Christmas trees this year! I can't get enough of them! Forget white, forget red -- blue is clearly where it's at. Here are some blue creations I love. And, if you want to see some more, go to Neutral Dwelling's blog, and check out her selection. She's found some beautiful images, too. BTW, if you decorate in blue this year, please send me your photos, and I'll post them up, so we can all take a look. That way, we can all enjoy our blue Christmases together!

Photo by OiMax, Flickr

Photo by OiMax, Flickr

Photo by Shutter.chick, Flickr

Photo by OiMax, Flickr

Photo by OiMax, Flickr

Monday, November 26, 2007

Alanna Baird

We're all trying to do our bit for the environment, but Ottawa artist Alanna Baird is taking it one step further -- taking old, tin can lids or recycled scrap copper -- and making them into the most beautiful fish sculptures imaginable. All of the tin comes from the community, and Alanna often finds little packages of lids tied to her doorknob, cleaned and left there by people she doesn't know, ready to be transformed into perfect fish scales. More recently, Alanna has started using scrap copper in her sculptures, which means they can be used and left outside. Here are a few photos of Alanna's remarkable fish --the first two are made from recycled tin lids; the last is made from recyled scrap copper. Hope you find them as beautiful as I do, and if you're interested in contacting Alanna or viewing more of her work, she's reachable through

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Soul Matters

I know you're all going to be out shopping this weekend, so here's a lovely little place to stop and browse for a while -- Soul Matters. This tranquil boutique opened recently at 1093 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South, and it's already one of my favourite destinations for items bringing peace and restfullness to me and my home. Here are a few shots of the store's interior and merchandise. And, once your done shopping, there's a cozy Second Cup only one door up where you can grab a latte, settle in with a good book, and continue your Zen experience. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rosemary Leach

I'm very happy to show you some of Rosemary Leach's wonderful paintings tonight. Rosemary is based in Almonte, Ontario -- just outside of Ottawa -- and her colourful art is perfect for this rather cold, November evening. Her paintings are bold and happy, and a celebration of everyday objects and life. Enjoy and you can see more by visiting or by visiting the Lux Gallery in Carleton Place, where a selection of Rosemary's paintings are on display. BTW, I completely love the second image. I could just be in that kitchen or balcony when I look at it!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The view from the top

The other day I posted on Northern Art Glass and the beautiful work they do. Here is some work they're doing right now -- putting in new stained glass windows in the southwest tower of the East Block, on Canada's Parliament Hill. The work involves installing large windows on all four sides of the tower and on two levels. No small feat! Here are some shots, both inside and out. The view's incredible, isn't it? And, don't you think the tower looks like it has a face? Intentional or not -- who knows! It was a long time ago, but maybe someone was having some fun and seeing who'd notice! ...