Sunday, September 30, 2007

Andrew King

Andrew King is one of my favourite Ottawa artists, so when I started blogging, I knew he'd be the first artist I wrote about. Fate had it, he was travelling, -- probably picking up tons of inspiration along the way ---, but tonight I'm finally bringing you some of his work. The pieces shown here are unfortunately sold, but they do show what a terrific sense of humour and social commentary he brings to his creations. And, if you're interested in seeing more, Andrew's work is currently available at the Terence Robert Gallery on Sussex Drive or the Cube Gallery near Parkdale Market. You also can go to to see more examples of sold works.

Here are "Attack of the Minto Bots", "American Water Shortage", and "Not So Smart" (all acrylic done on canvas). I think you'll see what I mean about his sense of humour ...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Entertaining with Style

While we're on the subject of table settings, I thought I'd steer you towards Carolyne Roehm's At Home with Carolyne Roehm, (Random House, 2001) which is one of my absolutely all-time favourite books for getting lost in and plunking down with a warm, comfy cup of tea or hot chocolate. Every time I look at it, I can just feel myself getting inspired by her collection of menus, recipes, table settings, and the most beautiful event photography you've ever seen. If you're interested, you should be able to find it at Chapters or through Let me know what you think!

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's table setting time (well, almost!)

I have to say, setting a unique table is not one of my specialties -- probably because I ALWAYS seem to run out of time, and my good intentions get bounced by having to deal with a diaper here and a minor calamity there ... So, knowing that Thanksgiving's next weekend (yes, next weekend!), and a few of us will be starting to wonder about setting a beautiful table AND getting the turkey ready on time (yes, we will!), I went and saw Virigina Vince today at Bloomfields Flowers in the Glebe for some simple, table setting suggestions. (BTW, I'd love to hear your table setting suggestions, and send photos, too!)

"Try a long, clear glass vase for a contemporary setting ," she suggested. "Fill it with a thick layer of green moss, and then put some apples on top of the moss, or some little white gourds. Arrange some tealights in there too, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can always add in some little succulents." (Sounds lovely, I thought, and not too time consuming!)

"Or", she suggested ,"for a more traditional look, you can lay a centrepiece of gourds and corn down the middle of the table. Try nesting three small arrangements of flowers among the gourds and corn (oranges, yellows and reds are nice), and adding in some little terracotta pots, tealights, and succulents, for a full effect." (OK, that's manageable, too, I thought. I'll have to get the corn and gourds, but that's doable -- just requires a bit of organization.)

So, now I'm prepared, and I hope you're inspired! And, for those who have'nt been before, Bloomfields Flowers is at 101 Fourth Avenue in the Glebe, Ottawa. It's a heaven of a place, full of flowers, the most beautiful, unique arrangements, and lovely hand lotions and accessories. If inspiration hasn't hit before you go, I'm sure you'll be feeling the total opposite when you leave! Enjoy, and good luck with your table setting! Don't forget to send me your ideas and photos for posting!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quote to live by

According to Vincent Van Gogh (you know, that very famous painter!):

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."

In the world of decorating and design, these are perfect words to live by. Plan carefully, dream lots, and never feel compelled to rush. It'll all come together, one beautiful step at a time. And, the end result will be that much better for it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pillows, Pillows, Pillows

I just love Ottawa textile artist, Andrea Stokes', silkscreened printed pillows and table runners. Her pattern and colour choices are fabulous, and her pieces fit amazingly well into contemporary and retro mid-20th century rooms. Andrea's given me the all clear to show off her work, so here are a few photos I thought you'd enjoy. BTW, if you're interested in viewing more of Andrea's pieces, or in ordering them, just visit and contact her via email. Enjoy the show!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Picture hanging 101

I often get asked where pictures should be hung. Here are a few tips to help if you're feeling stuck:

  • Rule #1: Never just start hanging pictures or photos up. If you're hanging one above a table, make sure you really like it there by leaning it against the wall for a while. Similarly, if you're thinking of hanging a grouping of pictures, trace the frames on newsprint, cut them out, and stick them on the wall so you're sure of the layout -- BEFORE you put nails in the wall! Then, you can measure down from the top of the newsprint to where you want the hook, and poke a hole through the paper to mark the spot on the wall.
  • Rule #2: Don't mount pictures too high! So often, this is what seems to happen. Frames should be centred about 6"-8" over a sofa or chair, and 8"-10" above a table.
  • Rule #3: Don't hang something too small above a sofa or any other large item! Proportion is really important. For example, if you're hanging above a sofa or buffet, hang one large piece or two or three smaller pieces arranged horizontally. The same rules apply for mantles: either hang one large frame or two smaller frames side-by-side.
  • And finally, Rule #4, don't feel all your walls need something on them. It's possible they don't, and besides, you want to have something you really love on your walls. Don't feel rushed into hanging just anything!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


My first post is all about FoundDesign, because honestly, if you haven't found this Ottawa South store yet, you've got to go and visit Mike and Malcolm at 1192 Bank. It's one cool place, full of all sorts of mid-twentieth century vintage modern furniture -- like Hermann Miller and Danish rosewood --, prints, pottery, glass, and the funkiest lighting you've ever seen. Here are a few shots I took on my most recent visit. You'll see what I mean about the lighting: the funky coloured pendants are actually made of acrylic and fibreglass, and come from some long-gone, probably very smoky, Montreal nightclub of the 1960's. The beech chair -- by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen (1952) -- is called an "Ant" chair because -- get this -- if you were to flatten it out, it would look like an ant's body. Anyways, here's some ultracool shots of what FoundDesign has in store for you. BTW, FoundDesign also does rentals for photo shoots and will source an item for you if it's reasonably available. Have fun!