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December, 2011

  1. Merry Christmas!

    December 25, 2011 by admin

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you have the best, most beautiful and meaningful day with loved ones and plenty of magical moments.


  2. Holiday Shopping

    December 23, 2011 by admin

    I’m off for a day of Christmas shopping – just tying up some loose ends and doing a little shopping on behalf of others.  Let’s hope it feels festive and fun like these charming English shop windows below and not crazy like it usually is around here!

    benpentreath.com

     

    benpentreath.com


  3. Christmas Party Decor

    December 22, 2011 by admin

    Well folks, it’s almost here!  Before it’s too late, I wanted to share with you the other decorations around our house as we prepare for Christmas day.  We hosted a small party last weekend and pretty well finished getting the house ready just in time.  Here’s what we did…

    The dining table looked extra festive with it’s vintage table cloth, mix’n match china and striped napkins (a Zeller’s score!)…

    I decided to keep it simple on the mantle (since we have lots going on elsewhere) and I love the effect!  Myrtle topiaries with little bow ties and candlelight just makes it!

    Of course there’s the tree…glowing and happy. I see a few early presents there too!  I wonder what they are…

    On top of my mom’s old piano we set up an adorable Christmas village.  The little houses look like they’re 50 years old but they’re brand new – and from Loblaws!!  I couldn’t believe it when I saw them and of course threw them in the cart.  The silver trees are Loblaws too and the green ‘bottle brush’ trees are from Dollarama.  I kid you not!  I just added some yarn and gold garland (Dollarama) to make them festive.  I’m so pleased with the effect.  The little Santa in his sleigh is vintage from my friend Ruth.  He fits right in!

    I think my nephew’s going to love this!

    And finally a special addition to the Christmas festivities this year:  a vintage aluminum tree!  This tree was found in the basement at Sara’s grandpa’s this year and I think her dad and Aunt Lynn will get a kick out of seeing it assembled and decorated again.  Sara’s dad said he remembered it well from back in the day.  I just love it’s retro glamour and the spare, not-t00-full look and the quirky ornaments.  I think it’s my favourite decoration for Christmas 2o11!

    Hope your decorations make you just as happy!


  4. Cottage In Surrey – The Holiday

    December 20, 2011 by admin

    So last night after church in the morning and Christmas shopping in the afternoon, I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but flop on the couch and watch a movie.  For me, the best kind of movie is entertaining and stylish and The Holiday is a real goodie.  The Amanda/Cameron Diaz house is pretty nice – very L.A. so I could take it or leave it, but the stone cottage that Iris/Kate Winslet owns in Surrey, England?!?  Now that’s a stunner.  I’d move in for sure!  Except I’d totally bang my head on the low rafters (as Diaz does).  Check out this cozy-lovliness…

    Are you kidding me?!?!  Houses like this exist?!  I especially appreciate that the woodwork is painted a charming blue/green.  And a perfect dusting of snow – of course!  Now let’s step inside shall we?

    So far so good!

    The exposed beams are ultra-cozy and I love the mix of patterns and colours on the sofa in the window.  There are a few close ups in the movie of this particular area that just make it seem so lived-in and wonderful.

    The kitchen is maybe my favourite.  It’s just so quaint and British with its open hearth, cropped drapes and mix n’ match crockery.  When Sara and I watch movies, we can see our own kitchen through the open doorway and we noticed a few similarities…coincidence?  I think not!

    The bedroom, high up in the loft seems like the perfect place to curl up with a good paperback, don’t you think?  And who doesn’t love a fireplace in a cottage bedroom?

    The bathroom is lovely, with it’s free-standing tub.  The scooped back is interesting and probably makes for a comfortable soak.  I love the unfitted cabinetry too – a chest of drawers is so much more homey than a vanity.

    And there you have it – wall-to-wall books on hobbled-together shelves, a gorgeous chair, perfectly faded rug and not a strictly decorative book or object in sight!  Just casually comfortable style.  Oh those Brits! If I’ve whetted your appetite, you should definitely watch The Holiday all over again…


  5. Decking The Halls – And The Christmas Tree!

    December 19, 2011 by admin

    Finally, I get to show you how our Christmas tree turned out!

    I’ve always loved decorating Christmas trees.  Since I was a kid I found it to be a magical process – selecting my favourite, most special ornaments.  One of my very favourites was a gold ornament depicting the three wise men on camels with the star shining above. You put one of the light bulbs from the tree into a hole in the bottom of the ornament and it illuminates the whole thing.  It’s really lovely and I saw it again at my parents’ house this afternoon actually.  Still my favourite.

    For our own 2011 Christmas tree, Sara and I started with propping it up in it’s metal stand and giving it lots of water.  We use something called ‘Stay Fresh’ from Canadian Tire mixed in the water and that seems to help.  Also ours is a spruce and I found it really took the ornaments well and let them hang beautifully.  We added lights first, weaving them in and out as best we could (I actually hate this part and used to make my younger brother do it – where is he now?!?).  After the lights, some good-old-fashioned gold metallic garland from Loblaws.  It took 4 strands I think.

    After the unconventional choice of gold garland (maybe you’re thinking it’s tacky?) I went even weirder with strands of red yarn as a homespun mini-garland.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen yarn used as garland before, but I’m really into it and love it’s kind of whimsical, loosey-goosey look.  It kind of seems like some Beatrix Potter mice or bunnies did the decorating!  Next up – the ornaments, and lots of them…

    My favourite ornaments are the old fashioned glass ones.  We have some from a close family friend, named Ruth, who lived her whole life just down the street from the house Sara and I would one day buy.  When she down sized to an apartment, she gave Sara and I her many colourful ornaments.  It’s so wonderful to know that their beauty lives on – just up the street from where they began their careers as tree decorators.  The ones above are from Sara’s grandparents house, so they’re an extra special addition this year.

    Next up – some beautiful blue and white ceramic ornaments my mom bought us last Christmas.  It was for our first Christmas in our first house and they tie in perfectly with the Blue Willow plates on the wall in the dining room.  They were not too expensive at all and found at HomeSense.

    These white pine cones are another favourite – from Canadian Tire no less – and from my first student apartment in Kingston.  They still make an appearance each year and I still love ‘em.

    One last addition – a big set of Martha Stewart ornaments from Home Depot.  Red, green, gold and sort of vintage-inspired.  They fit in nicely with all of the gold garland, red yard and their twinkling vintage cousins.

    And voila!  The tree has transformed into a glittering, festive and oh-so-personal Christmas tree.  It’s all ready for presents beneath and adds a cozy, homey charm to our house on cold winter nights.  Hope you’ve had fun decorating your home for the holidays and that whatever your special ornaments are or what kooky elements you add, that your place feels special and happy and true to you.  Merry Christmas!


  6. Not Quite Silver Bells…

    December 16, 2011 by admin

    Sorry everyone, it’s been a super busy time of year and I’m fining it hard to get my blogs in!  Forgive me and enjoy this adorable homespun craft, perfect for the holidays via the Purl Bee.

     

    Sweaters + Jingle Bells – what could be cozier?


  7. True Blue

    December 14, 2011 by admin

    How great-looking is this vignette of new items from West Elm?  Feels so fresh and new!


  8. Rifle Paper Co. Christmas Cards

    December 13, 2011 by admin

    Greeting cards have all been sent…the Christmas rush is through…”  Sing it Karen Carpenter!

    Sara and I are now sitting at our dining room table writing out Christmas cards – a favourite activity of ours.  It’s so nice to take the time to write a personal note to the ones you love, to let them know how important they are to you and how much they enrich your life.  I have some of the best friends and family out there and this year I’m definitely thankful for each of them. Especially since they don’t forget me when I don’t have time to see them!

    One challenge to our Christmas card tradition is finding just the right card to send out through the mail.  Sometimes I find good ones in affordable places like drug stores and dollar stores, while other years I’ve scoured store after store to no avail.  This year I found one set in one of my favourite places for cards – the stationery section at William Ashley.  But I ran out of them quickly so I found a few more that I just LOVE from Rifle Paper Co.  I’ve seen this company around at Anthropologie in Yorkville, the Drake General Store, The Paper Place on Queen West and even Indigo!  They’re oh-so-charming and totally us.  Hope those of you who are getting one like them as much as we do!

     

     

     

     


  9. Aerin Lauder Refresh

    December 12, 2011 by admin

    I think I’ve blogged here before about my love for Aerin Lauder and her sensational style.  Her all-American, preppy-meets-casual-cool-meets-heriloom-loveliness is right up my alley.  I’m sure you’ve seen bits and bites of her homes in the past hither and yon, but Habitually Chic recently posted this round up of jaw-dropping shots of Aerin and her home.  Check it out – I’m sure you’ll love this as much as I do!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yup.  Just gorgeous.

    For more of Aerin Lauder’s impeccable taste and style, see Habitually Chic, or click here.


  10. Happy Shopping!

    December 11, 2011 by admin

    Just spend a loooong day Christmas shopping and am happy to say we survived.  It was quite a marathon and my feet were sore but Sara kept me well-fed (a must) and let me go to a few of ‘my’ stores too.  Now we’re settling in for a long winter’s nap (and watching Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase on demand).

    Happy Shopping to you all!

    P.S. What is with the cartoon beginning of this movie?  I do NOT remember this!