Tuesday, January 31, 2012



My back aches, my feet are deformed, and I now walk with one shoulder higher than the other, but it was so worth it. IDS12  Canada's largest contemporary design fair, in Toronto celebrated it's 14th show this past weekend, welcoming designers, decorators and interested public to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Certainly wish I'd worn a pedometer to track the well over 10000 steps I walked in my pursuit to visit, connect and sometimes chat with some of the over 300 exhibitors.

Right off, I have to admit that I'm not a trend follower....but if recycling, up-cycling, repurposing and creating functional and beautiful items from natural materials are trendy,  then I'm IN...hands down....and rather hope it's here to stay!

Up first...BROTHERS DRESSLER.  I could have sat for hours in this booth and chatted about the unique design vision using ecologically friendly, reclaimed, locally manufactured materials that these guys utilise to craft bespoke furniture and lighting.

For a different process and application of birch, oak and pine we'll visit woodlight where specially selected backed veneers are chosen to create these lovely, contemporary, translucent light fixtures.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a huge Artisan fan. Check out these gorgeous one of a kind sinks from  livingstones.  These beauties, produced from stone located in Eastern Ontario, are mined, carved and finished by John Schweighardt. I was revelling at the variation and colouration of each spectacular piece. 

Moving from hard to soft fabrications, my next visit is with  ARMSTRONG TEXTILES.  We're talking weaving here. Not only does Lesley Armstrong produce clothing, but has been commissioned to design and weave contemporary draperies and textile panels for commercial and residential applications. 

More IDS12 fabulousness on this blog coming up shortly. In the meantime, if you crave more design inspirtation check out  Lisa Goulet Design  and  JAX does design where Kelly is compiling a list of other spectacular IDS12 posts. 

Monday, January 23, 2012





Yes indeed, these are very much connected...in my life at the moment anyway.

When I was a newbie at twitter 18 months ago, I, like many people was very sceptical of the power and punch of only 140 characters that look like morse code at times.  During the first couple of months of my twitter initiation, I garnered followers and became a follower,  primarily of decorators and designers, some from across the pond in fact. I also made sure that I followed tweeps from Ottawa who were not necessarily connected in any way to my business or interests. And this is where my story gets impressive.

I am a MOB...Mother of the Bride,  very soon to be a MIL.. Mother in law.

In early February, our eldest daughter Michelle is getting married to her fabulous guy Jordan.
They got engaged at Christmas a year ago and as you can imagine, the wedding prep has consumed many hours since then. We quickly narrowed down the venue where the ceremony and reception will take place and signed on the dotted line... PHEW ...we sighed...at least that's out of the way!!!

National Gallery of Canada...Great Hall

...... but hold on, we need a caterer, photographer, florist, cake, DJ, bridal gown, bridesmaids dresses...and the list goes on.

This is where twitter made a grand entrance. I had, back at the time of the engagement, been on twitter for 6 months. I was tweeting on a daily basis...keeping in touch, reading tweep's blogs and gaining a fairly good idea who I was chatting with. It suddenly occurred to me, that this networking was tantamount to research, fact finding...very useful when searching for vendors for a wedding.  I was already tweeting with local florists, and photographers, some who I had already met through tweetups. I started to follow local bridal salons, cupcake vendors, travel agents. I was able to have 140 character chats with people who could help get our wedding preparations underway. Many of my twitter connections helped Michelle and I navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of wedding preparation .....with nary a ripple.

With only a few weeks left to go before the wedding, I thought it appropriate to express my heartfelt  THANK YOU'S to the vendors I met through TWITTER who will have ensured that Michelle's and Jordan's wedding day is a delightful experience for them and our guests to enjoy and cherish.

Michelle VandenBosch aka @mvpetals on twitter.... our wedding florist. I had worked with Michelle V, a year ago last September when she volunteered her services to make my home pretty for a house tour we were participating in. Michelle V. met with Michelle and I, she then drew up some plans, showed us some pics and ran with it. I KNOW, our wedding will be made that much more glorious, by Michelle Vs floral designs placed strategically throughout the Great hall.

Michelle Vandenbosch

Next up... Charlene Burnside Photography. Charlene and I met on twitter, but we also met IRL (twitter lingo for "in real life")... She later approached me to ask if we would like engagement photos of Michelle and Jordan as she was looking to expand her portfolio. No problemo. She did a fantastic job...in fact Michelle and Jordan used more of Charlene's photos on their wedding website....a huge hit with our guests.  You can tweet with Charlene on twitter at @CharleneBside.

Charlene Burnside Photography

The wedding photographer was a no brainer. Michelle VandenBosch and Barb Cameron,  are also twitter friends and have a history of sharing their individual talents at the the same weddings. Barb, who was named 'Top Inspirational Wedding Photographer in Canada' and has also been published in several Wedding magaizines, came very highly recommended, by Michelle V. The deal was sealed after I met Barb for lunch...passed all of her information onto the bride and groom and they agreed that Barb was the wedding photographer for them. I am so looking forward to viewing Barb's  fabulous proofs of the wedding. Tweet Barb at @cameronphotos 

Barbara Ann Studios

THE BRIDAL GOWN...one of the most important and top secret elements at a wedding. Michelle and her bridesmaids had spent a couple of weekends, including one inToronto, looking for the perfect wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses. I am now a twitter follower of @WithLove_Bridal.  Michelle found her PERFECT gown, with expert assistance from the owners, Dana and Becky at With Love Bridal. In fact the bridesmaids also found their very unique and 'WILL wear again after the wedding' dresses at the boutique as well.


What would a wedding be without cocktails. And when I say cocktails, I mean a signature, one- of- a- kind cocktail designed by yet another twitter friend...non other than Dee Brun... Cocktail Diva. Yep, this award winning, author of Libations of Life, a Girls Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time,  and a regular guest on Steven and Chris on CBC, has designed a cocktail for the wedding...but it's a secret ssshhhh! Ohhhh spectacular cocktail... I will truly enjoy you after the ceremony. Tweet Dee at @cocktaildeeva


...and to top it off...the wedding cake, except there is not going to be a wedding cake per se as we are going to enjoy the new trend...cupcakes, in several mouthwatering, scrumptious flavours.  Sending a huge sweet thank you to Little Cakes Cupcakes, ... otherwise known on twitter as  @ _LittleCakes,  yet another tweep from Ottawa who I had been following and got to meet IRL when Michelle and I did a cupcake tasting. Doesn't this look deeeelish?  Can't wait...

Little Cakes Cupcakes

Finally, the Honeymoon. Michelle and Jordan wanted to register their honeymoon as a wedding gift. It's a brilliant idea for the bride, groom and guests alike. It takes the guess work out of the wedding gift selection and also allows the guests a chance to participate in the finale of the wedding. For Michelle and Jordan, the expense of their dream honeymoon after paying for some of the wedding, was alleviated. My go to twitter source for this was  Sheila Gallant Halloran at Vision 2000...or @Sheila_gh  on twitter. She immediately got in touch with Michelle and Jordan and set them up with one of her associates
Denise Gushue ... @NZescapes who managed all of the honeymoon registry and the honeymoon details.

Sheila Gallant Halloran vision2000.ca

Before I sign off....I cannot say Thank You enough to all you fabulous vendors I got to know through TWITTER. The wedding day countdown has begun in ernest, and with ALL your expert help, the months leading up to the big day have been a pleasure...truly a pleasure.  Mucho Hugs!!!
If you are a sceptic, wondering about the value of twitter, this is a small sample of how this SM dynamo has helped me in a monumental way.

Sunday, January 15, 2012



This past November I was in Toronto perusing my favourite stores on Bloor with my middle daughter Lianne. We strolled through some stores and bought in others, adding items to our Christmas shopping bags. On the north side of Bloor, just west of Avenue Rd is HERMES....almost innocuous
I love saying Hermes...Err..rmez....Errr...mezzz. (wish I could figure out how to add the accent aigu)  I have window shopped at Hermes many times, but have never ventured inside...possibly intimidated by the splendid and preicise organization and display or the fact I never felt DRESSED UP enough. But not this day...

Be still my heart. A chaos angst driven woman's dream. Look at the orderliness, nothng out of place...You see it. You covet it. You buy it! ...End of story!.. no digging and searching... (unless I'm antiquing)...Shopping perfection, in my book.
We were very pleasantly greeted by a young woman who knew her Hermes stuff.
She was absolutely lovely, I must say.
I knew I wanted a Hermes scarf...I've been a scarf lover my entire life....I also knew hubby was stuck on the WOW Christmas gift. I immediately saw the scarf I wanted and Lianne concurred. With Lianne as my, confident, my-go-between...I settled on my Hermes scarf.

Flash forward to Christmas morning....I'm feeling a bit like Ralphie in "AChristmas Story"..he just knows he's gotta get....he's gonna get the Red Ryder BB gun of his dreams....
Hidden under the Christmas tree.....wrapped thusly...

and finally...voila...

MY Hermes scarf ...sigh. Would you look at those colours. Yes....this is indeed the scarf I chose....and yes, I know it is quite a lot of packaging, but let's face it...it's delicious packaging which will not be forsaken in a landfill any time soon. This bag and box and ribbon are keepers.  Hermes is iconic after all. It was established in 1837,  first designing harnesses, then saddles, and eventually saddle bags for the elite and finally scarves were introduced in 1937. My scarf is a Plisse pleated scarf. If I were to have it professionally pressed, it would be the same size as all non pleated Hermes scarves...exactly 90 X 90 cm.

If you know me, you know my favourite colour is red. Well... orange has been popping up in my wardrobe and decor for about five years....and it's here to stay. !!!

This fabulous gift also came with this deck of Hermes cards including some their scarf collection in every knot imaginable and a booklet "LE  CARRE  HERMES' featuring the autumn-winter 2011 collection which in itself is a feast for the eyes.

...and finally, the noteworthy and interesting catalogue LE MONDE D'HERMES AUTOMNE-HIVER 2011...explaining the history and background  and techniques of the Artisans...and yes, these folks ARE artisans... who work for Hermes and Saint Louis.
I will be asking for a new and different Hermes scarf next year for Christmas. These are pieces of art...worth something, especially the vintage scarves.......I'm seeing a 'scarf closet' in my future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I have a camera...not a fancy dancy, lens changing, shutter speed altering one, but a fairly simple digital camera with several options and 10X zoom lens. I also have an iphone. But I am not a photographer. However, every now and then a scene presents itself and a picture must be took. I never know until I download them if they are worthy of posting...but here goes....

... taken in late fall, I literally almost stepped on this....not sure what is is, but in love with those colours and textures. This is not a shot I could design and make happen. BTW...taken with my iphone

Look at the colour variations ....mid afternoon....I'm thinking more white stuff is headed our way...

Almost the same angle as above shot... different day, different year. Sure am glad I whipped outside without a coat, boots or gloves. Three seconds later this scene had changed dramatically.


 For those of you who live or winter in warmer climes.....here is a reminder of what an Ottawa winter can decorate your home with. You don't want to be standing under one of these babies if it falls off the roof...OUCHA!!

Reminiscent of summer...a rushing waterfall that just can't freeze...but lovin' that touch of green framing this 'action' shot

Red sky at night....you just can't duplicate this.....Mother Nature and her palette at their best. I might be seeing The Pantone Colour of the Year 2013 in this shot. What do you think?

More red sky at sunset...after a storm at sea. I tried valiantly to get the unbelievable rainbow...I mean, how often are you lucky enough to witness a rainbow at sea?  But like I said,  I'm not a photographer.

...and a few minutes later. Speaking of Pantone....I think there might be a a variation or 2 or 3 of Tangerine Tango in this shot.

 Early morning coming into port. I'm in awe of the gradation of colours in this picture. Talk about calm. 

....oooopsa daisy...how did little Reese (my absolute favourite and only great niece) get in this post.  Oh ya, just happened to have my camera handy...and...well ... I'm a blubbering mush when it comes to adorable, cheeky, brilliant blue eyed babies.

I may not be a photographer, but I almost always have my camera at the ready, because I never know when all the stars will be aligned and that fabulous shot will be mine.

Maureen at Modecor Muses: January 2012

Maureen at Modecor Muses