Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Kitchen Art and My Spring Garden

This stretch of gorgeous weather has done wonders to my mood. It ignites my creative spirit, and I am all geared up to tackle a list of small projects I've been putting off since winter. 

The first up is to add art and counter-worthy accessories to the kitchen. I can't think of a better way to complement this framed Alanna Cavanagh tea towel than to have a framed print by the same artist - thank you Alanna for this cheerful "Greek Jug" screen print. I lean the frame against the backsplash for a more relaxed and informal look. The whitewashed wood frame is from HomeSense.

So is this vintage-inspired tin cookie canister. I searched all the HS stores I've been to for a second one but to no avail. 

May is also the month when I start to spend more time outdoors in my jardin de fleurs. I am an avid gardener, and seeing plants blooming gives me a sense of accomplishment. This year most of my flowering shrubs start blooming a couple of weeks later due to the harsher winter we had. But they are worth the wait - they are blooming bigger and more vibrant flowers due to the abundant moisture in the soil. This white-rimmed "Sensation" French Lilac shrub gives fuller and more fragrant flowers since last week (May 23). 

This Tulip Angelique is a new addition this spring. I planted the bulbs last fall. They are among the last tulips to bloom, starting out in white. 

In a couple of weeks as they mature, they turn into a soft shade of pink

Then eventually into this hot pink peony-like flowers when they reach peak. 

It's so amazing to be able to capture these moments on camera. I've worked hard to slowly transform my garden into a low-maintenance yet highly productive one with non-stop flowers from April to September. My goal has always been to spend the least amount of time working while getting the best results. So tell me, do you like gardening? Any tips and tricks you can share to create a beautiful and low-maintenance garden? 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Major Score: Bagues Brass Bar Cart

I've always wanted a brass bar cart in my house. I lust a sumptuous bar nook filled with sparkly glassware and colourful liquor bottles. On Saturday as Anthony was driving us to this year's Christie Antique Show, I did my regular browsing on CList on my iPad and came across this Maison Bagues vintage brass bar cart/tea trolley. Sadly, it was in London Ontario, a long way from Christie Lake where the antique show was. I felt so bummed out that I had to yet again miss another brass bar cart. Anthony suggested that we went anyway because if I changed my mind later on it would've been a much longer drive from home. And boy, wasn't I glad I went through with it! 

This vintage brass bar cart is jaw dropping gorgeous! The owners said they bought it from a jewelry store in the 60s and rarely used it so it's kept in mint condition. A Maison Bagues bar cart of similar style is going for $2,300 on 1stdibs

I love the filigree details along the raised rim of the gallery trays. 

I can think of so many ways to style this new baby. 



Stay tuned for the reveal. 

We didn't end up going to the Christie Antique Show on our way back, but I think the bar cart probably more than made up for it. Did you go to the show? How was it this year? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

New Vintage Art III

This one is not quite vintage but it does have the flair - the Ikea Bild Fjallsta picture in a Ribba frame with extra wide mat. The crisp black and white complements a neutral and contemporary bathroom I have in my basement

I think the scale of the framed print works a lot better than this tiny one on the same wall before. 

If you remember I have this large Sydney Berne painting in my dining room.

I found two more original oil paintings by the same artist of the same Mont Tremblant theme. Notice the same red roof chalet? It's the same scene from a different perspective - how cool is that? I am however not too keen on the taupe-coloured wood frames so have been debating whether to change them up for antiqued gold ones. 

Something like these? 

For now they are on the wall at the end of my basement staircase - it's the first thing you see walking down the stairs. 

I am still not liking the frames there. What do you think? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Louis XV Chair Upholstery Fabric Choices

It's been months since I picked up these French Louis XV chairs and I am still debating which upholstery fabric to use. It almost felt like last time I looked at the calendar it was only March, and now it's already mid May - shocking how fast time flies! 

Last week I finally got around to ordering these fabric samples I managed to narrow down to: the top three cotton velvets (in cement, indigo and pewter) are from Tonic Living; the five velvet swatches below are from Discounted Designer Fabrics. Can you tell I really have a thing for velvet fabrics these days? 

I love the touch and feel of the super soft cotton velvet, but not so much the colour choices - "cement" is too cool of a grey with green undertone, "pewter" is too taupe, but I love "indigo". I love this navy shade of blue by itself. It only concerns me a little that it might be hard to work such a strong shade of colour into a room setting. 

The colours of the textured velvets work for me, but I am not so sure about the texture. How embarrassing would it be to leave behind butt prints when you get up from the chair? 

And then there is the animal print fever. I couldn't take my eyes of these two leopard velvets - the print on the left is powerful, fun and sophisticated at the same time; the one on the right is elegant and a more subtle way to use animal print. I love them both, but which one? 

To give you an idea, this is what the chair would look like in leopard velvet upholstery. 

Cowhide print is the one Anthony picked out - he is a big fan of black and white. 

So which one is your favourite? Solid cotton velvet, solid textured velvet, or animal print velvet for a pair of Louis XV chairs? Is animal print a passing fancy? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

All You Need Is Art

The framed Eloise print by Alanna Cavanagh came back and I couldn't be happier. 

I was hoping to find a thinner frame for a cleaner minimalist look but 2 cm seems to be as narrow as it goes. I guess it's all relative to the size of the print. 

This simple and elegant screen print with a pop of colour is exactly what my bedroom needs. Love, love, love it there! 

Not sure if you remember but over a year ago I purchased this abstract art from Julia Di Sano, and one year later I finally got around to having it framed. I chose an extra wide gallery frame in white and I think it makes the vibrant colours in this oil painting stand out even more. 

I found a perfect spot for it in my ground floor powder room. 

The painting instantaneously livens up the powder room - see, all you need is art

*Custom framing by YM Art. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea 2014

I was locked out of my mobile phone for the majority of the weekend because of a stupid password glitch. Tech support at work obviously took the weekend off because my requests to reset the password seemed to have gone into a black hole. What's with the 24x7 service level agreement man? I was so agitated without the ability to check emails and messages - smart phone is a wireless device yet with the longest leash on people I tell ya! After suffering withdrawal symptoms in the first few hours, I slowly and painfully learnt to live without it and accepted the fact that it probably wouldn't be unlocked until Monday. Once over the hump, I actually felt pretty good without it because I could then give my mom my undivided attention this Mother's Day weekend. 

We picked up half a dozen cupcakes from our favourite cupcake place Short & Sweet Cupcakes, and had a relaxing and uninterrupted afternoon tea together. All Mama wanted this Mother's Day was for me to spend time with her and not constantly do things. Wish fulfilled! 

Salted caramel was my aunt M's favourite - we missed her dearly this Mother's Day. 

The Royal Chelsea tea set was my 26th birthday gift from Mama. Over the years I've got a lot of good use out of it mostly for hosting afternoon tea with my girlfriends. Mama was pleased to see me adoring her present so much after so many years. 

The colourful dessert plates are from Maxwell & Williams' Cashmere Enchante collection. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! 

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