Thursday, May 31, 2012

From my potting bench

A little inspiration from my potting bench................... which of course would not be complete without a Cardinal.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sarah 101 - Season 2

Canadian design queen Sarah Richardson captured audiences tonight with the airing of Sarah 101 - Season 2. For those of us who can't get enough of Sarah's designs it was a program that had been much anticipated, and she didn't disappoint.

HGTV Canada ran two episodes back-to-back this evening, both featuring the power of white with brights. Episode 1 focused on a dark and dreary dining room in a traditional Toronto home. Sarah and stylist Tommy Smythe turned up the volume with loads of colour accents in a white room anchored with key black pieces.

The dark wood moldings and deep red walls were painted over in white with a band of electric blue punching out between the plate rail and ceiling moldings. Interior wood trim was accented with black - one of Tommy's creations that surprised even Sarah with the final effect. Black accents continued in the chairs, sideboard and door panels. The 'jumping off point' was the unique fabric used for the drapery - a white background with black stick people dressed in bright embroidery clothing.

In typical Sarah fashion the chairs {and sideboard} were professionally spray painted, this time in a solid black shade. Chair seats were covered in outdoor fabric to accommodate the family who has small children. A strong geometric black and white rug completes the look.

The 'white and bright' theme continued with episode 2 when Sarah and Tommy transformed a master bedroom with a solid white foundation and sprays of turquoise, green and coral. The room featured a cat walk to the master bath that was open to the two story staircase below. Rather than close the walkway in with a solid wall or a railing, a wall of tempered glass was installed to allow light to penetrate the space.
Removable vinyl film in a paint wash design was applied to the glass to add detail. The effect was striking, with a soft rainbow of light filtering throughout the staircase {images of this project were not posted yet - check back at later}.


I am always impressed with Sarah's designs and the explanations she shares on the details for the choices made.
Since home base for Sarah Richardson's business is in Toronto, the trades used and the treasure shops hunted are local. Details on products, paint choices and Sarah's own furniture line {indoor and outdoor} can be found HERE.

Dynamic Duo - Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe

{Sarah is wearing a Smythe blazer available at }

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Japanese Tea House - Edgemere Estate

This is how the Japanese Tea House at Edgemere Estate in Oakville might have looked over a century ago. I took this picture several weeks ago when I wandered snuck on to property at the lakefront in Oakville. It was another day out with my camera when I decided to see what all the fuss was about at Edgemere.

The 12 acre property boasts 1,000 feet of prime Lake Ontario shore-line.

It was only two years ago that the estate was listed for sale at $45 Million, earning the title of the most expensive residential property ever listed in Canada. It reportedly sold for $35.5 Million to Niche Development.
For Developer Marc Hewitt from Niche, it was important that the property did not end up carved into multiple detached home lots. "It's really the last big, intact, romantic estate on this part of the lake and it would be a real shame to cut it up into bits and pieces. Even if the heritage buildings remained intact, the linkages would be lost'.

Today the development of 30 ultra-luxurious condominiums has begun, and the 32,000 sq foot mansion that is currently still standing, will soon be demolished.
Many of the original structures on the property will remain and be restored, the stone Tea House is one of the more romantic features that will be developed.

Edgemere Private Residences -  TeaHouse

I was excited when I wandered through the garden nursery rooms, boat house, gardens, and discovered room after room of original structures. I knew little about the property development at that point and kept thinking the entire time I snapped away with my camera, 'I really hope they don't tear all this down'.
I have since delved into the plans that are well into play for the new residences and the amenities that will be offered to the home owners.

Nursery room at Edgemere

artists rendering of the nursery room and gardens at Edgemere  Private Residences

The properties at Edgemere Private Residences are described as 'elegant condominiums' ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 sq feet, with list prices starting at $2.5 Million. There are ten buildings each designed with three residences, carefully situated to offer spectacular views of Lake Ontario.
Parking will be underground to minimize the footprint on the grounds.

The 5,714 sq ft residence is currently still available and is the most expensive with a list price of $6,995,000 {albeit that you may be able to capture it for the preview price of $ 6,645,250.}

artists rendering Edgemere Private Residences

Ten buildings with three condominiums in each.

Exploring the turn of the century style English garden and property of Edgemere, I continually thought back to the families who built the extravagant original home, and the enjoyment they received from the striking vista. It is a unique site line looking back from the lake at the seawall, the Japanese Tea House, the current estate home and the cranes in the background carving out a new oasis.

I have to admit that the condominium idea is not for me ...... at least right now {albeit these residences seem more like houses built side-by-side}. But I do like Marc Hewitt's vision for the property and I feel it does fit the shoreline of the community better than another development of streets filled with mansions blocking the lake view.
Although the land is zoned for 30 percent site coverage, the developers are using only 11 percent for new buildings and restoring much of the existing stone structures. The property includes a stone edged creek that runs to Lake Ontario and will feature mostly gardens. There are several hundred mature tree's on the property which are protected by the Oakville Tree Protection plan; Niche will add many more mature tree's the landscape plans.

aerial view of Edgemere boat house

After exploring the property for a while....... I went to leave and discovered the gates closed and locked. I was inside with my car. I thought I would need to explain myself to the main office so that I could leave. As welcoming as they were allowing me to wander the estate and take pictures of it's past, they simply opened the gates for me to drive out with my treasure of great images.
It's pleasing to know that many of the buildings will be used or restored to bring back the Victorian charm of the estate property. It will be a few years before the project is complete, but possibly I will be able to steal a few images of the marriage of the aged beauty of Edgemere Estate as it meets the new Private Residences.

Here are some images from my trek on the property......

one of two charming original bridges over the creek

I imagine many heart-to-heart conversation took place at the Japanese Tea House

stone from Lake Ontario and aged beams create the Tea House pillars

Original boat house in the background and the lake wall will be restored.

one of the garden rooms

can you imagine what this was like originally - it will be stunning restored

note the stone wall topped with iron gate in the background - this remains around the property

The charm of an old door handle, the patina of lake stones, and the design of a Japanese Tea House mixes with a new design for living, creating a romantic elegance that is Edgemere.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Let the sun shine

Finally it is a sunny and glorious weekend........ and we have an extra day to relax.
For Canadians this is a long weekend as we celebrate Queen Victoria's Birthday and the unofficial start of the summer.

Let the sun shine...... the bar-b-que fire up......... and the celebratory fireworks begin. 

vintage Vogue

Taurus in the house

Baby Kya is sharing the birthday spotlight with her Grandpa this week..... and Richard doesn't mind one bit.

There are a thousands things I could tell you about the wonderful man in my life, but to keep this intimate and simple..... he's an incredible man. Truly the best. There is no one more deserving of having all of his birthday wishes come true.

Happy Birthday Honey !!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Twenty-four Months

This is a picture of my Daughter with her precious baby Kya. My Granddaughter was only a few days old when I took this picture, and at the time I mentioned that it appeared that she was aware of smiling for the camera. Literally thousands of pictures later I can attest that Kya really did know the magic of the lens. Like my Daughter, she is a magnet for a camera......... so photogenic the two of them.

Today Kya Isabella turns TWO. I think this is the point that I am supposed to insert the pout notation :(     But the truth is that it has been the most magical time for us as a family having this Angel in our lives. She is the one responsible for our generous smiles over the last two years.  :)

I wrote last year about the BIG ONE birthday here and the birthday soiree here. Baby K wasn't the only one experiencing firsts, this 'first' baby turned our world upside down in the most wonderful way. Our family has rejoiced in the special addition of this sweet little girl.

I love this picture of Kya sitting in Richard's hands. She looks SO tiny at only a week old, and yet her expression is something that we have a glimpse of every time she is intently watching something {usually Elmo}.

It is amazing how much a little person can impact your life. I watch Richard literally melt when she wraps her arms around his neck..... he holds back the tears of joy every time.
Uncle Dallas has a bevy of pictures on his phone and all around his apartment of his 'munchkin'. She bops into the room and says 'Hi Daz'..... another man melting at her feet.

There was something from the very start, a feeling really that I had before she was born; I just knew that my Granddaughter and I would have a special bond..... and we do.


Kya getting an early start on cake.

Kya can count to 16, spell her name, identify colours on items without being prompted {future designer}, and can operate all of the electronic items we own {and unlock phones}. Her boyfriend is Elmo, and she mentions his name as many times a day as a 16 year old girl who has discovered dating.
She is the happiest little girl I've ever seen - and that is because my Daughter provides the right amount of love and discipline.

I am cautious adding pictures to the blog of my Granddaughter - usually selecting ones that are early images or distant shots. My Daughter agreed that giving everyone a peak at Kya's cute-ness now would be nice.

So here she is ..... the birthday girl. Our little Angel. 
Twenty-four months ...... TWO, the time has just flown by.

Happy Birthday Kya Isabella.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Skin and Makeup advise from a PRO

Do I need toner?  What is the correct way to apply lip pencil and lipstick for a natural look?  How do I fill in my brows?  How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

The answers to these and many more questions regarding skin care and makeup applications will addressed by a talented makeup artist here at Glamour Begins At Home.

I've asked an experienced Make Up Artist to she share her knowledge, tips and tricks to helping you look your best. I have given her a long list of questions that I think most women need help with. If you have a specific skin care or makeup application question, please send us a note.

One tip she has already shared with me is : Hard as Hoof that I wrote about HERE - is also available at {just in case the trek to Walmart is not on your list}.

Stay tuned.......... this feature is coming soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

love Mom xo

Did you get the how-to handbook in the delivery room? Me either. And miraculously my children turned out wonderfully. The truth is that they both made it easy for me to be their Mom, these were trouble free children {insert envy here}.
Readers of my blog know how important my role as a Mother and Grandmother is for me and how I know that I have been blessed. I've always said that "the reason that I am here is to be a Mother". And while parenting isn't for everyone, for me it has been everything.

My children were really young when I divorced {so was I} - and at that age the idea of Mother's Day for them was knowing that they'd go out for a pancake breakfast. I decided we all had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, so pancakes at the local breakfast spot it was. I would give them a little trinket gift and love notes expressing how proud I was that they picked me to be their Mommy. But it really was about being together ...... and the pancakes of course.

Now I get to be the doting Grandmother to Kya {absolutely the cutest baby in the world}. When my Daughter was pregnant, several people asked me what I would be called - Nana, Nanny, Grandma.... or something else. Proudly - I am Grandma.
Recently Kya has started to call me Swee..... and my Daughter told me that she is trying to say Sweetie.
My heart melts every time she calls out; 'oh swee, Swee'.

Baby K last summer ..... my Daughter and I have shoe envy.

As a single parent it was important for me to keep traditions and build new ones with my children. Now the fun of carrying on our traditions and developing them further with our Granddaughter assures me that even without a how-to handbook, I took the right path.

To my children; you've given me a mountain of reasons to say I am proud. 
Love Mom

Happy Mother's Day to every woman who answers to the name MOM!
Happy Mother's Day to my best friend Cyndi, who just became a first time Grandmother last night with the arrival of her Grandson - Grayson. {visit her blog here

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Finally, hard nails

I have always had soft nails that split and peeled just as they started any bit of growth. Years ago....... when my Daughter was a toddler, I started wearing acrylic nails. It was my solution to pretty nails all the time. I just didn't intend to wear acrylic that long.
It was back in the 80's when long nails and nail art was a big trend. I look back at pictures of me holding one of my kids and wonder how I didn't stab them in the eye. Sensibly I cut my nails to a shorter more professional length and always wore them with a french manicure finish.
I switched to wearing bio-gel nails over the recent years, which were a bit less invasive {who was I kidding}. I never had fungus or any other nail problems on my natural nails, which can happen easily with artificial nail applications.

via philocaly

I always were a bright colour polish on my toes - all year long, and love getting pedicures.  But I prefer to wear my fingernails natural, without polish - how ironic.

It was back in the late 80's that the owner of the nail shop I went to asked me to train with her. I worked part-time learning about nail applications, pedicures, manicures, and nail art techniques. Later I took a space of my own in a hair shop providing nail services, but most of my business came from a mobile nail service that I offered.
Nail art has recently re-surged and is being presented as a fashion accessory with a variety of colours and applications. I seriously hope that the trend does not include long nails again.

I've tried a couple of times to leave the acrylic off for extended periods of time, but my natural nails broke at the quick {ahh painful} and peeled. No wonder - the poor little nail beds were crying out.
This January I was refinishing a piece of furniture for a friends baby nursery; my nails were in need of a manicure and took a beating via the refinishing project. I left the acrylic off and began a two month project of treating my nails. I tried everything - all of those notable nail products that dominate the market. It was worse - I'm convinced that the products are designed to dry out your nail and send you on a search for more products.

Then I remembered an interview with Shania Twain where she mentioned that her biggest beauty secret was using the cream for horses hoofs on her nails. Off to google I went to find horse hoof cream ..... and I discovered a nail cream called Hard as Hoof.
The reviews were glowing, and this was my last ditch effort to help my now almost non-existent nails. My search for where-to-buy took me to Walmart. I think I paid about $7 and change for this nail cream. And it is amazing!

I love that this product can be applied into your nail bed over nail polish. I massage this into my nails several times a day and always before I go to bed. It is non greasy and smells like almond paste - AND, it works!!
Ta-da, my nails are growing and they are not splitting or peeling like they used to. I've started getting regular manicures and really enjoy wearing a soft blush natural nail bed shade of colour.

It's just one more step to a healthier regime that I've promised myself I'm going to stick with.

via stockart