Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Welcome 2014

Here's a toast to the year that just was and the new one that awaits.

Wishing you a New Year that is filled with 





good health.


Sunday, December 29, 2013


In a few days the clock will tick over past midnight and a New Year will be welcomed in.  With a fresh New Year before us it offers the opportunity to put to rest a year that may have played out less than kind, to give thanks for the year that blessed your doorstep, or to give hope to the next 365 days before us.

When you raise a glass of champers, what is mixed in with the celebration?
Is it a promise to yourself?
Do you begin a resolution?

Statistics show that 45% of people make a resolution, but only 8% achieve their goals. For most of us the proclamations are too far out of reach to fulfill. 

Setting realistic intentions that you know are achievable will ensure that self-made promises last past Valentine's Day. 

Experts suggest that we:
1)  share goals with friends and family so they can help cheer you on
2)  substitute good behaviour for those that you want to shed 
3)  record your progress and changes
4)  celebrate the small successes along the way

Do you set a New Year's Resolution?
What is your goal for 2104?

Friday, December 27, 2013

After Christmas Shopping

I've never been a big fan of Boxing Day shopping. Once the Christmas gifts are bought, wrapped... then unwrapped, and all the cooking is done, I'm not feeling the need to fight the crowds to buy something more.

Retailers open their doors for longer hours than they ever did before and I'm not really certain that it results in more sales, but rather sales spread out over those hours.

I'd rather spend time getting together.

Do you enjoy the after Christmas sales rush? 

How do you spend the days after the turkey digests?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your loved ones a

Joyous Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Simple Gifts

Among all the rushing to get last minute things prepared for Christmas, I love to sit and take in some simple pleasures that make the season special.  

It is the quite moments late at night with the Christmas lights aglow and quietly sitting next to the tree to enjoy the ornaments that have become little treasures over the years.

As much as I have built traditions for my family over the years, I have tucked a few selfish moments aside for myself to enjoy every Christmas. 
Fussing with decorations is one of those personal little gifts.

Not all gifts come in Santa's sleigh. 
Some of the real gifts are in the smell of your favourite cookies baking, taking time to write messages from your heart in the holiday cards, setting the dinner table with festive trimmings. 

As you rush to prepare for Christmas, what pleasurable things do you do just for yourself?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cardinal House : Brick by Brick

Things are taking shape at Cardinal House, brick by brick.

New front entrance at Cardinal House.

Everything about the front entrance of the house is new, with the exception of the angel stone. The angel stone from the living room fireplace and the exterior wall around the old entrance was preserved. The masonry team reworked the stone to blend with the existing front exterior of the house, they added 4 inch stone ledges at the entrance and under all the windows.

 original entrance
The angel stone wall to the right of the old front door was carefully taken down. The new entrance was expanded out and built beyond the old porch area. We chose a black wood grain vinyl door with black sidelights {by Accurate Aluminum Works} - the interior colour is satin black as well.

Inspiration for the new door and side panels.

Chameleon Masonry carefully blended the stone to create a seamless look. Once the mortar was dry you would think that the window and door openings had always been there.

masonry being worked around the new windows and entrance

Part of the design plan is to tint the brick and stone in the spring when the temperatures heat up. It may be hard to believe that we are changing the colour, because on it's own the stone looks pretty. But every house on the block is brown and beige ......  not our choice of colour.
The masonry will be perma-tinted a soft grey colour. The roof is black and with the eaves in a soft satin black it will give the appearance that the roof line is extended. The soffits will be the same colour as the windows, which is cashmere.
Painting the brick would not allow the house to breath properly {Ok, I'm sure there is a more technical term, but that is the jest of it}, so that is why we are tinting both the brick and stone.

Do you believe this..........

wall outside the master suite

used to be this ..........

old wall at the master suite

The team from Chameleon Masonry have been busy at work under a heated tent that encases the back of the house. Once the trusses and roof were up, the back wall of the house {in the black and white picture above} came down. The new master suite was extended with the long windows and glass doors over looking the lanai.

We love the brick and stone details.

brick work on the new back wall of the house

The outdoor wood burning fireplace has been started. The cyder block fireplace base {yesh, is that what it is called?! } is in place and will be completed in the spring when the warmer weather allows for special finishes to be added.

the start of our outdoor fireplace - it now extends up to the roof of the lanai

The short brick walls will be capped on the top and provide the perfect spot for wood logs underneath and maybe a floral pot sitting above. The fireplace treatment will be over-grouted stone to create the look of old world stone.

inspiration for the lanai
Inspiration from Patina Farm - over-grouted stonework.

Brick and stonework outside of the new piano room.

Part of the new addition includes a piano room. There are long windows on two sides of the room and it is completely open to family room on the other side. The windows are full length and have been finished with 4 inch stone ledges outside. My garden plan is to fill the flower bed outside of the window with blue Nicky Hydrangea.

Before : the outdoor deck area where the new piano room has been built.

entrance from the lanai to the family room

The entrance to the family room has since been completed with brickwork. The floor of the lanai was poured with a slight angle to allow any water to run off the edge, it made the application of the bricks more of a challenge. Chameleon Masonry did a great job in the finishes and applications.

Each time Richard and I go out on the lanai area, we stand there and say, 'this is the place where we will be the most'. The completion of the over-grouted stone work on the fireplace in the spring and the brick tinting will bring the look we have been dreaming about.

On the blog  For the Love of a House, I read about the idea of a House Blessing Cross for the blessing of a new house. I bought one of the crosses made by artist Jan Barboglio and gave it to Richard for Christmas last year. The cross has been tucked away, waiting for the completion of Cardinal House and the day we have the house blessed.

Jan Barboglio House Blessing Cross

When one of the tree's on the property had to be taken down and I saved a small log for the cross to be nailed to. It's easy to envision the log and cross sitting up on the new mantel of the outdoor fireplace. It's these warm thoughts of what is to come and the little touches that help us get through the long construction phase.

The house is bricks and mortar - but our HOME is so much more.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The calendar is chasing me.

I have to admit there are many times that I take pictures of events we go to or of things we are doing, all with the intention to write about it on the blog. The pictures never make it to the page. Right now I feel as if the calendar is chasing me. It might not be so hard to accept if it was March and spring was racing towards us, but it's Christmas that is coming way too quickly.

Kya's Santa stop sign at the parade.

I which there were pictures of pretty Christmas decorations at our house to show you, but the truth is that I've been too busy to decorate. It hasn't all been work, there have been some fun events together that have gone to recently - the Santa parade...... the Lowe's Christmas Market. My Granddaughter has been excitedly making little ornaments and singing her heart out with all of the popular Christmas songs.

Santa did come to town at the Oakville parade.

We have a week of dance rehearsals, ballet recitals, and Christmas concerts at pre-school. Did I mention our Granddaughter is only 3 and a half?!

A few weeks ago I took Kya to the Lowe's Christmas Market at the Distillery District in Toronto. If you are in the Toronto area the market is on until this Sunday.
The Distillery District is the perfect place to hold the market. The buildings are all original old stone and brick buildings set in the cobble roads. The art galleries and shops reflect the era of the original buildings.

The Lowe's market was well planned ensuring that vendors fit in with the Distillery District. When we wandered through the streets I felt somewhat out of place and imagined it would be more comfortable strolling in long layered skirts and a winter bonnet.

The restored buildings in the Distillery District are incredible.

Lowe's lined the pathways with a generous amount of winter greenery. The wood burning fire pits are surrounded by casual outdoor seating area's - the perfect spot to enjoy a bevy.

Kya rode the carousel, visited Santa at his outdoor house and wandered with me beneath the string of white holiday lights. We had great fun!
If you are in the Toronto area this weekend stop by the Distillery District and step back in time at the Lowe's Christmas Market.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pioneer of Peace

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
                                                                                                                     Nelson Mandela

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."
                                                                                                                       Nelson Mandela

"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
                                                                                                                                                              Nelson Mandela

"Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people."
                                                                                                                                            Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918 - 2013



Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Post Cards from Paris

Vicki Archer from French Essence did a little shopping while in Paris at the beginning of November. The shopping included buying something special for her readers.....forty vintage post cards with various scene's from Paris.
It was HERE that Vicki generously offered to share the post cards and send them out to readers of French Essence.

I was very happy to receive an email from Vicki asking for my mailing address so that a card could be sent out to me. Today the carefully inked envelope arrived in the mail, inside was a pretty linen paper card with a watercolour painting of a home {Mas de Berard} that looks remarkably like Sharon Santoni's home on My French Country Home.

Inside is a quick note from Vicki {doesn't she have the prettiest handwriting?} and the vintage post card. The post card is marked PARIS - Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - La Passerelle - Le Lac - Le Belvedere - P. P. C. Paris and it has a 10 cent stamp.  
I  will need to have the assistance of one of my friends to read the message written in French, but I love the tightly scripted handwriting on the back of the card.

When I look at something like this with age, I can't help but envision someone sitting down to carefully write a note to a friend and then wandering across the cobbled streets of Paris to post it.

It will take a few more months until Cardinal House is ready for move in, but this little treasure already has a special spot waiting in our new home.

Vicki : Thank you for the lovely gift.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's about YOUR presence.

A Gift Wrapped Life

While you digest the turkey dinner from yesterday and watch the news of people fighting in the big box stores for scraps of future gifts ...... 

It is not about the presents - it's about YOUR PRESENCE. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Say Something

Her new look may be understated, but the power of Christina Aguilera's voice cannot be hidden in the newly released song 'Say Something'. Truthfully the real power comes with Christina's control throughout the ballad, this is not the take-the-high-note and belt-it-out-song you're used to hearing her perform.

The young and powerful song writing talents of Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino of Great Big World, are the duo behind the tear soaked lyrics. The pair were approached by Christina who requested the opportunity to sing on one of the tracks for Say Something, the result is a song that will grab at your heart.

Ian Axel is a passionate musician with a dynamic voice that pulls you into the song, while Aguilera disciplines her voice and compliments him. The combination is soft and sweet, yet a powerhouse combination at the same time.

Christina Aguilera on the video Say Something

They will perform the song at the American Music Awards this Sunday, where I imagine the set will be simple to allow the ballad to breath {just as Christina said she wanted it to}. The real volume from this new recording will come from the repeated airplay it will surely receive.
Ian Alex and Chad Vaccarino are explosively talented song writers who are best known for their single This Is The New Year. And if you aren't familiar with them yet, you will be when this song takes hold of your heart.

Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino song writers of Say Something

Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere, I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.

The message is so simple .... Say Something. Yet we all know that there are times in our lives when we just cannot get the words out. The moment is lost, the time never comes again. We walk away from someone we truly love without saying what is on our mind for fear of destroying what had been. People in our lives go and we don't have the chance to tell them all the simple things that are within our hearts.

The words are a simple message that will draw you into the soft lyrical cry. This song will haunt you and make you think at a much deeper level. And you may realize that you should dig deeper and Say Something.