Saturday, January 30, 2016

THE NIAGARA LOCAL: foodies & shoppers unite

Getting off the decor train still a bit today as  we go in a different direction.

For my long time followers you are quite aware of my outlying foodie and wine obsessions. I love to cook, I mean really love it. Creating recipes is just about the best thing in the world next to decorating for me and when I don't have time, hunting out new restaurants in our area comes in great second. I also really love foodie movies. Just a side note there as I watched Burnt with Bradley Cooper last night and really enjoyed it.

Trevor and I work disastrously hectic schedules (of our own making) but that doesn't make it any less stressful somedays as we live our dreams of being self employed. Dinner time for us is 9pm. If we make it before that it is a good day.

Eating out is our time to reconnect, enjoy some wine or beer from the local craft breweries.
I have become a huge fan of dark beer over the last year and there is nothing like enjoying beer and wine directly from the makers. The pride and effort that goes into making these places unique and comfortable is evident everywhere you go.
I am also fortunate to have an adventurous eating husband that follows along with my hunt for new food and bevies.

We live in an amazing area for all of these things and I thought it high time I introduced you or refreshed you to one of the sources I use to find these great places.

The Niagara Local is a website written by Kyla Pennie and Vanessa Deeg.

They themselves have strived to make an in depth guide to the ins and outs of the Niagara food, drink and culture scene. 
The photography is out of this world as Kyla takes new photos and learns the ins and outs of her new camera. 

Seriously check out this burger photo for the The Guilty Burger in St. Catharines and I'm not even a huge burger girl. Melting goodness.

They have also started making maps that allow you to start a tour of Niagara including  a butter tart map 
(yes i said a butter tart map)

maps to all the farmers markets, culinary tours and my favourite a local craft beer tour found under the tour tab on their website.

 silversmith brewery in virgil

the good earth in beamsville. an excellent escape for a lovely lunch and the scenery is quite delightful as well. trevor and i usually go here for our birthday lunch every year.

There are bits from their travels including inns like the Mad Maple inn


a new addition to the site is the SHOP LOCAL phenom that, yup you guessed it
Oliver and Rust features a part in.

The ladies were here last weekend for a few hours and were causing quite a stir of excitement taking photos in the shop and moving some of our great new finds around including me.

So on these weekends of winter when you don't feel like throwing a mad mexican fiesta then maybe scope out a new goodie that you might fall in love with to add to your old standby's.

Have a great weekend everyone,


ps- i'm glad some of you that follow along on Facebook took my dancing video seriously as there have been a few bust a move instances in the last few days. I LOVE IT!
YOLO [ do people still say that? always behind i tell ya]

Thursday, January 28, 2016

No stress one pot potluck entertaining.... it exists

Entertaining during the holidays is wonderful but always laden with the extra pressure and stress we put on ourselves. We dress up more, buy more centrepieces, spend more time preparing and the whole night usually goes wonderfully and ends the same way at our place, crowded around a stereo listening to great music.

Entertaining after the holidays feels simpler and is the perfect time to catch up with all the people you couldn't squeeze in between reunions, work parties and exhaustion.

Trevor and I love entertaining and our our home lends a pretty good layout to doing so.

Today's post is actually a sponsored post but in Oliver and Rust style with something you can use or might be interested in as I don't do these very often.
 Kohl's approached me quite some time ago to see if I would be interested in doing a spring refresh for them. After we got past the "I'm in Canada" and the "it's winter here" dilemma to make sure we're all on the same page I was excited to participate in freshening up some area of my home.

I am going to be honest here, these things are hard for me  even with someone else's money to spend. Finding exact things I want that won't just be disposable was tough for me. It may seem that I am flighty fancy with my stuff especially now with the shop but that just isn't the case. I am a lover.
When I find something I love I must have it but, then I have a hard time getting rid of it. Since getting the shop we have gone top to bottom in our home and organized and sorted so many things from when we had our first home, things we might use one day and we are finally down to the end with things we love and only things we love are allowed in now.

When our basement flooded this past summer it forced us into this and I guess it was the silver lining as now I feel better about what we have in our home and our storage areas.

So, to my point here.
Kohl's has a lot of great home stuff, pillows, signs, bedroom, bathroom stuff rows and rows of it but I couldn't get a concesus of enough items I LOVED for me to make an entire post. Things you could rest assured I actually will be using in my home daily and not just because someone asked me to.


Trevor walked into the kitchen area and found a big square BURRITO PAN.
no it isn't called that but if you've been reading here for any length of time you know our obsession with mexican food and burritos in general.
and I had just walked into the placemat area and fallen in love with some round jute placemats.

"What if we do an entertaining post and invite some people over for mexican?"
I love that man.

*and just so we're clear. after we picked up these goodies we did go to chipotle mexican grill for burritos. oh yes we did*

Therefore we give you the ingredients to bringing about a fabulous mexican potluck night.

good friends
great music....

bobby flay press (this gets your burritos nice and crisp on the outside and semi flat for easier eating, also useful for quesadillas, flautas, bacon, panini's you get the point)
dos equis (ahem yes it's required)
great bear bottle opener (to open the previous ingredient, cause no one just wants to stare at it)
(which we will use a lot)

and a fun set table.
i had to work late the night we did this so it became a potluck dinner.
our friends brought the appetizer which almost killed us
(she made the best most amazing tasting jalapeƱo poppers but when she boiled them she did so with the seeds in. i have never eaten so many hot things in a row and kept going. our heads were smoking but we were killing ourselves laughing. we hadn't made the sangria yet so the pitcher became a huge water vessel because we were guzzling at that point)

we used a red grain sack for the runner, added the new jute placemats and i bought a bunch of colourful carnations at the grocery store for some mexican festive fun. i can never decide when i grab carnations, retro or tacky. but i think when they are kept to like colours in each vase and mounded they look kind of fresh and the colours suited this evening perfectly.

there are only pictures of this lovely table pre-food consumption as once the salsa and sour cream come all bets are off and we were busier wiping food off our faces and the table to grab the camera.

but i did manage some steaming action shots of the food before we dived in.

including the double press action happening in the pan. i think trevor is happier than anyone about the second press now and bigger pan.

We finished the night off with churro cupcakes (also no evidence, especially since Franklin made it his mission to swipe all the wrappers everyone kept setting on the table.)

All in all with the winter days still short and being generally banished to the house at night it is the perfect time of year to wrangle in some friends and have a night of enjoying each others company. There is no shame in not doing it all and delegating people into bringing some bits of the meal. Most people don't mind and if taking some of the time and pressure off ensures you can enjoy your night, more power to you.

Now because like I said Kohl's sponsored me to get some killer new entertaining gear, they are being generous enough to give me a $100.00 gift card to give away.
Just leave a comment and Franklin will pick the winner out of a bowl.

Local followers, our closest Kohl's is in Amherst and they do ship using a shipping partner.

Have a great day everyone,


*this post was sponsored by kohl's but all opinion are my own as usual*

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Our winter home even though it keeps raining

Afternoon all.

A little wander around our winter home on the main floor today. After Christmas is over it is always nice to have a clean space again with less stuff. I love the stuff of the holidays, the glitter, the elves but come new years I am ready to box it back up again. I realize that talking about new years when it is almost Groundhog day is a little silly but timing hasn't always been my thing on this here blog. I'm sure we can still enjoy some photos though.

Let's start in the dining room,

 a simple table with a slightly (notice i said slightly) colourful table runner and white & gold votives

 i hung some simple book page wreaths on the doors as my lack of love for the wreaths i am finding lately is overpowering. i don't love wreaths when they are overly done or overly fake looking and i like something different than just plain grapevine sometimes. it is on my list of things to find for the shop as well

i am super happy with this new table runner i got. it was part of the christmas collection at #potterybarn and a girlfriend and i were in toronto and it was on sale so i scooped it up. shopping at pottery barn in canada is a crap shoot. this runner on sale was still in the 70+ dollar range but i had a gift card. the regular prices at our pottery barns here are almost 40% sometimes higher and it sucks. even if you flip on the website the 69.00 runners jump to 125.00. i love pottery barn but shopping from it in canada is ridiculous. i realize about duties and freight etc but it is a huge difference. i actually went into the store to check out the leather irving armchair. (it's quite lovely btw) and the sticker price in the USA is 1099.00, at the store is was 1900 something (1951.00 on the website for those curious) and the saleslady tried to beat me up saying they were changing all the tags that day and the chair was going up to 2400.00 so i should buy it now.
i laughed
then i walked away
an almost 1400 difference for crossing a border.
ok rant over.
because i still love my runner.

and into the living room...

this area of our living room gets a lot of use this time of year for nightly chats, morning coffee, email answering, business planning etc with the fireplace being right there and all

another one of my planters i made at the beginning of the season. this jar is actually a very old antique battery jar we found a few years ago while out hunting for goodies

we have a few hydrangea trees in our yard that i left all the blooms on and have now dried into sculptural beauties. i cut a few and added them to some more of our demijohn display for some whimsy if you will or height if you want to be frank.

a gardenia about to bloom and these grey smoky candleholders i added to my collection from the shop. 

our winter 2016 mantel.

pillows for this season. vintage botanical and ticking, ralph lauren stripe, african mud cloth, vintage mail bags and a smidgen of wool and a smidgen of hemp. all different, all blended together. franklin is partial to laying on the wool ones.

the front foyer...

 " am i doing it right mum? i hear you're supposed to give a little head tilt for the most attractive photo. i mean i don't want to be a selfie snob but this looks good right?"

Have a great day everyone,


again it's been awhile my audiophile friends

What I'm Listening to:
Brown Skin Girl: Leon Bridges
No Room in Frame: Death Cab for cutie

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Taking back my office, vignetter layer style

Good morning and hello to all you out there still under a pile of snow.

We are experiencing a very un-Canadian winter in our area this year with not much snow and really not much cold either. I suppose the one bonus to all that snow if your power stayed on is plenty of time to catch up on your reading, blogging and tv bingeing.

Well one of the things I had planned to catch up for January was reclaiming certain areas of our house. During the chaos of Christmas we were while staying generally clean and tidy throughout our home, not necessarily staying organized with stock and paperwork.

My office space suffered and not really just through Christmas. It has been getting beaten for about a year or so since we got the keys to the shop.
This room has for the last few years been performing multiple duties including etsy stock storage, computer room, sewing room, fabric storage, home paperwork storage, book storage and small plant room.

As the shop continues to get busier and without me really needing more manpower yet, I have transitioned the etsy shop to be a pillow store and no smalls anymore. This means I don't need to store everything in this room and my sewing out grew the this space last spring in here as I now work off a 3 table and rack zone in our heated garage instead.

So needless to say this room has dropped a few of its hats and can now focus on being my office for the hoards of paperwork I always find myself needing to do.

A paperwork genie I am not and I can find lots of reasons to distract myself into not doing it so when the room I need to work in is driving me mad with shit everywhere you can bet I wasn't focusing properly.

So last Sunday I had Trevor take down the ikea shelves and replace them with sturdier braced pine ones that I could load to my hearts content. We took everything out of the room and sorted through every last drawer and file and then I went back to cleaning and re-vignetting.

The wonderful part about redoing my office space is I do not have to think of how any other person will function in here except for me. No one else needs to sit here, they don't need to put their drinks down. I can be as colourful or chaotic as I want. I went through boxes and drawers of stuff and pulled out all my little bits of collections that don't find a home in the house, the books I have jammed in suitcases because I don't want my living room to be too crammed and put them all on display.

The easel in the above photo is from my sister in law because she knew how much I wanted one. The print is a fabric print from artist Heidi Lange and the 2 magazines are the ones our homes appeared in last year.

I moved my table/desk on an angle so I can look out the window and see my shelves but mainly not have to walk around to get to the printer.

Collection center #1. I have had that mask for years and it has been in my closet so I used an old lamp base and mounted it on top. Plants, african basket, bronze cuffs, jars of spools, green shoe forms, moon goddess from a trip to the Dominican. It's all set out for me to enjoy.

And my new shelves. Less homogenous, and more me.
I unwrapped all my previously kraft papered books, got all my design books out and made lots of clutter filled vignettes of all my faves in one place.

The white secretary continues to be the shipping zone for etsy. I store my boxes, tissue paper, string etc. here along with the paper roller for convenience and speediness.

I've made a bunch of these hanging planters for the shop so made a birds nest fern for myself as well. Clean air and looks fab.

I guess my lesson for this is sometimes it just doesn't need to be perfect. A styled home is wonderful and my main spaces won't be changing but this space is where I go to work, be inspired and even play (i got those colouring books too) so this space is allowed to be less matchy and more me.

Have a great day everyone