Photo inspiration + weekend links

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We've known that we need to do some reinforcing of our bathroom floor for a little while, but the project is moving up the priority list faster than I might like. The good news is that we get to pick out new flooring. And we might as well tile the tub surround while we're at it, right?

I could stare at pictures of beautiful bathrooms all day, so I've been having lots of fun pinning inspiration. I'm especially drawn to traditional/vintage bathrooms (my next house needs to have a claw foot tub). Right now I'm thinking white hex tiles for the floor (with dark grey grout) and subway tile on the walls (with white grout).

The weather is GORGEOUS here today and I'm hoping it sticks around for the weekend. I started training for my half-marathon, so tomorrow starts with my first long-ish run (it's only my second week of training; the race is at the end of July). We're also planning to start digging the patio (!) and we've got a co-ed bridal shower on Sunday (I'm curious, have you been to a co-ed bridal shower? Thoughts?). What are you up to?

A few links to kick off your weekend:

-Here's the half-marathon I plan to run. Any locals want to join me?
-I love this wedding's peach, mint + gold colour scheme (and it was styled by fellow-Maritimer Jane of Modern Jane Design). So pretty!
-Even vegetarians can enjoy BBQ season.
-I'm also one of the 40% (except not, because I live in Canada and Adam stays home with Hannah + works). Some of the responses to this study have really upset me; I think this one gets it right.

an obsession with sciolari

This all began with a light I missed at auction.  It was a huge opaque white and amber ice glass chandelier, ugly but good ugly and I had never seen anything like it before.  I googled "ice glass chandelier" and before I knew it I was smitten with mid century modern chandeliers.  

I missed the light, I bid a top of $500 and looking back I could have paid triple and still had a bargain, it went for $550.  (Muffled screams of frustration).  I didn't win the auction but I certainly caught the bug: Kalmar the king of ice glass chandeliers; and Sciolari's timeless classics.

I can't understand why these have not been brought back into production.  I would happily buy a replica.  The pieces are sculptural, much more interesting than the majority of modern and expensive offerings out there.
Unfortunately I am not alone in my obsession and these lovely pieces are expensive to buy, probably around $3,500 upwards for a good one.  When you think how sculptural they are, and how unique, that is not as extravagant as it sounds.  A a good painting will cost you at least that.

Gaetano Sciolari designed these amazing modernist masterpieces from the 50's to the 70's, working with large lighting firms like Stilnovo (Milan) and Lightolier (New York) before starting to manufacture his own line.

So here I am trawling the web for a forgotten bargain, like the one I missed out on.  Do you have a treasure you hunt for?  Oh well, happy hunting...  

backyard addition....

As I tried desperately to get my wound up child to go to bed tonight, Aubrey worked away on our newest addition to the house in our backyard. In the dark. Being bitten by mosquitos. We're trying to have it ready for the weekend for when Oscar has a few of his little friends over for some fun - Aubrey definitely earned a "Daddy of the Year" award for this. I'll reveal more next week after I've moved it around the yard in the search for the perfect spot. :) Now I'm going to go crash after trying to keep up with my three year old. ;) xo

three years old...

Oscar turns three today! Yay!
Here was the first post introducing our little man to the blog, and here is a series of posts that include my sweetheart. :)

Our bed has a new pillow and I want a new sewing machine

Last night after I put Hannah to bed, I decided to fix a tear in the seam of one of my sweaters. I realized it was really a job for the sewing machine, so of course I thought, 'hey - if I'm going to go to the trouble of breaking out the sewing machine, I might as well sew that throw pillow for our bed'. Yeah, that throw pillow that required sewing in a zipper - only the second one I've ever done.

The sweater was an easy fix, but the pillow was a major pain in the you-know-what. My sewing machine (actually my mom's) randomly loses bobbin tension and I can't figure out why. Each new project requires plenty of of wasted thread, finger crossing and silent prayers to the gods. It may have taken me at least twice the time, but the pillow is done (and the zipper works).

Our cat, Henry Rollins (he looks cute, but he can be vicious), approves. The fabric is Marrakesh Firefly Ikat and it's even more gorgeous in person (like, in the picture above, I'm just as likely to pet the fabric as the cat).

You may remember that I already sewed two throw pillows for the bed using this fabric, but I later swiped the forms for our couch. I'm digging the simplified look (I did something similar in the guest room and I still love it), but it kind of breaks my heart that those beautiful slipcovers are stuck in a closet. Maybe I should host a giveaway?

We Interrupt This Program...

Pictures often speak louder than words.

Yes, that's my kitchen floor.
Oh the mess.
Oh the smell.
It's kinda like buried treasure.
Except it's not at all like that.

We have rotten drain pipes in our kitchen.
Under the concrete.

Do wish us luck.
And if you play the lottery then please stop so I can win.

West Elm Preview

I was invited to attend the West Elm media preview last week to see what's new in the store. I adore this store. I feel like everyone in the store is friends, and have a soft spot because I was invited to take part in this event in 2011. Here are some shots of items I loved during my walk through...

I just really loved the typography and how fun these glasses were.

I should have really picked up this honey jar (above), I've been coveting it for a year. But we don't use a lot of honey - but I still can't stop loving the design of it.

I actually got giddy when I saw that they had a HUGE collection of succulents in the store. I've been obsessed with making a terrarium and West Elm has everything you need to make one. As in dirt, stones, plants and obviously pretty stylish vessels. I may have also felt like I won the lottery when they gave me the following terrarium to take home...

Not an awesome picture but it's a selfie of me and my terrarium. :) It actually ended up staying at my Mom's (I was still living with her at the time of the event) and I thought she'd like it so it's living with her. But I'll be heading back to the store to get some more items to make my own for my house. Maybe one of these? 

I think I saw in an article once that if you're a blogger you need to have either a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree or an array of succulents so I figure I've got both almost covered now. ;) Are you into the succulents?

Growing lavender

How was your weekend? We had a wet and cold one, so we spent most of it indoors, hanging out with Adam's family. My MIL gave me some lavender plants from her garden and I can't wait to get them in the ground (hopefully later today). Lavender is my absolute favourite scent and the colour is oh-so-pretty. Here are some big and small ways to use it in your yard - which one would you choose?



I love lavender and boxwood together - this may be what happens in my yard.


...and my new favourite window box idea.


Any experience growing lavender? What's your favourite scent?

our biggest morning tea

We had the loveliest Big Morning Tea this morning and I just had to share the star of the show with you all.  A very creative and talented friend made this gorgeous Tea Party cake for us all to share.  Isn't it amazing?  
I am happy to admit when I have been out caked any day of the week, especially when we all get to eat the cakes afterwards.
Details of the gorgeous little girl complete with a bite out of her sandwich, the little doggie with his silver studded collar, jam cakes and tea cups.

I served up my share the love cupcakes and a pink ombre lemon cake with a bircher muesli.  If you want to make your own have a look at my rainbow layer cake secrets when I made Miss J's rainbow layer cake.  Another friend brought an incredible Dutch apple cake which was spiced and sweet and delicious.  It is safe to say none of us went hungry.
Hope you have a morning tea of your own, what could be better than breakfast with friends and raising money for a great cause.  Let me know whats on your menu.

share the love... 2013 big morning tea

In honour of my Auntie Bar, who lost her battle with cancer a few years ago, I am hosting a Big Morning Tea this year.  Its been a big day of baking, and not much blogging, as I prepare cupcakes and a pink ombre layer cake for tomorrow morning.

I will share the layer cake, and a truly amazing cake a dear friend is making later this week.
For now, remember to hold those dear to you tight today, and our thoughts go to all the people and their families who are fighting this battle right now.  

Please feel free to copy and use my "share the love" cupcake topper if you want to make your own cupcakes to help support this event.

This tea is part of the Cancer Councils Biggest Morning Tea series for 2013 and we will be donating all funds from the morning to the Cancer Council.

Baker's Twine - Buy 1, Get 1 Free

Like Baker's Twine? I'm obsessed. My new favourite colour is black - it goes perfectly with kraft wrapping paper. I thought I'd post about a sale going on in my shop for this week only - when you buy 1 roll of twine, you can pick a second roll, free. Buy two rolls, you get an additional two rolls free ... and so on, and so on. Anyhow, this won't happen again anytime soon so I thought I'd post here because it is such a fun promotion. Click here to read more about the sale. xo Lindsay

happy friday

Nothing much to end this week but I had to post this video that my brother played for me, that had us in tears laughing. So basically the background is a husband recorded his wife, who was drunk, telling a joke. He then did an animation to her (drunken) story telling. It makes me laugh so much. Another video (that has some bad language so if you're at work careful) is this video - I also love Will Sasso. I have a childish sense of humor. ;) xo Linds

busy mum's ginger and all spice biscuits

This a recipe straight from the store cupboard.  So when your daughter says, at half past five on a mid-week afternoon, "Mum I need to take some biscuits to school tomorrow for a class party", you can channel your inner Super Mum and say, "Yes dear, lets make them right now" without batting an eyelid or dropping those other ten balls you are juggling.
Its also a great recipe for little children to make because the cookies are formed by rolling a ball, just like playing with play dough.  Fun for everybody, and yummy afterwards too.

- 100g butter
- 100g golden syrup
- 100g light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger & 1 teaspoon of mixed spices
- 225g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

Heat oven to 180 degrees.

Put a stove top pot on your kitchen scales and zero the weight.
Add the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar.
Put the pot on the stove and heat slowly until butter is melted, stir with wooden spoon to combine.
Sift flour, spices and bicarb into the pot and mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are blended and you have a play dough like consistency (see above left).

Wait for 5 minutes until dough is cool enough to handle.

Now for the fun part.  Scoop out a heaped teaspoon of dough and roll roughly into a ball.  Toddler skills are fine, the balls do not have to be perfect as the dough melts in the oven.  They should all be roughly the same size so that they take the same time to cook.

Place biscuits on a tray with a bit of space between each ball.  I like to use a silicon mat but you can use baking paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until cracks appear in the surface and biscuits are golden but not brown (above right).  Take biscuits out of the oven but leave them on the baking tray until they are cool and hard.  Best enjoyed dunked into tea or coffee.

Be careful about watching the biscuits, they go from brown to burned in a flash.  We didn't hear the timer and I went from Super-Mum-with-home-made-biscuits to Normal-Mum-buys-biscuits-from-store-on-way-to-school in the blink of an eye.  

Luckily we had enough for round two.  Sweet as a nut as the saying goes.

Patio mood board

Thanks to everyone who sent along warm wishes and positive thoughts for my return to work. The transition has gone smoothly so far - I even managed to get out for a run after putting Hannah to bed last night. I can't describe Hannah's excitement when I walk through the door at the end of the day, but I don't think I've ever seen her that happy and it feels pretty awesome to be the cause (Adam tells me she's been great during the day, too). Of course, we're all still figuring out our new schedules and routines (hello, pumping at work), so I really do appreciate your encouragement.

One of the projects I'm hoping to make some more progress on soon is our (future) backyard patio. I was inspired by Tracy's gorgeous backyard makeover in the May issue of Style at Home to put together a mood board. Our next step is to start digging the patio itself, so hopefully this will help inspire us through all that manual labour!

1 - Since the first moment of patio scheming, I've imagined string up lights. Without an outdoor outlet, this may not be possible, but I'm not giving up yet!

2 - I received two handmade navy blue and white striped pillows for Christmas (similar to these outdoor pillows) and I've been trying to figure out the best spot for them. They can't stay out in the rain, but they'll add some much needed style to our patio when the sun is shining.

3 - Thanks to everyone who offered their two cents on my side table makeover. I'm still tempted to go bright, but I'm also drawn to the classic appeal of this West Elm version. I can see it standing the test of time, or at least my ever-changing tastes.

4 - We already own these chairs in dark brown. Someday it would be nice to upgrade to the real thing, but they do the trick for now. Plus, I like that they're lightweight, stackable and easy to clean.

5, 6 & 7 - I know I'm a little late to the party, but I'd love to try making my own DIY concrete containers for the patio. These planters are sold in Australia, but they're great inspiration. I'd love to have separate planters filled with a brightly-coloured flower like angelonia and ornamental grass. We already have lots of ribbon grass on our property, so it should be easy to transplant.

In case you missed it, you can check out my inspiration for the patio itself here.

tiling the washroom

Tile is going in. :) For the shower I chose a really huge porcelain tile that looks like marble but doesn't have the upkeep. I'm in love with them. They definitely make the shower feel much more modern and really super clean. I love the reduction of grout lines compared to what we had before.

I would have liked to continue the same huge  tile on the floor, but I was worried about such large tiles being slippery. So we ended up going with hexagon tiles. I'm not totally sure it is the right choice - but the washroom is so small that I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's proving to take awhile to do the tile as Aubrey is doing it on his days off. But we're getting closer!

a quick trip before coming home

I'm back home! But before I did the official move back, we did a quick trip to the cottage for the long weekend. Three cars full of adults, one (soon to be) three year old and a dog = the best weekend ever.

The weekend obviously included some antiquing. Or as Aubrey says "looking at old stuff." Aubrey got out of having to accompany me to antique stores as my brother is like me and enjoys the hunt of trying to finding treasures. (See this post on some of my favourite spots in cottage country) I spotted that awesome spindle bed, and although I have no place to put it in our house I ended up buying it because it was ridiculously well priced and I always regretted passing this one up in 2011. Plus, since we have a shed - I now have a place to store it. I'm thinking it would be gorgeous painted a green? I also spotted that HUGE green glass jar and sent Debra a picture as I remembered that she had blogged about liking similar jars. We got rid of an old favorite chair that was on its last legs - but before it went to the dump each family member sat in it and my brother took a picture. It made for a series of hilarious shots.

Back to the house - the bathroom is continuing to be tiled - Aubrey found the larger tiles to be slightly more difficult than the small subway tiles but he is now on a roll. I'll post some updates on the bathroom tomorrow!

xo Linds

Ps., Can you spot the moon in the top photo?

natural light and a glimpse of my home

Two of the design features I like most in my own home are the internal courtyard and the generous gallery entrance.  These were elements we knew we wanted and our architects Saville Isaacs incorporated them into the space better than I could have imagined.  The whole area is flooded with natural light all day long, and the courtyard is a cool retreat from summer's heat.
The house was very tidy when these photos were taken (by the lovely Maite Robin for Prebuilt), and I have to say I felt it looked a little empty.  There is still so much detail and texture I want to add.  Like grass cloth wall paper for the wall behind the dining room table, and cabinetry for the wall behind the couch - both on my dream list for right now.
Do you remember the West Elm chandelier that was on my dream list last year?  I couldn't resist it in the end, and I love it above the dining table.  

The oak floors are my favourite finish, neither too rustic nor too polished, they make every thing else sing.
The light filled gallery, our paintings are on an east facing wall, out of the worst of the sun.  Most of the art you can see is my mom's, lucky me to have such a talented artist in the family.

You can just see the kitchen counter peeking out above left, but I will save those photos for another day.

Thank you to Prebuilt (our builders) and Maite Robin for these lovely light filled images (top & bottom two).

Long weekend and back to work

I hope you had a great weekend. Even better if it was a long one. I like to think we made the most of ours, the last before my return to work.

We spent most of Sunday outdoors, working in the yard. I added two new boxwood shrubs to our upper garden bed, along with a few heather plants. Next spring their purple flowers will be a nice addition to the greenery in that section of the bed, I hope. I also moved a few plants around to help fill in some empty spots. It's our third spring in this house, but we're still figuring out what should go where. We got a start on our veggie garden and I also planted some annuals, but I'll share those when they're in bloom.

My mom came to watch Hannah so we could have a late dinner with friends at 2 Doors Down. The restaurant opens to the public on Tuesday, but we were lucky enough to enjoy a little sneak preview. Our friend is the head chef (he did the food for our wedding) and the menu is amazing. My mouth still waters when I think about that fish taco and the strawberry rhubarb cheesecake I had for dessert was incredible. I highly recommend checking it out if you're in Halifax.

Wish us luck tomorrow! I think I'm ready to go back to work, but change is always a bit tricky. It's a short week, and my only goal is for all of us to survive it :)

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