"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wearing Lately

What I wish I was wearing lately.
I am having a bit of a frazzling week but it didn't stop me from daydreaming over this metallic giraffe print coat yesterday.  I have the perfect little dress to wear under it, but without pockets for my industrial packing tape, sharpie marker and scissors it has no place in my life these days.  
 These two items are from JCrew (2007?) and I think the print on the dress is vacation-in-Italy-fantastic.
 I decided to at least dress in the colour scheme:  these utility chino pants from JCrew (below) are so perfect for work around the house, they have great pockets and slim legs to tuck into boots.
JCrew utility chino, Brora thermal and Aigle boots.
 If ever I am having trouble doing physical work I just put on rubber boots, try it, it works every single time.

My Brora thermal is in heavy rotation these days, it's perfect on its own though when the real weather hits I'll layer it under warmer stuff.  I have a cashmere scarf to match it for walks in the park with Scout.
 Last night I had to make a quick dinner so that MrBP could sit down with us for a short family meal before teaching his class, every Tuesday night is like this from September through April, you'd think I'd have the hang of it by now.  Yesterday afternoon was so busy I wasn't prepared at all.
 Luckily I had a couple of cans of chickpeas which I roasted with some vegetables and harissa.  I also had some gorgeous fresh organic broccoli, as I was preparing it I was thinking that it was the most luscious broccoli I'd ever laid eyes on:
Luscious broccoli which I proceeded to ruin.
I sprinkled the broccoli with sesame seeds, salt and olive oil and put it in the oven for a quick roast, then forgot about it.  It was burned to a crisp while I was distracted with my packing-up chores.
Multi-tasking is not for the frazzled!

Have a gorgeous day Dollfaces, I for one am going to take things a bit slower today.
xoxDani

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

Charger from Target
Emma Bridgewater two-handle vase.
 I like the look of terracotta with blue and white, how about you?  A special favourite is this blue and white patterned vase from Emma Bridgewater, her designs are so pretty, yet slightly rustic and casual.   You can just plop a trimmed grocery store bouquet in there and voila, a centrepiece.

Last week we had friends around for dinner and I made a simple chili ahead of time, served with a jar of cilantro salsa, raw vegetables and gluten-free cornbread.  It was the easiest dinner party ever.
A jar of cilantro salsa and a platter of raw fennel and peppers.
Do you ever serve fennel raw?  It's so delicious and crunchy.
 Here's a recipe for vegan chili, though I made this one thanks to that busy Jamie Oliver.
Set the table and stick a chili and cornbread in the oven.
Friends arrive and you can simply commence-a-drinkin'.
 I've had to make some decisions around fabrics for decorating and now I just have to get down to business and start sewing up our new draperies.
Foyer drapery fabric.
 I really like all shades of rust, corals and blues paired with hits of red.
 Some of the fabrics will be used on upholstered furniture and I tend to gravitate towards heavy linens.
I did make an exception with an embroidered fabric, wool on cotton, in vivid blues, greens and browns.  I adore this fabric but it is fairly strong visually so I bought one yard for cushions only.
Visually strong embroidered fabric.
 We have two upholstered chairs going into the living room that I was able to supply my own fabric for.
We put the order in for the chairs, I bought the fabric and then mailed it to Vogel, the chair manufacturers.   It was a bit of a fuss but I can't wait to see the end result.  
A hint of the chair fabric which I bought here.
How about that range of reds?
We have everything in place for our home renovations and now we're just waiting for it all to begin.  I'm trying to take lots of "before" pictures which is something I usually forget to do... which always frustrates me after the fact.  I've thought of writing a post based on the "before" pictures detailing our thought process and resulting floor plan changes and renovations.  It might prove interesting to readers contemplating a similar path, we started this whole commotion with an idea to add on to our house and instead are using the space we have, but finishing every inch and decorating as part of the end result.
In the meantime I hope to be back later in the week with a review of a new frock, something I haven't done in ages.
Be well and may your week start off beautifully,
xoxDani

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Start Spreading the News...

New York Library Lion
Photo DaniBP 2012
When I was in Scotland this past summer I heard some exciting news: Brora is opening a store in New York!  I've been waiting for updates and we have one right here on Brora's blog.

For any of you who live in New York or visit frequently you are in for a treat: their stores are spots of loveliness and civility and to be able to see the stunning cashmere colours and beautifully tailored clothes in person... it's very exciting!

Looks like I'm going to have to get myself to New York more frequently.

Here in my own Ontario neighbourhood I've been wearing loads of Brora, some dressed up and some dressed down.  I wore my Brora gold cashmere cropped cardigan last night with the JCrew Library Dress:
 This entire past week has been a mad rush and I was very happy not to have to think about what to wear: denim, a Brora jumper or cardigan and my Aigle Liberty boots for stomping.  We've had fine weather but I've been packing and sorting as we prepare to move out of our house for renovations and then move back in a few weeks later... it's like the ultimate exercise in de-cluttering.
At one point I lost my camera when I inadvertently packed it away in a box designated for MrBP's new study!  It has been retrieved and good thing too as I rely on those photos for Mop Philosophy Monday updates.
In the meantime I hope you've been well and less hectic than me.

How about that Brora, they're making a bigger move!  Now I just need them to open a store in Toronto...
Have a great weekend Dollfaces,
xoxDani

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brora's Amazing Fall Collection

Tailored Wool Jacket
Wool Skater Skirt
 Just when I thought Brora couldn't get any better they've released a stunning fall collection with all of my favourite colours and silhouettes.  I'm in Brora Heaven!

This black wool skirt suit, above, is so ideal... that full skirt with the nipped waist, so easy to wear and so feminine...the matching jacket with the pretty silk lining: it's number one on my list.

Running a close second are these gorgeous wool pieces in black and jade:

Herringbone Wool Skirt in Black and Jade
Herringbone Wool Jacket in Baize
That green is so saturated and timeless, perfect from fall right through to spring.  It's so nice to have major tailored pieces that are dark but not black.  Green behaves as a neutral here and with the black layering pieces it looks so chic... I like that the skirt and jacket co-ordinate but are not matchy-matchy.

Brora has brought out a gorgeous shade of teal this autumn and has used it very effectively on this modern panelled pencil skirt:
Tweed Panelled Pencil Skirt in Black and Teal
Let's have a closer look at that black wool skater skirt:
 I'm loving it with a simple plain blouse, black opaque tights and black short boots.  It's perfection!

I missed the kilt last year that was part of the heritage collection, but look, there is another one and the colours are beautiful:
Scottish Tweed Kilt in Plum and Forest
 A good cashmere dress is a winter essential, and after seeing the methods used to manufacture Brora's cashmere in Scotland with my own eyes this expanse of warming cashmere has me delighted:
Cashmere Dropped Shoulder Dress in Charcoal
 It's so chic!  I love the silhouette and the long sleeves.  Add some cool boots and a necklace and you can run out the door while staying warm all day.

I rely on Brora jumpers all winter long, in fact I've already started wearing mine as the air has been a bit nippy... this stunning long line jumper in a pretty rosy pink is on my wishlist for sure:
Cashmere Long Line Jumper in Rose
 They've also produced this feminine colour in a long sleeve cropped cardigan:
Cashmere Long Sleeved Crop Cardigan in Rose
 A new accessory or two from Brora is most welcome at the start of the cold season, once again they've produced lovely stoles and scarves:
Graphic Print Stole
Oooh this would be nice with that charcoal cashmere dress.
 Brora's cashmere socks feel very warm and cozy inside a pair of rubber boots:

 I don't have to replace any of my cashmere tights this year though some of them are going into their third and fourth season!  For such a delicate look they are quite sturdy and warm.
 Last year for Christmas I bought my daughter one of Brora's beautiful wool dressing gowns and it is so pretty and warm.  The colour and pattern on this year's version: stunning!
Liberty Print Dressing Gown
Please share your favourite pieces and colours from the new collection...
Have yourself a wonderful day,
xoxDani

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

Pinafore apron from Rough Linen.
 Little Rascal has drawn the name from the champagne bucket and Heidi you won the linen tea towels! I'll send you an email so I can get your address and send on your package.

Enjoying a soothing cocktail with a candle on-the-go while on Pinterest?  Me too, it's so relaxing.
I've been working on eating a proper lunch with lots of vegetables and a protein, it's making a big difference to my energy levels in the afternoon.  A mixed bean salad is a favourite and it's so easy: mix a couple of cans of drained and rinsed mixed beans with any vegetables and herbs you have lying around.  Add a squeeze of lemon, some salt and olive oil and voila, easy lunch ready to go in the fridge.
Easy bean salad lunch.
 Eat tomatoes while you can, they are so luscious just now!
 Wondering what Scout is up to?  Watching me cook for one.
What's cooking?
 She's also very busy every day waiting for The Rascals and MrBP to arrive home, or maybe for someone interesting to walk down the street.
Scout waiting by the front door.
 I've been re-organizing and de-cluttering like The Dickens, we'll be moving out to our temporary digs in about 5 weeks and I don't intend to move any junk.
Laundry room vase centre.

Laundry supplies, I like a label.
Someone else likes labels and her name is Little Rascal:
The chocolate tin somehow acquired this label:
"Do Not Eat Under Any Circumstance"
 I've re-organized the side entryway, I added a painting:
 I found these cheerful boot mats at Target:
 We have a new rec room.  I just finished setting up the tv which was a real challenge, all of those cords and gadgets.  MrBP didn't think I could do it but I surprised the heck out of him.
We bought new furniture: those green chairs are my favourite.  They're from Germany, made from a smooth cherry wood and comfy strong upholstery.
 I moved the painting by my darling friend Syl into this room, it adds some colour don't you think?

We found some teak tables from Denmark, they nest together but have a thicker sturdier leg:
 MrBP's primitive bowl was a gift from his Dad, that thing is going to hold a heck of a lot of popcorn:
A heck of a lot of popcorn is going to fit into this primitive bowl.
 I found this pretty quilt for cuddling at L.L.Bean:
L.L.Bean Vintage Indigo Quilt
 Of course no rec room would be complete without MrBP's Scotch collection:
MrBP's Scotch collection.
Have a brilliant week and try to stay out of trouble.
xoxDani

Friday, September 12, 2014

Zucchini Fritters

Photo by JDP
How is your weekend shaping up, any big plans?  We've had a busy week so our number one priority is getting some rest.  I do however wish I could press the repeat button on last Saturday evening.  Our lovely friends JDP and CC had us over to their place for a gorgeous dinner party, they really know how to host a scrumptious meal.
 
I wanted to share the zucchini fritter recipe prepared by JDP, they were so good I could have eaten them all, they were fresh and light and just the thing to complement cocktails before dinner.

You can find JDP's post on the dinner party, including his recipe for zucchini fritters, right here.

Wondering what to serve at your next dinner party?  You could just copy JDP and repeat the whole thing, he gives a nice detail of the menu with his trademark beautiful photographs.

Thank you for the comments on my last post, I'd better get it together and sew up some linen tea towels... I'll be picking a name from the champagne bucket later today, stay tuned for that one.

I hope you have an excellent weekend!
xoxDani

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

Sunflowers in Spode
 I moved our piano into the foyer a couple of weeks ago (or rather MrBP moved it) and then I managed to convince a piano tuner to visit the house to tune it.  It took him two and a half hours and he still needs to fix one of the keys, I am ashamed to say it wasn't in the best condition.  Did you know that piano tuning is a dying art?  I see a job opportunity for a young person here, my new piano tuner is in his 80's and has more work than he can handle.
The piano suits the foyer and especially with this Spode-Floral arrangement placed on top.  I have another accessory for the piano, this one is very special as it is both functional and reminds me of our trip to England... I purchased it at the hardware store in Kirkby Lonsdale:
Brass letter holder.
Purchased at the hardware store in Kirkby Lonsdale.
 Boy oh boy the renovation plans are Full Steam Ahead here in the BP household.  The scheduling is nearly putting me over the edge, so many components and all to be accomplished by different people... and truly it's only a kitchen renovation yet it has grown to encompass the entire house and how we live in it.
A tiny peek at some of the drawings for the new kitchen.
We've purchased a La Cornue range.
We have looked at the floor plan of the house on every level and are switching some rooms around... the TV room will now occupy what was the basement guest room, the second floor tv room will now be MrBP's own study... what was once the dining room is now the living room and vice versa.  If it sounds confusing it sort of is, but with new window/door configurations on the main floor it will all make sense one day, we hope.

In the meantime I'm keeping myself out of trouble by sewing up some linen towels and dish cloths for the kitchen as it functions presently... very soothing and renewing amidst the bigger plans and preparations for moving out of our house on November 1st.
Some new kitchen towels and dish cloths with a new scrub brush.
A bit of freshening during this Trying Time of packing up the whole house for the renovations.
 This pure linen towel fabric is so lovely, it only needs a quick rinse in the sink with hot water and dish soap, hang to dry and presto you have clean towelling without even needing your washing machine.
 
(I'm giving away a set of towels and cloths (sewn by me so they won't be perfect) with an accompanying wooden dish brush, if you'd like to have your name in the hat please leave a comment to tell me so.  I'll draw a winner on Friday and then make contact for mailing... world-wide shipping is perfectly acceptable in the Global Village so don't worry if you feel far away.)
I hang mine to dry on an upper cupboard otherwise Scout would eat it.
 In other news I've been baking with peaches, they are so delicious this year, I don't remember a summer with better produce.
My own canned peaches went into this peach crumble.
 A peach crumble makes a nice after-school snack for Rascals... the peaches (which have been cooked with some apricot jam and then jarred) are placed in a tart dish and then covered in a mixture of oats, vanilla, butter and sugar.  Honestly you just know that's going to be good.
Looks good doesn't it.
I don't know for sure, The Rascals and their friends ate the whole thing,
Darling Tooties I hope your week is off to a good start.  I have a big long list for this week and I'm going to try my best come Hell or High Water.
xoxDani