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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 I've been drinking green smoothies made in my Vitamix blender.  That blender has a jet engine or something, very powerful and does the job pronto.  You might think green smoothies are disgusting but actually they taste quite nice, here's a site with excellent recipes and free smoothie-tastic programs.
 I've also been trying to get my sorry butt into shape doing lots and lots of Essentrics.  I use this old rug as an exercise mat and this dining chair as a barre (not a bar that would be more fun).

I wore this green JCrew skirt from 2005 on St. Patrick's Day, it was a big hit:
Old JCrew stuff is the best.
 One of my closest friends had her birthday and this is the card I gave her, hehehe.
Well said.
I wore my gold-tastic dress which everyone loves, just try wearing a metallic gold dress you will make everyone happy!
Collection JCrew gilded paisley dress 2014.
 I've been cooking with booze as usual:
 All of this boozy cooking happens on the new range which I make everyone who visits stand and look at for several minutes until I realize their eyes are darting around, looking for escape?  But then I make them dinner so it works out for both of us.
It's wrong to love things but I love the La Cornue range.
 We had some artwork re-framed when we renovated, can I just say what a difference this can make?  It's a great way to breathe some fresh air into a room without investing in new artwork.
"Fire and Flame Thy Minister" Dawn McRae Strathy of Vancouver BC.
It previously had a hideous plum-coloured matting, what was I thinking?
 Speaking of pretty-as-a-picture, how is this view?  It is my neighbour's house across the street which I spend perhaps too much time gazing at, but when one has a good outlook one must take advantage.  You can quote me on that... but use it for good not evil, please.
Fetching view of my neighbour's window.
I hope your week gets off to the best start possible.
Be sure to enjoy your outlooks Darling Tooties,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Window Seat Addition

I thought I'd write a quick post on the wee addition that we built on the far wall of our living room during our recent renovation.  I need to do a follow-up post with photos of the entire Tailored House project, however a few details aren't quite wrapped up so that will have to wait.

While we were planning our window seat addition I searched high and low all over the interwebs for some tips, advice, pictures, anything really, about adding on a window seat.  There are plenty of articles about building a bench underneath an existing window, or adding a new window and bench without increasing the floor plan size.  However we wanted to add space to the room, not much, just enough for an additional seating area, one that would be both a "refuge" and an "outlook".

Let me just say that it was a bit of a commotion.  At one point last fall I was berating myself for trying to pursue this idea, the building permits were difficult to procure and the whole process was expensive.  We needed to dig a separate foundation just for this seat.  As MrBP likes to say, it was the most expensive addition per square foot "ever".
However now that it is built we can't imagine our living room looking any other way.  It somehow increases the illusion of space in the living room though it doesn't impact the size of our garden at all.  It connects with the outdoors yet also looks charming, private and inviting.  
We had no idea how we were going to finish the interior of the window seat.  We really didn't want to drywall it, our entire house is plaster and mixing those materials just doesn't look right somehow, at least not in the same room.  In the end our carpenter finished it off with wood trim and panels he built himself.  Our painter extraordinaire then sanded the heck out of it before painting it all out in Benjamin Moore's "muslin", the trim colour we used through the entire house.
The seat itself will be upholstered with a custom cushion which is currently being made.  I am thrilled about the fabric we chose for the seat (here's a hint: it's a leopard print in an unusual colourway).  When the bench cushion is finished we'll add some throw cushions, which are also currently being made, and the seating area will be complete.
You can see my sofa is also woefully under-cushioned, it really isn't tolerable!  (As a committed follower of the Fabulous Faux Fuchsia I am well aware that "under-cushioning is the devil's work.)

I like the look of the seat from the entrance to the room, the eye is drawn to the far wall giving the feeling of spaciousness.  This room was so cramped before we added the window seat area, mostly due to some garden doors that opened inwards and blocked the back wall of the room.
The eye is drawn to the light.
Here are the garden doors midway through the renovation:
You can see the doors opened inward which impeded any kind of sensible seating plan, the clearance needed for opening the doors prevented any furniture placement within four feet of the back wall.
The doors themselves had a modern look that didn't suit the house and we also disliked the transom window above the doors.
The day the doors were removed was pretty exciting!
As far as the bench portion of the window seat is concerned, I was quite adamant that I did not want it to flip up to a storage area.  The seat and cushions would make getting to the area difficult and I really didn't want a spot in my house where items would be stored only to be neglected and forgotten.
Our designer came to the rescue yet again, and suggested we build a storage space for a specific purpose... I then realized it would be the perfect spot to store all of our Christmas decorations.
The decorations, lights, books and wrapping paper all fit perfectly in the space.
We're really pleased with the end result of this little addition with the big foundation.  It barely increases the house's footprint and because it is so small we didn't have to alter our heating and cooling systems.  We did insulate the heck out of it and it is warmer in this room than previously, those doors were a bit drafty.
The Norwood wooden windows also open (with disappearing screens) which will create some fresh air flow in this room, something I'm really looking forward to, if spring ever arrives that is!
I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have if you are considering such an addition to your home.  You can leave a question in the comments or send me an email.
And if you're in the neighbourhood stop by and we'll have a glass of wine on the window seat together!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Remember this brass elephant I found on etsy a few years ago?  He's standing guard in front of that precious Feu de Bois Diptyque, it's still our favourite scent, no contest.
 I've been washing a load of tea towels every single day.  I've been buying paper towels as well so there's no accounting for it.  Messy family?  Messy cook?
Here's me easy lima bean gratin:
Saute your favourite assortment of root vegetables and fresh herbs in butter, add vermouth of course.

Add a bag of frozen lima beans, easy, then mix in some cheddar cheese or gruyere...

...add more cheese.

Then completely cover with-more cheese.
 I baked mine in the oven along with some potatoes, that was an easy dinner.
 I've been trying to think of less boring ways to cook chicken.  I gave it a go with some chestnuts.
I know, the vermouth is a popular ingredient these days.
I sauteed the chicken, added vermouth, then cream...

...then chestnuts and parsley.  Pretty good.  Serve with mashed potatoes.
 I've been having more friends around, trying to be more social.  How about you?  I find once I start making the effort it just gets easier and I start organizing more visits.
Having friends around for drinks is a favourite activity lately but the snacks have to be easy.
 I made my very last trip to Target, I think it closes sometime in April?  It was so depressing!  The store was a mess and I kept looking at the employees and thinking about where they would go next?
My last trip to Target: it was too sad.
 Honestly I even had trouble finding things to purchase but I had gift cards to use up.  I ended up buying a year's supply of Method laundry soap.  Not very exciting but I couldn't wait to get out of there!

I've been going through my clothes once more in order to bring my second round of spring things to consignment.  I'm definitely keeping my colourful old JCrew jackets:
Colourful old JCrew jacket with a Wolff et Descourtis scarf.
What are you up to this week?  Going through closets?  Making any trips to Target?  Buying a year's supply of laundry soap?  Cooking up some less-boring chicken recipes?
Be Good Darlings,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wine in Your Coffee Mug

Does that coffee cup hold a little merlot?
 We're celebrating the birthday of one of our closest friends tonight and I'm so looking forward to a bit of a party.   L is always up for a gathering and whenever I'm having one of those days that make me wish I was having a glug or three of wine instead of my afternoon tea or coffee I think of her.  Drinking wine out of a coffee mug: I learned it from L.

Even though it's -20 outside I'll be wearing one of my spring frocks, I don't even care.
I think I'll go for those Tory Burch sequins or maybe that goldtastic frock.
 In fact I've already switched out my closet to spring/summer, probably at least two months too early.

 Look I even have my sandals ready:
 I'm planning to wear the green skirt (below) on St. Patrick's Day:
 Straw bags, summer accessories, blues and reds and stripey shirts: they are my favourite things.
A spring/summer closet is a thing to behold but the reality is it's Sweater Pants 24/7 around here.
Hideous sweater pants.
This is what my neighbourhood looks like...
 ...and here is Winter's Biggest Fan:
I hope you have a really fun weekend and that you have a friend who teaches you useful things like drinking wine out of coffee mugs.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Everybody's Working For The Weekend

I went to a  Loverboy concert in 1982 and I haven't been able to get that song out of my head since.  I was only 12 at the time, just so you understand the length of the mental torture.  Still, it's not a bad tune, and it makes a point: we're all searching for something to look forward to.

I've been looking forward to this weekend because House of Cards Season 3 is up on Netflix, that's an obvious one.  But I'm also planning to cook with vermouth and butter, a delicious combination if ever there was one.
Chicken, mushrooms, tarragon, vermouth and butter.  Try it.

The Staub Simmer: it's a beautiful sight.
 I bought a book because Wendy told me about the author:
Wendy recommended.  It's excellent of course, she does not lie.
 Even though I am a gluten-free person I make pizza for MrBP and The Rascals, I'm not asking for a medal or anything but I think we can all agree that it is a selfless act.
Pizza dough.  The Martha recipe.

Pizza dough "resting" or hiding, really.
 I'm not sure why I find this Italian tomato paste in a tube so pleasing but I just do.  It's economical, stays fresh, has intense flavour...win win win.
Italian tomato paste in a tube. 5*

 I recommend harissa as a pizza spice, it has a little heat which is slightly unexpected.
 This weekend we're planning to binge-watch some Netflix (of course), drink some wine, take Scout on snowy walks, NOT wear sweater pants, host a lunch for MrBP's parents, drink some coffee while reading the paper and generally take on the feeling of a mini-holiday, which the weekend should be, don't you think?
Finished pizza compliments of the Selfless Baker.

Mmmm coffee... just add New York Times.
What are you looking forward to?