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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Counting The Days

 It's that time of year, special and magical due to a special guest arriving next week... no not Santa, he has been replaced in my December heart by Ole Rascal, due to arrive next week just in time for Christmas (after he finishes exams, attends a Swedish Folk Metal concert (?) and his friend Harris' Christmas party).  Never mind, we'll be waiting with cookies and beer (come to think of it- just the same as we do for Santa).

I've been prepping his room with blue and white objects, including plenty of pillows which will likely prove annoying and end up on the floor:
 Ole Rascal's room was refreshed during the renovation with a plaster skim coat, new floors and millwork and some of the sitting room furniture (most especially a settee) which has found its way to the Land of Blue and White.
Too Small Furniture in Ole Rascal's Room
 Ole Rascal always has loved that settee even though it is super-ridiculously small for his tall frame.
Here is Ole Rascal in the photographic flesh with Scout and the too-short settee:
 Have you been shopping for Christmas?  Me too and what a commotion.  I think I might have it sorted except for the food, but guess what happened?  I returned home from the grocery on Friday, with my trusty elephant bags...
Trusty Elephant Bag
... and just after my daughter returned home from school we were quite boldly robbed, in broad daylight and while we were home.  It has been a very creepy and scary experience and this is what I have to tell all of you: Lock Your Doors At All Times!

 Our robber was looking for something quick and valuable, he caused quite a bit of grief but could have caused more if we had stumbled across him... stay safe Darlings by locking up and securing your systems if you have them.

I've been too relaxed, where do I think I live, Mayberry?  Clearly I don't, and though there have been many tears there is a new set of eyes on the street and a finger on the trigger (of the alarm system that is).  I'll be locking up and watching out for criminals every single day.  Our own robber was arrested due to the magic of the iphone6, which showed me (and therefore the Police) exactly where he was located in our city, right down to the house number.  Isn't that amazing?

Have a safe and happy Christmas all of you Darling Tooties with the Locked Doors.   I hope your Rascal-ish guests arrive home healthy and on time, and if you are travelling may your journeys be good ones.

 Bless you and your families too,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Warm Printed Scarves

Birdsong Patchwork Stole in Claret and Dove
 I don't have to tell you how much I adore Brora and as you may remember their printed scarves are a special favourite of mine.
I wear them constantly in the cold weather, even under my apron while I do the housecleaning.
If you've been keeping an eye on Brora's Advent Calendar you'll notice that today only they are offering half price on their luscious warm scarves...such the deal!
Graphic Print Stole in Cobalt
 I'd really like to buy one for my older daughter, just the thing for her to wear while she studies her Greek and Latin and makes the cold commute up to the University.
Nomad Flower Stole in Navy
Decisions, decisions... they are all so pretty and the colours are such outfit enhancers.  I can see the navy floral stole with a navy turtleneck and blue jeans, can't you?
I'll have to make my mind up sometime today as I go about sorting my house and cleaning up.  We're having a swirling snow storm here and the temperature has dropped, just the atmosphere to think about buying stoles and other warm presents.
Take Care Tooties,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Organized Closet

Dresses, and one long skirt.
 It seems that my entire house is in disarray but I have my closet organized and that is giving me a feeling of calm.  You might have read my previous post, Dream Closet, in which I detailed my plans... well voila here are the results!
The completed closet.
You can see that the section for dresses and coats is to the left with separates to the right.  The centre unit which I re-used after it was torn out of my daughter's room worked out just fine.
 I wanted to have two shelves for my good handbags with a shelf for flats, one for my clutch handbag and another for high heels to the left.  My winter coats hang just below.  I like to keep my parka and winter boots by the door for quick escapes with Scout.
 I wasn't sure I would need all of the room designed for separates but apparently I do.  All of my fall and winter clothes are contained in this closet which is a real improvement over my previous system (which had me switching out clothes every 6 to 8 weeks due to the limited space).

 The large open shelves are perfect for my Brora shawls and leather gloves from JCrew:
 One of the shelves is for party shoes, and truthfully I don't really wear these in the cold season but they are so pretty I decided they deserved a year-round space.
Pretty party shoes.
 Scarves, fancy belts and my current perfume are all organized on the lower shelf, and with the exception of my perfume this again is more for the pleasing visuals than practicality.
The drawers are a lovely large unit with a jewelry drawer at the top for costume jewelry.  I'm not a big jewelry person (besides stud earrings, single strand pearl necklace and wedding ring which I wear daily) though I seem to have collected some costume jewelry.
Costume jewelry, and opera glasses.
 The lower drawers are perfect for knitwear, pajamas, lingerie and socks.
In the springtime I'll have to switch out this closet and bring in spring/summer clothes.  It's going to be a lot less hassle only switching the closet twice a year and for that I'm grateful.
Thanks to those of you who were interested in seeing the finished closet, you know I get a kick out of talking about this stuff!
Take Care Lovey Dolls,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Frock Philosophy Holiday

Beautifully embroidered merino wool shell from JCrew.
Do you add up the holiday parties you'll be attending with an outfit calculation?  This is how it's playing out for me this year: we have five holiday parties and I'll need two outfits.  If they were five separate events I could just wear the same thing and the simplicity of that is very appealing to me this year.  However, two of the parties are with the same group of friends and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day demands two different outfits.
My winter options seem very limited this year and I'm trying to remember what happened to my clothes...I've certainly edited out the unworn outfits but the other issue is that I tend to buy fancy things that are in fact too cold to wear at Christmas.  The beautiful shell, above, is sleeveless and looks odd with a cardigan over top, so that's not an option.  The metallic and navy party dress, below (from JCrew's summer collection) is very pretty but again can't be warmed up.  Though I do like the look of it with the silk fringe scarf:
 I returned that elephant dress but I did keep the loafers.  They are a festive option with some black velvet pants but I was meant to find a white blouse to wear with those pants and I haven't done so.
Elephant Parade loafers with black velvet pants.
Not an outfit without a white blouse.
I've actually been wearing those elephant loafers around my house as slippers during the day.  With black pixie pants from JCrew and a black Brora jumper they've become something of a new uniform component.

 I absolutely adored this black silk star dress from Brora (below) but I found the size 8 a bit tight, I finally ordered the size 10 last week to replace it, fingers crossed it fits.  I find that sometimes I am right in between sizes, so I would be a 9, which is a size that doesn't exist.
 The pattern is so perfect for Christmas!
 If the size 10 fits I'll wear it to three of the holiday fetes.
Star Silk Print Dress
 Another dress from Brora that I adore is this printed silk velvet with the long sleeves:
 Fern Print Velvet Dress in Prussian
 I decided I'd try purchasing a new velvet dress rather than spending an equal amount of money on a white silk blouse to wear with those velvet pants.  The reasons are as follows: dresses are more my style, they are far easier to throw on and less fidgety for fidgety people like myself, and a velvet dress is slouch-tastic: perfect for board games with the family as well as a party or dinner.

The only question is fit of course, and warmth of the fabric.  I hold Brora velvet in high esteem so I'm definitely hopeful, and in fact I owned a black velvet dress that I managed to shrink in the washing machine.  I should have sent it to the cleaners!
Something else I shrunk up to wee rag bits in the washer?
My Brora tights:

Cashmere Lace Knit Tights
 It was a gradual shrinking process, they kept getting a bit tighter at the waist and shorter in the legs with each washing.  The lesson is to hand wash these tights, they are so warm and comfortable and surprisingly sturdy with care.  A friend recently sent two pairs to my older daughter and she's been wearing them constantly!

Another option for a holiday outfit I have pondered seemingly for months is this blouse:
Collection Noir Floral Blouse
I do like that print but I never did order it to try on, however with some black velvet, either in pants or a pencil skirt, it would be very festive.

What are your outfit calculations looking like this year?  I hope you're better organized with it than Last Minute Maisie here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Happy Monday, how are you?  Making any lists today?  Me too.  I haven't organized Christmas presents yet, with the exception of a box sent last week to my baby nephew.
 Those mailing deadlines are good motivators, don't you think?  I sent this little twinkly bell star from Target for their tree.

I've been arranging my woodland creatures, it's a very soothing activity.  This is something I did at one time with The Rascals but they are such darling little toys, they are not just for kids.
 I started collecting these little creatures from Eve of Eve's Little Earthlings about 15 years ago.
 I ordered some for my nephew to start his collection but I waited too long and they didn't arrive in time... which is fine, they are nice little surprises to send for Easter, birthdays, Groundhog Day... I'm sure I can find more excuses.
Reindeer waiting for Santa.
I bought this little whale for my nephew, how cute is it?

I hope your week is off to an excellent start.  Today I'm going to get my Act Together, lists and all.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday With Scout

 Scout celebrated her first birthday yesterday, she had some quality naps and extra dog treats.
We're happy to have her home again, she does seem calmer for the most part and is thoroughly enjoying her mornings at the park.

I've been thinking of my friend The Blue Booby this weekend, she lost her dear Peanut this week.
The only drawback to having a dog is that they have relatively short lives.  Rest in peace little Peanut and Blue Booby we are thinking of you.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tailoring The House: The Midway Update

 It's been a busy couple of weeks around here: the preparations for the move (while clearing the house of debris and dust) followed by the actual move have kept us running around and out of trouble.  While it all went well I can say that moving twice in 5 weeks is not for the low-energy person.  We were very happy to move back in to our partly renovated house, and the fact that we had the bedrooms mostly sorted before the move last week proved a very good thing.  Little Rascal came down with a nasty flu the very next day and she was so happy to be in her newly renovated room with her cozy dog by her side.
Little Rascal Desk
 The new oak floors stained a medium brown, the fresh baseboards and cove mouldings and the lovely repaired and painted walls (in Benjamin Moore Covington Blue) made for a fresh, pretty blank canvas for the furniture and prints chosen by Little Rascal.
 We had her chosen prints framed and then hired the framer to hang them for us.  With old plaster walls it's easy to mess things up and ruin fresh paintwork... we needed a professional to get it right.
 The furniture chosen by Little Rascal was from SmartStuff.   I recommend this brand: it is sturdy, well-made and affordable.  It is similar in style to furniture from Pottery Barn but better priced, at least here in Canada.
 The colour on the walls changes with the light, and really sets off the prints in their frames:
Jackson Pollock print, purchased by LR in New York 2012.
 Some of the prints we had been saving for years, just waiting for the time when we would decorate Little Rascal's room.
The bedding itself came from Pottery Barn Teen.  The throw pillows are my favourite:
 Our own room is finished but hasn't been fitted with the furniture as of yet, that deserves another post.  The closet is also in its "Own Post" category... but here's a sneak peek of the room colour (Mild Wind) and the new cove mouldings:
 The week before we moved home was full of excitement, most especially on the day the La Cornue arrived:
 The range arrived home to an unfinished kitchen, but we do have our new windows in:
 Our contractor set up a temporary sink for us along with our dishwasher.  The gas fitter had already completed the preparatory work and he returned to hook up the gas to our new range.  We'll be living with our temporary kitchen until mid-January.  Honestly we find it works just fine, we can get meals out and clean up the dishes, what more do we need?
Our temporary kitchen.
 The cook is happy with the five burners and the two ovens!
 The range hood is currently in a giant box in our dining room, that will go up in January once the tiling is finished and will really complete the look of the range, making it the focal point of the kitchen.
 I've been making dinners and thoroughly enjoying cooking over gas... I'm hoping The Bobster (Dad) is reading this and will make plans to visit in the early spring.  Come on Dad, think of the meals we can whip up!
 The main floor is the real unfinished part of the house, though we have the new floors and even the new wool stair runners  installed (from Godfrey Hirst New Zealand).  You can see the walls have been prepped for painting and the heating register has been sandblasted... that was a detail carried through the house that we so appreciate.  All of the finishing details: new door hinges, repaired doorknobs, consistent electrical fittings... they make a big difference to the look and feel of the house and are truly an aspect of this Tailoring Job.
One of the staircases leading to the main floor foyer.
The metal heat register that was sandblasted of 800 layers of paint.
 The outdoor work was not completed to schedule, though there has certainly been progress:
 You can see the little addition we added to the sitting room: the box bay window at the left.  The tent is covering the site of the stone steps leading from the new kitchen door.  It has been so cold the men needed to work in a heated tent while storing the mortar in the house so it wouldn't freeze!

Here is Joe the stone mason hard at work:
 The box bay addition is being built by a different contractor and has been a bit of a tricky business.  The roof is quite pretty and will be more so when it has its copper cladding.  Here is an interior shot of the roof, newly built:
 The windows went in this last week and will be finished with trim and the built-in seat in the new year.
 For now the old doors remain in place and will do so until the window area is fully insulated and sealed.  We're hoping that will be completed this month.  Fingers crossed!

You can see the wall repairs that needed to be done on the areas where we ripped out the old corner cupboards:
 The painting won't be done until the end of January and it definitely isn't looking too attractive right now... although we are enjoying having sitting room furniture again:
 We filled the room with a "mini-sofa" from Barrymore, two swivel chairs from Vogel upholstered in our own fabric and a round glass coffee table.
I am really pleased with the upholstery work on the chairs, the fabric is a heavy linen and quite a striking pattern but the placement was done perfectly.  These little armchairs are so comfortable and they swivel, in fact the whole arrangement is conducive to cocktails, conversation and board games, all favourite activities around here.

 Last but not least is the study which has been completely finished (as of yesterday) for MrBP:
 The brown walls, new mouldings, floors and baseboards and the lighting all work to set off the furniture.
The bookcase has been partially filled, a task I'll complete this weekend.  It's such a cozy, perfect study, I'm guessing MrBP will do some excellent writing in this space!  Or at least enjoy a quiet space to read sports news on his ipad.
I have more to report this week: the completed stone steps and the finishes in the bedrooms as well as the closet... we are officially on reno-break (with the exception of the box bay addition) now until January when the activity and excitement begin again.
I hope you've all been well and having fun Darling Tooties!