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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 I keep pencils in the kitchen, how about you?  Someone is always asking me for a pen or pencil, so to avoid the irritation of searching through drawers I just keep 8 or 10 pencils visible at all times.

Speaking of kitchen supplies, I've been going through cleaning aids like no-one's business, the kitchen is the room in the house that needs endless attention.
 I love to see everything shining and gleaming but of course within a few short hours (or minutes depending on Rascal Snack Habits), it's all a mess again.

 Never mind, let's breathe in the beauty of perfectly folded pink washcloths:

The perfect beauty of five folded pink washcloths.
 As our talented friend Heidi explained last week groups of three or five in decorating and homekeeping are particularly pleasing because these groupings are often found in nature, in petals or leaves for example.
I kept this in mind last week while finishing the decorating of my laundry room:
Folded towels and a blanket, ready to be carried upstairs.
 Three plates in a blue and white theme on the beadboard wall, hung up above the pine chest where I store extra linens and towels... it's a small detail that was very easy to implement yet so pleasing to see as one approaches the laundry room.
 I found two of these plates at the thrift store, there are so many pretty abandoned plates out there in the world that need rescuing.  I had to stop myself from buying more than two.

Another detail that I'm finding especially pleasing lately, yet so useful as well?
I attached tassels to those little keys that lock up various pieces of furniture and are so easily lost.  I can't imagine why I didn't think of this before, I've lost track of some important keys in my time.

Now that it's summertime I've been thinking about all of those years that we sent Ole Rascal up north to his camp in Algonquin Park, the packing up, the anxiety, the letters back and forth...
Red Detail in decorating: the Happy Canoe in the study.
 ...well he wasn't much for writing letters come to think of it, but he did construct this little canoe one summer as a birthday present for MrBP (it says BDAY on the opposite side).  He was always away for his Dad's birthday so he would make a special gift in the craft cabin.  We treasure the Happy Canoe, an important red detail in the decoration of the study.

Speaking of red details how about the window arrangement at the Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale?

The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Our favourite pub and restaurant in old Kirkby Lonsdale.
Such a Red Detail!
Red Details in the Mop Philosophy Kitchen, some perfect red tomatoes warming on the windowsill.
 Cooking with tomatoes lately?  Me too, as per usual.  I'm also adding them to salads.  I guess I have red details on my mind because this was the topic of my recent Frock Philosophy blog post:
Red Details on Frock Philosophy 

 I'll be wearing some red details this week for Canada Day, and adding in blue to that colour combo for the 4th of July.
Speaking of which, I'm so excited because I'm having a Fourth of July party!  Are you?  Whatcha cooking?  I'm thinking steaks on the Bar-Bee, let me know what you're planning.
Have a great week whatever you're up to,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Have you ever noticed that groupings of three or five are somehow so cohesive and pleasing to the eye?
There is a design lesson in there somewhere that I am not qualified to give.  In the meantime, this is the way I like to group together three Emma Bridgewater vessels for the simple roses from our garden.

I like the way the three together look from a distance: the blue, the white and the vivid pinks.
The beautiful binding on this book eerily echoes the design on the EB vessels.
Have you read The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits?  I loved it.
 As far as recent trickery goes, you'll be very pleased to know that I hid MrBP's Father's Day gift from him in plain sight.
A wrapped book hidden in plain sight, hehehe.
 All this past week the wrapped book lay quite peacefully on the fireplace mantel, undetected.
The book inside?  Well, have you read anything about The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks?  It sounds excellent, fingers crossed our MrBP likes it.
 Just to cover all the bases I did procure a bottle of MrBP's favourite scotch whiskey:
 Oil pastels are notoriously difficult to work with but look at the magic created by Middle Rascal Daughter:
 Though she's knee-deep into her Classics degree I really admire the way she's kept up with her artistic hobbies.  Art as a practice is such a lovely outlet for creativity and emotion, don't you think?

As far as news from the Mop Philosophy Kitchen, I'm happy to report that I successfully wrestled with 18 pounds of asparagus these last weeks.  Have I mentioned that we have a friend who is a litigator by day and a gentleman farmer on the weekends?  He does grow the best asparagus you ever could taste:

Mostly I roasted it.
 We ate a LOT of roasted asparagus and then I lost my mind and decided to bake up some asparagus breadsticks:
Sounds weird but they turned out quite well.
It was simple pizza dough with asparagus pressed in, salted and baked.
 I served them with a red lentil dahl:
 In sartorial news I've been wearing denim, chambray and blue, blue, blue.  You can check it all out on the Frock Philosophy blog.
Eileen Fisher denim chambray dress.
Running out the door to get into some mischief.
Thank you for sticking with me here on the blog you Darling Tooties.
Hope your Monday is happy and your whole week too,

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Short Hello

What can I say except that just as dark words can discourage and and plunge us into the gloom so brightness and kindness can reverse our focus and bring us back to ourselves.  It was the emails, friends,  that were so kind and encouraging... and an admission of sadness on your part to see Mop Philosophy fade off into the past that has given me a new resolve to stick with it, at least to publish the Monday posts.  They were always a great start to my week and apparently I wasn't alone in that.
I started feeling sad reading the emails, and I even thought "yes it's a real shame", well I had to laugh because of course I have full control over the fate of Mop Philosophy.  I could reverse the sadness of it all.

Although I was influenced to shut things down by a bitingly critical email I've also been concerned that I tend to go over the same topics many times, and is this dull?   Then in thinking about this space I've realized that the nature of the domestic and the everyday is a thousand details which are often repeated over and over.  While some might find it mundane those are the small gifts which I believe contribute to a full and satisfying life, they add up to the caring and the humility that give our life meaning.

I will keep writing my Frock Philosophy blog because I'm really enjoying it so far, and it feels right that  wardrobes and closets should have their own little space within the realm.
Thank you so much for your kindness to me this last week.  I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Long Goodbye

A few events have transpired over the last several weeks that have had me thinking about the lifespan of this blog.  I think it's time to wrap things up... though I have no intent towards severing the connections I have with many of you who have very kindly read my posts and become dear friends.

I'm considering bringing back the blog Frock Philosophy which I have held privately for some years.  I would limit my discussions there to wardrobe theories, seasonal colour stories and closet organizing.  I seem to still have ideas on those subjects, things I'd love to share and discuss.  If you have an interest in reading that blog please send me an email (mopphilosopher@gmail.com) and I'll mail the link to you once I have it up and running.

Thank you so much for everything you have given me over the years.
Much Love,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Slapdash Decorator Hits The Laundry Room

 I spent last week putting the finishing touches on my laundry room which has been painted and decorated in a slapdash fashion, that is by me.  I painted the beadboard walls in a neutral colour, attached some ticking fabric to the ceiling and painted the cement floor a dark blue.  Painting cement floors is a bit of a thankless task because it needs regular freshening up but it suits the utility of this room.  A can of paint goes a long way and I should have my current colour for the next five years at least.
I'm fairly happy with the way my "wrapping corner" turned out.  I have a rectangular oak table in the corner which I use for sewing, when not used for that purpose I store my sewing machine under the table leaving the surface of the table free for gift wrapping.
I wanted to create some sort of gadget that would allow the wrapping paper to hang on the wall so it wouldn't get smushed and destroyed.  I purchased some dowels at the home improvement store, wrapped some sisal twine around the ends and then hung the twine from some nails.  Voila, instant wall storage for the paper.
The hanging wrapping paper done in a slapdash fashion.
 I bought this oak peg-thing, below, in England last summer.  I've put it to use here holding gift bags, my small sewing scissors and measuring tape.  Even though I don't enjoy clutter I like to be able to see the things I use on a regular basis, out of sight out of mind as it were.
 There are some old wooden shelves in this room which are ancient and crooked but solid.  I painted them all and they provide good storage for my sewing and cleaning supplies.
 I'm really addicted to this linen water, below, and I wish I wasn't because it costs $23 a bottle.  My trick is to cut it with distilled water to make it last a little longer.
Lothantique Linen Water
I iron in this room as well as sew and it seems I always have the ironing board at the ready, below is a peek at my latest sewing project, some folded table linens I made out of a floral Provence fabric for the terrace.
Ironing board which I covered in the toile fabric used elsewhere in the room.
 There's plenty of room on the shelves to store the fabric I've purchased for my next projects.  If I didn't see it on the regular I'd forget what I was doing next of course!
Blue toile and ivory fabric for backing: a future duvet cover.

Table linens sewn up for the terrace in a Provence fabric. 
 I have an assortment of brushes and my Ultimate Stain Removal Basket for dealing with whites: Dawn detergent (1tsp) + hydrogen peroxide (2 Tbsp) + baking soda (3 Tbsp).  I learned that recipe at my Friday volunteer job at the church, that's the formula we use to soak the pure white linens used on the altar... yes it'a a Sacred formula I've shared!
Basket holding ingredients for the sacred formula: Ultimate Stain removal for whites.
 I like to store things like candle holders, flower vessels and twine collections in the laundry room.  I'm not sure why I have so much twine, it looks like a lifetime supply here:
 Baskets are of course key to the laundry area and you may remember I have a slight basket addiction.
 However when dealing with PigPen-level dirty clothes woven baskets just won't do it...
 ... my trusty red bucket is used for soaking the really messy jobs:
 Part of the reason this particular Slapdash Decorating project took me so long is that I was determined to create a pleated skirt for the laundry room sink.  There is a cheapie builders-type cupboard concealing a cabinet under the sink that I didn't enjoy looking at but I couldn't figure out how to attach the skirt to the front bit of the sink.
 I had this amazing toile fabric from France which I was planning to use to sew the sink skirt as well as a large curtain concealing the utility corner (behind which lie the rubbish bins and water softener as well as empty wine bottles).  The colour palette is cream and dark blue.
 After some slapdash measuring, sewing of pleats and hemming I realized I needed some magical velcro to attach the skirt, finding it was a trick but finally I sourced it at a huge discount warehouse-type place.
 The velcro which attaches the skirt:
 The velcro aslo attaches the utility corner curtain to a rod so that it can be removed easily for cleaning:
 The opposite wall holds all manner of hanging cleaning implements:
 I mustn't forget to credit my inspiration for the laundry room and all of the work that goes on there, that's right Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle herself:
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle in the storybook flesh at Beatrix Potter World, Bowness-on-Windermere England.
I hope you're having an excellent weekend Darling Tooties!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Tailored House: Consistent Finishes and Retreat Spaces

Samples for the stair runner and hardwood flooring.
 One of the goals of our renovation was to bring consistent finishes through the entire house to create a seamless flow and sense of space.  The hardwood was installed on all three floors as was the wool sisal stair runner.

Paint colours were a key part of creating consistent finishes throughout the house.  The same colours were used in all of the hallways for example, and the trim colour is the same throughout the entire house.

The "decorating" book for the fun details.
 I kept a book for the renovation itself with all of the more basic and essential work so I could keep track of timelines and expenses but my favourite folder involved the decorating decisions.
Keeping track of the basics.

This binder helped me track the essential elements or "bones" of the renovation work.
 When it came time to decorate our bedroom the idea of creating a personal retreat space really took hold.  In this room we could vary the colour scheme to create something beautiful and calming. The hardwood, trim colour and new crown moulding and baseboards match the rest of the house creating the bones of the room, but the colour scheme... that could be quite different.
My favourite section of our decorating book: retreat space!
I was very much inspired by my friend Heidi who is an extremely talented designer AND architect.  She wrote a post about the master bedroom titled "The Most Important Room in Your House" which I must have read 10 times... thank you Heidi for helping me design a perfect retreat!

In the background you can see a large sample of the wallpaper we used inside my closet, and if you'd like to see the finished closet (which was completed in December) please have a look at this post.
 The room is quite simple and you can see that it is not a large bedroom.  In fact it doesn't have much room to spare considering there is a king size bed as the central element.  We have one piece of art and we used very calm and soothing colours.
The artwork opposite the wall with the bed and headboard.
 Does anyone recognize this photographic print?  I saw it last year on a design blog, fell in love with it and ordered it from photographer and stylist Kara Rosenlund who is based in Australia.  It took a month to arrive and it did not disappoint, it was in pristine condition on high quality paper and it framed up so nicely.
The feeling of an ocean holiday.
Limited Edition Sea Photographic Print 20"X30", Kara Rosenlund.
I like the contrast of dark bronzey bits against the fresh blue of the walls and muslin white of the trim:
Bronze curtain hardware and silk curtains.
 You can see there's not room for much in the way of furniture, the closet doors themselves fold out on each side which saves on floor space but have a traditional detailed profile when closed:
 Due to the lack of space we had to source very small nightstands.  This made wall-mounted light fixtures an excellent choice, this way we have plenty of room for a carafe of water, candles and books.
All bedding including fur throw from Au Lit Fine Linens.
Bronze light fixtures which swing on their arms.
 We've always wanted an upholstered headboard so this was an easy choice.  We chose the fabric and ordered it from Barrymore in Toronto.
 I like that it softens the room and continues the theme of calm, retreat-like colours.

One of the nicest things about the master bedroom in our home is that we have a large ensuite bathroom, not the norm in a house of this age.  We didn't change this room much as it was just completely rebuilt in 2013, though I did add a new curtain in an English linen as well as a higher quality wooden door which is more in keeping with the style of the closet doors:
The new door to the master bath and a peek at the curtain fabric.
 The next instalment will hopefully bring some better photographs of the second and third floor spaces as a whole, with some focus too on the flow of consistent details.
I hope you have an excellent Sunday and thanks for reading,