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

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mop Philosophy Monday

 I've given up on ironing our napkins and no one seems to notice.

I guess the important, and civilized, thing is to simply have a napkin, one that's not made of paper which will end up in a landfill.  Oh, and that the napkin be clean is important too.

My mother-in-law Joan had an energy-saving habit of reusing cloth napkins in personalized napkin rings, which meant cloth napkins could have multiple uses before washing without sharing germs.  Anyone else do this?

The best article I've read in the last couple days is this one in The New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen.

Something small that can be done in our own homes that practices recycling and re-use?
Buy antiques!
 Antiques can be had for a song these days.  I bought this little French chair and English oak table for a little under $200 Canadian dollars, for both pieces.  It's in excellent condition and exquisitely pretty, I'm currently using it as a vanity table.  Isn't it gleaming and perfect?
 I have bought some new throw pillows, but there are so many etsy sellers making them from designer samples and remnants that it ends up being a massive win-win: expensive fabrics injected into a decor for reasonable prices, and a re-use of a fabric remnant or designer sample.  Also support of women who are working their own cottage industry... okay it's a win-win-win.

Let's have a small peek at the stone house:
The stone house with fall colours.
 I bought this wallpaper from a clearance centre in Michigan, it's a Thibault that was discontinued.  I'm hoping to hang it in the guest room of the stone house.
I hope you're set up to have a great week.  Let me know if you read that article.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Small Stone House: A Massive Update

The Small Stone House
Courtyard Entrance
Way back in May I decided to switch my blog format so that posting and maintaining the blog would become easier.
Well, it's been a big disaster.  The new platform wasn't user friendly in the slightest, I couldn't get it to do anything I wanted.  It made the problems I had on blogspot, like controlling spam in the comments and my wonky email subscription feed, seem like a walk in the park.

Then we went into summer and I can honestly say it was our busiest summer ever.  At the end of May, while looking around at some local real estate for a larger office space, I happened upon the most enchanting small stone house for sale, not quite in our neighbourhood but just across the river.  I was done for.  When I brought MrBP to see it he was also done for.

We thought about buying it but it was such an impulse move that I lost my nerve:  I couldn't see how we would make the process go smoothly in any way.  I was about to leave for Atlanta to visit my father, then coming home to prepare for our three week family trip to Austria.  I was having work done on our house this summer, kind of boring but fairly major and essential things like replacing the eavestrough and the furnace.

Our house was not ready to be put on the market at all, I couldn't see how I could manage all of it.
Yet...while I was visiting my Dad I couldn't stop thinking about moving.  There is no one better in the world to talk over pros and cons with than my father, my Dad is the guy.  We discussed the concept of moving at length, and we looked at houses online.  I'd pretty much given up on the beautiful small stone house because I thought for sure it would sell while I was in Georgia.

Then on the Friday of my flight home I had an email from Rob, our real estate agent:  the house was in fact still for sale and the price had been lowered.

As this was Father's Day weekend and all of our Dear Rascals would be home I asked Rob if he could show us the house on the Sunday evening.
Even though the two oldest Rascals live in Toronto and very much have their own apartments and lives, I wanted their approval for the move.  There is nothing better than having them home for a weekend or a holiday, and the stone house has only three bedrooms, meaning that one of the Rascals will have to bunk in the family room on visits home.

On the Sunday evening after dinner we walked across the footbridge over the river and arrived at the stone house, and the Rascals were equally enchanted.
The next morning we bought the house.

So I had 2.5 weeks to prepare our current home for sale, it was madness!
I can honestly say that when I hopped in the car for the airport the night we left for Austria I was completely exhausted, but I knew I had done absolutely everything I could do to sell our house.

While we were away it sold, and I have to say it was a great relief to come home to a sold sign in the front garden.
If anyone is interested in the prep process I went through I'd be happy to write a post.  We did not use home stagers, which saved us money for sure.  It was more a matter of decluttering and subtle styling.

I've missed writing the blog and as we prepare to move into the stone house there are so many posts I'd like to write, we'll be decorating a new space with everything we already own and with the exception of about 40 cans of paint (and a sleeper sofa for the family room) we won't have to buy much for the new house.

So that's what I've been up to... of course there have been other things on the go as well.  Anyone else have a daughter in her teen years?  Heaven help us.

Of course I also miss writing posts about clothes and colour stories, and de-cluttering closets.  As I prepare to move I've decided to keep clothes rather than pare down, I'm not sure I'm in the mind space to make good decisions on what to edit.

I hope you've had a good summer and that you'll follow me here on the old space.
I've missed you,

Friday, April 26, 2019

Uniform... Choosing Identity

What we wear on a daily basis might be our most authentic expression of our own identity, and not just as expressed to others, but maybe more significantly as an indication to the self.

I am, as you know if you've been with me for some time, sort of obsessed with "outfits".  What is an outfit?  An arrangement of clothes and accessories put forward as a shield: to the day, to others, to work and to travel, to emotion and judgement.

I went through a long period of time when I did not even own anything denim.  My goal was to armour myself with a dress of some kind, or a skirt and jacket.  Perhaps I would wear a powerful coat ( a trench for example) over really basic pieces like a pair of black slim pants and a top that would never be viewed out of my house: the outfit was the coat, not what lay underneath.

None of this was ever about anybody else, rather it was an indication to my self as to how to approach my day, it was an elevation out of potential anxiety, it was a prompt towards confidence.

For the last several months my daily uniform has slowly evolved into something sort of unexpected: denim on denim, otherwise known as the Canadian tuxedo.  It's my most favourite uniform yet, it feels like my authentic self.

Every morning I grab a chambray shirt and throw it on over jeans, so simple.  I will layer on a sweater and some boots (I live in Aigle rubber boots for most of the year, wearing them with LLBean wool socks all winter)  a coat or jacket, sometimes a bag, sometimes a scarf.

Now that summer is approaching I'll switch out the jeans from a skinny leg (the only option when wearing knee high rubber boots) to more of a straight leg.  The chambray shirts will remain the same.

What does it signify to wear such a utilitarian outfit?

The truth is anything can be tackled in this outfit, it is the outfit it of a worker, of production, of walks through any weather, of cleaning, of cooking.  It's an outfit that actually gives me energy for tasks both mental and physical.

That might be giving a lot of weight to a simple outfit, but really, think about how your outfit makes you feel.  Tell me in the comments what your current uniform is, and why, and how does that indicate to you your own identity and purpose.  I would love to know!

I did buy a fancy skirt to wear with those chambray skirts, and I have yet to wear it:
Wrap skirt, JCrew Collection
 I love the silver and grey tones, and they way the floral pattern picks up the chambray fabric.
It's pretty exciting to be able to plan summer accessories around the uniform, now we can have a bit of fun:
I found those madras sandals at JCrew, and the straw bags were bargains from Gilt.
JCrew sandal in cerise.
My current choice of uniform has answered some essential questions I've been grappling with for the last year (a late mid-life crisis of sorts).  As the Rascals have entered adulthood (even Lil Rascal is turning 17!) I've been trying to figure out my next steps.  Do I continue to work at home and further embrace domestics?  Will that even be needed?  Do I go back to school, look for a job outside the home?  Will I be able to be as productive with less of my family under our roof to look after?  How will that make me feel?  How do choices I make now affect MrBP's planned retirement in a few years?
JCrew suede sandal in a dusty chambray blue.
My uniform, and my comfort in it, has indicated my choice.  I love the domestic life, and the feeling of being productive, and the role of carer of a family.  One thing that has delighted me is that my Rascals aren't too far off, we see them, we make plans, the nest is still busy even when they're not here.

That has surprised me, in part due to my own family's history, but that's a topic for another post.

Another topic to mull over is another kind of uniform: the PARTY uniform.  Let's get into that another time.

Please fill me in on your uniform choice of late, and perhaps the meaning behind it.  Any thoughts on (late) mid-life crisis situations would also be most appreciated.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Decorating

 After a long winter it seems particularly thrilling to bring some colour into the house by way of greenery, flowers and Easter pastels.

I found the giant blue hydrangea at the warehouse store and I could barely carry it in the house it's so heavy.  Everything else came from Sweet Violets, my favourite flower store in Guelph.
Foyer Flowers
 It's safe to say that I'm obsessed with adding a very pale blue colour to my house right now.  It sets off the wood tones and dark neutrals that we've layered the rooms with.  Contrast is everything.
Good Friday Dinner
 For dinner last evening I made a very simple potato salad with a shallot vinaigrette (with lots of lemon), chopped fennel and radish.  I topped it all with dill and some optional smoked salmon.  We started with a leek and cauliflower soup topped with sautéed shallots.
It was exactly the sort of dinner I like to throw together these days, composed of dishes I can prepare ahead of time.

 We have a large collection of these cute wool creatures that I collected over many years for the Rascals.  I guess it's me that plays with them now... I like to set them up for holidays on the kitchen shelf.
Dark turquoise candles in the dining room.
 I was never one to think of lighting candles during daylight hours, how does that make any sense at all?  MrBP finds it enchanting however and I've realized he's right, there's something so festive about it.
Pale blue tapers, tall ones!
I love these pale blue taper candles, they are very tall at eighteen inches.  Again that pale blue colour, here juxtaposed to red in the painting, a favourite colour combination of mine.

I hope you have a really wonderful Easter weekend.  We'll be celebrating on Sunday with The Rascals and Poppa.  It's meant to rain all weekend so I'll definitely be lighting lots of candles.
May the sun (or candlelight) shine on you!


Monday, June 25, 2018

Mop Philosophy Monday

 How's your week shaping up?  Any big plans?  Lists as long as your arms?
I got caught up with some work yesterday so today I have more time for meal-planning and poking around in the garden.
Last week I made this roasted tomato and asparagus salad, you can throw in bocconcini if you are so inclined.
Roasted tomato and asparagus salad.
With lots of herbes de Provence.
Last week I rearranged our kitchen shelves.  I love using this small set of shelves to change up the colour scheme of the kitchen, and to bring out things I use seasonally.

But why did I put that electrical plug on the first shelf?
Kitchen shelves.
With an electrical plug in an odd place.
It's even a bit crooked.
When we designed the kitchen I had an older radio that I used to listen to the cbc, and the shelf seemed the perfect place for just such a radio.

But times change... do they ever.  I should have known that a wifi, hands free, robot thing was going to enter my life... sooner rather than later.
"Hey Siri"
"Mm-hmm" (it actually says mm-hmm)
"Can you please play me some Classic Rock?"
Can you see my new HomePod?  It's the grey thing on the far right.  If I talk to it it pretty much anything I want to listen to blasts from it.  That little thing really puts out an incredibly clear sound.

The uncomfortable thing is the talking to it.  I feel so rude just barking orders at it.  It makes no difference, I know it rationally, if I say please to a robot but I feel like a jerk just ordering it around.

Do you feel weird talking to robots?

Happy Monday, may your week be filled with civility.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Summer Wedding Outfit: Greens and Blues

 Next weekend we have a family wedding to attend and we couldn't be more excited about it.

My cousin is getting married and this is a really big event in our relatively small family, we've been looking forward to it for a year.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to wear my green silk dress that is my absolute favourite summer outfit, not least because it was a gift from my dear friend Tabs.

I typically wear this dress with my little gold handbag and some neutral and gold flats with a small heel... but for this wedding that didn't feel quite exuberant enough.

I own some navy patent Repetto dancing heels that are my absolute favourite shoes to wear, I can dance in them and practically run in them, and they are so comfortable despite the three and a half inch heel.
 I also like to wear this dress with my Kate Spade necklace in greens and blues with a turtle clasp... so what about a bag in greens and blues?

I decided to go on a search for just such a little bag and I looked everywhere.  I searched every online store I could think of, every vintage shop on eBay and Etsy, until finally I decided to try Handmade shops on Etsy.

I found this seller out of the UK who constructs these amazing little silk pouch bags.  She dreams up absolutely beautiful colour schemes and lines the bags with a cotton sateen, finishing them with lovely little drawstring cords.  I LOVE THEM.
Bag in green and blue.
Handmade by TheOccasionalPurl.
 I have to say too that these bags remind me of Picasso's Harlequin paintings, a favourite series of mine.
Kate Spade necklace.
My one Kate Spade item... that I shall treasure forever. 

 The bag has these dreamy ocean tones of green and blue that to me really echo the spirit of the Kate Spade necklace.
Do you have any weddings to attend this summer?  If so are you excited about your outfit planning?

Have a really lovely weekend,

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Fiddlehead season is over and once again I haven't lived up to my solemn vow to eat lots of fiddleheads while the going is good.  Instead, we had them exactly one time.

This season I really wanted to incorporate fiddleheads into some kind of pizza topping.  I tend to like them roasted rather than steamed or sautéed so this was a good method, and the pairing with smoked salmon (lots of it) and plenty of capers was perfect.

I buy our pizza dough now from our favourite bakery, it's just so much better than my homemade stuff, and the purchased dough made this a really easy dinner.  This might be my favourite sort of dinner to throw together theses days, because I literally threw the toppings on the rolled dough and shoved it in the oven.

A nice sprinkling of a good olive oil over the top meant the fiddleheads were crispy and not charred.

I'm having one of those phases in the kitchen when I need inspiration... it's time to hit the cookbooks today.
If you have any easy dinner ideas please share them!