Rug options

I've been vacillating about rug choices since I moved into my place four years ago. My floors are nice so it's been an easy thing to put off, but as I've struck so many things off my need & wishlist, it's become obvious that the place will never really be done without one in the living room. At one point or another, these are the ones I've considered (in ascending order).


(1) A natural fibre rug from PB. I've love the texture and they're af
fordable. But I've never walked on one... Are they prickly?

(2) The Stockholm from IKEA. I hated it up close, but will probably look at it again next time I'm there. Oh, and I hate IKEA. I really do. I've tried to be all cool and say, yeah it's good for high n' low mixing. But, for the most part, I long to replace anything I've bought there...

(3) The Henley. A PB classic: Neutral, inoffensive, versatile and... well... boring


(4) Madeline Weinrib cotton rug. More expensive but not uber-unaffordable. If the rug is the last finishing touch, this might be do-able, but I'm not comfortable buying it when I still need some pieces of furniture...

(5) W Studio rugs. Toronto's equivalent of The Rug Company, I love browsing this site, walking by their store, generally putting myself in the vicinity of these rugs as often as possible, hoping one gets caught on my shoe and ends up at home with me.

I'm leaning towards (1) or (4). Thoughts? Other suggestions?

Brunschwig & Fils

This morning I went to the Annual Yardage sale at the Textile Museum Of Canada. I wasn't expecting to see much, barring some crazy ladies fighting over yarn. But instead, there were lots of fabulous upholstery ends for sale from $1 each. I grabbed 5 gorgeous squares, some from my fave fabric company Brunschwig & Fils. They're large enough for seats of dining chairs or, of course, cushions.

Horses

Stumbling on this was the best surprise. There's a little shortcut I take to get to the Whole Foods that takes you through the courtyards of a couple of art galleries in Yorkville.  I'm pretty sure it is by the same guy who did the Union Stn installation for Luminato last year. In case you can't tell, it's inflated. The horse is attached to a fan so he kindof canters on the spot. It's divine to look at.

Gladiator

I've been lusting after gladiator-style shoes since last year. It's really about time I shut up and bought a pair. I'm not sure these are gladiators, strictly speaking. But they are pretty good candidates. I love the crochet detail. By Jean Paul Gaultier at Shopbop.

Yousuf Karsh

Karsh is one of my favourite portrait photographers. And next year, the homeless Portrait Gallery of Canada will organize an exhibition at the Canada Science and Technology Museum to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karsh. Portraits of Picasso and Giacometti are shown here.

The Portrait Gallery announced the exhibition during a ceremony launching three postage stamps in Karsh's honour. The stamps are available through Canada Post and feature the famous "Roaring Lion" portrait of Churchill, as well as a portrait of Audrey Hepburn and a self-portrait.


Net-a-Porter

I hate an unaffordable bargain. It's one thing when you can't afford your favourite designer gear at full price. It's altogether more annoying when it's 50% or more off and it still remains an elusive pie-in-the-sky. You know it's a deal, you think to yourself "whoah, that's a steal!" and yet your funds cannot stretch near that far.

Take, for example, this ChloƩ boxy jacket: Was $1,920, Now $960; 50% off. Or this Alexander McQueen Pintuck pleated cotton dress: Was $3,300, Now $1,650; 50% OFF. Or this Fendi Shawl collar jacket: Was $ 1,780, Now $ 1,068; 40% OFF. All from Net-a-Porter's sale.


Calderesque

I don't think I've ever told you about my Calder fetish. The one (hypothetical) problem is that I can never envision where I would hang one of his kinetic artworks in my fantasy home. Everywhere that immediately comes to mind is also somewhere I want to hang one of the pendants or chandeliers on my long wishlist.


But these lamps by David Weeks (found while scouting the armoire on Ralph Pucci last night) are a perfect solution. Calder-inspired and lustworthy in of themselves, these make it on my ultimate wishlist.

Convex mirrors

I've blogged before about my love of Hockney's Secret Knowledge, and my fascination with optics, lenses and everything reflective (including convex mirrors). So, you can imagine the little sign I emitted when I saw this Patrick Naggar for Pucci armoire. Van Eyck eat your heart out.

Question, though: Would it be complete my House of Mirrors to have this plus Tom Dixon's mirror balls in the same room? I think that would be kind of epic, albeit a little disorienting.


Xenia Taler

I was browsing an older issue of Domino last night and came across Xenia Taler, yet another talented Canadian. To be honest, I've always been a bit ambivalent about ornamental tiles. But these are quite magnificent. I especially like the "crochet" series.

Rain, rain go away...

It's been raining for days and days. In the morning, I bring both my sunglasses and my brolly because there's no telling what way it will go.

And the worst part of all of this is that I just know sometime in June, the weather will flip to 30 degrees and 100% humidity and it will feel like being punched in the face because we've had no gentle transition. I just want a few of those warm, sunny days before it gets truly stinking hot.

Image from Toast's catalogue: It seems like the perfect, happy thing to wear in perfect, happy weather.


Castle Starr / Patrik Andersson

Oh, I got goosebumps looking at this image. I think most girls have a pony phase, but I never grew out of mine. I love horses and everything equestrian. And if a fashion shoot includes a horse, or horse imagery, I'll love it nearly no matter what. But this image from Castle Starr is really special. Their moody (almost sulky) collection is shot by Patrik Andersson

M0851

While Mackage and Rudsak seem to rule the style court here, M0851 is my favourite and always strikes me as having more integrity and better quality.

Despite the fact it took me more than a year to know their name by heart, their bags and clothes are perfect. And I never fail to admire somebody carrying an M0851 purse (a better test than loving them in a store when they're new and pretty). Plus, their price-point is eminently reasonable.


Trampoline

Everybody hates a website that's under construction, but of all ways of saying the site's not built yet, Alice & Olivia's is the sweetest.

Shopping

Today was blissfully quiet downtown. I decided to go on one of those epic browses at Holts. The kind where you have nothing in mind, but time to look at everything, a pure unadulterated tactile lustfest of retail porn. Of all the things I walked away thinking about (in a most unhelpful way), these two pairs of Alaia shoes are front and centre.


And also this simple-but-perfect blouse by See by Chloe (and I found the other one by Nili Lotan while looking on Shopbop for the image of the first).

Recipe of the week: Broad bean salad with grilled haloumi

I don't know about you, but I tend to be the kind of person who gets stuck on new favourite things. I'll listen to songs over and over again, wear the same pair of shoes to death and eat the "flavour of the day" for weeks on end.

And you'd think that by that time I can't stand the sight and sound of it, but that never tends to be the case. More often I simply move on to something else new & exciting.

So, indulge my current penchant for haloumi with this recipe (pretty picture, no?). Both the recipe and image are from Dennis Cotter's Cafe Paradiso Seasons.


Serves 4
4 slices day-old bread
7oz olive oil
Salt & pepper, to season
Juice & rind of 1 lemon
2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
10oz broad beans, net weight
Small bunch wild garlic
8 1/2 oz haloumi
Some salad leaves

Crispbreads: Cut off crusts, brush with olive oil & seasons. Bake in a moderate 350 F oven until browned and crisp. Break into pieces about the size of the haloumi pieces.
Dressing: Blend the rest of the olive oil, lemon and thyme to a thick emulsion. If it separates it may need blending again before use.
Beans: Cook shelled broad beans in boiling water until tender. "Shock" them after cooking in cold water, until warm (not cold). Chop the wild garlic and add it to the beans.
Haloumi: Slice haloumi into rounds and then half each round on the diagonal. Brush with olive oil and place in a hot skillet, cooking on both sides until browned.

Gently mix everything together. Serve on a bed of salad leaves, such as arugula.

Roche Bobois

New research commandment: When you legitimately need something (say, for arguments sake, a new bookshelf), for the following reasons don't visit websites like Roche Bobois
(a) You won't see anything you can afford
(b) You may end up falling for a piece that doesn't even suit the space you need to fill. And then you imagine reconfiguring your entire (recently-reconfigured) space to accommodate this piece.
(c) Everything else will look anemic afterwards.
(d) Oh, and if you're me, you won't fall for just one thing.


Lyell

Lyell's catalogue is now up there with my faves. These shots by Larry Bercow are so pensive and there's such a beauty to them, I'm blown away.

Time for lilacs

I decided to make this weekend a 4-day one by taking tomorrow off. Today, after work, I took myself to the reupholsters to pick out fabric for my Saarinen. I'm going to drop it off in the morning and then swing by the same shop I found it at to take a look-see at another piece I'm pretty convinced I'll purchase.

I will also buy some lilac this weekend. It's that time of year and much as I love year-round flowers, there's a bigger place in my heart for those with a short seasonal span. They seem to signify so much more than the ever-available kinds. Image from Jamelah's Flickr.


Paige Russell

I love objects that are subtly quirky and funny, yet still visually beautiful. These Bad Beaver vases by Etsy seller Paige Russell are perfection. I also love this teapot, complete with felted cozy, though I'm not sure I could bring myself to use it. More about Paige here.

Abigail Percy

Abigail is one of my constant Etsy faves and I get really excited when I see something new on her store. These earrings are especially darling. I was also happy to see her home profiled on Design*Sponge when browsing through their archives today. These tours really inspire me, especially when I already admire the person's work elsewhere.

Recipe of the week: Haloumi & zucchini salad

Yesterday, I also bought this little Donna Hay book. I'm in love with the icy blue cast on all the photography in her books and magazines. But, to boot, her recipes are simple, fast, healthy and delish. Point and case, this salad, which is a starter I would happily supersize to a main.


Serves 4
1 tsp olive oil
20g butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 yellow zucchini (courgette), thinly sliced
200g green beans, trimmed and blanched
250g haloumi cheese, sliced
Lemon wedges to serve

Heat the oil & butter in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, zucchini and beans and cook for 1-2 mins until tender and warm. Add the haloumi and cook for 1 minute on each side until golden.

Serve haloumi topped with zucchini bean mixture and with lemon wedges.

PS: I highly recommend buying this utterly affordable cookbook (and how often do I recommend affordable things!?)

Teresa Green

Via the Selvedge website, I found Teresa Green. I'm a sucker for linens and these are so quirky and pretty, yet clean, I'm quite enamoured.

Closet organization

I'm sore in places I didn't even know I was exerting. Friday and yesterday, I ripped out my existing closet, filled, scraped and painted the closet interior and then installed this Rubbermaid system. It may not look it from this before and after, but the capacity has increased and everything is clean and organized just as I like it (the photo doesn't do it justice, but blogger's integrity prevented me "styling" my own closet with a meagre selection of my most photographic items.)

Swans Island

No matter how hot it gets (and I think it's going to be a stinking hot summer), I never get tired of blankets. So, while some are happy to be putting them away, I'm busy lusting after these Swans Island blankets... newly discovered at Hollace Cluny.

Flight of the Conchords

A friend loaned me the DVD of Flight of the Conchords and I've watched all the episodes. Besides developing an epic crush on Bret, I laughed out loud so much that my tummy hurt like I'd been doing sit-ups.

Kant desk

I saw this on Design Milk's blog (one of those blogs that makes you want to read the entire archives in one sitting). The Kant desk is amazing in its simple ingenuity. The materials may not be my favourite, but if I had a workshop, I would be ripping off this design in oak right now.

Kathleen Hills

I've had Kathleen Hills' website bookmarked for yonks. I love the star light and the idea of the rolling pin.

Book report: Persuasion & Northanger Abbey

My recent re-reading of Pride & Prejudice so entirely claimed my appetite, that I took it upon myself to read two more of Austen's books: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were the only two I hadn't read before. Persuasion is now my favourite Austen. I spent most of yesterday reading it, visiting two Starbucks, a bench in the cemetery and finally a few hours on my couch to finish it. And now, I have no idea what I can pick up to take it's place. I'm at a loss...

Recipe of the week: Rhubarb Financiers

In March 2006, Saveur magazine did a special edition on Irish cuisine. Because I love something tart for dessert, and Mum so often made rhubarb tarts and crumbles (thanks to a plentiful supply from the garden), this recipe caught my eye.

Serves 8

- 17tbsp butter (no, that's not a typo)
- 2 ribs of rhubarb, peeled and cut into 1/3" pieces
- Half a cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup almonds, ground
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2/3 cup flour

- 5 egg whites
- 1 tbsp glucose syrup (I think golden syrup or corn syrup would do)


Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit. Melt 14 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet on medium heat, swirling until slightly browned (about 6 mins). Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Wipe skillet, then melt 2 tbsp of butter over low-medium heat. Add rhubard and 2 tbsp granulated sugar and cook until tender, stirring ofter (6-8 mins). Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine remaining granulated sugar, almonds, confectioner's sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Separately, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. To the dry ingredients, add the browned butter, warm rhubarb, stiff egg whites and glucose syrup and fold.

Grease 8 ramekins with remaining butter. Divide batter evenly and bake until golden brown and cooked through (about 40 mins). Unmould and allow to cool. Serve with poached rhubarb and vanilla ice cream.

PS. If you can't get enough rhubarb, check out Saveur's gallery of rhubarb recipes here...

Judy Ross

I've long been a fan of Judy Ross' amazing cushions. But the latest collection, with a muted mixture of metallics is especially beautiful.

Mimetic house

Not exactly the white-washed Quiet Man cottage you'd expect from Ireland, this house is in Co. Leitrim. I love how it disappears into the landscape. More about it in this NYT article, where the images are also taken from (photography by Derek Speirs).

J.Crew sale

J. Crew have an extra discount on their sale section right now and I nabbed these two happy pieces.