Andrea Walsh

I blogged before about Andrea Walsh, but she has some new recent work. I especially love the combination of bone china and glass in her faceted boxes.

Where we blog from: Mimi Charmante

A huge thanks to Kimberly for contributing this "Where we blog from"! Her blog is a visual treat, chock full of her stunning photography. Kimberly's blog, Mimi Charmante, is named after her alter-ego, Mimi who lives in the countryside in the south of France. If her blog anything to go by, Kimberly is living a beautiful life that even Mimi might envy! This is where Kimberly blogs from and what she has to say about it...

Hi there! My name is Kimberly Taylor and I am a food photographer and blogger living on a small farm outside of Seattle. I have four fantastic boys and an amazingly supportive husband.


I spend my days doing a wide variety of things. The one thing I am guaranteed to do every day is spend a good portion of it in my kitchen. I love our kitchen! Our home is very informal and we basically live in one large public space. This space consists of the kitchen, the living room, the dining area, and my workspace where I do most of my shooting.



I do most of my blogging at the island counter. It is the heart of the house and seeing as I can so often be found on my laptop, I like knowing that if anyone needs me I am still right there. I also am often baking which means I like to stay close to the ovens, or shooting, which happens just off the kitchen.


Three and a half years ago we renovated the kitchen of our 1928 farmhouse. I love that our island is 9 feet long, which allows for all sorts of fun. We can have huge baking parties, fill it with wine and cheese for an evening with friends, or lay out 4 pizzas and have a group of teenagers hanging out eating and visiting.


All four boys eat nearly all of their breakfasts and lunches there. We went with marble countertops as I adore the look of them. While they do show marks, they also show that a family lives here, and that we spend a lot of time together in that kitchen, working on those counters. It really is my very favorite spot in the house!

Thank you Jane for having me!


Thanks Kimberly!

Sunday best: Home comforts

Last night, I launched my new blog design! I hope it’s a cleaner navigating experience and a prettier visual one. I’m sure I will tweak a few bits here and there as I live with it over the next few weeks. And, if there’s anything you see that you find confusing or displeasing - or, heaven forbid, broken! - let me know and I’ll fix it.

I have to especially thank Masha from Ornamelle who did the calligraphy in my header. I’ve commissioned her for a few projects in the last few months (more on that later!) and she’s an absolute gem to work with. I love the results!


So, today is about actual, rather than online, housework. Yesterday, I scrubbed my pantry and washed and sterilized all my Mason and Crown jars and decanted sundries into them. I think I'll take it a little easier today and do some more gentle housecleaning and try to settle my mind. I've had a few restless nights and I'm feeling a little out of sorts. So hopefully a gentle day at home relaxes me.

I have some bigger plans to rearrange my apartment and see if I can't come up with a better work / photography set-up in doing so. I think part of my unsettledness is the feeling of constantly juggling work and home space, always a challenge in a one-bedroom apartment. But I'll just think about that today while I enjoy the comforts of home. And I suspect reorganization will necessitate a trip to Ikea, which is never an easy or enjoyable trip for me.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

Products: Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson / Vanessa Bruno Striped Scalloped Blouse from La Garconne / Cotton basics soft bra from Bodas / Bouquet from Rosenow Floral / Organic White Tea with Peppermint from Clipper / Geranium Countertop Spray from Mrs. Meyers / Red Roses Home Candle from Jo Malone / MiH Jeans Paris jeans from Net-a-Porter / Table brush set from Mjolk / 1 Litre Copper Can from Haws / Black Canvas Women's Classics from Toms

Friday!

I’ve been willing this Friday to arrive since Monday. It was a long week and getting up in the mornings was a mission. And I know that February in Toronto does not normally mean anything resembling Spring. But old habits die hard and I’m used to thinking of crocuses and snowdrops, even daffodils, in Ireland at this time of year and so I feel like February is so much more cheerful than January!

And I’ve got some exciting work on my plate next week, the kind of work that makes me nervous and giddy at the same time. In all my insecurity, there’s a way in which I relish a challenge and love to prove myself better than I normally give myself credit for. It’s funny, I notice insecure people get so much done but never allow themselves to bank the achievement of their efforts; instantly downplaying it into something anybody could do. And yet, when we fail, it’s all our fault. Silly, silly insecurities!


Okay, blog stuff: This post by Tamera was a highlight of my week. And every one of Anabela’s recent posts have knocked my socks off. I think you’ll easily imagine how much I could love these vessels and also, I love these prisms. I want a window of them too! And this is the most tragically beautiful and compelling image.

Catherine of Little Glowing Lights was one of my most popular “Where we blog from” contributors. I loved seeing more of her beautiful home here. The perfect pop of colour throughout. Also, did you see these bloggers at home? – Incredible! Finally, I didn’t spend much time with it yet, but I want to delve deeper into Matchbook (especially the Rita Konig interview), even though I've been a detractor of the flip-book format.

I really am dying to clean this weekend. I know that’s boring, but I want to scour my pantry and decant things into Mason jars. Then I want to clear out my hall closet and maybe even the storage locker in the basement. I think I also need to bring in some new plants, maybe some hyacinth bulbs. 


Thanks for reading and all your lovely comments this week. I feel good about blogging right now. I like being here and spending time with you.

Have a great weekend!

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. new mitaines, 4. Untitled

Travel thoughts

I've been feeling that old, familiar pull towards the sea. I haven't been home since 2009 and I remember resolving when I came back that I would get home every two years. That means this year should include a trip to Ireland, probably in the Fall! Are you planning or dreaming about any travel in 2011? This beautiful painting is by Stuart Slind and is available at Bau-Xi.

Three of a kind


Baby blues

I feel like this week is slightly off, although nothing has gone wrong. Glances seem sidelong, people uncertain and quietly knotted. Maybe January and its ways have created a strange dissonance, where we're acting like it's a fresh start, but feeling the full weight of winter. I don't know. But, I feel we're all a little torn, counting the days to February, or Friday at least. Still, these blues are the happy kind. I was looking back at these pinks too. Both fill me with lightness. So there's that at least.


Images from my Tumblr originally found on these blogs: Design*Sponge / Design*Sponge / Destined to Design / Simplygrove. Please click through to source blog for full credit and information.

Inspiring women: Elisabeth Frink

I've loved Elisabeth's Frink's sculptures, especially her animals, for a long time. But, I know remarkably little about her. And as I dug around, there seemed to be little drama in her biography. She was, it would seem, a hardworking, unsentimental artist, and successful one, who had her first exhibit at the age of 21.


And I like this sometimes, because I can get stuck on some romantic ideal of creativity and failure and deep angst and something think that one is an essential part of the other. I loved watching these videos (Part 1 and Part 2) to see Frink actually at work and talking about her work.

Most of all, I liked seeing her go into her studio and bolt the door so firmly. It seemed like a luxury to me to have that space and separation, and also reminded me of what can come of solitariness and deep concentration. My job-job trades on the currency of "fast-moving, multi-tasking" and when I'm at my computer I always keep an eye on e-mail and twitter, on news feeds and report deadlines.

I tend to bring those habits home with me and rarely do just one thing at a time. And in the same way I wrote about cultivating a deeper relationship with your possessions over time on Sunday, I think the same can be said for concentrating more deeply on a single thing at a time. And, although I can't change the nature of my job, I would like to try to do this more with my own time, to concentrate harder, dig deeper and be a better listener, to myself and others.


Dame Elisabeth Frink collection at the Tate
Image via

Perfect palette

I've been cleaning up my archive in anticipation of the relaunch. I know this is on of those excessive things I tend to do and it's stupidly labour intensive. The upside is that it's given me a reinforced sense of my own style. And I'm able to see it manifest when I look around my apartment. It doesn't seem as haphazard. The palette, the mix of modern and rustic, the bookishness... it's all consistent. The Ochre / Canvas style is the ultimate expression of all those elements I love.


I could probably do a better job making my wardrobe reflect this (hence the resolution to dress more like my own Sunday best posts). When it comes to fashion, I feel like I have hypothetical good taste, but when it comes to dressing my own body, I often break down. Sigh - bodies come with a lot of issues! But when I saw the new Steven Alan collection, it so reminded me of my beloved Ochre and Canvas style that I thought, this is what I would love to - and should - dress like.

Three of a kind


Thomsen

I love the Spring lookbook from Thomsen. Though, like all fashion I'm drawn to this doesn't scream any season. Rather, these are lovely additions to a wardrobe at any time. And I adore how un-modelly the model is. She even seems awkward in some of the photos, though she is quite lovely throughout.

Sometimes, I'm not sure if I've changed a lot or if the fashion industry has just become so knotted up in its own mythology. But, all I want to see from fashion is nice clothes on a pretty, normal woman. That makes me want to spend money far more than the detached admiration I might lavish on a label that forks out for ultra-styling on uber-models.


Where we blog from: Fleurishing

Fleurishing has quickly won my affections and I'm delighted to have Susan contribute to Where we blog from. Susan has wonderful taste (we share many an affection, from Repetto shoes, Diptyque candles, Miles Davis and Farrow & Ball). And I adore her new Proust Q&A series with bloggers. I'm excited to follow Fleurishing and get to know Susan better. This is a great way to start! This is where Susan blogs from and what she has to say about it...


I am flattered to be included in this series, thank you Jane! I write about my musings daily at Fleurishing, and also just launched my online design company, Nesting, LLC! Please stop by and say hello, I would love it! And of course, being an interior designer, I feel a little extra pressure with this feature, eek!

This is my "office"...aka a corner of our living room! As you can see it is from our furry child Billy's point of view, as he lays on the sofa. We recently moved to this loft space from a larger home down south, so it has been challenging (and surprisingly freeing) to be selective about our furnishings! It is amazing how much you don't need when you live on a smaller scale, and how much more appreciation you have for what is special (and needed). Keep in mind I have not painted since we are only here for a short time...



The chair was my grandfather's and is very dear to me...and you can also see a hint of my correspondence with him above the desk. The artwork is by a favorite painter of mine, Sharon Dowell. I met her down south and surprised mr. fleurishing on our one year anniversary with a rendering of where we were married. I recently added the cotton stems to my vase from Terrain, my favorite local haunt. The basket holds many fabric samples, paint books, and other design tools.

The drapes hung in our former dining room, and I cannot even explain how happy they make me! The leopard pillow was a recent addition from High Street Market, and it adds a little more spice. I usually have the shade down since we stare at another building, but I have to admit...I love the old brick!



I like an uncluttered desk, so I've kept it simple. My vintage porcelain rose box holds little bits, and sits atop my very favorite old book. In case you haven't noticed, I am a girly girl! My macbook goes with me everywhere and makes any space my office/blogging spot...I don't know how I would live without it!

A vertical shot so you can see our open ductwork and thick window sill where Billy often sits...(yes, like a cat)! I am really loving our place, it is perfect for us at the moment. Thank you for letting me share my space, merci beaucoup Jane!!



Thanks Susan!

Sunday best: Spending time with favourites

You know those days when you just want to spend some time with things you know and love, when you need the comfort of familiarity? I've been craving that this weekend; favourite cardigans and books whose words I nearly know by heart, the one odd mug I've moved from place to place and that same scented candle I've religiously bought for years.

I'm not always like this. I often crave newness. I like crisp new things just out of their wrapping some days. I like the feeling of unfamiliarity and getting to know new things. Turning the pages of a book and being surprised.



But not today. Today I don't want any uncertainty. I just want to wallow and spend time with things I love. To enjoy the fact that I have those things and that I don't necessarily always need to be hunting for something new and shiny and intoxicating; that I can find happiness in all these things I'm surrounded by.

And, you know, sometimes I put recurring objects in these Sunday bests for this reason. Because really I don't want a vast closet of never-worn options. I want the perfect cardigan or vintage watch, the necklace that becomes my trademark and the fragrance that becomes entwined in my identity. Those room-like closets that many people fantasize about make me think sometimes we give ourselves too much choice.

And maybe, once in awhile, it's good to enjoy that our choices are limited and instead cultivate a deeper, richer experience with personal objects. Even if it's all still just "stuff", at the end of the day.

Products: Ribbed Shawl Bolero from Brora / Sundrine chambray shirtdress from J.Crew / Remembering Beckett / Mini Shea Butter from L'Occitane / Patek Philippe watch from 1st Dibs / Tights from Falke / Mini Alexa from Mulberry / The Biker boot from Madewell

Friday!

Hooray for Friday and, hopefully, a bit of a thaw after a few icy days here. I've said it many times, but I'm just not a fan that ice.

I took advantage of the stay-indoors time and worked on my blog redesign. I hit that point in the process (which is the same as any renovation or redecoration project), where I started to "see" the final product. And once I was there, I could barely stand to look at the current design. I take this as a good sign and have my fingers crossed you all like the changes too.


I'm one of those people who figures out how to do things herself rather than outsourcing it, so there's always a learning curve when I'm doing these kinds of things. But I love that feeling of figuring out something new and better understanding what's going on, rather than paying somebody for it all to stay a mystery. Of course, there are exceptions to this: I'm really happy to know nothing about taxes or legal things and pay somebody else to look after that!

Some links from around the blog neighbourhood: A beautiful collection of paintings of women reading books. My favourite is the one by Alexander Deineka; she looks intense and absorbed. Stephanie always knows how to perfectly capture what so many of us think about and struggle to piece together properly. On the home front, I loved this space and these ceramics. And in fashion, I love the 20's inspired collection.

What are you up to this weekend? Wishing you a lovely one!

Image credits: 1. i love bread, 2. Untitled, 3. The Shed, 4. Untitled

Light Locations

In winter, my apartment gets bright, low light during the day. The only problem is I'm not there to experience it. Instead, I come and go in hushed darkness. And I miss that time, when I might sit with a book or just putter about with the luxury of sunlight streaming in. This home from Light Locations captures this craving and magnifies it with the most incredible windows and doors. I especially love the spots in the bottom two images.

Three of a kind


Yeojin Bae

I'm always drawn to the soft shimmer of sequins in images. But, in reality, a wee little embellishment is about all I can bear. I'm just not comfortable in anything that feels attention-grabbing. That said, these sequins from Yeojin Bae are very elegant. And, though I still might not wear them, I think these looks are ultra chic.

Inspiring women: Ella Fitzgerald

"First Lady of Song" just about says it all. Ella went through it all; loss of her mother, abuse by her stepfather, an orphanage, homelessness. But at 17 years old, she made her debut at an amateur night in the Apollo Theatre. She intended to dance, but was trumped by an earlier act and opted instead to sing. Of course, she won the $25 prize.


Her voice was described by Will Friedwald as "easily one of the most beautiful and sonically perfect sounds known to man." Fitzgerald won fourteen Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement in 1967. You can't go wrong listening to her, but this, in particular, makes me smile wide.

Image via

Lemon ripple tart

I know lemon-raspberry desserts may seem like a summery kind of affair. But, really, I cannot resist a pop of citrus at any time. I've been gobbling meyer lemons recently and I could definitely go for this lemon ripple tart. Plus, the brightness of this is just the thing to cheer up these grey days.


Image scanned from Jamie Magazine Recipe Yearbook, which is chock-full of deliciousness.

Three of a kind


Where we blog from: Aesthetic Outburst

Abbey is the talented blogger behind Aesthetic Outburst, a blog I've followed since my early blog days (Abbey and I started blogging the very same month!) While my blogroll has changed dynamically in that time, my fondness for Abbey's blog has been consistent. Her blog offers that perfect blend of reality and inspiration. And her taste, while accessible, is also impeccable. Moreover, I get the sense that Abbey is all these things in real life too. This is where Abbey blogs from and what she has to say about it...


Hi, I’m Abbey Hendrickson: blogger, mama, artist, obsessive list-maker, fanatic house re-arranger…the list goes on. I live in a little house just outside of Owego, New York with my husband, our three-year-old son, our one-year-old daughter, and a fish called Blowhole (and, yes, his name completely and unfortunately suits him).



I write at my desk, which is tucked into a corner just off of our kitchen. My favorite piece of furniture is our turquoise, vintage medical cabinet. I’ve stashed our printer, scanner, and other necessary computer equipment in the bottom and the top houses a collection of beloved and well-used art books that my husband (also an artist and art professor) and I have amassed over the years. The cabinet is crowned by my collection of vintage birds along with Blowhole’s tank (so I remember to feed the poor guy).


My desk came from a local auction house, one of my favorite places to find furniture. I used to have a desk without drawers, but it quickly became a problem with two curious babies milling about. Now that I have drawers, they’re packed full of stationary, labels, miscellaneous office supplies, and the occasional photo of a favorite vacation spot.


On top of the desk I keep sharp pencils, my favorite Pilot pens, books and magazines to review, important notes from my three-year-old, and piles of notebooks. The basket on the right holds toys to keep little people happy while I’m trying to pay a bill, write a post, or send a quick email. The state of tidiness varies widely and regularly.



Thanks for visiting and many thanks to Jane for inviting me to take part in her Where we blog from series!

Thanks Abbey!

Sunday best: At the movies

Oh, it's another snowy weekend in Toronto. And much as I don't want to complain, much as I want to embrace the seasons, I'm getting sick of being so utilitarian and am nostalgic for days when you'd just slip on a sweet pair of shoes and run outside without thinking twice. Getting about is such a production in this weather!

This weekend. I went to see the new Sofia Coppola movie, Somewhere, and it was nice to really be out in the world, even though I wasn't initially excited about heading out in the snow. I liked the movie itself well enough, but it was no Lost in Translation. I guess I don't find extreme, depressive apathy all that interesting or sympathetic.


As I had hoped, I got a good deal of work done this weekend. Tomorrow, I'm going to take a hard look at my (job) calendar and book a solid week off. There are some things I need to take a good run at and a decent stretch of time would definitely help assuage those meltdowns that take over when I feel the clock ticking.

And even while I'm busy with fun projects, I need to make sure I'm not spending too much time alone. I need to take breaks and go into the world and meet people. It's easy for me to duck the social stuff because I tend to be so tunnel-visioned when I'm working, but I really do feel my mood start to slip if I haven't had time in the company of others.

Products: James Perse Cotton-blend terry cardigan from Net-a-Porter / Crosstown pocket top from Madewell / Earrings from Satomi Kawakita / Movie tickets via / Popcorn via / Evie tote from Augustina / Mociun Gold & Turquoise Triangle Ring from Magpie & Rye / J Brand 814 low-rise straight-leg jeans from Net-a-Porter / Short biker boot from Toast

Friday!

Happy to see another Friday come around. This week was good, but there were little challenges; gremlins in every piece of technology I touched, a jury duty summons and some sleepless nights. It's a busy time for me, so every minor mishap or unexpected obstacle hits me a little harder. I could do with staying on the straightaways until I get through all this work.

But the work itself is exciting and I relish the doing of it. Time is the only real challenge and that's mostly self-imposed. Yup, as usual, I'm putting lots of stress on myself, paying attention to details most people won't even notice. But I'll notice and so it has to all be done just so!


As a result of all of this, I wasn't paying as much attention as normal to the blog world. But I did catch some stand-out goodness nonetheless. In contrast to the homey comfort of yesterday's Three of a kind, these teapots call for high tea with cucumber sandwiches. I love both kinds equally.

Anna Emilia's post reminded me what a tonic green is on the eyes (and made me wonder when I can rebook my canceled trip to Iceland from last year). She also has some new and beautiful work available. But snow and ice have their appeal too and Amy and Stephanie found some jaw-dropping examples of that.

I'm hoping the weekend is productive, but in a slow and satisfying rather than harried and exhausting fashion. I'm excited to have long open runs at my work instead of squeezing it all into the evening after work.

Are you doing anything special? Wishing you a lovely one.

Image credits: 1. If I told you things I did before told you how I used to be would you go along with someone like me?, 2. Untitled, 3. Untitled, 4. Trees.

Three of a kind


A poem for Thursday

The days are good around here. But at a certain hour each night, unrest has been setting in. I think winter turns my thoughts inwards more. The snow dampens the sound from outside, the early darkness stills the streets. And I find myself torn between falling in with the rhythm of the season and turning on all the lights, turning up the music and making a holy racket to fight it off.

But January is too big to fight off and so I've just been trying a way to settle down into myself and be comfortable with that, to roll with the little bursts of energy and the waves of still sleepiness. And I think this poem by Mark Strand is perfect right now.

Lines for Winter
Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in the valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Four Etsy faves

I've been spending less time on Etsy since I've been more careful with my money - it can be such an easy way of leaking dollars here and there. That said, it's still one of my favourite places to browse, read stories and generally find inspiration. These are some recent additions to my favourites


Products: Feather 96 - Mystery Feather - Original Watercolour by Jody Edwards / White two branched twig from Roberta Polfus / Linen pincushion - crochet motif from Namolio / Mini faceted matt silver studs from Minicyn

P.S. I began experiencing intermittent problems with blog images last night. So far, nobody else seems to be able to replicate the error, but if you're not seeing image content, I apologize and am working to troubleshoot.

Inspiring women: Jane Austen

I've put this one off as long as possible. Not because I have any hesitation expressing how much I love Jane Austen. Rather, I'm afraid that my admiration for her will be misunderstood. It's not based on that Colin Firth lake scene, enjoyable viewing as that might be. Or, heavens forbid, a modern retelling of one of her tales. It's based on her writing, pure and simple.


Austen's writing is acerbic, poking fun at her society and at the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. This biting commentary is often omitted in productions, which frequently reduce her stories to a simple quest to find the elusive Mr. Right.

But though Austen poked continuous fun at her character's foibles, she also managed to write women who we still relate to today. And, even in comedy, her characters reveal more complexity, depth and inner conflict than many more contemporary characters.

Austen also writes with a side glance at her audience, which gives her books an intimate tone. Satire usually is delivered from on high, so to achieve such intimacy in satire is remarkable. It is, no doubt, this feeling of intimacy that make so many of us love her books.

If you haven't read any Austen, Persuasion is my favourite.

Image via

Room inspiration

I managed to get a good bit of decluttering done on Sunday. I ruthlessly tossed stacks upon stacks of magazines, keeping only Donna Hay, Domino, World of Interiors. And many pairs of unworn shoes went into the charity bin in my building. I even donated some books (books I didn't love regularly make way for ones I hope I will).

When I'm on this kind of roll, I'm invariably inspired by calmer spaces. I think both these rooms have the perfect amount of stuff in them and still come off as light and airy. It's lovely to think of clean slates (both literal and figurative) in January.


Images via Desire to Inspire and The Design Files. More inspiration in my Tumblr.

Three of a kind


Denim dress

I'm a little obsessed with denim right now; especially denim shirts (as seen in Sunday Best) and dresses. This dress is from Fischer's Spring collection, but would be perfectly transitional; layered up right now and worn with sandals come Spring. It's rare I add something to my wardrobe (footwear and outerwear excepted) that can't be worn beyond its defined season.

Best of "Where we blog from"

Last week, as I was going through all the posts, I was overwhelmed by how many of my favourite bloggers have participated in this series. It's easy to take for granted the act of sharing your life on the internet. But because this series is not supposed to be about styled and coiffed spaces, so I am very grateful for and inspired by everyone's openness.


I've been squirreling away new submissions and hope to begin revealing those spaces starting next week!